As if being pushed by the flow of people, we arrived at the plaza. Well, even if we were to hurry and leave the town now, it wouldn’t make that much of a difference so I don’t really mind, and we’ll profit if we can understand their marching plans from the speech. The plaza was already crowded with residents and travellers with burning curiosities, and the outer circumference was overflowing with people. Isn’t this about ten percent of the town’s population present?
Water Gate City Abram has a fixed population of several tens of thousands of people, and is the largest city in this region. So in other words, since it’s probably about the same number as the flowing population of peddlers and travellers, there’s probably an estimation of fifty thousand humans that exist throughout the entire city. The city’s central plaza has a large river that flowed through the city behind it, and was located in front of the Margrave’s castle. According to Gustave, it’s supposedly a modest castle despite it belonging to the Margrave, but it looks colossal to me. The reason why it was in front of the river was probably due to being used as a base of operations to fight against the savage tribes that once lived in the remote regions. Today, a rampart was created on the other side of the river as well, and an area called the new urban area now existed, but I can somewhat understand how this castle also acted as a wall to protect the citizens from the savage tribes that were once on the other side of the river.
The plaza was wide enough to make me think that another castle could fit inside it, and that it would take several minutes to walk from one bridge to another. As expected, even though it is an army of 100 people, within this plaza, it doesn’t look all that big. At the center of the plaza, there was a slightly elevated area which was probably the stage that Shiro and Sara had mentioned before. There were stories of how troupes and master musicians would climb up and hold events there on festival days………In the village, the village mayor would just bring a stepladder out to the plaza and climb on top of that. That’s what I can recall from my memories of the past.
As I thought about such things, criers wearing flashy decorative hats ran about, proclaiming that the ceremony for dispatching troops was about to start now. To begin with, human voices are weak except for cases of resounding voices that permeate well even in discord like Gustave’s voice, a human’s voice doesn’t reach all that far. And with these many people making a clamor, there was probably no way a conversation being exchanged at the middle of the plaza could be heard. Since I finally installed some fixed type message relaying magic tools in my dungeon, I’ve been able to hear the sounds of other rooms while staying in my own room, but well, that sort of thing can’t be done normally.
Also, the percentage of humans that are able to read isn’t that high. Since mercenaries are involved with the calculation of their pay, they are able to read almost all the numerical characters, but the ones that are able to read letters are around ten percent. On the other hand, peddlers have a need to look at contracts, so almost all of them can read letters. Depending on the situation, there are also cases where they are able to understand multiple languages. As the language and letters used in this country is generally shared with the neighboring countries, there isn’t too much trouble, but it seems that there are many hardships in communicating when deals are being made with distant countries.
In a farming village, the percentage of people that can read letters is even lower, and it’s probably commonplace for only the priest of the local Church to be able to read letters. With the gift of having my mother’s education, it was considerably fortunate that I was able to read letters at even a young age. Incidentally, among the current members of my dungeon, Astarte, Sara, and I are able to read letters, and although Dahlia is unable to read letters, I am teaching her how to read and write as necessary. Due to the nature of Shiro’s job of thief, she is able to read letters if it’s just at the level of words, but it seems that she is having difficulty in reading long sentences, but ultimately, the literacy rate was high.
Thus, even if a proclamation is issued and made into a notice at the plaza, a majority of the people are unable to read it. The criers are lower grade government officials that tell those people what has been decided and what they should do……or that is how it is supposed to be. After all, even if I know about it through my knowledge, this is my first time seeing the real thing, so I would like to be forgiven if I am mistaken.
「This is an announcement to the people of Abram! Margrave Abram, together with the Church, has come to a single decision. About half a year earlier, the village that was about seven days away from Abram and had once conducted mining operations, Grandol, was overthrown by fearsome demons!」
Grandol. The village that I was born and raised in had that sort of name. If one didn’t leave the village, there wouldn’t be any need to know its name. Also, if one didn’t converse with mercenaries and peddlers, there was no reason for its residents to know the name. Though, it had become a village that has no living residents.
「It is said that the demons have built a nest there, and plunge the travellers that pass through the vicinity into fear!」
In several places around the plaza, numerous criers spoke the same content. Other than a few of the residents of the neighboring villages near my mining village, it is probable that the residents of Abram had no knowledge about the existence of such a village, or that demons now reside in it.
The people began to converse and they sound worried. ……Well, being a week’s journey away is a distance that they normally wouldn’t go through, but as a real feeling, it was “a distance that they could understand and tell how close it is”. Demons were at that place……even if they didn’t actually have a significant fighting power……once it was known that their presence is closer than one realised, well, of course the people would become worried.
「Count Abram was saddened. He had an investigation performed, and has made it so that the demons do not get close to our vicinity!」
Well now, I don’t think that anything like that was done though……? Maybe because of my puzzled expression that had frankly floated up onto my face, Astarte supplemented the contents of the crier’s speech.
「That’s just him saying whatever he likes since nothing has happened until now. But even so, since nothing hasn’t really happened, and it calms the people’s worries, it’s probably a fairly effective measure.」
Hearing her say that, I started thinking. Up until now, the people had no information about this……Ahh, I see.
「If they have information, it will make them feel like a decision can be made, it’s that sort of thing, right?」
「Politics can’t be done with only information that provoke fear……Besides, the words that continue after this will……」
The crier loudly raised his voice.
「However, there has been news that the demon forces are growing larger by the day, so Count Abram has already made a decision! For the sake of Abram’s, as well as the surrounding villages and towns’ safety, there has been a decision to dispatch Abram’s army for the subjugation of the demons in that abandoned town!」
I see, they spread terror, and then talk about something that will make the people feel relieved afterwards. That was the reason for the troops’ dispatchment this time……it is likely the solution that they decided to take. It seems that the guy that wrote this scenario properly did the right calculations.
「The one that will be taking command this time is Count Abram’s niece of a distant relative and a Holy Knight that have received the title of Temple Knight from the great temple of the western large city of Palmira, the astute Princess Olivia! In addition, Abram’s knights are……」
Olivia. It isn’t a name that was all that rare, but suddenly, a past memory resurfaced. A friend from my youth who had the same name, I wonder if she was doing well somewhere?
「Eliott-sama, it has started. The elder that climbed on stage is probably the current Count Abram. In addition, there’s the military service priest, the commanding officer, and the one on the side is the officer of arms……?」
Maybe because she wasn’t sure of who was what, Astarte looked a bit puzzled. However, my eyes were already glued on to the stage. The female commanding officer had undone her decorated helmet and held it under her arm. It was rare in this region, but she had a somewhat short black hair that looked faintly green when light shines on it. Readjusting a decoration made out of glass that the intelligentsia would sometimes wear called glasses (to be accurate, it was a tool that aided eyesight), the one that accepted the holy symbol from the priest and the scepter decorated with jewels from the count……looked really similar to that particular girl that I hadn’t met since over ten years ago.
「People of Abram, as well as the knights and soldiers that have gathered for the sake of protecting Abram and the surrounding villages, I give my thanks to you all, and may you all have the Grace of God and the Church’s blessing.」
Even though we were separated by a distance of over 100 meters, Commanding Officer Olivia’s voice permeated very well. And then, although that voice was naturally changed with time, it was still really similar to that girl’s voice.
「At this time, I have taken command of the unit that will subjugate the demons that have nested in Grandol. I am Olivia. Count Abram’s distant relative, and the Temple Knight appointed by the Palmira Great Temple. That village is a place where my late mother’s relative had once lived in, as well as a profoundly memorable place that I spent my summers in as a child. Therefore, I am very saddened by the tragedy that had befallen it……and angered by the actions done by those evil demons and their ruler.
Voices of surprise and sympathy leaked out from the people due to that unexpected confession. She was a Princess of tragedy – her hometown which was her treasured place was overrun by demons. It sounded too good to be true, but there was no mistake that the masses liked these sorts of tales. Olivia……in the past, I called that girl Olivie……
Her declaration had absolutely no grandiose gestures mixed in, nor anything that sounded like she was trying to draw in sympathy, rather, she had a detached voice. But, her voice seemed to be tinged with loneliness …….Then again, that just might be me wanting to be under that impression.
「However, this battle is not something that I will fight against just because of my own personal vendetta. Most importantly, any potential damage to the surrounding villages must be prevented. In addition, if there are any demons that appears too close to the national border, this also becomes a national problem.」
I see, so there is that point of view as well. I had been doing things so that we wouldn’t be an influence on the surroundings as much as possible, but now that she mentions it, since we are taking in accomplices of smuggling across the national border, I can’t refute the possibility of that becoming a problem.
「Therefore, I shall make an oath right here to the River Goddess and the Gods of Light. We shall defeat the evil demons and regain peace!」
I had heard that in the Temple Chivalric Orders of the Palmira Great Temple, there were three chivalric orders that received the names of the three pillar Gods, which were the River Goddess, the Flame War God, and the Large Tree Virtuous Elder, but it seemed like Olivia belonged to the chivalric order of the River Goddess just because she is a woman. With all due respect, I would like to think that the chivalric order of the Flame War God is organized for substantial military affairs while the other two are for supporting military power but……I still don’t know about their abilities.
Nonetheless, with all these, my doubts have been settled. The commanding officer of the enemy that is presently preparing to attack my dungeon is…..the girl that was my only friend when I was a human.