14-3. At the Labyrinth City (2)
Satou's here. "Incidents and plots are interlinked", so said the protagonist with unparalleled intelligence from a story. Just reading it is good and all, but when I'm actually getting rolled up in one, I'll go and strike the chain's chock.
--A new demon lord huh.
I write the information I heard earlier, "The pope of Holy Kingdom Parion, Zazaris, is a demon lord", into the memo pad.
"Viscount-sama, may I continue the talk?"
The female informant timidly interrupted when I was thinking while staring at the memo.
It's quite rare for this my-pace person to confirm me first.
"Yes, the matter on the western part of the continent has ended with the talk earlier, but I have two more information."
Huh? Wasn't this person only in charge with the information from the western part of the continent?
Thinking so, I urge her to continue.
"First, there's an eyewitness who saw demon in the labyrinth of a small kingdom located in the buffer zone of the Saga Empire, Yowok Kingdom. The explorer guild of that kingdom seems to have squashed the spread of the information, so the story hasn't reached the king and its neighboring countries."
Why do you know information that the king of this kingdom doesn't know.
It seems she has guessed my thought, the female informant grins and laughs, then she continues the talk.
"That is because Retel-sama is good at using money."
I see, someone that Marchioness Retel Ashinen has sent or bought on the site probably saw the demon in person.
"As Viscount-sama might have known, there's a high chance that a demon lord is the floormaster in a labyrinth where demons are infesting. I earnestly implore Viscount-sama not to approach Yowok Kingdom."
I feel that there was some subtle accent on her words.
It seems like she's somehow guessed that Nanashi and me are related.
"Yes, of course."
"Viscount-sama really doesn't show it on his face~"
It's all thanks to Poker Face-sensei.
"And, the other one. This time it's a rumor from the buffer zone between the Weaselkin Empire on the eastern part of the continent and Shiga Kingdom."
Fumu, this time it's the eastern part huh.
The Marchioness's eyes and ears are too wide.
Her lineage nobility isn't just for show.
"Have the weasels started doing something again?"
"No, they haven't done anything on the scale like when they started using mount-type golems to go to war 10 years ago."
An unexpected information came out.
I wonder if it's like golem tanks or golem horses?
Don't tell me it's a manned mecha robot?
I must go see it at least once.
I write the plan with red text on the sightseeing tour plan.
"Do you know that the Weaselkin Empire destroyed the kingdom of the tigerkin and lizardkin, and enlarged their territory?"
"Yes, I know."
"The survivors of those ruined kingdoms have not only settled in the small kingdoms at the buffer zone, but they've also started to occupy the kingdoms' towns and cities."
Did they take over the buildings lent to them or did they invade them, I wonder which one is it?
I was going to go there first as the sightseeing destination after I've stopped by at the Duchy Capital, but I'll think it over if going there means seeing heaps of bodies.
"So far this isn't something unusual even excepting the 『Demon Lord Season』, but invaders in one of those towns massacred the priests who refused to heal them."
To massacre priests in a world where gods exist, reckless people do exist.
"This also happen often in an occupied territory, but the next day, the great majority of those invaders were turned into salt pillars."
Salt pillars huh.... That's a divine punishment that appeared in the scriptures in my former world.
"A handsome man in white clothing appeared before the townspeople who were fearfully looking at those salt pillars and said, 『This is a divine punishment.』 The townspeople asked who that man was, and--"
The female informant pauses there and sees my reaction.
When I sent her a glance to urge her to continue, the female informant shrugged her shoulders uninterestingly and continued the story.
"--He introduced himself as an apostle of God Zaikuon."
God's apostle huh....
I've heard the name so many times before but the real [God's Apostle] or perhaps an impostor of the [God's Apostle] has finally appeared.
"But well, in all likelihood, he's probably an impostor though."
The female informant let out a sigh and shook her head.
"Do you have any basis for that?"
"Yes, it'd be a different story if it was of the other gods, but someone who calls themselves as the apostle of the God Zaikuon is definitely an impostor."
The female informant stopped talking as if that was already adequate as an explanation.
"I'm sorry, but I'm not too informed in religious talk. Would you tell me the reason?"
"It's not about religion, but the situation of the gods. 30 years ago, God Zaikuon made the Dragon God angry and was killed. In fact, the priests of Zaikuon temple can't use holy magic, so God Zaikuon shouldn't be revived yet."
I see, so the source of holy magic is the god themselves huh.
By the way they knew about [Made the Dragon God angry] part by asking the oracle miko from other temples to ask the gods about it.
It seems the gods' here can easily revive themselves if they die.
I finally understand how Aze-san could easily say, "There is no problem if you just kill the Dragon God", when I confessed about it to her.
Taking her longevity into consideration, it's probably like, "The god is sleeping after catching a bit of cold."
"If that guy is an impostor, how did he turn the invaders into salt pillars?"
There's no such spell in my repertoire at least.
"There might be a forbidden spell for it, but as long as he's the same level as Shiga 33 Wands, there are many other ways to easily make it happen."
I urge the female informant who declared so to continue.
"It's possible to make salt pillars that look exactly like real people with earth magic to control salt. Then they just need to bury the invaders deep underground and the divine punishment is complete."
Her reasoning is slightly forced, but it's certainly possible.
I'm slightly bothered with the man that call himself [God's Apostle], but he's only avenging the killed priests anyway, so leaving him alone should pose no problem.
I don't know whether the female informant's guess is correct or not, but even if he's the real thing, as long as he doesn't try to hinder my sightseeing tour or do the [Civilization Suppression], I don't intend to have anything to do with him.
If he get rid of demons and demon lords on his own, then that just means the decrease of the world's damage and my work.
Leaving aside the fake apostle, I probably should investigate the demon in the Yowok Kingdom's Labyrinth and the suspicion of the pope being a demon lord.
Once my businesses at the labyrinth city is over, I should go check them out while also making moving points.
Once the Marchioness's banquet is over, I stealthily visit the house of an older acquaintance of mine whom I've made an appointment with.
"Now then, what kind of business for you to visit so late in the night? You had asked for the presence of my wife beforehand so I could roughly guess it, but I'd like to clearly hear it from your mouth."
Irritated with my late night visitation, Baronet Dyukeli said so.
His wife being beside him is as I've requested, but I don't know why Ms. Merian who's in dress is sitting between the couple.
Well, it's a family problem anyway, there's no need to send her away.
"Then, I'll get to the point."
When I said so, Merian gulped.
It's slightly immodest, but it's not an etiquette breach enough for me to point it out.
I take out a wood box from the magic bag beside me and present it to the Baronet Dyukeli.
"Please accept this. Don't forget to appraise it before using it."
"This is? Is this an engagement gift?"
Baronet Dyukeli asked while opening the wooden box.
Strange... I should have written them a letter about the panacea beforehand... Perhaps the loli maid whom I asked to deliver the letter had failed?
No, doubting people is not a good thing to do.
"Dear! Th-this is!"
The baronet's wife point her finger at the panacea bottle inside the wooden box with a feeble voice.
To be exact, she's pointing at the bottle's label written in Shiga language as [Panacea].
It's the medicine to recover the baronet's eldest son's Goblin Sickness.
"Panacea?! How did you get such a valuable thing?"
"I got it from a regular merchant."
Actually I made it myself. I asked the well-informed first-generation Yuika to teach me the recipe, but it was a simple recipe where you just need to dilute elixir with low grade magic potion for a hundredfold.
Normally it's impossible to get your hand on the Elixir, so it only appears as a rare drop in labyrinths.
"Sir Pendragon! W-would you be willing to give up this panacea?"
As expected, It'd be too brutal of me if I'm here only to show it off.
"Yes, of course. Please use it to treat your son."
"Thank you Sir Pendragon. I will compensate this even if it takes me dozens of years."
Baronet Dyukeli hugs me over the desk with his bony arms.
I'm glad that they're pleased.
However, dozens of years is too much.
Leaving that aside, I don't intend to ask for money for an item I've prepared on my own accord.
"No, you don't need to pay for it."
"Then, it really is an engagement gift! Then, my daughter--"
"--No, my fiancee is enough with just her highness princess."
It was a bit rude but I quickly interrupted Baronet Dyukeli.
Using the princess as an excuse is too almighty.
Using it too much would really force me to marry her though, so I have to be prudent with it.
"Is that so--. Sir Pendragon has been intimate with my daughter, so I misunderstood."
The mood feels like a funeral a bit.
Does he really want her daughter to marry a viscount that much?
It looks like Merian wants to be an explorer, so I think he shouldn't carelessly offer her for a marriage, but she looks dejected like her parent.
Perhaps her maiden pride was hurt because of the rejection.
As an apology, I'll give her the leather armor mark 1 which is of the same type as Zena-san's.
That armor is fashionable, and an equipment specialized in defense despite looking like a normal leather armor, so she shouldn't worry about getting injury that would prevent her getting married.
In addition, Baronet Dyukeli insisted to compensate the panacea no matter what, so I decided to borrow his personal connection for a bit.
It's about the connection with the labyrinth city's merchants not the nobles.
Among them, I'd ask him to introduce me to the retired old merchants who like children, I'm thinking of regularly holding an event for them to play and teach the children the way to make building blocks and knitting baskets or the likes in the food distribution square.
Once the children become a bit skillful, they probably won't have to wait for the food distribution with hungry stomaches anymore, and they get the alternative of going into dangerous labyrinth.
The next morning, an invitation for celebrating Baronet Dyukeli's son recovery came.
Unfortunately, it'll be in five days, I won't be present in the Labyrinth City so I won't be able to participate.
Leaving that aside, it seems there are a lot of nobles' children who are suffering from the goblin sickness, I'll have Echigoya Firm to sell the medicine for a large sum of money.
There's no need to hesitate with people who aren't acquaintances and have a lot of money.
After writing a celebratory letter to Baronet Dyukeli, I went to greet the promised partners yesterday while bringing along Seryuu Earldom's civil official and military personnels.
I had made the necessary arrangement beforehand, so the contract was completed without problem.
I gave equipment that are of the same class as Merian's to the three people of Zena Squad.
Zena-san should now rest easy with this.
When I got back to the mansion, several maids and orphanage children were looking up at the airship without getting tired.
"Do you want to get in it?"
"I want to!"
I'm going to depart this afternoon, so people rushed to that suggestion.
"It's a ship."
"Will it fall?"
"Line up properly nodesu."
"Young organisms, follow after me so I command."
Tama and Pochi made the children to line up, and then Nana led them to the airship.
The airship has [Force Web] to prevent people from falling, so there is no problem even if the children hang out on the top deck.
There were a lot of them, so once the airship went around the labyrinth city once in a sightseeing flight, I instructed Nana to change them with the next children, and then I went back to the mansion.
"Master, the children on the list have gathered in the living room."
"Ah, thanks. Have you explained it to them?"
"But of course!"
Bringing along Arisa who replied reliably, I walked toward the living room.
The children inside the living room are wrapped in tensions not unlike job-hunting students.
"You may relax. I think you've heard from Arisa already, I'm thinking of having you study in the childhood school of the royal academy if you wish to. Of course, Pendragon House will provide the tuition and living expenses during your stay. After completing the childhood school, I'm going to ask the ones who continue to the upper school and have good result to assist and become the model for the future children."
In this place, there are three children who have succeeded to learn magic under Arisa and Mia's guidance, and nine children who have learned to read and do basic arithmetic from among the orphanage children and the maids.
As a reward for accomplishing that much in just several months, I suggested them to go study in the Royal Capital.
"Viscount-sama! I want to be a magician like Arisa and Mia-sama! Which is the shortcut, going to the Royal Capital's school or working hard in the labryinth with Pendora brothers?"
The boy who used magic to turn up skirts asked without being affected by the tension in the place.
"If you want to polish your skill in magic in a short amount of time, the shortcut is by going into the labyrinth. However, if you want to be a magician that's on the same level as Arisa and Mia, I think it's better if you properly study the basic in the Royal Academy before going into the labyrinth."
If he wants to be a magician that can only use attack magic like in a game, then he should just raise his level in the labyrinth, but if he wants to use magic that are usable outside battles, it's better for him to study magic structure and the way to read spells.
"Okay! I'll go to the Royal Academy!"
"I will go too."
Once the boy who turned up skirts powerfully declared, the other children also expressed their will one after another.
They will be going to the Royal Capital by riding a stagecoach in half a month.
The enrollment for the childhood school was during the new year, but it's possible to accept new students as first years if they show results above a certain level.
Moreover, I think the elf-loving headmaster will somehow help if they bring a recommendation letter written by Mia.
After sending the children home, I call Ms. Miteruna and three senior maids among the loli maids.
"Master, have you called for me--"
"It'll be a bit long, so please have a seat."
I offer a seat to Ms. Miteruna.
I succeeded getting Ms. Miteruna who firmly refused to take a seat after saying, "My neck will hurt if I continue to talk like this."
I tell them that I want to dispatch several maids to the Royal Capital's mansion to learn more sophisticated maid technique.
"Of course, I don't want you to misunderstand that I have a problem with Miteruna's teaching. Training children who didn't know anything to become maids in short amount of time is quite an accomplishment."
I followed up like so since Ms. Miteruna's face stiffened.
In fact, it should have been impossible to raise them to this level with just the loli maids' motivation.
However, I've unexpectedly become an upper noble, so I'd like my employees to polish their techniques even more.
"--I understand what Master is saying. I think these three should be able to endure the training in the Royal Capital."
The loli maids are looking at Ms. Miteruna with teary eyes.
"Miteruna, you won't go to the Royal Capital?"
"Yes, if Master permits, I'd like to take the role of raising the children that will be sent to the Royal Capital here."
I see, not improving her own skill, but becoming their educator huh.
She's quite the rare talent.
I'll increase her salary for her training role.
"I'm counting on you, Miteruna."
"Yes, I will be doing my utmost to meet Master's expectation."
Thus, after having completed the businesses in the Labyrinth City, we departed to the Duchy Capital where the cooking contest is going to be held.
Under the pretext of cheering for Lulu, the Labyrinth City group are also going to the Duchy Capital, and will be returning to the Labyrinth City through the land route once the cooking contest is over.
In actuality, they're going to go in and out of the labyrinth through the Island Palace as the base, and then I will send them to the vicinity of the Labyrinth City after enough time has passed for the land travel to happen.
"Master won't participate in the cooking contest?"
"I've been chosen as a special judge you see."
Apparently, its name is [Pendragon Cup].
Even [Miracle Chef Cup] would have been better than that.
"Then there's no need to hold back! I'll think of a dish that will tightly grab Master's heart!"
"W-wait Arisa! Don't pull me that hard!"
"Pochi will help with tasting too nodesu!"
Following after Arisa and Lulu, Tama and Pochi also went to Lulu's exclusive kitchen.
"Master, everyone has completed their preparation."
"Master, I want scarlet armor too, so I entreat."
Liza and Nana appeared from the living room having done arming themselves.
After the two, Sera, Zena-san, Lady Karina, and the princess; beauties wrapped in Hihiirokane-made scarlet armor showed up.
This armor has auto-fitting functionality, so I didn't do any attractive size measurement.
"Satou-san, thank you for waiting."
"I-is it alright for me to wear this splendid armor?"
"The pressure on my chest is suffocating desuwa."
"It's like the knight that appears in tales."
After praising the four ladies, "They look really good on you", I send them to the planned rearing site.
It's the power-leveling place where I raised Echigoya Firm's executives' levels to 30.
"I've connected this to the permanent gate, so let them rest in the palace when they fall from the level up intoxication."
After giving instructions to Liza and Nana, I plug my ears from hearing the scream behind, and start the preparation to go out.
Right now, Mia should be enjoying herself playing with the world's largest pipe organ in the concert hall next to the palace.
Giving the children musical instruments to nurture their aesthetic sensitivity might be a good idea.
I choose [Equip: Kuro] magic on the Magic Column and transform to Kuro.
Using this original magic, it doesn't only equip the clothing and mask, but also automatically set every kind of information like my name, occupation, and others in the Exchange column.
It's quite a handy magic for a careless person like me.
Now that I've finished the change, let's check the two demon lords' places!