8-1. At the Capital of the Duchy
Satou's here. Japanese people are world-famous for being impatient, but people of a parallel world aren't all easygoing either.
"A peanut is flying nodesu!"
Pochi and Tama who have come from the ship's deck pull both of my sleeves and take me along to the deck.
There's a floating airship when I look at the place where the two are pointing. I've already checked it on the map, but it's quite impressive when you actually see the real thing. It's a 300 meters long peanut-shaped rigid airship. It's unknown whether it floats using gas like helium or magic tools.
I can guess the airship's route from the map, it probably has arrived here from the royal capital this morning.
"That's an airship."
"Ships that fly in the sky."
"Amazing nodesu! I want to ride in it nodesu!"
Yup, me too.
If you think about it, the ship is probably for military affairs, so it's doubtful whether we can ride in it or not.
"Uwah. Truly a fantasy. I'm burning up~."
"I wonder how is it floating?"
Arisa and Liza have also come. This is the first time Arisa sees it huh. I wonder if she hasn't ridden in the exclusive airship of the hero?
"Master, I wish for that."
"Ufufu, the shape is quite cute isn't it."
Nana is gesturing like she's trying to reach and grasp the airship with her hands. Lulu says 'cute', is that cute? I don't really understand, maybe because our senses are different.
"Arisa can just make a cushion with that shape later right? On top of being cute, it'll also be soft."
Nana plops her hands once, and goes to pester Arisa. She hugs Arisa from behind, and speaks intensely about how cute the airship is. Arisa will probably yield before long. Since Nana absolutely won't give up when she's like that.
"Master, I've inquired Shelna-dono, and it seems that demi-humans aren't welcomed in the inner part of the big wall. I think it's better for Pochi, Tama, and Mia to put on overcoats before we enter the port."
"Right, I'll tell them after their euphoria from the airship have receded."
Shelna-dono that Liza's mentioned is the tour guide. Her main occupation is one of the civil official of the viceory of Gururian city--earl Walgock. I thought that she was the viceroy's watchdog when I discovered it from AR, but it seemed she just missed the time when was working as a tour guide for earning her school expense since she was young, so she replaced the tour guide.
At the duchy capital, we get to stay in the mansion of earl Walgock, thanks to the goodwill of the viceroy. I'm fine with staying at a normal inn, but since the martial tournament is open, there aren't probably many decent places left, so I decide to receive the favor.
The ship that we're boarding heads toward the port of the duchy capital. It's not the port on the downtown, but the one built inside the capital great wall for nobles' and purveyors' use.
By great wall I'm naturally talking about Oyugock city outer wall. It seems that the population has increased too much, and so, in order to settle down the people in the suburbs, they've created a three meters tall wall called new wall outside. The new wall is unlike an actual great wall as it cannot protect against monsters' attacks, so the area inside the great wall becomes inhabited only by nobles, the wealthy and technicians, while people like workers, demi-humans, and the poor are living outside of it.
After we have disembarked, we are being guided by Shelna-san toward the mansion of earl Walgock.
Thanks to the pass from the viceroy, we aren't checked during the inspection for entering the city. However, I feel like there are too few guards at that time. When I check on the map, it looks like the guards are running around inside city.
The cause is probably the corpses of the members, and specific things that show their positions that I've left inside the castle covered with sheets after defeating the demon lord last night. Since I left them with the [Wings of Liberty] clothings and their plan of resurrecting the demon lord, the soldiers are probably cleaning up the aftermath. Work hard.
I could arrest the remaining members and hand them over to the authority, but since it's troublesome, I leave them alone. The woman that has got her attire taken by me seems to have been rescued by her friends, and she's now among the gathering in the mansion of a noble called earl Bobi. It'd be bothersome if they cause disturbances so I mark it.
The mansion of earl Walgock is in an area that is wide even among the noble area inside the great wall.
After I have finished greeting the previous earl Walgock together with Shelna-san, the two of us go to the duke's castle with the carriage that she's taken out from the mansion. Shelna-san is quite an energetic person.
I myself am fine since my stamina is overflowing, but Mia and Arisa don't have much stamina, so I tell them to be at leisure in the mansion today. They won't be able to meet the duke even if we go together anyway, so there's no particular problem. Lady Karina has invited Pochi and Tama for training on the courtyard. She's probably quite frustrated since she couldn't move her body too much at the ship. Liza and the maids are accompanying them, so they probably won't cause an uproar.
The duke's castle is as vast as baron Muno's, but there are wide differences in the splendors and the number of present people.
Over the castle walls inside, there are four 4 meter tall iron golems stationed around the castle gate. Looks like the castle walls are connected with various anti-aircraft towers. I wasn't able to confirm what kind of artilleries are put in it. I'll ask them to let me see it later.
The wagon stops at the courtyard after crossing the inner wall earlier. It's walking from here. Guided by the maid, we're advancing through a corridor made with abundant of marbles. Carpets are spread below, and we come across decorations like artworks that are on the wall and flowers on regular interval. I don't understand the quality of the pictures, but they're good calming paintings.
Someone is waving hands inside a painting hanging on the wall along the way on the corridor.
As expected of fantasy. It's really like a magic item.
The little girl drawn on the painting is waving her hands. She looks delighted when I wave back. It's quite interactive. I'm expecting that there would be people moving inside other paintings, but unfortunately, they're all just normal paintings.
"Is there anything wrong Chevalier-sama?"
"No, it's nothing. As expected of duke-sama's castle. There's a fun magic item."
"That's right, I was also surprised when I came here for the first time."
No wonder. Anyone would be surprised if they saw someone moving inside a painting.
We're led to a room and get to meet the consul aide.
"Well then, this is the letter from baron Muno. And then, this is the letter from baron Muno's consul, viscount Rottol, for the consul-sama here."
I hand over two sets of letters. The letters from Nina-san are in the forms of three scrolls and one bundle of documents.
The consul aide receives that respectfully, and then someone who looks like the assistant put it on the rack. Shelna-san also has a letter from the viceroy to pass here, but she gives the bag that she's brought here to the assistant-san. I heard later that it was packed with reports from each departments.
A maid enters after getting permission by knocking the door and whispers something to the consul aide.
"Sir Pendragon, your excellency, the duke seems to want to meet you. Is it fine for you to go for a bit?"
The plan today is to only pass over the letters, and the meeting will be for several days later I'm told.
Since this means that I won't have to trouble myself coming here twice, I gladly accept it. I don't have the right to refuse in the first place anyway, the invitation is probably just a formality from the opposite.
I've thought that we'd be guided to the audience room, but we pass over it and proceed to what seems to be the private room of the duke.
The room earlier is gorgeous, but this one is two grades higher. The chair that I'm offered to sit isn't too hard or too soft, it's a superb fit. I've wanted this kind of chair in my workplace. There is a water tank on one side of the room, and tropical fish-like fish are swimming inside. Their shapes looks like guppy, but they're dimly shining light green light from the inside of their semi-transparent bodies.
There are four statues of nude women on the corners of the room, they're all Living Statues. There's a passage that leads to several soldiers that are standing by in a waiting room, although it's been skillfully concealed. There are three magic soldiers on the roof standing by. There doesn't seem to be any movable gimmick, so they probably would break through the roof if there was an emergency.
They've put some considerations for making sure that normal people won't be able to sense the existences of those guards. They don't seem to have any intention of needlessly intimidating guests.
The room maid announces that the duke is coming here from the next room, so I stand up to receive him.
The one who comes into the room is an old man with good physique and with entire body hair in white. His hair is plentiful, but his beard is even more so. He looks like a good-natured man, but the glints on his eyes are too powerful. As the proof, Shelna-san who's together with me has completely stiffened. The one who comes after the duke is probably the consul. He has blond hair with gray ones mixed and slender build. He looks like an able man with thin eyes.
"Fumu, so you're the rumored hero-dono who saw through the demon's trick, and protected baron Muno territory from monsters led by the demon huh. You're young."
After we give our each other names, the consul speaks first. Young? Oh right, my appearance is that of a 15 years old. Mirrors are rare so I've forgotten.
"On top of that, it seems that you've exterminated the demon that has appeared in our territory's Gururian city. Allow me to thank you."
When it's spoken like that, it's as if I'm the perpetrator who has instigated the demons in order to be promoted.
"It is surely because of the people who have fought earlier, and the beast people subordinates of mine. I cannot win against the demon if it's just me alone."
"Modesty is unnecessary. A letter of recommendation for you to participate in the second qualifier has arrived from earl Walgock."
Viceroy-san, I'd have liked if you inform me first when you were sending a letter of recommendation.
I gently decline it of course since I don't have any intention of participating.
"Is that so, that's too bad. So, I've summoned you here to tell you something about baron Muno."
I wonder what? Don't tell me that the demons are attacking the territory again.
"Your excellency, he would misunderstand if you said it like that."
"Really? It's a good story. It's been decided that baron Muno will be raised to Earldom during the kingdom's spring meeting. There is no custom of a noble getting raised two ranks so there was some disputes, but he has piled up quite enough achievements."
He's originally been decided to be raised in rank, but since there's enough achievement just right, it's been hastened. The territory won't be particularly expanded, but the advantage is that the territory won't be made light by the neighboring territories.
"You don't seem to have much desire in getting success in life."
"Desire to successful in life is it? I think the current honorary knight is already quite excessive for me."
Apparently, there's a talk for me to become a honorary baron in addition with baron Muno's. Lords are allowed to assign honorary knight and knight peerage, but it seems that honorary baron and above are the king's privilege. Honestly, I'm not interested in raising the rank or something, so I safely pass on it.
From this on, replacing the duke, the consul comes ahead to talk about the real issue.
"I don't think that you, Sir, knows, but every towns have been attacked by a lower demon like the one that has attacked Gururian city."
I do know, but normally one wouldn't, so I put on a slightly surprised face.
"Only Gururian and Standel cities have escaped with little damage. The other cities have suffered damage that will take several years to recover. We cannot confirm if the upper demon like the one that's attacked Seryuu city last month appears, but mid demons have appeared in other Earls' territories."
If an upper demon attacks, a city would surely vanish, but if it's just a lower demon, then people who are capable of defeating it should exist. The damages may have been done before the capable person comes huh. I could sort of understand why the viceroy was awfully kind.
The demons' damages have increased in various places, so they want to gather people who can defeat demons it seems. I think there are some problems in soliciting other lord's retainers, but since the duke's influences are too far apart, it seems that it's possible for me to be transferred. I don't have that in mind, so I decline in a way that won't create hard feelings.
They want to hear my wish for the rewards of saving Gururian city, so I ask permissions to buy attack-related scrolls, and magic tools, and they agree to it easily. When I talk about it to Arisa later, she says that maybe they want to avoid expenses from the available cash since they need it for restorations of various places. I see.
While I'm at it, under the pretext of 'for the sake of Muno city from now on', I got permit to go on inspections of all kinds of workshops. I very much look forward to have a field trip on workshops like the Oak glass workshop.
<TLN: 'Oak' can also be read 'Orc'.>
"Haah, that was tense."
"How can you say that. Wasn't chevalier-sama looking very normal in front of duke-sama?"
That's thanks to Poker Face. In truth, even though I remember the second half of the conversation, it didn't feel real to me.
When we've come to the courtyard to get on the wagon, I notice that there's something strange.
Everyone is looking at the sky.
"Chevalier-sama, please have a look at that."
I look at where Shelna-san points. I use my hand as a shade since it's in front of the light. I have no need of shading since I have the light intensity adjustment skill, but my hand has moved out of habit.
Putting aside such trivial things, that descends from the sky.