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“Ingredients, ready; equipment, ready; anything else to prepare… Well, this much should be enough.”
“Shishou~, should I put this on the carriage?” (Wolfe)
“Yeah, please do.”
“Got it!” (Wolfe)
We put the groceries we bought inside the carriage that was readied in front of the church.
We will be moving away from Taizu for a few days, but I would say preparations are mostly done, I guess.
This would be my first time in this world where I am spending the night out by my will.
Man, just thinking about it stimulates the child in my heart and makes me excited. Yup yup!
It reminds me of the educational field trips in the days when I was a student.
The trigger was when I went to Marito’s place.
“There was a request from Maya. She wanted to borrow a number of knights as escorts.” (Marito)
“It ended up with both Lady Ratzel, who is close to Maya, and the trustworthy Lord Domitorkofucon being given the job.” (Marito)
“Well, makes sense.”
“Thus, you can go together with them.” (Marito)
“What’s that about?”
“Let me explain in detail. An envoy from a branch of the Yugura Church has come here under the orders of their headquarters with inspection as their objective. They apparently want to check the state of the churches in the respective villages.” (Marito)
“They also want to ask a variety of things in the villages that have no churches too, and said they want to build churches in them if there’s a request for it.” (Marito)
“I see. They then requested for knights as intermediaries in the guise of escorts, and chose Cara-jii who is a senior and is trusted by the villages, and Ilias who is close to the Yugura devotee, Maya-san. And so, I should take advantage of this and check the villages?”
“Yeah, the opinions you have that leave the most impression on me are in the spots where you are self-aware of the differences between this world and your world. This city is the only place you have been in until now, right?” (Marito)
“The first thing that came to sight when I descended here was this place after all. The village of the black wolfkins…can’t be considered within the sphere of this country’s culture, huh.”
“You have gotten used to the state of the castle and the city, right? If you check the lifestyle of the residents outside the castle next, I thought it would be easier for you to tell me your opinions, you see.” (Marito)
“True. But is it okay for me to accompany them when I am not a knight?”
“No need to worry about it. We have told them we will have a counselor candidate accompany them for the sake of learning while we were discussing the conditions.” (Marito)
“I am grateful that you didn’t say court jester.”
And so, I went to Maya-san’s place with Ilias and Wolfe.
“Oh, I didn’t expect the counselor candidate to be you, boy. You have gone up in ranks.” (Maya)
“It is just a front. I was told to study about the difference between this world and mine so I could give useful advice more easily.”
“I see. I think it is better than learning in a class. Considering the members, it seems to be okay to bring Wolfe-chan as well.” (Maya)
“I will do my best…studying!” (Wolfe)
“Good girl!” (Maya)
“Cara-jii is currently preparing the carriage. He will eventually come.”
“And so, where’s the envoy from headquarters?” (Ilias)
“It is me.”
The one who appeared was a young woman.
I would say she is around her mid twenties. Her soft-looking hair hangs on her shoulder, and the front is a straight cut. A pretty girl that gives a calm and prim impression.
“My name is Rakura Salf. Looking forward to working with you.” (Rakura)
“Ilias Ratzel.” (Ilias)
“Here as well. Uhm, what should I call you?”
“I don’t mind you calling me Rakura, Counselor-sama.” (Rakura)
“Candidate though. I will be careful not to get in the way, but if I do something rude, please tell me without reservations.”
I shake her hand with my formal smile. Oi, Ilias, don’t make that weird face; you too, Maya-san.
“—By the way, you have an unusual appearance, Counselor-sama. Black hair and black eyes…moreover, the amount of mana in your body is really low… Is it alright if I ask your origins?” (Rakura)
“Unfortunately, I have been moving from dwelling to dwelling since the day I was aware… Also, I separated from my parents and began living alone. Taizu is the first place where I began settling in this continent. My internal mana being low is by birth. I am not that good at manual labor thanks to that.”
“My my… Hm? Counselor-sama, you seem to be possessed by a Spirit.” (Rakura)
“Yeah, Maya-san casted the possession spell on me in order to interact with someone that speaks a different language. Have you already heard that a black wolfkin settlement was discovered in Taizu recently?”
“Yes, is the white haired girl there one of them?” (Rakura)
“That’s right. This girl has already learned the words of this place, but we have been using this possession spell to communicate with the black wolfkins. A merchant friend of mine was the one who found that village, so I have gone to that village myself as a helper of his.”
“I see. You are working really hard despite being young.” (Rakura)
“I am the one profiting from being able to work together with a beautiful person like you, Rakura-san.”
“Oh my. Fufu.” (Rakura)
I had an enjoyable chat with Rakura-san. Oi, as I said, stop those eyes, you two. Learn from Wolfe!
“Now then, let’s begin our meeting. Rakura-san and I will be discussing the order we will be going to the villages in. I leave the preparations of the materials to you and Wolfe.” (Ilias)
“Got it!” (Wolfe)
Ilias and Rakura-san entered the room deeper in. Now then, let’s go shopping.
“Boy, you dodged the question as if nothing.” (Maya)
“I can’t really tell her everything about my origins… Did your sensor go off there, Maya-san?”
“No, I couldn’t feel a single lie.” (Maya)
That’s right. I didn’t mix a single lie in that conversation just now. Since Rakura-san is in the same profession as Maya-san, I decided to do it this way since she might have the same power to see through lies like Maya-san.
I don’t know the specific logic of it, but I have a faint guess of how it works.
The special trait of these girls in their sacred profession is that they excel in distinguishing your mana.
I have eaten a rye fruit in the past which has special mana in it, and Maya-san managed to tell that from the outside.
If they can see through lies as an extension of this, there’s the possibility they observe the fluctuations of the person’s mana.
People have some sort of habit when they lie. A skilled liar can lie without showing it on the outside, but what about the inside?
If being aware that you are lying brings some sort of movement to your mana, then a priest or someone in that line of profession who observes those in their daily life… That’s basically my guess.
If they can see through everything as if they can read your mind, I honestly wouldn’t be able to do anything, but I judged that such a possibility was low.
The reason is Wolfe. The past of this girl is a tragic one. However, I didn’t see any reactions of Maya-san that would allude to her reading such memories of Wolfe after meeting her.
If it is Maya-san who showed clear disdain towards the topic of necromancy, it should have shown in her face if she had read the mind of Wolfe.
Therefore, I have thought of a countermeasure to this lie detecting power with this theory in mind.
If I tell a lie, I will definitely hit that sensor. It sounds like an impossible game at first glance, but that’s not really the case. You just have to distort the truth with the truth.
It is true that I moved from place to place when I was in Japan. After I began living alone there, the first place I settled in ‘in this continent’ was without doubt Taizu.
My amount of mana being low is also by birth. The possession spell is ‘also’ used to communicate with the black wolfkins.
“So it really was that kind of method, huh.” (Maya)
“Did you think up those responses beforehand?” (Maya)
“…I thought that coworkers of yours might be able to do the same. There’s the possibility to meet some since I am commuting to the church. I thought I would get questioned about a variety of things, so I have been replaying this in my head since a good while back.”
This is the truth too. I assumed these kinds of questions would be ‘common’, so this is one of the things I have simulated beforehand.
But what Maya-san really wants to know here is most likely ‘whether I can do the same thing for other questions’.
The answer is yes and no. If there’s a topic I want to hide, I can imitate this act in the middle of the conversation.
The reason for this being yes and no is because there’s the possibility my agitation will be seen through.
I didn’t want Maya-san to notice this if possible, but with a special case like Rakura-san appearing, it can’t be helped.
Rather, it would be better to have her understand I have a countermeasure for this, and lower her desire to draw out information from me.
“Aah, but Rakura-san being a beauty were my real feelings in that moment only.”
“I can tell just by looking -with you being that happy and everything.” (Maya)
Maya-san sighed. What did that sigh signify?
“By the way, do you think Ilias is a beauty?” (Maya)
“I think that inhuman strength is dangerous.”
“I pity that girl too.” (Maya)
We went out shopping after that and that brings us to the present.
It seems like Cara-jii grouped up with Ilias and the others after bringing the carriage, they came out from the church together.
“Ooh, if it ain’t the lad. It is a great help that you are here too. I would have felt too suffocated without you.” (Cara)
“That goes the same for me. In the first place, they would be pretty much like your children or grandchildren.”
“Yeah. For you lad, it would be as if you were walking with flowers on both hands.” (Cara)
“There’s one that not only has thorns, but might even have needles growing out of her though.”
“Hooh, who might that be?” (Ilias)
“Hard— Ouch! That’s what I mean!”
I ended up slipping because of the peace of mind Cara-jii brought. I was on the verge of tapping out due to an injury before departing.
The trait of Taizu is that there’s a lot of forests, and its territory is surrounded by giant mountain ranges.
There’s the Taizu castle at the east side of the region, and most of the villages spread out at the west side of it.
Even if a war were to happen and they get attacked, it is a strength of this kingdom that most of the villages won’t get caught in the fires of war.
On top of that, a march from the direction of Gahne would require them to cross through the narrow path in a forest.
Even if they tried to invade through the forest, it would still put an extreme burden on them.
And then, the chivalric order that prides on their small number of elites in Taizu would have an overwhelming geographic advantage and mobility in that narrow path. I wouldn’t want to attack them even if asked to, yup.
We are currently heading to a northwest village. We will be going around the villages on a route that lets us go through them in one journey without backtracking.
That said, the black wolfkin village would be an exception. There’s a language barrier. They began to have exchanges with the outside not that long, so it was discussed that we shouldn’t bring too drastic of changes on them.
But it is a village that feared the Demon Lords and went into hiding. Maya-san said they might be a good match for the Yugura Church.
The Yugura Church. Yugura is apparently the name of the hero that received the blessing of God and saved the world. It should be safe to consider it similar to christianity.
The Demon Lords that were born from the forbidden resurrection magic and dropped the world into fear. The hero that received the divine protection of God defeated them and saved the world.
And so, what was born from the desire of preserving the teachings of that hero for posterity was the Yugura Church.
The name of the hero remaining for posterity is something you hear often in fantasy, but going as far as developing into a religion is pretty rare. They are mostly young boys from a small village, so it can’t be helped.
It probably would be easy for the black wolfkins to gain affection towards the hero that defeated the Demon Lords which were the symbol of their fear.
Rakura-san said that it might be a good idea to tell them about the Yugura Church as a further lubricant in their relationship once they get used to the exchanges.
Well, the Yugura Church has the most number of believers in Taizu, and the black wolfkin are beginning to go back and forth in that environment. It will most likely transmit without them going out of their way to do so.
“Speaking of which, I have not heard about the damages the villages suffered from the bandits. Were there no attacks?”
“Aah, the villages have knights of Taizu stationed there. The bandits wanted to avoid battles against the knights, so they didn’t get close to the villages. There were escorts when moving from village to village too.” (Ilias)
“So the ones who suffered from this were the merchants who didn’t have the leeway to get knights as escorts, huh.”
“Yeah. But even so, it was communicated to them that they should avoid moving from village to village as much as possible as a precaution.” (Ilias)
I am glad Dokora refrained from using necromancy. It would have been difficult to protect the villages with just the stationed knights if undead were to attack.
That said, if they did something like that, it would also expose the cards of Dokora.
“What kind of facilities are there in the villages?”
“First would be cultivation fields. There’s also livestock facilities. If it is at the side of a forest, there would be facilities for the sake of lumbering; if it is at the side of mountains, there would be facilities for mining.” (Ilias)
We arrived at the first village, and I decided to talk to Ilias about a variety of things in the time Cara-jii and Rakura-san went to talk with the village chief.
My image of this being the village in the Middle Ages hasn’t changed. I feel like the wooden constructions are somewhat big, most likely due to the effect of this country being predominantly forests.
“So they are basically cutting open the forest to increase the amount of liveable land for people, huh.”
“Right. The villages are expanding with the increase in population.” (Ilias)
“Aren’t there villages that are not nearby rivers with so much forest and mountains around?”
“Such places utilize the underground water. The water for the cultivation fields relies mostly on rain, but when it is necessary, they can either use the underground water or people who can use magic.” (Ilias)
“Magic really is handy in those points too.”
“That said, the amount of water you can create is proportional to the amount of mana you have, so you wouldn’t be able to create enough water to satisfy a whole village. Depending on the place, there’s also villages that draw water from rivers through waterways.” (Ilias)
“In my country, most houses can draw water, so it doesn’t feel fresh though.”
“Really…? That’s impressive.” (Ilias)
I then found the watchtower of the village. This is my first time seeing a wooden watchtower in real life.
“You have a watchtower, huh. I don’t think there’s much of a need for that against animals though…”
“The reason for its existence is as a countermeasure for monsters.” (Ilias)
Now that she mentions it, I have barely touched upon that topic until now, but there’s monsters and demons in this world. Since the opportunity has presented itself, I asked Ilias about monsters.
There’s special mana filling the regions where the Demon Lords ruled in the past. The creatures born from this are different from animals in that they have a great amount of mana inside of them. Those are monsters.
There’s still not much known about demons as of present. They are like humans, but they act as subordinates of the Demon Lords.
Monsters apparently spawn in the regions poisoned by Demon Lords even now. Monster subjugations and purification of the land is being performed often in other countries. The place where that’s the most prominent is Mejis.
There seems to be such places in Taizu, but the frequency of monsters appearing in front of people is pretty low. The reason being the existence of the ‘Black Demon Lord Killer Mountain’.
The past Demon Lord territory where monsters are supposed to be born exists on the other side of that mountain, so most monsters are dealt with by the slimes living in that mountain.
The danger of that slime is so high that even a dragon, which is considered the highest threat within monsters, would still avoid it. In the first place, it has killed a Demon Lord, so there’s no enemy for it.
But there’s monsters who luckily get through the mountains without meeting the slime too.
Most of them are monsters that fly in the sky like wyverns.
Dragons excel in avoiding danger, so they don’t even approach the mountain, but unintelligent monsters would try to challenge crossing the mountain.
Knights would be stationed permanently in the villages in order to prevent harm from such monsters.
“That’s about the gist of it.” (Ilias)
“I was wondering where did a wyvern show up when I heard about the story of Cara-jii, but it originated from such circumstances, huh.”
But this really is a story that enhances the fearsomeness of past experiences. To think the first place I was thrown into was a danger zone of such magnitude.
It is terrible that there might have been a chance for me to encounter a monster too. That’s way too nasty.
Well, I did encounter the most dangerous one which is the slime-san though.
“That there’s a watchtower in every village must mean there was a decent amount of casualties in the past, huh.”
“Yeah, there was a large-scale monster invasion around 10 years ago. It is rare even within the history of Taizu.” (Ilias)
The expression of Ilias was harsh as she said this. Considering the age and living of Ilias, it was most likely the reason for her having lost her parents. Let’s not touch that topic for now.
Villages are normally not structured in a way to use magic frequently. The quality is lower compared to Taizu’s capital, but maybe they teach reading and writing at least? In that sense, you could consider their living conditions being better compared to the equivalent era on Earth.
The other thing that draws my attention would be the small knight station and the existence of a church, I guess.
For now, I had her show me the facilities that would let me understand the form of agriculture and forestry of the villagers, and investigate their flow.
Rakura-san and Cara-jii returned while we were doing that. They have apparently wrapped up talks about the management of the church, the frequency of participation in masses from the villagers, the necessary funds, and such stuff.
And then, they got on the carriage and headed to the next village.
“If you are consulting about the expenses for the management of the church, does that mean support funds will be provided from the headquarters?”
“Yes. There’s a decent amount of alms in the capital of Taizu because there’s a good number of believers, but when it is on the scale of a village, they might be carrying burdens from this. Such circumstances would hinder faith. Thus, we are distributing the donations that have been gathered from sympathizers.” (Rakura)
“So it is to investigate how much of that share will be distributed.”
“Yes, how about you, Counselor-sama?” (Rakura)
“I am proceeding with my inspection of the lifestyle quality of the villages. Even if it can’t be helped for the capital, I would like to deal with the qualitative difference between villages.”
I talk with Rakura-san inside the carriage. I was taught a variety of things about the relationship between the Yugura Church and Mejis.
Mejis is a kingdom, but it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the Yugura Church holds the real power in Mejis despite being a kingdom.
The king of Mejis has talks with the Pope, and they have the role to transmit the policies decided to the citizens.
It is not like he is a complete yes-man. He also makes proposals while considering the current state of the nation, but the king himself wouldn’t be taking political measures on his own.
Well, if most of the citizens are Yugura believers, creating friction between the Pope would make it hard to manage the country.
There’s the downside of the real power being held, but a part of me thinking that would make it easier for a king might be because a certain someone doesn’t wish for such positions of responsibility.
However, in that case, my way of seeing Mejis changes somewhat. Mejis doesn’t forgive taboos. The true form of this is that the will of the Yugura Church is rooted strongly in it.
Dokora, who was an Anbu of Mejis, had deep relations with the Yugura Church, and the ones who cornered him were the Yugura Church too.
If we consider this, Maya-san’s tolerance is quite impressive. Maybe she is an outlier within the will of the Yugura Church?
“Speaking of which, the mother of Ilias worked in the church just like Maya-san, right? That means…”
“Yeah, my mother was originally from Mejis. She came together with Maya to Taizu, and then she married my father who was a knight of this country.” (Ilias)
On Earth, the catholic sisters don’t get married. Do they not have many restrictions like that?
It may be connected with a savior, but there must be a good deal of differences when it comes to the teachings of a hero.
“What do you think of the teachings of the Yugura Church, Counselor-sama?” (Rakura)
“I haven’t had opportunities to touch upon their teachings, so I haven’t affiliated myself somewhere until now. However, I have been taught many things by Maya-san lately, and I understand that the existence of the Yugura Church is extremely important and valuable for the people who have been scarred greatly by the Demon Lords.”
“My my.” (Rakura)
“I currently can’t blindly accept the Yugura Church, but I am also not so rebellious as to go against a religion when I am the minority. If I am going to be knocking on the doors of religion, I do want to consider the Yugura Church.”
“There’s no need to wait for you to have deep religious faith. We will always be waiting for you to join, Counselor-sama.” (Rakura)
Hmm, this feeling of formality is nostalgic. The village tours after that proceeded without any issues too.
I investigate the names of the villages, details of the facilities, and how degraded their lifestyle is. That goes the same for the expressions of the villagers as well as the state of their living.
It is not like they are all the same, and reasons do exist for those differences.
If it were because of the peculiarities of the village, that’s fine, but if they can become downsides and problems, they could serve as targets for deliberation.
“Didn’t you come here to learn about the differences between the villages and the capital?” (Ilias)
“It would be a waste to just learn, right? There’s a lot to earn from testing things out yourself in this fashion. It might even prove beneficial. You have to make use of the chances given to their utmost, you know.”
“I see. Meaning that today is a serious day.” (Ilias)
How rude. There’s no day where I am not serious. Even when I am messing around, I obviously mess around seriously.
Also, Wolfe has come today. I have to show her my dignity as a Shishou.
I have been having Wolfe state the points she has noticed after comparing the villages.
“The cows in this village are smaller than the ones in the village before!” (Wolfe)
“Ooh, is that so, is that so. Leaving aside the differences between individuals, if there’s a difference as a whole, we could consider this being a difference in the breeding environment. The climate and exposure to the sun normally doesn’t change. In that case, the size of the livestock pen, the lifestyle rhythm of the cows, and the amount and quality of food might be the factors. Try to derive the reason for this by observing the surroundings of the cows and finding the differences.”
Looks like I need to avoid saying too complicated things, yup.
“Become the cow-san and think about why they are smaller.”
It hit evening while we were doing all that. We secure a place to sleep in the church of the last village we went to today.
Ilias and Wolfe are sleeping in the same room, and the others in a room of their own.
Cara-jii alone was invited to the house of the village chief, and ended up staying there.
When it is outside the capital, Cara-jii’s popularity is higher as a senior compared to the military prowess of Ilias.
I can’t really say there’s absolutely no prejudice and discrimination towards Ilias as a woman, but it is pretty tame compared to the capital.
I could have gone to sleep at once, but I decided to organize the papers I wrote down today and headed to the desk.
I hang the Illumination Stone, that Ilias imbued mana into, on the ceiling of the room, and dedicate myself to the deskwork while relying on that light.
Someone knocked on the door while I was doing that.
The one that came in was Rakura-san. Contrary to her daytime outfit, she was wearing a comfortable completely white robe. It really stimulates my desires.
“Apologies for coming in so late in the night. I was walking a bit around because I couldn’t sleep, and I saw light in the room, so…is it a bother?” (Rakura)
“I don’t mind. I was in the middle of compiling what I have noted down today.”
“You are a really diligent one, Counselor-sama. Can I see?” (Rakura)
“Go ahead. Please sit on the bed or wherever you find most comfortable.”
I urged Rakura-san to sit, and gave her the documents I finished writing.
Rakura-san was silently reading them. I silently resume my work so I don’t get in her way.
After a while, there was a reaction from Rakura-san.
“You are writing it down in quite the detail. To think you would even write down about the games the children of the village play…” (Rakura)
“There’s reasons for even the smallest things. The possibilities of this linking to the information one seeks merit such efforts. The least I can do as an inexperienced person is to not miss any events I witness as much as possible.”
“I see…” (Rakura)
“For example; there’s villages where the children play with handmade toys and those that don’t. The makers of such toys are most likely the parents. The villages that can afford the time and have the mental leeway to make handmade toys for their children in their busy daily lives and the ones that don’t might have a difference in the amount of work they do, their efficiency, and technique.”
“By watching the state of their work, equipment, and technique while having such assumptions, those kinds of differences are made clear…or something like that?”
“…If someone like Counselor-sama managed to climb to a standing of responsibility, the people must be reassured.” (Rakura)
“Haha, thank you very m—?!”
I suddenly feel a presence closing on me. When I looked back, Rakura-san had walked right by my side.
The sweet perfume tickled my nose. I can feel her heat from up-close. I could tell my heartbeat was getting noisier and faster.
“Counselor-sama, there’s actually something I would like to consult with you.” (Rakura)
“O-Okay, if it is something I can do… Uhm, clo—”
Rakura-san’s hands were placed on my cheek and lap. Her face approached slowly, and her breath reached my face.
“There’s actually one more objective in this inspection, you see…” (Rakura)
“W-What could it be?!”
Rakura-san showed a glossy smile and said this.
“We are searching for a certain book. Do you know about a book that has information about necromancy written on it?” (Rakura)
Damn it~! Of course that would be the case!