Chapter 0167 Wagon
On that day, as usual, Ryo had lunch with Sera at 『Houshoku-tei』 and were on their way to the Lord’s manor.
They were going to have their mock battle at the Knights Training Ground, which was almost a daily routine by now.
However, the atmosphere in the Lord’s manor was unusual and there was a flurry of activity when they arrived.
Sera asked a nearby knight.
“Johan, what happened?”
“Oh, Sera, Ryo. The news just came from the Royal Capital. It seems that the Handal Union has declared war on the Inbury Duchy.”
As long as both countries had borders with the Kingdom, the war was pertinent to the Kingdom of Knightley.
However, Ryo was clearly shaken.
It was a first for Sera to see Ryo so distressed.
“Well … my disciples are in the Inbury Duchy…”
Ryo’s answer was unexpected for Sera and she could only return the same words to him.
“They were children who worked with a company … I don’t think they will enter the battlefield because they are merchants in the making, but if the Union pushes into the Duchy capital …”
“Ryo, calm down.”
Sera squeezed Ryo’s hands.
She only squeezed them and did not say anything more or do anything else.
However, that alone mysteriously calmed Ryo’s anxiety.
“Thank you, Sera.”
Ryo let go of Sera a little shyly.
Sera’s voice was so tiny that it almost didn’t make any sound and it disappeared without reaching anyone’s ears.
“Yeah, it’s okay. Gecko would keep the kids away from the battlefield. And if they practiced every day, they should be able to use Ice Wall. That’s the best spell to protect themselves so it’ll be okay. Yup, it’ll be okay.”
Ryo repeated the words many times to convince himself.
“Ryo’s Ice Wall …”
He had shown Sera before so she knew that even a single layer was not something that could be easily broken.
Future merchants who could use such a spell … it was a secret that she felt a little terrified.
Squad Captain Eden passed beside them.
Eden was the Knights of Rune’s squad captain of the transport team, who stayed in the Royal Capital during the Royal Capital chaos.
“Sera, Ryo. Did you hear about the declaration of war?”
“Yeah, we just heard about it. So, is it likely that the Knights will participate in the war?”
Sera verified whether they would participate in the war.
An ordinary Knight wouldn’t know at that stage but Eden was the most senior squad leader and therefore held the highest position.
So, he would likely have detailed information.
“No, it seems that the Knights will not participate in the war. The Royal Capital’s Kingdom Knights’ Order was annihilated so the other Knight Orders of the Kingdom, including the Knights of Rune, will probably not participate in the war …”
Sera looked toward Ryo.
“I will go alone.”
Ryo had already decided.
His disciples may be at risk. If he didn’t go and something happened … he would probably regret it for the rest of his life. He was certain of that.
“Wait, Ryo. The Adventurer’s Guild will likely recruit volunteers to dispatch under the 『Mercenary Request』system. It would be difficult for individuals to leave the country because the borders should already be closed. But guild dispatched units can cross the border so it’s better to travel that way.”
Sera was also certain that Ryo would depart for the Inbury Duchy at all costs.
In that case, it would be better if he used a more reliable way to reach there.
“I see. Thank you, Sera. I’ll go to the guild now.”
Ryo said and tried to turn around.
But before that, he was wrapped in a soft sensation.
Sera had hugged him.
“There’s no telling what will happen on the battlefield. I really want to accompany you, but as long as I’m the instructor of the Knights, I can’t decide to do as I please this time. So … be careful. I want you to come back.”
Ryo couldn’t tell what kind of expression Sera had with her face on his shoulder.
However, the words to say at such times were already decided.
“I will definitely come back. I promise.”
Ryo promised and Sera nodded.
By the time she untied her arms and took a step back, Sera was already smiling.
And she said with that smile.
“Have a safe trip.”
“I’ll be back soon.”
Ryo replied and headed for the Adventurer’s Guild.
The Adventurer’s Guild was congested.
The news that the Union declared war on the Duchy and the 『Mercenary Request』 for adventurers that was issued culminated in the hustle and bustle Ryo saw in the guild.
For『Mercenary Requests』 issued by an Adventurer’s Guild, the country of affiliation would act as the client.
As it was a life-threatening request, the reward promised was great.
In the case of a Mercenary Request from the Kingdom of Knightley, the country would provide all the meals while on the move and the battlefield.
On top of that, each person would receive a daily allowance of over 50,000 Florins inclusive of hazard pay.
However, not everyone could participate. There was a restriction that only 『C-rank or higher』 adventurers could apply.
It had to be done because even if a low-level adventurer went to the battlefield, they would easily lose their lives.
The problem was that Ryo was still a D-rank adventurer.
By the time Ryo arrived at the Adventurer’s Guild, the peak shortly after the Mercenary Request was made had passed.
Still, there were a lot of people in the lobby, and pockets of adventurers were having discussions.
Adventurers of C-rank and above talked about the battlefield they were going to and adventurers of D-rank and below talked about how they would one day stand on the battlefield and dreamt of getting rich quick … such conversations happened all over the guild
In the first place, since the danger to life was a daily occurrence for adventurers, they had no reservations about going to the battlefield.
Rather, they gave the sense that they sought honor and reward there.
After all, the Guildmaster of Rune himself became a hero through the Great War.
Perhaps it may be natural the guild members would think ‘Someday we will too!’.
Ryo weaved between those adventurers and arrived at the counter.
There, the veteran receptionists who have handled crowds at peak hours revealed looks of exhaustion as they continued with their professional work.
Among them, Ryo stood at receptionist Nina’s window.
“Nina, I’d like to apply to join the Mercenary Request.”
Hearing Ryo’s request, Nina was at a loss for words.
Nina was a professional receptionist.
She pretty much knew the ranks of all the adventurers in the City of Rune.
According to her knowledge, Ryo’s adventurer rank was …
“Ryo-san is a D-rank, so … a Mercenary Request that only C-rank and above can receive is …”
After hearing Nina’s reply, it was Ryo’s turn to be at a loss for words.
However, Ryo was not one to give up.
This time, the lives of his disciples were at stake … maybe.
“In that case, please make me C-rank right now.”
“Th-that’s a little …”
Nina had also heard rumors of Ryo’s extraordinary fighting ability.
Being a receptionist, she naturally heard various stories from adventurers.
Of course, that didn’t mean she would show favoritism.
However, she understood that Ryo, who was usually rather laid back, may have some reason to be so desperate.
For an ordinary adventurer, money or honor may be the reason … but she knew Ryo had a lot of money in the guild.
She didn’t know the exact amount, but she knew it seemed to be an amount that he could play and live on for the rest of his life.
And she also knew that he was a person who cared little about honor.
So why would he act this way this time …
“I have to go to the Inbury Duchy at all costs because the lives of my disciples are at stake.”
With Ryo’s desperate appeal, Nina was finally able to understand.
『For my disciples』
That was certainly a good reason to be desperate.
“But the rules can’t be bent …”
Nina had no choice but to say so.
Unfortunately, it couldn’t be helped.
“Okay. Let me talk to Hugh for a moment.”
Saying that, Ryo began to head towards the back door.
“Ah, Ryo-san, wait a minute.”
Ryo was already in front of the door when she imagined he was just about to take a step.
He was so swift that it seemed as though he had teleported.
And by the time Nina called out to him, he was going through the door.
Hugh McGrath, Rune’s Adventurer’s Guild Guildmaster, was busier than usual and as such, wasn’t in a good mood.
That was a given since a Mercenary Request was made.
Gathering the adventurers wasn’t an issue.
It was done by the reception and the majority would be C and B-ranks.
At most, there were also the adventurers temporarily staying in the City of Rune.
Their numbers could be estimated.
The problem was food.
When sending the adventurers that have gathered, he must also procure and dispatch the food they would eat.
Although the cost was borne by the country, the money would only be transferred after a few months.
He had to secure food with the money he currently had, arrange for transportation, and in some cases, secure drinking water too.
There would not always be a river that can be used as drinking water.
Especially in the eastern part of the Kingdom, which was the route this time, the security was not good because the Rho Bridge collapsed and the city was destroyed recently.
In such places, the water would often be polluted from the corpses tossed into rivers and wells.
The more he thought about it, the more problems came up … that was usually the case when it came to provisions.
There was a knock on the door to Hugh’s office.
If it was an urgent matter, the guild staff would enter without knocking.
However, he had no plans to meet anyone at that moment.
Although he was skeptical, he couldn’t take any action other than ‘Enter’ because he couldn’t do anything without knowing who the other party was.
It was Ryo who entered.
“Ryo? What happened?”
“I have a request to ask of Hugh. Please make me C-rank.”
“I understand why you want to go, but this time it’s impossible.”
Hugh replied while looking at the paperwork.
The document was Ryo’s guild record.
Information from the resolution of requests he picked up to his contribution and other information were described.
After checking, he decided that he couldn’t promote him to C-rank yet.
“Uuu … I think that I have contributed quite a bit though …”
Ryo had indeed received very few requests. However, his contribution to each request should be a considerable amount. He focused on that.
“You’re right. But C-rank isn’t a rank that is easy to promote in the first place. C-rank signifies a ‘first-class’ adventurer. Some adventurers can’t move up to C-rank and retire as D-rank. That’s why there are strict rules for promotion to C-rank and even guildmasters don’t have the authority to ignore them.”
“Then who has that authority?”
“No one has. Even if it is the Duke or His Majesty the King, they cannot promote to C-rank or higher unless they clear the requirements. It is a rule on the number of resolved requests and the success rate that can’t be bent. Over a hundred completed requests and a success rate of more than 98%. That cannot be changed.”
Hugh McGrath said.
At that point, even Ryo understood that it was impossible to push further.
He had to change his means.
“I will carry luggage or do anything!”
He couldn’t think of a good idea.
Still, he had to try.
“You say you’ll carry the luggage … but they are mostly transported by carriages, but can Ryo control horse-drawn carriages?”
“… I can’t.”
“Yeah, it’s more difficult than it looks.”
Ryo and Hugh sighed deeply.
Ryo sighed in despair after all means were exhausted.
Hugh sighed deeply, remembering the transportation problem.
“I guess I have no choice but to break through the border by force. If I freeze everything, I can somehow …”
Ryo muttered to himself but it reached Hugh’s ears.
“Hey, seriously don’t that.”
Hugh felt a little worried but Ryo stopped his rash train of thought.
“But there is no other way … Oh, I can’t control a carriage but I can make wagons!”
“Using carriages means you use horses and need to transport food for the horses too, right? You’ll have to procure a good number of carriages, right? And what do you do with the carriages when you’re done? You can’t sell it in the war zone. But my wagons can solve all those problems!”
Hugh was also quite interested in that.
Because he had been troubled by the transportation problem many times since just now.
If it could be solved …
“I’m a little interested. Somewhere … okay, show me the wagon at the outdoor practice ground.”
Adventurer’s Guild Outdoor Practice Ground.
Usually, there would be F-rank and E-rank adventurers, but no one was there today.
They were probably in the lobby, engaged enthusiastically about the Mercenary Request.
When Ryo chanted, a four-wheeled ice wagon two meters wide was created.
And when Ryo walked, the <Wagon> followed behind him.
Hugh was impressed.
It didn’t need a horse and could be cast or canceled freely with Ryo’s magic.
“Hey, how many of this can you make?”
“I have no idea … I haven’t tried it. I can make it a little bigger too.”
Ryo said and remade the previously cast <wagon> into a box shape with a length of 3 meters and a height of 2 meters, with the same width.
He made them in the image of boxcars on Earth.
With that, it resembled a carriage with a cover and they could pack their luggage inside.
After one was completed, another wagon was created behind it, another behind it, and so on.
It seemed that he could easily form 20 of them.
As Ryo walked, the twenty wagons followed in single file.
A very fairy tale spectacle was happening in the practice area.
“Oh, yeah, I’ll let Ryo assist with the supplies.”
Hugh sounded a little drained as he approved Ryo’s participation in the 『Mercenary Request』.
Albeit, as a luggage carrier.
Early morning two days after the 『Mercenary Request』 was posted to the Adventurer’s Guild.
It was still five o’clock in the morning, but Ryo was in front of the Adventurer’s Guild, creating twenty <wagons> and watching the luggage being loaded.
“Ryo, it’s a little late to ask now, but are you really okay with this?”
Hugh asked while watching them load supplies alongside Ryo.
“Well, this is pretty eye-catching? Although adventurers will be coming from every city, people will still gossip about you. I figured you were trying to avoid that?”
Ryo could supply an entire army on his own … which could be said to be a coveted ability for those who run an organization.
The military was a given, but merchants would covet him such that they no longer have to hire carriages, and aristocrats from all over the world would find it easier to transport goods.
Hugh knew that it was something Ryo didn’t want.
“Well, that might be the case … I can’t replace solve this without making some sacrifices. I’m worried about Gecko and the other and I need to confirm the safety of my disciples.”
Hugh replied and stopped their conversation there.
It was because the adventurers participating in the ‘expedition’ started gathering little by little.
Among them …
“I’m enthusiastic about being led by Gilmas himself … wait, Ryo? Why is Ryo here?”
It was B-rank adventurer Abel.
The B-rank party 『Crimson Sword』 would participate in the expedition.
The White Brigade, also a B-rank party, would watch over the City of Rune.
In such cases, the Crimson Sword would be the highest-ranking in the expeditionary force departing from Rune, and their leader Abel would inevitably lead the expeditionary force, but this time it was different.
That was because the guildmaster Hugh McGrath himself was participating.
Of course, no one would find fault with Master McGrath, the hero of the Great War, participating in the war, but Hugh was participating in the war to watch over Abel.
Abel was the second son of the royal family.
The crown prince was talented but had a weak constitution. If something were to happen, Abel would lead the country.
Abel had to survive for that ‘possibility’.
To that end, Hugh was thinking of taking part in the war, holding Abel’s reins, and taking the brunt of the battle himself.
It wasn’t known if Abel anticipated such a situation, but he welcomed Hugh’s participation.
However, he didn’t expect Ryo to be there.
Ryo was a D-rank adventurer.
Even though he knew that his combat power was far superior to even that of himself at B-rank, there were no exceptions to guild regulations.
For that reason, he didn’t think that Ryo, a D-rank, would be allowed to participate in the war.
“Abel, I am the luggage carrier.”
Then, Ryo pointed to the <wagons> where luggage was being loaded onto one after another.
“I see … that’s ice? Amazing. I’m seeing it for the first time … but … why does it feel familiar?”
That was because Abel was carried by that wagon before when he was unconscious.
Ryo had no intention of revealing that no matter what.
Ryo created a wagon and carried Abel on it, when he found him washed up on the shore of Rondo Forest, to his house.
Abel, who should have been unconscious the entire time, seemed to recall the wagon, probably because he had a more sensitive perception than others.
“W-well, it’s a common wagon …”
“No, it’s not common at all.”
Ryo’s poor excuse was cut down by Abel in a single swipe.
And at seven o’clock.
Rune’s expeditionary force, led by Hugh McGrath, set out for Red Post, a city on the eastern border, where adventurers from other cities will gather.
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