Chapter 98. It Was Not Intended (4)
Fortunately, since that night, none of the knights came forward to confront Calian on their suspicions or persistently followed Calian, hoping to reach an answer. That was because Calian sent all of them out of the forest and into the neighbouring towns to investigate on his behalf.
So the Knights were made to walk around in plain clothes, without even being able to see Calian face-to-face, to see if they could find anything suspicious in the towns. It wasn’t necessary for Calian himself to go out and search for signs of suspicious activity after all.
The first thing Calian had thought of when he’d heard about the situation from Ger was that the elves were probably victims of slave trafficking.
They were young, robust elves and according to Ger, they knew how to fight but weren’t exactly outstanding at it, so he figured they might become targets.
If it was heard that the prince was wondering around the area, they would either hide or runaway – especially if word got out that he was searching for some elves so only the knights, dressed as civilians, had been sent out.
“There doesn’t seem to be any specific slave trafficking around here. There were some who looked like mercenaries who appear from time to time, but it’s difficult to connect that to any kind of crime,”
That was what Yuran reported, after he returned back to the forest upon completing his investigation.
So the next day, Calian headed too. He was accompanied only by Kyrie, who had not participated in the initial investigation. The knights, who had already spent some time searching around the towns did not go with them because their faces were recognizable.
“Which way would you like to first, your highness?” Kyrie asked.
Upon exiting the elven village, they had to choose the path to either Sting or Nerika which were on opposite sides.
At the question, Calian recalled what Yan had told him about each place.
They were of similar size and the lords of both towns were of similar age, so they were highly competitive with each other.
The result was that it was difficult to choose where to go first since they basically sounded the same.
“Let’s just go to the place with the shortest name first,”
In the end, there was nothing much to think about.
If you start with the place with the shortest name that was closest to you and expand from there, you’re bound to find something – that was Calian’s thought process.
After silently passing through the forest and travelling for another 2 hours on horse, they arrived at Sting.
Calian immediately put the hood of his robes over his head.
Sting wasn’t a big place, even from a distance, when compared to Latran, they were on different scales.
Still, it was well organised and there more people bustling around than he had initially thought there would be. Looking at their demeanour, things didn’t seem to be too bad economically either.
As Yuran had confirmed, there were no apparent problems so Calian decided to solve the problem of their growling bellies first. He briefly glanced at Kyrie and said,
“Meat. I want to eat meat.”
Kyrie’s smile was brighter than the ones he usually showed. To think that after travelling here with such a serious expression and looking around deep in thought, the first thing that would come out of his mouth was ‘meat’.
Calian, who pretended not to see that smile, continued,
“After eating, I want to go to a weapon shop and buy a usable sword. Then let’s look around a little more,”
“Why do you not get a better sword?”
“Do I need a better sword?”
“Your highness cannot use a normal sword for long right? Since you can’t infuse aura with it.”
Kyrie was in the position of learning swordsmanship from Calian.
So when Calian was trying to teach Kyrie how to handle and infuse aura, Calian, who wasn’t good at hiding things to begin with, eventually ended up telling Kyrie some of his secrets. Of course he didn’t mention anything about when or how Kyrie and Bern had met their death.
“I won’t be able to use it when I get back to the palace anyway.”
Calian raised his finger and pointed to the sky and spoke in a detached way,
“Some good ingredients are going to fall from there soon,”
Kyrie’s gaze was drawn towards the sky, but it was difficult to understand what Calian was saying with those mysterious words alone. Calian moved forwards on Raven without another word.
Because it didn’t feel appropriate to just tell Kyrie that a meteorite would be falling from the sky early next year.
Anyway, after visiting the restaurant and finishing up a meaty meal, the two went about visiting the weapon shop and ended up tilting their heads in confusion at what the store owner said.
“We don’t have swords,”
“What do you mean you don’t have swords, are they all sold out?”
“Are you a mercenary? You still look a little young,”
The owner, who glanced up and down at Calian, asked, instead of answering.
Calian gave a short nod and gave a somewhat vague answer while pointing to himself and Kiriye,
“He’s a swordsman and I’m a mage. Anyway, we need swords, will they be hard to get ahold of?”
The owner crossed his arms across his chest as though to think about it something. It was clear that he was considering whether to speak or not.
Calian knew what to do at times like these and took out two silver coins, handing them over to the owner.
The owner, who accepted it, hesitated a little more and only after receiving one more silver coin, did he look around cautiously, before quietly speaking,
“It seems that the mercenaries have been gathering in the dark for a while now,”
“Secretly? Without announcements or missions?”
The owner nodded, then he opened his mouth and spoke even more quietly,
“Then, during the day, two soldiers came and told me to get my weapons ready and they would come to pick them up in the night.”
Calian frowned. The more the owner spoke, the more a bad feeling stirred in his chest.
“So if you’re a mercenary, go over there,”
The owner gestured to the door with his chin, his gaze on the castle of the Lord.
Calian’s eyes looked to sparkle a little.
Two small territories of similar size, that were close by. So far they’d confirmed that one of them was secretly gathering mercenaries and all weapons were being taken to the castle – it could only mean one thing.
“…. they’re going to fight a war.”
Calian was able to find out something after one meal and an afternoon stroll, that Yuran and his knights, who had spent three days undercover couldn’t’ figure out. Calian scratched his cheek, head lowered.
He felt like he knew where elves who wanted to make money and knew how to defend themselves might be. He seemed to have put his foot into something strange again…
The elf village in Hiriska forest was between the two territories, so of course a fight between these two places would cause damage to the elf village.
He could finally understand why Ger was so insistent on asking for his help.
‘He had asked the Prince of Kyris, who had visited the elf village, to stop the fight between the two territories.’
Calian’s face, under the hood, was scrunched up in a heavy frown.