Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Ryunakama”
Yuri and Mea looked uneasily at Taiki’s back, as he sat in the control room, observing the scenery of Karluk Kingdom’s capital after returning to the Heavenly Country.
「……Taiki-sama hasn’t spoken a single word.」
「Yes. I thought that he is hungry, but that doesn’t seem to be the case……」
As Yuri and Mea had such an exchange, A1, that stood at a side behind Taiki, turned around and looked at Ayla.
Ayla looked at A1’s face and lowered her head, then, seemingly resolving herself, walked up to Taiki.
「…Taiki-sama? As expected, the revolutionaries are……」
Ayla said, carefully choosing her words, to which Taiki nodded with a wry smile.
「Yes. Karluk’s King dispatched orders, mobilizing a large number of knights, and since yesterday they are doing a large scale bandit subjugation. Bolstering defenses of the capital with royal knights, duke’s knights, and then knights that serve conservative nobles…… On one hand, I’d like to give it to him, this is a solid approach, on the other, this is clearly a chance for a revolution. And if it comes to revolution, people will die…… I tried to persuade him, but it devolved into an argument.」
Saying that Taiki dropped his shoulders.
「I acted childish…… What a bind. Should I apologize and cooperate with them? Or maybe I should help the revolutionaries and aim for a bloodless revolution……?」
While Taiki kept muttering, Ayla, pained, cast down her eyes.
「If Taiki-sama is so inclined, then how about evacuating citizens when monarchists and revolutionaries clash? Or maybe, just as Taiki-sama said, aim for a bloodless capitulation……」
When Ayla said so, Yuri made a slightly troubled smile and spoke up.
「Ehm…… Pardon me for saying such an impertinent thing, but I wouldn’t recommend getting involved with this. It’s but my humble opinion, but internal struggles of other realms are generally not to be intruded on. No matter what the outcome might be, if one sends soldiers, then neighboring countries might see this as an invasion. If you want to help them, then it’s better to do that after the revolution has come to an end.」
「After it ended?」
Taiki turned around after hearing Yuri’s line. Then, Yuri made a small nod.
「Yes. A realms power is bound to decline after an insurrection. During that time, other realms would keep a close eye on each other, but all would act with the same idea in mind.」
「……The profit of their own country?」
Taiki replied, to which Yuri showed a smile.
「Precisely. If it’s an ambitious country, seeing the opportunity they would try to expand their domain. Even the countries that possess no military power would try to use the crisis to enforce contracts on advantageous terms.」
When Yuri spoke so, Mea furrowed her brows.
「…Bandits sometimes came to our village. And bad merchants as well.」
As Mea muttered that, Yuri raised her eyebrows and laughed.
「Yes, that might be similar. But I think every country works to profit in order to protect its citizens? So it’s not like there are nothing but bad intentions at play.」
Yuri said gently, to which Mea nodded with a difficult expression. While Taiki remained silent, with an expression that was hard to read.
For a while, no one said a thing and awkward silence filled the room. There, Ayla timidly spoke up.
「……E-e-ehm! Then what if it’s not soldiers or golems? What if slaves, that supposedly ran away, evacuated the citizens……」
Ayla proposed reservedly, to which Taiki nodded 「Oh, I see」and laughed.
「That’s nice. It would be great if we can manage to evacuate at least the regular public. Let’s ask Grey and Richt for help. And we also can ask merchants that began trading with our store. Okay, since it’s decided, let’s begin right away.」
With Ayla’s words as a trigger, Taiki shook off his gloomy mood and returned to his usual easy-going self. Seeing him in such an optimistic mood Ayla and Mea bloomed into smiles, while Yuri observed with interest.
「We more or less know who will start the coup. So we should be ready to act as soon as they move soldiers. Let’s hurry up on the enlargement of the store and prepare emergency provision. Would buying food from another kingdom be a problem? It wouldn’t be good if they think that Heavenly Country is involved. Should we do it anyway?」
Speaking his thoughts aloud, Taiki turned to the screen and put his finger on top of a display.
Another squad of knights left the capital, marching off to the countryside.
Gradually the number of guards in the capital kept decreasing, and even mercenaries disappeared from sight.
Even so, there are many townsfolk and peddlers, with smiths, apothecaries, or people of other such professions busily running around.
Among all that, as if in some kind of ceremony, a squad of knights formed a line in the square. But people in the square observed that spectacle without getting suspicious.
That was because for the past few days they saw knights going outside the city a number of times.
Furthermore, the additional reason was in the flag that they carried, which belonged to one of the conservative nobles that had their seat at the capital.
However, one of the guards on patrol found that strange.
「Why are the Duke’s knights here?…… They should have no exercises today…… And all of them are carrying shields……」
In Karluk Kingdom, knights participating in ceremonies carry swords only. On a march, they would have them drawn and would hold them in front of their faces, while on standby they would hold them upright, sticking the tip into the ground.
But right now, only troops clad in full battle gear were present. They stood imposingly with swords on their waists and shields in their hands.
No matter how one looks at it, that’s weird. Unnatural.
As the guard has such misgivings, in the corner of his eye he caught sight of people running, who appeared like denizens of the city.
Unarmed, dressed in regular clothes, but for some reason, they lacked that usual disorganization and kept knocking on the doors of one house after another.
After which the citizens, having nervous expressions, would leave the main street and go hiding in the alleyways.
In the blink of an eye, the number of people around the central part of the capital dwindled, which caused the guard to furrow his brows.
「……No way, is this……」
Around the time the guard muttered this, the knights that stood in a perfect formation began marching.
Their destination was the heart of the capital where their ruler was staying. The royal castle.