The village has departed from the royal capital and heartily made its way across the land.
It was headed northeast. Yes, it was going back to the wasteland it has occupied before.
We had won against the Albert army led by my father and successfully held the royal capital. But now that our business there was over, there was no reason for the village to remain adjacent to the capital.
“Say, Luke, are you really sure about this?”
“The king personally asked you to serve in the palace, didn’t he? Plus, he wanted to granted you peerage.”
“Nah, that kind of thing’s not for me. Being able to live peacefully in the wasteland as a simple village chief is more than enough for me.”
I reaffirmed my decision to Selen.
“A simple village chief, you say…I don’t think a simple village chief can move an entire village like this though.”
When I decided to respectfully turn down the king’s offer, the king and the princess both looked terribly saddened.
Understanding now more than ever how much the kingdom must change, the king was determined to implement reforms.
The court nobles, having learned their lesson, were generally in support of the king’s proposed reforms. It seemed like the kingdom would become more united in the future.
Not that it mattered, but some villagers have expressed some crazy statements like ‘now that we’ve taken the royal palace, Luke-sama should become king!’.
It was fine that they thought highly of me, but recently, the number of radical villagers seemed to have increased…I wonder why though.
“Ahh, but I did leave behind a body double to support the king in my stead though.”
“You’re wise as always, Luke-sama!”
“(In other words, Luke-sama intends to gradually take over behind the scenes. By the time they notice it, Luke-sama has already become the one truly running this kingdom…fufufu, Luke-sama’s foresight is truly magnificent!)”
I had the feeling that Millia was thinking of something off the mark.
At any rate, for the crime of insurgency against the crown, the original Albert territory was confiscated and placed under the direct control of the royal family.
Also, the lands captured by father—including Marquis Schneger’s territory—were returned to their former rulers.
In light of the fact that another Albert was responsible for stopping father, some considerations were given to our family.
Firstly, the governor to be installed in the original Albert territory was father’s younger brother. Unlike father, he was mild-mannered and also disliked war. When he was a teen, he left the Albert territory to study in the royal capital. In time, he apparently worked to work as a civil official.
Truth be told, this position as governor was actually offered to Raul, but he turned it down.
“Another reason the royal family has fallen this much is that the kingdom’s army is just is too weak. I’m going to join them and make sure they’re tough enough.”
The king has apparently approved of Raul’s plan.
If the kingdom’s army becomes stronger to the point where they could intervene in the disputes between nobles, the kingdom’s internal wars might subside and eventually become a thing of the past.
And then, of course, there was my father, the principal offender…
Raul’s sword attack dealt a heavy wound that could have been fatal if not for the power of our potions. That said, father was still unconscious last I heard.
As soon as he wakes up, he would be put to trial…a trial that would assuredly give him a death sentence.
◇ ◇ ◇
“……a-all things considered, what an absurd Gift he has. He has remade the entire palace so quickly…”
“And now, to rebuild the rest of the capital.”
“And this was all done by a so-called body double…I can’t tell it apart from the real one…hmm…”
As a form of greeting, Luke’s body double quickly began its work for the royal palace. It remade the palace into a tall building of over a hundred meters tall.
Much like the real Luke, the body double had a tendency to overdo things.
“Ahh, Luke-sama…you’re so amazing… (when I ascend to the throne someday, I want Luke-sama to be my prince consort…uhehehe…)”
Without the king or the double noticing, the princess was fully enthralled just by looking at the double.
At that moment however…
“Urgent news, your majesty!”
“What is it?
“Lord Albert…he’s, he’s escaped from his cell!”
“What did you say!?”
◇ ◇ ◇
When Lord Albert escaped from the palace’s dungeon, the entire palace has descended into a state of panic.
Meanwhile, at a place far from the capital…
“Hohoho, quite superb, Neon. You might not have been able to defend the palace, but at least you got something out of staying there.”
“Silence. I don’t want to hear that talk from someone who failed to retake the palace.”
“Exactly! There’s no point anymore in blaming each other!”
These people were Lord Albert’s closest aides, the so-called four generals.
The generals were defeated and imprisoned, but they were now navigating their way through the palace safely thanks to Neon’s prior knowledge of the palace’s structure.
Aside from the four, there was one other person in their group.
“Edel-sama, what are we to do from here on? We’re now fugitives. If we are to try to take this kingdom once again, we must first find a place where we can compose ourselves.”
Yes, despite the security placed on him, Edel has escaped not just from his cell but from the capital itself.
“…I’m no longer interested in this kingdom. No matter how many weak people we gather and train, in the end, those people would still be weak. It’s not worth the effort.”
“Hohoho, I see. I couldn’t agree more.”
“Yes, leading that kind of army isn’t worth it. I would rather know just how much stronger I can become as a combatant.”
After that, Lord Albert—now simply Edel Albert—walked forward.
The other four looked at his dependable back and followed after him as though it was the most natural thing to do.
“Fuhahaha! That’s Edel-sama for ya! I don’t know about you, but I’d like to accompany him in this new path!”
“Hohoho, I won’t let you steal a march on me now, Gaion.”
“…Meribella…I too…am going to follow Edel-sama…come blood or tears…I’ll stay…”
“It seems we’re all of the same thought.”
Like that, their group made their escape from the kingdom.
“Even so…that underground path that we used to escape…why was its entrance in a place like a castle dungeon of all places…?”