Chapter 7: ──── Dark Clouds
Galore is a major city that is the key to the northern part of the kingdom. The northern region, including Galore, is under the direct control of the kingdom, with a governing structure headed by a Governor who acts as the King’s representative.
The governor’s office is staffed not only by officials but also by military personnel such as knights and soldiers as well as several wizards affiliated with the governor’s office. One of their duties is to go out to the front lines and fight in case of emergency, and one of the most frequent topics of conversation these days is the emergence of Demon Soldiers in the Entente Forest.
The wizards, who were also intellectuals, understood the threats of the demons much better than the general public and the knights. Therefore, most of them were surprised that Demon Soldiers were defeated before they could do any damage to Galore.
Even though the various races of the Entete Forest and Olivia, a high elf and one of the greatest wizards in the kingdom, fought together, it was a great battle that defied all expectations.
In particular, when they heard that the demon soldiers were led by Three Greater Demons and even a fallen God of War, they were truly grateful that they did not have to face them and breathed a sigh of relief.
The wizards affiliated with the governor’s office had never felt so relieved to have the presence of the dean of the magic academy, who was also involved in the establishment of the kingdom, as they did at this moment.
The wizards work in the government building on the grounds of the governor’s office, creating magic and magical tools for the administration of the governor’s office, as well as fulfilling their duties as civil servants.
Although they didn’t stop working, they could be seen everywhere, eagerly discussing with their colleagues how Olivia and the Entente Foresters had defeated the abominable spires of the demon world, bringing their own theories and rumors.
Basically, wizards are a peculiar group of people with a strong desire for knowledge and curiosity, and even those who are supposed to be discouraged from chattering are endlessly interested in this topic, listening and joining in the conversation. As a result, the number of words exchanged about this matter showed no signs of decreasing.
One of the large rooms in the government building, lined with desks stacked indiscriminately with everything from documents and crystal balls to suspicious bottles, tree roots, bunches of grass, and bones of small animals, was also filled with the voices of the staff.
Then a female wizard with purple hair stepped into the room. She was one of the wizards belonging to the Governor’s Office, and her name was Kiren.
In front of here were the wizards who had been sitting close to each other, bowing and greeting their seemingly calm but hard-working boss. She was the head of this large room.
“Good morning, everyone. It’s been very noisy this morning. What’s the matter?”
The subordinates inwardly twisted their heads at the fact that their usually quick-eared boss was unaware of the topic that was disturbing the governor’s office, but they were convinced when they remembered that she had been away from Galore for a while, taking a vacation. The new female wizard, who had just graduated from the Galore Magic Academy, answered her.
“Good morning, Kiren-sama. It seems that in the Entete Forest, near Galore, a group of demon soldiers has emerged by some unknown means. Moreover, it is said that a Greater Demon-class individual was leading the demon soldiers.”
In response to her subordinate’s report, Kiren sat back in her chair at her desk and replied with a dull, I see. The young subordinate, who still retained some innocence, looked quizzical at Kiren’s attitude, which did not seem surprised at all.
“If the case of the demon soldiers had not been solved, the commotion in the Governor’s Office would not be this small, would it? But the Governor’s Office and the city are not so different from usual. What I can deduce from that is that the demon soldiers have been defeated and the immediate threat is over. Am I right?”
“Well, yes, that’s true. That’s exactly what you said. If the demon soldiers hadn’t been defeated, the Governor’s Office would have to mobilize all of its troops, and Kiren-sama would have been summoned back from vacation.”
“That’s the point.”
I knew about it before you guys, Kiren muttered in her mind.
Her subordinates had no way of knowing what was going through her mind, so they could only respect their boss’s calm demeanor and composure.
“So, the one who defeated the demon soldiers was the headmaster of the magic academy, Olivia? She is one of the top five wizards in the kingdom, so it should not be impossible for her to fight off the greater demons. And it’s been rumored that the Entete forest is home to Yggdrasil for some time, so maybe Yggdrasil intervened?”
She knew that the demon soldiers had been defeated and the demon gate had been destroyed, but she didn’t know who had done it. However, considering the influential adventurers and famous wizards around Galore, Olivia’s name came up first as the most likely candidate. She is a great wizard with that much ability and achievement. Especially when it comes to the handling of spirit magic, she’s probably one of the top two wizards not only in this country but in the surrounding countries as well.
However, the words that came out of her subordinate’s mouth half betrayed Kiren’s expectations.
“Dean Olivia and the Entete Foresters indeed fought, but in addition, Christine-sama, the daughter of the Marquess of Armadia, a boy named Doran from the Bern village, and a Lamia girl fought together and played a major role in fighting off the Greater Demons. It has been well known for some time that Christine-sama is one of the most skilled students at the Magic Academy, but the fact that she was able to defeat a Greater Demon is incredible, even if only half the story is true.:
Her subordinate expressed her delight at Cristine’s success. Perhaps she had witnessed Christine’s appearance as a student and had been captivated by her.
Kiren did not pay attention to the dreamy, enraptured faces of her subordinates, but thought about those who had helped the Entete Foresters.
Kiren knew about Christine. She is the daughter of the Armadia family, one of the greatest aristocrats not only in the northern part of the kingdom but in the entire kingdom. Not only that, but she is also a celebrity whether she wants to be or not, because she has such good looks that it would be a mistake for her to exist in this world.
Christine was in the Entente Forest? A question mark appeared in Kiren’s mind, but then she remembered the relationship between the Armadia family, the Bern Village, and the Entete Forest, and came to the conclusion that there was nothing strange about it. It was just a coincidence that Christine’s visit to Bern Village coincided with the Demon Gate opening in the Entete Forest.
She was also curious about this boy Doran from Bern village, but that village had Muggle, a magic doctor who had made a name for herself as an adventurer decades ago. He must be a disciple of the old wizard, who had trained many excellent wizards and doctors and had even been approached by the royal court.
What attracted Kiren’s interest was the Lamia girl, rather than Christine, whose identity she knew, or Doran, whose identity she could guess. It was known that lamia needed males of different races for breeding and that they wandered from place to place in search of males to be their husbands, but why would a Lamia cooperate with the Entete Forest people? And more than that, to survive against demon soldiers and great demons, she seems to be no ordinary individual. Kiren was a well-known wizard, especially for her research on young females of different races and demons. However, few people knew the true results of her research.
“Yeah, that’s great. Aside from the Lady of Armadia, we can’t just ignore the fact that we have such a powerful Lamia. I’m sure the Governor’s Office will leave nothing to chance, but is there any movement regarding the boy from Bern village and the Lamia girl?”
“Yes. As for Lamia, it seems that she has been living in Bern Village since recently, after receiving an oracle from one of the followers of the Mylar religion living in Bern Village, and Great Mother Mylar suggested that they live together. The governor’s office will soon send someone to investigate the situation.”
As Kiren pointed out, the governor’s office is not going to just sit back and let it happen.
Although Lamias are considered monsters, it is natural that they would want to live in a human settlement, even if it is a remote village.
“Well, this is interesting. I’m curious. Whose jurisdiction is Bern Village?”
“Yes, I believe it was Commissioner Gouda’s jurisdiction.
“Commissioner Gouda. He’ll be working on it soon. He’s very loyal to his duties.”
If the Great God Mylar has given the oracle, Lamia’s residence will not be seen as much of a problem, but it will not be interesting if it goes too easily.
Regardless of what happens to the Lamia girl, the story can’t begin unless Kiren is involved in it. She was in a good mood because she had gone on a little trip during the vacations and had bought some fresh toys, and now that she had found some new toys, her mood was even better.
“I guess I’ll have to talk to Commissioner Gouda soon.”
“But the work that has accumulated over the vacations is ……”
“Ara, this is nothing to worry about. I’m more interested in satisfying my intellectual needs. I can’t wait to see what kind of girl she is.”
She smiled and turned to her desk.
She then remapped her schedule for the day in her mind, hoping to speak with Commissioner Gouda as soon as possible. Based on her experience and intuition, she could tell that the Lamia in question was not an ordinary individual, but how was it really different from a normal one? Kiren’s intellectual curiosity had been tingling for a while now, refusing to be quenched.
No one else in the room could see the true meaning behind her smile. Kiren was convinced that this had always been the case, and would always be the case.
Since my return from the Entete Forest, I have been working as usual in my village to earn my daily bread.
In most of the villages in this kingdom, all boys except the eldest leave home at the age of fifteen and acquire some land to build their own house.
It’s been a little over a year since I started living on my own according to this custom, but lately, Serina has been showing up often to help me with my work in the fields.
In contrast to Serina’s willingness to help me, my younger brother Marco rarely comes to my place to help. Marco will be fifteen years old next year, so it’s time for him to get ready to be on his own and to make close arrangements for his future life. I am a little sad that he doesn’t come to see me as often as he used to, but I don’t mind.
However, I feel a little annoyed when he looks at me and Serina with a curious look on his face when we pass each other in the village or when I see him from a distance.
That feminine-faced brother of mine must have some strange misunderstanding about the relationship between me and Serina.
Recently, even the gazes of everyone in the village have become subtly smiling, and my younger brother is really troubling me.
However, I didn’t think it was a good idea to go around saying that my relationship with Serina was nothing.
It is an undeniable fact that I am the one who has spent the most time with Serina since she came to the village. And it’s also true that I do not mind Serina’s mixed appearance, which is one of the biggest reasons why Lamia species are avoided by humans, not to mention her personality.
If I had to decide whether I liked or disliked Serina, I would definitely say that I liked her, and if I had to choose between loving her or not, I would say that I loved her.
In other words, I hold a great deal of affection for Serina, whether it is romantic or not.
She also has a great deal of trust and affection for me, although I may be overly self-conscious about it, I feel it firsthand.
Fumu …… When I think about it again, I really don’t think it’s inevitable that Marco would have that annoying grimace on his face.
Now that we’ve covered the relationship between me and Serina, I’d like to say that since moving to Bern village, Serina has been especially valued for her hunting abilities as a lamia.
But when she is not hunting, or when she is free, she comes to me first to help out. I’m the one who initiated her move to Bern and everyone in the village sees me as her caretaker, so there is nothing, in particular, to be said.
Today, not only Serina but also Christine-san came to observe.
Normally, I would be taking care of the staple food, barley, and other cereals, beans, and potatoes, but today I was taking care of the black rose that Diadora, whom I met in the Entete Forest, had given me.
The black rose is a kind of magical flower, and it is known as a delicate rose that is very difficult and nerve-wracking to grow from seed to flower and to take care of it so that it doesn’t wither.
However, the seeds of the black rose that I was given were seeds that Diadora had given birth to – I’m not sure if that’s the right word – but she had put special power and thought into them.
Perhaps that’s why the black rose seed that I buried in a sunny spot grew so fast that even I, the person who planted the seed, couldn’t help but be surprised.
The black rose grew so fast that it seemed to absorb all the nourishment of the surrounding land, and half a day after I planted it in the field, it had already sprouted. Overnight, the thorns grew and intertwined with each other, and two days later, the buds of the black rose had already appeared.
I hurriedly sprinkled the nutrient solution that I had specially prepared for the black rose, the ground stone and magic crystal stone that I had crushed into a powder, and the compost that I had piled up behind my house so that the nourishment of the field would not be sucked up by the rapid growth of the black rose.
I knew that the black rose was one of the many magical plants and flowers that greedily took away other plants’ life and nutrients, but it was growing much faster than I knew, or rather, greedily. Although it was helpful in the sense that it could be used immediately as an ingredient for potions and could be easily shipped to the merchants who visited the village every ten days, I wondered what kind of thoughts Diadora had put into these black rose seeds.
While I was watering the black roses that were blooming with many large flowers, Serina, who had come to help me, held a pair of scissors in her white hand, cut one or two black roses, and put them in the net basket she carried in her left hand.
She wore a straw hat that she had woven herself, and her golden hair shone in the spring sunshine. Her appearance was so innocent and healthy that it made me forget that her lower half was a huge snake monster.
In my case, I also liked the lower half of the giant snake covered with scales that stained the sunlight a dark green color.
“They are all blooming beautifully, right? It seems to be a lot of work to grow them, though.”
“The black rose is a life-sucking magic flower. I knew it would be hard to take care of them. Fumu, but I didn’t expect it to be so greedy. But it was all worth it, and they all bloomed beautifully, full of magic power. I’m sure this will fetch a good price at the magic guild and magic academy in Galore.
“The scent is also very nice. If you can make perfume, I’m sure it will be very popular.”
With that, Serina tucked her shapely nose into the fragrant scent of a black rose that looked as if it had been shaped through the darkness of night.
” Not a bad suggestion, but we’ll need to grow a lot more of them to actually make the perfume. As I recall, it takes an entire field’s worth of flowers to make a bottle of perfume. Besides, the perfume of the black rose naturally has the power of seduction and charm. I don’t mean to put a damper on your suggestion, but I’m pretty sure there are heavy restrictions on the manufacture and sale of this stuff because it’s too dangerous to dilute it in the wrong proportions.”
One of the points of caution that granny Muggle taught me when manufacturing magic potions and magical tools was how to deal with the Galore’s magic guild, which controls the distribution of magic-related goods in the north of the kingdom, and I answered Serina, remembering the rules I had been taught.
“Se-seduction and charm, huh. Diadora-san is a very beautiful woman, so I can understand why the black rose has such power. Seduction and charm a-also mean…… aphrodisiacs or love potions, right?
Oh, why the blush on your cheeks there, Serina? Maybe she is embarrassed to say aphrodisiac or love potion? Or perhaps someone she wants to use the aphrodisiac to get to know better. …… Fumu.
“If you make a mistake in the proportions of the concoction, it should have such an effect. However, mixing a magic potion that can manipulate people’s minds requires a license, so if you try to mix it without a license, it’s a felony. Not many people have a license to mix mind manipulation potions, let alone a simple potion. What about at the magic academy, Christine-san?”
I turned to Christine-san, who had come with Serina to observe the care of the black roses.
This person has been staying in the village of Bern during the spring break of the magic academy, but now that the break is almost over, she is often working with me and Serina, who have become particularly close friends in the village.
Perhaps she is more lonely than I thought.
At the evening banquet in SaiWest Village, I found out that Christine-san doesn’t have many friends at the academy, so I couldn’t help but think that she was lonely.
She was dressed in a white shirt with fluttering ruffles and black leather pants that clung tightly to her skin and brought out the lines of her curvaceous body, Christine-san let go of the black rose petals she had been plucking at her fingertips and looked back at me.
“Umm, I don’t know much about it, but I’m pretty sure the professors and the head of the academy’s pharmacy department have a license. Five or so students are licensed for advanced compounding, I think? For me, I can mix some potions, but only enough to be useful in everyday life.”
“I haven’t learned that much from Granny Muggle yet, so I don’t think I’ll be able to make black rose perfume for the time being. Nevertheless, since the black roses bloomed so beautifully, we can expect them to be used for potion making or shipped as is.”
“I feel bad for Diadora-san and Marr-chan, but there is also a large amount of fur and tusks of rare beasts that came out of the Entete Forest, and the villagers were happy to receive a larger amount of money than usual.”
“Yeah, whether it’s pelts or magic potions, it’s a valuable source of revenue. The area around Bern is under the direct control of the kingdom, so the tax rate is lower than other places, but it does not mean that we can afford to live a leisurely life. We need to earn money while we can.”
While the northern frontier was being pioneered under the leadership of a certain nobleman, the Bern village was exempted from collecting taxes, but now that the pioneering has been stopped, we are obliged to pay the taxes.
Therefore, spring was an important harvest season for us, but at the same time, it was a depressing season when we had to pay taxes.
It would be nice if there were no taxation at all, but to provide relief personnel and supplies in the event of monster attacks or natural disasters, or to carry out flood control projects such as building bridges and maintaining roads, a group like a state is inevitably needed. Taxes are the price for receiving protection from the state.
At least for now, human society still needs a state-like framework to accomplish big things that cannot be done by small groups like villages.
Looking back at the memories of my previous life, there were not many people who were able to build a nation or a social system that transcended the boundaries of species, and considering the current technological level and spiritual maturity of the terrestrial world, it is likely that we will continue to fit into the concept of a nation for the next thousand or ten thousand years. At least until I fulfill my natural life span as a human being, I will definitely be under the care of this kingdom.
Right now, I’m not thinking about the nation, but rather about the harvest in front of me. As I began to carefully observe the black roses one by one, Christine-san, who had been looking thoughtful, approached me.
“Well, Doran, I think you’ve misunderstood something, so I’ll tell you this, Bern is not a poor village.”
I tilted my head and asked back, what was the basis for these words that I didn’t really feel.
“I used to walk around the kingdom when I was little. And I’ve seen villages and towns all over the country, and compared to them, Bern village has a lot of dangers around it, but life itself, or to put it simply, food, is rather affluent.”
“Is that so?”
When I look back on the past, I can see that the village has never suffered from starvation. I can think of a reason for that.
Since I was in the arms of my parents, I have been able to control the weather in the vicinity of Bern Village by interfering with the harmony of the neighboring earth veins and spirit forces to prevent droughts, floods, earthquakes, storms, and other natural disasters from occurring.
In addition, by activating the earth’s veins, which are the flow of life in the earth itself, they have transformed the land from a wilderness into a nourishing environment where life can easily grow.
However, when I interfered with the spirit power to make it easier for spirit stones to be generated, I almost accidentally caused a huge storm that rolled up the ground, a huge earthquake that could have split the kingdom itself, and torrential rains that could have submerged the continent.
I regained control of the situation before it actually happened and got out of the way, but that was the only time I was reminded that I was much more likely to bring the world to the brink of destruction than a simple demon or evil god. It’s a bitter memory.
Christine-san moves her well-shaped chin vertically, oblivious to my slightly furrowed brow at the past mistakes that have suddenly crossed my mind.
“Doran, you haven’t been around the nearby villages much, have you?”
“I rarely go outside Bern village. Even in the neighboring villages, I only occasionally help out at festivals or visit relatives for celebrations or funerals.”
In my case, it was because I cared so much about my parents and siblings that I never left the village, so I didn’t know much about it compared to the other people there.
“And so, most of the times when I have visited other villages, it has been on special occasions.”
I was unexpectedly reminded of my ignorance and indifference, and a feeling of shame welled up in my heart.
“When I arrived in Bern, I was surprised to find that the villagers were living a much more comfortable life than what I had heard before. Even considering the low taxes. Though it used to be a barren wilderness, the crops growing in the fields were all big, rich, and plentiful. The frequency of wild beasts and monsters is quite high, but the villagers are used to it and handle it with ease. Moreover, there were no children or adults in the village who lacked food and were emaciated. It’s normal for every village to have at least a few people like that. That’s why I feel uncomfortable when people say that this village is poor.”
Normally, if a daughter of a noble family were to say something like this, it would make the farmers angry that they were eating the wheat we grew without any effort, but Christine-san’s words were very convincing because they were filled with a sense of reality.
I had always felt that Christine-san was not born into a noble family. A person born into a proper noble family would not have spent their early years moving from place to place in the kingdom.
“It’s not until someone tells you about it that you realize what’s going on. It’s the most remote area of the kingdom, and there is a lot of danger of death, so I thought life in Bern village would be the toughest.”
“No, it’s true that we often see monsters, and it’s also undeniable that the danger of death is higher than others. I just felt that the land was richer than I thought.”
Christine-san’s excuses came out with a bit of a panicked tone, but I had no intention of blaming her.
Rather, I was ashamed of my narrow-mindedness, as I had only been interested in the affairs of my own village.
“Fufu, no need to mind it. It’s better to have a prosperous lifestyle than hardships, you know.”
—Part I end—
(TN: I wanna finish it by next two weeks)
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