Volume 3 Chapter 18 Part 1
After retaking the Imperial Capital, the Emperor announced the recapture of the Lunette Empire to the entire country at once.
He immediately sent out delegates on horseback to notify each district. As expected, upon just retaking the Empire, the reconstruction was under way.
The only remaining city yet to be returned was the human city which was adjacent to the Generate Kingdom, but it’s only a matter of time.
My job here is done.
—- Although I still feel like I could do more to help.
「Hey, Touya-sama, are you listening?」
「Uhm, yeah…… I was just thinking about something……」
「You were probably thinking about something unspeakable, weren’t you, Touya-san?」
I was with four women in the reception room.
Char and Al, were seated on either side of me, pestering me to explain in detail about my trip from Lian with Alice.
I had managed to nip Natalie in the bud earlier using the ultimate power of “cake”. She was content with this treat so much so that she did not bother to join in the conversation.
Char and Al were not so easily swayed. Although their mood did mellow a bit after the cake was served, they continued to question me as soon as their plates were empty.
No amount of cake I have can silence them…… The half a cake I have left would not be enough.
Alice is also present, but she doesn’t seem to be particularly bothered by the commotion, and she’s watching with a grin as I’m being accused.
Why doesn’t she say anything to help me out of this?
「—- That’s how we broke into the Imperial Capital 」
I finally finished my explanation and sipped on my now-lukewarm tea. They both seem to be happy with the account of my journey.
「Yeah, we traveled as a married couple, both on the way to the city and during our stay in the Imperial Capital. We masqueraded as newlyweds, you see. We also stayed in the same room at the inn in the Imperial Capital……. 」
She was the one who had tactfully suggested we pretend to be a married couple since I was accompanying her as an escort but I didn’t have a request form.
In this world there is no definitive marriage structure. If people claim, 「We are married 」, then that’s that. However, the aristocracy works differently it seems……
Alice looked at me with a smile and dyed cheeks…… Is she expecting me to thank her for that!?
Don’t make that face; you’ll confuse the situation further.
Besides, the only time I remember ever pretending to be married was when we were entering the Imperial Capital.
The air on either side of me felt as if it had instantly dropped below freezing. I looked at Char and Al to check what was the reason.
Both their gazes were cold. I immediately averted my eyes and shot a glare at Alice who was covering her mouth with her hand, no doubt stifling laughter.
I pretended to not hear the two voices calling my name.
「—- I think it’s time we discussed what we should do moving forward……」
We will be here forever if we continue our conversation led by these two. Instead, we should be thinking about how to deal with the Generate Kingdom from here onwards.
At the moment, the Third Prince is being kept unharmed as a prisoner of war, but after the city is returned and the slaves are freed, there is no guarantee for his life.
Generate Kingdom might have the hero, but if they attack the same way as this time, the outcome will be the same. What has me bothered is the fact that Gaulus is acting as a leader, temporarily, of the Kingsguard, but he is too old and will soon need to be replaced.
I’ve been cooperating with him only as a request, but I now feel I have found an important friend in him. What should I do in this situation?
Will I be able to leave everything in their hands for the sake of my peace?
There are no easy answers to these questions. But I have a hunch that the time is nearing when I will need to answer them.
「Are you listening to me? Father told me that you’ll have to wait for things to settle down before your reward, Touya, can be discussed. I’m sorry, but he would like for you to wait a bit longer」
I nodded at Char. It’s understandable that matters such as my reward will be less of a priority since the members of the internal affairs are busy working towards rebuilding the city and preparing the finances for the future.
Luckily, the Third Prince, Russet, had lied to the Generate Kingdom about the contents of the treasury, only sending a fraction of it to them, and keeping the rest for himself. He had intended to rule over the castle himself.
The Emperor and the internal administrators were relieved to hear that the majority of the treasury remained untouched.
It would have been a shame if there was no money for reconstruction and extra heavy taxes were to be imposed on the people.
The other good news was that the demi-human adventurers came back to the capital immediately. And with the cooperation with the Adventurer’s Guild, the removal of rubble is progressing steadily.
With this, the reconstruction of the Imperial Capital was moving smoothly.
「Well, it’s not like I want it right away, so I’ll go and take a request while I wait 」
「I see~ 」
I told everyone I’ll be seeing them later and left the castle with Alice. Alice as a merchant can’t be cooped up in the castle all the time, so she decided to go to visit the Merchant Guild.
While Char and Al might be adventurers, at the present moment they can’t take on any request. They need to focus on helping rebuild.
As I leisurely walked away from the castle, the shops were open, and shopkeepers with cheerful expressions on their faces were outside calling for customers.
When I first came to the Imperial Capital, it was deserted and had a gloomy image, but now that it has been reclaimed, it‘s coming back to life.
「This is how it should be…. 」
I bought some skewers from a food stall on the way and ate them as I walked along, till I got to the Adventurer’s Guild.