On a certain day, several days after the informal negotiations had occurred under the pretext of giving Aura and Zenjirou the goats.
As always, Aura was attending to her duties in the office of the Royal Palace, when she stretched herself on top of her chair in order to shake off her tiredness.
It was still noon right now and extremely unusual for Aura to be this tired while the sun was high up.
“I have not seen you this tired in a long time, Your Majesty.”
So unusual in fact that Secretary Fabio, standing at attention besides her, had to address it with a doubtful tone.
Aura was pretty strict about her health. Proper sleep as well as nutrition were the two keystones for good health. She might have neglected these on the battlefield during the great war, but now in times of peace, it was odd beyond doubt that she ended up sleep-deprived.
Proud of his outstanding memory, the slender-faced Secretary recalled the schedule of his Master for the past few days, but could not pinpoint a reason for it in particular.
“Is anything preventing you from getting enough sleep?”
The Queen answered the question of her trusted retainer with a wry smile and half-opened eyes.
“Hmm, well, yeah.”
“Is something weighing on your mind?”
“No, it is more of a practical problem.”
“You mean, you are going to bed too late?”
“Not quite. If anything, I spent more time in the bedroom now. Just not ‘sleeping’ though.”
“…Oh, I see. Speaking of, it [e]is[/e] the right time for a second one.”
The middle-aged Secretary was convinced now.
There was only one reason why an intimate married couple would lack sleep, even though they were spending more time in the bedroom.
It certainly was pleasant to see that Aura and Zenjirou still got along as well as always despite the relationship drama encompassing Zenjirou at the moment. And just like Secretary Fabio had said, the point in time was not unfavourable to make the second royal child.
The Queen seemed to have somehow shaken off her tiredness by stretching herself on her chair and took a deep breath before getting back on topic.
“Anyway, it has been decided for good that Princess Freya will accompany Zenjirou to the marriage ceremony of General Puyol.
I somehow managed to reach an understanding with the nobility, who pushed for a partner for Zenjirou, in the past few days. Fortunately enough, the most troublesome and unyielding opponent could not take action this time around.”
It goes without saying that the most troublesome and unyielding opponent referred to General Puyol, the main figure of this marriage ceremony himself. Knowing him, he would have assertively tried to install his little sister Fatima Guillén as the partner for Zenjirou without doubt, if this had been any other marriage ceremony.
However, he was kind of forced to take a backseat just this once. Too busy with all the preparations for his own wedding, the General himself could not take action himself and his little sister Fatima had to attend the ceremony as part of the bridegroom’s party anyway.
Much to his regret, General Puyol thus had no choice but to stand on the sidelines as a result, even though he usually stopped at nothing to expand his influence and position.
“Princess Freya as his partner, hmm? Then I can assume she will be accepted as a concubine for Master Zenjirou in the future?”
Her trusted retainer narrowed his eyes to slits and inquired with a monotone voice, whereupon Aura nodded shortly.
“Yes. At this point, she has only been appointed as his partner for the marriage ceremony, but you can basically start preparing with that in mind.
Of course the finalization of the intercontinental trade agreement with the Uppsala Kingdom takes priority and depending on its outcome, the matter may end up being called off, though.”
The conditions for accepting Princess Freya as a concubine were the benefits from an intercontinental trade agreement and the promised know-how for the iron manufacture as well as for the shipbuilding. If they simply wanted to increase their practitioners for the “Bestowal Magic” through a concubine, there were more appropriate women within the kingdom than a cumbersome princess from a different country.
The Uppsala Kingdom was an admittedly technology advanced country, but was trailing behind, when it came to magic, so Princess Freya was not really blessed with a remarkable amount of magical power according to the norm of the Carpa Kingdom.
A not so insignificant amount of the local nobility was against the unprecedented case of taking foreign royalty as a concubine. Without a dowry in form of an intercontinental trade agreement, Aura was determined to break off the talks at any moment.
Catching on these circumstances, the slender-faced Secretary pondered for a while, then answered.
“Understood. I shall make preparations accordingly. Having said this, I can only provide the necessary documents and physical materials at best.
Your Majesty will have to take care of the emotional element. I hope that will not pose a problem?”
The emotional element, in other words: he was asking whether she could convince Zenjirou of this matter properly.
Getting the hardest nut to crack by her Secretary, the Queen showed a wry smile and looked up to the ceiling.
“As always, he fully consents to it from a logical point of view. Even if he were to take Princess Freya as a concubine now, he would not cause any problems on the surface.
The problematic part is his frame of mind, though. I am doing my utmost right now to appease him… It did come at the cost of my well-earned sleep in the past few days, though.”
“I see. Well, it is an important task only you can accomplish, Your Majesty.”
The Queen spoke relatively open about the night activities, whereas her Secretary draped himself in apathy as he acknowledged it.
At this point of time, the current night activities of the royal couple had undoubtedly the main purpose of making a second child, but they served as a way to comfort the heart and soul of Zenjirou all the same.
To begin with, the main reason he had accepted his fate of being summoned to a different world, was because he fell in love with Queen Aura at first sight. Moreover, his love for Aura only grew during the following newlywed lifestyle and its charm had not broken even once up till now.
Therefore sexual intercourse with Aura was the best medicine for Zenjirou’s anxious state of mind. But he had been living in “abstinence” for more than half a year, so his sex drive turned out to be greater than Aura had expected and she had a hard time keeping up.
“At least he seems to have enough stamina in this field for when a concubine is added. The question is, though, whether he will see another woman beside me as a partner at all.”
The Queen voiced her misgivings like that while she frowned and looked glum, but a closer look revealed the glint of triumph shining through her reddish brown pupils.
As the Queen, she had to keep the prosperity of the kingdom in mind, so Zenjirou’s monogamy posed a problem, but as a woman, as his wife, she could not help but rejoice at the fact that he only loved her alone and paid no attention to other women.
“You are the only one capable of persuading him in that regard, so I am counting on you, Your Majesty.
Either way, I definitely approve the making of a second child right now. It would be a bit risky to welcome a concubine into the royal family while Prince Carlos is the only legal successor.”
If the concubine were to give birth to a child that inherited the bloodline magic, it could happen that this child was acknowledged as a successor, even if only temporarily, in case something happened to the sole legal successor.
The only way to avoid that risk was to make more children with the legal wife. If it had not been the Queen and her Prince Consort, but the King and his Queen Consort, they would get ready to make a second child as soon as the Queen Consort had recovered enough from the previous delivery.
“I know that. But I never would have guessed that it would be this strenuous to reign conscientiously and take care of the next generation at the same time.”
“And a concubine is meant to take a part of that burden off your shoulders.”
When the Queen complained, her Secretary presented the fact in an indifferent tone.
“Right. In consideration of the continuity of the royal family and the prosperity of the kingdom, a concubine is indispensable for my husband after all.”
The Queen nodded, whereupon her Secretary brought up another problematic matter.
“But it also could cause some problems, if you were to have a second child at this point in time. Let us assume you conceive right away like before, then it should take about two or three months for your pregnancy to become apparent. But the intercontinental trade agreement is unlikely to have reached a conclusion by that time. In other words, there will be no arrangements yet to accept Princess Freya as a concubine.
In that case, it will be more than likely that the local nobility will push for a different concubine to ‘bridge that vacant period of time’ first.”
“…I can already see the mood of my husband worsening even further.”
* * *
While the Queen pursued her duties in the office of the Royal Palace, the husband of the Queen alias Zenjirou was playing a video game in the living room of the Inner Palace, still dressed in his pyjama.
After a passionate night with his wife in the bedroom, he had gone back to sleep as soon as he had seen her off to work, and when he woke up again, he started to play games in his pyjama.
It was a slovenly way of life that practically epitomized depravity.
“Here I… GO!”
With the controller in hand, Zenjirou imitated a pitching motion by swinging his arm down with all his might. In line with this, the pitcher character displayed on the screen threw a ball.
Thrown with a fictional speed of one-hundred and fifty-one km/h, the fastball headed for the high inside of the strike zone of the batter standing in the right batter’s box, but the batter casually swung his bat and mercilessly shot the full-power fastball from Zenjirou’s character into the left stands.
“Aw, damn it.”
This result made Zenjirou abruptly lose his motivation, so he turned off the console with the point of the toe without bothering to bend over and tossed the controller onto the carpet.
Then he unmannerly flopped himself onto the black leather couch, where he heaved a deep sigh.
“…Man, it’s no use. I can’t concentrate at all.”
Ever since Princess Freya had been chosen as his partner for the coming marriage ceremony, Zenjirou had lost some of his inner tranquillity, so Aura had given him a special vacation for today out of consideration for him, but unfortunately, he did not know what to do with all this free time.
“Hmm, I know I‘m not supposed to, but maybe I can distract myself, when I play a game against the waiting maids.”
Still sitting on the couch, Zenjirou looked down on the game controller lying on the carpet and muttered that to himself, but as expected, he had no intention to put that idea into practice.
He was lending the portable game console to some of the waiting maids, but he had never played a game together with them.
Because it would appear like he was giving preference to these maids, when the “master happily spent time with them”, even if it was something peculiar like a video game.
Zenjirou truly wanted to have a good relationship with the waiting maids of the Inner Palace, but not even once had he considered the intimate kind of relationship between a man and a woman with them. The last thing he wanted was for the situation to turn awkward, because he raised such expectations by mistake or made them be on guard against him.
“So I finally get a day off, but I’ve no idea what to do…”
Grumbling like that, he exchanged his blue-striped pyjama for a T-shirt and cotton pants all too late.
Since he only ever left the Inner Palace for work, it meant that a vacation equalled to spending the whole day in the Inner Palace.
During his university days, he had mainly went out with friends, when he had too much time on his hands, and he no longer had any real free time as a working adult, so he was not really familiar with killing time indoors by himself.
Right after transferring into this world, Zenjirou had been eager to watch his pile of DVDs or play his still sealed games, but he was not all that fixated on them anymore lately.
Some of the games still awaited their completion and numerous DVDs were still unwatched, but his initial passionate dedication to them was long gone.
Above all, he just could not enjoy them anymore, even if he wanted to, because the serious issue at hand weighed on his mind.
“Argh. I feel bad for Aura, ‘cause she went out of her way to give me a day off, but I might as well tackle the matter head-on in order to free my mind.”
After his quick change of clothes, Zenjirou took paper and a three-coloured ball pen from the desk with his computer in the corner of the room and once again sat down on the black leather couch.
“Hmm, one thing at a time. First of all: General Puyol will held his marriage ceremony in the March of Guzzle.
I’m going to attend this ceremony as a representative for Aura. But the etiquette more or less dictates you to attend it with a partner. And the public generally thinks you have a thing for each other, when you and your partner are unmarried.
Lastly, it’s been decided that I’ll take Princess Freya to the ceremony as my partner.”
When Zenjirou wrote “attend ceremony together with Princess Freya” down on the paper, he vented an heavy sigh.
Strictly speaking, he was already married to Queen Aura, but it was normal for male royalty to have multiple wives. Even more so in his case, where he and Aura were the only adult royalty of the Carpa Kingdom. You could even go so far as to say that everyone in the country was hoping he would take more wives.
So when he took a “young, unmarried woman to a marriage ceremony”, that woman was automatically seen has a favourable candidate for the position of his concubine.
And worst of all, the person in question, Princess Freya herself, was the most eager about becoming his concubine.
“Above all, she’ll definitely become my official second wife, if our country establishes an ‘intercontinental trade’ with her homeland, the Uppsala Kingdom, later on.”
The following sigh was even heavier than the first.
“Well, I was always told that this would happen, so it just means that the inevitable has finally come, but to be honest, I could have really done without it.”
With a distant look in his eyes, Zenjirou viewed the wide garden beyond the opened wooden door.
He was an extremely average person with rather conservative moral values and not the kind of adventurous guy that gladly hooked himself another woman while he already had a child and intimate relationship with his beloved wife.
“I’m glad I had that heart to heart talk with Aura before, because I wouldn’t have been sure about her feelings for me otherwise.”
Back then, when they both had laid bare their complains and wishes, Aura had said: “As a woman, I want to monopolize you as well.”
In other words, the reason she actively pushed for a concubine for him was solely because of her obligations as the Queen. It did contradict her feelings as a woman.
Zenjirou told himself that he had to keep that in mind.
“If it’s true, Aura should be taking the worst hit from it, even with her different moral values in this polygamy culture. If she really l- loves me, that is.”
From his point of view, it was worrisome and troublesome at the same time to have to take a second wife, even though he already had one he loved very much.
But it was whole different matter for Aura. Her beloved husband was going to marry another woman. It would come as no surprise if she were to act irrational, because of jealousy.
“If I were in her shoes…”
Zenjirou imagined such a scenario.
What if Aura were to get herself another man?
For example, what if she suddenly said something like this: “We already have a child together. So it is time I spread our bloodline by making a child with General Puyol or Sir Raffaelo as well. Oh, do not worry. It will only be physical. You will always be the only one I love.”
His wild fantasy was definitely unthinkable in the patriarchic society of the Carpa Kingdom, but it was easily conceivable from a purely practical point of view for passing on the bloodline magic.
Aura sleeping with someone else than him.
“Just imagining it drives me crazy…”
He muttered with a flat voice.
Was Aura feeling like this right now? Was she suppressing her own feelings and fulfilling her duty as the Queen by giving his husband a concubine?
Once again, Zenjirou was reminded of his impotence and the admirability of his wife.
Needless to say, it was pointless to range their mindsets on the same level, since Zenjirou only had monogamous moral values, whereas Aura was born and raised in an polygamous environment. But it definitely held true that the mental pressure from taking a concubine weighed more on the wife than the husband from a sensible point of view.
“Guess I can only make the best of it, since it can’t be avoided…”
Somewhat becalmed, Zenjirou shifted his attention to something else in order to make effective use of his day off.
“Well, it’s not all bad news with Princess Freya. I mean, the dishes did increase.”
Standing up from the couch with these words, he moved to the five-door refrigerator in the corner of the room.
The silver jug he took out from it contained goat milk, freshly milked this morning.
Every day, just like Nicolai, the young caretaker detached by Princess Freya, had instructed them to, they heated the milk once without boiling it, then let it cool down a bit before putting it in the refrigerator.
The leftovers were disposed of on the next day. It was a bit of a waste, but the only ones consuming the goat milk in the Carpa Kingdom were currently Zenjirou and the baby goats, so unless they disposed of it regularly, the refrigerator would overspill with goat milk in no time.
Pouring the milk from the jug into a glass, Zenjirou took a sip of the white fluid and swallowed it with a sour face.
“Yeah… it stinks quite a bit.”
He had only ever known of pasteurized milk, so he could not help but consider this goat milk as smelly. Kind of smelling of animal and grass alike, the scent was difficult to put into words and because of it, Zenjirou still could not recommend the milk to others in good conscience.
He had the impression that the people of the South Continent would become negatively biased towards the goat milk for life, if they were to taste it with this scent for the first time, since they had never drunken milk from livestock here before.
“Nicolai said the scent can be improved with a better environment and food, so there’s still hope.”
Nicolai had wanted to put off the improvement of the taste and scent for the time being, because the goats still had not settled in their new environment and their health came first.
Fortunately enough, the young man did not only know how to raise the goats, he apparently also knew how to make butter, raw cream and even cheese from their milk.
It would seem that the man called Nicolai could be trusted with everything related to the goats. The report said that almost every day, he was sleeping together with the goats in the stable or grazing ground in the courtyard of the Royal Palace, and passionately took care of them as though as they were his lovers.
Once they could make dairy products, the dishes would go beyond just the milk itself, enriching Zenjirou’s eating habits.
He had a pile of sweet recipes he could not rely on so far, because there had been no butter or raw cream. Besides, he had gotten better at reading and writing the language of the western part of the South Continent lately, so he wanted to translate as many recipes as possible and share them with Vanessa, the head of the cooking department in the Inner Palace.
Her talent spoke for itself. For example, even if she could not reproduce something according to the recipe, she arranged it herself and made it into something great. Moreover, she had gotten an idea of his tastes these days, so she was indispensable in the Inner Palace now.
“Hmm, I feel bad for Nicolai, but I guess, the goat milk will only be used for sampling for now.”
With these words, Zenjirou emptied his glass into the wooden bucket standing next to the refrigerator. After that he took out the cold water mixed with fruit juice, poured it into a new glass and drank it.
Without cleaning them up, he put the two used glasses and the bucket with the disposed goat milk back onto the shelf next to the refrigerator.
Zenjirou was still not used to it, but the common sense of this world deemed it scandalous for male royalty to “do the dishes”, so he had no choice but to leave it to the waiting maids.
“Oh, reminds me, the shampoo’s almost used up. Well, I did finish a test product, so I guess I’ll let the maids be my guinea pigs, even if I feel bad about it.”
Leaving the refrigerator behind, his feet carried him to another corner of the room, where he was storing all of his inventions.
It mainly encompassed numerous handiworks Zenjirou had tried his hands at in order to enrich his lifestyle.
An electromagnet made from a silver wire coil and a rechargeable dry battery, or a very weak static magnet based on the aforementioned, among other things.
From this collection, Zenjirou picked up a wooden box with several hand-sized silver jars in it.
These jars were filled with the experimental shampoo and rinse he had made. The soap shampoo was created by dissolving the self-made soap.
With the help of the downloaded instructions for self-made shampoo from the internet, Zenjirou was mixing it with varying amounts of beeswax, citrus juice, wheat flour or fragrance oil in order to come up with a cleansing shampoo that did not damage the hair and scalp.
“I think I’ll let Aura have the rest of the real shampoo and use the self-made one for myself once it’s passable.”
As a man with short hair, it would not bother him, if his hair were to become a little bit brittle. On the contrary, it would infuriate him, if the beautiful straight red hair of his wife would lose its glamour.
“Now that I think about it, her hair was already beautiful, when I first came here. And other women also have beautiful hair. If my soap shampoo and rinse won’t work out, we might as well go back to the traditional hair care of the Carpa Kingdom.”
He suddenly thought of that, but if possible, he only wanted to use it as a last resort. To begin with, the people of the Carpa Kingdom did not take baths as often as the people of Modern Japan, so they obviously did not wash their hair every day, either.
A neat person would wash its hair once every three days, everyone else once a week. The perfumed oil had been invented for that very reason, as it masked the bad smell of the hair and let it keep its glamour. But Zenjirou would rather not sleep together with a woman, who treated her hair with perfumed oil instead of washing it.
“The fluid soap with perfumed oil is already safe to use on the body, so when I get the shampoo and rinse done, I only need cleansing foam.
Well, I’m fine with a diluted version of the fluid soap, though.”
Zenjirou had never encountered any problems with rough skin due to sunburns or cleansers back in Japan. His skin was not all that sensitive, so there was no real need for him to fuss about the soap to such an extent.
“Maybe I can just leave it to the merchants as soon as I complete the shampoo and rinse? I already did that with the fluid soap and there were no problems, but I guess I better ask Aura before.”
The fluid soap Zenjirou managed to make with perfumed oil was being sold as a proper product by now, because he had passed on the recipe to the merchant frequenting the Inner Palace.
Needless to say, the business-minded merchant had not been satisfied with selling such a rare and useful item at the Inner Palace alone, so he apparently had gotten the permission from Queen Aura to sell it to the public as well.
It did not sell outstanding numbers, because warm baths were more or less a luxury for the upper class, but with the word-of-mouth recommendations from those, who already used it, and the seal of quality from the “purveyor to the court”, it was steadily gaining popularity, especially with the noble women.
If the shampoo and rinse were to circulate in the same way, even the nobles in the Royal Palace might assume the habit of taking a bath every day?
“Nah, that would be too much of a good thing.”
Zenjirou denied his own dreamery.
Living in the Inner Palace, he tended to forget it, but a warm bath was considered an extremely pricey luxury in terms of facility and maintenance expenses in this world.
Even during the Vibrant Season, the season with the lowest temperatures, the Carpa Kingdom was still warm enough to bath with cold water without problems, so those, who spent a lot of money to prepare a warm bath, were a minority, even in the upper-class circles.
Having said this, ambitious nobles with daughters at a marriageable age might suddenly start to adopt warm baths, if word were to get around that Prince Consort Zenjirou was “urging Queen Aura, whom he spent the bed with, and the waiting maids, whom he lived together with in the Inner Palace, to clean themselves up every day in a warm bath”.
“Now that I think about it, Ancient Rome sure was advanced with their public thermal baths all around. It was just an elaborated sauna for warming yourself up, though.
Zenjirou suddenly thought of something.
“That reminds me of the sauna culture in Northern Europe on Earth. Maybe the home country from Princess Freya has the same culture?”
In that case, it might be better to consider building a sauna in the Inner Palace, too.
The persuasion from Aura in the past few days must have yielded fruits. Zenjirou was unknowingly accepting the possible future of marrying Princess Freya down the road as he held that fleeting thought in the mind.
* * *
At night of the same day.
The royal couple sat across each other on the couches after their dinner and bath as always, discussing the important matters taking place in the near future.
“Then I’ll take a dragon carriage to the marriage ceremony?”
“Yes. I sent you to Valentia with ‘Teleport’ before, because it was an emergency, but this time, it is just an ordinary marriage ceremony during the Vibrant Season.
I know it will not be comfortable, but you will have to take the slow dragon carriage to get there.”
The Queen explained it in detail to Zenjirou, when he asked.
“Okay. The ride itself won’t be a problem. I rather fear the company. But I’ll do my best.”
While he answered like that, his gaze was not directed at the face of his wife, but rather focussed on her cleavage.
Fresh out of the bath, Aura was currently wearing her nightgown, a red negligee with a V-necked mesh. In the last few days, since the ban of the night activates had been lifted, she was often wearing revealing clothes, probably trying to appeal to her husband.
Zenjirou would awkwardly avert his eyes, if this were any other woman, but there was no need to hold back with his beloved wife.
He was smitten with the alluring figure of his wife, illuminated by the white light of the LED floor lamps, and ogled her without reservation.
“I can put on some clothes, when you cannot concentrate on the matter at hand?”
“Sorry. I’m fine. Continue.”
When his wife reprimanded him with a wry smile, Zenjirou uttered an inauthentic apology and requested that she stayed the way she was. Aura was not really scolding him for real, either, as she continued without getting changed.
“You will get a carriage for royalty, drawn by eight dragons. It will carry you and your partner, Princess Freya. Skathi will surely be with you as well as a bodyguard for Princess Freya.
And I will assign Ines as your aide.”
“Oh, Ines again?”
Zenjirou cocked his head puzzled.
“Mh? Do you have a problem with her?”
So Aura asked him that.
“No, not at all. She really lightened my stay in Valentia. But I just thought it must be a lot of work for her.”
Aura put her left hand on her chin and mused a while in reaction to his words.
“Hmm, who else could I assign? Margret? No, she will not do. I would not be free of worry with her.
I feel bad for Ines, but she is the most suited for the job.”
“Mh, okay. Then I’ll do my best not to trouble her all too much during the trip.”
It must be true, when Aura insisted on it. Taking care of royalty outside the Inner Palace was certainly not a job everyone could do.
Incidentally, Margret was a young waiting maid, whose trademark was her blonde hair, which was extremely unusual in the Carpa Kingdom.
She was one of the very few waiting maids in the Inner Palace that was not assigned to Zenjirou, but to Aura, so Zenjirou knew relatively little about her, but she definitely must be capable, seeing as Aura mentioned her as an alternative for Ines.
“Anyway, a lot of the nobles from the Capital will attend the marriage ceremony, as you know already.
Most of them will head there early together with the groom General Puyol, but some will want to travel together with you. They will surely use every stop on the way to socialize with you, so deal with them fairly.”
Zenjirou unwittingly stared at the ceiling, when Aura described the dark future.
“Oh god, what a pain. But to think that General Puyol would travel by himself. I thought for sure that he would hover over me and give his ambitions a shot.”
The Queen shrugged her exposed shoulders as she replied to the doubt of her husband.
“The groom is not only in the spotlight of the marriage ceremony. He has to be in the spotlight on the way to his bride-to-be as well. If royalty were to travel with him, who would be in the spotlight then?
Therefore it is a matter of course that the groom never travels together with someone of higher status.”
“I see. Sounds like a bothersome custom, but it saved me this time.”
Zenjirou nodded affirmative, whereupon Aura did the same.
“Raffaelo Márguez will probably be the highest ranking noble amongst the ones travelling with you. You got to know him well in Valentia, right?”
He remembered the face of the man, who had worked as his secretary in Valentia, when Aura mentioned him. As the eldest son of an influential noble, Raffaelo was strangely humble, but affable.
“Oh, him. I’m relatively okay with him.”
Even though he had been a former marriage candidate for Queen Aura as well, Zenjirou did not feel the same wariness towards him as with General Puyol.
Raffaelo was extremely capable and cunning for sure, but he was not as assertive as General Puyol, so he did not prompt you to use caution as much.
“He is a cunning guy in his own way, though. It is quite unlikely that he will cause something on his own accord, but when his string-puller Count Márguez sends him secret orders, he has the necessary skills to execute them absolutely reliable.
Count Márguez is currently taking our side, so I doubt that he will set up a trap for you, but you can never be careful enough.”
“Sorry. You’re right. I’ll be careful.”
Zenjirou ducked his head a bit in light of the strict warning from his wife, and uttered an honest apology.
“Oh, and that reminds me, Sir Raffaelo was your marriage candidate just like General Puyol, right? So that means he’s still single, right? Then who’s his partner? Could it be Lady Octavia?”
He asked the question he had suddenly thought of, so Aura deemed it appropriate to reveal the recently enacted change in the Inner Palace to her husband.
“No. His partner is Keyshia.”
Zenjirou widened his eyes in surprise, when a completely unexpected name was brought to the table.
“Eh? Keyshia? You mean the waiting maid Keyshia? You kidding me? So she’s actually well-off enough to be chosen as the wife for the successor of the Márguez Family, eh.”
He was now living in the Inner Palace for a year and a half and he could already remember the faces of the waiting maids taking care of him with the mentioning of their names alone, so he pictured her in his mind right now.
If his memory proved him right, Keyshia was a relatively old waiting maid with a pretty face befitting the term charming and the perfect proportions that could not even be hidden by clothes.
Objectively speaking, she could probably even qualify as more beautiful than Queen Aura. At the very least, she was currently the most beautiful amongst the waiting maids in the Inner Palace.
“She admittedly comes from a minor family, but Baron Massana is still a feudal lord, so she barely qualifies to marry into the Márguez Family. To begin with, Sir Manuel, the current head of the Márguez Family, prefers a steady prosperity over an instantaneous expansion of power, so I always knew that he would choose someone from a submissive lower-ranked family.
But just like you were suspecting, he dared to picked Keyshia as the wife for his successor because she is a ‘waiting maid of the Inner Palace’.”
“Oh, I knew it…”
The matter-of-fact cue from Aura prompted Zenjirou to fall into despair.
It goes without saying that being a waiting maid of the Inner Palace had its merits. As the waiting maids took care of the Queen and the Prince Consort in the Inner Palace, an isolated space, they obviously knew all kind of things that did not get out to the public.
Of course they could get executed or have their families fall from grace, if they carelessly gossiped about the events in the Inner Palace, so there was not much that they could actually talk about, but even that little information of the Inner Palace was quite valuable at this point in time.
After all, the court nobles practically knew nothing about the man called Zenjirou, who came from another world.
His favourite food. His favourite colour. His favourite season. Or the other way around: His least-liked food. His least-liked colour. His least-liked season. Trivial information like that was priceless to the nobles, who tried to fawn on him.
“That means Count Márguez will actively meddle with me from now on, too?”
Her husband uttered a “Gimme a break!” with an annoyed tone, whereat the Queen cocked her head a bit puzzled.
“Not really. As I have told you before, Count Márguez hates to take risks. At the very least, I would say he will not do anything to displease you right away.
I reckon he will just collect information for now.”
“He’s marrying off his son just to get information? Or could it be she’s just a partner for the marriage ceremony without an ensuing marriage?”
“As if. Keyshia is immediately retiring from her post as a ‘waiting maid of the Inner Palace’ in order to attend the coming ceremony. The Márguez Family would be done for, if they made her go that far without espousing her, even if the Massana Family ranks far lower than them. Count Márguez would never do something so foolish.
In fact, Raffaelo Márguez has already put in a request for my permission to announce their engagement.”
“Hmm. So he really is marrying off his son just to get information about me. It’s beyond me.”
Zenjirou looked puzzled, whereas Aura said persuasive.
“I just told you that the Massana Family does have enough status to make a marriage with the Márguez Family plausible.
In addition, Keyshia has information about the Inner Palace, so it is not all that strange that she would be chosen as his wife. Above all else, Keyshia herself is a beauty that had once captured the higher society.”
“Yeah, that makes sense.”
Zenjirou clapped his hands together convinced in light of the evidence from Aura.
“Oho, that sounds like you, too, think that Keyshia is quite the beauty, hmm?”
Narrowing her eyes to slits, his wife reacted with a monotone voice, whereupon Zenjirou thought “I messed up” for a second, but instead of digging his grave any deeper by trying to make a random excuse, he opted for an honest answer.
“Well, yeah. To be honest, she’s the most beautiful from all the waiting maids I’ve seen working in the Inner Palace. I’m just stating a fact, though, and there’s nothing more to it.”
The latter half somewhat turned into an excuse after all, but who could blame him? He was praising another woman in front of his wife. It might not be something crimeful, but he did was plagued by a strange sense of guilt.
However, his endeavour turned out to be unnecessary this time.
(I see now. He does love me and perceives Keyshia as the most beautiful. I think I am getting an idea of his taste for women. Princess Freya will probably have a hard time then? But Zenjirou does get along extremely well with Princess Bona, so it might be too early to say that she has no chance.)
Needless to say, Aura did not reveal these inner thoughts of hers to her husband.
The Queen collected herself and addressed the newsworthy information again.
“Well, anyway, Keyshia will leave the Inner Palace soon. But there is more. Some families of the relatively old waiting maids seemed to have gotten wind of Keyshia’s marriage and they put in a request to have their daughters be sent back any time soon, too.”
“Yeah, that makes sense from the parents’ point of view.”
Zenjirou nodded approvingly to her words.
The girls, who came into the Inner Palace as waiting maids, were generally all in the prime of their life. That was only natural, since they were more or less expected to become a ‘concubine’ for Zenjirou.
Nevertheless, the parents would not want that they wasted that golden age in its entirety inside the Inner Palace, either.
They would work as waiting maids for five years at the longest, but the life was far from over after that.
It was surely out of parental love that they wanted to take their daughters back home and marry them off before the prime of their lives ended.
Zenjirou comprehended these circumstances, so he had no reason to object.
“Sure, why not. I say they’ve all the right to demand that. It’s not really good, when they leave all together, though. I mean, it would be a problem when a couple of maids leave the Inner Palace all at once, right? The burden on the remaining maids would be too great.”
“Yes, I am apprehensive of that as well. Thus I am thinking of putting all the requests but Keyshia’s on hold for now and admitting more waiting maids into the Inner Palace first.
And once these new waiting maids have learned their job well enough, I will accept the retirement requests.
Lastly, I shall admit a few more waiting maids than usual in order to have some leeway with the staff, so that something like this does not happen again.”
“Yeah, sounds good. A great idea. You should definitely do that.”
On a rare occasion, Zenjirou assented to Aura numerous times with a serious expression.
He knew from experience how dangerous it was to work at the absolute limit every day. If just one person were to be absence due to sickness, when you did the daily workload with the bare minimum of staff, it meant that the workload of the remaining staff already went past their capability. Even more so, when the deadline of a job due next month was antedated to this month, because of some kind of issues. Every employee would literally see hell then.
Overwhelmed by the rare enthusiasm of her husband, the Queen just nodded.
“O- Okay. If you insist on it that much, I will do so. It should not prove to be all that difficult to get more personnel.”
There were plenty of young girls, who wanted to become waiting maids in the Inner Palace, anyway. And there were even more parents, who wanted their daughters to be one.
The young daughters from nobles were first preselected based on the loyalty towards the Royal Family. The remaining girls were then screened based on the suitableness for the tasks of a waiting maid of the Inner Palace.
The candidates that passed the final hurdle of “appearance” were the waiting maids working for Zenjirou right now.
For the last condition, they had favoured girls, who looked similar to Queen Aura, whom he fell in love with at first sight, because they had not known his preferences in the beginning.
By now, it had become apparent, though, that their efforts had been in vain. The man called Zenjirou was not the type of man, who would lay his hands on the waiting maids.
Hence there was no longer any need to pick the waiting maids based on appearance. Someone ugly would put the title “Waiting Maid of the Inner Palace” to shame, of course, but at the very least, they did not need to prioritize the tall and mature type with huge breasts like Aura anymore.
In fact, the current waiting maids requested their retirement after a year and half of work for one reason: They were already relatively old. This was self-evident. If the mature type like Aura had been preferred, then it actually required women, who already had reached a mature age.
If appearance was no longer a factor, it would be more effective to recruit younger girls as additional waiting maids. When a nineteen years old maid stayed for one year, then a fifteen years old maid would stay for five years at the longest.
“Hmm, so some of the girls will leave the Inner Palace. That’s a bit sad.
Oh, right, Aura. Would it be a problem, if I give the retiring maids a present in recognition of their services?”
The Queen pondered a bit before she answered the question her husband had suddenly thought of.
“No, it will not pose a problem per se. The nobles usually do the same with the servants in their mansion.
But if you were to give something too fancy or endow one specially, it could cause the misunderstanding that she is a ‘mistress‘, so as long as you give a little something to everyone alike, it will be fine.”
“I see. A little something for everyone like. Hmm, okay, I get it. I’ll think of something.”
Zenjirou nodded recognizing a few times to the advice from Aura.
Every single waiting maid had taken care of him in the past year and a half. It must have been a stiff piece of work to take care of a man, who was ignorant about the common sense of this world and had completely different preferences than this world. Zenjirou somehow wanted to give substance to his feeling of gratitude.
As the conversation between them came to a stop for some reason, silence ensued for a while.
It was awkward to spent time with a stranger in silence, but with someone familiar, even that time was comfortable.
Zenjirou and Aura filled their glasses with iced water from a silver jug and wetted their throats that had become dry from talking so much.
Before long, Aura put the empty red Kiriko glass back onto the table and rose to speak first.
“Oh, I just remembered a different matter, so I better let you know about it, too. The souvenirs you brought back with you from Valentia, namely its white sand and clam shells, have been used to make slaked lime and its effect on the glass manufacture was outstanding.
The glass had a dark green colour little short to black so far, but it has become so much clearer now. It seems to be easier to form now, too, because it is more viscous. The glass manufacture has taken a huge leap forward.”
“Oh, that’s good news! So the sand itself was the main factor after all. We should try it with sand from all over next.”
“Of course. We will look for the sand best suited for the glass manufacture while conferring with the craftsmen. But it will happen on a small scale, since I cannot allocate all that much budget or manpower to it right now.
By the way, what about that other method? You said something about removing the iron content from the sand with a magnet or something, because it is the reason for the discoloration, right?”
Zenjirou looked a bit troubled, when Aura inquired this, and scratched his head.
“Well, I did built an electromagnet by coiling the silver wire Prince Francesco made for me. It does require several rechargeable AA cells as a power source, but the magnet has quite the strength.
But you see, it’s quite complicated to build a static magnet from it. I can definitely magnetize iron with the electromagnet by exposing it to the magnet field, but the resulting magnet is extremely weak.
To be honest, it can’t be used to extract the iron content from the sand. I think I read somewhere that compounded iron has a stronger magnet field than pure iron, so I’m trying out a lot of things, but I haven’t made anything useable at the moment.”
He explained his progress like making excuses and naturally let his gaze wander to the corner of the room, where the experimental electromagnet and a couple of iron pieces with a very weak magnet field were lying right now.
“In other words, it is not utilizable yet?”
“Yeah and to be frank, the outlook seems rather grim. I might as well build a gadget to take the electromagnet to the facility itself for an experiment. The workers are directly subordinated to you, so secrecy shouldn’t be a problem.”
“Yes, I guess that is an option as well.”
Crossing her arms, so that they were practically resting on top of her voluminous breasts, the Queen collected her thoughts.
“The static magnet’s working, too, even if only with a fractional power. When I stuck magnetised needle onto oiled copy paper and let it swim in water, it pointed into the same direction most times. Seems like a compass works in this world.”
“Kompes? What is that?”
Aura cocked her head puzzled, as the Soul of Words did not work on that vocable.
“Well, the north pole of a magnet will always face north, when you let it go, because the world is a big magnet itself. Hmm? Speaking of, this world is a sphere, too? Well, it doesn’t matter right now.
Anyway, you take a thin metal needle, give it a magnetic field and let it swim on top of water for a while. The needle will naturally turn to point into a certain direction. We call a tool to determine the direction like that a ‘compass’.”
“Oho. That sounds really convenient for manoeuvres in an unfamiliar forest.”
Aura was quite impressed, because she herself had once suffered the experience of getting lost during the previous war.
An army usually had someone with them, who could determine the direction from the stars or sun, but the sky was not always visible from within a thick forest with a lot of fauna.
The reason why she did not think of using the compass on the boat was probably that the Carpa Kingdom was not all that involved with sea travels.
“Well, it does sound problematic to hold it still while it floats on water. If it were easier to carry around, I would mass-produce and distribute it to the army in the future.”
“Oh, the water’s just the simplest method. A portable compass’s a lot more practical.
How do I explain it? Hmm, you fixate the magnet only in the middle, like a weighing scale or balancing toy, so that it can spin around freely. It’s extremely simple to build, so I’ll write up a blueprint later and pass it to the craftsmen. It shouldn’t be all that difficult to copy its structure.”
The compass was a rather valuable invention, but Aura was currently engrossed in the glass manufacture, so it did not really drew all that much attention from her.
“Okay, I will leave it to you. Do as you please.
Anyway, back to the topic: You say we have no other option, but to lend that eelektromägnet or something directly to the craftsmen in order to remove the iron content from the sand?”
“Yeah, that would be the best right now. The attracted ironsand will easily come off the electromagnet once you turn off the switch. Well, I personally think it would be better, though, if we could get our hands on some suitable sand, instead of relying on the magnet.”
“You are right. I really hope that we can find the optimal sand within the royal domains, but if not, we might have to look in the other domains as well.
Oh, speaking of, I know of a place that has sand to no end.”
Zenjirou guessed from the playful tone of his wife that this place would not be an option, but he asked curiously anyway.
“The Twin Kingdom of Sharrow and Jilbell. Half of their territory is practically a desert. I cannot speak for the quality of the sand, but at least there is plenty of it there.”
Aura mentioned the place with a smile and as expected, it was not a viable option at all.
“It may become a problem later, though. In the long run, you can’t prevent technology from circulating, no matter how much effort you put into secrecy.
Well, I don’t know, if the sand of a desert’s suitable for the glass production, either.”
Zenjirou shrugged his shoulders, but in fact, his worry was more than justified.
The sand of a desert was getting weathered over time. And while the grains of sand weathered, the containing quartz remained in the end, since it was affected by the weathering the least. That very quartz was the raw material for the glass manufacture. A highly weathered desert could even consist of quartz to more than ninety percent.
As a matter of fact, some companies on Earth even imported the weathered desert sand as a cheap raw material for the glass manufacture.
“I was joking about the Twin Kingdom, of course. For now, we will gather the sand near Valentia, since the sand from there was a great improvement. Fortunately, Valentia and the nearby Balears Islands are royal territory. I hope we can find some good sand there.”
“Yeah, good luck. I’ll work on a portable electromagnet in the meantime.”
The Queen nodded once to the reply from Zenjirou.
“Yes, do that.
Then let us change the topic for a bit, Zenjirou. You are still practicing magic every evening, right? If I remember correctly, you managed to activate your second spell a month ago for the first time, but how is it going now?”
Her question came out of the blue, but Zenjirou had really wanted to speak about it, too, so he answered with an energetic voice right away.
“Oh, right. I forgot to tell you. I can cast it with a seventy percent reliability now.”
The wife raised an honestly impressed voice, when her husband spoke so confident.
“Oho, that is impressive. You really are a quick learner. If you like, would you show me your progress?”
Encouraged by his wife, Zenjirou clapped his hands together eagerly and presented his magic right away.
“Okay, take a good look. ‘Move what I am looking at into my hands. As compensation, I make eighty-one offerings of magical power to the Space-Time Spirit’…..”
He confidently chanted the spell, but unfortunately, nothing happened. The magic words had been correctly translated by the Soul of Words, so the chant itself was not the problem.
So either his perception of the spell or the offered amount of magical power had been wrong.
Zenjirou already knew that he had a less than eighty percent chance to activate the spell, so he was not all that shocked and just smiled bitterly before challenging it for a second time.
“Oops, first one failed. Then another one. ‘Move what I am looking at into my hands. As compensation, I make eighty-one offerings of magical power to the Space-Time Spirit’…..”
Nothing happened again.
“H- Huh? Not my day. Once more: ‘Move what I am looking at into my hands. As compensation, I make eighty-one offerings of magical power to the Space-Time Spirit’…..”
When nothing happened for the third time in a row, even Zenjirou started to sound frantic.
“Ehm, I usually pull it off, I swear. I wonder what’s wrong?”
When her husband hastily tried to tackle the spell for the fourth time, the Queen intertwined her fingers under her chin and smiled at him to ease his nervousness.
“Do not mind it, Zenjirou. It is only natural. A magic you only acquired recently will fall through in perception with the slightest bit of nervousness already. Even more so in your case. Your second spell ever is also your first spell, where you have to regulate the output of your magical power at the same time.
Activating it on your second or fourth try would be unusual instead.”
The explanation from Aura was not consolation or anything, but just the plain truth.
Even when he usually succeeded during his training in front of his computer, the probability of success would plummet from just being watched at it. Magic was such a delicate technique.
To begin with, magic was not the only domain, where a mental strain like this would cause a lower chance of success. Even in Modern Japan, there was once a Rubik’s Cube champion, who could solve the puzzle in under five seconds at home, but when he had to display his skills in front of a camera, he still had not solved it after one minute.
Zenjirou felt better after Aura’s explanation, so he smiled back at her and scratched his head bashfully.
“Yeah, right. I’m weak to pressure after all. Sorry, Aura, I’ll try until I succeed, so please give me a moment.”
“Yes, do your best. I will wait as long as it takes.”
After that, Zenjirou chanted the “Haul” magic numerous times while his wife watched over him.
The eleventh time finally did the trick.
“…Once more. ‘Move what I am looking at into my hands. As compensation, I make eighty-one offerings of magical power to the Space-Time Spirit’. Hell yeah!”
As soon as he finished the chant, the round wooden coaster from the table immediately appeared in his right hand.
“Haul” was an extremely restricted teleport magic.
It could only pull up something inorganic that was big enough to fit into one hand and required eye contact, so it was a really inconvenient magic, but it cost the least amount of magical power amongst the Space-Time spells, so they used it for training like this.
“Yes, well done. The magic activated all right.”
Completely ignoring the tough exertions so far, the Queen applauded and praised his magic.
Her husband made his bows while holding up the coaster in his right hand with a face red from embarrassment, whereupon the Queen suddenly said with a stern face.
“Well then, Zenjirou, I will get straight to the point: That shall be enough with the ‘Haul’ magic. Are you ready to get into your third magic, ‘Teleport’?”
The unexpected suggestion from Aura prompted Zenjirou to show his surprise in plain view.
“Eh? I’ve hardly mastered ‘Haul’ yet, but you want me to give up on it?”
“Yes. I want you to learn a practical magic now instead of going with an easy magic, even if that somewhat contradicts the magic training.
You can more or less activate ‘Haul’ now. That means you managed to imagine the activated state of the magic while regulating your output of magical power to a necessary extent at the same time.
Magic has three foundations: The correct intonation, the correct perception and the correct amount of magical power.
Once you can regulate your output of magical power while keeping the correct perception in mind, like in your case, every other magic is practically the same.
So it may be a bit more demanding, but you already have grasped the basics for practicing ‘Teleport’.”
“I can use ‘Teleport’ already?”
He uttered dumbfounded, somewhat in disbelief.
So far, Zenjirou had only managed to activate two spells: “Space Isolation Barrier” and “Haul”.
Both of them were “Space-Time Magic” and not something just anyone could chant, but unfortunately they were hardly useful for anything.
The ancestors of the Carpa Royal Family had pretty much stumbled across these spells in their attempts to gauge the possibilities of the “Space-Time Magic” and the spells had practically no applicability.
On the other hand, “Teleport” was the flagship as well as the most valuable spell amongst “Space-Time Magic”.
The reason that the Space-Time Magic from the Carpa Royal Family was evaluated so much higher than other bloodline magic was mainly thanks to that spell.
It admittedly could only transport a single person or the practitioner himself at a time, but any distance, no matter how far, could be crossed in an instant.
When Zenjirou thought about using it himself, he could not stop a thrill of anticipation running through his body despite his age.
“Mh, okay. I’ll learn ‘Teleport’ for sure. But why so suddenly?”
Although excited for it, he wondered why Aura wanted him to learn “Teleport” against the proper sequence, so he asked this.
Aura frowned in light of that question and answered with a slight irritation.
“Yes, well, I concluded that we will face a certain problem in the near future.
Right now, we are doing… it every night, right?”
She technically did not specify what they were doing, but seeing as she blushes on the words “every night”, it could only mean one thing.
“Hmm, yeah. Same goes for tonight, right?”
Zenjirou also flushed his cheek in line with Aura and answered with a teasing tone in order to hide his embarrassment.
“N- No need to spell it out! Anyway, it will only be a matter of time until we make a second child at this rate.
That, however, will be a little bit of a problem time-wise. This is just my personal opinion, but I believe it will take at least one more year until Princess Freya will become your concubine.
The Intercontinental Trade Agreement is indispensable to her acceptance as a concubine, since I have no intention to receive her without it.
Because of this, Princess Freya will have to go back to the Uppsala Kingdom at least once in order to get the approval on the trade agreement and the marriage from the king.
They say the ‘Yellow Leaves’ took one-hundred and twenty days to get here from the Uppsala Kingdom. It may not take them as long now, because they know the route a bit better, but a one-way trip should still take about a hundred days.
So the journey back and forth would be two hundred days alone already. If you add the time for negotiations here and there to it, my one year estimate is actually quite optimistic.”
“I see. And?”
At this point, Zenjirou still did not understand what Aura was worrying about. The Queen continued her explanation to her husband, who was casually giving her a look of inquiry.
“Do you not remember the mess, when I was pregnant with Carlos? Our nobility was really keen on having you take a concubine back then.
That will just repeat itself, when I get pregnant with our second child. If Princess Freya were your concubine by then, we could put them off by saying you already have a concubine, but like I just explained to you, she will most likely be nothing but a ‘possible candidate’ at this point in time.”
Realizing what Aura was getting at, Zenjirou immediately lost all colour in his face.
“B- But we fended them off before, right? So if we just…”
“We did so by claiming that you have no interest in other woman. But that excuse will not work this time, because there is a potential concubine in from of Princess Freya now.”
“Oh shit, I’d forgotten.”
This time, Zenjirou literally threw his hands up in horror.
“Princess Freya by herself is already too much for me, but another one on top of it now? And before Princess Freya at that? Nope, no way.”
The Queen soothed her whining husband.
“You are going to learn ‘Teleport’ for that very reason. I want you to learn ‘Teleport’ before I give birth, so that you can bring over a healer from the Twin Kingdom.”
After she pointed it out like that, Zenjirou corrected his agitated sitting posture.
He was going to learn Teleport before his wife gave birth to their next child, so that he could bring a healer to help with the delivery. That itself sounded quite admirable, but Zenjirou could only think of himself as a good-for-nothing, who was all talk, because he had already started the endeavours to make a child without learning the Teleport magic yet.
Whether Aura knew about the inner unrest of her husband or not, she continued with a stern expression anyway.
“Hence you will have a legit reason to go to the Twin Kingdom of Sharrow and Jilbell, provided that you manage to learn ‘Teleport’.
And then we will be able to avoid the concubine requests from the nobles. After all, the matter of a concubine is yours to decide, at least on paper. I may be the Queen of the castle, but the matter will come to a halt as long as I say that we cannot proceed while you are absent.”
As a matter of fact, even the matter with Princess Freya was ultimately announced in such a way that “Zenjirou chose her as his partner”.
Hence the idea from Aura to have Zenjirou leave the country in order to block the concubine requests from the nobility was a legit one.
But it did not brighten Zenjirou’s mood. On the contrary, it made it worse.
“Sure, I can escape our nobility for the time being like that, but the Twin Kingdom, or rather the Sharrow Royal Family wants to push a concubine onto me, too, right? In the worst case, I may end up with three concubines instead?”
“But if everything goes well, Princess Freya will be the only one.
Besides, you can just tell the Twin Kingdom that a concubine is traditionally taken from your local nobility and you would evoke the hostility in them if you were to take another concubine from a different country, since you already have a potential concubine from a foreign country.”
“Oh god, what a farce.”
Zenjirou could not help but give his wife a weary look.
In fact, the suggestion from Aura was quite ridiculous.
By going to the Twin Kingdom, they stalled their own nobility, whereas the Twin Kingdom was also stalled with the reason that their own nobility came first.
“I would be done for, though, if the nobility and the Sharrow Royal Family of the Twin Kingdom conspire against me. With no way out, a second and third concubine are practically inevitable.”
Aura recognized from his look with half-opened eyes that her husband was not really keen on the idea, so she cocked her head a bit troubled.
“You do have a point, but what will you do then? Give up on it? Let me tell you, though, that everything will play out like I have told you earlier, if I get pregnant before Princess Freya has become your official concubine.”
“Well… I would rather not to, but maybe we should put the sex on hold for a while?”
“At this point of time? We have been doing it for more than ten days already, so it might already be too late. Besides, it is definitely better for the Royal Family to have a second child before accepting a concubine. I personally want to continue as we have.”
“Hmm, I see.”
Zenjirou slumped into the couch and mused for a while.
He had never been the smartest one and his brain had to process a lot of new information all at once, so it could not keep up.
Zenjirou was thinking.
Everything turned out to be no good, when he tried to get the best outcome at all costs.
He ought to make a priority list and start to clear them from top to down, giving up on the low priority entries, if they were not feasible at this point.
His train of thought was based on that now.
(What’s the most important to me? Easy: Aura. Another child with her is set in stone, too, so it’s inevitable that I learn “Teleport” and go to the Twin Kingdom.)
Reaching such a conclusion, Zenjirou crossed the first thing off the list.
Considering the childbirth, not going to the Twin Kingdom was not an option. In that case, it was only natural that he would face the matter of a concubine in the Twin Kingdom in the future.
According to these preconditions, Aura’s suggestion was not all that bad after all.
If it could not be avoided anyway, he might as well learn “Teleport” earlier in order to escape the concubine talks of the nobility at least. An effective scheme for sure.
“Okay. For now, I’ll try to learn ‘Teleport’ as quickly as possible, so that I can immediately go to the Twin Kingdom once you are pregnant. I agree with you up to that point.”
“Oh, I see.”
Aura smiled happily, whereupon Zenjirou smiled back, too, albeit a bit tired.
“Considering your well-being, it’s absolutely necessary that I can travel between the Twin Kingdom and Carpa Kingdom with ‘Teleport’. There’s no doubt about that.
And if that causes new problems, so be it. I’m ready to submit to almost anything for the sake of bringing a healer to your delivery.”
“Yes, thank you.”
The Queen could feel a warm throbbing in her chest in regards to the passionate confession of her husband.
Her husband was saying that he was willing to endure any hardships for the sake of her and their child’s health. Nothing could make a woman more happy.
It was a bit ironic, though, that these very hardships could cause him to accept a concubine, in other words: wedding another woman.
Zenjirou regained the composure he had lost during their conversation and looked his beloved wife straight into the eyes.
“It’s no using thinking too far ahead with my brains, so I’ll just keep it simple for now.
I’ll learn ‘Teleport’. I’ll go to the Twin Kingdom. But I won’t take a concubine from anywhere.
I shall give in, when it’s inevitable due to political issues, like with Princess Freya, but if possible, I won’t accept it.”
His phrasing somehow sounded like he had already accepted Princess Freya as a concubine to Aura, but there was no merit in pointing that out now. It would just trouble her amiable husband.
“Yes, by all means. Thank you, Zenjirou.”
So she just smiled and thanked her husband for his devotion from the bottom of her heart.