“A report from those sent to investigate the wasteland in the northern Albert territory!”
About a week after the Albert forces had occupied the royal palace, an unbelievable report was brought to Marquis Albert.
“It has been confirmed that a city within that wasteland do exist! It has many tall buildings, and is surrounded by two layers of imposing walls. Its population has already reached the tens of thousands, with immigrants still continuing to arrive!”
The report not only confirmed what the king said to be true, but it also told other surprising, almost impossible things.
“That’s absurd. There should be nothing in there at all.”
“A city of that many people was built just two years ago?”
“What kind of trick did Luke-sama use to achieve that…? I had no idea he was that talented…”
Marquis Albert listened to that with a sour look on his face.
After all, he failed not only to recognize his son’s true talents but also exiled him.
However, the one to let things become this way was his other son, the one left in charge of the Albert territory.
“That Raul, why didn’t he report this sooner?”
“H-he likely had no idea of its existence as well. As to be expected, even Raul-sama couldn’t have predicted that there would be a city like that in the wasteland.”
A retainer hurriedly followed up with that.
…however, the truth of the matter was that Raul knew of its existence long ago and only chose to remain silent.
“And, have you found the princess in that city?”
“Then bring her to me right away.”
“About that…the princess has refused our requests to come back. Moreover, she is also being protected by that city, making it difficult to bring her back by force…”
“Then send a message to Luke! Tell him that if he doesn’t hand over the princess right away, I will personally lead an army to crush that precious little city of his!”
Marquis Albert shouted such a command to his subordinate.
However, the reply he received days later only made him angrier.
“We’re going back to the Albert territory! I’ll show that brat what happens to anyone that defies me!”
Leaving affairs in the royal palace to a retainer, Marquis Albert began his way back to his own home territory.
◇ ◇ ◇
“The princess is now part of this city. If you wish to bring her back, then do your worst––that is what’s written on the letter I sent, give or take. Their armies should be here before long.”
Mitchell-san turned out to be a spy sent my His Majesty to the Albert territory.
And, as a desperate move to prevent the kingdom from being stolen by my father, he has seemingly made it so that this village and the Albert forces would clash.
Honestly, I found it truly troublesome.
“W-wait a moment! Did you do this without approval from Luke-sama?”
“Of course, I did, Your Highness. After all, had he refused, it would be all over for us. Hence, the need for me to put him in a position where he couldn’t refuse.”
Apparently, the princess did not know the details of Mitchell-san’s plans.
“Ha, haha. Please, your eyes wound me…i-it wasn’t like I enjoyed doing it. I was reluctant up to the last moment. Besides, given Marquis Albert and Luke-sama’s contrasting ideologies, they’re bound to clash with one another sooner or later. It’s impossible to keep the existence of this village a secret from the marquis forever, after all.”
“Luke-sama, I humbly apologize! However, it is true that you are the only one we can rely on! Please find it in your heart to lend us help!”
At that, I sighed deeply.
“Haa…I’m not enthusiastic about it, but I’ve got no choice now either way. Besides, it’s not like I’m incapable of imagining what will happen to this kingdom once my father has taken over it.”
“Well, my fate might be sealed, but the village’s isn’t yet. For a formal decision, I’d have to discuss it with the everyone first.”
“Haha, I’m sure if you say you want to do it, the others will follow suit right away. That aside, what do you think is our chance of success?”
Mitchell-san asked so in such a carefree manner.
I think I should him in the head at least once.
“I guess it all depends on the strategies we end up using. I just wanted to spend my life living peacefully in this small village…how did things turn up like this?”
“You just want to live peacefully…? With that crazy Gift and all the absurd things you’ve done with it, that must be some kind of joke, right?”