Chapter 77 – New things
The next day, early in the morning, I was already riding my horse.
I’m riding east on a road leading out of the royal capital. Riding next to me was Paulo, as well as Ratoka who was dressed in girl’s clothing and wearing a veil, while behind me were Claudia and Bellway, sharing a horse together.
Last night, Paulo had rode a messenger horse to inform me about a bandit group’s invasion from the neighboring country.
They had been hiding themselves around the outskirts of the Monster Forest in the Jugfena domain, and they seem to have often invaded Margrave Genas’s domain, but there weren’t enough troops to guard the border against them.
Under a pincer attack from the troops of both the Jugfena and Genas domains, the only place they could escape to geographically, was unfortunately the Kaldia domain.
Thanks to Ergnade informing me of his plans beforehand, my troops were already spread out throughout Kaldia, and volunteers from the Shiru tribe were also on the lookout against the bandits as well. It’ll be good if we can capture them before any citizens are harmed……
I canceled the church activity that I was supposed to attend. The head priest was supposed to come as well, and I had really wanted to build some direct connections within the church, but there’s no helping it given the current circumstances. Hopefully I can make up for it if I return.
Even so, I won’t be able to return to the royal capital for quite some time. Also, Earl Terejia has been feeling rather under the weather with his body in bad condition lately.
At this time of year, many nobles gather in the royal capital. Marquis Nordstrom’s retinue is also here currently. During this time that I’m away from the capital, I don’t know what they’re going to say about me.
It’ll probably be something disadvantageous to me that can’t be confirmed immediately by third parties, though.
We passed by my original mansion, finally reaching the central portion of my domain deep into the night, where a new domain lord’s residence had been constructed. The supplies for constructing this new residence had mostly come from the surrounding mountains, as the Amon Nor mountains were directly east of here, and there was a river flowing down from them that provided water as well.
This river, the Sera River, runs parallel to a river that’s on our western border, the Rukter River. Upstream from here is Cyril village. Also, on the eastern side of the Sera River, is a flat region filled with lakes and plains.
“You’ve arrived, my lord.”
Just as I jumped off my horse, I heard the Artolan language from behind me. When I looked back, I saw a young man from the Shiru tribe running towards me, wearing a tunic with their unique designs.
“Ahh, I just got back. How are things in Kaldia, Teo?”
Teo – this young man named Teomer, was the person directly chosen by the Shiru tribe to be their representative in all things related to me. He also happens to be the leader of their young warriors, so of course, I’ve talked to him the most out of anyone from their tribe.
“Right now my forces are searching east of the Sera River for the bandits. I don’t believe they’ve crossed west of the river yet. The guys from the army are guarding the villages and the river. Those were Gunther’s orders.”
“I see. ……It’s easier to track them in the plains. But since we can’t find them, they might have left our domain already. Maybe just like when the Jugfena soldiers were chasing them, they crossed over into the Genas domain again. ……If only we could get into contact with the Genas domain’s army……”
I happened to glance at Bellway as I said that, but he shook his head.
“I sent a messenger pigeon out, but…… The reply I got from Margrave Genas’s wife was that ‘each domain should take care of its own problems.’”
Teo and I nodded without surprise at this. It’s very well known that Margrave Genas’s wife runs most of the internal affairs in the Genas domain, and that she hates Kaldia. Due to my late father’s insane hobbies, and the fact that I’ve inherited his looks and that the Kaldias have received the nickname of “the demon family,” Margrave Genas’s wife doesn’t hide her distaste for us at all. Her disgust at how the biggest victims of my parents’ insanity were Kaldia’s own citizens probably led to her attitude towards the entire Kaldia domain. Although I don’t know the details, there’s also rumors that her father and my grandfather had been archenemies as well.
“Teo, do you still have warriors available to move out right away at this moment?”
“……Ahh, half of them are still here, helping with the village’s construction.”
“Construction can wait until later. Summon all the remaining warriors here.”
Teo didn’t nod at me in acknowledgement. He stepped up to me, kneeled, and grabbed my shoulder. He probably didn’t hold back his strength at all, I could hear some grinding sounds coming from my tiny shoulder.
I gritted my teeth and bore the pain. I didn’t even allow my cheek muscles to twitch in the slightest. I met Teo’s sharp gaze directly as he spoke.
“I can’t agree to having the construction of our living quarters be delayed. Or are you saying, that the original citizens of your domain are more important than us, the newcomers? You’re the one who told us originally that you would treat us the same.”
Construction had already fallen far behind schedule. The original leader of the project, Kamil, has died. The refugee farmers that would have been numbers to help the construction have also been slaughtered, and the new construction overseer, me, had been out for some time. They’re using construction materials that they’re not used to, and getting used to living in an entirely new environment.
To him, finishing the construction for his tribe is critically important. I also knew beforehand how passionate he was about this.
Teomer is one of the leaders of the Shiru tribe. During his tribe’s long escape from the Densel army, several of their leaders perished, so he had been chosen as one of their new leaders. Among his tribe’s eight leaders, he’s the only young one, but his age didn’t matter. Young and old, everyone in the Shiru tribe respected him, and pinned their hopes on him.
I put my own tiny hand on top of Teo’s hand on my shoulder.
“Teomer Terit, I’m also troubled by the fact that the construction of your tribe’s living quarters isn’t complete yet. ……But, I wasn’t in the royal capital to play around. It’ll be no problem to stop the construction temporarily.”
Teo blinked slowly. In his stone grey eyes, a flame seemed to be flickering.
“……You have some sort of measures in place?”
“I had a discussion with Lord Carson about hiring some carpenters. Next month, sixty carpenters will be arriving here, bringing their entire workshop. From furniture to more difficult things such as boats and bridges, they’ll be building those for us. They’re currently working on processing the wood to be used. I also asked them to prepare some spinning wheels and weaving machines.”
Indeed, I didn’t have the luxury of playing around in the royal capital at all. I don’t have the free time, or the right, to do such a thing. I continued speaking.
“I know. I presumptuously said that I’d accept your tribe, but my original citizens have negative feelings towards me. Even so, I have the duty to protect everyone, which is why I have to make use of your warriors. ……I may not be able to live the lifestyle of a warrior, but this is something I simply have to do out of my own pride.”
Teo’s hand on my shoulder completely loosened its grip. He looked straight into my eyes that were the color of blood. A blaze burned brightly in his eyes, feeling similar to when Earl Terejia was looking straight at me as if he could see through me. He could see himself reflected in my eyes.
Under the urging of Claudia behind me, he finally got up. Then, he bowed deeply towards me.
“……I apologize for my rudeness. As my lord has commanded, I’ll summon all of the warriors in the village here. Let’s search westward.”
“That’ll be helpful. ……Thank you.”