Chapter 45 – ☆Royg, Goes Mad
The merchant who received the order from Cobis rode without rest on his horse, and arrived in Chevalburg in four days.
He immediately requested an audience with Royg, and was led into the castle by Vilian, who was one of the most powerful in the knights order.
“Sir Vilian… The castle seems very…empty now.”
The merchant noticed the lack of extravagant furniture and decorations that used to line the halls.
But even before that, he had noticed that Chevalburg and the castle had fewer men than before.
There was an overall lifeless place, where all the stores were closed.
Vilian answered him.
“We are making preparations for the upcoming expedition. And so we must be frugal… However, is what I heard true? Has Gaius been slain?”
“Ye-yes. Things have been a disaster for us ever since… And your cousin, Barnish, has died.”
“That Barnish!? But he was top in his year at the magic college… Is it true?”
“Y-yes… They say that he was burned to death.”
“A pyromancer died by fire? …Are the demihumans that powerful?”
“Yes… They are all wielding weapons now. Apparently, there is a human who is cooperating with them. The demihumans that killed Gaius were led by a man called Joshua.”
Vilian’s face went pale.
“J-Joshua? If Joshua has gone to the demihumans…”
Joshua had already far surpassed the average production magician in ability. This is something that Vilian had come to understand well.
And he had feared that Joshua would make weapons for the demihumans.
Joshua had left the knights order because he objected to slave hunting. And so it seemed quite possible that he would go and ally himself with the demihumans.
The merchant sweated profusely as he asked Vilian.
“Sir Vilian. Is there something that you know?”
“…No, nothing. It must be someone else… I would advise you to not speak of that name around the captain.”
And so the merchant and Vilian entered the captain’s office.
What they saw was a man who was curled up in the center of the room.
“…Joshua. How many times must I tell you!? That’s wrong! It will take time to surround them! …What? We will lose more soldiers!?”
The man muttered to himself, and then suddenly began to laugh.
“There is no need to worry! No one will die if I take the lead! You must leave the fighting to me! You only need to stay in the back and craft weapons and armor! I am no longer the kind of man who will lose to you!”
A chill ran down the merchant’s spine as he watched this scene.
The man was talking to himself as he looked at the damaged walls and floor.
The man—Royg, noticed the merchant and glared at him.
“…Who are you?”
And then Vilian answered.
“This is a messenger from Cobis.”
“Cobis…Cobis? Who is that?”
“A merchant who has been hiring us.”
“Cobis… Ah, that Cobis. What happened to Gaius?”
“H-he…has died in battle…”
“Gaius… How could he die…”
After a pause, Royg began to laugh again.
“Every last one of you is completely useless! Well, it is no surprise. I’m the one who built this knights order. Everyone else is scum. Don’t you agree?”
The merchant nodded at Royg’s words.
“And yes, they have all run away from me… Especially that damned Joshua… Ever since he left…I’ve!!”
Royg suddenly grew furious, and he started to kick the wall violently.
And then Vilian called out to him.
“Ca-Captain. You are right to be angry with Joshua. But there is good news. Cobis is offering us money!”
“Money…money? Where? Where is it!?”
As Royg was glaring at him, the merchant quickly offered him the bag of gold that Cobis had given to him.
Royg snatched it out of the man’s hands.
And then he emptied the contents onto the ground.
“Gold…good. It’s gold… Tell Cobis that I am grateful.”
“Y-yes… Sir Royg. But if it happens that you need more money, would you consider listening to Lord Cobis’s request?”
“What!? I can get more money!? What do you mean?”
And so the merchant told him of how the demihumans of the Fendel Alliance had come to Etigoburg.
And he told him about how Cobis wanted to take Etigoburg back, the Fendel Alliance crushed, and about the reward.
“…In other words, he will pay me if I send out my troops?”
“Ye-yes! Twice as much as you’ve just received, and he will buy any prisoners you capture at a high price! No matter how many there are!”
“Very well. I will accept the offer… Vilian. Take three thousand of our men and head to Etigoburg.”
“You will be the advance party. I will go as soon as the main army returns from their expedition. Unless, of course, you are afraid of the demihumans?”
Vilian was more afraid of Joshua.
However, no matter how brilliant a production magician was, surely he could not match the military power of the knights order.
And so four days later…
Three thousand soldiers left Chevalburg and headed south.
However, as they lacked funds, their food supplies were bad, and lacking in quantity.
Vilian enacted harsh punishments to any who complained, causing morale to drop even farther.
Eventually, there were even deserters. The march was not going according to plan.