It takes around two days by coach from the city of Kukrika to the Miasma Forest that divides the humans from the demons with its large range.
On the way there, there’s almost nothing but plains continuing for the whole while. Pioneer villages that have been established continuously as part of the Trident Principality’s national policy can be found here and there in the circumference of the Miasma Forest, but most of them repeatedly carried out the unproductive cycle of being destroyed by monster attacks or raided by bandits without achieving almost any results and then getting rebuild again.
This vast region has quite the bad public order and one can’t say that its soil is rich either. Given that there are no nobles of the Trident Principality who desired it, it has naturally taken the form of being a state-owned region under the archduchess’ direct control.
In an area of the land, closer to the Miasma Forest by more than a day’s travel from Kukrika, a scene spread out that made the travelers, who were using the road, doubt their own eyes.
Around ten red dragons had gathered at such a place.
Dragons, which would cause a tumult with just having one of them appear, have turned up in such numbers. Moreover they have gathered in one place. It was a view that made the travelers, who witnessed it, strongly wonder whether the time of the Trident Principality’s demise had come, but the reality went beyond their imaginations.
As soon as a young man completely clad in black appeared at the the restlessly loitering dragons’ feet, the dragons, which moved around as they pleased until then, suddenly changed their behavior and formed a tidy line standing side-by-side.
The onlookers wondered just what the hell was going to happen from here on out.
While the travelers stop their feet and attentively watch the spectacle, forgetting that they are in the middle of a journey, the man in black gives the dragons some kind of order, and in the next moment, lumps of fire surged out off the dragons’ mouths in succession and pierced the ground.
With ear-splitting explosions earth, sand and flames are blown into the air.
Those simultaneous attacks at several places, which seem to have sorcery spells added in as well, burn down the weeds, which thickly covered the ground that hadn’t been used by anyone, and fortunately blow away the intense unevenness afflicting the terrain.
The impacts shake the land. The vibrations even reached Kukrika far in the distance, but there’s no reason for the travelers or the man in black, who gave the dragons the order, to be aware of that.
Before long the dragons, who devoted themselves to razing the ground for a while, suddenly stopped spitting fire, as if the attacks until now were an illusion, upon seeing the man in black raise his hand.
At this point in time the ground, which covered quite the wide area, was exposing its soil that had been burned, blown up and dyed black.
Once the man in black points at that burned ground, the dragons, who had lined up neatly, started to run around freely across the soil that was still emanating heat and releasing faint smoke.
The people watching couldn’t comprehend anything of just what they were trying to do there, but the dragons in question are apparently doing it quite seriously while treading down on the thoroughly burned ground with their huge builds as they shouted “Agyaagya.”
As such a view was somewhat ridiculous rather than being intimidating, it invited laughter, but there were only few who were really able to laugh after seeing that.
After some time has passed, the dragons stop stomping across the ground they had burned, and then start to tread on the ground once more, using their body weight while being careful of their steps and surroundings as they cautiously took one step after the other.
Seeing that happening, several among the travelers, who stood stock still as they watched the transition of the situation, thought, Could the dragons perhaps be preparing the ground? Immediately the feeling that such an idea was ridiculous gains in strength, but besides that, they don’t find any other words to explain the situation taking place in front of their eyes.
Furthermore, as if supporting such an opinion, a completely level surface became visible from the ground that had been carefully tread upon by the dragons.
“Damn, I didn’t expect it to be necessary to start from urban development…” (Renya)
Renya, the man in black, repeatedly mumbled on purpose as there was no one to listen to him, while gazing at the ground that had its soil prepared with a staggering momentum.
I should have realized it at the time when I heard the words Margrave Kunugi, Renya thinks, but because at the time there were various other matters he had to consider apart from becoming a noble or managing a territory, he had ignored it.
Although it’s a digression, the ranks of the nobles in the Principality Trident, or rather on this human continent will be explained here.
If you limit the scope to being nobility, the rank of Duke is the topmost, below that are Marquis, Earl, Viscount, Baron, and then below these, Knights and Lower Knights.
Knights and below are ranks that end after one generation. The Baron rank is split into around half-half when it comes to whether or not they posses territory.
The ranks above Viscount always own territory. Moreover they are allowed to employ a private army unrelated to the maintenance of public order.
The rank of Margrave that was bestowed onto Renya is commonly an Earl who possesses territory close to the national border, so to speak, a noble assigned with the task of guarding the border. Their authority can be compared to that of a Marquis who is one rank higher.
In the case of the Principality Trident, a Duke is above a Marquis and there are no more than two nobles who hold the rank of Duke.
The most important one from those two has been assigned as Archduke family, a position that allows them to give Renya orders without listening to his circumstances.
By the way, it’s needless to point out, but the other family with the rank of a Duke is the Duke Baltan family. However, due to the current family head suffering a crushing defeat after having challenged Renya to a mock battle and having ended up in a state of having been beaten green and blue, their family’s position had been weakened severely.
Though, even if his position hadn’t weakened to begin with, he probably wouldn’t have the guts to meddle with Renya any further after having suffered such a devastating experience.
Therefore, Renya currently only has to be cautious of the Duke Fatale family, the Archduchess’ family.
“Well, if it’s that Archduchess, I don’t think that she would make a blunder in this kind of situation though.” (Renya)
If the ground becomes too hard, it will become troublesome later on when construction work is carried out on top of it.
If the soil below the ground becomes too tough when laying the foundation, it will be difficult to drive stakes into it.
Nevertheless, as strength issues will crop up if it was tread down too weakly, I told the dragons to stomp on it quite a bit.
In the end Renya decided to accept the reward offered by the archduchess.
There might be various merits and demerits because of that. However, what Renya thought as the very first was that there likely wouldn’t be any other countries that would give him any better terms.
If I can, to some extent, properly perform my task of paying taxes to the country after having accepted the title of a noble, the rest will somehow work out, since I won’t be told anything too unreasonable, once he ponders about the conditions past that level, he judges that, At least I probably won’t be asked later: “Please manage the country since I will give it to you.”
Besides, it was very unlikely for a country that would give such an absurd condition to exist.
If there’s actually a country like that, it means that it’s governed by a ridiculously foolish ruler.
In addition to that, wouldn’t it be fine for me to escape or defect to another country if the Trident Principality creates demerits beyond those I can think of, Renya wondered.
If I defect after receiving a request from the archduchess or if I defect after not accepting it, it would result in me losing almost everything I acquired up to this point.
Meaning, if there’s no big difference no matter what I choose, I will accept the things I can do for starters, and if it becomes really dangerous, I will throw everything away and escape. That might be called irresponsible, but it’s not like I could deny it either.
This was something Renya clearly told the archduchess when he informed her that he would accept her reward.
It’s because he thought that it would be slightly dishonest to abandon everything without saying anything, even while considering such a choice as irresponsible.
Putting it differently, even if it’s something I would get blamed for after doing it without saying anything about it; if I do do it, I can include the possible excuse of “I mean, didn’t I tell you properly at the time?” in to my calculations.
Apparently Renya’s way of thinking was seen through by the archduchess. The archduchess limited her reaction to showing a troubled smile while saying “It can’t be helped, can it?”
In the archduchess’ eyes, Renya’s mentality was probably something she didn’t really want to accept, but since she fully understood that she would likely be told “Then I don’t need the title” by Renya if she pecked at it imprudently, she apparently avoided commenting on Renya’s remark, putting the highest priority on having him accept the title for starters.
It’s likely not as an act of revenge for that, but the archduchess said that the territory presented to Renya will only be recognized as his from the parts in the western area he reclaimed, starting from a place that’s half a day away from Kukrika by carriage. From Renya’s point of view that was something truly bothersome.
Because the land doesn’t have a good, lasting quality, and due to the archduchess’ words that he will have to pay taxes in proportion to the reclaimed areas, Renya wondered whether it was her roundabout way of her telling him to build buildings as he sees fit, but when he returned to his home in Kukrika and explained all of this to his party members, Frau got really into it with quite the zeal for some reason.
“Master! Then we have to do our best and develop the area ~no!” (Frau)
“Eh? Why are you, a Silky, getting so hyped up over it, Frau…?” (Renya)
“I will be able to expand the range of the things I’m doing in the garden ~no!” (Frau)
“No, I mean, having that getting any bigger is a really bad idea, isn’t it?” (Renya)
Even Renya had at this point reached the conclusion that there’s probably something abnormal living in his home’s garden, even if he doesn’t know the details.
The raw materials that can be harvested from those beings have a very high utility value and thus he had left it alone, but even that’s just because it’s limited to those things living in his home’s garden. If it comes to creating a farm of these things and going at it on a large scale, he has no choice but to make his disapproval clear.
But no matter how much Renya disapproved, Frau remained firm and stubborn in regards to this matter and didn’t have any intention to pull back.
In the end Renya gave in and for some reason the flow of the conversation turned towards it being preferable for him to properly build a city now that it has come to this.
The ones who got majorly carried away in this regard were Emil and Croire, who joined in, with Frau in the lead.
In contrast Shion, Rona and Mayria, the human group, wasn’t overly eager about it.
Renya thought that Croire probably wouldn’t be very happy over him being affiliated with the Trident Principality, but once he tried asking Croire about it, she readily answered the following,
“Eh? Won’t the position of a concubine become available if you become a noble, Renya?” (Croire)
As far as Renya heard, it’s common knowledge in this world that people at the level of normal citizen don’t possess several wives, for the most part.
This also applies to adventurers. As long as they didn’t obtain an outrageous fortune by being very successful, monogamy was the common practice.
However, once it came to nobles, it seems to be somehow natural for almost all nobles to surround themselves with several women as concubines and as additional wives. On the contrary, it’s said that nobles, who marry only one woman, are considered heretics and get treated as oddballs.
If I consider the fact that nobles have to leave behind an heir, or rather definitely must do so, things turning out this way might be something unavoidable. But, if this also applies to the noble ranks of Knights and below, who retain their ranks for only one generation, isn’t going as far as establishing this common practice a bit too much in some way? Renya doubts the nobles’ motives.
“Is something like becoming a concubine really alright for a daughter of the elven emperor…?” (Renya)
Due to Renya hinting that her ambitions were probably far too low, Croire clearly answered,
“Rather, I reached the point of wondering whether even becoming your concubine will be fine, as I’m the daughter of that emperor.” (Croire)
If I’m treated as a legal wife, that emperor’s shadow will linger, no matter what. It will probably become difficult to have Renya affirm my love because of this, Croire judged, but won’t all the issues be resolved in one go if it’s the marriage of an imperial princess as a concubine?’
Renya admired her for her truly strong-willed way of thinking.
However, the question of whether he will marry her or not was actually a separate matter.
The one who he thought would also disapprove, in addition to Croire, was Emil.
She came to live at Renya’s place in order to distance herself from the demons. However, Renya’s territory is in an area that’s closer to the Demon’s domain than to the city of Kukrika. Renya thought that she would hate this fact.
However, even she easily gave her consent to moving after having brooded over it for a bit.
“It’s not like we are really going beyond the Miasma Forest. If I can stay on this side of the forest, the distance between Kukrika and where we are going is like a measurement error.” (Emil)
“Is that how it works?”
“That’s how it is. Also, if I can live in your territory, Renya, it will be more comfortable than Kukrika for me. It looks like I will be able to add various things if you are going to build a new city.” (Emil)
Renya felt slightly worried due to Emil’s broad grin.
Renya warned her to not go too far, but at the same time he decided in his mind to run away at full speed if something really absurd came to light.
This is the sequence of events that led to the launch of the project called “Let’s build a city in an empty plain.”