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Chapter 20: Postwar Process

Postwar Process

Outside the fortress, we cast large quantities of monsters into a large hole, and burned them.

We stripped off all usable materials, and recovered magic stones. But for those that suffered heavy damage, we had to ignore the materials, and collect only the stones.

The knights and magicians poured oil in the hole, and set it alight.

While the smoke rose to the sky, I wore a mask to inspect the process as I spoke with Alette-san.

As we walked side by side, there were some soldiers who greeted me as we passed. Among them, soldiers who blatantly clicked their tongues at me...

The dissatisfaction of the knights and soldiers of Lorphys was considerable, it seems.

Alette-san apologized.

"Sorry. Quite a few of them understand it in their heads, but their feelings don't agree."

I lightly shook my head to the side.

"I don't mind. I've done enough to deserve it, after all. Now then, continuing out talk... Division of the stones and materials, was it? We'll take the Giant Kong, but everything else can be split with you and Zayin, fifty-fifty. Is that alright?"

There, Alette-san looked at me, her face warping a little.

"We're fine with that, but in that case, you'll lose out on your share. Our side was estimating thirty to forty percent, just to let you know."

Both Zayin and Lorphys likely wanted the Magic Stones and Materials enough to sprout hands from their throats. Because they wouldn't have to buy them off from Beim.

"Yeah, I'll accept a few on my side. The Giant Kong's Magic Stone was of considerable quality, it seems, and with the materials in my hands as well, I've earned more than planned, so there isn't a problem."

It was true, but that wasn't all. In truth, my wallet was stuffed with merchant backing, starting with the Trēs House. Even after putting out condolence money, I would have some left over.

On top of that, Zayin and Lorphys would require large amounts of stones and materials soon.

"Well, I've already discussed it with Lonbolt-san and Gastone-san, so don't worry about it. Just split it in half, and head home. Oh, and please don't dispute about it."

When I joked around, Alette-san let out a sigh.

"You think we have that sort of strength left in us? Once we've finished up here, the main force is returning to the country. I want to get them back quickly. Because the movements of Galleria and Rusworth are bothering me."

They were two countries boasting equal, or greater national power than Zayin and Lorphys. Four countries of about the same scale.. that was the current state of Beim's surroundings.

"Are they warring especially hard?"

"... When we sent out scouts, it seems it wasn't just skirmishes. They're truly monsters, it seems. Both parties have their female leaders at the forefront of every battle, so there's little a gap. Good grief, in that case, it would've been better we left Selva in-between us."

I could only give a bitter smile. Perhaps noticing my sarcasm, Alette-san apologized again.

"Sorry. That wasn't my intent."

"It's alright. Now then, let's start preparing. I'm sure the folks from Beim will come to buy off our Magic Stones soon, after all."

"... Why Beim? And what do you mean they'll come to buy them off?"

Seeing Alette-san's confusion, I grinned, laughed, and explained.

-

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... At Beim's Guild Headquarter, Gastone and Lonbolt were carrying out an intense back and forth.

Gaston's face was bright red.

"What is the meaning of this; asking us to hand over the Magic Stones and materials we risked our lives to obtain!? And saying you'll pay nothing to retake control of the fortress that prevented the advance of such an army of evil is simply too much!"

Beim's executive personnel heard out his piece with bitter sentiment.

They had arbitrarily butted in to participate, and now they were saying they wouldn't sell the Magic Stones and materials. They likely planned to take them home, and use them in their countries.

But the executive staff didn't think the knights and soldiers of both countries would return alive. That fact had largely twisted their plans.

The merchants were quite forceful in their demand for the Guild to somehow dispose of the equipment that had been left over.

One of the executives spoke.

"Then how about trading for arms and armor? I'm sure your side has lost much equipment, so if it's now... we'll accept around this."

When he displayed a conversion rate, it was Lonbolt's turn to let his body go read up to the head, with an expression like that of a boiling octopus.

"The reward we attained from fighting with our lives on the line can only be traded for so little? What's more, where we fall short, we'll have to pay with gold, you say!?"

The executive immediately apologized.

"N-no, that is a misunderstanding. I understand. Then magic stones of this amount... how about this much?"

The rate was immediately altered, but the two men weren't satisfied.

"Even in normal times, these rates would be strange. Are you taking us for fools? We didn't need any equipment from the start. The Magic Stones and materials are plenty."

For the Guild's executive officers, it would be troublesome if the two counties made off with them. Of all else, they had refrained from getting their hands on a week's worth of monster drops, and the resources they had saved up had been exchanged to weapons.

Meaning they had suddenly fallen into a dearth of Magic Stones and monster parts.

At the rate, problems would surface across the branches, so the executive staff looked amongst themselves.

"... In that case, we shall annul any remaining debt of both your countries. On top of that, an exchange with the weapons we have in store. How does that sound? Also, this is are final concession."

To the serious faces of the executives, Gastone and Lonbolt made vexed faces.

But the Guild personnel thought.

(Even if they act tough, the national power to oppose Beim isn't something either of their countries possesses.)

When Gastone nodded, Lonbolt reluctantly nodded as well. But then Gastone...

"... But giving it all would be troublesome on our side. At the very least, I'd like you to leave it at taking seventy percent of what we've reaped."

Lonbolt was the same.

"For us as well. Having nothing left at all is out of the discussion. Even after returning to the country, I won't be able to persuade a soul."

The Guild executives, after crunching some numbers, determined they would be able to somehow overcome the present situation, before smiling and nodding.

"Very well. From the portion taken by both your countries, Beim shall take over seventy percent. We shall prepare the weapons and armor on our side, and I'm sure you'd like to confirm it, so all you need do is send men to pick it up."

Hearing that, Lonbolt looked annoyed.

"All you're saying is that you'll have us shoulder the transportation costs."

An executive smiled wide.

"No, this is only because a quantity check is necessary. You wouldn't want twice the effort, would you?"

The executives, Gastone, and Lonbolt looked over the forms written up. And after confirming their contents, they signed them.

Beim's side was smiling, while Gastone and Lonbolt looked down with their shoulders shaking. The executive personnel were certain they were considerably irritated.

Behind the two who were thought to be vexed at the outcome, in the clothes of Zayin's temple maidens, stood May...

-

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A few days later.

Soldiers and mercenaries of Beim set to be stationed at the fortress dropped by.

But besides them, mercenaries hired to recover stones and materials, as well as transport squads were sent in large numbers.

The important-looking existences called the free knights of Beim came to the fortress, and lined up before us as we sat in the chairs of the commanders' room.

"Good work with defense. Henceforth, this fortress shall come back under Beim's management. You can return at once if you so desire."

Me, Alette-san, and Noy-san. The three of us were side by side.

You can return at once pretty much meant get out of here already.

"Also, this is the decision of your superiors. Seventy percent of the Magic Stones and materials will be conceded to Beim. You've my thanks for making it easier by neatly dividing and sorting them."

Before the new commander of the fortress, who was purposely trying to rile us up, the Third spoke after bursting into laughter.

[This one's no good. While we're at it, should we get him demoted as well? It's best the commander here be a proficient one.]

Milleia-san agreed as she giggled.

[I'm also for it. Now then, how shall we kick him of that high seat he's sitting in?]

As approval circled around, they immediately devised a means to kick him out on the spot.

(These guys' personalities are way too terrible.)

As I thought that, the free knight.

"Ah, also, leave behind the cannons that performed so well in battle. It'll just be a bother for you to carry them back to Beim, after all. You can't even use them there, right? We shall put them to better use."

I was dumbfounded. Noy-san couldn't stay quiet at that one.

"That's simply too much. Those cannons are..."

"It's fine!"

I stopped Noy-san, and shook my head. To the end, before the newly-appointed commander, I had to play the part of a single adventurer of weak standing.

But I could hear the Fifth contain his laughter.

[C-could it be this one is actually trying to be considerate of us?]

The Fourth gave a grand laugh as well.

[He's so kind I'm being moved to tears. He's incompetent, but this is a miracle! I don't think I'll actually forget his face!]

I looked at the commander.

"... You're telling us to leave the cannons, correct?"

"Exactly. Taking something like that to the city will be nothing but trouble. But you've sure put them to good use. For that alone, I don't mind commending you."

There, the Seventh gave a delightful voice.

[And I don't mind commending your actions. A splendid man. For you to offer material to get you kicked out of office of your own accord, you really have a form of talent there. From our eyes, that is.]

"... Understood. Well then, we've preparations to make."

Watching us regretfully leave the room, the fortress' new commander haughtily stretched himself over the chair in satisfaction.

By the way, I was also quite satisfied.

(But seventy percent, is it? I was prepared for eighty to ninety, but I wonder if Gastone-san and co. were able to do well.)

-

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Leaving the fortress behind us, we returned to Beim.

I immediately brought my feet to the Trēs House's door. I had to make rounds to all the houses that backed us, but there was also something I had to report to Vera.

When I entered the mansion, Vera raced over.

"Lyle! You're not injured, right! If you are, I won't forgive you!"

Accepting her embrace, I gave a bitter smile. In the mansion's entrance hall were her younger sister Gina, and Gina's boyfriend Roland, watching us from a little ways away.

Milleia-san perhaps surveying the surroundings...

[... Fidel-san isn't here. It's a bit of a shame. I wanted to fan his flames before his eyes again. You can't imagine how many moves and lines I've thought up for that.]

The Third spoke as it to console her.

[It's alright. We've got as many chances to stir him up as we want, from here on. Anyways, a single, 'father-in-law' is enough to make his rage cross the limit, so I can't wait to see what you've got.]

These ones really do have terrible personalities.

And I made an apologetic face to Vera. In all seriousness, I really was sorry. The ancestors convinced me to concede the cannon to that commander free knight, so I followed along.

"Um, I'm sorry... well, I couldn't take the cannons back. Beim's free knights said to leave them at the fortress... and guns and gunpowder as well. I'm sorry."

There, Vera burst into rage.

"I don't care about something like that. I can just have more made. You're safe, and that's enough. Or were there any other injured?"

When I said there weren't any serious injuries among my party members, she looked relieved.

Seeing the scene, the Fourth.

[... Yep, I think Vera-chan resembles my wife, just a bit.]

The Fifth spoke nostalgically.

[This thorny kindness definitely does remind me of mama.]

He said.

And the Seventh opened his mouth, enjoying himself.

[Now then, from here on is the fun part. I never thought the day would come for me to give thanks to Beim's adventurers and merchants. Lyle, it's fun time!]

Ignoring the high-tensioned ancestors, I told Vera the just of our defensive war.

-

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... At the Guild's main headquarters, taking his subordinates along, Fidel slammed a document down on the table.

His opponents, the Guild's executive personnel, were shaking before one of the top merchants of the city.

Fidel had heard the circumstances from Vera, and marched straight to the ones that had dispatched that free knight, Beim's adventurers' guild headquarters.

The forms were proof that the cannon and heavy weaponry had been borrowed from Fidel. Thinking it would be a pain if Lyle was going to be reluctant to return them, the man had personally written them up himself.

"Did you read them? Now read them again, and keep reading until you're sure there are no problems. This isn't just as a merchant, it's something you all need to keep mindful of as well."

The Guild executives sat in their chairs, and tried making themselves look smaller.

"E-even if he didn't know, for a free knight to thoughtlessly do something like this..."

In regards to the executives that had begun to make excuses, Fidel erupted. His mind remained calm, but he let his expression fill with rage.

"Who told you to give an excuse!? What I'm asking is how you plan to take responsibility! Just how much value do you think your excuses hold?"

The executives were likely loathing those free knights they had dispatched already. Even if they were called knights, they were former soldiers and adventurers.

The Guild took care of such management, while merchants could hold private armies and maintain military power separately.

Meaning the Guild had basically unlawfully seized the equipment of Fidel's own private army.

The executives all apologized at once.

"We offer our deepest apologies! We shall retrieve and deliver it at once!"

But Fidel wasn't satisfied.

"That was something loaded onto one of our company's ships. You mean for us to sail the seas unarmed? I'm sure you'll reimburse me for the loss I'll face in their absence, right? I was preparing to set out as soon as I heard the borrower had returned, yet it turns out it wasn't broken, but stolen. Of course, there's a problem with the one I lent it to, but you also have fault for stealing it."

The contract held that if Lyle broke them on the battlefield, he wouldn't have to pay reparations. Fidel thought something like that wasn't much a problem.

But if he could squeeze money out of another party, it was a different story. What's more, this time, the Guild hadn't been of any use. He had his dissatisfactions at them, and his actions also had the meaning of getting back at them.

One of the executives.

"... We will take charge of your losses on our side."

And Fidel spoke in discontentment.

"He was more a thief or bandit than a commander, but is he really worthy of commanding Fortress Redant? It doesn't look that way to me. How about you try sending someone a little more decent next time? That's an important transport point. I think it'll be too late once a problem's already happened."

The Guild staff immediately replied.

"Yes. We'll send talented personnel at once. The dispatched commander will receive a harsh penalty, so could this matter be..."

"Very well. But having others know I was stolen from will have them make light of me. Won't the Guild be troubled by strange rumors too?"

"T-that is true."

With those words, Fidel made a smile.

"Yes, I'm sure. I'm sure... so, sign this form."

When he took out another document, the executive officers' faces stiffened.

"Let's make it that I sold it to you. Use the cannons and guns for the fortress' defense. In exchange, I'll have twelve new cannons and guns made for my ships, and the Guild will shoulder the cost."

The true number of cannons handed off at the fortress was ten. There wasn't a man here that knew that fact, so they silently nodded.

Watching the Guild officers sign, Fidel nodded with a smile.

"There really were a lot of problems this time around. But I don't mean to condemn you all for it. In the next meeting, I'll advocate for you."

There, they gave their thanks.

"T-thank you for your consideration."

"Just how can I thank the Trēs House. I'll definitely return the favor."

"We will prepare the funds at once."

Inside, Fidel thought...

(... More than this lot, that gigolo puts up a greater resistance. Rather, that damn gigolo really survived... he's got the tenacity of a cockroach.)

-

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As I walked through Beim's streets with Eva, I recalled the previous events, and made a tired expression.

Putting my right hand to left shoulder, I lightly turned my head.

"I can't get used to that atmosphere back there."

The scene I remembered was being surrounded by elves, and interrogated on my life experiences and sentiment on the battlefield. I couldn't help but wonder just where their zeal was coming from.

After talking quite a bit, I paid the elf tribes that had taken part, and saw off their departure from Beim.

I'm sure the travelling elf troupes that joined in would avoid Bahnseim and spread around the continent in no time.

Eva delightedly walked to my side.

"Did something good happen?"

She stopped in her tracks, and made a pose as she spun around. She was a beauty, so it made for a pretty picture, but the surrounding people stopped, looked at her, and laughed.

"The truth is, a number of my songs are entering the market! As a daughter of the Nihil tribe leading the elves, my name shall be carved onto the slate of history!"

Rather than feel embarrassed at having her name come out, it seems she felt quite delighted. The fact her personality was the polar opposite of mine made a cynical smile emerge on my face.

Letting out a sigh, I walked with Eva towards the mansion.

"Well, as long as the rumors spread, all's well."

She sent a wink at me.

"It's alright. This time's events were flashy, and historic, and what's more, we even paid travel expenses and rewards, so I'm sure they'll happily spread the tale. But up to now, you always said you didn't want to be sung of, or recited, so what's with the sudden change of heart?"

As Eva tilted her head, I looked up at the sky.

"Well, it became necessary, so I put it to action. That's all it is. But..."

"But?"

"... Maybe you really will be telling my hero's tale someday."

When I quietly said it below audible level, Eva grabbed my shoulders, and pulled.

"Hey, what is it? Say it properly. Don't leave me hanging."

Pulled by Eva, I laughed, before taking her hand, and leading her all the way to the mansion.

Milleia (#???): "Lyle receiving cockroach treatment... I cannot forgive it!"

Third Generation Head ヘ(゜?゜ヘ): "Quite right (lol), so next time, we're riling him especially hard (lolol)."

Milleia 。゜(*゜′?`゜)゜ノ: "I just can't wait (lolol), and wait, the people of Beim are so kind, it's bringing tears to my eyes."

Fourth Generation Head ([email protected][email protected]): "It's true. They give us equipment and money for free. On top of that, they even give us fame. Speak ill of them, and the goddess will punish you (lol)."

Fifth Generation Head ( ゜д゜): "No, it really is true. Just how much do they plan on contributing to us? They do it even if they hate us."

Seventh Generation Head (?A?): "But in the end, we'll definitely be parasiting... no, I mean policing them. There's not a hint of compassion in that."

Lyle (;′-`).。oO(It's a good thing I didn't have a Growth this time, but all I did today was tattle to Vera... the one who really moved was Fidel. This is bad, I really am becoming a gigolo.)