Thanks to the Editor for pointing out issues
13 Stronghold Enhancement Arc
13-31 At Toka Village
Using the warp gate equipped on Condor 3, the Giant Peeders’ remains, 50 Army Golems, Titan 2, Pegasus 1, and Lands 21 to 25 and Pelican 3 who were evacuating Bolton, were moved to Hourai Island. Condor 3 would return via the huge warp gate established on the northern part of Kaina village.
And Pegasus 1, who had left using the laboratory’s rear warp gate, landed on the previous laboratory area, which was lit up well using Magic Light. Jin, Elsa, and Saki hopped on-board, looking all worn-out.
These three were welcomed by the left-behind squad.
“Jin, you must be tired! Elsa, Saki, you guys too!”
“Master Jin, that was amazing! Ms. Elsa and Ms. Saki, great work!”
“Jin, you really are amazing!”
“Master Jin, great work out there. Preparations for your meals have been made.”
It was past 10 PM at Hourai Island. Mine was considerate enough to prepare dinner for them.
“Ah, speaking of dinner, I do feel a bit hungry. Thank you.”
Being welcomed back by all of them, Jin finally wore a relieved expression. And truly, Hourai Island was certainly a home where Jin can return to now.
Considering the time difference, it would be bad if Stearleana did not return for the time being.
If the difference is 5 hours, the time where Stearleana’s carriage is would be past 5 PM by now.
“Oh my, that’s unfortunate. That said, it’s alright if I come again tomorrow, right?”
“Of course. I’ll be waiting. Rather, I will send someone to pick you up.”
Jin wholeheartedly agreed.
“My lord, I have arranged for Pelican 1 to remain on stand-by there for that purpose.”
Laojun intervened. Jin was impressed hearing so.
“Ohh, I see! True, that would be far more convenient.”
If Pelican 1 were to be on stand-by near Stearleana’s carriage, it would certainly make coming and going much easier. He decided on that being the means for transport for the time being.
“Well then, Jin and everyone, I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Stearleana, who seemed to have mixed in well today, left after saying her farewells.
The day after, Jin decided to head over to Kaina village.
As Jin expected, nobody noticed anything different over there and everyone was passing a peaceful evening.
Being relieved, Jin returned back to Hourai Island again and began repairs on the Lands squad himself.
On the other hand, at Toka village…
“W-what has happened?”
Loud noises came from the highway leading to Kaina village.
Due to the occasional flashes in the night sky, the villagers could not remain at ease.
The reason why nobody hardly noticed anything over at Kaina village was because the battle took place over at Togo pass, which is closer to Toka village.
“I will go check once it gets bright.”
Gloria had assumed that it would be too risky going there in the dark and decided to go check on things there the next morning.
Afterwards, as the noises died down, the villagers could finally rest in peace and went to rest.
And so, the next morning, at 5AM.
To check the cause behind the noise yesterday, Gloria woke up early and got on her horse but on her way there, she found someone collapsed at the village’s entrance.
When she got closer, she realized it was her father, Bolton Ohlstat, knight Heintz Lash and another person, most likely the coachman. Viscount Buyer was also there, with an injury to his head.
“Wh-what happened here?”
She cancelled going to check what happened out in Togo pass and started nursing them.
Although it was very early in the morning, since the matter was of significance, she informed the landlord Lithia about it.
“Eh? Ms. Gloria’s father? Viscount Buyer and Mr. Heintz too?”
Although Lithia had just gotten up, hearing the situation snapped her out of the drowsiness.
They informed the guards on duty and had the guards carry them to the guard post. This was because it also had a nursing room in there.
Lithia cured Viscount Buyer’s injury promptly. And at that time, Lithia got to know of an unexpected truth from the soldiers.
“The Viscount and others had been continuing mining ores at the Inado mine…”
“What did you say? ……Please tell me in detail.”
Lithia had known about Inado mine being included in Jin’s leasehold land from August 1st. It’s one thing to be maintaining the mine but a completely different thing if they were to continue mining there for half a month now, according to the soldier’s story. As a result, they sent four fully loaded wagons of ore to the capitol.
“What a shameless act…”
Lithia was greatly perplexed.
“Father, you’re also conspiring with him?”
Gloria, who was also present there, was enraged.
“You can’t really deny a superior’s orders now…”
“…I guess that is also true.”
Unlike the female knights’ squad, bureaucrats of the office can not really have a say in most things like how Gloria applied to be Lithia’s escort this time. The grief of court service.
“….Even then, I wanted my father to at least have the backbone to admonish him…”
“Let’s have that talk later…… I am sorry, but even though I can use healing magic to heal injuries…… ah, right.”
Lithia remembered the magic tool for healing which she borrowed from Jin. She had kept it with the golem horse to return it to Jin this time. She went rushing to fetch it.
“….Surely, if… we… use this…”
Lithia came back, out of breath, and used the magic tool without even letting Gloria ask any question.
The magic tool with the medicare effect activated, returning consciousness to the four of them, who were paralyzed.
“T-this place is?!”
“U-uwaah, save me, please!”
Bolton was surprised at where he was while Viscount Buyer entered a panic state.
“…..Gloria, is that you? And that is… quasi-baron Farheight… was it?”
Heintz Lash calmly analyzed the situation. He grasped that the vice-commander of the female knights’ squad Gloria and the current landlord of Toka village Lithia Farheight was in front of him.
And the last one, the coachman, was shaking. Lithia enquired Heintz and Gloria enquired her father about the situation.
“What? Last night’s commotion…… to think such events took place at the mine… i-is this village going to be safe…?”
“What…? …Oh my… that is a breach of trust, isn’t it, father?!”
Lithia was shaken from the threat of the huge centipedes while Gloria was enraged about the mining situation. And during all this, Viscount Buyer had just been muttering about something, unable to talk properly. It seems he had taken quite the hit to his mental.
“….I understand the situation. Ms. Gloria, it was good that you did not need to go check on the mine.”
Gloria said, feeling goosebumps as she imagined Gloria facing off against the huge centipedes.
“That said, we’re talking about 5 of these monsters, you know? Can we really evacuate the village if we start now?”
As she truly understood how despairing the situation was, even the cheerful Gloria looked pale.
“That reminds me, Deus Ex Machina was protecting us… Did he come to this village?”
Heintz spoke up, remembering about the fact.
“Eh? Master Machina was?”
“Ah, right, I remember now. Just when we were out of options in front of those monsters, 5 golems under his orders appeared and helped us escape… I do not have any memories after that but…… perhaps he took some kind of measures?”
“….Now that you mention that, it was loud and noisy for a while with flashes and what not but all that also died down after a while.”
“Flashes? Those monsters didn’t release any light, though…”
“What? But, there were flashes of light in the night sky, for sure…”
“Hmm… This is being optimistic but… if Machina were to be the one behind those flashes then…”
Heintz stated his guess. However, Bolton was still in disbelief.
“Ehh? Are you telling me he defeated 5 of those monsters?”
“If it’s him, then maybe…”
“E-either way, we must make sure of it… Ms. Gloria, on second thought, could you go take a look? However, with utmost caution. Take healing medicine as well, just in case.”
Lithia handed over the last medicine she had been entrusted with by Jin.
“Listen closely, no matter what, don’t do anything reckless. You must return unharmed. I’ll be making the decision to evacuate the village or not entirely based on that.”
“I understand. Leave it to me. Then, I’ll be heading off.”
Gloria mounted her horse once again and was just about to leave the village in high spirits when she realized something.
There was something at the place where the 4 of them were lying unconscious.
It was a piece of paper.
“I dealt with all the Giant Peeders. There’s no danger anymore. Deus Ex Machina.”
Gloria, who was about to leave the village once again, turned back and went to show that to Lithia.
The whole group was relieved to see that. However, a confirmation was indeed still needed so Gloria still went off to check.