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Chapter 104: The Long-Distance Ride (I)
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The sky hung overhead: blue, calm, and cloudless.
Scattered along the sides of the road of Leca were white and red flowers that had bloomed. The red in the flowers looked as if they had been stained their color, perfect for ink that leaves a mark. The townsfolk walked along the path and plucked the flowers, placing them in their baskets. Other townsfolk walked along, noticing areas in the stonework paving on the road that had worn down and placing down new bricks to ensure that the road was maintained.
A web of scaffolding encircled the town’s walls, and the men there worked tirelessly on its repair.
Vio got off the carriage at the front of the gate and greeted them.
“Hey, everyone, I just got back. How goes the construction on the wall?”
“Mayor, welcome back!”
The townsfolk let out a giddy cheer, dropped the tools they were holding, and rushed over to greet Vio. Legion dismounted from his horse and quickly moved to Vio’s side.
“Lord Violant, you came back later than you had planned. We were all worried sick about what could have happened to you.”
Rourke rushed down from the scaffolding, wearing something that looked like a helmet on his head.
“Oh, Rourke, have you been supervising?”
“No, I was receiving a report on the state of affairs from the foreman.”
The master carpenter for the town of Leca stood next to him. He was a man in his fifties and had a bushy black beard. His face was expressionless like a mask, plastered with a stern expression. He extended his hand out.
“Hello. I’m Brahms.”
“Thank you for your hard work towards the restoration efforts, Mr. Brahms.”
Vio shook Brahms’ hand and offered his greetings. A wide grin that looked like a smile a thief would wear was floating across Brahms’ face. However, once one got to know Brahms, the grin made him look like a nice person.
“It’s been going very well. The damage wasn’t as much as we thought. I patched the holes, reinforced the unstable sections, and built supports. I think we can get this done before winter.”
A smile of relief came across Vio’s face as he took in the view. Rourke quickly explained.
“Since everyone is busy with festival preparation, road maintenance, and flower harvest, should I come by later to give you a complete report?”
“No, today is the first time I’ve been home in a long time. I’m fatigued, and I wish to rest. ―Oh, and we have new arrivals to the mansion as well. Master Magician Zora Confield has come with us as well as his son-in-law Dawn. Dawn Samarelli is both a botanist and a doctor. Dawn also brought his son, Yuan. The whole family has come.”
Vio introduced them as they stepped out of the carriage.
The townspeople looked thrilled.
“A doctor! I’m so happy there will be more doctors!”
“A master wizard too? How promising!”
The cheers that Dawn and his family received upon introduction gave them relief. They had naturally been worried about being accepted by the townsfolk, as they would be strangers to them.
“Dawn specialized in the research of cultivating cold-resistant wheat, and I invited him to work for me here because I think it could work here. He is also familiar with herbal medicine, so everyone, please help him out.”
“If you could make it so we could grow wheat in a cold climate like this, I would be so thankful.”
Rourke looked at Dawn with an intensely surprised look.
“We can talk further about it tomorrow. Please let everyone know. I’m going to show them the mansion today.”
“Ah, that’s right, excuse me, Sir Knight. Your family has moved into town. They set up a store and a center for merchants and small shops. It’s been so great because Leca already had several small stores and a general store, but we haven’t had a store that focuses on imports and exports… and it seems like they haven’t caused any friction with the merchants here already; that’s been a big help.”
Legion looked bothered in some way, and Rourke laughed in response.
“Thank you for taking my family in. Well, they just ended up in a town that doesn’t have competitors, so I’m glad it turned out well.”
Vio was relieved as well.
“Well, in that case, it looks like they have been able to escape my older brother. That’s good. What do you say, Legi? Are you going to pop by and show your face after this?”
“No, first, I would like to escort Lord Violant back to the mansion and check the perimeter. I’d like to take to time to visit them after that.”
“Ah, alright, that sounds good. I would like to meet your family later.”
“Of course! I would be honored.”
Legion smiled, and then the townspeople started yelling out to Vio.
“Mayor, please come visit us at our house as well!”
“Yes, I made some new clothes. Please let me show you.”
“My wife makes delicious desserts!”
Vio was surprised at the hopeful clamoring.
Legion noticed Vio was becoming overwhelmed and intervened.
“Hey, all of you, you are acting rude.”
“Why is Rourke the only one who gets away with this!”
“Shut up. It’s my job.”
Vio replied with a strained smile when he saw the situation devolving into an argument.
“At any rate, I was just thinking of looking around town. It seems I have interrupted all of you. Thank you all for working with me.”
The townfolk who had been clamoring finally began to calm down.
“Well, that’s all for now. I hope to see you all tomorrow. Mr. Brahms, thank you so much for all your hard work. Please be careful and take care of yourself in this hot weather.”
Vio gave his cheerful reply and then boarded the carriage again.
Author’s Note: This is the start of the volume! For now it’s about the development of Leca.
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