It was a few days after that, that the refugees had arrived at the mining village in the north. The mining village at the valley of where the territory of the 『Bell Chaser』 used to be is called Glock Village.
The people of the Glock Village were surprised at the sudden influx of three thousand people, then fell into a chaos as they found out about the news of the Empire’s invasion and the capital’s fall.
Although the Glock Village seemed difficult to accept them in the beginning, as Ardis promised to provide for the time being, their attitude softened.
Since it was originally a mining village, there’s always a lack of manpower.
On top of that, among the refugees, there’re also specialists like doctors, smiths, cooks that had been working in the capital or the Nyrestia territory.
As long as the problem of food can be solved, they would probably welcome the new villagers as well.
Having the refugees find a temporary safe place in the Glock Village, Ardis and Rona immediately flew back to the hidden village.
「The remaining food supplies, it couldn’t even last for three days, right? 」
Rona asked Ardis as they were on the way heading back to the hidden village.
「I know without you saying. 」
Without needing Rona to point out, Ardis knew about it already. Even when Rona vomited out all the food that he kept in the other world, it can’t feed the three thousand people for a long time.
Moore had made effort acting as the leader and going out to hunt for beasts in the surroundings but, even that could not make their supplies last for three days.
There’s a need to solve the food problem before that.
「Leaving aside the transport method……, the problem is funds huh. 」
Regarding transporting the food supplies, Ardis and Rona’s 『Gate』 can fix it all.
But to procure food, there’s a need to get money. Ardis still doesn’t have a feeling on how much money is needed for feeding that much people.
「There’s a need to discuss with Michelle. 」
The specialties should be left to the specialists. If it’s Michelle that lives by being a merchant, she would have an idea to the cost.
With that conclusion in mind, Ardis rushed back to the hidden village.
Ardis who returned to the hidden village was greeted by the two worriful twins.
「I’m glad you’re fine. 」
「Did something happened? 」
Glad over Ardis’s safety, sending the two who wanted to hear more in depth about what happened back to the house, he visited Sera who was staying at the village chief’s house.
Michelle, Elma and other councils had gathered at the village chief’s house after getting the news, and Ardis started explaining what had happened thus far that he saw.
「The capital fell!? 」
It’s not like everyone here is a citizen of the Nagras Kingdom. Rather, most of them are not.
However, hearing the capital of a Kingdom that’s despite not their hometown, they can still understand that it’s a serious situation.
Especially for Michelle who goes across countries frequently to peddle, there’s no need to say, the news will surely affect her future plans by a lot.
「Did Lord Thoria really rebelled? 」
「Yeah. The Thoria army and another army, despite being soldiers of the Kingdom, I have seen them fight each other with my own eyes. And so, to fight with the Thoria army, the soldiers remaining in the capital headed out but――」
「That’s when the Empire attacked from the sea in surprise, huh. 」
Michelle’s words was affirmed by Ardis with a nod.
「Haa……. The prices will go up again. 」
Michelle sighed a little, and reached a merchant-like conclusion. Ardis then explained about the refugees from the capital and the nearby Nyrestia territory to the surprised audience.
「Could it be, that you’re saying we should accept these refugees? 」
One of the council members said so with an expression indicating that it is not a funny joke.
「No, as expected, it’s impossible for us to take in three thousand people at the same time, and in the first place, it’s my decision that I made abruptly. Although I have a few people in mind that I wish the village can accept them, that’s also not something that will happen immediately. I think that it’s better to take some time to discern their personality and only accept people that can mix in with the village well. 」
The reason why Ardis had gathered the members around is also to let them understand the situation and share information.
Although it’s a hidden village that is not under any country’s jurisdiction, it’s not like they’re completely isolated from the effects.
Just like what Michelle feared, the rising price of goods because of the chaos and the danger accompanying logistics within the Kingdom.
「Okay. For the time being, we shouldn’t directly involve ourselves in it, but it’s best to keep an eye. Is that okay, Angel-sama? 」
「Yes. I will try not to leave the village as well. 」
As the atmosphere closed to a dismissal as the village chief asked for opinion from Sera, Ardis put a halt on that.
「The report ends there but, I still have a few things left to discuss. Sorry but, Sera, Elma, and also Michelle, can you stay behind for a while? 」
The village chief who is the house owner remained with the other three named, after waiting the other to leave, Ardis started.
「And it’s regarding the refugees from just now but……」
「The three thousand people that the mining village took in? 」
Nodding at the village chief, Ardis continued.
「Although I don’t intend to ask this village to accept that, but still, I can’t pretend that I don’t know them. There’re resources from the mining and the forests nearby there but, it’s impossible for them to immediately start feeding three thousand people after all. 」
Seemingly getting an anxious feeling from the direction of the talk, the village chief seemed a little unrest.
「Although I know it’s difficult to leave them alone, our village don’t have the capabilities, you know? As expected, we cannot afford to support that many people. 」
「Don’t worry, as I won’t ask the village to bear their burden. Actually, I need to discuss with Elma and Michelle. 」
「For me? 」
Elma and Michelle raised their voice getting called out.
「Yeah. The mining village――, it’s called Glock Village, naturally, since it only started mining for a while, there was no church or any appointed priest from the church. And there, I would like to ask Elma to head over as a priest. 」
「That’s……, I’m someone that’s expelled by the church. There should be also chuch-related people among the refugees, wouldn’t it be hard for me to be accepted among the refugees? 」
Elma’s worry was most correct. Elma’s words that basically denies the doctrines of the current church might not be acceptable by the people related to the current church.
If the people insist on the church’s teachings, then it was obvious there will be a fight.
「There’re three related with the church among the refugees. One of them is a sister I know, at the very least, she didn’t start going out for blood even when she knew I was a heretic. I have told her about Elma as well, and she said that she will make a decision after meeting you. As for the other two, I didn’t meet them before but, according to her, they’re young apprentices. I don’t think there will be any upfront fights if we don’t force them the doctrines, and even if they do, we can just kick them out. 」
For Ardis, he had already considered the fact that a conflict will happen.
Similar to what he told to Solte, if they aren’t willing to listen to what Elma says, then it’s only a matter that they wouldn’t be receiving support.
「Expelling them are……」
The village chief seemed a little sad at what Ardis said.
「We’re going out of our way especially. So isn’t it unfair if they don’t go out to that length as well? And in any case, it’s not like we will force them to some demonic being infested place. Since it’s a place that a mining village is, they can make their own village just fine. 」
「In other words, Ardis-san intends to change the refugee’s thinking with time? 」
Elma seemed to understand what Ardis was trying to accomplish as he asked.
「That’s right. Luckily, or maybe it isn’t the right choice of word, the Kingdom is now in chaos left and right. It’s not a situation that the church can direct their focus to a mining village in a corner. I don’t know how long it will continue but, it’s likely the central church wouldn’t start doing anything until the Kingdom regains peace. 」
Hearing Ardis’s reply, Elma thought about it a little, and gave out a conclusion.
「I see, if it’s like that, then I have no complaints. Heading over to the mining village, I shall accept it happily. 」
「And? That’s that but, you still have something to talk to me right? 」
After the talk with Elma finished, Michelle who had been hearing quietly thus far raised her voice.
「The funds required to feed three thousand people for half a year, I can’t quite imagine it. 」
Hearing that, Michelle’s expression seemed to distort a little.
「You intend to feed them? 」
「It depends on the price. Naturally, I will pay for it. 」
Like what he declared just now, Ardis doesn’t intend to burden the village nor Michelle about the matter.
Although Ardis can earn a lot more than normal people by subjugating demonic beings, he didn’t have the knowledge of the funds required to feed that many people, nor did he had experience procuring that many supplies.
He had only been fighting in the mercenary band he used to be in, and regarding business, he had not a chance to be involved in.
「That’s quite the scale. ……Three thousand huh. 」
Michelle was tapping her forehead with her fingertips as she thought.
「There’re working hands and hunting, they can probably procure enough food to cover for half. It’s only required to fill in what they lack. It’s not going to be extravagant, just enough to avoid hunger. 」
It’s not like Ardis has to prepare every piece of food for them. The refugees will have to work for it themselves too.
「But hunting enough for three thousand people, the preys would be gone quickly though? 」
「As long as there’s enough to hold on until they get a harvest from cleared lands, it will be fine. There’s no need to worry about lack of preys. 」
Although it might be a problem in the future, Ardis honestly didn’t think to take care of them that much. Feeding three thousand people for half a year is already a tremendous burden for a normal mercenary.
If Minerva and Solte was not there, he was sure to have left them alone. 「Let me think……. With hunting covering for a portion, one person will need about two small copper a day. Three thousand people will…… be six gold coins. One hundred ninety piece a month. And for half a year, it will be about nine hundred gold coins. It’s the least needed to fill them up properly. 」
Nine hundred gold coins. It was an amount that Ardis didn’t sure he had enough even if he got all of his savings.
「But you. Are you really intending to take care of those refugees even to the point of taking nine hundred gold coins out of your own pocket? You don’t seem that nice of a person though. 」
Michelle’s ironic words made Ardis frown.
「I have things that I want to do as well. And since they only barely escaped with their clothes on, what they can offer as compensation……」
「That mining village, isn’t it originally one built for mining Heavy Iron? Won’t mining Heavy Iron be enough to trade for food? 」
「They’re still at the stage of inspecting the area. It’s for sure that there’s a vein there but, they haven’t found any veins that can be mined for real yet. 」
Certainly, if they started mining for Heavy Iron, they can trade with Heavy Iron ores. However, it’s isn’t possible yet.
And Sera who had been hearing quietly suddenly interrupted.
「Then should I find an ore vein? 」
「If possible, sure. 」
As Sera said it in a light tone, Ardis replied without any expectance.
「Then let me ask from my daughters. 」
However, Sera seemed to take it seriously, as she shut her eyes for some unknown reason.
「Umm, Glock Village……, this one right. And a place close to there, easy to commute…… unn, this looks fine. 」
Seemingly seeing something even though her eyes were shut, she was speaking to herself as if finding something. And then, Sera seemed to come to a conclusion by herself.
「Found it. 」
Facing Sera who said so as a matter of fact, Ardis only felt confusion.
「West of Glock Village about a kilometer. There’s a little dented land, dig about five meters downwards. Maybe you’ll hit a vein. 」
Disregarding Ardis’s expression, Sera said so as if it was a cold fact.