Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Chapter 537: A Competent Worker
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Chapter 537: A Competent Worker

Rafen. Bedroom.

「Are you alive?」

I rub the back of Suzy, who is breathing rapidly and gasping for air.

「……I’m already dead.」

Suzy replies weakly while lying face-down on the bed.

「Sorry, I went too far.」

「……you did more than that.」

When I pick her up, her limbs dangle loosely.

She’s almost like a corpse.

「My jealousy was thicker and more abundant than expected.」

The flames of my jealousy changed into lust, and so I plunged my dick into Suzy’s mouth to the root as soon as I brought her into the room.

My tool should be long enough to reach her stomach, but Suzy was accustomed enough with men to somehow accommodate the entire length.

「I figured you would put it in, the problem was how much you let out.」

I released my load deep in her throat.

My ejaculation lasted a total of thirty minutes, but I pulled myself out every thirty seconds so Suzy wouldn’t suffocate.

「Frankly, I don’t know if Aegir-san is human.」

After thirty minutes, Suzy holds her stomach in pain, and my seed squirts out from her asshole.

「The problem is what happens after! It’s just not possible to vomit what you pour in my ass. I seriously cried.」

「Sorry. I lost my mind because of the jealousy and arousal.」

I apologized to Suzy afterward by servicing her, except……

「In the end, you got horny again and pounced on me. That upside-down mid-air penetration was ridiculous! That was the first time I let out such a sound!」

Her voice was certainly amazing.

It wasn’t a moan or a scream, rather it resembled the sound of a conch shell being blown.

「It’s really unbelievable.」

Suzy somehow crawls over to me and hands me thick piercings and a chain.

「Mm, I have quite a few lovers, you see. When I found someone who was better than the rest at the time, he asked me to wear a piercing. This one I have now……was given to me by Jim-san, but it looks like he’ll be returning to his wife.」

The piercings Suzy are referring to are on her nipples, not her ears.

So the gold piercings I was also curious about during our lovemaking session were from Jim.

Despite his impassioned speech about freedom and Eileen or whatever, he is someone who would put piercings on a woman, huh?

「I don’t know if I want to injure a woman’s breasts though……」

I hold Suzy’s tanned breasts and hesitate.

A woman’s breasts, big or small, are beautiful works of art.

I can’t help feeling reluctant to screw a foreign object into them.

「A hole has already been opened. If you’re not going to put one on, another man is going to do it.」

「Fine.」

I smile wryly, give Suzy, who is lying on her back, a kiss and then lift her up so I can pass the piercing through the holes in her nipples.

「Ukh……this one is a little thick after all. Uuu!」

With a small groan, a silver pin is inserted into both nipples.

Suzy urges me to continue and I proceed to attach a similarly silver chain on the pins.

「Uwah! These are my first chains, but man these are sexy!」

The chains sway as Suzy raises her upper body.

「Try pulling on them. Oww! It hurts and they’re sexy and they really turn me on!」

Suzy laughs when she sees my doubtful expression.

「Ahaha, they’re perfect for a woman who cheated. Think of it as a gift to commemorate the resumption of our relationship as fuck bu――lovers.」

Having recovered enough to stand, Suzy gets up and wobbles around the room naked, picking up her clothes which have been scattered around the room.

「I’m a wild girl who loves sex though. If you neglect me, I’ll cheat on you without any second thought~ Also, I might let myself get swept up by a handsome guy, so you better get me back.」

Hmm, I know it’s the man’s fault if a girl cheats, but it’s a little troubling if the girl is so loose.

「You can punish me every time I do it――besides-」

Suzy grins mischeivously.

「Wasn’t the sex much hotter than when we did it normally as lovers? Even yesterday when I was talking about another man, you were rougher……Aegir-san might surprisingly have a fetish for that.」

「I’m not that much of a degenerate.」

I put the underwear which was tucked under the bed on Suzy.

That was when the door opened.

「Lord Hardlett! It’s almost time……」

Myla marches in after knocking.

「Ah, you! What are those on your boobs……?」

It’s not rare for me to be with a woman.

The reason why Myla is upset is likely because of the nipple piercings and chain.

「Fufu, Aegir-san put them on me. It is to say that my breasts belong to him.」

「H-how could you do that to a woman!? It’s improper!!」

Myla stands imposingly and scolds me, but when Suzy teases her by tugging on the chains, Myla covers her own chest area and turns red.

「It’s not what you’re thinking! I don’t want those things!」

I didn’t say anything yet.

Anyways, it’s time for what I promised to do.

I will be discussing with……the kingdom of Malt.

「Long time no see, Aegir Hardlett-dono.」

Celestina, the current queen of Malt, picks up the edge of her skirt and curtsies politely.

No one told me she would be coming in person.

「If you contacted me, I would have arranged for a welcome reception. Or I could have traveled to you instead.」

Her appearance is still one of a girl who hasn’t fully matured but the act of inviting the queen of a nation is nonetheless considered rude.

「I don’t m――pay no mind to it. The one who requested this urgent discussion was me.」

If Celestina was coming, I would have liked the border guards to inform me.

They only said it was a messenger of Malt, so I thought an actual messenger came.

「May I begin? I came here to ask you……」

「Muu.」

I poke the cheek of Celestina’s dignified face.

「Nyuu!」

Her stiff expression and rigid tone crumbles, and her face reverts to Celestina’s usual demeanor.

「We’re the only ones here. You don’t have to be so formal.」

「Funyuu……I was trying so hard not to be spoiled by you.」

Celestina expresses her slight disheartening, and Monica gets angry――as usual.

Celestina starts again, this time in a more relaxed atmosphere.

「Um, I want you to approve trade. Also, I want the permission to pass through the territory.」

「Sure.」

I answer promptly without an ounce of hesitation. There is no reason to refuse.

Malt is a totally friendly nation, besides there was never a barrier separating our territories to begin with.

Both of our rights to water usage and forest usage are also magnanimous and there has never been a problem with them.

「If that’s all, you could have sent a letter.」

I’m happy that I get to see her cute face though.

「Yeah, but Monica said that the agreement hasn’t been accepted.」

I recall the secret terms which were once agreed upon between Malt and I.

The Kingdom of Malt shall conduct all diplomatic activities with the advice and approval of Count Hardlett.

(Hereafter, the kingdom of Malt will be abbreviated as M and Count Hardlett will be abbreviated as H.)

M shall conduct the formation and deployment of the army with the advice of H, and shall stand jointly with H in the event of war.

However, H will retain command over the army.

M shall report all trade it has conducted to H.

Moreover, trade between the two nations will always take precedence over trade between other countries.

M shall report domestic tax rates, such as head tax and harvest tax, in advance to H, and request approval before the collection process.

When conferring a peerage, raising peerage or revoking peerage, M must get approval from H.

M must request approval from H when enacting laws and regulations.

If an incident is determined to be serious by H, H may appoint a judge to oversee the case.

The conditions are pretty bad now that I examine them again.

The citizens will cause an uproar if they find out……no, or maybe not, considering their temperament.

In any case, I have to approve if Malt wants to conduct trade.

And Malt’s perimeter is entirely my territory so naturally she can’t travel anywhere if she doesn’t have my permission.

「Ehehe, thanks.」

My face also loosens up instinctively when Celestina smiles and hops on my lap.

Her smile is indeed a formidable weapon. It blunts the tips of her opponents’ spears and her people swear allegiance to her unconditionally.

There is nobody more suited to ruling a country in a peaceful world than her.

「By the way, can you tell me where you are going to do trade and what you will be trading?」

Malt is an area with an abundance of cultivated land and no other notable industries.

「The city states will buy our beer!」

I see, Malt’s beer is certainly delicious.

It is a considerably long distance to the city states but the unit price and profit of beer is higher than flour.

Feeling relieved of her answer, I look at the map again.

Even after crossing my territory, there is still quite some distance from Malt to the city states.

「You still have a long way to go.」

It may be simple for a trading party, but a merchant with a cart may think differently.

Although Malt is a small nation, it is still a big deal for a merchant caravan to exit a country, and there will be escorts accompanying to protect from bandits.

Will it be easy for the trading party of another nation to gain permission?

「That is why I have come! I will also be asking the feudal lords along the way and Goldonian government officials!」

Motivated, Celestina pumps her fist.

I do believe that no feudal lord can refuse a request from Celestina if she pleads with an upward gaze.

「Mu.」

As my finger traces the map, it comes across a familiar name – Baron Pedot.

Ever since the barbarian raid devastated his demesne and his cruel treatment to his people……especially children was discovered, I recall he lost his standing and was isolated.

Let us suppose for a moment.

What if I was a low-life, a pervert, and a man who could only think of sex?

Malt is an independent nation, but Goldonia is the present ruler of the Central plains.

As a regional feudal lord, there is no need to act humble towards the queen of a tiny nation.

There is nothing Celestina can do, even if she brings up the relationship between the two countries and tries to use coercion.

「I want this trade to succeed no matter what!」

It was obvious what a low-life would demand of an earnestly pleading Celestina.

The adorable dress decorating her body will be stripped and a wart-covered tongue will lick her smooth youthful――

「I want everyone who drinks Malt’s beer to say it’s tasty……for that reason, I’m prepared to even lower my head!」

Her lowered head will be stepped on, her slender leg lifted and a putrid dirty rod will plunge into her hairless――

「If Monica is with me, I can surely do it!」

Multiple sleazebags will crowd around Monica and Celestina――the two of them will be showered in their fluids and the light in their eyes will fade.

I slam my fist on the desk and stand up.

「No……I won’t allow it!!」

「Funya!?」「Piii!」

I take out an official-looking document from the shelf, and write in a tone that is too crude and high-handed to be called a letter of recommendation signed with my name allowing the Malt trading party to pass through my territory.

I suddenly regain my composure, making me want to check over whether it is acceptable to send out such a letter.

But Leopolt is away with Adolph and Celia on urgent business.

Marta is unfortunately also absent on a separate business.

Irijina, who stayed behind, is not reliable and Myla is practically a pure soldier who is not knowledgeable about writing.

「Well, it should be fine.」

I fold the letter, seal it in an envelope and hand it to Celestina.

「If anybody is reluctant for even a second, show this to them. Do it before they demand your body.」

「Funi? Body?」

Anyway, with this no one should try to wreak havoc on Celestina.

The two say their thanks and then leave to go negotiate with the feudal lords on their route.

「Why do that in such a situation…… no, it can’t be……」

I ignore Myla, who is mumbling to herself, and move on to the next matter.

I have many more things I must do.

『I want to gather the residents of the former southern nations scattered in various places within Goldonia and create a new pioneer village. I ask for your support.』

『After a resident of the 〇〇 village became the concubine of Baron △△, the inhabitants felt like they have free rein to take water from the river on the border as they please!』

『My territory is surrounded by territory belonging to traditional nobles……the highway is rough, and the officers watching over the safety left their posts. If the Margrave can say something to them, it would help.』

『The belly of my daughter who served alcohol to you half a year ago is starting to grow.』

Problem after problem comes in.

「Arggh, fine I’ll do it.」

These issues won’t get solved if I tell people who aren’t here to do it, so I’ll just make a decision about each one.

「I can give you some spare tools. Handle the gathering of people yourself. What if the governor complains? Not my problem.」

「Baron △△? Who’s that? So annoying, have a hundred cavalry do some military exercises by the river, that’ll probably scare them off.」

「I don’t mind dispatching a few guards. If the neighbors complain, tell them to speak to me.」

「Tell her that I love her. ……it would help if you told me her name one more time.」

I solve the incoming problems rapidly.

At first I thought they were irritating, but I have to be able to do this as a competent feudal lord.

Last to come in the confusion is Altair, accompanied by Remia.

Adolph always said I needed to have a word with them.

「I have been hearing reports that the church of Altair is acting suspiciously lately……」

Before I can finish my sentence, Altair hugs me.

Remia, who clears her throat and mentally prepares herself, also hugs me from behind.

Well, I can let them complain to Adolph later.

「……I want to erect a statue.」

「A statue?」

I ask her what kind of statue she wants and Altair points to me.

「If I may, Her Grace is saying that she wants a statue of you as the saint of the Altair religion.」

Remia explains, doing her best not to cling too close to me.

「Please don’t do that.」

I don’t know what kind of person would be happy to build a statue of themselves.

「……I want it left behind.」

Altair softly touches my groin.

A pale light shines and the fatigue from my overused dick dissipates.

「Her Grace wants……a statue of your genitalia to be left behind.」

「No tyrant in history has ever been so shameless to do something like that.」

Altair proceeds to pull my hand.

「Her Grace is saying that she wants to persuade you.」

I don’t say anything, but allow myself to be taken to their religious facility.

Waiting there are dozens of believers ranging from children to middle-aged women.

「We will serve the Saint!」

「We will offer our service to the holy penis!」

「Come, dedicate your bodies!」

All of them pounce on me together.

The only thing I could do was try not to touch the kids.

A few days later, Leopolt returned with Adolph and Celia.

He is, as usual, expressionless but Adolph is very angry.

Apparently he and Claire had some serious disagreements and argued vehemently.

For some reason, they had clear evidence on each other and couldn’t reach a compromise, so they parted ways.

「Anyways, look at the fruits of my labor I accumulated while you were away.」

Adolph’s balding, which had worsened due to his busy schedule, should slow down.

「Speechless? And Celia, why are you so surprised?」

The three of them silently go off to their respective offices and then come back to me a few hours later.

「I somehow settled the matter in Richemott. I don’t know how I would have done it if the representative wasn’t Jim-san.」

An election to choose a representative was held in Richemott shortly after I left, and Jim was ultimately chosen.

I expected as much. The sentiment of people doesn’t change much whether the government is a monarchy or a democracy.

「In the meantime, ignore the election. The predecessor was dismissed from office for failing to prevent mayhem, and Jim-san, an old friend of Lord Hardlett’s and a man with knowledge of former Libatis society, was elected as the region’s representative …… to show off to the kingdom and the lords.」

I chose a governor as I saw fit.

That person just happened to be the same person elected by the people.

「Also, the tax rate is not a head tax on individuals, it is a luxury tax on the wealthy under the pretense of security for the city, which aims to let the same amount of tax be collected while relieving some of the burden felt by the citizens.」

It doesn’t really matter as long as the same amount can be collected.

「As for the issue with rising food costs, I looked into it and found that the cause was the grain merchants of Richemott buying up stock. When I voiced out the discovery in what they call a newspaper…… a large organization run by the people to distribute news, I should say, there was a huge uproar and the price stabilized.」

Oh, that’s great.

I’m glad everything was resolved.

「With that said, an essential problem remains.」

Leopolt chimes in.

「Needless to say, choosing a ruler by election sets a precedent that overturns the premise of a monarchy. This doesn’t apply only to Richemott, but it will also affect the other regions in Former Liabits. It is also possible for the kingdom to criticize this process. I won’t say it’s……the worst outcome, but it’s probably the second from the bottom.」

I call over Celia so I can squeeze her cheeks.

「Is it next to a massacre?」

Leopolt shakes his head.

「No it is below a massacre, above a rebellion followed by separation and independence.」

How can he say that?

Your absence was part of what caused all this in the first place.

I go on, squeezing Celia’s cheeks harder.

「Talking won’t get anything started. Are there any other problems?」

There shouldn’t be.

I mean, I worked strenuously. No issues should remain.

Yet Leopolt and Adolph both step forward at the same time.

「The Malt matter was a pretty bad move. Not only did we announce that Malt is under our protection, but the recommendation that should normally come from the kingdom was decided by a mere feudal lord in Lord Hardlett――」

「The people of the southern nations are currently the citizens of different feudal lords. Returning them to the south……or in other words, Hardlett-sama’s territory, I believe is too premature. Not an insignificant amount of letters of protest have already come in. They are from the traditional nobles as well as the new nobles.」

Don’t complain about something I went out of my way to do.

I rub Celia’s cheeks harder.

「In regards to the training exercise conducted near 〇〇 village, Baron △△ has not noticed our army and has sent his knights to start a skirmish. As a result, a few of his knights have fallen. We need to make our presence known if we want to demonstrate a show of force. It would have been better perhaps if it was war time.」

「From the territory who you provided security support for, it seems the defense squad you sent greatly intimidated a governor of a traditional noble they encountered along the way. ……what kind of orders did you give them?」

All you’re doing is complaining.

A world in which the people who work hard lose is so unfair.

If you guys didn’t disappear for this or that, this wouldn’t have happened.

I’m not going to say this because of how disgraceful it would make me seem though.

I knead Celia’s cheeks further.

「S-shdop……you will start a fire with my cheeks!」

Leopolt holds a hand up to Adolph, who looks like he still has something to say, and hands me a document.

「This is the current status of the military and the target numbers at the time of reorganization. I want you to please understand it fully.」

I pass it to Celia as usual, trying to get him to go away, but the document is placed before me again.

「I want you to understand it.」

「Fine, fine.」

I reluctantly skim over the paper.

Celia has gone limp from all my kneading and is desperately squishing her cheeks to get them back to their normal shape.

「One more thing. You may have already forgotten…… it is regarding the female general Patricia captured in the war. She is still in confinement. She may hold beneficial tactical information, so can I get your signature for her release?」

Leopolt swiftly hands me a pen.

「Mm. If you’re going to fuck her, I’m first.」

As soon as I signed, Leopolt didn’t wait long after Celia snuck a peek to take the document and leave.

「What a busy guy.」

Celia tilts her head as she rubs her red cheeks.

「The prisoner of war is still confined……?」

Adolph also slants his head with a puzzled expression.

「Military affairs is not my specialty, but prisoners should be managed by the kingdom…… will Hardlett-sama’s signature be enough?」

I guess I didn’t read over his document.

Well, I’m sure Leopolt will figure it out.

Now that Leopolt, Adolph, and Celia are here, I can rest.

I need it after all the work I did.

「Honestly, I wanted you to sleep the whole time.」

I turn around and flick Adolph’s forehead before leaving the room.

That’s when I met up with Tristan.

「There you are! Rather than working as hard as I can and having people complain, I should have gotten you to do it.」

「What a disturbing thing to say right off the bat……although that wouldn’t be possible anyways. I was not in Rafen.」

Tristan sighs and looks back and forth between me and the outside.

「Peace is priceless. Gambling it is bad. Keep war short and peace long; that is the secret to prosperity since the dawn of history.」

What is this guy saying?

「Speaking of ideals, it would be perfect if a small riot annulled the engagement that was forced on me. I’m not sure how ethical it is to stamp my thumbprint when I’m fainted……」

Tristan gives me a troubled look before walking away.

What’s wrong with him, maybe I should call Estelle to the mansion to better understand him.

「I don’t like this.」

I’m not only referring to Tristan’s cryptic statements. It feels like everything is moving in a strange direction.

They are not simply becoming messed up, everything is trending in the same way.

That’s just a hunch I’m getting.

When did this strange feeling start?

Since the war ended? When we started talking about factions? Since Leopolt caused a stir in the capital?

Or was it after I made Suzy squirt like a fountain?

「Shall I tell you?」

A voice came from Tikuku, no, it was from Head-helmina sitting on top.

「Tell me what?」

Head-helmina replies with a Leopolt-esque emotionless face.

「What happened. And also what will happen next.」

「Tell me.」

She doesn’t answer right away, she poses another question.

「Do you want to live and die as you are now, a great noble surrounded by beautiful maidens in a rich land?」

My reply of “Isn’t that a great life?” came slightly late.

I don’t know if it was because of the phlegm in my throat or it was because I wanted to sneeze.

Head-helmina nods.

「Umu, I won’t tell you. You’re better off not knowing.」

「Initiating forward movement. You have a maximum of 35 minutes remaining until bath time.」

Head-helmina walks away briskly, no it’s Tikuku who is doing the walking.

I won’t even question that anymore.

「I guess I’ll go find a woman.」

Going Back in Time――Zwei Elfie – Nearby Fort.

A translucent shadow approaches with a hoarse creepy groan.

It has a generally humanoid shape and vague resemblances of a head, arms and a torso but no perceptible legs, and flutters everytime it moves around unsteadily, repeatedly fading in and away like fog.

It is floating above the ground and is about four meters tall, clearly not the size of a human.

Zaphnes stops Gido right as he readies his bow and aims at the mysterious entity.

「Save your arrows. That is obviously a ghost. Iron arrows won’t work on it.」

Ghosts are literally undead monsters that don’t possess a physical body.

They are essentially in the same class as zombies and skeletons, but their grudge is stronger since they don’t manifest in the world through a physical medium like a corpse or bones, and because of their lack of an actual body, are more troublesome to fight without specialized weapons or abilities.

Additionally, they aren’t bound by physical limits so they can combine with other vengeful spirits and can grow even more wicked.

「Are you telling us to just stand in place and do nothing then?」

The shadow is already close enough to touch noses but Zaphnes grins nonetheless.

「I have this special holy water, which costs two gold per bottle.」

The shadow flies close to Visitacion, who quickly glances at her baby’s face before getting into a stance with her dagger, but the ghost continues to move as if searching for something.

「It can’t see us? Is it because of the holy water?」

「Yeah, and that’s not all.」

The ghost, unable to find what it’s looking for, loses its patience and trembles, then lets out a piercing shriek.

「Hi-hiiii!!」

Then a man who suddenly collapsed screams.

「I thought he died…… guess he’s at death’s door.」

The man covers his ears as he writhes in agony, and bangs his head over and over against a wall before falling on his back and arching his body.

「That’s what would have happened to us if we didn’t have holy water.」

Foam comes out of the man’s mouth and his pants become wet with urine and semen from a loss of control over his bodily functions. Shortly later, he perishes with a terrified look on his face.

Then――

「Urk, what’s this!?」

Visitacion is speechless.

A semi-transparent substance flies out of the dead man’s mouth and is absorbed by the ghost.

「Ghosts are masses of resentment. If you get killed by one, your soul will also get lost and sucked away. Look at the size of that thing, a single person doesn’t have a soul that big. There must be over a hundred souls in there.」

Zaphnes licks his lips, then reaches into his backpack for five arrows and hands them to Gido.

「These arrowheads……are they silver?」

「When it comes to ghosts and monsters of the sort, everybody knows they’re weak to silver. You can’t do any exploration without carrying these. To be honest, this one is larger than I expected. The holy water won’t last much longer. Finish it off at once.」

Gido mutters a remark commenting on Zaphnes’s arrogance, then nocks one of the silver arrows and aims at the ghost.

「Does it have a weak point?」

「I don’t know. If it was formerly a human, I assume it’s the head.」

「How unreliable.」

Gido curses under his breath and then draws the string of his bow.

「Hup!」

The arrow released from his favorite bow shoots out like a flash of light directly into the ghost’s head.

(Kiiiiiii…………)

The ghost screeches unpleasantly as the part where it was hit bubbles like hot oil was poured on it, then translucent fragments scatter and disappear in the air.

「Again! Don’t dawdle!」

「I know!」

Gido promptly nocks the next arrow and fires it at roughly where the head is.

By the time Zaphnes was pleased with the hit, another arrow was fired.

All five arrows were fired within a mere ten seconds and all of them hit their mark.

「Exceptional skill.」

「Why thank you.」

The ghost writhes in agony as its head boils, suffering and scattering translucent fragments in front of Gido, who responds nonchalantly ……then it slowly stands up.

「Wha-?」

「Eeh?」

Gido and Visitacion look at each other.

「Not good. You didn’t kill it!」

Zaphnes hastily rummages around in his backpack.

「Its resentment is too strong! I shouldn’t have been stingy and bought ten arrows!」

「So, do we run?」

Zaphnes shakes his head.

「If we run after coming this far, I’ll be deep in the red! Besides, it has us in its sights! We’ll use these next!」

He tosses two shiny silver daggers at Visitacion.

「They are plated and not pure silver so they aren’t that powerful. Drive the ghost back with consecutive hits!」

「You say it like it’s easy……hold onto my child. I’ll kill you if my child gets hurt.」

Visitacion passes her child to Zaphnes and then runs, reversing her grip on the daggers.

「Ha!」

A small puff of steam rises from the side of the ghost when she slashes from the right.

「It really doesn’t have much effect at all!」

She jumps and spins in the air to avoid the arm swung by the ghost as a counterattack and then sinks the dagger into that arm, causing more fragments to scatter along with an anguished cry from the ghost.

「Those pieces, each of them may be the soul of a person.」

Zaphnes says calmly as the baby tugs on his beard.

「How can you be so carefree!?」

She rolls backward before the ghost could grab her with its arms and kicks off the wall to leap over its nearing head.

She slashes at the temporal region of its defenseless head, but then the resulting fragments that scatter tangle up with her body.

「Agh!」

Strength escapes from Vistacion’s leg.

「Not good! Just touching it will cause you to lose life energy!?」

「Tell me that in advance!」

The ghost hovers over Visitacion as she loses her balance and tries to envelop her.

「……is this it?」

Visitacion smiles, as if resigned to her fate, and gazes one last time at the baby in Zaphnes’s arms.

「You idiot, move――! Why are you giving up――!?」

On one hand Zaphnes is shouting excessively, while Gido silently retrieves a silver coin from his pocket and throws it.

As the coin spins in the air, he nocks one of his own arrows――

「Stay still.」

He releases his iron arrow at the same time he speaks.

The arrow pierces through the center of the silver coin and continues flying toward the ghost, the coin still stuck on the tip.

When the arrow inevitably hits the ghost in the middle of its torso area, clouds of steam erupt.

Visitacion doesn’t let that chance go to waste, hurls a dagger at the ghost’s head, and then rolls off to the side to where Gido is.

「……thanks.」

「No problem.」

Gido thrusts a hand into his pocket in search of more ammunition, but only feels gold and copper coins.

「Zaphnes, do you have any silver――」

Nobody was there when Gido turned.

「He ran……」

「My child!!」

Visitacion sprints, followed by Gido.

The ghost also lets out a scream and chases the two.

Although the pair are more agile than ordinary people, they can’t run at full speed through the debris-strewn fortress.

The distance between them and the ghost closes, and the ghost eventually gets in range for its arm to reach.

「If I get pulled in, I’m definitely going to where that guys is and I’m going to curse him to death!」

It happened right as Visitacion uttered words to spite the deserter.

「If you’re going to come, come naked into bed with me!」

In the next moment after the two pass by, Zaphnes, who was clinging to the ceiling, falls down.

Before the ghost could look up, Zaphnes smashes a porcelain pot over its head.

Enough steam to be considered an explosion bursts in all directions, and the shock knocks Zaphnes back.

White vapor and translucent fragments disperse everywhere.

「Gahahahaha! That’s a jar full of mercury! No ghost can stand after eating――owaaah!」

Zaphnes’s sentence stops short as the ghost stands, its entire form breaking to pieces.

「As usual, you didn’t think far enough.」

An arrow, which Gido dipped in a bit of the mercury splattered on the ground, whizzes――and stabs the ghost in the chest area.

The ghost is briefly stunned, but still tries to reach out to Gido, though its hand crumbles before getting to touch him and it gradually completely vanishes.

「We won!! No vengeful spirit is a match for us! Waahahahah!」

Something heavy drops to the floor with a thud as Zaphnes cheers.

「What a huge diamond! The greedy merchant must have been clutching onto this as he was killed by an insect and then turned into a ghost! Fuhaha, it makes sense that he couldn’t rest in peace considering he died while in possession of such an excellent treasure. Let me put it to good use in his stead!」

Zaphnes grabs the stone wet with blood and various dirty liquids decisively and wipes it clean with a cloth.

Visitacion snatches her baby away from Zaphnes and glares at him.

「What are you going to do with that? You’re not going to make a crown out of that lump of deep-seated grudge, are you?」

「Don’t be ridiculous. How can I keep such an ominous jewel? I’m going to sell it right away and turn it into gold. Of course I’m going to share the profit with you. I haven’t seen something of this size even in the empire. It’s worth 10,000 gold at the very least……fufufu, I’m rich.」

Delighted, Zaphnes stores the jewel in his bag and proceeds to head deeper into the fortress.

「You just obtained a huge reward. You’re not going back?」

「I’m worn out here……」

Zaphnes rebukes them with a voice ten times as loud.

「Fools! This is no more than extra income. Now that we’ve eliminated the greatest threat, how can we not aim for the main goal we came here for? Success only comes when you continue to pursue it greedily. If we compromise here, we won’t get ahead!」

Zaphnes takes the lead enthusiastically.

Visitacion and Gido exchange looks and reflexively smiles at each other.

「Uooooohーー! A skeleton appeared! Aren’t you going to come help――!?」

The search of the fortress was a great success.

Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 26 years old. Spring. (beginning of year)

Status: Goldonia Kingdom Margrave. Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area. Mountain Legend.

Friend of the Dwarves. Friend of the King of Aless. Dragon Slayer Hero.

Elf Mediator. Sex King of White City. Mad Demon God. Poison Resistance (strong). Counselor (temporary).

Appears in the present story:

Adolph (extremely exhausting work), Leopolt (as usual)

Suzy (all holes of body penetrated), Altair (construction), Remia (human sacrifice), Head-helmina (knows)

Tristan (arranged marriage scheduled), Claire (breakdown), Laurie (rage)

Gido (hawkeye), Visitacion (extremely fatigued), Zaphnes (great success, wild merrymaking)

Family – the women:

Celia (absent), Nonna (legal wife), Carla (concubine), Mel (concubine), Kuu (daughter-in-law), Ruu (daughter-in-law)

Pipi (at peace), Mireille (weight training), Melissa (concubine), Maria (concubine), Miti (concubine), Catherine (next time for sure!)

Gretel (dog concubine), Sofia (lover), Leah (lover), Casie (investigating suspicions), Rita (head maid lover)

Yoguri (lover), Alice (magic user), Mother: Marceline (lover), Daughters: Eldest – Stephanie (lover), Second – Bridget (lover), Youngest – Felicie (lover), Claudia (ate all mochi), Clara (hot), Adela (pro lover), Annette (lover), Dorothea (capital orphanage), Sally (lady’s maid), Maruru (lady’s maid), Benel (slight reaction)

Subordinates:

Myla (baron), Irijina (knight), Sekrit (senses something), Natia (memory loss drug), Polte (sleepless new year’s)

T-99 (maintenance), Marta (secretary), Yularen (forest elf boss), Ijaris (black elf boss)

Baroness Rukino Escaote (governor), Rukue (her daughter), Seika (her son?)

Luna (knight) ← Rafaella (place of rest), Christoph (eating mandarins in front of a fireplace), Zillia (eating mandarins in front of a fireplace)

Guigue (new year drinking), Sebastian (butler), Kroll (new year woman), Yakov (knight, laughing), Mack (knight escort)

Physical Relationship

Others:

Jim (Former Libatis Regional Representative), Eileen (remarriage), Solana (assistant)

Ivanna (naval construction), Cedric (sisterly love), Martory (tribute), Mistry (tribute)

Piris (stable period), Busco (low-life), Gildress (manly mochi), Andrei (lolicon)

Non-humans:

Schwartz (free), Lammy (nothing), Mirumi (lots of eggs), Alraune (luxuriant growth), Brynhildr (going to the capital)

Smoothie (parenting), Pochi (giant lizard), Child lizard (meditation), Felteris (swimming in the cold)

Territory Population

Total: 367 000

Rafen: 47 000, Lintbloom: 7 000 (-1000) industry reduction

Richemott (former Libatis): 36 000 (+2000) influx to neighborhood, Zwei Elfie: 3500 (+600)

Army

Personnel: Infantry: 800, Archers: 200, Cavalry: 500, Escort: 30

Armaments: Cannons: 30, Large Cannons: 15, Dwarven Cannons: 15, Field Artillery: 10, Chariots: 30

Assets: -240 500 gold

Sexual Partners: 830

Children who have been born: 71 + 567 (++)

Current Location: Rafen

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