Chapter 64 – ☆ Royg, Goes South!
In the empty office, Royg said,
“We will leave tomorrow. Prepare the troops at once.”
Commander Solm of the Schwarz Knights west expedition team was most astonished by Royg’s declaration.
No, Solm had been continuously astonished ever since he returned to the castle.
Because Chevalburg had changed so much.
“S-Sir Royg. You must have received the reward money that we sent… How can it be…”
In the west, Solm and his men had achieved much glory in their wiping out of bandits.
And so they had been rewarded generously by the western royals and nobles. But as Royg had ordered for the money to be sent at once, Solm had sent horses to transport all of it back to Chevalburg.
Solm assumed that Royg would use this money to live lavishly with his officers.
However, once he reached the castle town, there were no merchants at all. There were hardly any townspeople either.
The beautiful banners and decorations were gone, and there was nothing but a desolate town of gray.
Not only that, but the castle itself was completely empty.
The luxurious furniture and artifacts were one thing, but the food supplies were also nearly non-existent.
The hope that Solm and his men had that the people would bless their return and hold a feast in their honor…was dashed.
But while Solm and the expedition team were astonished at this change that had come over Chevalburg, they were, in fact, a little relieved.
This was due to a hope that after seeing how his direction had caused the fall of the Knights Order, Royg may finally change his ways.
Solm had joined the Schwarz Knights only three years after its establishment, and so he was considered to be of the old guard.
As he would turn twenty this year, he was a little older than Royg and Joshua, but he had been greatly affected by their bravery on the battlefield and had decided to join.
At that time, the young Knights Order was filled with a passion to battle monsters and brigands.
But at some point, Royg began to spend his days in luxury, and he would dismiss any who disagreed with him.
Solm and the expedition team had been very dissatisfied with the current state of the Knights Order. The order was not fulfilling its original role. And that is why they had gone to the west.
…And now, that flatterer, Vilian, is gone. Surely the captain would decide to return the Knights Order to what it should be.
However, Solm’s hopes were to be dashed once again.
Royg sat on the floor and muttered to him.
“…This? Aye, this…it is all Joshua’s fault.”
“J-Joshua? Yes, I wanted to ask him to repair our swords, but I could not find him anywhere.”
“Aye. He betrayed me! A lowly production magician he was, and yet he defied my orders and then quit!!”
Royg’s expression suddenly contorted with rage as he shouted.
Solm asked him frantically.
“So-so Joshua has quit… But…he is a founding member of the Knights Order, just like you… Why would he do such a thing?”
“Because he was against slave hunting!! Even though it was a most lucrative opportunity!! It would have shortened the road to building our own kingdom!!”
“Sl-slave hunting…? And that is why Joshua quit?”
“Aye!! And now we are low on weapons, potions…everything! And I am burdened with debts!!”
Royg shouted. And Solm finally felt despair.
First, the captain had been trying to slave hunt, which was against the law.
If word were to get out, all their glorious achievements would be for nothing. It was the worst kind of dishonor.
Furthermore, it was clear that Royg had not listened to Joshua at all, and had banished him.
Solm had been grateful for all the work Joshua had done up until now, and he was shocked at the hatred in Royg’s words.
“Captain…I am disappointed in you. From today on, I shall no longer be a part of this Knights Order.”
“No longer a part? Solm. What did you just say!?”
Royg shook his fist, but Solm answered without backing down.
“I am leaving the Knights Order. And as a lone, free knight, I will fight in the south.”
“You bastard! So you will leave too!? You fool!! I looked after you all of this time, you damned imbecile! No, I will not permit you to go!!”
“In that case, you must return to your senses! Come with me to the southern frontlines… Let us take up our swords and fight together!”
“I have better things to do now! Leave that work to the new recruits!”
“We are in no condition to be taking in new recruits… Recently, the only people who were attracted to the Knights Order are the ones who were after money. Like your old favorite, Vilian.”
“Shut up!! Do not mock him! He has the Swordmaster crest…”
But before Royg could finish, the office doors swung open.
A man entered and kneeled before Royg. He was a messenger from the troops led by Vilian, who were headed to the south.
“Ex-excuse me, captain!”
“You’re one of the men who I sent south with Vilian to hunt slaves. What is it?”
Solm’s shoulders slumped when he heard those words. The messenger opened his mouth.
“Yes, captain… Vilian…has been captured!”
“Vi-vi-v-vi-Vilian is captured? You must be mistaken?”
“It is true. While attempting to enslave demihumans near the road, th-they were…”
“What is it? Spit it out!!”
“…Ye-yes! Si-Sir Joshua appeared and challenged him to a duel. And Vilian’s sword was shattered, and he was stripped of his clothing before being sent away… But after that, the Grank mercenaries appeared and captured him.”
“Yes. The Joshua who worked as a production magician in our order.”
“Joshua did… And Vilian was defeated by him…”
Royg’s face turned pale.
“That cannot be… Joshua was only stronger a long time ago. I would not lose to him as I am now… Never. Never…”
Solm ignored Royg, who muttered to himself, and asked the messenger.
“And what of Joshua?”
“According to the last eyewitness account, he spoke with the Grank mercenaries and then entered the forest.”
“I see. So Joshua hasn’t been captured… And the soldiers?”
“The…the vice commandant and other officers all left, saying they were returning to their homes…only the oldest and loyal knights remained… But there are less than a thousand. They are on their way back to Chevalburg.”
Royg groaned when he heard the messenger’s words.
Those who had returned to their homes would be those who were like Vilian. They had only joined after being lured by the prospect of wealth and glory.
But Royg felt betrayed.
Solm muttered in an exasperated voice.
“How pathetic. In the end, they had no belief in the order at all. Captain… You have nothing left. If you wish to start again, there is only one road left to take.”
Solm said admonishingly.
“You must ask Joshua for forgiveness. If you wish to start over… I will go with you to meet Joshua.”
Royg stared at the ground and mumbled. Then he finally raised his face and addressed Solm in his usual voice.
“Indeed…I will. If he would return… Solm, you will accompany me then? I cannot go alone and face the Grank mercenaries.”
“Of course. If that is your wish, the rest of the old guard will surely follow you as well.”
“Then we must go at once… Tomorrow then.”
Solm’s face brightened a little at Royg’s decision.
The next day, Royg’s army of two thousand, which included the returned soldiers, marched out of Chevalburg.