eed is noticeably slow because it is an underdeveloped area.
Mainly because it’s winter, it is snowing a lot and can take about two weeks to arrive.
Therefore, a large number of people cannot move at once.

On top of that, this was the Imperial decree.
It was a mission to inspect the North territory.
Still, it was also the first time for him to go outside the capital, an underdeveloped and dangerous area.
The Emperor’s intention was also to see his qualities.
That’s why he couldn’t disappoint the Emperor.

Valery set out for the North with only two carriages combined.

* * *

Shortly after passing the North entrance, the carriage stopped.
While Marlon got off and checked the situation, Valery was waiting for him in the carriage.
It wasn’t long before Marlon returned.
His expression wasn’t good.

“Your Highness, we have a problem.”

“What is it?”

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“The heavy snow recently cut off the bridge where the carriage could move.
It looks like the repairs will not be finished until next month.”

“Is it impossible to move?”

“It’s not.
It seems we could move with the horses.”

Valery rolled up the cloth covering the window and looked around.
The snow had stopped, and it was daytime.
If they hurry, they will be able to arrive in the North.

“Let’s ride horses.”

“Will you be okay?”

“Hurry up.”

Valery fastened his clothes and got out of the carriage.
He decided to dismantle the carriage and ride on horses.
After dismantling, Valery, who sat comfortably on the horse, turned the reins.
He had to find a place to stay before the sun went down.

“Go first and find the accommodation.”

“Yes, I’ll take your orders.”

“Let’s go.”

It wasn’t hard to find accommodation.
As it was already wintering in the North, there were many empty inns.
There was only one team staying at the place where Valery arrived.
They decided to rent the whole second floor.

Valery’s plan to conduct an inspection from day one was ruined because of the heavy snowstorm that started all night.
The snowstorm was so bad that an optical illusion appeared as if the blackened sky was covered in white.
Valery was forced to stay inside the accommodation and endure until the evening but eventually gave up and fell asleep.

When he opened his eyes the next day, the snowstorm had stopped.
As the sun was little visible, Valery hurried to depart.
According to the accommodation owner, it snows almost every night in winter.
He thought he should return sooner than expected, so he divided his people for the inspection.
Marlon followed at Valery’s side, and the rest stuck together.

“The sun sets fast here.
We have to hurry.”

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“It’s a place where there are many inconveniences.
I think I know why His Majesty even thinks of shutting this territory down.”

The imperial power was almost out of reach in the North, and nobles were reluctant to go there, so the Lords who divided the North territory had given up more than half.
There was even a huge prison in operation at the end of the North, where prisoners were gathered.
It was almost like a land of death, as people avoided going there.
The North was clearly different from the capital, where there were many warm days like a greenhouse, even in winter.

It was a few hours after leaving for inspection.
It was already lunchtime, and he was getting hungry and tired.
Valery turned the reins to go back the way he had come.
Marlon looked at his broad back.

“Hurry up.”

After leaving a few words, Valery pulled the reins and drove it fastly.
As he drove it fastly for a while, he came to a fork in the road.
The place he had to go on the map was on the left, but there was also a road on the right.  Marlon looked a little further forward, then he came back.

“There seems to be a village over there too.
May I go first?”

“It’s dangerous to be alone.
I’ll come with you.”

“It seems like a small village.
Is there really any danger? I will make way for you.”

* * *

“Marlon! Are you okay?”

“It’s all right.
Urgh… I didn’t know there would be a surprise attack.
Your Highness, are you all right?”

Shortly after entering the fork on the right, there was a surprise attack.
They were blocking Valery’s way as if trying to protect something.
He didn’t feel something ordinary from them.

Valery immediately took out his sword and pointed it at his opponent.
But the other side had five more men.
It wasn’t the first time fighting two-on-many, but his opponents were very talented.
As if they weren’t worthy of being here.  After a long fight, he and Marlon managed with the seven of them, but Marlon was seriously injured.
Valery also suffered severe wounds all over his body.

“I’m fine.
Can you stand up?”

“I-I think I need to rest for a while.
Ge-Get out right away from here, Your Highness.”

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