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Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku 18-18

 18-18. Ball

 

※ This story is not about Dungeon City Akatia.

"...Phew."

A letter has come from Muno Territory asking for my attendance in a ball that will be held at Duchy Capital.
I would love to pretend I never saw the letter, but as it also asked for my assistance in increasing personal connections for Muno heir, my little brother Orion, I could not just overlook it.

"Karina, ennui~?"
"What is wrong nodesu?"

As I gloomily sighed with the letter in my hand, Tama and Pochi called out in worry.

"You can talk to Pochi about your problem nodesu."
"Consultationonon~?"

"Oh, I'm all right desuwa. It's nothing major anywa--"
"Karina-dono, you should talk with these two. You might find a new perspective by talking to other people."
"--Raka-san."

An artifact created by an ancient magic empire [<<Intelligent Item>>] Raka gave me that advice.

But--.

"It's really nothing big. I just received a letter asking for my attendance in a ball desuwa."
"Ball, nanodesu?"
"Like ball catching~?"

Pochi and Tama tilted their heads and their entire bodies together.
They looked so cute I was smiling before I realized.

"No, that's different. A Ball is where nobles gather around to dance and eat together."
"Pochi loves both dancing and eating nanodesu!"
"Tama too~?"

Pochi and Tama twirled around and started dancing.

"Oh you two are so good at it desuwa."

I liked to dance too when I was small.

It all started that day, the day I attended my first ball--.

<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >

◇◇◇◆◇◆◆◆



"Soruna-anesama, what's Duke-sama's ball like?"

Our Muno Barondom's simple wagon trod on the main road while shaking.

"...Oh, where to begin I wonder."

Soruna-anesama looked gloomy, unlike me who was really looking forward to the ball.
The me at this time was too frolic to notice ane-sama's state.

"Hasn't Ane-sama gone there many times before?"
"When I was at the royal capital--at Dona Baronet's place, it was mostly balls for lower class nobles, so they weren't really extravagant. I'm not yet a debutante too, I've only been to a ball hosted by Duke-sama at the Duchy Capital before I moved back to Muno."
"Duke-sama?! Whoa! Ane-sama, that's amazing! And then, and then?"

My eyes were sparkling at the tale Ane-sama narrated and urged her to continue.

"It was a very dazzling place. It was so bright as if it was in the middle of the day with dozens of hanging chandelier emitting lights like they were coming from a hundred magic lamps. Those lights reflected by the candlesticks and tableware below made the scene looked like I was in a world of dream."
"Uwaa"

Imagining how it would like, I couldn't hold my mouth from opening wide in astonishment.

"The ladies and gentlemen attending the ball were wearing green silk garments, lower class nobles at the capital just cannot compare. Those outfits were adorned by so many jewels sparkling like stars in the sky. Every one of their fingers have jewels so big, it almost looked too heavy to carry even."
"Whoaa!"

"The dishes served were also beyond luxurious. So many cuisines I had never seen before in my life lined up endlessly, your sister had no idea so many food existed in this world before then."
"A feast! Were they tasty?"

Ane-sama wouldn't reply back my innocent question.

"I'm sure it was very tasty. Those dishes fill up all the tables, and every time a large platter had been half-emptied, a new large platter full of freshly cooked food would get brought in."
"What are they going to do with the leftover? Are they saving it for tomorrow's lunch? Oh then you can eat a lot the next day too!"

As someone who was living a frugal life in Muno Territory, the idea of discarding food never even crossed my mind then.

"Karina, you're such a good girl."
"Ehehehe~"

I had no idea why I got praised, but I really liked getting praise from ane-sama.

"Did you make friends?"

Ane-sama's face stiffened up like a Noh mask as I asked her that.

"--It is not shaking anymore. We have reached the Duhcy's highway it seems."
"You're right ane-sama! We're on a wagon but it's not rickety rackety anymore!"

Oyugock Duchy's well maintained roads were a thing of wonder to me who only knew shaky roads at Muno Territory.
For that reason, I failed to notice how ane-sama had abruptly changed the topic.

"It's knights! Ane-sama, there's so many knights-sama in silver armor!"

Our wagon passed through Oyugock Duchy's fullplated armored knights.
Our wagon was being escorted by Muno soldiers as well, but all of them only wore leather armor, thus those knights in their metal armor looked like they sprung out of fairy tales to me.

I remember how one of those knights murmured, [Cursed Land].

The me at the time had no idea about anything, but even the bubbly me could sense that it was nothing good from father and ane-sama's gloomy mood.

And that turned into conviction as we arrived at Gururian Castle, the venue for the ball.

"Is that the 『Cursed Land』's?"
"Have you heard about rumors of nobles moving to Muno Territory meeting an unnatural death one after another?"
"Yes, of course. My little brother was going to enter the government service at Muno Territory, and my whole family went against it."
"Will we not get cursed taking part in the same ball as these people?"

The only one greeting us upon our arrival was the viceroy, Viscount Shimen, all other nobles would only whisper maliciously behind our back, none dared to speak to us nor approach us.
In fact, they would quickly scuttle away whenever we would try to greet one.

"Soruna, I have to go greet the people here. I'm sorry, but could you look after Karina for me?"
"Yes, father. I shall enjoy the food together with Karina."
"Yup, that's a good idea. Make sure you don't leave the venue, okay."

Father said that and then left to make the rounds for his job.

"Let's go Karina."
"Yes, ane-sama."

I was curious about the people dancing in the hall, but I couldn't say it out loud, confused by the unusual state ane-sama was in.

"Whaa, yummy! Ane-sama, it's so yummy!"

I was a bit reserved that it was buffet style, but all the feast that couldn't be found in Muno castle had me frolic and forgot about everything else.

"She's like a starving cattle."

I choked on sweet by mistake at that harsh rebuke.
Ane-sama hurriedly passed over a glass of fruit water.

"No graces befitting of a noble."
"But of course. These cattle only have half of noble blood running through their vein, they are crossbreeds."
"Half? You mean one of their parents is a commoner?"
"I see, I see. So that is the reason they managed to narrowly escape [No Life King]'s Curse."
"How dare mere crossbreeds play pretend nobles! Punishment is due in short order."

The noble sons and daughters disparaged our commoner born--an illegitimate child of a noble to be exact--mother.
At this time, at my first exposure of unbridled malice, I wasn't really aware of what was going on, I just believed that I had done some sort of terrible mistake and could only tremble in fear from the bottom of my heart.

Ane-sama went in front of me to cover me.
Despite being frightened herself, she spread out her tiny body to hide me from sight.

"Hmph, the little sister's a steep cliff, but the elder one possesses some truly magnificent assets."
"Aren't those too big. It goes around to vulgar when they're that big to me."

The pimple-faced noble boy smirked and grinned while looking closer at ane-sama's face while the plump boy pushed the long glass he had on ane-sama's chest.

--Gotta protect ane-sama!

Just as I ran out from behind ane-sama while thinking that--.

Someone stopped me.

"Speaking of vulgar, have you guys seen a mirror lately."

This someone took the glass pushing ane-sama's chest, and pulled away ane-sama from those boys with a lax attitude.

"Toruma! Dare you go against me, the heir to Bobi Earldom!"
"Sure I dare."

The boy called Toruma answered right away at the noble boy who was misusing his family's authority.
Yes, this was how I met Uncle Toruma.

"Heck if I could overlook those who would disparage an innocent lady, make her cry, and even go as far as shamelessly molesting her in public, moreso when it's in a party sponsored by my family."

Despite his bumbly attitude, uncle Toruma's words were filled with anger.

"What mishap have you got yourself into now, Toruma."
"--Niisan."

Just as the situation was about to explode, uncle Toruma's elder brother, the heir to Viscount of Shimen, uncle Hosaris spoke out to him.
Unlike uncle Toruma, he has never visited Muno Territory, so I don't know much about him.

"Hosaris-dono! What sort of education do you have at your house."

After hearing the noble boy's protest, uncle Hosaris glanced at a nearby butler who quickly came up to him and whispered the circumstance in his ear.

"I see, so that's what's going on--"

Uncle Hosaris murmured.

"Punish him quick if you understand!"
"That's a nice idea."

Uncle Hosaris looked at uncle Toruma with a cold gaze.

"Toruma, you shall have more etiquette education as ordered by father."
"--Geh."
"U-umm! Toruma-sama only covered for us--"

Ane-sama was trying to defend uncle Toruma when uncle Hosaris lightly raised his hand to interrupt her.

"I understand the situation."

Then uncle Hosaris turned his gaze at the noble boys.

"Ronbel-dono is an outstanding statesman, but it appears parenting is not his strong suit."

The noble boys who were expecting apology from uncle Hosaris stiffened up when they got their expectations subverted.

"W-what'd you say! Are you slandering us?!"
"Do I have to spell it out for you? Today marks the end of our association. Turn around and leave, now."
"Y-you think you your Scroll workshop business can succeed without the help of Bobi House?!"
"That is no concern of yours. The earl may expect a messenger with our declination from our family head, my father at a later date."
"U-umm, Hosaris-sama--"

Ane-sama who felt responsible to the unexpected situation called out.

"You have nothing to feel responsible about. Associating with a house that has reared up fools incapable of the least bit of courtesy to a lady would only sully our Viscount House of Shimen."

After saying that, he really did expel those noble boys from the venue.

"Let's go somewhere else. Hard to relax here no?"

Urged by uncle Toruma, we transferred over to a break room next to the venue.

"Forgive me, it's all because of us."
"Eh no worries. They probably only used you guys as a pretext to refuse the business joint proposal. Nii-san could handle mediation without proper set up in his sleep. That etiquette thing earlier was also more cause how late I was saving you girls."

Uncle Toruma explained with a laugh to the apologetic ane-sama.

"Toruma-sama, we have brought you food."
"Thank you. Okay then, let's forget about silly stuff and just enjoy the grub."

Uncle Toruma let us enjoy the dish we were enjoying earlier.

"Toruma-sama, do you live at Gururian City?"
"I'm usually at the duchy capital. Only went to play at Gururian like once in a while."
"What kind of place is the duchy capital?"
"You can find anything there. But it's not fair if it's just me speaking. Karina-chan, what's it like at Muno where you live?"
"Err, there's father, mother, Soruna-anesama, and Orion!"

Elated to be mentioned, I went on to ramble on random things to uncle Toruma.

Thanks to this incident, our relationship with Viscount of Shimen deepened, and the once unvisited Muno Territory would have uncle Toruma coming to play every once a year.
Hence, I remember how lonely I was when uncle Toruma eloped and stopped coming for several years.

It ended with a good memory, but the malicious glances and insults directed to the small me had placed an irremovable thorn in my mind.
Ever since then, father would cease participating in a ball hosted by Duke Oyugock, and neither me or ane-sama would beg for it even once.



◆◆◆◇◆◇◇◇



"Pochi don't really get it but she gets it nodesu!"
"Mii~ two~."

Tama and Pochi had these difficult looks on their face with their arms folded as they nodded together.

"The best way is to overwrite bad memory with a happy one nanodesu!"
"Like Leopard-oneesan said~?"
"That's right nanodesu! So Karina should overwrite the ball together with Pochi!"

Pochi struck out the sucha pose as she said that.
She kinds of look like Satou when he tried to play it cool and invited me to a dance.

"Ufufu."

I reflexively smiled at that happy feeling.

I bend down and take Pochi's hand.

"Pochi~, not tall enough."
"Oh, oh no, it's true nanodesu. Pochi's stumped nodesuyo."
"It's okay--"

Before I could complete with desuwa, Tama moved right next to Pochi.

"Combine~?"
"Yeah nanodesu! Two fires make one flame nanodesuyo!"

Tama and Pochi started humming some kind of song.
If I'm not mistaken, that's the theme song of a [Roboamime] Arisa sang? Or was it an insert song?

As Tama folded her arms, Pochi jumped onto her shoulders, and then as Pochi's legs were locked into position, a mantle showed up out of nowhere wrapping the two.

"Combine formed~?"
"This is the friendship combined form, Gentleman nanodesu!"

Pochi spoke, her eyes at a slightly higher elevation than mine.

"My lady, may I borrow your hand nanodesu."

I replied back to the slightly mistaken invitation Pochi made with a ladyship etiquette, and offered my hand covered in white gloves.

"My? When did these gloves?"
"They showed up out of nowhere when that mantle was deployed earlier."

Raka-san couldn't even detect it--perhaps, Satou?

"Then, muzic starto nanodesu!"
"Nn."

Mia who was in the courtyard before I knew it started playing a ballroom dance music.
A delightful uptempo tune.

"Karina, just leave it aaall to Pochi nodesuyo."

--My?

"Pochi and Tama, you two can dance desuwa."
"Yes nanodesu! Pochi is an alluring dancer, she trained with Arisa in dancing so she could let's dance together with master!!"

Tama is in charge of the steps but since she forms the legs here, she won't speak.
I'll ask them to change up later and dance again.

The gloomy feeling vanished as I danced, and before I realized, I was enjoying the dance from the bottom of my heart.

"Come now, let's grasp the world of ballroom together with Pochi nodesuyo!"
"Ufufu, that sounds just lovely desuwa."

That day our dance continued with smiles unceasing, the courtyard ball went on until Pochi's and Tama's bellies rumbled.

The apprehension in my heart hasn't fully disappeared, but unlike yesterday, I no longer get depressed just from hearing the word ball.

As thanks for those two, I should bring them some meat dish on my way back from the ball as presents.

I'm sure those two would be delighted--.
With that in mind and with lighter steps than yesterday, I took a step forward toward the ball.



※Next update is planned for around the end of next month.

 

 

Previous Chapter

Okami wa Nemuranai 35.3

 3





"I believe you have an understanding as to my coming here now."

"Y-yes."

"Then I shall now relay a message from first class priest Amamir. First, the books will be in <Sacred Code> format. As you know, <Sacred Code> is 30 Part long and 21 Part wide. Each standards have their own set of character size and amount of character per page. Which is 26 characters and 36 lines per page for <Sacred Code>. Which is to say 936 pages but considering new lines and other, the closer we get to 900 the more elegant it would look."

"Y-yes."

"Secondly, the pages will number from around 300 to 500. Longer manuscripts will have to be split into multiple volumes. Is that acceptable?"

"Y-yes."

"Additionally, shorter manuscripts will be compiled into a single volume whence possible. Is that acceptable?"

"Yes."

"Thirdly, we would like to know the size of the entire manuscripts to get a grasp on the publication plan. You can show those to me. Now, please if you would."

Even with please, there's no way she could have prepared all of that in the time frame given. For the time being, Norma handed over the [Introductory to Medicinal Plant Study] she had finished. She should have bought three days of time with it, thought Norma.

However, Norma soon found out how much she underestimated Rakrus's knowledge and ability. She was handed a document wood board full of written words the morning after.

"I have read the manuscript. The content is far more comprehensive and easier to understand than the original. It is truly an admirable work."

"Oh, thanks."

"However, there seems to be a need of a more proper choice of words we could use. I'd like you to explain all the terminologies written here."

"Err. Right now, right here?"

"Right now, right here. Or perhaps, do you have other businesses to take care of?"
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"No. I don't have one in particular, but."

After a brief explanation from Rakrus, Norma was impressed.

The scholarly domain that her father, Sasfrey Wazrof, had arrived at was a completely new frontier, even common words anyone should know have been given a new meaning. On the other hand, there are some coined words and completely new words as well.

As completely new words usually have accompanying explanations, they're still understandable, but coined words are difficult to understand or even just to narrow down its actual meaning. Common words with new meanings are even misleading at times.

In addition, medics and apothecaries learn from their own teachers, whose knowledge and  word usages may vary by regions. As a result, how [Research on Entrails Functions] is read can completely differ by regions, unless it's made to be very exact and unified.

In fact, some of the terminologies Rakrus wrote on the board have several different words with similar meaning or exactly the same thing using different words. There's even same words with hugely different meanings. Or similar words with different contents.

"In one such case, we categorize the terms and put a new expression to indicate words in the same category. And words with the same meanings should be represented with the same terminology if applicable. As this book is a study book, not a literature."

Thus, Rakrus is going to read several volumes of the original manuscripts as a preliminary arrangement for arrangement of terminologies. As it's only preliminary, the manuscripts don't have to be completely ready for the transcribing project.

First Norma handed over the original copies of [Research on Entrails Functions], then [Introductory to Medicinal Plant Study]. The former has 920,000 characters, while the later has more than 300,000 despite being incomplete. Moreover, this should have been the first time Rakrus read the later. And yet, he managed to read through both books in just three days.

"Norma-dono."

"Yes."

"[Research on Entrails Function] is a wonderful research."

"Thank you."

"It has six chapters, but it seems there are considerable period gaps between chapters."

"Yes. It took 20 years to complete chapter 1 to 6. And it's even got other unrelated research put in some chapters."

"Ah, you must mean chapter 2 and 4."

"Yes."

"It's truly a wonderful research. However, there are many redundancies to be found, and the reading contexts are slightly off for a single book. Also, it appears to be written in chronological order."

"Yes."

"In other word, the content is unfortunately in disarray. Of course, Norma-dono should know that well yourself."

"Yes."

"Hence, how about we take it one step further and rewrite the original manuscript here."

"...."

"Please consider it."

"Yes."

As Rakrus sort out the terminologies, Norma put all documents that will be made into books in a room. Rakrus's two pupils, Parm and Yoran were extremely capable, they would nonchalantly helped Norma in the work. They know very well how to deal with manuscripts. It's an ability Jinga lacks, Norma was extremely impressed.

 

 

 

Previous Chapter

Okami wa Nemuranai 35.2

 2





Priest Amamir had previously commissioned Transcriber Rakrus's Studio to transcribe [Introductory to Medicinal Plant Study] and [Research Entrails' Functions]. Temples are transcribers' biggest customers, and Elex Temple is the temple that publishes most books in this country. And Rakrus Studio is the leading studio in making original books in the capital. The two are also old friends. And since those transcribes needed secrecy, naturally Amamir would pick a trusted transcriber. To Priest Amamir, Rakrus was the natural choice.

Rakrus himself is equipped with knowledge and skills of a stylist and a rhetorician, but that's not enough to run a studio. The studio houses several Copywriters, and virtually exclusive bookbinders living there. One day, priest Amamir brought a job to that studio.

Rakrus was chagrined at the fact that he wasn't the one who made the original copies of the two books when he first saw them. That's how much he was taken by the content. These are exactly the books fit to challenge the best transcribers.

And when priest Amamir brought the plan to publish the bettered and revised version of those two books, Rakrus literally jumped into it. His eyes at that time were literally bloodshot.

Though even Rakrus was at a loss for words when he heard the insane plan of creating dozens, hundreds of those books. Pretty much an undertaking of a national level. Done by a mere apothecary, Guide Skalabel.

Though judging from some leaks priest Amamir hinted, there seems to be a catch in how the project is going to be done. To make that catch a reality, it's necessary to grasp the whole thing that will be published first.

Rakrus objected strongly when priest Amamir declared that all the books will be in <Sacred Code> format. The same two books Rakrus previously transcribed were in <Festive Code> format, gorgeously made befitting of the books. Appropriate as an offering to gods by someone who had arrived at the peak of scholarly achievement. How could these books be lowered down two levels now.

To this, even the usually calm and collected priest Amamir argued back fervently, capable of overwhelming all who heard him.

These are not books that are left to only decorate bookshelves. Not books to be forgotten deep in the libraries of some temples or nobles. These are books to be put open on a desk, read by apothecaries and medics in between their jobs. Reading desks are not where their jobs at. Even <Sacred Code> is actually too big a format. In fact, he would have liked it be a <Commoner Code> but due to the numerous limitations put on the standard, he reluctantly settled with <Sacred Code>.

Rakrus objected still.

That is not what books are, they are to be preserved in an suitable environment where they belong. The valuable content written in those books is to never be damaged or dirtied. You put them on the appropriate reading desk and to carefully turn the pages with both your hands when you read them. If you need to take note something from a book, memorize it by heart and write it down on another desk. One must never write on the same desk as where the book is put. If by any chance you spill ink on the book, that in itself is a sacrilegious act toward gods.

Priest Amamir replied back.

That is what books are known like thus far. That kind of books can stay as they are. But this is high time for a different kind of books to make an appearance. Books that get worn down from filling people with their fountain of knowledge. Books you can flip at any time to extract information you need. Books that live and enliven the lives of people. What's wrong with creating such books.

Thus Amamir spoke to Rakrus who was still shocked by that idea.

"Rakrus-dono. A world where one or two books exist in every house. Don't you want to be the one who takes the first step toward that world."

A world where one or two book exists in every house. There's no way anyone could realize such a dream. But gods do not forbid people to dream. He'd like to see that dream. Thus Rakrus thought.

"This is a project that will overturn the very concept of books."

"Indeed. Indeed."

Breathing a new life unto books. Would there be anyone capable of that if not him.

Rakrus got all fired up. However, the obstacles became clearer as he got more into it.

"Amamir-sama. Making all books in <Sacred Code> would prove difficult. It's unlikely allowed even. First of all, how about offering a copy to the royal family. And also to temples and nobles. Distributing the books to apothecaries and medics all over the kingdom would look bad if we do not present the books to the temples and town lords first."

"This is actually still a secret. But we plan to offer the <Copyright> to temples and townlords. Of course we will need royal palace's cooperation to make that a reality."

"<Copyright>?"
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"The right to transcribe copies of those books in any standard they wish."

"My god."

It took Rakrus a while to digest since the idea was novel to him, but the more he thought about it the more interesting it sounded. But there's one fatal issue.

"But what about the original copy. The copy required to produce more copies."

"We grant them the copyright but limit studios that can transcribe the books."

"Limit studios? Huh?"

"An assortment of leading studio picked by Rakrus Studio. Each studio shall be lent the original transcripts. Each of which handles different books as ordered."

"I see. But what if someone who does not understand the content places an order."

"Apothecaries or medics who have been lent the books are obliged to report to the temples and lords at their locations and get their understanding checked. We will also only take new orders from temples and nobles once we have finished distributing all the copies."

"But that would risk temples and nobles taking away the distributed books."

"You're referring to the <Sacred Code> ones?"

"They won't show it publicly but there will surely be people who dirty their hands to get those books behind the scene. We need a sterner authorization. His majesty the king, would be too much. The notion of his majesty lending books to commoners is unfathomable to start with. An authority a bit under that still holds unshakable power..."

"What about Royal Capital's Elex Temple."

"That's it. But we will need a suitable reason to lend the books out. That should make it even harder to meddle with."

"Oho."

"Perhaps picking one based on achievements or skills."

"Fumu fumu."

Rakrus who had been converted into an accomplice before he knew it started a heated discussion on the publication strategy with Amamir.

 

 

 

 

Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

Okami wa Nemuranai 35.1

 TLN: Will try to speed through the next two episodes, may make some mistakes along the way.

1





Eda went back to her home after Zack Zaikaz's entourage left.

Norma as well. Her home here being Goncourt Mansion.

The day after, transcriber Rakrus who had piles of questions amassed wouldn't leave Norma alone besides during mealtimes. Which continued on for several days.

Rakrus is someone who can get back to his feet by reading his own work, living like a clergyman who devotes his everything to his manuscripts. He's especially fired up for this particular job as if it's his last greatest accomplishment in life.

As for why Norma is living in Goncourt Mansion, it's because she's been appointed as the successor to Goncourt Family, and the existence of Rakrus is partly why Norma agreed to it.

This goes back to the talk with Amamir last year.

Herb Saint's Entourage left Vouka on the 17th of month nine. Priest Amamir left the parting words, 'I shall look for a transcriber right away once we arrived at the capital and they will be departing for Vouka within a year. It'd be the beginning of the new year at the earliest I believe', naturally Norma thought that was when Amamir going to start looking for a transcriber.

They should arrive at the capital around the end of month 9 or beginning of month 10. And Amamir should be tasked to submit reports to many departments. Putting all those together should take some time. Then he'd need to sort out the chat. Even if the book publishing stuff were to start afterward, the entourage had so many people that would definitely report what happened to their respective temples.

And the particular topic regarding Guide Skalabel's return to health and the <Purification> should be huge to all of them.  Priest Amamir is surely getting overwhelmed by a tidal wave of inquiries.

As such, Norma believed that he would only start even looking for a transcriber within the middle of next year at the earliest.

Even so, Norma finished writing the [Introductory to Medicinal Plants Study]. This book doesn't have too many pages and is easy to understand to beginners. And since it's an expanded version of a book Norma wrote, the commentary was simple to her too. She was relieved, sure that her initial job for the transcriber was done no matter how it's progressing.

Norma utterly made light of Priest Amamir's throughput in paperwork.

As a new year dawned, a letter from Amamir came on the third of month one. The transcriber and his two pupils will arrive around the middle of month one, please be ready for their lodging, thank you.

"Is he talking about next year's month one?"
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
So she asked Jinga.

Just in case, they prepared rooms for three in the clinic. One of the two rooms is filled with documents, but they'd have to put up with it.

The transcribers really did arrive on 21st of month one. Carrying a huge amount of luggage. The wagon, coachman and the escorts went back to the capital after unloading them.

Rakrus left the luggage to his pupils and started his job the day after his arrival.

However, that first job was not about transcript. He explained the publishing plan and consulted on how to progress.

Up to this point, Norma thought publishing a book was about writing fancy characters, binding them, and putting on covers. But that wasn't how book publishing work at all. Norma had seen books during her time at her father's family house, but she had no idea behind their creation.

First of all, books have sizes. The standard is established at exactly 100 Parts. Naturally it's a standard accepted on the entire continent, determined as 1/100 of a <Step>, an average length an adult takes in one step.

<State Code> is one step, or 100 Part tall. This is only permitted for the <State Ceremonial Book> carried by a king during their crowning ceremony. The width is 70% of its height. This rule is universal with all other standards. The weight and size of State Code makes it improbable for one person alone to carry it. Additionally, once completed, a State Ceremonial Book never gets its pages turned.

<Law Code> is 60 Part tall. This standard is for important books such as canon law, royal edicts, and official kingdom's history.

<Festive Code> is standardized at 50 Part tall. This is mainly the standard used for <Celebratory Books> precept compilations made during a festival, the biggest size a noble is allowed to make and offer.

<Abridged Code> is 40 Part tall. The size for <Simplified Celebratory Books>, compilations of precepts made for daily worships.

<Sacred Code> is 30 Part tall. Compilations of precepts bestowed to nobles with a deep faith.

<Commoner Code> is 20 Part tall. Compilations of precepts bestowed to commoners with a deep faith. Books made in this standard are not allowed to have gold or silver leaf covers, or golden stitches.

A book has to be one of the six. Though since the length of a <Part> can slightly vary by regions, and how that there are customs to add <Decorative Length> to the width and length, in reality books have more varied sizes. However, these six are the standards you have to abide in the creation of a book. As for the book they're making, since the first two Codes are unavailable for use, they only have the four below as options.

 

 

 

 

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Okami wa Nemuranai 34.13_14

13





"By the way, why's the marquis trying to keep old man Termin here?"

"Gukuku. You don't know eh. No of course you don't. Young miss has no idea why elder Termin is mad, while you've no clue why the marquis would be stumped if elder Termin went home. Gukukukuku. It's all so funny."

"Hold it. She said he'd take his disciples with him back. Is it because they'd be in trouble if the trade facility lost lots of their appraisers."

"He should only bring a few disciples from the capital. The trade facility may stumble a bit at first, but this town's got abundance of appraisers around. They'd find replacements in no time."

"Then is it cause that old man is someone influential? Like maybe he's got clout in the royal palace."

"Nah, can't be. The palace has their own noble appraisers, and even though elder Termin is famous, his skill is nothing more than a skill of the masses bluntly put."

"Then, why."

"Elder Termin is an appraiser renowned for his craft at the capital. Marquis of Tsubolt summoned him here to Tsubolt for a six year period contract work. They can sell swords at higher prices in other territories if they have appraisal tags with elder Termin's name stamped, and the contract itself also has a clause for rearing young appraisers. Once the six year period is up, Tsubolt's young appraisers can claim themselves as Termin's disciples."

"He roped me into becoming his disciple too though."

"What? You can use <Appraisal>?"

"Yea."

"That's some curious skill you got. Did elder Termin teach you personally?"

"The old man just out of the blue told me to appraise, use wand, do preliminary casting, bad pronunciations, wrong way to stream mana, I even got shouted down as big moron."

"Gukukukuku. Sounds like a piece of work. Wish I was there to watch it. But you. You've got aptitude for appraisal eh."

"At least that's what the old man told me. Retire from adventuring and come work under me, guy said."

"Hou! It's the real deal then. But... what was it again?"

"A six year contract to work at Tsubolt."

"That's it. The elder is leaving with two years left in the contract period. What do you think. Ain't that bad?"

"That makes it sound like the old man violated the contract."

"It sure is. And in the process, seriously shaming the marquis for his failure to hold the contract."

"Sorry, not sure I follow."

"Listen well. Elder Termin is not a citizen of Tsubolt. He's the capital's. Marquis of Tsubolt extends his kindness to that citizen by entrusting him an important job. Elder Termin responds in kind by giving his utmost in the work entrusted until the period is up. Satisfied by his work, Marquis of Tsubolt rewards the elder generously. Belated by the reward, elder Termin goes back to the capital all while singing the praises of Marquis of Tsubolt's greatness. That is what was supposed to transpire."

"Fumu. Think I'm starting to get the picture."

"Yet elder Termin is returning to the capital while the contract period isn't over yet. Signifying how Marquis of Tsubolt has failed to keep elder Termin content despite being the one who requested his presence. A marquis who cannot even keep a mere appraiser content. Whaddya think. Huh? Ain't it funny. Laugh. Kukuku."

"What about the fact that the marquis made a false agreement, gave a false explanation to elder Termin, deceived adventurers and let him do an imaginary Secret Appraisal."

"As far as that one goes, sorry but I'm on young miss's side there. What you're telling her is simply inane. It's a trade facility under direct control of the marquis in his own territory. The thinking that any and all appraisal results there won't find their way to the marquis is ludicrous. Anyone could see that Secret Appraisal thing is a trap to prevent valuable Grace Gear getting out. Those who fell for it are the idiots here."

Lecan put down his cup on the table with a shocked look on his face. Loudly at that.

"Then the marquis won't lose face even if elder Termin goes back to the capital and claims that Marquis of Tsubolt has deceived him?

"Nah, he will. Very much so. He allowed an appraiser he summoned to go back in a huff. As I've told you, the marquis has to keep the elder he summoned content. That's his pride as a noble."

"Won't telling lies harm that pride as well?"

"Depends on the lies. How they administer their territory and how they hand down punishments are their prerogatives as that territory's ruler. Are you perhaps expecting a monarchical rule of law system like in Narum's? There ain't no rule of law in this world. At least, nothing that I've heard of."

"Then why didn't you stop my explanation back then?"

"Cause the young miss needed to hear those things. You spoke of how elder Termin felt. How an adventurer would feel. Exactly the stuff the young miss lacks. Rulers can rule how they want to. However, their rulings must take into consideration how the ruled feels. They must consider what the citizens desire, and what is it that'd make them content. Though there are times where you have to ignore those wants even after knowing. Let citizens' pent up anger fester long enough, and your reign falls. She's surely learned a bit on that."

Lecan digested the meaning of Zoltan's words.

"If that's how it must be, then they should have made elder Termin understood what Secret Appraisal is from the beginning."

"That's the issue here. I'm in the same opinion. 'Course they can't just blurt out that Secret Appraisal is a fraudulent scheme, but they should've hinted the elder that the marquis would be privy of the results. By doing thus, he would surely take that into account when detailing the service. And you're right on the money on this one, the elder's wrath is a result of having been unwittingly made an accomplice of a fraud."

"Who did the explaining to the old man anyway?"

"That'd be young miss officially speaking. But in reality, it's likely General Dungeon Administrative Office's representative, knight Torog's ploy."

"That guy's the ringleader huh."

"I believe so."

"What a skeevy guy."

"Incidentally, he's a grandkid of that knight commander who challenged me and lost."


<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >


14





Afterward, dinnertime guests came. They were met with a huge shock at the presence of the legendary hero Zoltan, which then turned into joy and opportunities to chat with him. Before long, Nark and Nell also joined and began reminiscing. Then the three <Grindam> members also got back, livening things up even further.

Zoltan walked home staggeringly at midnight.

Lecan spent the next day sleeping.

By daytime, he noticed how there were a lot more guests visiting the inn. As it turned out, they came to ask about how <Skeleton Ogre Zoltan> dropping by the inn.

The morning after, Lecan went out to <Brilliant Flower District>. Bought several pairs of shirts and trousers. Also a brand new belt hung <Box> to put magic stones in, since his old one's wrecked already.

The lunch was good.

But his mood suddenly changed for the worse after lunch.

Not sure why but he's feeling restless.

Lecan cut his shopping short and went back to his inn.

As he drew near <Rafin's Rock Terrace Inn>, he noticed how there's only one person inside.

A presence that's neither Nark nor Nell.

Not even once have the the two been absent at the same time.

He's got a bad feeling about this.

Just who's this person inside.

Feels like he's somewhat familiar with this individual.

But that's all he could gather.

As he reached for the door, Lecan realized how adept this person is.

Their presence is thin.

Very highly skilled.

Ominous presence.

Just who the heck.

Lecan opened the door.

The Chubby Spy is there.

He bowed with a kind smile on his face, but Lecan only stared back expressionlessly.

(This guy.)

(Did he kidnap Nark and Nell?)

Chubby Spy presented something to Lecan.

"Someone has left this for you."

He tried to leave after handing the letter.

Lecan fired a <Flame Arrow> next to his foot.

"Halt. You stay there now."

Chubby Spy shrugged with an oh dear look in his eyes, but he nonetheless stood still.

While still vigilantly keeping a watch on Chubby Spy, Lecan cast his sight down at the back and surface of the envelope.

There's no address or sender.

"<Appraisal>."

He cast <Appraisal> and found no poison.

He opened the letter and read the content.





<Waiting on 121>





Written in the nostalgic characters of Lecan's original world.



[Episode 34 General Dungeon Chief Administrator Eliza] End/Next [Episode 35 Successor of Goncourt House]

 

 

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Okami wa Nemuranai 34.12

 12





"And, what's the story behind your left eye?"

"Was on floor 42 of Dungeon Tantran."

"Tritailed Serpent's venom eh? That thing's pretty nasty."

"Yeah it is. By the way, how come you're bodyguarding Eliza?"

"General Dungeon Administrative knows that you teamed up with <Grindam>. Some staff who are familiar with <Grindam> lay in wait in the dungeon entrance this morning for them and asked your whereabouts."

Lecan was wondering how they knew he was here, but thinking again, it all makes sense. It's really an obvious way to find him.

"They asked <Grindam> to bring them here but those three had a prior engagement and refused. Thus young miss called me figuring I should know my way around these parts. So I told her, sure yeah I know <Rafin's Rock Terrace Inn> well and so I was stuck as her bodyguard."

"You seem pretty close with the young lady of a big shot noble for a mere adventurer."

"Yea. I was the sword instructor of young miss's father after all."

"What? A noble learning swordsmanship from an adventurer?"

"How it all happened was truly asinine. Young miss's father is the little brother of the current marquis, but back then his sword instructor was meant to be the Knight Commander of Tsubolt. But then this Knight Commander chap boasted that he would prove his mettle by triumphing over me. So somehow one or another, I ended up having to stake the position of young miss's father's sword instructor against the knight commander in a duel."

"Must have been a very strong knight."

"Not at all. Fella's just an idiot. A mere townlord-serving knight commander seriously believed he could win against a depth-walking adventurer. Might be because of the troves of Grace Gear he brought with him. All while the how and who obtained all those Grace Gear completely escaped his little head."

"So you won?"

"I didn't want to. I used up every tricks I could think up to lose. But the guy was better at it. He utterly ignored each and every openings I showed him. And then when I deliberately spread both my arms wide as a last resort, he went for my chest instead of my head."

"Hou."

"I was going to feign getting knocked out had he gone for head. But, chest, yeah. They'd doubt my loss if my leather chest only got a scratch on it."

"And then?"

"I pretended to bend over. Yet the guy seemed to have exhausted himself after fighting that much. He toppled over backward and hit his head to a knockout."

"Rather than you losing, sounds more like your opponent lost on his own."

"That's the gist of it. Gukuku. Got stuck teaching swordsmanship to some random noble I didn't even know. So yeah, that's how I stayed in touch with them even after young miss was born."

"This place is <Dungeon of Swords> no? There should be some pretty skilled knights around."

"There are. Vice-Commander and below aren't that bad. The commander is chosen purely by lineage, y'see."

"I see."

"That said, at the end of the day, they're just dungeon city knights. Strong here doesn't amount to much."

"You mean dungeon city knights are weak?"

"They're weak. Ah, excluding Knights of Yufu. They don't have a lot of knights there, but the few they got are a bunch of elites. And they always carry around potions on them. The only order of knights that can match them with the same crew numbers would only be the Royal Knights, Smark Knights, Gido Knights and the Five Barondom Knights."

"How come dungeon city knights are so weak?"

"This kingdom forbids direct conflicts between territorial lords, and it's been a long time since the last war against another country. There's only ever been light skirmishes, or bandit and magic beast exterminations, and also public order maintenance. In all but public order, it's faster to just hire adventurers. Even conflicting lords would have a hard time if one side hired depth-walking adventurers. They're a much better deterrent than knights."

"I got it now. So you played your part as the sword instructor of the marquis kid brother and gained the marquis family's trust huh."

"Never taught 'em swordsmanship or the likes though."

"What did you teach then."

"Some dumb games. For some reason, his father the previous marquis and his elder brother the current marquis took a liking on me instead."

"Hmm."

"By the way Lecan, that thing earlier was Narum-style etiquette no? Did you serve as a knight of that country?"

"Nah. Just learned it for a job."

The two got absorbed in talk about their homeland while enjoying Nark's cooking.

Their conversation got really heated up when it comes to dungeons.

Lecan had never imagined he could find someone to talk about this in this world.

Would have been livelier had Boudo were also here now.

Wonder where Boudo is now.

Did he even fall to this world to begin with.

Zoltan got dead drunk.

This topic was 50 year coming to Zoltan.

He must want to get drunk.

Swept over by the liquor, Zoltan sang a song in the language of his home world.


<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >


<Of Harukana Hometown>

<Of Trakista Green Hill>

<Oh little flower Crimson Kushana>

<Sleep now in serenity>

<Gentle breeze>

<Gentle breeze>





"There was a woman who could sing this song with such a good voice."

"I see. Her name's?"

"I cannot recall."

"I see. Come, let's drink more."

"Umu."

Zoltan poured the nicely aromatic liquor down his throat.

"So good. This is good."

He was entranced by the taste of liquor for a while before he suddenly spoke like he recalled something.

"Hey, Lecan."

"Hm?"

"You ever been to Sparkant?"

"No, never."

"You haven't eh. That place's nice, y'know."

Sparkant was a peaceful country. Its Trakista Green Hill near its capital was famed for its ephemeral beauty. That country had fallen into ruin, the hill was burned down along with it. It happened long before Lecan's birth. Though Lecan didn't have it in him to tell Zoltan.

"Go take a trip there if you get back."

"Get back?"

"Yeah. A <Black Hole> will some day reappear before Descenders. I believe you can go back to your world if you jump in one."

"Anyone ever got back?"

"Those people from our world I mentioned earlier vanished into those <Black Holes>. So the witnesses said."

"I see."

"A <Black Hole> emerged before me once."

"What"

"But I did not jump into it."

"Why?"

"Well now. I wonder why."

Zoltan drank down the liquor.

"I've long forgotten about it."

 

 

 

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Okami wa Nemuranai 34.11

 11





After seeing Eliza off, Zoltan pulled out a chair and sat on it.

"Lecan. Sorry for the trouble."

"It was trouble for sure. But, forget that. Nark!"

Nark's hurried footsteps resounded. From over the kitchen, aka his living space.

『Want some fermented stuff?』

Lecan spoke in the language of his previous world.

『Yeah. I'll have one.』

Zoltan replied back in the same language.

Nark came over.

"Get us fermented liquor. Two cups. Also some snack to go with it."

Nark skillfully took a liquor bottle and metal cups, then he brought them along with beans and dried fish on plates.

"Sonny. Sorry but fetch me a wooden cup will you. I prefer that."

"Oh, then change mine too."

Nark replaced their cups and went inside the kitchen. He must be making something.

『Cheers.』

『Cheers.』

『I almost yelled out loud when you were on your way to this inn earlier.』

『Same went for me. I had never felt that sensation in my life before. However, it was clear to me that there was someone from my homeworld in this inn. Had no idea that sensation actually existed.』

『Guess that's how it feels when someone from our world is close by.』

『No, that's not it.』

『Hm? What do you mean?』

『I've come across other people from our world, yet that sensation never surfaced. Although those guys were not adventurers.』

『Would a non-adventurer jump into a <Black Hole>?』

『That's not it. Apparently a huge <Black Hole> suddenly showed up in a forest before their eyes and they fell, or more like they got swallowed in it.』

『Hee. Didn't know that could happen.』

『That earlier sensation is probably because we're both adventurers, depth-walking ones. That's what it feels.』

『I see.』

『I've met dungeon-diving people from another world different from ours as well, and they too did not have the kind of feels you have. So that thing earlier probably only occurs between dungeon adventurers from the same world.』

『You sure have met with lots of folks.』

『Been here long after all.』

『How many years?』

『Well now. Think it's a bit over 50. Can't say I remember.』

『What? How old are you again.』

『More than 80, should be almost 90.』

『You don't look the age at all.』

"Descenders get a slightly longer lifespan. Even more if you dive in dungeon depths."

"Oh, you're back to this world's speak huh."

"This one's easier for me now."

"Thanks fer' waiting. Looks like things are livenin' up here eh."

Nark brought a meat dish he made. Three kinds of meat roasted over fire with a spicy garnish.

"This man comes from my land, y'see."

"Hee! Same land as Zoltan eh. Ain't that a surprise. Wait, where's your homeland again, Zoltan?"

"It's in some faraway land."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"Oh yeah, you couldn't speak or something when gramps stumbled upon you at first."

"Gramps?"

"I got in trouble at the first village I visited back when I arrived due to language barrier, y'see. Was spending my time in a forest when I saved some caravan from a horde of monsters, Nark's gramps who was escorting that caravan took me along on the ride back."

"Hou. Nark's gramps was an adventurer huh."

"He was. Yark's the name. Quite a gentle one that chap. Even took someone who couldn't speak his language at all along into a dungeon."

"Is that gentle."

"Gukuku. It sure is. He took interest in my skill, y'see. And dungeons are like hometown to me personally."

"I see."

"I owed Yark a lot. He taught me how to speak the language here and all kinds of common sense. Might be a bit biased common sense though. Gugu."

Air escapes the gaps between his teeth whenever Zoltan chuckles. Interesting to watch.

"Guy eventually got married, retired his adventuring business and started harvesting crops. While I kept going in dungeons."

The talk continued when Nell came back from shopping. After some pleasantries, she went and harvested fresh veggies from their field and cooked with them. Appetizing dishes get lined up. Then Nark and Nell left them alone out of consideration.

"Oh right!"

"What's wrong?"

"Got some good stuff on me."

Lecan took a liquor bottle from <Storage>.

"That's! A 30 year old Legatte! Ooh!"

It's the last bottle of liquor Lecan brought from his previous world. This is exactly the time to open it, thought Lecan.

"Have a drink."

"My bad. Aa. Smells nice."

After pouring a few shot above his tongue, Zoltan put the cup above his face and poured it down his throat.

"Gotta do this else it spills out ever since I got this look, y'see. Now I dump my drink straight down the throat. In the beginning, I gotta take a red potion after every hot tea. Gugu."

"Hahaha. Where did you get that look anyway?"

"On this dungeon's floor 121."

"What?"

"Gukuku. Seems you've got there too."

(They told Zoltan too huh.)

(What even is secret in Secret Appraisal. Sheesh.)

"I see. So you too has arrived there."

"Sure am. But I never told anyone how you need to defeat floor 120's <Guardian> alone."

"Why?"

"Because they're just gonna rush to their death, those who lack power attempting that. I waited. For someone fit to share the secret with. And once that fellow shows up, I plan to join up with them and head for the true final floor."

"I see."

He's right. Telling that secret to the General Dungeon Administrative means all adventurers will also know. Perhaps they will only disclose it to a few select adventurers at first, but this kind of secret always leaks out eventually. Once that comes out, there'd be no shortage of people attempting to get to floor 120 and challenge the guardian there alone even if it's beyond their capability.

"However, no fella like that ever came to be. Yark's son, Mark had the potential to reach floor 121, but he retired soon after his marriage and opened this inn. But man, this liquor is really good."

 

 

 

 

 

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