—The black hair cat is the daughter of a slave.
The old lion and the devilish swordsman met a fleeing cat at the slave dealers.
The devilish swordsman mumbled Cecil…and, with a face like that of a demon, cut the slave dealers approaching her.
The old lion laughs: Cat, that guy will be your brother from now on.
—The cat will succeed the name of a gale; the devilish swordsman and the lion conferring her the essentials of the wind.
In her body lurks the power of a Cait Sith.
What resides in her soul are feelings for her new family.
No, what was hidden in it was the love for her brother.
“…Sharon, can you not tell the difference between erotic novels and love novels?” (Solje)
“That’s rude. I do know. The former one depicts the parties continuously loving each other carnally. But what I am aiming for is the latter; a poetic story where love can be expressed with more than just doing such acts.” (Sharon)
We were going south in a shaking horse-driven carriage. This carriage was packed with a massive amount of wheat and medicine that Sharon had bought.
That’s right, even if we are seriously diving into stupid talk, we are properly working.
The simple job of having the horses pull the load. As long as bandits don’t get involved, there’s nothing to do. We just have to head south with the horses following the path. Every action aside from that would be a burden, so there’s only the need to lean on the legs of the horses.
“…Geez, what kind of stupid conversation are you having so early in the morning.” (Solje)
The tsundere bow princess says this in a bad mood from on top of the carriage while bathing in the sun.
“Riel, I am surprised that you joined this job.” (Solje)
“…An idiot with an idiot, a child and a child; I felt like it would be too tough to handle with just one adult.” (Riel)
“That’s a great help, Riel.” (Gandalla)
Gandalla says this.
The child pair –Mia and Zephyr- were currently doing acrobatics in the sky; it is vexing to say this, but the idiot pair is apparently Sharon and I.
“Ahaha, Riel is so harsh. Then, how about softening the mood of this journey by playing a tune with my lute? …Have any request?” (Sharon)
“…A pastoral song would be nice. Sexual harassing songs are prohibited.” (Riel)
Indeed, it would be a hit in a bar at night, but…having an erotic song in broad daylight with a pointlessly beautiful voice and high musical skills…it would be painful to be in the same carriage. It is not an embarrassment I would be able to endure sober…
“Then, how about ‘The wind blows in the village of Falcharch’?” (Gandalla)
“That sounds good. That’s a song of the Giant’s land of new encounters.” (Sharon)
It is rare to see Gandalla pitching in with Sharon.
Fumu, Sharon is being meeker than usual… I see, is it the effect of the child pair, Mia and Zephyr? Even he wouldn’t be able to sing wicked songs filled with eros in front of pure children!!
“Nice choice, Gandalla.” (Solje)
“Do you like it as well, Captain? Right, Falcharch is a splendid ancient metropolis.” (Gandalla)
“Is it that good of a place?” (Riel)
“Yeah, of course it is, Riel. You can go and visit it someday.” (Gandalla)
Gandalla is making a gentle expression…
Well, this man had a past of being sold as a combat slave. It was a pretty tough course to bring him into the Banjar corps.
This guy is also a slave on-the-run. He beat his imperial soldier master to death, and desperately escaped. He must have been seeking freedom. Of course he did. Even when he had 5 arrows pierced in his back, he continued running after all.
And then…his blood loss grew extreme and he ended up collapsing…and got caught.
There were rumors that he would be getting executed as an example. In order to stop any kind of insurrection from the slave soldiers.
Garf laughed out loud at that.
‘That’s a nice man. I like him. A tough man that seeks freedom. He has plenty enough qualification to be a mercenary’.
I infiltrated the slave hut with plans of saving Gandalla, but he had already killed the guards, and was about to attempt an escape.
Gandalla had misunderstood. Because I am a human, he thought I was an enemy. It is a natural conclusion to arrive at.
It ended up in a fight. Gandalla didn’t have a weapon in hand, so I also fought him barehanded.
The result of that battle?
Gandalla noticed my magic eye, and it suddenly ended.
The rumors of the Last Dragon Knight was apparently really well-known in the Empire’s side. A one-eyed battle maniac that drags along demi-human comrades holding discontent towards the Empire…or so it goes.
‘I am sorry. I have made a terrible misunderstanding. I have pointlessly wasted your time…’
‘At this rate, we will be surrounded by the enemy. What shall we do, Dragon Knight?’
‘Oi oi, are you serious? We are breaking through straight on? You are more reckless of a man than I am’.
It was quite the thrilling experience. We managed to escape with heavy injuries, and Gandalla and I ended up becoming great buds.
That smart man is 32 years old. He is older than me, moreover, he was a slave soldier since he was a child, so he was also a slave soldier in the Faris army. He participated in many wars, and his experience is incredibly high.
He has extensive knowledge in the geography and internal affairs of the Empire army, and on top of that he is a savvy man that loves studying -a crazy bookworm, too. In other words, he is a reliable tactician of ours.
Because of the pointlessly beautiful voice and musical skills of Sharon, our journey was an even more relaxing one. It was on a relaxing level that I ended up remembering the past. The sun feels nice too…
It was truly peace itself…but a report comes from my left eye…
(There’s soldiers.) (Zephyr)
“…I see. Thanks, Zephyr. Oi, Gandalla, we are doing it just as planned. In the next crossroad, we are taking a right…we will go up the old road, and come out from above the hills.” (Solje)
“Understood. How many are there?” (Gandalla)
“Wait a sec…” (Solje)
(Mia says: Seven archers, fifteen spears, and three mages.) (Zephyr)
“7 archers, 15 spears, and 3 mages.” (Solje)
“I see. If we add the members for rotation, it would be about 40 people.” (Gandalla)
“It is quite protected… It is possible to break through, but I want to avoid pointlessly damaging the carriage. These horses were pretty pricey, too. Let’s make this one a solid job.” (Solje)
“Right. We are supposed to be having an easy job here, so…let’s enjoy it. Well then, we are turning here. The bow princess-san at the top of the carriage, be careful not to fall.” (Gandalla)
We turn the carriage at the crossroad, and enter the gentle hill. This is not the new main road we were before but the old road that was there before it was changed.
It has already been completely abandoned, and the maintenance of the path has been neglected. The wheels hit the ruts in the road and it was shaking several times.
It must have been uncomfortable. Riel jumps off from the top of the carriage.
“What’s the matter? Did you hit your cute butt?” (Solje)
“That’s not good. Have Solje rub it for you.” (Sharon)
“…You sexual harassers… I will be going ahead to check if there’s anyone. With only eyes in the sky, there’s things that can be missed.” (Riel)
“Yeah, we will be counting on you. See you later.” (Gandalla)
“Be careful out there, Riel. Want me to accompany you?” (Solje)
“…Hmph, I don’t need it.” (Riel)
Riel jumps into the forest with a speed like the wind. She probably plans on jumping from branch to branch. I wouldn’t be able to imitate a light and nimble technique like that. The ones who would be able to pull off something similar would be someone like Mia. It is not muscle that’s needed, but lightness after all…
“Now then, how about telling us the program?” (Sharon)
Sharon says this to me while placing a hand on my shoulder.
Right. Sharon is, in a sense, the requester this time around, so we have the duty to tell him. If we don’t manage to smuggle this massive amount of wheat and medicine he took a big loan to get, we will go bankrupt…
Bankruptcy, huh. This is what it means to give yourself to tomorrow. To think there would come a day when I would be emotionally reliant on Sharon… Oh well…
“It is something simple. We are going to utilize an advantage only we have.” (Solje)
“…I see. Zephyr-kun, right?” (Sharon)
“That’s right. As you already know, the path leading to the Ludo Kingdom has been closed by the Empire army. They have been relying on the importation of food, so that’s a heavy blow.” (Solje)
“Yeah, it is a big scale provision attack. One that is targeting one whole country.” (Sharon)
“That’s right. The Ludo Kingdom, that holds the banner of being independent, refused the unfair treaty of the Faris Empire. That’s their way of getting back at them.” (Solje)
“It is the classic technique of the Empire. With their military might at their back, they make others sign an unfair treaty, put pressure on them…and wait for them to abandon their arms. If it turns into a battle, the Empire army that boasts overwhelming might can even invade that country publicly.” (Sharon)
“Yeah. There’s always hot-blooded guys in every country after all. There’s always the bunch that will oppose to their deaths when being oppressed, but they will one day reach their limit… The Ludo Kingdom has become a target of the invasive plans of the Empire. There will be open hostility not too far in the future.” (Solje)
“…Right. Will we participate in that when that time comes?” (Sharon)
“……That depends on the will of the Captain, Sharon. That’s not something for us to decide.” (Gandalla)
Gandalla says this as if remonstrating him. Sharon laughs and apologizes.
“…Indeed. Solje, it depends on what you -as the boss- thinks.” (Sharon)
“Captain has a low boiling point. Provoking him too much is problematic, Poet-dono.” (Gandalla)
“Ah, I overstepped my line there. Sorry, you two.” (Sharon)
Is Sharon trying to manipulate us? …At the very least, that’s probably how Gandalla thinks. Gandalla is most likely being wary about my Strauss element.
He is fearing my spear-heading mentality. I have been doing that a lot in these 9 years after all. I have now become the captain of the Banjar Mercenaries, so my madness might end up pulling everyone to their deaths.
No matter how disadvantageous of a war it is, if I can fight against my hated empire army, I would happily participate… Gandalla probably wants to restrain me from saying something like that. For my sake and everyone else’s.
Everyone is really cooperative after all. It might not only be me but everyone wanting to charge ahead. I understand that that’s not something good.
…Honestly speaking, the current situation of the Ludo Kingdom isn’t good. Cause they couldn’t even protect their commercial route which is their lifeline. I don’t know their internal situation, but is their military power meager even though they are a national power?
Oh well, putting that aside. I am calm right now. I have no intentions of dragging my group members in a reckless battle because of a vengeful fit.
“…Now then, for now, let’s talk about our job this time around. Is that okay, Sharon?” (Solje)
“…Yes, please do.” (Sharon)
- Chapter 15
“The plan itself is quite simple. Blend into the darkness of the night and have Zephyr cross the border while carrying the load. Ludo Kingdom is surrounded by rivers and steep mountains, so even if the commercial routes are blockaded, we have Zephyr who can cross them easily. There’s no problem.” (Solje)
“…Can Zephyr carry this much cargo?” (Sharon)
“Not all at once. That’s why he will have to make around seven round trips… One hour and a half will most likely be enough time.” (Solje)
“Carry them carefully, okay? Especially the medicine. If they break, there’s nothing we can do.” (Sharon)
“I know. I have made him practice carrying breakable stuff. You said it is okay to leave the preparations of what we will be doing after that to you, right?” (Solje)
“Yeah, preparations are ready. As long as I have this letter, there’s no problem at all!” (Sharon)
Sharon takes out a rolled up parchment from his pocket. It is tied up with a red ribbon. A wine red that gives out the feeling of high class.
“That is?” (Solje)
“A travelling permit from the Empire noble, Bardatz. A permit that allows you to move in the empire, which was sold by the Emperor Yuandart at a high price to the wealthy Bardatz.” (Sharon)
“…So you made a counterfeit.” (Gandalla)
Thanks to Gandalla muttering this, I avoided getting impressed by Sharon.
I thought he stole it from that empire noble, but it looks like it wasn’t such a heroic story. In the first place, Bardatz-san is most likely a fictional character.
“The empire nobles love travelling, and the empire government endorses this. I do say that, but it is not for the sake of tourism. It is a kind of invasion. They recommend the use of the empire currency at an early stage in the countries they plan on colonizing.” (Gandalla)
What it means is that they will make stores managed by empire nobles in anticipation to their eventual invasion. After they have been colonized, the empire government would promote those empire noble stores.
For example, giving the right to monopolize the importation of wheat.
When that happens, the places that rely on the importation of wheat would have to go to that one empire business and they would profit greatly.
…With that kind of ‘future merit’, the empire government will put it as ‘war expenditures’ for the empire nobles and merchants.
In other words, the hefty priced travelling permit is something to get war expenditures from the nobles and merchants, and from the perspective of the nobles and merchants, if they buy it, they will be able to make it big several years later.
By spreading this kind of ‘feed’ to the influential people, it serves in the propulsion of the empire’s invasion plans.
‘If we invade, we profit big’, if that’s the case, the empire nobles and merchants would all raise their hands willingly at participating in their invasion war. The ones who will be dying will all be soldiers with commoner origins. It doesn’t hurt the rich.
…It is annoying, but it is certainly an intelligent way of doing things.
Cause it was to the point that I didn’t understand the meaning of it all until Gandalla explained it to me after all. It is difficult for a Strauss to understand those kind of underhanded and makeshift methods. There’s no philosophy or culture in it.
“…This time around, we will use that travelling permit to disguise as an empire noble and their servants then?” (Gandalla)
Gandalla speaks out what’s most likely the plan of Sharon. Sharon’s mouth goes downwards. He is making a slightly displeased expression. He is child-faced, so he actually looks like a child. Even though he is a handsome guy…if only his inside wasn’t like that…
The aspiring novelist poet was angry.
“Augh, I wanted to say that! That’s not fair, Gandalla!” (Sharon)
“Sorry about that.” (Gandalla)
What a monotonous apology. His sincerity probably didn’t transmit, Sharon sulks even further.
“It is okay… My shallow intelligence is see through for the smart Gandalla!” (Sharon)
“…No, I think it is a decently good plan, you know?” (Gandalla)
Sharon was disappointed.
Sharon, trying to get full marks with a strategy master like Gandalla is ill advised. The old books he always loves to read depict legendary tacticians doing their job.
“Disguising as the party led by an empire noble. With that, we can bring this carriage to the Ludo Kingdom with no battle. Well, I don’t really like the thought of acting as a slave of yours.” (Gandalla)
“That might be the case, but if we are aiming for realism, those would be the roles.” (Sharon)
“…Fumu, can’t be helped. And so, what will the women do?” (Gandalla)
“…Riel and Mia, let’s have them watch over the cargo that we move over.” (Solje)
With those kind of exceptional beauties like them, as if we can bring them to a place where 40 plus soldiers are hungering for women. The empire soldiers seeing my bow princess-chan and little sister and getting aroused would disgust me.
“Solje, even you are predicting my plans?!” (Sharon)
“…No, it was pretty obvious. After showing the fake travelling permit, we pass the empire blockade, and arrive at where the cargo is. And then, use the carriage to bring the cargo to the capital…that’s the gist of it, right?” (Solje)
“Yeah… Aaah, even though I wanted to announce my plan with a beautiful melody!!” (Sharon)
“Singing an infiltration mission loudly? …I don’t know man, doesn’t sound like a good plan. Do poets work on a different set of common sense?” (Solje)
I pointed it out straight to Sharon, and he reflects.
“R-Right. I am really sorry. That was thoughtless of me.” (Sharon)
“…Indeed it was. You have a screw loose somewhere. You should work to fix those kind of mistakes.” (Solje)
“…Yeah, most likely, probably, someday?” (Sharon)
He is saying whatever.
Oh well, that’s how the plan will go.
Okay, the carriage has arrived at the standby point. Riel is also standing there with her arms crossed. Aah, looks like there weren’t any hindrances.
As you can see, this place is open and provides an easy view. In the times when this old road was still ‘active’, the merchant troupes would have their horses rest here, and would be used to exchange cargos between carriages.
It is a great place to use as the base of the smuggling company, don’t you think? There’s not that high of a chance, but if we do encounter soldiers around here, we can deceive them into thinking we are merchants.
“Now, we arrived at the moving point without any problems. Well then, we will be taking a break till night here.” (Gandalla)
“Okay, then, I will be writing a poem of you guys to sing in the bars, okay?” (Sharon)
The PR chief was laughing. That’s right, PR. If Sharon sings about the Banjar Mercenaries in the bars, our legend will spread.
We might get more jobs with that.
Of course, there’s no lies in the poems of Sharon, but…can’t say much about their quality.
Oh well, being turned into a poem and sung about doesn’t feel bad. We are paying a salary to Sharon too. We need him to contribute with the mercenary group as well. Publicity is also a part of his job.
“Don’t play around and waste time, okay, you guys?” (Riel)
Riel passes by us and spits out poison.
“I will be going hunting.” (Riel)
“Ooh! I will be looking forward to a big one!” (Solje)
“Then, you help too, Captain. Talking isn’t all the job a man has to do, right?” (Riel)
“It is not as if I was playing around though… Well, we just have to wait till night. I will go too.” (Solje)
“Okay! Good luck out there, you two. Solje, make sure to be gentle, okay? Lead like a proper gentleman, got it?” (Sharon)
“Clean your ears, poet. We are going hunting.” (Solje)
Man and woman together = instant push? Is this guy okay in the head?
Well, if I get the chance, I will hit on her. But well, if I think about stupid stuff, I feel like I might get punched…or worse.
The moment I sighed at the incoming manual labor, Sharon shows off assassin levels of skill. He silently runs towards me and whispers into my ear. It was a low voice. But it clearly reached me.
“…Using the data gathered, I can infer that Riel-chan doesn’t really dislike being slightly forceful.” (Sharon)
I am getting advice from a wanna-be love story novelist…haha. It is seriously unreliable information.
But yeah, Riel-chan certainly is weak to the push… This time’s information might actually be true.
“According to my statistics, 99% of the elves around 20 years old prefer the normal way.” (Sharon)
“Yeah, they like to do it while being whispered your love to them. They are a race with good hearing after all.” (Sharon)
…Oi oi, just how many elf girls has he done a survey with?
Wait…in order to have a number like 99%, you need a hundred at the very least… T-That’s scary. This perverted handsome guy is incredible, but he is seriously scary!
What kind of life is he leading?! I-I wouldn’t be able to imitate that… So this is what a real pervert looks like!!
“They are apparently a really reserved race in terms of romance. That’s why, don’t go requesting for the rough positions that you like and any complicated acts, okay?” (Sharon)
“You…what do you think you know about my preferences?” (Solje)
“Eh? When you get drunk, you always talk about your ideal way of spending the night though?” (Sharon)
“No way! Do I actually do that?! That’s damn embarrassing!” (Solje)
…Damn it, no wonder I am not popular with the girls. I believe I am decently good looking, and my body build isn’t bad… I see. Should I abstain from alcohol? For the sake of the girls…
…But 99% means there’s exceptions, maybe? I will keep it in a corner of my mind. Elves also have a front and their actual feelings. Riel might actually enter in the minority.
“So, what about the 1%?” (Solje)
“Ah, about that—” (Sharon)
While we were having a truly silly talk, an arrow passed by. I fall silent. Sharon is also not moving a single muscle as his smile stays frozen…
“…Sorry about that. My hand slipped.” (Riel)
We hear cold words. Of course, it is plain obvious that she is 100% lying, and yet, I wonder why we simply can’t bring ourselves to say anything back?
“…And so, Solje Strauss, are you going to help out in my hunting or not?” (Riel)
“I-I will. Cause you know, I am a gentleman. I will gladly carry the game you hunt.” (Solje)
“Of course you will. Be careful not to dirty my clothes.” (Riel)
“…Got it.” (Solje)
Even the ferocious dragon knight is weak against the elf beauty. I hurriedly chase after the elf princess-sama that is entering the forest with fighting aura roaring around her.
The remaining idiot and giant rational guy are having a conversation.
“…Hey, earth giant, Gandalla.” (Sharon)
“Oya, that’s a nice one there; ‘Earth Giant’.” (Gandalla)
“I am planning on writing a love novel with those two as the motif. What do you think?” (Sharon)
“…Haha, I advise against it. It would be a comedy.” (Gandalla)
“Is an amusing love-comedy not good?” (Sharon)
That giant and that poet, just how are they interpreting another person’s romantic life?! Comedy? …Don’t put it in that category, man. You guys are my friends, right? You should keep the bad mouthing at a low.
“I wonder about that. It wouldn’t attract women who enjoy love novels. Make it more of a noble kind of novel. Rather than a dragon knight, it would be better to have a handsome prince, or a young and rising businessman.” (Gandalla)
This young man here who is managing a mercenary group doesn’t fall into the portrait of ‘young and rising businessman’? …Then, what category do I fall into?
Let’s see…it is the simple job of killing and wounding the opposing force of the contractor-sama, so…I see, a social service man!
“Ah, so it is really as I thought… A prince is better than a berserker.” (Sharon)
“Right. Captain Solje could only become the main character in an ero novel.” (Gandalla)
“Yeah, he is on the border of love and carnal desire. There’s parts where he simply can’t understand himself, don’t you think?” (Sharon)
“Y-You are the last person I want to hear that from, Sharon!!” (Solje)
“…Hey, come here already. Don’t get involved with that, Solje Strauss. That thing is a god of pestilence.” (Riel)
…Wuh, I know that he is a piece of shit that has a refreshing smile.
But he is an amusing guy that doesn’t have any ill-intent. I simply can’t stop being his friend, you know… There’s a high chance that when we finish our job, we will have a drink together, and sing together with arms on shoulders.
—At moments, pass time where no blood is spilled.
We were not born solely to do battle.
People are born with the sinful nature of hurting each other.
However, if you are not frugal in your effort to be together, you can create fraternal bonds.
—We can survive alone.
If we are strong, sly, and merciless.
But if we do that, our lives would be tinted gray.
That’s why each of us mix our colors, and paint something in the world.
—What we draw may not be beautiful.
He is the blood red, she is the silent silver, the black cat hides a secret, and the light brown giant is too smart.
The young one flying in the sky is still colorless…And I am a love-crazed pink.
These 10 legends with 10 colors are still unknown to the world.
—But even with that, in this moonless night.
The silver hunts, the red carries, and the light brown cooked a wild boar and it was the best.
I play with the lute and symphonize with the song of the black cat and the colorless dragon.
Isn’t it fine to write a poem and sing with a different tune every now and then.