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Western continent calendar August 8, 2812: (Towards the peninsula 5)
"Welcome back... Just like Bolt's predicted, you stayed at the Earl's house last night..."
"Indeed... It was a very grandiose welcome you know?"
Genou picked up Ryouma at the inn's entrance, after receiving his cloak, Genou folded it.
"Hou... That's amazing... There's a possibility they have some shoddy intention by doing that..."
Genou lightly answered Ryouma's words.
Although his voice did not change.
Ryouma understood what that meant.
"Indeed... There must be something behind the scenes... Genou, you don't show any surprise... Did you already find some information?"
"Indeed... I will begin my report later. Everyone is already waiting inside milord's room"
Hearing Genou's reply, Ryouma shrugged his shoulders.
"Oh come on... You guys are really talented people huh... To think you guys already finished your investigation... If that is the case then, just hurry up and tell me what you know."
After returning from the Earl's house he doesn't even have time to take a breather.
(Geez, since when have I become such busy person like this... But, I guess I have no choice huh? ... Then again, I have a bad feeling about this...)
The results of their investigation might be related to their survival. With that in mind, Ryouma steeled his heart.
"Well then boy, I guess I should start with my report..."
The moment Ryouma sits on his chair, Lione who was already waiting for him handed some parchments to him.
"Nee-san? This is?"
"It was the list of mercenaries that I have interviewed!"
Hearing Bolts question, Lione answered him in a relaxed manner.
"This, all of them...?"
It is reasonable for Bolts to make such surprised voice. The parchments size is similar to that of A4 paper, in it, there are mercenaries names and their ranks which Lione had interviewed.
There are 10 parchments above the table, enough to make you think it was completed by two people...
And inside of each those parchments are the description of almost 50 mercenaries.
She seemed to have hired them using the pretext of recruiting them as a member of Red Lion mercenary group.
"Not just their names and ranks... You also write their weapon specialty, quest achievement percentage, and origin... There’s even Lione-san's impression of each individual written... To think you would manage to do this in just a few days..."
Ryouma read Lione's impression of the individuals written on the parchment carefully.
Beginning with something simple such as how they communicate and talk, how they make eye contact. Their individual behavior is written in detail.
"Well, the more skilled people we get, the easier it will be for us to sleep at night... Furthermore, we can't have people that are unable cooperate with others, with that in mind, for every 50 people I've interviewed, around 10 of them worth considering for employment... Those people are the ones whose names I have circled..."
Just like she said, some of the names have circles on them.
"Hmm? I understand about the circled names, but, what about the names that have lines crossing over them?"
Examining the parchments Ryouma noticed that there are 3 names that have line crosses over it.
If the one with a circle means worth considering, and those with nothing on it means people that are not worth mentioning, then what about the names with line crosses over it?
"Ah that... They are the troublesome one..."
Lione speaks in a vague manner.
"So? What's the problem?"
"The black wolf Yohan... The red clay Celes... And the long distance arrow Riui... All of them are first-rate..."
Together with Ryouma's question, Bolts read the name of the individuals one by one.
"Are they famous?"
"Indeed... The people who do not know them would be a novice who have registered just yesterday."
"That means they are people that one would hear here and there huh?"
"That's right... But these guys are lone wolf mercenaries... They are the type of people who ignore the surrounding and push toward the front line..."
Answering Laura's question, Bolts replied while grinning.
"I see... I guess I can understand Lione-san’s concern..."
"Indeed... This is unnatural..."
Ryouma and Genou nodded to each other.
"Right... Those three are indeed very skilled. In a one on one fight, it would be hard to win against them... But those who believe their skill is the best usually hard to cooperate, not to mention they are all the type of guys who always stick to the money, which means they will accept dirty works without hesitation... To be honest I highlighted them because I feel suspicious..."
"They came here to gather information regarding us is it?"
Lione silently nodded her head in responding to the question.
"Indeed... If we consider who pulled the strings behind the scene. Then it would be either, Lupis or Earl Salzberg..."
"No. Those two are indeed formidable, but, you should also consider if they are actually being sent by another country."
Genou voiced another possibility.
Certainly, since Wortenia peninsula is close to the border, they might be a spy sent by some nation who wants to invade the Rozeria Kingdom.
"Another country huh... Then that means it would be impossible for us to narrow it down huh?"
What they know about these three people is that they are all suspicious.
There's also the possibility of them wanting to join just because of their whimsical mind.
"For now, I told them that we will decide for an answer at later date... Should I refuse them?"
Lione is someone who likes the least dangerous route. She herself was not sure about her judgment regarding this.
However, Genou voiced his disagreement.
"I don't think that was such a good idea... If they turn out to be just like what we've suspected and refused them here, the mastermind might send others in their place. It would be lucky if Lione-dono notices them next time, but there's the possibility that we miss them as well. It would be better for us to accept them, then a.s.sign people to monitor them."
"I guess so... I think that is the best option... But then, who's going to monitor them? It's not like we can disclose this matter to all [Red Lion]'s members... And I can't give this task to Genou or Sakuya either... Since they already have a job to do..."
Ryouma said while groaning.
(Should I inform everyone? No, that would be too direct... They might realize that they're being watched...)
It was clear what Ryouma's problem is. And that problem is the lack of hands. While being small in numbers, they have many things to do.
This causes Ryouma a headache.
"If that is the case, do you want to draw some people from my clan?"
"Indeed... Right now, what milord needs the most is people under milord command... Furthermore, those whom milord can put his trust to... If it's my clan's people, then they will definitely meet your expectation."
"The reward... The same as last time?"
"That is good enough..."
Genou nodded his head responding to Ryouma's question.
"Fine then... Lione-san. Put some of Genou's clan members into the mercenary group. Let them monitor those people. Is that okay?"
"Alright! I will personally create their personal history so that they won't be found easily..."
Lione said those words while nodded her head.
"Alright then, with this, we've solved the problem regarding the mercenaries employment. Please report again if any problems arise... Next, Bolts. How much information did you get regarding the peninsula?"
Ryouma immediately asked Bolts.
"Let's see... Following young master’s order, I've gone to the guild looking for some information. But as far as the topography and the current state of the peninsula concerned, there's not much difference from what we've learned. As for monsters and demi-human living there..."
"It was a den isn't it?"
Ryouma sighed deeply.
"Indeed... The information regarding the river and lake I will talk about it later, regarding the detailed information regarding monsters that inhabit the territory. It seems like only high ranked monsters live there, ordinary people won't be able to live easily, and will only become prey for those monsters."
Saying that Bolts spread out the parchment he had prepared.
"What the h.e.l.l is this? Most of them are cla.s.sified as D rank and above!"
Lione screamed as soon as she saw the name of the monsters listen on the parchment.
Of course, that is normal. Looking at the name listed there, it was the names of monsters that rarely being seen.
There are ten categories within the guild ranking system for monsters, from A to E, with S being the most powerful one. And this corresponds to the mercenaries guild rank.
Although individual ability is not necessarily consistent with the guild rank, it is something that can be used as rough indicator. Judging that the monsters inhibiting the Wortenia peninsula are above E. Monsters ranked below E are not the type that cause harm to humans directly.
But those that are ranked above, starting from C, they are the types that would attack villages and towns, not only that some of them would also make a nest near highways and prey upon the people that pa.s.s by. Usually, monsters who have done such thing would immediately be given a minimum of rank C. In other words, monster that are cla.s.sified as 'friendly' are up to D rank.
"Even the ones with E rank... Most of them are the types that cannot be dealt with using magic art..."
"That is true... No wonder the ruler of this kingdom abandoned that land. Like this, if we bring people and create towns, the maintenance cost to defend it will be quite high... Since the knights magic arts will be not much of use, it would be hard to defend... Not to mention, one can't expect profit immediately..."
Bolts and Lione immediately voiced their opinion as battle-hardened mercenaries with a lot of experience fighting against monsters.
They understand the difficulty level of living within the peninsula more than anyone inside the room.
Between human and monsters, there's a huge difference in physical capability. Strength, reflex, endurance. Every human was significantly inferior to them.
As life-form, the human is significantly inferior.
Mercenaries and adventurers acquire skills by training and gain experience to close the gap, but they can't not fill up the gap regarding their physical specifications. Somewhere they will hit a wall where they can't overcome.
But then, humans were able to overcome such wall by creating one thing. And that is magic art. A technique that the weak human developed to beat the strong monster.
However, the current human has used them to fight against each other. And the magic art ends up as a wall in social status. Which makes it so that even a King can't easily tell ordinary people to learn the magic art.
As a result of that, Wortenia peninsula was being left alone all this time.
"Magic art huh..."
Ryouma have some knowledge about it already. Back when he was trying to return to his original world, he had received some basic education about it from Marfisto sisters. But that does not mean he is already able to use it.
Even the fastest people who learn it would take around 4 months to be able to use magic art.
When Ryouma was involved with the civil war, he has no time to learn it, and before that, he was busy trying to figure out how to return to his original world.
(Should I hire those who can use magic art only? No, I guess I can't do that. The first problem is it costs too much money. Since the Knights and mercenaries that can use magic art are quite useful their salaries end up high... Then I guess I have no choice other than to teach ordinary people to learn them huh?... But wait, how about making this into an advantage? A place, a country where everyone is able to use magic art... That would become an overwhelming force... Besides, everyone can learn magic art... The problem is who going to teach them? Should I educate the entire member of the mercenary group first? After that, should I invite citizen from another city? No, that would be bad... No lord wants their citizens taken away by other people...)
Ryouma immediately makes calculations inside his mind, but he still can't come up with a good plan.
It was not a problem that he can fix easily.
"Well let's figure out about what to do about this later. Everyone should think about some solutions too... Bolts, continue with the topography information."
Responding to Ryouma, Bolts nodded his head.
(Geeez... Problem after problem...)
It was no wonder that Ryouma is having a headache.
This was only the second report he gets, yet it was already this bad.
Coming after this are the reports from Genou and the Marfisto sisters.
(Especially the report from Genou... From how he was talking earlier... I can feel that he has something...)
Ryouma sighed while feeling depressed. But then, there's no other option other than to listen to their report. No matter how harsh their report turns out, reality won't change.==============================================