First day of the inspection in Gahne, around the circumference of the 1st layer.
It is the edge layer, but if they don’t name the 1st layer beginning from the inside, they would need to change the name of the layers each time a layer is increased.
I asked the government official about this, and it is apparently because changing the names every so often makes them aware of a change in the era.
I can easily imagine a conservative king shouting ‘Who created such a hassle of a method?!’ when they take the throne.
“*Sob* *Sob*… Why even me…? Even though it should have been a simple job of giving food to the Spirit-san possessing the Counselor-sama…” (Rakura)
“It was a decision after concluding that you might drop the reputation of Taizu if you were to be left in the manor.”
“Isn’t it okay to drink some alcohol?! There were a whole lot of good brand drinks there, you know?!” (Rakura)
“It would be one thing if you were to ask the servants, but I have no words to protect someone who steals.”
I am having Rakura write down the conversation I am having with the government official.
I can have a general understanding of what was said after I get an explanation, but there are often times when I wouldn’t be able to remember the small details.
As such, a record of the conversation is useful.
I would actually want to record only the important parts, but ‘adaptive’ doesn’t exist in the dictionary of Rakura.
And so, I am making her write every detail down.
“At that time, Counselor-sama said: Rakura, you must be tired already for today. You can go take a break now. Also, I will look after you for the rest of your life…” (Rakura)
“If you submit a false record to Marito, the rest of your life will end immediately. He knows how terrible of a person you are and dislikes you after all.”
“King Marito is a cold person. Sob sob.” (Rakura)
“Not really, Rakura-dono. Nii-sama simply instinctively spits and gets riled up when seeing someone that troubles Mister Friend.” (Mix)
“Hiiih, Mix-chan is explaining to me without a drop of kindness!” (Rakura)
“Sorry about that. But I like Rakura-dono! I feel a sense of closeness from how you are honest to yourself!” (Mix)
“I-I like you a whole ton too, Mix-chan!” (Rakura)
What’s with these two? -is the face I made. Ilias and the government official-san also had a similar reaction.
Wolfe was observing as she trained with the chain in her hand.
It is a special item made from the man raised by a Great Devil, Ekdoik, and it can change its appearance depending on the property of the mana.
At some point in time, she managed to attach and detach the chains, making it possible for her to train whenever she has the time.
She still hasn’t delved into advanced techniques like changing the property of the mana, but it seems like her training to move the chains freely is going well.
There was a time when I wanted Rakura to eat the dust, but I am satisfied right now with just Wolfe not being poisoned by Rakura.
“At any rate, we have advanced to the fence that separates the 1st and the 2nd layer, but it is pretty much the same sight.”
The 1st layer didn’t have that much population.
This layer is currently in development, so there is frequent work on drawing water from the river with waterways and cultivating the fields.
The amount of houses increase as we approach the 2nd layer, but there’s already places where they are demolishing houses and building new ones.
The 1st layer feels like watching civilization in the making in real time.
If I had to mention a difference, it would be that I feel like the scale of the construction work at the upper stream of the river is more careful.
They must be proceeding their construction work with care because it is water that has already been used by the other layers.
The river width is a bit over 300 meters.
What stands out about this is that soldiers are stationed permanently at the riversides, and keeping surveillance on it.
Throwing trash in the river is a felony in this country, and throwing trash in the grounds of the king is the same as disrespecting the king.
Due to laws like that existing, the maintenance at the berths is apparently pretty thorough.
I remembered after thinking about water, but what I felt unique in this world that has a similar culture to that of the medieval west aside from magic was the toilet.
Toilets exist in Taizu and Gahne.
I have not asked whether Mejis have or not, but Rakura not finding the existence of toilets as being strange must mean they have them too.
It doesn’t go as far as flushing, but the scooping toilets have improved the hygienic side of the nation greatly.
The substitute for toilet paper is a leaf with nice texture which feels extremely off, but it is better than a wooden stick.
The use of manure as a fertilizer apparently was spread at an early stage, and their technique to retrieve it is also high.
They have the blessing of stuff like magic and magical ores to deal with the smell, so there’s even places that are more hygienic than your regular flushing toilet.
I hypothesize the differences here stem from the influence of the man that came to this world, Yugura Nariya.
The infrastructures were of high level even in the Edo Period after all.
It wouldn’t be strange for things to turn out like this if a person from 100 years ago spreads their culture.
This world is extremely convenient in the eyes of a person from the modern era because you can manage something with the power of fantasy for the things that are missing.
“How is Gahne compared to Taizu, Ilias?”
“Right. If we are speaking solely about scale and facilities, it would be far above Taizu. But Taizu has its own good points. That, I won’t yield on.” (Ilias)
“Good answer. It is true that Taizu is small compared to Gahne, but it has a feeling of relief from being cleanly arranged.”
If Gahne is a nation of growth that expands endlessly, Taizu would be a completed traditional nation.
Both are good in their own way. But if we are talking about the increase in population, Gahne certainly does have a strong foundation.
“If it is about wanting to witness the sight of a country being made in one go, it would be Gahne. It was worth coming here from far away regardless if it was for my job as a bodyguard. There’s a lot that can be learned.” (Ilias)
“That’s good. If only Rakura were to become as admirable as you, I would be truly grateful.”
“That would be a difficult endeavor.” (Ilias)
I look at where Rakura is and she is sleeping comfortably as she is being shaken inside the carriage.
I have made a promise with Ekdoik to increase her reputation… Looks like I will have to begin thinking seriously about it once I return from Gahne.
“Mix, Rakura got bored and fell asleep. Be her conversation partner.”
“Understood, Mister Friend. Now, Rakura-dono, let’s talk about Gahne~!” (Mix)
I couldn’t forgive her sleeping, so I threw Mix at her.
The back got noisy from this, but it reduced my sourness, so that’s okay.
We traveled at a high pace here, but we couldn’t traverse through the whole area of the 1st layer in detail.
We advanced through the riverside and the streetside, but the territory is way too expansive.
We departed in the morning and returned to the manor after the sun had sunk completely.
It is barely any different from the distance we had to travel to Gahne. No, the whole country is plains, so there’s no shade. I actually feel like my stamina has drained quite a lot here.
It seems like Ludfein-san was waiting for our return at the entrance of the manor.
We returned more than one hour later than planned, and yet, her face doesn’t look like she is tired or numb.
“Good work. How was your inspection?” (Ludfein)
“It was just the first day, but it was really educational. It seems like we have made you wait, Ludfein-san. My apologies.”
“Don’t worry about it. My work today is over after welcoming you all.” (Ludfein)
“It bothers me just from the point that you will be returning late.”
“Fufu, I am plenty happy with the gesture alone. Right, I have been left with a message from His Majesty.” (Ludfein)
“A message? What is it?”
It doesn’t seem to be that important judging from the expression of Ludfein-san, but is it about changing the schedule or something like that?
“Just one thing: ‘Welcome back’.” (Ludfein)
“‘Yes, I’m home’…?!”
I responded by habit there, but that just now…there’s no mistake.
“Mister Friend, were those words just now some sort of incantation? ‘Okaerinai’, ‘Tadama’… Never heard of those words before.” (Mix)
I look at the faces of the people around. They don’t understand the meaning of the words just now.
That just now was without doubt Japanese.
“‘Who in the world are you? What do you know?!’”
I couldn’t endure it and ask this in Japanese.
It has been a while since I have spoken in Japanese, but I can use it without much issue if I just concentrate on it.
The possession spell’s translation chooses the language that is etched in the mana that can be felt from the other party unconsciously as it relays it.
That goes the same for when listening. It apparently can translate several languages at the same time.
But the language of Ludfein-san felt like it had Japanese mixed in the middle of it.
To be more precise, it felt off, as if the possession spell couldn’t translate it.
“…? My apologies, but I don’t know what you said…” (Ludfein)
Ludfein-san is making a flustered face. Right, that just now was a message from the king of Gahne.
The pronunciation was somewhat awkward. She most likely just repeated the words that were told to her.
“—Speaking of which, those were the words from the king of Gahne. Sorry for losing myself there.”
“No, if it is alright with you, can you please tell me the meaning of that code just now? His Majesty said that you would understand if you were told this, but judging from how surprised you were, maybe I was made to say something rude…?” (Ludfein)
“—It meant: Welcome back. Words from my homeland.”
It seems like the others who know my circumstances understood the meaning of that exchange just now.
The king of Gahne knows a greeting from Earth, moreover, a Japanese one.
Is he an Earthling, or is he someone who knows a lot about Earth?
No, I should be focusing on the fact that he tried to greet me with Japanese.
“Is that so. But you seemed to be really surprised despite that though…” (Ludfein)
“Of course I would be surprised if I am suddenly greeted in my home language. Could it be that the king of Gahne has black hair and black eyes too?”
“No, but when he heard about your appearance, he told me to tell you those words just now.” (Ludfein)
Fumu, my defining traits would be black hair and black eyes.
It should be safe to assume that they guessed I am a Japanese person from Earth with that information.
But he was not certain. That’s why he tested me in this way.
Many people say my appearance resembles that of demons when they don’t know about Earth.
The king should have suspected this first instead of linking it to an Earthling.
He already saw through my mana via Ludfein-san?
But I can’t be certain with just that. I should investigate more.
However, they tried to see whether I am an Earthling or not. I think of what that means.
It means that the king of Gahne is someone who knows about the existence of an Earthling in Taizu.
The ones who currently know about this are the Pope of Mejis, the king of Taizu, and Raheight.
Marito made negotiations while hiding my origins.
I find it hard to believe that Pope Euparo, who said he would be thinking about it after returning to his country, would explain the situation to Gahne to rely on them while he is on his way back.
By process of elimination, the king of Gahne knows this information through Raheight.
Or maybe he is Raheight himself… No, that’s not possible.
Raheight had infiltrated Mejis as a priest before. Leaving his country for such a long period of time wouldn’t be just on the level of suspicious.
I have been seen at Taizu to begin with.
It wouldn’t be strange for him to take action immediately after being told about my appearance.
I doubt he would go through the trouble of confirming it in such a roundabout manner.
Someone who is connected to Raheight and is a king.
Wow, I only smell bad news from this.
…I should try shaking them as well.
The reason why he is doing an action like this is most likely because he is trying to test us.
Looks like he hasn’t explained the situation to Ludfein-san. She doesn’t hold clear malice or hostility.
“It seems like the king of Gahne likes pranks.”
“Y-Yeah, he is a pretty playful one.” (Ludfein)
“Then, is it okay for me to send a response to him as a light greeting?”
“I don’t mind. But I don’t know if I can correctly relay too long of a message.” (Ludfein)
“It is short, so don’t worry.”
I told the Japanese words to Ludfein-san.
She repeated it several times, and after getting my confirmation, she left the residence.
“But…what do we do about this?”
“You have quite the grim expression there. Did you discover something from the exchange just now?” (Ilias)
“Yeah, it is safe to assume that the king of Gahne and Raheight are connected in one way or another.”
The questioning looks from Ilias and Mix changed to that of a knight and adventurer.
That swift shift is truly reliable as bodyguards.
“Mister Friend, could you tell me in detail?” (Mix)
I tell them about my train of thoughts just now.
When I told them the reason they assumed I am an Earthling was because they knew beforehand that an Earthling was in Taizu, they nodded in understanding.
“I see. Your appearance is certainly rare, Mister Friend. If he was making a decision just from legends and rumors, he would first suspect that you are a demon.” (Mix)
“However, that just now was a test to see whether you are an Earthling. The ones who can connect you to an Earthling before a demon are His Majesty, Pope Euparo, and Raheight.” (Ilias)
“Don’t repeat what I just said as if you were the ones who deduced it just now.”
“They really just parroted the same words as Counselor-sama.” (Rakura)
“Even Wolfe can do that.” (Wolfe)
The two avert their gazes. I take back what I thought just now about them being reliable.
“And so, what did you tell Ludfein-dono at the end, Mister Friend?” (Mix)
“Words that test him too. If he only knows simple greetings, he will be tilting his head in confusion. If he understands the meaning, those words will make him have no choice but to take action.”
“I see. So, what did you say?” (Mix)
“…I don’t hate that attitude of yours of not trying to think about it yourself one bit.”
I sigh lightly at Mix who is looking embarrassed here and doesn’t understand sarcasm at all.
Am I the one at fault for not explaining it in an easy to understand manner? That must be it.
“Ludfein-san said she doesn’t have any more work after this, but there’s no doubt she will be going to the king of Gahne to report this. If he understands my message, he will be making a move by tonight at earliest.”
“So, what did you say?” (Mix)
“Is this the time to be keeping secrets? Mix-sama and I are your bodyguards. We have to understand your actions in order to read what the other party will be doing, you know?” (Ilias)
It hurts if you point that out. It was a pretty strong comment, so I don’t really want to say it because I feel like they will get angry at me.
“You must have said something crazy again. I won’t get that angry, so tell me.” (Ilias)
“So it is set that you will be getting angry?!”
“Because I know that, most of the time, what you do in situations like this will hurt my conscience!” (Ilias)
Muuh, this isn’t an atmosphere where I can just leave things hazy. Let’s give up.
Hehe, Ilias has already gotten completely accustomed here… I don’t know if I should be happy or sad about this.
“If I translate it, it would be… ‘I have something to talk with you about’.”
“Don’t purposely leave it unclear. Just say it clearly.” (Ilias)
“…‘Demon Lord, I have something to talk with you about’.”
“Alright, sit on your knees on top of that stone floor. Let’s place a full wine cask on your lap until you finish explaining everything.” (Ilias)
“Wait, that’s torture. It is not something a bodyguard should do.”
The eyes of Ilias are blank. It seems like she really is angry.
“Mister Friend, I was told by Ani-sama that you are someone who pulls crazy stuff, so to be careful, but…but I like you!” (Mix)
“I don’t need that outrageous confession, so stop Ilias!”
“Shishou, you seem to be in a pickle.” (Wolfe)
“Even Wolfe’s voice is dry?!”
I managed to avoid carrying a wine barrel, but I began explaining to them while still on my knees.
“There’s no doubt Raheight was moving for the sake of the Demon Lords. A guy like that would only be reporting to the Demon Lords or the demons under their rule. Raheight is cooperating because he wants to be turned into a demon. The only ones he would be able to form a deal like that with are either the Demon Lords themselves or the demons that are their retainers, right?”
“Right. Continue.” (Ilias)
“Yes. I have already explained how I can infer that the Gahne king obtained the information from Raheight from the fact that he tried to test out whether I am an Earthling, right?”
“Yeah. Meaning that the king of Gahne could only be someone above Raheight. Either a Demon Lord or a demon?” (Ilias)
“No, if that were the case, there’s a discrepancy with his way of interacting with me. Raheight sent assassins my way.”
He of course must have heard about how Raheight tried to get rid of me.
However, the Gahne king tried to test me when he heard about my appearance.
If he had heard about me in detail from Raheight, he should have been close to certain.
“There’s no doubt the one above Raheight is the one who ordered him to retrieve the book. There’s information that’s detrimental for the Demon Lords if it were to be deciphered after all.”
“Fumu, he made it so you were attacked after leaking to Mejis that you can read the book. If the king of Gahne is a demon that has pledged loyalty to the Demon Lords, he would be antagonistic towards you. It feels weird that he would leisurely try to test you out.” (Ilias)
“Even if the superior of Raheight is a Demon Lord, Raheight has seen my face. That’s why there’s no need to go through the trouble of testing me out. They can just confirm with Raheight after all.”
“Right… No, but isn’t that weird then? Despite knowing about the report of Raheight, he isn’t in a position to give orders to Raheight. That doesn’t fit.” (Ilias)
“It does. The chances are high that he heard about me from the superior of Raheight. That’s why, despite knowing that there’s an Earthling in Taizu, he didn’t know my exact appearance.”
“…That certainly would fit their connection.” (Ilias)
“It should be safe to assume that the king of Gahne who managed to obtain this information is someone on the same rank as the superior of Raheight. The biggest one I can think of is a Demon Lord.”
Ilias began to arrange her thoughts inside her head.
Mix is nodding here, but I can see question marks floating on top of her head.
“I can’t deny the possibility that he might be a demon. However, if it is on the level where he can understand Japanese, I thought the chances are higher that he would be a Demon Lord connected to Yugura Nariya who is said to have created the Demon Lords. That said, this is pretty much a bluff. It simply would be nice if I am right.”
“Even after explaining the reason for that way too outrageous action, you are not sure in the end?!” (Ilias)
“Even if he doesn’t understand my message, he will be able to tell that I am indeed an Earthling. In the case they understand, they will most likely try to make contact with me. He is a Demon Lord that went through the trouble of testing me after all. Even if he is a demon, he will be taking a similar action. If I am wrong, the chances are high that he will try to fix the misunderstanding. There’s no king who wouldn’t be troubled about an envoy of a foreign country assuming you are a Demon Lord after all.”
“Mister Friend, that last summary would have sufficed.” (Mix)
“It is because I was told to explain everything, so I explained it all, beginning from my train of thoughts. If I was asked to be brief, I would have gone with the summary just now.”
Ilias gets angry if I just jump the process and speak only the conclusion.
It can’t be helped that it ended up being long.
“In the end, what should we be doing from here on?” (Ilias)
After making someone explain everything, Ilias still threw everything to me.
I feel like this one won’t be changing in the future either.
“That depends on the king of Gahne. If he is guilty, he will act by today at the earliest; if not, he will be showing some sort of action somewhere around tomorrow. That’s the gist of it, so do your best as bodyguards today.”
“You are one unbelievable guy…” (Ilias)
There’s the possibility that he will be taking his time observing us.
However, that thought was denied promptly.
Ludfein-san appeared in the manor again that night.
“My apologies for showing up this late in the night. His Majesty has ordered me to guide you to the Gahne Castle at once. Sorry for the inconvenience, but I ask you to accompany me.”