From the plaza in the center of the Royal Capital. To the north, there is a tip of a structure surrounded by high ramparts.
Inside it stood a huge hall that grew a group of towers.
The Royal Castle.
It is the heart of the Kingdom, where the King is living his daily life, a group of great nobles and bureaucrats gather, and knights walk in and out.
Right now, an audience is being held in the castle, the Second Prince who has returned from the Battle of Landbarn, was reporting his defeat to his father, the King.
The King silently listened to the words of the Second Prince.
He already obtained the details of the battle from the Knight Commander and the military supervisor.
The only reason the Second Prince was giving his report separately right now was because the King told him to.
「……I understand now」
The King spoke in a serious tone after he finished listening.
Upon hearing it, the Second Prince made a relieved look.
He put the former Knight Commander who was under house arrest on the exclusive Knight he brought out to him and sent him to the battlefield.
And despite taking such aggressive measures, he was defeated in the battle and lost Landbarn.
He still felt quite anxious even though he’s a prince.
(As expected from father, I’m glad he understand)
The evil act of the Prime Minister faction he called as the reformist.
It was a stupid act of trying to destroy the tradition and damaging the honor of those who have made accomplishments.
And in order to correct them, I decided to take action. No, I had no choice but to.
He appealed as such so passionately.
(It’s true that I didn’t manage to bring a good result, but I believe I did nothing wrong)
After some time, a thin breath of relief escaped his mouth.
However, when the King continued his words, he realized that he misunderstood that meaning.
「I understand… how naive and foolish you are」
Knight commander, military supervisor, and the Second Prince. When the words of these three people were lined up, the most conspicuous ones was the bias of the Second Prince.
To sum up what he was trying to say, it was “I did nothing wrong”.
The Second Prince, who was loved and had high hopes placed on him.
Depending on what he says in his defense, the King intended to give him a light punishment and had him learn again from the beginning.
(I can no longer let him do as he pleases)
He would become a harmful existence since he was the second in line to inherit the throne.
The King then decided.
With his hand, he silenced the Second Prince who tried to defend himself, and told him.
Upon hearing that word, the guards presented a large cup to the Second Prince.
「What… is this?」
“No way…” with an expression of disbelief, the Second Prince looked at the face of his father, the King.
The King, however, did not answer and just stared at him with a stern expression.
He probably has figured out what the contents were. His face warped in fear as he shouted and tried to stand up.
Two guards immediately pressed him down the floor.
Receiving a gaze from the King, they put the cup on his lips while pinching his nose.
「No! I don’t want to!」
The contents were poured on his mouth the moment he was out of breath. After that, his chin was firmly held down by the guards.
Not soon after, his throat moved, and after some struggling, his eyes lost their focus.
The King gave the next instruction quietly while looking at the scene emotionlessly.
The guards immediately moved according to his orders.
(The price that had to be paid for one’s foolishness, is it? The same could also be said to me)
Letting the former Knight Commander out from the Royal Capital, on top of bringing him his exclusive Knight. Those who appear to have cooperated in this scheme were already in custody.
Among them were the relatives and close friends of the King.
Their treatment will depend on the Second Prince.
And now, the judgment has been made. They will be sentenced to the same punishment as the Second Prince.
For a moment, the King silently stared at the place from which the body of his son had been removed.
The red-light district in the Royal Capital.
Tauro was strolling in the rooftop garden of a three-story building.
「I heard the Knight Order of the Kingdom has been defeated」
I walked through the forest garden along with Dangorou.
Some heavy lancers that followed after me were definitely aiming for the skin of my pomelo.
When I arrived at the medicinal tree, I called out to Imosuke who was crawling on one of its branches.
「What? Landbarn has surrendered and fallen to the hands of the Empire?」
Today, when I went to the Merchant Guild to deliver the potions, the Guild Master informed me of such news.
But truth to be told, I could already tell without anyone saying anything.
People that had fled from the west became a source of information, thus became a hot topic among the residents of the Royal Capital.
There were no announcements yet from the country, but I think it would be made public sooner or later.
「Well… one could probably tell after looking at the appearance of those Knights」
The Knights that returned just a few days ago.
They formed a long line from the western direction, walking in a sorry state.
「And the prince who participated in the battle, died from an injury」
According to the Guild Master, the Second Prince who was a pilot of an A-class Knight, was able to return to the Royal Capital despite sustaining some injuries
However, the prognosis of his injury was unsatisfactory, and it seems that he lost his life the other day.
「I wonder if even royalty are unable to prepare high-level healing magic and potions」
He was a royal and a pilot, one that had enough ability to ride an A-class Knight at that.
It may have royal connections, but it was definitely a valuable person.
I activated my potion-making magic, making a dark red potion appear in front of me. It was a D-rank cure injury potion.
「As I thought, this magic that was lent to me is amazing, huh?」
I was once again reminded as I caught the floating potion.
A-rank… no, even the B-ranked ones, was enough to heal almost any injury.
But I have the power to create an S-rank potion that I don’t even know what to use it for.
「This is probably what you would call a cheat」
As I recalled the figure of the stone statue after a long time, I poured the potion on the pomelo sapling, the fruit of my spirit beast’s hard work.
「Should I make some kind of small shrine in the forest garden, I wonder」
The appearance of a person’s face in a thick dictionary. Make a statue of it and give the crops from the forest garden as an offering.
「I’m not sure the person itself wants it though」
If I’m going to make it, it would only be for my self-satisfaction.
I thanked the stone statue in my heart for the time being. Then, I threw another topic at Imosuke who listened silently.
「Even the Guild Master doesn’t know if the Empire will stop at Landburn or launch another attack」
I stroked Imosuke’s head using my finger.
「This is troubling…」
Releasing a big sigh, I looked around the forest garden.
This place is a safe haven for those who have fled the spirit forest.
Imosuke, Dangorou, and the heavy lancers. I can’t just abandon it just because the Empire has come to invade.
「What should we do….?」
I folded my hands in front of my chest and tilted my neck. Imosuke who was on the branch took the same pose in front of me.
I was thinking of what the person I am right now can do.
「….Sniping, I guess」
I tried pondering it a little more but… I couldn’t find anything else I can do in this situation.
「Then, I should do what I can do」
Stopping the Empire’s invasion with my sniping skill.
If I can shoot down the A-class Knights that were the main power of their force, it shouldn’t be impossible even for the Old Lady.
「But it won’t be anytime soon」
I have to first measure my ability and do some preparations.
The mature Viscountess I fought in northern countries. I’m afraid that if a monster like her were to ride an A-class Knight, they might be able to get close and kill me.
No danger of being counterattacked by the surrounding enemy after taking a shot. Or to escape before they have the chance to counterattack. These conditions are absolutely necessary.
「To make that happen, just sniping won’t be enough」
I will need the ability to aim and shoot enemies from very long distances.
With my objective decided, I threw another topic.
「I wonder if everyone in Landbarn is safe」
It was the first settlement I entered after being transferred to this world.
For me, my first impression of this world was Landbarn itself.
The uncle of an inn who was knowledgeable about brothels, and the first woman in this world who accompanied me. All of them live in Landbarn.
「Oh right, I also worried about the post town between Landbarn and Awoke」
A widow in a mourning dress that gently taught me about women.
Without her, the person I am today wouldn’t exist.
「Hm? It’s alright. I won’t be away for a long time like last time」
Imosuke and Dangorou showed a worried expression at my serious atmosphere.
「Here, it’s a promise」
I put my little finger on Imosuke’s wart foot and moved it as if making a pinky promise.
He probably didn’t understand the meaning of the act, but at least my feelings should have been transmitted.
Relieved waves came from my spirit beasts.
「Let’s have some snacks, shall we」
Speaking with a smile, I extended my hand to the Pomelo, which became a little tree.
The headquarters of the Knight Order is located north of the Royal Castle.
The building made of light honey-colored stone leaves a profound and rustic impression.
The surface of the stone material and the details are rough, and some people may have felt the roughness.
This is because the Knight Order’s headquarters was built as a fort when the Royal Capital could not yet be called a capital city.
Although there have been many extensions and additions over time, the front part facing the street remains the same as before. And this antiquity was also the form of pride of the Knight Order.
Several pilots surrounded Corneal who just got out of the Knight Commander’s office and congratulated him.
The atmosphere in the Knight Order was dark after their defeat in the battle of Landbarn, following their loss against heavy lancers.
But at this moment, only this place was bright and cheerful.
Corneal laughed shyly.
There are no signs of injury or sequelae in him.
He was stepped on by the exclusive Knight of the former Commander. However, the B-class Knight’s rib cage protected the pilot even though it became distorted in the end.
And he recovered from a coma due to magic power exhaustion after two nights. This was more or less the same for the other pilots.
「Well… how should I put it… I was surprised myself」
Surrounding Corneal who was scratching his head were the fellows he teamed up with during the drug investigations.
They got along pretty well, and even after the team was disbanded, they kept seeing each other like this sometimes.
「But still, it’s hard to believe that someone from a lower class pilot like us will get an A-class Knight」
That was why Corneal was called to the Knight Commander’s office.
Several people, including Corneal, will be getting new A-class Knights.
「It’s only natural for someone like Corneal senpai」
Declared the pilot that could be said was like a young boy, raising his face to look up at him.
He’s a new member of the Knight Order that recently joined this group of people centered around Corneal.
He’s someone Tauro called “Noble Kid”.
「Well… It was probably because the number of pilots has decreased significantly. And there haven’t been any outstanding ones among the new recruits」
Corneal folded his arms and grimaced.
Seeing that, the noble kid suggested.
「If so, then there’s someone I want to recommend」
Having his interest piqued, Corneal decided to listen. Turns out, it was about Tauro.
(Now that he mentioned it, Tauro-san also went to the same school with this guy didn’t he?)
At the practical exam, the noble kid won first place while Tauro in third place.
The noble kid was immediately recruited as a middle-class pilot while Tauro wasn’t given the chance because of the Knight Order’s vision at that time.
「His way of fighting is certainly different from others. Because of that, he has never been recognized. However, if you can properly devise the role, he will definitely become the strength of the Knight Order」
He raised his voice to emphasize his opinion.
(Come to think of it, Tauro-san also praised this guy a lot didn’t he?)
Corneal thought about the noble kid’s strength.
(He’s not bad. However, it’s not to the extent of『Unreachable』as Tauro-san claimed it to be)
If it was close-quarter combat and with certain conditions, then the noble kid is definitely stronger.
But Tauro has a powerful weapon that nullifies all of that. A sniper with a long-range magic attack.
The power that is said to have been shown in the defensive battles in the northern countries.
A letter of appreciation from the King of Black Locust Country has provided the details.
However, the Knight Order and the higher-ups of the Kingdom, neither of them received it at face value. They only see it as an overly exaggerated compliment to show diplomatic courtesy.
(But it wasn’t like that. What the Black Locust King said was undoubtedly the truth)
Corneal, who had previously been to the northern countries as a reinforcement, knows the personality of the Black Locust’s King and minister.
No matter how grateful he is, he is not someone who would say something exaggerated.
(I become stronger by training with Tauro-san in brothels and managed to earn the seat of A-class Knight)
(But I’m still nothing compared to Tauro-san)
There, Corneal deduces his thoughts.
(If that’s the case, then Tauro-san must have the ability that far surpasses an A-class Knight pilot)
A person who’s better at long-ranged magic attacks than an A-class Knight pilot.
As his friend, Corneal has been hanging out with him casually, but looking at his specs again, he’s someone with a terrifying ability that would make you feel chills.
If so, then his feat in the northern countries can’t be anything but real.
Corneal nodded, looking convinced.
(But I think that person doesn’t evaluate himself correctly)
Tauro’s defeat as the third place in the Match before God.
Corneal still couldn’t wrap his head around it.
If it’s that person, he must have thought of something else other than winning or losing and been defeated because of it.
「You’re talking about that Tauro-san, the pilot from the Merchant Guild, right?」
He silenced the noble kid who kept talking by mentioning his name.
The noble kid was surprised at Corneal’s words. He probably never thought that Corneal knows about Tauro.
「Certainly, Tauro-san is strong, far stronger than me, in fact. But I feel like that person is more suitable over there」
Tauro talks happily about his work at the Merchant Guild.
Corneal remembered that appearance.
At that time, he felt really envious of him.
「That’s why, until Tauro-san says he wants to join us himself, I won’t pester him about it」
The noble kid was surprised and impressed when he knew that the person he highly evaluated is also the best friend of the senior he respects.
However, he was completely unconvinced that Tauro was stronger than Corneal.