Atelier Tanaka Volume 4 Chapter 2 part2
Territory Pioneering 2
[Sophia-chan’s point of view]
The meeting in the drawing room had now ended at the request of Fahren-sama. Nannuzzi-sama and the Elf-san had left the room leaving me alone with Fahren-sama and the Dragon-san. This wasn’t much of an improvement, however, as it was now just a disobedient commoner alone with a powerful noble.
Pangs of regret racked my body.
Why did I even say anything?
I’ve noticed recently that I’ve been speaking out of turn around people that are far superior to me. Someone with my upbringing should know better than to ever directly confront an aristocrat, but living with Tanaka-san has caused me to disregard everything I’ve learned as a commoner in this city.
How did I ever convince myself that I’d be able to do anything?
“I was a direct witness to the event, she had just given an amazing presentation on a subject that may very well increase the magic strength of our country exponentially, and not to mention the fact that you’re a commoner and she’s a noble. As the director of this academy, I can’t overlook this. I doubt you’ll be able to get out of this without receiving at least ten lashes.”
We were still in the same parlour.
“But you are that man’s maid….”
This is worse than that time when Tanaka-san and Ester-sama helped me in the cafeteria. I think I might do more than just pee. And this woman isn’t a student. She’s a noblewoman and a respected researcher.
The pounding coming from my chest was so loud now I’m sure they can hear.
“Why did you even suggest she stole her research in the first place?”
He’s staring right at me.
Fahren-sama’s face is about eighty percent scarier than normal right now.
I’ll just have to tell him.
I’ll tell him everything I know.
“I-I-I-I was visiting the faculty building when I just h-happened to be passing by one of the offices reserved for the nobility and I n-noticed the door was open and I couldn’t help but overhear a woman talking inside and, umm…that voice belonged to the woman from before….” (TN: Sophia is supposed to be rambling here without really stopping to take a breath.)
“Are you telling the truth? You’re not trying to deceive me, are you?”
“I-I would never do that!’
I stood up from the sofa and bowed my head.
“I’m certain that the voice belonged to Nannuzzi-sama!”
“Do you have any evidence? Is there a possibility that you’ve mistaken another voice for hers? Did you even see her face?”
“N-No, well…I don’t really have any evidence, but umm….”
“That Nannuzzi woman won’t take this lightly. She was born a commoner and has worked her way up into the ranks of the nobility. She married into a merchant house and this research of hers, stolen or otherwise, stands to increase their wealth and power greatly.”
Ah, I can’t raise my head.
I’m too terrified to think about what he might say next. If I try to stand up straight I’m certain my legs will give out on me. I’m crying, sweating, my nose is running. There’s liquid coming out of almost every hole in my body.
I can’t see his face right now, but his voice didn’t sound angry or reproachful. What is he going to do?
How long have I been standing like this now?
“Well, nothing can be decided during his absence.”
“…are you talking about T-Tanaka-san?”
I raised my head slightly.
Of course, Tanaka-san.
It’s always Tanaka-san.
It’s not like I expected anything else.
Even without him being here he still matters more than me.
“But we need to find him quickly in order to get things resolved. We don’t even know what or where he is. Considering his level of flying magic he could be anywhere in this country at this point. He could already be on the Dark Continent at this point….”
Fahren-sama began a grumbling soliloquy.
I can’t do anything but sit here silently and listen to him.
If they can’t find Tanaka-san will my punishment be put on hold indefinitely? If that’s so, then please, please, Tanaka-san, enjoy your trip for as long as possible. It would make me so happy if you took an extra long vacation. As I was saying this silent prayer in my mind, there was a voice from outside the door.
“Fahren-sama, we’ve discovered Tanaka-sama’s location.”
So fast. How did they find him already?
Fahren-sama commanded them to come in.
Following his words, two men came bursting into the room. The first man was a staff member from the school. He was of medium height and build. His simple uniform suggested that he was a commoner like me.
The other man was giant. He easily stood head and shoulders higher than the other man and he reminded me of Gonzalez-san but there was a difference in their overall builds. His attire made me think he must be an official of the country.
“This low-ranking official claims that Tanaka-sama left the city.”
“I-I’m deeply sorry for the sudden and rude introduction, F-Fahren-sama. I’ve heard so much about the many amazing things you’ve been doing for this academy, the city, and even our great country –”
“Stop with the frivolous pleasantries. Who are you?”
“Of course, I’m very sorry!”
The official bowed his head even lower than me.
“I-I’m working as an official in Tanaka-sama’s territory. My name is Neumann.
Fahren-sama looked confused when the official mentioned Tanaka-san’s territory.
“What does that mean?”
The official looked too scared to answer.
In fact, it was the staff member that brought him here that responded.
“Have you not heard, Fahren-sama? There’s been a rumour floating around recently that a commoner was granted the title of baron in the royal castle. His Majesty granted this commoner land in the kingdom. This new baron and Viscount FitzClarence have been all anyone can speak about.”
“…Richard’s daughter really did it.”
“H-Had you not heard?”
“I’ve been busy preparing for the conference and I personally don’t like the politicking and shady dealings that go on in the palace. But I never expected something like that to happen in such a short time as well.”
“Is that so?”
Fahren-sama held his face in his hands with a dejected expression.
Perhaps Fahren-sama is struggling to make a decision on what to do with the current situation. He must be considering all the various factors right now.
I feel sorry for causing problems.
“Where did he go? Where is this territory of his?”
Fahren-sama spoke to the official.
He looks so scared right now. Oh, that must be what I look like when Fahren-sama directly addresses me.
“Y-Yes, Tanaka-sama was headed to his territory last I spoke with him. His territory is one of the battlefields from the previous conflict against the Pussy Republic. Radius Grasslands. The territory was gained by the Penny Empire after the end of the conflict.”
“Are you trying to make a fool of me? Why would he be given a place like that?”
“O-O-Of course not! The territory granted to Baron Tanaka is without a doubt Radius Grasslands. I’m absolutely sure of this! I was also astounded when I first heard about it.”
Fahren-sama’s eyes never left the official.
And the official’s face was starting to turn blue.
The staff member attempted to help out the official.
“Fahren-sama, what the official has said is accurate to the best of my knowledge. The territory given to Baron Tanaka is in fact Radius Grasslands.”
The atmosphere in this room can’t get any worse.
This is the worst.
There’s a nearby window. I wonder if I’d survive the fall if I jumped.
It doesn’t matter if my punishment is being whipped or decapitated they both will be painful.
“Why would His Majesty do that…?”
Fahren-sama let out a big sigh.
“All right, I understand the situation. You both may leave.”
“T-Thank you very much.”
The staff member saluted properly while the official remained frozen in place while looking as if he’s about to vomit. At the behest of the staff member, the official left the room.
The door was closed with a quiet patan before the sound of their footsteps quickly faded away down the hallway.
After confirming they had left Fahren-sama let out another sigh.
“It will take several days from the capital to reach Radius Grasslands. If I had known this earlier, I could’ve sent a messenger to him already. I can’t believe that man would leave so suddenly with no word to anyone.”
I remember Tanaka-san expressing his annoyance when Fahren-sama did something similar before. These two are very alike. It makes my heart feel warm. Wait, what am I thinking about?
All I know is that Tanaka-san isn’t here and won’t be here for at least a few days. I should seriously consider escaping the country. Depending on the punishment I’m given, I could end up being whipped dozens of times. That could rip the meat away from my body to the point where my bones are even visible. It isn’t technically a death sentence but it might as well be. I’ve heard that most people whipped that much end up dying within a few days.
“What? Did that man go somewhere?”
The Dragon-san spoke for the first time in a while.
She had been eating sweets silently until now.
“Fu~n, he’s always going to this place or that place. What a restless man.”
There was a flash in Fahren-sama’s eyes when the Dragon-san spoke.
“Wait a moment. A dragon could get us there in a day. And with your marvelous wings, we can probably get there in half a day.”
“Hah? Do you not understand how amazing my wings are? Even that man couldn’t challenge my speed.”
“O-Of course. I’ve only recently been able to fully understand their majesty.”
“See, you understand! Not many humans have been able to witness their magnificence!”
The Dragon-san was suddenly very happy.
Does she enjoy being praised?
“…then, there’s just one thing I’d like to ask.”
“What is it?”
“Umm, that man, Tanaka, do you plan on letting him win?”
Oh, Fahren-sama is trying to hurry things along.
“It’s certainly impossible for us, but with the magnificent wings of an Ancient Dragon, I’m sure we can get there even faster than that man.”
“So, in other words, you just want to use me to get there faster?”
“If you get us there faster, I’m sure that man will praise you. I can promise you that. He will definitely acknowledge your superior flight speed.”
The Dragon-san’s interest was piqued.
“Will you do it? It’s just to Radius Grasslands…the same grassland where that last battle was fought. Even if it’s just to the city of Tricklis so we can send a messenger to him telling him that his maid is in danger.”
“There’s no chance that man was able to travel all the way to that meadow in such a short time. And I do have to admit that it would really be a great chance to show off the power of my wings.”
“So, will you do us this favour? Lend us your wings.”
“Fu~n, I see what you’re trying to do, human.”
“So you won’t do it?”
“It’s fine. I’ll show that man just how inferior he is to me.”
“I’ll do it. I’ll show you the splendour of my wings!”
“G-Good. That will be a great help.”
I remember Fahren-sama saying that Ancient Dragons live extremely long lives and the average Ancient Dragon is far more intelligent than any human. I’ve only been around her for the past few days, but I’d say that description is accurate.
I wonder just how much influence Tanaka-san has over her for her to calmly stay with us all this time and even help us out now. Or maybe it’s just that after spending so much time alone, she now wants to spend time with others.
Either way, the way she’s fidgeting right now is cute. I have to constantly remind myself of the imposing figure she had when we first met to remember why I should be so scared of her.
Wait, this is a great opportunity for me isn’t it?
I’ll also be flown to where Tanaka-san is currently.
I’ll have a chance to escape across the border when we get there.