Chapter 261: A highschool boy talking with flowers might have his Affection Rating endangered from another angle?
Translator: “Pink Tea” Editor: ”Weasalopes/ryunakama” Proofreading: “Reader A? Kind of? Maybe?”
Chapter 261: A highschool boy talking with flowers might have his Affection Rating endangered from another angle?
Day 64 – Midday, The Capital, Office
The masses started to stir in the Capital. Some few days of economical isolation threw the market into disarray, leading to a steep rise in the prices of commodities. There was an attempt to get some of the aid sent by the Merchants Confederation onto the market, but changing the flow that already gained momentum was impossible with such a small quantity of goods.
The gates cannot be unlocked. Without protection of『Ultimate Lock』we won’t be able to endure armies of the Church. Not only do they overwhelm us both in quantity and quality of magic tools, but they hold the advantage even in troop numbers.
「A fortress-like store was built near the city. The name is『Souvenir Store, Capital Outskirts Branch, Kind of?』, supposedly a branch store that was built to supply the Frontier’s magic stones to the Capital under the permit from His Excellency Acting King Musjiks-sama. How should we handle it?」
That Royal Prince succeeded in establishing a supply of magic stones? Even if this is only as a stopgap measure, being able to obtain magic stones should benefit both the Kingdom and the Church, however, if bought up here and then sent to the Confederation, it will serve not only as a business opportunity, but also as a bargaining chip. If the Frontier holds out it might even become a trump card. I don’t know who will profit from this, but the one to obtain them ahead of the others will definitely be at an advantage.
「Begin negotiations for the purchase of magic stones on behalf of the Kingdom, don’t let them sell elsewhere. Buy up their stock at the lowest price possible. …A souvenir store, you said?」
「Yes. From the Frontier’s specialty mushrooms and magic stones to foodstuff and sundries, the assortment of goods is even more diverse than that of the Capital, and all of it is of outstanding quality, is what reports say.」
Perhaps it could alleviate the deficit we have. Unlike theories would have it, emotions of the people cannot be controlled. That’s why a new store with plentiful goods could be useful to change the overall mood. It will eat into the riches of the Capital, but we don’t have other solutions available, and if we can gain access to the supply of magic stones, then there is no need for interference, rather, we should extend our protection to them.
「What is the Prince doing? It’s going to become a battle against time from here on, but what is he doing?」
「The Prince is holding a meeting with the nobles of the Capital, trying all possible means to win their support.」
Unless he takes half, no, at least a third of the Kingdom, the Confederation is going to abandon and discard him like a sacrificial pawn, and it will be all over. This is a critical moment.
He is merely desperate in his sly attempts at self-preservation, but we have no choice but to believe that he is still better than that pig, the First Prince. The Royal Prince might have noble aspirations, but in terms of ability he is a master at making things worse. No other options exist. Even so, the Second Prince cannot be trusted. His backing is way too shady. Poor-thought cooperation might end up with us becoming subordinates of the Confederation. But we have to protect the Capital, the people and the King are within its walls.
Indeed, only the Confederation is capable of keeping the Church in check. As long as the only path to survival lies in between those two powers, there is no other choice but to slip through that gap, no matter how narrow it might be.
「That souvenir store has mushrooms in stock?!」
「Yes, they seem to be available for purchase.」
If we obtain even low-grade mushrooms, the King’s illness might be cured. It’s not the situation where we can afford the luxury of demanding the highest quality possible, but I don’t want to let go of that gleam of hope.
「Lead me there. I will go personally. For escort, a few skilled soldiers will do.」
「Understood, it will be arranged immediately.」
Grasping at straws, huh. Even if the King recovers, the question of successor will remain. But with time, perhaps the still very young Third Prince or others might gain supporters and show talent. At the very least, there is a chance. And if the King makes a complete recovery, it could be possible to fully overturn the situation. Although the current situation is the result of our overreliance on the King, we can’t help but rely on the King again.
Even so, this is no different than asking for a miracle, but I have no desire to pray to God, so I’d rather put my hopes on the souvenir store’s mushrooms.
I had previously given up on obtaining mushrooms of the Frontier, but as things are at the moment, we shouldn’t be picky about quality and take a quantity approach… Even if they don’t have a large number in stock, as long as an order can be placed, a chance will still remain.
But they are expensive. Even if they have mushrooms of high quality, they will cost a terrific sum of money. I shouldn’t hold excessive expectations, but just in case, let’s take some of the family heirlooms with me. A hope is a luxury too, but one can’t help but dream of a miracle when a sliver of a chance presents itself, as improbable as it might be.
「Everything is ready.」
「Good, lead the way.」
There is a crowd right outside the capital. A swarm of people. Nothing short of a horde is surrounding the store.
Did citizens leave the Capital? We would be doomed if the enemy attacked right now.
「Should we clear the premises of the people? Lining up will take longer than a while.」
「You should not. Let us join the line. If the people of the Capital can find relief in this, then getting in their way is boorish.」
The Frontier is dear to the hearts of the people of the Kingdom. They definitely would want to take House Omui’s side.
The lineage of heroes that keeps fighting demons at the edge of the world. The Sword of the Kingdom and the Continent. Everyone knows that the Frontier are the true heroes, locked in the never-ending battle to protect the Kingdom and the Continent from monsters. And everyone is also aware of the depths of stupidity of this and other countries.
And that Frontier has now opened a souvenir shop. Moreover, if plentiful goods were brought in at the time when the people are anxious about the supplies, they certainly will feel saved by the Frontier. Getting in the way of those feelings is boorish.
If it’s a store of the Frontier, then perhaps it’s possible to contact Omui-sama through it?
No, I’m getting too hopeful. Even if it’s the Frontier’s store, there is no way a Count can be contacted that easily.
We had to spend quite a while waiting in line, but taking one step inside we were immediately met with a jaw-dropping sight, just as the rumors had it. The soldiers that came as guards are also looking around the store in a daze. Good grief, judging by their faces, if it weren’t for their guard duty, they would’ve immediately dashed to look around the store. They seem to be unable to take their eyes off the goods, so they must really want to go.
「Oh my? Terrysel-sama, welcome. Would you like a hamburger? It’s delicious?」
Someone suddenly called out to me, but I don’t have acquaintances in the Frontier, nor should there be anyone who knows my face… Eh?
「Y-Y-You are Meriel-sama… Right? Why is the young lady of the Count’s House, the Princess of the Frontier, Meriel-sama, working as a shop assistant?! Are you aware of your posi… Eh? 」
The daughter of the God of War, The Twin-Sword Princess, the Frontier Princess, Meriel Shim Omui, just as I was to state my opinion on the Young Lady of the Frontier, who is even praised in songs, working in a souvenir store as a salesgirl, Meriel-sama made a small gesture, pointing in a certain direction?
Instinctively turning my gaze in the direction she was pointing… I saw a salesgirl, who looked exactly like the currently missing Princess Shariceres di Diorer, lining up the merchandise? No, I know who that actually is. It is the Princess herself, but why are two of the strongest and most beautiful maidens both working in a souvenir store? Then, looking around, I shudder, all of the shop assistants are peerless beauties… And all of them are unbelievably strong! This is not a souvenir store, this is an elite force, a band of knights each matching thousands of soldiers!
The reception office, to which I was led, is decorated with gorgeous and gaudy ornaments, which yet retained the sense of harmony and elegance, outclassing even the Royal Palace’s reception room, reserved to receive royals of various countries.
And the so called hamburgers that Meriel-sama was selling were delicious. While they had a strong and intense taste, the seasoning was in perfect harmony.
A harmony. This is a clear proof of profound intelligence, refined character, and accumulated education. The one possessing all of those is a leader capable of seeing the world from above. The one capable of seeing the big picture from minute details.
Who is the person that made those?
「Sir Terrysel, what is the Capital’s situation? What about my Father’s condition, and other countries’ movements, and the nobles’ factions and also… What is going on with the Monkey?」
「Princess, I’m glad that you are safe, the Capital is quiet for now, but finances are being controlled by the people from the Confederation. The Theocracy and the Confederation are still probing each other. The nobles of the Capital are still waiting, unsure where the wind blows.The Monkey… The Prince is currently negotiating with nobles. And there was no change to the King’s condition. I heard that mushrooms can be obtained here, and came to make a purchase.」
「I see. You have my gratitude for my father, don’t worry about the mushrooms. I will definitely get the ones of the highest quality.」
She managed to come back. Princess General and Royal Sword Princess, Her Highness Princess Shariceres. This will get the Army to unite. The First, The Second Divisions, and Royal Guard are for certain. The Third Division will likely split in the nobles’ faction and common soldiers. And the presence of Miss Meriel must mean that God of War Mellotosam-sama and the Frontier Army are on this side too. The hopes and dreams that I’ve abandoned to focus on the real picture to make sure I’ll make the most optimal decisions, were all inside the souvenir store.
But Omui-sama cannot leave the Frontier. Forces of the First Prince are still marching there.
And mercenaries and special forces sent by the Confederation are in the Capital. If they were to find out about this place Her Highness’ life would be in danger, at the same time, the Capital and the Royal Palace are even more dangerous. Were the Prince to be notified about this, the information might leak to the Confederation. She might be safe with this force and the fortress-like building, but acting as shop assistant despite the threat of assassination… Is this why she wasn’t noticed yet?
「Welcome to our humble establishment~, I guess? Err, a big shot from the Second Division? Big shots tend to talk to no end, so I’m not good with those, a lewd person would be another story, with those I could talk for a long while, but the one that seemed to be on the closest wavelength so far was Rafflesia, but that’s not even a person! Or rather, it can’t even speak! We almost became BFFs as fellow tentacle buddies, but the very presence of a tentacle buddy will send Affection Rating-san on an endless Full-Stealth mission from which it won’t come back? Anyway, welcome? Kind of?」
Being familiar with aristocratic society, very particular about the hierarchy, and belonging to the strictly vertically structured society that is an army, I naturally understood. This person is a big shot. But he opened with『Big shots tend to talk to no end, so I’m not good with those』? Is he perhaps concealing his identity? But this presence and dignity that he demonstrates, standing so casually in between two noble ladies, as if having them waiting upon him, and the young ladies’ position, as if placing themselves a step behind him. Who is he?
「Nice to meet you, My name is Terrysel, I am entrusted with the position of the Commander of the Second Division. I’m truly grateful to be welcomed like this despite my abrupt visit, and being in military service, I’m by no means a big shot, so no need for titles or formalities.」
The status overshadowing that of the Frontier Princess, even praised as the Flower of the Frontier; and a Princess of Royal Blood, the Princess General and the Royal Sword Princess. The black-haired, black-eyed boy, clad in a black mantle, that if put nicely is simplistic, but in all actuality is shabby and worn out, took a seat to the opposite of me.
「The Confederation? They are in the Capital, right? Do you know how far they want to go? Rather than their objectives, more like their aims? Also, can you tell anything about hidden aces, trump cards, or valuables?」
He didn’t reveal his identity, but the Princess told me to act as usual, is he operating incognito after all? Which reminds me, those beautiful maidens also had black and glossy hair like a wing of the raven and eyes dark like obsidian. However, I’ve never heard of any black-haired and dark-eyed people, much less their nation? But he is definitely not an ordinary man, it is like this even with the Princess right beside him. Even if we take other Royals, the Royal Prince or the Monkey cannot even be used for a comparison. He is of a completely different caliber.
Treating him simply as an enigmatic young man, I answer his questions, taking care not to sound discourteous. To which—
「Then how about the frontal approach? If considering underhanded measures there are thieves, assassins, and also kidnapping not out of the question too? Aah, kidnapping sounds sorta fun? I’m yet to have even one of these. An abduction by a beautiful female kidnapper, followed by a tempting alluring enticement! I’ll go and get kidnapped real quick! Where? Where can I find beautiful female kidnappers? The ransom will be PRICELESS~!」
While he may appear to be jesting, playing a clown, glimpses of wisdom, sharpness, and keen mind are peeking through. In this short conversation, he already grasped movements of the Confederation’s agents from that little amount of information.
An assassination or a kidnapping. Judging from the personnel on site, and taking their possible goals in consideration, it should be either of these, but it’s still perfectly possible for intelligence agents to steal valuables too.
He seems to be from quite a faraway country, a member of so-called『Highschool Boys』, but looking at this store’s merchandise and the clothes on the young ladies, I can tell that they are above the Kingdom. Even the Confederation and the Theocracy might fall behind them in status.
Cultured, highly intellectual, and way too well educated. He is clearly not an ordinary person, but I can’t grasp who he is.
Did something come into motion? Something tremendously large?