After the quickly organized mock battle, everyone gathered in the one-story building near the training ground. The official name of the building turned out to be “Training Room”, but to me, it looked like a regular classroom with a simple school office attached to it.
There were no chairs or tables in the room, just a large table with a flat basin filled with sand to simulate the battlefield. Using the sand basin, they’d place small models to depict an operational area, then discuss operation details.
Interesting. I like this kind of discussion. Even during my time as a member of Team [P0wDer] in my old world, I was often involved in the discussion over who, where, and how we’d move about a map. It was a discussion to decide on the best strategy.
“Well then, let’s begin reviewing the earlier battle.”
Count Themis stood at what I thought was the topside of the table. Pieces representing the knights and mages were placed on the sand. For some reason, they used a demi-human piece to represent me…
From there, a Q&A session was held between him and Laptricia-sama. Like how she should move, what magic she should use, and what she should do if she was the last one standing, etc. The discussion went on with both people turns drawing lines in the sand with a thin white stick, going into deeper details regarding strategy.
They weren’t the only people standing by the table. In addition to the knights and mages, Viscount Caymon had also mixed in. Occasionally, he’d jump into the discussion.
Earlier, I was worried about what I should do after the mock battle, but here, I was now involved in a heated discussion.
“Young man, you make me wonder about what you’re hiding under that mask. I’m not trying to be rude, but that tactical theory you proposed earlier – does that really look like something a mere mercenary can come up with?”
The review actually went on and on, and it actually ran over schedule. On the way back from the training grounds, Viscount Caymon took his time to ride his house side by side with our carriage to ask me.
“Nothing much, I use this mask to cover my disfigured face. No other reason.”
“Then, once the escort mission is over, would you like to join the Western Barga Knights?”
“That’s a shame. Recently, we’ve seen a decline in the number of young men wanting to join us, decline. It’s to the point that this old me can’t ever retire.”
“That’s no something I’d know about.”
After such an exchange, returned to the castle. There was no schedule outing today. Laptiricia-sama and Ashley-san brought in several maids, along with several employees from a luxurious clothing store into the changing room. Apparently to decide which dress she would wear during her visit to the Captial and Venere’s ball.
Meanwhile, I stood guard outside the changing room.
At first, when I heard that it would be an escort mission, I didn’t expect that the job would be this plain. When I was with the Marida company on an escort quest, I had been on alert all the time while traveling. Compared to that, this escort mission was by far calmer.
Perhaps the situation would change once we headed to the cities. Here in Bardiche Castel, I didn’t find a need to be vigilant, since there was no danger with all the guards here.
In addition to that, there was also Ashley-san who wasn’t a pushover of an escort either. She was also next to Laptiricia-sama most of the time as her secretary and court lady – in charge of schedule adjustments and other things. Meanwhile, I only needed to exert my effort only when needed.
Tomorrow, we’d leave the Fort City Of Barga and head to the Royal Capital. The Western Barga Knights would escort us throughout the journey. Apparently, Duke Franklin Barga would also be accompanying Laptiricia-sama to report the Emerald Demon Labyrinth’s conquest. At the capital, they’ll attend a lunch party and night banquet to celebrate both the new year and the dungeon conquering every day during their stay.
Not to mention the party at Duke Barga’s own residence in the capital. The schedule was jam-packed alright. My actual escort mission would start once we arrived. Despite my unwillingness, Ashley-san still urged me to also attend a good number of the events.
As I recalled tomorrow’s schedule in melancholy, I heard footsteps approaching from a nearby passage. At first, I immediately stood guard right in front of the door, but upon seeing who it was, I moved slightly to the side.
“Good job. Is Raly available?”
“Yes, please wait a moment.”
I knocked on the changing room and called Ashley.
“Ashley, Lady Emerada is coming in.”
Coming from the hallway was Duchess Emerada Barga. Lady Emerada was a blue-eyed elf with the same blonde hair as Laptiricia-sama’s. She had her long blond hair styled in a bun behind her head – in a similar fashion to chignon. Stories had it that she was very much in love with Duke Barga. Although, one would probably doubt that, considering she looked no older than a woman in her twenties.
This world had no particular repulsions to interracial marriage. Would the children born between them be a mixed-race? A half so to speak? I don’t think that’s the case. The children would either be their father’s or mother’s race.
Accompanying Lady Emerada as she entered the changing room, a young red-haired woman named Sierra Caymon. If it wasn’t obvious already, Sierra was Viscount Caymon’s granddaughter. I could hear the changing room become noisy afterward. Lady Emerada was apparently acquaintanced already with Ashley-san, sounded happy during the talk.
Also, unlike Duke Barga who could only tag along up until the capital, she’d be joining us on this excursion to the capital and Venere city. Lady Emerada would be bringing her own escort, so I don’t have to watch over her as well. But if the situation required I would certainly work together with her escort.
But that’s all for now. As for now, those inside the changing room seemed to be enjoying themselves as I could hear happy squeals coming from inside. I also heard Laptiricia-sama exclaiming.”It’s getting bigger again?” And how come you’re still this slim despite that? How envious.” What on earth are they talking about?
On the next day, it was time to depart to the Royal Capital. The Western Barga Knights lined up in ceremony for our departure from the castle. Duke Barga gave a speech regarding the new year and the conquest, as well as the following efforts that would be required to further develop Barga territory for the year.
And finally, the gate of the castle opened. The citizens had gathered up along the roadside to join the celebration. Eventually, the parade began with the escort knights marching out. A lot of citizens had gathered to see the princess who’d conquered the dungeon, along with their beloved lord.
Barga Duchess and Laptiricia-sama were riding in a roofless carriage – waving their hands to the citizens that willingly came early in the morning to watch.
Ashley-san and I were watching the parade from a distance on foot. The one in charge of escorting the parade today was Laptiricia-sama’s elder brother. The eldest son of Duke Barga, making him the next in line to inherit the dukedom. He’s also the commander of the Western Barga Knights.
He would stay behind in Barga, taking care of the dukedom while the Duke was away. Viscount Caymon would take over the leading position of the escort troops on our way to the capital.
Once the parading around the Fort City was over, the carriage headed out to the city gate to depart to the capital. Duke and Duchess Barga, as well as Laptiricia-sama exchanged their carriage with the more subtle one. Captain Steed even come to see us off. With that, we headed to the rest area east of Fort City Barga.