Chapter 297 – A Note for the King
Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
A Note for the King
Deena, her face pale, followed Silver Face as he boldly entered the building. Silence fell on the audience chamber. Despite it being early, three leaders of the nine clans were already there discussing matters with Doriachi.
『Hello there, Silver Face. Thank you for coming.』Doriachi greeted.『Everyone, I want to speak to Silver Face. Can we talk about this some other time?』
『Of course, Your Majesty.』
『I want to hear what he has to say too.』
『In that case, me as well.』
『No, I wish to speak to him alone. I will tell you all about it later, so please be patient.』
The three leaders left, shooting cold gazes at Silver Face as they passed by him. It went both ways. Silver Face didn’t even so much as spare them a glance, let alone greet them.
「I apologize for calling you all the way here.」
Doriachi switched to Japanese the moment they entered as small room. Hikaru used his Mana Detection to scan the surroundings and found Deena and the three leaders near the entrance. Seeing Hikaru looked over his shoulder, Doriachi chuckled.
「They’re eavesdropping, aren’t they? But it shouldn’t be a problem since they can’t understand the language.」
「It doesn’t really matter if they listened anyway.」
They sat down facing each other. Hikaru told Doriachi everything—no conjectures, only facts.
「So it’s not a tower, but an egg shell protecting a dragon stone.」the king said.「That is an interesting conclusion.」
「Do Stone Golems appear around here?」
「They do, but only in extremely rare occasions. It’s safe to assume that someone intelligent stationed them there. They’re a kind of magic items too.」
「I think so too. Now on to the main issue at hand. Do you have a map?」
Doriachi stood up and entered the next room which seemed to be a reference room, and came back with a map huge enough to cover a whole table. Hikaru took out the notes that contained the location of the Roots from his pocket. He wrote something down on the note while explaining how he got the info before handing it to the Doriachi. The king’s eyes widened for a moment as he read it.
「Oh, I see. I see. This is quite shocking.」
「Really? I’m sure you’ve considered the possibility.」
「Haha. You give me too much credit, but yes, you’re right. I did consider it.」Doriachi cleared his throat.「So you think these Roots serve some sort of purpose in the monsters invasion of the whole continent?」
「I’m not just thinking it, I’m sure about it. I plan to go on a trip to destroy all these Roots.」
「I understand. Dream Maker will support you the best it can.」
「Can I borrow some members of the expedition squad, then? The more competent ones, the better.」
Hikaru smiled, while Doriachi closed his eyes with a troubled look.
「You are sure you can do this, yes? Once the expedition squad is mobilized, failure in not an option.」
「Come on. I really need them.」
「Very well. I’ll do something about it. I’m sure I can ask Grucel for help.」
Doriachi sounded confident as well. As Hikaru watched the king, Doriachi nodded with a serious look, as though affirming Hikaru’s guess.
「When are you leaving?」
「Five days from now.」
After that, Hikaru was busy with a lot of things. First he requested a meeting with Grucel to pick members of the expedition squad to help him. They talked about some private matters as well. To Hikaru’s surprise, Grucel said he’d go on the expedition as well.
「It’s a very important matter, right?」the commander asked.
「Y-Yeah… But are you sure you can leave the city?」
「Of course I can. Besides, I’m the one in charge. I get to make the decision.」
After learning about Grucel’s plan, Deena raised an objection.
「By joining the expedition, I make it seem like it’s a very important mission, and that will make it easier to persuade the others.」Grucel said.
Deena had no choice but to back down.
Lavia accompanied Paula in her healing sessions during the day. As a result, she learned the local language at an incredible pace. Her efforts played a part in it too, but the Soul Board provided a huge boost for her. She mastered everyday conversations and was gradually increasing her vocabulary, including some difficult technical terms.
Paula’s patients were very grateful to her for the healing magic. Since Lavia wore a mask just like her, the people didn’t mind telling her a lot of things, resulting in Lavia rapidly gaining experience.
「Once you leave, I’ll start gathering intel.」Lavia said.
「I know I don’t have to tell you, but I’ll say it anyway. Don’t do anything reckless. If you sense danger, retreat right away. Can you promise me that?」
「Hehe. That’s rich coming from you, but I promise.」
Hikaru couldn’t say anything back. After all, he’d done a lot of reckless things.
「How many Roots are you planning to destroy?」
「Five. They’re the ones closest to the city.」
「That’s a lot.」
「I actually saw a dragon-like creature fly from the tower I visited. An idea came to mind then. I asked them to create a new means of transportation for when we charge.」
Up until now, they’d only rely on the Drakon’s Passage for fast travel. But they couldn’t use that here in this continent, and Drake was fast asleep as well. Hikaru had to come up with a new method.
「Hikaru-sama, the uhm… bodyguards were talking about how elite soldiers will be joining the expedition.」
「Yeah. Grucel will be bringing along those he deems as skilled enough.」
「But you’re going to destroy the Roots alone, right?」
「Yup, that part hasn’t changed. I’ll go alone.」
「Then what about the soldiers…? Are they going to destroy other Roots?」
「Nah, elite as they are, they have no chance against the monsters around the Roots. Besides, they won’t gain much even if they fought.」
Hikaru recalled the Stone Golems guarding the tower. Defeating those would barely give any spoils. Paula could heal injuries, of course, but if they died, they wouldn’t come back to life.
「We’re splitting up, yes. Soldiers will leave the city. That will cause panic and carelessness.」
The accomplice will surely panic once the plan to destroy the Roots is carried out. And with the man in charge of the army gone from the city, they will send information to Koukimaru. We’ll obtain conclusive evidence against the traitor.
「Can we trust Grucel?」Lavia asked.
「He’s good. After all…」Hikaru smiled.「He’s a spy working for the king to investigate what the anti-royalty faction is up to.」
Lavia and Paula looked shocked, so Hikaru explained the matter to them. It was clear that an anti-royalty existed, but Doriachi couldn’t perfectly grasp their real identity. This led to Doriachi devising a plan.
The king asked a man he could completely trust to spy for him. That man was none other than Grucel. As a member of the clan governing the military, he was neutral and didn’t have particular connections with the other clans.
Still, Dream Maker was a small nation. Two factions existed, one who wished to depose the king, and one who believed the king should reign supreme. Doriachi thought the anti-royalty faction would get in touch with Grucel. He then ordered the man to make use of that so he could infiltrate and find out about them.
No one knew about Doriachi and Grucel’s close relationship—at least until Hikaru learned about it. Appointed as the leader of his clan at a young age, Grucel always thought about the future of Dream Maker. A threat lurked in the north, while the south was nothing but a rough wasteland. Monsters were growing vicious every year. He wondered what he could do for the future of his nation.
Grucel happened to get a chance to talk to Doriachi privately, and it was then that he confronted the king with his questions. Doriachi was fed up from being constantly surrounded by people who only offered compliments to him. The two of them hit it off. Grucel then took the dirty role of being a spy.
“The names I’m about to mention are those who despise the royal family’s rule and want power to be transferred to the clans instead.”
Grucel fulfilled his task splendidly. Hikaru received a list of the faction’s members. Lavia would be focusing on them when gathering intel.
Grucel was a man that Doriachi could trust completely. He also participated in Hikaru’s plan to form an expedition squad comprised of elite soldiers and leave the city.
Fifteen minutes before sunrise was already bright enough to see the surroundings. Soldiers numbering more than 200 formed lines on Dream Maker’s parade grounds, armed to the teeth.
『We are embarking on a special mission. You should already be aware of the details, but I will explain it once more. Our objective is a large-scale survey of the forests surrounding our beloved nation and the elimination of the Roots said to produce monsters.』
Grucel gave his speech as the highest spot. Since the soldiers were already informed beforehand, none of them seemed shaken.
『The mission is estimated to last twenty days. His Majesty is expecting great results from this mission as well.』
Some soldiers looked surprised, not aware that the king himself supported the task. No one spoke a word, however.
『We march! Onward!』
Dream Maker’s army began to move. Two hundred people meant two percent of the total population. The people around knew about the expedition, the soldiers’ families included as well. A lot of people gathered around the grounds to the gates to see them off.
『Good luck out there!』
『Take care of yourselves!』
『We look forward to the results!』
The light of the morning sun reflected off the soldiers’ armors.
「Impressive.」Hikaru muttered as he watched the soldiers march in an orderly fashion.「All right. Time for me to go as well.」
Hikaru had already talked with Lavia and Paula. Lavia was still fast asleep as she needed to be up late at night for the task assigned to her. Paula made breakfast and a boxed lunch for Hikaru. However, he told her she didn’t have to see him off. Drake was still asleep.
As he started walking, Hikaru gradually vanished, as though blending in into the dimly-lit city.