Atelier Tanaka Volume 3 Chapter 4 part9
“P-Prime Minister! What is the meaning of this!?”
The loli bitch raised her voice in front of the King.
“I created these condition only after receiving His Majesty’s approval. Now that the official procedures have begun, they cannot be changed. The title of baron shall now be bestowed upon this man and he shall be required to uphold the honour and integrity of his position. He must live his life in accordance with these conditions.”
“Your Majesty, are you satisfied with these conditions?”
The old man bowed to the King.
Beside me, I could see the loli bitch trying to restrain herself.
I wonder if the Prime Minister and the FitzClarence family are at odds with each other. This is a common occurrence in medieval fantasy novels. A large noble family is in constant conflict with a corrupt and powerful official from the government. The worst thing I could do would be get caught in between them.
The loli bitch suddenly spoke up.
Fight, loli bitch.
You can do it, loli bitch.
Preserve my happy life with Sophia-chan.
Have I ever cheered her on in the past? I’d honestly like to openly cheer her on, but I’m sure if I speak now it would just cause me more problems. This time is reserved for the nobles. I commoner like me shouldn’t speak.
Or, if my suspicions are correct, it may be exactly what that old man wants.
“The conditions the Prime Minister are ridiculous! They’re impossible to meet!”
“Viscount FitzClarence, you will refrain from such childish outbursts in front of His Majesty. You are a nobleman with the title of viscount. You should be more than capable of helping this man meet all of the conditions I’ve laid out. Or did you have His Majesty make these arrangements with no intention of putting any effort in yourself?”
“S-Still, it’s just too much! It r-really is impossible! First off, why is the Prime Minister the one creating the conditions!? You say I’m acting childish but only a child asks for the impossible!”
You know, Ester-chan….
This might be too much even for the daughter of one of the Great Noble families.
“If you’re finished, I’d like to continue.”
The old man said this while staring down Ester-chan.
“His Majesty is already being quite generous by even allowing a foreigner to have a chance at joining the nobility. There are several others – some of which, many would consider more deserving than this man – that desire that position being granted to him. Even if we put that aside, this man is a strange foreigner we know nothing about. We don’t know where he was born or who his family is. It was already an unreasonable request to grant such a person the title of baron. You are a member of the FitzClarence family so I’m sure you can understand.”
“Even so, I-I can’t accept those conditions!”
“You should be on your knees thanking His Majesty for his grand generosity. Instead, you’re just making a disgrace of yourself and embarrassing your family. If this man is as great as you claim, he should have no problem meeting each of these conditions. Or do you not believe in him?”
The loli bitch is too weak.
He calls her belief in my abilities into doubt and she immediately falls silent. Besides, what the old man says is right. Ester-chan basically forced herself, and me, to the front of a long line. It would probably be best for me to politely bow and apologize.
I wonder what kind of father allows his daughter to get herself into situations like this.
I guess I really don’t have to wonder.
It says a lot that in all the time I’ve known Ester-chan I’ve never seen her father.
“Viscount FitzClarence, this matter has already been decided. I’m amazed that you, the daughter of a noble family in the Penny Empire, don’t seem to understand how serious your request was. I’m actually impressed that you’d come here when you clearly know so little.”
Ester-chan was unable to argue against any of his points. When we were with Drill-chan, Ester-chan acted like a proud, powerful noble, but I guess she’s not quite ready to deal with someone like him.
The King, who had remained silent so far, finally spoke.
“Everyone, be silent.”
While the loli bitch was being insulted by the old man, it seems like he’s come to a decision.
Silence filled the great hall.
But then Ester-chan spoke once more.
And this time it was to the King directly.
“Y-Your Majesty! Please…please wait!”
“Viscount FitzClarence, your King has demanded silence!”
The Prime Minister acted like Ester-chan had committed some terrible offense, but the King barely even noticed her objection. Still, the Prime Minister’s words seemed to have an effect on Ester-chan and she held back whatever she was going to say.
I’m sure the King earned a lot of hatred from the nobles after agreeing to the loli bitch’s request. That’s only natural. I wonder if Ester-chan’s dad played any part in the King’s decision.
“Your name, I believe it is Tanaka.”
“Raise your head.”
God, I feel so helpless.
I can’t do anything now but nod and follow his instructions. Especially after seeing everything that’s happened so far. I know everything has already been decided. I’ve been caught up in the loli bitch’s plans and the old man’s plans, and now I’m stuck.
“As the thirty-ninth king of the great Penny Empire, I grant you the title of Baron.”
Something so momentous is happening and all I can do is say ‘Yes!’
“The conditions that have been set for you may be challenging, but I’m expecting you to put up a good fight.”
Like this, I was granted the title of baron.
That entire audience was about me but I feel like I was the only one that didn’t really understand what just happened.
We were now in the waiting room with Christina.
“It’s absurd! W-What’s with that condition!? Why was he the one in charge of making the conditions anyway!?”
Ester-chan was venting to nobody in particular.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen her this angry.
Because it’s now just the three of us, she’s returned to normal. She must really have a hard time dealing with the Prime Minister.
“Ester-san, I’d like to ask you something. Is that okay?”
“What kind of place is this ‘Radius Grassland?'”
It looked like this was hard for the loli bitch to talk about. Her eyes were even getting watery.
Or maybe that’s how her eyes always are.
“Is it very far away?”
“T-That’s not the issue. It’s actually next to my territory.”
“Oi, you let this human female prattle on and on, and yet, you won’t even acknowledge me. Are your ears broken? Do you want me to kill you?”
“But, i-it’s genuinely impossible. I mean how…. Oh, right, you don’t know. You’re from another country….”
“Can you tell me why this is so bad?”
I thought she’d be happy that my territory is so close to hers.
“Radius Grassland is where we last fought.”
“So, the place where the Twilight Company set up their camp…?”
It sits along the border with the Pussy Republic. I’m guessing the Penny Empire gained control over it after the conflict was settled. It’s probably not great that my territory borders a hostile country, but we are at peace currently.
“…oi, are you listening to me?”
“Well, there was grass growing there so the land must have some use. We could grow crops and even without using fertilizer they should grow extremely well.”
The land there is soaked with the blood of the slain soldiers which should act as a good fertilizer.
It’s a bit of a morbid thought and I’d rather not make a beautiful girl think about it.
“That’s true. The land itself isn’t so terrible, and now that the conflict with the Pussy Republic has been settled, you wouldn’t have to worry about any border conflicts. If you take your time and put in the effort, it’s not impossible, but….”
“…the chances are still slim.”
“Oi…Tanaka, you can’t keep ignoring me!”
Christina stood up and aimed a punch right at my stomach.
I held out my hand and conjured volleyball sized fireballs in front of her face.
The unpleasant smell of burning hair filled my nostrils.
“The territory you were granted was won by the Penny Empire in the conflict.”
So my assumption was right.
“That may sound good at first, but I was able to see every inch of that land from atop the hill during the battle. The nobility has to pay taxes every three months. You’d need to be able to earn a minimum of fifty gold coins per month.”
That’s the amount the noble mage paid me to come visit him at his home. It’s probably not much to a noble. Even to a lower noble, that amount is probably nothing. But fifty gold per month seems impossible for me.
“Is there really nothing else here? No city or villages?”
So this is why Ester-chan was so upset.
I seem to have been given a task much more difficult than I could’ve imagined. The grassland turned battlefield was flanked by hills and forests. To the North was the Pussy Republic and the South the Penny Empire. It’s like my territory sits in a bowl.
I wonder how far my hand can reach towards Pussy before I get bit. But based off what Ester-chan has said the border to the Pussy Republic seems close.
Well, if I think of this as a city building game, I need to start with the basics. Without them, I won’t even be able to make fifty gold.
“Why are you…. A-Are you doing this to tease me!? Oi!”
With the rewards I received from the King, I could cover the taxes and make the payment on time. However, this would violate one of the conditions. I’m sure this was meant to stop Ester-chan from paying the taxes for me.
Anyway, I need to find a way to make fifty gold per month using only what my territory has to offer.
“If there were a trade port here or a large city it would be possible, but there’s nothing here but grass. It’s impossible for you to make fifty gold with just this!”
It was rare to see the blonde loli so hopeless.
Seeing a usually headstrong girl act so timid pulled on my heartstrings.
But such is the heart of a virgin.
“Thank you, Ester-san. I have a better understanding of my situation now.”
“I’m sorry…. I’ve put you in a terrible position….”
She has nothing to worry about. If things don’t work out she can just return to Allen. Personally, I recommend that route.
“…listen to me.” [Christina]
“It’s fine. You just wanted to do something good for me.”
“But, i-if you fail you’ll become a slave!”
“Yeah, that’s true.”
Becoming a slave might be the best outcome if I fail. The alternative is execution, and, to be honest, just killing me outright would be much easier for the Prime Minister and whoever he’s working with.
“You might be sold to someone outside the country….”
“If I were to become a slave, I’d appreciate it if you bought me.”
Ester-chan’s eyes opened wide.
“D-Don’t even speak like that! You won’t become a slave!”
She hesitated for a moment.
This damn loli.
She quickly wiped away some drool that was coming out of her mouth. This is dangerous. A non-virgin would be able to do whatever she wants with me. It’s too dangerous.
What would happen to my body if she bought me?
My masochistic heart’s been stimulated.
My delusions slowly started to take shop. All right, tonight’s menu has been decided.
“I don’t just plan on giving up. Most importantly, the person I care for the most is in this country. I couldn’t stand to be apart from them. I’ll do whatever I can to succeed.”
Ester-chan was still wiping away her drool with her sleeve.
According to Ester-chan, the taxes will next be due at the end of next month. I have a little bit of time to get things started.
“I’ll do something.”
“But, t-this is all my fault….”
“…s-stop ignoring me. I really will kill you…. Do you want me to kill you?”
The territory I received doesn’t have any population and most of its land is covered by dozens of bodies.
What should I do?