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Okami wa Nemuranai 41.14


"I was utterly outmatched."

"That cannot be true. Is he really that good?"

"He's also a man of mettle and reason. Considerate as well as merciful on others."

"A man worthy of such praises from you huh."

"There may be some eccentric and doubtful points about him, but he is a man with a well grounded foundation in personality and nobility."


"Lecan and Norma-sama have established a deep trust between each others."

"Is that right?"

"If Norma-sama is the one asking, that man is likely willing to listen. He is not someone who would try to sell favor or demand reward beyond his position."


At this point of time, Findin had the worst impression on Lecan still. Far from this man Jinga spoke of. Thus he couldn't see where the talk was going.

"Manfrey-sama, I have a request."

Manfrey raised his face at Norma's word as he was deep in thought.

"Lecan should be exploring Dungeon Tsubolt right about now."


"Could you send a messenger there to check where and how he is doing now."

"Fumu. We could file a formal request to the marquis seeing it's Tsubolt, but I suppose it's best to keep this matter out of public eye. Very well. I shall send out several covert operatives."

Once the talk was over, Findin called out to Jinga in the hallway.


"What is it."

"It's about that adventurer Lecan you spoke of earlier."

"Fumu. What about it."

"Is this Lecan the same Lecan who raided Goncourt mansion during the night and murdered Zepus-sama?"


"I cannot see how he is the person you praised so much."

"That might be true from your standpoint. But were you aware that Zepus-dono kidnapped Eda-dono by knocking her out in a surprise attack, and Lecan-dono came to the mansion to rescue her?"

"Eh? Kidnapped? I'm sure there is a better word for it."

"I wonder."

"Besides, even if there was a slight miscommunication, he could just wait until daytime to state his business and it would have been much less messy, yet he went and broke the gate at night and invaded the mansion, what was that if not a criminal. As for Eda-dono being invited to Goncourt, that would be for her good if she agreed to it, and she could always file a complaint to the townlord if not."

"Go check with Kanner to confirm the truth."

"I shall do so."

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

"I am Norma-sama's knight. Regardless of anything formally."


"I only wish for Norma-sama's safety and happiness. To that end, I shall abide by Norma-sama's commands. And that includes unspoken commands."

Jinga left after saying that much.

Findin repeated Jinga's words in his mind to digest them.

(I see.)

(To Jinga-sama, it doesn't matter what he personally thinks of Lecan in this context.)

(What's important is what Norma-sama thinks.)

(And Norma-sama wishes to make Lecan her proxy.)

(Thus why Jinga-dono said all that.)

(Then what about me?)

(I would like to be a retainer Norma-sama trusts.)

(Otherwise I won't be of use to Goncourt.)

(Therefore, I should think and act like Jinga-sama does.)

Nevertheless, Findin found it hard to believe that a knight of Jinga's caliber would say something that betrays his belief. He was bewildered by the praises Jinga gave Lecan.

Afterward, Findin started digging out what Norma thinks of Lecan little by little.

According to Norma, adventurer Lecan is not only the strongest and invincible, he's also a peerless user of <Recovery> magic, and even a transcendental master of apothecary. Even the Herb Saint and his pupils could only stare in awe at his craft. This Lecan also excels at distinguishing people's nature and their personality, which gently helped Norma dispel away the darkness in her heart.

After getting that much, it's obvious what Norma thinks of Lecan.

(This is no good.)

(When someone as capable as Norma-sama gets drunk in love.)

(She's blinded by it unable to make a sound judgment.)

(There's no way someone like that exists no matter how you slice it.)

(This Lecan guy is a fraud.)

At the end of the day, Findin's impression on Lecan, being a hooligan outlaw, didn't change. Womanizer and scoundrel even got added to the list.

Afterward, Wazrof's covert operatives found out that floors below 120 had been discovered at Dungeon Tsubolt, and Lecan was currently exploring those untrodden floors.

After finding that out, Manfrey changed his mind, and let Lecan be the proxy.

It may be a duel for Norma's courtship, but Wazrof's honor also hangs on the line. And since the Family Tree Record will eventually get revised either way, this matter is ultimately a courtship between pirate noble Fotos and Wazrof. In other word, it has a significant meaning in regards to future courtships for Wazrof.

Manfrey was going to summon Lecan, but Norma stopped him. He would be giving a bad impression if he got in the way of Lecan's dungeoneering.

Norma decided to go back to Vouka for the time being and waited for Lecan's return there.

If the time limit was nearing the deadline and Lecan had still not gone back, they would summon Lecan.

Even during her stay at Wazrof and back at Goncourt, Norma spent her whole time dealing with the manuscripts without rest. She would also occasionally give appropriate advice to deal with Goncourt's problems.

As he watched her, Findin came to greatly respect Norma. Additionally, he had asked Kanner regarding the details with Lecan's raid at Goncourt mansion, understanding that Lecan's side was on the right.

Findin was done with his reminiscence just as Norma finished writing the letter and called out to him.

"Findin. You must start your preparation to depart to the royal capital. I'm sorry for sending you when you must be busy, but It'd be a big help if you could depart as soon as you can once I'm done with the letter."

"Yes. I will get my luggage and wagon ready right away."





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Okami wa Nemuranai 41.13


Once Lecan went home, Norma called Findin to her office.

"Findin. You are to go to the capital ahead of time."


"Deliver my letter to Pentaros-dono as soon as you possibly can. I would prefer if you could arrive at the capital before Pentaros-dono and wait for his return there. The sooner we can start negotiating the better."


After saying that much, Norma started writing a letter on her desk.

Findin kept staring at Norma.

Not a word she said to Lecan was a lie. However, neither has she told everything.

After the Courtship Duel was decided, Jinga was called into the room to have a chat with Pentaros and Solusgia for a while. Pentaros's aide, Penvik Furoda, and Solusgia's aide, Pankota Mazo also joined in.

After a while, Pentaros said this.

"And here I wanted to see Jinga-dono's fight against our Shock Corps' commander, Viska, what a shame."

Norma looked at Pentaros with a smile on her face, yet she said nothing.

"Surely they are yet to finish revising lady Norma's status into the family tree. Which means that as the chief knight of Wazrof, Jinga-dono cannot be treated as lady Norma's retainer. Unfortunately, you can't be her proxy."

Findin found it weird.

Even if the Family Tree Record has not been revised yet, Norma is still a legitimate child of Sasfrey Wazrof. In other word, she's still Jinga's lord. Only the family head of Wazrof can decide whether Norma is a member of Wazrof. As such, saying Jinga cannot be Norma's proxy contains no logic behind it.

Yet, Norma didn't say a word to deny Pentaros.

"Perhaps so. We ourselves have been appealing to the prime minister to hurry with the revision."

"Would be nice if it went well."

That was when Penvik Furoda left the place.

(He must be heading to the PM Office.)

(To pressure them into withholding the Family Tree Record revision.)

Since even Findin noticed that, there's no way the clever Norma wouldn't. And yet, Norma kept inexplicably doing nothing and stayed around chatting with Pentaros.

Findin was getting flustered.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
(Should I not wait for my order?)

(Maybe I should move out on my own here?)

Findin nonchalantly tried to leave the place as well. He must run to the PM Office.

"Findin. Where are you going."

But Norma stopped him.

"Your job is to stay here and take in all the conversation without missing a word. You are then to give me advice when needs to."


In the end, Norma did nothing to stop Pentaros's scheme.

Then they met again at this <Snow Flower Arbor> on the 30th to iron out all the particulars for the duel and made an oath.

Afterward, Norma stayed at Wazrof mansion in the capital for two days, yet she never made any move besides the one time she sent Fujisur to the PM Office.

Naturally the prime minister evaded Fujisur's demand and while he promised the revision would be done, he could not commit on the date.

More than that even, while the PM won't be involved in the Courtship Duel, he believes that House of Fotos's claim that Norma belongs to Goncourt as their heiress stands to reason.

Norma came back to Mashajain on the 37th.

Manfrey was enraged when he heard the details, but Norma remained calm.

"Manfrey-sama. The other party believes that everything is going as they have planned. We should let them be."

"Norma. Is there a strong knight at Goncourt?"

"There is none."

"Then Wazrof shall lend you one. We have several knights whose skill in sword won't lose to Jinga in his prime."

"I don't think they will agree to it."

"Like we could let that nonsense pass. And besides, were House of Fotos bow their head to Wazrof seeking for a wife, and you agree to it, we would have not interfered, but snatching a lady of Wazrof right under our nose through losing a duel would be humiliating. How are you so composed."

"It doesn't have to be a retainer, a relative will do as well."

"Relative? Your relatives--"

"To tell you the truth, I have a fiance."

"What. Who is it."

"An adventurer by the name Lecan."


It was Eda who voiced her surprise here. Everybody turned to look at Eda.

"L-Lecan is Norma-san's fiance? S-since when?"

"Eda. That's just what I make them believe. So he can participate in the duel as my family."

"Ah, so it's like that."

"Wait, hold it. Lecan? Who is that? An acquaintance of Eda-dono?"

"Not just an acquaintance see, like, you know I conquered Dungeon Ninae with Heles-san, right?"

"Umu. Truly a surprise."

"Our party is called <Willard> see, and Lecan is the leader."

"What. Conquerer of Ninae eh. And he's responsible as the party leader. Fumu."

"I have actually told Pentaros-sama regarding adventurer Lecan being my fiance and gotten his permission to let him participate as my proxy if I am to belong to Goncourt."

"Is that true. You really work fast. Hold it. By Lecan, do you mean apothecary Lecan?"

"Lecan is an apothecary too, yes."

Manfrey seems to know about apothecary Lecan. Since the Herb Saint Entourage must have made a stop at this town, he must have heard it from either priest Amamir or a member of the entourage.

Jinga spoke to Manfrey as he put on a difficult look.


"Hm? What's the matter, Jinga."

"I have had the opportunity to clash swords with Lecan-dono."





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Okami wa Nemuranai 41.12


"Hold it. I don't really get the flow of events. Why'd you do that duel thing too?"

Lecan interrupted.

"I made use of the mood set at the time from lady Heles requesting the Courtship Duel to request for the same thing as well."

"Hmm? But even if you got Jinga as your proxy, there's no telling what kind of warrior they're gonna send out or their equipment. No guarantee the judge will be fair either. Looks to me you're taking unnecessary risk there."

"Lecan. You're worried about me. Thank you. That makes me happy."

"Seeing it's you, can't you think up other methods?"

"The other party would only get suspicious if I used roundabout ways. I owe great deal to Wazrof. I didn't want to put them in a difficult situation. And I knew this Courtship Duel would be desirable to those guys."

"So has that duel been done? What's the result?"

"Oh it's not yet held. Both Pentaros-dono and Solusgia-dono sailed away on a ship for some business at Dresta Kingdom."


"They would be coming back to Zaka Kingdom on the last third of month sixth, and we made a promise to meet again on the 30th of month seven. "

As today is the 7th of month seven, arriving at the capital on the 30th is doable. But she must depart within three days time.

"Nothing for me to do then."

"By the way, Lecan. Jinga cannot participate as my proxy."


"The Family Tree record has not bee revised yet. So I'm not a Wazrof yet. No, I'm undoubtedly related to Wazrof, but my standing as a heiress of Goncourt is stronger. Thus, I'm formally seen as a member of Goncourt."

"That can't be. I don't really get it, but that Family Tree Records thing should get revised no problem so long you bring undeniable proof. Not even the PM Office can't ignore it if Wazrof presses on them, no?"

"Of course they can't. The revision will definitely take place. But apparently it won't make it in time before the duel. The prime minister was weirdly confident about that point. House of Fotos was probably behind it. House of Indole might also have hands."

"Then that Family Tree Records thing won't be revised?"

"It might be if I lower my head to either the PM or Pentaros-dono. But that would mean owing them debts. Not a good idea."

"Hold it. Thinking again, not like you need to be a Wazrof anyway. Jinga is your knight."

"That's not true, Lecan. Remember, Jinga is the chief knight of Wazrof now."

"Ah, yeah right. Then Wazrof can just dismiss him for the time being."

"That would be the same as borrowing a knight from another house."

"What a pain. Hm? But that means I can't be your proxy either."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"I'm sorry but I had you pegged as my fiance."


"I'm not sure how detailed they have investigated Vouka and the surroundings. So I can't just lie outright. However, the fact that you are close to me is public knowledge. No one can prove that we are not engaged. The moment you give your okay, it becomes the truth, and no one would be troubled if we tamper with the engagement date a bit."

Lecan looked at Eda.

"Eda. What do you think?"

"You should get engaged, I think."


"You're the only one who could save Norma-san, Lecan. I'm also asking here. And besides. The marriage proposals to Norma-san are getting really annoying."

"Was that Pentaros guy that annoying?"

"Not him, I'm talking about Vouka nobles you see. And we've even been getting proposals from neighboring town nobles lately. To the point that Norma-san is losing precious time to write back to them."

"Hmph. Guess it's fine if you're fine with it."

"And you get to be a noble if you marry Norma-san, and nobles can have a lot of wives, so it's all right."

"What's all right?"


"Hmph. Well whatever, it's the site that's the problem. Must it be held at the capital."

"Yes well, it's a courtship between two marquis houses after all. It's scheduled to be held at the arena in the royal palace. What makes you loathe the capital so much, Lecan?"

Lecan told them his actual situation. Jinga and Findin were also present, but he didn't mind them being people Norma trust, he divulged how he is a Descender, and that Yacklubend likely has a strong interest in his equipment and possibly ability and how he had a presentiment meeting Yacklubend would end up ugly to him. He didn't specify what kind of equipment he had or Yacklubend had interest in however.


Norma got lost in thought. At this point, Norma did not fully understand Lecan's reasoning yet. However, she still got how Lecan is unwilling to go to the capital.

"I will have them change the duel location."

"Can you do that."

"There is no mistake that the prime minister has employed some dirty tricks in this matter. One cannot expect a fair duel held in an arena under that prime minister's control. At the very least, I will be distrustful. I won't be able to accept getting married off even if my proxy lost. Thus how I will write to Pentaros-dono."

"Hou, I see."

"Besides, it's not like the prime minister is an ally to Fotos or Indole either. There is simply no telling what kind of tricks he will utilize for the sake of the royal family. That's one thing you cannot trust the prime minister with. There's also a chance of him putting me at an advantage at the eleventh hour to make Wazrof owe him a debt. They likely will agree to changing the duel location if I tell them that."

"That would be good."



"So you will go in this duel as long as it's not at the capital."

"Yea, of course."

"As my fiance."

"I don't care either way, but will that guy agree to having your fiance as the proxy?"

"I have acquired his understanding on that. Adventurer Lecan which is also my fiance is to be my proxy for as long as I am a member of Goncourt. Their proxy will be a commander of Shock Corps, Viska Kouen."

"You sure work quick."

"They will have the right to choose the duel location. It can't be towns where Wazrof or Rainzats's influences are strong. They likely won't choose a town under their control as well for the sake of their prestige, but who knows in the end."

"I don't care where so long as it's not the capital."

"Hmm. I got it, Lecan. I'll give it my all."

"Please do."

They left Vouka for Mashajain two days later. Vouka is simply too far to advance the negotiation.





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Okami wa Nemuranai 41.11


Pentaros burst out laughing.

"HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. That's damn good. You're amazing. I like how you shut down that slimy raccoon PM."

Then Pentaros suddenly put on a serious look.

"Lady Norma."


"<Crimson Blade Lady Nicola> was a master of swords, but it was her resourcefulness that was truly tremendous. As a matter of fact, <Pirate King> could only able to amass power in one generation thanks to Nicola. Now is exactly the time for our Nicola."

Pentaros swiftly left his chair, moved next to Norma and knelt down.


"I've fallen for you!"


"I'm completely taken by Your beauty, character and wisdom!"


"Please become my Nicola."


Is this really a marriage proposal.

Perhaps it's some kind of idiomatic ways to propose.

He's pretty much telling her to take his head here.

But this is likely the highest form of courting in their sense.

Even Norma froze up unable to react to this, and this time Solusgia knelt down before Heles.

"My <Crimson Blade Lady> can only be you. Lady Heles, be my legal wife."

Solusgia also proposed to Heles.

Perhaps these two had made an arrangement beforehand. Discussing which to marry whom.

No, that's not it. Probably not it.

But thinking again, Pentaros is 30, Norma is 27. Solusgia is 26 and Heles is 22. This matching is only natural.

Thus how Pentaros sat in front of Norma while Solusgia took the seat before Heles.

But these men probably didn't decide anything further than that. Everything after that would be up to their own sensibilities. Meaning, Pentaros came to take fancy on Norma, while Solusgia on Heles during their conversation. Goodness gracious. Who'd think it'd come to this.

Norma is confident in her lack of charm. Thus she never thought this whole thing would go in this direction.

Pentaros moved his knees to get closer to Norma and took her right hand.

Norma gently, but resolutely brushed that hand aside.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
Norma felt a shiver the moment Pentaros took her hand.

This was weird. As a matter of fact, Norma did not come to hate Pentaros in this dine together. In fact, she even had a good impression on his character.

Yet, she felt abhorred when he touched her. This was Norma's thought then.

(I'd rather die than let other men besides Lecan touch me.)

Even Norma found it surprising she could hold such an intense emotion. However, Norma has a perfect grasp of her own feeling due to this. No one but Lecan should be her husband. She won't marry anyone else if that does not come true.

Just realizing that alone made this marriage interview worth it.

She looked at Heles.

Wonder how her cousin would react. Marrying into a powerful marquis house and having control over rowdy men of the sea might surprisingly fit this lady knight.

Heles stared at Solusgia and spoke.

"I have heard about this tradition called Courtship Duel that exist in harbor towns."

"Y-yeah. That tradition exists. <Crimson Blade Lady Nicola> told Daros he could marry her only if he won against her in a duel. Daros would then keep on challenging her over and over again before finally snatching a miraculous victory, making Nicola into his wife. And that became a custom."

"I don't want to marry a man weaker than me."


Solusgia's eyes opened wide. Shining with joy. His gaze has gotten dangerously close to worship even.

"Solusgia Indole."


"I grant you a chance to challenge me in a duel to take me as your wife."

"I humbly accept!"

Solusgia made an exaggerated bow.

"I shall be yours if you prevail against me. But in the event that you lose, you are to never bring this matter up anymore!"

"Ma'am! Oh what honor. What joy. My lady, I shall surely make the blooming flower of Transhe become mine by way of my sword."


Everything about this is weird.

Is what's occurring before Norma's eyes truly how a courtship between nobles performed?

There was some part in Norma's heart that yearned for courtship rituals. She was aware that would never apply to her, but she imagined how there must be some truly romantic courtships out there in the world.

But what's going on before her looks like the very picture of a duel challenge instead.

How'd it come to this.

Reis is face palming behind lady Heles. Did he predict this flow of event. Probably not.

"Lady Norma! Will you answer my proposal!"

(Ah, right I'm getting proposed too over here.)

Norma turned to look at Pentaros.

Something flashed in her mind.

Norma smiled joyfully and asked Pentaros.

"Pentaros-sama. Can this courtship duel be done by proxies?"

"Ou! 'Course it can. So long as the other party agreed to it. However, the proxy must be either a retainer or a relative. In other word, you cannot borrow some strong knight from another house or hire a strong adventurer with money. And if one side sends a proxy, the other side will also send a proxy."

"Either a retainer or a relative."


"Then I would also like to do this courtship duel. If your proxy can win against my proxy, I shall be your wife. If my proxy wins, please think of it as the end of the line for our relationship. We will never see each other again."

"What a wonderful proposal."

Pentaros laughed.

Norma too.

Norma has predicted how Pentaros would act after this. She's also made a sound prediction on the prime minister's moves.

And with this, Norma will get her hands on her wish.





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Okami wa Nemuranai 41.10


Solusgia and Heles had been listening to Pentaros and Norma's conversation in silence, but then Solusgia spoke as if he was following up Pentaros's words.

"Lady Heles. Forgive us for speaking badly of your uncle. But to be frank with you, us men of the sea just cannot agree with that type."

"Solusgia-dono. You need not apologize. Even I was getting angry as I listened to Norma just now."

"Hahaha. Your character is like that of a female pirate. Right, if I'm not mistaken, prime minister-dono was against you becoming a knight of the royal princess."

"Yes, that's true. Uncle visited me urging me to get married, then when he found out I wouldn't give up on my dream to become a knight, he told me he'd support my aspiration if I could conquer a fitting dungeon. Despite of that, he schemed around behind my back to make sure that no strong adventurers in the capital's Adventurer Association would take my quest."

"Yeah that. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that you conquered Dungeon Ninae. I've also heard about how the proof, Queen Spider's head and legs have been put at the entrance to the inner palace as a way to intimidate those with wicked thoughts."

Afterward, everyone listened to Heles narrating her story of exploring the dungeon. Heles did mention how she met three powerful adventurers who joined her to conquer the dungeon, but she wouldn't specify their names.

(Wonder why won't she say Lecan's and Eda's names.)

(And that Arios man too.)

(No, wait. I see.)

It's probably because she loathes to talk about their names so lightly. That's how much Heles treasures her experience at Ninae.

"Well damn. Oy, Solus. Doesn't this remind you of <Crimson Blade Lady Nicola>."

"I had the same thought, Taros. Never saw a landlubber woman like this."

<Crimson Blade Lady Nicola> must refer to the wife of the <Pirate King Daros> which had his heydays long before the founding of Zaka Kingdom. Daros fell for Nicola and kept proposing to her, but Nicola would always reject him every time. But then Daros's persistence finally bore fruit, and he miraculously managed to marry Nicola. Afterward, Daros would go on to reign supreme over vast seas and coasts to the point of becoming known as <Pirate King> but he was an extremely capricious man who fooled around with women everywhere, in the end he was beheaded by an angry Nicola.

This <Crimson Blade Lady Nicola> must be what Gido and Smarc consider the best kind of woman. Incidentally, both Marquis of Gido and Marquis of Smarc asserted that they were descendants of Daros and Nicola. Fujisur told Norma that knowing this story is the traditional way to understand the characters of Gido and Smarc.

The two are looking longingly at Heles.

"I wonder if <White Snow Flower Princess> was a dignified lady like her."
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"She must be. Gotta watch out for our heads else they came off."

Pentaros and Solusgia happily laughed together.

These two have a weird sense of humor.

Heles probably came dressed in full armor to make a point that she's not your usual lady, to make them think they shouldn't make her their wife. But that plan backfired on her instead.

You'd normally think those who would fall for such a graceful lady like princess Lorecia can't possible harbor any interest in someone who attends a marriage interview in armor. Yet these men somehow see vestiges of <Crimson Blade Lady Nicola> on that painting of her.

(Hold on.)

(Who said that princess Lorecia was a graceful lady.)

(I came to that conclusion just from seeing her portrait.)

(I merely imagined that's how she was from the name <White Snow Flower Princess>.)

(What proof do I have to say that what these men believe is the false one here?)

"Oh yeah, lady Norma."


"Did that raccoon PM try to worm his way into planting his subordinates for today with you?"

"Yeah. He did make an attempt."

"What? What did that old coot say to you?"

"Just as we were done talking and heading for the door, he called us and said this. 'Ah, also, since the dinner tomorrow will be held at a garden owned by the royal family, some PM Office personnel will be present incognito, I hope you understand. Naturally, we have sent messengers to Marquis of Gido and Marquis of Smarc about this matter.'"

"That damn old goat. And? How did you reply."

"I spoke thus to the house aide of Wazrof. 'Send messengers to the two marquises and tell them that the prime minister has offered the presence of PM Office's personnel during the dinner, ask them if we should approve this. Ah and also, ask them if Prime Minister-Dono had sent them a messenger and what that messenger said. I shall wait here.'"

"What? I see. Well, damn. Hahahahaha. And how did that old raccoon respond?"

"He said, 'No need for those messengers. It's my bad. I take back what I said.'"





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Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku 18-20

18-20. Echigoya Firm's Struggle


"Tifaliza, Nell, here it is."

Kuro-sama brought us to a luxurious mansion located in the noble district of the royal capital.

"H-h-here fer'real?! It's practically a palace tho'?"

Nell voiced her surprise while roughing up her red disheveled hair.

I don't blame her surprise.
It looks far more luxurious than the castle of Earl Leseu where we worked at. That one was bigger size-wise though.

"Don't worry about it. This is but a mansion the king forced on my master."
"F-from the king! That's nuts!"

There are armored men guarding the gate.

"Tifa-san, it's knights-sama ssuyo! Knights-sama're guarding the gate ssu!"
"Those are living armor."
"Living armor ssuka! Never seen one before ssu!"

Getting Living Armor to guard a gate sounds just like tales of mages I read in my childhood.

"Let's go Nell. You can stare at them all you want later."

Kuro-sama reproved Nell who was going to peek inside a Living Armor's visor.

We entered the mansion with Kuro-sama leading the way.

"The garden's nuts too!"

The front garden seems to be well maintained by skilled gardeners, the hedges have been nicely pruned into passages.
Vibrant flowers are blooming above the hedges. Since all of them are blooming, flowers that were about to bloom must be carefully placed there to make them stand out more. That must be a lot of work.
It's pretty, but am I a boring woman for thinking that it's a bit ridiculous?


I could feel multiple gazes pouring at me as I admired the front garden.
I turned my eyes while being careful not to move my face and found out many young women looking down here from a floor above.
They must be assessing us, the new people Kuro-sama brought over.

"Tifa-san, look over there ssu."

As I turned at the direction Nell pointed, a heavy looking door with an elaborate carving was let open as someone came out of it.

--What a beautiful woman.

Her well cared wavy golden hair would glister every time she took a step.
The dress she's wearing must be tailored by a first-rate dressmaker too. Judging from the delicate lathes on her dress, she must be of a much higher standing than us civil officials.

A daughter of high ranking noble.

No, from her calm demeanor and confident look, she must be the proprietress of this mansion. We're going to serve under her from now on.

I do think I'm being shameless for wanting to work under Kuro-sama despite being a slave.
Wonder if having that wish is a sin?

"Kuro-sama! Welcome back."
"Umu. Thanks for fetching us."

The woman is beaming as she looks at Kuro-sama.
Only Kuro-sama is reflected in her eyes, not even a glance for us. Surely slaves aren't worth one to her. I've heard Earl Lesseu referring to slaves as nothing more than tools to nobles.

"""Kuro-sama! Welcome back."""

As the woman led the way inside the mansion, the other women that were by the window earlier had all lined up in a huge hall with a huge hanging chandelier, all welcoming Kuro-sama. A great number of maids are standing by behind them.

"Have you not got the uniforms yet?"
"Yes, the dressmaker is hurrying it up, but it will only be ready the day after tomorrow at the latest."
"I see."


I was puzzled inwardly as I listened to their conversation.
I made a gesture to Nell who was about to speak out next to me, to keep quiet. There is no telling the punishment you'd get from interrupting a conversation between nobles.

"Allow me to introduce these two. They are Tifaliza and Nell, they will be working with you from now on."

Kuro-sama introaduced us.

"Nice to meet you. I am in charge of managing of Echigoya Firm, Elterina. I have heard about the matter from Kuro-sama. Tifaliza-san is to be in charge of paperwork and accounting, while Nell-san will work as a subordinate of workshop manager Porina we will introduce to you later."


Wonder if Kuro-sama never told her our status.

"Elterina-sama, we're both Kuro-sama's slaves. Please don't worry about using honorifics."

Elterina was at a loss for word once she heard me.
Her noble pride must wounded for having interacted equally with a noble.

But it seems Elterina-sama is quite a master.

She only showed her true nature for an instant.
Afterward, she was all smiles at us without looking angered in the least.

She might just be faking that in front of Kuro-sama, but my experience tells me that she's not the type who'd do that. I'm confident in that assessment after watching countless people with that exact type keeping up appearance only to senior positions and opposite sex at Earl Lesseu's castle.

"Tifaliza-san, I am aware that you two are slaves. However, I have been told that it was done out of necessity to protect Kuro-sama's secret."

Kuro-sama's secret?
Is she talking about the false names I put with my Naming skill?
No, she must mean the teleport magic and chantless casting.

"I have also been instructed to treat you like my equal coworkers. I do recommend the use of decorum in a professional setting, but I do not mind if you act like yourself outside that."
"I gotcha ssu!"

Nell-san spoke out loud before I could stop her.
Or perhaps she simply has no concept of lip service.

"Is that all right with you Tifaliza-san?"
"Yes, Elterina-sama. I am truly grateful for your kindness."

Elterina-sama who looked completely unaffected by Nell's rudeness frowned a bit by my word.
Did I make a mistake somewhere?

"Well then, I'll leave the rest to you."

Even after Kuro-sama teleported away, the girls' attitude didn't change one bit.

--No, it did.

"So so, were you two saved by Kuro-sama too?"
"Why were you working separately until now?"
"Did Kuro-sama ask for your companion?"
"Have you ever met the hero-sama Kuro-sama works under?"

These noble ladies flooded us with questions.

"Stop pushing ssu. I'll answer you one by one ssuyo."

I froze up due to shock but Nell took up the role of satisfying the girls' curiosities.
I reproved her when she got carried away and started speaking some unfounded stuff, yet the girls only laughed at her, no one got angry.

"Tifaliza, I will be expecting good work from you."
"Yes, Elterina-sama. I shall give my everything to fulfill my duty."
"That's the spirit. Let's make Echigoya Firm the best in the kingdom to repay this great debt we owe Kuro-sama."

The chief executive's words warmed me up.

I was bewildered by how different the atmosphere here compared to my civil official training school and my duty at Earl Lesseu's castle, but I realized just how nice it was once I got used to it.
Because no one would find fault with my looks, no one pushed their workload on me, no one badmouthed me in whisper behind my back, and no one would get violence here.


I was despairing alone in the personal room given to me.

Once I was done with sorting out the cluttered receipts into the ledger--it was clear that Echigoya Firm was on the brink of bankruptcy, no, more like we're certainly going bankrupts with all the debts.

Maybe I miscalculated somewhere.

With that in mind, I checked and rechecked many times.
After confirming that it was correct, I looked through sales and purchases slips and found more instead, pushing me deeper into despair.

I could report as is, but that would only expand the despair.

I must pick up where the problem lies and prepare a reorganization plan for Elterina-sama.
I sort out all the issues found in the ledger and compare it with the business plan on the shelf to look for any divergence.

First of all, there are two main points that created a lot of expense.

The first point is the philanthropic work of emergency food distribution. The plan was for 300 servings a day, yet it's swelled up to 900 servings a day now. Three times the original plan.
I went to the food distribution site suspecting an embezzlement, but there really were close to 1000 people present. There might be more even.

The second point is the cost of running the workshop. The business plan only had 50 employees, yet my calculation of personnel expenses revealed there are 200 employees. Inspecting on site there were 300 employees. I'm afraid to check the next labor cost.

The non-profit venture aside, our revenue would have looked different had the goods produced in the workshop sell. There should be more goods produced with six time the number of personnel available.

However, the workshop's income has been written off.

It's not selling.

Small articles created in the workshop have been piling up in the warehouse adjacent to the workshop.
Normally, the workshop would have ceased its operation but since it was apparently a social venture to help widows and the poor who were on the verge of selling themselves, the scale could not be reduced.

There's still enough funds from the initial funding, but it's shrinking fast from the personnel expenses that at the rate this is going, there is just no way to pay the accounts payable like raw materials for the workshop and food distribution by the end of this month.

We may make it if only our entire inventory can be sold, but unless it sells 100 times the current rate, it just won't make the deadline.
Checking the goods, they're not especially appealing nor cheap, they're just your ordinary everyday stuff.

There is no way they could be sold en masse.

"...It's impossible."
"Impossible, about what?"

I sprung up to look at the sudden voice.

The chief executive, Elterina-sama is there.
She heard me grumbling without thinking.

"Oh pardon me, I did not mean to surprise you. I knocked on the door but you never replied back, then I was worried if you were feeling unwell when I heard groans from inside."

Groans... I control myself to not show my embarrassment outwardly.

"Please forgive me, Elterina-sama."
"Oh there's nothing to forgive about. --Oh wait, are you done with the ledger?"

She saw the open account book.

I have no choice.
I still haven't come up with any plan or idea but I am going to report our current situation.

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

"Elterina-sama, I am done sorting out the ledger. As you can see for yourself here, we are greatly in the red."
"My, that's bad."

The Chief Executive Elterina could only tilt her head at the huge crisis Echigoya Firm is facing.
I suppose financial crisis just doesn't feel real to a noble born lady like her.

"We will not be able to settle the debt we owe to our partners."

The accounts payable from last month will be billed at the end of this month.
It will be a certain non-payment at the rate this is going.

"Oh that won't do. Let's go consult Kuro-sama."

Elterina-sama walked to the comm room while looking cheerful.
The room houses several carrier pigeons Kuro-sama gave us.

A day after a pigeon was released, Kuro-sama came by.

"I see that you are lacking capital."

As he said that, Kuro-sama took several heavy looking bags from his (Item Box).
Glittering gold coins could be seen inside the bags. There should be around 1000 gold coins in total.

"Fumu, it appears we have a dearth of customer visits."

After showing the account book to Kuro-sama, he quickly figured out the problematic points without anyone explaining him.

I brought up this issue whenever I participated in the board meeting as a record keeper, and we all came to an agreement that it was because we didn't have eye catching goods.

Echigoya Firm mainly sells daily necessities produced in the workshop, with a bit of magic potions and magic medicine made by alchemists and apothecaries.
The latter is selling well, but for the former, since the goods aren't of exceptionally high quality nor novel, they're just doing okay.

"We need some sort of eye catcher products."
"As expected of Kuro-sama! I thought the same."

Elterina-sama agreed with Kuro-sama.
As I'm in agreement as well, I waited for Kuro-sama to continue.

"Can't this be one?"
"A sword?"

Kuro-sama fetched a very utilitarian looking long sword.
Only fashionable swords for nobles and good swords for caravan escorts and knights sell in the royal capital. Since the former needs the looks to sell, utilitarian looking swords like this won't do good. As for the latter, if the swords aren't made by famous smiths, even getting it picked by a client is almost impossible.

"Yeah, a magic sword."
"""Magic sword!"""

They are weapons that can rarely be found in treasure chests inside dungeons any warrior would compete to get one.
I've even heard of one selling for hundreds of gold coins.

"Ku-Kuro-sama! Can I draw it for a bit?"
"Yeah sure."
"Me next! Me."
"No, that's me."

The executives scrambled to get their hands on the magic sword.
Come to think of it, apparently about half of the executives were former explorers at Labyrinth City Selbira together with Elterina-sama.

...Ore more like, you're one of them, Elterina-sama.

As Elterina-sama took up the magic sword with a smile on her face, a red light smoothly flowed through the blade.
This is a magic sword. This is my first time seeing one, I had no idea it was this beautiful.

"No way, the mana flows so smoothly."
"I feel like I could generate magic edge now."

The executives were getting excited.

"So all magic swords are this amazing."
"Of course not. My family heirloom magic sword would take 20-30 times this much mana to fill its blade to the tip compared to this one. This magic sword is of exceedingly high quality."

Elterina-sama corrected one of the executives.

"Kuro-sama, shouldn't a magic sword this excellent be presented to his majesty the king than being sold?"
"Worry not. My master has presented 100 magic swords to this country already. This is a catalogue. All payment is due for Echigoya Firm, use them as funds. You will be responsible for their usage and processing."

Kuro-sama handed me a document.

--100 magic swords?

Don't dungeons only drop a few of them a year?

"--Th-this is!"

As I skimmed over the document, I found something truly eye popping.

"What's wrong? Tifaliza."
"Elterina-sama, please have a look at this."

Elterina-sama yelped.
Yes. The catalogue not only has 100 magic swords but also 200 magic spears and large airships as well as air force engines for airship use.

--And all of them have been delivered.

The kingdom adopts deferred payment to Echigoya Firm, 1500 gold coins every month for more than a year.

There is no worry of Echigoya Firm getting in the red for the time being.
It's a bit brute force-ish, but that's so like Kuro-sama.

"And I also have this. Put them on sales."
"--This is?"

It's a board with a pole and some wheels.
It might be usable as a cart if the board is a bit wider, but not like this.

"It's called a kickboard."

All the executives spoke in unison.
Looks like I'm not the only one unfamiliar with a kickboard.
Apparently you grab on the [Handle] connected to the board, put one of your foot on the board and the other foot to kick the ground to accelerate.

Kuro-sama showed a demonstration.
It's faster than I thought.

"This will sell! I'm very sure of it."

Elterina-sama boldly proclaimed after she tried it on following Kuro-sama.

...Will it really? I don't personally think so though.

"Tifaliza, you go give it a try too."

Elterina-sama encouraged me to try, but as someone with zero athletic ability I tumbled over right away.
It looks like child's play to these executives, them being former adventurers, but the thing demands some motor nerves.

"It's gonna sell!"

The executives pumped their fist in fervor after a test ride.
Apparently it's been decided that we are going to push this item hard.

The me at the time was unaware that this would be a start of a new nightmare.

"We're sold out!"

Nell who was working as a temp sales girl came reporting in all smile.

Sold out, is it...

"Oh and they told me to ask when's the next delivery for the stock."
"The day after tomorrow at the latest."
"Numbering in--."
"30 at most."
"That's way too few Tifa-san! It's gonna sold out the moment we open door ssu!"
"Yes, I know."

Who would have known kickboards would be this popular.

At first it wasn't selling at all, but then Elterina-sama suggested we donated a few to the Childhood School of the Royal Academy.
Then the day after, we got our first order, which continually increased day by day afterward, to the point that production can't keep up anymore now.

New orders won't stop even after we switched to made to order model.
Along with an increase of forceful inquiries.

"Report from workshop chief Porina! We're running out of raw materials for the wheels and bearing faster than anticipated."
"No way! The waiting list is two months full you know? There'll be a riot if we postpone further!"
"Oh no."

Executive Merina shouted with a pale face to hear the report. Executive Rouna looked unconcerned.
Chief executive Elterina told Merina, "It will be okay", before turning to me.

"Tifaliza, what about the production increase request?"
"I have already filed for one. They replied back saying they are already at the limit of manufacturing speed."
"When is the next delivery date?"
"It's due in 90 days."
"They said they do inspection all the time, didn't they?"
"Yes, that's what we were told."
"Then tell them to deliver right after every inspection."
"Transport personnel at the workshop--"
"We don't have extra manpower at the workshop."
"Then the executives will go. Rouna, you go."
"Yes, I'll be off!"

The youthful-looking executive Rouna left while holding her own kickboard under her armpit.
She's usually unwilling when asked to run an errand, but not when it involves going out. Must be because she's having fun with her kickboard.

"That still won't help the production rate. Merina, go build a new workshop for bearing production! Kostona, you're in charge of wheels. Try finding workshops for the handles and boards as well if you can. Get Sumina-san and the others at Guard Division to help with the store and workshops."

After receiving the report, Elterina-sama split the work among the executives without even thinking.

--I've been had.

This girl who looked like a calm noble lady in ordinary times would show her true talent in times of crisis.
She would read ahead and boldly expand the business.

And she doesn't mind at all working on the site herself.

All the executives including Elterina-sama would work on the kickboard production along with other hired labor in the workshop until we had all the personnel sorted out. They kept at it without complaining despite hurting their skin and nails with a labor they were unfamiliar with.
It's nothing more than a good memory now that we have the personnel, but even that wasn't the end of it.

"Tifaliza, the documents for Woodowork Guild and Trade Guild are--"
"I have them prepared here."
"Nicely done. I'm so glad you are here."

Elterina-sama said that as she scanned the documents.

"Let's go, Tifaliza."

Elterina-sama had a look of a knight heading for the battlefield on her face as she brushed aside her luxurious shoulder-length blond hair.

"Yes, Elterina-sama."

We would finally get a bit of break from these hectic days if only we could gain cooperation from both guilds.
It's an undoubtedly tall order, but Elterina-sama will surely make it happen. She possesses the natural disposition of fascinating other after all.

And just as expected, both guilds offered their cooperation, and Echigoya Firm made another huge leap.
Though it's gonna take a while before the amount of sales could match Kuro-sama's goods.

The abnormally effective hair restorer and energy drink Kuro-sama brought are selling above even the kickboards to noble and the wealthy.
To the point that they have become ones of the most famous products of Echigoya Firm along with [Sword of Heroes]'s magic swords.

I should ask the extent of Kuro-sama's knowledge next time--no, there's this saying by Ancestor King-sama, [Curiosity killed the cat]. Extraneous curiosity would only bring about the same [Death March] we had with the kickboard debacle.

"Tifa, let's think up our next venture."
"Yes, Elterina-sama."

I call her by her name since she would pout if I called her 'manager'.

"We will definitely surprise Kuro-sama this time around. It's no fun always being on the receiving end."

I can't imagine Kuro-sama getting surprised, but I do want to see that.

"That does sound fun, Elterina-sama."
"Doesn't it?"

I exchanged henchman-like smiles with Elterina-sama before heading to the meeting room with a bundle of documents in tow.
Today is looking to be another fulfilling day.





Previous Chapter

Okami wa Nemuranai 41.8_9


Solusgia superficially straightened himself on his chair, and bowed at Norma and Heles while still sitting.

"You have our greatest gratitude for coming out of your way to meet us here, ladies. You may understandably hold suspicion on this sudden invitation, but this is all for the sake of fulfilling our dream. I hope you find it in your heart to forgive our House of Fotos and House of Indole's insolence."

Norma was puzzled to this sudden incomprehensible greeting. However, it seems the other party bears no ill will.


Heles called to Norma and glanced at her like saying, 'I'll leave this to you'. Norma lightly nodded at Heles, and talked to the bowing Solusgia sitting diagonally in front of her.

"Solusgia-sama. Please raise your head. And could you tell us what you mean by that in detail?"

"Nice voice."

The one interrupting was Pentaros sitting in front of Norma. Pentaros kept staring at Norma unperturbed. After lightly smiling at Pentaros, Norma turned her sight back at Solusgia.

"Lady Norma. To me, Solusgia, and to this Pentaros sitting next to me, having a chance to meet <White Snow Flower Princess> and hearing her voice was but a dream that could never come true."

Norma slightly tilted her head to indicate she didn't get what he meant.

"Are you aware how our houses hold the painting of <White Snow Flower Princess>?"

"Yes. I'm told it was a copy of the painting in the royal palace."

"Indeed. That painting became a possession and treasure of my grandfather. He would keep staring at that painting as he sighed in vain. <White Snow Flower Princess> had found her way inside my brusque grandfather's heart. That yearning was succeeded by my father and me. House of Fotos had a similar circumstance as mine. The longing three generation of men of hour house held toward <White Snow Flower Princess> could only stay as yearning. But that was no more. You were there. We could meet you as descendants of <White Snow Flower Princess> and hear your voices. Neither me nor my father could keep our passion down once we found out. The same thing went down at House of Fotos."

Norma was trying to figure out what kind of ulterior motive or plot they were cooking up.

She was getting ready to deal with any kind of negotiations or conditions had it been a sham of a marriage interview.

But that was not the case.

This was a bout of pure passion, the meeting itself was their goal all along.

Norma felt a sense of relief as she warmly stared at Solusgia passionately narrating his three generation yearning.

She was resolved to overcome this meeting while fearing that any slight mistake could led into war. But that was never a problem.

If they want to watch Norma, they're free to do so. They can listen to her voice all they want as well. By doing thus, they should come to their sense and realize that the person before them is nothing more than a nearly thirty year old plain looking peasant.

That might not be the case with Heles, but any talk of marriage would be a matter between two marquis houses. Beyond that is not Norma's place to worry about.

(Looks like I could go back to Vouka in peace.)

You can't say Norma did not let her guard down there.

Because she didn't notice what meaning the fixated gaze Pentaros directed at her held.

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


Once Solusgia was done with his long speech, they had a toast and started the dine together.

"Oh right. I must refuse due to my standing."

"Oho, lady Norma. What do you mean by that."

Pentaros's tone has completely switched to non-formal. That must be how he usually talks. But that makes it easier to Norma.

"After I gave the agreement to attend this dine together, my cousin made an effort to solidify my standing. First I was appointed the highest ranking lady of Wazrof, and my guardian knight, Jinga was welcomed back to Wazrof as the chief knight."

"Jinga you say! You mean Jinga Tauer?"

"Yes that's right, do you know about Jinga, Pentaros-sama?"

"I have heard of tales about Jinga Tauer of Wazrof. A knight staunchly loyal to his master, a man fit to have the title a knight among knights. I had no idea he's still alive."

"He's standing by right now, feel free to greet him in the waiting room later."

"Ooh! I would love to meet the legendary knight. Man, it's really thrilling when I'm with you lady Norma."

"Haha. I'm a boring woman really. Afterward, my cousin went to the PM Office to apply for a revision of our Family Tree Records. Of course we had all the necessary documents prepared. That application should be filed the day before yesterday."

"Oho! The family head of Wazrof sounds like quite a resolute man."

"But then, I was called by the prime minister yesterday, and he told me that our Family Tree Records have not been revised yet as it needs a lot of preparations."

Pentaros put on a really sour look.

"That damn Sea Monk PM. He's trying to delay the revision eh. Unforgivable. No, lady Norma. There is no doubt that you are a descendant of <White Snow Flower Princess>. Not a single atom in my body has any doubt on that."





Previous Chapter

Next Chapter

Okami wa Nemuranai 41.6_7


"To think that extraordinary presence was you all along, Eda."

"Ehehe. There's another extraordinary person over there though."


Eda pointed her finger in a direction, but no one was there. At least not in Norma's eyes.

"Is someone there?"

As if responding to Heles's words, a skinny man wrapped in a dark brown mantle showed up from the shadow and bowed at Norma.

"Oh it's you Reis. Were you hiding yourself?"

"Do pardon me. It is an order from the marquis."

"Norma. This is a mage from our house, Reis. Forgive him for his impoliteness."

"Hahaha. There is no way they would let you go alone. It's only natural."

"Is the other person there a guard. He looks quite to be a skilled one."

"May I call him?"

"Of course."


As beckoned, Jinga got in the gazebo, and made a knight salute at Heles.

"I am Jinga Tauer."

"Jinga is a knight of Wazrof assigned to me, you see. He just got reinstated as a Chief Knight of Wazrof the other day."

"What. The Chief Knight of Wazrof? Uumu. No wonder."

Reis and Eda also introduced themselves. Reis called himself a mage who works as a minister's secretary, but Eda innocently saw through his real identity right away.

"Reis-san, you're a spy aren't you."


Heles sounded surprised.

(Looks like you can't expect this girl to keep a secret.)

"Is that true, Reis?"

"Yes. More like, you never figured it out until now?"

"I thought you were really good at erasing your presence."

"Much appreciated. By the way, you will be late if you don't get going soon."

"Oh, is it time already. I haven't talked quite enough yet. Norma, could you spare some time later."

"I would be very glad to."

Norma and Heles smiled at each other.

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


The dine together was to be held on the first period of Needle Fish time.

The royal family's chefs and waiters were brought out of the <Snow Flower Arbor>, replaced by chefs and waiters dispatched by Marquis of Gido House. Marquis of Smarc is in charge of providing bodyguards. No mage can listen to the conversation from outside, no assassins can infiltrate the place no matter how good they are.

Norma and Heles were told that they could only bring one companion inside the dining room.

"Fumu. Findin. You will be coming with me."


Despite saying yes, Findin was awfully shocked. He thought she would bring Jinga there.

Yet, it was Findin who was named.

It's a sign of her trust and also her way to tell him to take note. Or perhaps, because this is a battle of wit, not brute force. At any rate, Findin is to be Norma's sole companion inside. It's his duty to protect Norma's life and well-being. Findin felt himself shook.

Norma brought Findin, while Heles brought Reis inside.

A big window is let open to afford a nice view.

The eldest son of Marquis of Gido, Solusgia Indole and the eldest son of Marquis of Smarc, Pentaros Fotos were already waiting inside the room. Both of them are standing up. Norma and Heles are on the taller side for women, yet Solusgia's and Pentaros's statures dwarfed even theirs.

The two made a very formal greetings to lady. Heles and Norma got three step close and bowed next to each other. Norma made a lady greeting, Heles made a knight salute. It's like they were in one breath, looking picturesque.

The four took their seats after introducing themselves.

The table for four is a snug fit.

Two men on one side, and two women on the other side.

Norma sat on the left.

Norma is facing Pentaros Fotos, while Heles is facing Solusgia Indole.

Her heart had a mysterious stir when she looked at Pentaros. He looks like Lecan.

Pentaros is a slender tall man, with steel-like forged muscles, the very figure of masculinity. His red short hair is let unfurled as if it's blown in the air. He's got a sharp gaze, like a bird of prey surveying the meadow from a height.

On the other hand, Solusgia is solidly built man with a composed conduct. However, a military man aura is drifting off him, even a layman like Norma can tell he's quite skilled.

Pentaros and Solusgia are staring hard at Norma and Heles without even trying to hide it.

Norma and Heles took on their stares without getting shy, calmly measuring the two.

That's weird, thought Norma.

Marquis of Gido and Marquis of Smarc were on the side of being lied to about the death of a royal princess they proposed to. A long time has passed since then, but there's no telling if time has whittled down their grudge. It might have grown more intense even. Norma believed that rage was a motivation behind all this debacle.

Yet, she could not feel anger in the two men's gazes. On the contrary, they had this romantic look like they finally got to meet the woman they had been yearning for.

It was Pentaros who broke the silence.

"Oy, Solus. You speak."

"Hm? Ah yes, allow me."




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Next Chapter

Okami wa Nemuranai 41.5


Looking at yourself in the mirror feels unlike looking at someone else.

That's only natural.

The you inside a mirror will always mimic every little movement you make right away, while looking at yourself through other people's eyes would feel off, yet you know that it's still you.

Norma is experiencing that kind of weird mysterious feeling now.

(My goodness.)

(This is me.)

Looking closer, their facial features don't actually look that similar.

Heles's skin has this glittery gloss to it, polished to every corner of her face. It's as if she's a meticulously sculptured work of art. It must be true to her whole body hidden under her armor as well.

Compared to her, Norm and her not really well cared skin. Rough hair. Glaring eyes, slightly square jaw. Lady Heles standing in front of her looks like a celestial nymph. Wazrof's maids had been busy grooming her the past few days, but a real high ranking noble lady is truly on a whole different level.

Even after all that, there's something about them that are alike.

Norma feels like she's looking at herself in the mirror. They have pretty much the same statures, but there's just something else besides physicality, something hard to describe.

The shapes of their souls are probably similar.

Something that surpasses superficial stuff like skin care, gestures and dress, they are like two peas in a pod.

The two stared at each other for quite some time while standing up.

"Now this is a surprise. I didn't get this sensation even with my blood related elder brothers and elder sisters. You are undoubtedly my cousin. No, we're sisters."

Lady Heles walked forward and naturally hugged Norma.

Norma put her arms around lady Heles's back as well.

It all feels very natural.

The armored lady Heles hugged Norma tightly. Bringing a comforting sense of safety.

(Now this is a surprise.)

(She doesn't smell.)

Norma is sensitive to smells. It's something forged due to her profession as an apothecary and a medic, but even before that, Norma has always been highly sensitive to smells originally. Especially to people's body odor.

Yet she could not smell lady Heles's body odor in the slightest. No there is a scent of perfume. But the body odor that should have been contained within cannot be sensed by Norma.

It's likely because lady Heles's body odor is so similar to Norma's to the point of it being indistinguishable. Can such a thing even happen.

That was when Norma recalled Lecan.

(Lecan has an abnormally strong sense of smell.)
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
(When he met lady Heles.)

(Wonder if he thought she smelt like me.)

Afterward, the two sat down on the bench.

They talked about the houses they were born at and what kind of life they led.

As Norma had learned about Lady Heles of Rainzats from Fujisur to a degree, the content of the talk didn't come as a surprise, it was the way lady Heles narrated the story that surprised her most.

(What a richly expressive and fun to talk woman.)

Of course, as befitting of a well primed noble lady, her expressions weren't as hectic as Eda. However, you could clearly see the delight, sorrow and curiosity under her composed expression.

(She must have led a truly vivid life.)

What kind of miracle that could lead a high ranking noble daughter to have such an upbringing that allows her to talk about her dreams and yearnings from the bottom of her heart like this. Just how much protection she has been under to get to this age without getting her receptivity squished dry.

Lady Heles's parents are most likely bearers of truly free spirit.

(I would love to meet aunt Lilia if I could.)

Lilia is the kid sister of Norma's late father, Sasfrey, they both have same father and same mother. She must know about how Sasfrey was like in his youth. And seeing the lack of reservations Heles had toward Norma, it appears lady Lilia doesn't have any ill will toward Norma either.

Heles was awfully curious about Norma's life.

"Ooh, I see. Both uncle Sasfrey and Norma walked so far in medical and pharmaceutical path. That's wonderful. Oh and of course I've heard about the matter with Herb Saint-sama. I could not believe the medic who saved Herb Saint-sama was none other than my cousin."

"Haha. It wasn't my power that made that happen, Heles. It's only possible due to Eda's <Purification> and her endless mana pool."

"That's it! I actually know Eda-dono. More than that even, we challenged a dungeon together in the same party."

"Oh yes, I'm aware of that. She said that you're a member of <Willard>."

"I see. So Eda-dono referred me as such. I'm a member of <Willard>."

"You can ask her yourself, you know."


Heles looked at the direction Norma turned at. At two people in the shadow.

"Eda? Is that you over there, Eda-dono?"

One of them ran up to the other.

"Long time no see, Heles-san."


Heles ran at lightning speed toward Eda and hugged her.

The hugged Eda laughed cheerfully.

(This cousin of mine.)

(Sure got just the right temperature to warm people's heart up.)

In this uncertain situation where she has been dragged into having to deal with two bigshot noble houses, she's truly blessed to have Heles as the other concerned party, thought Norma from the bottom of her heart.






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Okami wa Nemuranai 41.4


Norma and Fujisur stood up, saluted and as they turned around to leave, the prime minister spoke.

"Ah, also, since the dinner tomorrow will be held at a garden owned by the royal family, some PM Office personnel will be present incognito, I hope you understand. Naturally, we have sent messengers to Marquis of Gido and Marquis of Smarc about this matter."

Norma stopped walking and turned around, and said this while gently looking straight in the prime minister's eyes.



"Send messengers to the two marquises and tell them that the prime minister has offered the presence of PM Office's personnel during the dinner, ask them if we should approve this."

"Yes. At once."

"I shall wait here."

"Hold it."

The prime minister raised his right hand with the palm open wide. A sign of surrender.

"No need for those messengers. It's my bad. I take back what I said."

Just as Norma suspected, the PM was trying to get Norma's approval to have her men be present during the dinner.

(You really can't let up against this man.)

(But I understand where the prime minister is coming from.)

(It seems he's putting the royal family's and the country's benefits above House of Rainzats's.)

(Though he likely has no intention of openly antagonizing Wazrof.)

(He's by no means an ally.)

(Let alone to a country bumpkin like me.)

(He won't hesitate to employ any tricks.)

(I should be prepared to that much at least.)

Even merely knowing that fact has made this visit to PM Office fruitful.

Fujisur bowed his head at Norma inside the wagon on their way back.

"That was truly superb. I almost made a big blunder."


"Even if the dinner is held in the royal family's garden, the PM Office cannot get their personnel inside without our approval. Yet I fell for it because he clearly stated that they had sent messengers to Marquis of Gido and Marquis of Smarc."

"They might have sent messengers, but he never said that they had obtained their approval."

"I cannot believe he would go to such a length. I have misjudged the prime minister."

"It just goes to show how desperate they are. To me that prime minister seems to be someone who would use any and all underhanded tactics for the sake of the royal family. But the way he's picking a fight with Wazrof is just too candid. Perhaps this is a form of warning. Like saying, 'hey, we will use these hands if we have to in this matter.'"



"You truly are amazing."

Norma smiled gently.

Eda spun words while looking around.

"It's so true. I was too in awe at how gorgeous the room inside to do anything. When I saw how super calm Norma-san was, I thought, 'Oh she's a real noble lady all right.'"

"Haha. You too Eda. You looked completely unperturbed despite that."


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

"There was only one knight inside the room, was that all the guard there."

"No. There were two additional adepts in the back room."

"Oh really. I see then. Findin."


"How do you see the prime minister."

"I am incapable of measuring that person."

"That goes for me too."

She somehow managed to deal with the PM earlier since the meeting was face-to-face and only for a short while, but had they stood completely opposite to each other, Norma would stand absolutely no chance. The other party is an authoritative figure who holds innumerable tricks under his sleeve, a literal incarnation of wiles.

As such, it's imperative she makes him believe that she won't become his enemy.

In other word, he must be made to believe that Norma is not someone who will bring instabilities or complications to the kingdom. It'd be great if he thinks she's beneficial even.

And how to achieve that.

Norma fell deep in thought.

A messenger from Rainzats was waiting for them at the mansion.

Lady Heles Rainzats wishes to meet her in a small gazebo near the <Snow Flower Arbor> tomorrow at third of Small Turtle time.

The next day, the 32nd of month four.

With around 20 people surrounding her, Norma proceeded into the royal family's garden.

Fujisur stayed at the mansion. There's little he could do even if he had gone with Norma now. He'd be better off staying at the mansion to deal with any unforeseen situation.

When the gazebo came into sight, Norma had the 20 attendants stay behind out of sight, and proceeded into the gazebo with just Eda and Jinga.

The other party is already waiting in there.

This gazebo has been constructed in a way that lets you enjoy the garden view from inside while having tea, there are windbreaks but the view is good. It's naturally hidden from view due to tree branches covering it, only showing the person's elegant sitting posture.


(Is she here alone?)

It seems there's only one person inside the arbor.

And that person is wearing an armor.

(You can't be serious?)

(She's going to attend the dinner dressed in armor?)

(Even I'm wearing a dress for today.)

Norma signaled Eda and Jinga to wait a bit further away, and walked inside the gazebo alone.

The person inside stood up and greeted her.

"Nice to meet you, lady Norma. I am knight Heles Rainzats."

The lady knight put her hand on her chest to make a greeting.

"It's a pleasure to meet you, Heles-sama. I am Norma Wazrof Goncourt."

Norma made a graceful ladylike bow she learned recently.

Norma lifted her head.

Heles also relaxed and looked at Norma.

Thus the two princesses met.





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Okami wa Nemuranai 41.3


Noble Family Tree records are written as each concerned house files to the department. The records must be filed exactly just as is so long as they're not obviously false. Applications sent by a particular house cannot be changed, nor can they be ignored, supposedly.

"We understand. We understand that much, Fujisur-dono. But you too must understand. Accepting your application would be the same as admitting the Royal Family, the PM Office, and House of Rainzats all had lied about princess Lorecia's well being. And the revision would have to extend to Royal Family Tree's records as well. That requires all kinds of preparations. You have to afford us a bit more time."

A moment of silence elapsed.

Fujisur stared at the prime minister hard.

Norma stood up.

"Fujisur-dono. It seems his excellency prime minister does not recognize me as a granddaughter of princess Lorecia. In which case, I cannot have this seat. You should be the one sitting on it."

Fujisur is a house aide of the House of Wazrof.

Butlers are nothing more than employees, but not house aides. They're the right-hand man of the family head, responsible for managing the houses and making decisions in the family head's stead when it's not possible for the family head to do it themselves due to absences or accidents.

House aides of a house at Wazrof's caliber could very well hold a court rank. Fujisur does not hold one, but as a proxy of the family head, he is to be treated as one.

If Norma is recognized as a low ranking member of Wazrof, this seat should be taken by Fujisur. Yet he's been standing behind the sofa Norma is sitting on. And the PM said nothing about that. More than that even, he's been interacting with Norma courteously. It's part of his trick. A trick to make it as if he's admitted that Norma is of a high standing. As such, Norma taking a stand here is her way of reproving the PM.

"Ah, no. Please wait."

Norma ignored the PM, and stepped back. Fujisur lightly bowed at Norma before walking forward and sitting down on the sofa.

"Now then, your excellency prime minister. Do tell the matter that necessitated you calling us here."

"The one I summoned is Norma-dono. Not you."

"Do you intend to skip over our house family head to negotiate with a member of our house. No, I Fujisur shall hear you."

"Not at all, it's nothing as grandiose as negotiation or the likes. I merely wished to have a little chat. Norma-dono, could you please take a seat. You standing there would only make it hard to talk."

Rebutting now when the other party is behaving modestly would have made Norma's side be the impolite one here. Norma sat down on the sofa. Fujisur moved to the left to make a space for Norma.

"Still, if you're Norma-dono, the daughter of Sasfrey-dono, then you must be one and the same as medic and scholar Norma-dono of Vouka."

His tone had a sudden shift. But Norma prefers this candid tone more than the stiff one earlier.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >

"I see. So you are. Truthfully, his majesty is truly grateful for what you have done to Guide Skalabel. There has been some talk about rewards too."

"Oh, I didn't do much."

'You should be thanking to the one standing behind me', Eda, but Norma said nothing. She thought she should let them stay unaware if they don't realize it themselves.

Afterward, the PM kept praising Norma's knowledge and ability as well as her father, Sasfrey's accomplishments. They may be flattery, but since the PM's praises were accurate and to the point, Norma still took them happily.

The topics naturally shifted to Norma's life in Vouka, and then he nonchalantly asked her if she's ever seen the sea.

The intention of this question is obvious. It's his way to ascertain how interested Norma is in becoming either Marquis of Gido's or Marquis of Smarc's wife or mistress.

Thus Norma replied back, she's never seen seas before, and likely will never do.

Norma got a bit more frank as the talk progressed.

"By the way, your excellency. About the marriage interview you mentioned earlier."

"Right, yes. That's the thing. Are you aware that marriages between noble houses above a certain standing require an approval from the royal family first?"

"I was told that it would be nothing more than a meet and dine together, so did your excellency deem that as a marriage interview on your own?"

"Is it so weird to think a meeting between men and women of marriageable ages could be seen as a marriage interview?"

"So I take it neither Marquis of Gido nor Marquis of Smarch themselves referred to it as a marriage interview."


"Then please do not refer to that as a marriage interview anymore. Were you do and I gave my affirmation there, it would have been seen as one. For now, the event is nothing more than a dine together."


The prime minister showed a slightly displeased expression.

Norma gently smiled back at him.

"To be frank, our side has no idea at all either. Why did both houses invite me and lady Heles. What is the point of inviting me, an unpretty old country woman."

The PM stared at Norma for a while before letting out a sigh.

"You really are a scholar. You would scrutinize the meaning of every words as you hold a conversation."

"You're too kind."

The PM asked Fujisur how Wazrof's family head was doing, then after exchanging two-three more words, he declared that the talk is over.





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Okami wa Nemuranai 41.1_2


"When will it get to the duel."

"Real sorry about this, Lecan. The story just won't end huh? But I'm sure even you would like to find out things about your opponent before a duel. I believe knowing how the matter this time unfolded is an important part of your duel. Could you bear with it for a little bit more."


When Lecan took on quests to march into enemy HQs or such, he would first learn the other party's war forces and escape route. As such, he doesn't actually think listening here is a waste of time.

Besides, Norma's voice is comforting. As he just spent half a year waging his life in the dungeon daily, taking it easy while listening to this comforting voice for the whole day isn't a bad idea at all. He also found it interesting how they calmly dealt with the situation in Norma's tales.

"But I sure am getting hungry. Looks like it's about time for lunch too. I have made arrangement to get food here. It might not be in best behavior, but let's all have a meal while I narrate the story. Lecan, and you all too, do listen as you enjoy your meal."

Maids came in and skillfully brought food like bread and stuff to the reception table. Then they divided it into each person serving.

Lecan's serving has twice the other's amounts on top of another plate with a lot of meat.

"Now then. Let's dig in."


"Time to eat~."

"Jinga, and you too Findin, take your seat too."


"Please excuse me."

(Norma really knows me well.)

(Had she got us to move to the dining room first.)

(I'd probably get irritated.)

He casually stabbed a piece of meat with a fork, put it in his mouth and chewed it.

(Good stuff.)

(Meat sprinkled only with salt and spice.)

(Is real good.)

He continued like that while occasionally biting on bread in his left hand. Though to Lecan, even a big loaf of bread is gone in two bites.

Findin stared at Lecan's table manner with a look of shock. Even without that, Lecan's big stature is menacing enough. How he opened his mouth wide like a wild beast, biting on a huge amount of meat and bread, the spectacle was simply full of impact.

Jericho piled up a platter full of Yelkonte, Sarigona and Marfus fruits. Watching a magic beast having his meal in a reception room is surreal, but no one seems surprised. They've gotten used to it.

Once Lecan looked to have calmed down a bit, Norma resumed her narration.

"Well then, allow me to continue. So, we met the prime minister."

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


Orbanus Rainzats.

Even a medic in a backwater town like Norma knows that name.

The person who manages all administrative matters in Zaka Kingdom, a small rural town like Vouka could only cower had he set sight on it.

Norma knows nothing about his personality and ability, but considering this man has kept his position for fifteen straight years, Orbanus can't possibility inept.

"Truly, it's great that we are able to have this talk before you attend the marriage interview with the two big nobles who own two of the biggest harbor towns. Now then, let us enjoy the tea first."

"It's an honor to have received your invitation. I am Norma Wazrof Goncourt."

Norma was bothered by something as she greeted.

He's too polite.

With the standing and position Orbanus hold, his attitude towards Norma is simply way too polite.

And that raised Norma's suspicion.

After slowly sipping her tea and putting the cup back, she spoke to the prime minister with a composed tone.

"I'm truly grateful for your cordial welcome. Would it be acceptable if I interpret that you have formally recognized me as a member of Wazrof then?"

The prime minister didn't let up of his amiable smile. However, Norma didn't overlook how his eyes shot up a sharp light for an instance.

"Lady Norma, you are the daughter of Sasfrey-dono, the sixth son of the late previous marquis of Wazrof. Of course, Prime Minister Office is well aware of that fact."

"So you would recognize me as a granddaughter of princess Lorecia?"

The PM had a slightly troubled look on his face.

"Lady Norma. Revising Family Tree Record is not such a simple matter."

Norma slightly turned her head and spoke to the house aide.


"Yes, Norma-sama. Yesterday, I went to the Prime Minister Office, to request a change in our Noble Family Tree record, revising Sasfrey-sama's mother to princess Lorecia. The staff in charge gave their approval after confirming the family tree record I brought there. I have the receipts as well. It has been accepted without a doubt. So now I ask your excellency prime minister. The revision I applied and accepted yesterday cannot possibly has been left undone today, and regardless if that is so, our house recognizes Sasfrey-sama as a son of princess Lorecia with that application, in which I believe your excellency is aware yourself. Pray tell."





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Okami wa Nemuranai 40.14


"Once you're at the capital, go to the Prime Minister Office as my proxy and apply for a revision on our Noble Family Tree record."

Hearing this, House Aide of Wazrof, Fujisur had a look of surprise on his face.

"Correct Sasfrey-dono's origins. Lady Lilia as well, naturally."

"However, that's."

That is to say, making the fact that Sasfrey and lady Lilia being the children of princess Lorecia be known. Doing that would mean also having to revise the Royal Family Tree records.

"Whether the Royal Family would revise their family tree or not is their problem. It does not concern our house. But we must correct Norma's birthright if she is to attend the dinner invitation."

He's exactly right. Fujisur bowed to show his agreement.

"Norma. From now on, you shall be known as Norma Wazrof Goncourt."

"I understand."

"You are to be the highest ranking Wazrof lady. That is what it should have always been, but it shall be known to public now. As for your relationship with Goncourt, you are only holding onto the right to succession of your mother's family side for the time being."

"Yes. Which means I'm affiliated with Wazrof House now."

"Indeed. You are a lady of Wazrof, who has a right to the succession of Goncourt House. Not the other way around."

"That will be fine."

"Jinga may have parted with Wazrof for a time, but he shall be reinstated as knight of Wazrof once again. How about it."

"Right. That might be for the best. What do you think, Jinga?"

"I shall abide by Norma-sama's wish."

"That's settled then. Jinga will be the Chief Knight of Wazrof."

"Chief Knight? Did Wazrof have such a position?"

"We just did."

Norma laughed. She's taken a liking on her older cousin's ways of doing things.

Afterward, they discussed on the practical side of things.

The group heading to the capital consists of Norma, Fujisur, Jinga, Findin, Eda, four knights, ten attendants, two maids and two coachmen. There's a lot of attendants for delivering messages. The coachman and maids sent by Goncourt have gone back to Vouka with letters from Norma. Norma sent a letter to Prado and another letter to transcriber Rakrus.

The day after, on the 26th of Month four, Norma departed Mashajain heading for Royal Capital.

The roads to the capital are well maintained, they can reach the capital in just two full days. But as they departed in the evening, and the wagon was run slowly, they only arrived in evening of the third day.

Norma read the provided documents and asked Fujisur many questions along the way. Fujisur was shocked to witness the precision of Norma's questions, her ability to memorize something she heard once, and how well she could piece things together to grasp the whole picture.

The capital is vast, a home of a great number of people.

A messenger from Rainzats paid a visit in the evening of the same day they arrived.

The date of dinner has been decided, Marquis Gido's eldest son, Sorusgia Indole and Marquis Smarc's eldest son, Pentaros Fotos will dine together with Heles and Norma at the Snow Flower Arbor on the 32nd of month four.

Norma found it weird.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
House of Rainzats responded too quickly.

This schedule adjustment wouldn't be possible without knowing Norma's plan and movement, as well as giving the order to lady Heles to attend and to get her agreement and match her schedule.

As lady Heles is an escort knight of the highest ranking princess in the royal family, getting her time should not be easy. And since Sorusgia Indole and Pentaros Fotos are on the inviting side, them being in the capital is not unusual, but even they should have other matters to attend to.

How are they able to set the date on the 32nd.

One possible explanation is that a Rainzats member who has enough authority to decide on the date of the dinner had been staying at Wazrof all this time, and left for the capital on a swift horse before Norma's group.

But even if that were true, they got the date too quick. The date could not have been decided before Norma left Mashajain. Besides, if someone that high ranking was staying at Wazrof, it was weird for Norma to never meet them. Hard to believe Manfrey would keep that hidden.

(Guess that's what to expect from a big noble.)

(They must have some sort of a trump card.)

Fujisur acted assertively. Norma asked Fujisur to let Findin accompany him to negotiate at the PM Office. As Fujisur took a liking on Findin, he readily agreed and brought him to many places.

Norma investigated House of Indole and House of Fotos.

On the morning of 31st, a day before the dinner, a messenger from the PM Office came for Norma.

The PM, Earl of Ringa, Orbanus Rainzats wishes to see her, and has asked for her presence at the PM Office.

She asked when she's required to go, and got told 'right away'.

This is an awfully rude way to invite a high ranking noble.

Norma couldn't decide right away.

Perhaps the PM wants to show off how both the houses are in friendly terms that they could see each other right away whenever one needs something from the other.

Or perhaps, he wants to display the authority PM Office holds, able to suddenly summon them without prior notice.

As a matter of fact, Norma herself would rather not meet the PM before the dinner.

"Fujisur. What should we do here."

"Ma'am. I believe Norma-sama should do as you wish."

"Would Manfrey-sama accept the invitation here."

"Manfrey-sama would likely accept once he knows what the summon is for and if it's urgent."


In the end, Norma went to the Prime Minister Office. Regardless of the circumstance, she can't leave the capital before paying the PM Office a visit anyway. And she'll likely need to gather intel from the PM Office after the dinner. Thus she decided that responding to one unreasonable demand here should be beneficial for later.

As they were about to enter the PM's room, they were told that only one other person besides Norma could enter, but Norma said that she won't meet the PM if she's not with Fujisur, Jinga, Findin and Eda, so they turned around ready to go home. The PM yielded on that, and let them all in.

The PM stood up and greeted Norma.

There's one knight, and one attendant besides the PM himself.

The prime minister should be in his mid fifties this year, but he looks no older than 45.

He's smiling like a kind amiable man, but intense lights could be seen dwelling in his eyes.

"Welcome, lady Norma. I am Orbanus Rainzats, the one entrusted with Prime Minister position of Zaka Kingdom. Come now, do have a seat."

[Episode 40 White Snow Flower Princess] End/Next [Episode 41 Heles and Norma]



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