After staying for a week in the royal capital, we were on our way back to the Dolknes territory. My favorite means of transportation is Ryuu, I really hate riding the coach.
I wanted to stop the carriage, get my feet on the ground and take a look along the road. Some good views could be seen when one travels by road from the capital to Dolknes territory.
Unfortunately, there was no coach available which Ryuu could ride so I told him that he could return whenever he wanted.
「Aa—, my body feels cramped—」
Right now we’re stopping for a break, as I hopped down from the coach and stretched my body, I could hear the sounds of my bone cracking. Hearing how loud the sound was, the coachman looked at me in surprise. No, no, everyone does this all the time.
Patrick followed me as he hopped down and stretched himself, but no bone-cracking sounds were heard. Eh?
The maid sisters, Rita and Sara, also stepped out of the coach.
If I didn’t bring the elder one back home with us, it was likely that she would commit suicide. Compared to Rita, Sara wasn’t so weird, plus I wanted her within earshot before her sister’s bad influence affected her.
Patrick helped them to step out of the coach.
Huh? Why didn’t I get the same wonderful event? I wondered for a moment but on second thought, wasn’t I the one who rushed out of the coach first?
Besides, I’m not that weak to ask for help like that. But next time, I’ll wait until Patrick gets out first. If he offers me his hand, I’m willing to take it.
As I repeat the bending and stretching motion, Patrick comes closer.
「You still hate riding the coach?」
「I really hate it, running is a faster way of travelling.」
「That only works for you.」
「No, no, Patrick, you can also run fast, right?」
The other day when we measured his level, it’s already past Level 80. Even the Knight Commander, who was considered the strongest in the kingdom was Level 60, so you could understand how strong his current strength is. If you look at the past, people who reached Level 80 are like urban legends.
「Well, I think it’s faster to run, too. But…」
「You did realize that you’re not normal anymore, right?」
「…I can’t accept that Yumiela is admonishing me.」
This is one of the reasons for our inspection. I don’t necessarily need to ride a coach, but a lot of people use it. It’s important to realize he’s no longer normal and have to see things from a normal people’s perspective.
The population of Dolknes territory consists of normal people, there are few strong people like Patrick and me.
Despite my insightful thoughts, Patrick is reluctant to admit the truth.
「I’m not like you, my magic power is normal, you know? We aren’t in the same league.」
Patrick’s magic has wind and earth attributes, he uses them skillfully by using the wind to deliver his voice over a distance and using earth attributes to create an instant defense.
He doesn’t use his strength the same way I do but I’m sure he could if he wanted to.
「I’m trying to suppress my magic, okay? And it’s been ingrained in you to conserve your magic, if you want to go all out, go for it, you’ll do great.」
「…Sure, recently I haven’t been able to use all my magic without restrain.」
「Let’s do it together this time and give each other our all.」
My suggestion was immediately rejected. He’s no fun but…
Feeling dejected, I looked at the couch and I started to get bored. It leads me to think of modern knowledge I could use to improve the coach when the horse catches my attention.
The couch that we were using right now is a two-horse coach, both of the horses are very pretty with chestnut-colored hair. During our break, the two of them were gulping down water.
Aah, look how cute they’re. Moreover the horses are intelligent. They’re not like cats and dogs that bark at the sight of me and end up running away. The era of those pets is over, now it’s time for the horses to shine.
「Thank you for pulling the coach, can I touch them a little?」
I moved to the side and aimed to touch at one side. Their big, round black eyes looked gentle. Is this one a girl?
I reached out, before I could touch the horse’s neck it suddenly lashed out and neighs were heard.
Oh no, did I touch a forbidden place? Just like dogs that hate having their tails touched, maybe horses also have places that don’t want to be touched.
This is entirely my fault. The coachman oji-san rushed up to me and said,
「Excuse me. The horses are scared, could you please step away?」
He then calmed the horse down by petting it. By touching it in the same place I was going to touch. …Eh?
◆ ◆ ◆
It seems like it’s not just dogs and cats have a tendency to be afraid of me but horses as well. Maybe it applies to animals in general. Oh, but humans tend to be afraid of me, too. It’s okay, I still have Ryuu anyway.
Inside the traveling coach, it seems that the road surface is poor or the swaying has increased. I wish they would at least maintain the streets properly.
「Hey, where are we going right now? Aren’t the road is too bad?」
「We just entered the Dolknes territory a while ago.」
My question was answered plainly by Patrick. Is that the reason why Rita cast down her eyes the moment I asked that?
Then she lifted her downcast eyes.
「It’s better than before. It was worse before Yumiela-sama entered the academy.」
Now that she mentions it, I remembered the coach heading to the academy was shakier. It felt less shaky during the journey but it wasn’t because I got used to it.
If I don’t, I’ll be in trouble. Since I became the Lord, I’ve been allocating money for road maintenance. What the hell happened to it?
「Hmm, maybe it was.」
「And this is an awful place to meet bandits. As long as you pass safely, you’d arrive at peaceful Dolknes territory.」
Rita-san, isn’t the bar too low? Nowadays, there is no such thing as bandits. If the bandits frequently appear in a territory, then the Lord must be ridiculously incompetent.
「I’ve never heard about bandits, but it’s actually… eh? Why did we stop?」
I was about to ask if the rumors about the bandits were real in this world when the coach suddenly stopped. The coachman’s panicked voice could be heard from outside.
「Bandits! We’ve been surrounded!」
I learned a few things. One, bandits are real. Two, nobles like the Dolknes are incompetent as a Lord.
Then, as a lord with zero aptitude I’ll make a difference as guard.
Patrick jumped out of the coach first. Bandits surrounded us as I leaned out of the coach and looked around. There were about thirty men of varying ages, a few of them were armed with proper weapons and the rest were armed with farming tools.
Patrick then guided the coachman oji-san in front of the door.
「Yumiela, come out quickly. Let him hide inside.」
Eh? What kind of event will lend me a hand to step down?
If I say something like that, it’s obvious that I’m going to get angry. I jumped off from the coach lightly to warn Rita and the others.
「You guys stay inside the coach.」
Saying good luck when surrounded by thirty or so people is an exaggeration. Judging from the bandits’ appearance they aren’t used to fighting, so there is no danger here.
Patrick draws the sword on his waist. When I was about to do the same… I remembered that I left my sword at home. I stand in line next to him in a natural stance.
While keeping an eye on the bandits, he said.
「Yumiela, protect the coach, I’ll take care of the bandits!」
Maybe it’s better to reverse the plan. But nothing can stop Patrick when he’s motivated. I stand in front of the coach and watch him fight against the bandits.
As you can imagine, the odds for the bandits to win weren’t good.
Patrick struck with his sword, knocked them down with his feet then blew them away with wind magic and overwhelmed the bandits.
While watching the one-sided fight, I sense something approaching me from behind. He had a sword in his hand and seemed to have his sights on me, unlike the bandits who had surrounded Patrick and tried to defeat him. He’s pretty reckless.
I pretend not to notice his movement in the background. But I still wanted to avoid being slashed from behind with minimal movement. If I do, I will look cool like a master. I can feel his stare at the back of my head.
He reached behind me without making any noises and swung his sword down… but it never came. Instead, his hand circled from behind and held his sword on my throat.
「Don’t move! Drop your sword! Or she will get it!」
He said that loudly.
…What does that mean? I exchanged looks with Patrick but he hasn’t grasped the situation yet.
We both freeze and looking puzzled when he flaunted some even more and said,
「Drop your weapon if you are worried about this girl! Give me your valuables or I will kill her! 」
I still don’t understand what he’s talking about. But Patrick seems to have figured it out and asks quizzically.
「…Is this a situation where you became a hostage?」
「No shit! Look, I’ll ruin your girlfriend’s beautiful face!」
He brought the blunt-looking blade close to my face. I’ve been involved in a lot of dangerous situations before but this is the first time being held as a hostage.
Since we’re already caught in this situation, let’s do something even more hostage-like. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Time to ask for help using all my acting skills.
「P-please save m—」
That sounds really dry.
Patrick looked weak and unmotivated. Hey, your fiancee is in danger. Can you take it more seriously?
I continued my acting as a hostage.
「Don’t mind me! Attack me! I’m going to drag this guy to hell!」
My intention was to make it like an unlucky girl battling someone like rival characters in the manga. The bandits trembled at my resolve.
However it’s unlikely for Patrick who had a troubled look on his face to move. It seems like I’m not the only one who feels heartless. The bandits that surrounded us unanimously said,
「Just drop your sword and I won’t take her life, okay? 」
「Your girlfriend is saying all these things but you have no heart!」
「Don’t listen to him, Patrick! I’m alright!」
He finally made up his mind and has a clue about what I’m doing. After letting out a deep sigh, he dropped the sword in his right hand to the ground.
As he raised both of his hands, Patrick gave the bandits a sharp look.
「Taking hostage is for cowards! Release her!」
Oh, Patrick is on board with my idea.
He was so intense it frightened the bandits and made them back away. I was blown away by his impressive acting.
「Fufu, Patrick is so cool. How could you be so good at acting?」
「You are the one who started it. Look, the charade is over.」
He looked away in embarrassment as he picked up the sword he dropped.
Being a hostage is no fun. Now would be the time to grab the sword that is being held at my throat.
The sword blade easily broke when I grabbed it, there’s no way such a poor quality sword could withstand my grip. Looking at the broken sword, the guy behind me froze.
「I never thought a day where I would be a hostage would come. Thank you for the opportunity!」
「Well, can you all gather in one place?」
「Whoaa, what is this strength?!」
I grabbed his arm and tossed him towards Patrick. He flew into the air and collided with another bandit.
Meanwhile, on Patrick’s side of things, it looks like he also seemed to have settled the matter. The thirty or so bandits were either down or no longer had the will to fight.
I slowly walked towards Patrick and said,
「Good job, it’s not that hard… isn’t it?」
「Yeah, they didn’t look like they were used to fighting. Their weapons are too shabby, they look like farmers…」
What if they’re coming from my territory? There must be a reason why they become bandits, maybe I’m the root of the problem.
「I’m the Lord of Dolknes territory, where are you guys come from?」
They began whispering to each other when I asked them in a less domineering manner.
「…Lord of Dolknes? The one who said to defeated the Demon King?」
「This is bad, we hit the most dangerous target.」
「Hey, stop talking as if you are being tortured. Remember your family’s faces!」
Seeing them panicked makes me feel bad. It feels like the standard that I’ve to expect.
Patrick stepped forward and motioned me to step back.
「Tell me, do you have a place to stay or are you working away from home? And why are you targeting this place?」
They remain silent under Patrick’s interrogation. See? The way you asked is too pushy. Interrogation requires a carrot and stick approach, a certain amount of mercy is needed.
When he tried to give them an alternate choice, he gave the choices in a well-timed manner.
「If you keep silent, I’ll change place and let her do the rest.」
「No, I’ll tell you everything!」
Can you stop using me as the stick?
Later he found out the bandits were coming from a village in our neighboring territory.
When I asked him to elaborate, he said that their village suffered from poverty and if they didn’t do this, they would starve to death. That’s why the men were planning to rob a coach that was likely loaded with money as bandits.
It seems that the big mountains in the south were the cause of poverty. There are times when the sun would disappear, causing low crop yields, he added.
As I listen to his story from a distance, I asked,
「But what’s changed? What made you start robbing people? You’ve been doing this for a while, right?」
「…I don’t know!」
Yep, just like the usual. They get scared.
Patrick gestures to me to take a further step back and I listen.
「What’s going on in your territory lately?」
「It’s the monsters. There aren’t any around our village but they raided our crops.」
Monsters rarely appear near human settlements. Or rather, people settled in a place where there are no monsters around.
It’s concerning for them to show up in their village. I couldn’t help but ask.
「 Was everyone okay?」
It’s about time for them to start getting used to it. Just What kind of personal information about me is circulating in the villages around here?
The villagers in my territory did not react that way when they saw me. I mean… I kinda expected this already.
With a sigh, Patrick asked on my behalf.
「Was there any damage done?」
「No one is injured. But the fields are ruined, we might as well be dead. Our Lord won’t even help us.」
The village was already in poor condition from the start, but it became even more devastating after the monsters appeared. And no help from the Lord as well. Hearing about their grievances, an idea suddenly came to my mind.
The territorial reform that I proposed the other day was rejected due to the lack of residents.
「…Am I that scary? Oh! If the neighboring territory sucks, then why don’t you migrate to mine?」