He uttered an excuse, taking a quote he had heard somewhere, but King Dino and the others decided he was being stubborn.
Some of the villagers who were watching from afar also broke down in tears.
“…I can’t believe he’s this smart, even compared to my own children, to whom I gave the best education.
Is this what you call a prodigy?”
“To be honest, he is probably far superior to most of the lords at this stage.
Nevertheless, it is a mixed verdict going against His Majesty.
For Baron Van, who was appointed a peerage and made this land his fief, it is safe to assume that all those around him are enemies.
Under such circumstances, it would be safer not to go against him than to make an enemy out of him, your majesty.”
Aperta uttered a frightening statement.
Everyone becoming an enemy.
Right, this was because I was now a Lord with a territory.
Whatever the form, up until now I had been under the patronage of my father, the Marquis of Fertio.
So, even after I was transferred to this former count’s territory, I was not harassed in any way.
But now it was different.
If I was not careful, my father, the Marquise, would do something to me.
No, they certainly would.
At the very least, my two older brothers could harass me in some way.
And this will not change even if I was invited in the Royal Capital.
After all, even as an eight-year-old, I would be given high privileges by the king.
This would definitely antagonize the other nobles.
It would not be surprising if I would be poisoned by someone.
If it was a wicked nobleman, they might go ahead and do it, saying, “It’s all right as long as they don’t find out about it”.
What a mess.
Then it would be safer to stay in this village.
In this village, the only people who would be suspicious would be the visitors.
There would be no one suspicious like a ninja who could enter without being noticed.
Well, I had no choice but to prepare myself for whoever might come.
I changed my mind in about ten seconds, then looked up and answered.
“With all due respect, I would rather seek another path than abandon my people.”
When I told them this, the King and the others seemed to think that it was impossible to persuade me.
Exhaling a deep sigh, the King acknowledged my assertion with a nod of his head.
Frankly, not having the Baron’s ability is regrettable.
It would also be a shame if he were to defect to another country as a result of hostility.
Besides, even if he doesn’t come to the Royal Capital, if we send an envoy to this place, you will cooperate with us, right?”
Cooperation for what?
I thought so, but I bowed my head respectfully.
“Of course, Your Majesty.
If there is anything I can help you with, I will be happy to cooperate.”
King Dino laughed and cowered his shoulders as he exhaled shortly.
“I’m not so startled anymore.
I have decided not to consider Baron Van as a child.”
Nodding to the King, who unilaterally announced this, Aperta followed suit.
“It would be a wise choice.
Perhaps Baron Van must be half high elf or something.
He must be at least fifty years old.”
“Ha ha ha! I see.
That may be so.
Not much older than me, huh?”
The king was overjoyed by Aperta’s light-hearted remark.
But I am not amused.
Who would think I was 50 years old after capturing such a cute little guy like me, Van?
Even Panamera, who had been so quiet until then, was laughing.
“…Well, with that in mind, I think it’s time for us to go back to the pavilion.
I’m sure everyone is tired.”
As I was about to turn back after saying that, King Dino came up to me laughing.
“Ha ha ha ha! Don’t sulk, Baron.
I am complimenting you.
You’re a great guy.
I might even ask you to educate my children.”
“They are about the same age as me, right?”
“Don’t be silly.
You are really fifty, aren’t you?”
The old man Dino seems to be too fixated on that notion.
Who let this no-good old man drink alcohol?
I was sure he wasn’t actually drunk.
As I stared at him with half-open eyes, Dino finally calmed down.
“Whew, I haven’t laughed in a while.
“I’m pleased to know that you enjoyed it.”
Dino replied with a socially-awkward smile, the edges of his mouth rising as he opened his mouth.
“Unfortunately, I can’t stay away from the Royal Capital for too long.
If I can’t bring you back, I’ll have to finish my investigation as quickly as possible and return home.
Therefore, I would like to check the dungeon if it will not take too long.”
“The dungeon? But the dungeon is far enough away that by the time we get there and back, the sun will already be setting.
I think it would be better to leave that for tomorrow.”
Dino’s mouth turned into a grimace of disapproval when I told him this without hesitation.
“Isn’t your attitude toward me becoming more and more rough?”
When Dino said this, not only Aperta and Panamera but also the guards laughed.
The laughter was contagious, spreading to Till, Camsin, and Arte, and eventually, everyone smiled.
This seems like a good way to build a good relationship with the king, as long as nothing too serious happens.
If he gets along well with the king, at the very least, he should be less likely to be harassed by the domestic nobility.
As I was secretly feeling relieved, I suddenly heard a noisy voice coming from the direction of the street.
Was it from the other side of the castle wall?
I turned around and saw a patrolman on the ramparts looking at me with a bloodthirsty look on his face and opening his mouth.
“It’s a gray dragon! It’s not big, but it’s flying…!”
The moment I heard that voice, I moved.
“Everyone prepare to defend! Call out to the adventurers!”
I immediately issued orders, and all the villagers started running at once.
Dee and Espada and the others also headed for their battle positions as knights.
“Boy, do you need a hand?”
Panamera, smiling wryly, asked me that, and I nodded with a wry smile.
“I’ll accept the help.
But you know, when Panamera-san is around, dragons come… Do you have any secrets to being popular with dragons?”
I asked, and one of Panamera’s eyebrows rose.
Are you really going to say that to me, who is of marriageable age but has no fiancée…?”
“Come on, people! We’re going to the main gate as fast as we can! The adventurers’ town might be destroyed!”
Panamera’s low voice made me feel more threatened than the dragon, so I started running, shouting in a cold sweat.
I rushed through the village, where screams and shouts echoed, to the main gate, and called out from below to the villagers on top of the walls.
“Where is the dragon!?”
I asked, and the villager pointed diagonally upward.
“It’s above the adventurers’ town now! We all shot arrows at once, but it was wary and raised its altitude…!”
“You mean the arrows can’t reach it!?”
“It was hit, two in the arms and two in the legs! I don’t know about the rest!”
I hear the report and groan.
If it were mortally wounded, it would not be able to fly like the Green Forest Dragon, but would run and attack on the ground.
In other words, the dragon was not badly wounded.
That is dangerous.
If a wounded and angry dragon attacked, it would be difficult to stop it.
“We have no choice.
Let’s bring out the prototypes.
Till, Camsin, will you help me prepare?”
I asked, to which they both nodded deeply and replied.
As I nodded back at their cheerful replies, Arte looked anxious.
As I was thinking of something to say to her, Dino interjected with a grim look on his face.
“Let me give you a hand.
Even in this solid fortified city, it will be a challenge to deal with a flying dragon.
If we lend a hand, there is probably a high probability that we will be able to repel them.”
I nodded my head in agreement with the offer of help.
But if you don’t have the means for really long-range attacks, unfortunately, I’m only going to need help replenishing my arrows.
I will show you where it is.”
With that, we headed for the main gate on the outskirts of the Seat Village.
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