74. Chapter 74
“You’re back? It seems like you’re okay now.”
Walm decided to change and made a big difference, but realistically, there were only a few places he could go. For the time being, he had abandoned the option of staying in his room from the morning.
“Thanks to you. I want water.”
Walm didn’t feel it when his brain was paralyzed by alcohol, but now he felt very thirsty.
“Water? Which one?”
Gangut expanded Walm’s drinking options without hesitation. It might be a natural suggestion, considering what he thought of Walm as a person in this past year.
What kind of person do you think I am?
This time, in Walm’s words, the owner of the bar rounded his eyes as if he had witnessed a Wraith.
“Just water…? Are you still sick?”
Hearing Walm, who didn’t choose the alcoholic drink, Gangut couldn’t help but worry about him and had no choice but crack a joke.
“I’m going to stop drinking”
Walm managed to smile with a completely stiff facial muscle. Still, it was more appropriate that the expressionless cramped face.
“That’s, a serious illness.”
With a shocked face, Gangut extended his hand and disappeared into the kitchen. Not long after, he came back with a porcelain container. Transferred the content to a wooden cup, and Walm moistened his throat.
“Can I have some food?”
“It seems you don’t want just a side dish this time.”
Gangut went into the kitchen again. Back with dishes on the tray after enough time. Thick slices of bread, soup with turnips and beans, pickled shredded cabbage, and some intestines stuffed with meat made by crushing sheep meat. As for the seasoning, it was simply salt.
Walm steadily carried the food to his mouth, and chewed it before sending it to his stomach. It had been a while since he had a proper meal. His stomach began a painful protest against a non-alcohol visitor. Even so, Walm, who had finished eating, drank a sip or two of water.
Gangut was on the side like a waiter.
“It’s so empty in the morning”
“Of course. You’re the only customer who came to drink from the morning.”
“What happened? You’re giving me creeps.”
Gangut squinted and looked suspiciously at Walm.
“Is there a job that makes money?”
In this foreign city, Walm had very few acquaintances. Among them, it was only this bar owner who he could consult to.
“Are you really asking me…? Well, umm… At the time of the Great Outbreak, there was an increase in soldiers due to the need for strengthening the border, but now the people in the buffer zone are suppressing it. A while ago, there was this rumor about adding personnel for the magical silver mine, which was a hot topic, but there is no recruitment of workers. I guess it leaves you, adventurer?”
“I hate adventurers”
Walm said it bluntly. There were no good memories of adventurers in Walm. The adventurers who became the only acquaintances after dancing together in the deadly line were also decaying at Dandurg Castle.
“You should keep it moderate. Most of the shops are run by adventurers. I’m also a former adventurer, you know?”
Walm didn’t know that Gangut was a former adventurer.
“I’m sorry… Is there anything else?”
“Well, there is. But not a decent job.”
Gangut slowly ran his gaze from Walm’s toes to head.
Although Walm tried to fix his facial expression, his beard was “growing so lively”, and his hair was just cut by Walm himself. Although he was aware of it, it was surprising for him that he was looked at with so suspicious face.
“You’re so caring of your customers huh”
Walm jokingly raised a voice of protest.
Immediately Gangut stopped his mouth from opening. Didn’t mean that he accepted the protest, he just seemed to be thinking about something.
“…You, have really changed huh. Well, if I know some nice job, I’ll introduce you. For time being, I’ll bring you more food, so think it slowly.”
Among the Archipelago Countries, Viscount Edgar de Dalimarx, the head of the Dalimarx Family who kept the border with the Demon Territory, as well as the collapsed Highserk Empire, his angry voice echoed in the room.
“Don’t joke with me! First letter and already an ultimatum? From the beginning, they’ve never felt like negotiating with me!”
Edgar’s anger, which threw an open envelope on his desk, never subsided. The content was to blame the Dalimarx Family and one of the remnants of the former Highserk Empire, who joined to scrape off the Demon Territory, as unjust and urge to transfer the right of the land they reclaimed.
“It’s the responsibility of the human race to scrape off the Demon Territory. And you tell me, that what I’m doing is unjust? Isn’t it the land where the Meisenav Family’s forces have challenged in the past and failed? We’ve already made a camp there and even the digging has started”
There was a river extending from the Demon Territory in the Meisenav territory, and sand-like finely divided magical silver could be collected from that river. The origin was said to be a magical silver mine located upstream, and it was the reason the Meisenav Family was eager to capture that part of the Demon Territory. Even so, it was blocked by powerful monsters and they decided to rout.
It was the Great Outbreak that struck humankind that changed the situation. A year ago, when the mastermind, the ruined Ferrius, changed the habitat of those monsters, while the remnants of Highserk soldiers did their best to hold down mine, Edgar proposed to dig the magical silver together…
Some people in the house were dazzled by the magical silver, and many wanted to eliminate the Highserk soldiers and operated the mine alone, but Edgar shut down those opinions.
Despite losing most of the territory, the spirit of Highserk soldiers who kept the former southern border, Highserk Southern Front, from the brink was indeed unusual. Even though they were only about on a scale of 1,500 people, there was a risk of suffering enormous damage to whoever dared to attack them.
After some twists and turns, Edgar funded the troops and managed to reach the Mithril mine with the unsung neighbor. It was unforgivable that now when the time to taste the fruit of labor came, an unrelated force wanted to take it.
Neither Dalimarx nor Highserk took over the past expedition route. They arrived at the magic silver mine in their own way. Completely, it was an excessive allegation.
There had been a lot of harassment since ancient times, but direct combat had been always refrained. But this letter, was an ultimatum, for sure it was sent while soldiers were gathered to be ready at any time.
From ancient times, all ages and countries, were crazy about magical silver that could produce enormous profits.
In order to maintain the mine, it was necessary to maintain a powerful military force as well as the provision of the miner. It was true that surplus treasures would ruin you, and some did an obvious act of aggression. Although they hung down their head and begged for mercy, it wouldn’t change the clear choice of Lord Edgar.
“They’ve already gathered soldiers, and the scale is well over 6,000.”
“It seems, they’ve also hired mercenaries and two well-known adventurers.”
Edgar confirmed the current situation in the report of his vassals. The Meisenav Family was superior in both territory size and title. The number of soldiers that the Dalimarx Family could prepare was only about 2,500, even if all were summoned.
The good news was that the Highserk side responded that it would send 500 people as volunteers to defend the mine. Highserk couldn’t send any more soldiers as they need to devote most of their forces to maintain the line of defense with their former territory which had turned into the Demon Territory.
“It seems opening the battlefield is the only choice.”
Whether a war or forced submission happened, the movement of people in the Central Region had always been sluggish, unless some development like robbery or revolt in urban areas happened. Most of the battle was over the sovereignty of the land, and instigated by Families like the Meisenav Family which endeavor for money and contribution. Edgar didn’t hope for the Central Region to turn into a place where arbitration by money happened everywhere.
“Lord, we should definitely refuse!”
“Count Meisenav is afraid of getting overtaken by us financially, since we got the magic silver mine. That’s why they’re taking this ridiculous move.”
If Edgar rode Meisenav Family’s suggestion and showed an obedient attitude, he might still get a profit of about 10%. However, in that case, the recovery of the large amount of initial investment invested would become uncertain, and the co-administrator of the mine, Highserk soldiers would definitely resist.
The Northern Countries were once considered second-class nations, but they were different when it came to war. Edgar experienced the strength of Highserk soldiers throughout the year. If he turned them into an enemy, he would lose more or the same than the number of soldiers, and there would be not enough people in the containment role for the Demon Territory.
If he showed weakness, he would be abandoned by the vassals. He wasn’t as pacifist as letting go of the magical silver mine that he hard-working got.
Edgar, who set his teeth, stood up quietly, but declared his anger without hiding any.
“It’s a war!! Start summoning soldiers. Don’t spare any money. Let the greedy Meisenav Family see the result of their action with their own eyes.”
“Let’s do it!!”
“I’ll discipline the greedy Meisenav with my sword.”
After receiving a reliable response from his vassals, Edgar once again resolved himself. The Great Outbreak had shown him the calm, but he still didn’t know the disturbance caused by it.
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