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In front of me, who was about to depart, there were 28 Eagle Kings and young people wearing loosely connected light armor.
Next to me was Carol wearing white leather armor, which was elegantly tailored to the point that it didn’t look gorgeous. Whoever designed it, the heart part was reinforced with a steel plate, and in terms of design, it was very beautiful from my point of view. The leather seemed to be made from white horse leather. Next to her was her eagle, Mountain Vapor.
Here was a fishing village called Korepta, about 70km from Sibyaku. Korepta was considered to be the starting point when crossing the Shamir Gulf with Eagle King. Although it was a poor village with no industries, the inn was good due to the demand for the Eagle King riders to stay. Yesterday, the observation unit led by me left Sibyaku and took a rest in Korepta to let the Eagle King have rest as much as possible.
And today, we were gathering on the flat land facing the sea of Korepta.
“Now, as I have told you in advance, we will cross the Gulf of Shamil today. However, there are some points to keep in mind. It’s a matter of life and death, so I want you to listen carefully.” (Yuri)
With a preface, I began to talk.
“First of all, I’ve experienced this once, so I want you to follow me with peace of mind. It’s unlikely that you will get lost at sea. However, even if I guide you all the way there, there are still problems.” (Yuri)
“The Eagle King can’t be treated in the air, so it’s not possible for everyone to fly with the falling Eagle King. So, when you’re unable to fly at sea, you will sink into the sea with your eagle. That’s a big difference from the ground where you can always land.” (Yuri)
When I said that, everyone looked anxious.
‘If you are a young man with a future, you wouldn’t want to sink into the sea alone.’
“But as you know, it’s rare for Eagle King to suddenly die and fall in the air, even if something goes wrong.” (Yuri)
‘To tell the truth, it’s extremely rare for an Eagle King to die suddenly in the air due to a heart attack. Even at the Academy, it’s about once every twenty years where the Eagle King stopped moving in the air and crashed to the ground along with the rider, resulting in death. But it’s really a rare kind of accident, and it has never happened once in my lifetime.’
“In most cases, it’s possible to fly for quite some time, even if there was some kind of failure on the eagle during the flight. For those of you who have been acknowledged for having skills as a Heavenly Knight, that is something you are well aware off. And if the eagle breaks down, and you are within the first quarter of the whole journey, you may return. You can return without harming your eagle or losing your life.” (Yuri)
‘I wonder if it’s alright to say this much.’
“So, if you feel that your eagle is in poor health, leave the unit immediately and turn back to the Shaalta side. This is an order, and you don’t need to check it with the leadership in the air. Let me make this clear. Turning around will not damage your honor at all. That’s all.” (Yuri)
As I said so, I ended the admonitory speech and took a step back. Next, Carol took a step forward.
“I’m Carol Full Chartres, the vice Commanding Officer. I’ll be overseeing from the tail rear end. I will give a hand signal to anyone who can clearly see the Eagle King break down. I want that person to turn back promptly. The eagle which is clearly crumbling from the outside will not be able to withstand the journey, and it’s likely to crash. I want all of you to come back alive. Again, do not go against this order.” (Carol)
After saying that in a well-passed voice, Carol went down one step.
And I supplemented the speech.
“Some of you may know that on yesterday’s moving day, I looked around the Eagle Kings once and confirmed the breakdown. I asked some of those whose eagle was in bad condition from participating. In my view, your Eagle King is in good health, and probably no one will drop out. I don’t need you to worry that much, but… well, I should remind you this much, yes? Well then, let’s go.” (Yuri)
Stardust landed on the land beyond the gulf with its large wings. This was already the land of Kilghina.
When I removed the safety gear quickly, I got down to the ground. In the rear, the eagles were coming down one after another.
It ended unexpectedly easily. There was no big trouble, and probably everyone arrived.
When all Eagle Kings got off, the safety gear was removed and the eagles stood on the ground. The people began to line up without any instruction. Since they were the finest picks, it was a quick operation. They steadily did what was taught at the school of Knights.
“After the alignment, roll call!” (Yuri)
Speaking of which, I quickly started roll calling. I finished counting up to 26. There was definitely everyone here.
‘When I think about it, these people are high achievers, so it isn’t a group of ordinary people. Well, rather than the abilities, if the eagle is in good physical condition, it’s something that can be overcome normally.’
“Then, after a short break, we will enter the Meshal village as planned. Take a good rest.” (Yuri)
When I said that, everyone sat down and started to rest. It was probably due to mental fatigue rather than physical fatigue.
I wasn’t so tired because it was my second time, but I thought I was nervous because there was a risk of death.
“As expected.” (Carol)
While holding Mountain Vapor, Carol, who stood beside me, said.
“The eagle is in good shape. I’m glad I didn’t have your job.” (Carol)
Carol was in charge of notifying the dropout, but fortunately she didn’t have to work.
“That’s not it. Isn’t perfect for Meshal?” (Yuri)
“Aah, is that so?” (Carol)
‘While going back and forth between Korepta and the Meshal village, the compass needle is oriented many times. I mean, the numbers are pretty accurate. It seems that this is the accumulation of many years of experience. In fact, when I left here about a month ago, I flew according to it, and arrived at Korepta, so I thought it was amazing.’
“It’s not surprising, isn’t it? Anyone can do it.” (Yuri)
“I’ve heard that even a pretty expert will look for a town after arriving.” (Carol)
‘Is that so? Well, if you’re this far away, the destination may be off about ten kilometers just by changing the angle by a few degrees, so that may be the case.’
‘Unlike the case of walking on the ground, the Eagle King can literally take a bird’s eye view from the sky. You can easily find a town even if it’s off by about ten kilometers. I don’t think it’s a problem.’
“It just happened. More importantly, the body got cold. Are you alright?” (Yuri)
‘The aerial flight in this season is much better than in the cold season, but there are still things that can be tolerated by the body. It’s still chilly cold, and we were in it for about three hours, so the body got cold.’
“I’m alright.” (Carol)
“You don’t look alright. Your lips are blue.” (Yuri)
“It’s not enough to collapse.” (Carol)
‘I don’t think she’s feeling well, but if she cares too much about her appearance in front of the subordinates, she will lose her position. It’s probably better not to offer help.’
“I see. Fortunately, it’s right there. Let’s take a rest when we get back to the inn.” (Yuri)
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The neighborhood of Meshal looked like a typical semi-agricultural and semi-fishing poor village, but it seemed to be living a somewhat luxurious life, as money came in due to being a post-station neighborhood similar to Korepta. For example, the quality of the iron farming tools under the eaves of the farmhouse and the clothes of the villagers looked good even a little. Compared to the real rural neighborhood deep in the mountains, I could feel a lot of gorgeousness.
When we arrived in front of the inn, the only large inn in the village was closed. The windows were closed with the curtains, and there was no steam or smoke from the chimney.
Speaking of the uninhabited building, it felt like people were holding breath somewhere. That was exactly the case here.
‘What is going on? When I stayed here three weeks ago, it was open normally.’
‘At that time, I informed in advance how many people would come on the date around today. Because of the selection process, there was a one-day shift from yesterday, so it should be within permissible range. I also have paid half of the accommodation fee.’
Just in case, I tried to open the door, but all I had made was rattling noises. It was still locked.
“What’s going on?” (Carol)
“I don’t know. The owner of the inn may have collapsed and it is closed…” (Yuri)
However, even though it wasn’t big, there were a little over ten rooms, and of course, it wasn’t likely to be prepared by itself. Then, even if the owner collapsed, the inn would open if it was entrusted to the employees.
‘Why is it closed?’
“Excuse me, excuse me.” (??)
And I heard a voice. Someone seemed to be coming toward us, squeezing through the Eagle Kings.
The person, who came out from the crowd, was someone I knew.
“Ooh, you were the horse caretaker.” (Yuri)
The man was a man who was working full-time in the inn to take care of the horse (actually taking care of Eagle Kings in this village), I also left Stardust when I stayed overnight before.
“I’m sorry, but can you explain? Did the owner die suddenly?” (Yuri)
“He’s… I’m afraid it’s something similar.” (??)
“What is it?” (Yuri)
“The owner brought his family with him and went to Shaalta with half the paid money by you…” (??)
“To begin with, he was a weak-spirited man. Recently, he felt uncomfortable when he heard the news of war and the number of people leaving the village had increased… so a week ago, he stopped by and left the key to the inn to me. Then, he disappeared.” (??)
‘Uwaah. What the… Well, it’s fine to stay since we were going to stay today and tomorrow.’
‘Depositing the key to the inn means that we have paid the deposit, so we can stay without permission. If the innkeeper were here, I would like to hit him.’
‘How dare you use the deposit money without giving any service? It was correct to pay only half instead of a full amount deposit.’
“It’s a problem if there is no bedding inside.” (Yuri)
‘Sleeping on the floor is basically similar to sleeping outdoors.’
“There are beddings.” (??)
‘Apparently, the beddings and other things aren’t sold. If the land is safe in the war, is he going to come back and resume business? At that time, you can’t make a complaint.’
“Have the employees scattered?” (Yuri)
“Yes? Of course, I can ask for their help if they are free.” (??)
“Aah. that’s not what I mean. I mean whether they are still in this town or not.” (Yuri)
“In that case, most of them are here.” (??)
‘It seems so. It can’t be helped if everyone is scattered to the nearby villages.’
“Then, can you gather people who will work today and tomorrow?” (Yuri)
I gave a man a bag of silver coins.
“These are Shaalta silver coins worth 2000 Ruga. This is half the money, and I’ll pay the remaining half when we leave the inn.” (Yuri)
“Aah, that’s enough.” (??)
“It includes the costs of our meals and the eagle’s food. I’m in trouble if you don’t take care of the Eagle Kings. However, with such eagles, it’s impossible to do it alone. You can hire children who are free around here.” (Yuri)
“Hey. I will accept it.” (??)
“Let the eagles rest today and tomorrow. And…” (Yuri)
I took out a piece of gold coin and gave it to the man. That was equivalent to 1000 Ruga.
“This is your salary.” (Yuri)
“Eh, that much?” (??)
The man saw the gold coin as if he was looking at something dazzling.
“In exchange, don’t put any other money in your pocket. Even if there’s a surplus, divide it equally among the hired people.” (Yuri)
“Yes, of course I will.” (??)
“Then, get started. I’m going to open the door and go in.” (Yuri)
The man gave me the key.
After deciding the room allocation appropriately and putting everyone in the room for the time being, Carol and I went into our room.
“Is that alright?” (Carol)
Carol said before she unpacked her stuff.
“What is it?” (Yuri)
“I’m not going to ask you to be stingy, but you gave that man a gold coin.” (Carol)
‘Aah, is it about that? What is it? I feel something strange.’
“You mean I spent too much money?” (Yuri)
“I’m not blaming you, but… I mean other people don’t get that much. I don’t know how many people he can get together.” (Carol)
“Do you mean to make the same amount of money as the others do? For example, like five copper coins?” (Yuri)
‘Since the five copper coins are fifty Ruga, the amount of money which I gave to the horse caretaker a little while ago is twenty times that. For the time being, he is going to take care of us for two days, so it’s actually half the amount, but from the perspective of a rural farm, that’s a lot of money. In terms of yens, it would be a salary of 50000 yen a day.’
“Whether it’s five copper coins or not, the difference seems a bit too big.” (Carol)
“I have to get him to work more than normal. If you pay only a bit more, he won’t work any better than everyone.” (Yuri)
‘I don’t think she’s convinced.’
“Well, that’s half of the reason.
“? …What do you mean?” (Carol)
“How much money did I give him just now? It was 2000 Ruga. What would a person, who is entrusted with such an amount of money, do if his salary is only 50 Ruga? I don’t know the man’s personality and I can’t say he looks great, but he will try to keep the difference in his pocket as much as possible.” (Yuri)
‘So, apart from taking care of people, he would take care of the eagles to let them heal the fatigue. I won’t be able to see anything else.’
“Is that so?” (Carol)
“Of course, there’s a possibility that’s not going to happen.” (Yuri)
‘Some people work hard no matter how low the salaries are.’
“But there are a lot of people who don’t.” (Carol)
“Well, yeah. If people don’t get enough rewards for their responsibilities, they’re going to try to make a profit from the money I deposited.” (Yuri)
‘A rotten Witch will try to get money by making use of their job even if she has already gotten enough money.’
“Haah~… I see~” (Carol)
It seemed that she was impressed.
‘Saying I see~…’
“What? You’re very honest today, aren’t you?” (Yuri)
I wondered if there was a more troublesome discussion.
“No, I thought there was a reason for Mother to say that.” (Carol)
“What is it? I don’t know what you’ve been told.” (Yuri)
‘I don’t think she told her any other things.’
“Well, I was told to observe and learn what you do.” (Carol)
“What’s with that? Why do you want to learn what I do?”( Yuri)
‘If you learn from someone like me, it would have been a bad influence as a royal family.’
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