A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special - Chapter 202

 

A Returner’s Magic Should Be Special Novel


Chapter 202. Under their Noses (1)



Desir called the main party members together and recounted the conversation he had with Alfred.




The fact that Divide’s movement was unusual and that there was an aristocrat of the Empire who was secretly in contact with Divide’s merchant group. And the fact that he had decided to investigate this matter on his own.




“There are a total of six people who have had contact with the merchant groups in the Kingdom of Divide. I’m thinking of infiltrating one of them, Count Nordin.”




The reason why Desir decided to investigate Count Nordin was quite simple. Count Nordin ruled over the titular province of Nordin, which is where the most trade happened with the Kingdom of Divide.




“Since it’s the Royal Guard’s duty, I’m assuming there will be a considerable amount of support from the Royal Family?”




Desir answered Pram by shaking his head.





“No, not officially anyways. I can’t afford to reveal that I’m a Royal Guard yet.”




“I guess the title ‘Royal Guard’ would make them raise their guards immediately.”




Royal Guardsmen were the armed forces under direct control of the Emperor.




As soon as Count Nordin heard there was a member of the Royal Guard entering his territory, he would immediately be put on alert.




Also, if Count Nordin was hiding something, revealing his identity would make him conceal it even more.




Though the title “Royal Guard” was used freely when necessary, it would be more advantageous to conceal such an identity for now.




“As members of Hebrion Academy, we will be heading


towards the Nordin Territory in order to carry out a monster suppression request.”




Occasionally, powerful monsters would appear in the Western Empire, which shared a border with the Kingdom of Divide.




Because of this, frequent requests for monster suppression were sent to the Hebrion Academy. This was the ideal cover for such a delicate mission.




“Since the main purpose is to investigate, we can’t have too many people heading there.”




“As Adjest said, we should aim to form a group with as few people as possible.”




If it was simply in the name of suppressing monsters, it would be better to take the freshmen as well. However, at the moment, Desir’s goal was to investigate Count Nordin. Since the investigation had to be done cautiously, having too many people would make things rather more dangerous.




“Since we’re going to the Nordin Territory, I assume we will


be away for quite a while. We’ll have a lot to prepare for.”




Romantica seemed excited as if she was going on a trip. Seeing her excited, Desir snickered.




“We leave tomorrow. Finish all the preparations beforehand.”




* * *




The quality of the wagon was honestly quite poor. The interior was cramped and the feeling of riding it was the worst since there weren’t any shock mitigation spells installed; what was once considered a luxury had become quite common nowadays.




At best, it was a little better than walking.




However, the Starling Party did not have any other options.




There weren’t any teleportation gates in the Nordin Territory and even if there were any installed, the moment they used it, Count Nordin would be made aware of their presence.





To make matters worse, the path towards the territory was narrow and rugged, so there weren’t any buses or trains regularly passing through that road.




Therefore, the Starling Party was only able to use the teleport gate system to reach the neighboring territory. Then, with no other choices available, took a wagon from there to the Nordin Territory.




There were a total of five people riding in the cramped wagon. Other than the Starling Party’s core members: Desir, Adjest, Romantica and Pram, there was one other person.




“I’m not sure whether he will do well.”




When Romantica spoke in a dubious tone, Ronde, who had been sitting in a corner, popped his hand up quickly.




“I’m confident that I will do well! Please believe in me, big sister!”


“Well, we’ll see.”




“Okay!”




Ronde seemed somewhat nervous at the fact that he had joined for this important mission, but he was full of spirit knowing that he was carrying out a request together with Desir.




‘Not a problem.’




Excluding the core members of the Starling Party, most of the party members didn’t have any opportunity to carry out requests with Desir. This was a depressing reality, even though they were affiliated under the same party.




It was because Desir was always busy and the missions he undertook were all too difficult.




Therefore, carrying out a request together Desir was the dream for most of the Starling Party first-years. After Desir became a Royal Guard, their eagerness grew even more.


Desir was certain that Ronde was competent and that there would be no issue.




Ronde proved his worth during the Promotion Exam. Since there had been a marked improvement in the personality aspect, his only problem in Desir’s previous life, Desir was confident that he would grow even more.




Desir looked out the window. On this side of the wagon, there was the extremely unpleasant view of a bottomless cliff. Their destination, the Nordin territory, was located on a reasonably large summit atop a steep mountain.




‘It’s Count Nordin’s territory from here on out, so we need to be cautious.’




One section of the Hebrion Empire’s Western Region shared borders with the Kingdom of Divide.




Even though Divide was defeated by the Empire and had now joined forces with the Western Kingdom Union, it was still the country with the greatest military power other than the Hebrion Empire.


Given that the Nordin Territory was the furthest away from the Hebrion capital, Dresden, Count Norden required increased autonomy in order to manage his province. For that reason, he had been granted the noble title of Marquis, but it also gave him enough control to hide if he was assisting Divide with an invasion. Though an invasion was unlikely, it could still occur at a moment’s notice.




“Sir Desir, the Nordin Territory really is located at a high place.”




Pram exclaimed as he looked out the window.




The Western Region of the Empire had many dangerous mountains. It was impossible to construct a railway through the treacherous passageway.




“Hmm?”




Pram, who was looking outside the window, pricked up his ears. He stuck his head outside and looked below the cliff.




“What is it?”





“Did you hear that strange sound?”




“Maybe you heard the sound of the wind?”




Pram tilted his head, confused.




“Am I imagining things… ”




Pram was still doubtful after hearing Romantica’s answer.




Romantica turned her head from Pram towards Desir.




“Desir, what are you thinking of investigating when you arrive at the territory?”




“There’s been an inexplicable increase in imports from Divide. I figured that’s as good a place to start as any.”




Desir had tried desperately to get more information through


Aylus, but that small shred of information was all he could get for his efforts. He had figured out that there had been a large trade between the Divide merchant groups and Count Nordin, but had no clue what items were being bartered nor where they were being stored.




“Hmm… Did you find out which merchant group it was?”




“It’s not just one group. According to the information I have, they’re the Eraca, Naptille and Nepsilon merchant groups.”




“Nepsilon?”




“Is that a name you know?”




“It’s a group that traded a couple of times with our merchant group.”




Romantica’s family led the Eru Conglomerate, one of the largest merchant groups within the Western Kingdom Union.




However, even if they had traded with various merchant


groups from the Western Kingdom Union, such an event was not unusual.




“So, do you know something?”




“I know that the Nepsilon merchant group has a festering ill will against the Hebrion Empire. They refuse to trade with them. It’s not surprising that they’re not well known in the Empire, but they remain rather famous in the Western Kingdom Union. I’ve heard that recently, they’ve increased their scale of operating. Expanding to handle a variety of goods now.”




If it was a merchant group that mainly dealt with one or two items exclusively, it would have been simple to narrow down the possibilities. However, because of their variety in their trading, the investigation had just become more difficult.




* * *




“Oi, we’ve arrived.”




Along with the horseman’s voice, the wagon’s motion


stopped.




While chatting about various topics, the wagon arrived in front of the castle gate of the Nordin Territory before they knew it.




In order to enter the territory, they had to go through a simple security check. When the Starling Party approached the castle gate, guards came up to greet them.




“Are you guys the students from Hebrion Academy?”




“Yes, that is correct.”




Including Desir, all the Starling Party members were wearing a uniform, so the guards were able to figure out their identities just at a glance.




“What are you students doing out this far?”




“We came here because of a request for monster suppression.”



The guard reviewed the content of the letter of request that Desir handed over.




“So it’s true that there’s an unruly monster near the border.”




It was certainly true that a monster appeared. The guard seemed to have heard about it and nodded.




The guard returned the letter of request to Desir.




“I hope you handle this issue well.”




“Of course.”




The castle gate opened and the Starling Party was easily able to enter the Nordin Territory.




The Nordin Territory had an extremely dreary atmosphere. The streets were empty with almost no one walking around. It was strange, considering the size of the city. The Starling Party was left with a kind of sinking feeling.




Soldiers formed groups and patrolled around the city, but the place exhibited an extremely cold feeling, strictly opposed to the kind of feeling you would get from a town with good law and order.




“This place isn’t so attractive.”




The party members all agreed with Romantica.




Because the sun was already setting, they decided to find an inn for temporary accommodation.




As the Starling Party entered the inn, they were greeted by the innkeeper with a warm welcome.




The inn was simple and modest. The first floor served the dual purpose of restaurant and bar. There were a few people inside, busy sipping on alcohol.




“How much is it for an overnight stay?”


“Ten silver.”




“We’d like two rooms.”




Desir handed over an ample amount of money; enough to cover a few nights stay.




“You can use room numbers 301 and 302.”




Desir picked up the keys before questioning the innkeeper.




“Is this place rarely visited by foreigners?”




“As you may have felt while coming here, the trip here isn’t too comfortable. It’s better to think of this place as a fortress that defends the border rather than a city for people to live in.”




Desir nodded. Given the number of soldiers they’d seen, this place deserved to be called an impregnable fortress.




The innkeeper seemed to be happy for a conversation partner,


as they offered more backstory for the city.




“Since there’s a village further down the mountain, foreigners who intentionally come up to this place often have business with the Count. It’s been a few months since we last had foreigners who visited our inn like you guys.”






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