Chapter 184. Currency Reform (1)

A powerful trumpet sounded from the outer wall of Asterium.

The elite knights of Asterium, the White Tiger Knights Division, and other prominent knights of the Duchy of Asteria were dressed in uniforms and lined up along the outer walls.

With the sudden lining up of the knights, the citizens came out wondering, to see what was going on since it was very rare for the White Tiger Knights Division, which was comparable to the royal guards, to be lined up in uniform.

After each knights’ division finished lining up, the rider on the wall raised the duke's flag and the indomitable gate of the Asterium was opened.

A military band lined up behind the knights and began to play magnificent music as people entered Asterium through the gates.

The citizens, who were expecting a large march, were disappointed to see only 30 people and a small carriage come through the gate.

However, the knights who had their ceremonial swords unsheathed and were maintaining etiquette were so nervous that they might shed cold sweat.

And in addition, there was the flag with crows, the symbol of the chief of the strongest battle race, the Crow Tribe, hanging atop the small carriage.

The citizens who were looking around didn't know, but the thirty men escorting the wagon were the best of the Crows. If they truly run wild, it might be the day that Asterium got erased from the map.

When the Crows had all entered the city, the leader of the White Tiger Knights, a butler, and a housekeeper came out to meet them in place of the Duke of Asterium, who was away.

"It has been a long time since we’ve met, Weger-nim."

When the leader of the White Tiger Knights bowed his head to the old man who was in the lead, the other knights along the walls were greatly surprised. For this leader that they knew, was a man who didn’t bow his head easily, even to his superiors.

"Huh, long time no see, kid. You've gotten a lot better," said Weger.

The knights swallowed dryly.

Kid? Even though he was a Crow, it was a word that poked the pride of the leader of the White Tiger Knights.

The knights were certain he would be angry, but contrary to their expectations, the leader smiled.

"No, I still have a long way to go. I've managed to digest only half of Sir’s teachings."

"It’s fine, there are plenty of my own students who are not as good as you."

The White Tiger Knights leader shook his head at Weger's encouragement.

"Haha, they're probably still young,” he said with a bitter smile.

Weger patted his shoulder. "There's something I always tell my students. Even if we are often called battle races and get treated as another race, ordinary people outside the village can still become strong enough to beat you if they put in the effort."

Weger's words were not wrong. Just because they were born with weaker physical bodies than the Crow Tribe, it did not mean the strength and level they could achieve in the end was low. For example, the Space Magician, one of the four great madosas, was born into a commoner's family and was known to be comparable to the great elder of the Butterfly Tribe.

"Thank you. I will continue to try harder." The White Tiger Knights leader sincerely expressed his gratitude to Weger for his encouragement. Then he looked at the carriage and whispered carefully to him. "Is the Crow Tribe Chief-nim in that carriage?”

The White Tiger Knights leader was even more nervous because he had personally faced the young Doomstone in the past when the latter had run away from home. Doomstone during his younger days was a legend, an object of admiration, and fear. 

Weger guffawed and shook his head. "Huh-huh-huh, no. The deputy chief-nim is riding in that carriage."

Right then, the window of the carriage opened and Hestia stuck her head out.

The White Tiger Knights leader was surprised to see Hestia's face and his mouth fell open. "Anemone-nim...?”

Hestia, who had not heard his surprised murmur, came out of the carriage and stood in front of those who had come to meet her.

It was not only the White Tiger Knights leader who was surprised. The duke's butler and the housekeeper were also surprised.

Hestia, who stood proudly in front of them, looked so much like the young Anemone, who they had pledged loyalty to in the past as she was to become the future duchess.

"As the deputy chief of the Crow Tribe, I would like to thank the members of the Asteria Duchy for coming out."

Hestia's imposing eyes gave them a feeling of nostalgia. But they simply closed their eyes for a moment before opening them again.

Anemone, whom they loved and respected, had already died 25 years ago. Hestia looked too young to be related to Anemone.

"No, it's just only the appropriate formality as Asteria has a close relationship with the Crow Tribe."

Hestia smiled and nodded lightly at the housekeeper's greeting.

Those who came out to meet them probably didn't know, but to the Crow Tribe, the Duke of Asteria was a blood ally. Of course, the blood alliance between the two was highly confidential. For the Crows who had already allied with the empire, forming a blood alliance with a single noble within the empire was not without the risk of being considered a political intervention.

Hestia only found out that her mother had been the successor to the Duke of Asteria when she became the deputy chief, and very few people knew about the existence of blood alliance.

"Is His Highness, Duke of Asteria in the Duke's mansion? I'd like to meet him once."

The butler of the duke answered Hestia's question. "No, His Highness, went to the capital ahead of the state affairs conference. If he had known of the visit, he would have surely waited."

Hestia nodded at the butler. "Since we're the ones who suddenly came, we’ll push the meeting for when we’re in the capital."

"Thank you for your understanding."

Hestia went back into the carriage and pressed Weger. "Elder-nim, head straight to the capital. Time is tight if we want to make it to the state affairs conference in the capital.”

Weger nodded. "All right. It was nice to see them after a long time."

Weger and the Crows headed for the Asterium train station. The procession of envoys of the Crow Tribe who received the invitations from the capital continued.

-o-

I sighed looking at Hillis.

“Why are you sighing looking at a person?” Hillis seemed slightly sulky. 

"Why did you come here?” I asked

Hillis gave me a playful smile. "Ayy, you know."

I did have a feeling. There was an eighty to ninety percent chance that she was here because of the Holy Sword, which was hanging like a decoration on my waist. What I was curious about was whether her purpose was the sword itself or me who became the master of the sword.

In the case of the former, if I could find a way to remove the Holy Sword somehow, I would be able to cut off this bothersome business. But if it was the latter, there was still a chance that I would be bothered even if the Holy Sword was removed.

Hillis knew the intent of my question, but she was obviously pretending otherwise. I changed the question.

"Then how did you get in here?”

This was not just a boarding house, but a boarding house run by Mrs. Arscilla, the mother of the prime minister. There was no way that the overprotective paladins would approve of Hillis entering this place. Nevertheless, she had ended up here by either persuading or forcing them. If former, it was highly likely that she would have talked about me in the process. And if it was the latter, the unconvinced paladins could come bother me.

"Don't worry. I didn't use the way you are worried about," she looked me in the eye and answered seriously. She spoke as if she knew my concerns.

"First of all, I convinced Albatoss and the others. Of course, I didn't bring up any mentions of you while persuading them.”

"Then how... Ah, no way?”

When I was slightly surprised, Hillis nodded.

"That's right. I decoded the code of the holy book and took the materials you scattered, and persuaded them with the proof that the archbishop had connections with the Demon King worshipers."

If that was the case, it was sufficiently possible to persuade them without telling them about me. Hillis probably said there might be another heretical spy, based on evidence that the archbishop was in collusion with heretics.

At the same time, she probably said that a place far from the great temple’s influence should be used as a safe house. The reason why such persuasion worked was probably due to the black magician wearing a mask that attacked Hillis a few months ago.

"Then it must have been easy to convince them to let you into this boarding house.”

There were three places in the capital that were completely free from the influence of the great temple. The first was the imperial palace, the second was the imperial army, and the last was the boarding house run by the prime minister's mother.

Hillis nodded in affirmation. "That's right."

"Then what about the fact that I have the Holy Sword?"

"You and I are the only ones who know. It's a secret between just the two of us." Hillis smiled playfully.

"That’s a relief under these unfortunate circumstances,” I said.

"What? Are you unhappy that I know about it?" Hillis complained.

"It’s more like I’m unhappy about having this burden attached to me."

I tapped the Holy Sword that was hanging like a decoration. Then, for some reason, a strange cry was heard briefly from the Holy Sword.

"What? You don't like that I called you a burden?"

Hillis smiled lightly as I lifted the Holy Sword and shook it.

"You’re talking to the Holy Sword all of the sudden?"

"The Holy Sword suddenly made a strange cry."

Hillis looked at me as if I were strange. “What? When?” 

“What do you mean when, just now...”

Perhaps only I heard it? When I glared at the Holy Sword again, it once again made a strange cry.

"Did you hear it?"

"Hear what?" Hillis tilted her head. 

Well, it looks like I'm hearing voices. I think it might be a good idea to take a good rest since I have the reward vacation. This past month has been too harsh.

"Oh, by the way, there were a lot of people who saw the Holy Sword. How is it?"

Thanks to my glasses, people probably didn’t even properly recognize the Holy Sword, but I needed to know what people were saying about it.

Hillis suddenly burst into laughter. "Puhahahat!"

"Why are you laughing all of the sudden?”

"Nah, nothing. You asked how the rumour spread, right? Apart from those at the great temple, even the whole temple organization is hot with talks about the Holy Sword.” [1]

Hmm, I think I’ll need to add additional embellishments to the Holy Sword so that no one can recognize it at all.

"Puhuhut!"

Hillis once again couldn't hold back her laughter and burst out laughing.

"Why are you laughing so hard?" I asked, discontentedly.

She replied in a playful voice, "The talk about the Holy Sword is hot, but the story of the blonde female hero who awakened the Holy Sword is even hotter."

"What?!"

"Come on, you know. You were wearing a wig and the priest's uniform that I gave you at the time. Because they say the hero was one of the female priests, the temple is currently in a festive mood."

Ah... Dammit! That means the fact that I dressed up as a woman will spread all over the country the moment my identity gets discovered!

Getting caught and dragged back home was not the problem right now. Getting disgraced nationwide definitely must not happen!

I held Hillis's hands and begged earnestly. "Please... Please keep it a secret." 

"Hnng, what should I do?"

She smiled playfully. That appearance was no different from the devil.


1. The great temple is a specific building in the capital while the temple here refers to a religious organization. The great temple is part of the organization ‘temple’.

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