Two days after San Rojeul’s army landed. Five thousand soldiers are already surrounding the Reiten’s city walls.
「So what’s your plan actually? 」
Till now, Ardis has not a single idea on what Marrieda’s intentions were. When Reiten was surrounded by demonic beings, Ardis had participated in the defense battle.
He hasn’t forgotten Marrieda’s panic measures to protect the association. This time however, Marrieda’s actions were not understandable from the start.
「Many of the employees had already fled Reiten with their families. There’s enough time to escape after all. But doesn’t that mean Reiten’s defeat is set in stone? Then why are you still here, not caring for yourself? 」
It’s not just employees. Even Marrieda’s childhood friend, Ellie of the Rovell had already headed west with both her parents apparently for a business.
Hearing that Kyrill had accompanied them as an escort, Ardis concluded it was Marrieda’s doings without any proof.
「I mean, I have my role as the president――. It’s not like I can just escape even if it’s a little dangerous~nii. 」
「You’re not the type to be like that though. In the first place, without employees, the association is not even functioning. 」
「Just so you know, there’s still the bare minimum of employees left for us to continue functioning yo~n. 」
「Even those bare minimum of employees doesn’t seem like they are doing anything. 」
「That’s right. Since the country had already bought up anything that seemed useful for the war――. There’re no new incoming stock, I guess all there is is to wait. 」
Marrieda shrugged and stopped talking. Ardis was intrigued by Marrieda’s composure.
The reason that she hired Ardis as an escort is most probably because of the invasion.
Despite that, Ardis hasn’t faced any of the invading soldiers yet, and was not even acting as an escort for the employees that were escaping.
Ardis had only followed Marrieda around as an escort leisurely. Of course, he would suspect something if it was like that.
「Nicole. Don’t you know anything about this? 」
「Since Ojou is not saying anything, I can’t either……」
He changed his target over to Nicole. From his tone, it seems like Nicole has a some insight into Marrieda’s thoughts.
Then, Marrieda offered a saving boat to Nicole who seemed awkward.
「If you don’t like the request, you can retire at any time yo~n. But as for the food and the ores……, well, we can talk about it again without the bonus. 」
「……It’s only three days more anyways. 」
While confident that the remaining three days will not pass peacefully, Ardis decided to continue act as an escort.
The next day. As the dawn broke, the San Rojeul army started attacking.
The defending side, Reiten’s army combined with the conscripted soldiers are only barely in the four digits.
As expected, conscripting soldiers were not as successful, and mercenaries had chosen to escape Reiten as a non-participant.
A fierce battle unfolded since the first day. It might be because the opponents knew reinforcements from other cities will come as long as Reiten bought enough time.
So, the Monarchy army seemed to choose a strategy of aggressive invading even if it meant sacrificing more men in the process.
Both sides’ demands were stated, and since the battle started, the two armies had been shooting arrows and magic over at each other.
Soldiers atop the city walls were getting shot, leaving corpses there, there were even magic or arrows that occasionally landed within Reiten, and even harmed non-combatants.
Even when the night fell, the opponent did not stop their attacks. In Reiten, not just the soldiers, even the citizens were in fear of the attacks that might come at any time as they spent the restless night.
The Reiten army that had been dealing with the night attacks were then assaulted even harder on the next day.
「What are the enemies actually thinking? 」
Even if the Monarchy army has more number, it’s illogical for them to be so forceful and continue attacking without any rest throughout the night.
「It’s like they are the one being forced to a corner. 」
Ardis’s monologue was answered by Nicole, Although he wasn’t in the battle directly, he was able to get some information thanks to Sharu.
It was as if the Monarchy army are in a grave spot that needed Reiten to fall immediately.
Certainly, considering that reinforcements from other cities might arrive if they took too long, it’s reasonable that they want to settle it quickly.
However, it’s still unthinkable for them to continue their attacks throughout the night normally.
「Even if they swapped soldiers to rest, fatigue will still accumulate within their men……」
Not able to understand the opponent’s intentions, Ardis felt a little creeped out.
The second night after the battle started. The same happened as arrows and magic were thrown inside Reiten from outside the wall.
Their unclear purpose and murderous intent without pause caused massive fear not just within the soldiers, but the citizens as well.
There are flames burning here and there. People went around trying to extinguish the fire with tired faces.
It was only the second day. But it’s also the second day without any proper rest.
The continuous attacks from the opposing army had definitively piled on fatigue on Reiten’s side.
「Ojou-sama. I shall confirm that our warehouses haven’t been harmed yet. 」
There were a total of four people in the president’s room. Ardis, Marrieda, Nicole, and also another middle-aged man that was introduced as Marrieda’s confidant.
What was strange was that it was the exact same members that were around eight years ago when Ardis first met Marrieda.
That time, Ardis thought that he was just another employee but, it seems like he’s considered the number two of the entire association.
Apparently, he was the person that supported the association until Marrieda became an adult, and even after that, he had supported her throughout the years, one of the oldest employees still around in the association.
Although many employees had already escaped before Reiten was surrounded by enemies, there were still a few employees around, including that man.
「Yes. Thanks~nii, Kuzeon. 」
The middle-aged man named Kuzeon bowed a little before exiting the room in a hurry. Marrieda who glared at the door for a while after he left sighed, as if she was relieved that he was gone.
But, it only looked like a deep breath to calm herself in Ardis’s eyes.
「Will he move? 」
「Probably~nii. Rather, it would be strange if he didn’t with this perfect set up~nii. 」
Nicole and Marrieda spoke to each other in a way that only themselves understood.
「Oi, speak it in a way I can understand too. 」
Marrieda looked over at Ardis who seemed displeased and started saying in a serious tone.
「I will get moving now. 」
Ardis narrowed his eyes at her sudden declaration. His gaze prompted Marrieda to continue.
「It is for today that I hired Ardis-kun. I’m going to settle a certain matter now. I want you to be my escort together with Nicole during this. 」
「Let me confirm again, it’s not about rushing into the enemies surrounding Reiten currently right? 」
「No way that’s the case right. 」
「Then? What’s your certain matter? 」
Ardis asked with a stronger tone with an intention of telling her to fess up already.
Marrieda who had been staying quiet all this time suddenly let loose the truth easily.
One short word was enough to trigger something within Ardis. Naturally, he didn’t think Marrieda said it jokingly.
Even Nicole who was at the side had a serious face. It seems like Nicole already knew about that part of the business.
Seeing that there is intense light of revenge in her eyes, Ardis who felt a little connected unintentionally muttered.
「Taking revenge huh? 」
Naturally, that question had no answer. However, Marrieda’s cold words which were completely void of emotion echoed in the room.
「……For eighteen years, I had been living for this day. 」
Hearing how Marrieda did not deny it, Ardis knew that he was on the mark.
「That’s why, Ardis-kun. Revenge is meaningless, useless, or it will lead to more hate, I don’t care if you say that and step down now. Of course, it’s the best if Ardis-kun is willing to lend a hand, but I won’t be forceful either. 」
Marrieda’s eyes were clear without any hesitation. It seems like she had made her decision on continuing just with Nicole even if Ardis wasn’t around.
Ardis’s help is only on the extent of 『Great if had』.
「Revenge……, taking revenge……」
Ardis shut his eyes and muttered.
Will he refuse by saying pretty words? Will he convince Marrieda to stop?
Ardis thought that was stupid.
Even if others deny it, only Ardis will not deny Marrieda.
Even if others laugh it off, only Ardis will not laugh at her intentions.
Even if others refuse it, only Ardis will not refuse her hatred.
He had no rights to do that.
If he denied Marrieda’s decision, then it would mean denying himself.
If he laughed off Marrieda’s will, then it would mean laughing off himself.
If he denied Marrieda’s hate, then it would mean denying his own feelings.
For Ardis who have lived so long holding the will to take revenge towards someone, that was a natural element in himself, the smoldering flames that was just beside his peaceful life.
Rather, for Ardis, it was clearest and most basic motive.
「Fine. Taking revenge is fine. I shall too, lend a hand in your fight. 」