Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 336
Somebody was waiting to greet me when the carriage arrived back at the mansion.
When I saw it was Adolph, I immediately sigh.
「So you’re back too.」
I don’t hate him.
Rather, he was working hard in the south where the dangerous disease was rampant, so I want to express my gratitude.
Now is not a good time though.
Adolph normally doesn’t come greet me. The only times he comes to see me is when he has some troublesome business.
Right, the first thing that comes to mind is the fine of 20,000 gold.
「I thought I left it to Celia and ran away successfully.」
「I will talk to you about that in depth at another time.」
I’ll definitely run away then. Unlike Leopolt, he won’t come find me in the brothels.
「I thought I could first report the situation in the south.」
When I grab Adela’s ass, Celia and Nonna turn to face me.
「Shall we discuss it in the office later?」
Adolph doesn’t say anymore.
It’s rare for him since he usually provides the report no matter how much I say no. I follow his gaze and find Mirkura staring.
She has a serious expression and is watching carefully with a notepad in one hand.
「I heard that a monitoring officer would be coming, but I never thought she would arrive in the same carriage as you……」
Mirkura came once more to the house after that time, and told me she would like to make preparations for staying over before heading to Rafen a day later.
I feel like she also told me a lot of fussy things like how I don’t have the right to refuse the King’s orders and how any additional damage would not be forgiven, and so on.
When it was time to go back to Rafen, I felt it would be more of a hassle for us to go separately, so I asked her to ride in our carriage.
It’s a rather spacious carriage and I didn’t bring along too many family members so there was more than enough room for her to fit.
If the monitoring officer was a man instead of a cute girl like Mirkura, I would have told him to find his own way to get to Rafen.
The more girls you have beside you, the better.
「What is it? I have been commanded by His Majesty the king to monitor――」
Mirkura looks at me with a serious expression when I smile.
Celia counters by glaring at her.
She almost looks like a child with her small body and thin frame.
Probably knowing that herself, she’s wearing a formal uniform to seem more mature despite it being summer and is making a strict expression, although I can’t help but see her as a kid standing upright trying to seem taller than she is.
She’s practically aiming for that look with her protruding fang and bob haircut.
I unconsciously voice my thoughts.
Mirkura’s narrow, slanted eyes open wide.
At the same time, Celia’s eyes are raised.
「No need for jokes! I will be retiring for now.」
She alights from the carriage, pulling a giant piece of luggage with her as she follows a maid who has been asked to guide her to the guest room.
Looking from behind, it seems like the luggage is moving on its own.
「Shall I carry it for you?」
「You don’t have to worry about me, I have no intentions of getting along with anybody.」
She tells off the maid and wobbles along with her belongings.
As I watch her walk off with a pleasant smile, some silver-colored hair darts in and out of my field of vision.
It was Celia bouncing up in front of me, trying to block my view of Mirkura.
There, there, you’re cute too.
「Now then, the hindrance is out of the way.」
Poor thing, being called an obstacle when she’s so cute.
「What are you talking about? Having someone monitor us inside the house is way more annoying than the fine.」
「That’s right! We should kick her out as soon as possible!」
Adolph shares Celia’s concerns.
Well, it’s an order from the king. Besides, we’re not going to do anything bad when she’s looking.
「Although it might not be my place to say, there’s plenty of ‘bad’ things she could see.」
Is that so? Then I’m counting on you to do something about all those things.
Our usual meeting starts in the office.
Other than Adela getting chased away when she tried to stay by my side and serve me, everything else was the same.
Tristan getting dragged by Myla is of course normal.
「I’ll start…… you may be aware of it since I returned from Kisatto, that the response to the disease is looking bright.」
「That’s good news. Well done.」
Adolph was dedicating all his time to deal with the fire pox disease coming from the refugees in the south.
Because of that, various problems came up with other jobs, but it was important to prioritize countermeasures for the disease.
「I came back to take a bit of a break and then find out that we’ve been fined and an information officer is required to monitor us.」
If he didn’t mention that, I would have openly praised him.
「We’ve gotten through the peak of the rise in patients and are now experiencing a steady decline. There are no more new villages or towns getting infected either.」
Fumu, then we’re almost there.
「Even though the isolation plan that Leopolt-san and I came up with is having a great effect and Natia-san’s remedy is also a huge help…… I think the change in climate also has some influence.」
「Yes, lately the heat has become less severe and the nights are cooler. Depending on the location, harvesting has also begun and the season is transitioning to autumn.」
Obviously the temperature will drop when summer is coming to an end.
「The fire pox came from the Empire during summertime. This epidemic might be related to the heat.」
Summers in the Central plains are hot.
It gets cooler in autumn and snow falls in winter, becoming cold enough to freeze if you don’t put on a coat.
In comparison, it’s still hot during autumns in the Empire and many regions have never seen snow before.
It’s not strange to think the disease which came from the Empire is intolerant to the cold.
「I can’t say for sure yet, but I think as the temperature falls, so does the momentum of the infection. The southern parts of the plains are a warmer region so the fury will be invigorated for a while until winter comes and puts a stop to a large extent of it.」
I see, so that about does it for the particular issue.
「The effect on the harvest from the series of deaths and the chaos which comes along with it have also been accounted for.」
「Sure, I’ll take a look later.」
I receive the document and pass it off to Celia.
「…… you won’t take a brief look at it?」
「You want me to examine every nook and cranny and give various opinions on everything?」
「No nevermind, it would get complicated」
「Right. I agree.」
The way to make everyone the happiest is to leave it all to Celia.
「It won’t be long until the epidemic dies down. However it will yield a different problem.」
Adolph stands back and Leopolt steps forward.
「The disturbance to the south ―― and the rapid expansion of the group we named the Polpo-Altair union.」
「Oh yeah, Wilhelmina is doing her own thing.」
I heard up until the point where she consumed Altair and attacked Vandolea.
「According to reports from our spies, Vandolea is numerically inferior and has been retreating continuously until finally getting pushed close to their capital Vandola.」
I’m honestly surprised.
I’ve fought against Vandolea’s army before and they’re certainly not weak.
Back when I was facing off against them, they were pretty forceful in their advance, plus they were fighting me and Altair on two fronts at the same time.
This time they can focus on one enemy and use full strength.
Yet they’re still being one-sidedly overwhelmed, meaning Wilhelmina’s army is quite formidable.
「Or perhaps Vandolea was weakened by the epidemic?」
「There is a possibility, but Altair should be in a similar situation and I don’t think it’s possible for the addition of soldiers from a weak nation like Polpo to tilt the battle to such an extent.」
To begin with, Vandolea’s military force rivals that of Altair’s.
That’s the reason both nations have not settled their long-standing feud after countless battles.
If both sides are under the same weakened condition, then the only difference would be the union of Polpo with Altair.
Polpo doesn’t even have 10,000 soldiers. I can’t believe their participation would have such a large effect.
「Maybe the soldiers are trying harder for a beauty like Wilhelmina. I would be twice as strong if I fought for a good-looking queen.」
Once I start stacking up achievements and gain her favor, I would aim then for her hole.
「In any case, it would be problematic if they annex Vandolea as well.」
Leopolt ignored me.
「If a nation is born from the combining of Vandolea and Altair, they would become a huge threat. Not to mention the disease is on the downturn and the volcanic ash from the mountain is gradually settling down. Both countries would recover their strength in no time.」
It doesn’t matter, I have Celia’s soft cheeks.
「Wouldn’t swallowing two countries that oppose each other cause havoc? I don’t believe they can become a giant power so easily.」
Celia’s also involved in the debate now.
Fine, I’ll touch Myla’s ass then.
「That would be the case normally. However queen Wilhelmina has shown she can win over the fanatics of Altair. It wouldn’t be so worrying if it wasn’t for that.」
And now Myla has joined, so I sadly pull back my hand.
What should I do now?
「We need to prioritize military preparations, although depending on the situation we might not be able to handle it ourselves. Close attention needs to be paid on the upcoming events. Let us increase the number of spies.」
「No objections here.」
「Let us discuss the financial issues a little bit at a time.」
「More soldiers must be trained then.」
Myla, Tristan, Adolph…… even Celia gathers their documents and stands up.
「I’m alone now.」
Somehow I’m not satisfied so I’ll just randomly put stamps on the remaining documents.
Permission to execute the female prisoner who committed murder? I can’t stamp my approval on that.
Let’s write here to have the girl and her family called up.
I suddenly feel a presence by the door.
When I approach the door, I crouch down and peek through the keyhole.
「……Umumu, I can’t hear anything.」
Mirkura is up against the door.
The door of the office is pretty thick and isn’t going to let a lot of sound escape.
To pick anything up, she would have to put her ear to the door, and she would get busted if a maid happens to pass by.
Besides, the meeting is over so there’s no point in trying to eavesdrop.
Let’s play a little prank.
While staring through the keyhole, I speak in the most serious tone possible.
「So let’s hear your opinions about the information officer Mirkura.」
The girl’s shoulders twitch.
「Don’t you think she’s an incredibly beautiful girl? I’ve never seen a girl like that.」
「W-what are they talking about……」
She tilts her head in perplexion.
「Oh, so you guys think that. What? She has to be a goddess of beauty? What a coincidence, I think so too. When I first saw her, her beauty made me want to kneel and lick her feet.」
Her shoulders tremble and her face turns a light red.
Somehow this is getting fun.
「Should I propose to her already? Or maybe pay her a visit at night.」
「Sneaking at night!?」
I then suddenly swing open the door.
Mirkura, who had her ear to the door, managed not to fall in the room and stood up promptly, acting like she wasn’t doing anything. Her cheeks are still a little flushed.
「If it isn’t Lord Hardlett, good day to you. Can you tell me what this room is?」
Oh, nice cover. Impressive.
I’ll have a little more fun teasing her.
「Officer Mirkura, I have something to tell you.」
I grab both her hands.
「Wha-!? Think about our positions here! If you do something as sudden as――」
「You said you wanted to take a look at my army, right? We will be doing training tomorrow so please feel free to spectate at that time.」
The flustered girl stops moving.
She peeks behind my back and into the office. Of course nobody is in the room except for me.
She realizes that she’s been taken for a ride.
Her face changes from an awkward expression to an angry stare before she composes herself again.
「Is something the matter?」
「It’s nothing. I will have plenty to ask you later so don’t forget that I’m here on His Majesty’s orders!」
Mirkura is clearly upset as she storms off in large strides.
Having a small body, it only looked cute to me.
I wasn’t sure if I expressed my thoughts verbally as Mirkura turns around at that exact moment and glares at me before walking away.
Leopolt and Adolph for sure as well as most people in the mansion are not welcoming to Mirkura.
That is to be expected starting from the time she declared she will be monitoring so I’m not really surprised, although I feel sorry for her like this.
「I can at least be her friend.」
Then it would be a matter of time for her to fall in love with me as the only friend she has.
After all, she is going to be staying here and keeping watch for a while.
There are plenty of times to appeal to her.
「Fufufu, the day I taste that small body isn’t long from now.」
My dick is getting hard just thinking about it.
I guess I’ll visit the brothel.
「Who has the small body? Is it the newly hired maid Totoru?」
「No, that girl’s already been eaten so it can’t be her. It must be the queen from Malt.」
「Maybe it’s his own daughter…… considering the master, it’s totally possible.」
The maids are gossiping about something which I ignore.
That reminds me, Mirkura is a surname right?
I haven’t heard the girl’s first name yet. I don’t think she said it during her self-introduction.
「She’ll eventually be mine…… no, she’s already mine so I need to get her to tell me.」
–Third Person POV–
「Your Majesty! We made the Third Division Vandolea army surrender!」
A young man kneels in front of Wilhelmina and reports in a loud voice.
Those present look at him with comparatively cold eyes. The one exception was Wilhelmina.
「Oh…… how wonderful. I appreciate your resourcefulness and loyalty. Now we have avoided fighting an unnecessary battle.」
Wilhelmina takes the man’s hand with a smile and the man responds by gripping her hand happily.
「If it wasn’t for you, I wouldn’t have made it this far. Please stay by my side forever.」
「I-I do not deserve such words! I will strive to show even more loyalty!」
Wilhelmina’s beautiful face is slightly tinted red as she thanks the man and then she turns around cheerfully as if to hide her embarrassment before taking her leave.
The man looks around to see if he impressed anybody, while the others avert their eyes in disgust.
「Man, Her Majesty is really a person worthy of my life-long dedication. Let us all endeavor to be ever more loyal!」
The others respond by clicking their tongues and scoffing.
（Fufufu, idiots who only know how to click their tongues. They can’t say anything to me now that I’m Her Majesty’s favorite.）
The man puffs his chest with pride and deliberately takes his time walking out.
（I’ve been fortunate to be born under a lucky star. Lately anything I do turns out well for me.）
Ever since he started to act for Wilhelmina, he hasn’t failed once.
（If I continue to stand out, becoming a minister won’t be a dream…… no, Her Majesty might fall in love with me. There are rumors that Zaphnes is Her Majesty’s lover, but as expected she might find someone like me who has been so faithful to Polpo more attractive than some person of unknown origin.）
The man couldn’t hold back his smile.
（I will eventually be called into her chambers…… and then become prince consort, no maybe even king. Becoming the king of a large nation made from the union of Polpo, Altair, and Vandolea is a dream-like scenario. To be able to gain such tremendous power and a stunning lady at the same time, this world is really meant for a talented individual like me to rule.）
The man covers the grin on his face with his hand and indulges in more delusions.
「What are you planning?」
「I don’t know what you mean.」
After retreating to the back, the smile and embarrassment Wilhelmina showed earlier was nowhere to be found.
「Obviously I’m referring to that idiot. Why raise up that youngster?」
Zaphnes speaks with a sour expression on his face.
「It is only natural for a leader to praise their subordinates for their achievements.」
The serious expression on Zaphnes’s face doesn’t change despite Wilhelmina smirking.
「What achievement? Vandolea’s third division army was completely surrounded and already in a hopeless situation. It would have been simple to overrun them as they are, or we could have left them alone and they would not be a threat to us. You didn’t need to send that kid and they would have surrendered.」
Wilhelmina goes “so what?” and urges Zaphnes to continue.
「It’s the same with that guy’s achievement and also the bloodless capitulation of the city of Geristas. The moment our army successfully detoured, the fate of that city was sealed. Even without sending someone to negotiate, a single letter would have made the feudal lord hand over the city.」
Zaphnes sits down in a chair without hiding his visible displeasure.
「Negotiating with the merchant of Stura turned into his achievement, but in fact you were the one who set everything up, right? He was nothing more than a messenger.」
「I wonder about that.」
Zaphnes somewhat forcefully takes the alcohol handed to him by the still smirking Wilhelmina and then downs all the liquid in one gulp.
「I don’t know about you saying ‘that’ either. The citizens, soldiers and even my subordinates know of the rumor. You know, about……」
Wilhelmina continues where Zaphnes leaves off.
「Ah, you mean “isn’t that guy and Her Majesty in an intimate relationship?”」
「……it’s a stupid rumor, although it has an effect on the morale of the soldiers and subordinates. They can’t resist the appeal of sex as a reward for their achievements after all.」
Zaphnes said what he did intending for Wilhelmina to deny it, however she only smiles.
「I don’t deny that.」
「What!? Don’t tell me you’re actually in love with him?」
Zaphnes slams his fist into the desk.
「He is an important man to me.」
「How is a weak idiot like that important? If that’s good enough, then I――」
Wilhelmina’s eyes emit a cold light.
「I don’t need his limited resourcefulness. What I need is a man who believes he will get an important position and the possibility of an intimate relationship detailed by the rumor.」
Zaphnes stops moving and quietly takes his seat.
「I’m not as skilled as you in using such clever tricks. Explain your thinking to me.」
「Sure. I don’t want to see a man’s jealousy anymore.」
Wilhelmina gives a sidelong glance to Zaphnes who is at a loss for words and then takes out a document.
「And this is?」
「Secret negotiations with Vandolea for peace. We have come to an agreement on most of the conditions.」
Zaphnes was surprised and then snatches away the document.
When he opens it and his eyes scan the words on it, his eyes widen as far as they can go.
「After declaring peace, a non-aggression treaty for 50 years…… in return, we will acquire the few villages near the border and the right of use to the river…… and then only an insignificant amount of money…… hey, you’re joking right!?」
These are not conditions someone who has pushed the enemy to the capital city should present.
If peace results from such conditions, it can be considered a major defeat in terms of diplomacy.
「It’s not a joke, rather it’s a lie.」
Zaphnes drops his shoulders.
「Vandolea will be on board with the proposal. You and I will directly negotiate with the leaders in the vicinity of the nearby capital Vandola, and then a signature will be needed.」
Zaphnes understood most of what she said.
「Obviously I’m not going to sign. The useless heads of those leaders…… I’m going to get rid of them right there, then Vandolea will be mine for the taking.」
「Assassination…… but will things go so smoothly? They aren’t idiots, security will be tight no matter where we do the signing, not to mention after killing the heads…… I don’t think the citizens and soldiers will be so obedient.」
Zaphnes avoids the eyes of Wilhelmina by looking slightly upward.
「I will have you think of a solution to that. You will strengthen the attack even more and make them want to negotiate sooner.」
「Yeah, understood…… you still haven’t answered my first question. What’s the reason for propping up that idiot?」
Wilhelmina answers while checking her appearance in the mirror.
「Having all of them killed is my scheme. And so I thought it would be nice if they at least died as a beloved retainer. That is suitable for a man rumored to be intimate with me, don’t you think?」
「So that’s why you made such preparations?」
Wilhelmina casually confirms it.
「You could have fulfilled the same role, although it would a real shame to lose a person with actual talent like you. To that point, I wouldn’t miss him at all if he was gone.」
「Hey now, don’t say something so frightening.」
After brushing her hair, Wilhelmina changes into one of her many expressions and fixes her face with a smile appropriate for her age.
「Alright, let’s invite that man for dinner. I need to make the rumor a little more exciting.」
Wilhelmina was about to leave the room, but then stops.
「Hey Zaphnes. What was his name again? I forgot.」
「That poor man.」