The conference room in the Orsted offices.
There, I sat directly across from Orsted.
On both sides, Eris, Roxy, Sylphy, and Zanoba could be seen respectively.
Roxy was keeping the record of proceedings.
"——Is what happened."
I gave Orsted the report of the last sequence of findings all at once.
Gisu, North God Karlmann III.
When I told him that the two of them were discovered in the Kingdom of Biheiril, he was in a good mood.
It never came from his mouth, but he had an atmosphere as if he wanted to say "Good job!"
I also continued my report in high spirits.
However, as soon as I reported that Ruijerd has been discovered, that good mood disappeared.
To put it plainly, his expression clouded.
"… Ummm, is something wrong?"
He seems kind of mad, but kind of not.
Seeming like a negative aura was overflowing, he glared at me.
After all this time, just being glared at won't cause my legs to quake.
However, if I don't know the reason, I become a little anxious.
"… In the Kingdom of Biheiril, the Ogre God is also there."
That reminds me, Ogre Island, where the Ogre God lives, is to the east of the Kingdom of Biheiril.
No, I didn't forget.
However, I need a confirmation.
"Didn't you say something about the Ogre God becoming an enemy easily?"
"The current generation Ogre God has been an apostle in a past loop."
Then, the chance that Gisu's location is a trap has increased.
Alternatively, Gisu's objective may be the Ogre God.
Even if we discuss that in the conference room, we won't understand. Not unless we go there directly.
However, we are currently in the conference room.
Let's focus on things that can be discussed in the conference room.
"I'd like to discuss our plans from now on, that included."
"For the present, we have this many materials gathered, so I don't think putting it off and not going to the Kingdom of Biheiril is an option."
For the time being, I'll present my strategy.
"There is the chance that this is a trap by Gisu, or rather Hitogami. However, we don't know when we'll have another chance to catch Gisu, who keeps running about, so this could be seen as the perfect chance. I regret not being able to call out to the Sword God, but I think I should head to the Kingdom of Biheiril. Is this okay?"
"I have no objections."
In any event, immediately after hearing of Gisu's discovery, Atofe began moving on her own.
I didn't hear what route she'll be taking, but I'm certain it will be a while before she arrives.
One or two months, or possibly longer.
In order to meet up with her, as well as to tell the people there about her, going to the Kingdom of Biheiril is unavoidable.
"There are 4 things we need to do.
Find Gisu, and crush him.
Find North God Karlmann III, and persuade him.
Find Ruijerd, and persuade him.
Find the Ogre God, and either persuade or crush him.
In that order of priority… if that's okay with you? Orsted-sama."
Personally I'd like to meet Ruijerd before anything else, but even so the North God should be first.
As for the Ogre God, it would be easiest if Atofe ran into him when crossing the sea.
If I don't get in contact with her, that's probably what will happen.
Or rather, how should I go about contacting her?
I don't think there's any way other than the communication lithograph established at Fort Necross.
… Well, it may be better to put off thinking about that until Atofe arrives. Or rather, there may be no other option. Not having a means of emergency contact is pretty inconvenient.
"Furthermore, upon locating Gisu, if his gathered war potential is high, I'll call in for reinforcements for our side."
The enemy is in the Kingdom of Biheiril.
However, if after gathering our forces in Biheiril, it turned out that he had already escaped then I would look like the boy who cried wolf.
I'm sure it's something that happens from time to time, but trust in us will still lower.
"I don't think it'll be too late to call in reinforcements after Gisu has been discovered."
The enemy is there, and we're going to have a decisive battle.
It's better not to call in our allies until after that has been decided.
If we repeatedly discover Gisu, call in allies, let him run away, and disperse, and are unable to gather any allies when the time is right, it would be meaningless.
"For that sake, I think we should establish teleportation circles at each location for calling in reinforcements."
The Kingdom of Biheiril is a small country, but even so it has three large cities.
The capital Biheiril.
The second city Irel.
The third city Heilerul.
"In the vicinity of each of the three cities, I will set up teleportation circles."
I throw a glance at Roxy.
"The number of people who can accurately draw teleportation circles is limited, but I thought something like this might happen, and asked my great teacher to prepare a number of teleportation scrolls. Applause, please."
A thunderous applause began.
Confetti danced and fell on Roxy standing on stage.
Roxy held a mic while waving her hand to her fans from around the world gathered in the hall, and they fainted one after another.
In my mind, at least.
"Regardless of whether we do or don't discover Gisu, we'll cut off all his escape routes.
We'll send people to the neighboring countries and monitor the highways.
For this, we'll use the Rudo Mercenary Corps here in Sharia."
Rinia and Pursena.
Aisha will also move, I'm sure.
"Once the escape routes are closed off, we'll search for Gisu. As soon as he's found, we'll call in reinforcements and crush him in one go."
What's important is being certain the enemy is there.
After that, is to make sure the opponent doesn't run away before our forces are gathered.
Fortunately, Biheiril is enclosed by forests, mountains, and the sea, and doesn't have many neighboring countries.
It won't be that difficult to prevent him from escaping.
Of course, when Kishirika found Gisu with her magic eye, she sensed the presence of Hitogami.
In that case, the chances are high that she was detected by Hitogami in return.
There's a chance that he has already escaped.
According to Gisu's letter, if he was trying to make comrades then he would even be able to escape the forest.
Securing the surrounding countries is just for peace of mind.
"I see. Then who will establish the teleportation circles?"
"Let's split the work. The three of us will divide the locations between us."
"… Wouldn't that be a problem, though? After all, Rudi's the one being targeted."
At Sylphy's words, I nodded.
Putting whether or not to believe it aside, Gisu's letter said that the one being targeted is me.
If I act independently, it's quite possible for me to fall into a trap.
The danger of each of us getting crushed separately also exists.
"However, thanks to Orsted-sama's bracelet, I can avoid Hitogami's surveillance.
Gisu and Hitogami can't sense me or Orsted-sama, or the people around him.
Nonetheless, this is Gisu we're talking about; he may be able to find me with anachronistic methods.
In other words, finding me with normal information-gathering methods.
That's why I'll disguise myself.
Before I'm discovered, I'll quickly establish the teleportation circles."
Regardless of whether or not it's a trap, I shouldn't show myself too quickly.
Thus, I'll use a disguise.
Even disguised, if I gather information to try and find Gisu, I'll be exposed sooner or later.
However, I'll be able to avoid a scenario where immediately after entering the country, I'm surrounded and destroyed.
If I'm lucky and go about it well, even if Gisu has placed a trap, I can still take the initiative.
If there's no trap, it means that Kishirika finding him with her magic eye was outside of both Gisu's and Hitogami's expectations.
In that event, Gisu will probably run away.
On the other hand, Gisu should have business that brought him to the Kingdom of Biheiril.
Until I arrive, he may try to finish his business up until the last minute.
By disguising myself to delay my discovery, I may be able to lengthen the amount of time before he runs away.
There's no reason not to.
"If Rudi wants to hide from Gisu, it may be best to have a diversion."
Roxy gave that proposal.
In other words, make him think that "I sensed a trap and decided not to go to Biheiril."
If the chum they scattered gathered fish, but they could only catch small fish and the one they were aiming for wasn't there, they may become confused.
"A diversion, huh? Any specific ideas?"
"Yes. How about having one of us go to the Sword God?
Queen Ariel said she'll send reinforcements at any time.
Ghyslaine and Isolte should be included in that.
Those two are familiar with the Holy Land of the Sword, and won't turn against us or fall behind.
Even if the Sword God were to become an enemy, it won't be a problem if we gather information beforehand and return without making contact, and even if we can't get the Sword God, we could at least bring Sword King Nina with us."
Sword King Nina, huh?
The person I met in the Kingdom of Asura.
The one who Eris herself wanted to make a comrade, which is unusual for her.
She's no substitute for the Sword God, but if she's on par with Eris, she'll certainly be a battle asset.
If he's an enemy, then quickly return with just Nina. Putting aside whether we can do it, if both Ghyslaine and Isolte are there, I don't think anything is impossible.
"Ah, in that case I'll do it."
Sylphy raised her hand and said that.
Sylphy will go to the Sword God… well, she should be able to handle negotiations.
She's more or less acquainted with Ghyslaine, Isolte, and Nina, after all.
Furthermore, just the fact that Sylphy is going will act as a diversion.
Since the children have already been born, there shouldn't be much merit in killing my wives, but Hitogami is well aware of who I want to protect.
If my wives go different ways, my whereabouts become harder to discern.
However, there is one concern.
"… Isn't it dangerous?"
"Of course there is danger. However, we know Gisu's whereabouts, so I think the danger will be little."
That's certainly true.
Gisu won't want to have the people he had won over as comrades crushed one by one.
If Gisu is somewhere else, his allies should be there with him.
Or so I think, but those thoughts may have been read.
"I think Hitogami knows what is most important to Rudy. If we go, wouldn't it be successful as a diversion?"
Roxy said what I was just thinking as if to emphasize it.
If you think about it that way, isn't my plan problematic?
Establish teleportation circles within the Kingdom of Biheiril, and gather my forces. However, moving from place to place should take half a day or more.
Isn't it possible for my forces to be crushed individually?
Somehow, it's starting to seem like an all-out war.
This isn't a flag for my scattered comrades to die one by one, is it?
No, since coming to this world, I should have well understood that flags and such have no meaning. However…
"But, I'm a little worried… Maybe it would be better to stop with this plan…"
Roxy suddenly heaved a sigh.
As if she can see through my timid thoughts.
"Listen up, Rudi.
Adventurers entering a labyrinth aim to finish the adventure without losing a single person.
If everyone does everything that they can do, the chance of returning alive increases.
Until now, what we considered the [something we can do] was staying home and watching over the children.
After all, to me and Sylphy, Rudy and Eris were fighting in a far-off place beyond our reach.
However, right now, the plan I suggested is [something we can do], and I think it will raise the chance of everyone returning safely."
However, that's true. Nothing is ever certain.
Even if you think it's completely safe and certain to succeed, unexpected situations can occur, and something you didn't think about can cause it to fail.
"I know that Rudi wants to keep us safely locked up at home.
However, even if we're locked up, if you lose, it's the end. We'll all be annihilated.
There's a risk to everything.
Let’s brave the dangers, so that we can all be smiling in the end."
If anyone dies, would I be able to smile?
I go to the Kingdom of Biheiril, and when I come back, Roxy, Sylphy, and Eris are gone.
Would I be able to smile then?
No, I wouldn't.
"Rudi, we're already parents.
Let's not just look at ourselves, but into the future."
At those words, Paul's face suddenly crossed my mind.
If Paul were alive, at this moment, what would he say?
When he went to the Teleportation Labyrinth, he took me along.
During the teleportation incident… he had a lot going on, so I'll set that aside.
When we were living in Buena village.
At the very least, Paul didn't lock me away at home.
I'm sure he was doing his best to protect me, but in that village where if you walk away a bit you may come across something dangerous, he let me walk around on my own.
Zenith, too, when she wasn't pregnant, worked in the village's clinic.
Even when she was pregnant, during her stable period, I think she went toddling out a few times.
Paul wasn't always right.
He didn't have any clear enemy.
However, right now, I'm still alive.
Thinking of it like that, saying no to everything is a bit overprotective.
No, but the circumstances are completely different…
"Yeah. It's just as Roxy says."
Sylphy gave her agreement.
"We'll bear the risks. When the enemy's defeated, as long as one of us remains to take care of the children, it will be fine."
"… That's right!"
Eris nodded to Sylphy's words.
I don't know if she was able to follow the conversation up to here, but at least she was in agreement with Sylphy.
Zanoba and Orsted didn't answer, but they didn't voice any opposition, either.
"Okay, then let's go with that. Any objections?"
Then, let's go with this plan.
While hiding my presence, we'll split up to find Gisu, and if he's found, we'll close off his escape routes and wait for reinforcements, then crush him.
"Then next, let's work out the specifics."
All that's left are the details.
As a result of our discussions, we were split into the following teams.
After each team sets up teleportation circles, they will separate and search for Gisu and the North God.
Just like Sylphy proposed earlier.
Zanoba will mainly do information gathering.
Eris and Roxy will deal with the Ogre God.
The team that eliminates the escape routes will take orders from Aisha, so it'll probably work out fine.
My job became related to Ruijerd.
The Ogre God who has been referred to as this and that since long ago.
The North God Karlmann III who just so happens to be going to the Kingdom of Biheiril.
Ruijerd who has deep connections with me.
We can't quite predict Gisu's movements, so we ended up splitting our forces.
It would probably be best to leak some information and play it by ear.
The members going to the Kingdom of Biheiril will move out immediately.
If we waste time, Gisu's whereabouts may become uncertain.
I don't want to have to search for Kishirika over and over again to get her to find Gisu.
Sylphy will move out a little after that.
Ariel said she will send reinforcements immediately, but she has her own circumstances.
Ghyslaine and Isolte probably won't arrive in just a few minutes.
Julie, Ginger, Rinia, Pursena, and the rest of the mercenary corps have their own jobs that they're still in the middle of, so we'll tell them to prioritize this instead.
It may be unreasonable, but this is the critical moment.
We have to do this, even if it's unreasonable.
Is this a chance or a trap?
It may be optimistic, but I'm hoping for the former.
Using the communication lithographs, we told the plan to Ariel and Cliff as well.
Ariel immediately responded "I'll give you my utmost support," but Cliff still hasn't replied.
Unlike Ariel who has a lithograph in her room, in Milis we have to send messages to Cliff through the mercenary corps, so it probably takes time.
I looked over the surroundings, but nobody raised their hand.
There don't seem to be any.
The one who looks a little worried is Zanoba.
Looking at the state of affairs, higher priority is given to the third city which is closest to Ogre Island and the second city which is closest to where Ruijerd was spotted, but the capital has the most people, so it may be the most dangerous.
Ginger's information gathering abilities are high, and Zanoba's a powerful combatant, but he's weak to fire magic.
'Don't end up dying now.' or so my thoughts.
"Zanoba, be careful."
"I know. However, rather than for myself, I'm worried about the shop."
"Oh, that's right…"
For the record, whether it's the store or the factory, they should still go on even if the top brass isn't there.
However, if neither Zanoba nor Julie are there, if some major trouble occurs, I don't know how it will fare.
"So you wanted to leave Julie behind?"
"Hahaha, I promised I wouldn't leave her again."
Zanoba's really loved by Julie…
Or rather, I wonder how Zanoba feels about her.
I wonder if they've made love.
That's kind of a hard thing to ask.
Zanoba has times when he kind of pulls back one or two steps from women.
If someday he has children then I fully intend to tease him and call him a lolicon bastard, but I don't want to butt into his affairs too much as an outsider.
"Eris too, are you alright?"
"…… I'm fine."
Eris looks dissatisfied.
It seems she wanted to go with me.
However, if she did that, there wouldn't be anyone who could guard Roxy.
Furthermore, if I'm with Eris, we'll stick out like a sore thumb.
She can't do anything covertly.
That's why I put her with the one who stands out the second most, Roxy.
They're also a kind of diversion.
"I'm worried about Rudeus being alone."
Certainly, I'm also worried about myself.
I wonder if I can properly avoid Gisu's attention while gathering information.
Gisu's information skills are top-class.
Unless I move very well, as soon as Gisu knows that someone's searching for North God Kalman or Ruijerd, I'll be noticed by him.
If he notices me too early, he'll naturally run away.
In the first place, nothing good ever happens when I act on my own.
"Well, I'll make it work out somehow."
It would have been better if I had gathered one or two people who are good at gathering intelligence.
Regretting it now won't change anything.
I couldn't predict the situation turning out like this.
"What will Orsted-sama be doing? I'd be thankful if you could stay here to manage the communication lithographs and protect my family."
"Thank you very much."
Orsted is house-sitting.
He stands out, so he's not really suited for information gathering.
There may be times when we need him, but it's best if he stays here whenever possible and comes to help when the battle starts.
Of course, there is the matter about his mana, so it would be a problem if he participates too much in battle.
He's something like the last trump card.
Or rather, it's for the sake of preserving his mana that he has me as a subordinate.
As such, having Orsted fight can be considered to be our loss.
Orsted stays silent.
I get the feeling he wants to say something, but I can't see his facial expression because of the helmet.
I wonder if he's concerned.
No, we're about to undertake a massive plan, so he must be tense as well.
"Rudeus. Just in case, you should wear that ring."
The Death God's ring.
Suddenly told that, I looked at my hand.
On my finger is a rather creepy ring with a skull design.
It's what I got from the Death God. After meeting Kishirika, I started wearing it for no particular reason.
"Can I ask the reason?"
"It's just in case. Simply wearing it has an effect."
I don't really get it, but if simply wearing it has an effect, then I guess it's fine.
When the time comes, I'll probably understand.
"Also, there's one…"
Someone raised their voice.
Orsted held his tongue.
Who's the foolish employee who cut off the president's words?
But looking over the surroundings, no one's saying anything.
No one's raising their hand, either.
However, it was a woman's voice.
Which means the offender is one of those three.
If she's calling me chairman, that means it's… huh? She's not here.
"There's a visitor——!"
No, I get it.
The voice is far off.
Everyone's gaze turns to the door.
This is the receptionist Lil elf-chan's voice.
What was her name again?
"Excuse me, I'll go check it out."
I told everyone not to disturb the meeting, but…
It may be an emergency.
I moved from the president's office to the lobby.
The instant I entered the lobby, golden light flew into my eyes.
From head to toe, he's covered in gold.
A person wearing shining gold armor was standing there.
The golden light casually raised a hand.
In that voice and those movements, I saw the phantom of a certain being.
An even more golden suit of armor.
A golden knight.
I've heard that the Fighting God's armor was gold.
I've also heard that Badigadi once, as an apostle, donned that golden armor and fought with Laplace.
That's it, he's coming to attack.
Gisu was a decoy!
Hitogami salvaged the golden armor and sent in his vanguard!
"This person seems to have come here using the teleportation circles under Her Majesty Ariel's orders."
…As if that could happen.
Looking closely, the armor looked to be gold because of the light, but it's actually a dull ocher.
"Ah, nice to meet you."
The man took off his helmet.
What was under it was a head of black hair, which is rare in this world.
He looks around 50 years old.
He had many wrinkles, and the appearance of a veteran.
"It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance. I am Her Majesty Ariel's knight, Sándor von Grandeur."
"Ah, very pleased to meet you. I am Rudeus Greyrat."
He bowed to me, so I returned his bow.
That's quite a name.
I've never heard of the house of Grandoire, but he's probably a noble.
"Earlier I received secret orders from Her Majesty Ariel, and thus came here."
Saying that, Sándor presented the box he was carrying under his arm.
Earlier… Just now, huh?
We had just finished telling her the plan. That was quite fast.
"I see. And this is?"
"Inside is a magic tool to change your appearance. I was told it was necessary."
Come to think of it, the Kingdom of Asura had those kinds of magic tools.
It's what was used to disguise Ariel.
At any rate, she was quite prepared.
She may have prepared it from the beginning, in case it became necessary.
"Please confirm the contents."
I peeked inside, and certainly, there was a green ring and red ring set that I remember seeing.
The person wearing the green ring takes on the facial features and hair color of the one wearing the red ring.
Using this, I can transform into a completely inconspicuous villager.
"Also, this is the Kingdom of Asura's insignia.
If anything happens, feel free to use this and her name, her majesty said."
He handed over another box.
Looking inside, there certainly is a medal bearing the crest of the royal family of Asura.
Since it's brand new, she probably thought writing a letter each time was bothersome and had it made for me.
It looks like I have another debt towards Ariel.
"Furthermore, we were ordered to give assistance to Rudeus-sama."
In other words, a filler until reinforcements can come.
As expected, it's hard to send a Sword King and Water Emperor on a sudden trip, so she sent some knights that seemed to have some free time.
No, calling him filler would be unfair to him.
He's also a fine reinforcement.
Ariel should have chosen someone who can maintain confidentiality.
Someone who won't talk about the teleportation circles.
"Yes. Come on, say hello."
Sándor gestured with his chin, and the wall moved.
The large suit of armor that was standing like an ornament in the corner of the room moved.
I didn't notice that armor being there… he really has a weak presence.
However, once you notice him, he has quite a presence.
Heavy dark grey armor. He's very wide, and on the back is a gargantuan battleaxe.
It's an axe warrior.
"… I'm, Doga."
"……Ah, nice to meet you, I'm Rudeus Greyrat."
It seems his name is Doga.
He seems to be an armored knight, not an axe warrior.
However, even though his name and build are very rough-seeming, he has a kind face.
He doesn't talk much, but he has the feeling of a kind giant.
He seems to be in his 20s… no, he may even be in his teens.
Sándor, on the other hand, is a middle-aged man with decent looks covered in ocher.
He's also a little wide, but if you compare him to Doga, he's quite skinny.
It's the kind of pair that would appear together during a boss fight in some castle.
"Now, please give me orders. I can do anything you want."
He went through the trouble of coming here, but what should I have him do?
Would the proper thing to do be putting him with the mercenary team…?
No, putting him with Zanoba would also be good.
However, there will probably be fighting.
"…Chandell-san, can you fight?"
"Yes, of course. I'm the strongest knight of the Kingdom of Asura."
The strongest, huh?
However, Ghyslaine and Isolte probably aren't included in that…
"It'll probably become a fight with someone on the class of the major world powers. Is that alright with you?"
"It's alright. From the moment I decided to serve Her Majesty Ariel, I've been prepared to throw away my life."
Hnnnn… then I guess it's fine.
Ariel may also have sent him intending for him to be disposable.
I'll put him with Zanoba.
…No, wait a second.
Isn't it a little strange?
Wasn't it just now that I contacted her?
Even if you say that Ariel works fast, isn't this too fast?
There's also the fact that his timing was too good.
He may really be Hitogami's——
"It's you, huh?"
I turn around, and Orsted was standing there.
Seeing him, Sándor bowed his head.
"It's nice to meet you, Dragon God Orsted-sama. I'm glad that you seem to be able to suppress your curse more than Her Majesty Ariel has said."
I look over, and Lil' elf-chan looks up at Orsted with her hands held together, as if she's deeply moved.
What is this…?
Could this be her first time seeing him?
It's true that he's wearing the helmet, but the curse seems to be surprisingly ineffective.
No, more importantly, what about Sándor?
"Are you serving Ariel now?"
"Yes. I have a certificate, too."
Saying that, he took a note out of his pocket and showed it to us.
It certainly says [Chandell von Grandoise is appointed as the leader of the Golden Knight Order of the Kingdom of Asura].
It bears Ariel's signature and the Kingdom of Asura's coat of arms.
Did he bring it with just for this purpose?
Since I suspected him earlier, that looks suspicious instead.
"You guys go with Rudeus. Gisu shouldn't know your faces."
"Rudeus, that's okay with you, right?"
"Huh? Uh, yes."
He suddenly appeared, and it was suddenly decided.
Well, if Orsted says to do it, it's fine, but…
"Ah, no. It's not okay. Wait a minute. Please don't suddenly decide for me. In the first place, who in the world is this person?"
Orsted cut off there.
When I look over, Sándor has his finger to his lips.
"If you don't know, it's best if you don't find out.
Right now I am Ariel-sama's knight, and will be giving my assistance to Rudeus-sama."
Since he's saying that, he must be a well-known person.
Who is he?
I don't get the feeling that he's one of the world powers. He looks weak.
A famous person that seems to know Orsted… for example a member of the Dragon Race, like Holy Dragon Emperor Shirard, or Dark Dragon King Maxwell.
Ah, but he doesn't have silver hair.
Can't he just have dyed his hair?
"Will it be okay?"
"If it's him, there's no problem. I was also worried about you acting on your own. However, he's suitable. There's little chance of him being an apostle, and he should be good at information gathering."
If Orsted says that with confidence, then it'll be fine to trust him.
He showed up too quickly, so it was hard to judge him.
"Please leave it to me."
If he's good at gathering information, is he that kind of famous person?
Orsted knowing about him is only natural, and he treated Sándor knowing about him as being natural, so he does seem like someone who deals with information.
I was also worried about acting on my own. That said, I'm also worried about working with someone I don't know.
However, if he's someone Orsted trusts, then there's no reason to doubt him, right?
There's also the fact that he is the reinforcement sent in by Ariel.
Orsted said that as if he's just what we needed.
Which means this man's ability is high, and is very safe.
That's what how Orsted judged him.
Ariel also sent him in as help.
She knows about my situation.
Above that, she sent him as reinforcements for the time being.
At the very least, she trusts him enough to have him use the teleportation circles.
In that case, I'll trust in Orsted and Ariel’s judgment.
"I understand. In that case, please participate in the meeting. But though I said that, it's currently about to end."
After I finish explaining everyone's jobs, I'll ask Ariel.
Thinking that, I invited these two unidentified people to the conference room.