Chapter 3: Takatsuki Makoto takes a walk in the Royal Capital Horun
–The evening of that day.
“Hoh, there’s a pleasure quarter on the outskirts of the capital?”
I thought that the capital ruled by a serious princess would not have such an area. There was a mix of bars and brothels lining the streets. It reminded me of Kabuki area in Shinjuku. Just smaller than that.[TN: Kabuki (歌舞伎) is a classical form of Japanese dance-drama]
“There’s a need for relaxation in everything, you know.”
At dinner this evening, Fuji-yan told me that he needed to talk to me, so we went out alone.
Fuji-yan was familiar with the geography of the area, and we walked further and further in.
We arrived at a bar with a nice hideout-like atmosphere. When we entered the bar, the dimly lit interior was filled with smoke.
Cigarettes …… or is it cigars? I’m used to the smell of cigarettes from the food stalls in Makkaren, but the cigars in this store smelled awfully sweet. I wonder if they are popular in Royal Capital?
“……, Takki-dono. Let’s not go to this store.”
Fuji-yan said, frowning.
“I’m not bothered by cigar smoke, you know?”
“No, I don’t think we should visit this place.”
Fuji-yan left the store without giving a reason. The next store was a quiet place with a similar atmosphere.
I would have been fine even at the previous place.
“”Cheers.”” We clinked glasses and took a sip.
After ordering our meals and chatting over drinks for a while, Fuji-yan spoke up.
“There was a lot of smoke in that store just now, wasn’t there?”
“Yeah, there were a lot of people smoking cigars.”
“Wasn’t there a peculiar smell?”
“Umm, it smelled kind of sweet.”
I thought it might not go well with the meal, but it was not an unpleasant smell.
Fuji-yan moved his face closer to mine and whispered in my ear,
“That cigar is commonly known as ‘weed,’ and it’s a …… drug.”
“Eh?” I sobered up in an instant.
“The rumor of the Great Demon Lord’s resurrection has caused a lot of anxiety, and …… it seems to be popular these days.”
“……I-Is that so?” I had no idea.
“Well, Takki-dono, even if someone recommends it, please refuse. The effects on the body can be managed with detoxification magic, but addiction cannot be cured.:
“I think I’ll be fine.”
To be honest, I’m not interested, or more like, that scares me. I want to avoid it for the rest of my life.
“By the way, didn’t you have something to tell me today?”
“Yeah, Actually, it’s about …….”
“Well, I know what to expect. It’s about Nina-san and Chris-san, right?”
Nina-san likes Fuji-yan, and Chris-san has asked her to marry him.
The two are currently in a cold war.
“Why don’t you just marry them both?”
In this world, bigamy is allowed. And, I’m sure Fuji-yan can financially support them.
“But considering the difference in status between the two, it’s not so easy.”
It seems that aristocrats and beastkin are not on good terms with each other. And there’s a definite difference in status. Rather, he had considered marrying both, huh.
“What are you talking about! It’s a man’s dream!”
“How manly.” It was refreshing.
I don’t know, maybe because I don’t really have that kind of ambition.
“What are you saying! Takki-dono, you’re also on the harem route”
“…… Just for the record, you mean Lucy and Sa-san, right?”
Yeah, that time in the love hotel the other day was a close call.
“Fufufu, that’s what I wanted to talk about today.”
“Ehh, I thought we were here to talk about Fuji-yan, right?
It’s okay to listen to other people’s stories, but discussing your own is a bit embarrassing.
“Just think of it as a drinking game and speak your heart out!”
“Well, I don’t have to tell you, you’ll find out anyway.”
I’ll give up trying to hide things from my best friend. It can’t be helped, today will be a banquet of honesty. The night is long.
“Haa ……” I sighed heavily.
Master went out with Takatsuki-sama.
He was looking forward to it, as they have an important talk between men.
That’s good. Ever since he met Takatsuki-sama again, Master seems to be really happy. The problem is …….
“Master is going to be a nobleman, isn’t he, ……”
I was alone in my room, remembering Christiana’s conversation at dinner.
She said she would welcome Master as Makkaren’s family member. To make it big as a merchant in Water Nation, you need to have some status. The reason he had refused a knighthood in the royal castle was probably to convince Christiana. And then what would happen to me?
“I’ll go back to being a fighter in Great Keith……”
My spirits sank. I don’t want to go back to those scarred days.
The Fujiwara store treats the beastkin race unbelievably well. In other stores, beastkin with poor memory are usually paid 70% of the salary compared to humans. At the worst stores, I’ve heard that the pay is less than half.
That’s why the Fujiwara Shop attracts so many beastkin, and they all work with smiles on their faces.
This is a story from before.
“Nina-dono. I think we should give the beastkin a raise because they have beast ears.”
“Master, I don’t understand.”
This was indeed something I had to stop. We don’t want to overpay the beastkin and have the store go bankrupt. However, if the master joins the Makkaren family as a nobleman, things will not go on as before. Especially since I’m hated by Christiana. There will be no place for me at ……. I sighed.
And then there was a knock on the door.
“Yes, yes, who is it?”
Is it Sasaki-sama coming to practice martial arts?
That’s right. If I move my body, I might feel a little better.
“I’m Christiana. Nina-san, is this a good time?”
I should have played as if I wasn’t here. But I couldn’t pretend that I wasn’t there now, so I opened the door. There was Christina, not smiling as she usually did for master, but with a blank expression.
“What can I do for you?”
“I need to talk to you. I’ll come in,” she said and sat down on the bed in the room without asking.
There were no escorts. She was alone.
“Please take a seat. ……” “”
I sat down on a chair in the room and faced the lord’s daughter.
The first thing she said was,
“You don’t like me, do you?”
“…… so what of it?”
Would it have been better to deny it? No, it was too late.
“I don’t like you either.”
This woman says it out loud.
“I know that. So do you want me to leave or something?”
The woman in front of me doesn’t say anything. She took a deep breath and moved closer to me. Her face was close. I don’t like it, but she has a beautiful face. After all, the master is more likely to prefer a human being than a beastkin…….
“Nina-san, marry Fujiwara-sama.”
What is she saying? This woman.
“But I’m going to be the first wife. You will be the second wife. This is non-negotiable.”
“Are you saying to be a mistress or a concubine?”
I’ve never heard of a nobleman having a beastkin as his wife.
“Fujiwara-sama will not accept that. You and I must be on equal footing.”
“…… that will make you the laughing stock of all the nobles in the country.”
I’m not familiar with public affairs, but I understand. It is impossible for Christiana, a noblewoman, and me, a beastkin, to be equals. But then her expression changed to one of desperation.
“At this rate, Fujiwara-sama will get the title on his own! The only thing I can give him is a noble title!”
“That’s not true. ……”
Not only is she the second daughter of the Lord of Makkaren, but she is also beautiful. Her wealth and connections are to be abundant due to her high education. I don’t have any of those things. But Christiana laughed helplessly.
“Fujiwara-sama, who has started a succession of new businesses in the local territory of Makkaren, and is close friends with the next chairman of the Franz Merchant Association, the largest in the continent. My meager fortune and connections are of no use to him. ……”
This surprised me. I had always thought of her as a confident, smiling woman.
I had no idea she was so weak.
“But getting married at the same time is ……”
“It’s not a bad deal. There should be no disadvantages for you.”
That’s right. Master gets a nobleman’s position and I get to be with the man I love. There is nothing wrong with that. But …….
“You are looking for Master’s wealth and capabilities, …….”
Marrying a man you don’t like for the prosperity of your family. I’m sure it’s commonplace in the aristocracy, but it’s hard for me to accept.
“That’s it! That’s what I don’t like!”
Christiana suddenly shouted loudly.
“Why do you always deny that I like Fujiwara-sama?”
“…… Do you really, really like him?”
“……………… That’s what I’m saying.”
I am a beastkin. The beastkin falls in love with strong men. Master is not a strong fighter, but he is the most successful man in Makkaren. At first glance, he appears to be a good-natured young man, but all the unscrupulous merchants who have approached him to cheat him have fled penniless.
No matter how clever the swindler or black-hearted the scoundrel, they couldn’t deceive Master. Despite his appearance, he is an astute businessman and the most successful man in Makkaren. That’s what drew me to him.
Well, more than that, I was fascinated by his personality. ……
But what was it about Master that Christiana fell in love with?
“By the way, what do you like about him?”
I’m sure Christiana didn’t see how Master works that closely.
“─ In my family, the sisters have always fought each other. The Makkarens have a family tradition that the child who brings the most prosperity to the city will be the heir. So I have to make myself look good to the people of the city, and I have to ingratiate myself with many people and win them over. However, there were many who approached me to take advantage of me. …… Above all, what I didn’t like was the fiancé my mother had arranged for me.”
I’ve heard stories. He was a nobleman from the neighboring Fire Nation, and he was the third son with a bad character. Certainly, the aristocrats of the Fire Nation were not good people. ……
“It was Fujiwara-sama who saved me from that. He wiped out all the scoundrels who came near me, rebuilt my stagnant business, was looked down upon by my fiancée, and quickly reached out to me when I was feeling down. He is my prince!”
Christiana said enthusiastically.
I opened my mouth wide in surprise. Isn’t it a bit of an exaggeration to call Master a prince?
“Do you have a problem with that?”
Everyone has their own sense of value. Apparently, I was mistaken.
Christiana is not a vile woman who is after Master’s wealth. She was simply a love rival who fell in love with the same man. Moreover, she is willing to let me, a beastkin, marry her on equal terms. It’s an unbeatable deal. I have no complaints. But there was one thing that I was really concerned about,……, and I mentioned it.
“….what if we both get dumped in the first place?”
Christiana’s expression tightened. To be honest, I don’t know how Master feels.
Even when I seduce him, he doesn’t take me up on it.
“I-If both of us get dumped, …… then we’ll be drunk until morning! Let’s go together, Nina!”
I couldn’t help but laugh at that.
She’s a strange aristocratic lady. I didn’t know there was such a noblewoman.
“Call me Chris! Then I’ll wait in my room until Fujiwara-sama comes back! Let’s both propose at the same time.”
“This kind of thing is best done as fast as possible!”
She’s an interesting person. I might be able to get along with this person. I thought so.
◇ Takatsuki Makoto’s PoV◇
The seats in the bar are becoming sparsely empty. It was almost time to close the bar. Fuji-yan beside me shuddered.
“What’s wrong with you? Feeling cold?”
“………… For some reason, chills ran down my spine.”
“Let’s go back.”
It was almost past midnight. And, we had a great time talking today.
I wouldn’t know what happened until tomorrow.
–The next morning.
“Takki-dono, Sasaki-dono, Lucy-dono. Actually, I have something to tell you.”
While we were having breakfast in the inn’s dining room, Fuji-yan opened his mouth with a serious look on his face.
“Actually, ……, I’ve decided to get engaged to Chris-dono and Nina-dono.”
Me, Lucy, and Sa-san all shouted in surprise.
(Hey, I don’t understand what you’re saying?)
I had a feeling of discomfort. At breakfast, Nina-san was snuggled on Fuji-yan’s right side, and Chris-san was snuggled on the other side.
And the atmosphere wasn’t cramped like before, but friendly.
Isn’t that too much of a change from yesterday? I thought so, but I didn’t say it out loud because I thought it was better to be friendly than unfriendly.
“U-Umm, so then, Fujiwara-kun is going to marry the two ……?”
Sa-san asked in a reserved tone.
“Yes, ……, since bigamy is allowed in this country.”
Fuji-yan seemed to have a hard time answering. There’s nothing wrong with that.
Sa-san didn’t say anything more.
“Well, congratulations to …… Fujiyan-san and Nina-san …….”
Lucy, who always speaks clearly, is unable to speak properly.
Compared to that, Nina-san is all smiles. Well, I’m glad she’s happy.
And as for me, I …….
(Huh? Yesterday, at the bar, he said that a harem was a reckless dream. And, it would be nice if it came true someday. Did you betray me?)
–I was confused. It wasn’t really a betrayal or anything. Fuji-yan’s face was drawn as if he heard my heart. I’m just kidding.
“I wish you three happiness.”
I could only give a safe answer.
Fuji-yan and the others went off to report the engagement to their colleagues at work.
I with Lucy and Sa-san went to explore the city of Horun, which we hadn’t been able to do yesterday.
“Woah, that was a surprise! I never thought he’d marry them both!”
Lucy conveyed her surprise by flailing her arms.
For her who grew up in another world, maybe it’s not such an unusual story?
“Elves usually only have one husband and one wife. ……”
Not really, apparently. Elves probably have the Japanese perspective on marriage.
“I don’t know. …… I can’t imagine two wives.”
Sa-san, who was born and raised in Japan, tilted her head.
“Well, yeah. But I heard that Sakurai-kun has many potential wives.”
I heard from Fuji-yan that creating Sakurai-Kun’s offspring, who has the same “Light Hero” skill as Abel the Savior, is a national project and he has many fiancées.
Yokoyama-san seems to be one of them, and when I told her, she gave me a look of disgust.
“Do you want a lot of wives too, Makoto?”
Lucy asked me bluntly.
“N-no. I’m not interested in that kind of thing.”
Sa-san looks into my face. I’ve activated my “clear mind” skill at 99%.
“Now, I’m concentrating on fulfilling the goddess’s request.”
This line nailed it. I’ll change the subject without lowering my likability by showing that I’m a man who takes his job seriously.
Sa-san and Lucy had blank looks on their faces. H-Huh?
(Why are you mentioning another woman in that scene ……)
Wasn’t it good?
(You need to study the female mind.)
I was scolded. It’s not in the game’s strategy book. ……
“Hey, Aya. Isn’t that clothing store cute?”
“It’s true! Let’s have a look.”
The girls are gone. I should go to …… and carry their luggage.
“Hey, ladies! Would you like to go see the circus?”
After Lucy and Sa-san had gone shopping for a while, we had finished our lunch and were wandering around. As we were taking a break on a bench near a square with a large tent, a man wearing flashy clothes and makeup called out to us.
What can I say, he looks like a ‘Clown’. There were clowns in other worlds too!
“Umm, what should we do, Makoto?”
“Do you want to see it, Takatsuki-kun?”
Eh? So I have to decide? I’m the kind of person who leaves things to others.
“Hey, bro! Is this your first time in the Royal City of Horun? ‘The Circus Trope of Monster Tamers’ is the best circus troop on the continent. It’s the perfect story to share with your friends. One person is 1,500G, so if it’s the three of you, how about 4,000G?”
The customer sales clown seems to think I’m a country bumpkin. Never seen it before, have you? He seemed to be saying. Makkaren’s in the countryside, but in Japan, I lived in the city! While thinking about what I was trying to fight against, I ended up going in.
The inside of the tent was dimly lit, with a circular stage in the center illuminated by spotlights.
Surrounding the stage were many tables, where people were drinking and watching the show.
It was different from the circus in Japan. We sat down at the nearest table and ordered a drink.
“Hey, that’s a Griffon, right?”
Lucy pointed to a Griffon, smaller than the one we had fought before, diving through the ring of fire. It seems to be quite a bit of fun.
“The monsters are quite beaten up.”
As Sa-san said, the Griffon is wearing a fancy outfit, but its feathers and fur have become worn out. The same goes for the other monsters. They are being abused.
“Is that a …… elf?”
The next person to appear was a beautiful elf lady with pointed ears. She was wearing a revealing outfit and a collar of sorts.
“She has black hair, so she’s a half-elf, …… just like me. That collar is for slaves.”
Lucy told me. Doesn’t she care about her own kind?
No, she seems to care. Lucy’s expression was a little grim.
We watched for a while, alternating between a spectacle with monsters and a show of sub-human women, like the elves and beastkins, dancing in revealing outfits. The monsters would perform tricks, and be forced to fight each other. In short, it was a scene of violence, blood, and eros.
I didn’t really like it, but the people around me were pretty excited about it. Maybe the people in the city wanted to be stimulated. Suddenly, I smelled a slight scent of that sweet cigar I had smelled at the bar yesterday.
Was it “weed”? Narcotic leaves. Let’s not stay too long, ……. We left the circus tent after about an hour.
“Oh, you’re leaving already?”
The salesman from earlier was still there.
“Yeah, I enjoyed it enough,” I said.
“Well, that’s good to know. We have an even bigger event planned for tomorrow! You should come and see it!”
The clown continued his sales talk with a smile on his face. I just replied that I would go if I had time.
We walked for a while after leaving the circus tent.
“I am done, I guess. I hate the fact that all the women in the show are either subhumans or beastkins,” said Lucy.
“Yeah, I felt a little sorry for the monsters,” said Sa-san.
It seemed to be unpopular among the women. They seem to have different points of concern, though.
Me? If it was just the women’s show, I would have been happy.
The night was time for training.
Is what I would have said, but this place has no water spirits, so I can’t use spirit magic.
“This transformation skill …… is difficult …….”
I was taught by Sa-san at the inn, but I couldn’t get it right at all. It’s very difficult to learn a skill from scratch, as opposed to having it as an inherent skill like hers.
What is easy to change is something close to yourself. Changing your gender is quite difficult. So, I first tried to change into Fuji-yan.
“Hmm, that doesn’t look right.”
Nina -san saw through me at once. And I couldn’t even disguise myself as Lucy and Sa-san.
“Eh? If you turn into me, does that mean that your body becomes just like mine?”
Lucy asked as she hugged her own body. Why are you treating me like a pervert?
“It’s a little delicate to turn into a girl you know, isn’t it? Takatsuki-kun.”
Even Sa-san! I wonder if that’s true ……. As the ladies were looking at me quite intently today, I decided to wander around the city at night by myself. The city of Horun is safe even at night. The knights of the Rozes are patrolling the streets. I also passed by the former Guardian Knight. He didn’t make eye contact with me, though.
After a short walk, I came across a circus tent. The lights were off and no one was around.
I could faintly hear the roar of monsters inside the tent. That person who called out to us was not there.
(Oh yeah, how about changing into a clown?)
The Transformation skill allows you to take on a roughly similar appearance, but there are minor differences that can be detected by people who know you.
It would be nice if the clown’s features were as clear as those of a real one. I tried the ‘transformation’ skill behind a tree. And then I tried to see the result.
“Ah, I forgot the mirror…….”
I can’t check. I don’t know how it went. Hah, ……, when I thought I should go back to the inn.
“Oi, what are you doing here at this hour? I thought you’d left by now.”
A man I didn’t know spoke to me. Oh no, he knows the clown guy!
“Y-yeah. I had some business,” I said, trying to cover it up.
“Tomorrow will be the final touch. Everything’s perfect, right?”
What’s he talking about? That clown did say something about a big show tomorrow.
“Yeah, no problem.”
I don’t know what he meant, but …….
“Okay, don’t mess up. I’m looking forward to seeing the amazed faces of the people of Royal Capital,” he grinned and walked away.
His face had a very bad smile, I thought.
(Sorry, clown guy. ……)
If it was some kind of important message or something, I don’t know, but it seems like it was just a confirmation, and it should be okay …….I hope.
“Let’s go back now.”
I released my “Transformation” skill and went back to the inn.
Let’s not get carried away with the idea of turning into a stranger, I thought.
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