Editor: Areth Kyntaul
As soon as the sun started to come up the city doors were opened, specifically for us, and our extravagant escort set out. The three of us didn’t leave on horses. We, instead, hid inside the horse-drawn carriage to guarantee our safety, as well.
We came here empty-handed, so if we leave with an escort and a bunch of carts the people are bound to think that there might be food inside. Therefore, we had to hide to make it appear as though we had nothing to do with the escort and carts.
Leah and I sat on one side, while Veirya sat opposite us. Veirya placed her sword on her thigh and looked straight at us, causing me to feel a bit numb.
Leah snored softly as she lay quietly on my thigh. We were busy last night and had to wake up early today, so Leah was still slightly sleepy.
I, therefore, let her have a good sleep.
It wasn’t comfortable in the carriage, especially since it was stuffed full, without much space to sit. Leah was sleeping, while Veirya wasn’t a good travelling companion. Despite looking at me, she didn’t utter a word.
The carriage didn’t have any windows, so I couldn’t see what it was like outside. All I knew was that the cold outside would seep through the thin wooden structure of the carriage, causing me to shiver.
I breathed quietly as I watched Leah breathe mist.
Veirya suddenly spoke out while still looking at me, “Explain to me what exactly happened. What exactly did you do? How did you know all of this?”
“Honestly speaking, you might think it was all very simple when I tell you.” I chuckled a little.
For Veirya to speak out to me like this is comparable to the freezing atmosphere in the north shattering, thereby breaking the silence in the carriage.
I, too, finally spoke. This way of starting a conversation made me a lot more relaxed, as well. I looked at Veirya. Truthfully, I wanted to say some more, so that I wouldn’t feel so lonely.
I then explained, “First, my intention right at the start was to buy food, but then the merchant said he didn’t have any. I suspected that he, in fact, did have food. How does a food merchant not have food? Furthermore, if he didn’t have food, how could he possibly have been selling food every day? He must’ve had it and was probably trying to raise his prices. If that was how it was, we just needed to prove that he did, indeed, have food and we’d be able to procure it at a very low price.”
“In reality, food isn’t worth that much money. It’s expensive due to the environment. All of his prices were high. They weren’t the true price of the food. As such, demanding a lower price isn’t hard. However, I knew that he wasn’t going to tell us where his warehouse was, so I went to the military under your name. The military’s blueprint for the defence of the city told me where his warehouse was located.”
“How did you know there was food in there? You didn’t enter it.” Veirya interjected to ask a question. It appeared that this was what she wanted to ask.
I looked at her and then chuckled quietly. I replied, “The cats. Do you remember them? There was a big group of cats living outside that warehouse. Such wild animals live in places where there is food. Cats don’t eat provisions, though, so why were they there?”
“That’s because there were rodents there. Rodents would eat them. If there was no food in the warehouse, rodents wouldn’t be in there. The cats were all plump, which meant that the rodents inside were just as plump. That meant that there was food inside.”
“The boss knew what I meant when I mentioned that to him but, unfortunately, there wasn’t enough food in there.”
Veirya continued to look at me quietly as though she didn’t believe me. She then asked, “Just because of a few cats?”
“That’s right. Sometimes the environment can provide you with a lot of information. Whenever I’m thinking about something, I take into account everything around, as well. The group of fat cats proved my theory.”
I snickered and then went on, “Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough food, so I had no choice, but to eye the military’s provisions, for they were the only entity left in this city that had food. Hence, I had to go and see if I could procure food from the military.”
“I did consider them initially, which is why I went to go and see what the soldiers truly thought. It’s common for the soldiers’ thoughts to reflect their chief’s thoughts. Furthermore, the last time we went there I also saw his family picture, so I learned that he actually wanted to return home, as well. In addition and most importantly, I knew the company’s problem.”
I looked at Veirya and started to speak seriously, “With a company involved, it was evident that there was a monopoly on food trade here. Subsequently, they weren’t going to allow food to get in when they’re trying to raise the prices. They would have ways to stop even military provisions from getting in. That’s why the troops here should be retreating from here, not having their provisions restocked.”
“Is that right…?”
Veirya looked at her sword and paused for a moment. She then continued, “I’ve never seen this sort of situation. Why do these soldiers desire to return? They’re soldiers, yet they’re unwilling to stay at the border, instead wanting to return. They have the glory of being a soldier, but why were they so happy when they found out that they could return? Why has the thinking of soldiers changed like this?”
“Simple. Because the war has ended.” I looked at Veirya and continued with my explanation solemnly, “The war has ended. You existed for the sake of defeating the Demon King. However, you slew him, Veirya, so you’ve lost your purpose. You no longer have anything to work toward. With no enemy, an army is no longer an army. They’re no longer soldiers, but just an ordinary group of men who want to return to their homes. That’s also exactly why there’s the famine going on right now, in addition to the starving refugees.”
Veirya froze up for a moment. She stroked her sword gently, lowered her head and asked, “So it was wrong for me to kill the Demon King?”
“How could you have been wrong? If the demons were still around, the threat of death would loom, before even having to worry about a famine. It’s always good to be less an enemy.”
“It’s just that it’s now a different era. It’s no longer the military’s era. From now on, it’ll be your past, or rather the end of the military’s era. You ended it when you wielded your sword. However, eras will continue to change.”
“You’ve fulfilled your duty as a soldier, so of course you did the right thing. Even if you didn’t close the curtain with your swing, somebody else would’ve made the swing later down the road.”
“It’s… over already? I mean, soldiers and whatnot. In the past, we could have food or whatever it was.
“Previously, your target was the demons, so you didn’t need to think about anything, but if you draw your sword now, you’ll need to carry the consequences of a human. You can’t resolve things just by drawing your sword anymore. Violence is the simplest method, but it’s the most troublesome method, at the same time.”
Veirya seemed to feel slightly nostalgic. She stroked her scabbard gently and didn’t say anything else.
Although this sudden silence made me feel somewhat awkward, it wasn’t feasible for me to say anything further.
Veirya seemed to be immersed in her past and unwilling to say any more.
‘She had essentially completely cut her past off when she dealt the fatal blow to the Demon King, after all. She can’t be a warrior anymore since there’s no need for one when there’s no more Demon King. If Veirya didn’t have this territory, what would she do, when she doesn’t understand anything?’
‘This girl of steel is inferior to even Violet Evergarden. Violet has Claudia to guide her, but Veirya doesn’t. If Veirya didn’t have this territory, she probably wouldn’t have anywhere to go, right now. She’d have to spend the rest of her life in the military camp. She would end up stranded, even if she wanted to change herself, because there wouldn’t be anyone to help her.’
‘Veirya wouldn’t take the initiative to ask for help. She would just silently try to resolve it herself, and if she couldn’t, she’d give up.’
‘If I look at it this way, I seem to be the one guiding her.’
Not only do I need to take care of Leah, I need to guide Veirya, too. Veirya and Leah are very similar, in that they both need me to take care of them.
*Violet Everdargen and Claudia are characters from the anime/novel (is there manga?) Violet Evergarden. Don’t ask me about it, because I haven’t seen it and never will.
Editor: ^Um… Okay. It’s just that… What I mean to say is… WHO!?