I could hear objects falling loudly to the floor. I froze, my jaw still open.
The next thing I knew, I was on my knees and looking at the floor? When did that happen?
“Golan. This is pretty good!”
“Hey, this fruit. We were allowed to eat it, right? I mean, it’s too late now.”
I could hear Beka and Saifo’s cheerful voices.
But I was too shocked to care about the fact that they had started eating it without permission.
I had assumed that the troops would be selected from the General who was going out to fight.
Surely it wouldn’t be us who were supposed to wait here.
“What is it, Golan?”
Beka asked as she peered into my face. Even she could tell that something was wrong.
“I…just received a report that fills me with anxiety. More importantly, how were the gifts? Was it good?”
“Yes. It was so delicious.”
I had bought four of them. And there were zero left now.
Both Beka and Saifo had eaten two each.
I didn’t mind them eating it without permission, but did they have to eat all of them?
I wanted to have some as well.
As I watched them carelessly talk about the taste of the fruit, I swore to myself that I would take both of them with me.
I then pulled myself together and gave Rig and Painy their gifts.
A carved wooden box for Rig, and an umbrella for Painy.
They were both very hesitant, but I said that it was a way of expressing my gratitude for everything they did for me, and forced them to accept them.
It was a stark difference to the idiot siblings who stuffed themselves without saying anything.
When I was alone with Rig, I asked him about the details.
“I got the impression that it was something that was already decided.”
They hadn’t decided anything when I left the castle.
However, I had taken a detour to buy gifts, and took my time on the road back.
They must have decided during that time.
“And did they say anything about the troops that are to be sent?”
“Just that you should organize and bring them. However, they do want you to contact them once you decide who will go.”
“I suppose that means the General will prepare the supplies.”
We didn’t have much resources in the village.
If we were going to war, we would be given equipment to use. But this was a little different.
Had they asked us to prepare everything ourselves, we would have been in trouble.
“Did you notice anything else?”
“I had the impression that the messenger was aware that you wouldn’t be here. He came directly to me, and there was no effort to find you.”
General Farneze knew that I traveled on foot.
The messenger would have been on a riding beast, which meant he could reach the village before I did.
However, the fact that he didn’t search or ask after me or wait for my return suggested that they thought it would be better if I wasn’t present.
Something about it made me think Felicia might have had a hand in it.
After all, the General preferred to do things by the book, even if it was less convenient.
Felicia on the other hand, cared only about the results, not the method.
She would want to avoid a situation where there was an argument and the messenger was sent back and forth.
“If it’s an order, I will have to obey. …Oh, well.”
It was true that I would have complained had I been in the village. I might have even resisted a little.
They had seen through me.
I would launch my complaints the next time I met General.
“Now…as for what I need to do…”
It was good that I could choose who would go with me.
But there were a few things I was worried about.
And in the end, I would have to be the one who dealt with them.
“Yes. What is it?”
“I want you to bring me the soldiers. Tell them that this will be a long expedition, and that we will not return to this village for a while. Gather any who still want to come.”
“Very well. How many do you need?”
“I’ll decide when I see them. In the end, I’ll have to select them out of the lineup. Tell them that. I’m going to leave the village for a short time, and you won’t be able to contact me. Can you do it?”
“Certainly. There will be no problems.”
Rig was a good subordinate who tirelessly did what he was told.
And so I had faith that he wouldn’t let me down.
This country was being pulled into a war.
It was said that until recently, every other country was too scared to attack us. We were just a small country, and it would not make sense to send massive armies and suffer great losses just to win.
However, the world was starting to fall into chaos. And we were not unaffected.
“First, I have to go there and there and talk with them.”
Miralda was giving us thrity days.
It took me five days to return to the village. That was partially because I had taken time to buy those gifts.
And considering that it would take me ten days to reach General Farneze’s town, that meant I only had fifteen days left.
But it could take us another five days to cross the border.
“So I suppose we would have to leave the village in ten days. I wish we had more time.”
Ten days was harsh, when I had to gather soldiers and be ready to leave.
If I were to leave the village tomorrow, I would have to return in at least seven days.
That’s how long it would take just traveling. This was an incredibly tight schedule.
“…Damn it. They could have just chosen people from the castle in the beginning.”
I couldn’t help but grumble.
I had only just returned from the royal castle, but I had to leave immediately.
Really, life didn’t care at all about your plans.
I left the village early the next morning while everyone was still asleep.
“I seem to be traveling alone a lot these days.”
I was muttering to myself a lot as well.
“Ahh, how depressing.”
But in spite of my mood, there wasn’t a cloud in the blue sky that stretched above me.
A map of the surrounding lands.