Chapter 0196 Coordination
“From Acre onward, we’ll be seeing more of forests.”
Abel said, after they left Acre.
“In other words, from here on out, our real journey begins.”
Ryo nodded seriously with a face that looked like he had made a tragic decision.
“Well, you don’t have to be that serious …. After Acre, we’ll still have to go through Birdon Braine, where we’ll be staying tonight.”
“Oh really…. Then you can keep the speech till tomorrow.”
“What’re you talking about, even now, the journey is already as ‘real’ as it gets…”
Ryo sighed and shook his head slightly, as if to say, oh dear. Abel saw this and chided him.
It was the usual spectacle.
That said, things were a little different in the carriage than they had been up until yesterday.
Until yesterday, the inside of the carriage was truly a scene that could be described as a mobile study room, but today, the number of documents out on the desk had reduced to less than half.
As expected, this was the result of taking into consideration the warning from Phelps, along with the fact that they were no longer on the third highway which only stretches up to Acre, where complete safety was ensured.
“Speaking of which, Phelps told me yesterday that he caught some guys from the Order of Assassins who were sniffing around in Acre and questioned them…”
“Oh…yeah, he’s good at that kind of stuff.”
Abel nodded his head and replied.
“The assassins of the Order are probably not that big of a deal if they can be caught so easily.”
“Nah…I don’t think that’s necessarily the case.”
“What do you mean?”
Abel refuted it, and Ryo tilted his head and asked in response.
“It’s because Acre, or rather Marquis Heinlein’s territory to be exact, has one of the best counter-intelligence capabilities in the Kingdom.”
“Because Phelps is proficient in that field?”
“You could say that, but his father is even stronger in that field than Phelps himself. After all, he is Phelps’ mentor.”
Abel replied, thinking of the face of Phelps’ father, the current Marquis Heinlein.
“The former Knight-Commander of the Kingdom, right?”
“The former former Knight-Commander of the Kingdom, yes.”
Because the former Knight-Commander of the Kingdom, Baccara, died in the royal capital chaos.
“His father, Marquis Alexis Heinlein, was an exceptional Knight-Commander who was called the ‘Demon’, but he was also a man who understood the importance of intelligence and counter-intelligence.”
“That’s the last thing you would imagine being the responsibilities of someone bearing the title of ‘Knight-Commander’…”
“Exactly. But it was precisely because Alexis was the Knight-Commander of the Kingdom that the Kingdom won a great victory in the ‘Great War’ ten years ago. Even Alexis said it himself. That it was thanks to the ‘power of information’.”
“Know your enemy, know thyself, and you shall not fear a hundred battles.”
Ryo muttered a line from Sun Tzu, and Abel asked in confusion.
“Nothing, it’s just a composition from my hometown that describes the importance of information in war.”
“Wow. Looks like you get it too, Ryo.”
Ryo had been a fan of strategy simulation games since he was a child.
“It’s common knowledge in my hometown.”
“R-Right, I see…”
Marquis Heinlein’s office.
Alexis, the current Marquis Heinlein, was doing his daily paperwork.
Although he would turn 50 this year, he still had a youthful appearance and a toned body without a trace of flab.
A man walked into his office.
“Father, the diplomatic mission has left the city.”
It was Alexis’ eldest son, Phelps, a B-rank adventurer, who made the report.
“Okay, good work. Still, it’s a little surprising. That Dontan is the one leading the knights. Apparently he’s now a company commander. Back then he was just a kid…it just goes to show you how much time flies. Which reminds me, you were at the inn at the other side yesterday…”
“Oh, you noticed? Yes, I’ve informed them about the matter. Abel was half drunk, so I told Ryo.”
“The Water-Attribute Magician?”
Alexis sighed a little as he said this.
“You still don’t trust Ryo, do you, father?”
It was not an inquiry, nor an accusation, but a question from a son to a worrier father.
“No, I do trust him. Not only Abel, but you too, seem to trust him, and considerably at that. That’s not what I’m worried about, it’s the fact the power he possesses is too powerful…”
“Oh, you’re talking about that village incident.”
By that village, they were referring to the village of the Order of Assassins that Ryo froze with <Permafrost>.
Of course, this information was not made known to the general public, and even the nobles of the Kingdom knew little about it, that was the work of the Heinlein family.
But the Heinlein family, with their extensive information-gathering capabilities, knew with a high degree of certainty what had happened and who had been involved.
“It’s amazing that he knew the location of that village before we did, but it’s even more amazing that he destroyed it single-handedly. Hopefully, he won’t use that power against the Kingdom someday.”
Alexis said with a painstakingly timid expression that was hard to believe for someone who had been called a ‘demon’ in the past.
But his son, Phelps, was aware.
That was Alexis Heinlein’s real character.
No doubt, he’s a demon…a man aggressive in his attacks and used every and any means to destroy his enemies.
Yet at heart, he was a very sensitive and careful character.
Which was why he excelled in espionage.
“Speaking of which, that dubious intel on Twilight Land turned out to be true. Here, I received this just now.”
Alexis handed a piece of paper to Phelps.
Phelps read it over and muttered with a slight frown.
“Possible civil unrest…”
“That’s right. Whether it be the situation with the Inbury Duchy, or the turmoil in the eastern part of our kingdom, the central nations are certainly restless.”
In the eastern part of the Kingdom, various turmoil had occurred since the collapse of the Rho Great Bridge, and refugees from the Inbury Duchy had also entered the region, causing a serious deterioration in public safety.
Local lords, who were supposed to control the chaos, lost their lives in rebellions, were attacked by monster waves out of nowhere, or were somehow caught in a house fire that broke out, and the chaos continued to grow.
“The one behind this is…”
“It can’t be Lord Aubrey.”
“My thoughts exactly. What’s more Lord Aubrey himself told Master McGrath the same thing…. Putting aside whether or not to believe him, now that they’ve got the Inbury Duchy, the chaos brewing in the neighboring eastern part of the kingdom is the last thing they will want. Assuming they haven’t acquired the Duchy, it would have been the perfect sabotage to prevent the Kingdom from intervening. But now, they would only be shooting themselves in the foot. Which means, it’s another great power pulling the strings…”
Alexis and Phelps both frowned.
Even if it’s the Empire pulling the strings, they hadn’t a clue why.
The eastern part of the Kingdom did not border the Empire in the first place. The northern part of the Kingdom, which boast a considerable territory area, lies directly next to the Empire.
Still, it would be difficult to obtain the eastern part of the Kingdom just because it’s weakened and in mayhem.
Why there, specifically…?
They were brainstorming for answers.
“Let’s leave the Eastern situation aside, for now. And focus on gathering as much information as we can. So that we’ll be ready to move if anything happens. You plan to stick around a while, right, Phelps?”
“Yes. I have a lot of information I need to go through thoroughly.”
“Hahaha. It is good to be cautious. You’ll learn a lot while you’re here.”
Thus, the world would continue to revolve even in places that the average person wouldn’t dare imagine.
At the same time, Ryo and Abel were enjoying an after-dinner coffee break…in the carriage.
In Acre city, there were roasted Kona coffee beans among the things that Phelps had given to them.
Of course, Ryo still had more than enough coffee beans that he prepared beforehand, but one can never have too many. As long as they’re traveling in a carriage!
Ryo’s appreciation of Phelps, who had anticipated this and offered it to him, was rising rapidly as he nodded in approval.
As they were enjoying their coffee, they heard a voice from outside.
When the voice reached the mission, the carriages were gathered and some of the knights with their shields formed a perimeter around it.
Having done that, the adventurers and the rest of the knights left to defeat the monsters.
(Finally, the monster encounter event! Up until now, since I moved to Rune city, I have never had such an experience, come to think of it. And I’d like to think that I’ve passed through these roads more than enough times…. Still! But here it is, at last!)
That’s what was going through Ryo’s mind.
By the way, Ryo and Abel were still sitting in the carriage, watching from the window.
“I was going to suggest maybe we should go help out, but Abel…”
“Who are you making such lame excuses to! Were you not the one that said, it’d be uncouth if we interfered, Ryo.”
Yes, they had not received any instructions from anyone beforehand on how to act.
However, since the other civil servants riding in the carriage remained quiet in their carriages, they decided that they should also remain quiet.
If something unexpected happened and the knights and adventurers got in trouble, they would go to their aid.
That was the agreement they came to.
Incidentally, the squires who accompanied the knights were waiting inside the shield perimeter around the carriages with their bows at the ready.
Since a knight cannot wear his armor alone, he is always accompanied by a squire on the battlefield. The squires basically do not participate in battles.
However, on ‘Phi’, it would appear that they are put in charge of long-range attacks as bowmen….
“Here they come!”
The monsters were approaching from the right.
“A pack of warwolves!”
They looked like a larger version of wolves.
Although each one was fast, adventurers and knights of this rank would not lag behind, but since they almost always act in packs, they are not easy to deal with.
Both Abel and Ryo thought so….
Magician adventurers unleashed ranged attacks. At the same time, the squires also released their bows.
Although bows could hardly kill them, they could still wound them.
The C-rank adventurers’ offensive magic would almost certainly hit them.
And if they do, they can be defeated.
After the ranged attacks had reduced their numbers to a certain extent, it was the knights’ turn to charge at the monsters.
They either caught the warwolves coming at them with their shields. Or, strike them from below.
Then, the adventurers thrust their spears into the monsters that were stopped in their tracks.
The adventurers and knights worked in perfect coordination.
(I was looking forward to the classic development…like in otherworldly stories, where adventurers and knights bicker and argue with each other, but…that wasn’t the case at all. Indeed, every book is overly exaggerated! )
They’re all novels after all. Nothing but fiction.
They’re not documentaries.
The knights and adventurers defeated all the warwolf monsters without a single casualty.
Finally, the wind-attribute magician probed the surroundings with <Probe> to make sure no other monsters were attacking before the tension was finally lifted.
The knights shook hands with each of the adventurers’ party leaders.
Showken, the leader of the group of adventurers, and Dontan, the company commander leading the knights, shook hands quite firmly.
The two men must have felt a sense of satisfaction, since their meticulous discussions had led to this complete victory.
“It’s a beautiful sight, isn’t it?”
Ryo nodded repeatedly as he watched the scene filled with such camaraderie.
“Wow, I did not see that coming, Ryo, I was expecting you to be like, ‘And here I was hoping to see some big mess and awful coordination between the knights and the adventurers’, or something like that…”
“Whoa, what exactly do you take me for, Abel…?”
Ryo plopped down on the carriage desk, feigning heartbreak.
The handshake between the adventurers and the knights.
That wonderful scene was repeated after that.
Every day, once in the morning and once in the afternoon.
That’s right, meaning, monster attacks began to occur regularly.