The torchlight was flickering on this dark, moonless night. This year as well, there were a few phosphorescent moths flying about. From the tiny hill, their light was all I could see that was moving.
Teo had gathered the warriors, and we’ve already been searching for the bandits for half an hour. I borrowed a tent, and Ratoka went to sleep first in it. I’m getting sleepy as well, but since I’m still waiting on a report, I stood waiting outside the tent.
Suddenly, I heard a loud flapping sound from above me, and I lifted my head to look at the sky. It seems that Rashiok detected my return somehow, it was his wings causing the commotion. The huge draconis now currently hovering in front of me, had already grown to be as big as a horse. He’s still far from reaching maturity, but his body’s already grown.
Rashiok slowly lowered that beautiful body of his in front of me. He greeted me with a growl that meant he wanted to be spoiled, he must have not wanted to be left behind at my original mansion while I’m doing all these things here.
“Thank you for coming to see me, Rashiok. I guess I didn’t promise a time I would be back by.”
His ears bent back just like a dog’s would. As I carefully petted him so that I wouldn’t accidentally scrape off any of his scales, he closed his eyes and seemed to enjoy it.
“It seems that a bandit group from the Densel Dukedom has invaded us. ……It seems that our neighbors just won’t give us a break. If only they would take Earl Terejia’s age into consideration and let him rest.”
Although I was using sarcasm, just like a human would respond, Rashiok snorted at my comment.
Bandit groups. I slowly took over my time to think about them. They seem to be common in this world, and just a few years ago, they used to be a problem here in Kaldia as well. Well, most of them were pacified after my father died, with them becoming soldiers in the Kaldia army. Earl Terejia’s viewpoint was that they were more victims than aggressors due to my father’s despotic policies, and emphasized allowing them to make up for their crimes by joining the military. Some people still remain unaccounted for, but for now, there’s no major bandit problems in the kingdom of Arxia.
Most bandits, only turned to banditry because they had no other way of making a living. Most of them were originally farmers, and it was hunger and poverty that forced them into banditry. With the way that Kaldia had been, where people didn’t have money, food, or even clothes at times since my father had taken everything from his citizens, it was only natural that bandits would appear.
This time though, a bandit group has taken the trouble of crossing the border between countries to invade us. What’s more, the public peace and order is usually much better in Arxia than it is in Densel. At first, I thought that the bandits were invading for some strategic purpose, but it seems that they’ve only been pillaging and plundering.
If they have some sort of purpose in mind, I wouldn’t know. It would be nice if I could come up with some clever method to capture them.
– Some of the tools in the deepest part of my mansion’s dungeon, I wonder if I should make use of them.
I kept thinking about such matters while paying no attention to the flickering torchlight in front of me. A bandit group has invaded us from the neighboring country which we have bad relations with. The bandits passed through Jugfena without suffering any damage. I asked for cooperation from Genas, but was rejected. If I can just catch them, any information leaked about them as well as how I deal with them will be completely up to the discretion of Earl Terejia and I.
In other words, trying to get information out of them is also the capturer’s job. For the second time, I thought about the tools I had placed into the deepest part of the dungeon, a relic of my father’s twisted hobbies, but unfortunately it looks probable that I might be the very one to bring them out again. I can’t exactly sell them, and I had kept them thinking that maybe I would have them melted down and made into weapons as they were made of iron.
The memories of how to use them are still vividly etched into my mind, forced upon me as I was already self-aware with my reincarnated memories when I was one year old, without the ability yet to fully control my body.
I also gained the knowledge of how to toy with people’s lives and spirits. No matter how disgusting I find it, I was born into the Kaldia family after all.
Rashiok’s ears suddenly jumped up from their flattened state while I was stroking him, and he started watching the path to the hilltop I was on. After a little while, I saw some people riding up the hill on horseback. The person leading them was Gunther.
Gunther and his subordinates got off their horses as they approached me, and kneeled. He chuckled a little at seeing Rashiok by my side, but his expression immediately got serious as he said “reporting in.”
“Gunther, what information do you have?”
“The Shiru warriors that were searching along the borders found evidence of track marks along our Genas border, from when the bandits crossed over. The closest places to where they entered are Charon village and Nezu village, and there’s a report from Nezu village that two girls living together there have been missing since earlier today.”
As expected, the bandit group has invaded us, making use of the border with Genas repeatedly. If they cross the border, my troops won’t be allowed to chase them. How impudent, they’re making use of our internal political conflicts to their advantage.
“Search for them. Have our most skilled trackers follow the trail for as far as possible. Take Rashiok along with you. Claudia and I shall go to Nezu village. Our first priority should be the safety of the missing two girls.”
“Understood. I’ll leave three soldiers here to help protect you.”
Without waiting for anything else, Gunther jumped onto his horse and rode off. I had already finished giving my orders, so I didn’t mind. The sound of his horse’s hooves soon faded. After I rubbed his head a bit, Rashiok took off into the night as well almost silently.
I had the three soldiers that Gunther left me ride by Claudia, and I got on my horse as well. I’ll just leave Ratoka here. I’m going to narrow the search area to the southeast part of my domain, and I also ordered all the Shiru warriors searching nearby to join me, as I headed for Nezu village.
Being nomads, the Shiru warriors are extremely skilled trackers. When hunting, it’s said that no prey can escape them once they’ve caught up. It all depends on luck now if they’re still currently here in Kaldia or if they’ve crossed back over to Genas. I’m going to have to leave the fate of my two missing citizens, well, up to fate.