“It looks like there is a noble with a territory facing the sea who has approved our visit.”
A short while later Shion visited Renya’s office while holding a bundle of papers in her hand.
Renya admired her for the quick job, but given that the contact information originated from the archduchess personally, he somehow guessed that it might be a result based on some kind of consideration towards himself. He didn’t consider being treated preferentially as especially good thing, but there was no need to be antagonistic towards someone giving him such treatment either.
By the way, since the transfer gate was usually used for exchanges over a long distance that put importance on speed, it became extremely expensive, but because the second choice would be to give up on speed to save on costs, it depended on the situation which method to choose.
” Baron Gordonal’s territory, which is located north of the Kunugi Margraviate, seems to fit your requirements perfectly.” Shion said.
“Tell me the details about Baron Gordonal.” Renya asked with the feeling that it was probably written in the bundle of papers in her hand anyway, but Shion’s next course of action surprised him somewhat.
She threw the bundle of papers on top of Renya’s desk, and started to talk without looking at anything. Renya felt like he had just watched a bad student, whom he considered to simply be a cheater, suddenly started to smoothly write the answers of a test on the sheet without cheating. However, without knowing anything about Renya’s thoughts, Shion verbally provided the information he had asked for without any hesitation.
“Baron Gordonal is a noble who doesn’t show up at the central government often. There are various factions among the nobles, but I haven’t heard anything about this person belonging to any of them. Because his territory is far off and seeing how Baron Reicus, the family head, is an elderly man, mother doesn’t summon him unreasonably either. Probably because of that, he doesn’t have any outstanding achievements and it’s said that he will very likely stay as a Baron for a while. There are no special products in his territory. The agricultural produce is much the same as in other territories, but the harvest is slightly low. If judging it over-all, it’s no mistake to consider it to be in the lower-middle ranks as a territory of the Trident Principality.” Shion explained.
Renya moved to the next question while wondering whether marine products weren’t acceptable as special products, despite only caring about it being a coastal territory, “…Baron Reicus Gordonal is?”
“He’s an elderly baron who’s 69 years old. In his youth he was someone who quite flashily joined battlefields and territorial defense battles, but after he lost his wife, he quietly secluded himself in his territory. It’s said that he was one of the three top swordsmen in the Trident Principality. It was just for a short time in my childhood, but he was my swordsmanship teacher.” Shion said slightly proudly.
Although Renya made sure not to show it on his face, he now understood the trick behind Shion being able to smoothly recite the Baron’s information.
In short, it’s because he’s someone related to her.
He couldn’t have helped but to doubt the mental capacity of someone, who didn’t really know anything about the person they declared to be their own master.
“Is he strong?” Renya asked.
“I’d like to confirm that, but…compared to you, Renya, that’s a somewhat difficult question, isn’t it?” Shion replied.
“Just regard me as an exception.” Renya himself was aware that he could probably be called an irregular.
If you were to use such an irregular as the standard, the talks wouldn’t go anywhere.
“In that case, he’s strong. Not only did he repel monster invasions on countless occasions because he has a territory adjoining the Miasma Forest like you, he has also experienced fighting a demon.” Shion replied.
“Demon, you say? That’s amazing, but did he defeat them?” Renya inquired.
“That is…if it’s just about defeating them then he did, but…quite a few of his subordinates and his wife, who was an excellent sorceress, passed away in the battle.”
Seeing Shion say that with a bitter voice while casting her face down, Renya broke into a cold sweat in his mind. He tried asking about it while not taking it too seriously, but the outcome was much graver than he had expected.
However, if you were to consider it, demons are at the same level as dragons for normal people. If they met them, they had to resolve themselves to die on the spot. Although that wasn’t the way Renya himself felt about it.
That meant that even though he traded the lives of his subordinates and wife for it the baron’s abilities, who returned alive after killing the demon, were tremendous.
Even while admiring that fact, Renya firmly decided to remember that he mustn’t broach this topic in case he met the baron.
“Renya, are you in there?” A bright voice that seemed to dispel the slightly gloomy atmosphere in Renya’s office resounded.
The one who opened the door without knocking and entered was Emil in her usual getup that made you cold just looking at it.
After vaguely sensing the mood inside the room and slightly tilting her head to the side in confusion, Emil indifferently asked Shion, “You’re talking about breaking up?”
“We’re not breaking up!” Shion denied with a loud voice.
“Well, we would need to go out in the first place, no…?” Renya retorted very calmly.
“Even though we’ve already kissed and had a night visit…” Shion protested against his retort with teary eyes.
In response, Renya remembered, Come to think of it, that did happen, didn’t it? Moreover, if we’re talking about kissing, it’s something I did voluntarily, albeit for the sake of making her drink some medicine.
As such it wasn’t like he didn’t feel sorry for Shion after he told her they weren’t going out.
“Yeah, well I guess you’re right. Just now I said it without thinking it through. Sorry.” Renya apologized after accepting it honestly.
Hearing his words, Shion’s face became red, and she started to squirm while covering her face with both hands.
Emil was watching Shion’s state with a gaze that made it obvious that she didn’t give a damn at all, but seemingly having decided that things wouldn’t proceed at this rate if she didn’t interject, she addressed Renya while making sure not to look at Shion, who was earnestly agonizing, “I’ve finished the calculations you asked me for, you know?”
“Let me have a look.”
After gently pushing Shion aside, who was still wriggling her body, Emil spread out a piece of paper, which she had suddenly taken out of nowhere, on top of Renya’s desk.
“Just now, from where…?” Renya began to ask.
“It’s said a girl’s body has plenty of places to hide things, right? You didn’t know?” Emil said as she grinned broadly.
The paper unfolded on the table was a huge map of the circumference of the Kunugi Margraviate. The paper was so big that it definitely couldn’t be tucked into any gaps on Emil’s body, no matter how one thought about it.
She probably just said something suggestive after having casually taken it out of a void storage, but I’d like her to say such things after considering what she might cause by saying them out in case her words are taken seriously, Renya thought.
“There’s a place on you to hide something so big, Emil? I don’t know where, but isn’t that way over-sized?” Once Shion, who finally recovered after writhing around, exactly voiced what Renya was thinking although it wasn’t as if she had read his mind. Emil’s expression froze after hearing Shion’s words.
Shion responded to Emil, who turned her head in Shion’s direction with such a stiff motion one could almost hear creaking sounds, with a curious look, wondering whether there might be some kind of problem.
“Is there some kind of problem?” Shion voiced out her own thoughts.
“I-….It’s you who are saying that…!? You!?” Emil was shocked.
“What are you doing Emil!? I just honestly stated my thoughts…bah, you thought that I would stay silent just because it’s me, didn’t you!?”
Deliberately averting his eyes from the two who had started to grapple while completely ignoring his presence, Renya scanned the map spread out on top of his desk.
What was written on it were the calculation results of possible tunnel digging courses from the Kunugi Margraviate to the north, and the necessary depths in regards to the topography.
Renya didn’t understand the details as he had absolutely no knowledge in that field, but as far as he saw from the parts he understood, a route through the Miasma Forest, which he had considered at one point, seemed impossible over the whole span.
If asked about a route heading straight north in that case, it apparently couldn’t be called a very realistic plan either since it would require digging the tunnel quite deep so that it wouldn’t be exposed to the other nobles, despite it having a shorter distance than the alternate routes.
Renya smiled wryly after feeling that it was a very Emil-like way of drawing up a plan that used the premise of working in such a way that it wouldn’t be noticed by the other nobles rather than consulting with them.
“Either way, even if we used the heroes’ outlandish abilities, it appears to be difficult to actually implement it.” Renya commented.
“I-Is it okay for me to ask why you had planned to have the heroes do it?” Albeit being in the middle of her scuffle with Emil, Shion asked Renya while holding Emil’s wrists, who had grabbed Shion’s mouth on both sides and was trying to stretch it to the left and right, and was doing her best to stop Emil.
“About that, what do you two think about the heroes?” Renya questioned the two while deciding not to think about the fact that two girls were grappling and that one of them was actually a demon for the time being.
Having her mind diverted from the scuffle for a moment due to Renya’s words, Emil removed her hands from Shion’s cheeks.
It created a situation of struggling for supremacy between Shion, who didn’t let Emil’s distraction slip and tried to push from her side, and Emil who resisted Shion’s push.
“What…do you mean by that?” Emil asked back.
If Emil were to use all her power as a demon in this situation, she might have enough power to immediately twist and kill someone at Shion’s level, but Emil apparently possessed enough discretion to know that she couldn’t afford to do something like that, and thus forced Shion back with a reasonable amount of strength.
Shion was surprised by the fact she was being outmatched by Emil whom she considered to only be in charge of brain work, but the instant she understood that she had no chance of winning through strength, she retreated without fighting Emil’s pushing force, causing Emil’s upper body to pitch forward.
Before Emil was able to fix her posture, Shion decisively head butted Emil’s forehead.
A dull, thick sound reverberated inside the room.
“That barrier I destroyed with a single blow in the battle to recapture the dragonoids’ capital, the heroes had to attack it three times to break it. What do you think about that, seeing as they will be the representative combat forces against the demon king’s army?” Renya specified his question.
“That is…it can’t be helped, can it?” Shion said.
Was there a difference in awareness between the one who head-butted and the one who was head-butted? Although both sides should be in quite a bit of pain, Shion, who recovered first, grabbed Emil’s head, who was staggering with a hand on her forehead, and carried out a follow-up attack by dishing out another head butt while gritting her teeth.
The first attack was forehead against forehead, but probably because Shion unleashed a head butt from a properly prepared stance this time, it turned into a head butt showdown between the crown of Emil’s head and Shion’s forehead. Emil’s expression as she fully received the attack with the crown of her head became befuddled for a moment.
“Renya, if we use you as a comparison, everyone will fall behind, especially in regards to combat.” Shion head locked Emil with her right arm as Emil had stopped moving.
Emil raised a heartbreaking voice because of the headlock that put her in quite a dilemma.
Renya was puzzled, wondering just where Shion had learned such a technique, but it wasn’t a topic he really wanted to pursue.
“If not compared to you, I don’t really know about Albert-san, but I think it’s fine to sa…y that the other three are at a cons…iderable level, you know?” Shion continued.
Emil, who had been immobilized by the headlock, put her arms around Shion’s slender waist at the height of her belly with her head still being held by Shion in order to somehow stage a counterattack. Once she put strength into her arms and constricted them just like that, it became Shion’s turn to scream in pain.
This became a contest of endurance between Emil, whose head was being tightly pressed, and Shion who had her hips constricted.
“Although coming from the demon king, it was only his terminal. In other words, they barely managed to break a barrier created by a part of the demon king. If they were to fight against the demon king’s main body, I don’t see them having a chance, much less fighting a close battle.” Renya explained.
“Maybe they…will demonstrate some mysterious power…when all four of them are gathered?” Emil said while bearing the pain, but even she didn’t believe in the existence of such a power.
Even Renya, the recipient of Emil’s question, shook his head, “I listened to various stories and tried to search through many books, but there wasn’t a single account about the heroes having such a function.” Renya denied her words.
“Okay? But, how’s that connected to the matter of the public works? Rraahh!?” Emil, who had her head ground, yelled out her fighting spirit, and lifted Shion’s body after straining her arms.
Then she thrust one of her knees forward, and dropped Shion’s butt on it. It was a backbone splitter, or what’s called atomic drop in pro wrestling.1
This had apparently been quite effective. It made Shion throw her head back, but she barely relaxed her hold on Emil. In fact, as if returning the favor, Shion put even more strength into her arm, constricting Emil’s head even further.
“Public work is an extremely effective training method for your basic abilities. When I trained Keith’s unit in Kukrika I had them earnestly dig holes on the training ground because I lacked a fitting opportunity to put that work to good use.” Renya replied.
“Ah, that, huh? I see. Certainly, that can certainly forge all parts of your body.” Shion recalled.
“Having said that, no matter how much time we have, it probably won’t be enough for the heroes to dig a hole from here to the ocean. In fact, the heroes would die from that, wouldn’t they?” Emil commented.
The continuous knocking sound, which was audible throughout the room, was Shion banging Emil’s head against the wall.
On the other hand, Emil gathered her strength once more after having received the nth blow, lifted Shion’s body up, turned around, and dropped Shion’s buttocks on her knee once more.
Apparently unable to endure the second blow to her butt, Shion collapsed while holding her bum, but apparently still having a hazy consciousness after having her head hit and pressured repeatedly, Emil couldn’t follow up with an attack against the fallen Shion.
After a short break, Emil, who had somehow managed to clear up her muddled consciousness by shaking her head, and Shion, who revived from her butt pain with teary eyes, confronted each other.
“Give it a rest already, and go doooown!” Shion yelled.
“As if I’m going to let you finish me off!” Emil screamed back.
Both sides used a running lariat while shouting at each other. As a result they hit each other’s throats at the same time.
Emil, whose body was lighter to some degree than Shion’s, made a vertical half rotation on the spot, and fell to the ground with the back of her head first.
On the other hand, Shion won out in strength, but Emil’s blow, which she received in the way of a counter, apparently damaged Shion’s organs, and the moment she passed by Emil, she pitched forward and collapsed, albeit not as flashy as Emil.
This was what you’d call a double knockout.
After confirming that both sides showed no sign of standing up, Renya rang the bell to call Frau so that she could retrieve both. The bell ringing also signaled the end of the match.