Chapter 68: At That Time (1)
Proxia empire――It’s definitely the military empire that reigns over the northern area of Strahl region.
Contrary to its scale, it’s actually a very young country of around 40 years after its establishment, if someone must describe it’s history with a single word, war would be appropriate for it.
The first emperor, Nidol, was born an orphan in a poor and small country located in an emaciated land
After his growth into adulthood, he turned into a mercenary and became a rare existence after distinguishing himself with military might.
In the blink of an eye, after he snatched the royalty of the country he belonged to, he raised Proxia Empire in one generation due to his charisma.
Formerly, they raided countless small countries in the northern land that existed in great number and were owned by the local warlord of the area.
They are still expanding their territory even now.
The strongest dragon knights most favorite tactic is blitzkrieg, the number of small countries that were raided by Proxia Empire using this method surpass twenty in number.
But, there’s no strongest soldier who can support the dragon chivalric order in Proxia Empire.
Yes, it’s true that Nidol rose to prominence with his military force as the strongest empire whether in the past or present.
His physical body that approached sixty in age boasted its large built that didn’t show his old age even until now, he slaughtered a great number of soldiers with that body.
That military exploit is still resounding in the huge Strahl region, and now, without a doubt, he’s a cut above the strongest men in Strahl region.
「Yo, Nidol. What’s happening with your mood？ 」
To Nidol who was viewing the scenery of the imperial capital that spread beneath him in the corner of the imperial palace――、 A man greeted the strongest existence of that empire with a relaxed tone.
「Fu, It’s boring. There’s nothing but a disappointing country」
Nidol snorted in an ill mood, looking at the imperial capital without even turning to look at the owner of the voice.
He was hunting.
For a battle that will make his blood boil, for a fight to burn his life, for a battlefield in which he’ll be blessed with death.
「As you say. We need to make preparations for the best stage. So ease your boredom with a small entertainment for now」
The man who stood behind Nidol revealed a smile dyed with joy.
「Does the production that you bastard just talked about have something to do with playing around with a trick？」
「It’s a bad way for saying it’s a trick. Though it feels good to win from the front, there exists an even higher kind of victory in the world」
The man objected with a joking tone.
Nidol’s eyebrows slightly knitted.
「As I thought, that hobby certainly suits you」
And so he replied.
The man revealed a mysterious smile.
「Well, look. The preparation for the grand stage that will be dyed in despair and lust. All will――」
Maybe because of his excitement, when the man was about to say it in a gallant manner.
「Stop saying something recklessly」
Nidol interrupted that with a harsh tone as if trying to stop the man from saying it.
「Kaykay. You’re as boorish as always huh. ……By the way, what happened？ About your relationship with Bertram kingdom. Not like I’m participating in it though」
The man slightly shrugged his shoulder while asking Nidol.
「That place already returned the ambassador we sent for an exchange」[ED: as in exchanging ambassadors for better relations between countries ]
Nidol answered frankly.
「Hah, it’s better to destroy the kingdom as an opponent sooner or later」
Contrary to his words, the man was happily smiling from ear to ear.
「In that alone I agree」
Nidol showed a derisive smile as he said that.
The name of that man is Nidol Proxia.
The emperor who controls the northern area of Strahl region, one of the men that will leave his name as an important figure in the history of this era.
The time is two weeks after the heroes were summoned to the Strahl region.
Ten days later, in the northwest border of the Galwark kingdom.
「W-What the hell is that？ Magic ship？ 」
A man who was standing guard for his lookout duty as a soldier saw a gigantic object flying high in the far away sky, and muttered in panic.
It’s jet-black body could be seen easily even from far away.
His co-worker reacted to his voice and looked at that direction.
Dumbfounded, his mouth flapped open and closed repeatedly.
He couldn’t even mutter an astonished voice.
After taking several deep breaths, the soldier finally spoke.
The other soldiers in the lookout duty noticed that voice and sporadically looked towards the sky.
「S-Stop saying such a joke！ How can dragons come to a place like this！ 」
A man tightly seized his co-worker in a flustered manner.
「I know it you know！ It’s a dragon due to its big size right！ If you say that it’s not a dragon, then what the hell is it？ 」
The soldier shouted back.
A sub-class dragon being used by a person aside, basically almost no one has ever seen a purebred dragon.
Though its figure is extremely famous from the fact that it’s repeatedly described in the fairy-tales of old.
Though of course the silhouette is extremely different due its type, the creature that was currently flying in the sky resembled the type of dragon that was seen in the picture books by the soldier during his childhood.
Moreover, it’s a black dragon which had a notorious reputation. [TL : Is that you, Acknologia-san?]
「AAAAAAAAAh, GODDAMNIT. ARE YOU KIDDING ME！IF THAT MONSTER IS COMING TO OUR DIRECTION WE’RE DOOMED！ DON’T COME！ PLEASE DON’T COME TOWARDS US！ 」
The man pressed his hands together as if praying to heaven.
The other soldiers who also witnessed the creature that seemed to be a dragon also assumed the same pose as him.
Their minds were falling into a panicked state.
They know that it was a big dragon even by seeing it from afar.
For example, in case of a big creature around the same size that’s not a dragon, they’ll be helpless if it came to swoop down on them when they were not even assuming a battle state.
In the worst situation, if it’s a pure breed dragon, they couldn’t win even if they already assumed a battle state.
Maybe because the soldier’s prayers got through, the creature that resembled a black dragon immediately moved towards a southern direction from the north.
The soldiers fell to their knees as if they had grown weak while seeing that scene with dumbfounded expression.
「Should we report this？」
「……What must we reported？」
「A dragon is flying in the sky」
「Will they believe our report？」
The rumor of a black dragon appearing in the western border of Galwark Kingdom was transmitted to every city by using communication magic tool.
The rumor soon cooled down since there were no eyewitnesses afterward, though for a short while every city of Galwark Kingdom entered a state of alert.
Ten days passed by again, a certain day after more than one month passed since the six hero summoned in the Strahl region.
Liselotte Kretia was visiting the guests who lived in the mansion of the trading city, Almond.
The identity of the guests was the top brass people of the anti-revolution army of Bertram Kingdom, they were the Second Princess Flora, Duke Euguno, Roana the daughter of Duke Fontin, and the fourth one is the hero, Sakata Hiroaki.
Liselotte directly welcomed the important guests since she couldn’t disregard their position, she established a quiet dinner in the dining room of the mansion.
「There were so many amazing dishes. Nonetheless, the pasta that became the main dish has one or two different flavors right ?」
Flora who finished her meal said that with a satisfied smile.
「I’m extremely grateful for receiving such high praise from someone of your position. I’ll pass such high praise and gratitude to our head chef. Your highness princess Flora」 [TL : She’s speaking alien language in the raw text][ED: Stupidly formal maybe?]
Liselotte respectfully gave her gratitude.
Though that gratitude is carried out towards the royalty of another country, she didn’t really feel more that necessary atrophy.
Duke Euguno was looking while sighing to such a dignified behavior.
「Yeah, it’s truly a surprise that I can eat pasta in the different world. It’s definitely the most delicious dish that I have eaten since I came to this world. Almost like a special case amongst the dishes that I ate up till now」
Even Hiroaki who sat beside Flora gave a positive impression.
Hiroaki helped himself with the second serving to the degree that two sakazuki* were taken out.
Even if this is called as bad manners in eating, there’s no persuasive power.
「I certainly am pleased if it suits your palate. Since I felt anxious when I heard that Hero-sama is someone who came from a different world.」
Liselotte replied with a sweet smile.
「There’s no need for such humility you know. Though the dishes of this world fall behind compared to the dishes of the world where I come from, the dishes that I ate today are comparable to the dishes of my world」
Hiroaki reviewed the many dishes that were taken out with a joyous expression.
There were many dishes that Hiroaki ate in Liselotte’s mansion that were to his preferred flavor starting from pasta.
He had no satisfying food during the time of their movement after his summoning, just how inferior were the dishes that he ate during their movement in addition to the dishes that served during their stay in the city of Marquis Rodan compared to the dishes in this place.
To be honest, though he had already lost all expectation of the dishes in this world, Hiroaki changed his line of thought after coming to this city.
「I mean, why is pasta the specialty of this city? To be honest, there’s a food that is similar to this in my world. The other ingredients that are used too, many of them are similar. Honestly I’m truly grateful since it’s no different to the one that I eat in my world」
「Well. Is that so? It seems that the people of your world are similar to us, could it be to the point that there’s no difference in the ecosystem？ 」
Liselotte showed an amazed expression while her hands covered her lips.
Though for the person who did it, it was a seemingly unnatural behavior. It still exuded elegance when the one who did it was well bred like Liselotte.
Hiroaki was unintentionally charmed by her figure and action.
And then, in that place.
Roana called Hiroaki name with a sweet smile on her face.
「Y-Yeah. What? 」
Hiroaki replied to Roana with a voice that was a bit excited.
「You are forgetting to answer Liselotte-san’s question」
Roana added those words while erasing her smile.
Thereupon, Hiroaki coughed a little.
「Aah, you’re right. Though even I don’t know about it very well. It seems there are similar living beings with the ones that live in my world but, there are also living beings that I don’t know when I hear stories from Roana-tachi」
He answered while looking at Flora and Roana with a slightly embarrassed face.
Both of them seemed to enjoy the fragrance of the after meal black tea.
Hiroaki let out a short sigh.
「That’s very interesting story right. I wonder what kind of place the world Hero-sama used to live in is like」
When asking that question while maintaining her smile, Liselotte’s eyes suddenly became sharp.
Hiroaki looked back at Liselotte without noticing the small change in her expression.
「It’s a civilization more advanced than this world. Though the country I came from, Japan, was a very advanced country even in that world」
「Japan? Though I have a question……」
Liselotte said her following words with her head slightly tilting, showing a troubled expression.
「I wonder why Hero-sama can communicate with us？」
「N? What’s that mean？」
Hiroaki replied to Liselotte’s question with another question.
「I mean, wouldn’t you think that it’s strange that you can communicate with us like this using the language of a different world?」
「I see. That’s true indeed……」
Hiroaki agreed as if finally understanding.
「I wonder why it turned like that？」
Meanwhile, Flora who sat beside him asked with a curious expression.
「Though there’s a hypothesis about how old the first and original language is, the development of a similar language in two different places is really impossible you know. Much less to say, Hero-sama’s language that comes from a different world」
「I see. ……」
Flora nodded in admiration to Liselotte’s explanation.
「Even so, isn’t Hiroaki-sama using the same language as us. Isn’t that something that can be called as development？? 」
Following that, Roana entered the conversation.
It seems she’s being positive about it.
Liselotte sent a fleeting glance at Roana and then, muttered「As expected, that’s how other people hear it. I see……」in small voice.
No one heard her voice.
「It might be so, right? Well, even if we think about it, there’ll be no answer for that question. My deepest apologize for asking such strange question」
Liselotte told her words of apologize while putting up an innocent face.
「No, I also thought that it was strange. Though I didn’t think that far on the trope in the beginning when I was summoned to this world」
Liselotte asked with her head slightly tilted.
「Yeah, I often read in the internet…….. There were a great amount of such stories about trips to other worlds. I can say that many of them were being ridiculed as tropes or clichés 」
「Well. Hero-sama was quite an avid reader I see」
And Liselotte praised Hiroaki as if trying to put interlude in between.
「Ye-No, well, It’s not truly wrong too」
Hiroaki was showing bashful expression while being humble.
And for a while after that, due to Liselotte’s skillful art of conversation, Hiroaki revealed stories one by one in a good mood.
Liselotte was hearing Hiroaki’s stories happily with her expression changing in rapid succession.
Just like that, the time passed in the blink of an eye.
「Ara, it’s already this late. Hero-sama’s stories are so very interesting that I unintentionally lost track of the time」
After sending a fleeting glance towards the watch, Liselotte said that with a gesture that can be called beautiful.
「Is that so. That’s too bad. Uhm, though I want to talk with Liselotte for a bit more」
Hiroaki was frowning in disappointment, with an expression that said he did not have enough of the conversation yet.
「Ufufu. Because there’s some story that I want to hear from Duke Euguno, so I must hear his story too」
After saying that, Liselotte bowed lightly with an expression seemed to regret it.
「My deepest apologize. Duke Euguno. I became quite engrossed with the stories」
Following right after that, she apologized to Duke Euguno.
「Haha, It’s nothing. Since I already said that it’s not the kind of talk that should be told during the meal. It seems that Hero-sama and her Highness Princess Flora were satisfied, you just fulfilled your duty as the hostess of this place. I also heard such interesting stories, so I don’t have any problem with it」
As he said so, Duke Euguno shook his head and smiled lightly while devoting himself as a listener during the meal.
「I’m glad if you feel so. Thank you very much」
Liselotte gave her gratitude while sweetly smiling.
As she said, Liselotte was the perfect entertainer for the sake of the hero and the princess.
Duke Euguno was truly astonished from the bottom of his heart to Liselotte’s skill.
Sending a messenger to notify beforehand to adjust her schedule with them, eating the best of the best dishes that couldn’t be eaten in an everyday meal even by nobles, and adequate reception skills for noticing the wishes of the conversation partner.
No matter how much training she received as a noble, just how difficult was it to digest for a girl who was barely 15 years old.
（Nothing different from the talented woman in the rumor. Though Roana-kun is quite talented herself, she is quite left behind）
Duke Euguno updated his evaluation of Liselotte.
While at the same time also raised his vigilance.
「Well then, As for the story of what I want to hear. Though I feel that it’s very shameless and brazen act, I have a wish to Liselotte-kun」
Though he couldn’t catch the tiger’s cub just by being vigilant.
Duke Euguno raised the conversation without hesitation.
Being shameless is one of the noble’s special skill.
If he was careless, he’ll be dragged in by the opponents pace and slowly get his commitment taken.
「Ara, is that so. What kind of wish I wonder？ 」
Liselotte showed a surprised expression with her eyes opened slightly wide.
「I want to request for Liselotte-kun as our backing」
「When you say request, could it be as anti-revolution force？」
「Yeah. That’s right」
「I see. If it’s for military support, isn’t it better to request that directly from my father？ 」
Liselotte said that while smiling as if understanding the request.
In reality, Liselotte was nothing more than a mere Duke’s daughter.
Except for the governor of Almond, her political power was basically zero.
Though that matter is something well know even by Duke Euguno.
「I don’t wish for military power」
Duke Euguno replied while smiling wryly.
「I want you to become our economic backer」
And then immediately said his request after that.
Liselotte was staring straight at Duke Euguno despite maintaining her smile.
「My request expectation is for Liselotte-kun as the chairman of Rikka firm. Be it funds, material, Rikka firm has its own link in the Galwark Kingdom. Though we’re like this, won’t you use that for us? 」
Rikka firm was the best trading firm which name is renowned in the neighboring countries.
Not to mention about the nobles, it continuously produced goods that skillfully grabbed the heart of the masses, its influence even reached the neighboring countries and didn’t stop just within the kingdom.
That Rikka firm was something that was built in just one generation by a mere 15 years old girl.
That influence is a poor match with a small country.
Rikka firm is the power that couldn’t be left alone even by the surrounding big countries even now.
That’s why, by gaining someone like Liselotte as an ally, in some sense Duke Euguno was convinced that he’ll be receive more profit in military aid from Galwark Kingdom.
「Before I’m say my answer, allow me to ask one thing」
「What is it？」
「Judging from the fact that that he is coming to this place, is it alright to consider hero-sama as part of the anti-revolution power？」
Liselotte asked that while sending a fleeting glance to Hiroaki.
There’s no proof to identify Hiroaki as a hero except by Flora-tachi testimony.
Though Flora-tachi’s words become splendid evidence as an important figure.
Liselotte asked that for the sake of their promise.
「Yeah. Hero-dono is participating in our movement」
Duke Euguno nodded in agreement.
Liselotte’s turning her line of sight to Flora and she also consented to that fact.
「Good grief, I only want to live a peaceful and carefree live」
Hiroaki shrugged his shoulder while releasing a short sigh.
Liselotte smiled lightly at his reaction.
「I’ll gladly accept your request only if you fulfill several of my conditions」
Was her answer.
「Hou. That’s unexpected huh. Though to be honest I thought that you might be hestitated.……」
Duke Euguno looked vigilantly at Liselotte.
「Ara, though Rikka firm won’t do charity work, so it’s only natural for us to give you our backing if there’s merit to it」
「Yes. That is why we might reach mutual understanding if you can present terms and conditions in this place. We will then make a record of the terms and conditions」
While saying that, Liselotte presented one piece of parchment to Duke Euguno.
「Fuu, as expected. So it can be said that you anticipated our intentions beforehand」
Liselotte predicted beforehand regarding Duke Euguno applying for aid, and going as far as thinking about terms and conditions for accepting that.
（It’s truly regretable that someone as skilled as her wasn’t born as a man）
Finding out what kind of profit you might get.
Is something that can be called as a first rate merchant.
But, the best merchant will find what kind of profit it is beforehand, and occasionally even creat such a flow of event.
Liselotte was undoubtedly the best trader.
And, a noble that won’t be outdone even by a sly old fox noble.
That was Duke Euguno’s judgement.
「The upper echelon of Galwark Kingdom wishes Princess Flora to succeed the throne of the next era. My father included. It won’t do anything good if me as her daughter goes against his wishes right. It’s only natural that we’ll be providing our assistance as long as our interest meet」
「I see. Though I wonder whether we’ll be accepting those terms and conditions……」
Duke Euguno was looking at the parchment while squinting his eyes.
「I wonder what your consideration for this is？ Your highness Princess Flora」
After he scanned briefly through the terms and conditions in his head, Duke Euguno asked that question to Flora.
「Uhm…….. I’ll leave it to the judgment of Duke Euguno」
Even if she’s looking at the parchment, Flora couldn’t properly judge the profit of the terms and conditions that was presented.
That matter is of course already known by Duke Euguno.
It’s just too cruel to expect the same level of judgment as Liselotte who is a girl of the same age as her.
In reality, Duke Euguno also didn’t wish for Flora to have such skill.
But, the top position of the anti-revolution is Flora.
Duke Euguno couldn’t just accept those terms and conditions by his own judgment while disregarding Flora.
Duke Euguno’s respectfully accepting the parchment that was sent back to him.
「I wonder what kind of merit she gets by giving her aid to us…………」
Flora muttered in a low voice while thinking about her own lack of abilities.
Hiroaki who sat beside her caught what she just said.
「Uhm, since Almond is positioned very close to the national border and the Bertram Kingdom. I think that our defeat won’t be interesting even for Liselotte」
And then Hiroaki spoke of his own opinion.
「As expected. Hiroaki-sama」
Roana immediately praised Hiroaki.
During that time, Duke Euguno and Liselotte discussed the terms and conditions of the contract for the aid.
That day, Hiroaki-tachi’s group stayed in Liselotte’s residence, and departed towards Galwark Kingdom’s royal capital the next day.
And the next day, after seeing off Flora-tachi who was leaving Almond, Liselotte faced her subordinate, Aria, in her mansion office.
「Facing duke Euguno is quite taxing right. He’s a tough old tanuki」
She complained to Aria, her close aide.
「Thank you for the hard work. How were her highness and the hero？ 」
Aria asked with an expression that can’t be grasped.
This was also a link of stress divergence for the sake of her master.
「Well, I feel that her highness is your typical boxed princess. The hero also feels like an ordinary youth. He let out too many small careless remarks, though it looked like he has a strong character, it’s easy to make him dance on your palm. I wonder whether I should congratulate Duke Euguno or not for gaining an easy to control piece」
「I see, Your judgment is as sharp as ever」
「I don’t particularly hate it. Personal preference aside, it’s already become some kind of habit for me to do analysis for picking up personnel whether the other party is good or bad」
That’s right, observing and accurately seeing through what kind of person the opposite party is, was an indispensable skill for living in the noble society.
And then, even if the opposite party had an undesirable hobby, one must face the opposite party with a smile and not show any contempt or disgust.
That’s also one of the important nature required for noble.
The chain that firmly connects both sides is nothing but mutual interest, in this place, someone who brings their own emotion won’t be able to survive.
That’s Liselotte’s theory.
Though Liselotte was also included as someone in that society, it’s difficult for her to perfectly implement that.
Moreover, the nobles who move with negative emotions such as hatred and jealousy in many cases flaunt their authority, though doing that was extremely troublesome, it’s omitted for now.
「After I heard that, the hero has a childish personality right？」
「Ara, aren’t you quite sharp yourself」
Liselotte let out a short laugh.
「Well, whether he’s childish or not aside, it feels like its some kind of extension of a game for him right?」
She added those words.
「Feeling like its a game？」
「Right. Well since no one but me is aware of that, I couldn’t explain it in an easier way for anyone to understand」
Liselotte took a short breath, and.
「It might be a bit cruel to want him to bear the responsibilities for his own action」
And then sighed.
Hiroaki had quite a condescending attitude, with that quality he would have the tendency of denying everything and showing a strong attachment and care for everything that suit him.
He’s the type that will become happy when the topic is to his liking, weak to flattery.
Perhaps, he’s not someone who really cares for the world.
That was what Hiroaki is from Liselotte’s perspective.
「On the other hand since he’s easy to handle, Duke Euguno didn’t need to put much attention to him. Well, maybe I also shouldn’t put that much worry either. I’m also quite troubled in receiving his sulk but, I think the Duke was also aware of that」
Though currently there’s no problem and the preparation is smooth sailing, from the past case, that kind of type in many cases will recklessly shift his responsibilities to the others if he fails.
In that case, even Liselotte will be a bit troubled.
「Maybe it couldn’t be better since the hero is some kind of irregular factor, right?」
Liselotte was muttering with a painful expression after releasing a short sigh.