75 The Circumstances of the Knights
As soon as I got home, I shared with Garnet the information Dustin had given me.
That Dustin had encountered someone he thought was Blanc.
The mud golem, which had been planted inside the siege golem, ran amok and destroyed part of the Hollow Bottom Fortress.
The possibility that the remaining mud golem was hiding in the surrounding vicinity.
Garnet didn’t seem too surprised. Regardless, she listened attentively so as to not miss a single word.
“…You don’t seem too surprised. When Travis and I first heard about it, we lost our cool.”
“Well, let me tell you something. The knights of the Silver Wings haven’t been idle in their information gathering. I won’t bore you with the details, but I was aware of that information at about the same time as you were.”
“Oh, I see…”
After my meeting with Dustin in the Spring Leaf Pavilion, Garnet had indeed left her seat. She seemed to go somewhere alone.
Now that I thought about it, she probably met with a member of the Silver Wings and received the same information.
“Then instead of having me waste our time, you should’ve told me so.”
“It’s also beneficial to combine information from different sources.”
“I’m not going to tell you which ones specifically, but we got some information that we were missing. Being utterly honest with you, it’s a big harvest.”
As Garnet leaned on her chair at the dining room table, she had a huge grin.
“By the way, you mentioned earlier that you had some business with Travis of the Black Sword Mountain. What’s that about?”
“I was introduced to a skilled blacksmith. If I want to make a good mithril weapon, the base materials must be of good quality.”
“H, huh… so, it’s about weapons—…”
While sitting in the chair, Garnet started to dexterously twist herself. Then, while turning her body halfway, she deposited her weight on the back of the chair. Her arms were resting on the backrest of the chair.
Of the promised weapons, thanks to Travis, they’d likely be realized.
Now, all that was left was the protective gear. However, I’d have to consult with Garnet herself about that.
“The base of the sword will rely on Travis’ introduction. As for the armor, there’s a slight problem. Can you procure the armor you used in the knights?”
“What’s the problem?”
“High-performance armor will have to be custom-made. The most effective method is to have the craftsman make a custom-made armor for you. But to do that, it’s necessary to take your body measurements. In your case, I’m afraid that there’s a lot of things that could go wrong.”
By concealing her true gender, Garnet pretended to be a boy. I wanted to minimize the risk of revealing her identity.
However, there was a risk that off-the-shelf armor would leave her dissatisfied with its performance.
Just as it was difficult to run at full speed in shoes that didn’t fit your feet, it’d also be tedious to fight in armor that didn’t fit your body.
Of course, there were cases where ready-made products fit the body without any problems. However, for a man, Garnet’s physique was quite delicate and slender. As such, the likelihood of finding a male armor of the correct size was extremely low.
“…Good grief. How’s that a problem? I know all my body measurements, so all I have to do is tell them. Also, I can’t use the knight’s armor even if I wanted to.”
“…You can’t? Why?”
It was my turn to parrot the question.
“The reason is, you—ah, no well, I never explained it clearly, did I? Yet, you still keep my secret. It’s my lack of foresight. You’ll have to forgive me, White Wolf.”
In a normal posture, Garnet sat back in her chair and stared straight into me.
“The fact that I belong to the Knights of the Silver Wings itself is a secret. Can you guess why?”
“I… honestly never thought about it. I was convinced that there was a situation that only the knights could understand.”
Although, I didn’t think it was to mislead the Demon King’s army.
It was the first time that a mud golem had interfered in broad daylight. In the first place, there was no point in concealing the fact that a knight was also acting as an escort.
Then, from whom?
The residents of the Green Hollow Town? The Adventurers’ Guild? The more I thought about it, the more confused I became.
“You’re such a softie. It should’ve been obvious by now. The only people I don’t want to let know that I’m a knight are those of the Golden Fang Knights.”
“…Huh? Wait a minute. Aren’t they supposed to be on your side? Why the need to conceal it from them?”
“From another person’s point of view, it’s a crappy situation. Well, there’s no other way than to explain in detail and make ourselves look like a bunch of fools in the process.”
Garnet had a smile that was a mixture of ridicule and dismay.
“During the period of rivalry—that is, before King Alfred united the Westland, the Order of the Knights was based on the legions formed by the knights of various factions.”
“…Before the unification—”
“King Alfred didn’t crush the other factions for the sake of unification. Instead, he absorbed several factions into his own army. Of course, with conditions.”
It was actually to be expected.
If the king only relied on military force, he wouldn’t be able to unify the vast Westland in just 20 years after his accession to the throne. Moreover, he wouldn’t have been able to develop the region to a great extent.
It was a mighty feat that required the skillful use of both suppression and subjugation.
The knightly legions of such forces continued to exist under King Alfred’s rule, changing their name to the Order of the Knights and becoming an entity that served the kingdom.
Apparently, that was how the Silver Wings Knights and the Golden Fang Knights came to be.
“We are mainly responsible for solving domestic problems, while the Golden Fang Knights are responsible for foreign wars.”
Garnet had been speaking in a quieter tone than before.
“However, the Order of the Knights do not share their roles in peace and harmony. As such, it wouldn’t have been strange for them to kill each other. In fact, until recently, that has been the case. Although armed conflicts aren’t allowed, there are still conflicts and competitions in the form of power struggles.”
The king’s coronation was 20 years ago, while the Kingdom of Westland was formed a few years ago.
Not even a generation had passed since the days when those who’d later be known as the Order of the Knights fought among themselves.
“A prime example of this is the competition for jobs. Each of us would grab the more important assignments, and get more authority than the others…”
“Alright, I can see where this is going. When the hero party went missing, the Knights of the Silver Wings managed to attain the spotlight. But after the war with the Demon King’s army progressed, the Golden Fang Knights took the initiative, didn’t they?”
The first knights to come to town were a trio of Silver Wings Knights led by Felix, of which Garnet was involved.
Then, after the dragon riots and the discovery of the direct route to the Demon King’s Castle Realm, the number of Silver Wing Knights was increased to ensure safety.
However, after it was decided to build a fortress and fight the Demon King’s army in earnest, the number of the Golden Fang Knights increased rapidly, replacing the Silver Wings Knights.
Eventually, the Silver Wings Knights were rarely seen. Felix left the town and Garnet behind. As a result, the Golden Fang Knights took the lead in the fight against the Demon Lord’s army.
I thought that it was an amicable handing of the baton, but apparently not.
“The Golden Fang Knights want to monopolize a major project, namely the strategy to attack the Demon King’s castle. The reason for the failure of the hero party to return, which should be ensured by us, is because the Golden Fang Knights are trying to be a step ahead by carefully selecting the information they provide to us.”
“Then, are you saying that if they were to find out that you’re a member of the Silver Wings Knights, they’d try to get rid of you in any way they can?”
What led me to suspect that was because Garnet made fun of the situation by saying, “From other’s point of view, it’s a crappy situation.” And “—making ourselves look like a bunch of fools in the process.”
To be concerned about something that was trivial to others, I didn’t doubt that was a tad bit annoying.
Regardless, for those who had to pay the price, it had to be a hassle.
“I can see why the armor of the Silver Wings Knights is a no-go. It’ll be wise for you to avoid full-body armor. There’s a possibility that someone might recognize your voice.”
To hide her true face, Garnet usually wore full-body armor during active duty. As a result, without her armor, the risk of anyone discovering her true identity was low.
At the same time, when she wore full-body armor, even if the design was different, both her physique and voice might be reminiscent of ‘Garnet, the knight of the Silver Wings.’
“With that in mind, what kind of armor do you think you should wear? I’ll look at the kind of armor you might prefer, and you can tell me your preferences.”
“Well, I guess…”
Garnet looked up towards the ceiling, thought for a moment, and then muttered.
“One that’d resemble yours.”
Then, she stared at me. Even though I hadn’t said anything else, Garnet resumed.
“You’re still using the armor you had when you were an adventurer, right? If my armor has a similar design, then they’ll probably just assume that I’m the member of White Wolf Store, or something. It can serve as a camouflage.”
“…Well, if that’s what you want. It’s easy to move around in, sure, but you can’t expect it to protect you?”
I’d be lying if I were to say that I didn’t want her to wear something similar to mine. But that wasn’t important.
But if I were to point that out, it’d sound overly self-conscious of me. Thus, I decided to just quietly accept Garnet’s request.