Five months had passed since the capital, Gran fell. Since then, the world changed quite a bit.
The entirety of the Nagras Kingdom is now under control of the Empire, and a new country, Thoria Kingdom declared independence in its northern territory, and several cities of the City-State Coalition fell to the San Rojeul Monarchy army that crossed the sea.
The military alliance made between the three countries and Alburn Kingdom had been conquering the land on the continent diligently.
「There’s more again. 」
Ardis who visited Glock Village after ten days since his last seemed tired seeing the unfamiliar people.
「Ah. Ardis-san. 」
Picking up the words not intending for anyone, the home tutor of Fillia and Riana, the magician Kyrill faced him. A month ago, the members of the Rovell Business Association received Marrieda’s message, and had gathered at the Glock Village.
Although Kyrill was an alumnus of the academy, in a certain sense, he’s also one of Ardis’s student. Someone from the sidelines might think so but, the people themselves didn’t think so.
For Ardis, he is at most 『A child that he had fate with』. But of course, Kyrill who he’d met at first when he was twelve is now twenty, a splendid adult already.
None of his young traits remained on his facial features, and his height had grown to about the same as Ardis. Moreover, if anyone who didn’t know them saw, Ardis would be the younger between the two since his appearance doesn’t change much even when he got older.
「Refugees again? 」
「Yes, well……. Wars are frequent now after all. 」
The Rovres Alliance had ignited war left and right. Thoria Kingdom and Alburn Kingdom is invading the Bronshell Republic in a joint effort currently, and the San Rojeul Monarchy was taking down cities after cities with supplies from the Elmenia Empire.
With wars spanning over various land, there are many people forced to take refuge from the battlefield.
Since if their next destination would be attacked again, they will be forced to escape again. Because of that, the number of people arriving at Glock Village is not insignificant.
Although the hidden village where Ardis lives at normally is also increasing in population, it’s not to the degree of the Glock Village that can no longer be called a mining village.
The Glock Village has now over five thousand people, certainly not a population to be a village.
「Not like I never expected it though. 」
Seeing the refugees with a complicated expression, Moore, one of the governing members of the town came from behind.
「Although there’re problems with necessities, even more than that, if this town gets known more……」
Certainly, the most problematic thing that Ardis and the others worried about was the presence of Glock Village being known to the Empire.
A remote village that has no reason to be conquered because they have a small population and no produce. If the Empire continues to regards them as so, it will buy them some time.
However, now that Glock Village has more than five thousand people, and had become a valuable Heavy Iron ore excavation site. There’s no way it is still an insignificant village that can be ignored.
The refugees that has nowhere to go eventually arrived at Glock Village. That itself cannot be helped but, rather than that, the important fact is that Glock Village is gradually being known by the refugees as a safe haven.
Although the name of the village is still a rumor, it’s certainly attracting people.
「I think Ojou-sama should escape to the hidden village already but……」
As long as the Glock Village attracts the Empire’s attention, it’s inevitable Minerva’s presence will get exposed.
Despite never announcing it publicly, the first batch of refugees obviously knew who she was.
Even if they tried silencing them, with three thousand people around, eventually one of them will spill the truth about Minerva.
Through the several refugees that left the village, the problem is apparent as the information is sure to spread everywhere.
Moore thought that it would be nigh time to move to the hidden village, and Ardis is no more agreeable on that.
However, the problem was Minerva herself didn’t want it.
「The person herself is not willing huh. 」
As Ardis confirmed it, Moore nodded with a troubled face.
「She doesn’t want to get treated specially, apparently. 」
「Though it’s not like she’s the only one getting special treatment. 」
Ardis is right. Unrelated to her, Sera has also approved several refugees in the Glock Village to the hidden village.
Although Ardis don’t quite understand the basis of her selection, at the very least, it seems like she had been properly filtering out people that are blindly faithful to the goddess, people that are narrow-minded or discriminates against twins.
Sera said as well, for a society that’s closed and founded in a mystery, she has to select people well.
In the end, there was only about a hundred people in the Glock Village that has migrated to the hidden village.
「The Empire knowing that Ojou-sama is in this town is a troublesome. Rather, it’s probably impossible to conceal her. Although commoners wouldn’t be found out, it can’t go by unnoticed if any fallen noble or merchant who knows about the aristocracy saw her, and it’s as good as over if the Empire sent spies here. 」
Moore’s words intrigued Kyrill.
「However, she’s not a crown princess nor any direct descendant of the royal blood, only a duke’s daughter. On top of that, she’s not in line for succession right? I heard her line in succession is low, so getting known shouldn’t be a problem right. 」
Moore explained further to clarify.
「It’s not like that, Kyrill. Currently, no matter royalties or not, everyone that has the right to succeed are all already killed, or on the line to execution. Since the Master and Young Master never did return after all……」
During the collapse of the capital, every royalty that tried to escape the capital are captured, and those that resisted are executed immediately.
Minerva’s father, Duke Nyrestia when received the news of the fall of the capital, retreated from the border, but because of the pursuers from the Empire, he died in battle.
And his brother who was quelling the rebelling Thoria army in the end failed, and also killed.
Recalling Minerva’s expression when she received news of the death of both her family members, Ardis felt pain.
Although she has regained her calm now, there’s no way her mental state is stable as both her family members died at the same time.
As a temporary measure, Rona is staying beside Minerva every hour of the day currently.
There’re only a few people like the Nyrestia’s head and son that died resisting against the Empire, most of them were caught and executed by the Empire trying to escape or stayed for too long.
「But as expected, they won’t execute every one of them right? Won’t they just change the name of Lord Nagras and Lord Gran and put them under the Empire? 」
「Normally, yeah. 」
Although he agreed with Kyrill about the natural course of actions that should be taken, Moore further explained.
「However, it’s a different story if considering the standing of the Kingdom and the Empire. For the Empire that claims to the rightful successor of the Corsas Kingdom, Nagras Kingdom is an unforgivable country that had been occupying the land that were theirs for a long time. As there’s a need to crush their enemy to the very end, I don’t think they will spare anyone that is related to the royal family. As long as they claim to be the successor of Corsas Kingdom, destroying the Kingdom is the natural choice, if the Kingdom won against the Empire, they would’ve probably done the same thing. 」
As Kyrill was born of the City-States Coalition in Reiten, he might not know about the long fight between the Nagras Kingdom and Elmenia Empire.
It’s exactly a relationship best described as 『Both parties cannot acknowledge each other’s existence』.
Stacking on small conflicts in the beginning, the relationship became beyond repair after a long history.
Moreover, the two country never tried to walk side by side but denied each other’s existence from the start. The winner will cleanse the loser of everything.
As far as they knew, the royalties that got captured only waited for the day of execution.
They’re probably only kept alive for the purpose of calming the chaos in the former Kingdom. Because of that, other than Minerva, all the other royalties are on brink of extinction.
「Eh……, if so, she’s the last person that has the blood of the Nagras royal family……? 」
「That’s right. Although there might still be a royalty somewhere out there. 」
Kyrill who had finally gotten the severity of the situation gasped, as Moore made it clear.
「It’s like that. As the only flagship that can be used for the Kingdom’s revival, in other words, she’s nothing more than an eyesore for the Empire. 」
「……I now fully understand both of your worries. 」
The nightmare of the Imperial army invading is more realistic now. Ardis then pointed out something that would make Kyrill feel more unrest.
「Don’t look that anxious now. There’s still something worse coming up later. 」
「So you have some bad news? 」
Hearing Ardis’s words, Moore prompted. After all, Ardis had visited out of schedule, it’s already likely that something bad happened.
「Although it might betray your expectations――」
Ardis with a serious face announced.
「The Republic already fell. 」
「Tch, they only withstood one month. So pathetic. 」
Unlike Kyrill who was surprised, Moore on the other hand was clicking his tongue at the Republic’s unsightliness.
Although they knew the Republic would lose eventually, the problem was how long would it take. But one month is too quick.
As Moore said before, it isn’t known that whether the Republic is too weak militarily or is the Thoria Kingdom and Alburn Kingdom unexpectedly stronger.
「Gather everyone immediately. Ardis can go to the chief’s house first. I will go there soon. 」
「Yeah, got it. 」
Separating from Moore who went to gather the governing members in an emergency, Ardis as well moved to the meeting place that is the chief’s house ahead of time.
It’s not like they didn’t expect the situation to worsen every day. The Rovres Alliance has been on continuous advantage even at the southern frontline between the Coalition and the San Rojeul army.
The Monarchy army that had taken over three city states stopped for a while at first. Opposing that, the Coalition has finally formed an opposing army and moved in effort to fight for the final battle.
However, they were a little too late. At the same time they finally gathered armies from different city-states, the Monarchy has already sent their backup unit across the southern seas.
There were ten thousand new soldiers that landed. Rather than backup, it’s better to call them the main unit.
Combining the original five thousand soldiers, they now have fifteen thousand soldiers, and they have many soldiers over the nine thousand the Coalition has.
In one defense battle of a certain city state versus the Monarchy army, they were overwhelmed by their absurd numbers and the enemies’ flying horse corps.
The Monarchy army that has been going around the Coalition to conquer its cities proactively already has seventy percent of the entire Coalition under control.
However, the problem this time is about the north of the continent. Now that the Thoria Kingdom and Alburn Kingdon had defeated the Bronshell Republic, it’s likely that the Rovres Alliance will finally put their eyes here.
「The time for them to come has come huh. 」
In the biggest meeting room in the chief’s house, Moore narrated the inner voice of everyone there.
「Will they attack? 」
One of the members, Elma asked in spite of that. And the chief’s shoulder jumped in response.
「It’s rather difficult to imagine them not. 」
As if reading a script he’d prepared, Ardis immediately answered.
「T-That means, our town…… will become a battlefield? 」
A healthy and strong looking man was looking anxious like a lost child. It is the owner of the house, and the chief of the Glock Village.
Ardis answered the gaze of the chief that asked with a voice quivering.
「The possibility can’t be denied. 」
「N-No way……, why……」
The chief’s face color turned worse as he got an undesired answer. He is the person that has led the Glock Village before Ardis and the others brought the refugees here, when Glock Village was still a small developing mining village.
Now that the population has risen over five thousand, it’s difficult for him alone to take helm of the entire village.
That’s why, talents like Moore and Elma are also acting as assistants to form a council, and had been managing the town by means of discussion.
The people that participated in the meeting is the chief, Moore, Elma, Marrieda, Minerva, a total of five persons.
Depending on the situation, Ardis and Michelle will be around but, the members are the fixed basically.
It operates under a system that can be said to be an oligarchy, where decisions are made under the authority of the mayor.
On top of that, other than the original chief here, everyone else is close to Ardis. In fact, it can be said that they took over the village but, since it’s an emergency, Ardis had no choice but to cut in.
Though, there’s no knowing when this emergency situation will end.
「Why, you ask, it’s a little late~nii. For the Empire, their grip on the former Kingdom territory has stabilized a bit, and also the northern war was settled, since room in the entire alliance is created, and the population in this town has grown to the point of not able to be ignored, and also it’s the source of Heavy Iron ores that is useful for a war, moreover, there’s the presence of a royal blood that escaped from the capital――. There’re so many reasons everywhere――」
Marrieda glanced over to Minerva casually while she easily pointed out several points.
「It’s something we expected from the start. Even if Minerva wasn’t here, the Imperial army will eventually come. 」
「Unn unn. I agree~nii. 」
Getting a sharp stab from Ardis’s gaze, Marrieda agreed with a sweating expression. Disregarding those two, Minerva advanced with a 「So then」.
「I think we should give out food and send the people who want nothing to do with the war outside. I don’t think many will stay in this town forcefully but. Captain Greystar, how many people can you escort in one go to the nearest town? 」
「Since we don’t know when will the Empire attack, I’d at least have some people still left here. Though, we can’t just hand out food easily like that too……. Well, there’re people that want to leave within the guards’ corps as well, considering that, about seven, eight or ten people at once I suppose. 」
「Alright. Then, choosing the people, and strengthening alert. Will Priest Elma be the one conveying it to the refugees? 」
「Leave it to me. 」
「President Litte should confirm supplies like weapons. Please do distribute them to the people that are sent outside the town as well. 」
「Even though I said calling me Marrieda is fine~nyaaa――. 」
There were cold gazes showering the female merchant who asked the duke’s daughter to address herself by name with a suspicious smile.
「In any case, I will leave those matters to you, President Litte. And so, chief, is there anything else? 」
As Minerva was prompting the chief for a dismissal, Ardis suddenly stood up. The sudden action surprised everyone other than Minerva.
Among them, it was Moore that asked straightforwardly.
「What’s the matter, Ardis? 」
But Moore’s question immediately disappeared. Ardis and Minerva’s gaze were on the entrance of the meeting room, and a person revealed herself behind the slowly opening door.
Seeing the person, Ardis and Elma’s voices both overlapped.
Dark brown with red tinged hair. The jet black long robe and burning red eyes that are eye-catching. It’s not someone that’s normally here.
「Why are you here? 」
Facing Ardis who asked his natural question, Sera opened her mouth and announced one-sidedly. The contents were very much surprising to everyone there.
「The Thoria army has started marching towards this town. 」