The Rovres Alliance moved quicker than anyone expected. Not even one month had passed since Marrieda heard that they started showing obvious movements.
It was Thoria Kingdom that moved first. Together with the Alburn Kingdom, they started invading the Bronshell Republic at the north.
If it was only the Thoria Kingdom, it wouldn’t be so threatening but, the story is different when Alburn Kingdom crosses the eastern sea and invade them.
On top of being forced to fight on two sides, the governing body needs more time to response in the first place, and so they were being pushed back by the Rovres Alliance’s army.
On the other hand, the San Rojeul army that had conquered Reiten started their invasion once again. There was a letter from Nicole reporting that 『There has been a warning letter of unconditional surrender from the messenger with the Monarchy name』.
They probably sent similar letters to the other cities around the Coalition. Although the Monarchy army has lesser soldier compared to the entire force of the Coalition, Ardis who had fought with them once knew their capabilities.
Currently, the Empire seems to be devoting their resources to stabilize their rule over the former Nagras Kingdom and has not yet shown any obvious movements but, they are right behind the Monarchy army.
If each city-state does not come together, it will be a tough battle.
「Will the Imperial army come here? 」
It was the signboard girl of the Seseragi Inn, Melir who asked Ardis anxiously.
They are currently in the new 『Seseragi Inn』 that Melir’s father rebuilt in the Glock Village.
The only restaurant in the village is usually crowded during lunch and night when it turns into a tavern but, now that it’s halfway into the evening, there were only Ardis, Marrieda, Minerva and Moore occupying one table.
They had just only finished an information sharing meeting with the governing members of the village.
After the meeting dismissed, they visited the Seseragi Inn for a late lunch, and just finished their meal.
Melir was apparently free, as she had a tray in her hands while she conversed with them.
As the topic went to the Rovres Alliance, she asked with an anxious expression probably recalling the time they escaped from the capital.
「They had declared conquest of the entire continent, as long as they know there’re places that are not under their control, I think they will eventually come. 」
Minerva’s words expressed the expected future without any frills.
「Just as we started to settle down……」
「It’s depressing to say this right after your reopening but, the capital has regained its peace now, and since it’s already under the Empire’s control, it’s unlikely to be caught up in a war again. 」
Minerva raised one of the choices to Melir who looked grim. In fact, there were a portion of the refugees that thought so and left the village heading back to their hometown, either the capital or the Nyrestia territory.
Though, despite saying so, Minerva could never return to the capital with her standing. There’s no way they would allow a Duke’s daughter with the right of succession to live.
Similarly, Moore who has reasons that he can’t return to the capital continued.
「Well, living here or going back is up to their choices. Though, as one of the security guards here, I don’t really want many to leave. 」
「You made sure they don’t speak right? 」
「Of course. But……, it’s not like we can stop rumors. 」
Moore answered Ardis’s confirmation with a bitter smile.
「Even if nothing might happen in the near future, it’s certain that they will put their eyes here sooner or later. 」
「How long do you think it can last? 」
Not knowing about a small village of few tens people, Glock Village now has about three thousand people living. It was a scale rather than a village, more suitable to be called a town.
It’s too positively to hope that they wouldn’t notice them.
「I guess it’s up to the efforts of the Republic and the Coalition. It should be fine as long as they look there but, after clearing them up, it’s likely they will start cleaning up their territory of any rebels. Rather, don’t they already know about us? 」
「Your basis? 」
Moore prompted more from Marrieda who seemed to have thought of something.
「It’s almost the limit to concealing the source of Heavy Iron ores~nii. Although there’s not a lack of buyers in a time of war, for them, they would at least be curious about the source that can produce this much yield. 」
「Aah, I see. If there’s some place that produces large volumes of Heavy Iron ores that isn’t yet under the Rovres Alliance’s jurisdiction, it’s natural for them to be attracted huh. 」
Unlike Moore who believed it, Melir was still confused.
「Nn――, in other words~nii. The Kingdom had developed this place for the sake of mining Heavy Iron ores right? 」
「Unn, I know. 」
「But they never found a vein up until the loss of the Kingdom. That’s why, for the Rovres Alliance, this was a place that has barely any value. Up until now that is. 」
「『Up until now』 but, what is different now? 」
「It’s like what we said just now~nii. From their perspective, a large amount of Heavy Iron ores are sold on the market. They know that it’s mined from somewhere not under their control. Despite so, they are right in a war with the Coalition and the Republic~nii. It’s unlikely any merchants would bother to bring heavy and bulky ores over a battlefield. There’s no need to risk themselves as selling Heavy Iron ores has the same market price in every country. They can just sell in their own country yo~n. 」
「Umhmm…….I still don’t get it? 」
「And so. They will think there’s somewhere remote within their own lands that hasn’t fallen under their control yet right――? If they look over the documents that the former Kingdom had, they could see that this place is Heavy Iron rich, and if they knew that there’s been an attempt to excavate for veins here――」
「Ah, I see. It would look really strange. 」
When the Empire invaded, the Heavy Iron veins were not found yet.
However, that’s only 『During that time』, since then, they were able to find Heavy Iron ore veins thanks to Sera and Ardis, Marrieda had been supplying the market here and there using the connections of the Litte Business Association.
Eventually, they will direct their gazes to the Glock Village. Understanding that, Melir’s face turned blue.
Ardis had only taken this village as a temporary place to take refuge in but, it seems like there are refugees like Melir that thought it as a new home.
Hearing that it might be swallowed by the flames of war not even after half a year, it’s natural to be anxious.
「Don’t worry. Unlike the surprise attack on the capital, we are always on guard, and thanks to Litte, we know about the Empire’s movements as well. At the very least, I don’t think we will be dragged into a war suddenly. You can secretly return to the capital when any signs of war start to show. 」
Moore is correct. Unlike people like Minerva and Moore who can’t return for a reason, majority of the refugees only saw this place as a temporary shelter from the flames of war.
When the chaos subsides, it’s possible to return to the capital. Naturally, their assets or houses might’ve disappeared but, at the very least, it’s unlikely that the Empire will kill any returning refugees.
「And that’s the case……. There’s nothing better than living in peace back in the capital. 」
「Yeah right. When the time comes, rest easy as we will buy the minimum time for you guys to escape. 」
「Unn, thank you Moore-san! I will depend on you! 」
「Ou, leave it to me. 」
「Then, as advance payment, let me treat you to my special desert for free! 」
「Ou……, no, that’s a little……」
「Please don’t be reserved. You are protecting us in a case of emergency. Let me treat you to a desert at the very least! 」
Leaving her words behind, Melir disappeared into the kitchen without waiting for a reply. There were three pitying gazes towards Moore who looks utterly defeated.
However, for some reason, Melir brought back four portions of desert, as the three who were pitying Moore cursed their own misfortune.
「Nee, Melir. All four of them are for motivating Moore right――? 」
Marrieda who had already experienced the baptism of Melir’s home cooking, also known as the ultimate weapon of the Seseragi Inn struggled in vain, because all she got was, 「Of course not. I’ve prepared enough for everyone. 」
Even though knowing Melir isn’t someone that favorites any particular guest, Ardis was cursing at her spirit of equality.
「I’m confident this time! 」
While hearing the words that he felt like he had heard every time, Ardis looked over at the dish that’s put in front of him.
It was red. It was poisonously red.
The shape that jiggled when picked up by a spoon resembled the custard pudding that Ardis knew.
However, Ardis has not once seen a red custard pudding in his life. No, maybe there’s something like that somewhere in the world, but at the very least, it would not resemble the dangerous looking thing in front of his eyes.
Three pairs of cold gazes flew to Moore. While condemning the foolish man who called for this situation inwardly, Ardis had no choice but to scoop up the red object and put it in his mouth.
Spicy. It was spicy despite being a desert. A spiciness that could numb his entire mouth with just one spoonful.
Rather, it is close to pain. It was so much so that he started having illusions of being forced to chew on pieces of crushed glass.
Looking beside him, Marrieda was tightly gripping the spoon as she banged on the table repeatedly.
Moore already had a dead man’s eyes and wasn’t even twitching. He might be trying to alleviate the pain by not moving.
Minerva’s eyes were bright red, and was swallowing the pudding with all her might with tears.
「Don’t force yourself. 」
Seeing his pupil that was trying too hard, Ardis said so unintentionally.
「Compared to Nedulos…… this much is……」
Ardis felt inexplicable having a sense of camaraderie with his own pupil. However, the spiciness that can be called malice was not so peaceful.
Not able to complain to Melir who treated them completely in good faith, Ardis was glaring at the owner who can’t stop his daughter’s assault every time.
Unlike the time that they first arrived in the village, thanks to Marrieda and Michelle, the problem with food is more or less resolved.
However, it’s not like wasting food is justified now. Melir’s cooking was in fact consuming their supplies.
Stopping that, forcing her the reality, making her listen, it is the responsibility of none other than the shop owner and Melir’s father.
The shop owner that was peeking at them was spooked when he noticed Ardis’s gaze and quickly escaped.
「He escaped huh. 」
「He escaped~nii. 」
「He did. 」
Their words overlapped. In the end, not able to be honest with their appraisals for Melir’s cooking, they agreed with Marrieda’s restrained opinion, 「It was a little too spicy~nii」, and dismissed it.
That night, Melir’s standard of spiciness soothed a little, but by the other’s standards, the custard pudding was still enough of a weapon with its vicious spiciness to knock several guests out without them ever touching alcohol.