Side Stories: Chapter 20
I thought so too. Thats why I wrote these reports and brought them to him. You know how I added one more report at the end? That includes what I just told you. Now its nothing more than a pretty piece of paper with no one wanting to read it.
Furthermore, didnt you admit it too? You dont know what kind of change he underwent.
But you cant undermine his skills. You know that.
I know. If he disappears though, I might have to aim for my original goal again.
You mean, to become the Saintess?
I thought you gave up on that.
Even if I cant become the Saintess, once the Miftil Kingdom becomes my support, I will be able to climb to a much higher position than now. Additionally, if I take control of the Karuwiman forces in the Miftil Kingdom, I might be able to become higher than a bishop or perhaps, a cardinal, Chelsea replied.
Calm down and think about this more carefully. If things go wrong, it will really be the end for us this time, Pina said.
Who knows? If Duke Grashanes schemes are something menial, my head might not fly off for helping him, Chelsea said. She knew that even if she went behind Zichs back and sided with the duke, Zich wasnt the type to react intensely to every minor action against himthough he wasnt a merciful person by any means.
Furthermore, he might never find out that I handed over information to the duke.
What if the scheme that Duke Grashane is conspiring is something huge? If everything fails, Sir Zich could kill you for collaborating with the duke.
Are you fine with everything then, Pina? Although you were able to stabilize your factions position at the magical tower, your school of magics position is significantly lower than what it was at its prime. What if you help the Miftil Kingdom and then they offer to support your school of magic?
Chelseas words were truly enticing. If things went according to what she said, Pinas school of magic would recover its glory instantly. The kingdom they serve would change, but they could easily endure that.
Its a real gamble that puts our future on the line.
You and I terribly failed our last gamble. We were able to escape the worst fate by managing to come up with a small victory at the end, but that was nothing compared to what we had envisioned. How about it, Pina? Should we think about this matter a bit more? Chelsea asked.
Seeing Chelsea address her familiarly while asking this question, Pina gulped hard.
Four days before the festival, people from the Steelwall Estate arrived at Yuras. The Karuwimans greeted the Steelwalls with more warmth and care than to other n.o.bles. The Steelwalls had been their allies during the ma.s.s Bellid annihilation war against the Flaud family and their allies. Furthermore, there were many dragon slayers among the Steelwalls who possessed parts of the dragons corpse, and the Karuwimans needed their collaboration to put together the dragon as accurately as possible. Thus, in many ways, the Steelwalls had many reasons for the Karuwimans to pay special attention to them.
After killing time outside, Zich went inside and saw a familiar face in the Yuras temples corridors.
Ah! The person also recognized Zich, and Zich raised his hand with a smile.
Hey, its my foolish, idiot brother who is somehow related to a wise person like me.
Its been so long and thats how you greet me? Greig grumbled.
No matter how annoying it is to hear them, you should accept statements gracefully if they are the truth. Or else you will become pig-headed like your father. Isnt that right? Zich asked Danny Chris Nunn who came as Greigs bodyguard and commander of the Steel Sword Knights. Unable to respond, he could only smile awkwardly.
Isnt he your father? You talk so crudely, Greig said. Besides everything I faced from the Steelwalls in my youth, if I just think about how you used to act toward me, I doubt my words could be considered that crude, Zich replied.
Greig shut his mouth since he had nothing to retort. In the end, he said, Im sorry.
No need. I didnt say that to get your apology anyways. The apology that Grieg gave was meaningless to Zich now. It didnt matter how Greig responded from now on.
So, have you been doing well?
Um, I havent been having a bad time, but successor cla.s.ses are a bit difficult.
Tch, tch. Why would that be so difficult? You can just leave the complicated work to the capable guys and kill anyone who provokes you.
After listening to you, I think I feel less guilty. Rather than a guy like Zich sitting in the count position, Greig thought even he would be better.
Call me sound-minded.
Zich snorted and asked, Did the old fart not come?
Father is busy.
While the conflict and discourse about what to do with the countries that fell under Bellidss attacks were going on, the Count couldnt leave his seat as a knight who represented his kingdom.
Good. I didnt want to see that mean face.
If anyone else had spoken about the Count like this, Greig and any of the Steelwalls wouldnt have shrugged it off lightly. However, since Zich had said these words, they quietly listened.
Where is Mr. Til? Zich then asked. Til was one of the main dragon slayers and owned a considerable amount of the dragons corpse.
Hes probably in his room.
Is he doing well?
Of course. Our family is treating him with great care.
Til was the representative of the mercenaries who joined the Steelwall forces and his individual skills were outstanding. No, beyond just outstandinghe was the strongest and most skilled fighter among the Steelwalls. Even the master of the Steelwall Estate, Count Steelwall, and the previous best knight, Mihen Tyner, couldn't be compared to Til. Thus, in an estate like the Steelwalls that already prioritized military prowess more than other families, they treated Til especially well.
There are already talks going around that he should become the Steel Sword Knights captain after Sir Tyner, Greig said.
It was astonis.h.i.+ng that people were already talking about Til managing Steelwalls greatest military group after just one year of staying with them. Danny Chris Nunn seemed to be unbothered by this news since he used to hear that he was Mihen Tyners successor, so it appeared that Til was completely acknowledged and accepted by the Steelwalls.
Its only expected since Til used to hear that he was the Demon Lord along with me and Walwiss Dwayne, Zich thought. Moreover, the fact that Zich recommended him was probably one of the main reasons for Steelwalls good treatment of Til.
Treat him well. Hes too good for the Steelwalls.
I want to disagree, but Sir Maeve deserves the best.
Now that hes an official knight, he needed a surname, so Father gave him one.
Then is he now Til Maeve? Zich didnt think it was a bad name. Good. Then, Ill go and find Sir Maeve.
Frankly, rather than talking to Greig, it would be hundreds of times more fun to talk to Til.
What is it?
Can we duel later?
What? Zich was quite surprised. He hadnt expected Greig to ask for a duel after going through his extremely rough treatment(?). Looking at his eyes, it didnt seem like he forgot his fear either, and looking at his eyebrow that was slightly trembling, it looked like he wanted to immediately cancel his words. However, his mouth stayed tightly shut.
Dont you have a lot of people you can duel with in the Steelwall family?
But theres no one who fights me without even the slightest consideration like you. In terms of skills, theres no one better than you.
Thats all true, but is there any reason why I should accept your request?
Are you scared? Greig gave Zich a challenging look, and Zich burst out laughing.
Then he tapped Greig on the shoulder and said, Good! My rash, foolish, but slightly braver brother, Ill mercifully fall for your poor attempt at provocation.
They set a date after the festival for their duel, and then Zich parted ways with Greig. He headed to the room where Til was staying.
Til was in his room, and he welcomed Zichs sudden visit.
Its been a while. Zich greeted him first.
Yes, its been a while. After greeting each other at the table, Til kept his mouth shut.
Hes the same as always. Zich opened his mouth first to Til, who was as silent as ever. I heard that youre doing well at the Steelwall Estate.
Its thanks to the Count and Steelwalls generosity.
No, it must all be thanks to your ability, Sir Maeve.
Til looked slightly surprised.
I met Greig first and heard from him. You earned that name while getting knighted, right?
Til Maeve. Haha, its not bad.
Tils face looked slightly strained. Other people would have thought Til might be angry and get scared or fl.u.s.tered, but Zich knew that was not the case. He knew that Tils current expression showed his embarra.s.sment.
Its not easy to get used to having a last name.
Youll get used to it. Above all, isnt it nice to be able to pa.s.s on such a nice surname to your children?
Yes, thats true. As expected, the most comfortable topic when talking to this silent giant was about his children.
Walter and Ellie must have grown up a lot. Children at their age sure grow up quickly.
Yes, I sometimes get shocked too.
I want to see them at least once. It was pretty fun playing with them in the past, and Ill make sure to visit the Steelwall Estate later
Ill always welcome you. The kids will love it as well, but will you be okay, Sir Zich?
Ive done so much for that family. Im sure they wont try to kick me out again.
If you dont mind, it shouldnt matter at all.
Unlike his conversations with others, Zichs conversation with Til was very bland, but Zich and Til, who was usually very reticent, enjoyed talking to each other. Like this, Zich and Til talked for a long time. After a while, the day of the festival finally arrived.
* * *
As the day of the festival approached, the number of people increased in the city, and the citys vitality and energy gradually overflowed and reached its peak. People filled the streets while celebrating the Bellids fall and praising the Karuwimans. At least for today, they all forgot about their hard daily lives and enjoyed the festivals sights and food. Large crowds formed throughout the city. However, the largest crowd by far gathered around in the exhibition stand made by the Karuwimans.
Just how big is it?
Although the crowd was full of people of different ages, gender, and appearance, everyone made the same expressionsawe, admiration, and a little bit of fear. They all saw the dragons image that the Karuwimans revived with all their might. The dragons sharp teeth and claws looked like they would rip everything in the dragons path, and its heavy and huge legs looked like they would crush everything in its way. The dragons body was larger than a house, and its wings were large enough to lift it up. Its hard scales looked unbreakable. People forgot how to close their mouths at the appearance of a dragon that used to only exist in legends and novels. The Karuwimans strategy to elevate the festival by displaying the dragons body was unspeakably successful.