──A few days later, in the town of Nosa ──

“Eh? Is Mariella still out?”

Princess Sophia asked the maids who delivered dinner.

“I was told that she would return soon, and that she would be back by the evening were to be late…..”

“We apologize, Your Highness.”

The chief maid, an elderly woman, bowed deeply while the other maids looked awkwardly downcast.

This was Princess Sophia’s room.

Princess Sophia has been awaiting the return of her second in command, Mariella, for the entire day.

She had arranged a meeting with her.

It was an important one, regarding the military exercises, but…

“Mariella-sama left this morning.”

The chief maid informed her in an apologetic whisper.

“She said that she would return soon…… but she just contacted me saying that she will be delayed.”

“I believe we were supposed to meet today to discuss the military exercises? Is there something more important than that?”

“I apologise, but it is out of our hands.”

“I understand, that’s all right.”

Sophia then returned to her meal.

There was no point in faulting the maids, as they were only following Mariella’s instructions.

‘After discussing the military exercises, Mariella was to tour the town with me……’

The day after they arrived in town, Mariella promised Princess Sophia that she would allow her to tour the town in a carriage.

To ensure that this would not remain an empty promise, Sophia had specified a date.

Today was the day.

Therefore, Sophia had been waiting all morning for her escort to arrive.

Before midday, she enquired the maid regarding it, to which she was given the answer that Mariella would be returning shortly.

Now that darkness had spread completely, the entire plan had been cancelled; The appointment to tour the town, and even the discussion regarding military exercises.

‘Should I just leave the mansion secretly and tour the town by myself?’

However, Sophia immediately shook her head at the thought.

Sophia’s room was on the second floor of the mansion, maids and guards guarding her in the corridor.

It would be impossible to leave the house undetected under their watchful eyes.

“Then inform Isaac Muiller that Sofia Dolgalia has an appointment with her second in command, Mariella, to discuss the military exercises.
If Mariella is unavailable, just have the commander attend.
Otherwise, schedule another meeting.”

“…… But the commander isn’t in town either.”

“Isaac as well?”

‘”I’m terribly sorry!”

The maids bowed their heads in unison due to Sophia’s reaction, feeling as though she was scolding them.

“Mariella-sama noticed Isaac-sama leaving town and followed him.”

The chief maid stepped forward and said so.

“She stated that it was urgent, so she postponed contacting Your Highness.
I apologize on behalf of Mariella-sama.”

“What in the world is happening?”

Would you please keep what we have told you a secret?”

Suddenly, the chief maid murmured.

She looked at the maids around her, likely signalling that she did not want them to inform anyone about what was to occur.

Sophia nodded in agreement.

“Of course.
I won’t do anything that would disadvantage you.”

“…… Actually, we have received reports from townspeople that they’ve discovered something strange.”

She must have been relieved to see Sophia smiling kindly.

The chief maid breathed a sigh of relief and then slowly continued speaking.

“Your Highness, are you aware that there is a rocky mountain range to the east?”

“Yes, the map details it.”

Sophia replied, examining the map on the wall.

“However, that lies in the direction opposite of the plains where the military exercises are to be performed, doesn’t it? I don’t see the need for Isaac and Mariella to travel a great distance to such a place.
The soldiers would also form doubts regarding them.”

“No, the majority of the soldiers were willing to accompany the two of them.”

“Perhaps something lies under the rocky mountains?”

“Rumours state that…… there is a weapon sealed there.”

The chief maid’s voice was hushed, as if she feared that someone would overhear.

“The soldiers said, “That was the location where heroes from another world and the Demon Lord’s army crossed swords in ancient times.
It is not surprising that the magic weapons used during that time still remain.
They may have been buried due to the terrain being altered.”

“A magic weapon… I see.
I understand.”

Sofia nodded, as she now knew why Isaac and Mariella had left town.

Very few weapons originating from the time of the heroes remained.

Discovering new ones would bestow them great merit.

‘That’s why Isaac and Mariella left and pretended that everything they had planned had never happened.’

After finishing her meal, Sofia’s shoulders slumped in disappointment.

All the preparation for the military training meeting and all the thought she invested in deciding what to say to her people had been in vain.

“I will rest early today.
You all should rest as well.”

Sophia told the maids.

After the maids left, Sophia shifted a chair to the area near her bedroom window.

This was the most comfortable place for her.

The bedroom was devoid of a door leading into the hallway, So the maids would be unable to spy on her.

It was the perfect place to relax and read a book.

Isaac, Mariella, and most of the soldiers were gone, so the estate would enjoy peace.

‘It was a waste of time to prepare myself for today.
I’ll use that energy to read lots of books instead…’

Sophia lowered herself onto the chair while thinking this.

‘Then again, there seem to be a lot of owls here today.’

Sophia mumbled absentmindedly.

The residents of Nosa reared owls and cats to avoid vermin.
At night, they could be seen flitting about the town.

However, there seemed to be an unusually large number of them today even considering that.

Perhaps the owls were relieved that the soldiers had left town.

Sophia glanced upwards and saw a small owl perched on the branch of a tree in the garden.

It boasted pure white feathers, and a height slightly above a few dozen centimetres.

It was staring at me with interest.

It was rare for an owl to maintain such little distance from to her.

Sophia spoke to the owl.

“Since you have come a long way, if you don’t mind, would you be this Sophia’s partner?”

At her words, the owl nodded slightly.

Then, it unfurled its wings, and flew from the branch.

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