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I heard about Chloe’s situation, but I didn’t tell the princess about it.
It was her personal matter and it was not a problem that could be solved by talking about it. So, as if nothing had happened, I marched the mixed troops of elves and dolls to the ogre’s den.
“This is the Ogre’s nest…” (Sicily)
It looks normal, but if you live in the Royal Capital, you won’t have a chance to see an Ogre’s nest in your lifetime. It’s the first time I’ve seen one myself.
My impression of the real thing was that it was not much different from the illustrations in the book. And frankly speaking, it looked like the den of goblins or orcs.
In short, they were simply living in a natural cave.
The entrance was decorated with weird ornaments and some kind of animal skin.
But the ogre doesn’t seem to have any concept of cleaning, and the area around the entrance is a mess from what they ate.
“…I’m not sure if it’s my imagination or not, but there’s also something that looks like a human bone lying around?” (Sicily)
“I’m sure it’s just your imagination. The ogre has a custom of cannibalism. —I’ve heard that they don’t like to eat human meat because it tastes bad.”
“Instead, the elf may have been taken. Herbivores apparently are delicious.” (Lululucca)
Lululucca spat out an ill-timed joke. If the Elf Eculate had heard it, she would have been very offended, but fortunately, she is not here.
However, I hope to join her in a few hours.
“That’s why I want to get the Ogre out of the cave. Do you know of any good idea?”
I ask the Dolls and Elven warriors.
One of them raised his hand.
“How about using a Noroshi tree?” (Elven Warrior)
“It grows wild in the Bana Forest, and as its name suggests, it is used for smoke signals. The smoke from a single tree extends high into the sky, so we can see it even when we are at the edge and end of the forest.” (Elven Warrior) [T/N: Noroshi is Japanese for smoke signal, beacon, or signal fire.]
“It emits a lot of smoke, then?” (Sicily)
“I see. That’s a good idea… Go find some.”
Then I tell them to move immediately.
The elf who had his idea accepted moved confidently and swiftly.
Seeing that, Sicily says.
“As expected with Leon-sama. He listens to the direct advice of his subordinates and immediately incorporates it into his strategy.” (Sicily)
“I can’t do anything on my own. Even if I had knowledge of the Noroshi tree, I wouldn’t know where it grows in this forest of Bana. I’ll definitely need their help.”
I watched the back of the elves who spread out and search for the Noroshi tree.
All of them are quite agile.
The next thing I know, I’m staring at the Doll warriors, and they’re not doing nothing either. In a few moments, they cut down the Noroshi trees that the elves found and brought them here.
They are good lumberjacks and with powerful arms and legs.
“The right person, in the right place, at the right time.”
“Hmm”, Lululucca nodded.
She wanted to help her men with their busy work, but we had things to do.
“The problem is, how do we get the Noroshi tree in there.” (Lululucca)
“That’s right. We want to set the fire as deep as possible, so it won’t be as effective at the entrance.”
“Then we’ll have to go in, but I don’t want to put my men in harm’s way.” (Lululucca)
“It will be a battle in a narrow and dark place, and the Ogres are tough, I wonder if I can avoid sacrifice.”
“In that case, it would be most efficient to infiltrate the Ogre’s nest with a small number of elite people and burn the Noroshi Trees.” (Lululucca)
“Efficient, but who would dare such a dangerous mission—” (Sicily)
It is then that Princess Sicily was talking holds her hand against her mouth.
She must have been surprised when I was doing some stretches.
“If I remember correctly, Leon-sama is a court magician and a strategist.” (Sicily)
“There’s no law that says a court magician and strategist can’t enter an Ogre’s den.”
“But you, who are the core of the Libra Division, should not put yourself in danger.” (Sicily)
“I don’t think I am strong enough to stand by and let my men die.”
Then I start to take care of my staff.
Sicily was shocked, but she already knew of my personality.
In the end, she allowed me to go along with the plan.
Moreover, She didn’t say something childish like, “I will follow you.”
“I know exactly what I’m capable of. If I go to the Ogre’s den, I will not be useful, I will be a hindrance.” (Sicily)
This was typical of the princess. The princess’s self-knowledge, humility, and intelligence were truly her talents and assets.
Therefore, I entrusted her a role while I’m not here.
“I accept.” (Sicily)
She smiles, but it’s not easy defending.
It requires a great deal of command just to keep the remaining Elves and the Dolls from clashing and to stay where they are. –But the princess is a commander with a long history of fighting battles. I wasn’t that worried about her.
What I’m worried about is looking for brave people to dive into that Ogre’s den.
Lululucca, the daughter of the Doll tribe’s Chief, is motivated, but she alone cannot open a bloodline. I’d like another hand-crafted warrior.
As I was thinking about this, I noticed Chloe cleaning her pocket watch, her weapon.
She breathes into it and polishes it with a cloth.
“…Maybe Chloe can come to the Ogre’s den too?”
She answers immediately.
“Of course.” (Chloe)
“But you’re her maid, right?”
“That’s true. I would like to protect her by being behind her.” (Chloe)
“…Then remain here.”
“But at the same time, I’m also worried about Leon-sama’s safety. Leon-sama is also the strongest court magician, but you are not able to show your full potential in close combat, especially in tight spaces.” (Chloe)
“That’s right …”
Chloe throws a joke while smiling.
“It is also dangerous to leave you alone with Lulu-sama. If you go into the dark together, the ‘three’ might come back.” (Chloe)
“That’s going to be a problem.” (Sicily)
I agree with a bitter smile.
“Then I still need you. Your power as a warrior and the power of your pocket watch.”
“Please use my power to your heart’s content.” (Chloe)
Chloe grabbed the edge of her skirt and greeted him like a highborn lady.
She was quite dainty.
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