Chapter 1 – Tilia Departure

 

 

 


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Imperial Calendar – Year 430, Early July

 

Once the maid had finished Tilia’s hair, she unfolded a three-sided mirror. Tilia checked her hair-style while the maid changed the mirror’s angle, feeling satisfied with the maid’s usual, thorough work.

“Does it please you, Your Highness?”

“Mmh, no problem.”

As soon as Tilia gave her consent, the maid folded up the mirror again. Given that Tilia harbored a secret pride in her blond hair which she had inherited from her mother, she felt great whenever her hair style looked as nice as today.

“What are your plans for today, Your Highness?”

“I was thinking of getting everything ready for the handover.”

“As you wish.”

Something similar to relief colored the maid’s voice. More than two months had passed since they had left the capital. It’d be one thing for knights or soldiers, but the maid was a young lady from a respectable, noble family. It was inevitable for her to be assailed by homesickness.

Then again, Tilia hadn’t decided to return to the capital out of consideration for her maid. Rather, she had been urged by a letter from Prime Minister Alcor to come back as quickly as possible. Of course she could ignore his plea, but the prime minister had a sound reason. Namely, imperial family members staying away from the capital for more than two months might be fine during wartimes, but such a long absence was shunned during peace times.

However, there was something Tilia had to do before returning to the capital.

“I think I’ll go to Chrono’s room before that.”

“With all due respect…,” the maid started, but then fell silent.

She waited for permission to speak and thus didn’t say anything further for the time being.

“Go ahead.”

“Please stop concerning yourself with Marquis Erakis.”

“Why should I?”

“That man is a neo-noble upstart. Someone of high class as you should keep her distance from a man like him.”

“High class, huh?” Tilia unintentionally revealed a bitter smile.

The founding emperor obviously had no bloodline, let alone high class. He was someone quite estranged from high class or nobility, but Tilia couldn’t possibly mention this.

“My father ascended the throne thanks to the assistance of those upstarts. In other words, my position also came to be due to the efforts of the neo-nobles.”

“T-That is…”

The maid faltered. She hailed from an old noble family. Thus, Tilia suspected her to have reservations about Chrono, a neo-noble, receiving preferential treatment.

“I don’t intend to look down on the nobles who served our family since the old times. But, if I were to belittle Chrono and the other neo-nobles for their family status, it’d only invite me being accused of acting like an ungrateful wench. Can you understand my reasoning?”

“Please forgive me for having been unable to guess Your Highness’s feelings on the matter. However, it is also true that Marquis Erakis is acting in a way unbecoming for nobility,” the maid squeezed out.

The part about him acting in a way unbecoming for nobility must be about him inviting a half elf into his room. So he brought her in once more despite me having warned him so much, huh? Tilia sighed lightly.

“I’m going to warn him about this matter.”

“Thank you very much.”

“I have a request.”

“Please ask me anything, Your Highness.”

“I’m going to head to Chrono’s room from now on, but could you clear out everyone else?”

“…As you wish,” answered the maid after a short moment of silence.

Me thinking that she paused there for a moment because she was showing her hesitation is me reading too deeply into it, I’m sure.

When Tilia stood up from her chair, the maid bowed respectfully, holding Tilia’s sword belt in her hands. She was asking for permission to put the sword belt on Tilia. Usually, Tilia would let the maid handle it, but――

“No, today I’ll do it myself.”

“Very well.”

She held out the sword belt, waiting for her mistress to take it. Tilia was suddenly reminded of her time at the military academy. Her losing in the military exercise, her having a heated argument with Chrono as she couldn’t accept her loss, and her chasing after Chrono when he ran away ― the five months before her graduation were the most fulfilling part of her two years at the academy.

“Your Highness?”

“Ah, it’s nothing.”

Coming to her senses thanks to the maid’s question, she quickly put on the sword belt.

“Please excuse me then.”

As soon as the maid left her room, Tilia gently touched the hilt of her sword.

Those five months were fun. But, neither those happy days nor friendships will continue forever. Maybe they feel so precious and beautiful precisely because they come to an end at some point.

“No, I’m getting too sentimental here, am I not?”

After all, it was going to be decided from now on whether their friendship would keep going.

 

 

Once Chrono woke up, the landlady was staring at him with a smile on her lips. Unlike yesterday night, she didn’t mind being completely naked today morning, and at some point, without him noticing, she had started to use his arm as a pillow.

“Oh, did you finally wake up, sleepyhead?” The landlady embraced Chrono, pressed a kiss on his forehead, and giggled bashfully. “Somehow I feel ashamed. I talked about consoling you and all that, but in the end I didn’t have the composure to follow up on it.”

“I see,” answered Chrono and breathed out in relief.

“Why are you relieved about it?” The landlady furrowed her eyebrows quizzically.

“Because I understood that you were serious about me. Besides, if you had told me that what we did yesterday was all just an act, I’d have lost all trust in women.”

“I-It’s not like I’m serious about you or anything.”

The landlady sat up, pressing her hands against her chest. He skin had taken on a pink color, making her look truly erotic.

Her placing her right hand atop her left must stem from her remembering her husband. It somewhat pisses me off that her dead husband is tying her down so much. No, that’s probably me being jealous. I just want her to pay more attention to me instead of a dead guy.

The landlady glanced at Chrono, “What’s with that face you’re pulling?”

“What kind of face is it?”

Chrono sat up as well, and then touched his face all over with a hand.

Well, I won’t be able to tell even if I do this.

“The face of an abandoned puppy.”

“That’s because you said that you’re not serious about me.”

“T-That’s…,” fumbled the landlady around. “J-Just a bit. I’m a bit serious about you, okay?”

“Just a bit, huh?” Chrono muttered with a sigh.

“I-I’m serious about you! I mean it! So, don’t pull that face with me, alright?” The landlady corrected herself in a fluster. “B-But, I told you last night as well. I’m troubled since I’m not that young anymore. I’ve put on weight around my waist compared to my younger days, and my stamina has declined as well…”

Her voice continued to grow weaker towards the end, before becoming completely inaudible.

“No, no, that’s not true at all. Landlady, you’re young and pretty.”

“Well, even if you tell me something like that… In the first place, you have Layla, don’t you Lord Chrono?”

“I’ll cherish both of you.”

The landlady stared at him with a startled expression.

“No, that’s…bad in various ways, isn’t it?”

“It’s normal for a noble to be surrounded by lovers, no?”

“That depends on the individual, I’d say. The nobles I know…or rather, your father isn’t surrounded by lovers, is he?”

“I’m me, and Dad is Dad.”

“Of course, I have no doubt about that,” she groaned, curbing her temple.

“So is it okay for me to take last night as you being serious about me?”

“W-Well, I was serious,” the landlady mumbled, her face blushing.

Her behavior was too charming for Chrono.

“…Landlady.”

“Wha――aahh!?”

Noticing the blanket being pushed from below, she gasped.

“We did it s-six times last night! Are you some kind of monster!?”

“I cannot help it because you’re so damn lovely.”

“Nah, please give me a break.”

When Chrono grabbed her shoulder, the landlady tried to brush his hand away. But her strength was too weak. He put more strength into his hand.

Of course, she should have been able to resist him if she really wanted to, but instead, the landlady lied down on the bed.

Chrono flipped over the blanket, revealing her voluptuous chest.

“…How beautiful.”

“W-What are you talking about!?” She exclaimed shrilly, but her eyes were moist and her cheeks flushed.

Chrono spread her legs, and slid his own body in-between.

“For mercy’s sake, please forgive me. Because we did it six times, I’m hurting all over. Besides, even my husband never did…” The landlady averted her eyes from Chrono and crossed her arms in front of her chest.

Her wedding ring twinkled at him for an instant, upsetting Chrono a bit.

“I might have an unexpectedly strong desire to monopolize.”

“W-What are you talking about?”

“I want to dye you with my color.”

“W-W-W-Wh-What a-are y-y-y-you saying!?”

Her face was now beet red.

“It’s fine, right?”

“…”

The landlady turned her face away when Chrono checked back with her. She murmured with a voice that was no more than a faint whisper, “Please forgive me.”

Chrono didn’t know whom she was begging for forgiveness, but he turned his dick in her direction.

At that moment, knocking could be heard from the door, causing the landlady to breathe out in relief.

“C-Come on, someone is at the door, you know? How about hurrying and getting out of bed?”

“No, stopping after having come this far is asking a bit too much. They’ll come again, if they got any business with me――”

The door being drummed interrupted Chrono’s words. Albeit it was only now, he got a bad premonition about this. His lust might have clouded his danger detection skill.

Chrono got out of his bed――

“Landlady, where are my pants?”

“Aren’t they lying on the floor?”

Chrono looked at the floor, but he didn’t see anything down there. The drumming on the door gained in intensity.

“If I hide my body behind the door and deal with the guest through the gap, it should work out one way or the other!”

It’d appear quite weird to say the least, but he had a hunch he’d manage one way or another as long as he got through this situation.

The instant Chrono extended his hand for the door knob, the door was flung open. The one having opened it was, as should probably be called a matter of course, Tilia.

“Chrono! I have been knoc..ki…..ng…”

 

——————– End of Part 1 ——————–

 

“Ehehehe, good morning.”

“W-Wh――”

The instant Tilia opened her mouth to scream, the two words lese majeste crossed Chrono’s mind. He got goosebumps, imagining his own execution, and before he knew it, he went into action.

He twisted Tilia’s arm behind her back, and pressed her against the wall while blocking her mouth so that she wouldn’t cry for help. Moreover, he used a foot to shut the door. All of this at a speed that surprised himself.

Maybe the adrenaline rushed to my head? No, even then, Tilia should have been able to cope with it. She’s very likely stunned after seeing me completely naked. But, I suppose, that’s only natural.

Even Chrono didn’t have the confidence that he’d be able to remain calm if a guy with his dick hanging out appeared in front of him all of a sudden.

“M-Mmmhph!” Tilia groaned while writhing.

Shit! At this rate, someone else is going to come in order to check what’s going on. If anyone was to see us like that, it’d be my end. I’ll be executed for having attacked an imperial princess. That’s why I have to explain the situation to her. I’m sure she’s going to understand if I explain while being as sincere about it as possible.

But, before that, I need to have her quiet down――

“…Don’t make a fuss.”

“Mmphhhhhh!”

He said with a voice so threatening that it startled himself. Apparently having sensed the same from his voice, Tilia violently resisted his hold.

“Calm down, okay? If you behave obediently, I won’t do anything bad to you. If you got it, nod once.”

Tilia nodded, and Chrono removed his hand from her mouth. But with her arm still twisted.

“I certainly hadn’t expected that you would attack me while using such a method…”

He didn’t have a clue what she was talking about, but he was grateful for her to not cause a ruckus, at least.

“Tilia, for the sake of reaching a compromise, we――”

“Kuuh, kill me!”

“What are you spouting!?” Chrono reflexively threw his eyes wide open.

Is she that shocked about having lost? Sure, it’s said that elites are faint of heart, but for her to choose death just because she lost once――

“Hurry up and kill me!”

“No, no, something like killing you――”

“N-No way!! Do you actually intend to rape me!? R-Rather than experiencing such a disgrace…!!”

“Could you stop struggling for a bit!?”

Tilia had started to fiercely squirm, seemingly misunderstanding something. Shaking her butt, she stimulated Chrono. But, suddenly Tilia stopped moving altogether. Not only her neck, but even her ears became beet red.

“W-W-Wh-What are you r-r-ru-rubbing against m-me!?”

“It’s not like I’m rubbing against you because I want to!”

“Bah, just kill me! Rather than humiliating me any further, finish me off!”

“Hold still, will you!? I’ll properly explain everything!”

Since Tilia had resumed her struggle, he had no choice but to twist her arm further. At this point, it should be quite painful for her, but she didn’t show the slightest hint of submitting.

“Damn it…I’ve been telling you to calm down, haven’t I!?” Chrono put even more strength in his arm twist, and put more weight on her as he pressed her body against the wall.

Something else got pushed against her as well, but he succeeded in making her stop struggling. Tilia glared at him across her shoulder. Her chewing on her lips while scowling at him with teary eyes stimulated a feeling of guilt in Chrono. But, at the same time, it woke a sadistic rapture in him.

“T-Tilia?”

“So that’s how far I go, huh? Do as you please,” she gave in with a somewhat nasal voice.

Chrono swallowed hard on the last part of her remark.

“What are you two doing over there?”

The voice sounded somewhat flabbergasted. Once both of them looked in the direction of it, they found the landlady standing there. She was already dressed, but the wrinkles in her clothes made it quite easy to imagine what fate had had in store for them last night.

“W-Why are you, the cook, here?”

“Please question Lord Chrono about that. I’ll take a bath and then go do my job.” The landlady shrugged her shoulders lightly, passed the two, and left the room.

When the door fell into its frame with a bang, a painful silence enveloped the room.

“What does this mean? Didn’t you know that I’d visit you?”

“As if I would! I was――”

“Haah,” Tilia spat out a sharp breath before Chrono could explain the circumstances.

Suddenly, a pain crept up from his nether region and everything became white in front of his eyes. His dick had been kicked up.

“O-Ophuuuuuuuuu!” Chrono howled in pain.

And then, in the next moment, his passion gushed out. Or rather, burst open. An indescribable feeling of pleasure penetrated his entire body as he crouched down on the spot while holding his dick and balls.

“W-What did you do!?”

Tilia whirled around in panic and touched her back and hair, probably trying to get a read on the situation. Right afterwards, she held up her slender hand in front of her eyes, now sticky with a white, murky liquid.

“What’s this?”

“B-Baby batter.”

“G-Gyaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahh!” She screamed like a stray cat in heat that was being strangled to death.

 

 

 

When Chrono stepped outside, Goldi noisily rushed towards him.

“Lord Chrono! You have come at the perfect time!”

“Is something the matter?”

“We had planned to show you the new armor since it was finished just a little while ago,” boasted Goldi, proudly stretching his spine.

Several dwarves behind were carrying a mannequin wearing armor ― or probably it’d be better to call it a torso since only the upper body part was done. The dwarves lowered the torso on the ground, and Goldi turned around.

“This is the new armor!”

“Hee, looks nice.” Chrono closely examined the chest protector.

Probably as a stealth measure, it was colored matt black. It was affixed to the mannequin’s upper body through several belts.

“It uses quite an interesting design.”

“It is not just the design! The materials are different as well! We have applied a special heat treatment during the molding! Thanks to it, the iron’s hardness and toughness was rapidly boosted!”

Goldi praised the splendor of the materials while foaming around the mouth. Chrono didn’t understand the technical parts, but he grasped that it was awesome stuff.

“The belts at the shoulders and flanks are for the sake of adjusting the size?”

“Yes, otherwise it would take time and effort to make the armor while each and every single size. Hence, we decided to go with several standard sizes, and add belts for smaller adjustments.”

“That makes sense. That approach is more logical. But, doesn’t this lower its defense capabilities?”

“It will not pose any problem if worn atop a chain mail.”

“You’ve got a point.”

Chrono scratched his head. ‘It’s definitely a very reasonable idea to wear chain mail underneath the armor.

“Then, all that’s left is an endurance test――”

“We have already finished it.”

“Oh, really?”

When Chrono took another look at the armor, he spotted several dented parts.

“Let alone sword slashes, it can even block arrows shot from close proximity to a sufficient degree!”

“That’s amazing.”

“It did not manage to stop the arrows shot by a mechanical bow, though…”

“That would be asking too much.”

“After all.”

Goldi slumped his shoulders in disappointment. Chrono thought that the dwarf could be proud since he had developed both of the items, but maybe it was an internal conflict distinctive of creators.

When Chrono looked back after suddenly sensing a presence, a dwarf was just carrying a set of armor riddled with holes into the workshop.

“How do you want me to proceed?”

“If possible, I’d like the armor to reach a state where it can block arrows from the mechanical bow…”

“Then it would become impossible for anyone to wear besides minotaurs and lizardmen because of its weight.”

“In that case, let’s give up on the idea with the mechanical bow and go on with the switch to this armor for all our soldiers.”

“As you command,” Goldi agreed humbly.

“Which reminds me, you told me about arrows and swords, but how does it fare against blunt weapons?”

“The impact is being passed on to the body beneath. Therefore, it is common practice to wear clothes with stuffed cloth paddings at the areas where a hit would lead to a fatal injury.”

It’s questionable if something like cloth paddings can block it, but we should do everything we can to prevent injuries.

“Can you tailor thick clothes too?”

“Of course.”

“Goldi, you can really make everything, can’t you?”

“Not everything.”

“But, you can tailor clothes, right? And you also made the paper.”

“I have been good with my hand for a long time,” muttered Goldi seriously, apparently recalling his youth.

Chrono felt that it went way beyond being good with one’s hand when he considered that Goldi had made the paper based on his fuzzy memories, though.

“Okay, I’d like to ask this from you as well, but will you be alright?”

“With what?”

“I mean, you have to produce paper on top of all the equipment. Honestly, I’m wondering whether I’m not overworking you.”

“It is fine. Us dwarves are sturdy,” Goldi answered with an aloof tone.

“Make sure to take a break every once in a while, okay? If you croaked on me from overwork, all would come to nothing.”

“Lord Chrono, you truly are a worrywart. You do not die from working too much,” Goldi laughed, but Chrono couldn’t.

The concept of dying from overwork and mental stress might not be common in this world, but Chrono still didn’t want people to be exploited in his own territory.

“Yep, okay. But, mark my words and take a day off sometimes.”

“Alright, I understand,” Goldi consented, albeit looking somewhat unwilling.

“Well, I’m going on an inspection next. But, before that, I must visit Cain and his men.”

“…Lord Chrono.”

Goldi tightly clasped Chrono’s hand and bowed his head.

“What’s wrong?”

“I am truly grateful to you. Thanks to you, I have been able to put my dream into practice.”

“I did it because I had my own motives. A man like you Goldi would have been able to accomplish his dream even without my help. I’m sure.”

“No, it is all thanks to you. I shall repay this debt by working in the workshop for you, Lord Chrono.”

“I’m counting on you then.”

“I will do my utmost to meet your expectations!” Goldi straightened his back and declared.

“Then, I’ve been planning to go on an inspection, but…”

“Do you require anything for it?”

“I wanted to take some paper with me, but would that be alright?”

“We have been preparing fifty new sheets of paper.”

“I’ll take ten of those then.”

“…Which reminds me…” Goldi whispered just as Chrono was about to head to the workshop.

“Is something wrong?”

“Earlier I heard something similar to a scream, but, did something happen?”

“Who knows? Maybe it was a stray cat?”

“Aah,” Goldi exclaimed as if comprehending.

“I’m going to grab the paper and head out on my inspection.”

“Please take care, Lord Chrono.”

Chrono headed to the workshop while drenched in cold sweat. It was clear that Goldi had heard Tilia’s scream. Afterwards, he had forced the dazed Tilia on Alyssa and escaped, but――

“For the time being, I’ll consider the matter with Tilia after finishing the inspection.”

Chrono decided to entrust everything to his future self.

 

—————- End of Part 2 —————-

 

Cain just left the hospital when Chrono entered its grounds. He was wearing a shirt with short sleeves and pants, both apparently provided by the hospital. But, contrary to his outfit, he was holding his sword for some reason. Despite also having his sword belt affixed to his waist.

“Yo, looks like you’re in fine health.”

“Uooh!” Cain jumped back in surprise when Chrono called out to him. “What, it’s you…Si…Lord Chrono, huh?”

“You can just call me Sir Chrono if you like.”

“That is not how it works. If I do not show you proper respect, your subordinates might scorn me, Milord,” Cain answered politely after straightening his back. Since he looked just like a young nobleman if you used such courteous speech, it was a bit of a mismatch. “Would it be fine for me to ask you something?”

“Sure, go ahead.”

“Why have you personally come to the hospital, Milord?”

“I planned to visit you and your men.”

“Please forgive me, but if I could have you refrain from any sick visits…” Cain groaned.

“Am I a bother to you?”

“I am grateful for your consideration, but my subordinates still hold reservations towards you, Milord, so they might start panicking if you suddenly show up.”

“If that’s how it is, it cannot be helped, I suppose,” Chrono shrugged.

If they just start to panic, it’d still be fine, but it’d be quite bad if I got suddenly attacked by them, thinking that this all was just a trap.

“You have my deepest gratitude for showing your understanding.”

“How are your injuries?”

“They were not particularly serious, so I will be able to start working next week.”

“I feel like you got cut quite deeply, though. Will you be truly alright?”

“Some muscles still feel quite stiff, but it will not pose a problem.”

Cain twisted and stretched his body, probably to show that he was fine.

“Just make sure to not force yourself, okay?”

“No, we are newcomers here, so we must gain your trust by quickly piling up actual achievements.”

“I believe I’m already trusting you, though…”

Speaking up until there, Chrono realized that Cain wasn’t talking about him. He was stating that he wanted for them to reach a point where Chrono’s subordinates and citizens would trust them as well.

I guess that only makes sense. Cain and his men have been acting as bandits. Some merchants suffered damages because of them too. Hence, dissatisfaction with them will only worsen if they don’t start to work as soon as possible.

“But, well, if it’s next week.”

“That means?”

“We’re in the middle of negotiating a settlement with the merchants who suffered losses. I think it’d be bad to have you work for us while the negotiations are still ongoing.”

“Please excuse me for saying such selfish things.”

“Don’t mind it. But, since it’s Mr. Sitter who’s doing all the negotiating, make sure to thank him later.”

“Yes, definitely,” Cain agreed calmly.

“By the way…”

“What might it be?”

“Why are you holding your sword?”

“Ahh, that is because I am not certain how I should handle a sword with the crest of the imperial family,” Cain admitted, laughing in embarrassment.

“Isn’t it okay to handle it like any other sword?”

“Is it really?” Cain breathed out in relief.

Chrono had handled it quite carelessly, but the imperial family held quite a bit of authority in this world.

“Okay, I’m off.”

“Forgive me for being unable to properly receive you.”

Cain bowed deeply as Chrono turned around.

 

 

Passing through the commercial district, Chrono went around the stalls set up on the central plaza. The variety of items per stall was surprisingly low, but if you considered the situation of the goods distribution, it was only inevitable. Only large companies with their own distribution network could deal in a wide range of goods.

“…No potatoes or corn, but rice is available. How weird,” muttered Chrono while nibbling on dried fruits he’d bought.

Since he hadn’t seen them in any of the plant encyclopedias at the military academy, it was possible that they simply hadn’t been discovered in this world yet. Still, it gave him an odd feeling that goods, which were easily obtainable in his previous world, didn’t exist here.

“”Found a Lord Chrono, kinda!””

The elven twins ―― Arided and Deneb ran up to him

“Both of you, today…”

“We have kinda off for today as a reward for having participated in the bandit subjugation!”

“Strolling through the city is fun as well, but I’d kinda be happy if I could get some dried fruits!”

“Here you go.”

“Oohhh, Lord Chrono, you’re kinda so big-hearted!”

“I’m kinda sorry as it looks like you’ve been forced into it!”

Arided and Deneb tossed one dried fruit after the other into their mouths, eating up all of them in the blink of an eye. Chrono hadn’t planned to give them all, but now that they were gone, he couldn’t do much more than accept his fate.

“They were kinda bittersweet and tasty!”

“Dried fruits that can be eaten just like that are kinda great!”

Chrono folded up the empty pouch and put it into his pocket.

“You two having a day off means Layla as well, huh?”

“Layla is kinda in the middle of studying at the barracks.”

“But, I’m kinda sure she’ll immediately head over, if you call for her, Lord Chrono.”

“…Nah, I’ll pass on that.”

“It won’t be a problem even if you aren’t so considerate, kinda!”

“Suddenly calling her over and pushing her down is totally A-OK, kinda!”

I didn’t want to get in the way of her studies, but it looks like the two are unhappy with that. Still――

“Push down, you say…but I’m not that much of a beast.”

“Humm, that’s kinda an unexpected response.”

“It kinda raises the question of what you have a mistress for.”

Arided and Deneb tilted their heads in confusion.

“So you’re not perceiving her as a lover but mistress.”

“A noble would never take a demi-human as a lover. Putting that aside, I’m slightly conflicted about what to think of having a mistress despite not having a wife or real lover.”

“Leaving aside the question of how to regard a mistress, I’m rather wondering why you aren’t pushing her down.”

“I simply believe that it’s not good to push down others all of a sudden…”

“Is that kinda like love?”

“I think that might be love or some such.”

One cocked her head in contemplation, the other lightly nodded hers.

Given that I got one of them to agree, it allows me to reaffirm that my love is proper.

“I want to cherish Layla in my own way since I love her.”

“So love kinda isn’t just about restrictions.”

“I yearn for that kinda love.”

The two looked at each other and nodded.

“Okay, I’ll continue my inspection then.”

“We’d like you to kinda wait a moment!

“If you kinda got free time, play with us!”

Once Chrono turned around, the two clung to his arms, pushing their breasts against him.

“I’m not playing around but doing an inspection, you know?”

“That is kinda no problem either!”

“We’ll be of good use to you since we kinda know the area around here!”

“Alright, if that’s the case.”

‘It might be better to have people knowing the area to guide me than loitering around by myself.

“First, this way, kinda!”

“Meat, meat, meaaaat! I want to eat meat!”

Chrono was forcefully dragged to a store selling roasted chicken leg meat.

Damn it! They’re completely intent on letting me treat them.

“Three portions of meat!”

“Please give us some delicious parts, kinda!”

“…It’s one copper for three,” the owner mumbled under his breath despite the twins ordering very excitedly.

“Lord Chrono, you got the bill!”

“Your cute subordinates want you to treat them!”

“I know, I know.”

Chrono took out a copper from his wallet and handed it to the owner while sighing.

“Thanks for your purchase,” muttered the owner and handed over the meat.

The two got their share from him and immediately started to devour the meat. With a slight delay, Chrono also started to eat.

 

—————- End of Part 3 —————-

 

The only seasoning is salt, and because of its dry texture, it might actually be a spent hena hen that stopped laying eggs.

“Do you two often buy and eat snacks on the fly?”

“We always did it before the Picks Company supplied us with food, but lately we don’t do it that often anymore.”

“We’re completely satisfied with eating three meals a day, but sometimes we kinda get an urge to indulge in stall food.”

“I see.”

Probably they compensate for the lacking calories by eating out like this.

“Next, this way, kinda!”

“Over there we’ll kinda be able to get fruit water!”

Since the two started to walk off while eating, Chrono chased after them in a hurry. Thereupon, the two stopped all of a sudden.

“Since I finished eating, the bones go off into a trash can!”

“If someone finds out that we’ve thrown the bones away somewhere on the streets, we’ll be scolded super harshly!”

The two threw the bones into one of the trash cans installed on the plaza. The one who had suggested installing these trash cans was Chrono. On top of that, he had established rules on how to throw garbage away.

Thanks to that, the rotten stench, which always hung over the city like a blanket, had thinned out. Of course, they were still far away from a perfect solution, but Chrono believed that they’d handle the garbage issues of the city eventually if they continued at such a pace.

Chrono tossed his bones into the garbage can as well, and wiped his fingers with a piece of paper he had taken out of his pocket while feeling like it was a waste to use it for this.

“You two, use these.”

“Oooh, wiping your fingers with paper is the height of luxury.”

“Still, for some reason the idea of Layla enjoying this luxury makes me kinda jealous.”

The two commented while wiping their fingers and putting their dirty pieces of paper into their pockets.

“Come on, next up is the fruit water, kinda!”

“Having said that, it’s kinda the water after pickling dried fruits!”

The two pumped their fists high into the air, and resumed walking.

“You sure are thrilled about this.”

Chrono followed, overwhelmed by their excitement. Being pestered by them, he bought fruit water and also dried fruits. He’d have refused when it came to expensive food, but seemingly aware of that, they only chose cheap food.

They were sensitive and calculating, seeing how their begging lessened over time.

Chrono stopped in front of a certain stall. It sold food familiar to him.

“Thinly sliced and dried daikon?”

“No, these are dried beet,” corrected a woman with a cheerful smile while sitting on a wooden box.

The was a young――albeit older than Chrono――woman. Her body was hidden underneath an ocher robe, and her dark brown hair had been neatly cut at her shoulders. Her skin was light brown, but Chrono suspected this to stem from her getting tanned by the sun because the parts of her body visible through gaps in her robe were as white as snow.

“Beet? Oh, that turnip-like vegetable, huh?”

“Yes, my father cultivated and improved the beet over several dozen years in accordance with the teaching of the Divine Mother who rules over Yellow Ocher Harvest.”

“The Divine Mother who rules over Yellow Ocher Harvest?” Chrono muttered.

The Divine Mother who rules over Yellow Ocher Harvest was one of the six chief gods, but there should be no temple for her in Harshel.

“”It’s your first meeting with Lady Shion, kinda?”” Both elves asked in a chorus.

“So she’s called Ms. Shion.”

“Lady Shion kinda is a priestess of the Yellow Ocher Temple.”

“She is a wonderful person who kinda lets us eat for free.”

‘Them not telling me where to find that temple probably means they don’t know either.

“”Thank you for your help back then.”” The twins lowered their heads.

Shion’s smile cramped up.

“Both of you, it’s not like Ms. Shion let you eat for free. Didn’t she simply distribute food for the sake of winning believers?”

“S-So she had such an ulterior motive!? I didn’t realize!”

“W-With priests doing good deeds while harboring secret intentions, this world must be nearing its end!”

The two blurted out theatrically.

I’m pretty sure they merely took advantage of her food distribution while fully aware of the circumstances.

“This is how good will slowly dies,” commented Chrono with a sigh.

“That’s going too far!”

“We didn’t even ask for a second serving once she explained the situation to us!”

The twins reacted by saying things suiting their own convenience.

“U-Umm!” Shion spoke up, apparently believing that they were arguing. “The Divine Mother who rules over Yellow Ocher Harvest tells us to share the blessings of the land with everyone.”

“Look, now she’s jumped to a wrong conclusion.”

“We haven’t done anything shameful!”

“But, setting up a stall means…”

“I’m embarrassed to admit, but it is impossible to keep up the food distribution with the budget allocated to me by the temple, and thus I have to earn the funds to continue my activities. Umm, how about it? The beets are sweet and delicious, you know?” Shion explained timidly, lowering her eyes in embarrassment.

“But, beet are cattle fodder.”

“No matter how you look at it, selling cattle fodder to people is questionable at best.”

“You see, it’s not like you can’t eat it just because it’s often used as fodder for animals. U-Umm, Ms. Deneb?”

“No, I’m Arided.”

“E-Err, sorry,” Shion bowed apologetically.

In response, Arided grinned broadly. She grabbed Deneb’s army and hid behind Chrono, both shifting around behind his back.

“Now, who’s Arided!?”

“Which is Deneb!?”

Both jumped out from behind Chrono, spreading their arms.

“Are you Arided?”

“No, I’m Deneb.”

“U-Umm, please forgive me.”

Chrono thought that it wasn’t anything she would need to worry about so much, but Shion hung her head dejectedly.

Groaning, Chrono believed he wouldn’t make a mistake since they didn’t change their hairstyle, but――

“Oh, come to think of it…”

“What’s the matter?”

“Deneb, this way.”

He touched Deneb’s ear after she turned his way, causing her giggle as she seemed to be ticklish.

“You’re Arided.”

“W-W-W-What p-proof do y-you have!?”

Deneb, now Arided, turned her face away, whistling.

Just that alone would be more than enough as proof, but I’m sure she’s going to try denying it.

“Deneb’s eyes become moist if you caress her ears.”

“W-W-What profound insight!”

“Lord Chrono, you’re the first to kinda see through us!”

Just how many times have you girls pulled the same stunt? Chrono sighed.

“With that settled, apologize to Ms. Shion.”

“Okay. I’m sorry for getting carried away.”

“Please forgive us kinda since we won’t do it anymore.”

“N-No, it’s okay. I wasn’t able to tell you apart after all.”

Once the twins bowed in apology, Shion responded by bowing as well.

“So, this beet, was it?”

“Yes, that’s right.”

“Is it fine to take a bite?”

“Ah, yes. Here you go.”

Chrono peeled the beet, and bit into its tip.

It has a slightly bad taste, but it’s certainly sweet. Suddenly a certain memory revived in him. If this beet is what I imagine it to be――

“Lord Chrono! This is fodder for cattle!”

“You’re no child that can put anything and everything into its mouth, kinda! Spit it out! Come on, spit it out!”

“Lord Chrono?” Shion cocked her head to the side. “――! Please pardon me!”

She prostrated herself in Chrono while her robe flipped over.

Priests were treated as a privileged class in other countries, but Empire Cepheus regarded them as commoners. It was the outcome of the founding emperor having oppressed religions like Oda Nobunaga did.

“Umm, you don’t have to feel so sorry.”

“N-No, I was unbelievably rude without realizing that you are the one ruling over this city.”

Ah damn, I give up, Chrono scratched his head.

“Look, falling prostrate is going too far.”

“The rumors of you, Lord Chrono, are all amazing.”

“What kind of rumors?”

He felt like quite bad rumors were circulating about him, but he still decided to ask. If he could prepare himself in advance, he wouldn’t take too much mental damage.

“You supposedly…are handsome and possess matchless skills in swordsmanship and magic. You overturned a tenfold numerical disadvantage with ingenious scheming, and that right eye is a divine eye allowing you to see all truths.”

“You possess compassion, cold-heartedness, and a charm that makes even bandits bow to you, but your indulgence in lust counts as a big downside.”

“I meet only one of all these rumors.”

Chrono groaned after the twins exaggerating things unnecessarily.

My life might have been different, if one more rumor was true. At least I would have never dropped out of the military academy.

“Why do such rumors exist about me?”

“We did our best in spreading them.”

“Bluffing is kinda important.”

The two answered nonchalantly.

“Having said that, Lord Chrono, you’re a kind man, so it’s okay either way.”

“It’s fine to not worry about it.”

“The rumors about him inviting women into his bed every night and him liking slaughter are lies?”

“The part about his indulgence in lust is true.”

“Several women have already fallen prey to him.”

“…You two,” Chrono sighed very deeply. “…For the time being, please give me one bundle of dried beet.”

“T-That’ll be one copper.”

“Here.”

Shion respectfully accepted the coin Chrono held out to her.

 

———— End of Part 4 ————

 

Chrono walked through the business district with Arided and Deneb.

“What’s the point in kinda buying something like beet?”

“The amount is kinda too little to even turn it into fodder.”

“Don’t worry. I have the perfect idea for it,” answered Chrono with a smile.

If this beet was the same as the ingredient Chrono knew, it might become a special product of his march.

“D-Don’t tell me…you’re going to make a rope out of the beet and tie us up, or some such.”

“I’d like to be spared from experiencing something like that, seriously.”

“What association game is that supposed to be?” Chrono calmly retorted at their frightened questions.

I think it’s weird to suddenly associate dried beet with S&M.

“Is your purchase of the dried beet possibly a pretext to meet her again or similar?”

“Kinda like a development where you tell her, ‘If you don’t have any money, you know what’s coming for you, uhehehe!'”

“No, I won’t do anything like that.”

It’s a situation any man should have imagined as a fantasy at some point, but that’d be a crime.

“No, no, you don’t need to deny it. We fully understand.”

“We’re well aware of the lust hidden beneath the kind faces of people.”

“No, no, no, not at all. You’re totally misunderstanding.”

“No, no, no, no, not at all. We fully understand.”

“No, no, no, no, no…for how long do we kinda need to continue this?”

“You can stop it right away for all I care,” Chrono chuckled.

He enjoyed his chat with those two. They continued their inspection while trash-talking like that. Eventually they came to a halt in front of the Picks Company which was situated in a part of the business district.

“Would it kinda be better for us to wait here?”

“Even if you tell us to go back to the barracks since we’d get in your way, it kinda can’t be helped.”

“I don’t really plan to make a secret out of it, so don’t worry.”

“Okay, if that’s how it is, we’ll enter with you.”

“It kinda takes lots of courage to enter a store like this.”

As soon as I entered the store with the two twins, Nicola drew close to us.

“Lord Chrono, what kind of business might you have with us today?”

“There’s something I’d like to discuss with you.”

“Very well. Please follow me this way then.”

Being guided by Nicola, they moved to a reception room deeper inside the store. It only had a table and some sofas, but it didn’t give off a dreary atmosphere.

Once Chrono sat down, Arided and Deneb sat down next to him as if to secure his flanks.

Nicola took the place opposite of them and calmly spoke up, “Is it going to be a business talk?”

“We tried to make something like this here.”

“Paper, huh?” Nicola mumbled as she furrowed her eyebrows when Chrono placed a piece of paper on the table.

She very likely knows that the paper in front of her is different from the one produced at the Free City States.

“Would it be alright for me to test the paper’s quality?”

“Please go ahead.”

Nicola wrote some letters with a quill. Her writing style was smooth and elegant. The first batches of paper had caused a quill’s tip to get stuck while writing, but they had resolved that issue by now.

“Hoh, it has a wonderful feel.”

“I’m happy to hear that.”

Chrono felt relieved when Nicola praised their paper.

“What price would you set for this paper, Mrs. Nicola?”

“Let me think about it for a moment,” Nicola folded her arms and brooded, before eventually continuing, “The market price for parchment in Cepheus is at three copper per sheet, so…I think it would be appropriate to go with one copper per sheet in order to get a firm hold on the market. Of course, you could make it even cheaper, depending on the costs for the production.”

“How much would you believe to be proper for a wholesale price?”

“…That is…” Nicola hesitated to answer, probably out of concern towards Chrono’s prestige.

“Sorry, that was an evil question from me. In reality, we haven’t set a price yet.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Although we tried making paper, we haven’t specified the price per sheet yet.”

If they hired ten people at one silver per day, they’d still make a profit if they sold 1000 sheets for one brass. Of course, Chrono didn’t mention any of it. If he were to explain the details on the production costs, the negotiations would advance in the direction of using those costs as a basis.

“I understand. Basically you wanted to learn of the market price before starting to genuinely produce it, correct?”

“That’s how it is.”

It’d be far too reckless to invest without knowing the wholesale price first. It’d be like setting out on a journey without map, compass, and food.

“Then, for the time being I would like to be allowed to buy the paper produced at your workshop for five brass per sheet, Lord Chrono.”

“Why for the time being?”

“I would like to secure the privilege to have another bout of price negotiations with you once you genuinely start to produce the paper. After all, I am currently fumbling in the dark since I cannot estimate the details as of yet,” explained Nicola with a bitter smile.

“Are there no other conditions?”

“How about assigning the right of sale for all the paper produced at your workshop to the Picks Company?”

“That would be a pleasure.”

“Then, let us sign a mutual agreement,” declared Nicola, picking up her quill again.

 

 

“T-This place is a bit…”

“It’s kinda hard for us to go in together with you.”

Arided and Deneb muttered after seeing Elaine’s brothel. It was still daytime, but two black suits were already standing in front of the door.

“N-Nooo waaay!! Are you planning to sell us off?”

“P-Please, anything but that. Even though I may look like this, I kinda have some pride in my job as a soldier.”

“I don’t plan to do anything like that.”

Chrono stepped up to the two men while casting a sidelong glance at the twins who were squirming their bodies.

“Hello, is Ms. Elaine available?”

The black suits exchanged a look.

“Lady Elaine is not here.”

“I see.”

He wanted her assistance in something, but she apparently was too busy to have the leeway of meeting people without appointment.

“Okay, could you pass on a message for me?”

The black suits exchanged another look.

“Understood. But, desist from telling us any details. For our mutual sake.”

“Sure. Please tell her that I’d like to speak with her.”

“Very well. We’ll pass it on.”

Chrono turned around.

“Oh my, it’s kinda over already.”

“It’s kinda a disappointment since my imagination was running wild with abnormal plays.”

“No, that’d be a bit…”

It wasn’t as though he didn’t have any interest in such play whatsoever, but Chrono believed to wait a bit longer with such stuff.

“What are you going to do next?”

“We’ll follow you anywhere.”

“For the moment I’m going back since I’ve finished all my errands.”

Once Chrono started to walk back, Arided and Deneb followed him with a bounce in their gait.

 

 

After returning to his mansion, Chrono headed for the kitchen together with the two elves.

“It’s kinda the first time for us to enter the marquis’s mansion.”

“The looks are quite painful.”

Tilia’s maid darted a harsh look at the two who were curiously checking their vicinity. Seemingly used to such looks by now, the two seemed calm.

Chrono descended the stairs hidden in the back of the dining hall, and opened the kitchen’s door. Immediately a wall of heat pushed against him. Not just the heat, but even the moisture was incredible.

“Hot!”

“It’s so hot and humid!”

“Umm, where can I find the landlady?”

Chrono scanned the kitchen while ignoring the twins’ comments.

The kitchen, located in a semi-basement, was big enough to fit an entire family house. Carefully polished cookware filled the shelves on the walls, and stoves had been installed on furnaces.

Standing a bit further away from the stoves, the landlady was wiping the sweat away through her unbuttoned maid clothes.

“Oh my, Lord Chrono…why are you in a place like this?”

Probably noticing her improper appearance midway, she fixed her clothing with somewhat flustered movements.

“I was planning to borrow the kitchen for a bit.”

“Sure, but can you actually cook?”

“As long as it’s simple dishes.”

“Hee, how unexpected.”

The landlady widened her eyes a bit, but for Chrono this much was only natural.

If you receive compulsory education for close to nine years, you’ll become able to cook at least one or two dishes.

“Okay, we’ll excuse ourselves at this point.”

“Off-days are kinda spent best by dilly dallying around.”

“You two, stick with me to the end,” said Chrono while grabbing the shoulders of the twins who were about to escape the kitchen. “Can you use magic that controls the cold?”

“We’re elves.”

“We kinda learned the magic arts of all attributes.”

“I’ll let you eat something unusual then.”

“That’s a proposal which kinda sounds quite charming, I must say.”

“But, you see, giving up on dillydallying is kinda hard.”

Arided and Deneb looked at each other, groaning.

“If it’s for just a bit, we might as well stay with Lord Chrono.”

“It’s definitely not like we lost to our gluttony or anything.”

The two swiftly sat down on chairs. It appeared as if they had no intention to help with the cooking.

Oh well, that’s no problem, Chrono filled water into a small pot and placed it on a stove. When small bubbles started to rise to the water’s surface, he put the bundle of beet into the pot.

 

—————— End of Part 5 ——————

 

“I’d kinda like to pass if it’s going to be cattle feed.”

“We’re sitting here despite saying such things.”

“Just what are you trying to make?”

“I was wondering whether I could produce some sugar.”

“S-Sugar!”

“T-That legendary ingredient!”

As Chrono casually answered the landlady’s question while scooping up some of the lye that had floated up, Arided and Deneb jumped up.

“Calling it legendary…” He was about to say that it was too exaggerated a description, but reconsidered.

If Chrono’s memory didn’t fail him, a kilogram of sugar was traded for one gold. Given that a soldier’s monthly salary amounted to two gold, it could be labeled as fairly expensive.

“Why do you believe that you can make sugar out of these?”

“The stall owner mentioned that the beet are very sweet. And since they actually tasted sweet when I bit into one, I wondered whether I’d be able to extract some sugar out of them.”

“Can you really make sugar with those?” The landlady furrowed her eyebrows, obviously doubtful, but she left it at that.

Since she hasn’t objected any further, I suppose the lie I came up with on the spot did its job.

Back when he bit into the beet, he recalled sugar beets. Sugar beets ranked next to sugar canes as principal sources of sugar.

After one hour passed, Chrono scooped up the beets with a drainer, and kept boiling the sap left in the pot. Since lye was floating up, he diligently scooped all of it.

According to the 『I Tried to Make Sugar out of Sugar Beets!』video he had seen on a video platform during his middle school period, this process should be correct, but he became worried whether this was all that was needed. While he was wrestling with his anxiety, a change occurred inside the boiling water. Gradually its consistency became thicker, and a faint scent of something being burned started to spread.

“Lord Chrono, watch out! It’s burning!”

“Oh noooes, the sugar…the lovely sugar…!”

Arided and Deneb raised their voices in what sounded like screams.

“And it was just one more step,” Chrono muttered while staring at the pot.

The thickness had clearly increased, but at this rate, the mass would get burned. As he worried what he should do to salvage it, the landlady spoke up, “How about hot water immersion?”

“Hot water immersion?”

The landlady sighed at Chrono’s question, fetched a new pot, filled a small amount of water into it, and heated it up.

“Hot water immersion is about heating a container in a pot with hot water. For you to not even know about something so basic; how typical of a boy. Move aside. I’ll handle the rest.”

The landlady transferred the boiled beet sap into a smaller bowl, and began to heat it up in the pot with the water.

“The texture feels a bit rough,” mumbled the landlady while stirring the beet water with a spatula.

After some more time passed, a sweet aroma began to fill the kitchen. Once the landlady moved the pot onto the kitchen table, Arided and Deneb came close to peer into it.

“It kinda looks like sap.”

“Kinda black.”

The twins muttered while looking at each other.

It looks like sweet soy sauce, probably because not all moisture is gone yet.

The landlady ignored the two elves, scooped up some sugar with a finger, and licked it.

“Okay, this is sugar without a doubt.”

“”Sugar!””

Arided and Deneb thrust their fingers into the bowl, each scrambling to be first, and tasted the black pulver.

“Hot! But, sweet!”

“T-This is the legendary sugar!”

Both started to grin slovenly. Thinking that all would be gone in no time at this rate, Chrono picked up the bowl.

“Lord Chrono, it’s wrong to hog all to yourself!”

“We’d like you to share some of the happiness with us!”

“I don’t really mind, but don’t you want to eat something a lot tastier?”

“I-I want to eat it, but t-the s-sugar…”

“I-I want to eat something a lot tastier.”

The two sat back down on their chairs while squirming around.

“Landlady, please give me some milk and eggs.”

“Sure.”

Chrono added sugar, milk and egg yolk into a new bowl while measuring the amounts by eye, and whipped the mixture lightly.

“Landlady, prepare a metallic bowl on the kitchen table.”

“Ayes.”

The landlady fetched a bowl from a shelf and put it down on the kitchen table.

“Both of you, freeze the bowl.”

“I don’t really get it, but…Icicle Dance.”

“Icicle Dance!”

The two released their magic with a time delay. Something similar to a white cluster of cold hit the bowl two times. A creaking resounded, followed by the bowl being covered by frost.

“One more volley for caution’s sake.”

“Icicle Dance!”

“Icicle Dance!”

As soon as the two unleashed another volley of spells, the thickness of the frost visibly grew. Chrono poured the mixture of sugar, milk, and egg yolk into the frosty bowl.

“Argh, cold!”

Once he stirred the bowl’s contents while holding the container itself under his arm, the mixture turned into sherbet.

“I guess this should be enough.”

Chrono split the ice cream on plates, and passed one to landlady, Arided, and Deneb each. The women received their share with sparkling eyes full of curiosity.

“A messiah has――”

“It’s a dream! But, my head…my heaaad…!”

“It hurts, really, it does, but my spoon doesn’t want to stop. It’s a kinda d-devilish taste!”

“Well, if you say so,” Chrono muttered with a sidelong glance at the two elves who were writhing on top of the kitchen table. “How is it?”

“It’s delicious. I’ve never eaten something so great.” The landlady broke into a smile while eating the ice cream. “What kind of dish is this?”

“…Ice cream,” replied Chrono after a short moment.

He made this with the intent of producing ice cream, but it came out as sherbet.

“Lord Chrono, you’re not going to eat?”

“I was planning to let Layla and Tilia taste it as well.”

“Lord Chro――”

“Chrono, I was looking for you! What was the meaning in you running away after doing something like that to me!?”

Once he looked in the direction of the voice, Tilia just stomped inside the kitchen while pushing Layla aside. Layla cast a slightly reproachful look at Tilia.

“Oh, I was just about to go call you two.”

Chrono prepared another two portions of ice cream and placed them on the table.

“What’s this?”

“Thanks for the treat.”

Tilia and Layla ate the ice cream at the same time, and stopped moving.

“T-This is…how delicious, no, I won’t let you deceive me with something like this!”

“It’s cold, sweet, and very tasty.”

While Tilia pursed her lips, looking unhappy, Layla shoveled the ice cream into her smiling mouth.

“How did you make this?”

“That’s a secret.”

“Don’t be such a cheapskate and spit it out.”

When Chrono pressed his index finger on his mouth, Tilia raised her eyebrows in anger. She said that he was trying to deceive her, but it looked like he had succeeded in changing her focus.

“Can you promise me that you won’t get angry?”

“Yeah, I swear on my father and mother,” Tilia agreed calmly while throwing out her chest in pride.

“First I boiled the sap I extracted from beets in a pot.”

 

 

 

“You fed me something like that!?” Tilia jumped up and screamed, even though she had promised to not get angry moments ago.

“Since you broke your promise, you’re out.”

“W-Wait. You didn’t say that you’d take it away if I got angry,” Tilia protested in panic when Chrono confiscated her ice cream.

“It’s something like that, isn’t it?”

“I-I won’t eat any cattle fodder.”

Groaning, Tilia directed her eyes at Layla, Arided, Deneb, and the landlady, looking regretful.

“No! This is our reward!”

“We haven’t done much, but I kinda cannot offer this to you either way!”

Arided and Deneb covered their plates, hiding them from Tilia’s eyes.

“I don’t plan to steal them from you.”

“I-I kinda feel a bottomless fear about you calling it steal and not asking for a share.”

“S-Somehow I’m trembling for no particular reason.”

As Arided and Deneb trembled, Tilia stood up.

“Chrono, come to my room once you’ve finished eating the ice cream.”

“”The princess is really bold!!””

“――gh!”

Tilia widened her eyes upon getting teased by the twins. Apparently recalling the event from today morning, her face turned bright red. As the same seemingly applied to the landlady as well, her face became crimson red as well.

“I-I just planned to talk with him about our future plans.”

“”Kinda like how many children you want to have!?””

“I’m going to throw you into jail for lese majeste!!”

“”Eeeek!!””

The elves scurried away with shreeks as soon as Tilia roared at them with her face beet red. Just when Chrono believed that they had already rushed out of the kitchen――

“”Lord Chrono please take care of following up for us, kinda!!””

They pleaded while only peeking their faces out beyond the door frame.

 

—————– End of Part 6 —————–

 

“W-What’s i-it with those twins!? A-A c-c-c-child between C-Chrono and me…”

When Chrono entered her office, Tilia was sitting on her chair while mumbling under her breath.

“As you wished, I’m here.”

“――gh!” Tilia trembled with a start upon Chrono’s words.

“W-What, it’s you. Is something the matter?”

“You were the one wanting to speak to me, Tilia.”

“Ah, right――nh!”

Tilia looked at him as if taken aback. Her face turned bright red in no time. Apparently she had recalled the events of this morning.

“W-What was the deal with you dashing something like that on me and running away thereafter!?” Tilia yelled with her face now beet red while repeatedly slamming the desk with her hand.

I thought I’d be able to deceive her, but it looks like reality isn’t so kind.

“H-H-How dare you! How dare you do that to the hair I inherited from my mother!”

She further banged the desktop with her hand, and then fell prostrate on it, obviously at her wits’ end. She then proceeded to squeal with a strange squeaking voice, but Chrono definitely could understand her feelings on this.

If I was a woman, and some acquaintance splattered their baby juice on me―― I’m going to be killed, Chrono felt danger to himself and turned around.

“Don’t run away!”

A quill wrapped in white light grazed his neck and embedded itself in the door.

“I-It’s just that I thought you finished your business with me.”

“As if that could be true.”

Since Tilia had sat up properly again, Chrono also straightened his back.

“As a matter of fact…it was decided that I’m going to return to the capital.”

“When are you going back?”

“A precise date hasn’t been set, but I plan to head back sometime during next week.”

“I see. Then it might be just the perfect time, I guess.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“You see, Cain told me that he wants to start working next week.”

“Ah, I see. But, are his injuries alright?”

“He said he wants to start gaining our trust by working as soon as possible.”

“Was he really a bandit!?” Tilia furrowed her eyebrows, apparently baffled.

It wasn’t as though Chrono didn’t get her feelings, but Cain had worked properly at the Free City States to begin with. And if you went even further, he labored as a farmer before becoming a mercenary.

It might be biased, but it wouldn’t be weird for his genes to contain a trait that would make him work diligently.

“Do you have any other business with me?”

“Why are you trying to immediately leave?”

“I mean, nothing good ever comes from being summoned by you, Tilia.”

“What a rude guy, you are. I just wanted to ask you a few questions.”

“In that case…I should hand this to you first.”

Chrono walked up to her desk, and placed a small bottle and folded papers on it.

“What are these?”

“The recipes for the sugar and ice cream made out of beet.”

“Sugar? I see, it contained sugar, huh? No wonder that it smelled so sweetly. Moreover, for the sugar to have been made out of beet and not sugarcane…” Tilia folded her arms while brooding.

Silence reigned the room, triggering a bad feeling in Chrono. His danger detection sensor, which he had honed through real battle experiences, rang all its alarm bells, urging him to run away.

“Chrono, why did you know that sugar can be extracted from beet?”

Tilia quietly stood up and slowly approached him. The expression on her face was gentle, but that only invited Chrono to be even more afraid of her.

“Why?” She stopped and asked him once more.

The distance between them had shrunk to less than five steps.

“Answer.”

“Once I took a bite, it tasted sweet, so I thought it might be possible to extract sugar out of it.”

“And where would you find a noble who bites into fodder for cattle?”

“One is over here.”

“Certainly, such nobles might exist.”

Because Tilia was closing the distance between them, Chrono backed off in proportion.

“Okay, let’s just leave it at that, but what about the production method for paper then?”

“Why would you mention the paper here?”

“Don’t mind that and give me an answer,” barked Tilia in irritation.

“I just knew the method by chance.”

“Hoh, and where did you hear of it?”

“I was taught in my childhood.”

“I see, I see, so you were taught it as a child, huh? But, if that’s true, it’s kind of weird that the southern borderlands haven’t turned into a large paper production area.”

“T-That’s…”

Chrono drew back, but then felt a light impact on his back. Without him noticing, he had been herded to a wall. He tried to escape sideways, but――

“You think I’ll let you get away!?”

Tilia blocked his path with her arm, slamming her hand into the wall right next to Chrono.

“…I’ve always felt that something was out of place ever since I started to talk with you.”

“What do you mean?”

“You feel like a foreign element.”

“Well, I had been left out by the others at the academy, so it makes sense.”

“That’s not what I’m talking about. It’s the kind of feeling that tells me something mustn’t be here,” Tilia narrowed her eyes and drew her dagger. “You learned a paper production method different from the Free City States somewhere. Where was it? Tell me! You’ll die if you don’t!”

“Shouldn’t you use I’ll kill you here?”

“It’s the same either way. Now, spit it out,” Tilia thrust the blade at Chrono’s throat.

“I thought we were friends. How terrible of you.”

“I’m considering you a friend, but unfortunately I have my position to care about. Just like you have your position as noble lord.”

“Wasn’t our friendship eternal?”

“…Indeed,” Tilia groaned in response to Chrono’s murmur. “Be honest and tell me everything. Then things might end without you dying.”

“Can’t you promise me that you won’t kill me?”

“It depends on what you’re going to tell me.”

Chrono sighed. He felt like he’d be killed, no matter whether he told her the truth or a lie.

If I’m going to be killed anyway, I might as well come clean.

“…I came from a different world.”

“I see. Did you tell this to anyone else?”

“I told my subordinates, but they didn’t seem to believe me.”

Tilia separated from Chrono with a sigh. When he touched his neck, he could feel something wet there.

It looks like I’m bleeding.

“It’s said that the founding emperor of Cepheus came from a different world.”

“Like me?”

“You’re way too impudent,” Tilia spat out with a fed-up voice.

Chrono felt like the tense atmosphere had abated somewhat, but since she hadn’t sheathed her dagger yet, his life still remained in danger.

“Do you know the name Mori Ramaru?”

“Yeah, I do.”

Mori Ranmaru was the name of a page who had shared the same fate as Oda Nobunaga during the Honnoji Incident. But then again, Chrono didn’t know anything beyond that.

“I see. So the name Ranmaru got mispronounced and became Ramaru. Did he imitate Oda Nobunaga in the separation of state and religion by thoroughly suppressing the church?”

“I guess you knowing that name settles it then.”

“Oh, so Nobunaga’s name was passed on as well? Then, what about matchlocks? There are no matchlocks, are there?”

“Matchlocks?”

“Sounds like not,” Chrono dropped his shoulders upon Tilia tilting her head in confusion.

Well, considering it properly, those aren’t items you can reproduce easily just because you know about them. Even if you know the materials needed for black powder, it’s a different story whether you can actually compound it.

“But, why did you try to kill me?”

“Because of your black hair as a person from another world.”

“Well, I admit black hair is rare in Cepheus,” murmured Chrono while pinching his forebangs.

“It’s been also handed down that the founding emperor had black hair. So it’d be troublesome if someone came up with the idea of endorsing you.”

“That’s a heartless reason.”

“A lot more troublesome is your otherworldly knowledge. It’d be a bad joke if the country perished after that knowledge got abused.”

“I don’t possess any such crucial knowledge.”

“Even if it might not be crucial to you, the same cannot be said about this world.”

“You’re exaggerating.”

“No, I’m not. It depends on the way we do it, but the paper created by you can deliver a serious blow against the Free City States. The same can be said about the sugar.”

“Is that how it is?”

“Yes, that’s how it is,” Tilia blurted out in apparent irritation, but Chrono didn’t think that it’d be bad for the principle of competition to come into play.

Of course, he didn’t voice it out. Once was more than enough for having a dagger pressed against his neck.

“If you react like this, it makes me waver whether I should keep you alive or kill you, you know?”

“Ugh, that doesn’t sound like a joke.”

“Because it isn’t.”

Tilia grabbed the collar of his uniform and pressed him against the wall. He tried to push her aside, but she didn’t budge. While light rose from her arms as she was enhancing her strength with a divine art.

 

 

 

 

Tilia brought her face close and narrowed her eyes, “I’m not sure whether I should kill you here and now. What do you think I should do?”

“Looking at it from my position, any option other than me surviving doesn’t exist.”

“Figures,” Tilia spat out with a sigh and sheathed her dagger.

It looked like things would finish without her killing him – for the moment.

“You’re not going to kill me?”

“I’ll let you stay alive for a while.”

“That’s gre――”

“But! Since I’m sparing you, at least pretend to be a diligent and blameless lord until I return to the capital! Inviting the half elf, the cook…or any other woman for that matter is taboo!”

“E~eh, you meanie.”

“Don’t use such pathetic pleading with me! Do you know what the maids are telling me about you!?”

“Which maids are you talking about?”

“Obviously mine!”

“Then it can’t be helped either way.”

Tilia’s maids were all related to high-ranking nobility. In their eyes, Chrono, who was interacting with Tilia rather casually, was a pesky thorn in their side.

“As if it can’t be helped! You’re being described as inappropriate for a noble, you know? At this rate, if I go back to the capital…”

“What’s going to happen?”

“Bad rumors will definitely start to spread about you.”

“What, so it’s just that?”

Tilia had said it with a grave expression, but Chrono felt relieved instead.

“Isn’t that a weird way to react to this!?”

“Since I’ve been thoroughly trash-talked at the academy, I’ve grown accustomed to it. Even if people spread malicious gossip about me in the distant capital, it won’t matter to me at all. Just let them say whatever they want.”

“Right now, it might not matter to you, but if you come to the centra――”

“I don’t really feel like working at the central government.”

“Whaaat!?”

“If I can live out my life as provincial lord, I’ll be more than happy,” Chrono honestly told Tilia after she widened her eyes in shock.

“I might have made a mistake in personnel selection, seriously,” grumbled Tilia.

“So you did have a goal in mind after all, huh?”

“Rather than a goal, I just had you take over as lord with a mood that it’d be a lucky coincidence for me if you proved to be useful in some way in the future, but with you lacking ambitions to such a degree…”

“And yet you told me that you were looking forward to my work as a lord.”

“Of course I meant it, but it’s also true that I thought that you might be useful in some way,” Tilia said with a sigh. “Well, I guess there’s no helping it now.”

“I am terribly sorry for not meeting your expectations, Your Highness. So, are you going to dismiss me now?”

“I’ve already received permission. If I dismissed you now, it’d turn into a bad precedent. But, if bad rumors about you spread, it’ll also affect me negatively.”

“Then you just have to share my lot.”

“Sharing a lot with a guy, who wants to spend all his life as provincial lord, is nothing but ridiculous.”

“Hmm, okay. Well, if you should ever find yourself in a predicament…”

“Why are you stopping there?”

“I’d love to come rushing over, but I also want to avoid any danger afflicting my men and residents.”

“All of a sudden, you started to act like a guardian, eh?”

“If it’s just me, I’m going to recklessly try the impossible for you, though.”

“As I thought, it might have been a mistake to make you the lord of this place,” Tilia nagged. “Oh well, I grasped that you don’t care about bad rumors. However, at least control yourself until I leave Harshel. C-O-N-T-R-O-L yourself.”

“I’ll do――”

Before he could even tell her that he’d do his best, Tilia drew her dagger and pressed its blade against his neck.

“Control yourself or die. Decide now and here.”

“G-Got it. I’ll control myself,” Chrono nodded tearfully.

 

—————– End of Part 7 —————–

 

After one week, the day of Tilia’s departure to the capital arrived. Even the workshop, from where you could usually hear hammering all day long, remained silent for today. Chrono and Tilia stared at each other in the garden of the marquis’s mansion. However, they weren’t alone.

The mansion’s servants lined up behind Chrono while a carriage and cavalrymen could be seen behind Tilia.

“I’ll miss you.”

“At least show it on your face then,” Tilia frowned unhappily.

“I truly feel I’ll miss you. But, you see――”

“Leave it at that,” Tilia interrupted Chrono, still looking unhappy.

It wasn’t as though Chrono couldn’t understand her feelings, but he wanted her to understand his feelings as well. After all, she had forced him to stay celibate for the whole week.

Even if I were to grin broadly here, it wouldn’t be all that surprising, would it?

“Tsk, you damn, horny beast.”

“Horny beasts!”

“Why are your eyes sparkling!?” Tilia shouted.

“No, I mean, I was wondering whether those exist.”

“Horny beast refers to people like you.”

“Aww, so they don’t exist. What a bummer,” muttered Chrono under his breath.

Since it’s a fantasy world, I thought that tentacle monsters might exist here, but it looks like that’s not the case.

“Goddammit, you’re really incorrigible! Can’t you act a bit more seriously?” Tilia spat out while rolling her eyes.

“Well, even if you tell me to be serious…”

Chrono scratched his head.

“I can get to the capital in two weeks, and if it’s our relationship, this much is nothing, right?”

“O-Our relationship?” Tilia stammered with a shrill voice.

She had become bright red, all the way to her ears, showing what she was thinking.

‘Well, it’s a relationship where I’ve dashed my baby batter on her, though――

“Friends, right?”

“Friends…you’re right, we’re friends, yep.”

“I can’t claim that I’ll protect you even if the whole world becomes your enemy, but at the very least, I won’t become your enemy.”

“Once again such a questionable, roundabout phrasing…”

Tilia pulled a face as if she’d taken a bitter pill. If Chrono had nothing to protect, he wouldn’t have used such a phrasing, but he couldn’t handle it in any other way as the lord of a territory.

“Okay, see you again.”

Once Chrono offered a hand, Tilia grasped it tightly. The sensation of her soft hand made his heart beat a bit faster.

“…Come to think of it.”

“You just said your goodbye!” Tilia said with a fed-up voice.

“It’s about the matter with the reservists, but even though I sent a petition to the military department, I haven’t gotten a reply so far.”

“Got it. I’ll make sure to tell them to dispatch reservists to the Erakis March.”

“Thanks.”

“Since we’re friends, I’ll put in some effort for you – at least a bit. Anything else?”

“It’d be about the founding emperor’s matter.”

“What is it all of a sudden?”

“Tell me, did the founding emperor have children?”

“That’s obvious, isn’t it?” Tilia tilted her head, puzzled.

“Okay, then it’s fine.”

“You’re really a weirdo.”

Chrono had been worried whether he could make children as someone from another world, but now he knew that it was an unfounded anxiety.

Maybe there’s some kind of connection between this world and my former world.

“Anything else?”

“No, that was all.”

“Alright, take care then.”

Tilia released the handshake and headed to the box-shaped carriage waiting behind her. But, on the way she stopped, and looked in Chrono’s direction over her shoulder.

“Sitter, I leave Chrono in your hands.”

“Please count on me, Your Highness,” answered Sitter after having stepped up next to Chrono without him even noticing.

“Very well, this time it’s goodbye for real.”

As soon as Tilia climbed in, the carriage started to slowly move. Chrono silently saw it drive away.

 

 

That night Chrono taught Layla writing. This teaching course had become a custom by now, but only today Layla’s state was strange.

As she read books and solved multiplication exercises, she appeared to be somewhat absent-minded. Of course, she frequently made mistakes, causing Chrono to wonder whether she might be sick.

She had been studying after finishing her hard training regimen, and even on her days-off, she studied on her own initiative.

‘It wouldn’t be odd for her health to have taken a hit from all that work. And yet, here I’m rejoicing over the end of my celibate. I’m ashamed of myself. I think I should simply endure for today.

Of course he planned to answer her if she demanded it, but he wanted to show off his decency as a good man to Layla. His dick sure was twitching, but he believed he should be able to somehow manage.

‘If I can’t hold out any longer, I just need to rely on my right hand.

“We can stop early if you’re tired, you know?”

“…Okay.”

Layla had been trying to tell him something, but she started to take off her clothes without mentioning a single word.

Chrono widened his eyes slightly. Layla usually wore a short tank top and plain shorts under her uniform, but today her underwear was awfully frilly. Chrono swallowed hard.

Then he remembered that Layla and his other subordinates had become able to freely withdraw their unpaid wages by now. He definitely hadn’t expected her to buy frilly underwear for that money, but once he thought that she had bought it to please him, his dick――err, he became very emotional.

While aroused, Chrono unbuttoned his tunic, just to widen his eyes in surprise. Of all things, Layla had begun to fold her clothes. Usually she’d take off her underwear and start folding her clothes while generously exposing her slim body line.

Moreover, stranger things continued to happen. Once Layla put her folded uniform on the desk, she laid down on the bed. While not understanding what was going on, Chrono took off his uniform, and then lay down on the bed while in his underwear. Thereupon, Layla turned her back on him. Yep, she turned her back on him.

Chrono felt a devastating shock.

“Umm, Layla? Ms. Layla?”

“――gh!”

When Chrono touched her, her body stiffened up with a start.

Calm down. I’ll calm down by counting prime numbers. I should listen to her reasons first. No, things won’t end nicely if I unnecessarily stir a hornet’s nest.

“I’m going to turn off the light.”

“――gh!”

In the next instant, Chrono was pushed down by Layla. She had moved at lightning speed.

“…Lord Chrono.”

“What’s up?”

Layla looked down at Chrono with a gleam in her eyes. Those were the eyes of a predator.

“I am terribly sorry.”

With those words, Layla moved downwards ― towards Chrono’s lower body half. Cold air stimulated his lower body as she had pulled down his briefs.

Layla lightly widened her eyes. His dick stood at attention, about to burst any moment after he’d been forced to control himself for a week.

“…Excuse me.”

“U-Umm, okay, please go ahead.”

Due to the warm, slimy sensation of her sucking him off, Chrono blew his load in no time. Once Layla lifted her face, she had an entranced, ecstatic expression.

Her charming expression excited Chrono.

Very likely it originates from me having been able to uncover Layla’s expression as a female.

Layla slowly rose up. Chrono felt a chill. Her eyes were still those of a predator.

 

One hour later――

 

“…Pheeew.”

With her forehead pressed against his chest, Layla was panting repeatedly, even though that had its own charm.

“Forgive me, Lord Chrono.”

“No, well, you didn’t do anything that would require an apology during the last hour, but, what was the matter?”

“Since you did not desire me for an entire week…”

“No, that was…”

It wasn’t an atmosphere that would have allowed for him to say that it was because of Tilia’s order.

“Besides, there’s also the matter with the landlady…”

“So you realized?”

“Yes, the landlady has been looking at you with very gentle eyes recently, Lord Chrono,” explained Layla with a little nod.

They should have only met during the time when he’d been making ice cream with the landlady, and yet she had noticed their relationship then and there. Chrono was shocked by her formidable perception, assuming that it had already entered the regions of psychic abilities.

‘No, maybe something has happened between the two and I simply haven’t noticed it.

However, he hesitated to ask about it.

 

 

“I ended up losing control over myself out of worry that you might have grown tired of me. Lord Chrono, you are a noble, so I knew that a half elf like me would not be able to monopolize you forever. Even though I should have been aware of it, I am…really…wretched,” muttered Layla, abasing herself.

Chrono couldn’t answer anything. If he had slept with the landlady on a whim, he might have come up with as many excuses as he wanted. But, he had embraced her out of love. And that feeling hadn’t diminished either.

“I love you, Layla, but I also love the landlady. But, I feel like I probably won’t be able to refuse if other women…for example Arided and Deneb…seduce me. If I take the matter of an heir into account, I must marry, and since I don’t want to mix official with private affairs, I don’t think there’s any clear benefit in staying with me.”

How pathetic. Even though Layla has told me that she’d choose death over being raped by the bandits, I’m only sprouting such extremely insincere lines in bed. Moreover, I’ve told her something as convenient as not wanting to mix private and official affairs. Dishonesty at it’s finest. And Layla is the lover of such a lying man.

Considering it like that, Chrono felt like he could understand why Layla desired him.

She wants to actually experience it. Because we are merely bound by something as formless as love, she desires to actually feel it through her sex with me. That’s only natural as an emotion.

“What if we continue our relationship and I, for argument’s sake, get pregnant with your child, Lord Chrono?”

“Of course, I’ll accept the child.”

“I have never heard about the child of a half elf being acknowledged.”

Layla sat up in a hurry upon Chrono’s remark.

“This is my own way of showing sincerity. …No, I’m aware that I’m saying something very convenient here. But, as an adopted child, noble, and superior officer, I’m in a situation where I can’t please everyone anyway.”

A stifled giggle escaped Layla’s lips.

“Right now, you are just like a child, Lord Chrono.”

Layla kissed him and returned to her usual spot – this time not turning her back on him.

“Probably I am just like you, Lord Chrono. Even though I should stop being a soldier if I am looking for nothing but love, I want to be as useful as possible…I am a greedy woman.”

“I’m damn sure I’m the greediest one here.”

Chrono gently caressed Layla’s ear.

 

 


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Translation Notes: