Madan no Ou to Vanadis:Volume 06 Chapter 3
Chapter 3 - A Foreign Land
When Gerard Augre visited LeitMeritz, Tigre was still at sea.
The young man, who was about 25 years old, had curled brown hair and bronze eyes, and was wearing an official uniform of red and black. That official uniform showed his status as registrar of the Kingdom of Brune, and the chest seam symbolized the Red Horse embroidery of Brune.
"Though as expected, I have certainly become used to seeing it since this is my third time coming here..."
Waiting at the main gate to meet with Ellen, Gerard sighed slightly while looking up at the towering Imperial Palace.
A year ago he did not even imagine that he would become the registrar of Brune and would visit Zchted on such a regular basis. He originally thought he would inherit from his father the vineyard around Territoire, and spend a nice and quiet life uneventfully, but unfortunately he didn't have such a fate.
All changed after he met Tigrevurmud Vorn.
In Brune’s civil war, Gerard, under Tigre’s command, was responsible for managing logistics and showed excellent ability to adjust the distribution of food, fuel, and weapons work. That ability was highly rated, and after the civil war ended, he began to work in the Imperial Court of the Kingdom of Brune.
Every two months, he would visit LeitMeritz. And he reporting to Ellen the progress of the work on the Vosyes Mountains was one of his duties. It was the third time now, and since the gatekeeper also remembered his name and face, he was able to enter the Imperial Palace without being kept waiting too much.
He was taken to the office after his luggage and clothes were inspected. His luggage was only a linen backpack filled with notes, tools for writing and a bundle of letters.
He was already checked at the main gate, but since he was with luggage this time, there was a need to check it again. After the inspection, Gerard knocked the door.
"Long time no see, Mr. Secretary."
Ellen, who wore a formal dress based on blue, was sitting by the office desk. Lim was standing beside her.
"It's good to see that both Vanadis-sama and also Limlisha-dono seem to be healthy above all."
Gerard put on a smile used for social etiquette and bowed in an exaggerated gesture. Ellen nodded generously, but Lim wordlessly returned the courtesy.
Though Gerard's smile was basically stemming from interpersonal politeness, it was also somewhat sincere. In front of Ellen, ones attitude need not be as rigid. However, if he were facing a big aristocrat or high-ranking official of the court of Brune, he must pay attention to his words and behavior.
"Without delay, let me first report on the Vosyes Mountains Road."
This was the agreement that was established in accordance with the mutual non-aggression pact between Brune and Zchted which was signed half a year ago. As long as the mountain path was upgraded, the shortest highway linking the King's Capital of both countries would be born. The merchants and travelers would surely take this new road, and LeitMeritz which was situated halfway along the way would therefore also profit.
The reason this matter had yet to be resolved was because this mountain range was on the border between Zchted and Brune. If large-scale construction was performed near the border, it would surely be admonished by the others, and the highway being made also meant that aggression actions will be more convenient.
Originally it was a matter that would be accepted no matter what, even if a non-aggression pact was concluded. But Brune was indebted to Zchted, and moreover the contract was exchanged partly because of various circumstances and speculations, therefore such a project could be made possible.
Gerard was already used to this. While he read aloud the report he had prepared in advance, he also fluently answered the questions raised by Ellen from time to time. Gerard was familiar with the status-quo of this road, and he has a clear understanding since he just passed there from Brune on the way here. He answered without hesitation.
After listening to Gerard's report, Ellen smiled contentedly.
"Yeah. It seems to be going smoothly. Good work, Mr. Secretary."
"To hear such words from Vanadis-sama makes me feel relieved. I would also convey as such to our lord."
Gerard bowed in an exaggerated gesture in the same way as the time when he entered the office. Afterward the topic then changed over to casual conversation.
Even if it is called small talk, the main topic was about the situations in their respective countries. Most of the content was for example like what a noble was saying in the country, where there have been disputes within the respective countries, the movements of Muozinel and Asvarre and so on.
"What position does Brune hold concerning the civil war in Asvarre?"
"For our part, as sparks of the war does not affect us, we intend to watch it calmly. Fortunately, Sachstein’s attention seems to be going towards Asvarre, so we are thankful for there not being a threat temporarily on the west side of Brune."
"Currently, there are three main forces in Asvarre. Prince Germaine, Prince Eliot and Princess Guinevere... If one among those sought assistance of Brune, what does Her Highness Princess Regin plan to do?"
"Obtaining desirable results by thrusting one's neck into the quarrel of others is probably something possible only in the world of heroic tales or dramas. Not to mention that our country has yet to recover from the turmoil of half a year ago."
Gerard lifted the corner of his mouth sardonically and shrugged his shoulders. Though Lim frowned at his behavior which lacked etiquette, she was soothed by Ellen's gaze and remained silent to some extent.
"That's right, isn’t it? Please tell Her Highness Regin to take care of herself."
"Thank you for your concern. I won’t fail to convey those words."
Then, just before finishing the chat and leaving, Gerard expressed one wish.
"After this, could I greet Lord Tigrevurmud?"
This was what he applied for whenever he visited LeitMeritz. Tigre was currently a guest here. Although it was only a small matter, it would less troublesome if he got Ellen’s permission.
Gerard thought that he would obtain Ellen’s agreement like before, but this time it was different. As Ellen's face looked glum, she shook her head with an apologetic expression.
"I'm sorry. Lord Tigrevurmud is not here now. He was summoned by His Majesty the King about ten days ago, and went to the King at the Capital Silesia."
"By King Viktor? For exactly what kind of business?"
Speaking with a very troubled voice, Gerard frowned plainly. However, Ellen shook her head again.
"I was not told either. However Lord Tigrevurmud is an important guest, even for His Majesty. So there is no need for Lord Gerard to worry."
"...Is that so. It's regrettable that I'm not able meet Lord Tigrevurmud."
Though Gerard made an expression of disappointment, he backed down quietly without further questioning. He felt that there was nothing more that he could gleam from Ellen.
"By the way, there is something I need to hand over to Lord Tigrevurmud when he returns, may I request Vanadis-sama to fulfilled it for me instead?"
"No problem. What is it?"
As Ellen asked, Gerard took out a bundle of letters from his backpack, which filled up both of his hands, and put them on the desk. Ellen and Lim could not help but stare in wonder. There were nearly twenty letters.
"There are 17 letters. Three of them are applications for marriage meeting. The remaining 14 are applications from Feudal Lords hoping to leave their daughter or niece at his side as trainee maids."
"Marriage meeting? Maid applications?"
Making a face as if she swallowed a bitter medicine, Ellen stared at the pile of letters. Lim’s poker face collapsed instantly, and asked Gerard with a confused look.
"Excuse me, but... Are Her Highness Princess Regin and Lord Massas aware of this?"
Massas was Tigre's father Urz's best friend, and the man who took care of Tigre all the time even after Urz died. He helped Tigre in the civil war of Brune, and Lim who had acted as his assistant trusted his character.
After the end of the civil war he let his son inherit his title and his territory, and accepted the request of Regin and Prime Minister Bodwin to serve the royal court. Lim simply could not believe that he would overlook it.
"Of course. The only reason I brought them was simply because I have already gotten the approval from those two."
Gerard answered as if it were a matter of course. After hearing that Ellen and Lim looked at each other.
Ellen knew that Regin harbored feelings of love for Tigre beyond status or position. Even Lim was vaguely aware of that fact.
Despite that, she let the Feudal Lords send such letters. What was the meaning behind it? Didn't they notice Regin's feelings, or were they aware of that and deliberately ignoring it?
With a cough Ellen somehow regained her composure, and asked with a cautious tone while poking the letters with her fingertip.
"What do these people think of Princess Regin and Lord Tigrevurmud?"
"They naturally swear allegiance to Her Highness the Princess. The assessment of Lord Tigrevurmud should not be low, either. After all, he was the hero in the previous war, and Her Highness the Princess, Lord Massas, and even the knight squadron have deep trust in him. He also has a good relationship with Zchted, so they would naturally want to have good relations with him."
With a hypocritical smile, the secretary with brown hair gave a model answer as a bureaucrat of Brune. Ellen realized that there was something wrong with her method of questioning. It seems that she should say it more bluntly.
"Didn’t Princess Regin feel upset after seeing such a thing? Mr. Secretary, It seems the Feudal Lords' thoughts of your country is a little different."
"...Indeed, thanks to the efforts of Lord Tigrevurmud, the life of Her Highness the Princess was saved, and she became the leader of our country as the successor of the late King Faron. Suppose that kindness becomes love, and Her Highness becomes a maiden in love and continues to yearn earnestly for Lord Tigrevurmud."
At this point, Gerard's face became serious.
"...There cannot be such a thing. Those people think so. Lord Tigrevurmud is a person born from an Earl House in the frontier, and he doesn’t have anything to be proud of other than his archery. Such a figure is not suitable to become the King of the next generation. Her Highness should feel the same way."
Ellen did not answer back to that, and sullenly looked at the pile of letters.
It would not be a lie, that Tigre's assessment was not low. If it were only a good relationship they could still compromise, but putting him on the throne would be out of the question. And they believed that Regin also thought in the same way.
---It can't be helped.
Since Ellen, Lim, and also Gerard were in the Unstoppable Silver Flow[Silver Meteor Army], they knew that Regin trusts Tigre completely and opens her heart to him. However, virtually none of the Feudal Lords knows about this. Even after listening to the rumors of the triumph in the King's Capital Nice, it would be extremely difficult to imagine that their relationship had gone so far.
Lim appeared to have thought of something, and asked Gerard.
"Has Princess Regin said anything about Lord Tigrevurmud?"
"Her Highness is very concerned about Lord Tigrevurmud's situation. In the presence of the minister, she once said that she cannot use wealth, territory, or position to express her gratitude, and that upon his return to Brune she will reward him accordingly."
"W-Well, it is natural. It is thanks to Tigre... Lord Tigrevurmud that she is currently there."
Ellen's face became stiff, though she was able to return to her usual tone. The Vanadis with silver white hair managed to correct herself and nodded. Not being able to express her gratitude with either wealth, position or territory.
Then how on earth was is she going to express her gratitude?
"Also, the fact that Lord Tigrevurmud was only bestowed the title of Lumiere[Knight of the Moonlight] by His Highness King Faron, and the land of Alsace which he inherited from his father is requisitioned and in is currently in the co-management of Her Highness the Princess and Vanadis-sama. In addition, Lord Tigrevurmud himself was forced to leave his homeland, where he was born and raised, and had come to Zchted..."
After saying this, Gerard deliberately stopped his mouth. And then he bowed with an exaggerated gesture while apologising for complaining about it. Able to say such criticism to Ellen without any care, it seemed that his cynic daring had not change so far.
Gerard being able to say things like that, should probably be because he had heard about the story from Tigre. Ellen immediately understood that he deliberately intended to say such things. Most likely, what he just said were the reasons why the Feudal Lords firmly believe that there was no way Regin would love Tigre.
---This is a decision that we have made, and Tigre has also consented...
Ellen crossed her arms once again and looked to the pile of letters, then sighed.
Limited by her status, Ellen was also unable to reveal her true feelings, and even if she knew about the attempts of the Feudal Lords, she also had no reason to prevent it. She felt sympathy for Regin who could only confirm these letters with a depressed face. Lim also bore a bitter smile, imagining Massas ruefully sorting these letters.
"...I understand. When Lord Tigrevurmud returns, I will give these to him. I promise you, I will take good care of these letters until he comes back."
"Thank you very much."
Gerard's face seemed relieved, and he left the office this time for sure. After closing the door, in contrast to his relaxed mood, Ellen and Lim looked at the pile of letters with trouble faces.
Gerard, who left the work office, made a request to the soldier who was going to send him off to the main gate.
"Sorry to bother you, but can I stay for a while? There is someone that I want to greet. Of course I have gotten the approval of Vanadis-sama."
The latter half of the sentence was a lie. He knew that the soldier would be unable to judge the truth from the lie immediately. The soldier uneventfully complied. When he said the name of the person he wanted to greet, the soldier agreed to it without any suspicion.
---Though I was not able to ask either Vanadis-sama nor Limlisha-dono...
Gerard wanted to know by all means what kind of life Tigre was leading nowadays. Though it was not as if he were personally interested in it, there was a reason behind it.
Regin and Massas would be very glad if he talked to them about Tigre. Especially Regin who brightened her blue eyes until they were shining like a child's, and even the change of her expression was very interesting to see.
As Gerard had greed for success in life like everyone else, in order to please his boss, he had to bring some information about Tigre back.
Walking the corridor of the Imperial Palace led by the soldier, Gerard soon spotted the target. In the figure of a maid with white apron on top of the black long sleeves skirt, it was a girl who was in a twin tail chestnut hair. Gerard called out to her with a radiant smile.
"Long time no see, Teita-san."
The girl, Teita, also noticed Gerard and politely greeted him with a smile.
"Ah! Gerard-san, you came."
"Yeah. I was just talking with Vanadis-sama earlier on."
And then, Gerard and Teita chatted for a while. There were many topics that she was interested in, like Alsace's situation or matters about Massas who was fed up with the royal court duty. Teita then happily talked about the events of Tigre's life recently in the Imperial Palace.
"Massas-sama is doing well as usual, huh?"
"He is often bickering with his Excellency the Prime Minister Bodwin-sama."
"Like Gerard-san and Rurick-san?"
To the innocent words of Teita, the secretary of Brune was at loss for words. Though he would just think of it as sarcasm or provocation if it were another person who said it, because he knew that this girl did not have these intentions, he was troubled about how to respond.
Suddenly looking away, Gerard saw the soldier who were standing silently nearby. Because he bore the duty to guide Gerard to the main gate, he did his best to maintain his smile while faithfully waiting for them to finish talking.
"Excuse me, but we are probably going to take awhile. Since I will feel bad for making you wait any longer, I think that it should be alright to let her guide me to the main gate instead."
Though the soldier looked troubled, Teita was a guest and is also the maid of Tigre, in addition to being trusted by Ellen and Lim. Living here for half a year was also not short at all. The soldier briefly explained the situation to Teita, and asked if it was okay.
"I understand. If it is something like that, I will bear the task to see off Gerard-san properly to the main gate."
Just like that, Teita watched the soldier leave. Gerard secretly gloated at the moment. Up till now it all went as planned.
"By the way, Teita-san. About Lord Tigrevurmud."
With his radiant smile intact, Gerard changed the topic of discussion. Teita looked at Gerard with a surprised face.
"...Is there something wrong with Tigre-sama?"
"Vanadis-sama said that he went to the King's capital Silesia, but... Has Teita-san not heard anything from Lord Tigrevurmud?"
"... No, he didn't say anything special."
Teita denied while shaking her head, but her eyes swam for an instant, and her wavering voice lowered. Gerard did not overlook the subtle change on her face. Instinctively, he believed that something must have happened. He boldly stepped forward, closing the distance between them, and strongly stared at Teita’s face.
Teita flinched from Gerard's abrupt action, and her shoulders shivered as she retreated a step. Gerard took another step forward promptly and shortened the distance to her again.
Teita had on a helpless expression, continuing to shake her head in denial, such that even Gerard could not bear it in his heart. However, this was unavoidable in order to find out what she was hiding.
A voice suddenly came from behind. A shock and a pain ran to his head, and Gerard staggered. When he looked back while holding his head, a young man wearing armor was standing there.
With a well-featured face and a slippery head without a single hair, he had a sheathed sword in his hand. It seemed that he clubbed Gerard's head with it.
"Even if it was only for a short period of time, what intention do you have to threaten the maid of the person whom I used serve, you malicious person of Brune? Depending of your answer, I might club you again."
"When I wondered who it was, it was just you... "
Gerard groaned in annoyance. The man's name was Rurick. Despite his short fellowship with Gerard, they had (what we might call) a close bond relationship.
"It is bad for my reputation for you to say that I threatened her. I could not possibly do something like that to her."
"Even the eyes of five-year-old child would see that you are scaring her. You bastard, what are you trying to do?"
As if to protect Teita, Rurick was standing in between the two of them and stabbed Gerard with sharp eyes. The secretary of Brune sighed.
"You may not understand even if I explained it to you who has dull eyes and a cloudy brain, but I was only talking with Teita-san about Lord Tigrevurmud. Since there was a matter in which I was more interested in, I leaned forward carelessly."
"...This insidious damp man says so. Teita-dono?"
Looking back at Teita, Rurick asked with a very serious face and tone. Teita, with a troubled expression, looked back and forth between Rurick and Gerard's faces.
"E-Err... What Gerard-san says is true. While talking about Tigre-sama, we probably became a little too excited."
Tough Gerard was inwardly relieved to hear the resolute and decisive words of the maid with fox-tail millet colored hair, but her words did not seem to dispel Rurick’s suspicion.
"Teita-dono. You don't need to force yourself to cover up for this man. Even if you are afraid of a reprisal, in place of Lord Tigrevurmud, I won't let him lay a single finger on you."
"Are you trying to be a knight in shining armour?"
"I'm originally a knight. That's why."
Replying immediately to Gerard's misnomer, Rurick stared at Teita. As Teita unintentionally laughed, she slightly bowed to show her gratitude.
"Thank you Rurick-san. But he really did not threaten me."
"...... I understand, since Teita-dono says so."
Though he could not accept it, if she said it like that, even Rurick could not hold on any further. However, seeming to feel the need to give a warning to Gerard, the bald head knight turned towards the secretary with brown hair.
"I must report about what I saw just now to Limlisha-dono just in case."
"Wait a minute. Why do you have to do something like that?"
Anxiety was mixed in with Gerard's voice. As for what was bad for him, that was because Lim was friendly with Massas. In the worst case scenario, she might convey this matter to Massas in a letter or something.
"It will only be natural to report to the top if something unusual happened within the castle."
Folding his arms, Rurick proudly replied. Gerard was not able to retort to this sound argument. Though he requested for help from Teita with a gaze, but only an apologetic smile was returned.
---It seems that I have no choice but to withdraw here...
It was certain that Rurick would become a hindrance if he kept up any further with this conversation. Besides, he was able to obtain something out of that small talk about Tigre's current lifestyle. As tales of his travel to Regin and Massas, even if it was not complete, in terms of quality and quantity, it should certainly be satisfying enough.
---And if I tried to find about the rest myself? First of all, I must dispatch someone to the King's Capital Silesia and then examine what kind of business Lord Tigrevurmud was called for by the King of Zchted.
"Well then, I will leave first since I will apparently be haunted by an unpleasant gaze if I stay here."
"Ah, then let me see you off to the main gate."
As Teita remembered and said so, Gerard was accompanied to the main gate by both Rurick and her. Although Rurick was constantly speaking badly about him while they were walking down the corridor, since Teita was nearby, their squabbling did not reach to the extreme levels, and gradually it ended.
"May the blessing of the gods be with you, Gerard-san."
Teita waved. Gerard waved in return to say goodbye to her while deliberately ignoring Rurick's presence. Then he left the Palace.
It was seven days later that Tigre reached Asvarre across the Breton Peninsula at the northwest edge of the kingdom of Brune since he got on the '[Górdyj BelugaProud Beluga]'.
When looking at the port town of his destination from afar, Matvey relaxed, and an expression of relief spread through the passengers' faces. Two days later, the tense atmosphere that covered the ship finally defused.
"It seems like we have finally reached our destination safely."
On the deck, Matvey looked back at Tigre and Olga and smiled brightly. Although it was just a smile on the face of this man, it looked as though he was up to no good, and it's a little scary. However Tigre, who had become accustomed to that in this sea trip, nodded with a smile.
After passing the peninsula two days ago, the sailors became laconic, and there was always a dangerous air among them, as though they were in a battlefield. Even the passengers also took in such a mood, and kept their weapons beside them at all times.
Tigre, Olga and Matvey were the only people who remained calm.
"It’s because the pirates may appear."
To Tigre who asked about the strange mood, Matvey replied unhappily.
"Though I think Lord Tigrevurmud is aware of that matter, among the two princes who are currently fighting in Asvarre, Prince Eliot employs pirates as subordinates. Prince Eliot's base is in Asvarre island, and the surrounding area is just like their backyard for those guys."
Matvei frowned and explained while drawing a map in the air with his fingertip.
"Aren't they prohibited from targeting a merchant ship of Zchted?"
It was Olga who asked so. She wrapped herself in a mantle whenever she comes out on the deck, and she covered her eyes with a hood.
"Sadly, in this world there are words that are very convenient to use such as ‘made a mistake’."
As Matvey shrugged, he said that he would look at the state of the surroundings and left from there. Tigre was looking at the scenery of the small port town that gradually approached when Olga tugged at his sleeve.
"Tigre. Can you shoot that down?"
Extending her arm straight, what Olga pointed to were seabirds flying gracefully under the cloudy sky. After observing the seabirds for a moment, Tigre shook his head.
"It is meaningless even if I shoot it down."
Seeming not to understand Tigre's answer, Olga tilted her head.
"It will only fall into the sea even if I shoot it down. Though this ship is loaded with a shallop, I cannot possibly trouble so many people just to collect a seabird."
He explained so while looking at the seabirds, but Olga seemed to interpret it as making excuses. She narrowed her eyes that were visible through her hood and said with a bored voice.
"You travel only with a bow and handled it with great care, that's why I thought that you would be very confident... or do you think I am deliberately making things difficult for you?"
"I do not think you are deliberately making things difficult for me, but there is definitely a little difficulty in hitting this target."
Tigre, with an indifferent look, replied softly to Olga. This was because he knew that she didn't say it just on a whim.
While on board, other than sleeping, they didn't have much else to do, and therefore Tigre talked to her a lot. She was heartily surprised that Tigre only had a dagger in addition to his bow.
"Is it really so rare?"
In turn, this even made Tigre feel that it was unbelievable. Olga was surprised, or stunned.
"Most people have a sword and a hatchet as weapons. And after that many have spear and ax. Even if there are people who use the bow in addition to such weapons, I have never seen people using only a bow."
"A hatchet is good. I will prepare that from the next time onwards."
Tigre also carried a hatchet when hunting. It was because it was convenient to cut away tall weeds, obstructive branches and leaves. However, he never thought of carrying it while on a trip. To Tigre who was impressed, Olga asked.
"Are you that confident with the bow?"
"More than with a sword or a spear."
Though every word that he said was the truth, but Olga's gaze at Tigre showed that she was at a lost for words.
While recalling such a conversation several days ago, Tigre observed the seabirds again.
Though they were not that fast, they were flying pretty high. The wind was blowing, and since they were on a ship, the footing was also unstable. It would probably be extremely difficult for someone with ordinary skills to make an arrow hit the seabirds.
---To begin with, Can that stuff be eaten? This is my first time seeing such a bird...
Tigre returned his eyes to the port town while intending to ask Matvey later. There was a small hill in the vicinity of the shore, and the gently undulating terrain filled with broad streets made up the cityscape. He saw a building that seemed like a palace on the hill. One might overlook the sea from there.
The captain roared out a command loudly, 'The [Górdyj BelugaProud Beluga]' folded its white sails and began slowing down little by little. The ship’s power was converted to wood-pulp, and it went forward to the port town under the leadership of the pilot vessel.
Maria was one of the very common port cities in the kingdom of Asvarre.
The harbor was crowded with people handling the cargo. Roadside stalls were located on both sides of the street, the merchants, the travelers and the housewives who came out for shopping, all sorts of people were coming and going, and the atmosphere was wrapped in a chaotic buzz.
A huge fish that was a long as a man is tall was chopped into chunks on the spot for sale. The basket was filled with small fish that were just caught, and were still alive and kicking. The sea water dripped from the shellfish piled in heaps in the barrels. Moreover, mushrooms, cabbage and wild grass were also placed on the mat for sale.
"It is lively, but not as much as in Lippner. I wonder if it is because of the civil war."
As Tigre gave his honest impression, Olga beside him also nodded.
"The number of ships is different, though the port size is about the same."
At those words, Tigre looked at her with a surprised face. Even when talking about the bow, this girl’s calm was completely at odds with her age, as if she was accustomed to traveling in general. Tigre was constantly surprised after leaving Lippner, and thus he did not manage to observe both the port and the ship well.
'The [Górdyj BelugaProud Beluga]' anchored on the wharf, disembarking passengers in succession.
Tigre and Olga were waiting for Matvey and thus got down last.
Though Tigre finally set his foot on the hard ground after a long time, he felt a sense of incongruity to his body and stamped several times on the spot. Olga asked him with a wondering face.
"What are you doing?"
"I may only be tired, but I feel like my body is still shaking."
"...I also feel that, too. What is it?"
The two looked at each other tilting their head. It was Matvey that gave them a clear answer.
"We are calling it wave motion sickness (drunkenness), since the body got used to the state of vibration. It will be mostly wear off if you leave it for awhile."
"How long will take if we leave it be?"
Olga asked with an uncomfortable voice. Matvey frowned and answered.
"If you walk around for awhile, your body should get used to the hard ground again. Although there are rare cases where the illness becomes worst for the person, but you will probably be alright since you did not get seasick. Shall we go eat for the time being?"
Matvey led the way out of the port, walking down the street.
---As expected, it is different from Brune or Zchted after all.
The fence surrounding houses, wood materials and assembly methods, the pattern of the walls, as well as the structure of the roof. The differences of these details, as well as the conversations of people that leaked to the ear strengthened the feeling of having come to a foreign land. Tigre did not understand nor recognise the words that they occasionally saw as well.
Before long, Matvey chose one shop and entered. Tigre and Olga also followed. A fragrant smell assailed their nose the moment they passed through the door, and the noise inside struck their eardrums.
In this snug store, more than half the seats were already filled. The guests were not just the residents of the town, there were also passengers and sailors. Deep in the store, the three people sat around a round-topped table, and a young waitress squeezed through the crowd to pass to Matvey a menu.
Tigre was looking around the store. Such places did not change wherever he went.
"After this we are going to meet with someone."
Tigre looked at Olga who was covered with the turban over her eyes even when in the store. Although this caused her to seem very suspicious, other guests were also far from being decent. Thus he decided not to mention it.
"We plan to leave this town today at the earliest. What do you intend to do?"
After being asked this question, Olga cast down her eyes, seeming to think about something. She paused and opened her mouth after about a count of three.
"May I accompany you until midway? Concerning meals and lodging, I will pay my share myself. I won't do something like causing you trouble."
"If you tell us the purpose of your trip."
As Tigre replied so, Olga remained silent once again. Perhaps wanting to ease the atmosphere, Matvey was about to say something. Tigre held him back and continued.
"I won't ask you to explain in detail. Like how I said it just now, I am going to meet a certain person, it is enough if the extent of what you tell me is something like that. I won't even ask your identity. However, it would be good if you can describe at least that much to us."
During the sea trip, when he was free, Tigre would think about Olga's situation, but he could not reach a conclusion.
No matter how you look at it, she just did not fit with her age. She also seemed to be accustomed to traveling, and she also had a splendid axe hung to her waist. Even when she was in front of him or Matvey, she was neither perturbed nor scared, and she had a calm and brave attitude.
If she was an itinerant entertainer or a bard, then it was strange that she did not have her tools for work. If she was a fugitive guilty of some crime, her behavior was rather sloppy (her words and deeds were rather ostentatious). Even though he did not ask her much, but she also did not talked too much about herself. It was like saying that she was suspicious of him.
An extreme thought would be the possibility of her being spy, but as expected, she was too young and it would be rather conspicuous.
This silence lasted a long time. As the waiter carried the beer which that was filled to the brim in big glasses made of ceramic and put them on the table, Olga finally spoke.
"...Is it no good if I say that there is something that I want to see?"
She looked at Matvey and Tigre. They showed neither approval nor disapproval.
"Does that mean there is a place where you want to go?"
To Tigre's question, Olga shook her head.
"I just want to walk around this country properly, and hear various stories in the towns and villages that we will drop by in. I only want to go to those towns and villages, meaning there isn't particularly any place where I want to go."
It became more and more incomprehensible. Leaving aside Brune and Zchted which currently have no signs of war, here was Asvarre.
Tigre violently rummaged his darkish red hair and sighed. As he looked towards Matvey.
"My orders were to assist you."
It seemed that he entrusted him with the decision. Thus as Tigre asked him whether it was fine with his gaze, the scary-looking sailor said with a happy smile.
"Sailors always encounter various mishap situations on the sea. If I leave a young girl all alone just to loaf around, the beluga on my back will look down on me."
Tigre thanked him again and said sorry. Rather than being Tigre's subordinate, he was only cooperating because it was Sasha's request. But he was willing to respect the will of a youngster who probably did not have even half of his age.
"I would like to hear from the man who looks good with the white dolphin, what are our future plans?"
"We will leave the town as soon as we can acquire horses. We will arrive at our destination city after two or three days. Though it is a camping-out for tonight, we will stay at a small village along the highway tomorrow."
Matvey who was probably expecting such a question answered it smoothly without any pause. Tigre purposely made a severe expression and looked at Olga again.
"We don't mean to stay long in Asvarre. We will return to Zchted quickly after we finish our business. So if you do not mind, our trip together will be until that town."
Having Olga accompanying the both of them was not without its benefits. Since it would be very difficult for others to imagine them to be secret agents if they took a child along.
"...I understand. Then, until that town."
Olga moved her small body and bowed to Tigre and Matvey respectively.
"Well, I wish us a happy journey in this country, cheers!"
The trio each picked up a cup, and bumped them together lightly. Tigre gulped down the beer vigorously. After drinking about half of the cup, he frowned.
"It is very bitter, this beer."
Though he also drank beer in both Brune and Zchted, he had not drank any kind of beer that had left such a bitter taste on the tongue thus far. Distorting her facial expression underneath her turban, Olga seemed to think so too. Only Matvey’s smile remained.
"There is also a way of drinking it while diluting it with water, wine or herb. Or, would you like to drink another liquor?"
While still at a lost as to what to do, the dishes were served. There was oatmeal and beef stewed with liquor which was Asvarre's peculiar dishes. And moreover, since it was situated at the seashore, there was also salmon and cabbage soup, grilled cod fish with its stomach stuffed with herbs and mushrooms, and many other kinds of fish and shellfish as well.
Also on the table, bread coated with crushed peanuts and mutton fried soybean was lined up. All these had fragrant smells drifting out from the dishes, and just by looking at it, saliva accumulated in the mouth. They were at loss as to where to start.
The oatmeal had a unique smell and texture, and since the beef that was stewed with liquor had a strong flavor, it was just right eating it with bread. The salmon that was used as the base of the soup used salt marination ahead of time, and thus the salt taste that entered in the soup was just right.
As Tigre and the others smacked their lips over the many dishes, while they were talking about their cruise until today and their impression of this town, they were also listening to the conversations from other tables.
"...It seems that before we left Zchted the situation here had not changed."
It was about the fight between Prince Germaine and Prince Eliot. Although small-scale battles occurred frequently, it seemed that both sides failed to gain any advantage against the other.
"There may be a change happening soon. Because it seems that Prince Eliot left the Asvarre island that is his base, and came to the continent."
Similarly overhearing the nearby conversation, Matvey said.
"It is probably to encourage the soldiers of his army."
"There is also the possibility that he may personally lead them himself. As for the number of soldiers, the fact that Prince Eliot's side is superior didn't change."
After answering so, Matvey picked up a tender piece of fish to his mouth. Olga put her glass down and asked.
"I heard that among Prince Eliot's troops, the pirates account for a great number of them, but are they really that many in numbers?"
"You know that half a year ago, a civil war occurred in Brune. I heard that thousands of the pirates were once remnants of the defeated army who fled to the North at that time."
After listening to Matvey say these words, Tigre almost choked with his food stuck in his throat.
"Others are Sachstein’s mercenaries, as well as a group of people known as sea people, it's quite a mixed bag of people. And if this messed up situation drags on for much longer, many more will lose their jobs and livelihoods, and Zchted will also definitely be affected. For example..."
Stopping his hand that was eating, Matvey suddenly put on a serious expression.
"As there are those who are making a living by trading with Asvarre merchants, what will happen when they are no longer able to trade because those merchants were killed due to the civil war? You may say that they should look for new trading partners, but if such a thing was so easily found, they would not be having such a hard time."
Listening to the conversation of the two people, Tigre tore the bread roughly and threw it into his mouth.
Even if it was to escape from starvation, becoming a pirate was not something allowed. Misfortune will never become a reason to dispossess (to deprive) an innocent person. So, instead of becoming a pirate, was it better to starve and die? No, that's not right as well. What should be done is…
Unwittingly, Tigre fell into silence with a serious face. Matvey said with a soothing tone and a fearful expression.
"Are you tired from the sea trip? The food is becoming cold you know?"
"Ah, no, I was just thinking about the upcoming trip."
"For us, here is a foreign land. Although there may be some things that will make us unhappy, but I hope you will not be so depressed."
"...That's right. Thank you."
It was for Matvey's consideration towards him that Tigre expressed his gratitude. Matvey understood what the young man was getting worried and angry about, so he persuaded him gently.
Tigre fiercely stretched out his hand to the remaining food on the table. To face Germaine in an adequate condition with both stamina and energy, he convinced himself that he must properly eat from now.
Along the road flanked by a small hill, a small village came into view when they exited the forest. Since they left the port town of Maria, two days had already passed.
The three people were on horseback and had tied their luggage to the saddle. Matvey led the way, followed by Tigre and lastly Olga.
Though Tigre thought that Olga was used to traveling, she was also proving it by her actions. When they camped out yesterday, she managed to hunt two wild hares in only a half koku.
In addition, Tigre also shot down two wild birds, and thus the supper of that day became very luxurious. Olga also did really well when handling the birds and hares. She continued the work with much finesse, drawing out blood, skinning and plucking the feathers of the birds easily, and Tigre was impressed.
"Though it is still daylight, we will rest in this village for today."
While looking up at the bright sunshine in the cloudless sky, Matvey that was at the vanguard said those words.
"If we leave on the early morning of tomorrow, we may arrive at Valverde, which is our destination, at the afternoon."
After finishing the harvest, there were withered grass stalks scattered everywhere in the field, and the farmers were resting by either sitting or lying down. Opposite the field, there were simple houses lined up row by row, with roofs made from black asphalt with small slabs of stone interspersed here and there. Remembering the villages of his hometown, nostalgia crossed Tigre’s eyes.
Suddenly one farmer turned around and faced their way, noticing Tigre and the others. His calm face changed radically into one that was mixed with fear and suspicion, and he called out to other farmers and ran away hurriedly.
"...What's going on?"
For villagers to be wary of strangers was not a rare sight. However, Tigre sensed a different atmosphere from them.
"Isn’t it because Matvey-san’s face scared them?"
Olga muttered so, and Matvey showed an exaggeratedly sorrowful face. Even Tiger could not refrain from laughing. It was unusual and rare for this girl to say a joke, and thanks to that the strained mood softened.
"In any case, I do not want to scare them too much. Let's get down from the horses."
Since talking on horseback would probably intimidate the other party. Getting off the horse, the three people went to the village by pulling the reins of the horses. At this moment, one man walked their way. His linen clothes were stained with soil, and his face had a trace of wiped sweat. One look was enough to tell that he was working on the farms until just a while ago.
"Dear travelers, what kind of business do you have with this village?"
"We would like to ask for food and overnight accommodation. And we would like to acquire new horses as well."
It was Matvey who could speak the Asvarre’s language fluently that answered, and he took out several pieces of silver coins from his breast pocket and handed them to the man. After looking at the silver coins, the man glanced at Tigre and Olga. Tigre said with a smile to reassure him.
"There are also such villages in my homeland. We are only passing by and we don't have any intentions to interfere with your work."
Matvey conveyed it again in Asvarre’s language. The man let out a breath of relief, and seemed to lose some of his initial wariness.
Tigre and the other two were guided to the man's house. The man seemed to be the village mayor and he was living in the only 2-story building in this village. There was a barn and a stable near the house too, and he had his family help move the horses there. Tigre and the others were provided with a spare room on the second floor of the house.
Though there was nothing in the room, if there was something they desired, the man said that they would try to prepare it as long it was possible. Tigre left negotiations to Matvey and walked to the window.
He could overlook the entirety of the village from the window, and he even saw the entrance of the village where they came from. There were children who were looking up at Tigre who was standing by the window with great interest, but when he waved his hand, some would hide quickly or flee in every direction. There were also several who waved their hand back awkwardly.
"Lord Tigrevurmud. The talk has been settled."
At Matvey’s voice, Tigre turned towards him.
"It is impossible to sleep on a bed, but it seems that they have prepared three thick blankets, so there is one per person. The meal will be a moment later. He said that we will have one chicken with soup and bread. We also have three buckets of hot water prepared for us."
After saying till there, Matvey suddenly lowered his voice and asked whether or not he should negotiate for one more chicken happily. Tigre shook his head with a bitter smile.
Rather than say he was trying to be polite, it should be said that because the villagers were already a little wary of them, he wanted to avoid doing things that would agitate them. This is a more accurate statement.
Laying the blanket which had just been brought over on the floor, Tigre lied down on it. As he stretched his limbs to the fullest, he felt extremely relaxed and comfortable. Olga displayed an astonished expression. When the person of the village left the room, she removed the turban that she was wearing.
"Because there hasn't been much chance to relax like this during the past few days, that's why."
"Indeed. I wonder if I can also enjoy the feeling of comfort of lazing my whole body for a while as well."
Matvey agreed, as he also laid on the blanket in the same way. As the dimly expressionless Olga looked down at the two men, she laid her body on the blanket.
Over a period of time, the trio did not do anything, lying down in silence.
Then, the time that passed was only about a half koku. Tigre frowned suddenly. He had a feeling that he heard something like a scream in the distance.
Tigre and Olga woke up almost simultaneously. One moment later, Matvey also got up. Tigre grabbed his black bow, grabbing his quiver with arrows and move towards the window. He examined the situation outside carefully.
--- What happened? Those guys are...
There were thirty, no around forty men in the village. They had a discernibly rough atmosphere about them, and despite being armed there was no uniformity in their equipment. If there were some people who were wearing riveted leather armor, there were also those wearing chain mail. The weapons were a huge mix, with there being swords or spears, axes, pikes and even mallets.
And every house of the village have shut their doors firmly, as if waiting for the storm to pass while holding their breath. Only several people were in the fields, standing together with their horses or cows, looking blankly at this scene.
The men set their eyes on one house, then started beating their spears, pike and mallets against the door while shouting loudly. Stepping over the wrecked door, several people went into the house, which were then followed by screams.
"Are they... Brigands?"
"It is possible that those bandits have their stronghold in the neighborhood."
Matvey who was looking at the situation across the window from the side opposite of Tigre, replied in a calm tone.
---That's not right, it would be strange if they were truly bandits.
Tigre frowned. If this were truly an attack, then the attitude of those men was too laid-back. The villagers too, rather than running away, were only shutting their doors firmly.
Even as he was thinking, there were those who attacked the houses of other villagers, or those who went towards the field who surrounded and beat the farmers. There were even those who bludgeon livestock to death while laughing happily.
It was certain that one would be trembling violently in fear if they were to be timid in nature. It was a terrible spectacle that made Tigre sick just by looking at it. An extremely furious Tigre stretched his right hand to his quiver, but at this moment the door of the room was knocked on. Matvey moved quickly and went to open the door.
A woman of about 45 years old was there. She was from the village chief's family. Though her face was paled, she insisted that we would be safe as long as we were here, and that we should close the sliding shutter and remain still.
"What are these guys? Brigands?"
To Tigre's question, the woman shook her head wearily.
"Those people are the soldiers of His Highness Germaine."
Not only Tigre, but even Matvey and Olga opened their eyes wide at that answer.
" Prince Germaine’s soldiers...? Those guys?"
It was an unbelievable story, but there was no reason for this woman to tell them such a lie. Above all, with this explanation, their behavior as well as the reactions of villagers finally made sense.
At that time, the woman's look turned to Tigre's hand. To the left hand which grasped the black bow tightly, and the right hand which was extracting an arrow.
"W-What do you plan to do?"
The woman's voice was shaking in fear. Tigre did not answer. She trotted over and clung onto the hands of the youngster. She pleaded with a face and voice that seemed about to burst into tears at any moment.
"Please. Don't do anything strange. Please..."
"But... But, how could you let those people do as they please!"
When Tigre painfully spit out those words, tears started to flow from the edges of her eyes and she twisted her expression.
"You will leave here tomorrow, right? We will live in this village not only tomorrow, but also the next day and the day after that."
Feeling bitterness spreading within his mouth, Tigre was not able to answer to her mournful voice.
Even if Tigre sent away these soldiers here, the situation would not improve. They will take revenge for themselves on this village soon after. In the worst case, they might burn the village saying the villagers defied Prince Germaine.
They must endure it until the soldier's tyranny had passed. Even if they had to make sacrifices, they must endure it.
It was the way that this village chose.
Although the woman tried to continue her words further, a scream that came from outside cut off her words.
While only moving his head Tigre looked outside from the window, and saw that several girls were pressed down by many soldiers as they were dragged to the center of the village. Villagers who apparently tried to stop it were beaten and were crouching down before the statue.
Tigre suddenly called the name of the sailor of white beluga. To the dreadfulness with which the voice was tinged with, Matvey's shoulders shook with a startle.
"Tie up this person. No, tie up all those present in this house and bring them to the first floor. And then, block up the first floor with whatever you can use. The doors and windows, everything."
The woman and Olga both made an expression of astonishment. Matvey immediately moved to obey Tigre's instructions, and he bound the woman's arms from behind.
"What are you trying to achieve?"
Tigre did not answer back to Matvey's question. Moving his quiver of arrows to his waist, he placed his foot on the window frame. In the next moment, he clung to the wall on the outside with a light motion and quickly climbed up on the roof. No one among the soldiers on the ground noticed.
Tigre set up the bow when settling down on the roof and nocked an arrow. He aimed at the soldier who was going to pounce on a girl. The distance was approximately 100 alsins. A piece of cake.
The shot arrow cut through the wind, flew and went through the head of the man as though it was sucked towards it. The body of the man who ceased to breathe inclined and fell down beside the girl. Several people doubtfully turned their eyes to their friend, and as they saw the arrow in his head, the second arrow from Tigre was already released.
The arrow went through his throat, and the arrowhead piercing through his throat was stained with blood. The man fell down on the spot and writhed about painfully without being able to utter a single sound.
The men finally noticed the existence of an enemy. On the other hand, Tigre, without changing his cold expression even one bit, shot the third arrow and killed the third person. Flashing in his mind was the memory of one year ago.
It was in Alsace, the central city Celesta that is his hometown. Zaien, the son of Duke Thenardier, invaded with his soldiers, causing many private houses to be destroyed and burned, and many people lost their lives.
The state of the girls being held down by the soldiers awakened the young man's memory of the time when Teita was being attacked by Zaian.
When he thought of the scene that he saw then, it was not within Tigre to be able to overlook what was happening now in silence.
As Tigre shot and killed the third person, Matvey was tying up the woman skillfully on the second floor under the roof. He also carefully gagged her, and then pushed a dagger against her neck. Although he would not do something like hurting her, his scary face was sufficient to make quite an impact.
"Even Lord Tigrevurmud can give such a cruel order. It might be a little painful, but please forgive me."
It was Olga, who watched the course of things in silence until then, that asked Matvey. Doubt and suspicion were swirling in her black pupils.
"Don't you understand? No, excuse me. Let me explain it later since my hands are full now. I will be able to explain it to you earlier if you help me."
To the answer of the Matvey who seemed happy, the virtually always dimly expressionless Olga showed a slight change in her expression. She frowned, and while lost in her thoughts, her eyes went around the inside of the room and then were directed to the outside of the window.
"Will it also be counted as helping if I cut down those guys outside?"
Matvey, who was going to leave the room with the woman whom he had restricted, suddenly stopped.
Although he was also surprised that Olga's tone lost the usual politeness, what was more important was that her voice had become even more colder, the scary-looking sailor couldn't help turning around. He tried to open his mouth to ask what she meant, but was forestalled.
"Yes or no? Answer only that. Your hands are full, right?"
"...It would be convenient if you could leave one person alive, but otherwise do as you like."
Only by using his utmost was Matvey able to answer like so. After he finished speaking, Olga started moving. She kicked the floor, slipped through the side of Matvey and ran down the hallway.
Matvey continued standing stunned after watching her leave, and he finally came to his senses upon feeling the gaze of the woman.
At this time outside the house, Tigre just shot and killed the sixth man.
---That was a terrible miscalculation...
As for the soldiers, though half was running about in confusion and were still reeling from the surprise attack, the remaining half were trying to counter attack following the directives of a man who seemed to be the adjutant.
Tigre had already shot and killed the commander who led them.
At first he took down the commander to confuse them, and then he would reduced their number and force them to retreat.
Though Tigre had planned so and it went smoothly until the first half, the adjutant who fled quickly into the cover of a building scolded the soldiers harshly and gradually restored their morale.
When the commander fell down, it was natural for the adjutant to act as his substitute, but the fact that this adjutant managed to splendidly take over the reins of the troops could be seen as miraculous. Even a decent army rarely bounced back this early.
---Well, how do I defeat them then?
While nocking an arrow to the black bow, Tigre thought calmly about his next move. Although it looked as if he had an overwhelming advantage, Tigre knew very clearly that it was not the case.
Tigre could not help but surrender if the soldiers of Germaine held a villager hostage while hiding themselves in the cover of the buildings. Even if Tigre forsook the hostage, they would use the villagers as a shield to his arrows. If they protected themselves that way, then surrounded the house he was on, the fight would become extremely difficult.
"The enemy is only one person, you know? You bunch of useless fools, What are you afraid of?"
"Do you think I could do something like this alone? How about you stop acting like a rat and step forward instead of only letting your underlings come out."
In order to cover up the scoldings of the adjutant, Tigre also issued a roar that spread throughout the village. He had already shot down 8 people. Since they were being sniped from a highly advantageous position, Germaine's soldiers can't help but act cowardly. Tigre originally wanted to use this method to keep them suppressed.
However, at this point in time, one of soldiers suddenly threw an adze (hand ax) over at him. Although Tigre avoided it at once by twisting his body, he destroyed his posture and slipped. He narrowly avoided falling down from the roof, and the adjutant cried out without overlooking the chance he gained.
After receiving his instruction, four soldiers ran towards the house on which Tigre was standing.
Though Tigre shot an arrow quickly and took down one soldier, the three remaining soldiers did not slow down, and rushed to the door.
It was at that time. The door was suddenly opened from the inside, and a girl with a petite body who wrapped herself in a mantle ran out. It was Olga.
When the soldiers of Germaine first saw someone running out of the house, they immediately took up wary postures. However, after they understood that their opponent was just a child, they mercilessly swung down their weapons which they had in their hands.
Consecutive dull sounds were heard and blood splattered about suddenly. Shocked, Tigre shouted out her name. However, in the next moment, the ones who screamed out and fell down were Germaine's soldiers.
Olga, as always with the turban covering her eyes, was silently standing inside the puddle of blood which was slowly spreading. In her hand, there was now a dark red axe stained with blood.
---In one blow? No two blows...
It was not only Tigre, even the village girls who were late to run away and failed to get out in time as well as the soldiers of Germaine who had hidden themselves in cover stared at the girl with a stunned face.
It was a frightening ability. Among the three soldiers that attacked her, two wore chain mail and one was in leather armor reinforced with metal. However, the young girl's axe cut and tore through both their armour and their abdomen. Wielding this axe was a girl who was only 13, 14 years old.
Olga, as if unmindful of the surrounding people who were currently in consternation, was still observing the state of the men. The soldiers of Germaine shuddered as the enemy who just appeared and was definitely not an ordinary one. Some turned their eyes to the adjutant for further instructions.
Olga was waiting for their reaction. Although it seemed as though she just wanted to step over the bodies, she suddenly rushed fiercely towards the adjutant. The adjutant got anxious and shouted.
"B-Bring her down."
Receiving that order, two men attacked Olga. However, one of them was pierced through the neck with an arrow that Tigre shot and fell to the ground. Even the remaining one had his arm cut off from below his elbow with a flourish of Olga's axe, and fell down on the spot while shrieking.
Realizing that he could not escape, the adjutant lowered his posture, intending to fight. Maybe it is because the weapon which he had in his hand is a spear. In terms of reach, it held an absolute advantage over the axe.
The adjutant thrust out his spear. With only one slash, Olga blew away the dark gray tip of the spear that was approaching her.
The actions of the girl with pinked colored hair hadn't ended yet. She ran beside the edge of the spear which was nothing more than just a stick in a single breath, and shortened the distance. The adjutant's head flew in the sky, leaving a trail of blood.
Olga, without taking notice of the body, thrust her axe at the man who ran over in order to support the adjutant.
"Throw away your weapon."
The man realized instantly that he would lose his life if he didn't listen to her instructions. Fearing the girl who was only about half his age from the bottom of his heart, he discarded his weapon, crossed his hands behind his head and surrendered.
The other soldiers discarded their weapons, suddenly cried out in fear, then turned their backs and escaped. As the adjutant had died, there was no one left who was able to command them now.
Tigre immediately released the soldiers that Olga caught, and then he gave them a short order.
"Go back and help me relay this information, that people of a foreign land wants to see Prince Germaine."
Afterwards, Tigre sat down at the doorway of the village facing the highway. It was towards that direction that the soldiers of Germaine escaped. If they waited here, their comrades will show up sooner or later.
Soon after, Olga and Matvey, who was holding on to the horses, walked over to him.
As Tigre turned to look at the two, though somewhat tinged with gloom, he asked with a mild expression.
"How is the state of the village?"
"Since one of the village headmen came over to that house, we explained the circumstances while having a look at the inside."
Though the village was poor, in order to prevent foxes or wild boars from entering, it was surrounded by a tall wooden fence. While tying the horses there, Matvey explained in a hearty voice.
"Were you able to tie up all the people of that house?"
"Yes. In a few moments the village headman will be coming here, and they would appreciate an explanation from Lord Tigrevurmud once again. Also, it seems like they will help out with the burial of the hooligans."
"You have really saved us, thank you very much."
When Tigre bowed, Matvey smiled bitterly and waved his hand.
"Don't mind it. If I were to still be able to heartlessly ignore what was happening even after seeing that scene then, I won't have the face to see my lord anymore. One more thing, Lord Tigrevurmud. I would like you to quit using the polite way of talking. It will also be easier for you, won't it?"
"...Alright, since you have said as much."
When he seemed to be at loss and scratched his head, Tigre changed his expression and turned towards Olga.
"I must also give you my gratitude. Thank you. Honestly, you really saved me there."
Without this girl's involvement, though it could not be said that he would be defeated, there was no doubt that he would be force to put on a tough fight. However, Olga shook her head to say that such a thing was just a trifle matter.
"Leaving that aside, I want you to explain. Why did you tie up the people of that house?"
Tigre stared steadily at her involuntarily. Though she was still expressionless, he felt an intense will within her quiet voice. This might be Olga's true nature.
After thinking a little, Tigre used an attitude which considered the other party as equal instead of talking as though he were talking to a child, and said.
"While receiving such treatment, the people of this village didn't resist. From what I have seen of the soldiers' attitude and the village's reaction, I concluded that such a thing hasn't happened only once or twice. Perhaps, they may have also destroyed another village as a warning to the others."
The expressionless Olga had a shadow cross over her face. Tigre continued in a serious tone.
"It is the policy of the village not to defy the soldiers. If they dare to oppose them, it will rouse the anger of those guys and they will retaliate. Not only that, it will implicate the other villagers. Much more so if it were to be caused by the people in position like the village mayor and the village headmen, which will undoubtedly cause even bigger problems to occur. However... if I tied them up so that we weren't be disturbed, it would become a possible excuse to the village."
Tigre remembered the words of the woman who clung to him. They must live tomorrow and also the day after tomorrow in this village.
Olga looked down and muttered, as if very dissatisfied.
"Isn't there the option of escaping and abandoning this village? To a place without bandits and tyranny..."
"Have you ever plowed a field?"
Giving a soft smile, Tigre kindly asked her. After blinking several times, Olga shook her head. Looking away, Tigre gazed at the distant field.
"It's very hard, you know. Although I've grasped a hoe only once. At first, you need remove pebbles, weeds and chips of wood from the land as much as possible. It's seriously tough manual labour. Next, you need to dig up the soil, and you need to dig it really deeply, therefore it is also very hard work."
The fields of his hometown came into Tigre's mind. That time, he was enjoying the scenery which he just saw along with his late father.
"While using the hoe, if it hits the stones mixed among the soil, if the edge either bends or breaks, then you must repair it. In case there isn't a blacksmith and only wooden hoes can be used, it will take a great amount of both time and effort."
"... Isn't there a way of making a cow or a horse pull a plow?"
"Not every house can afford to keep cattle and horses. They are very expensive."
To Tigre's answer, Olga fell into silence without a word. Matvey opened his mouth to brighten up the atmosphere that had sunk heavily.
"Well then, Lord Tigrevurmud, what do we do from now on?"
"I will wait for the subordinates of Prince Germaine here. If they are fast, they will even reach here by tomorrow. Though it was somewhat off track, it can still considered to be going according as planned."
"Did you come to this country to meet with Prince Germaine?"
Olga black eyes were tinged with the touch of an unexpected look.
"Yeah, and so our travel together will end here."
He did not think they would part in this manner. But Tigre believed that this child would certainly have no problems by herself. Whether it was her equestrian skills, or her aptitude at hunting, as well as her excellent combat skills, Olga's capability should not be underestimated.
However, the girl with light pink hair spoke some unexpected words that Tigre never anticipated.
"Tigre. If it's alright with you, would you let me accompany you as your attendant?"
"...... The reason?"
In order to ask this, Tigre had to use the time taken for a few breaths.
"I want to personally meet the man called Germaine. - Can't I?"
He just thought that she would finally give a clear-cut answer, but he did not expect her expression to change into one that had a child-like weak expression. Tigre folded his arms and muttered. He did not think that Olga was unaware of how dangerous it was to see Germaine now. He really could not understand her thoughts.
"Who are you exactly?"
After some wavering, Tigre asked bluntly.
"Until now, we have not asked each other's identity. As we planned to say goodbye with you here, we decided not to ask about it any more. However, since you are coming with us, it is another matter entirely. Please just tell me who you are."
Olga momentarily turned her gaze, and shook her head, seemingly having an internal struggle within her mind. Subsequently, she looked straight into Tigre's eyes.
"You may not believe me..."
Of her dignified expression, and in a calm tone filled with strong will and conviction, the young girl that was traveling with them that the two were familiar with seemed to have become a completely different person.
"I am one of the seven Vanadis of Zchted. Holding on to the ViraltDragonic Tool named Muma, and also bestowed with the land of Brest and the Houju no GenbuCurse of Reversal--- That is me, the BardicheMoon Princess of the Roaring Demon, Olga Tamm."
Tigre and Matvey stared wide-eyed and were at a loss for words.
Standing before the two people now was not the girl without sociability who was also absentminded in some ways. She was a one-man army who had been accepted by a ViraltDragonic Tool. She was a Vanadis whom one couldn't help but have his hairs stand on end if they looked closely at her.
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