The continental road which originates in the permafrost country at the northern end of the continent, extends through a number of small countries in between until it reaches the desert country of Eskaris Meimir in the southern part of the continent.
However, the two countries, north and south, where the continental highway ends, are both in a harsh environment, although they differ in coldness and heat. So, the people come and go only in the small countries in between.
The seven small countries here are, from the north, Nether, Calcata, Froinvale, Mirabel, Goa, Ternoire, and Vespio.
Four of these countries, Froinvale, Mirabel, Goa, and Ternoir, were located on fertile black soil and developed by agriculture and trade mainly through continental highways, and are sometimes referred to as the "Four Sisters of Fertility".
However, there are now signs of a dispute between the four sisters.
It was happened just a few months ago.
A riot broke out in Ternoir, sparked by a skirmish between a commercial association and a tax collector. It escalated into a revolution, which defied most people's expectations that it would be quickly suppressed. In the end, the crowd engulfed the royal palace.
Due to this, a country without a king - a republic - suddenly appeared in the middle of the monarchical countries.
This could not be ignored by the royal families of neighboring countries.
So, Mirabel and Goa immediately decided to go to Ternoir.
Only Froinvale, which is ruled by a king who is cautious at best and indecisive at worst, has remained opportunistic for a long time.
However, after repeated requests from Mirabelle and Goa, the king of Froinvale finally made up his mind, and the announcement of his departure for war was made just a few days ago.
Now, under such extraordinary circumstances, in the royal city of Froinvale — Saint-Ogan.
In the center of the city, in a separate building of the royal palace, there was a female knight with her arms folded and a boy on the other side of the table, lowered his face.
The boy was sixteen years old. Apart from his quirky black hair, there was nothing remarkable about him. He is neither tall nor short, and his face is quite ordinary.
The reason why he looks strangely plain is probably because of his eyes, which do not show even a trace of aggressiveness. When he is yelled at, his pouting looks somewhat like an abandoned puppy.
On the other side, the female knight is 18 years old, a little older than the boy. She has a face that looks like a sculpture and flaming red hair. Although she seems a little strong-willed, she is a rare beauty.
She is a slender 8 head tall with her arms and legs protected by the same light armor for training as the boy. Her red eyes were glowing with anger, as if they were about to overflow.
"Lucas, I hope you understand why I am angry with you."
In the middle of summer, the stone floor is illuminated by the setting sun through the window. And the shadow of a boy, who had been shrinking on the floor, lifts his head.
"Okay, then answer me honestly. Where were you last night when you left your post in the middle of the mission?"
"What happened? Come on, tell me."
"I'm hungry, so I went to the kitchen... I was hoping to get some leftovers."
"Ah, okay. One of the servants testified that he gave you a couple of slices of cheese. Did you like it?"
"Eh, ah... yes. As one would expect from the Minister's residence, even a piece of cheese is a luxury item..."
"I see... luxury cheese, huh? Well then, what do you think about the murder of Sir Amber, the escorted Minister, while you were enjoying the cheese?"
"Uh, uh... well, you know..."
"What is it?"
"I think it's a +bad timing+..."
Immediately, a blue streak appeared on the female knight's temple.
"Why do you think it's just a matter of 'bad timing'? You stupid idiot! Yes, you're hungry in the middle of guarding, but while you're eating the cheese, the Minister is getting eaten alive!"
"A-As expected of Commander... you speak very well..."
*Bang! The female knight drops her fist on the table. Of course, the boy shrugs and jerked.
Then the female knight leans forward on the table and puts an angry look.
"I can forgive your screw-ups and your inexplicably bad luck, but your bad behavior is another matter. Do you know how much I've been scolded by Commander-in-Chief today because of you? Do you have something against me!"
"I-I have nothing against you!"
"Then why don't you take it seriously!"
As she said, this boy called Lucas is a clumsy and unlucky boy.
He trips over every step, and bird shit falls on him when he walks outside. If someone kicks a stone, it flies toward him, if he has money, his wallet is dropped, and if he goes near a woman, he is mistaken for a pervert.
This time, too, he had stood guard in front of the room of the escort, thinking it would be no problem if he just stood there like an ornament, but the result is what you see here.
Valerie, the female knight and the commander of the order, let out an excited exhale, poured water from a pitcher into a wooden bowl, and gulped it down in one gulp.
She seemed to have become hoarse from yelling too much.
Now, only she and Luca were in the station.
But, as soon as the working hours had passed, the members of the mission will return. And fearing the repercussions of her actions, she left quickly.
However, upon seeing Lucas had a faint hope that the sermon would be over soon, Valerie's anger increased.
Naturally, the sermon extended for about an hour.
"Really, you bastard..."
Valerie's eyes flash up in anger, and Lucas is convinced that the sermon is going to last much longer. In his experience, this is a very long time coming.
"I don't know how you got here, but I would have kicked you out a long time ago if you had not been assigned by His Highness the Crown Prince's recommendation"
"...Umm, I'm sorry."
"*Sigh* you don't look tense. Do you have any idea what's going on in this country right now?"
"Y-Yes, I know."
Lucas answered, but his eyes were obviously glazed over.
Valerie looked at him with stony eyes and asked in a smoky voice, "What do you know?"
"Eh, um... well, soon we'll leave from Ternoir"
"We'll be at war as soon as His Majesty the King decides it's his will. Then we, the Golden Eagle Knights, will be fighting on the front lines"
Lucas was relieved that he had answered the question correctly. However, Valerie's question did not end there.
"And after that?"
"Eh!? A-After that? Well, you know..."
Seeing that Luca's eyes started to roll instead of swimming, Valerie let out a sigh of exasperation and glared at him.
"It's a headhunt!"
"Ah, yes? Yes, that is!"
"Do you understand now? The reason we were assigned to protect Sir Amber in the first place was because we got word he was targeted"
That's the nickname of the serial killer who's been stirring up trouble in the royal capital for several days.
Nothing is known about it except that she is a woman. She has already killed nearly a dozen citizens with her characteristic technique of removing heads from corpses.
Normally, the security activities in the city are the duties of the guards, and the knights, who are mainly composed of the children of noblemen, are not involved in such activities, but this time, since the target of the escort was a minister, the Golden Eagle Knights were sent as guards.
"But still, Headhunt is a very bold. To break into a place guarded by the Knights..."
"Are you a fool? Do you not only have bad luck and a bad attitude but also bad eyesight? That person is not the one who killed Sir Amber."
"You see, Sir Amber's body had a head!"
"Oh, by the way, that's true..."
"In the first place, this story was wrong from the beginning. Up until now the victims of the headhunt have been common young women... but for some reason this time the hunt is targeting Sir Amber."
"Isn't that right? Yes, that's right. I thought it must be a false story too!"
For some reason, Valerie's voice became hoarse as she stared at Lucas's proud face.
"But that doesn't mean you can leave your post, does it? Really, what do you think? In the end, Sir Amber was killed. It looks as if he'd been devoured by a beast. But this time it was someone else. For the moment, this person been dubbed the 'Human-eating Demon'."
"Whoa... It's exactly as I've seen it, nothing creative about it"
"What? You have a problem with His Majesty's naming?"
"Eh? His Majesty the King!? Isn't that outrageous? His Majesty? The greatest person? His naming is the best name I've ever heard!"
Lucas tries his best to smile affectionately. Valerie, however, looks at him with a cold expression and says.
"Oh...I see. Well then, let's hear what's the best part."
By this point, he was sermoned again.
Although her sermons are a part of Lucas's daily routine, she was more persistent than usual today, perhaps because she had been reprimanded by the commander-in-chief.
And Lucas was sure that this distraction named sermon would continue for at least one more moment.
Stargazer means a person who looks at the stars or an astronomical observer.
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