For now, I have gathered everyone that I wanted to bring to Jiiteias Castle with me.
Gathering nakama was simply a means and not an end, but it still gave me the feeling of having made some progress.
I actually wanted to set off for the castle immediately, but ended up being held back in Lelis for 3 more days.
Firstly, that was how much time it took to gather enough supplies for 30-odd people to travel to and stay at the castle for the next few months.
But then again, it was Irudo doing almost all of the running around, and all I did was cough up the funds……
The other reason was because I got roped into joining the parade that was hosted to commemorate the eradication of the Demonists and the the city ‘entering an alliance with the Great Wizard Margils.’
I had to sit on a specially made boat and make my way down the main canal while being showered with cheers and praise and falling flower petals and wine and water (I was like, ‘what the heck?’ but then apparently it was something like holy water).
For some reason that wasn’t explained to me, Claura was sitting next to me the whole time. She looked embarrassed yet extremely satisfied by the end. All I felt was tiredness.
Almost all of the event went towards gathering popularity for the Council Chairman, but at the end, the terms of the contract that I had signed with Lelis were properly announced to all the citizens. To me, that was the most important part.
The main points are as follows:
- The city of Lelis cedes all territorial rights of Jiiteias Castle and its environs to wizard Gio Margils.
- The city of Lelis is now allied with wizard Gio Margils in regards to all matters related to the anti-anki cause.
- The city of Lelis will do all in its power to convince the other city-states of the Liuus Union to sign the same contract with wizard Gio Margils.
Of course, this was not something decided by the Council Chairman alone. These points were all decided and voted on at a Council meeting.
With this, I will now be able to move much more freely, as least in the area around Lake Liuus. Furthermore, with my relationship with Lelis as a foothold, I have gained a method of communication with Shulendal and the other countries.
Thanks to coming to this city, my aim has become a lot clearer, which seems to bode well for my path from here on.
“We can finally set off.”
We are gathered in the plaza before Lelis’ main gate.
Five carriages, and five horses for riding. I find myself feeling wonder once again while standing before this group of exactly 26 people.
Female magician, Claura Andel.
Sedam’s party members: the warriors Jiruk and Ted, the scout Fijika, and the warrior priest Torad.
Former trading merchant, now my steward, Irudo.
Irudo’s daughter, my new Head of Maids, Mora.
The gardener Sam and his wife, Anna the chef. Carpenter, Zek.
Former assassin, now my Head of Intelligence, Leiha.
The 4 spy/maid dark elf sisters.
Former magic soldier trainees, now students studying golem production techniques: Log, Daya, and Teru.
The 7 other similarly former magic soldier trainees who will be staying with us until I can entrust them to the Carbanera Knight Order.
When I see everyone gathered like this, it is quite a spectacle.
Back during my time as a salaryman, I only had 3 or 4 subordinates……
I was surprised when I heard that Sedam’s entire party was also coming along, but apparently no one else has a family, so all of them were cool with it.
“Margils-sama. Before we set off, may we have a word from you?”
When Irudo says that like it’s the most natural thing ever, everyone’s gazes gathers towards me. That also includes those of the passersby surrounding us at a distance.
I gulp involuntarily.
I will have to shoulder the livelihood of all these people from this moment on.
To make myself feel the full weight of this burden, I look at each person’s face, one by one.
Claura, Sedam, Irudo, and Mora look like their usual selves.
In the eyes of the former magic soldier trainee kids, I see anxiety, but also a strong light of hope.
The servants return my gaze with eyes full of trust.
The dark elves are all kneeling with head bowed, so I can’t really tell.
A sense of responsibility and of purpose so powerful that I would never have imagined it back in Japan wells up from within me.
I realize that I myself am also being nurtured from their trust.
“Everyone. Once again, I offer my heartfelt thanks for coming along with me.”
Maybe this is the bad effect of the Great Wizard mask. Even so, I have something that I really want to say to all these people gathered here — that their choice was the right one.
“We will now be heading for Jiiteias Castle. At the moment, it is but a tiny castle in the middle of nowhere. However! If all of you combine your strength together with mine, I truly believe that it will become the strongest fortress ever, protecting all peoples against the threat of the Shadow Demons!”
“ “We are your Shi! We shall follow our Oluri, Margils-sama, even should the land be swallowed by darkness!” ”
The ones who abruptly shouted out an oath of loyalty in sync were of course the dark elves.
“In representation of the Magician’s Guild, I too will lend you my full strength, wizard Gio Margils-dono.”
“Well, let’s take care of each other.”
Claura plucks the edge of her mantle and makes an elegant bow, while Sedam grins like usual.
The others are also clapping or pumping their fists into the air, so it seems that the reception is good.
However, when even the surrounding citizens begin cheering, it still elicits some discomfort in my heart.
“Alright, let’s set off now. Hurry up a bit.”
And that’s how we departed towards Jiiteias Castle.
There was only Claura and myself leisurely making our way down the Road of Law when I arrived at Lelis. Never did I imagine that I would even have carriages in tow when I left.
There were no bandits foolish enough to attack a group of this size, so we safely arrived at Jiiteias Castle 3 days later.
It wasn’t like the trip was entirely uneventful, though.
The most noteworthy problem was the fact that my [Meteor] had collapsed the mountain path between the Road of Law and the castle. I remember that was why the Carbanera knights and I had to take that precipitous side road the last time I came.
The knights had fixed up that side road, but not to the point where carriages could use it.
Which is why I had to use wizardry to forcefully get over the collapsed portions. Specifically, I used a spell to summon an Air Elemental, who carried all the carriages and people across. The kids who were seeing my wizardry for the first time loved it.
Furthermore, when I restored the castle that had been lifted up some tens of meters with [Renovation]…… suffice it to say that they were surprised.
“Awawa…… the castle is……”
“We are going to receive training from someone this amazing……”
“We were like that too not long ago, weren’t we.”
“The human ability to adapt to things is frightening indeed.”
The servants and trainees had their mouths so wide open with shock that their jaws seemed about to fall off. In contrast, the ‘adapted’ group like Mora and Sedam were just casting warm, understanding gazes at the former.
There were no particular problems with Jiiteias Castle due to the short-term vacancy.
As the sun was already setting, it was decided that the serious unpacking would start tomorrow.
“Well done making it here. From tomorrow onwards, I think that getting things all settled at the castle will make you all very busy, but for tonight, have as much fun as you like.”
“ “OHHH!” ”
Though short, this journey was the first job that this group accomplished together. Furthermore, it was also going to be their first night at Jiiteias Castle. With those two things in mind, it became decided that the first thing to do was throw a party.
A huge bonfire was lit in the middle of the courtyard, and benches were brought out for everyone to sit on.
Irudo brought out the sake and cooking and snacks lavishly, and the castle that had fallen still and quiet became filled with energy all at once.
“Alright, shall this oji-san reveal a hidden talent of mine?”
The middle-aged warrior (wait, no, he’s around my age) Jiruk revealed a truly unexpected skill of his.
Skillfully strumming a stringed instrument similar to a guitar, he began playing a very jovial tune.
“I’ll grab my flute!”
“Guess I’ll dance too.”
Without a moment’s delay, the 4 dark elf sisters also began dancing, singing, and playing a flute alongside the music.
“You guys also eat up. Come on, eat up!”
“Can we really eat something this good……”
“Gio-san wouldn’t say stingy things like that! Eat as much as you can, then grow as quickly as you can, so that you can study as much as you can!”
The young boys and girls who were being reserved in the face of such a feast (by their standards) got a little scolding from Mora, who was acting like a big sister.
Watching all this happening, I felt completely at ease.
It’s not like I’ve lived in this castle for any prolonged period of time, but I’ve apparently already grown a bit attached to it.
Though that might have been due in part to the sense of achievement from how far my nakama and I have come……
Incidentally, Irudo had already been KOed by the sake since quite a while ago.
“Goodness, why does he become like that after getting only a little sake in him.”
“…… Do you have any right to be saying that? You’re also pretty drunk, aren’t you?”
“Well, tonight is just that sort of night after all. It’s important to let off steam every once in a while when it comes to work.”
Sedam, Claura, and I are occupying the bests seats for watching the dark elf opera troupe.
This needs not be said, but Leiha is standing behind me, as always.
“Hear, hear! I knew that Sedam would get it!”
I recovered from the boorish counsel of a woman through the passionate friendship between men while repeatedly clapping Sedam on the back.
“…… But with that said, there are a ton of things to do starting from tomorrow. First is getting the castle in order. That collapsed mountain road needs to be repaired, and…… oh, right.”
“…… What is it.”
Sedam looked annoyed by my extended invitation of passionate friendship as he changed the subject.
That’s the limit of what friendship between men amounts to, after all.
“We need to gather soldiers. Whatever we want to do, we are going to need soldiers.”
“Furthermore, we will need a strategist who can instruct us on how we should move from here on.”
Though my drunkenness was completely blown away thanks to the two’s helpful advice, I found my bed as comfortable as if I had been using it for years.
Last time I stayed here, I was all excited about a ‘mancave’ or whatever, but this time it’s completely different.
The instant before I fell asleep, I realized it.
“I see. So this place…… has become my ‘home’……”