「…Meh, that’s a poor response. I’m not forcing you, you know? I’m planning to give you an above-market payment for your work, and I’m also including a reward for the thing with Hero Falcon too…」
King Alfred’s chiseled face was wrapped with concern, and leaned his head forward slightly.
It looked like the expression of a big bear struggling to treat a smaller animal kindly.
「This isn’t good. I was being a little too hasty, since I thought you’d appreciate being offered a profitable job over plain old money.」
「No…… It’s just…… It’s such a large-scale project, my head can’t exactly keep up, I guess…」
There must be people out there who would be happier with a job that’s beneficial to them over money.
That’s because with a job, not only do you get to fill your pockets, you gain the achievement of having accomplished such a feat.
For example, if a weapon shop owner were to provide weapons that the king asked for, that achievement will help them in the future.
However, the content of King Alfred’s request was way too much.
「Your Majesty…… That’s too much for a failure of an adventurer like myself…」
「Then don’t why you take a look at the construction plan for now? We’re still discussing it though, so it’s not complete.」
「……I will take a look.」
I decided to read through the documents that King Alfred handed to me.
There were drafts for the structures that will be built, as well as potential candidates for deployment. Every document was filled with important information.
I’m sure that a duty of confidentiality will be imposed on me, even if King Alfred doesn’t tell me outright.
Once I got to the documents concerning the work schedule though, I spoke out loud in shock.
「Wha…?! Due to safety concerns,『Sundial Forest』will be sealed off temporarily during the construction period…… The estimated construction time is three months……? Your Majesty! The residents of Greenhollow Town won’t be able to live if you use this plan!」
There were already problems due to the second dragon appearing, and the current Greenhollow Town was sustained by the income generated by『Sundial Forest』.
If the kingdom seals off the dungeon for three entire months, the residents’ lives will surely get disrupted to the point of collapse.
I’m sure there are people who make money from building things like bases, but they are only a minority. It’s like trying to cool a hot stone with only a few drops of water.
「So you think that too. I was worried about it too, but the Golden Fang Knights who we plan to have stationed at the base insisted, saying that,『This is the safest plan.』」
It appeared that King Alfred was also not a fan of this plan.
I figured out the reason why the knights would try to force their opinion through, even though the king himself was concerned, by reading through their plan.
(If they prevent access to the dungeon, they can prepare for unforeseen situations. They could gather up the materials needed to build the base while being able to guard the area… If you ignore the town’s economy, then this plan would certainly be the best one, but…)
If they finish making the base, then the knights can intercept the demon king’s followers and any wild dragons.
By preventing access to the dungeon, they wanted to avoid damage being caused elsewhere.
The kingdom had dispatched the army to keep the area safe due to the dragons that appeared the week before; the group that they sent ahead of time had already arrived. However, the Golden Fang Knights believe that a counter-plan was necessary on top of that.
(What we adventurers think of as “safety” was probably differently than the Golden Fang Knight’s.)
When the adventurers heard that both support from the kingdom and from high-ranking adventurers were going to come, they decided that going to the dungeon was still worthwhile, even with a bit of risk.
On the other hand, the Golden Fang Knights were aiming for absolute safety by all means.
If monsters or demons did a surprise attack, it would be difficult for the knights to protect all of the people scattered around between the overgrown trees of『Sundial Forest』.
The adventurers are okay with the risk, but the Golden Fang Knights decided, 『If we can’t protect them, then don’t let them enter to begin with.』That explains the reasoning behind their plan.
However, they’re sealing the dungeon for way too long. This is equivalent to putting the cart before the horse.
Not only will this bring suffering to the residents of Greenhollow Town, I wouldn’t be able to face the E-ranked adventurers who decided to stay behind.
「Luke of White Wolf, if you have a better idea, feel free to suggest it. If possible, I don’t want to push this plan forward. We could give the residents compensation for the income they lose, but… Only paying them money won’t bring good results in the long run.」
The king himself was asking for my opinion directly. This was a unique moment, and the best opportunity to strike.
If I can suggest a suitable plan to replace this one, then we can avoid forcing the economic burden on Greenhollow Town.
I frantically pulled out all of my knowledge and thought hard. Finally, I thought of a single idea.
「……I am speaking as an amateur, but I believe the problem with this plan is how much time it takes. Even though it’s meant to guarantee the residents’ safety, it’ll end up ruining their lives, so there’s not much meaning.」
Unfortunately, the Golden Fang Knights were most likely unaware of Greenhollow Town’s economic situation.
The Silver Wing Knights were similar, so perhaps they thought that this was the only method they could use.
We could try having a meeting with the residents as well…… But that is rather unrealistic.
Normally, only those with a high status can participate in an imperial council meeting with the king. There was nobody like that from Greenhollow.
「However, I may be able to shorten those three months using my【Repair】skill.」
「Hohoh! What will you be doing? 」
「We’ll get existing buildings from nearby towns and cities and demolish them, then bring the remains to『Sundial Forest』and use【Repair】on them there. As long as I have at least half of the building remains, I can compensate for the other half using the trees and rocks in the dungeon.」
It was similar to when I fixed the bridge down the mountain from Greenhollow; it was much faster to use the【Repair】skill than to remake the bridge from scratch.
It would take time to dismantle the buildings and bring the remains over, but it would take considerably less time compared to transporting all of the building materials over. It would also remove the building process as well.
「This plan says that they’re sealing the dungeon off until the frontline base is complete because they want to guarantee the safety of everyone. If we can shorten the construction time by a large amount, then I think there’s no need to seal off the dungeon then.」
「…Interesting! It’s an idea that only the owner of a rare skill can come up with!」
「However, the problem is my mana pool. Fixing one house takes up most of my mana, so…」
「No need to worry. I’ll prepare as many mana crystals as you’d like. Alright, we have a new idea now, so let’s restart our meeting!」
King Alfred called for the soldiers keeping guard outside of the tent, and ordered them to gather up the members of the meeting.
Once King Alfred informed the members that I was participating as well, I began to explain my idea to them.
Surprisingly, the participants’ response was rather favourable.
One government official was pleased to know that they wouldn’t have to pay compensation money to the residents of Greenhollow.
A noble was happy that we were going to make use of deteriorated buildings and turn them into something useful.
Also, a cabinet minister emphasized that with this plan, the path to the demon king’s castle wouldn’t be left alone for long, making it advantageous for us.
There were many positive responses, and one by one, everybody agreed with the idea. Eventually, every person but the representative of the Golden Fang Knights had given their approval.
「Gilbert, what do you think?」
The representative of the Golden Fang Knights gently rose up from his chair, and walked over to the large blueprint that was laid out in a conspicuous spot.
「I think this is an excellent idea, but there are two things I would like to request. First, for the main facility of the base, I would like to use the Golden Fang Knight’s Cranefort branch building, as it is currently being demolished. Second…」
The representative picked up a pen slowly, and wrote down another building onto the blueprint.
「I would like a frontline base set up on the opposite side of『the hole that leads to the dragon’s den』. We can use the base at 『Sundial Forest』for emergency reserves and logistical support. It’ll specialize in supporting the battles at the underground space.」
「I see. That’s the setup you originally suggested.」
「Yes. It was rejected for being too large-scale, but I believe there should be no issues if we can enlist his help.」
The representative called Gilbert looked over at me.
He was an expressionless man. Not once did his eyebrows move.
He was a different type of knight, compared to Felix and Garnet… Maybe Gilbert is the standard for knights?
「That’s fine. Does anybody have any objections?」
King Alfred looked around, and did a lively laugh.
「Luke of White Wolf. Once the bases are complete, I will give you your payment, as well as permission for you to officially deal with mithril. I look forward to your work.」