I have gotten used to this office room after becoming a king. But since the time he began to come here, his absence makes it feel lonely.
Right now the only one here is Lord Ragudo aside from my bodyguard. I am used to this combination as well, but it feels incomplete and empty.
“And so, will you be sending him to Gahne?” (Ragudo)
“We are talking about him here. Even if we were to tell him there was nothing, he would still go on his own. I at least managed to get some preparation time.” (Marito)
I personally wouldn’t want him to leave the country. His existence is still needed in Taizu. However, he is an assertive coward. He most likely won’t be able to rest at peace if he doesn’t settle the matter with Raheight himself.
What I can do on my side is to dispatch him as a member of the country, and set a period of stay for him. That way I can keep him under watch on the pretext of guarding him.
“Gahne, huh… Even if we don’t wait for the investigation result of the Anbus, it is still a nation I can only describe as bizarre.” (Ragudo)
“Right. Even with just their movements these recent years, they have achieved drastic changes. The shadow of Raheight being present isn’t clear yet, but there are a mountain of factors to draw his interest.” (Marito)
Gahne is a neighboring country of Taizu that possesses vast plains as their territory. Knights are the core of Taizu, the clergy of the Yugura Church are the core of Mejis; the equal to these in Gahne would be their army.
Gahne is not different from Taizu in that the king holds the power, but Gahne has a conscription law. The young ones that reach a certain age will be made to train as soldiers, and then be returned to their normal lives. In emergencies, the populace will take up arms, and will train in order to be combat ready.
It is because of their vast open fields, the production of food entering the top of the world, and their high population that they can take such political measures.
Taizu would hold incomparable toughness if it comes to the quality of the soldiers. However, there’s a difference of more than ten times in terms of numbers.
The scale of their Adventurer Guilds are varied as well as their races. You could say that that country has good affinity with him since he prefers tactics that take on roles over individual power. When you consider that, Gahne has a lot more appealing points than Taizu.
We are above in terms of the beauty of nature, but the place he lived in wasn’t the countryside but an area where civilization was advanced.
When thinking about it in that way, there’s way too few factors to keep him in this country. I really should have him marry a woman from this country to create a foundation that makes it hard for him to move.
But he got the better of me and I can’t use the method of bringing him down with numbers. In the first place, if there were a woman he finds fitting for me, I would like to put them as candidates too. It was an amusing proposal, so I ended up accepting without thinking too much. I still regret it a bit even now.
“No, wait. If this match lasts for a long time, he can’t leave the country easily.” (Marito)
“Your Majesty, that would trouble us too.” (Ragudo)
That method of cutting my own flesh may be forgiven by him, but the others wouldn’t. I don’t want to send him to other countries. If the other countries learn of his origins, and learn of his own qualities, I am sure they would want him.
He said he is an ordinary person, but in our world he is unique. In the first place, where would you find a civilian getting chased around by the subordinate of a Demon Lord?
“Lord Ragudo, do you have any good ideas?” (Marito)
“A way to keep him in this country…? Marriage may do the job. How about Lady Ratzel?” (Ragudo)
“I have already had that conversation a long time ago with him, and it ended in failure.” (Marito)
“Fumu, it would be difficult as long as we don’t know his taste.” (Ragudo)
“As if it would be so easy to know the tastes of a man that switches his personality on the drop of a hat. I can only think of a peerless beauty with outstanding personality.” (Marito)
In terms of good appearance alone, the level is really high in his surroundings. But with him not taking a liking to any of them, what he prioritizes is most likely the inside.
“But if you face him earnestly, he won’t be able to ignore your feelings, right, Your Majesty?” (Ragudo)
“He hates interference to a terrible degree. I would like to avoid pushing it too much.” (Marito)
I have really gotten drawn by a troublesome person. A sigh leaked out from me. Why is he a man? Such a pain. I would have married him in a heartbeat if he were a woman.
“But it can’t be helped if I can’t think of any method. Let’s just request it of him sincerely as a friend.” (Marito)
What I can do would be to pull no punches in helping him eliminate the threat of Raheight. If I take into account his dutiful personality of paying back debts, I should be getting him indebted as much as possible.
Today I am currently in the middle of walking inside the castle with Ilias.
I have been going to Marito’s place every day, but he seems to be busy today, so I couldn’t meet him. We have come all the way to the castle, so we are wandering around.
Marito said he would send Anbus to Gahne to check changes, but I honestly feel like that’s just to buy time. It would most likely be troubling for Marito since he would like to keep valuable talents in his country, but I am not so heartless as to cut off my connection to a person that has been helping me out.
It is true that migrating wouldn’t be that complicated of a thing. But I would have to prepare a place with the food of my liking similar to that of Dog’s Bone, and a nice to live house like the one of Ilias.
That goes for my human relations too. It is not like the relationships I have formed in this place will disappear completely, but living in a different country would obviously create a rift between us. The reset of those things as a person who doesn’t like to communicate with people is rough.
In the first place, I have even begun to grow attached to this country. I would need quite a lot of courage and resolve to throw those away. Even if Gahne is an advanced civilization that leaves Japan in the dust, I probably wouldn’t feel like abandoning Taizu and living there.
Well, I should switch my feelings here and think about my objectives in Gahne.
It won’t be long before I head to Gahne. I will most likely be staying there for around a month. If I am going to be exploring, I will have to do it efficiently.
“What’s the matter? You are making a brooding face there.” (Ilias)
“Kinda. Actually, after consulting with Marito, I have decided to go to Gahne.”
“I see, to Gahne—no, wait, I heard nothing about that!” (Ilias)
She grabbed my collar and shook me. Man, that’s nostalgic. I am dying. Even if I have gotten used to it mentally, it won’t lessen the physical threat of having a gorilla grab my collar and shaking me.
“Wait. Stop the habit of trying to question someone with violence!”
“Your sudden statements are at fault! At least take the proper steps first!” (Ilias)
“I want to hurry to the conclusion. Anyways, I felt the need to head to Gahne in order to chase after the traces of Raheight.”
I tell her about how I had Marito investigate the current situation of Gahne first, and then I will be going to investigate there after.
“Is there a need for you yourself to corner Raheight? I am sure His Majesty would do his best to protect you.” (Ilias)
“How to put it…it is as if you found a centipede—a poisonous insect in your house. You wouldn’t be able to sleep in peace until you have dealt with it, right? I wouldn’t be able to rest in peace unless I do it myself…or something like that.”
“I understand the feeling, but I don’t know about treating your opponent like an insect.” (Ilias)
Point taken. But this is the most understandable way I can put it in daily life comparisons.
“But even if you suddenly tell me that you will be leaving the country…” (Ilias)
“Let me fix the misunderstanding first. Marito will either be applying for an official stay as a resident of Taizu, or it will be a stay as an individual. The former one would be around 1 month, the latter would be at most around half a year, I guess. I will be back by then.”
“I-I see. But can’t you explain in a way that doesn’t bring about misunderstandings?” (Ilias)
“If you had asked for an explanation without coming at me like an earthquake, a misunderstanding wouldn’t have happened.”
That said, as long as I have that habit of speaking out the conclusion first, there’s still room for improvement, yup. I teased her while understanding that fault lies in me too, but let’s keep that a secret.
“The problem would be who I should leave to look after Rakura and Wolfe. It would be rough to look after them with just you, right, Ilias?”
“That’s true—wait, you plan on going alone?!” (Ilias)
“Obviously. You are a knight of this country and Wolfe is currently in the middle of learning. Pope Euparo left me to look after Rakura, but I can’t just bring her in my investigation of Gahne.”
“…Are you aware of how weak you are?” (Ilias)
That’s a horrible way to respond. A normal man would have his heart broken here.
“If I am going to be staying there as an official of Taizu, bodyguards will most likely be assigned to me, so there’s no issue. If not, I will be alone, but if I need a bodyguard, I can hire an adventurer there.”
“If I request of His Majesty, I could have him assign me as your bodyguard—” (Ilias)
Ilias choked on her words. That’s because she can’t say for sure. I know the reason for that.
“You have finally noticed after getting that far, huh. There’s no assurance that Marito will be assigning you as a bodyguard any more than this.”
Ilias was assigned to protect me after the threat of Raheight was made clear. However, she failed. Even if it was against 3, she had her attention taken protecting the people around, leading her target of protection to be kidnapped and used as a tool for extortion.
The result is that I came out fine, but her evaluation was most likely not good. Even so, it is not like the actions of Ilias were wrong. When Girista tried to attack the people around, I was the one who urged her to stop her. At the very least, there wouldn’t have been anyone who would be able to make the decision of letting all the citizens there die.
Marito and Lord Ragudo might not have hesitated, but I am a young man with a strong sense of justice, you see. By the way, her bodyguard mission has not been taken back as of present, but she hasn’t been given permission to enter the room where Marito is. Ilias should be able to tell that Marito is angry at her with just that much.
“…Right. He is kind with just there being no blame.” (Ilias)
“I personally would find it reassuring if you were to come, Ilias. I would need to convince Marito for that.”
Convincing Marito is one difficult endeavor. He is showing me a super friendly attitude, but he is actually a man that doesn’t back off when he doesn’t want to.
Of course, with the standing of Ilias, it would end with just the first refusal. There’s not even room for negotiation between a king and a mere knight. The only one with a chance would be me who is being treated as a friend.
“Fortunately, Marito has requested time from me. I plan on doing everything I can until then. But don’t hold any expectations.”
“…Yeah, got it.” (Ilias)
Ilias looks really down here.
She has only been doing patrol work until now, so she hasn’t failed in work with responsibility. It would be one thing if it were the frustration of being discriminated against as a woman, but her own achievements didn’t bear fruit here. The shock of this not being the fault of others but her own must be big.
If I can get a bodyguard, it would of course be great if it were Ilias. I can trust in her skills and I am close to her. She certainly did show naive sides in her decision making as a bodyguard, but she has no Taizu citizens she has to protect at Gahne. There’s no possibility for her to make the same mistake.
I wouldn’t like to part from her while she is feeling down. I want to do something for her.
“—Want to check the garden?”
The garden is a good place for a change of mood. It makes sense Marito would be so proud of that place, your heart calms just by being there. Ilias doesn’t have the habit of appreciating flowers, but it should serve as a diversion.
—That’s good and all, but I am hungry. Let’s go get some light food first.
We showed ourselves at the kitchen of the castle. There’s a lot of staff members working busily today. It is not only food for the king. They have to prepare meals for the knights working in the castle, the high officials, and the sentries.
Food is brought out for us when we come to the castle, but in the case when we come at a weird time, we would show up at the kitchen like this to get some simple scraps. Thanks to that, I am pretty close to the old man in the kitchen.
“Old man, I have come again.”
“Ooh, the young man His Majesty likes, huh. Woah, the one by your side, ain’t that Lady Ratzel?”
“Yeah, sorry for intruding.” (Ilias)
“No, no, are you hungry too, Lady Ratzel? Since there’s the opportunity, I will cook up something for you.”
“No, I—” (Ilias)
“Just tag along since you are here already. It would be tasteless to just eat alone and have you stare, right?”
“…Got it. I will only eat a bit.” (Ilias)
The cooking here is obviously tasty. They barely use salt, so it doesn’t pack too much of a punch, but their cooking technique is quite the thing to behold.
We place the simple meal on the tray and move to the backyard. It is a palace where the staff members would take breaks in, but there’s currently no one here and it is silent. It is not a garden made to be seen by people, but even though it is small, the flower beds are taken care of, and it soothes the heart of the people who see them.
“It is small compared to the garden of Marito, but this has its own flavor.”
It doesn’t seem like her mind is here. There wasn’t much effect even when I brought her to the garden of Marito.
If I were a warrior, I could accompany her for some distraction, but my body wouldn’t last with Ilias as my opponent. The ones who can accompany Ilias would be Lord Ragudo and the other Knight Captains, but because of the situation, it is hard to invite them.
If Ilias were the average girl like Saira, I would know a few ways to entertain her, but…right, let’s ask Saira.
“Huff, huff, fuuh.”
Just when I was thinking, a young maid was carrying a whole ton of gardening tools. Looks like she is someone who tends this backyard.
“Wawawa?! Lady Ratzel?! Also, uhm…”
“—A counselor candidate.”
I have actually become a counselor candidate. This may be a bit too late, but isn’t counselor <尚書 (Shousho)> a bit too old of a word? Rakura has gotten used to calling me a counselor though. I learned about how this word was used in China in a book when I was living in Japan. <TLN: It means minister in Chinese and somewhat of a secretary in Japanese. It is such a complicated word, most translations leave it as just candidate and shousho is completely gone, lol.>
Maybe due to this, there’s terms that are not used nowadays being used here and there in the possession spell of Maya-san. There won’t be any issues once I learn the language of this world, but it is taking time to learn.
Right, if I am going to Gahne, I have to think of a way to maintain the possession spell. If Marito points that out, it will be more difficult to go to Gahne.
“Uhm, then should I call you Counselor Candidate-sama…”
“If you do, I would end up having to call you Backyard Maid-san. It is not like my post was added to me, so you don’t need to be so formal.”
“Ahaha, then, can I call you Onii-san?”
A maid calling me Onii-san, huh. I feel like it doesn’t match the supply and demand, but it is not bad. There’s a lot of old men that call me Nii-chan, so let’s accept this as increasing the female rate.
“Okay. Then what about you, Backyard Maid-san?”
“My name is Ruko. I am inexperienced, but I am serving as an errand girl in this castle.” (Ruko)
I would say she is a bit older than Ilias, somewhere around the same age as Rakura and Marito. But I feel like it has been a while since I have met a girly girl.
Ilias, Rakura, Girista, Lilisa —was Raheight on the inside, so let’s forget about that one.
“You are an errand girl, and yet, you are tending the backyard?”
“I am being allowed to do this as a hobby of mine in my break time. I like gardening and I raise flowers at my house too. This place had nothing and it felt lonely after all…” (Ruko)
“I can tell you have done a thorough job here even with my untrained eyes. You like it and your skills are not bad. You could just look after the garden of Mari—His Majesty.”
“Not at all! That garden is beloved by His Majesty and the top artisans of Taizu are taking care of it!” (Ruko)
Speaking of which, I think he did say that. Well, we are talking about Marito who likes gardening. He wouldn’t leave the garden he is so proud of to someone just because they are somewhat good.
“But don’t you long for a garden like that?”
“Of course. There are times when I would even have dreams about getting involved in a part of it.” (Ruko)
Even if she is not as passionate as Saira, it isn’t bad to see someone holding aspirations. Just how many years has she spent in order to obtain this much skill while spending the free times of her days? Her choice of flowers and their positioning; she has placed care for them to look beautiful when people are taking a break to watch them.
Even though it should be a lot of work to take care of a different type of flower in the same flower bed. It falls short compared to that extravagant garden, but this has its own charm.
“This is perfect to watch when you are on a break. Is it okay if I come every now and then to check it out?”
“Of course. Do you like gardening too, Onii-san?” (Ruko)
“It is just the preference of a novice. It is not to the point of being good at it. I am raising vegetables in a small planter at home.”
“That’s nice! I am mainly flowers, but I would sometimes raise vegetables too!” (Ruko)
“If there were a maid doing her best raising vegetables at your age, I would be telling His Majesty to raise your salary.”
“Ahaha, you are a brave one, Onii-san.” (Ruko)
I had a full blown conversation with Ruko, but Ilias barely joined in. Even though they are of close age… Doesn’t she want to get—it can’t be helped in her current mood, huh.
Ruko must have noticed the state of Ilias, she is actively trying to not throw the conversation at her. But she really must be bothered by it. She asked me in a whisper.
“Excuse me, Onii-san, why is Lady Ratzel feeling so down?” (Ruko)
“She made a certain mistake and has betrayed the expectations of someone. She is feeling down because of that.”
“That’s why… She must be a delicate one.” (Ruko)
“In a sense. Right, do you know what kind of flowers to give a person like that?”
It is not bribing, but it might not be bad to bring a gift of sorts in my negotiation with Marito. I am sure he would bite immediately if I were to tell him I am staying permanently, but I would like to avoid such heavy things.
“Let’s see…hmm. If you give me time, I will prepare them for you… What kind of person are they?” (Ruko)
Should I bring out the name of Marito here? She might end up refusing saying that it is too much of an honor. But if she is going to go through the trouble of preparing it, I would like to provide the proper information.
“—Someone like His Majesty. By the way, they like gardening too.”
“Oh my. In that case, a potted plant might do the job.” (Ruko)
“Aah, he did say he wanted to keep a plant in his room.”
With this and that, we managed to ready a nice gift. I doubt he is going to have a change of heart from just a single gift, but there should be a little relaxation effect from this.
“Ah, it is already this late! My break time will be over!” (Ruko)
“I ended up taking your time. I had free time here, so I will help out.”
“Thank you very much, Onii-san!” (Ruko)
We both finished the tending, and after carrying back the tools to the storehouse, we bid farewell to Ruko.
That said, Ilias would normally help out at least. She must be resisting quite a lot here. Would it have been better if I hadn’t told her? But I will be doing my preparations to leave for Gahne sooner or later.
Hide everything and convince Marito by the appointed day… That might have been an option, but Ilias hates to be kept in the dark. I would like her to learn a bit of the free way of life of Rakura… Never mind, I wouldn’t want that.