Chapter 78 – Earl Oddball

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We headed towards the mansion of the feudal lord by riding a carriage together with Priestess Marin Peradas.
The priestess explains.
“The feudal lord’s mansion stands in the north of Holkerbaum. It is in the stylish district, Hightown, which is located on top of a hill, and where many newly rich people live. Although the buildings aren’t large, they have been refined by the addition of gardens.” She explained while smiling.
At the moment the priestess finished her explanation, the carriage stopped with good timing.

“It looks like we have arrived. Let’s get off.” (Marin)

“Yea.” (Shuuya)

The priestess and I climbed off the carriage with its difference in elevation.
Right after descending, a big gate became visible. Ram figures made out of brass, looking as if they are going to move any time soon, stand out on both sides of the gate.
Ahead of that way we could see the guards’ office.
Did they confirm us getting off the carriage? Largely-built guards come approaching from that office.

“This place is the feudal lord’s mansion. What’s your business?”

A guard asks in a practised manner.

“I’m Peradas. We have an appointed meeting with the feudal lord.” (Marin)

Since the priestess is always coming to petition, the guard’s attitude is gentle.

“Ah~, you seem to be that priestess. Please go ahead inside.”

Even with Rollo and me next to her, we advance on the grounds after being easily allowed in with a feeling of Peradas being let through due to being well-known.
However, let alone having stylish parts, isn’t this a considerable size?
There is still 100 meters from the gate to the mansion?
All over there are flower beds spreading out on the lawn, which had been maintained on both sides of the stony path, that continues until the entranceway. Oblong garden lanterns, which cast a pale light that dots the garden sparsely, create an unique atmosphere.
The sculpture of a young lady, which is offering a prayer, was created out of one huge natural rock and was placed in the centre of the lawn on the left side.
The scattered, pale light of the garden lanterns has different shapes, but I remember that they were also installed below the hill of the Sol family in the Whirlpool Forest of Demon Fog.
Once we progressed on the stony path, I was able to grasp the details of the mansion where the Earl lives.
It’s an elegant, two-storied building with a horizontal wideness.
White stones and white birch are its main building material.
At the front there is an entranceway with a roof terrace, which was supported by two spiralling pillars, on top of it.
The priestess and me head to the inner entrance door, which is located below the terrace, after climbing a low set of stairs.
The entrance door has a greenish brown colour which is enclosed by dark brown with conspicuous curly grains.
Since it’s a craftsmanship that surrounds an emblem believed to be the Earl’s family crest, which was put up in the centre of the entrance door as decoration, that is showing the design of a gallant woman and animals in a greenish brown tinge, the entrance door is overflowing with a feeling of high-classiness.
Given that the entire building is close to the white colour of a Deutzia flower, this greenish brown and dark brown entranceway looked strangely nice.
Even the door knockers have the extravagance of being golden craftsmanship.
While checking the touch of a curly grain changing from greenish brown to dark brown, I push open both doors and step inside.
Although we haven’t reached a hall yet, the inside is spacious.
The floor was covered by stone which can be considered being natural marble.
Reflecting the light from the sky, the floor’s surface is sparkling.
When I walked on it, I ended up feeling unusually nervous as the floor appears to be slippery.
Close to the entrance, on the left and right side, there are small rooms. Servants are cutting vegetables on top of a cooking table in the right room.
In the middle there were wide stairs which continued to the second floor.
On the left and right side of the central stairway passages are apparently continuing towards the inside as well.
At that point an elderly men, who’s likely a butler, appeared.

“Priestess-sama, please come this way.”

Butler-san follows the passage on the left side without climbing the stairs.
At its end there was a waiting room.
The priestess and me sat down on the waiting room’s high-class sofa and waited.

“Well then, please wait here for a little moment.”

Butler-san, who guided us here, leaves after bowing his head.
It was just for a bit but Priestess Marin, sitting next to me, began to talk.

“Shuuya-san, since the petition has been delivered in advance, we should be let in right away.” (Marin)

“Got it. I will wait.” (Shuuya)

“Priestess-sama, please, this way.”

Just as the priestess said, the butler-san returned immediately.
He resumes guiding us. After being led through a hallway and going through several doors, an imposing, great door was reflected in our line of sight.
Is the room behind that great door the place where the Earl lives?
Gatekeeping soldiers were on standby on both sides of the huge door.
Their appearance is that of mercenaries. Dressing formally in leather armour with light brown rivets, conspicuous red cloth has been coiled around the gaps at the arms and curved swords are hanging at their waists.
Since there’s a red feather crest displayed on their chests, it’s probably their characteristic logo.

“Earl-sama is waiting in this room here, well then.”

Butler-san turns back and withdraws.
Together with the priestess, we advanced to the front of the door.
Thereupon, one of the mercenary-like gatekeepers stretches out his hand in silence.
Mine and the priestess’ movements ceased.
After watching us with a piercing look and furrowing his eyebrows in silence, as if saying “Don’t enter” any further here, he went for a body check… To make sure that we are safe?
Rollo, who hates being touched, gets down on the ground and runs away below my feet.
They are quite wary, is what I thought, but it doesn’t seem to be the case.
It appears to be only for form’s sake.
A dagger is affixed to my chest with a belt, but they didn’t confiscate it.
Does this mercenary just want to touch bodies? I’m suspicious of him having ulterior motives.
Though it didn’t feel like us being safe had been confirmed, the large door was opened and we proceeded inside.
That person is the feudal lord and an Earl?
A fat Caucasian. Although there’s still distance left, I can grasp his roundness.
He turned his look on us from the other side of his desk used for official duties.
The fat person who can be considered to be the Earl is sitting in an armchair with a high back.
A woman with her body covered by a navy blue robe stood next to the Earl.
On the opposite side several large men, wearing mercenary clothes and hats with flashy red feathers, are staring at us with looks as if they want to coerce us.
Just like the gatekeeping soldiers who were at our sides, a red feather crest was stitched on the chests of the largely-built men.
The commander class of the same mercenary band?
Because the priestess walks ahead while gathering the looks on her, I follow her with a slight delay.
Rollo slightly showed her face from within the hood.
I walk while observing the interior of the room.
The interior design is gaudy. The room, which had decorations added on the walls and pillars, is spacious.
It’s all over decorated with furnishings which were arranged with silver and golden craftsmanship.
… How amazing. The shelves, which can be considered to be plain storing desks for exhibiting items, have glass cases.
It’s an art gallery all over. Among the items there is a special longsword, which had a threefold blade and which seemed to be a magic item, an axe, which is emitting light green light and which had magic letters engraved, a dagger, which possesses a wicked-like presence with blood sticking to its distorted shape, a long wand which has a crystal skull at its tip, an eerie item that looks like moving intestine parts, an electric fan which had small magic gem slots, a grimoire which is showing the phantom of a person, etc. The room was decorated with a great number of items.
It makes me want to steal them by opening the locks with lock-picking.
Well, I won’t do such thing. I can’t do it.
A stuffed doll that seems to be a goblin with an uncanny greenish grey skin was placed in a corner.
Though I haven’t seen such a goblin yet…
When I’m examining the various articles of rare beauty which were displayed here, the priestess bowed her head towards the Earl.
The Earl begins to speak first.

“Peradas, huh? Is it again about that large tree?” (Makfol)

“Yes.” (Marin)

“So, who’s the man, that is looking restlessly around my treasure collection, behind you?” (Makfol)

The Earl pointed at me.
I’m sorry for my curiosity having been stimulated by the treasures.

“Yes, this person is—” (Marin)

“— Earl-sama, my name is Shuuya Kagari.” (Shuuya)

Faster than the priestess, I greeted the Earl while bowing respectfully.

“Hou, so, what’s your impression after having looked around? My treasures are amazing, aren’t they? I still possess plenty besides the collection here. I was even praised by the second prince.” (Makfol)

“Oh, how admirable. Your Excellency, the Earl, must possess magnificent observation skills to see through such treasures.” (Shuuya)

It’s acceptable to flatter him here. It’s for sucking up to him.
Actually his treasures can be considered to be worthy items.

“Ooh, you understand? So, then, how his is your adventurer rank?” (Makfol)

“I’m a rank C adventurer.” (Shuuya)

“What, it’s C?” (Makfol)

The Earl looks at his secretary-like civil official with a feeling of being disappointed.

“… So, Priestess-sama, why did you bring this adventurer along for your petition?”

The beautiful civil official asked.

“Yes, I had him receive the request regarding the large tree of Holker.” (Marin)

“Hee, you accepted Peradas’ request? … I planned to fell that withered large tree though…” (Makfol)

The Earl mentions arrogantly. Thereupon I look at the Earl’s face.
His feature seem to be young for a yet long time to come. A Westerner with blonde hair… with a mushroom cut as hair style.
His eyes are blue and narrow with an impression as if they are losing to the fleshy eyelids.
The cheeks are red like apples.
And, the presence of the meat on the double chin stands out. With his clothes that are rich in colours and the protuberant fat belly, you can perfectly call him a member of the rich boy archetype.

“Lord-sama, please cease the felling. I humbly request you to do so. It’s even written down in the scriptures that the withered large tree will be revived. I have the skill for it. Besides, the large tree is a historical heritage remaining in this city. Holker’s Large Tree is said to even have something to do with the origin of this city.” (Marin)

The priestess talk while frantically trying to explain it to the Earl, but Makfol only shows a bored expression.

“I heard that before.” (Makfol)

“… Please let Shuuya-san, who is an adventurer, succeed in the request by accomplishing the revival of the withered large tree. Please, postpone the…” (Marin)

The Earl, who heard the priestess’ talk, takes out an item similar to a conductor’s stick from his pocket.

“Hmm. It’s an established fact of the scriptures, but… Bimiyal —- have you grasped the contents of the scriptures the priestess has mentioned?” (Makfol)

The Earl extends the conductor’s stick and asks the beautiful civil official with the light brown hair who wears a navy blue robe.
The name of the secretary civil official is Bimiyal?

“Yes.” (Bimiyal)

“Is there really a mention about the possibility of reviving that withered large tree?” (Makfol)

After nodding lightly, Bimiyal, who can be considered a close aide, answered the Earl.

“— I wonder about that. I feel sorry for priestess-sama, but the needed ingredients are in too distant places. Besides, if it’s really possible to revive it, why was it neglected in a withered state without anything happening for five years? I believe that’s a bit questionable.” (Bimiyal)

“So she says, but?” (Makfol)

Hearing the words of Bimiyal, the feudal lord points the point of the conductor’s stick at the priestess’ face while displaying a broad grin.

“It wasn’t neglected. My personal reason is that I wasn’t able to. I can declare that while swearing on the pride of my race of Sosari.” (Marin)

The priestess Marin Peradas holds her head high.
Stretching the buccinator muscle, which was processed in quilting, a peculiar strength entered her eyes and she conveyed a strong sense of purpose.

“Even if you refer to the Sosari… Bimiyal?” (Makfol)

The Earl shrugs his chubby shoulders.
He calls the name of his close aide Bimiyal as if telling her “You answer.”

“Haa, they are said to possess a belief resembling that of the ancient elves. Being known as race who loves the earth and flowers, the Sosari mainly believe in gods like the Plant God Sadeyula, the Earth Goddess Gaia, the spirit Holker and such. Living deep in the forest, they are an unusual race referred to as hermits of the forests.” (Bimiyal)

The close aide Bimiyal gave a well-reasoned explanation as if being a talking wikipedia.
She’s a good subordinate, that beautiful secretary-like magician, isn’t she? Really excellent eh?
I was enlightened as well.
The race of the priestess Peradas is the Sosari.
She isn’t a space alien but of a nature loving race, huh…?

“I see. Then let’s call that pride into question. What’s the reason for you having been unable to do it?” (Makfol)

The Earl narrowed his eyes, but talks while properly fixing his eyes on the priestess.

“Yes. My parents were killed by evil people at the same time of the Holker Large Tree’s withering. Succeeding the will of my father, I investigated those evil people over a span of many years while protecting the Holker Large Tree after becoming the priestess.” (Marin)

From the words spilling out of the priestess, I can certainly sense fluent integrity.
However, it’s also the first time for me to hear that her father and mother were killed.
That’s why? … That’s the reason why she prostrated herself in front of me like that all of a sudden at the time when I met her for the first time.
She was probably at her wit’s end. Her kneeling down on the ground hadn’t a Japanese style-like feeling, but a natural sentiment that might have been the resulting action of her pride.

“… They were killed? Without coming to a result after investigating it for five years, you neglected the withered large tree while holding the position of priestess…” (Makfol)

The priestess shakes her head and say “That’s not it” due to the remark of the Earl.

“I haven’t neglected it. I protected the Holker Large Tree. I have maintained the barrier by offering life-force every day. By its appearance it’s surely withered, but it’s still barely alive. I can vaguely sense the undulations of the large tree.” (Marin)

Mmh, which reminds me, just one dead spirit child was there, too.
The large tree is faintly alive. Are those words true as well?
I don’t know whether it’s unique skill of the “Sosari Race” or the “priestess’ ” skill, but if she feels the tree’s undulations, it certainly must be so.
Examining my chat with the priestess, I can’t consider it as lie.
Even I myself am a member of a nonsensical race…
Anything is possible.

“Hm~m. I see. Bimiyal?” (Makfol)

“Yes. I’m also one who has set her sights on magic. Therefore, I judge the possibility of understanding something as high since she is priestess-sama. Surely she was able to acquire the blessing of the God of Plants Sadeyula-sama or Earth Goddess Gaia.” (Bimiyal)

Thereupon the female close aide magicianBimiyal altered her opinion.
Hearing that, the Earl reacts by moving his thick eyebrows.
Going by his expression I was able to read a colour of hesitation.
Moving his chin that has plenty of flab, the Earl turns towards the priestess and me with his small blue eyes.

“… Hee, today you have quite the persuasive power. Let me consider it for a bit as well? The adventurer over there, Shuuya, was it? Is it your influence? It seems you accepted this request as C rank, but are you confident?” (Makfol)

The point of the conductor’s stick, which the Earl held in his hand, points at me with a *whoosh*.
My opinion was requested.

“I am. I will revive that large tree without fail.” (Shuuya)

It was a bit, exaggerated, but… I ended up declaring it.

“Ooh, those are reassuring words. Judging from appearance you seem to be only one though. You are active as individual and not in a clan, right?” (Makfol)

“Yes.” (Shuuya)

“… I’m surprised. And you have declared it distinctly in front of me. — Haa, are you possibly a strong person who can’t be distinguished by rank? It’s something I have heard in rumours. You have quite the confidence in your abilities and opinion, right? … Fuhaha, it became something to look forward to. You or my subordinates, which side is stronger, I wonder? I’m curious.” (Makfol)

“Your Excellency — you have interest in such a greenhorn brat?”

The one who provoked me by calling me a brat was a largely-build man who had listened silently until now.
Wearing a military hat with a red feather attached, it’s a middle-aged man with a grown beard and a sharp look.
There’s an arched, curved sword on his waist. A weapon called shamshir* is hanging down. (T/N: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shamshir)

“My curiosity got the better of me. Right, I came up with something fun. Hey Shuuya, you will fight with Cellonias over there. Shall I promise that I won’t fell that withered large tree if you win the fight with Cellonias?” (Makfol)

“Is that true?” (Marin)

The priestess shows a rejoicing reaction.

“Your Excellency, you are joking around again… you want me to have a match against this low-ranking adventurer, such brat…?” (Cellonias)

The large, middle-aged man looks down on me and talks while obviously making fun of me.
… Certainly, that person called Cellonias, who wore the military hat with its red feather, is considerably powerful, I think. His height is slightly higher than mine. I can confirm movements of mana operations, which likely belong to the magic combat style, inside his body. Mana is stored in his arms and feet.

“That’s right, Cellonias. It’s my order. Fine? Pushing aside the group of lower retainers I know from my old days, I employed you guys. If it’s you who is the Knight Commander of my Earldom’s army, you should be able to win with leeway, shouldn’t you? Originally you were the commanding officer of the “Red Feather Mercenary Band.” In the past you played an active role in the wars of 【Amef】 and 【Heslifat】 in the north. Demonstrate your nicknames of being called “50 assassinations of the Red Feather” and “Cello of the Red Feather” you obtained after destroying the Fishmen Pirate Crew Attenborough in the south.” (Makfol)

Hearing the words of the Earl, Cellonias puts a hand on his large pigeon breast and bows.

“Ha—” (Cellonias)

After Cellonias’ bow, he turns a light glance towards me and nods.
He is facing me with a smile.
It’s an expression that can be called fully motivated with a composed face.
However, have they arbitrarily decided a duel without my opinion?

“Has the matter of fighting been decided already?” (Shuuya)

I got pissed off a bit~. I display my typical acting expression.

“Are you against it?” (Makfol)

“Yes, I don’t like it. Mainly the conditions though.” (Shuuya)

“— How impertinent.” (Cellonias)

Cellonias warns me.

“— I don’t particularly mind. The conditions, fine, fine, try stating yours.” (Makfol)

The Earl set aside Cellonias opinion.
As my words were apparently unexpected, the Earl seems delighted.
He is strangely enthusiastic. I make my mouth shift as if surfing on top of the greasy belly of the Earl.

“Well then, on top of specifying “Earl Makfol zen Rakolazei absolutely won’t fell the revived Holker Large Tree or the withered Holker Large Tree” in a document, Priestess Marin Peradas will own the rights of that Holker Large Tree. That’s what I ‘d like you to specify clearly. Moreover, I want you to officially investigate the criminals who are considered to have murdered Marin’s parents.” (Shuuya)

Hearing my words, the Earl obediently nods a few times.
And, as if he was struck by an idea, he opened his mouth after revealing an expression that showed signs of him smirking evilly.

“… That’s fine, I guess. However, what will be the condition in case of your defeat?” (Makfol)

Can I pay it with some compensation?
This rich boy Earl is negotiating unexpectedly.
I already got on the ship, er rather, on the plank. Going with the flow, there’s nothing but going straight ahead.

“… I bet all of me.” (Shuuya)

“Oooh, got it. Stick to your words. Oi, Bimiyal, prepare the contract paper right away.” (Makfol)

The Earl seems to be excited with his blue eyes sparkling.
His chubby head is swaying and his nasal breathing is rough as well.

“Yes.” (Bimiyal)

Bimiyal shows a glad-looking response, too, and returns to the back.
She headed to a file cabinet which has been installed at the wall.

“Cellonias and Shuuya, you will fight in the front garden right away.” (Makfol)

Once the Earl urges us on like that, he stands up from his chair and moves his fat body that looks heavy.

“I leave it to you.” (Cellonias)

Cellonias bowed respectfully.

“Roger—” (Shuuya)

I acknowledge it as well.

“Nyao.” (Rollo)

Rollo, who was curled up inside my hood, moves to my shoulder.
She purred with an out-of-place voice, but no one pointed that out.
Everyone in this place, including the Earl, heads to the entranceway in succession.
While walking, the priestess Marin Peradas had a worried expression and opened her mouth as she felt depressed.

“Shuuya-san, is it alright for you to form such an agreement? In addition, because of me…” (Marin)

“No, it’s fine if you don’t worry, Marin. Well, I will try to go with the intention of boarding a large boat.” (Shuuya)

… By no means will I get on a boat made of mud that is boarded by racoons*. (T/N: Here in the meaning of “sly foxes”)

“Nn, nyao.” (Rollo)

Rollo also releases a meow similar to 『It will be alright nya』 with a throaty voice and taps my shoulder with one paw.

“Haa…” (Marin)

Is the priestess Marin not fully satisfied with the explanation? Breathing a sigh, her expression is oozing with the colour of anxiety.
Even after hearing my words and seeing Rollo’s attitude, her uneasiness apparently hasn’t been wiped away.
While having such an exchange, we arrive at the front garden.
It’s a beautiful garden which had stone tatami, spreading out on the natural lawn, set up sporadically.
It’s a place where flower beds and pale stone monuments, which are goddess statues, have been placed.
Simple chairs and tables have been put on top of the pretty lawn of the garden.
The servants prepared the setting by working briskly and restlessly.
Sitting down on an arranged chair, the Earl holds a tea cup, which was put on top a brand new tablecloth, in his hand and brings it to his lips.
While sipping on the black tea, he moves to cross his legs, but since his legs are fat, he repeated and failed several times to cross them.

“… Well then, start at any time.” (Makfol)

The Earl raises one hand to signal that it’s fine to begin.
I advance to the centre by walking on the pavement.
And, shifting my sight to Rollo who is on my shoulder, I told her in a whisper 「Leave me for a bit」.
Rollo separates from me while releasing a short, throaty voice.
Once the mercenary-styled man, who was called Cellonias, draws his curved longsword from his waist, he side steps on the lawn and measures the distance while examining my state.
Even though I have confirmed his gaze with a sidelong glance, I deliberately check the surroundings.
I have thought about it a number of times, but it’s a really beautiful garden.
It’s probably the hobby of that Earl? Well, it’s not a bad hobby.
Rollo appears to be observing after climbing on a narrow opening of a small brick flower bed.
She has arranged her two forepaws on top of a platform as if being a doll.
The priestess was next to the Earl.
Placing both hands over her chest, she stands still while looking worried.

“Youngster. Do you have the leeway to look away? What about your weapon? If it’s the carriage, it’s stopped at the front.” (Cellonias)

I’m not at an age to be called youngster though.
Cellonias in front of me says with an appearance of looking down on me.
It’s an one-on-one showdown. It’s quite the exciting development.
I’m yearning for excitement.
For some reason such words are played back in my brain with a deep voice.
It’s not a line that should come out in this place.
I have confidence that I would laugh and suddenly spit out milk from my mouth completely like that if that fat Earl had mentioned such thing.

“Oi, I’m telling you to take out your weapon. What are you smiling for?” (Cellonias)

“… Sorry, if it’s a weapon, I have one —” (Shuuya)

Accordingly I summon the Magic Spear Baldok into my right hand.
Watching me who made a weapon manifest abruptly, even the Earl, who drank black tea while sitting, was surprised, just like Cellonias, and spurt out the tea he was drinking.

“Hou…” (Cellonias)

What’s with that “Hou?”
Though you didn’t expect it either…
I want to punish that composed bearded face, but… to improve the Earl’s impression, it’s not good to torment his subordinates too much.
I will follow that master swordman’s example here and go with waiting for the “counter.”
Setting up the magic spear on my right shoulder while being in a stance of the legs being in a L-shape, I glared at my opponent with a look as if killing them.
Raising my left hand, in order to invite my opponent… I repeatedly beckon him with several fingers.

 

“Come. Is that curved longsword a decoration just like your nether region?” (Shuuya)

“Shut up, brat. Aaah!! Pshaw —” (Cellonias)

— Caught him.
Just like a commander of some warring state, Cellonias shouts while giving me a piercing look and drawing his arranged eyebrows towards the centre.
And, once he prepared his longsword, he ran up to me in one go.

“Chesttt —” (Cellonias)

He releases a yell of fighting spirit.
It was similar to a stance like the revelation style handed down in Satsuma.
It looks like he is aiming to diagonally slash his sword from the shoulder from the left side.
He entered the spear’s distance.
However, I make Cellonias swing the sword on purpose.
Cellonias lowered the sword to cut without using any feints.
While confirming the trajectory of sword which has been swung down, I shifted my torso half a step with the least motion and avoided the beheading sword while feeling the wind pass by. In that moment Cellonias changes the movement of the curved sword, which had been swung down, into a following rising slash after turning it over.
As expected of the Knight Commander. But, that second sword strike, the slashing attack isn’t allowed to thrive — swinging the magic spear, I held shortly, bit by bit, I create the character ∞ by drawing an 8 with the spearhead.
The ∞ trajectory of the red spear clashes with the overturned curved sword of Cellonias.
The curved sword, which entered diagonally, gets stuck in, as if being sucked in, between the red spear’s little trench and the red axe blade. The hand grasping the hilt of the curved sword gets twisted instantaneously.

“— Oww.” (Cellonias)

Unable to bear the pain in the arm that was twisted, Cellonias let go of the sword.
The curved sword falls down as if leaping to the ground.
Having been made to abandon his weapon, I entered the opponent’s bosom and tread on Cellonias’ right foot’s backside with a vertical heel kick with my left foot’s bottom.

“Gyaa —” (Cellonias)

Cellonias stops moving after being pinned to the ground.
From there I aimed for a plain grapple.
Rotating my magic spear, which I had transferred into my left hand, I fix it on Cellonias’ back.
At moment I switched to a stance of being glued closely to him, I make him eat a blow to his solar plexus with the iron on my right elbow while taking even less than a second. I move back diagonally while hitting Cellonias’ flank with the underside of my right hand similar to swinging down a hammer.
When I retreated, I was able to insert the magic spear’s end between Cellonias’ both legs and made him tumble down.
Cellonias, who fell to the ground, doesn’t even move with a twitch.
Originally I would finish it with a hit to the crown of the head after cutting his legs, but changed it into only making him fall down without cutting his legs either.
Cellonias, who is lying on the ground, can be considered to have lost consciousness at the moment he received the elbow attack to his solar plexus.
On top of not moving while kissing the ground as if he was brought down by Akebono*, he is incontinent and defecating, but… well, since he hasn’t died, it’s probably alright. (T/N: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Akebono_Tarō)
His magic combat style wasn’t loaded with much mana either.
As the duel finished too quickly, the vicinity was wrapped up in silence.
The Earl’s side seems unable to believe how easily Cellonias was defeated.

“Nn, nya.” (Rollo)

Rollo, who observed, comes back.
Getting on my shoulder she hits it with a tap-tap as if saying “Good work.”
I look at the Earl’s group.
The priestess is repeatedly blinking her eyes in surprise while being taken aback.
The Earl let his teacup fall to the ground.
His subordinate Bimiyal doesn’t seem to be capable of understanding what has happened.
Making the magic spear in my right hand disappear, I walk towards the location of the Earl’s group who is dumbfounded.
While the other largely-built men are scared by that action, they ran to the Earl’s side in order to protect him.
The magician Bimiyal prepares by holding a pen instead of a wand for some reason.
It’s a dangerous atmosphere, but —

“Umm, Earl-sama, please keep your promise.” (Shuuya)

I make an archaic smile.

“A-Aah, I-I know. I will definitely keep my promise. Bimiyal.” (Makfol)

“Y-Yess.” (Bimiyal)

“Hand over the pen and the contract.” (Makfol)

“Yes, there they are.” (Bimiyal)

The Earl scribbles on a high-class-looking parchment that was placed on the table.
The contract was finished quickly.

“I certainly received it. Well then, please cast recovery magic on Cellonias who is sleeping on the ground over there.” (Shuuya)

“Yea, Bimiyal and the others, treat Cellonias.” (Makfol)

I hand over the document to the priestess.

“With this it will be alright for the moment, I think?” (Shuuya)

“Yes, thank you very much. Shuuya-san, you are strong. I got startled…” (Marin)

“Well, I guess so.” (Shuuya)

“Nyaa.” (Rollo)

Rollo purrs with a voice as if saying 『That’s natural nya』.
She hit my shoulder with a strengthened cat punch.
Once Cellonias has recovery magic cast on him, his consciousness returns.
When observing the state of Cellonias being looked after, the Earl addressed me while having a flushed face. Is he agitated?

“You are amazing. You are more powerful than I expected. Shuuya, your movements just now were really great. Albeit saying that, I wasn’t able to see them well, but I admired your technique to have ended it with a non-lethal blow. I was pleased. … Won’t you become my subordinate once you finish the request?” (Makfol)

“I’m sorry Earl-sama, but I have to decline.” (Shuuya)

“W-Whaaatt. R-Really? … In that case, money, women, items…” (Makfol)

The Earl displays a disappointed expression. Similar to Tokugawa Ieyasu* he started to chew on a fingernail. (T/N: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tokugawa_Ieyasu)
Repeatedly muttering to himself, he starts to speak while opening his narrow eyes.

“Right, if it’s 10 gold, no, platinum coins, how about it? I will prepare the best woman as well. In addition, exceeding the rank of lower retainer, let’s accept you as my Rakolazei household’s Knight Commander? It will be fine to even grant you Treasured Sword Fingeldo…” (Makfol)

“Your Excellency, what are you losing control of yourself for? That treasured sword is not allowed. It’s a memento of your late father, isn’t it?” (Bimiyal)

His confidant Bimiyal told him to stop.

“Shut up, Bimiyal! If a sacred beast of protection like Shuuya joins, Holkerbaum will become peaceful. Besides, someone who pleases me once is…” (Makfol)

What’s a sacred beast of protection? I ain’t no Godzilla.
Do I have to emphasize it since he seems to be insistent?

“— Earl-sama, no matter what I receive, I will never become your subordinate. Since I have an objective, being shackled down will be troublesome. Freedom is comfortable for me.” (Shuuya)

“Objective? That’s about the request, isn’t it?” (Makfol)

Is the Earl still unhappy? Such feelings have been put into his question.

“That’s included as well. But it continues even after finishing the request.” (Shuuya)

“Gunununu, does it go that far? You say you don’t want money, women, honour and items because of that objective?” (Makfol)

“Yea, that’s correct.” (Shuuya)

However, does this Earl want me to become his subordinate to such an extent?

“… As my subordinate, you will acquire as much money as you want, but does that disagree with you?” (Makfol)

“Only becoming your subordinate is disagreeable. … Honestly speaking, I want money and women.” (Shuuya)

Makfol showed further change due to my honest remark.

“Puu, ahahahaha, you are an interesting man. You are a honest man. You make me want you even more.” (Makfol)

“No, as I said…” (Shuuya)

“— For me there is nothing but subordinates who listen to what I say…” (Makfol)

Putting out a hand, the Earl interrupts my words.
Earl Makfol talks while lowering his look in order to leave behind the shadow in himself after seeing the faces of Bimiyal and his servants.

“… A person who refuses my temptations in such way, there isn’t a single person in my surroundings. It seems to be always the case since my childhood. … I’m, I’m really lonely.” (Makfol)

Once again he is biting his nails.
Being delighted, being depressed, he is a busy guy.
He begins to mutter to himself at the end of the sentence.

“— Your Excellency, am I not always at your side?” (Bimiyal)

The female secretary reveals a frantic expression.

“Bimiyal… that’s true, but then again not.” (Makfol)

Being told such thing by a beautiful female secretary… isn’t she praiseworthy?
Earl Makfol looks like he is leading a luxurious life, but as a matter of fact he is isolated within that. It might be a life of loneliness. I don’t feel any sympathy towards his character at all, but watching Bimiyal, her look was pure.
Therefore, affinity welled up in reverse.
It’s an opportunity. Shall I help that beautiful secretary?

“Earl-sama, it’s just as Bimiyal-san says. Don’t you have fine subordinates?” (Shuuya)

“True. But, even if they are good subordinates for me, they aren’t my friends — ah, right, Shuuya, if becoming my subordinate is no good, won’t you be my friend?” (Makfol)

Friend, huh? Subordinates, since he is bossy with subordinates, it will be settled safely if I become his friend, I guess?
It’s only for now anyway.

“In case of friendship, I’m fine with becoming your friend.” (Shuuya)

Though I’m talking as if it’s fine for me to become one with a condescending attitude, the only person I can call my friend is Quiche…
Moreover I ended up bidding farewell to her.
In reality, we are fellow loners.
Although a gloomy expression has appeared on my face, it doesn’t matter.

“Ooooh! You really mean that?” (Makfol)

“Yea… not more than a normal friend. Therefore I’m not your subordinate. That’s because I’m free, okay?” (Shuuya)

“Right. That’s right, friend. Ahahaha, it’s freedom. That’s why friend. You are my friend… from now on we will talk normally without holding anything back. Friend. Because we are free.” (Makfol)

“Yes, that’s true. Haha, I’m freeeee. What a, haha.” (Shuuya)

I feel like there was a person announcing a minor accomplishment by shouting such line.

“Nya nyaa.” (Rollo)

At that point even Rollo, who reacted to my gambolling words of “I’m free,” started to grumble something.
Rollo stretches out one of her feelers to my cheek and conveys her feelings.
『Friend』『Partner』『Here』『Siblings』『Liking』『Playing』『Sisters』『Playing』.
I have a feeling that sisters is a bit different, but countless deeply affectionate emotions had been conveyed to me…
“Thank you. Your friend is me.” Does she intend to say that?
— Did you read my heart from my expression?
… I’m deeply moved. I’m about to cry.

“What’s that black cat?” (Makfol)

The Earl stared at Rollo looking very interested.

“She is my partner. She’s also my familiar and precious friend.” (Shuuya)

“Oooh, that kind of animal…” (Makfol)

“Nya?” (Rollo)

Rollo looked at the Earl with her round and cute, red eyes.

“I’d like to have her too…” (Makfol)

“Nn, nya, nyaa.” (Rollo)

Rollo turns away her head in a bad mood and dives from the shoulder into the hood.
Somehow she has transmitted the feeling of 『For you it’s impossible nya』.

“Mumu, she hid herself. I got the impression as if I was made fun of.” (Makfol)

“… That’s just your imagination. If you are my friend, it makes you her friend. Isn’t she big-hearted?” (Shuuya)

“Mu, that’s right. Yes.” (Makfol)

The Earl is in an awfully happy mood after that.
“Let me give you some money since you are my friend.””How about this furniture?” Or “If the treasured sword is no good, how about a treasured tool like this magic wand?”
Thus I warned the Earl with a feeling of scolding.
“A friend isn’t someone that gives presents unreasonably.”
“Giving something sometimes is a good custom.”
Once I explain it with suitable enthusiasm, the young Earl-kun shows his understanding by nodding many times. The Earl’s “let’s give a gift” attack ends without a hitch.

“Won’t you let me invite you to a feast today?” (Makfol)

Having said that, a dinner party was carried out that evening in the Earl’s mansion.
Having invited dancers and provided plenty of delicious dishes, it has turned into a gorgeous dinner party.
With the priestess Marin Peradas and Earl Makfol getting along well at that location, the Earl with his high tension decided “You are my friend as well.” Once it became clear that she’s a woman, he started talking with an agitated tone as if making a pass at the priestess with her space alien face. The priestess was confused.
However, the dinner party gets very exciting and this time’s persuasion finishes in a huge success.
At the time of going home from the Earl’s mansion his subordinate Bimiyal quietly started to talk close to my ear.

“We have really troubled you greatly this time. And, thank you very much for the matter with the treasured sword. In case of Makfol-sama’s character, he won’t listen if he decides something once.” (Bimiyal)

This person seems to have her own hardships as well.

“Please don’t mind it. I simply declined it because I really don’t want it.” (Shuuya)

“After all… that’s not the way of thinking of a mere adventurer. As expected of the gentleman who was recognised as friend by Earl Makfol zen Rakolazei. This Bimiyal is also happy as if it’s about me.” (Bimiyal)

“I’m glad that you are pleased, beautiful Bimiyal-san.” (Shuuya)

Due to my words, Bimiyal-san laughs with a “Fufu.”

“… Thank you very much. With you being Makfol-sama’s friend in the future, I shall call you Shuuya-sama.” (Bimiyal)

“Huh?” (Shuuya)

“Shuuya-sama? Something wrong?” (Bimiyal)

Sama all of a sudden, eh?
Well, I don’t think we will meet anymore. It doesn’t matter, I guess.

“No, it’s nothing. Well then, we will go home now.” (Shuuya)

“Yes, Shuuya-sama. We will be waiting for you at all times.” (Bimiyal)

And then we board the carriage to go home and head down the hill.
Within that carriage I discuss the matters hereafter with priestess Marin.

“The matter with the feudal lord is probably alright now.” (Shuuya)

“Everything is thanks to you, Shuuya-san. Thank you very much.” (Marin)

Makfol, who is the feudal lord, was saved in such manner.
He was able to create a bridge to become good friends with the priestess.

“… That was just by chance. Rather than such stuff, the raw materials are the problem. Since they are far away, it will take a bit of time. Although it might not take as much time as you are expecting, Marin.” (Shuuya)

“What do you mean by that?” (Marin)

“That’s a secret. Oh, we arrived. Well then, as I have got some errands to run, see you. We probably won’t meet until the raw materials are fully gathered.” (Shuuya)

“Is that so? How regrettable. However, please do your best. I will wait and protect Holker’s Large Tree.” (Marin)

Bidding farewell to the priestess at that point, I get off the carriage.
I returned to the inn.

 


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