Beginning of this year, after the author deleted the WN and 7Seas licensed Broke Mercenary (the follow-up novel of this author), I asked my patrons whether they wanted me to continue to TL the WN or switch to the LN version.
They chose latter. So we’ll go with that. What will change for you? Nothing much. The LN follows the WN closely, and extra stuff is mostly added in the way of intermissions. Also, the 18 LN volumes cover the story up to the last finished arc of the WN, so you get the same ending either way.
Thus, just as I did with Hachinan, I’ll henceforth continue with the LN. The release will be in parts (each part will cover a WN chapter). Enjoy~
The Gordonal Barony within the Trident Principality was an area that would generally be referred to as the countryside. The Trident Principality, which was next to the monster-infested Miasma Forest to begin with, was a country that seemed to be considered rural amongst the human territories, but the Gordonal Barony, which was especially close to the forest within the principality, was a territory deemed as especially rural even among the rural areas.
One of the territories famous for being in the same situation was the Kunugi Margraviate, but that one had an abnormal lord, abnormal people who were close to him like retainers, and a genuinely abnormal maid. Thanks to all those abnormalities, that territory, and especially its provincial capital, had achieved a reputation that it might be on the forefront of cutting-edge technology, and was thus much easier to live in than any other city in any other country, not to mention the principality’s capital. As such, that margraviate didn’t fulfill the conditions to be called rural.
Leaving that aside, it was pretty much obvious to anyone that the Gordonal Barony was the countryside, but it had just one component that was considered valuable in this world – the ocean.
Although it might simply be referred to as the ocean, it was an ominous place that could trigger a disaster if handled incorrectly due to the existence of the katurul, a being that ruled over almost the entire ocean. The ocean’s blessings were thus scarce in this world.
However, precisely because of its scarcity, the value of the ocean’s blessings was boosted. In the eyes of those with territories facing the sea, such a fact was ironic. But then again, there were rumors going around that the margrave, who had an established reputation of being abnormal as mentioned above, had apparently initiated communication with the katurul, although it wasn’t clear how he managed to do so. In reality, the Gordonal Barony was estimated to develop from now on because the seafood procured in the barony had started to circulate on the market, albeit only slowly, but at present the barony couldn’t see any changes in its evaluation as countryside.
Shion Femme Fatale, who held the title of first princess of the Trident Principality and was currently staying in that very barony, didn’t know what to do with all her free time. Currently, because of certain circumstances, she was working on repairing the various things she had broken, but that work could only be carried out while the sun was out.
In addition to the work not being urgent, it also wasn’t anything that could be done in a dark environment after sunset. It wasn’t a job that she had to continue no matter what, thus she didn’t have to go so far as to prepare illumination for the night, but that was also the reason why she had nothing to do during the evenings.
The Gordonal Barony was the deepest sticks.
Even the town, where the baron had his seat, was no exception to such an evaluation. Most of the stores closed as soon as the sun set, and even the stores that wouldn’t be included in that majority shut their doors as the evening progressed. If this had been Klinge, Renya’s address, you’d be able to find several stores running all night long, regardless of whether they were the healthy or unhealthy types of stores. Something like slipping out of the room for a bit to alleviate the boredom in the evening could be done without any difficulty, but the Gordonal Barony was completely wrapped up by the night’s darkness, not a single soul out on the streets after a certain hour.
With a situation like this, the only option was to spend the evening and night inside, but Baron Gordonal himself was the very definition of a martial artist, and probably because he was of a somewhat advanced age, the people around him also went to bed rather early at night.
If this were Renya’s castle, the Head Maid and local silky, Frau, would prepare a light meal, offer various forms of entertainment, which she stole out of Renya’s knowledge according to herself, or be available as a conversation partner, and thus there would be plenty ways to waste some time. With Frau being far away now, Shion couldn’t fall back on this method either.
Shion had been staring at the ceiling without being able to get a wink of sleep while laying on the bed in the room she was assigned to. She would probably be able to fall asleep if only she were assailed by sleepiness, but sleepiness was something that would only be elusive at times like now.
Suddenly she remembered that Renya had mentioned that he would just count numbers when he couldn’t sleep, and thus she started to count, but for some reason Shion became even more wakeful instead. Giving up on that method, she sat up on her bed.
“Seeing how it’s impossible to force myself to sleep, there’s no point to stay in bed either, right?” Shion muttered to herself.
Shion believed that she would sooner or later get sleepy if she stopped focusing on going to sleep and instead did something else, but the reason why she tried to fall asleep was exactly because she didn’t have anything else to do with all the time in her hands. Noticing that her thoughts were going around in circles, Shion smiled wryly, and thought about intruding into Remya’s room.
It’s not like I’m going to sneak into his bedroom to make love.
Shion had once failed to do so in the past, and at present she had absolutely no confidence that she would succeed if she were to try again. She wasn’t that big of an idiot that she couldn’t understand that failing a second time could probably lead to Renya losing all sympathy for her. Although she believed that she would try again at some point, Shion decided to limit that second attempt to a time she was convinced she would succeed or when it was likely for Renya to forgive her even if she failed.
Well then, if he asks me why I’m visiting, I’ll tell him that I’d like to chat with him until I become sleepy, she planned.
It’s not that Shion hadn’t considered the option of asking Rona to be her conversational partner, but it was lacking a touch of novelty since Shion was always talking with Rona. On that point, Shion felt that she would be able to hear many, very interesting stories if she earnestly asked Renya to talk to her, seeing as he was a Lost who possessed knowledge of a different world.
While at it, it might also increase our intimacy since I’ll be visiting the room of a young man without any vigilance at night, she thought, but she fully understood that her plan was a two-edged sword as it bore the high risk of her simply being regarded as a slutty woman, if she carried it out unskillfully.
In terms of the topics of conversation, Shion believed that anything would do as long as it was interesting.
“Now then, what should I wear, assuming I go ahead with this.”
Right now Shion’s body was covered by her night wear which was made out of a thin fabric, but she believed that it would likely be a very bad idea to show up to Renya’s room in such an outfit.
I think it’s necessary to show that I’m properly covering what should be covered by wearing a somewhat thicker gown or something like that, Shion, who was about to open the drawer with her clothes, suddenly felt the presence of someone else stopping outside in front of her door.
I wasn’t so sensitive to presences before, Shion thought. However, since she had started to act together with Renya, she felt like her ability to sense such things had become sharper, albeit slowly.
If she focused her senses now, she could perceive that there were two people outside her door, and even that they were both women. Given that it was two women, Shion thought that it might be Emil and Kilie who had come for a visit, but these two visiting her room, and moreover this late at night, didn’t really make sense to her. Considering that they were women, the possibility that one of them was Rona existed as well, but Shion had excluded her from the possibilities from the very start because she believed that she would definitely be able to sense Rona, an old friend of hers, even through a door.
While pondering about such things, Shion thought about how she should act in this situation, but before she could do anything, there were several light, quiet knocks on her door.
“Who is it?”
“We’re terribly sorry for visiting you this late at night. We’re maids serving our lord, the baron.”
Hearing the reply after asking for their identity, Shion slightly raised an eyebrow at the true identity of the speaker. Just as there were those among the maids serving nobles who would commute, there were also some who would live at the noble’s mansion, so it wasn’t too strange for maids to be present in the dead of night.
However, these maids weren’t Shion’s acquaintances. Moreover, as far as it goes, Shion nominally was the first princess of the Trident Principality, even if she had readily rescinded that position, and thus knocking on Shion’s door wasn’t something maids would do without a particular reason.
Shion thought that there was possibly some kind of emergency, but since she couldn’t hear any commotions around her, she couldn’t quite believe that something like that was going on right now.
In that case I have no other option but to ask the person who introduced herself as a maid, I suppose, Shion retrieved a dagger for self-defense out of the luggage that had been leaning against her bed, and opened the door a crack with her right hand while holding the scabbard behind her back with her left hand.
“What kind of business do you have with me?”
Without hiding in her voice that she was wary of them, she peeked outside the room through the small gap of the opened door, seeing two girls in maid clothes, who were both a lot smaller than herself, holding small lamps while cowering with apologetic expressions.
Shion almost ended up lowering her guard against her better judgment, but once she widened the crack a bit while making sure to not let go of the knob, she quickly checked the back and sides of the two girls.
“We’re very sorry for disturbing your rest, Shion-sama. But, while being fully aware that it’s rude, there’s no one besides you whom we could consult.” The girl with long, silver hair, who was the slightly taller one of the two, said while turning an imploring gaze at Shion who remained wary.
The other girl, who had short, red hair, stood stock still while casting her eyes down, apparently unable to look at Shion who emitted a somewhat threatening aura.
“Only me? What about Baron Gordonal-dono?”
If it was about someone they could consult, it would make sense to bring it up with the head maid who took care of them, the retainers of the baron family who were above the head maid, or the baron himself as the one standing above them all. You could say that consulting Shion, who was an outsider and furthermore the first princess, was barking up the wrong tree.
“Lady Head Maid and all of the honorable retainers are not present as they have gone back home. Given that Baron-sama is of an advanced age as you know, we hesitated to bring up this topic with him so late at night…”
“I see, I think that makes sense, but still, isn’t it slightly odd to come to me with this? Even if you leave the matter of social standing aside, I’m not from this territory.”
The instant Shion said the term social standing, the faces of both maids visibly cramped up.
It looks like they’ve both completely forgotten that I’m the principality’s first princess, Shion sighed slightly.
Although she was somewhat astounded by the fact that the maids were kind of slow on the uptake despite serving at a noble’s mansion, Shion decided to let this matter go as she believed that they might be so on edge that this thought hadn’t even registered, if she gave them the benefit of the doubt.
“You went out of your way to consult me, so try telling me what it’s about. I don’t know whether I’ll be able to help you, but I can at least listen to you for starters.”
Unable to turn them away just like that, Shion urged them to explain the situation while believing that there would probably be no meaning in her wielding her social position at this point in time. In response, the one with the red hair frankly explained what she wanted to consult Shion about.
“As a matter of fact, we’d like to consult you about Margrave Kunugi-sama…”
The look in Shion’s eyes changed when Renya’s name came up. That sudden change reflexively awoke the urge in the two maids to turn around and run away, but without giving them a chance to do so, Shion threw the door wide open, and dragged the two petrified girls into her room right away.
“Tell me the details.”
The two maids were baffled by her reaction that betrayed her wariness until now as if it had been a lie. While dragging the two into the room, the dagger Shion had held in her left hand dropped to the ground, but that caused the maids’ faces to cramp up even further.
However, Shion didn’t have the composure to pay attention to any of that. It’s because her heart couldn’t remain calm after she was told that the consultation topic revolved around Renya, but in the eyes of the maids, Shion’s behavior only frightened them as they wondered whether they might have done something that could have upset Shion in some way.
While looking at the two of them, Shion pondered, Even if I won’t know what it’s about unless I listen to the details, it might be about something others shouldn’t hear about, considering the time they’ve come to consult me. It might be the kind of story that’ll lead to a disastrous situation if it’s not dealt with at once. Considering it as such, I must get the information from the girls in front of me as quickly as possible.
“For the time being, spit it out.”
“S-Shion-sama!? Umm, what?”
“Quickly spit out what you wanted to consult me about.”
Due to Shion bringing her face very close to them and threatening them, the maids became teary eyed while telling Shion the details in a panic.
————– End of Part 1 ————–
According to them, several of the girls doing their best as maids had started to sneak out of their waiting rooms and bedrooms with unsteady gaits as if being summoned by something late at night. This all started three days ago. Feeling curious about such behavior, the two of them tried to tail the girls to find out where they were going. They weren’t able to pinpoint the destination precisely but they had unexpectedly discovered that they were heading in the general direction of Margrave Kunugi’s room.
“Because we lost sight of them along the way, we can’t say for sure that they entered Margrave Kunugi’s room, but there’s nothing else that comes to mind in that area.”
Shion brooded. For nobles you can’t call the act of summoning maids at night that much of an issue. Maids that become nobles’ mistresses exist not only in the Trident Principality, but in any country. It’s not something you’d scold nobles over.
There were even nobles who gathered beautiful girls for that very reason, but since it also had the problem of how to deal with them as maids after treating them in such a way, there even existed nobles who employed maids only for that purpose. Even Margrave Kunugi was a young man. It wouldn’t be surprising at all even if he did end up having such a side to him.
But, as far as Shion knew Renya, he didn’t really have that much interest in such areas, or rather, he seemed to be a man without a sex-drive.
Otherwise there’s no way that he would have turned down Rona’s or my nightly visits. At the very least, he shouldn’t have had any issues with Rona, even if the position as the first princess might have become an obstacle in my case. So, if he were enthusiastic about that kind of activity, it would be weird if he didn’t have some fun by now. However, in reality Rona and I failed at our sneaky nightly visit. And while we’re at it, there aren’t any rumors about Renya having made a move on the maids working at his castle either.
“The girls, who continued to slip out, somehow acted strangely during the day…they kept saying that they wanted the white stuff, that sticky, syrupy white stuff.”
Just by hearing that much, Shion could feel how the situation was escalating into quite a dangerous direction. In the worst case those words suggested that even dangerous drugs meddling with a human’s mind might be in play here, but for Shion, who knew Renya, a connection between Renya and such things was completely out of the question.
“We don’t want to think that Margrave-sama is doing something outrageous, but we’re still worried when we see the girls in that weird state of mind…thus we thought that we could only discuss such a matter with you, Shion-sama.”
“Today as well, several of them left dizzily. Unable to stay silent about this any longer, we intruded upon you while being fully aware of how impolite it is.”
Going by the frantic appeals of the two, Shion judged that there were no signs that they had lied.
“Got it. Let’s go and have a look at the situation then. If something like this is really taking place, I can’t avert my eyes from it either.”
“Thank you very much, Shion-sama.”
Shion waved off the two maids, who bowed their heads deeply, telling them to not mind it, quickly threw off her night clothes, and put on her usual attire while also attaching a sword at her waist.
The maids stared at Shion in wonder since she had gone as far as arming herself, but since this matter concerned Renya, Shion believed that she couldn’t be careful enough.
“Okay, lead the way to where those maids went.”
Prompted by Shion who had finished her preparations, the maids began guiding Shion while going ahead in front of her. As they continued to move through the large building, the red-haired girl spoke up while turning around to Shion after some time.
“We lost sight of them around here.”
The place where they had stopped was a hallway. In her mind, Shion reconstructed the route they had walked from her own room, comparing it with the building plan she had acquired in advance. She confirmed that there were definitely only several empty rooms and the room allotted to Renya in this area.
While believing that the girls’ destination would have most likely been Emil’s room if it had been around here, Shion perceived a strange sensation when she tried to head further down the hallway where the two maids had stopped. A deep-rooted feeling of not wanting to go any further suddenly welled up within her.
“This is Renya’s doing?”
It wasn’t totally clear to Shion, but being somewhat able to perceive that it was the effect of some kind of spell, she clenched her teeth tightly in order to resist the effect. Once she put some strength into the area around her stomach, she felt how that strange sensation that had surfaced in her mind gradually faded away.
“Some kind of magic is at work here. Wait here. I will go ahead myself. If I don’t return by dawn, contact Rona.”
With those words Shion left the maids behind, and advanced further down the hallway. Since there was no illumination, she had to proceed while relying on the dim light flooding into the hallway through the windows. Shion subdued her footsteps as much as she could, and went ahead while paying attention to her surroundings. Before long she arrived in front of Renya’s room.
Being reminded of her previous thoughts for an instant, Shion hesitated to touch the door. Being caught in a trap wasn’t that much of an issue, but being mistaken and scolded for making a sneaky night visit once again was something Shion wanted to avoid at all cost.
However, if she didn’t even try to enter the room, she wouldn’t be able to explain herself to the maids she had asked to wait for her. Shion resolved herself, placed her hand on the door’s knob, lightly knocked on the door with her other hand, and called out to Renya through the door.
“Renya, it’s me. I’m coming in.”
No reply came back. After waiting for a moment, Shion turned the knob, and opened the door while being surprised that it wasn’t locked. However, the room was empty.
While only thrusting her head into the dark room, Shion wondered where Renya could have summoned the maids to if not in this place. However, she suddenly noticed a faint light leaking from around the door of the next room. She slowly drew closer, and once she brought her ear close to the gap of the ajar door, she could hear people talking inside the room.
“Aah…Margrave-sama. Please give us more of this white, sticky stuff.”
“I can’t get enough. This hot, sticky stuff is…”
“More, please give us moar. I can’t survive without this.”
Shion’s brain spontaneously froze due to the manifold, very coquettish voices made by several girls. Shion had believed that Renya wouldn’t do such a thing as play around with the maids, however, now that she had heard the voices coming from the other room she couldn’t state so for certain any longer.
Mysteriously no feeling of betrayal burst out from within her, she instead felt something similar to disappointment with herself for having made a mistake. As if thinking that hiding any longer wouldn’t mean anything, Shion slammed the door open, and forcibly charged into the room.
“Renya! What the hell is the idea here!? Regardless of the fact you hold the title of margrave, gathering the maids of another fami…ly?”
She was about to hurl a shitstorm at Renya, but what Shion saw as she stepped inside the room wasn’t the perverted scene she had imagined.
A single pot with steam rising from it stood on a table placed in the middle of the room. Four girls in maid attires sat around it. Each of them had a soup bowl placed in front of her, and they were right in the middle of scooping up the contents in those bowls with their spoons while donning loose and enchanted expressions.
A simple kitchen area had been installed on the other side of the door. Renya, who had a troubled expression, looked in Shion’s direction, who had suddenly barged into the room, while heating up a stockpot over a fire.
“Renya? Umm? Just what’s going on here?”
“Before answering that, just what were you thinking when you suddenly broke the door down while barging in and shouting? On top of being a bother when you consider the time of day, do you intend to increase the burden on my wallet even further?”
Once she was told all this while being glared at, Shion couldn’t do anything other than apologize while cowering. Seeing the two maids, who had come to check on the situation, become speechless after secretly peeping inside the room from behind Shion, Renya somehow managed to grasp the situation.
“You were just cooking?”
Shion, who had asked Renya to explain the circumstances while making sure not to look at the array of maids greedily devouring the contents of the pot in a trance while showing slovenly expressions, was surprised by his answer.
“Well, yeah. Various things happened, but I was able to get my hands on marine products of good quality. It’s just human nature to feel the desire to cook and eat them, right?”
“However, because I felt bad about borrowing the baron’s kitchen to cook my own food, I tried to secretly build a kitchen in the adjacent, vacant room.”
Isn’t that far worse than borrowing a kitchen? Shion and the maids wondered, but they decided to swallow their words.
The kitchen, which had been constructed by using building stones he had snatched from somewhere – although Shion believed that they were most likely the same ones she was using to repair the plaza – was genuine enough to even have had a chimney added to it so that the smoke could escape, but as he naturally had to drill a hole through the wall in order to connect the smokestack with the outside, the question about whether it was okay to do such a thing in someone else’s house didn’t want to disappear from Shion and the maids’ minds.
“It’s not an installation I’m completely satisfied with, but thinking that it couldn’t be helped anyway, I suitably cooked the seafood I obtained, just to be spotted by the maids over here.”
Renya cast a fleeting glance at the maids swarming the pot and pouring its contents into their own bowls, and continued his explanation after sighing lightly.
“I fed them since they told me to give them a share of the food at all costs, but…you can see the result of that over there.”
“What about strange drugs or indecent acts…?”
“Putting drugs into the food; you want me to get killed? And, what’s that about indecent acts?”
When Renya turned a scary look at the silver-haired maid, who had asked him shyly, both maids turned pale at once, and started to tremble while embracing each other. While thinking that there was no reason for them to get so frightened, Shion suddenly had her curiosity piqued about the dish Renya cooked, which the other maids fought over.
“Say Renya, is it OK for me to get a little bit of that as well?”
“Cut it out. If you take that away from them, they will kick up a fuss and start crying for real.”
Going by his tone, Renya had probably tried it himself already. He put some of the stockpot’s contents, which he had been stirring moments ago, into a new bowl, and held it out to Shion.
“The seasoning is a bit different, but it’s mostly the same as what they have. If you’re so curious, have a try.”
Accepting the bowl held out to her, Shion picked up the spoon that Renya had stuck into the bowl, and slowly scooped up the soup which was sticky and cloudy. Once she put it in her mouth, she was at a loss for words.
The seashore scent wafting into her nose was so faint that it was a tease. The sticky soup first transmitted its rich umami coupled with its heat to her tongue, mouth, and then throat’s mucous membranes before dropping into her stomach. Once she chewed on something tangible with a consistency similar to that of fish or shellfish, which Shion couldn’t quite identify, used as an ingredient in the soup, a flavor with an even greater richness burst forth in her mouth alongside its chewy consistency, not stopping no matter how long she bit on it.
While Shion trembled due to the deliciousness that she had never experienced before, she could hear Renya’s muttering that felt more like grunting.
“I just cut them into suitable chunks and cooked them in salt water, but…since it’s seafood that’s almost never eaten by the inhabitants of this world, they are weak to its flavor, I suppose.”
Shion thought that this was dangerous while being on the verge of falling into ecstasy.
For even me, who has only been eating ridiculously tasty food in Klinge based on the standards of this world, to have my consciousness almost sent flying; there’s no way that an ordinary person, who’s been eating normal food, would be able to withstand this dish. There’s absolutely nothing illegal about this. Having said that, as for being addictive, it surpasses any illegal drug. Shion easily reached that conclusion.
“Renya…this dish is taboo. At the very least…for the moment.”
“It’s regrettable, but it looks like you’re right. It’s not like I want to produce addicts through seafood either.”
For a change, Renya shared Shion’s opinion, who barely managed to squeeze out those words.
Shion was told in the future that it was decided to treat this matter as a secret by both houses, the Baron Gordonal House and the Margrave Kunugi House. The affected maids were somehow able to detach themselves from the influence of Renya’s food, allowing them to return to their normal lives, after being forced to eat rather disgusting food endlessly at a medical facility in the name of rehabilitation.
At the same time it was decided by the Baron Gordonal House to seal Renya’s soup recipe for the time being since it’s a fearsome recipe that would corrupt humans, although Renya didn’t even consider it a proper recipe. The baron said that it would remain this way until his house could judge that publishing the recipe wouldn’t create a problem, this would of course happen after the people eventually grew accustomed to seafood. However, Shion didn’t know whether such a day would ever come.
Speaking of one thing that was certain:
“I guess it’s not a lie that food that is too delicious is no different from poison.”
“Renya, I believe that you should try harder to understand the meaning of the word prudence.”
“By the way, seeing that stew has been prohibited, I was thinking about trying dried and smoked fish next, but what do you think?”
“Won’t those things also produce addicts…?”
“How about flame-broiled fish then?”
Given that Renya was not someone Shion could stop with words, Shion quickly gave up after reaching the conclusion that she couldn’t do anything about it anyway.
As for the victims affected by Renya’s actions, Shion didn’t need to worry since it would be fine to simply have Renya take responsibility. However, there was one thing that gave Shion a headache. It was something related to Renya’s cooking.
“Renya, if your dishes are too delicious…I will get fat, you know?”
Although she hadn’t become as addicted to the soup as the maids, Shion had still emptied a whole pot by herself with ease.
I plan to sweat the calories off by working, but what if my weight increases so much that it becomes noticeable? Shion shuddered in absolute horror about the possibility of this becoming reality if she wasn’t careful.