Chapter 26: Suerre
The expedition’s departure date approaches quickly.
I’m in the same carriage as His Highness.
The view moves out the window as the wheels spin and sway.
We’re leaving the capital.
My first experience begins.
“Are you nervous?”
“No. I’m more excited than nervous. I don’t know this country yet.”
“I see. Then let us finish our work quickly and take a look around this country outside of the royal capital.”
I’ve been here for more than a month.
I’ve gotten used to living in the castle, I’ve discovered new hobbies, and I’m having a good time.
But I’m only familiar with the area around the castle.
Even in the capital, I can’t get anywhere unless I ask someone.
I’m still a stranger.
This expedition is the best way for me to become acquainted with the land beyond the castle.
A carriage transporting us leaves the royal palace grounds.
It’s a simple carriage with no decorations. Nobody expects to see royalty in it.
“Don’t show too much of your face. There’ll be a bit of a frenzy if they find out we’re on board.”
“I don’t think the general public remembers me yet.”
“You’d be surprised at how much they stare at you. Even if it is only once, the royalty is noticeable.”
I’ve appeared in public on several occasions.
It was time for the wedding soon after I arrived in this country.
A royal marriage has significant implications for the country’s future.
People were curious about the type of woman the prince had chosen as his wife.
I wasn’t used to having so many people staring at me, and I would have had a nervous, tense smile the entire time.
I’m curious if I’d look better now.
That’s when I realized how difficult it is to be a member of the royal family.
The carriage makes its way through the capital’s streets.
You see a wide range of people.
People are working, resting, and doing things I don’t understand.
There are shops and people of all backgrounds.”
“Isn’t the royal capital quite large?”
“Wasn’t the country you were in also large?”
“I spent most of my time on the court…”
“It’s not much different now, is it?”
That is undeniably correct.
I’m still holed up in the royal castle.
But the fact that I feel so differently is probably proof that every day I spend in this country is worthwhile.
“Shall I show you around the royal city when we return?”
“Your Highness will?”
“Is there anyone else here?” I’m used to sneaking out to see how other people live. I’ll let you come with me if you’re willing.”
“That would be fantastic.”
His Highness occasionally travels around the capital while concealing his true identity.
There’s a sense of fun about it.
I have one more thing to look forward to after work.
A half-day ride in a horse-drawn carriage.
We depart from the royal city, making stops along the way until we arrive at our destination, Suerre.
A massive structure surrounded by nature but not completely integrated with it.
The city is located where the rock walls surround it.
The closer you get to the city’s massive walls, the more overwhelming it becomes.
“So this is the city of Suerre…”
“Yes. It is the country’s second largest city and is known as the “second royal capital.”
As the name suggests, within its walls was a bustling, vibrant city.
The view from the carriage windows is similar to the view from the royal capital.
The difference is that it is likely to be smaller in size than the royal capital.
The population is large, and although we arrived when the sun was already setting, we could see waves of people walking through the streets.
“Isn’t it a lively place?”
“It’s almost dinnertime. Many people drink and have fun after work. This busy area is densely packed with bars.”
Men gathered to share a drink with one another.
Perhaps they are adventurers.
They celebrate the safety and success of others after completing a dangerous mission… right?
There were adventurers in my hometown, but I never had the opportunity to interact with them.
I’d only heard whispers about them.
At court, I heard horrible things about them.
I’d heard they were barbarians, a step up from bandits, primitives who could only fight.
“I wonder what adventurers are like…”
“If you want to know, just ask directly. You’re going to get involved with them regardless.”
“This is a large task involving the entire city. We will require the assistance of all the city’s adventurers. Of course, with a reward.”
Then you can get a good look at them.
What kind of people are these adventurers?
Are the rumors true, or are they just rumors?
I’m actually looking forward to it.
The carriage makes its way through the city until it arrives at a mansion.
“Are we going to stay here?”
“Yes, it’s a mansion owned by the royal family. The royal capital’s knights will also be staying here. We can’t accommodate everyone, so the rest will have to rent a place in the city.
The number of knights from the capital is close to 5,000, and there are already more than 2,000 knights stationed in Suerre.
We will defend Suerre with a large force alongside the adventurers.
If the city had not been as large as the royal capital, it would have overflowed and forced us to camp out in the open.
However, because it is such a large city, there are more people to protect.
Inevitably, I have a lot of work ahead of me.
I, too, must put my heart into it.
Now I’m really excited to…
“This is our room.”
Suddenly, I was confronted with the most difficult challenge of my life.