The carriage advanced through the deep forest.
Among the paths that were created the Great Jiol Forest, the largest forest in the Shutaia Continent, this path that connected the St. Altlis Kingdom and the Jiol Forest Kingdom was currently the path with the fewest number of people passing through it.
Nowadays where the tension between the two countries had swelled, the ones who still went through this path would be only a portion of merchants.
「……It sure is a lonely path.」
「That is true.」
Hearing Seira’s mutter, Ietta slightly showed agreement.
As a matter of fact, it couldn’t be concluded with just a 「lonely path」.
The fact that people seldom went through the path also meant that the things that would normally avoid hustle and bustle and not approach the path would show themselves.
For example, beasts and Goblins.
If this sort of situation were to continue, it might eventually turn into a situation where even Ogres would start strutting about.
Since it was currently judged that it wasn’t that dangerous yet, the accompanying guard was two horsemen that went along beside Seira’s carriage, and only a few people riding together in each carriage.
But, the one that judged that it would be fine like this was the royal family.
In the current situation, sending in a mass group and being deemed as excessive fighting power wouldn’t be good, that is how Ietta had it explained to her from the captain of the royal palace chivalric order.
But, for those involved, it wasn’t something that they could agree with.
To begin with, if they were going to talk about provocation and such, then suppressing the bunch who support the Demi-Human Rejection Argument, which had the St. Altlis Kingdom at its center, would be better.
The Demi-Human Rejection Argument was something that deemed Demi-Human races such as the Sylphid and Metalio as things that had been disconnected from the original path of life similar to Mazoku, and claimed that they were existences that went against the God of Life Philia’s will.
Since the current friction between the St. Altlis Kingdom and the Jiol Forest Kingdom had stemmed from that, doing something about the advocates of the Demi-Human Rejection would be much more healthy.
Even for this visit, Ietta predicted that it was due to pressure from those advocating the Demi-Human Rejection Argument saying that a troop equipped with the best skills and equipment should be sent under the pretext of being guards in order to demonstrate their power to the Demi-Humans of the Jiol Forest Kingdom.
Rather, it was to the point that she thought that they had to negotiate to decrease the much too large escort down to an ordinary number of people.
However, looking at the results, this situation……it was the complete opposite.
Like this, it were as if they were saying they wouldn’t mind if Seira was killed.
No, there was even the possibility that they were seriously thinking that way.
After Seira was killed, pushing the responsibility somewhere would be useful……For example, if they could take it as a story saying that she was killed in a Jiol Forest Kingdom scheme……
Thinking that far, Ietta shook her head.
That was unlikely. As expected, she was thinking too much into it.
Thinking about it more realistically, a 「visible guard」 might not be enough.
For example, it would be a different story if an espionage unit affiliated with the royal family were to be secretly arranged.
By doing that, they could give the Demi-Human Rejection Faction a reason that they could agree to such as information gathering, and although the visible war potential would decrease, the actual war potential could be guaranteed.
It was there that Ietta finally noticed that Seira was staring at her.
「Wh, what is it……?」
「You’re making a face that says you’re overthinking things.」
Being told that by Seira, Ietta reflexively sank into silence.
She had certainly immersed herself in her thoughts.
Due to her untactfully knowing about the situation within the country, she ended up reading too far inbetween the lines.
Her own role was to be Seira’s monitor and guard.
A guard being engrossed in her thoughts in the middle of work was similar to abandoning her professional duties, and that was a problem, wasn’t it.
「Since it’s you we’re talking about, Ietta, it’s about that, isn’t it. About the matter of the number of guards?」
It seemed that Seira had seen through everything.
「It’s not a problem. It’s because Otou-sama and Duke Albania had conspired together before this. I’m sure that they have made some sort of preparation.」
Going “I see, if it was a preparation of Duke Albania who has currently has the best connection with the Jiol Forest Kingdom, it surely wouldn’t turn into anything strange”, Ietta consented.
He was a noble that continued to search for a path of continuing friendship with the Jiol Forest Kingdom.
In that case, what should be thought of is……
「Alright, you’re overthinkingー. Your brow is wrinkling.」
「R, right. I am terribly sorry.」
Ietta nodded while having her brow ground against by Seira.
At that moment, the carriage came to a stop without any sort of advance warning, and at the same time, the sound of knocking could be heard from the side of the carriage.
When Ietta showed her face from the window, an escort knight made a report while keeping their eyes focused in front of them.
「Yes, there is an armed group in front of us. Going by their equipment, they do not seem to be bandist……but just in case, I had the carriage stop. Since Yeats is identifying them right now, please wait for a moment.」
When the guard knight tried to return to his post, a clear yet cute voice could be heard from someone that closely resembled the knights that they had previously met at the national border.
「You ask who we are! In that case, I shall answer you!」
The voice resounded.
It seemed that one of the guard knights──Yeats had asked for their identity going by the normal manual.
「We are, the Jiol Forest Kingdom’s Heavy Equipment Chivalric Order! Is there no mistake that you are the carriage carrying the daughter of the St. Altlis Kingdom’s Duke Necros-dono!」
Seira had reflexively covered her ears from that really loud voice that could be heard, but Ietta was surprised and couldn’t believe her ears.
When speaking of the Jiol Forest Kingdom’s Heavy Equipment Chivalric Order, they were the chivalric order that protected the royal capital Roumrelus, and should literally be a keystone to its defense.
For such a party to come to them……Could this be a preparation made by Duke Necros and Duke Albania?
「Th, that’s right! What business does the Jiol Forest Kingdom’s Heavy Equipment Chivalric Order have with us!」
Hearing Yeats’ reply that was done with a bit of a flinch, a slightly smallish heavy equipment knight that stood at the front raised their voice even more and shouted.
「I am the commander of the Jiol Forest Kingdom’s Heavy Equipment Chivalric Order, Elriol! We have come to take responsibility of escorting you to the royal capital Roumrelus! Therefore, please quickly fall under our command!」
「So loudー…… What is that, they’re definitely using Wind-type magic or something. Or is that how they really are?」
「I cannot feel any magical power. I do believe that they are originally like that though.」
「Ehー……Well, whatever. As for the situation, I shouldn’t come out, should I.」
After saying that, Seira got down from the carriage without giving Ietta time to stop her.
「Good job on doing your mission. I (boku)……or rather, I (watashi) am the second daughter of the St. Altlis Kingdom’s Necros Duke House, Seira Necros. The fact that you expressly came out to greet us, does that mean that the royal family was contacted by dad?」
Receiving Seira’s greeting, Elriol took off their helmet and held it under their arm.
Seeing the cute figure that came out from there, Seira reflexively opened her eyes wide.
She had seen many Sylphid before even in the Adventurer School……but even when compared to them, this knight could be said to be an extraordinarily beautiful woman.
「No, more accurately, your father got in contact with Nefas-sama through Duke Albania-dono, and from there, the talk went to the royal family. Therefore, this time, we are mobilizing under royal decree. From what I have heard, you were a school friend with Nefas-sama. I am sure that Nefas-sama is also delighted from meeting with an old friend again after such a long time.」
「Friendship is a wonderful this. Our King also hopes that the unshakable friendship between you two will become a mediation between our two countries. Of course, I am also praying that the friendship between you two will become even stronger and lasts an eternity.」
Suddenly, one of the Heavy Equipment Knights behind Elriol let out a sound that sounded like they burst into laughter, and as if caught up in that, snickering circulated amongst the other knights as well.
「Ahー, I am terribly sorry. Excuse me for a bit.」
After Elriol announced that to Seira, she turned around to face her back.
「You fools! What kind of behavior are you taking in front of a guest!」
「Ma’am, we are terribly sorry! It is just that the commander was way too desperate that we ended up laughing!」
「Yes, I believe that it would be best to say it while you can, Commander-dono!」
「It will be exposed anyway, Commander-dono!」
「Wh, why you……I’ll remember this later……」
Elriol turned around to face Seira, who was unable to follow the situation and was spacing out, and focused on her from the front while with a red face.
「This has nothing to do with the mission, and is to the very end just an impolite question done out of personal interest but, may I!」
「Eh!? S, sure. Ah, no, yes. Go ahead!?」
「Se, Seira-sama……What kind of relationship do you have with Nefas-sama!」
Hearing that, Seira finally understood the situation.
It seemed that the Heavy Equipment Commander-dono in front of her was worried if Seira and Nefas were in love with each other.
「Erm……At the very least, it’s a relationship where things like “like” and “love” won’t ever come out for all eternity, I guess.」
Hearing that, Elriol displayed an expression that was clearly that of relief.
Seira was unable to understand at all, but it seemed that Nefas was liked by this Elriol.
After Elriol took a deep breath, she immediately returned to having a serious face.
「Please excuse me for that sudden question. Well then, from now on, we, the Heavy Equipment Chivalric Order shall take responsibility in guarding you.」
Seeing Elriol put her helmet back on, Seira nodded.
「Yes, I will be in your care, Elriol-sama.」
Like this, the carriage that Seira’s group was riding headed towards the Jiol Forest Kingdom’s royal capital, Roumrelus, while being guarded by the Heavy Equipment Chivalric Order.
Even Seira understood all too well that she was being treated as more than just a simple state guest.
「The Temple Knight of Wind, huh……」
Thinking about Nefas, who had probably turned into something different from the figure that she knew, Seira quietly muttered that.