Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 369
「So, when will the negotiation between the two nations be?」
I ask the messenger from South Yuguria.
Apparently, the girl’s name is Hanituran.
「Unfortunately, a date has not been decided yet. His Majesty Alexandro has not given any word besides to wait……」
That’s to be expected.
As a related party, I know more about that than the girl.
Goldonia’s king has little interest in negotiating with South Yuguria.
His focus is mainly on cleaning up the rebellious elements within his own country so he probably isn’t giving much thought to anything else.
「Administrative negotiations are taking place now.」
Kenneth and the other civil officials are doing all they can, although no progress can be made if their leader doesn’t intend to act.
Some more time is needed until they can enter into effective talks.
「How strange. My territory is moving without me doing anything.」
Celia probably used my seal to stamp the documents created by Adolph and Leopolt.
If only the king also did that, things would be so much easier.
「Well then, I will be returning for now.」
She tidies her hair and gathers the clothes strewn on the floor.
By the way, the two of us are naked in my room and just finished our own intense negotiations.
「If it is discovered I became intimate with my negotiation opponent……」
I steal the lips of the troubled girl.
「Of course, our negotiation will be kept behind closed doors. If none of us say anything, nobody will find out.」
「Is that so…… uuu, this happened because Hardlett is too attractive ……」
After adjusting her clothes, she smiles sweetly at me and leaves the room.
I return the gesture to send her off before calling out to the person under the bed.
「What do you think?」
「As initially believed, she was sent to curry favor. It doesn’t appear she has been trained in the arts of secret intelligence. Most likely, she was sent to calm Lord Hardlett down and hopefully gain some information if lucky.」
Peticheri revealed herself from under the bed.
As a tiny girl, the space underneath the large bed in the bedroom was more than enough to fit her.
「I will analyze what she said in bed once more, though I don’t believe it will result in much. She pretty much has the same authority as the messengers of the capital.」
Peticheri brushes the dust off her body before stretching with a groan.
「I see……I’m being underestimated, huh. Did she think I would be what she wants just because she gives me some pretty women?」
Even I realized what’s going on when it’s this obvious.
My hands reaching out to touch her and my face loosening up is the instinct of my body, so that can’t be helped.
「……it is possible she could be pretending to be tricked.」
The small Peticheri stares at me with sharp eyes.
「Still, did you have to take six hours and eight shots? I hid under the bed thinking an hour would be enough, but all that creaking on top of my head…… if I knew that would happen, I would have hid in the closet!」
Hahaha, either way it doesn’t look like negotiations will be simple this time.
Wilhelmina is sure to aim bigger, yet our side can’t move because of the internal conflict.
I hope this doesn’t become the Libatis war all over again.
「In the first place, it’s fine to act like you’re indulging in carnal pleasures and probably fine not to be picky about who you choose, but did you have to caress her until she wet――nnmu.」
I give Peticheri a kiss as she strings together a bunch of complaints.
When I seal her lips, she becomes obedient and touches her blushing face with her hand in a trance-like state.
Or so I thought, she bit down hard on my tongue instead.
I follow her gaze, wondering what was wrong, and see Celia glaring at us.
Oh right, I’m not completely naked yet.
「Anyways, I have work to do.」
「……Officer Mirkura, I have something to ask you.」
「Sorry, I have work to do.」
Peticheri leaves as if nothing happened, followed closely by Celia.
I hear the footsteps gradually get faster until it sounds like they’re running full speed off into the distance.
「Well, it’s still peaceful for now.」
Knowing a storm is coming tomorrow, I enjoy my time while it’s sunny today by drying the laundry in the garden and take an afternoon nap.
However, before the storm came, a gust of wind blew in the afternoon.
「Please accept this.」
In a corner of the mansion, Claire, kneeling before me in front of Adolph and the other domestic officials, politely presents a letter.
I nod respectfully and announce.
「I hereby accept Claire’s responsible region request and will now transfer the interests of Lintbloom and preferential trade rights within the territory granted to the Flitch company to the CL company.」
All the domestic officials lower their head as a sign of acknowledgement, then Claire bows her head especially low.
Adolph does the same, although he clearly doesn’t look too happy.
Finally, Claire has officially declared her independence from the Flitch company. She came to ask for all of the interests she had to be moved to the new company she started up.
I was already aware of the situation, but I wanted all the other officials to know, so that’s why this formal announcement is taking place.
By the way, the CL company is a shortened name for the Claire-Laurie company.1
Claire’s battle with the Flitch company begins here.
You have South Yuguria picking a fight, then there’s the Rosario incident and now this.
It’s absolutely quiet when there’s nothing going on and then when one commotion happens, others seem to follow in rapid succession.
「As thanks for consenting, we will be sending you a small gift of appreciation.」
A box filled with gold coins gets pulled out.
Claire tells me in a hushed voice.
「This is something different, so please accept it without reservation. I ask that you please protect myself and Laurie.」
「Of course. What kind of man would I be if I didn’t protect my own women?」
When I kiss Claire, the domestic officials look away awkwardly.
Then I hear the sound of something thin fluttering…… ooh, it’s Adolph’s hair.
A battle between merchants will precede the battle between nations.
Several days later, the Flitch company sent me a notice to object to the transfer of interests and tell me Claire has already been dismissed.
Of course I reply saying I don’t care about that.
In actuality, I had Adolph write the lines “I don’t care about who you’re in charge of” and “do the internal disputes of the Flitch company concern me?” in a fairly high-handed note.
「Haa…… we had a good thing going, conducting transactions with Claire-san―― I mean, the CL company and the Flitch company equally.」
「Hey, don’t say that. Claire is taking care of it, so I’m sure Lintbloom will be fine.」
Adolph has obviously contributed greatly too, though I don’t think things would have turned out as well if it weren’t for Claire’s daring investments.
「Assigning the escort unit to her is too much. It clearly goes against the principle of impartiality.」
「With the two sides fighting, I think it’s normal to side with one of them.」
Either that or I leave it alone.
「Claire is my woman so I will unconditionally help her. ……suppose we exclude that reason, don’t you think she is still the best option? Ignore fairness or whatever.」
Adolph didn’t say anymore.
In other words, that’s how it is.
Regardless of how healthy prioritizing her is, it gave us the best results.
That means we should let her do what she does.
Results are more important than the method in this case.
「So you’re saying it doesn’t matter if it starts off with a loving kiss or harsh resistance, as long as the woman ultimately requests for a kid happily, it’s the same thing?」
「No, that’s different. The latter is rape.」
「I see…… so it’s different.」
By the time I became confused about what I was saying myself, Myla bursts into the room.
「Flitch―― I mean, the CL company’s main store was attacked by a band of robbers!」
「So they’re come.」
I stand up promptly and head to Claire’s store.
「What are the details?」
「The group consists of 15 robbers and they invaded the store after murdering a few bodyguards.」
It doesn’t sound like they are your average robbers.
Security is tight to protect the heaps of gold also stored there, though these robbers are not on a level that can be warded off easily.
While I’m doubtful they would walk around fully armed in broad daylight, Claire’s shop experiences busy traffic.
It’s not hard to imagine the robbers pulling up to the front disguised as a merchant caravan and then rushing in with all their forces.
「What happened after that?」
「12 of the robbers were killed on the spot, while the remaining three were wounded and arrested.」
I expected as much.
When I arrive at Claire’s shop, I see the bodies of the mercenaries she hired and the injured in front of the place, then going inside, I see the robbers’ corpses as well as those barely breathing and bleeding robbers all tied up.
The injured guys are mumbling something.
「Why were there so many heavy infantry…… this isn’t what I was told……」
「Why are Hardlett’s knights protecting a single merchant……」
「Ah, chi―― feudal lord-sama.」
Gido runs over when he sees me.
He’s gotten much more handsome than me as he grew older.
We should visit the brothel for the first time in a while. I’ll show off my dick and maintain my dignity.
「All the attackers have been defeated. Those men were equipped with chainmail and even crossbows, but nobody from the escort unit was injured.」
Gido smiles refreshingly, unaware of my resolve.
His helmet is covered with the blood of his enemies and the blade of his sword is dyed red.
According to him, the robbers routed the bodyguards standing at the loading entrance, then headed in a straight line towards Claire’s room and the room where the money was kept.
Unfortunately, they encountered the fully armed 20 escort unit members along the way and met their tragic end.
「Isn’t this overkill? You’re protecting one merchant with not just guards, you’re assigning the escort unit.」
Myla comments with an uncertain expression.
She has a similar view as Adolph, thinking that a feudal lord doesn’t need to protect a merchant.
Hmm, I thought about using guards or others, but I don’t want to risk anything.
The escort unit has the training and equipment to match knights at equal numbers.
「I thought of an excuse too.」
「”Membership only high-class tea shop opened, CL company main store second floor” ……a tea party where armor is worn?」
「One with 20 guys in it.」
Such a disgusting tea party obviously doesn’t exist and neither do any other customers.
This was a last-ditch plan thought up by Adolph.
Thus, the escort unit will continue having their ‘tea party’ here until things calm down.
Claire and Laurie, both wearing dresses, comes up to me.
「I’m glad you two aren’t hurt. I’ll keep protecting you, don’t worry.」
Myla unhappily goes off to deal with the aftermath.
Claire bows respectfully to her and then gets within whispering distance to me.
「Aegir-sama, thank you very much.」
She switches to a more intimate tone and smiles at me.
「And is the battle going steadily?」
「Yes, the bribing and threatening of important clients and supplies――ahem, I mean the persuasion contest is still going on. We have the advantage for the most part…… it seems Flitch’s adored South Yuguria is wary of Goldonia merchants.」
「It’s really been a back and forth battle with lots of different ploys, and Hardlett-sama’s support is helping us come out on top.」
Laurie is pulling my sleeve shyly and acting sweetly while her eyes are shimmering.
She has the same childish look, even though she is actually a skilled merchant who knows the ins and outs of the business.
I asked Adolph and Myla in regards to the “lots” they referred to.
For example, having bandits attack peddlers on the highway or arranging for the warehouses of small and medium cities to be set on fire suspiciously, or leaking information about a merchant’s hidden funds, etc.
Celia has even seized government officials who were acting unnaturally and suppressed them where they were being bribed.
Crimes committed on the surface are being treated normally as everyday crimes and corruption, while the crimes aimed at Claire are specifically labelled as Flitch’s doing and are more harshly judged.
I have the authority to decide after all.
In the past, I let other people handle the trials and what not. This time I get to have a little taste of power.
「They are being held down by “normal disputes” so to speak, meaning they have to resort to hard-line policies…… and they are forced to use unsavory tactics like just now.」
Underhanded methods such as this cause more of a fuss and the culprits would be in serious trouble if it got exposed, so it isn’t a preferred option. Said another way, it shows how much of an advantage Claire is in.
「We can settle this quickly if the survivors confess.」
Although the attack wasn’t made on me, if there is proof, I can use the fact that they disrupted the peace in Rafen as a reason to say “I’m reporting you to the capital for causing havoc in my city” to Flitch.
「No, the other side isn’t that naive. Those carrying out the plan are mere mercenaries who go through a proxy to get the job, meaning they don’t know who their employer is. That’s the kind of specialty organization they are.」
「There is a lot of darkness in the merchant world too, huh.」
They account for failure so it isn’t easy to catch their tail.
「However if these incidents keep occurring, it will interfere with business. Even if we want to counterattack, being newcomers, we unfortunately don’t have the people’s trust. Those in the underground society spend many years cultivating trust after all.」
「It means…… we can only carry ‘that’ out.」
Claire and Laurie nod.
「Yes, it is a hassle to say the least. Have you found a suitable one?」
I nod back.
A Few Days Later.
「We’re leaving, Lurus. Those Flitch guys are so loud, I’m still tired. I have to take my time and relax or I can’t get by.」
Claire sighs and heads to the carriage.
I am behind her wearing a hat over my head.
I get on all fours in front of the carriage.
Claire hesitates slightly, apologizing to me with her eyes before stepping on my back and getting on the carriage.
Having Claire step on me isn’t a bad feeling, although this isn’t the main objective.
This is part of a larger plan and that involves me acting as Claire’s favorite male prostitute Lurus for a while.
I survey the surroundings casually as Claire’s foot stool.
Two people catch my eye.
The first is a low-ranked loader who is staring dirtily at Claire’s ass as she boards the carriage.
The other is a female who does chores around the mansion and is sending us off when she normally doesn’t have to.
I don’t know which one or whether it’s both of them, but do your job properly and report back.
「Lurus, you hurry up too. I need you to service me on the way. That’s what your tongue is for after all.」
「Very well, Claire-sama.」
I climb into the carriage like a dog being called by his master.
「Uwah…… so that’s the Flitch company’s Claire-san? She has a male prostitute……」
「Didn’t she change her name recently? She’s rolling in money and she can do whatever she wants. That macho guy is my type……」
「It’s really pathetic that he is serving a woman with that big body.」
I’m getting insulted by the girls in the city.
I understand it’s part of the plan, but I don’t want Nonna to see me in this state.
Mysteriously, it doesn’t actually feel too bad.
When I’m in the carriage, Claire makes a shameful face.
「I didn’t think Aegir-sama would come…… I thought the suitable person would be a subordinate…… it is certainly working, though aren’t you endangering yourself?」
「Hahaha, I don’t mind. It’s natural to do your best for your women. Besides, I want to settle this quickly.」
The type of person needed in this operation is a man who is superior in military prowess and also possesses a certain amount of standing.
Considering those conditions, I am the person best suited for the task.
「Now, give me your orders. Make sure to let the driver hear you, we don’t know who is watching or listening.」
「W-well then. Lurus! Lick my crotch. Then take your pants off and rub――」
I obey Claire’s commands as her male prostitute and we make our way to her vacation home.
「Then come contact me in two days. Until then, contact Laurie for anything work-related. If you get in the way of my time with him, there will be severe consequences.」
Claire tells her accompanying subordinates in a strict tone after we arrive at the small town where her vacation home is.
Her subordinates bow to Claire while giving me a really disdainful look.
I can’t blame them. On the way, I was cuddling up to Claire like a dog who gets attached to their master.
I have to make it convincing for our goal, though it doesn’t mean I can’t have fun along the way.
As the subordinates pass me, they mutter something at me.
「Tch…… shameless gigolo.」
Being looked down on by him makes me want to strangle this guy to death.
「Despicable…… licking to a woman’s crotch like a leech, what a miserable man.」
On the other hand, it doesn’t feel too unpleasant to be scorned by a woman. I wonder why.
Seeing her subordinates leave, Claire and I head to bed.
「Alright…… is that satisfactory?」
「Yeah, if they realize then they should attack tonight too. Until then, let’s have fun.」
「Please be gentle with me.」
「I sense a few presences around the house.」
I whisper to Claire as I’m swinging my hips on top of her.
「……have they come?」
「Yeah, I’m pretty sure.」
Claire’s eyes narrow as she matches my hip movements, moaning as she does so.
I sense the presence of someone outside the vacation home.
There are three of them, neither of their footsteps are very loud.
If I wasn’t alert from the beginning, I probably wouldn’t have noticed them.
「This can’t be done by your average mercenary. It must be a first-rate assassin just like you anticipated.」
「So it seems.」
After the failure of the band of robbers, Claire predicted that higher level assassin specialists would be sent to end her life.
She also knew the Flitch company would be using them because they want to take care of a business rival.
Their chances of winning are slim if they use brute force against the main store where the heavily armed escort unit is guarding.
That’s why they decided to get rid of Claire through assassins.
Knowing that, we deliberately made it easier by changing locations from the main store to the vacation home.
Claire would be alone with her male prostitute and vulnerable when she is resting.
A situation like this is perfect for assassins.
The faint presences, which can be missed if not paying attention, reach the door.
On the door was a sturdy lock and it was opened with a click.
The door swings open silently and three shadowy figures enter the room.
「Aaah, Lurus, fuck me more! Deeper! Aaah! Aaaaaah!!」
Claire raises her voice, urging me to rock the bed more violently.
「Claire-sama! Does my thing feel good? I will please you the entire night. Hmf! Hnm, hm!」
The three presences stop near the bed.
They’re likely confirming to see whether we are completely absorbed in our love making.
A few moments later, there was an almost indistinguishable sound as they reveal their urge to kill.
I kick Claire off the bed and spring backward myself.
Three daggers simultaneously stab the empty bed.
All the assassins are wrapped head-to-toe in black clothes, leaving only a small slit for their eyes.
Claire doesn’t say anything and crawls underneath the bed.
She knows that she would only drag me down in this situation.
「How reprehensible of you guys to try and kill a couple making love to each other.」
Still naked, I turn to face the three assassins.
「You knew we were here?」
I glare at the assassins.
They are considerably experienced as they don’t seem flustered in the slightest.
「It seems you have good instincts. No matter, we’ll kill you and then Claire.」
「I won’t let you. You’re the ones who will turn into corpses.」
I grab the dagger left by the bedside and get into a stance.
It feels like a toy blade, but it’s better than nothing.
The three assassins each take out a different weapon.
The first is a sickle-like weapon.
The second is a needle held between the assassin’s fingers.
The third is a one-handed sword with a zig-zag blade.
Either way, neither of them have standard weapons.
It confirms to me these guys are assassination specialists who prefer not to fight head-on.
All three attack at the same time.
The needle is thrown at me while the other two take swings at me with their weapons.
I strain my eyes to grasp the movement of the needle and deflect it with my dagger.
Jumping backwards, I also dodge the two blades.
Honestly, it’s possible to barely avoid their attacks and launch a counterattack, however it’s safe to assume assassins have coated their weapons with poison.
It’s better to allow myself more room to dodge.
「……so you dodged that.」
One of the assassins mutters and steps forward, prompting the other two to step back.
This vacation home is not very large, plus there are plenty of furniture scattered around that limit our space.
If the three of them attack together, it’s easy to read where they’ll come from with such restrictions on their movements.
Now they decided to have only one of them attack.
Each assassin is confident in their own skills too.
「An odd weapon you have there.」
First up is the man with the sickle.
Looking closer, there is a chain attached to it.
I’ve never seen a weapon like this before.
Befitting an assassin, he remains silent and attacks.
He comes in with a diagonal slash, then when I dodge, he follows up by turning his body and sweeping his sickle horizontally.
I parry with the short sword and unleash a kick, which misses when the man hops backward softly and lightly like a feather.
「……next attack, here I come.」
Staying at the same distance after jumping back, the man readies his sickle.
He’s twirling the attached chain as if keeping me at bay.
That was when I notice something off.
They’re assassins. Fighting fair and square by pre-empting his strike with “here I come” is strange.
The man raises his sickle.
In that moment, I hear a whooshing sound and notice something flying towards me.
That object was a heavy-looking weight.
The thing attached to the end of his chain flies faster than his previous attack with the sickle.
I didn’t think he would use the weight at the end of his chain like that and I’m caught by surprise.
His face lights up with joy.
The weight accurately flies toward my face…… then gets caught by my left hand.
After grabbing it, I yank the chain to pull the wielder towards me.
Late to release his weapon due to the shock of his attack being blocked, the man’s legs lift off the ground.
I give the man a powerful punch to the face.
The momentum from me reeling him in and my physical strength compound on each other, resulting in the man’s head blowing up into pieces like a watermelon being smashed apart.
His brain splattered on the walls, floor and ceiling, leaving the other two wide-eyed in disbelief.
If he read his opponent’s moves and fought, I might have been the one whose brain splashes everywhere.
This strange weapon was nothing I’ve ever seen before and it was beyond my expectations for the weighted end to be used in such a manner.
Unfortunately for him, I watched what he did and dealt with him accordingly despite getting caught off-guard.
It’s weird for me to say this, but I’m not that sluggish.
Honestly, there might not be too many people who are more quick-witted and agile than me.
I’m also grateful for the dynamic visual acuity I was born with.
「Which one of you is next?」
As soon as I finish, needles fly at my face.
They obviously look coated with poison so I can’t let them graze me, especially when I’m naked.
I dodge those I can and deflect the others with my dagger.
Even though I keep all the needles away, the opponent ensures I can’t shorten the distance in the already narrow room.
A similar exchange repeats two more times until the man, starting to run out of patience, holds needles in both hands.
My eyes narrow, briefly catching a glimpse of what was in his hand before he released them.
Four needles fly out.
I tilt my head to the side to avoid the first.
I deflect the second with my short sword.
I twist my body to avoid the third.
I roll on the floor to dodge the fourth one while also closing the distance at the same time.
Since he prioritized attacking over maintaining his position, I was able to get pretty close.
A person put in that situation would normally panic. This man, however, did not and even smirks.
Of course he would.
He has a fifth needle which he hasn’t thrown yet.
「This is the end!」
The man throws his last needle from point-blank range.
He must have been sure I couldn’t dodge from my position on the floor.
「Too bad, I knew about it.」
I grab a fallen pillow and lift it up.
That last needle stabs into the high class pillow and gets stopped by the feathers.
Before he could finish speaking, my sword pierces into the man’s chest, then I pull it down to slice in a straight line towards his belly.
The man stumbles unsteadily after getting his abdomen cut open and falls to the floor lifelessly with his guts spilling out.
「Now it’s down to one.」
I take another look at the final man’s weapon.
It’s a weird-looking sword. Its zigzag blade appears unsuited to slice or thrusting.
Which means a different method must be used.
I won’t know until I try clashing.
「Here I go.」
I ready my short sword and charge forward.
My attack is parried by the man, who counters with a thrust without any delay.
I dodge with a good margin and unleash a roundhouse kick.
My foot lands on the man’s stomach, though the impact felt extremely light.
He must have jumped backwards as soon as he got hit to dissipate the force. It won’t be anywhere close to a fatal blow.
Still in midair, the man swings his sword at eye level.
He isn’t at a distance where his slashes can reach me, but I see some kind of liquid fling off his sword.
With a high probability that the liquid is poison, I have to dodge, giving me no time to exploit his moment of vulnerability.
The man lands a short distance away and gets into a stance without any openings.
I see his swordplay and acrobatics are certainly first-class.
Is that so he can launch the toxic liquid from his uniquely-shaped sword?
It’s troublesome to deal with his sword, but not impossible if I pay attention.
Thinking that, I once again close the distance.
「Blazing flames, become my blade and strike my enemy.」
That was when the man mumbles something and fire spontaneously bursts out from his sword.
Seeing my indecision, the man steps in.
「Hup! Hah! Hmp!」
I am unable to block that flaming sword with my dagger and I have to retreat.
「Not good enough!」
The man swings his sword after I widen the distance.
Flames extend from his sword like a snake made of fire and chases after me.
I crouch down to dodge, but the moment I try to rise up, he swings down his sword.
I reactively lift my dagger to intercept the sword, although I am forced to withdraw with the fire dancing in the air.
I get it now, he isn’t using poison, he’s using oil so he can ignite his sword with magic at will.
The man’s roundhouse kick lands right in my solar plexus.
This guy is using a combination of magic, swordplay and martial arts to attack.
He’s already one of the few magic users, plus he has that kind of movement…… no wonder he’s a top-notch assassin.
Even so, he does not surpass me as a swordsman nor does he exceed Alice in terms of magic power.
I have many outs.
For example, the man’s weak point is his strength.
Compared to his magic and nimbleness, the man’s physical prowess doesn’t reach average levels.
That’s proven by the fact that even though his kick landed square on my solar plexus, I didn’t take much damage at all.
In other words, I’ll be fine if I shut down his magic and movement.
I grab a pot left by the bed and hurl it at the assassin, running at him right after I do so.
Faced with my added pressure, he won’t make any large movements to dodge the pot.
Sure enough, the man reacts as expected and shifts his body using the bare minimum amount of movement.
The pot hits the floor, shatters loudly and sprays its contents…… oil for lamps, all over the place.
The oil spills on the man’s clothes and puddles near his feet.
Now he can’t use his magic freely unless he wants to risk setting himself on fire.
With his magic sealed, he points his strange sword at me.
「And one more!」
I stomp on the floor as hard as I can.
The floor of the vacation house was well-constructed, although it is ultimately made of wood and shouldn’t be able to withstand my strength.
A rectangular floorboard caves in, which in turn raises the floorboard on the other side where the man is standing, sending him into the air.
The man loses his balance after his footing was taken away.
I forcefully pull my leg up off the broken plank and run forward.
His magic and martial arts are sealed.
My dagger clashes with the man’s sword.
It was a simple strike with no tricks.
He couldn’t evade or parry due to the wobbly floorboards.
That way, it was easy to show the difference in our physical strength.
The man fell to his knees and dropped his sword.
I wrap my arm around the man and squeeze tightly, literally squeezing the life out of him.
「Ga…… aggh……gh…… gueeh……」
I hear the sound of his innards getting crushed and with a final dull snap to signify his spine breaking, the man collapses limply to the floor.
Claire pops out from under the bed as soon as the third assassin is dead and throws a cloak over me.
I quickly wrap it around my body and dash outside.
The city is small as it is, plus no one really wanders late at night.
However, there was a single female who lets out a scream and runs away as fast as she could.
I pursue immediately.
The girl desperately runs, though she is no match for my speed, and it takes me about 10 seconds to successfully catch her.
I stuff cloth in her mouth to silence her before she could scream.
「Now then, time to make you talk.」
With this, our operation is complete.
The assassins I defeated just now are not like any ordinary mercenary.
Unlike worthless thugs, these guys don’t take on jobs without knowing their client.
To begin with, it’s impossible to get guys from professional groups to talk after capturing them.
Claire, who has seen the dark side of the Flitch company, should also know this well.
That’s why we aimed for the observer―― that is, the person responsible for checking whether the assassins have really executed their mission.
No matter how professional they may be, they are still assassins.
Flitch does not have complete trust in them.
They are sure to send someone to confirm the status of the job.
And since the city where Claire’s vacation home is located is fairly small compared to Rafen, it is easy to pick out the observer without all the prostitutes and drunkards wandering the streets at night.
As such, we were able to catch this girl rather effortlessly.
「All we need to do now is to make her talk.」
A merciless smile appears on Claire’s face.
「Hey now, no rough stuff. Although I’m sure it’ll be simple enough.」
I feel the ass of the flailing girl.
Her body is plump and seems eager for a man.
Judging from her reaction when I touched her ass, she’s also quite sensitive.
「Fufufu, we’ll be gentle yet harsh in our interrogation.」
My cloak gets pulled off, revealing my crotch to the girl, whose eyes widen in shock and gives up on resisting.
In the end, she confessed everything.
She not only told us that Flitch was the one who instigated the series of attacks, she also told us about her standing within her own company, the names of traitors within the CL company, her sexual partner count and erogenous zones.
「I’m sure the main store of Flitch is trembling right now. They mistook the Margrave for a male prostitute and tried to assassinate him.」
We wanted to have another person with standing to fulfill the role as male prostitute and cause a problem that way, however it turns out acting the role myself produced excellent results.
An attempted assassination on Claire is simply a criminal act.
If you add in attempted assassination on me, the feudal lord, that changes everything.
“Depending on circumstances, subjugation may be possible”
Such a threatening letter was sent to them and a hasty apology was received from them in response.
Now, the Flitch company cannot lay hands on the CL company.
「I really appreciate everything you have done. I will repay this favor in full……」
I smile and embrace Claire’s shoulder.
「Full…… is it?」
「Yes, fully and completely…… ufufu, please look forward to it.」
I really am excited for what’s to come.
Side Story: Pochi House.
Pochi’s hut is finally completed.
Well, it’s actually closer to a castle than a hut.
「Its strength is higher than that of the mansion’s. Porcelain has been used on the inside so it’s resistant to fire.」
「Due to budget and landscape, it can’t be built too high, so it’s partially underground…… still, you would not find a sturdier building anywhere.」
The carpenters explain their construction.
「Geez, how luxurious for a single lizard.」
That said, it’s true Pochi contributed in a major way. I won’t complain too much.
「Lizard…… right, it’s a lizard.」
「Is it possibly a dra―― no, nevermind.」
The carpenters smile wryly.
Let’s not sweat the small details.
「Anyways, I’m impressed it was built in such a short amount of time.」
Not even one month has passed since they started.
It’s only a lizard hut so I don’t really mind if they cut a few corners.
「No, no, we didn’t do something like that! It’s just……you know.」
「Yeah…… the transporting of building material progressed faster than expected.」
「Digging was also done quickly.」
Pochi growls behind the carpenters.
That voice sounds so happy even I can tell.
Oh right, Pochi was going back and forth from the quarry to the construction site, carrying large boulders.
I think I also remember seeing Pochi wearing a headband around its head and digging holes with its claws.
「Let’s see, what does the inside look like?」
Pochi’s hut is as tall as a four-storey building, although two floors are underground.
The owner is obviously Pochi, so instead of all the floors being separated, the inside is one big space where you could move through.
Pochi will probably be the only one entering and exiting the building so there is only one giant door to the house.
There is also one spot for Pochi to stick its head out.
In addition, a loft space has been prepared for a human, like Pipi, to sleep there.
「That aside…… why is there a toilet and washbasin there?」
An aqueduct is set up to draw in fresh water from a larger water source and waste water is flowing out in a different direction.
What I can’t get over is why a wooden door is partitioning the toilet from the rest of the building.
「Pochi likes cleanliness. Pochi doesn’t like being seen. The toilet is a condition Pochi won’t yield.」
Pipi provides the reasoning.
Now that I think about it, Pochi has never had problems with toilet training in the mansion.
I look at Pochi, thinking what a strange lizard this is, and the beast returns a sad gaze at me while growling sadly.
「Ahn? What’s wrong?」
I ask Pipi, since I don’t understand.
「Pochi doesn’t like how you’re walking in with your shoes on.」
Shoes are strictly prohibited in this lizard hut?
「Whatever. I’m going back.」
When I leave at my wits end, Pochi takes out a wet cloth and carefully wipes the footprints I tracked into the building.
Is the way Pipi raising Pochi wrong somehow?
I’ll assume so.
Either way, Pochi’s house is completed.
There won’t be crying at night anymore.