“And that’s how it is.”
Due to the elevation, the hot spring resort in the demonic mountains still had snow here and there.
I heard a few days ago that Tomoe and Mio invited Lisa-san.
But I didn’t expect that even Rembrandt-san would want to come to the hot springs.
Even Morris-san was with him, and he looked pretty excited about it.
We didn’t really have any plans to advertise this place as a resort spot, so this wasn’t in the schedule.
Even though there’s this much abundance in hot water, the ones currently using it are 4 men.
It really feels like it is reserved for us.
There’s the need for people to work here in order to maintain its functions as a facility, so we currently have people from Asora.
It is in essence an exclusive health preservation facility for Asora (super bathhouse), and it pained me a bit that we had them open it at a slightly earlier time than usual.
“Hnn! It feels as if my fatigue is all melting away… This is splendid…” (Rembrandt)
“…No wonder Lisa-sama praised it greatly. I feel like the poisons accumulated inside my body for years are being purified.” (Morris)
Morris-san is saying something slightly scary.
However, I feel like even our words are being melted by the hot water.
Shiki sent me a look of ‘let’s watch their state for a little bit’.
The first hot spring today is green…no, a light green that’s slightly creamy.
There’s no sweet scent.
I personally would be fine with just warming up here and ending it like this.
But this is the first time in a hot spring for Rembrandt-san and the others.
In that case, I am sure they will be going around a variety of hot springs.
It is not that I am against it, but…there’s hot, warm, waterfall hot spring, sauna, cold bath…hinoki cypress bathtub, rock hot spring, jar bathtub…people can get tired even if it is just taking a bath…
I have experienced this before in the demonic mountains, but my body is attacked by a crazy amount of fatigue after tagging along on that for half a day.
It is on the level where there’s no way I would be able to do paperwork after that, and the day would end.
I can at least practice with my bow, but if it is work, I wouldn’t be able to…
Can’t be helped, I should prepare myself.
We have a wide variety of ways to rehydrate. Let’s be careful of getting dizzy from the heat.
“It is our first time in hot springs. It can’t be helped that we would want to soak in the pleasure.” (Rembrandt)
“Even after we finish our talk, you will still continue to bath, right?” (Makoto)
“Yes, first…” (Rembrandt)
“Let’s get properly rehydrated. Hot springs can get unexpectedly dangerous if you don’t after all.” (Makoto)
“That’s true. Waka-sama has gotten dizzy from the heat a number of times already. He understands that it is a good thing to keep this in mind so it doesn’t reach a bad situation.” (Shiki)
“…That was the fault of Tomoe and Mio. It is not like I love hot springs so much that I show no control and end up constantly dizzy, okay?” (Makoto)
“…If it is drinks to keep you hydrated, we have: coffee milk, strawberry milk, banana milk, and cola. A perfect battle formation.” (Shiki)
Kuh! Shiki just can’t deal with topics about Tomoe and Mio.
Also, that line-up of drinks is terrible.
“No, uhm, we have water, barley tea, and normal milk, right? We do, right?” (Makoto)
“What’s ‘normal milk’?” (Shiki)
“The plain one that’s not sweet!” (Makoto)
“…Well, we do have that, but isn’t coffee milk the staple?” (Shiki)
“The females aside from the forest onis would get all giddy saying that it beautified them and would often order it, right?” (Makoto)
The forest onis -regardless of age and gender- would all go for banana milk after coming out from the hot springs.
I don’t know if they come here to use the hot springs, or come to drink banana milk.
“Aah…diluted fruit extract, drinkable yogurt, the carbonated energy drink that’s even on shelves in the store, and the regular carbonated water… Good grief, such an evil course.” (Shiki)
Shiki spits that out from the bottom of his heart.
Evil course, he says.
Your line-up that was basically just milk with one carbonated beverage slipped in was plenty evil of a course too.
Barley tea is the staple!
“No no, to be able to make a facility of this scale for the sake of entertaining your employees, the Kuzunoha Company truly knows no bounds. I can’t read you at all.” (Rembrandt)
Rembrandt-san has regained his senses.
Morris-san seems to still be melting there a bit.
“When you suddenly told me you wanted to go to a hot spring with a straight face, I was wondering what was going on, Rembrandt-san.” (Makoto)
At the time when I was thinking what to do for the job change of Shima-san, I thought I would consult with Rembrandt-san about it, and he came out with that which doubled my surprise.
“My wife was praising it to high heavens after all. She was talking about how to permanently commute to this place. I wanted to experience it at least once, but because you were way too busy, you wouldn’t invite me at all. I thought, at this point, I should just plunge in myself.” (Rembrandt)
It sounds fine to let her come here every now and then.
But men and women look for different things from hot springs.
I am fine with taking away my fatigue like this, but it seems like it is different for women.
Maybe I should have Shima-san change her job to this place.
I was thinking that she could also fit the bill of being the make-up queen of Tsige though…
“Well, it is also because of the location, but you are even busier than I, Rembrandt-san, so it is pretty hard to invite you to take a bath with me, you know…” (Makoto)
It isn’t something I can say.
We are in the middle of a war right now.
I thought he would get angry at me for even proposing the idea.
“The comfort and even the effects are different depending on the color of the water and the types, right?” (Rembrandt)
“Yeah. There’s ones that are good for your skin, ones that relieve stiff shoulders, ones that maintain the heat of your body.” (Makoto)
Even though the source of the hot springs is only one… I wonder why?
It is not like we are putting any bath additives.
“! Nice! Isn’t that nice?! I am looking forward to enjoying them. Right, Morris?” (Rembrandt)
“…Yeah, I even feel like I am getting younger here.” (Morris)
This is not the fountain of youth, Morris-san.
“Umu, it has been a while since Morris and I have taken time to relax. Staying for several days doesn’t sound bad!” (Rembrandt)
“It is true that it would be a shame to let this bliss go for just one day. Thank you very much, Danna-sama.” (Morris)
Is that okay?!
“…That was a joke.” (Rembrandt)
“It isn’t just a ‘doesn’t sound bad’, I am actually going to stay.” (Rembrandt)
“Of co—eh?” (Makoto)
That was the part that was a joke?!
“It seems like our movements are being hindered. It is frustrating, but it seems like there’s still one or several spies still in hiding. I have secured a group of people that are certainly on the green, but…that state of being listened to from a pretty central part still doesn’t disappear. You could say that’s to be expected from Aion.” (Rembrandt)
“At these kinds of times, the best move is to set a trap. ‘We hurriedly left the city because of an unexpected situation, and for several days to top it off’, when that’s known, they will definitely make a move. Of course, I will not allow them to eat more than just the bait… Now then, I wonder what big fish we will be pulling out this time around. I left announcing that I will be taking a vacation of several days in an arrogant way like that of a rich person.” (Rembrandt)
“I think there was a report about Aion getting the assistance of the Goddess. Is that okay? Even if it is a bait, isn’t it way too bold of a move?” (Makoto)
That’s right, we captured a spy from the Aion Kingdom in the event at the Dusk Street.
We finally finished our interrogation.
Looks like the biggest reason why the Aion Kingdom managed to make a big comeback from their numerical inferiority was mostly because of the assistance of the Goddess.
It wasn’t the heroes, but reinforcements from the Goddess.
But it seems like the spies that came here didn’t know the details of it, so the only thing we could learn was that it was one woman.
There haven’t been any movements at all from the church in Tsige, so we still have no idea if that woman is a genius strategist, a one-man army, or a stealthy enemy.
We have also confirmed that, sadly, the Kingdom has no intentions at all in allowing the independence of Tsige.
“We were slightly anxious about it, you know. Just a bit ago, that is. But the magic construction that I saw at the Weitz Orphanage, the building materials that held special endurance, the ability of the mercenaries you brought, the favorable relationship with the adventurers; the result of the newly obtained information has led me to believe that this is the time to make our move.” (Rembrandt)
“The time to make your move? Right now?” (Makoto)
“Yeah. I don’t think the demons will be staying silent for long. They will most likely begin their advance in a not so far future. But well, the ones in the frontlines of the war are Limia and Gritonia. It is not like Aion and Tsige will be hit with the flames of war today or tomorrow. But…the demons and hyumans are waging war with a long history of hatred as its foundation. In other words, as long as the demons are on the superior side, they will eventually reach us. At the very least, I see them doing war with that intention.” (Rembrandt)
This person is talking about an unseen far off future, even so, he is sure that this time’s war with the demons and hyumans won’t be ending with an agreement.
That if their momentum doesn’t fall, they will reach all the way to us.
“That might be possible.” (Makoto)
“When that happens, once they restart, we will be turned into the bad guys in an instant. We are the ones who are going against customs and aiming for independence after all. It will turn into a situation where the Aion Kingdom will brandish over their heads that their cause is just and will one-sidedly blame the coup d’etat side and us. But it is not like they actually have justice on their side, but if they were to say we are taking advantage of the chaos, we won’t be able to say anything back. That’s why we have to achieve our independence in the time the war with the demons has ceased temporarily. I was thinking about putting an end to this with only negotiations, but now that it has come to this, we might have to actually bring out the blades. Meaning that the deciding moment of the war will begin.” (Rembrandt)
“This is a war between a country and merchants, and at the same time, it is also a war to have the world learn just how much we from the Border of the World can raise our voices. The best and unique materials, extraordinary unexplored lands, demonic beasts… Tsige is the place where weirdos and incarnations of greed gather. Now then, what will the response of the world be?” (Rembrandt)
“The voice of Tsige, huh. The response of the countries seemed to be more of a ‘do as you please’ though?” (Makoto)
“Yeah, now it is only the Aion Kingdom. We don’t need a master that can’t take control properly. But we have shown our will to the countries, to the major powers. Just as you say, Raidou-kun, they have mostly shown a positive reaction to our independence. It is only Aion who is getting their territory directly chipped away, so of course there will be opposition from them. That’s what led to this war. If it is in terms of economic power, we won’t lose to anyone, and we can manage negotiations. Then…what’s left is to prove our military power. Even so, it will end up being the fighting style of a merchant though.” (Rembrandt)
“Violence at the end. It really did turn out that way, huh.” (Makoto)
“There’s still the unknown factor of what the coup d’etat force will be doing, but they will be clashing with the Kingdom. If they get serious, they will have to suppress them with a large army. When that happens, the battle will reach the walls.” (Rembrandt)
Resources are power.
In the current state of things, it wouldn’t be strange for the Aion Kingdom to concentrate their forces on Tsige first to shut them up.
The pressure of a large army heading in mass to one place is quite big, and if the residents of Tsige learned of this, it would also burden them.
It might turn into a complicated battle.
“We have planned a number of strategies, and we have also consulted with the tacticians of the mercenary group. We got pretty good responses.” (Rembrandt)
Or more like, Rembrandt-san did?
“The other day -in an unexpected way- a basic direction was decided between the big companies, you see. Picnic Rose Garden was also surprised. Saying that that sounds interesting and that this would turn into an experience they didn’t expect. They were pretty into it. Raidou-kun, this may sound a bit uncouth, but my blood is boiling a bit here. This isn’t a game for the Aion Kingdom either, but I have been putting my life on the line till now in my merchant path, and I have decided to bury my bones in that town. I already think of Tsige itself as my second company.” (Rembrandt)
My city…my second company, huh.
His eyes have ambition…no, it is a bit different from ambition, but I could see that they were shining with youthfulness that’s on the same degree as that.
There’s rarely a chance to clash with a country as a merchant.
The idea of getting independence for a city and creating a country for merchants is unbelievable.
It makes me think that this person is without a doubt the favorite child of this era.
The fact that we have a connection was truly lucky.
If Rembrandt-san has judged that the time has come, things must be moving exactly like that.
There’s people like Hibiki-senpai and Rembrandt-san who have special eyes that can see the future pretty accurately by using information.
It really is impressive.
The door to the hot spring, where I was soaking half of my body in and the other three were already enjoying soaking their whole body in, had been opened.
The forest oni, Mondo.
I had him stay on standby as our contact to the outside.
Did something happen?
“A call for us?” (Shiki)
Shiki asks and Mondo confirms.
“Yes, Aion has dispatched troops. 20,000 mounted troops are advancing from several directions, and the foot soldiers have begun their march orderly. It would be a report to Patrick Rembrandt-sama.” (Mondo)
They really made a move.
The scale could be considered large.
I don’t know the reason why the mounted troops are going ahead, but it must be a strategy of Aion.
“What about the tactician of Picnic Rose Garden, Nomad-dono?” (Rembrandt)
“He said that until the joker doesn’t show up, they will be going with the basic plan.” (Mondo)
“Tell him that I got it. What about Ginebia-dono?” (Rembrandt)
“She said that she won’t be taking part in any underhanded means like this next time.” (Mondo)
“Understood. What about the cooperation of Alpine and the other rankers?” (Rembrandt)
“No problems in that. Alpine is already moving according to request.” (Mondo)
The party of Toa-san.
So they are also making their move against the Aion Kingdom.
But to be confirming this after the report of the army moving, it is incredible that Tsige is already playing their hand.
“Got it. Thanks for your report.” (Rembrandt)
“No problem. I will be taking my leave now.” (Mondo)
In terms of spies on our side, it would be Lime and Mondo who would fit the bill the most.
“Now then, Raidou-kun, I don’t mind providing support to this bishop called Shima as a merchant in Tsige, but if you are thinking about having her work here, I think that would be for the best. You can make the best of these hot springs by shaping it into a facility for relaxation and esthetics, and if she was a central figure in the church, there should be no problems with her knowledge, foundation, and abilities. A specialist in these hot springs being born would personally be really desirable. There’s no way I can just ask Tomoe-dono or Mio-dono to explain to me, right?” (Rembrandt)
“Yeah, I do get your point.” (Makoto)
So he properly heard what I said at first, huh.
Then, I should bring Shima-san here and check her reaction, and then, I will think about what to do about it.
This would in essence mean that she would be joining Kaleneon.
I feel like Eva-san will be holding her head in pain at this again.
Telling her that she is a former bishop and that she will now be a hot spring manager apprentice.
That’s quite the resume.
“Now then, let’s enjoy the hot springs to our heart’s content! While at it, I will also have to use around 2 days to persuade you!” (Rembrandt)
“Persuade? Me?” (Makoto)
“Of course! If Aion has obtained the assistance of the Goddess, we should also play our ace. That’s right, the guardian deity of Tsige, Raidou-kun of the Kuzunoha Company.” (Rembrandt)
“…Eh? No, I…” (Makoto)
“Fufu, I know. You don’t find it agreeable to get directly involved in the war, right?” (Rembrandt)
“But if an Apostle of the Goddess is showing up, that means this is not your regular war. They were the ones who stopped making this into a war between people. In that part, I want to rely on you guys without restraint. And…” (Rembrandt)
“In parts aside from that, we will win against Aion with the power of Tsige.” (Rembrandt)
“But well, the current Tsige has been influenced quite a lot by the Kuzunoha Company, so I don’t know how much is purely our strength though… At the very least, we intend to surely win even in a situation where we can’t expect the backing of you guys. That’s the kind of battle we plan on doing.” (Rembrandt)
…It seems he saw through the fact that I am not into the idea of participating in the war against Aion.
If Rembrandt-san is going with that intention in mind…it relieves me a little bit.
After the matter of Shima-san and the matter of Seiren-san are wrapped up, I will decide with Shiki the direction of the classes.
And then, settle things with Aion, huh.
If I were asked whether I am interested in the Apostle of the Goddess, I would say…I am.
I did think that if she is assisting Aion…I would side a bit more with Tsige.
“So you want us to hold back the Apostle of the Goddess.” (Makoto)
“Yeah. I will be laying everything bare as I try to persuade you, Raidou-kun!” (Rembrandt)
“Okay, we will take care of that Apostle.” (Makoto)
“I will properly convince you in 2 days. If I don’t, I would have to leave these hot springs tomorrow!!” (Rembrandt)
“Please read the mood.” (Makoto)
Rembrandt-san and Morris-san made an unreasonable objection.
Even though I accepted his request in a pretty nice timing too…
This guy is the real deal…