15-Intermission 8. Rumor of Demon Lord Slayer
※The intermission is chronologically timed after Satou and Hero Hayato defeated the demon lords in Dejima Island (before the Divine Punishment oracle).
"Your Excellency! Your Excellency my Duke!!"
"What's with the commotion."
Duke Bishtal raised his voice in displeasure among heaps of documents inside his study room.
The duke's grandson who's studying governmental affairs as a consul rushed into the room.
Duke Bishtal thought that he was one of the superior ones amongst his relatives but he still lacked composure at times like this since he was still young.
"It's a Wyvern Mail from the royal capital! A-and it has the royal family sealing wax on it."
The duke who was only lending his ears while reading a document finally raised his head when he heard [Royal Family Sealing Wax].
The letter that came from the royal capital was stamped with the [Shiga Kingdom Sealing Wax].
The use of this wax mainly brings news about birth or funeral of the royal family or a huge incident that shakes the very core of the kingdom.
However, since emergency matters like an appearance of demons are notified through City Core, the duke retains his calm.
"Calm yourself, how unsightly."
Duke Bishtal received the letter while reprimanding the consul.
His other hands fetches a magic item to open the wax instead of a paper knife.
Heating the royal sealing wax to remove it instead of cutting it has been a custom since Ancestor King Yamato era. According to history, the practice began because the people who idolized Ancestor King Yamato didn't want to cut the royal sealing wax.
The wrinkle on Duke Bishtal's forehead deepened after he finished reading the letter.
The consul was watching him while enduring his aching stomach.
The duke was going to crush the letter out of rage, but he stopped when he saw the royal sealing wax on his desk.
"Your Excellency, what was written in the letter?"
The consul worked up his courage and asked the duke whose blood vessel seemed like it was going to rupture like 'gununu'.
Duke Bishtal squeezed the name of his bitter enemy.
"The letter said that the youngster killed a demon lord with the hero."
"Since when did Pendragon become a hero's attendant? I haven't heard of one such rumor though?"
The duke glared at the consul who was unintentionally speaking in question.
"He wasn't acting as an attendant, it was a united front."
Duke Bishtal threw the letter onto his desk and jerked his chin to urge the consul to read it.
"Please excuse me."
The duke gulped down a glass of brandy the maid brought while the consul was reading.
The transparent cubes inside the glass weren't ice cubes, but rock sugars, a native product of the sugar producing area in Raragi kingdom.
"D-demon lord slayer--"
Duke Bishtal gulped down his second glass of brandy while watching the consul with a displeased expression.
"If this keeps up, his patrons, Oyugock and Dukus's influence will grow stronger."
"Wasn't Pendragon under patronage of Earl Muno?"
"Muno has always been Oyugock's string. Oyugock probably sent the youngster to Muno territory to solve the problem there in the first place."
An old butler who was working quietly inside the study room reacts to Duke Bishtal.
"Demon Lord slayer--"
The old butler's slit eyes narrowed further and he nodded.
"--You're very fortunate master."
"Fortunate you say."
The old butler didn't flinch at the boiling Duke Bisthal and continued on.
On the other hand, the consul's existence was forgotten like air as he trembled with the letter on his hands.
"Yes, fortunate. There might be some discord between the two of you in the beginning, but it was concluded peacefully, and Her Highness Shistina has become Sir Pendragon's legal wife. Being the grandfather of his legal wife would be a huge advantage to you."
People that are connected to Viscount Pendragon might insist that she's not his [Legal wife, but a candidate of legal wife] but from most noble's point of view, having an unmarried woman traveling together abroad and with her parents approving it, they might as well already be a pair of wife and husband.
Even if the person in question denied it, people would just talk in the back, "What is it now after all this time", or "They had some dispute and got divorced."
"I see, we have Shistina. I thought she was good-for-nothing for declining the marriage into Earl Lesseu house, but it seems she's useful for something in the very end."
He'd look like a garbage parent or maybe a garbage grandfather in modern Japan, but with this country's common sense, nobles see their daughter as a unit to tie houses of noble together, so he's not exactly a special case of garbage.
"At present, there's a discord between Sir Pendragon and master, but now is the time to show the dignity of the elderly, Master might want to show your good will and concede here."
"Are you telling me to lower my head to him?"
"No, there is no need to do such a foolish thing."
The old butler slowly shook his head.
"Master can simply give the viscount the things he wanted."
"You realize that the rumor said that he's a strait-laced guy who can't be flattered with money or women right?"
Numerous nobles approached Viscount Pendragon with marriage proposals with their daughters, and many offered him positions in order to build connections, but not even one swayed him.
There was even a rumor that he was into men, but even though many nobles brought handsome young men, men, old men or men with muscles to him, none tugged his heartstrings.
Few people know the fact that he also declined a position on Shiga Eight Swords.
"They failed because they approached with general taste as their standard and without investigating his preference."
Duke Bishtal shakes his brandy glass and urges the butler to continue.
"The viscount is a moderate ladies' man. The rumor says that his favorite is young girls that haven't come of age, but this is a fake info that Duke Oyugock faction spread. A lot of people swallowed that fake info whole because many of his retainers look young."
"In other words, he likes women with huge breasts and ass?"
The old butler shook his head at that question.
"No, he likes girls with poor figures."
"You're basing that on?"
"After further investigation, we know that he takes good care of a maid retainer with poor figure more than Her Highness and the duchy lady."
The old butler replied full of confidence at Duke Bishtal's doubtful eyes.
"Also, he likes to help people in trouble, that is another fact. I think we should make use of that to send in honest people with poor figure from noble houses under Your Excellency's tutelage."
The old butler explained that the viscount could suspect their intention if they sent people with the same reason so they should hire a good director from some theater to create the situation.
"Fumu, just that won't be enough."
Even if House of Duke Bishtal's influence grow after they manage to send people into Viscount Pendragon, they won't be able to make use of his power at critical times.
"Yes, therefore we should present the viscount with things that he can't refuse under Your Excellency name."
The old butler said that he wouldn't decline if they sent gifts to congratulate for the [Demon Lord Slayer] matter.
"Other nobles will probably send him gifts too. Stuff that can eclipse those gifts are likely only the mithril sword 『Rock Bone King』 or magic sword Shaitan handed down in my duchy house."
Those two are too precious, Duke Bishtal's frowned.
"No, we need not either. I have done an investigation on that matter too."
"Great as always, Geezer! And what is it."
The duke praised the confident old butler and urged him to continue.
"Yes, it's rare 『Spell Scrolls』, as well as 『Chant』 and 『Magic』 Orbs."
The old butler said that he acquired the information by using a huge amount of gold coins.
His information is correct.
No, to be more precise, [It was correct].
The fact that that info was old is the fatal point, but there is no one who could point that out in this place.
"He had an intimate relationship with Viscount Shimen who supervises a scroll workshop in Oyugock Dukedom, and both Marquis Ashinen, the viceroy of Labyrinth City and Earl Seryu bought up Chant and Magic Orbs."
"Is there any point collecting more than one Chant Orb?"
"That is only if he uses it for himself. There is a lot of promising explorers under his organization, 『Pendora』. He probably uses the orbs to shape those children into magic swordsmen and the scrolls to assist the weak ones."
The old butler gave the most reasonable explanation to Duke Bishtal's question.
"Then buy up those stuff."
"Understood. I will also give instructions to look for suitable girls."
The old butler bowed and left the room.
"Kukuku, I'm really lucky to have excellent subordinates under me."
The consul had a slight uneasiness as he was watching the back of Duke Bishtal who went to the courtyard.
He didn't open his mouth out of fear of the duke's wrath, and he left the room like a shadow.
Looks like he's decided to watch the duke's plan to go smoothly from afar.
◇Shiga Kingdom Royal Castle◇
"Ancestor King-sama, pardon me for calling you."
"Hold on, I told you to stop with that Ancestor King-sama stuff. Just call me Duchess Mitsukuni Mito."
The king, the prime minister and Duchess Mitsukuni are inside the king's private room.
"After the matter about Demon Lord Slayer the other day, many more nobles appealed for Viscount Pendragon to become a direct retainer of the Royal Family."
"Well, guess so."
Mito couldn't hide her elated expression even though she sounded like she couldn't believe it.
"I am thinking of promoting him to be an earl, changing his master from Earl Muno to Royal Family and appointing him to be the viceroy of either Trade City or Labyrinth City."
Mito rejected the idea of the king who carefully chose his words.
"Would you tell us the reason."
"Don't change his master. Ichirou--Sir Pendragon told me that he became a noble because he was fond of Earl Muno. And it seems he agreed to be a viscount after hearing that it was a condition for Muno-san to be an earl, he might run away if you're being too forceful, you see."
The king froze from to the culture shock since the reason was too far apart from common nobles.
"Your Majesty. I think Ancestor--Mito-sama is most likely right. The viscount also only agreed to the position of Vice-Minister of Tourism Ministry because the order was to investigate delicacy and tourist attractions."
It's far too different from royal court nobles who compete every day for a position in the government.
Only one who nodded in this place, Mito who muttered, "That's so like Ichirou-nii."
If someone with an achievement as great as Demon Lord Slayer, that hasn't been seen since Ancestor King Yamato, run away, the dignity of Royal Family will be greatly shaken.
The king stares at Mito like he's relying on her.
"However, we must bestow gifts to someone who has slain a demon lord."
"Then how about promoting Sir Pendragon to earldom and Muno-san to Marquisate?"
"Such thing is--"
--not possible, was what the king wanted to say, but he stopped since that wasn't the case.
"It's possible. It might be due to Mito-sama's Echigoya Firm's assistance and Sir Pendragon's enormous fund, Muno Earldom is reviving at an impossible rate. It's only a matter of time before it's equal to the past Muno Marquisate."
The prime minister continued after offering an unusual western snack to Mito.
"Persuading Bishtal and Kelten would be difficult, but once those two are curbed, there will be nothing that can stop it."
"Well then. I will do something about those two."
Mito is delightfully biting a thin baked sweet while ignoring the two who are discussing seriously like it's none of her business.
"You'd get it even harder if Sir Pendragon did something even greater after his promotion this time huh."
Mito's comment was absolutely improbable, but after doing leaving a feat as impossible as [Demon Lord Slayer], the prime minister and the king couldn't laugh it off and had a miserable expression on their faces.
Looks like even the king and the prime minister of a prominent kingdom on the continent find the existence of a retainer who's too excellent unmanageable.
◇Shiga Kingdom Capital, Royal Academy◇
"Shiro-kun, Crow-san, did you hear the news?"
"What's wrong Tina-sama."
"Good morning, Tina-sama."
Tina Kelten, the daughter of Marquis Kelten, rushed into the room in excitement.
At her rare state that's unlike her usual graceful behavior, line of sights inside the classroom are gathered to her.
"What is it about?"
"Viscount Pendragon-sama's great achievementt!"
Shiro and Crow look at each other when they heard 'great achievement'.
Since most of the two girls' master's acts were great achievements, they didn't know which one it was about.
However, other people don't know about that.
"Oh my, you haven't heard it?"
Tina said like she couldn't believe it.
"Viscount Pendragon-sama and Saga Empire Hero Hayato-sama challenged the 『Phantasmal Labyrinth』 of Dejima Island together."
Shiro thought, "Maybe it was about the time Masita became Dungeon Master?" but she did the mouth zip pose, taught by Pochi, in her mind and didn't spoke it out.
"Hee, Shiro and Crow's master is Hero-sama's acquaintance."
"No wonder Tina-sama took them under her wings."
Tina made a big gesture to silence the children's whispering.
She's going to speak the best part.
"Viscount-sama and Hero-sama went through many distress and confronted a demon lord at the deepest part of the labyrinth!"
The children cowered and muttered weakly, "Demon lord."
Just like how Showa children hide their navel when they hear a thunder, the children in this world huddle together when they hear 'demon lord'.
"There's nothing to fear! Viscount-sama and Hero-sama cooperated together to fight the demon lord, and came out victorious!"
As if Tina's excitement was infectious, excitement and joy welled up in the children's face.
"It's the birth of Demon Lord Slayer since Ancestor King Yamato-sama! No, since Ancestor King Yamato was a hero, it's the first birth of Shiga Kingdom Demon Lord Slayer in history!"
Chorus of [Demon Lord Slayer] began inside the classroom.
Shiro and Crow who kept their calm thought it was a bit scary.
"I will declare here! I, Tina Kelten, will become Viscount Pendragon-sama's wife!"
"I will too!"
"Me (boku) too!"
With Tina's declaration, the little girls inside the classroom got swept up in the mood and declared their marriage proposals.
There were some strange ones mixed in, but since it's not good to discriminate by gender, Shiro and Crow didn't interject and quietly clapped their hands while saying, "Masita, so popular."
The same thing happened in the classroom of Rumooku Kingdom's princess Menea, and everywhere in the Royal Capital, nobles and citizens marched on toward Viscount Pendragon's mansion, compelling ten percent of the guards stationed in the capital's garrison to organize the onlookers.
Viscount Pendragon who likes to tour around probably never imagined that his own mansion would become a tourist attraction itself.
◇Shiga Kingdom, Monastery at the eastern end of the Royal Territory, Viewpoint of a maid attendant of the third prince◇
At an enclosed corner of the monastery, a man who looks like an elderly is shrieking at the dusty ceiling.
I ran away outside the room out of fear of the man's frenzy.
As his maid attendant, maybe I should have soothed him here, but scary thing is scary.
Nuns who are running in the corridor from the courtyard direction call out to me.
"H-hold on, what's happening with His Highness?"
"It's more awful than the usual fit."
I raised my eyebrow at the onlooker's curiosity.
"Geez! It's because you were talking about that in the courtyard!"
"Nothing like that--"
The nun was going to say that they didn't talk about anything weird, but then she recalled a certain thing and put her hand on her mouth.
"--Are you talking about the news of Viscount Pendragon-sama exterminating a demon lord?"
"It's not exterminating, he slew a demon lord."
"Aw c'mon, exterminating is fine."
<TLN: 'Exterminating' here usually used for pest.>
I interrupted the two's lively chat and said, "That's it, that's the one!"
"His Highness flew into a rage because you two were gossiping about."
"He couldn't have heard it from that distance."
For some reason the noisy birds and insects that were usually chirping to the limit of their souls were silent today, so chatters from the courtyard that couldn't usually be heard could today.
"Ouch, sorry about that."
"It was a mistake, sorry sorry."
"We'll share you some honey cake."
A-are you a god!
Giving honey cake as an apology despite being in a monastery strict about sweets!
I coughed to clear my throat and nodded.
"I-I've got no choise."
I fumbled my word, but it couldn't be helped.
I mean, it's honey cake.
Ignoring the nuns' laughing glances and the His Highness's shrieks behind, I went to the nuns' room in elation.
Since His Highness still tried to escape when I came back, I told the monastery guards about it and got to enjoy a quiet night in a while.
I thought His Highness would be brought back immediately, but he was nowhere to be found the next day.
It seems that it would take a long time before I could hear the name of His Highness--Third Prince Sharlick again.
In other words, my peaceful days will continue in the meantime.
※ Next update is undecided, but it looks like the schedule could be back to normal on July.
Until that, I have to work on the book version, so the updates will be irregular like this in the whole June.
I'm sorry for readers who look forward to the web version, but please forgive me about this.
Additionally, the anime is largely getting worked out by the editorial department, there's very little burden on the author part (I'm still supervising it~)