Chapter 5 – Blacklist


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“I have some free time until the duel against the former Duchess Philip. Now then, what should I do?” (Lisa)

My pupil and junior, Katia, got married to Earl Baumeister.
Various complicated emotions are welling up within me, but for now it doesn’t matter.
The problem I should consider above all is Katia, who should have reached the limit of her mana growth long ago, having raised her mana.
In short, there’s a secret to Earl Baumeister who married Katia.
If I find it out, I might be able to increase my mana as well.
Having said that, the results at present go as far as having settled for a duel against the former Duchess Philip who is shielding Earl Baumeister, huh?
I can consider it as having deceived them skillfully, but no matter how much of a famous magician I might be, I can’t meet Earl Baumeister so easily, and entering the mansion is impossible, too.
The other side should be quite vigilant, too.
I have to obediently wait until the day of the duel…no, I need information, no matter how trivial it might be.
It might turn into a hint for the reason why Katia’s mana grew.
In that case, it’s essential to get as close to Earl Baumeister as possible.

“How can I approach Earl Baumeister…?” (Lisa)

I won’t go as far as saying…it’s for the sake of obtaining a hint, but since I had nothing to do, I showed up at the adventurer guild in Baulburg once again for the time being.
Before that…I have turned up here just yesterday to let them know about my whereabouts.
It’s likely for nominated requests to appear for an excellent magician.
You’re free to accept or not, but notifying the guild about your whereabouts as much as possible is common sense, or rather, good manners.

“Yo.” (Lisa)

“Lisa-san? What a pleasure.”

The young male employee at the guild’s reception looks somewhat tense the moment he sees me.
Am I that scary?

“You got a job where I don’t need to go far away?” (Lisa)

There’s around three weeks left until the duel.
If I go to another place for a nominated request, I might not be in time for the duel in the case of an unforeseen accident.
I suppose I will kill some time by accepting a request catered towards magicians that can be done around Baulburg.

“A one-time request suitable for you, Lisa-san?”

“That’s right.” (Lisa)

“There is one.”

I’m surprised that there’s suddenly a job fitting my criteria.
After all, I might be watched by the Earl Baumeister House.
Even if there might be a shortage in manpower, I thought that there’s no way for there to be a request for me because of them.

“Is it fine for me to take it?” (Lisa)

“Umm, that is, it looks like a noble personage is going to visit the Earl Baumeister House very soon, and his retainers say they would like additional guards.”

I see, bodyguard for an important person, huh?
It might be the guarding of a high-ranking noble, but going by how the young employee talks about it, it feels more like increasing the guards just for caution’s sake, and not so much that there’s imminent danger to the target.

“It appears to be just in case, but we can’t send around unskilled people. Since you’re an excellent magician, we can leave it to you without having to worry, Lisa-san.”

I feel like this young employee is still afraid of me, but since I’m someone who does her work properly, I seem to be trusted on that part.
After all there are many excellent adventurers and magicians who aren’t suited for this kind of work.

“Understood. Let me take the job.” (Lisa)

It’s convenient since I will be able to get close to Earl Baumeister since the target is going to meet with him.
It’s highly likely that he has something to do with the reason for Katia’s increase in mana.

“Given that there’s the confirmation of the terms, please follow me inside.”

“Got it.” (Lisa)

At such times I think that it’s good for me to always finish my work reliably.
Even if the other party is a high-ranking noble, my chance to approach them will surely come around thanks to that.

 

*   *   *

 

“Milord, please have a look at this list.” (Roderich)

“Thanks, Roderich.” (Wendelin)

It might seem as if I’m always doing nothing but hunting, gathering materials, and public works, but even I do the work of a noble occasionally.
Being handed documents by Roderich, I have to check them.
The main points have been summarized, but it’s necessary for me to properly read the documents to confirm the contents.
I’m trusting Roderich, but this is also one of the distinctions as family head.

“A list of people not allowed to be employed, eh…?” (Wendelin)

“No matter how much we might lack hands, employing these people will instead cause troubles.” (Roderich)

Because the Earl Baumeister House is basically short of workers, candidates for working under us will be put to use as long as they haven’t done anything majorly bad.
Though, if they want to get promoted, they will need responding abilities.
However, we encounter various problems, and we have to also refuse people.
Mostly it’s people who have caused big problems at the noble houses they served before, those who have been placed on the list of dangerous characters, and those who stole public funds, got violent towards their coworkers after getting drunk, or made a move on the wives of other people.
Come to think of it, when working as a trading company man, I was once told by an important person: “Humans have the potential to fall through because of money, alcohol, and women (men).”
In addition, there are also cases where the person’s abilities are far too lacking, but since we also have simple jobs to offer, we take them in if they are doing things seriously.
In order to not suffer a loss by employing such problematic characters without realizing, there seem to be blacklists going around among the nobles.
Roderich has apparently been entrusted with such lists by Margrave Breithilde, Minister Edgar, Minister Rückner, and so on.
『Everyone wants to create an obligation of gratitude with us』 I was told by Roderich.
But it seems better to obtain such lists from several big nobles.
There are always updates, and there are also people that will be listed or not, depending on the houses and factions.

“Is that Lisa-san listed?” (Wendelin)

“She’s not, but I have grasped her information. Therefore there’s no chance for her to get close to you, milord.” (Roderich)

Lisa usually walks around in a flashy outfit, and she’s famous for taking quite harsh revenge against male adventurers who try giving her disadvantages or treat her like an idiot, but she appears to complete her work properly.
Because of that, her evaluation among nobles isn’t bad.
Even if her appearance and tone as a free magician might be somewhat extreme, there’s no problem with her in their eyes, since she finishes work in exchange for rewards.
If she was their daughter, they might have treated her differently, though.

“She might try to trespass into the mansion.” (Wendelin)

“That’s unlikely. I have increased the surveillance just in case, but she should obediently stay within our territory until the duel against Therese-sama. She might accept individual requests. But above all she has to care about her reputation as an excellent magician.” (Roderich)

Lisa has an extreme hate towards female magicians and adventurers being looked down upon by men.
Hence she seems to finish her work reliably as if to prove that she isn’t inferior to men. Because her usual appearance is that, it’s easy to misunderstand, however.

“You’re saying she’s a diligent person at her core?” (Wendelin)

“Maybe. If not for the matter with Katia-sama, there would be jobs I’d like to request her help, but…well, I guess I will send that share your and Katharina’s way, milord.” (Roderich)

“Oi…” (Wendelin)

So I’m visited by misfortune just because I’m targeted by Lisa?

“There’s no way that I’m going to put you to work today, milord…” (Roderich)

“That’s only natural. Earl Baumeister has plans with me today. It’s a bit inelegant as present, but if it’s a list of criminals, I brought one with me after the Kingdom’s administration updated it.”

“Oh, Your Highness the Crown Prince, excuse my discourtesy for not coming to greet you.” (Wendelin)

“I don’t mind. Today I’m traveling incognito.”

A man suddenly enters my office as if to join our conversation.
He’s the crown prince of the Helmut Kingdom.
Not going out to greet him since he’s traveling incognito, or rather, because of his too lacking presence, no one had noticed his arrival…there’s no way for that to be true, is there?
Even though he’s traveling incognito, it’s impossible for no guards to accompany the crown prince.

“I took it with me, just in case. I’d like you to use it as a reference.”

“Thank you very much.” (Wendelin)

“The development of the Baumeister Earldom has become the key to the growth of the Kingdom’s southern region. Please don’t mind it,” the crown prince says amiably in a refined manner.

He’s young, handsome, capable, and he’s a person who gives you a good impression if you actually get in touch with him.
And yet, why doesn’t this man stand out?
There’s the impression that he’s always hidden in the shadow of His Majesty.
It makes me wonder whether some kind of curse has been placed on him.

“Your Highness, aren’t you busy with various matters?” (Wendelin)

“Somewhat. But, for the sake of today I finished my work at an accelerated rate.”

It’s because I previously told him that I’m inviting him to come to my territory. There’s the matter with Lisa, but as it’s not like I’m all that busy, he has visited me today.
As it would be pitiful to call it off this time because I’m busy dealing with a rude, female magician, seeing how he looked forward to it so much that he hurried to get his work done in advance, I didn’t say anything.
It might have turned into lese majeste. Even Lisa shouldn’t scheme to get closer to me with the crown prince being present.

“It looks like you’re going to take me along for a hunt, today.”

“Yes. It’s the exclusive hunting ground of the Earl Baumeister House where people usually don’t trespass.” (Wendelin)

“I’m looking forward to it since it looks like there will be plenty of game.”

“By the way, what about today’s guards?” (Wendelin)

“Of course they are waiting outside.”

As expected, the crown prince of a country won’t act by himself, huh?
If I had gone to the royal palace, he might have cut down on the number of people accompanying him, but since it looks like he has also visited other nobles’ territories and areas under the direct control of the Kingdom until he arrived here, a considerable number of guards should be accompanying him. I guess the guards are waiting in the room for servants. It looks like he has already unloaded his luggage at one of the inns in Baulburg which Roderich had prepared for him and his entourage.

“We are fully prepared to guard you, Your Highness.” (Roderich)

Leaving aside the hunting ground, since the inside of the mansion belongs to the territory of the Baumeister House, Roderich took responsibility and arranged for the crown prince’s escort.

“We have assigned only those we are deeply trusting among the retainers of the Earl Baumeister House. I guess you could call it a blessing, but since there’s an abundance of game even in places that aren’t overly far away from Baulburg, it’s a big help that it doesn’t take time to station them.” (Wendelin)

Though that alone means that there’s still plenty of untouched nature in my territory.

“About that matter, my close aides are prone to worrying. They apparently increased my guards on a short notice. Of course I have heard that all of them are people that can be relied on, though.”

“It’s inevitable, considering the importance of Your Highness’ safety.” (Elise)

At that point Elise shows up, carrying a tea set, and starts to talk to His Highness.
There’s no way that we can entrust the role of pouring tea for His Highness to Lea. This is why my first wife, Elise, is handling that task.
It tells him that we’d like him to wait while drinking tea until we are able to prepare the hunting ground.

“The wives are going to participate as well?”

“Of course, Your Highness.” (Elise)

Elise replied that it’s planned for her to accompany us as the one in charge of healing in case something happens while serving the tea for His Highness.
Ina and the others will join the hunt as well.
Since it’s the visit of His Highness the Crown Prince, it would be disrespectful if my wives didn’t show up.
Welcoming him with the whole family is only normal.

“Earl Baumeister, your wives must be fairly skilled. There are few cases where the wives of nobles take part in hunting. I’m looking forward to it.”

Well, usually that makes sense, doesn’t it?
They definitely participate in banquets and dance parties, but it’s rare for the wives of nobles to join hunts.
It might not be the same for low-ranking nobles, but royalty doesn’t visit them in the first place.
Since I was told that the preparation of the hunting ground would take a bit longer, I checked the list of those not allowed to be employed.
I don’t really understand what kind of people they are as the paper only lists the names of the people requiring special attention.

“Employing people is difficult, isn’t it?”

“Indeed, Your Highness.”

If there are employees supporting the Earl Baumeister House like Roderich, there are also people wrecking the houses they are working for.
No matter the organization, it’s the people that are most important.

“Uh huh, I guess those guys came after all…”

His Highness discovered several names from among the names listed on our side’s list of rejected people, and nodded in understanding.

“Your Highness, do you know them?” (Wendelin)

“They are basically capable. But, they aren’t employed by any noble house.”

“Why?” (Wendelin)

“They have zero will to cooperate, and only cause troubles around them.”

That means even in this world it’s not like it will be fine as long as you are just excellent.

“They can’t control themselves even if employed on short term?” (Wendelin)

“Correct. If they are allowed to officially work for an administration, they become a bad influence towards other retainers. I think Roderich’s decision is correct in these cases.”

Roderich’s and His Highness’ opinions aligned.

“It’s a blacklist that anyone will agree with. For them to not be able to get hired in the current situation here means they must be quite bad fellows.”

“I suppose, you’re right.”

Just as I handed the documents to Roderich after signing them, I was informed about the preparations of the hunting ground having been completed.
We head to the stable on the mansion’s grounds, and depart to the hunting ground while riding horses.

“Earl Baumeister, you appear to be familiar with handling horses.”

“More or less…after all I usually use magic to get anywhere.” (Wendelin)

I think I became able to ride horses normally because of the civil war.
To the bitter end it didn’t exceed normal levels of riding, though.
On the other hand, His Highness is skilled at riding a horse.
He has probably been taught how to be a good king since his birth.
Elise and the others have good reflexes, thus they are riding their horses skilfully.
Katharina hasn’t such good motor reflexes, but because of her manners as noble, she regularly practices, improving her skill at horse-riding.

“Earl Baumeister-dono, do thou wish that I teach thee later?” (Therese)

“Ah yeah, we have a person who studied how to become a good empress on our side as well.” (Wendelin)

This time Therese accompanies us as well.
At first Therese declined, but His Highness invited her to come along by all means.
It seems he prefers hunting with a big number of people.
Even so, His Highness is someone with plenty of tolerance, isn’t he? He’s normally talking with Therese, who should be troublesome for him to deal with in various ways.
For some reason he isn’t conspicuous, though.

“However, I’m more skilful at hunting.” (Wendelin)

“I’m sure. I only experienced hunting as aristocratic socializing. I can’t win in this regard against thee, Wendelin…oops, Earl Baumeister-dono who has been active as an adventurer.” (Therese)

Because His Highness is present, Therese doesn’t call me Wendelin, but Earl Baumeister-dono.

“Milady, I don’t think it would be a problem if you called him as usual.”

“It’s because there are other people besides Thy Highness with us…let’s take that as the sensible reply here.” (Therese)

“The ones next to me are only my close aides. Above all, Wendelin and I are friends. Even if they know about the relationship between Wendelin and milady, there’s no one here that would mention it to others. And even before that, if you consider the relationship between me and Wendelin, there’s no need to worry.”

“I see…” (Therese)

Therese nods in understanding.
His Highness had started calling me by my first name without me noticing, but no one pointed that out.
Everyone guessed that it would spoil His Highness’ mood, if he were denied to do so.
For His Highness it appears to be of utmost importance to be my friend.

“Katia, you’re also good at riding a horse, aren’t you?”

“Since I can’t travel with magic, I have properly learned horse-riding as a means of travel.” (Katia)

Given that Katia also owns good reflexes, she handles her horse a lot more skilfully than I do.

“By the way, Your Highness. There’s one thing I’d like to ask, if I may.” (Katia)

“What is it, Katia-dono?”

Just what does that Katia want to ask His Highness?

“I heard that you employed new, temporary guards for the hunt, but were they introduced through Baulburg’s adventurer guild?” (Katia)

“That’s what I’ve heard. After all, the guild can provide capable, reliable adventurers.”

Given that the adventurer guild would lose trust if they were to refer unskilled fellows, I’m sure they have introduced proper adventurers.

“Through the guild…?” (Katia)

Since the other party is His Highness, Katia uses honorific language for a change, but probably because of that, her voice gradually loses in strength.
She can’t come up with any proper polite terms as she isn’t used to it?
No, is there anything else worrying her?

“Katia, what’s wrong?”

“You know…hubby…” (Katia)

“I’m pleased that you have come. I have been hired as bodyguard of His Highness on short notice, but the reconnaissance of the vicinity has already been finished. Of course I haven’t done anything as foolish as frightening the game and letting it get away.” (Lisa)

“Big Sis!” (Katia)

“Eh?”

There was someone who called out to us as soon as we arrived at the hunting ground. It’s someone we remember quite well…especially Katia.
I see, I guess this is the reason for Katia asking His Highness whether the new guards had been hired from the adventurer guild.

“You’re the new guard, huh? You seem to be a famous magician. I didn’t hear anything about you besides that, though.”

“I’m called 『Lisa the Blizzard』.”

“I have heard that name before. Take care of us today.”

“Please leave it to me.” (Lisa)

Once Lisa’s appearance that would startle any normal person was seen by someone as good-natured by birth as the crown prince, they would probably feel, 『How unusual with her slightly eccentric get-up』.
However, since Lisa is a famous magician and adventurer who has been nominated for requests often by nobles even though she might look like this, she apparently has enough leeway to feign friendliness in front of His Highness.
Since even Katia is able to do it, it’s no wonder that her senior, Lisa, can do the same, I suppose.

“Big Sis?” (Katia)

“Long time no see, Katia-dono. What a fine coincidence to meet you today.” (Lisa)

“””””””…”””””””

As expected, even Therese feels flabbergasted by Lisa, who greets us with a barefaced lie.
I certainly didn’t expect her to use such a method to get close to us.

“Katia-dono, is she an acquaintance of yours?”

“Umm…she has been my teacher in magic and adventuring…” (Katia)

“I see. The teacher of Katia-dono who plastered the streets of the capital with a written challenge against the nobles and us. That means I can ask for your protection with peace of mind. By the way, Lisa-dono, what about your bow?”

“Unfortunately archery isn’t my forte, but I can use an interesting spell instead.” (Lisa)

“I’m looking forward to that. Come and hunt with us as well, Lisa-dono.”

“It’s an honor, Your Highness.” (Lisa)

“How could that be!” (Wendelin)

“Wendelin, is something wrong?”

“No, it’s nothing.” (Wendelin)

The magician called Lisa hasn’t survived this long for show, huh?
For her to even outwit Therese and being able to legally join at our side went beyond my expectations.
This will be hard to handle for Katia, won’t it?

“Katia-dono, it’s great that you will be together with your teacher today, isn’t it?”

“Hahaha…I don’t feel anything but thanks towards Your Highness’ kindness.” (Katia)

There’s no way that His Highness noticed Lisa’s true feelings. He seems to be a person who acts while normally believing in the good of people, just like Elise.
He thinks that he did something very nice for Katia, albeit it being coincidence.
As noble of the Kingdom I’d like to be spared from directly telling him otherwise, though.

“(That spinster…she splendidly took her revenge for the last time…as long as we don’t reveal any faults while hunting normally…)” (Therese)

“(I guess you’re right…)”

“Wendelin, is something wrong?”

“No, since Therese came hunting here the other day, I just listened a bit to her story from back then.” (Wendelin)

“Thy Highness, I just said that this is a good hunting ground with a lot of game.” (Therese)

“That’s reassuring.”

His Highness seems to have fun since he doesn’t know the circumstances at all, but once I casually look in Lisa’s direction, she shows me a smile telling me “gotcha.”

“(Hubbyyy…)” (Katia)

“(It will be fine as long you don’t say anything unnecessary. Just focus on hunting.)” (Wendelin)

It’s impossible that my secret trait would get exposed if we hunt normally.
Since Elise and the other should know as much without me explicitly telling them, it was no issue, but I still ended up feeling bothered by Lisa’s tenacity.

 

*   *   *

 

——————– End of Part 1 ——————–

 

“To the last it’s just for caution’s sake, but it will also give your attendants a peace of mind, I think, Your Highness.”

Once we arrived at the hunting ground, the retainers dispatched by Roderich did a final safety check, and headed to their assigned position afterwards.
At last the hunting began. Beaters, who were chosen by Roderich from among the retainers, herd the game in our direction.
Because it’s the hunt of a high-ranking noble and royalty, we don’t move around on our horses while looking for prey.
I guess that part is different from hunting as an adventurer.

“Your Highness, it’s a deer. Please shoot the first arrow.”

“It’s been a while. It would be nice if I hit it.”

Even though he says something like that, His Highness’ archery skills are great.
The arrow, which he aimed quickly, stabs the head of the deer, succeeding in killing it with one shot.

“Nothing less of you, Your Highness.”

“It’s wonderful that it was on target. I’m rarely invited on hunts after all.”

“I see…”

Is he unable to go on hunts often since he’s busy, or does no one invite him?
We make sure through eye signals to definitely not ask that.

“Erw! There’s one!” (Wendelin)

“Please leave it to me!” (Erwin)

Next it’s Erw’s turn, but he doesn’t bring it down in one go since the prey is a wild boar.
Without delay I shoot a second arrow, and the wild boar collapses to the ground.

“Wendelin, aren’t you quite adept at this as well?”

“I have done it since my childhood, after all. In the past I couldn’t eat any meat unless I managed to catch game.” (Wendelin)

“I see.”

The hunt continues, and everyone else also targets game one after the other.

“Since I don’t use the bow usually, I can’t really hit anything.” (Ina)

“Me neither.” (Luise)

Ina and Luise, who normally didn’t practice archery, have poor results.

“Katharina, you’re more skillful than I thought.” (Wilma)

“Wilma-san, hunting as a hobby is good manners for a noble.” (Katharina)

It looks like Katharina has trained her archery in secret.
Even though she misses several times, she succeeds in bringing down one rabbit.

“Though I can’t hold a candle to you, Wilma-san.” (Katharina)

“Hunting is my life.” (Wilma)

“Those are rather philosophical words…” (Katharina)

Doubtlessly, the one most skilled at hunting among us is Wilma.
Nocking two arrows at the same time, she shoots them together, simultaneously bringing down two rabbits.

“Wow! Magnificent!”

As even His Highness can’t pull off such a feat, he praises Wilma from the bottom of his heart.

“It’s no surprise that Minister Edgar adopted you as his daughter.”

“What an amazing skill.” (Therese)

While praising Wilma, Therese casually kills a rabbit, exhibiting her own skill.
Her being able to handle everything flawlessly is likely thanks to her education.

“This hunting ground has a dense population of game.”

“Since it’s close to Baulburg, we turned it into an exclusive hunting ground of the Earl Baumeister House in a hurry.”

“Wendelin, thou did that?”

“Roderich handled it.”

“That’s what I thought. As the lord, thou can simply hunt prey by using 『Detection』 and flying over with thine magic. Choosing the hunting ground makes no sense.” (Therese)

“I suppose that’s true. After all there’s plenty of untouched nature in the Baumeister Earldom.”

There are plenty of places with such a dense quantity of game in the Savage Lands, and I could actually go hunting at many locations even without using the Baumeister House’s exclusive hunting ground.
We chose this place today since it’s easy to protect guests here.
Provided that we would turn into targets for packs of wolves and bears if we were negligent, it was indispensable for the retainers to accompany us, though.

“However, thou are really bad at this, Katia.” (Therese)

“I’m an expert at close combat, but suck at archery.” (Katia)

Only Katia doesn’t manage to catch a single prey.
Her posture isn’t all that strange, but she likely can’t aim well while worrying about Lisa.

“However, if the target is this close, it’s my strong point…” (Katia)

In exchange, she brings down a deer that’s several meters away from us with one blow, using one of the throwing knives she wears at her waist.

“Magnificent, Katia-dono. All that’s left…is for Lisa-dono to use her interesting spell?”

Lisa has skillfully buttered up to His Highness, but even if she’s next to us, it’s impossible for her to learn the reason for Katia’s increase in mana.
She observes us while looking slightly bored as guard of His Highness, but being ordered to demonstrate her unusual magic that can be used for hunting, she shows a little bit of motivation.

“She doesn’t carry a bow with her.” (Elise)

Elise, who had nothing to do as the one in charge of healing, stares at Lisa, who confirmed her targeted deer without having anything at hand, with a great curiosity, wondering what magic she would use.

“Katia, do you know what kind of magic she’s going to use?”

“I have seen it several times, but since His Highness is present as well, enjoy watching it.” (Katia)

“You’re just saying that because it’s a bother to explain it, aren’t you?” (Luise)

“Just how much of an idiot am I in your mind, Luise!? It’s not such a complicated spell!” Katia complains to Luise.

Lisa holds no bow in her hands, but she performs an action as if nocking an arrow with her empty hands.
As she does, an ice arrow is created at the same time as her mana rose.

“It’s really amazing, but still a cliché.”

“As conceivable.”

“That’s true, isn’t it Wilma?”

I see, I suppose she will fire an 『Ice Arrow』 while using the motions of firing an arrow with a bow.
Once the deer was hit by the ice arrow which was released right away, its body was covered by a several centimeters thick ice layer, and it stopped moving on the spot.

“Wend-sama, it’s rock hard.” (Wilma)

“Incredible.”

“It’s a convenient spell for people that don’t have a magic bag.”

Since the deer’s meat and intestines won’t degrade until the ice melts, it’s probably handy for the majority of the people not possessing a magic bag.

“Because it will be preserved for around half a day, it can be transported in the meanwhile, and then just has to be dismantled after the ice melted.”

“I see. You came up with a well thought out spell there.”

His Highness praises Lisa’s magic.
Rather than showing off a flashy attack magic and stressing her weird appearance, she appeals to a noble man with the convenience and cleverness of her magic.
His Highness himself is excellent as well since he’s able to give the correct assessment of the magic used by Lisa just now. I guess she was also able to ascertain the person she should appeal to.

“(Even though she wears such a crazy getup, it’s still proof of her being called Lisa the Blizzard.)”

Katharina mutters to me with an expression showing that she can somewhat understand, but there’s no way for an old lady…no, young lady, who only uses flashy magic in a gaudy outfit, to be evaluated as an excellent magician.
If it’s Lisa, it’s only natural for her to have noticed the matter with Katia’s mana.

“That’s really something. My retainers were able to employ a good guard. I will rely on you for the time until I return to the capital.”

“Please leave it to me.” (Lisa)

His Highness is likely happy that an excellent guard had been hired, but we are forced into the unpleasant situation of constantly being observed by Lisa until His Highness goes back.

“(Therese-san, for a change you have been outwitted, haven’t you?)”

“(It will be fine as long as we don’t reveal anything. Or rather, even His Highness understands thine situation, Wendelin. There’s no way anything will be revealed if thou spend thine time normally.)” (Therese)

The reason for Katia’s increase in mana is the sex with me, but even Lisa wouldn’t do something like peeking into the bedrooms of other people.
If her doing so were to be exposed to His Highness, she would lose all the trust and reputation she had built up until now in one go.

“Today was a large catch, wasn’t it Wendelin?”

“It’s because of Your Highness’ skillful archery.” (Wendelin)

This person can really do anything.
Maybe his basic abilities are even higher than those of His Majesty.

“Let’s go back for now since it will lower the next amusement if we obtain too much today?”

“You’re right, let’s do so.”

We finished the hunting after a few hours, and returned to Baulburg.
As His Highness was pleased with Lisa, it was decided that she would stay at his side as guard until he would return to the capital.

“(His Highness is a fairly generous man, isn’t he? Even after seeing that get-up of Lisa-san, he seems to think nothing of it…)” Ina brought her horse close to mine, and whispered.

The close aides and other guards of His Highness whispered among each other while looking at Lisa with her outfit that made a big impact, but His Highness himself apparently didn’t mind it.

“(He’s certainly tolerant. It’s because he’s properly assessing the abilities of others.)”

“(Saying it nicely, you’re right…)”

Saying it badly, he’s quite the dense man…or it’s also possible that his fashion sense is quite bad?

“(There’s no way that can be true, though)”

“(Right…?)”

After we safely return to the mansion, we will have dinner together. It was scheduled for His Highness’ group to stay at the mansion today.

“We will prepare dishes using the Baumeister Earldom’s local specialties and today’s catch.”

“I’m looking forward to that.”

Once His Highness and I arrived in front of the mansion while talking with our horses lining up next to each other, we noticed a single, middle-aged woman waiting for us there.

“Are you Earl Baumeister-sama?”

“Yes, that’s correct, but…Your Highness?” (Wendelin)

“She’s none of my attendants.”

That middle-aged woman made an impression on me in a certain sense.
She had a plump figure, wore thick make-up and her clothes revealed the bad taste of a nouveau riche. She was apparently fighting against her age with all her might, but unfortunately it didn’t seem as though she was very successful at that.
She wore glasses with gold chains and gem inlays. If you were to describe her in a few words, she had the typical appearance of a 『snobbish old bat』. 1 It was the first time that I learned about such a person actually existing in real life, and not just novels.
If compared to her, Lisa was still far more acceptable…but that’s only if you were to compare them.

“I’m called Helga von Stiel. I’m the wife of Viscount Stiel.”

“(What!?)”

Another thing I’m hearing for the first time.
No way, for a woman, who adds 『zamasu』 at the end of her sentences, to actually exist…

“(Viscount Stiel?)”

It’s yet another noble name I don’t know.
Or rather, as there are too many nobles, I can’t remember all of them.
I don’t have any intention to remember them either though.

“(Elise, do you know a Viscount Stiel?)” (Wendelin)

“(Yes, he’s the vassal of Earl Belz. A famous noble of the financial affairs faction, and a very rich person.)” (Elise)

As expected of Elise, she knows the true identity of this old zamasu lady.

“It’s been a while, Elise-san. You look just like I did in my younger days. Same as me, you have been turning increasingly beautiful.” (Helga)

“””””””(You’re kidding!)”””””””

Without a doubt the thoughts of everyone except for that old bat overlapped.
Even if she could be rejuvenated again, and assuming she would lose weight and remove her thick make-up, she definitely won’t look like Elise.
Elise glossed it over with a strained smile, seemingly not knowing how to answer best.

“Oops, it’s not like I came here today for an idle chat. In fact, I came here in regards to Leopold-chan’s matter.” (Helga)

“Leopold-san, you say?”

“He’s my adorable son.” (Helga)

I wonder what’s the matter with her son?

“If it’s Leopold-dono, then I rejected his application…” (Roderich)

At this point Roderich raised his voice, and everyone understood everything with that short comment.
The son of that old zamasu lady tried to work for our house, but since he was a problem child listed on the blacklist, he was turned down, and she came here to complain about that.
It looks like over-demanding parents exist in this world as well.

“The gallery should stay out of this. I’m talking with Earl Baumeister-sama.” (Helga)

“Umm…Roderich is the house manager of the Earl Baumeister House, and he’s also the one in charge of employment…” (Wendelin)

He’s our important house manager and not some outsider.

“Oh my, that’s no good. Roderich-san or whatever might be an excellent person, but it’s necessary for you to look at people personally, Earl Baumeister-sama.” (Helga)

“Haah…” (Wendelin)

What this old lady is saying isn’t wrong.
Originally I as the family head of the Baumeister House should scrutinize the retainers to be employed.
Certainly, it’s an important job of a family head.
Therefore it was my big mistake that I tried to listen to her story normally.

“Leopold-chan was rejected due to some kind of mistake. I came to correct that. Listen, okay? Our Leopold-chan is…” (Helga)

“Is?”

For more than two hours after that, we got stuck listening to her bragging about her son in front of the mansion even though we were hungry after the hunt.

 

◇◆◇◆

 

“Milord, I’m very sorry.” (Roderich)

“No, there was no immediate danger.” (Wendelin)

Listening to the old bat’s long boasting about her son, everyone became mentally worn-out.
Roderich kept apologizing to us for not being able to prevent her endless bragging.

“Big Sis?” (Katia)

“…”

Lisa looked at us next to His Highness as his guard after buttering up to him with her old man’s wisdom, but even she hadn’t anticipated the appearance of that zamasu lady.
Being forced to listen to her for two hours together with us, she looked completely exhausted.

“It would have been a problem if you couldn’t prevent that old lady even though she was a danger to Wend, but it’s not like that was the case.” (Ina)

“But, Ina-sama.” (Roderich)

“She was surely mentally exhausting. Although I’m a woman as well, I wonder why she can talk for such a long period of time?”

Ina cannot help but be mystified how she could have spoken for such a long period of time.

“That was amazing, wasn’t it? For more than two hours, it was all about bragging about Leopold-chan.”

Luise, who was relatively lively, mentioned the greatness of that old bat.
It was a perfectly passionate story.
A grand, epic tale about Leopold-chan, from his birth until today.
I ended up wondering whether it wouldn’t fit into a two hours drama slot on television.
Of course, only if it’s the truth, but well, I guess it’s only natural to dramatize a bit in a story.
Though I don’t have any motivation to investigate…what parts had been dramatized…

“Thanks to her, we learned quite a lot about Leopold-chan. We have become Leopold-chan experts.” (Wilma)

“””””””Pfft!”””””””

Everyone burst into laughter due to Wilma’s comment which had just the right timing.
Certainly, if a Leopold-chan certificate existed, we might now be able to aim for elementary level with ease, or even intermediate level.
If we did our best and aimed for an advanced level, we would become splendid Leopold-chan-ists.

“It’s pointless to even memorize such useless knowledge. For some reason it’s stuck in my head, though…”

“Katharina, it’s because of that zamasu lady.”

Even though we didn’t even want to listen to her story, the ability to launch a preemptive strike of that zamasu lady was nothing to scoff at.
And, once we started listening to the story, we weren’t permitted to withdraw from there easily.
I think that’s a kind of talent.
Her way of talking that imprints the content into one’s memory against one’s will is also terrifying.
It makes me think that she would be a fine school teacher.

“The story of how Leopold-chan rescued his cousin from a stray dog at the tender age of three was deeply moving.” (Therese)

“Even though you were present as well, you are amazing in a certain sense, Therese-san.”

As she was a former Duchess of the Empire, Therese had been involved with long, fervent meetings.
You could also say that she had nerves of steel.
Though, it’s probably true that she hasn’t read the mood at all.

“I was present as well…”

“That’s true…to His Highness, that lady…” (Katharina)

And, the zamasu lady made His Highness listen to her speech as well.
Did she maybe not notice His Highness?
As a matter of fact, Katharina apparently forgot about His Highness for a moment as well, and glossed it over with an unnatural way of speaking.
Well, it was the same for me too, but this is nothing I could admit.

“The impact of that old lady was too strong…”

The presence of that zamasu lady was too big. I’m sure His Highness presence was painted over by hers.

“It looks like something serious happened. Dinner has been prepared, so please come inside.” Amalie encouraged us to eat dinner after coming back.

Originally we had planned to cook the game we caught at our hunt, but thanks to that old lady, we had no time to hand over the game to the mansion’s cooks. I had them cook and serve hunted game that had been caught by my retainers beforehand.

“Thy Highness, it looks like thee know that lady?” (Therese)

“I guess it’s obvious to you, milady…well, she’s famous. That wife of Viscount Stiel is…”

I thought there might be many among the thousands of noble houses in the Kingdom that His Highness didn’t know, but he knew about the wife of Viscount Stiel.

“It’s because she stands out.”

“Makes sense.”

I guess you wouldn’t be able to forget such a person after meeting them once.
In contrast to His Highness, she totally stands out.
The wife of Viscount Stiel seems to be quite a remarkable character.

“A long time ago, the Viscount Stiel House’s financial situation had been deteriorating. In order to somehow deal with that, they welcomed her as the wife of the present family head.”

The objective was assistance and a big dowry from the wife’s family, but Viscount Stiel’s wife herself is apparently someone with great resourcefulness.

“His wife is a professional moneylender.”

“I have heard rumors about that, too.”

“Well, I guess if it comes to Cardinal Hohenheim, it’s only natural for him to have been aware of this…”

There are times when nobles urgently need a large amount of money at any costs.
Viscount Stiel’s wife is skilled at finding such nobles. She has a talent in gaining interests by lending them that money quietly.
This secrecy of hers is her selling point. Viscount Stiel’s wife never reveals the information of her customers.
Since nobles possess a high pride, they don’t want others to know about their money borrowing.
Even if the interest is somewhat high, they will feel at ease as it won’t be leaked to others if they lend money from Viscount Stiel’s wife.
For that reason there are few nobles who criticize her or make an enemy out of her.
After all they would be troubled if they couldn’t have her lend them money in case something urgent came up.

“Because of that, the Viscount Stiel House was able to reorganize their financial situation. But…”

The people of the Viscount Stiel House have become unable to speak up against the wife, even including the family head.
It seems to be a noble house where the wife stands at the top to the extreme, which is rare in this world.

 

———————— End of Part 2 ————————

 

 


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Translation Notes:

  1. The author used here “zamasu obasan.” She actually talks by adding zamasu at the end of her sentences, too. It’s a common trope character when depicting stuck up, middle-aged women. In anime you will sometimes encounter female teachers with smug haircuts wearing glasses and a suit, who represent this archetype.

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  1. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 13 – Chapter 5: Blacklist – Part 2

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