<One who helps the weaker in the fight becomes a hero? Then what happens to the stronger that was doing his best to win the fight?>
-From unknown excerpt
‘Dammit… is it a fight?’
It was common for people on the road, such as merchants who would get ambushed by bandits. (It was also common for bandits to fight with each other.) If people were caught while stealing, they would receive the death sentence, but most bandits were criminals with death sentences anyway.
It wasn’t an inspector’s job to interfere in such fights. Those jobs were for the peacekeepers, and more people would be called in for peacekeeping issues than just two. It was best to avoid any problems as it could be very dangerous.
The Guarran-Tia were not weak, but bandits were the same; furthermore, they fought to the death because being arrested meant death anyway. However, out of all new recruits that Cariman had been assigned, 85% of them ran out with a sword in their hand. Concerned, Cariman turned toward Sian as he expected Sian to be eager to join the fight to uphold the honor of his family name.
Yet Sian had no such intention. He gazed back at Cariman, puzzled as to why he was being scrutinized.
‘Did he not hear the sounds?’
That seemed unlikely. The sounds were getting louder and louder as they were moving along the road.
“What’s going on?” Sian asked as Cariman replied with a question, “Hey… you hear the sounds right?”
“Of course, I’m not deaf. Haha!”
Cariman was confused as Sian laughed it off. Then, Sian frowned and questioned, “Wait… are you saying our duty includes running out there and helping whoever is fighting?”
The question astounded Cariman.
“Uh… N-no. Not at all. I was just wondering if you were curious about it.”
“Oh, I see. I just asked to confirm if that was one of our inspection duties. I was under the impression that fighting not included in our duties as inspectors.”
It was the correct thing to do, but it dumbfounded Cariman; it was not something he expected from a new recruit.
But even if it was rare, there were similar cases in the past, so he decided to just let it be.
“It’s good that you understand. It’s not our job to meddle in those affairs as it can be dangerous. We can help if we can, but we do not need to…”
That was when an unknown individual jumped out of some bushes and shouted, “RUN! RU- UGH!”
“So, what should we do now?”
Sian looked down at the man moaning on the ground with a dagger in his leg and asked Cariman. Cariman sighed.
The Logadis Estate was surrounded by the Con-Tian Mountain Range, located in the far west region of the capital city in the Tian Kingdom, just before the borders of the Taran Kingdom.
It was vast, but because a mountain range surrounded it, the estate’s only worth was to gather medicines or tea leaves. It was technically an abandoned land with nothing unusual. This was why Margrave Logadis was neutral as he was not allowed to join either faction.
This resulted in frequent occurrences with bandits and increased crime, driving away visitors to the land.
Craine was one of the people living in Kulan Province under Margrave Logadis up until four years ago. His province began to change after the son of Baron Kulan, Phareon, returned after going missing. He had been missing for five days after falling from a cliff; when he returned, he was full of confidence to change the land and began working.
With fascinating ideas and strong leadership, Phareon started rebuilding Kulan Province from the ground up. He trained his people and called in merchants to open up trade routes. He even modified the family’s Bander-Roa and taught talented commoners. He also began applying new technologies throughout his province.
With his sincere hard work and love toward his people, the people of Kulan Province followed Phareon Kulan like their king.
Craine was one of the people who joined the Kulan Peacekeepers and became a captain.
However, as the province advancement started gaining momentum, neighboring nobles began interfering to stop it. Everything was fine when Tian Kingdom was peaceful, but when the two factions started fighting each other, it diverted the kingdom’s focus from the land, and the nobles of Logadis began to attack Kulan Province more intensely.
The nobles resorted to dirty attacks. They attacked merchants, attacked villages, and sent ferocious wild animals. There was no evidence of who did it, so it became problematic. However, that did not stop Kulan Province from growing, so they began to attack more openly like what happened today.
The Peacekeepers were trained to use Bander-Roa, but they still lacked power. When Viscount Teron’s Bander users attacked them, there was no way to fight back, and they had to flee.
That was when Craine found the carriage moving along the road.
The attackers did not want to reveal themselves. If he ran past the carriage, their attention would turn to the carriage. Viscount Teron’s men did not want to leave any evidence, so he was sure that they would follow and attack the carriage.
This would help him and his people survive the attack and return safely.
He felt sorry for the people inside the carriage, but he needed to return and inform Phareon of the attack.
“Haha! You can’t run from me!”
Craine groaned as he watched the Bander user coming out from the bushes. There was no way to ask for help from the people inside the carriage.
“HELP! PLEASE! I am a guard from Baron Kulan’s province! These men attacked us!”
The Bander user who was following him noticed the carriage and turned grim. It seemed like he was trying to be careful not to let the two men inside the carriage know that he was going to attack the runner.
“Oh, hello. I have an issue with that man. Can I take him away?”
The carriage seemed to be well-made and was decorated with an unknown sigil that indicated that these men were not ordinary, so Knight Naruan from the Teron Province asked politely.
“We are inspectors from Guarran-Tia. If it is a problem between nobles, we will not intervene.”
The Guarran-Tia were not weak, as most of its members were comprised of expert-level warriors. Cariman, who was a mid-level expert, could overpower some countryside Bander users. However, he did not want to use force, and it seemed both men were involved in noble affairs.
Naruan brightened as he heard Cariman speak, it was lucky that he did not attack outright. Attacking the Guarran-Tia was a bad idea, and he only needed to take the man away.
Naruan nodded and bowed as he walked towards Craine. He couldn’t just kill him on the spot, so he was going to take him away and kill him secretly. However, Craine screamed, “NO! Aren’t the Guarran-Tia the ones who keep the peace of the capital? How can you let a man die in front of your eyes! I was a fool to worry that you would get caught up in this mess!”
Sian spoke in amusement, “That’s funny. He came towards us intentionally.”
“What do you mean?”
“That man, he turned toward our carriage after he saw us. Bander users were following him, and yet he came straight toward us. What would’ve happened if we were just commoners?”
Sir Cariman coldly looked down on Craine at those words, and Craine shouted, “L-lies! I didn’t turn toward here! I was just running away! And how are you supposed to know that?”
“You don’t have to believe me. We will not meddle in noble affairs, that’s not our job.”
Cariman thought that Sian would not lie and lost any sympathy towards Craine.
“Take that man away. We will not interfere.”
Naruan looked at Sian and Cariman. It was apparent that they knew what would happen to the man if he was taken away, but they dismissed it so coldly.
‘Well, it’s good for me.’
Naruan smacked the man with the hilt of his sword, hefted him onto his shoulder, and began returning.
“It’s been solved then. Shall we go?”
Cariman stared at Sian with a strange expression as they left.
“Didn’t you say you came here eight years ago?”
“Yes, I did… but it wasn’t like this before.”
After patrolling through two provinces, they reached Kulan Province. All lands of Logadis were barren, and they were infamous because of that. However, this place was different. Unlike the other two they just inspected, the castle walls were grand. It was amazing that they were able to afford this kind of wall; it had small defensive magic runes created with Talic Stone powder.
The people around also looked different. The guards looked prideful and people coming in and out of the castle gate seemed happy.
“HALT! Identify yourself!”
“I am Inspector Cariman of the Guarran-Tia. This is Sian. Please guide us to your lord.”
Cariman showed his identification plaque and the guard went inside to report.
“Someone will come to escort you in.”
The escort that arrived was a beautiful woman.
“Greetings. I am Roina, secretary of the office. I will escort you to my lord.”
As they moved into the castle, Sian and Cariman came across many things. Kids were playing about in the streets, and the marketplace was busy with people. As they drew closer to the inner castle, the courtyard was filled with warriors training.
The one thing the people had in common was that they were full of energy.
Cariman had visited eight years ago and could not believe he was looking at the same place. The Kulan Province back then was worse than the other two provinces they had just visited. It was unbelievable that they had undergone such significant change in only a few years.
The question would be solved once they met the lord who was the successor.