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Chapter 38 – On the Way to the Imperial Capital
The Schwarzer territory is located at the north of the Arcadia Empire, thus even on horseback, it will still take at least a month travelling from Romaria to the Capital.
Ares is at the front of the heavy cavalry. They can march at a reasonable speed, but due to the weight of their equipment, they couldn’t go as fast as the light cavalry.
[Well, let’ just do it on our own pace. Not that I mind it.]
[Even so, at our fastest speed we’ll arrive at the capital in about two weeks time. The summon requires us to get there in one month. There will be examination, then the departure ceremony….well, we’ll just have to endure staying in the capital for two weeks.]
[…..honestly I don’t like the idea of staying in the capital.]
Remembering his days as a gladiator, Sigurd responded negatively at Ares’ estimation.
Ares heard him, of course, and after encouraging him, looked behind.
[But really, after leaving the territory, we are immediately greeted by this wilderness. Don’t they maintain the route if at all?]
At the corner of Ares’ eyes was a dilapidated village. The field was also too rough and wild to be of use for anything.
Emperor Sephiros likes war. On the other hand, he delegated most of domestic affairs to his vassals.
Before, the famous Duke of Arnold and Empire’s former prime minister, Reizen, tackled the domestic affairs at his own discretion. He explained the importance of territory management to the local lords and strictly keeping public safety according to the law. The whole Arcadia Empire was rendered calm thanks to his effort.
However, about five years ago, when the words was out that he had died of sickness, local lords began to only work for their own benefits. In addition to that, the aristocrats at the capital were tangled in the struggle for power, taking their attention away from domestic affairs.
Injustice became rampant, bandits and monster attack often happened… despite being known as the continent’s strongest country, many of such occurrences happened in Holy Arcadia Empire if one is willing to observe with more detail.
[As expected Reizen-dono’s passing caused a big tide….he’s a great figure.]
[Does Ares-sama know Duke of Arnold?]
[Yeah. He was Esteemed Father’s old acquaintance. And he was kind to me when I was still a kid. Reizen-dono was a noble and wonderful person.]
Saying so, Ares’ gaze became distant, reminiscing about the late prime minister.
[But the world has changed a lot since he’s gone…]
[It’s saddening….but the current empire has too many places like this one. Schwarzer Territory is one of the few remaining safe havens.]
Sigurd responded after also taking a look at the village.
[Along the way here, we went past a number of villages that have been attacked by bandits or monsters. It’s not only 1 or 2 villages either. His Majesty doesn’t even bother to find out, this people…]
[Sigurd, stop that.]
Ares cut in.
[Don’t say anything more than that. Because, it’ll only be empty words.]
[…….Yes. Pardon me.]
[When I meet His Majesty in the capital later, I promise that I’ll tell him about this…..hopefully he’ll listen.]
After saying that to Sigurd, Ares issued an order to the army.
[We’ll take a rest at the village ruins ahead. Make preparations…if there are still some villagers left….let’s do what we can to help them]
Ares decided to stop by the village, and although it might be little, wished to help.
And with that, the army made preparations to take a rest.
Ares chose to pick the village ruins as a resting spot. He had two reasons in doing so.
First because it’ll be easier for them to acquire water. The other reason is because he wanted to at least make a proper burial for the deceased and helped the still living, no matter how small.
If he leave the corpses as it is, there are chance that they’ll turn into undead. By then…they’ll be forced to take them down.
After the burial, when Ares was taking a break, he felt something coming from the tree in front of him. He then spoke to the tree.
[What happened? Zekka?]
[Ahead of this village, there is a horde of monsters about half a day time on horseback. They are mostly consisted of goblins.]
[Are there any prisoners?]
[No, there is nothing this time.]
Goblins and ogres are said to often capture women to either bear their child or to become their food. Therefore, it might be necessary to be extra careful so as not to endanger the captive’s life.
[I see… in that case, we can go a bit flashy this time. Guess I can consider it as a small work out?]
After saying so, Ares got up slowly and stretched his body.
He then arranged a plan of attack in his mind.