As I listened and ruminated on what Aisha-sama said, time passed by in a blink of an eye. Before I realised it, evening had fallen. Aisha-sama had gone to sleep in order to rest her body so once again, I had nothing to do.
When I returned to my room, worrying endlessly, the inner area of the mansion suddenly became very busy. Wondering what was happening, I stepped out of the room and saw that Roxy-sama had returned earlier than scheduled.
The maids were in a rush, having anticipated that they would be back tomorrow morning. Due to their sudden return, there were many things from meals to baths that they needed to prepare. I glanced sideways at them while hurrying to Roxy-sama. I wanted to know without delay what she thought when she had seen the valley where she was supposed to hunt the Kobolts.
There she was! She was taking off her white light armor at the entrance.
"Roxy-sama! Welcome back."
"Oh it's Fate. I have returned."
As expected, she had a depressed expression. If anyone saw the tragedy in the valley, they would surely be the same. Well, since they had retreated, it seemed like the Kobolts had decided not to come anymore. With my heart beating quickly, I listened to Roxy-sama.
"What happened? You've returned early."
Having finished removing her light armor, Roxy-sama told me about the strange valley that she had seen. This morning, she had led a group of armed men and headed for the valley. Then, what met them was a valley that had been destroyed by a powerful battle. The beautiful nature had been lost, with trees fallen and the ground gouged out. The valley that she had seen every year had been transformed into an unimaginable state.
Yeah… Being the one who had caused it, even I had thought, "I went overboard," so Roxy-sama and the others would definitely have been quite surprised.
Roxy-sama had immediately instructed the men that she had brought to investigate the area. There was no indication of what had happened to the valley that seemed to be completely wiped out. However, they found ten Kobolt Junior and two Assault Kobolt corpses on a large rock nearby.
The man who discovered them guided her to the site where it looked as though the Kobolts had been killed by a sword or arrows, falling to the ground afterwards. All of them had been defeated one-sidedly.
Assault Kobolts were especially strong monsters and could not be beaten unless the opponent was a Holy Knight. One of those had been sliced apart cleanly. The other one, as though fleeing something in fear, had been shot through the head with an arrow from behind. Of concern was the shot wound, since the arrow itself could not be found anywhere. Moreover, there was no evidence that the arrow had been pulled out.
In consideration of what could have caused external wounds like this, a demonic bow crossed their minds. Converting magic into arrows and shooting them, it was a powerful weapon. It was not an item that could be possessed by any warrior. A demonic bow was such a great weapon… I listened as Roxy-sama spoke of this.
"And so, I came to a conclusion."
"Eh, what is it…"
What could Roxy-sama have concluded from just this amount of physical evidence? No way, I would not be discovered, right?
"I think that Gallian girl, the one I saw yesterday, was the one who did it."
Oops, an unexpected person had been identified as the culprit. However, this seemed a bit… forced? I guess my face showed a disapproving expression. Seeing this, Roxy-sama puffed up her cheeks.
"I know there's no solid proof of this! But to placate the people in the territory there, I had no choice but to say something like that…"
The valley had been destroyed and the Kobolts were annihilated. It had been necessary for the master of the Heart Family to say something to reassure the people of the territory so that they would not feel anxious. However, the identity of the person who had caused this was wholly indeterminable from the information at the site. So, she came up with the Gallian girl from yesterday as a desperate last resort.
The Gallians ruled the continent with mighty military power a long time ago. According to historical texts, their combat capabilities far surpassed even those of Holy Knights. If that Gallian girl possessed that strength still, then it would explain the devastating events that happened in the valley.
It was a terrible hypothesis, however, Roxy-sama pressed forward with this plan in order to dispel the concerns of the people. The person who was least convinced was Roxy-sama herself, I could tell this just by looking at her face.
“Is that so… I’m sorry.”
“What’s wrong, why is Fate apologising?”
“Eh, ahh, somehow I wanted to. Hahahahahaha…”
Not good, not good. When I saw Roxy-sama’s face, I almost confessed.
Anyway, to think the Gallians were that strong. That brown-skinned girl had surely said that she would give the Kobolt to me. Perhaps if she had not met me, she would likely have defeated all the Kobolts.
If so, then let’s just leave it as such and say the Gallian girl destroyed the valley and exterminated the Kobolts. She had said it was a loan, so it should be fine if I paid this debt the next time we met. Thank you, Gallian girl who’s name I did not even know!
The matter was not entirely settled, though it would be nice if everyone in the Heart Family’s territory could return to their usual lifestyle. As I was thinking this, Roxy-sama spoke with a slightly troubled expression.
“This Gallian girl, several people witnessed her leaving the territory early today. Because of this, I can no longer find out why she came or what she did here. So to use her in this case, I’ve done something bad.”
I was the worst. Even so, I could not say that I fought with the strength of the Gluttony skill. Killing my opponents and taking their power, I did not want her to know this. Aisha-sama’s words pierced me in my back. Unable to face her properly, I would definitely… Even if I wanted to…
“Fate, what’s wrong? You have a scary expression.”
“Eh, is that so?”
“You look like that occasionally. If you have any worries, please tell me anytime.”
“…Thank you, Roxy-sama.”
I could only return my words to the sky.
Over the next two days, Roxy-sama observed the situation in the valley just in case and determined that the Kobolts would no longer come down. She also said that the Kobolts may have been wiped out from the attack. Even if there were survivors, they would never return to the Heart Family’s territory.
After finishing her work in the territory, Roxy-sama brought me along back to the capital. Aisha-sama came to the entrance to see Roxy-sama and I off as we left by horse carriage. All the other maids came too.
“Then I’ll be going, mother.”
“Have a safe trip. Take a break between duties and come back anytime.”
“Yes. Take care of your health mother.”
“Indeed. I need to do my best a little longer.”
As she said this, Aisha-sama looked at me. Most likely, there was still something she was expecting. She smiled broadly.
“Fate should come too. Let’s talk again. I want to hear your reply when the time comes.”
Last time, I had been unable to voice my reply and had put it on hold. The thoughts in my heart and the reality I was living in were diverging even at this very moment. Leaving only feelings behind, the carriage carrying us began moving towards the capital.