Chapter 316: Creeping Shadow of Death
「Alright, I’ll read it.」
Celia opens up the urgent letter sent by Leopolt.
It’s a letter he made an effort to send me, so I also called Tristan, Polte, and Myla for an emergency meeting.
If he talks about how delicious his dinner was yesterday, I’ll rush over and steal Nina from him.
「It seems there is an outbreak of a disease in Vandolea. The sickness is spreading throughout their entire country and it’s highly likely that it has already made its way into the temporarily occupied territory as well. It’s possible that it will soon spread to our land too. Is what was written.」
「Another troubling issue.」
Polte holds her head in concern, while Tristan sighs.
To domestic affairs officials, disease is the seed for worry.
It usually originates in the unclean slums of a city, then spreads like an annoying weed.
If left alone, it could take over an entire city, inviting complaints from the citizens, stagnating trade, and reducing the overall energy of the region.
「Considering the situation of the refugees, a disease could have been expected……」
「In any case, we can’t leave this alone. If the refugees are infected with the disease, the residents will instantly increase their resistance against them. If you’re sending a rearguard to maintain order, do you want me to take command?」
Myla is already willing to handle it.
「Wait, everything hasn’t been read yet. So what is he requesting for?」
The army led by Leopolt has military doctors and they have a certain amount of medicine.
Does he want more medicine because they don’t have enough or does he want reinforcements like Myla brought up?
Celia quickly reads the rest of the letter.
「The countermeasure for the disease is…… eh!? T-this is……」
Celia’s eyes open wide and she stops speaking.
I snatch the letter from her.
「Let’s see here. “Requesting permission to lock down national borders immediately and get rid of the groups infected with the disease” ……what is this guy thinking?」
I left Leopolt in charge of the army for the purposes of intimidation and protection.
The refugees might be infected, but he doesn’t have to go so far as killing them.
「No, that’s not all. He didn’t write “requesting permission to get rid of the refugees infected with the disease”. The way he wrote that, he’s implying that if the disease spreads to the residents of our territory, he would also kill entire villages of them.」
「Has he gone insane?」
He might have lost his mind after Nina got stolen by other guys.
「There’s more. It looks like he’s written about the details of the disease.」
Celia starts reading from the second letter.
「The name of the disease is fire pox. 90% of those infected die within three days. The speed at which it spreads is extremely fast, going from one infected to a hundred in three days. Not even within a month, all of Vandolea has been infected. And……」
Celia adds that all sorts of medicine was used with no cure found.
Everyone, including me, goes silent.
「Let me see that please.」
Tristan and Polte takes the letter from Celia to confirm it for themselves.
「If this is from refugee testimonies, wouldn’t it be a bit of an exaggeration?」
What Myla said is reasonable.
Untrained soldiers and the populace tend to overstate what they see.
However, I don’t believe that’s the case. It’s hard to believe Leopolt would use unsubstantiated rumors as a basis for his report.
「No, the source of information comes from a domestic affairs official from Vandolea who escaped and mixed in with the refugees……moreover, he’s the one who administered the countermeasures for the disease. Well, I don’t think that person would be presumptuous enough to believe random stories.」
Tristan is making a serious face for once.
Let’s confirm this right away.
「Call the messenger from Malt over.」
If my gut feeling is right, the pressing matter should be the same issue we are facing.
Celia stands up and quickly runs to the room next door where the messenger is waiting.
The messenger from Malt has an unhappy face. I understand that he’s angry for being kept waiting.
But Leopolt also sent an emergency letter and I felt it was more apt to address that issue first. Forgive me.
「I will now present Her Majesty Celestina’s message――――」
「Is it about the nasty disease?」
The messenger stops mid-sentence after I bring up the topic.
The disease is attacking the south border as if chasing after the refugees.
Which means Malt, who is south of us, is naturally encountering the same problem.
This confirms how widespread the disease is.
「Why do you…… don’t tell me, has it spread to Hardlett-sama’s territory as well!?」
The messenger bends forward in panic.
I don’t have reason to hide it from him.
「No, not yet. However it has reached our national borders. How about Malt?」
The messenger slowly and thoroughly reports the situation on his side.
According to him, cases of the disease was already confirmed within their territory.
It originated from a group of refugees who crossed the border a week prior, and it was tragic how they all died, but soon after, those who looked after them, including the doctor, and those that buried them got infected and fell ill.
「The number of cases grew quickly from a handful to several hundred, and there was nowhere near enough medicine or doctors. Knowing how fast it spreads, the entire country would be infected in no time! And thus, that is why I have come to request Hardlett-sama’s assistance…… I also present the official letter from Her Majesty Celestina.」
The letter from Celestina handed to me by the messenger has neat letters written in simple sentences you would expect from a child. She wrote things like “lots of people died after getting sick”, “everyone is sad”, “please help us”.
「I have definitely received the letter. We just so happened to be discussing this issue. We’ll come up with a reply soon so have something to eat in the meantime.」
After the messenger stepped away, everyone’s faces became even more serious.
It is clear that the severe illness is rampant.
「If it’s true…… then we’re in trouble. With a 90% death rate and no cure, this is something exactly out of a nightmare.」
Myla’s looking pretty serious too.
「There are legends where a vicious disease that caused an entire nation of people to perish in the past.」
Tristan agrees with multiple uh-huh’s. It doesn’t seem like he’ll take advantage of the confusion and go to sleep today.
「I’ve only heard stories about such diseases, what should I…… er if I recall, that textbook contains something ……」
Polte is visibly flustered.
She’s acting just like a rookie commander. I feel bad, this matter might be too heavy of a burden for her.
「I guess we have to wake Adolph. This is no time to be bald.」
I thought it was perfect timing to let him rest, but now things are different.
Even Tristan has a serious look, and the horrible feeling I got before getting Leopolt’s letter is continuing.
I don’t have evidence, but something is telling me the actual situation is worse than we think.
「I’ll go slap him awake.」
Polte looks on in concern as I head to Adolph’s room.
When I reach the door to his room, I encounter Natia.
She’s growling with some strange colored medicine in her hand.
「W-what’s wrong? You have a scrunched up expression……」
「We have a little bit of a situation. I need to wake Adolph up immediately. I’m sorry, but we can’t wait for your hair-growing potion.」
「Eh!? I’m close to completing it though.」
Natia is holding a bottle of black medicine.
In the other hand is a normal rabbit.
「I poured that hair loss agent on this rabbit’s head to turn it into a hairless rabbit. And then I applied this on it.」
I look at the rabbit’s head.
I don’t see any particular abnormalities, just the rabbit’s usual brown fur.
「Ooh, it grew back!」
「Out of the four rabbits I tested it on, hair grew back on three……」
I take the bottle of black medicine from Natia.
「If it worked three out of four times, it’s practically complete. Let’s pour it on Adolph.」
I was going to force him to wake up, but the root of the problem will go away with this.
When I open the door, Natia mumbles something.
「The one failure was…」
Of course, nothing is going to be perfect. Still, the percentage of success is high enough.
Natia is such a perfectionist.
I jump into the room while she is still talking, though the door closes behind me, preventing me from hearing her.
「The one failure turned the rabbit into a hairy furball――――」
I’ve entered Adolph’s room without knocking.
He’s laying in bed, staring languidly at the ceiling. He doesn’t have a single strand of hair on his head.
「Adolph, this is no time to be sleeping!」
As he’s sleeping like a soldier, the first thing I do is pour that potion on his head.
I don’t know the proper dosage so I use the whole bottle.
Adolph springs up.
「T-that was cold! What are you doing all of a sudden!?」
I ignore Adolph’s protest. He’s unexpectedly energetic, which is a good thing.
「Take a look at this first.」
I show him the letter from Leopolt and the letter from Malt.
Reading those two letters should be enough to wake him up completely.
「Going out of your way to show this to me…… are you trying to finish me off?」
Adolph makes a doubtful face and then I check the documents I handed him.
「Sorry, I made a mistake. I wanted to show you this.」
I accidentally showed him the blueprints for the new theater.
「This is……! This is no joke. To be sure, this is not a false report, right?」
「I didn’t personally see it so I don’t know the details. However Leopolt and Malt reported this at the same time. That should say something.」
Adolph stands up from bed and washes his face with the water from a jug.
I guess he wants to feel awake now.
「I can’t be sleeping at a time like this. I will get ready right away.」
「Ooh, I’ll call Polte and Gretel. You need the information missed during your rest, right?」
Adolph shakes his head.
「That’s not necessary. Polte-san told me about the situation here and there so I have a general understanding.」
Oh, he got the report from Polte already?
He’s surprisingly spirited. I could have woken him up earlier then.
「Are you embarrassed?」
「No, I’m not! Anyways, I can’t sleep now. I’ll change immediately.」
Adolph takes off his sleepwear.
I’m not interested in a man stripping, so I proceed to step out of the room.
Adolph pats his head sadly while changing.
「It’s bothering you after all?」
You don’t have to worry though. I slathered your head with plenty of hair growth medicine.
Your head will be full of fluffy hair in no time.
Natia approaches me as I exit the room.
「D-did you really use that medicine?」
「Yeah, now he’ll have thick head of hair.」
I return the empty bottle to Natia.
「You used the entire bottle!? If it results in a bad outcome, what am I going to do……」
I return to the office first and wait for Adolph with Celia and the others.
For some reason, the pale-faced Natia also followed along.
「I’m coming in.」
Adolph’s voice can be heard at the same time we heard the knock.
It really has been a while since we’ve heard his voice in the office.
I grant the permission for him to enter while sipping on the tea Celia prepared.
「Pardon me. Getting right to business if you don’t mind, regarding the countermeasures for the disease……」
As soon as Adolph steps into the room, the tea I just filled my mouth with came leaking back out.
I end up coughing from being burnt by the hot tea.
「Aegir-sama, keep it together! Adolph, are you trying to take revenge by assassinating Aegir-sama!?」
Celia rubs my back while staring daggers at Adolph.
Tristan holds up his tea and then freezes.
It hasn’t been long since he woke up and that barren land on his head has turned into a lush forest.
「G-good. It worked. I wouldn’t know what to do if he turned into a hairball……」
Natia exhales a sigh of relief, then falls wearily on the sofa.
「Look at your head.」
Adolph looks puzzled. He came in a hurry so he probably didn’t look at a mirror.
I put the office mirror in front of him.
His elegant hair is like strands of silk.
The beautifully wavy locks that reached down to his waist are like a work of art.
「Luxuriant…… ahem, there are more important matters at hand.」
Adolph clears his throat and then takes a seat.
He looked refreshed, like the evil spirit possessing his body was extracted.
Now, his ability should go up several levels.
「What pretty hair…… I’m jealous.」
「Kuh, going outside a lot will surely hurt!」
Polte and Myla seem frustrated.
Celia also plays with the ends of her hair, so I ruffle it up.
「Wah! It’s all messy now!」
That’s it for entertainment. Let’s get back to business.
「So Adolph, how would you respond to this?」
「It’s been a while since I’ve had to come up with measures for disease. Then again, something this brutal never happened before……」
Adolph does some thinking before speaking.
「First we need to get a more accurate understanding of the present situation. A base should be setup on-site and Leopolt-san and I should camp there.」
Celia tries to copy Myla by folding her arms, but she doesn’t have the same gravitas and looks cute instead.
「A place around the city temporarily occupied…… Kisatto, should be fine. The road is maintained there, so it should be easy to transport reinforcements or supplies from Rafen.」
Without delay, Celia takes out a map and points to Kisatto. I’m grateful how thorough she is.
「That’s pretty far north. You wanted to be near the site so wouldn’t it be better if the base was closer to the borders?」
There are cities further south which the road passes through and the base could be made in Malt territory too.
However Adolph shakes his head. His flowing hair is honestly irritating.
「No, Kisatto is the most suitable. For the headquarters of disease measures, it has to be a certain distance to the rear. If we go too deep, it’s possible the base will get caught in the calamity. I’m not saying this because I want to protect myself, it’s that everything will fall apart if the people who deal with the disease gets infected. Unlike war, the disease can’t be blocked off by a spear wall.」
If Adolph says so, there’s no need to comment any further.
I said the burden was too heavy for Polte, but really it’s even heavier for me.
It’s best if I let him act freely.
「Adolph, I’ll leave you in charge of everything related with that matter. If you deem it necessary, carry it out as if you had my permission.」
You can take Tristan with you too.
「Are we delaying the measures for the refugees we already accepted?」
「Is that more important than dealing with the disease?」
Adolph seems surprised at my words, though he ultimately agrees.
「Besides, Polte worked hard while you were sleeping. I will fill the hole left by Tristan, so everything will be fine.」
What’s with that anxious look, even Polte and Celia are making the same face.
「Anyways, you will work to the best of your ability. The things you need will be gathered. Use my name as you please.」
Adolph stares at me for a moment and then smiles.
「Understood. Then I will make sure my efforts do not betray Hardlett-sama’s expectations.」
Adolph leaves the room to make preparations to head out.
「Yeah, be careful you don’t die.」
By the way, his waist long hair extended up until his ankles while we were talking.
I might have used too much of that tonic. Adolph’s fluttery provocation is more annoying than I thought.
Polte seems to be restless when I look at her.
「U-um, I just wonder if I can be of any use to Adolph-san……」
It looks like she wants to follow him. But she can’t.
「If you leave as well, Rafen will become a mess.」
「But right now, other things are more important……」
The usually timid Polte is objecting for once. Still, she absolutely can’t go.
To be honest, the refugees are a secondary matter.
The base will be in a safe spot, but will be in undoubtedly more danger than Rafen.
I’m not going to send a woman into such a dangerous location.
「Not to worry, Adolph will do a great job. Leopolt and Tristan will be there too.」
If all of them get infected, that’s the end of the line.
My only choice would be to take the girls and run.
「Be at ease and stay in Rafen―――― owww.」
As I hug Polte’s shoulder to comfort her and put my hand on her ass, Myla and Celia pinch me.
Polte also looks up at me with a troubled expression.
「This makes me look like a molester.」
「That’s not wrong though.」
「There’s a limit to how lustful you can be!」
「You’ve said it now. Take this.」
I grab Myla’s ass with my left hand and Celia’s ass with my right.
As I play around with the two girls, Polte stares uneasily at the door Adolph left from.
–Third Person POV–
Malt Kingdom: Biado. Palace.
「Funii…… is the disease still spreading? Are a lot of people still suffering?」
Celestina, plopped on the throne, tearfully asks one of the ministers.
The maids and imperial guards in the area also have moist eyes as if to sympathize with the crying King.
「Unfortunately, the issue has not been resolved yet.」
The minister could not hide his sad face as he reports the news.
「I heard 50 people died last week…… did even more people die this week?」
Celestina asks fearfully.
The minister opens his mouth and holds his tongue for a moment before speaking.
「Your Majesty, various medicines were used with little to no effect, and another 50 people died.」
The tears welling in Celestina’s eyes fall to the floor.
「I’m going there after all! If I go, the people suffering from the illness might cheer up a little bit!」
「You must not, Your Majesty!」
「It will be a disaster if it spreads to Your Majesty!」
The maids and ministers stop her.
「I don’t want to be the only one staying safe in the palace while counting the number of deaths of my people!」
Celestina’s tantrum is met with rebuke from one old knight.
「Your Majesty! Please restrain yourself!!」
Everyone, including Celestina, stiffens after the roaring voice was unexpectedly used to address the King.
The old knight continues without much concern.
「I apologize for being rude. Please consider the consequences of Your Majesty falling ill. Your Majesty will spread that sickness to all those precious to Your Majesty.」
「Uuu…… it pains my heart.」
The old knight nods.
「Right, and Your Majesty is precious to all the citizens of this country. If Your Majesty becomes sick, those suffering from the disease will be in more pain.」
Celestina looks downward dejectedly and adjusts herself on the throne.
「Then I have no choice but to sit here forever?」
The elderly knight shakes his head and answers the saddened girl.
「There is something only Your Majesty can do. Why not ask Lord Hardlett to provide support?」
Celestina’s tear-stained face seems to soften slightly at the mention of that name.
「Because the spread of disease was so sudden, we have a shortage of medicine. A letter has already been sent, however if Your Majesty takes it upon herself to request him, we will likely receive more support. That should save the people living in Malt.」
Celestina wipes her tears and jumps down from the throne.
She stumbles and falls, but stands back up with the help of her maids.
「In that case, I will also do it! I will go to where Big brother is and get medicine!」
「That’s right, Your Majesty, the matter requires urgent action. Making arrangements immediately is the correct thing to do.」
After the elderly knight’s comments, Celestina runs off to her room to make preparations for her trip.
Those before the throne remain silent briefly.
「Knight Grayne, sorry for the trouble.」
The minister pats the elderly knight’s shoulder.
「Don’t be, I’m ashamed to have uttered such rude words to Her Majesty.」
The old knight doesn’t lift his head.
「It can’t be helped. The situation is dire after all.」
The knight asks the minister a question.
「Last week was 50 people, how many this week?」
「50 people, the same as what was reported to Her Majesty…… with that said, the total death toll has already passed a thousand. Lying to Her Majesty like that makes me guilty of high treason.」
Nobody present blamed the minister for doing so.
「Speaking of, Her Majesty would never leave Malt. After all, she is a kind individual who puts the people above all else.」
「Indeed, we cannot let her die no matter what.」
Not even two weeks passed since the invasion of the disease into Malt and it has already arrived near Biado.
In order to allow Celestina to run to a safe place, they went as far as lying and tricking her.
「Lord Hardlett is a reliable person. He will surely protect Her Majesty.」
「You’re right, the country might perish but as long as Her Majesty remains healthy, Malt can be revived once again.」
The minister writes up a letter.
Eventually, the cheerful voice and radiant smile appears.
That beaming smile clearly affected all those present.
「Ooh, Your Majesty. Such an adorable look!」
「Lord Hardlett will surely grant you his aid! I have written the types of medicine required in this letter. Please carry it with you.」
「Umu! I will be back soon with Big brother’s medicine! Until then, do your best everyone!」
Celestina leaves the palace accompanied by Monica.
The minister, elderly knight and maids all continue waving until she was no longer in sight.
Celestina travels north, in search of nonexistent medicine.
Side Story: Tragedy.
「Huh, what is that medicine, mom?」
「Ufufu, I wonder.」
Mel shows Kuu a tiny bottle.
「Isn’t that…… the medicine that made Adolph’s head all smooth?」
「That’s right. I asked Natia-san to give me some.」
Mel replies as she opens the lid of the bottle.
Kuu instinctively takes a step back.
「Wah! Be careful! You’ll become bald, you know!?」
The mother smiles at Kuu’s alarmed reaction and soaks a brush in the concoction.
「Don’t worry. Apparently, this is a powerful hair loss agent that removes hair wherever it is applied. That’s why I’ll use it here……」
Mel draws the brush over the areas where women don’t need hair to be.
「Here or here…… Aegir-san will surely like it if those places are nice and smooth.」
Mel offers the brush to the girl.
「I-I’m fine. My hair is not particularly thick or anything. Wait, mom isn’t really thick anywhere either!」
As the two of them fuss excitedly, Natia’s face turns pale outside the room.
「I-I made a mistake again…… that’s not the hair loss one, it’s the hair growth one…… oh no…… what should I do?」
Not long later, Mel’s scream resounds throughout the mansion.
「Is Mel-san in her room today too? If she isn’t feeling well, shall we call a doctor?」
Kuu and Ruu frantically reject Nonna’s idea.
「No, it’s nothing serious! It’s not really a sickness!」
「R-right! Hair just gre――」「Don’t say anything unnecessary!」「Abbghgh.」
「……fumu, maybe I should check on how she’s doing.」
「Y-you can’t! Aegir-san’s not allowed to come!」
「If Aegir-san saw it, Mom said she would kill he――」「I told you not to say anything!」「Aabhbhbh.」
Mel didn’t come out of her room for an entire week.
Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 24 years old. Summer.
Status: Goldonia Kingdom Margrave. Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area. Mountain Legend. Friend of the Dwarves. Friend of the King of Aless. Dragon Slayer Hero.
Elf Mediator. Sex King of White City.
Citizens: 190,000. Refugees: 27,000.
Major Cities – Rafen: 32,000. Lintbloom: 5000. Special Cultivation District: 13,000.
Army: 10,500 men
Infantry: 5700, Cavalry: 1000, Archers: 800, Bow Cavalry: 500, Cannoneers: 300 Temporary Refugee Guards: 2200
Cannons: 26, Large Cannons: 20, Dwarven Cannons: 16, Chariots: 10
Reserve Army: 2000.
Security Unit: 150
Nonna (left alone), Carla (concubine), Mel (dense forest), Miti (concubine), Maria (concubine), Catherine (concubine)
Melissa (lover, expecting), Kuu (lover), Ruu (lover), Mireille (lover), Pipi (lover)
Casie (satisfied), Rita (head maid), Yoguri (lobbying), Alice (ass lover), Leah (lover)
Marceline (lover), Daughters – Stephanie (lover), Bridget (lover), Felicie (lover)
Natia (adventuring elf), Sofia (lover), Sekrit (loved one)
Sebastian (butler), Dorothea (capital mansion supervisor), Claudia (freeloader), Clara (female attendant)
Brynhildr (vampire), Lammy (garden caretaker), Alraune (tree), Mirumi (mermaid)
Pochi (giant lizard), Messerschmitt (worthless dog), Schwartz (horse), Felteris (escaped)
Celia (adjutant), Myla (security officer), Marta (aide), Irijina (commander), Luna (commander)
Gido (escort unit), Polte (refugee case worker), Gretel (happy)
Leopolt (to Kisatto), Tristan (to Kisatto), Adolph (long hair, to Kisatto)
Claire & Laurie (political strife), Lilian (actress), Kroll (servant), Alma (servant)
Assets: 68,490 (Kisatto temporary base -1500)
(Grant Money –unopened)
Sexual Partners: 542, children who have been born: 66 + 555 fish