Black Cat Chapter 141: Castle by the Lake

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 Chariot’s carriage left Ibouro first thing in the morning and arrived at Lake Tomoros while it was still twilight.


 It is said that Lake Tomoros was formed when the snow that fell on the mountain range stretching from Mount Bule to the northwest seeped into the surface of the mountain and eventually gushed out as underground water, gathering together.



 Lake Tomoros serves as a source of water to enrich farmland, and at the same time, it is a natural fishing ground for fish and shrimp and is also used as an aquaculture area.


 It also fills the moat of Durkstein Castle, the residence of Viscount Lagart, which stands on the lake’s southern shore.



 If Durkstein Castle on the shores of Lake Tomoros could be described plainly, it would be “solid and sturdy.”


 The moat seems to be about fifty meters wide, and the towering walls are ten meters high, repelling outside enemies.



 The square walls are about 300 meters on each side, and inside the walls are the barracks of the knights and their stable.


 It is said that in the distant past when the Kingdom of Schrendl was at war with its neighbor Eslate, a siege was once held in this castle.



 Therefore, the castle is said to be large enough to accommodate not only soldiers but also citizens in case of emergency.


 Durkstein Castle is about thirty meters high and stands against the lake.



 In contrast to the word “magnificent,” it has a rugged appearance that is more aptly described as a fortress than a castle.


 The only way to enter the interior of the castle walls is to cross the bridges on the west and south sides or take a boat to the north face.



 Chariot’s carriage passed the checkpoint on the western bridge and crossed the bridge to enter the interior of the ramparts.


 Once inside the thick city gates, we were once again checked for our identities and finally allowed to enter the interior of the city walls.



 The interior of the wall is like a large park.


 In the center was a grassy square, surrounded by trees.



“Nyango, do you know what kind of trees those are?” (Serge)


“Eh, what kind of tree… Maybe a walnut tree?” (Nyango)



 Serge asked me, and I looked at the tree more closely., I noticed that in addition to walnut, chestnut trees were also planted.



“Oh, I see.” (Serge)


“I used to pick up walnuts and chestnuts when I went into the mountains in the fall to gather medicinal herbs.” (Nyango)


“I see, then you should understand by now. All the trees planted here are trees that bear fruit.” (Serge)


“So, the goal is to have enough food in case of a siege.” (Nyango)


“That’s the idea. Well, now it seems that knights and soldiers are just doing it as a hobby.” (Serge)



 Today, all of Chariot are dressed immaculately as we have been invited by Viscount Lagart.


 My brother and I were wearing the best clothes we had bought at the end of the year.



 My brother asked Laius to let him decline because he was just staying in the carriage, but he rejected it.


 In fact, the camp was also attacked by the wyvern, and it was certain that he was at a scene where his life was also on the line.



 Besides, he’d built a roof and a fireplace to make us as comfortable as possible.


 Just coming back to the warm shelter from the snowy cold outdoors was enough to relieve the tension and give our bodies a rest.



“Fawkes was also working admirably as a member of Chariot. There’s no way you will be left out.” (Laius)


“I see…” (Fawkes)




 My brother was in tears as he was recognized as a member of the Chariot.


 I feel like my brother has been a bit tearful lately… Oh, I-I was just a bit absentminded.



 Even after entering within the castle walls through the western gate, one cannot approach the castle buildings without passing through a labyrinthine garden.


 This also seems to be a countermeasure against being invaded by outside enemies.



 After depositing the carriage in front of the castle entrance, we were first guided to the room where we would be staying for the night.


 There were three rooms available, one for Serge and Gad, one for Laius, and the other for me, my brother, and Shure.



 My brother wants to say something, but it would be unfair for either me or him to be in the same room with Laius.


 I’m planning to run away as fast as I can, but it’s obvious that Shure will catch me and my brother together easily.



 But it’s also true that I have faint hopes of her accepting just my brother, who has become so much fluffier lately.


 Well, before that, I am more concerned about the audience with Viscount Lagart and the dinner menu.



 After putting our luggage in the room, we finally headed for the audience with the Viscount.


 The meeting was not a formal one, however, and we were told that we would tell him the story of defeating the wyvern while we drank tea and ate dinner together.



 The current head of the family, Viscount Frederick Lagart, was an experienced knight in the Royal Order when he was young, and then inherited the title of viscount.


 He is not a mere bonbon, but a physically strong head of the family with experience in the battlefield.



 The butler led us to the second-floor terrace overlooking the lake.


 Gad and Serge were gawking at the view over the lake.



 The view must have been great, but at my and my brother’s eye level, we couldn’t see anything beyond the chest-level wall.


 I could see it by using [Step], and my brother could have Shure hold him up, but I was not that comfortable in front of the Viscount.



 Three people were waiting for us on the terrace.


 One was the head of the family, Viscount Frederick Lagart.



 On the way to the terrace, the butler told us that the other two were his wife, Lady Brigitte, and the last one was his youngest daughter, Aida.


 Viscount Frederick Lagart, a pumakin in his late thirties and a former knight of the kingdom, is a stalwart that my brother and I would look up to.



“I am honored by Milord for inviting us today.” (Laius)



 On behalf of Chariot, Laius puts his right hand on his chest and bows deeply.


 We bowed in the same way, and Frederick got up from his seat.



“Welcome, Wyvern Slayer Heroes. Now that we’ve said enough formal greetings, relax and enjoy the rest of the day.” (Frederick)



 Frederick invited us to join him at the table with his arms outstretched in a theatrical gesture.


 Across the table, the Viscount and his family and Chariot faced each other.



 Lady Brigitte, a pumakin like the Viscount, greeted us with a beaming smile, but at times I felt a sharp glint behind her eyes.


 She was probably trying to find out what the members of Chariot are capable of and who we are.



 And she was staring at me from across the table.


 The Viscount’s youngest daughter Aida is said to be participating in the Nest Leaving Ceremony this year, so she’s two years younger than me, but she’s already taller than me.



 The difference between Aida and me is that Aida sits on a regular chair while my brother and I sit on a high chair for children.


 Aida is glaring at me rather than staring at me.



 Even when I turned my gaze to her, she didn’t even show any signs of moving, just staring at me silently.


 The Viscount noticed this and put his right hand on Aida’s head and smiled at me.



“I’m sorry. You must be Nyango. I’ve heard about you from the knights. I heard that you are a master of offensive magic that can kill a wyvern with a single blow.” (Frederick)


“I can indeed use powerful attack magic as you say, but it still takes time to activate, so it is difficult to aim at a moving target. I wouldn’t have been able to defeat the wyvern this time by myself.” (Nyango)


“You’re quite humble. I heard that your guild rank has already raised to B.” (Frederick)


“Yes, I have indeed been promoted to rank B, but I cannot deny that I am inexperienced in many aspects. I still have more to learn from my fellow companions in Chariot.” (Nyango)



 The viscount smiled and nodded his head in satisfaction.



“You are humble, but also very smart. If you still have more to learn from your party mates, it will be harder for me to pull you out as a knight.” (Frederick)


“I apologize, milord. I’m going to continue as an adventurer for now, and eventually I’d like to visit the Royal Capital.” (Nyango)


“Huh, which Royal Capital do you mean? Is it the Old Royal Capital?”



 In the Kingdom of Schrendl, there are two cities called the Royal Capital.


 One is the New Royal Capital where the king is currently staying, and the other is the Old Royal Capital near a dungeon.



 The dungeon is said to be an ancient ruin, where treasures and unknown magical tools have been unearthed, and those who acquire them gain great wealth.


 On the other hand, there are traps to keep intruders out and powerful monsters inhabit the dungeons, making them dangerous to explore.



 For this reason, the kingdom’s control did not extend to the interior of the dungeon, and this spread to the surrounding towns, leading to a worsening of public order.


 So, the royal family relocated the capital and moved the center of the country to the New Royal Capital.



 It is generally believed that ordinary people are attracted to the New Royal Capital with its magnificent architecture, while adventurers are attracted to the Old Royal Capital where they can get rich.


 It was for this reason that the viscount thought I would want to go to the Old Royal Capital.



“No, my childhood friend is in the New Royal Capital as a candidate for the Royal Knight Order, and I hope to visit him there someday.” (Nyango)


“Hmm, the New Royal Capital…” (Frederick)



 The Viscount gave a small nod and turned his gaze to Aida, who was sitting next to him.



“Then, would you like to go? To the Royal Capital…” (Frederick)


“Eh? Me…?” (Aida)


“This year, Aida will have her Nest Leaving Ceremony. It is customary for her, and the children of noble families, to undergo the ceremony at the cathedral in the Royal Capital. Then, Aida will directly enter the academy in the Royal Capital. My wife and I will accompany you, but… Do you want to go? If you wish, I can send a request for you to be her escort.” (Frederick)


“Really? Oh, but…” (Nyango)



 I can’t just accept the request on my own without the leader, Laius.


 I looked at him, and Laius, who had guessed my intention, took over the conversation.



“Viscount, is that a request for Chariot?” (Laius)


“Won’t Cordobas nod his head?” (Frederick)


“I don’t know when it comes around the time of the Nest Leaving Ceremony, the requests overlap…” (Laius)



 During the Nest Leaving Ceremony, people from nearby small towns and villages come to Ibouro.


 With the gathering of people… including people undergoing the ceremony, the people involved, spectators, and merchants who come to see the Nest Leaving Ceremony, foodstuffs are also needed.



 This is the time of year when requests for escorts to transport supplies and for orcs to be killed increase, and it is also a good time for adventurers to earn money.


 It would be a loss for the Ibouro Guild if Chariot, one of its trusted parties, were to leave during this time.



“Then how about a request to Nyango personally?” (Frederick)


“In that case, well…” (Laius)


“Alright, well, there’s still a few days to go, so just keep it in the back of your mind.” (Frederick)


“I understand.” (Laius)



 It seems as if this story of going to Royal Capital suddenly came out of the blue, but I still have a feeling it’s not going to happen.



 What’s more, Aida kept staring at me during the conversation, so I wondered if I had done something.




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