The Kunugi Margraviate is situated at the westernmost end of the human continent.
In the center of Klinge – the biggest city within the territory – lies Renya’s castle.
As Renya, the feudal lord, couldn’t come up with a clever name for it, it’s simply called Feudal Lord’s Castle. Frau stood on one of the castle’s balcony facing the western side.
With her standing there calmly while the hem of her apron dress and her flaxen hair fluttered in the somewhat strong gusts of wind, she looked like a normal little girl one could find anywhere, but she boasted of a majestic aura similar to that of some country’s general. Standing behind her, Keith was rapidly blinking after having rubbed his eyes.
Even so, the coercion he feels coming from Frau’s back remains the same.
Fixedly staring in the Miasma Forest’s direction with her arms folded, she had the appearance that would allow her to be introduced as a princess general from some country and no one would doubt it. However, her age and height didn’t make such a story believable.
But, no matter how many times he looks at her, Frau is still a little girl.
Frau calls out to Keith, who began to believe that he himself is completely losing out in term of aura when compared to Frau, while directly looking into his eyes.
“Keith-san, what are you thinking about ~no?” (Frau)
“Ummm…I’m wondering whether they will come attacking, I guess?” (Keith)
The report from the scouts regarding a change in atmosphere in the Miasma Forest arrived right after Renya and the others departed to the elven country through the transfer gate.
Starting with sudden noisiness in the forest, which had been silent until then, the soldiers, who had even gone as far as going inside the forest to investigate, a task that appeared somewhat unreasonable, apparently discovered several monster swarms.
Seeing swarms of monsters in the Miasma Forest wasn’t that unusual, but as it’s at most been goblin or kobold packs, it completely changes once those swarms consist of completely armed orcs and trolls.
Even though orcs and trolls are already a considerable as threat when they’re just strays with simple weapons, it turns into a major headache when one considers the possible threat level of a conglomerate of orcs and trolls that are wearing proper weapons and donning armors.
As the vague topic, which he came up with owed to his inability to bring up something else to answer Frau’s question, was more depressing than he thought, Keith started to feel slightly disappointed at his own inability to hold a conversation.
However, for Frau that topic apparently wasn’t as depressing as Keith thought. Frau calmly responded as if it’s trifling.
“Well, it’s set in stone that they will do so ~no.” (Frau)
“After all.” (Keith)
Upon Frau saying that with a tone as if she were asking him why he’s going on about such a thing at this point in time, Keith placed a hand on his forehead and sighed very deeply.
Now that I’m told, once again, directly that the enemy will come – even if it had been predicted – I can’t stop myself from feeling gloomy about it.
“What brave children ~nano.” (Frau)
Keith asks back as Frau’s remark, which completely disregarded Keith’s innermost thoughts, felt like it was extremely out-of-place.
Even though he implied plenty of doubt in his voice, Frau continues talking without turning around towards Keith while revealing a smile on her lips.
“It’s the brave children that motionlessly waited within the forest for the master’s presence to disappear in order to attack Klinge as they didn’t see any chance to win while he was here. The fact that they didn’t run away, which is a common tendency in monsters as they don’t feel any loyalty, is remarkable ~no.” (Frau)
She’s most likely praising them, but to Keith those words felt somewhat off.
“You call that brave?” (Keith)
“You don’t ~no?” (Frau)
Being refuted by Keith, Frau finally turns around with a puzzled look.
It’s probably not wrong to use the word this way, but if you consider that the orcs and trolls have been readying their weapons while holding their breath within the forest for Renya’s presence to disappear, it’s rather impossible to call such an act brave.
“Pull the line of the forest’s surveillance back a bit for now. Be careful not to incur any losses ~no.” (Frau)
Just because they saw monsters in the forest, doesn’t mean Klinge is going to be plunged into battle all of a sudden. It’s necessary for the monsters to march from the forest to Klinge.
Along that route there are several settlements that have already been evacuated. As the monster army will likely raid every settlement in their path in search of humans who were late in escaping as well as any money or food left behind, it’s expected that these settlements will slow the monster army down to some extent.
Frau wanted to set some traps as the settlements were going to be trampled down anyway.
To be precise, Frau proposed to Renya to set up devices that will explode, dragging the whole settlement into the blast, but as this was rejected by Renya, she wasn’t able to put such a strategy into practice.
According to Renya, having their houses destroyed by the attacking monsters compared to having them destroyed by Renya and the others will give the residents a completely different impression, even if they argue that it’s a strategic decision.
“I somewhat understand the notion ~no. But it’s inefficient ~no.” (Frau)
Frau grumbles, but it’s impossible to go against her master’s will.
It’s not like we know what the scale of the demon king’s army that’s going to attack Klinge will be, but the numbers that would have been defeated through the planted traps would very likely only enter the range of a measurement error, Frau renews her thinking.
Anyway, there’s no other option but to defend Klinge with our current cards.
“What are we going to do about Trident’s army which were left outside the city?” (Keith)
“Leave them alone until they contact us ~nano. But if the enemy army comes into sight, we will ignore them even if they contact us ~nano.” (Frau)
Since Renya is a noble, he has various ties of obligation, but for Frau something like that doesn’t exist.
And, it’s Frau who has been entrusted with Klinge’s defense. In the current situation the principality’s army outside the wall doesn’t register as a protection target for Frau.
Given that Frau is a fairy, she can refuse matters she hasn’t been informed about with a simple “I haven’t been ordered to do so.”
In that case the question of responsibility will shift to the one giving her orders, in other words, Renya, but as Renya is personally attending to the hero’s job of visiting the dragonoid country to check its condition while taking said hero along, he could argue that he forgot as he was very busy.
Even Frau didn’t know whether Renya entrusted her with the city’s defense after thinking this far ahead, but since there’s no gain in being concerned about such things, Frau plans to boldly ignore the existence of Trident’s army.
“I’d really like to ask Margrave-dono to come back as soon as possible.” (Keith)
Seemingly judging it to be pointless even if he were to deeply ponder about the principality army’s treatment, Keith attempts to change the topic.
As Frau also doesn’t want to talk about the principality’s army either, she decides to go along with Keith’s topic change.
“It depends on the level of damage the dragonoid country received ~no. In the worst case it’s possible to come back right away after having secured only the dragonoid hero, but it’s difficult to imagine master doing so ~no.” (Frau)
Going by Frau’s opinion regarding Renya’s personality, Frau considers the possibility of him abandoning everything in order to return after having found the hero as extremely low.
If the dragonoid country is at war with the demons, it’s very likely that he will hurry to help the dragonoids until they can take a breather.
Rather, putting the hero aside, in case Renya encounters an inexperienced girl working as a soldier, who’s courageously trying to face the demon king’s army, the probability of him annihilating the enemy army is abnormally high, Frau assesses.
“It’s troublesome because master’s heartstrings are sometimes pulled in strange ways ~no.” (Frau)
“What are you talking about?” (Keith)
Keith responds at once as he has no way of knowing what’s going on inside Frau’s head.
After answering to Keith’s response with “It’s nothing,” Frau stops folding her arms and returns inside the castle while accompanied by Keith.
The one who greeted the two once they came back inside was Mayria.
Mayria had been told to remain in the castle as the one in charge of office work by Renya, but in addition to the documents related to the soldiers – even though there’s only 500 of them – the documents related to the fief’s population, the various formal procedures in regards to the city’s defense, etc. plunged her into a situation where she was buried under a mountain of documents from the very beginning.
Mayria wondered whether she wouldn’t have prefered accompanying Renya on a slightly dangerous trip if it was going to turn out like this, but if she were asked if there were any civil officials, who could handle this amount of paperwork in her absence, Mayria would have no choice but to shake her head in denial.
If it’s Rona, she might barely be able to stand-in for Mayria, but Rona is traveling with Renya as a priestess. Even if Rona had consented to switching with Mayria, Mayria didn’t possess any priestess skills.
In short, even if Rona is a somewhat suitable substitute for Mayria, Mayria can’t serve as a substitute for Rona.
If I consider it like that, it might only be natural for me to stay behind in Klinge. Mayria persuaded herself.
“Mayria-ane-sama, you don’t have to ask for Frau’s permission for each and every little thing. You can suitably put Master’s seal to use ~no.” (Frau)
Frau says, obviously being somewhat fed up with Mayria who has been coming to ask for the approval of a huge amount of documents the minute she met Frau.
Frau was extremely proficient in regards to housework as she is a silky, but as for filing documents, a task which has been carried out by Mayria and Rona, her talent didn’t go beyond average.
Upon Frau saying, “It can’t be helped as it’s outside my field of expertise ~no,” Mayria didn’t withdraw, stating, “I will be troubled if I can’t have you, Renya’s representative, at least glance at the documents.”
It’s very Frau-like to say that Mayria can suitably make use of the feudal lord’s seal, but likewise it’s very Mayria-like to not jump onto that offer which would make any civil official, who is even a little bit sneaky, skip in delight.
“Isn’t that a great chance to take away the majority of master’s fortune if you do it skillfully ~nano?” (Frau)
In terms of materials and food, the Kunugi Margraviate, which is a new territory, has no other choice but to buy it from elsewhere, but if someone stated that because of this it didn’t have any assets, they would be absolutely wrong.
Frau has secured proper distribution channels for the normal-sized magic stones she keeps producing from Renya’s mana which is constantly provided to her. Accordingly, Frau sells these magic stones on a large scale at appropriate times so as to not cause a price collapse.
If it’s limited to liquid assets, the amount possessed by Margrave Kunugi won’t lose to that of other nobles.
Once Frau, who’s walking through the castle’s hallways while being followed by Keith and Mayria, says that with a bored tone, Mayria laughs scornfully.
“For me, who’s almost guaranteed to become the next archduchess, the fortune of a margrave is nothing that entices me to do something completely unreasonable just so as to acquire it.” (Mayria)
“Come to think of it, that’s true ~no. I forgot ~no.” (Frau)
I wonder what I should think about the next archduchess being entrusted with office work by a margrave though, Frau thinks, but doesn’t voice it out.
If Mayria stops handling the documents due to having her feelings hurt, Frau won’t be overly troubled, but it would be very troublesome for Keith and other people.
Even Frau seems capable of reading the mood to such an extent.
“Putting that aside, where are you headed, Frau-sama?” (Keith)
Seemingly reacting to Frau’s “forgot,” Mayria’s face has turned sullen.
Once Keith asked Frau who’s was currently leading them, while trying to change the mood, Frau replied without stopping or looking back,
“The pivot of this city’s defense ~nano.” (Frau)
“The defense’s pivot, you say?” (Keith)
Upon hearing something he has never heard of before, Keith looked at Mayria as if asking her whether she knew anything about it, but Mayria immediately shook her head.
Since both of them were behind Frau, Frau herself didn’t witness that exchange, but seemingly sensing the question the two were harboring, Frau continues to speak while still not looking back at them.
“This city was mainly planned by Frau and Emil-ane-sama. It’s a city built by using cutting-edge technology even among the cities located on the human continent ~nano.” (Frau)
While talking, Frau keeps advancing further and further down via several descending stairs.
When they passed the first few stairways, there were still maids and soldiers passing them, but after they descended another few sets of stairs, almost all the people and their presences were gone. The window-less stone passages were only illuminated by cold, white sorcery lights.
“There were such passages?” (Keith)
As someone managing the soldiers, Keith visited Renya’s castle many times.
Of course it’s not like he himself explored every nook and cranny of Renya’s castle, but he still believed he had grasped the majority of the pathways.
From Keith’s standpoint, he has no memory of ever having seen the path, which Frau is currently taking.
If it was a hidden passage, it would be natural for him to not be aware of it, but he doesn’t remember having passed through any hidden entrances or doors indicating the existence of such passages.
“Since a spell to keep people away is always active here, it’s difficult to be aware of it ~no. The reason why you can pass through it right now is because you are with Frau ~no.” (Frau)
If you told a margrave that there were places inside their castle that couldn’t be entered due to a spell that keeps people away being active, it would be unclear what kind of punishment would be handed down.
However, that’s only limited to common cases. Mayria and Keith feel that it would quickly end with approval in Renya’s case.
“The pivot itself has been made by Frau herself ~nano. It’s nothing that’s fun to look at, but are you still going to come along ~no?” (Frau)
“I am…for a change of pace.” (Mayria)
“As someone who has been entrusted with the soldiers, I think it’s necessary to see that pivot with my own eyes.” (Keith)
Their replies were completely different, but the conclusion apparently matches with them deciding to coming along.
While thinking, it’s really nothing enjoyable though, Frau shows no signs of being particularly against them visiting it either. Frau shrugs her shoulders once and slightly speeds up her walking pace.