41.1 Again, Sorry for the Trouble
I’m surprised by the sudden appearance of the patrolmen. Ruiseine and the demon also look surprised.
“Fufu, so Ernea wasn’t aware of them.”
Gununu, Mistral pointing that out is a bit frustrating. I’ve trained and become quite a bit stronger, so I thought I was able to notice the presence of others. There’s no helping it if I miss one or two with my abilities, but I completely failed to detect such a large number of lurking patrolmen.
“Fufuun, did Mistral-ojou-san noticed them?”
Ludriad-san seems to be a little surprised. These hiding patrolmen might not just be ordinary soldiers.
Mistral only smiles at Ludriad-san, not answering.
“These guys are my assistants. All of them are remarkable on their own. Then again, this ojou-san might even be stronger than all of them.”
Ludriad-san lets out a strained smile as he surveys the patrolmen. They approach without any needless movements.
“Hmm, how about this, you guys. I will introduce all of you, so how about joining the national armed force? It comes with three meals and an afternoon nap. I will welcome you with luxurious treatment.”
If Ludriad-san is joking or being serious with his proposal, it’s hard to tell. Regardless,
Mistral politely refuses him.
“No, I’m not interested in the military. Plus, you are the platoon leader of patrolling soldiers, not a member of the national army.”
As Mistral points out, patrolling soldiers are not part of the national army. Although they are soldiers affiliated with the kingdom, a patrol soldier’s main duties are policing and patrolling the roads. The national armed forces, however, serve as the army and deal with national threats. The system of command system is completely different.
Even if Ludriad-san introduces us, he is the platoon leader of the patrolling soldiers. I don’t think a platoon leader’s recommendation is enough for us to enter the army.
“My, what a shame.”
Ludriad-san doesn’t look the slightest bit regretful though. Instead, he’s indifferent. The demon at his feet is tied up and placed on a stretch, yet all he does is yawn. Where did the vigor he had when he questioned the demon go? Before anyone realized, Ludriad-san adopted a lazy attitude.
“Now then, how about leaving this to my subordinates and heading back?”
Saying so, Ludriad-san heads for the path we took here.
“Please wait, I have something to do before that.”
Yet, Mistral stops the stretcher transporting the demon. With a grave expression, she questions him. “From where are you demons entering this country? There’s no way you’re passing through the Dragon’s Peak.”
That’s right. I completely forget about that. The demons and the dragon tribesmen have an awful relationship with each other. There is no way demons could enter the Armard kingdom through Dragon’s Peak. Did they come through somewhere else?
However, the demon’s reply is really unexpected.
“I see, you… I came here with the guidance of the dragon tribesmen. Not even the dragon tribesmen are a monolith.”
The demon seems to have realized Mistral’s identity, but he doesn’t voice it. Instead, he tells us something even more shocking.
Mistral’s eyes widen in surprise. The demon, while staring at Mistral, gets carried away.
I gently place my hand upon her back. She is trembling a bit.
“Now, now, you can ask for a detailed account once we return. Let’s just hurry back and get a drink.”
“No, no, we’re still minors.”
Even though I’m worried about Mistral, she only smiles to me and strokes my head.
“I’m alright, just a bit surprised. I’ll return to Dragon’s Peak and consult with the villagers about this.”
Mistral whispers in a voice low enough only I can hear her.
“Now, Priscilla, until when will you stay like that? We are returning.”
Mistral nudges Priscilla-chan.
That’s right, I forgot about Priscilla-chan! She is still ridged in the same position from when this all started. Both of her hands grip the top of her hat to cover her ears. Even her eyes are squeezed shut.
“Nnmtto, it’s fine already?”
“Yes, it’s all good.”
Before Ludriad-san started his torture, Mistral had the foresight to prevent Priscilla-chan from witnessing it.
Fuu, Priscila-chan releases a cute sigh. She then takes Mistral’s hand for the trip back.
Is this incident really over now?
I’m still a bit worried, but follow along behind them. Ruiseine too isn’t fully unsatisfied with the turn of events either. She walks back together with me in silence.
Somehow, I feel like we’re overlooking something big. That sliver of anxiety remains lodged in a corner of my mind.
On our return
“My bad, I interrupted your journey to the temple. Let me make it up to you by preparing a carriage for you.”
Ludriad-san offers such to us, but since he’s returning together with us, there’s no way he has enough time to prepare anything for us.
“Well, my most trusted subordinates are who will diligently make the arrangements for you.”
“But then, Ludriad-san isn’t the one preparing it like what you said you would. We won’t give out gratitude to Ludriad-san.”
“Hey, hey, is that a retort? Ernea-bo sure is sharp.”
“No, no, no matter how I think about it, you’re just full of retort-able points.”
“Nnmtto, uncle is a useless person!”
“Haaa, even a little girl is retorting me. I have no choice but to go home and drink.”
“My, my, well, well, even if you weren’t retorted, I get the feeling you’d still go drinking anyway.”
“Miko-sama, that’s isn’t something you should say out loud.”
“Really, such a man is a platoon leader of the patrolling soldier. That’s why an incident such as this was able to happen.”
“Hahaha, I’m so ashamed.”
We head for the road with a bright and cheerful conversation that wipes away the gloomy atmosphere of that morning. I am still a bit uneasy, but I’m relieved that Ristia has been proven as innocent.
Upon returning to the highway, we discover that a carriage really has been prepared for us. Even though it’s only a small carriage drawn by two horses, it’s furbished with a canopy that can obscure prying eyes.
That detail is the most important. At any rate, since it seems like we’re being escorted by patrolling soldiers, having something that will protect us from prying eyes allows us to relax and calm down.
“My, my, well, well.”
“Nnmtto, Mr. Horse!”
Ruiseine is surprised, and Priscilla-chan happily plays with the horse. Priscilla-chan sure likes animals.
“There, a carriage has properly been prepared, see?”
Even though Ludriad-san brims with confidence, his excellent subordinates are who made the preparations. We ignore Ludriad-san’s boasting and thank the patrolmen who are on standby. After that, we get onto the carriage.
“Right, be careful on the rest of your journey.”
“There won’t be any danger since you’re dispatching patrolmen to accompany us.”
“Thank you very much for this consideration.”
“Not at all, I’m glad to be of service for Miko-sama.”
“Well then, shall we depart?”
The patrolman coaching the carriage starts rousing the horses just as we finish speaking our farewells to Ludriad-san.
 Can also be read as talisman