Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 323
「Celestina, here are some honeyed sweets for you.」
「Thanks, I’ll gladly accept.」
「Celestina, can I pat your head?」
「Brother, your hand is so bigー」
I devote my attention to Celestina in the dining place, offering dishes made with rare ingredients, recommending sweets to her and patting her head.
She smiles happily during all of that…… but being the honest tiny queen she is, she can’t hide the sadness in her face.
「Big brother, I have a request…… could you let me go back to Biado for――」
「I can’t. You understand, don’t you?」
Those guys from Malt sent Celestina here to minimize all chances of her getting infected..
If I let her go back now, everything they did would be for nothing.
「Don’t worry, everything will eventually get better. I have Adolph thinking of a solution. Until then, stay here with me.」
Now that we have a hope of dealing with the disease within our territory, I asked Adolph and company to turn their eyes to countermeasures for Malt as well.
They’ve been making round trips from Kisatto to Rafen to make various preparations.
If I recall, they’re currently back in Rafen taking care of the logistics for everything besides the medicine.
That is when an unexpected form of reinforcements showed up.
Natia walks in unsteadily.
She should have just slept so why is she tired?
「I worked hard to make 150 bottles extra. Now we shouldn’t have any problems distributing some to Malt, right?」
Natia, who has dark circles under her eyes, gets breakfast for herself.
I unconsciously jump up and kiss her…… she rejects me when I go for her lips, so I give her a hot smooch on the forehead instead.
After thanking her, I need to lecture her. I told her not to push herself so hard.
「Thanks Natia. But didn’t I tell you――」
「I know. Still, there are times I want to push myself. ……to start with, I’ve lived three times longer than you have! I don’t want you to lecture me like you know best!」
Natia pounds my chest, I’m not sure whether it’s because she’s trying to hide her embarrassment from the kiss.
Hahaha, that hurts now. Also, what a place to get a kiss mark on.
I won’t say anything for her sake.
「So that’s how it is. Celestina, I can give you enough medicine for 150 people this time.」
「Uwaaahn! Thank you so muchー!」
Celestina clings to Natia tearfully.
Natia’s face instantly softens. So her charm works on elves too.
Now I’m worried about whether she’s going to push herself everyday.
I smile contently and take a seat.
For some reason Nonna is standing next to me.
Isn’t getting up from your seat during meals bad manners?
「How could you kiss a visitor in front of your wife…… take this!」
I take a firm headbutt to the shoulder. It doesn’t hurt, rather it feels nice when her large tits hit my arm.
Now, for some reason Celia is sitting on my lap.
I’ll give her a kiss mark on her forehead too.
「All these jealous girls are really helpless.」
Mel smiles at Carla’s comment.
Maria, Melissa, Miti and Gretel also join in with a smile.
Irijina, can you stop with the hearty laughing? Various things are falling on Casie.
Myla, who was about to stand up, clears her throat and adjusts herself in her chair.
When Celia sends her a cold stare, she unhappily tosses a boiled egg into her mouth.
I sidestep Nonna’s headbutt and rub my head. This is truly a wonderful feeling.
A man feels proud when the women who belong to him are happy.
It might be a nice idea to have an orgy with all the wives today.
Melissa is pregnant, but it is still necessary for us to touch each other and confirm our love for each other.
「Hey, Aegir is muttering something about having an orgy.」
「Gosh, really…… Aegir-sama’s love for women is a disease.」
「Ufufu, but Aegir-san won’t be who he is if he wasn’t lewd. Aah, my belly is aching.」
「Mama, you’re already at an age where getting pregnant is da―― ah, stop grindingー!」
「I have to get the collar and tail ready.」
「Gretel-chan is a pervert too.」
「I’ll get my ass ready……」
「Wahahahaha! I need to shave my armpit hair!」
「Bfft! Don’t talk about armpit hair when we’re eating mountain vegetables!」
（Gyaaー So much flew on my faceー L-let me curse youー!）
「Mother, will it be alright if we joined too?」
「Yes, for sure. Hardlett-sama’s matchless ability in bed is pretty amazing after all. He can easily handle 20 at once.」
「Hahh! Hahuhahuhahu! Hahh!」
「Madam, won’t you participate in the conversation? Also, you’re eating too much. You’ll get fat again…… the chair is going to break.」
The dining hall is filled with a peaceful atmosphere.
Just when I was thinking of enjoying myself, something had to ruin my fun.
「A messenger from Polpo Kingdom has come for a visit!」
The orgy will have to be postponed to tonight.
「I’m the feudal lord, Aegir Hardlett.」
After getting changed into formal wear, I invite the messenger to take a seat.
Standing beside me is Celia and Myla as well as Christoph in formal uniform.
Nonna tells me that to greet the messenger of another country, it looks better if I have a bodyguard who looks tough than only females as my attendant and guard.
I would have picked Gido, but his size is somewhat lacking.
He definitely isn’t a poor choice, it’s just his stature isn’t enough for a good impression.
On the other hand, choosing Mack may cause the messenger to mistake him for an orc or something.
He seemed to be concerned about that as well and wore the trendiest clothes specially made for him, except that unfortunately just makes him look like a fashionable orc.
Giving a good impression and intimidating is not the same thing so Mack is unsuitable.
That’s how Christoph was chosen.
He’s got a nice build and looks like a strong knight if he wears the proper uniform.
「He isn’t fit to act as bodyguard, but we are also here so please think of him like a shield.」
Celia reassured me as such so everything should be fine.
「I thank you for receiving us on such short notice.」
When I see the face of the person who appears to be the leader, I feel my cheeks relax.
The representative of the messenger was a female.
Her face is charmingly beautiful and I feel she’s more adorable than sexy.
The bashful smile she makes also accentuates her cuteness.
If she wasn’t a messenger, she would probably work in the nighttime business.
Everytime she moves her head, her long, elegant black hair would sway and a nice scent would waft in the air.
Her body isn’t the most voluptuous, however the gentle mounds on her chest and slender legs are enough to incite a man’s lust.
Ow. Myla pinched my back where the messenger couldn’t see. I guess I was looking at her body too much.
I urge them to have some tea, however everyone but the female representative firmly refused.
Why is everyone except the woman acting so tense?
「Pardon me for asking right away, but what business does the Polpo Kingdom have with me? Or perhaps you are requesting to create ties with our nation?」
It’s safe to say I have no personal relation to Polpo, so I naturally think they are using me as an intermediary to the Goldonia kingdom.
「No, this time we are not interested in Goldonia kingdom and want to speak with you, Lord Hardlett―― but before that-」
She cuts her sentence short and stares into my eyes.
I don’t feel bad when a woman stares at me, so I stare back at her.
「I’m actually not a messenger. I apologize for the rudeness and deceiving you.」
Celia and Myla simultaneously jump in front of me as soon as they hear what she says.
In response, the guards on the other side also step forward.
She didn’t say she was an assassin, so calm down.
Also, stop using Christoph as a shield.
When the guards on both sides step down, the female smiles and continues from where she left off.
「I am Wilhelmina. I am the queen of the powerless Polpo kingdom.」
Celia and Myla step backward in surprise. I’m also shocked.
「Lying and saying I was a messenger was just to save unnecessary trouble. The matter I have to speak to you about is of the utmost importance.」
Wilhelmina lowers her head to me again.
She openly admitted she’s a king, yet isn’t acting arrogant and has an apologetic look on her face.
This woman is making a better and better impression on me.
「I believe the political change in my country has also reached this land.」
I have no idea about that. When I look at Celia, she nods. Oh, so I’m the only one who didn’t know?
Damn Leopolt, telling me that information is your job.
To me, she appears to be 20 years old or younger. And to be queen at that age…… well, I guess Celestina is even younger.
Nevertheless, a king needs to get proper treatment.
「This kind of reception is insufficient for a queen, Your Majesty. If you could wait a little――」
Wilhelmina shakes her head with a smile.
「It is not necessary. Time is of the essence, which is why I lied and visited you as a messenger. If possible, I would like to discuss the matter with you right away. What I am referring to is―― the disgusting disease, fire pox. Our nation has been lucky to avoid the widespread of the devil, however it is only a matter of time seeing how prevalent it is in our neighboring country Altair. We need Lord Hardlett’s aid……」
Wilhelmina looks up at me in anticipation.
Her loveliness stands out more to me than her dignity as a king, and I don’t feel a trace of haughtiness from her.
It was when I took a peek into her clear green eyes for a moment that I seem to feel the tiniest shiver run up my spine.
「? Is something the matter?」
After blinking once, Wilhelmina tilts her head cutely.
I must be mistaken. I doubt an adorable girl like this could make me shudder.
I tell one of the maids waiting nearby to summon Leopolt and Adolph.
It’s clear she wants to talk practically more than she wants formality to be maintained.
The two of them were surprised when they heard Wilhelmina’s name, however it didn’t take them more than a few seconds to recompose themselves.
As expected, these guys aren’t easily moved.
「A certain feudal lord they know does unexpected things all the time. They’re used to it.」
Shut up Tristan. I didn’t call for you.
This guy slacks on his regular work and shows up whenever something unusual happens.
Also when I approach Leopolt with how he didn’t tell me about the political change in Polpo, he thrusts a sheet of paper in front of me.
It was a report documenting the changes in Polpo which happens to have my signature indicating I’ve read it through.
Looking at it every which way, that handwriting is definitely mine.
While I’m growling, the conversation progresses.
I was worried Wilhelmina would have an issue talking to Adolph and Leopolt when they aren’t nobles, but it seems she wasn’t concerned about that.
Rather, she seems to have realized the two of them were the ones in charge of doing the actual work and doesn’t even glance back at me.
「Now then, regarding the countermeasures for the fire pox, there is some distance between our nation and Your Majesty’s nation and Altair is in located in that space. I don’t believe cooperating is realistic.」
「Your Majesty is not in a state of war with us either, so there is no need for a ceasefire agreement.」
The two of them implicitly ask why Wilhelmina has come.
Leopolt might have forged my signature. What a disloyal person.
Still, that doesn’t explain my mark right beside it. Hmm, I can’t figure out what trick he used.
「Since ancient times, the thing which the sick have always wanted…… isn’t that medicine?」
Everyone aside from me freezes.
「Hm? What’s wrong?」
Today is a hot day, I don’t understand why everyone is frozen.
Why is everyone staring at me?
Wilhelmina continues with a smile.
「I heard Lord Hardlett possess the wonder cure for the fire pox. If you would please share――――」
「Sorry, I can’t.」
I declare before she finishes her sentence.
「……of course it won’t be for free. I plan to pay a suitable price.」
I shake my head.
「This is not a matter of money. There is not enough medicine even for my own territory. Unfortunately, I do not have the luxury to offer any to your nation.」
She’s a pretty girl and a king who has garnered a favorable impression from me after not acting with self-importance.
Regardless, I can’t give her any medicine.
If I have enough to spare for Polpo, I would rather supply more to Malt.
Adolph and Leopolt nod in agreement while Celia pats her chest softly to comfort herself.
They probably thought I would be led astray by her allure.
Too bad I’m not as naive as they thought. Actually, it feels like I’ve been quite the ball of reason lately.
When I turn back to Wilhelmina to see how she would come at me next, she doesn’t get angry or blame me, instead simply slumps her shoulders sadly.
「I knew it…… the medicine for fire pox is essentially people’s lives. I can understand why you won’t sell them for money.」
Seeing her talk with her head down hurts my heart. I almost feel myself giving in.
The next thing Wilhelmina does is not to use a sob story to persuade us.
She adorably clenches a fist to resolve herself before lifting her head.
「If you supply my nation with the medicine, it will also be to Lord Hardlett’s benefit.」
What’s the theory behind that?
「The two large nations to the south, Altair and Vandolea, are in no position to face the disease after the blow dealt by the catastrophe.」
Leopolt doesn’t react when I look at him. That must mean she’s right.
「Currently, I can’t see any signs telling me the two countries would be able to halt the spread of disease. If the epidemic proceeds to become widespread, the very foundation of the countries will be shaken. Wouldn’t that lead to droves of people-turned-refugees heading north? Obviously that group would include carriers of the disease.」
I look over at Adolph.
「Certainly, massive amounts of refugees would result from a nation collapsing. But wouldn’t more people head north to Libatis or the city states?」
Wilhelmina immediately rebuts Adolph’s objection.
「I wonder about that, you should know how Libatis would treat fugitives, right? ……the border would be heavily monitored and the people would be killed on sight. Each city state would do the same and wouldn’t let the people within the city walls to begin with.」
I look at Leopolt and he closes his eyes quickly. That probably means he hasn’t confirmed that much.
As one would expect, being further south than us allows Polpo to get information about the surrounding nations faster.
「Lord Hardlett’s territory is vast…… if the refugees were to come into your borders in full force, would it be impossible to protect them all? Besides, I also heard that you have the Besselink clinic set up near Kisatto. It isn’t hard to imagine a great number of sick refugees rushing to you in hopes to be cured.」
I guess it’s true now that I think about it.
There isn’t much difference between our border to the south plus Malt’s borders and the Libatis-Altair borderline.
Furthermore, it is impossible for me to deploy tens of thousands of soldiers to protect the border unlike the other nations.
「If you put it that way, it certainly sounds like a difficult problem. But what does that have anything to do with supplying your nation with medicine?」
It’s exactly as Leopolt says. The miserable hypothetical situation has no connection to medicine.
「If you provide us with the medicine, our nation will be protected from the disease. No matter what measures you do, it won’t take long for the country to fall if the person in charge gets ill, but that can be prevented as long as you have medicine.」
Now then, why should I supply medicine to Polpo to protect them?
「I see…… so this is about distributing the risk.」
When Adolph seems to be convinced, I nudge him with my foot in a way nobody can see.
Explain it so I can understand.
「There is some worth to keeping Polpo healthy. At the very least, the destination of the refugees will be divided, since many of the citizens of the south may aim for the familiar and long-standing Polpo kingdom rather than the fairly unknown territory of Lord Hardlett.」
That would raise a different issue though.
「I don’t understand the logic. What good is getting your hands on medicine and then attracting tens of thousands of sick people to your nation? Isn’t that actually equivalent to asking for the worst case scenario. That doesn’t make for a very good reason to obtain the medicine at all costs.」
Tristan brings up the doubt before I could.
Wilhelmina then joins her hands in front of her chest, closes her eyes, and declares loudly.
「I want to save the suffering citizens. Our nation has not gone to war with any country for the longest time and we consider all the people of the south as brothers and sisters. If we can protect them from such a nightmarish disease a little…… even just a little, I want to do so. If I have the medicine, I can also construct a clinic and save a few lives.」
Tears can be seen forming at the corners of her eyes.
What a selfless queen. She doesn’t only think of her own people but the people of other nations too.
Leopolt is looking at the teary-eyed girl like he would a swindler.
This guy is truly twisted.
I would feel just as skeptical if it was a man and get him thrown out, but let’s give the girl the benefit of the doubt and believe what she says.
Sensing suspicion from Leopolt, Wilhelmina turns to me and bends forward.
「I can save the citizens and Lord Hardlett’s refugee problem will be reduced. Everybody comes out a winner.」
「I guess, but……」
There may be some merit on a broader scale, but I’m still not very willing to agree.
Perhaps thinking of the same thing, Adolph also seems disheartened, though not as much as Leopolt.
Wilhelmina glances at our faces, then dabs her tears with a handkerchief.
「If money is not good enough, then how about these conditions?」
She signals for a messenger――who are actually her attendants―― to bring out documents.
One sheet of paper is first presented to Adolph.
「Is Lord Hardlett perhaps interested in opening up trade routes?」
When Adolph looks over the document he was given, his eyes go wide in surprise.
「Our country has a contract with one of the city states, connecting a port we borrowed from them with a port in our nation, and access as the most favored nation―― your ships will be allowed that same treatment when stopping at those ports. In addition, we can act as an intermediary for a trade route to be opened up with the Empire by introducing you to a merchant there. After being devastated by the war and getting their industries destroyed, the Empire should require more necessities and increase the amount of imports.」
Wilhelmina hands a sheet of paper to Leopolt next.
He remains expressionless, but based on my experience with him, I think he looks a little surprised.
「It looks like I possess more information on Altair, the city states and Libatis. I can supply Lord Hardlett with that information as needed. You would need to verify its authenticity either way, but having an information source is valuable, no?」
Adolph and Leopolt are silenced.
I’m impressed how she could direct the correct topics to each person, Leopolt about military and domestic affairs for Adolph.
I don’t remember explaining anything to her.
「Now Lord Hardlett.」
I’m up next. When she brings her lips close to my ear, my nose is filled with a pleasant scent from her.
She’s doing that on purpose. I feel her breath on my ear. Crap, it’s turning me on.
「I heard about how Lord Hardlett is a hero with countless tales of his exploits…… I may be impertinent but I have brought a few individuals who would like a recount of your deeds.」
「Wait, are they women?」
「They’re all young women. If you have a chance, please tell them your story …… all of them together…… in great detail.」
She whispers in a sexy voice which doesn’t match her looks, making me adjust myself in my chair.
At this point, my dick is completely erect and I have to lean forward or risk exposing my disgraceful behavior.
「If the promise is kept…… 150 bottles should be fine.」
「Good use of the funds and information gained from the deal can be more effective at stopping the disease than a few bottles of medicine.」
So that’s what Leopolt and Adolph concludes.
「I can’t tell why she would want to offer such favorable conditions for us, but currently Polpo is not a threat to us geographically or strength-wise.」
「I have doubts whether she actually wants to save the citizens or not…… still there is nothing in the deal which will harm us.」
If those two are not against it, I have no reason to reject the offer.
My decision does not have anything to do with the young women who want to hear my stories. Absolutely nothing.
Tristan was the only one who didn’t say anything and kept staring at Wilhelmina.
Wilhelmina notices his gaze and smiles at him.
「Well, I don’t have anything to do with this.」
Tristan bows loosely and looks away.
「Then please keep what happened here a secret. I just became king and I’m worried about how different movements will affect my own nation.」
In my case, I’m sure there would be citizens who get upset if it gets out that I sold medicine to a foreign country so I’d like this transaction to be secret too.
Thus we sold medicine in exchange for the securing of a trade route and the supply of information on the various southern nations.
I feel a little guilty for putting Malt aside and completing the sale though…….
「Many patients have already gotten ill in Malt, so carrying a hundred or two hundred bottles of medicine there now won’t make much difference. More importantly, if we use the funds we were given to carry out countermeasures, that would undoubtedly reduce the number of deaths.」
And so I was convinced as such by Adolph.
「I thought Polpo was a small, worthless nation to the south, but they certainly have a proven ability to gather information.」
Leopolt is also satisfied with the deal.
Tristan is the only one making a troubled expression.
「I have the same opinion on the medicine as those two. Regardless of what her ulterior motive is, I think this transaction is beneficial for us.」
He continues on despite saying that.
「But you see, I think it’s wise to be cautious of queen Wilhelmina. It’s not about her telling lies or not being trustworthy. When I looked into her eyes, I honestly trembled…… only her eyes made me lose my nerve, that kind of expression is common in the books I read, but I wonder if that is really the case. Anyways, it’s better not to make that person an enemy. Then again, we don’t have anything to do with Polpo besides trading.」
I felt a strange presence coming from her too, though surely it’s a misunderstanding.
She’s a young queen of a small nation who chases hard after her ideals, that’s it.