Chapter 0304 QC Duchy
“What is that…? It looks like something is raining from the sky.”
“A red light… waterfall?”
Ryo threw out the question to no one in particular, and Priest Etho answered as if muttering to himself.
The scene did not seem very real.
It was as if a glowing red waterfall was spilling down from the sky into the walled city….
“Is that…magic or…?”
“I’m not sure…but the flow of magic power is a little…”
Harold, the swordsman of Room 11, asked, and Zeke, the priest, answered.
The dual swordsman Gowan watched the scene with his mouth gaping open.
“I had heard that the magic system of the Western Countries was quite different from that of the Central Nations…but this…”
Priest Etho muttered.
“It somehow reminds me of…that Explosive Blaze Magician’s magic…”
Amon nodded at swordsman Niels’ muttering.
Perhaps what they both felt was Oscar’s <True Universal Collapse>.
The original <True Universal Collapse> is an AOE annihilation magic for attacking cities.
If used against a city, it could very well produce a scene similar to the one before them….
Even as the six of them said various things, Ryo remained silent the whole time.
To Ryo, it looked as if a swarm of angels were descending from the sky.
Perhaps it was because of his knowledge of the ‘Bible’ on Earth.
The Book of Daniel in the Old Testament describes a vision that the prophet Daniel saw.
In its seventh chapter, the supposed angels were described in thousands upon thousands and ten thousands upon ten thousands….
Just a thousand times a thousand is already a million.
Let alone ten thousand times ten thousand, a hundred million….
The sight of such a staggering number of angels descending….
Etho, who had closed his eyes and was apparently sensing something, opened them and then muttered:
“For some reason, I can feel the magic power coming from that red light waterfall this far out…”
“Yeah. And doesn’t it oddly feels kind of familiar?”
Responding to Etho’s words was Zeke, also a priest.
“Oh, you feel it too, Zeke?”
“Yeah. I can feel the magic power of that ‘priest’-looking man who teleported us.”
“Hey now, are you serious…”
Etho, Zeke said, to which Niels replied with a frown.
Naturally, not only the Kingdom delegation but also the Empire and the Union delegations that had arrived at the hill earlier stopped and watched the scene.
The heads of the two nations, namely, former emperor Rupert and former king Roberto Pirlo, went to Hugh McGrath, the head of the Kingdom delegation.
“Now, leader McGrath, what do you think we should do?”
Former emperor Rupert, the leader of the Imperial delegation said at the outset.
Hugh turned to Rupert and Roberto Pirlo.
Naturally, Rupert’s question was not about wanting to hear Hugh’s opinion because he did not know what to do.
Those in the same standing as them, as they should, already have the answer within themselves before asking.
Still, they asked because….
‘Prove that you are worthy of your position with your answer.’
In a nutshell.
Otherwise, he wouldn’t have been able to run the nation for decades as the highest authority.
Certainly not a feat anyone could pull off.
Only answers that are at least as good as or better than those thought up by the questioners are considered a pass.
Needless to say, Hugh understood that.
(No one can deny the fact that both the former emperor and the former king have accrued tremendous achievements, and are monsters in politics…honestly, the pressure is too much for me…. I seriously resent you, Your Majesty Abel, for pushing me into this position.)
Such thoughts were going through his mind, although didn’t show on his face at all.
“The main group should stay and remain on standby while we send out a reconnaissance team to check out the city and its surroundings. It is a long way to the city, and it would take too much time to get there on foot or by running. So, we’ll need those who can ride horses. And those who are proficient in magic. I’d like to send the people from our group, but most adventurers can’t ride horses, so… allow me to apologize for that.”
In other words, the dangerous reconnaissance mission would be left to the Empire and the Union to sort out.
Because the Kingdom’s guards were all adventurers and couldn’t ride horses.
“Kukuku… I guess we got the tables turned on us this time, Your Majesty Roberto Pirlo.”
“Honestly, I’m in awe. It seems that the hero of the Great War is also a good negotiator.”
Former emperor Rupert laughed lightly, and former king Roberto Pirlo grinned.
Hugh’s answer seemed to have exceeded their expectations….
The main mission remained halted at the top of the hill.
From there, a party of about twenty mounted scouts could be seen heading toward the city.
“Are those…from the Empire?”
“Looks like it.”
Ryo’s non-directed question was answered with a nod from Niels next to him.
“Good for you, Niels. Thanks to your inability to ride a horse, you didn’t have to be sent out on such a dangerous reconnaissance mission.”
“Why do I feel like you’re making fun of me…”
“Huh? Can you ride a horse then?”
“…No, I can’t.”
Niels answered Ryo’s question with a frown.
“Niels… can’t you see that you’re losing to your juniors?”
“I bet the three of you in Room 11 can ride a horse.”
Ryo said and turned to the three members of Room 11.
“More or less…”
“I can, but what makes you think so, Ryo?”
Swordsman Harold answered awkwardly, dual swordsman Gowan replied out of the respect that Harold held for Niels, and priest Zeke wondered how Ryo knew about it.
And then there’s Niels, the senior swordsman, looking at the three of them with a shocked expression….
Etho and Amon, who were in the same shoes as Niels, unable to ride, laughed bitterly….
“Harold is, after all, the son of His Royal Highness Prince Cain. Prince Cain was a very intelligent man, and as a member of the royal family, he must have given him the necessary education. And Gowan, who will eventually become Harold’s personal attendant, must have trained to be able to ride a horse. As for Zeke… somehow, I figured you must have been trained in that aspect from childhood. So I concluded that all three of you would be able to ride.”
Niels could only accept Ryo’s explanation because he turned out to be right, even though he felt that it was riddled with quite a few random inferences.
The three of Room 11 were surprised to find that he was quite correct despite his random speculations.
As long as you’re right, you can usually shut out any criticisms.
And for some reason, swordsman Harold was a little bothered by what Ryo had said.
“Ryo-san, do you know my father?”
He must have gotten curious after hearing how Ryo described him, ‘Prince Cain was a very intelligent man’.
“Not directly. But I saw some of the homework that Prince Cain prepared for Abel during his impromptu education. They were all extremely brilliant exercises. Exercises show the intellectual level of the person who prepared them. It was clear from those exercises that Prince Cain had the makings of a great ruler.”
“Father prepared exercises for His Majesty Abel…”
Hearing Ryo’s explanation, Harold looked a little sad.
“Father never prepared such exercises for me…”
That was probably the reason for the forlorn look on his face.
“Were you perhaps not on good terms with Prince Cain?”
“Oh no, not at all. My father was often ill, that’s for sure, but when he was feeling well, he taught me a lot of things.”
In response to Ryo’s question, Harold answered hurriedly.
“I believe he created those exercises for Abel out of necessity.”
Ryo looked Harold firmly in the eye as he said that.
Then he continued.
“Under normal circumstances, he would have wanted to take his time to teach you properly. You were able to learn directly from Prince Cain, but Abel, on the other hand, was an adventurer away from home. So, even if you don’t have a complete understanding of what you learned right now, you might be able to do so later.”
There was a little glimmer of light in the corner of Harold’s eye as he said that….
Even as they were having that conversation on the hill, the mission’s scouting party was approaching the city.
And as they approached the city, they noticed something.
“Captain, I don’t see anyone outside the city.”
“Yeah, that’s strange.”
If there was a fire or something unusual happening inside the city, people would try to evacuate outside the city.
However, even though the city gates remained open, no one came out….
Shortly thereafter, the waterfall of light disappeared.
“So, the waterfall of light has vanished. And there’s no one outside the city walls…. I was hoping we could maybe pick up some clues if anyone was there, but… there’s no choice, we’re going in.”
All members of the unit replied to the captain’s words without hesitation.
They were elite.
Four hours later.
The Kingdom delegation was informed that the scouting party were back and would be giving their report.
Not only to former emperor Rupert, but also to the Union and the Kingdom. The scouting party would be reporting directly to them all together.
Therefore, Hugh McGrath, head of the Kingdom delegation, proceeded to the designated location… but.
“Why are you following me, Ryo?”
He noticed that the water-attribute magician was sneaking after him and called him out.
He had noticed him much earlier, but he thought he was going somewhere else and happened to be going in the same direction… but it seemed he was trailing him.
Ryo, on the other hand thought he was doing a good job tailing them.
“Hey, Mr. Hugh, if you speak so loudly, the others will notice too!”
Ryo hurriedly retorted.
“Nah, they already did, obviously…”
Hugh said, totally dumbfounded.
Ryo looked around steathily.
“I didn’t see a thing.”
Former emperor Rupert.
“I didn’t even notice until you mentioned it.”
Former king Roberto Pirlo.
Ryo said proudly.
“This is absurd! Why are you guys playing along with this farce too!”
“Mr. Hugh, you’re being disrespectful. Even though you’re currently in the same standing as them, they’re still a former emperor and a former king. Please be careful with your language.”
For some reason, Ryo said in a high-handed manner.
“As expected of Sir Ryo, who is known as King Abel’s most trusted vassal. The premier duke of the Kingdom really is different from the bunch after all.”
“Master McGrath too, you are a hero of the Kingdom. Don’t forget that your words and deeds are always under the spotlight.”
For some reason, Hugh McGrath was being pissed off by the big three, Ryo, Rupert, and Roberto Pirlo….
The reconnaissance team’s report was given amidst Hugh’s slight, or perhaps quite significant, frustration.
As for the content….
Many of the buildings were on fire. Or had burned to the ground.
The city was empty.
There were no bodies.
“We can’t go into the city.”
“I agree. Sooner or later, the garrison of the Duchy or some other city will probably show up. Since we were able to see what was happening from this hill, I reckon so would others.”
“Then it’d be better to remain on this hill.”
“If we put out a flag, the troops who come to check on the city will try to make contact with us. Since the news of our coming has been conveyed to the Duchy from the Kingdom of Sufouh.”
Between former emperor Rupert and former king Roberto Pirlo, a decision was made on how to deal with the situation one after another.
The other leader, Hugh McGrath, simply watched on with his arms crossed.
Ryo, who was watching beside him, was fretting.
Then he whispered to Hugh in a hushed tone.
“Mr. Hugh, don’t you think you should say something, maybe?”
“Hm? I don’t think that’s necessary, do you?”
“Something to show that Hugh McGrath is also present! Cuz if you don’t create such an impression, they’ll take you lightly, don’t you think?”
“Oh goodness me…”
Hugh was exasperated by Ryo’s proposal after what he had done just now.
In the end, it was not until ten days later that the mission was able to enter QC Duchy’s capital, Deale, after making contact with the troops who had come to investigate the city’s oddity.