14-47. Follow-up Processing
Satou's here. Ending things are several times harder than starting things. It's not only once or twice I thought of having someone else to do the last debug. I wonder where the utopia without debug is located....
"Well well, you're Sir Pendragon aren't you?"
"White hair with a cut on the cheek--You must be Kuro-dono of Echigoya Firm right."
I'm doing this farce in the royal castle of Tonaoku Kingdom, a small kingdom located next to Silga Kingdom.
Kuro who was visiting to thank for the permission to open the branch office accidentally met Satou doll who were together with the entourages, and then they had a chat.
Since we're in the hall leading to the audience chamber, the eyes and ears of the people of Tonaoku Kingdom are gathered to us.
"Let me borrow your ears for a bit--"
"What! Weasel Empire invaded Makiwa Kingdom!"
Using Amplification skill, Kuro's loud voice reaches all the nooks and corners of the royal castle.
"--Kuro-dono, please lower your voice slightly."
"Oh sorry! Even if there's Silga Kingdom inbetween, this matter is not unrelated to Tonaoku Kingdom. Have you informed Tonaoku King?"
"Not yet, I'm going to after this. I've stopped by precisely to inform the matter."
The people in the surrounding look anxious.
Since a person who looked like the errand of the king showed up from the interior door, I move the farce forward to end it.
"However, please do not worry--"
"Hou? The dragon knights of the 『Dragon Valley』 went there huh! That's splendid! However, my master would reprove me if I didn't at least help transporting the refugees."
"That's reassuring. Please give my best regards to Hero Nanashi-sama."
"Understood, I have come here to pay my gratitude to Tonaoku king who's given the permission to open a branch office here, however I'll leave such thing to the branch manager, I'm going back to accomplish my duty as the Hero's servant."
In order to finish the farce, I create white smoke and disappear from the place like a ninja.
Secretly changing places with Satou doll is quite easy then.
I tell my entourages that I've changed places with Satou doll with eye contacts.
It seems only Lady Karina acting as Lady K after a long while who hasn't noticed.
There's no particular problem with that anyway, so I'll leave her as is.
"So that was the rumored Elusive Kuro-dono of Echigoya Firm."
"As expected of a hero's servant."
The bar for being a [Hero's servant] has raised somehow, but since the story is an embellishment of the people who created the rumor, I guess there's no harm done.
After creating witnesses, I quickly ended my audience with the king, used the gift I brought, [Chestnuts of Land and Sea], to dispel the anxious mood and relished on Tonaoku Kingdom's specialties in the banquet.
This is a small kingdom located between Shiga Kingdom and the Wyvern Kingdom--Silga Kingdom, it's also next to the Black Dragon Mountains, but there were many more uncommon dishes than I thought that I enjoyed.
There were variety of dishes developed from substitute foodstuff like nuts and wild plants, there was even a mysterious dish made from pickled moss pine skin, but the bean sake of Tonaoku Kingdom was especially good. Every one of them has complex flavor, it's interesting.
While lightly ignoring the marriage proposals from the artless Tonaoku Kingdom's nobles, I got to know many specialty dishes of the kingdom.
I'm going to secretly visit the place with everyone as commoners once we depart after the formal tour is over.
I can't really enjoy this relaxedly before finishing the plan to transport the refugees.
"Kuro-dono, what happened to the entire crews of the warships!"
"Don't worry, I'll bring them back safely--"
After making them fell sleep, I sent the crew members of the two Shiga Kingdom's large warships to the underground camp of Echigoya Firm in Royal Capital.
Going with them will be bad in many things since I plan to move the warships to the border between Makiwa Kingdom and Silga Kingdom with Unit Arrangement.
"--I expect great work from you."
I leave the interior decoration to the brownies as I do the final tuning of the unfinished aerodynamic engines.
Since I completed it in less than half a day, I brought the two warships to the destination with Unit Arrangement in turns.
I had prepared heavy fog using the spirit [Misty Fog] beforehand, so there was no problem even if two large airships appeared out of nowhere.
"The weaselkin flying units are coming!"
"R-run away! Escape into the mountain!"
--Oops, I should have announced beforehand.
"We're from Echigoya Firm of Shiga Kingdom. By the request of the representative of Marquis Dasles, Dame Shelmina, we are to transport you. Please prepare for departure calmly. I repeat--"
I gave names that would calm the refugees through the external speaker to clear the misunderstanding.
"Oh good, the young lady is safe."
"Isn't Dasles the great lord of the east?"
"Yeah, if it's that man, he would even use his private funds to move Shiga Kingdom."
U~n, I wonder.
Was the pyromaniac noble originally a splendid noble?
My impression of him is that he's a troublesome noble who has lost his sanity from grudges, but to think it's this different just from a different perspective.
I'm intrigued with the things that happened between the time of the pyromaniac noble that I know and Marquis Dasles that they are familiar with.
According to the weaselkin's Wheel Chief, Weasel Empire's army was quite cautious with Marquis Dasles, they might have done something to turn [Marquis Dasles into a pyromaniac noble].
It might be a good idea to be cautious with the Tactician when we visit Weasel Empire.
Since the refugees weren't all from one city, I ended up transporting them to many places.
I crammed them into the airships and carried them after making them asleep.
It was easy since I had created several base points for Unit Arrangement in Makiwa Kingdom.
It unexpectedly became a practice for transporting immigrants from Shiga Kingdom's Royal Capital to Muno Earldom.
"So you're Kuro of Shiga Kingdom huh. Rumors about you reach even here."
I stopped by Silga Kingdom as Kuro after I was done transporting the refugees.
Under the pretext of flying large warships near the kingdom.
My real intention is to ask the true intention of the weasel merchant, who's inside Silga Kingdom's underground prison, as to why he was meddling with Shadow Castle in Rumooku Kingdom, the country of the pink-haired Princess Menea.
"I've heard that you specializes in doing shady businesses that Hero Nanashi can't."
I don't know no shady businesses.
They're fundamentally good deeds you know?
"Are you paying the weaselkin merchant who did a grave sin out of the prison for the sake of such shady business?"
In a world where people's live worth almost nothing, killing someone is never called a [Grave sin].
I wonder what did the weasel merchant do to get him caught?
Strangely enough, the weasel merchant's Offense status is white.
Perhaps he was caught on false charge?
The one who told me the answer was the Macho Warrior who broke in.
"King! Is it true that you're going to release the fools who intruded the sanctuary of dragons-sama!"
"It's still under negotiation. Step back unless you're interested in becoming the next king."
Handled by the experienced king, Macho Warrior groans in vexation.
"One airship. I won't ask for the big one. Just one like the small airship that Viscount Pendragon rides on."
"Outrageous. It's totally unbalanced compared to the life of one weaselkin merchant."
I can make a private airship's aerodynamic engine immediately and I have plenty of the material needed for it, however, since Shiga Kingdom has asked me not to sell them outside the kingdom, I refused the king.
Silga king probably isn't demanding an airship for real, it's probably a light check before the actual negotiation.
"Then what would be balanced?"
I don't want to do troublesome transaction since I'm not a professional merchant.
I'll go with something that will make Silga Kingdom immediately agrees and has little influence in foreign countries.
"--How about a ship that can be used on the wetlands?"
"How disappointing, Kuro of Echigoya Firm. The fact that you have manufactured large airships for Shiga Kingdom is known even by spies of a rural kingdom y'know."
It appears the Silga King didn't like my reply, he glared ferociously.
Please don't snap back before I could finish explaining the ship.
"Do you not like ship? Perhaps it can't be compared to a wyvern, but it's a high-speed craft which makes use of wind magic device y'know?"
It's a magic ship called Wind Ship modeled after the hovercraft that can operate in wetlands in modern earth.
It needs littler magic power compared to an airship, and an aquatic hovercraft similar to this one has also been deployed in Oyugock Kingdom for emergency contact use.
After glaring at each other for a bit, he was pleased with the Wind Ship when he saw it himself, and agreed to get the weasel merchant released.
And then, when we tried it on-site--.
"Ooh, this is great! It's sliding over the wetland's reeds!"
"Truly! Wind Ship is truly the right name for it!"
--From the beginning to the end, it was a big hit for the king and the prince.
The Macho Warrior who was smiling till the end was noisy, but now he's probably going to overlook the weasel merchant with this.
"By the way Kuro-dono. The ones who broke into the sanctuary were not only the weaselkin merchant, there were also a male rabbitkin slave and a female human slave you see. If you want to save them, give another Wind Ship--"
"I don't mind if the negotiation breaks down. I will withdraw, taking the Wind Ship with me."
"Wa-wait! Forgive the prince's impertinence. We will give you the slaves as an apology."
I tried to take an attitude as supported by [Negotiation] skill when the prince was trying to ask for another Wind Ship, the king restrained with great force.
--He likes the magic driven hovercraft that much huh.
"Fumu, I won't say no if you're willing to. Then it's a deal, King of Silga."
After getting the Wind Ship's startup key, he took along the queen and their children toward the port in high spirits.
"Are you the great criminal who trespassed the dragon sanctuary and tried to destroy Silga Kingdom?"
When I called out to him, the emaciated weasel merchant quickly jumped to the prison's lattice.
"Human? Judging from your speech, you're a Shiga Kingdom's man right? I want to make a deal."
"Do you wish to be freed? What can you give in return? I'll say it beforehand, I have no interest in money or women."
"My family has a seat in the senate, you can demand anything you want. I can grant you most things you see."
I thought he was just a merchant, but it seems his family is quite prestigious.
"Right then, I demand three things. What were you plotting in Rumooku Kingdom? That's one of--"
"Shadow Castle's investigation. I needed to know whether the sentries of god were really there. Don't ask me what for. It was a request of my uncle who's in the senate. I don't know the details. It would be quite an achievement if I were to get magic tools from the age of gods, but the Saga Empire's adventurers seemed to have failed."
The weasel merchant gave information quite readily.
I haven't even used mind magic's [Honesty], [Speaker], and [Foolish Field]--.
"--You're quite eager to talk."
"There's no point in keeping it a secret here. I don't know what kind of foresights His Majesty the Emperor has, but living creatures are ones who put importance on their safety above all. There is no need to weigh my options even if it's something that involves the life and death of the empire."
I did think that they were a selfish and rational species, but it's quite extreme.
"Then, my second demand. Why did you sneak into the dragon sanctuary?"
"I wanted to employ the people from the Silga Branch and Silga Kingdom's crime guilds, but everyone shrunk back, saying 『We're afraid of the dragon's wrath』, so I had no choice but to go myself."
Fumu, the people of Silga Kingdom revered them as gods, so it's understandable.
"Don't dodge the question. I asked not 『Why are you』 but 『What is your purpose』 for going into the dragon sanctuary."
"You did huh, so the criticism I felt in your words was just my imagination. My purpose was simple. I sought dragon's scales for my company's profit, and searched for fallen dragon's claw and fang as requested by my uncle."
I know that there demands for lesser dragon's scales since they can be used to make lesser version of holy tools.
However, [The request of the uncle] who belongs to the [Weasel Empire Senate] huh....
"What are you going to use dragon's claws and fangs for?"
"There is no point to the question. What can they be used for for anything but weapons. Are you telling me to use dragon fang as a cutting tool?"
The weasel merchant spits as if sneering.
However, that may be unexpectedly possible. The dragon fang that [Penetrates All] is very useful to whittle super hard metal.
I have the fang of the lesser dragon after all, might as well use it as a lathe tool.
"Then, my last demand. I want to meet the emperor. Mediate between us."
"W-with the emperor eh--"
The weasel merchant stiffens after hearing me.
Arranging a meeting between a suspicious man and the one who holds the most power in the empire should be quite difficult.
"--Can it be with His Excellency royal prince instead? That person is in Dejima Island as a diplomat, so I should be able to arrange a meeting with him if I ask my uncle."
It seems I can meet that one normally, so there's no need to ask for a mediation.
Leaving that aside, shouldn't the honorary title of a royal prince be 'His Highness'?
"There's no point if it isn't with the emperor."
"Are you scheming to assassinate him? It's useless even if you can meet him. The Temple Knight of the Imperial Castle is filled with knights that even Shiga Eight Swords are no match against."
Temple Knight huh, the name seems strong.
"Simply put, you have to be at least level 50 to become a holy knight of the Temple Knight. And there are 100 of that kind of knight. Even if you're outside the norm as a hero's servant, you'll just be crushed to death by the sheer number."
Where did they get that much experience point?
The life span of weaselkin should be lower than humans', can they really train that many people in just one labyrinth?
That aside, I'd like to refrain from having power inflation like in a manga with declining popularity.
Our girls are stronger, but since instant death techniques and tools exist, I can't be at peace.
Maybe I should make new equipment without restraint....
"I'll say this again, give up with the assassination."
"Nonsense. I do not plot to kill the emperor. Do you know smoke car? I only want to talk about that."
"--Smoke car? What's that? Are you going to promote your product?"
Strange.... There's no need for him to play dumb about the train now, and there's no way someone of his position never saw the smoke car....
Come to think of it, even if I have few contacts with weaselkin, I've never heard any rumor about the smoke car.
Perhaps, by using [Geass] or other skill and magic to impose gag order, they delete or bind memories regarding things that can't be brought outside the empire.
I add that concern in the memo pad for weaselkin of my menu.
"You don't need to know the content of my talk with the emperor. It's over if the other party refuses. I don't care if the empire is destroyed by the god's wrath, but it'll be troubling if we get dragged up so I only want to meet to talk about that."
I've said most of the things, but since it looks like he'll laugh it out if I talk about the taboo and such, this much information is enough.
"Even if it's not comparable to my own safety, I do have some attachment to my motherland. Moreover, even if by any chance the emperor is assassinated, that just means His Excellency royal prince will replace him.... Very well, the cheerful royal prince who's easy with business and diplomacy is more convenient than the emperor who dislike other people."
Like I said, I'm not going to assassinate him....
"I vow that I will strive to arrange the meeting with the emperor...."
"I can't put any trust in your vow, I'll have it in a written contract."
I take out a parchment from Item Box and sign a contract with the weasel merchant.
"You haven't written the penalty for not fulfilling the term within the promised time."
"Kuh, you're good for a human...."
Such was one dispute during the contract writing.
The experience I got when I accompanied Mr. Overweight who was the project leader to sign a contract with the client was made useful.
"So this is freedom--"
The weasel merchant stretched his body while still wearing prison uniform outside the castle.
A robust rabbitkin man appeared.
He's the former slave of the weasel merchant.
"Yo, boss. I'll take you to Dejima Island for 100 gold coins, how about it."
"Uzahi, you weren't executed?"
"Yea, looks like I was saved by the human over there."
The weasel merchant sent an asking glance at me.
"You'll need transportation right."
The price of the confiscated tamed wyvern was a bit steep, but it's something needed.
"My uncle in the imperial capital needs to make a move in order to fulfill the promise. I want three, no, two month time. Once the preparation is complete, I'll send a messenger to the office of Norouino Firm in Dejima Island."
"Okay. I be waiting for good news in Dejima Island."
The rabbitkin who sensed that our talk was over blows a whistle to call his wyvern.
Before long, a wyvern lands, the two rides on it and then they make a long run before the gate.
While they were only glancing at the screaming fleeing people, it flew and then went to the south-east direction after circling the sky twice.
The next time we meet, it's probably going to be in the Weasel Empire.
"You sure you don't want to go?"
I call the woman who was watching from the shadow.
Like the rabbitkin man, she was a slave of the weasel merchant.
She only has [Item Box] skill even though her level is at late 20.
Of course, all of the contents inside the Item Box have been confiscated by Silga Kingdom.
"If you have no place to go, do you want to go to ours?"
"Then, I'll go. Employ me."
Looks like she's not from Shiga Kingdom, her words are disjointed.
"What's your name?"
Oy, weasel merchant.... don't call her 'safe' in weasel language.
"Do you have a name before you became a slave?"
"■■ Name Order, Myu."
I change her name back.
Thus, Myu got a job as a new treasurer of Echigoya Firm.
Looks like she's going to get along well with Tifaliza as fellow taciturn.
For some reason, Manager treated Myu harshly, but after a while, her attitude became normal with her.
--[Getting along well with each others is a beautiful thing] isn't it.
"Sharu, I'm counting on you to take care of this girl okay?"
"Yes, Kuro-sama. Uwaa, can I really have this much travel expense?"
"I don't mind. You can replenish the fund in Echigoya branch offices along the way, I also don't mind if you donate them to poor villages or churches."
I hand over a bag with 50 gold coins to the former chivalrous phantom thief now working as a trade member of Echigoya Firm, Sharururuun.
There wasn't much she had to do as a phantom thief in the Royal Capital, so I asked her to become the fake apostle Kei's teacher.
I feel that a type of person like Kei would rebel against hot-blooded type like Armor or straight type like Arisa and Hikaru, so I picked Sharururuun who was doing good deeds even while dirtying her hands as she walked the outlaw road.
"Let's go, Kei."
Kei who's wearing a brown wig is looking at Satou doll with eyes like that of an abandoned cat.
I felt slightly guilty seeing such face, but she needs re-education. I'll be an ogre here and send her off.
"Kei, be careful with injuries and monsters okay. Sharu-san, please take care of Kei."
"Leave it to me, Sir Pendragon."
Sharururuun sticks out her chest to answer Satou doll.
They departed with Sharururuun pulling Kei's hand.
Tracing back her path as a fake apostle, she's going to walk as a normal traveler this time.
I actually knew several means to collect prayers in order to revive God Zaikuon, but since I felt that pushing the answer to her would be wrong, I restrained myself.
"--Kuro-sama, then I'll be leaving too."
"I've talked with Sharururuun so be careful not to be found out by Kei only."
Two women traveling together would be easy targets for bad people so I've added the former phantom thief, now Echigoya Firm's slave, Pipin to support them just in case.
After sending them off and going back to the Royal Capital with Unit Arrangement, I changed to Hero Nanashi form and conveyed the matter about Weasel Empire and taboo to Shiga King and the prime minister.
It looks like the problem with taboo hasn't been actualized yet in Weasel Empire, but I'll be visiting the Imperial Capital after getting the appointment for the meeting in two months and talk about the taboo with the emperor.
Let's continue doing various experiments and creating magic tools which, were stopped at time, in these two months.
I absolutely need to meet the ancient dragon who's on another continent, I also need to continue the development plan of the floating continent, the more things I can do, the more things I have to do like an exponential graph.
Making weasel suits and then infiltrating Weasel Empire to sightsee the science sounds nice as well.