“Procell-sama, are you really sure this is good enough for you?”
“Avalon doesn’t want for there to be further bad blood between us. So yes, we do not have any plans to seek for recompense.”
In the reception room of my residence, we dealt with the post-war processing.
On the other side of this conversation was the one that raised and waved the white flag in the battlefield while being scared of the Avalon-Ritters’ murderous storm.
He was the neighboring city’s lord.
The reason he had for being in the battlefield sounded something like he wanted to personally see Avalon being trampled upon.
I only heard this indirectly but he seemed to have thought that their victory was definitely for certain. For him, their side going toe to toe with us was impossible enough, never mind their side losing.
It seemed he used his soldiers as a shield to survive but nevertheless, he survived through the war. He had terrific survival ability.
“Thank you very much. I-I promise you, from now on, we will not be a problem for Avalon anymore. I swear so please, I beg you, spare our city.”
With much force, the other city’s lord bowed his head enough that it touched the table. What he feared most at the moment was that Avalon would chose to retaliate and invade their city.
“Avalon has no intention of doing so.”
The only reason we fought in this war was because it was forced on us. Even so, if we took it a step further and conquered the neighboring city instead of settling things here, the empire itself would be against us. We might win but I’d rather not deal with that trouble especially since we didn’t wish for any to begin with.
“However, if ever we find out that you’ve been conspiring with other cities against us, we will mercilessly raze your city to the ground. What you’ve seen was but a demonstration of our true might. Bear that in mind. Even if you have assembled an army capable of defeating us, remember that we can turn your city into ashes before the fighting even begins.”
If we didn’t care for the method and only at the result, things would be over instantly.
In the case that they gathered a force we couldn’t hope to win against, my move would be to first bombard their city from the sky. After that, we would completely hole up and defend the city. Like so, the enemy would soon wither away.
“I-I understand. We will not, never again, to this city, stand in opposition, even if we gain support from our country………”
At that, I smiled.
“Then, let us confirm the terms for the armistice, shall we? First, about the pass that Avalon will issue. Anyone that has this pass will be exempt from tariffs and admission taxes. Also, all undeserved taxes to those going toward Avalon’s direction will no longer be imposed.”
“Understood. Those can be arranged right away.”
“Next, to watch over you and your city, you shall take on a subordinate of mine as your secretary.”
“I consent on that too.”
A blue-haired beautiful girl in a dress then appeared.
She was one of the Ocean Singers of the intelligence corps.
“Grant her access to everything and let her do whatever she wants. If we ever lose contact with her, we will take it as a sign of your hostility toward us and thus act accordingly.”
“I-I understand. She shall be treated as we would a guest of honor.”
With her there to observe in an official capacity, any disturbing activity the other party was up to would be reported immediately.
“………but are you really sure you’re fine with only these two conditions?”
He still doubted me and I really couldn’t blame him. To him, I might have sounded too optimistic.
“Yes. As I’ve said in the beginning, what we wish for is the mutual prosperity of both our cities. If a city we traded with underwent a recession, the business coming from there will also lessen. So, we have no intention of burdening you further than what is necessary.”
A fair number of our valuable guests resided in the neighboring city so it would actually impact us negatively if that city’s economy failed to prosper.
Humans were a very important resource for us. We mustn’t, if possible, carelessly decrease their numbers. Rather, it would be better for us to set up an environment where their population would increase.
“Be that as it may, Avalon will only be lenient this one time. The opportunities to take advantage of this leniency are there and are plentiful. Perhaps you might even decide to attack us again. Should you do so, however, don’t expect us to hold back again.”
In response to my threat, the other city’s lord went ghastly pale and shivered.
With both sides in agreement, we signed the documents relevant to this armistice and concluded the meeting.
“Oh, that’s right, we’re going to hold a celebration party but would you like to join us?”
“Tha-Thank you for your consideration b-but as I have, ahm, things to attend to, I would have to respectfully d-decline.”
“That’s a shame. But all of your horses have ran away during the war, right? Let me arrange for you a golem-drawn carriage. I wish you a safe journey home.”
I said so with a smiling face. The other city’s lord on the other hand repeatedly nodded.
He had already forgotten but just a while back, I had made him drink a truth serum concocted by Aura. Through that, I had made him spill all that he knew. I had also placed within his body a listening device and transmitter.
I had done all that without him remembering a thing. It was such a drug.
After he left, I contemplated on what he had relayed to me.
“This is a surprise. Someone from the Rigdolg Faith had instigated them into this war. And a high-ranking priest at that.”
The Rigdolg Faith was a religion with vast influence over many countries. Considering it was the Rigdolg Faith, it was entirely plausible that they could easily gather those hero-class adventurers from various countries.
One thing that the lord confessed to me got my attention though.
“These Hero-class adventurers are cultured so don’t worry.”
Said the priest of the Rigdolg Faith to the neighboring city’s lord.
What I heard made things have more sense. Originally, to be a hero-class adventurer, one needed to have earned a vast amount of experience. Gaining raw combat strength alone wasn’t enough, the real threat lied with the heroes’ instincts born from their accumulated experience. Clearly though, our opponents this time didn’t possess such instincts.
A theory came to mind: If a Demon Lord was indeed behind the Rigdolg Faith, wouldn’t they then be able to mass-produce hero-class adventurers within a short time by letting those would-be heroes efficiently kill the said Demon Lord’s monsters? And if so, it made sense that these heroes’ instincts were not as developed.
Nonetheless, these were all in the realm of conjecture at the moment. Our first step was to let the lord go roam free and then gather intelligence from his activities.
I had instructed the Ocean Singer I had appointed as his secretary to deliberately give him space. I suspected that when that chance presented itself to him, he would make direct contact with whomever can lead us to the real enemy.
In other news, the High Elves and Ocean Singers I had made to survey the battlefield had apprehended some suspicious monsters. They were currently being confined in the dungeon proper underground and would be properly pried for intelligence at a later date. For now…
After seeing off the golem-drawn carriage that the neighboring city’s lord rode in, I returned to Avalon.
Upon doing so, a man cheerily greeted me.
“Procell-san, I heard it was your complete victory.”
He was the merchant Relic. His face was already red when we met, a clear indication that the celebration party—and the drinking for that matter—had already begun.
Given that Avalon was a city surrounded by high walls and that entry and exit were prohibited during the war, the citizens within the city had no knowledge of how the war unfolded. All they knew was that we won.
“Yes, it’s thanks to everyone’s support.”
“What are you talking about? In the end, you almost didn’t let us help you, remember? And yet, you trashed your opponent of 3000 strong in less than an hour! This city is the best. Hahaha! Avalon is the most profitable and safest city in the world!”
He praised Avalon without reserve but his eyes were serious. I was sure he smelt the scent of gold. Geez, he’s a person I really can’t drop my guard to.
I stayed a while for some idle chat and then parted with him to walk around the city.
With the threat of the war gone, everyone was in a state of great revelry.
Because of the celebration party, a considerable number of merchants could be seen here and there, offering luxurious food and alcohol. Everyone was smiling.
It was as though a genocide didn’t happen just a little while earlier.
“Ah! Oto-san, these kebabs are delicious!”
“Master, this soup is tastier.”
“This dried fish too is superb.”
Kuina, Rorono, and Aura each brought along a cuisine in their hands.
I had made them go ahead of me and enjoy the festivity. And it seemed like they did enjoy it.
“Oto-san, say a–h”
“Kuina’s so sneaky.”
“Now, now, Rorono-chan, we can just simply do it too, right?”
The girls each fed me the food that they brought.
Aside from each coming from a different faraway city or village, each cuisine was also delicious.
Avalon, as it was currently, was a melting pot of very diverse cultures. Although it was but one city, it enjoyed the culture of various nations.
The ability to enjoy such things was one of Avalon’s greatest strong points.
“By the way, where’s R’lyeh Diva?”
“It seemed like she had something else she wanted to do so she separated from us.”
“Ohh, that’s a little worrisome.”
As soon as I said so, I heard a tremendous cheer coming from somewhere north. When I came to see the commotion, I discovered that it was because R’lyeh Diva was singing.
The citizens were in a trance as they waved their hands and stamped their feet. They were in an amazing rave.
“Master, it’s a good song, isn’t it?”
“Yeah, Aura, to the point that it’s kinda scary.”
R’lyeh Diva didn’t make use of any special ability. It was purely her charming song that put the people in such a frenzied state. It seemed to me that that song could be turned into a good weapon which would unite the hearts of Avalon’s citizens into one.
“There’s some unfamiliar food over there; let’s go eat them.”
Together with the three, I enjoyed the festivity to the fullest.
As we headed toward the next place to eat, we passed by Wight who was arm in arm with a Dwarf Smith. Next to them was Kohaku with an extra-large piece of meat attached to a bone in his mouth.
……the citizens of Avalon are amazing. A Byakko walks among them and yet they’re not minding it. The human beings’ ability to adapt is amazing.
“Oto-san, you’re so slow.”
I then quickened my pace.
What I felt at the moment was the desire to forget all my worries and immerse myself instead in this festive mood.
The party continued on until late into the night.
Sometime in between, the citizens had found me and made me do a speech.
I got caught up in the mood and said some fairly embarrassing things like Avalon is invincible or that it will prosper even more.
Perhaps due to my strong conviction during the speech, the girls became strangely motivated.
“We should be getting home now, don’t you think?”
I asked so and they nodded in return.
The citizens seemed to have intended to continue all night but, as expected, we couldn’t party with them that long.
“Oto-san, Avalon’s a great city!”
“Yes, it indeed is.”
If I listened carefully, the citizens’ cheers were still audible.
Even during that moment, their gentle emotions continuously flowed into me and became my power.
It was happiness. By making the people happy, I became happy.
I want to make Avalon an even more fantastic city, I thought.
“Kuina, Rorono, Aura, this is just the start for Avalon. I ask you to help me make it the happiest city in the world.”
“Mhm. If that is master’s wish.”
“Yes, I will also do my best. Not only with the newest fruits but also with various medicinal herbs.”
They’re all so reliable.
These pleasant replies would be my lullaby tonight.
“It’s been a while so why don’t we all sleep in a single bed tonight?”
In response to my question, each of them replied with a smile in their face.
Great. Tonight’s turning out to be a great night. I really wanted to share this happiness I felt with these girls.