「It’s not the Empire? 」
Marrieda’s revelation surprised Ardis.
「Unn. They are from the San Rojuel Monarchy apparentnii. 」
「San Rojuel? Where’s that? 」
It was Nicole’s turn to ask. Ardis instead answered that.
「A country from the southern continent…… I think. 」
「You know about them? 」
Ardis isn’t all clear as well but, they’re the opponent that he had faced in the war before. Riding on strange beasts, they used magic that’s unseen in the other countries. Their impression was still vivid.
「It’s the ally of the Empire. Strictly speaking, they were the reinforcement for the Empire that cornered the Kingdom four years ago. 」
「Reinforcements? Then why is the Empire not here? 」
「They probably aren’t acting as reinforcements this time. 」
Ardis’s soft mutter was picked up by Nicole.
「Not reinforcements……, aah, I get it. 」
Nicole seemed to understand what Ardis was thinking without saying. The reason why San Rojeul sent their army over the ocean to support the Empire was for the Empire to realize their wish of regaining their old territory, nor did they have any reason to befriend the Empire to go against the Kingdom.
Joining hands with the Empire, they can get a territory that can serve as their landing spot on this continent. That’s probably the Monarchy’s aim.
In other words, they planned to expand their territory. They help with the Empire’s long-cherished desire to overthrow the Kingdom, and in return the Empire would not interfere in their annexation of the city-state coalition.
It’s likely that such a contract was signed between the Empire and the Monarchy.
「Well, whether it’s the Empire or the Monarchy, it doesn’t change the fact that an army is going to attack us~nii. 」
「……You won’t tell me to go fight them since they’re not the Empire, right? 」
Ardis recalled Marrieda assuring him that 『It doesn’t concern the Empire』 when Ardis accepted the escort request.
Marrieda confirmed that they won’t be fighting against the Empire but, she didn’t say that they won’t fight another army other than the Empire.
「I won’t yo~n. No matter who they are, I don’t intend to let Ardis-kun alone to face an entire army, so rest easy. 」
「For the time being, Ojou, isn’t it better that we start to pack up? 」
「Yes, I’ve gotten around to handle that already~nii. Rather, I want to ask the two of you. 」
Ardis asked back to Marrieda who asked, her question was natural for the current situation.
「Will Reiten fall? 」
Ardis and Nicole both folded their arms.
「Was it two thousand people during the defensive battle at that time? 」
「Yeah. That’s including mercenaries and the conscripted soldiers. 」
Nicole affirmed Ardis’s words.
「But we can’t be sure that we will have that many this time. We were facing demonic beings that time after all. It is guaranteed that everyone will die if we lost and it became a good reason to conscript the soldiers, but now that we are facing against negotiable humans. Not all will be opposing them. 」
However, even if the opponents are intelligent humans, there’s still a chance they would trample on everyone.
In fact, non-combatants in the capital were also killed and deprived. However, it can also be said that it’s because the Kingdom is the old nemesis of the Empire.
Currently, the Monarchy has nothing like that with Reiten. There’s probably still going to be some bloodshed but, it’s likely that it won’t be as bad as the capital.
「In any case, it’s too unrealistic to expect just soldiers and mercenaries can protect Reiten. And it’s not like the mercenaries will side with us. Rather, it’s likely they will change sides seeing the opponent having the upper hand. 」
Rather than towards Nicole, Ardis’s explanation was towards the only non-mercenary there, Marrieda.
「Five thousand enemies huh……. Even if counting their logistic soldiers, they’re overwhelmingly more than Reiten. And it’s even worse if conscripting soldiers is hard. 」
Nicole could calculate the vast difference in power immediately. Despite able to conscript one thousand five hundred soldiers previously, it’s likely not even half of that can be reached this time.
Unlike how it happened too quickly previously, this time, there is more than enough time for the citizens to choose to escape.
There were many people leaving the city before the Monarchy’s army reached Reiten.
「Reiten is also requesting help from the other cities, right? 」
Marrieda replied immediately at Ardis’s question.
「That’s exactly the purpose of forming the Coalition after all~nii. The other cities will probably send their army yo~n. ……But whether they make it in time or not is a different question. 」
「So, what are you planning? You hired me for this occasion right? 」
「Well, Ardis-kun and Nicole will still be on standby for the time being. 」
Ardis asked Marrieda just in case since she seemed like she wasn’t going to do anything especially.
「Really yo~n. 」
Seeing Marrieda saying so without a sliver of unrest, Ardis was feeling quite strange.
It was ten years old when Marrieda first saw a dream. Of course, it was not a simple dream in that sense.
She was ten years old when she started seeing dreams that reflected the reality.
Her first dream was the death of both her parents. As she cried her eyes out at the terrible nightmare, the memory of embraced by her mother in her warmth is now in the distance.
The content of the nightmare is always the same. To attend a party of the feudal lord, Marrieda was left behind in Reiten, while both her parents went out on a carriage, they would be buried in a landslide.
Only one of the employees that her father had eyes on lived on, and he was the one who brought the terrible news back to Marrieda.
The nightmare continued to happen every night. Eventually, in the dream, Marrieda tried to stop her parents.
Even if she desperately held them back from departing, the parents only regarded it as a child’s tantrum.
As a child, the most she could do was delay their departure time by a little. However, no matter how much Marrieda struggled, the result was always the same.
Even if she managed to save them from the landslide, they would be devoured by demonic beings, or be assaulted by bandits, and in the end, her parents would never return.
While trying out all methods she could think of, the invitation letter from the feudal lord for her parents arrived in the reality.
Marrieda was terrified that it would follow the development of her nightmare.
She desperately held her parents back. Knowing from her nightmares that talking about her dreams or talking logic would be useless, all she could do was to appeal with her emotions.
She cried all day convincing her parents to not go, she tried all she could do even by pretending crazy.
However, all her efforts was useless in the end. Her parents that left Marrieda at the house and departed for the party on schedule never returned again.
――That night, Marrieda never had a normal dream again. It was the start of Marrieda’s long and never-ending nightmares.
Marrieda who was drowning in agony over her parents’ death started dreaming again. The figures that appeared within is the male employee who was the sole survivor, and also another unfamiliar noble man.
『Although the president’s daughter started throwing tantrums was unexpected, the plan succeeded as expected. One third of the company is already under my control. Although there’re quite a few old ones left, after chasing them away, all that’s left is the young daughter……』
『Will you kill her? 』
The noble asked with a chilly gaze but, the male employee revealed his own thoughts.
『Immediately would be too eye-catching. If even the daughter died immediately after the parents……, it would be too suspicious. But still, it’s only a kid. I don’t think it’ too hard to swindle her. In any case, taking over the association now is not difficult. If she becomes a problem, we can just marry her off to some other house. Until then, I will be focusing on expanding my control over the association. 』
『Fumu……. In that case, my third or fourth son can be her partner. 』
The male employee then panicked seeing how the noble already starting drawing plans for the future.
『Either way, Litte is the same as in my hands already. When I get the rights to the association, I really hope to get Your Excellency’s backing. 』
Seeing how the male employee expressed his ambitions, the noble grinned as well.
『Naturally. The gold ore trading route that the Litte pioneered will be firmly under our Count house. For that, we had even gotten you and pulled strings in the back after all. 』
Smiling at the satisfactory result, the noble’s expression returned to normal, and appreciated the male employee’s effort as well as nailing in a fact.
『You did well. Get the association under control within three years. And stay alert so the other employees or the Litte’s daughter don’t suspect anything. 』
『Yes, leave it to me. 』
After that, the male employee started chasing out the old employees using the pretense of the late will of the president, and started taking control over the Litte Business Association.
The people that opposed the man who acted as if the association was his own, or those that upheld the late president’s actual will and supported Marrieda were chased away, and the man slowly secured his position in the association.
Eventually, a year after both her parents died. An assassin was sent to Marrieda.
Naturally, the eleven years old young girl had no methods to fight back, and Marrieda’s life ended abruptly.
Seeing the dream where she would die for the first time, Marrieda immediately understood that it is the future that will arrive eventually.
At the same time, she also understood that the man who conveyed the death of her parents was the culprit that instigated their deaths with another noble.
After that, Marrieda was dreaming of her own death every night. She struggled desperately in her dreams in order to not be killed.
However, even if she escaped death, her future was cruel. Getting thrown in the wilderness without anything, she would be sold to a brothel to serve guests.
It was so bad that marrying a poor commoner would be more desirable. Marrieda became impatient.
If the situation proceeded like this, reality will surely go the same way as her dreams like it did during the death of her parents.
There was no time for her to start pondering why she started seeing dreams like that.
She didn’t know how many days are left until her time limit. However, it was certain that her doom was drawing closer.
While trying out all possible choices she could have taken, Marrieda finally arrived at a choice that she would not die.
Unable to find alternatives, Marrieda chose it even while swallowing her tears of blood.
Even if it meant leaving the man that was her parents’ killer at her side. Eighteen years after both her parents were killed.
Gaining a trustworthy ally, Nicole, and a joker card, Ardis, she is overjoyed that her chance of revenge is finally here.