Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi Chapter 317
Lord Beltz and his wife, as well as the nobles and knights of his faction, arrive at my mansion.
It goes without saying Gretel is by my side.
After all, today is the day she gets married to me.
Gretel is wearing a pure white dress.
The fluttering dress is long enough to drag on the floor, and her face is covered with a laced veil, which is made with a thin enough material that her beautifully done makeup can be seen through.
「You look wonderful. You’re just like a goddess, Gretel.」
「T-that’s embarrassing in front of my father……」
Gretel tilts her head down as she blushes while Count Beltz awkwardly looks away.
It doesn’t really matter who is in front, I don’t feel any kind of embarrassment praising a truly beautiful woman.
That’s just how stunning Gretel is in a dress.
「You’re the personification of beauty. It makes me want to show my affection to you right here.」
When I put my arm around Gretel, she lets out a high-pitched squeak like a little bird.
「Ahhem! ……geho, goho!」
Count Beltz and Celia clear their throats.
Celia forced herself to be loud so she ended up choking a little bit.
I reluctantly release Gretel and take a look around me.
Count Beltz really brought a lot of people with him today.
「W-what is this extravagant mansion!? To think such a place existed in a remote region like this……」
「I thought Miss Gretel was seduced by some upstart noble, but he has tremendous assets!」
The lackeys are saying something.
My mansion is considered to be on the larger side and I bought a collection of decorative items based on Claire and Laurie’s recommendation.
I don’t know about the houses of other nobles, but I’m confident I won’t lose to them.
「So many gallant knights are gathered in one place.」
「A-as expected of the storied Lord Hardlett.」
「There’s a meatball wearing a dress in the corner, what is that?」
The Beltz faction also admires the array of neatly lined-up guards.
They are elites within my army possessing outstanding physiques and martial skills, so it’s fair to call them my own chivalric order.
By the way, Christoph who is arrogantly puffing out his chest in the frontmost row, is by far the weakest. Just yesterday he rubbed a maid’s ass and got knocked out after getting hit by a mop.
His body is the only thing that’s big and sturdy, which is perfect for show.
Maybe it would be better if I put a label on him saying “fragile”.
「This is not really the fanciest ceremony, but please enjoy yourselves.」
I take Gretel’s hand after that declaration.
This ceremony is one where I welcome her as my concubine so gathering the people of my territory for something grand―― isn’t what I did, although high-quality food and alcohol were prepared for Count Beltz and Gretel.
It is a humble ceremony as it is called within the noble society.
I’ve invited a few close nobles from my circle too.
Well, there aren’t many who I’m friendly with.
Count Monnashi, Viscount Binbo and Baron Gekhin are the only ones.
「Aegir-sama, you got the name wrong.」
Celia points out my mistake by whispering to me. It’s a little mistake.
The head of Count Monashi and Baron Gokhin’s families came, however Viscount Binbo sent the eldest son as a proxy.
Based on what I heard, the head ate a poisonous mushroom from a forest in his territory and fainted in agony.
Don’t tell me he did something like that because he’s in financial trouble again.
Binbo’s eldest son initially looked around restlessly to see if he made any mistakes with his etiquette.
However he felt a little more relaxed after seeing me sneak a bite of the presented food.
Nonna slapped my hand though.
With the pleasantries out of the way, Gretel and I make our vows to the spirits, swearing to love each other as husband and wife.
From there, Nonna and Carla as well as the other wives proceed with their greetings, and we swear to mutually support the family.
Sparse applause resounds throughout the hall.
Gretel lines up beside me with my other wives, and then a bearded man…… I mean, Count Beltz, steps forward.
「Who would have thought I would be related to you…… is this some kind of fate?」
「You said it.」
After exchanging a handshake, I turn towards the audience and declare I will continue to protect the Kingdom as a noble of Goldonia. Cheers incomparable to the earlier clapping erupt from mainly Lord Beltz’s faction.
They’re probably more interested about the Beltz’s family forming ties with me rather than whatever happens to the fourth daughter Gretel.
I smile at Gretel when I see her make a troubled expression.
The only one I’m interested in is you. Let’s have an enjoyable first night tonight.
When I show her a hand sign for sex out of everyone’s view, Gretel turns red and looks away.
Not good, Nonna is getting angry. She found out about the indecent sign language.
Not long after hearing the familiar voice, Kenneth appears.
「Oooh! The Commissioner of Government Affairs himself showed up!」
「As expected of Lord Beltz and Lord Hardlett!」
How strange, I thought he said he was busy and couldn’t attend……
I sent out invitations to Count Beltz’s superior Kenneth and my superior Erich.
However they both responded saying they were extremely busy and couldn’t make it to Rafen for the ceremony.
It isn’t the largest ceremony and I’m only welcoming another concubine into my family so Nonna said it would have been normal for nobles of their standing to send a representative, which I’m fine with, but this guy actually came in person.
「Aah, I see, so that’s how it is.」
Nonna nods and smiles wryly.
Erich sent a proxy after confirming Kenneth’s absence, so maybe that has something to do with his appearance.
The new noble who came in his place looks frustrated.
「Hahaha, this evening is joyous occasion, now come, let us drink!」
Kenneth takes the lead and gets the merrymaking started.
Umumu…… what’s the deal with restraining the newlywed bride and groom.
Can’t he see I want to get in bed with my new wife as soon as possible?
Well, I did promise Nonna yesterday that I would go through with the ceremony.
I raise my glass and cheer with everybody before withdrawing from the center of the circle.
「T-this is the rumored black beast steak…… for it to be cut so thick, as expected of Lord Hardlett!」
「Count Monashi. There is no one looking right now. We should put it in a box and take it home for the family as a souvenir!」
What are those guys talking about?
Don’t bring the meat back, you’ll hurt your stomach if it goes bad and you eat it.
「Umu, no mistakes. That’s why I secretly brought in a box with me. Lord Gokhin, this wine is also a rare product of the Federation. Let’s pour it into a leather bag. If you don’t have one, I can lend you a spare.」
What you’re doing is not only pathetic as nobles, but also pathetic as humans, so please try not to act so conspicuously.
Beltz’s faction is looking with furrowed eyebrows.
「There is a smell to it.」
「Don’t worry about it. The scent can be enjoyed for a bit even if you only have water in it. You can use it after washing just the mouth.」
I’m going to cry. I’ll give you a proper bottle of wine later.
「Count Monashi, Lord Gokhin, don’t you think that’s lacking dignity……」
The eldest son who came in place of Viscount Binbo comments while glancing occasionally in my direction.
Pretending not to see anything here should be the nice thing to do.
「You only have to put on airs when people are looking!」
「Honor won’t fill your stomach! You’re still green. Nobles are all like this beneath the surface.」
To begin with, quite a few people are seeing what you are doing, and the only nobles with such a poor person’s mentality are you guys.
It doesn’t make me feel uncomfortable, actually it makes me laugh.
「Did you make a blunder in your territory management again or is it just your poor man’s attitude acting up?」
Once things finish up smoothly, I want to let Adolph go on a trip, but it would be bad if he went bald again, so maybe not.
With such things in my mind, I get a little lost in my thoughts.
Out of everyone here , probably the only one with specific knowledge about the disease crossing the border with the refugees is me.
Kenneth might know something.
「It’s not a topic you bring up during a celebration like this though.」
The disease is spreading in Vandolea and Malt.
I don’t think the palace in Goldonia will take any action even if it happens to cross over to my territory, probably because they expect me to take care of it somehow. Well, if they ask, I’ll respond with a safe answer.
I put an end to my thoughts here.
The matter has already been entrusted to Leopolt, Adolph, and Tristan.
If they don’t come to me first, acting on my own might be considered a hindrance.
I’m not going to get any bright ideas by straining my brain either.
It’s best to let those who can do something do whatever they can.
「Lord Hardlett, don’t stay in the corner, can you tell everyone about your time in the Magrado war?」
A drunk red-faced knight found me.
In the end, I returned to Gretel at a very late time.
She was waiting in her bedroom.
She had been using the guestroom up until now, but since she’ll officially be my wife starting tonight, she was given a personal room.
The room is a little empty at the moment, though I’m sure she’ll dye it in her own tastes soon enough.
「My lord, I’ve been waiting for you patiently.」
「Sorry for keeping you.」
I welcome Gretel, who is sitting on the bed, by spreading my arms.
As I kiss her softly, I remove layer after layer of her dress like a thin skin.
「Hooh, you have some nice taste.」
「I embarrassingly asked the tailor to prepare it for me……」
Her dress is typical for Goldonian nobles to get married in, but when I take off the upper layer of her dress, the color suddenly changes.
The now lace dress is wrapped tightly around her body, not only showing off her figure but also lets me see the color of her skin.
The young Gretel has beautiful skin just like that of a juicy fruit.
That’s not all. While the entire dress is thin and seemingly covers her entire body, there are slits in certain places, which make it seem I can touch her precious places if I trace my finger in those areas.
This dress is clearly designed to let her have sex while it is worn.
「This evening is a special one, so could you embrace me with this on?」
I don’t answer verbally.
Instead, I wrap my arms around Gretel, play with her nipples and genitals through the slits and exchange a deep kiss with her.
Already feeling turned on by the mood, her hot love juices cover my finger.
Before she could turn her eyes away shyly, I invade her mouth with my tongue.
「Puha…… t-this is embarrassing! It’s cruel for me to be the only feeling this way.」
「You’re right, sorry. Then shall I get naked as well?」
I stand imposingly in front of Gretel.
After she smiles, she slowly removes my formal wear.
「In the past, I thought muscular bodies were savage things, but now I know a female’s instinct longs for strong men.」
After getting my upper half bare, Gretel runs her hand along my muscles, kissing my shoulder, chest, and abs.
Gretel wasn’t simply kissing me, she was also sucking loudly as if she wanted to leave marks on my body.
「Fufufu, don’t tease me so much. Can you let my important part loose?」
As I spread my legs, Gretel happily kneels on the floor.
And then her smooth hands lower my pants.
My meat rod flings out and bends back until it slaps up against my stomach.
「It’s incredible like always.」
Gretel strokes the rock hard object with both hands and looks up at me.
When she does so in her bridal outfit, it makes me feel like I’ve obtained her everything and that stirs up a feeling of conquest within me.
「From today onward, this cock will be yours. And this……」
I push Gretel down and fondle her breasts.
「As well as this will belong to me.」
I slowly insert a finger in her flesh pot.
「Yes, we will be married from this day henceforth…… there is no need for reservation now that we’ve exchanged vows.」
Gretel climbs on the bed, and I soon follow.
Before I could penetrate her, Gretel stops me.
「Could you do it from behind? You know…… like a dog……」
Gretel gets on all fours and lifts her ass in my direction.
Brand new ears and a tail are taken out from under the bed.
「I have finally become my lord’s dog wife.」
Gretel shakes her ass happily.
I’m going to fuck her while she’s wearing a wedding dress, dog ears and tail, in the same way dogs mate.
The sense of immorality arouses me to no end and I indulge in the bitch before my eyes.
「This obscene bitch, let me discipline you with your master’s dick!」
「Woof woof! Kyuuun!」
When I shove my dick into her hole, Gretel arches her back so much that her spine might snap.
I grab her boobs and swing my hips liberally.
My rod is too big for her hole as it is, but it’s embedded particularly deep inside her since we’re in the doggy position.
A single thrust makes Gretel agonize and causes sweat to form on her back.
「Tell me if it hurts.」
Does that mean she’s okay?
I pull her arms back and focus on rubbing the conjoining part.
Because I’m slamming my hips pretty hard against her, every thrust makes the room echo with loud flesh-slapping sounds, further heightening our state of arousal.
The graceful facial features, tightly clenching vagina, smooth young skin, and most importantly the heart, which has genuinely fallen in love with me, of this dog wife works to increase my love and lust, thereby also enlarging my dick.
「Gretel, I can’t take it! I’m going to go faster!」
I let go of her hands and grab onto her waist instead, pounding her pussy harder than I did before.
「Woof, kyan! Kyan! ……h-hiiiiiiiih!!」
Unable to maintain her upright position on all fours due to my overly powerful thrusts, Gretel’s arms give out and she ends up slumping on the bed.
When I don’t pay her any heed and continue fucking her , she eventually lets out a human scream.
「You’re my wife. I’m going to make love to you all the time now!」
I exclaim as I cover Gretel’s back with my body, all the while rocking my hips.
Her moans don’t sound entirely like a dog or like a human anymore.
I can feel her body heat up through the lace she’s wearing.
Her vagina is starting to spasm, although it can’t squeeze down fully because my thick shaft is filling up her cavity.
Gretel manages to keep up her act as a dog, so in response I hug her tightly and growl in her ear like a starving wolf right as I climax.
That dominating roar sends Gretel over the edge and her entire body trembles.
She experiences the intense contractions of her climax. I wonder how many times Gretel enjoyed such a sensation.
「Ah…… ga…… uu……」
I squeeze the open-mouthed Gretel who is struggling to speak as I ejaculate.
She relishes in the pleasure from the rhythmic pulsing of my penis and eventually passes out lifelessly.
「That felt great. Thanks, I’ll be protecting you from now on.」
I gently rub the girl’s unconscious body as post-coital activity.
Meanwhile, my dick continues pumping semen inside Gretel.
Gretel, who should be fainted, opens her mouth and extends her tongue.
I answer by entwining my tongue with hers and kissing her.
My meat rod, gradually shrinking after expelling its load, starts to get hard again.
「What a sinful woman.」
I lift up the girl who I don’t even know is still conscious or not and put her in a sitting position so I can continue shaking my body.
「I’ll completely dye your body in my color. I’m going to make love to you until the sun comes up.」
Gretel and I really went at it until the sun rose the next morning…… making good use of every last second before Lord Beltz had to return home.
And then the next day arrived.
「Lord Beltz, you really don’t need bodyguards to accompany you?」
「…… no need.」
「Father, be careful going back.」
Lord Beltz seems to be acting stiffly when we came out to send him off.
I overhear the whispering of his followers.
「Aegir-sama, how could you?」
「Geez, you’re really too much……」
Celia and Nonna express their disapproval.
The cause for that is clearly because of Gretel.
Gretel and I were copulating until the last moment when Lord Beltz had to leave, and had to get ready quickly after Celia burst into the room.
The formal wear which was taken off in Gretel’s room became soaked with juices, so I met with her at the entrance after getting clothes from my room, except things didn’t do so well.
「It’s fine, my lord. I eventually want my father to understand this. The fact that my heart and body has been offered to you and that I’ve become your dog wife!」
It’s not fine for me. I’ll be thought of as a pervert.
「Ha, hahaha…… well, that’s a matter of taste between husband and wife.」
「T-that’s right. The more harmonious the relationship, the faster a child can be born.」
Beltz’s followers follow up with comments frantically, but the Count is shaking.
That’s to be expected.
After all, Gretel came out wearing only that thin dress and something rather light over her shoulders.
She’s also still wearing those dog ears on her head and the tail is clearly plugged into her asshole.
Not to mention she has kiss marks all over her body and traces of semen can be seen in her disheveled hair.
The finishing blow was when she was supported by me to meet Lord Beltz, dollops of white seed spilled out from her crotch.
It would have been nice if she at least wore underwear.
Lord Beltz puts both hands on my shoulder.
「My daughter…… Gretel, I entrusted her with you! No matter what perverted fetishes you may have, it would have been fine if you kept it between the two of you! However training her like some animal and leaving her in a state like a prostitute……」
Beltz doesn’t finish the rest of his sentence and his grip tightens on my shoulder.
Unfortunately for him, it doesn’t hurt me.
「You’re absolutely right, I will make sure to take good care of her.」
We part ways after a firm handshake.
Lord Beltz is holding his hand. That’s probably because I squeezed too hard…… I have trouble adjusting my strength when it comes to guys.
Even though being gentle comes naturally to me when I’m dealing with women.
「Haa…… now Aegir-sama being a pervert will be a hot topic in the high society for a while.」
Don’t say that now, I’m going to make plenty of love to you tonight too.
「I’m not jealous! Although…… I welcome you to do so.」
When I sent the poor nobles an assortment of meat and alcohol, a light cavalry comes running toward the mansion.
「Nonna, go with the others inside the mansion first.」
I don’t want to let the girls hear about the disease issue and make them worry.
The light cavalry dismounts in front of me and he excuses his rudeness before proceeding to relay me the message.
「A party has arrived at the north gates! It is Her Majesty Celestina and company from Malt Kingdom!」
My voice overlaps with Celia’s.
If even Celia is surprised, then it isn’t because I’ve forgotten something.
「I should be happy to meet Celestina, except I’m getting nothing but bad feelings.」
Orders were given urgently to Rita and Sebastian to clean up the aftermath of the ceremony and prepare for Celestina’s welcome.
-Third Person POV-
City in the South Temporarily Occupied Region – Kisatto. Disease Provision Headquarters.
“Disease seems to have broken out in the village at the south edge of the temporarily occupied district, death count is high”
The message from the border sends shocks throughout.
「So it’s finally here……」
Adolph’s long hair flutters as he mutters with a sigh. There is no sense of urgency or panic in the tone of his voice.
「It’s something we predicted. Actually it came later than expected.」
Leopolt gives out orders to his subordinate. The method of solving the problem was already determined.
「My, it’s so nice to have two skilled individuals. I’m not really needed here, am I? How about it, won’t you fire me and send me back to Rafen?」
「We don’t have enough people at the scene. Why don’t you go inspect the infected village?」
When the long-haired Adolph advises Tristan as he was packing his bags, he gives up and sits himself in a chair.
「Alright, let’s go over the plan.」
Adolph ignores the lazy Tristan and begins to talk.
「The plan of action is already common knowledge, it’ll be a waste of time. I don’t think you’re that incompetent.」
Adolph disregards Leopolt’s comment, flicking his long hair back before starting to read out the document.
The dissatisfied Leopolt looks over to Tristan, then to the anxious subordinates around him.
Adolph wasn’t explaining for the three of them, it was more so to reassure the subordinates.
Leopolt goes silent, making an expression mixed between compliance and discontent.
「First we will block off the village with the infected individuals, forbidding anyone from entering or exiting. Those who disobey the rules will be severely punished…… if larger groups violate the law, we will recognize that as a rebellion of the entire village and everyone will be eliminated.」
「If they agree to the conditions we set, we will send food supplies and daily necessities to the village…… also-」
Adolph and Tristan nod.
「The army has already been deployed and spread thin around the whole region.」
Leopolt answers coldly.
「Lucky for us, there is no large city or highway from the border to Kisatto. It will be hard for a large insurrection to occur, plus there is a limit to how far the infected can go north.」
「The severity of the disease helps us there.」
Tristan adds sarcastically.
The symptoms of the widespread disease, also known as fire pox, are dreadful.
Bumps start covering the entire body, a high fever develops, and lots of blood comes out via vomiting, eventually leading to death in less than three days.
In other words, even if the infected realize the appearance of bumps on their body and they start running, there is not much they can do.
Furthermore, the distance they can travel is shortened even more because of the three day time period the disease takes to kill the infected.
With the roads not even maintained, it would be difficult to run very far, that is if they manage to move at all.
「That is where our hope lies. If we If we trap the infected within a certain space and leave it alone, the disease will stop spreading.」
「We’ll wait for the sick people to die.」
Tristan interrupts, which causes Adolph to stare at him, long hair swaying as his head moves.
「In any case, our duty is to contain the disease. Do whatever it takes.」
Leopolt cuts in with his own comment, which Adolph and Tristan nod at.
「That’s right. However, Hardlett-sama has granted me the final say on this matter.」
Adolph is saying so to implicitly tell Leopolt not to do anything on his own.
Leopolt initially insisted on burning down entire villages once cases of the disease have been confirmed within them, but Adolph and Tristan rejected the idea.
「Massacring people would cause the citizens’ hearts to grow cold. It would lead to the same situation in Magrado where many rebellions would break out.」
「Besides, it won’t help us contain the infected. If the rumor that an army will kill everyone who is sick circulates, the first person who is seen with the symptoms will prompt the entire village to scatter. That result is much more troublesome to deal with.」
Leopolt, likely agreeing with what was said, doesn’t offer any further objections.
「Those who break the rules and run away will get killed. You agree with that, right?」
Adolph and Tristan nod silently in response to Leopolt’s words.
「It’s unavoidable. Their selfish actions in this situation will put all the citizens in danger. As long as there is a chance of infected people mixing with healthy people, it is dangerous to try and capture them. We have no choice…… we’ll finish them on the spot.」
「Soldiers will use bows and crossbows, or in the worst case scenario spears. If the soldiers get splashed by the spurt of blood, they will be treated as infected.」
The three of them nod and then give out detailed orders to the subordinates.
Seeing the calm attitudes of their commanders, some of the subordinates seem to look relieved as all of them ran off to carry out their duties.
The three don’t move from where they are even after the subordinates exited the room.
「So are we done acting?」
「That was excellent.」
「I’m not cut out for this kind of stuff. I’m an honest person.」
The three of them start talking again.
It was something they couldn’t let their subordinates hear.
「Forbidding entry and exit into the village won’t be enough to stop everyone. The deadliness of the disease will eventually be known and there will definitely be escapees.」
「It takes three days after the presence of symptoms for the disease to kill, but it’s not like the bumps appear immediately after getting sick. There is actually a longer time they can move.」
Adolph unfolds one of his blueprints.
「It looks like we can move forward with the plan earlier than expected. The labor of the refugees is coming into play.」
「A large treatment center, huh…… it’s almost like a small city.」
On the blueprints are multiple machinery storage buildings and food warehouses, which are surrounded by a moat and simple fences.
The facility is quite large and looks capable of accommodating more than a few thousand people.
「If the infected people don’t run from the sealed village, they will be transported here.」
「So they get moved to the treatment center if they’re obedient and killed by the army if they try to escape.」
Adolph and Tristan nod at each other.
「There isn’t actually a way to cure the disease though.」
Leopolt says bluntly.
If there’s no cure, the only difference for them would be whether they suffer at home or suffer in the treatment center.
The watchtower written on the blueprint is on the outside of the moat and the opening of the entrance of the fence is opposite to what’s normal, wider on the inside and narrower towards the outside.
Instead of preventing people from infiltrating, the structure of the treatment center is constructed in a way that prevents escape.
Rather than a treatment center, it is more like an isolation ward.
「……if the disease spreads, it’s all over. If we find the cure, this place can function as it was originally designed.」
For the time being, we have little hope of that…… which Adolph doesn’t say out loud.
「To prevent escape from this place, we need extra soldiers.Is a request possible?」
「You don’t have to worry about that. I pestered Hardlett-sama for additional guards and building materials, and both of those things arrived at the same time as the reply letter.」
「That person really moves fast. He gets reckless sometimes though.」
Tristan brings his tea to his mouth and his face grimaces when he feels the cold liquid touch his lips.
「Rather than half-hearted cleverness, that is a hundred times more appreciated in the current situation. ……now then, one final confirmation.」
The three of them look around to ensure nobody is peeping through the keyhole or listening outside the window.
「Nobody can know about this……」
「That goes without saying. Continue.」
Leopolt cuts Adolph’s check short.
「Earlier I said to finish off the escapees from that village if they are found, but please make up a reason to let the ones who take this path go.」
The path Adolph points to on the map leads to the treatment center.
「Then when they reach the treatment center, order for them to be secretly accepted without getting punished.」
「Next, leak rumors of that to the citizens……」
Take in the people who arrive at the treatment center.
What would happen if that route is made comparatively safer?
「When the citizens eventually realize how frightening the disease is, they will fall into a state of panic. They will, regardless of the rule forbidding them from leaving, scatter in all directions. When that happens, it doesn’t matter how many soldiers there are, it won’t be enough.」
「That’s right. We want to give them a hope in the treatment center, but first we gather the people here. Nobody would make a journey without a destination.」
Leopolt stares at the map and identifies a location.
「This path won’t work. Footing is good and it’s possible to take a horse to Kisatto in one day. A fortress can easily be built to close off the route, instead we should overlook this particular alternate road.」
「Understood. Let’s go with that.」
「Thus the fate of the poor citizens have been decided on paper.」
Tristan interrupts and gets glared at again by the other two while he refills his tea with a sigh.
「Well, after that we have to expand the treatment center a little more.」
「Are you referring to the influx from Malt?」
Tristan replies in the affirmative before sipping his tea and pointing at the map with his free hand.
「That country is, how do you describe it…… kind of lackadaisical and surely won’t deploy any decent countermeasures. I think people will eventually flow out from that border too. If they pour out from the north and get into Zan Dora, it’ll be a disaster…… still, it’s a different country so they won’t brazenly step over the border and block the path. I’ll put up a notice to block the border though……」
Tristan taps his finger on the map a few times, pointing at a river.
「Let’s destroy the levee of this river and submerge the road. If we also drop this bridge here, the only paths left will be here and here. The path here is close to an abandoned fortress so it’s fine to leave a small number of soldiers there. That will――」
His finger draws a line straight from Malt to the treatment center.
「The only main road will be the one close to the treatment center.」
「……they should use it.」
「……I don’t feel good about it, but it seems to be the best plan.」
Adolph and Leopolt agree.
「So shall we tell this to the Magrave?」
Adolph was about to answer “of course”, but Leopolt gives the opposite reply.
「These should be made to be accidents. Lord Hardlett is not aware of the plan and should not be informed.」
The long silence which followed indicated everyone’s agreement.
「Thus the three evil officials plotted behind their master’s back.」
Once again, Tristan gets glared at by the other two.
He proceeds to dejectedly remake more tea, except there were no more tea leaves, so he had to fill in the section on an emergency food supply request to ask for additional inventory.
「By the way, what’s the name of this treatment center? It will be easier for the citizens to treat it as a symbol when we spread the rumors about it.」
「You’re right……then let’s name it Besselink. It will probably be a name that goes down in history.」
「As an internment camp where all the sick people pushed into it die?」
「…… I hope it would be as a treatment center which put a stop to the disease.」
Polpo Kingdom – Capital City: Poron. King’s Quarters.
「The King has died.」
The attending doctor declares as he closes the open eyes of the king.
Polpo IV, the current King of the small nation the Polpo Kingdom, after being bedridden with a sickness for a few years, finally passed away.
The nobles and chief vassals gathered in his bedroom crumble to the floor in tears.
Not many people actually feel sad.
The King was already old in years at an age higher than 90, and many felt it was a long time coming after being in critical condition several times during his long-lasting illness.
One man steps forward and declares while wiping away his tears.
「Everyone, the entirety of Polpo Kingdom will observe a mourning for thirty days. Order all the feudal lords to hasten to the capital. The nobles in the capital will observe the mourning in their mansions and the citizens in the capital will do the same in their homes.」
The man was the deceased king’s eldest son.
With five sons in line for the throne, the eldest displayed his legitimacy by first announcing the mourning.
The other princes looked unhappy, but what was declared is the most sensible and typical thing to say, so they couldn’t interject.
They resolved themselves to be obedient here, waiting patiently for the mourning to end before concerning themselves with the conflict for the throne.
The youngest princess Wilhelmina, who appears indifferent to the pulsing conspiracies and plotting of the inheritance battle, returns to her room alone in tears.
「I will mourn in my room. Everyone should finish up their work quickly and see my father off to the realm of the dead.」
Wilhelmina leaves to her room after saying that and tells the servants and maids not to enter.
Her crying expression was so perfect that it made the servants cry in sympathy and stand down without saying anything.
The door closes behind her.
「So he has died?」
「Yeah, he finally died.」
The princess’s tears dry up in an instant as she drops herself on a chair.
At the same time, a large man shows himself in the room.
「So when will action be taken?」
The large man doesn’t hesitate to sit in a chair opposite to the lady and drinks alcohol straight from the bottle.
「It will take the feudal lords three days to gather in Poron. It will be less problematic after that.」
「I see, then allowing for some leeway, let us proceed at dawn after five days.」
The large man invites the princess to drink, but she shakes her head and refuses.
「I’m a non-drinker. I can’t take alcohol.」
The large man smiles wryly before continuing.
「You’re quite the mysterious woman. Being a princess and all, it’s strange how you let a man of unknown origin like me into your room like this.」
Wilhelmina keeps her eyes fixed on the man and replies without faltering.
「I need your strength to fulfill my goal.」
The man takes another swig of his alcohol.
「From what I can see, you’re pretty skilled while the princes and ministers are trash. If you felt like it, couldn’t you easily take control of the inheritance battle and gain the throne even as a woman?」
「Probably. I could expel those who are involved in conspiracies and it wouldn’t be hard for me to become king.」
The large man smiles.
「So why have you recruited a shadowy group like us?」
Only the princess’s lips form a smile.
「What good will it be, becoming the king of a small nation like this? It’s easy for the Empire to the south and even the religious fanatics in Altair to crush the country and become king tomorrow if they felt like it.」
The princess takes a knife and stabs the map hung up on the wall as decoration.
It was not a map of Polpo, rather it was a map of the entire Central plains.
「I don’t only want Polpo, I want Altair, Vandolea, and Libatis. No, I also want Goldonia to the north and the city states too…… I want to obtain the whole Central plains. I think of that everyday while looking at this map.」
「What an greedy woman. Then wouldn’t it be better to act sooner?」
Wilhelmina shakes her head at the man’s point.
「Unfortunately, that can’t be done. It’s probably possible to seize control of the country at any time. But I would be crushed if I take action when Altair is still strong. Polpo exists only because of its incompetence and worthlessness.」
「Would getting rid of them be enough to make you the supreme ruler?」
Wilhelmina smiles but doesn’t let it show on her expression.
「I have no talent in the military field. I can somehow manage to lead a few thousand, however I don’t have the ability to command tens of thousands or hundreds of thousands. I can’t compete with the likes of Altair.」
Wilhelmina turns her head to the large man.
「But you lot can, right Zaphnes?」
The man――Zaphnes, does not deny the claim.
「The King is dead, Vandolea and Altair are crumbling slowly due to the natural disaster, Libatis is busy dealing with the disease. The Empire is suffering from a serious blow after losing the war and can’t make a move with all the refugees leaking out from the country. Then you have me with a lack of military ability. Is there anyone who won’t act with such a stage prepared for them?」
「After the deed is done, what if we betray you and steal the throne?」
Wilhelmina fixes her gaze in Zaphnes’s eyes.
Zaphnes who is close to 190 cm and muscular stares off against the thin-limbed Wilhelmina who doesn’t even reach 160 cm. The difference in size is evident however Zaphnes appears to be overwhelmed ever so slightly.
「If you turn traitor, it will be over for me. But if you’re a small man who will be satisfied after becoming the king of Polpo’s 200 000 people, there was no path for you to begin with, and there is no reason to think any further.」
Wilhelmina looks up at Zaphnes and puts a fist to his chest.
「I will now be aiming for a military rule. First is this country, then the entire southern region of the central plains. Will you follow me?」
「Let us go together, a military rule with the princess of a small nation…… it doesn’t sound bad. It’s a much more interesting path than returning to the Empire and getting my head chopped off. I, as the general of a defeated army, and my army of defeated officers will become your strength.」
And so a small oath was made in the room of a small nation.