Releasing on Tue Thu Sun this week!
Chapter 0364 Ryo’s Covert (?) Operations
Deputy to Gladys Aldiss, negotiator for the Ministry of Military Affairs.
That was the current position of Ashley Buckland, former head of the East Gate Royal Capital Guard.
After the liberation of the Kingdom, Ashley was transferred from the Western Garrison to the Royal Capital Guard, and as the head of the East Gate, she did his job very solidly.
Along the way, she was at times swept away… by the reckless behavior of the newly appointed premier duke, a magician whose actions could not be gauged by common sense, but she was generally able to revel in her work.
Ashley was transferred to the main office of the Ministry of Military Affairs, and not long after that, word came down about a delegation to the Western Countries… and she was to go to the Western Countries as second in command to Gladys Aldiss, who was in charge of the civilian staff of the Ministry of Military Affairs.
Gladys, in her mid-fifties, was not without front-line experience, but especially in the areas of supply and organization, she was known to be the best in the Ministry of Military Affairs.
It is said that Ashley was appointed as her deputy because Gladys herself requested her.
Ashley has long experience in the Western Garrison and the Royal Capital Guard, units that, while not stationed at the front lines, still require physical strength daily.
She may look sweet, but her sword arts and physical skills are the best in the garrison… and she had never lost to a male opponent.
Moreover, she is also highly capable of handling paperwork.
With such excellent talent, there was no way they would leave her alone.
In the first place, the Ministry of Military Affairs has very little to do in the negotiations with the Western Countries.
At best, they may come in when discussing the number of military officers to be allowed on board trading vessels.
As the relationship progresses and both sides start talking about establishing embassies in each other’s countries, there will be many things to negotiate, such as the number of military officers stationed in each country, the size of the military force stationed in each country, and the status of forces agreement….
But nothing like that as of yet.
So, to put it bluntly, one could say that they are quite idle compared to the other civilian officials.
As such, Ashley, the second-in-command of negotiator Gladys, was also on a kind of break.
Rather, she is free to spend her time when Gladys is in the quarters.
When Gladys leaves the quarters, she tags along as her escort….
While Ashley was enjoying cake and coffee in the lounge on the first floor of the mission quarters, a suspicious magician in a robe appeared….
“Excuse me. Do you mind if I sit here?”
“Yes… wait, what? Du-Duke Rondo!”
Ashley managed to hold back from screaming out at Ryo, but she let out a quiet but shrill voice.
Ashley also knew that Ryo was part of this delegation.
However, there were over three hundred people in the Kingdom delegation alone, and since they were civilian official and escort adventurer, there was no real need to establish contact.
Besides, she knew that Ryo was acting as an ‘Adventurer’ and not as a ‘Duke’.
But today, he suddenly approached her, and she got so surprised that she called him duke….
“Sorry. I didn’t mean to startle you like that.”
Ryo chuckled as Ashley was more surprised than he had expected.
“Oh, no, I’m sorry. Um, I guess I should call you Mr. Ryo.”
Ashley knew that those around Ryo called him that all the time, so she decided to follow that.
After a while, the Rindo tart and dark coffee that Ryo ordered arrived.
Apparently, it’s called dark coffee because it is from the Dark Continent.
“Please, Ms. Ashley, help yourself.”
Ryo said and took a bite of the Rindo tart.
As the perfect balance of sweetness and tartness spread across his mouth, he couldn’t help but grin.
Seeing that, Ashley, who had been nervous until then, also relaxed.
A smile is always a good ice breaker, no matter the occasion.
After they had both finished eating their cake and moved on to their coffee, Ryo spoke up.
“Actually, some people are monitoring Gladys Aldiss, the negotiator for the Ministry of Military Affairs.”
Ryo cut right to it without beating around the bush. Ashley, the deputy, was a little surprised… but after thinking about it for a bit, she thought it was nothing strange.
She felt it was only natural to designate people from other countries, especially those related to military service, for surveillance.
“I’m not talking about some ordinary surveillance, it’s pretty covert. I don’t know the purpose yet, but I thought it would be a good idea to fill you in as her deputy and escort…”
“Understood! Thank you.”
Ryo said, and Ashley bowed and thanked him.
That’s right, they were in hostile territory… well not exactly, but it was not their country.
Nor was it a place where their safety was always guaranteed.
The quarters aside, but once they step outside, she would need to carry out her escort duties with a greater sense of urgency than ever before.
Ashley bowed her head to Ryo, expressing her gratitude to him for reinforcing her mindset.
“Oh, not at all. Ms. Ashley always took care of me back then at the walls of the royal capital after all.”
Ryo laughed and left.
Ryo, on the other hand, did the only thing he could think of.
In fact, since he had no idea why Negotiator Gladys was being watched, he has no other recourse than to tell her escort, Ashley, to be careful.
((You’re not going to tell her, like you did with me, that she’ll be safe as long as you keep her in your ice…))
The King back in the royal capital said in a rather sulky manner.
((Abel is special!))
Ryo told the truth.
‘Special’ can mean special in a good way or special in a bad way… in that sense, he said the truth….
((Also, you should probably inform Gramas too, right?))
The Gramas Abel was referring to was the Grandmaster, or Commander Hugh McGrath.
(Right, I suppose that would be better. You know sometimes you give helpful opinions, Abel!))
((…What a condescending way of putting it.))
((Abel is His Majesty the King, you know. You are the top dog, right? And being in that position, it’s very easy to get carried away. Someone has to knock you down a peg or two, so I have no choice but to take that role! ))
((I guess this is also the role of the premier duke, so I had no choice, you know? I suppose no one else can take it on, huh?))
((I see… guess I should be thanking you…))
((Oh please, you don’t have to.))
Ryo was embarrassed for some reason.
That was also possible because of the good relationship between them.
If others did it, the relationship would probably fall apart… and possibly lead to a civil war that could split the country in two….
“I see, so Lady Gladys is under surveillance, uh…”
Hearing Ryo’s explanation, Hugh muttered to himself and pondered.
However, there were only so many things he could do about it in reality.
It’s another story if they were making a move on her, but since it was just surveillance, there was nothing he could do about it.
In fact, there was also a possibility that nothing would happen.
Rather, highly likely.
After all, they were foreign delegates in their country, and she is a senior member of that delegation.
“She comes from a prominent family. She is the next Marquess of Wildmoor. The current head of the family is in his mid-80s, so she will probably succeed him soon…”
Ryo listened to Hugh’s explanation carefully.
Hugh was supposed to take over Count Forsythe’s house, which is owned by his married wife Elsie’s father. In other words, he is the next Count.
And Ryo, though may not look it, is the premier duke.
Though he doesn’t know anything about the changes in the Kingdom nobility, he’s aware enough to retain fresh incoming information.
“Oh, yes, she is also a Holy Sword bearer.”
“A Holy Sword bearer? She wields a Holy Sword?”
Ryo replied in surprise to Hugh’s words.
There are not so many holy swords or magic swords.
Although the grandmaster in front of him also has a holy sword….
“The Marquis of Wildmoor was originally founded by a Saint. The holy sword has been handed down from generation to generation. From what I’ve heard, I only know it as the ‘Sword of Malice’…. And since she always wears it on her person, she most likely brought it along with her on this mission?”
“Ooohhh~. I sure would love to see it. But holy swords, unlike magic swords, looks like a normal sword, right?”
Ryo looked at Hugh’s holy sword, thought of Abel’s magic sword and asked.
Hugh’s holy sword looked like an ordinary sword, but Abel’s magic sword glowed red when he holds it.
“That’s right. A magic sword glows when its owner holds it, but a holy sword does not. But it is said that it glows when its chosen owner unleashes the sword’s power. Perhaps a chosen bearer like a hero.”
“I see…. Speaking of which, I heard that there are three holy sword bearers in the Kingdom, is Ms. Gladys one of them?”
“No, you’re wrong. That information is inaccurate. There are three ‘adventurers’ in the Kingdom who have holy swords. Well, including former adventurers.”
“Oh, I see. So Gladys-san is not included.”
“The holy sword is even more selfish than the magic sword. If it doesn’t approve of the person holding it, I heard that some holy swords even suck away the entire life force of the wielder.”
“…That’s even more frightening than a magic sword.”
“Well, that’s why the owners always have it on their person. Because if they leave it in the wrong place and someone grabs it and it goes ballistic, it’s all over, right?”
Ryo likened it to a pet dog or cat in his mind.
It would be difficult for anyone but the owner to lift and carry it….
“So even if someone takes away the holy sword, they can’t use it…”
“That’s right. It’s usually passed on when the bearer dies.”
Hugh glanced at his holy sword as he said that.
Hugh’s holy sword was passed down to him in that very manner.
When Ryo heard that Gladys was a holy sword bearer, he thought that their goal was to snatch the holy sword, but apparently that is not the case….
If it’s something they can’t use if they take it, they won’t go so far as to attack a senior member of a state delegation to take it from her.
But then… why exactly were they monitoring her?
“I still can’t think of any reason for the surveillance…”
Ryo said, and Hugh agreed.
It’s always a drag.
Playing a guessing game.
“Eh? I’m being watched?”
The office of the negotiator of the Ministry of Military Affairs… but it is also Gladys Aldiss’s private quarters.
It was a two-room suite with a simple sofa set.
Gladys tilted her head at the report of her second-in-command, Ashley.
“Yeah. These people are said to be monitoring Lady Gladys and someone else from the Union delegation.”
Ashley told her everything she had heard from Ryo.
Of course, Ryo also said it would be best if she did.
“Who… gave you this information? And how reliable is it?”
“The source of the information is Duke Rondo, and you can bet that it’s most certainly reliable. He didn’t tell me much, but he said he would inform me when he captures them…”
“The rumored Premier Duke…. Though you’ve told me about him, he really is an interesting fellow.”
Gladys replied with a laugh to Ashley’s explanation.
“In that case, guess I best be on my guard. Still… that doesn’t leave me with much options.”
Gladys and Ashley both raised their eyebrows a little.
In fact, except for being more vigilant, there was nothing more she could do….
When leaving the premises of the quarters, her deputy, Ashley, is always by her side, and many of the other civilian officials are also able to use swords, as they belong to the Ministry of Military Affairs.
They, too, escort Gladys when she goes out.
Of course, Gladys herself is the eldest daughter of the Marquis of Wildmoor and has been trained from a young age as the heiress.
Even though she is over fifty years old, her sword skills have not diminished in the slightest.
“If possible, I would also like to know who in the Union delegation is being monitored. If we can figure that out, we might be able to deduce something from the similarities between us…”
Ashley nodded to Gladys’ words.