Chapter 7 – Beginning of the Disturbance in the West

 

 


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“Nothing irregular to report today, Captain. Only the sea as far as the eye can see, as always.”

“You’re right, Vice-Captain. But, according to ancient documents, a country inhabited by demons lies in the west, or some such…”

“Is that information really accurate?”

“I don’t know. But, that doesn’t mean that there’s nothing to be found over there, right?”

 

 

A single, huge magic airship was cruising the sky above the calm ocean. Its name was 『Lingaia』.

We had christened this gigantic airship, which had an overall length of 400 meters, with the name of the continent we called our home. At present, this airship was on a voyage to investigate the western oceans after leaving the capital.

The Lingaia had been excavated from an underground ruin of the Ancient Magic Civilization a long time ago, but until just recently it couldn’t be operated.

This was owed to the lack of a huge magic crystal to power it. In addition, we were also missing materials to support and armor the gigantic hull.

Apparently the ship had been in the middle of maintenance and repairs, and when it was excavated, large chunks of its outer armor were gone.

Just when most of us thought that it’d be impossible for it to ever sail again at this rate, a miracle occurred.

An ancient undead dragon, which was regarded as a legendary monster for the most part, appeared on the route of a magic airship heading for the capital. A young 12-years-old boy defeated that dragon, and a magic crystal was created out of the magic stone recovered from the dragon to serve as Lingaia’s power source.

Even the lacking armor platings could be extracted in a sufficient amount from the dragon’s bones.

All of this sounds like an awfully convenient coincidence, but we were present when the boy took the dragon down. My vice-captain next to me and I had only tried to flee the dragon with our airship back then, however.

“The boy from back then is now Earl Baumeister, huh?”

“It looks like his dragon subjugation wasn’t the end, but rather the beginning.”

Earl Baumeister-sama’s great breakthrough started with that incident, but for some reason I feel like we also received some of that blessing. After all, I, Komuz Fullger, was appointed captain of the Lingaia, and my old friend and partner, Leopold Begim, was assigned as my vice-captain.

Magic airship sailors were always soldiers of the royal air force, and because of our achievement to have protected the ship during that incident, we were promoted to commander and vice-commander of the western expedition force at the same time as we became captain and vice-captain of the Lingaia.

“We became captain and vice-captain of this huge airship by just doing our best at running away.”

We had protected a magic airship that couldn’t be rebuilt at present, if destroyed once. This was certainly an achievement in itself, but it was only possible because Earl Baumeister-sama and Burkhart-sama were present at that time.

In short, luck played a big part in this, but so far as it goes, it counts as a meritorious deed.

Back when we were appointed as the captain and vice-captain of the Lingaia, the other captains looked extremely envious.

Some of them also said that we got our current position because we simply were lucky bastards, but as they were actually correct about that, it’d have been pointless to refute it.

Even the other captains commented that we only came out unscathed out of this because of Burkhart-sama’s 『Magic Barrier』.

We truly had ridiculously good luck.

“The son of the Earl Platte House was such a pest, wasn’t he?”

“Yep, I totally felt like telling him to bitch to the one in charge of personnel affairs as it was totally pointless to bring it up with us.”

“Yep, no kidding.”

The Royal Air Force also has many noble families who’ve been making a living as air force soldiers over generations. But, the air force is a place where only true ability counts.

Given that it’d be a disaster if a magic airship crashed because it was operated by an unskilled retard, even commoners could rise through the ranks as long as they got the abilities to back it. We were the prime example for that.

“That seemed to be convinced that we were appointed to this position thanks to Earl Baumeister-sama’s endorsement.”

“Well, a typical case of persecution complex, I’d say.”

I mean we never saw Earl Baumeister and his party again after the airship landed at port.

Actual duty on an airship allows anyone to get promoted, as long as they got the skills, but down on the surface, the management is mostly monopolized by nobility. Or to turn it around, the nobles, who’re too unskilled to be entrusted with responsibility on airships, warm the seats on the ground. After all, they won’t cause magic airships to crash, even if they fail at writing documents.

In short, us two being assigned as captain and vice-captain of the Lingaia means the other great noble-sama are too unreliable. The objections of that noble son and his likes were simply misdirected.

By the way, 『great noble-sama』 is the term we, the commoners of the air force, often use. It’s about nobles who belong to the air force but feel more like guests since they’re useless and annoying.

“In the first place, Earl Baumeister-sama wouldn’t have been able to interfere in this anyway since he doesn’t have any connections to the air force.”

“It looks like they think he could do so as his territory’s development concessions also play a role here.”

Certainly, they might have a point there. Currently Earl Baumeister-sama’s fief is experiencing a rapid development. No matter how many materials and laborers are brought in, it’s not enough.

“Didn’t he also obtain great achievements at the underground ruins in the Palkenia Grasslands after his dragon subjugation?”

“True, there was that as well.”

The operable airships had almost doubled, and the underground ruin itself has become the headquarters of the air force nowadays. The positions at the air force more than doubled, and the training after the flight routes increased has been going well, too.

As a result of the bolstered transportation network, the Kingdom’s economy was thriving.

“Wouldn’t the higher-ups of the air force have no choice but to bow their heads at Earl Baumeister-sama?”

“I wonder. Either way, he doesn’t seem to talk overly much about matters related to the air force…”

“Really?”

My vice-captain did well to investigate all of this information.

“It sounds like he only said 『Increase the regular flights to the Baumeister Earldom as much as possible』. He didn’t even mention the personnel selection. He also said, 『I have no clue about air force matters, so I leave everything to you professionals』.”

“The air force’s commander must have shed tears of joy when hearing that.”

This world is full of people in high positions who butt in everywhere while pretending to be knowledgeable despite not having studied things decently. Those folks are really hard to deal with.

On the other hand, Earl Baumeister-sama is still young, but he does get it. It’d be a dream if those noble retards, who keep spouting their dumb nonsense, took a page Earl Baumeister-sama’s book.

“What appears to matter most to them is their destination after retiring from an important high-ranking position…”

“Their destination after retirement?”

“Yes, the Baumeister Earldom used to be undeveloped land, right? As it’s filled with unexplored ruins, a new one seems to be found every once in a while”

So they’re regularly excavating smaller and medium airships from underground ruins, huh?

“A fixed number of them is purchased by the air force, or rather, the Kingdom, but a number of licensed ships can also operate within fiefs, right?”

Some of the high-ranking noble houses operate their own airships within their territories, and there also exist cases of several smaller nobles joining together and financing airship flights within their fiefs together.

Most of the time former air force soldiers are used as personnel to fly those ships. High-ranking nobles train their own staff as well, but it takes time and money to foster sailors. In other words, hiring experienced sailors is often cheaper. It also comes with the benefit of the veterans being able to teach the younger generation.

“Even the Baumeister Earldom has plans to start putting small airships into service, I hear.”

In that case they’re going to start from scratch, huh? They won’t have any choice but to recruit personnel from among the capable retirees. Because it’s also common practice to set up special retainer families who are in charge of operating airships…I guess many nobles want to send over their excess-children.

“The higher-ups of the air force will find it increasingly harder to not accommodate Earl Baumeister-sama.”

“Figures.”

“Huh? But then, why was the son of Earl Platte in such a bad mood?”

“Isn’t that because Marquis Weiz currently acts as the commandant of the Royal Air Force?”

Air Force commandant, the highest position, has been rotated between several marquis and earl houses so far. Weiz will be replaced in a few years, but such a wonderful deal coincidentally fluttered in during his turn as commandant, so it’s got to be anything but funny in the eyes of the Earl Platte House.

“Nobility truly is such a pain in the butt. I’m glad that I’m a commoner.”

“Right. I also believe so from the bottom of my heart.”

People who become captain or vice-captain in the air force, have much better income than some of the unluckier low-ranking nobles. Of course, we still lose in total income, but we don’t need to watch all the troublesome stuff since we aren’t nobles, and we don’t lack any places to go to after retiring from the air force.

Captain of a large magic airship is a job where you can clap your own shoulder if you last until becoming fifty. It’s inevitable since it’s work that’s straining on body and mind, but if you take a job as captain of a small airship as your follow-up job, you can keep going for another ten to fifteen years. And since you can also train new folks after disembarking the ship, it’s not bad to spend your second life teaching the younger folks. On top of all that, the pay is also good because it’s a job requiring very specific abilities.

“I wonder whether the Baumeister House would take care of me if I retire from the army?”

“That’d sure be nice. I’d love to do the same.”

I ended up having a fairly long talk with my vice-captain, but it was no problem since there was nothing else going on at the moment anyway. I mean, we’d become over-sensitive if we remained on tenterhooks all the time.

“Captain, a big island came into sight at 12 o’clock.”

“So we finally reached it!”

My vice-captain and I stopped chatting, and checked the area ahead of us with the binoculars hanging on a strap from our necks.

Just as the lookout reported, a coastline gradually came into sight.

“A big island…actually it might be as big as a subcontinent.”

The ancient records might be, unexpectedly enough, correct. According to those writings, it looked to the people of the past like an island as well.

“Captain! Flying objects are approaching from 12 o’clock!”

“So it was inhabited after all, huh…?”

“The documents did mention a demonic country.”

“At the very least, they have a similar technological level…no, unfortunately we’re completely inferior I guess…”

The flying objects, which we had considered to be an incoming magic airship, had a total length of less than fifty meters, but there were two of them which had a shape completely different from our magic airship.

The ship’s surface was mostly kept streamlined, making them totally look like eggs. They were definitely twice as fast as the Lingaia. Moreover, the surface was made out of a metal I’ve never seen before. Even so, it looked very tough.

“It appears like we won’t be able to do anything against that armor plating unless we use something like the 『Magic Cannon』 that had been employed during the Empire’s civil war.”

Given that it’d start a war if we actually shot at them, we naturally wouldn’t do anything like that. Ultimately, as precautionary measurement, I simply ordered my crew to be cautious. We have a magician with us, so I’ll have them unleash their magic when push comes to shove, but it doesn’t look like spells would work against that sturdy armor plating.

“You think Earl Baumeister-sama would be able to pierce that armor?”

“Maybe, but it’s not said that we’ll have to fight them yet…”

“Of course not.”

To the bitter end, this is no more than a hypothetical talk. First we should contact the other side and talk things over with them.

“But before that, we have to make sure that the idiot doesn’t go ballistic on us.”

“No kidding…”

‘The idiot’ refers to the son of Earl Platte, of course. His abilities aren’t that bad, but he’s hard to handle since he tends to try showing off how awesome he is. Yet, he was able to become a vice-captain in the middle of his twenties because of his noble descent.

An airship as big as this has two vice-captains to operate it. Both hold the same rank, and since the crew would fall into chaos if I should ever become unable to take command, my old friend Begim has been stationed on the bridge as Number 2.

That must also be something pissing off the high-born son of the Platte House. He’s been carrying out his duties on the ship without even trying to hide his displeasure, making life hard for the other crew members.

“We’ll be in a bind if he were to attack our guests first.”

“Say what you like, attacking on his own accord while going against the captain’s order…I guess we should warn him in advance, just in case.”

Once Begim sent a runner to him, it seemed like even he wasn’t so dumb to go against orders. But, the runner reported him whining, 『I’m a noble, so let me negotiate with them!』

“Being captain sure is headache-inducing.”

“Yeah…”

That’s why we should have had a noble with us in preparation for situations like this. If an Earl was with us here, we could have left the negotiations to him. But all of them flinched away since it was the exploration of land unknown to all of us.

Hence, going by my rank, I have the authority to lead the negotiations despite being a commoner, but the youth of the Platte House didn’t like that at all.

Him as the leader? That’s gotta be a bad joke. He’s an air force soldier and not a noble belonging to the foreign affairs circle.

If I’m going to authorize him negotiating on our behalf, I must also yield the position of captain to him, and that would definitely raise the probability of the Lingaia crashing or getting stranded.

This is definitely a huge flaw of our current rule system. I’ll need to bring it up with my superiors if we make it back in one piece.

“Captain, the noble youth is nagging…”

“I’m busy right now! Just ignore him!”

This was the first contact with the demon country, which we discovered anew, and its inhabitants. I could tell. The youth of the Platte House want to deal with them as leader of the expedition and thus rise in ranks by making a name for himself with that achievement.

I’m here as commoner and his superior, and so is the other vice-captain, but he’s probably thinking that he can take the center stage here as a noble since this isn’t about the ship’s command, but a diplomatic mission.

So far as it goes, I’ve been authorized to handle that side of the expedition, too. Why is he trying to ignore me here?

Him not coming to appeal directly to me likely stems from his understanding that my rank and responsibilities are above his.

“What’s the point in him complaining to me anyway? There are noble captains around as well, so it wouldn’t have developed into this situation, if the higher-ups had entrusted this mission to one of them.”

“Things hardly ever go as you like in this world.”

“How very true.”

Nothing is going to start even if I bicker around here. I think I should first open a communication channel.

Just when I thought so, I heard a voice from the demon’s magic airship ahead of the Lingaia.

“This is 2nd Captain Loryn Khaos, captain of the First-Class Patrol Boat 『Amole』 which belongs to the National Security Force of the Republic of Zontark. Your ship is currently trespassing republican airspace. Given that we will be forced to seize or shoot your ship down if you advance any further, we would like you to pull back right away.”

“That’s an awfully polite warning, isn’t it?”

“Makes it clear that we’re dealing with a civilized country.”

Damn it, it looks like we traveled a bit too deep into their territory, I suppose. But, I have to say that the borders of their territorial airspace seem to be quite wide.

Looking at the speed of their airships, they might believe they would get invaded in no time if they don’t set the borders so far out. In reality, our magic airship isn’t that fast, though.

“This is Komuz Fullger, captain of the Lingaia and leader of the western expedition party of Helmut Kingdom’s Royal Air Force. We came all the way here from the eastern Lingaia Continent. We would like to request preliminary negotiations in preparation for the diplomatic negotiations expected to occur in the near future, and information exchange.”

I answered them, also using a magic megaphone. The policy of the Kingdom’s government in case we were to find the demon country was to promote commerce and conclude a mutual non-aggression pact.

I don’t know how they got their hands on it, but I feel like the Kingdom’s government possesses information about the demon country. That’s probably the very reason why they’re going for negotiations to tie a treaty.

As always, some of the more belligerent among the nobles suggested invading the demon country, but all demons are magicians and as anyone can see, their magic engineering goes beyond ours, too. It’s clear to anyone that we wouldn’t be able to win, even if we waged war.

In the first place, how did all those war-lovers plan to maintain a war expedition to such a distant subcontinent, when they didn’t even manage to invade the Empire during its civil war chaos. The war expenditures would become a problem, too. It’d take a ridiculous amount of time and effort to dispatch a big army over such a huge distance. Even if they used all the large magic airships currently operating in the Kingdom, they wouldn’t be anywhere near enough. And assuming they managed to send such a big army over after going through all those troubles, even a little child would be able to tell just how difficult resupply would be.

Did they plan to have the soldiers procure their supplies locally without even knowing the food situation in the demon country?

Also, the army wouldn’t be able to retreat if the war situation deteriorated.

Nobles sure are a pain in the ass since their ranks are full of nothing but show-offs who want to gain fame for their family name. They keep spouting absurd nonsense without even bothering to consider the consequences and necessities properly.

“Fortunately, it looks like we’ll be able to talk with each other.”

“They appear to be more rational than our great noble-samas.”

Just as we got relieved, flames suddenly blazed up from the Zontarkian airship. I didn’t give an order to attack though!

“What’s this about?”

“Captain, that dumb noble brat has used his magic!”

The flames apparently originated from a magician releasing a 『Fireball』.

For just an instant I worried about the Zontarkian airship, but their armor plating seems rather sturdy, and the power of our side’s 『Fireball』 was too weak, so it didn’t cause any damage at all.

“Pheew, that was close.”

“That’s not the point here! What’s Larssen doing!?”

Larssen was the name of the man supervising the magicians stationed on this ship. He himself was an intermediate magician. Despite belonging to the air force for many years, that idiot went along with the dum noble brat’s order.

“No, I don’t think that this came from Larssen.”

“So it was one of the temporarily hired magicians, huh!?”

Because of the mission’s nature to explore unknown lands, the air force skimped on sending its own magicians. They hired adventurer magicians with high pay, but on of them fired a 『Fireball』 after obeying the dumb brat’s order.

“Employing adventurers backfired on us, eh!?”

Any member of the air force would have asked me for instructions first, no matter how much the idiot might have clamored to start attacking. But, adventurers, who aren’t usually as organized as the military, tend to be menial towards nobles. The magician in question likely fired without questioning the chain of command.

“Either way, arrest the idiot! I’ll explain the circumstances to the other side…”

Before I could finish my order, the hull shook violently.

“It’s not…an attack…is it?”

“They’ve come alongside!”

“Get ready for a defensive battle!”

In the end, it escalated into battle. I only pray that this won’t result in a full-blown war between both countries. When all is said and done, I’m still a patriot.

 

*   *   *

 

“Around a week ago, the regular reports suddenly stopped coming in, and the Lingaia went missing during its western exploration.”

“An accident?”

“That ship’s stability goes way beyond the other existing magic airships. Besides, the captain and his vice-captain were no beginners either.”

“Oh, I remember. It’s the same two guys who commanded the airship when I confronted the ancient undead dragon.”

 

 

When I got back to the mansion after finishing today’s share of construction work, the crying of the babies sounded awfully loud. As soon as I entered their room, wondering what was going on, I spotted Doushi who was clearly making a baby cry, even though he was most likely intending to rock it kindly.

For some time Doushi had been busy with his story-telling tour, but he had apparently reached a point where he got enough time to regularly come to visit the babies at last.

“Doushi, babies aren’t overly fond of you, are they?”

“Well, at this point I have gotten used to it. But, Friedrich is an exception!”

Friedrich, who had the blood of Doushi’s niece flowing inside him, didn’t cry when he saw Doushi.

That’s a wonderful backbone he’s showing there so short after being born.

“You’re great, Friedrich!”

“Isn’t he simply dense?”

“No, Friedrich got nerves of steel. This child is going to grow into a great man,” I admonished Erw, who was blathering some rude stuff, as his lord and master.

I’m sure Friedrich is going to become a splendid Earl Baumeister. And that will allow me to retire early on.

“That is the extreme logic of a doting parent!”

“Ah man, Doushi, such terrible remarks even from you… ”

Friedrich is a brave boy for not crying even when faced with a monster like you, Doushi, and despite me being his father, you…

“You are just as terrible for treating me like a monster.”

“(Argh! Why does Doushi know about me treating him like a monster in my head?) Err, the Lingaia went missing during its western exploration mission, right?”

Given that I’d be troubled if Doushi probed any further, I quickly returned to our original topic.

“So that huge magic airship had been used for stuff like that, huh?”

Just like Erw, I wasn’t aware of the Lingaia’s activities. I sold the army the magic crystal and materials to make the ship operational, but it wasn’t as though I had been invited to its ceremonial ship launching or anything like that.

“Their last, regular report mentioned that they had found the demon country.”

“In that case, they ran into troubles over there, you say?”

“Possibly.”

“Hmm, I wonder what happened. Hey, Arnest,” I called out to our local demon, who had been busily writing his thesis in his room, in an attempt to draw some information about the demon country out of him.

Maybe it’ll give us some sort of hint.

“A huge, magic airship went missing? Maybe they were detained after some retarded noble launched a preemptive attack on the demons, or some such? I can only make guesses, though.”

“That’d be ridiculous.”

The exploration force consisted of nothing but soldiers of the Royal Air Force, and thus they adhered to the army’s chain of command. It’s unthinkable that they’d do something as stupid as that.

“And thus there is one matter that has turned into a problem.”

“There is?”

“Indeed. The eldest son of the Earl Platte House boarded the Lingaia.”

“How is that a problem if he’s a soldier?”

The Lingaia was a warship and on a mission to explore the far, unknown western areas. It was always a possibility for the ship to sink, so they’d just need to have the second son inherit the house if that happened.

“It wouldn’t be much of an issue if the ship sank in some accident, but if he was killed in action during a battle with the demon country, the nobles would clamor for revenge.”

Revenge, eh…? I get their feeling on this, but how do they plan to attack the distant demon country which is so far away that it’s not even listed on maps? Even invading the Empire would be much easier than something like that.

In the first place, I can’t see them having a sliver of a chance to win.

“The Earl Platte House belonged to the hawks during the time when the Empire’s civil war unfolded.”

“And now they are advertising to dispatch troops to the demon country?”

“It is also possible that this is but a bluff.”

That’s another aspect of this, or rather, it’s also possible that the demon country is going to attack the Kingdom, so they’re getting ready for war. Especially when it comes to the air force. That means the Platte house is trying to bolster its influence within the air force by securing an increase in budget and posts.

“So it’s politics, huh…?”

“We have no other choice but to wait for some time in regards to the Lingaia. Even if we’re going to send in a search party, we first must get a grasp on the circumstances.”

We’re not on Earth here. Reconnaissance planes, let alone spy satellites, don’t exist. It’s going to take time as they must confirm things by sending in another airship.

“We do not have the leeway to send the normal, large airships on additional search missions.”

With the civil war in the Empire as a cause, the disturbance on the northern routes still hasn’t fully abated, and because of the increase of ferry services for the Baumeister Earldom’s development, they have already mobilized even the spare ships. As such, they don’t have any large airships they could send out on a search mission.

The reason for the Lingaia to have been chosen for this mission might be found in its cruising range and performance, but that ship being outside the regular flight schedules as it had just been commissioned also played a big role in this. Because they had to test out the ship’s capabilities and performance anyway, this expedition allowed them to hit two birds with one stone.

“And even if we send out another ship, it is not said that it will come back either.”

“Figures…”

Just the Lingaia is already a big loss, but if another large, magic airship goes missing, it’ll hurt the Kingdom even more. A long discussion among the Kingdom’s higher-ups would become necessary even when it looks like they’re going to send out a search party as soon as possible.

“But, just one person is very adamant about all of this.”

“Who would that be?”

“Earl Platte.”

He whined about his precious heir not coming back home after taking up a new post as vice-captain on the Lingaia, blamed it on the likes of a commoner having been assigned as captain, and demanded that Marquis Weiz, who appointed the personnel, should quickly take responsibility and resign from his post.

All of these statements sounded like things some non-mainstream-factions would say. You could even say that the things he was saying only served the purpose of appealing his own presence.

“We don’t know whether it sank or was captured, but now that it’s come to this, the one to be first on the list of those who could be responsible would be the captain, huh?”

“That might be true, but labeling him as 『the likes of a commoner』 is bad.”

The kingdom’s government opened its door for commoners in order to gather outstanding sailors, but an authority in the air force was criticizing that policy out of parental love. Of course, that would lead to arguments during the meeting on how to deal with this whole affair.

“Looks like it’s going to be an unproductive meeting…”

Though it’s the fate of any country and bigger organization that such meetings also occur.

“At present, it is a fact that we cannot change things in any way. We have no choice but to watch the situation for a while.”

I heard about all this from Doushi, but it didn’t lead to any changes in my life beyond that.

 

*   *   *

 

I continued my public work efforts and occasionally went out to hunt in the Demon Forest with mostly man-only parties. The sole exception was Agnes who was recently treated as my No. 1 pupil.

Given that she’s become an adult, she’s started to join our temporary parties in addition to her usual adventurer party.

As I thought, many magicians in a party palpably improve the efficiency of hunting.

“Sensei, we got a big haul today as well, don’t we?”

“Your magic casting has clearly stabilized as well, Agnes. You’ve become able to hunt while remaining composed.”

At first, the overly-diligent Agnes got kinda nervous when we hunted in the Demon Forest she wasn’t used to, but nowadays she has mostly grown accustomed to hunting monsters. At this rate, I think it’ll be possible for her to become independent as an adventurer right away.

“It’s all thanks to you, sensei.”

“Seeing how next year Betty, and the year after, Cindy will become adults, you’ll be able to form a powerful party soon enough.”

“You’re right. I must work hard and pull the other two along.”

The feeling of responsibility as leader was strong in Agnes, who was the oldest among the three.

“But, you won’t mind if we tag along with you every once in a while, will you sensei?”

“Don’t ask the obvious. I’m your sensei.”

“Thank you, sensei.”

She’s my pupil and at the same time kind of like a little sister. It doesn’t feel bad to be depended upon. And those three are my favorite pupils whom I taught the most so far.

“Burkhart-san, Doushi, you’re going back already?”

“Yep. I must take care of my daughter.”

“I see…”

Somehow he had a change of mind? Recently Burkhart-san is always taking care of his own daughter whenever he finds a bit of free time. In short, this world’s version of a papa brings up his child.

It’s a surprising change, seeing how he hated even the idea of marrying in the past.

“You have many children, Earl Baumeister, so you should hurry home quickly. The same applies to you as well, Erwin.”

“Every once in a while you do say some very serious things, Doushi…”

Even though he might look like this, Doushi also has many children, and thus he sometimes tells me such sensible things as my senior when it comes to being a father. Though Erw ended up replying in an extremely rude manner due to Doushi’s unusual advice.

“Even I take my children out to play during holidays.”

“Is that so…?”

Doushi spending time with his family is something I somehow can’t imagine. Or is he taking them along on dragon hunts? I don’t know about his children, but for Doushi that would register as entertainment.

“Anyway, I guess we’ll go back…”

Once we sold off the materials and harvested items at the adventurer’s guild and went back home with Teleport, we encountered an unexpected visitor at the mansion.

“Hmm, Earl Platte, huh?”

“Doushi-dono? Today I have business with Earl Baumeister as fellow 『Earl』.”

“As a fellow Earl, you say?”

“Indeed.”

Doushi knew the visitor. Earl Platte was the noble who had lost contact with his heir due to the recent incident of the Lingaia.

“Earl Baumeister, won’t you support me with my request to the crown to send out another ship?”

“Haah…”

Earl Platte immediately began to persuade me after a brief greeting. But, something leaden kept accumulating in my mind as I listened to his opinion and objectives. That didn’t mean that Earl Platte was an incompetent idiot or anything like that, but since he was talking as if everything he said was nature’s law while assuming that it’d be only natural for me to go along with it, he was a very annoying man.

Though I guess you could call him very noble-like in a certain sense.

At that point, all my pity with his heir had already dissipated.

“In the first place, the western expedition, which also served as a test run for the Lingaia, was very likely to gather information and lead preliminary negotiations with the demon country said to lie in the west. And yet Marquis Weiz entrusted the post of captain and expedition leader to a commoner. What did he want that commoner to do about negotiations, if the demon country truly exists over there? Although it’d have been fine to entrust everything to my son…in the end he was omitted for the ridiculous reasons of him lacking experience due to his youth and it not being permissible to disturb the air force’s chain of command! This is clearly harassment against me who’s slated to become the next air force commandant! And didn’t the Lingaia, a precious national treasure, go missing because of that very commoner captain who was supposedly chosen for his abilities!? Marquis Weiz’s responsibility for that appointment must be called into question here!”

There was no mistake in what Earl Platte was saying. But, even if he told me, who was completely unrelated to the Royal Air Force, all that, it was nothing other than an annoyance. I’m not part of the air force faction after all.

Or rather, for what reason did this codger come here anyway?

“Since it’s negotiations, I’d think nobles of the foreign affairs section should have preferentially come along.”

“Those shitheads! All of them got cold feet and turned it down! Those people are lazy cowards whose only job it is to occasionally negotiate with the Empire, so it was impossible in the first place! Really, they should have simply left everything to my son! That cursed Marquis Weiz!”

His arguments sounded reasonable, but his howling was much too annoying. Seeing how it’s possible that negotiations would become indispensable, it’s clear that it’d be a stupid idea to not have any nobles with the proper authority and knowledge in that area board the Lingaia. But, in reality, all of the nobles involved with foreign affairs had apparently refused to travel with the Lingaia. All of them were against it because it’d be an exploration of uncharted land, and as such, could end in disaster.

Then again, the nobles under the foreign minister usually don’t have that much work, so the number of motivated folks among them was negligible.

Even during the Empire’s civil war they were useless dead weights from the start to the very end. It earned them a lot of criticism after the civil war ended, and all would have been fine if they had used that as a trigger to improve their work attitude, but instead they ended up shrinking away and stopped doing any extra work altogether, according to what I heard from Margrave Breithilde.

Which reminds me, no one but the crown prince stood out during the peace talks with the Empire either.

“Earl Platte, you know that the air force has no leeway when it comes to large magic airships, don’t you?”

The number of ships had grown, but two ships were detained after getting involved in the Empire’s civil war. Those ships had their magic crystal, their power source, plundered by Duke Nürnberg. Peter later returned them, but because of that, they were forced to raise their rate of operation in order to guarantee the quantity of transported goods. Sending any further large airships westwards should prove to be difficult.

“It’s also possible that the second ship is going to sink as well. His Majesty won’t give his permission, will he?”

“It’ll be alright if you appeal together with me, Earl Baumeister. Aren’t you His Majesty’s favorite?”

Earl Platte might be worried about his heir, and in addition to that, blood might have rushed into his head. The successor of the old-standing Earl Platte House went missing due to a commoner captain and vice-captain, and of all things, the one who assigned those two to their posts was his rival, Marquis Weiz. He might even believe that his own son had been deliberately murdered. Of course I’d interpret that as persecution complex of sorts, but that probably won’t get through to a father who’s worried about his son.

“I don’t have any clue about the internal affairs of the air force, but the number of ships is lacking and when it comes to traveling to the distant west, I think even large magic airships will be challenged by the journey.”

That’s the very reason why the Lingaia, which wasn’t part of the transport system at the time of its commissioning, was sent out on this exploration. Besides, the cruising range also played a part here. The Lingaia was able to travel over a very long distance with one filling of mana in its magic crystal. But, I heard that normal large airships would need several mana refills for the same distance.

Moreover, it wouldn’t be over with just refilling the magic crystal either, it seems. Because maintenance and such would be naturally required as well, a normal, large airship couldn’t be used for explorations. You would need a big number of magicians to resupply the mana, on top of regularly maintaining the ship during its flight.

The Lingaia was chosen since it allowed to decrease the amount of mana refills needed, but it was unbelievable that Earl Platte was unaware of that as part of the air force faction.

“The Lingaia is a ship you contributed to our service, Earl Baumeister. You do have some attachment to it, don’t you?”

“Haaah…”

“My son did his utmost to maintain and operate that Lingaia! I think you ought to show at least as much generosity as to save the ship yourself, Earl Baumeister!”

“……”

Earl Platte used all means and arguments available to get me to request a search from the crown. Once again my mind was being worn down as I had to deal with that annoying noble.

 

*   *   *

 

“Considering your own child precious is the same for both humans and demons.”

 

After I asked the pushy Earl Platte to leave for the moment as I wanted to have some time to think it over, I called out to Arnest who was examining the more than twenty small and medium-sized magic airships anchored in the simple dock. This simple dock was something I had built in preparation for the future establishment of an Earl Baumeister Air Force.

Although it was set up to house medium and small airships, I used a plain but sturdy structure since it was supposed to protect the airships from wind and weather. By the way, in addition to stone and lumber, I also used the Extreme Steel I succeeded in producing for its construction.

“However, since I do not have any children myself, I do not quite understand the notion.

“Then don’t say such things in the first place. By the way, what are you sketching there?”

“All of these are airships that had been excavated from different places in the Baumeister Earldom, but they have slight differences in their structure and ornaments, depending on the era they come from. I am categorizing these for the sake of incorporating them into my thesis.”

“They all look the same to me, though…”

Erw appears to be unable to tell the difference between the airships. Personally, I don’t think that they’re completely the same, but then again, I can’t see that much of a difference either.

“This is why ordinary people are such a pain to deal with. They are too ignorant towards Earl Ischlburg’s early works.”

“Earl Ischlburg, eh…?”

Earl Ischlburg gives me the impression of being a bad apple, despite being a genius. It seems to be the same for Erw. I mean, after all we almost died because of her.

“The large magic airship, which was discovered in an underground ruin near the capital, the center of the continent, and put into service by the Kingdom, was something Earl Ischlburg designed in her last years. Its size and structure exceeded every other airship in performance, the ability to mass produce it, costs, and maintenance efficiency.”

“You’re saying it was easier to excavate it in the central part of the continent because the central country of the Ancient Magic Civilization’s era used it.”

“That is correct, Earl Baumeister. And once that large magic airship became popular…”

“The small and medium-sized, older ships were outsourced to the countryside, huh?”

“That sounds about right.”

So it’s something like passing on the old trains and buses, which were used in the city, to the countryside, eh?

“What, so these are older models…?”

“That is no reason to feel so disappointed, Erwin. Even though that might be the case, there exist absolutely no problems with using these. Just because their specifications are slightly inferior to the larger, newer model, it does not mean they cannot fly,” explained Arnest.

“Any normal noble house would be unable to operate such a big number of airships.”

The royal family licensed the more than twenty ships for us because of the Baumeister Earldom’s size and its current state of still being in development. In reality, we excavated more than thrice as many ships, but we were forced to sell the rest to the royal family.

The price followed the usual market price, but one should praise Finance Minister Rückner for sticking to the market price down to a cent.

The royal family chose the noble families who would be allowed to buy the small and medium-sized airships. However, the intent behind this wasn’t profit. The noble houses allowed to buy the ships were all nobles considered to have contributed to the royal family. Once I asked about the circumstances here, I heard that the Kingdom had a much stronger, centralized power than the Empire.

“Following the Baumeister House, other noble houses also bought small and medium-sized magic airships from the Kingdom and put them in service. That basically caused a lack of personnel to operate them.”

“Figures…”

Raising up proper sailors took time, and the Kingdom doesn’t have the leeway to send such precious personnel for a western search mission where it’d be unclear whether they’d be able to come back. On top of that, the number of magicians is lacking too.

“The Lingaia might be a costly loss, but realistically speaking, the Kingdom doesn’t have the resources to send ships and people out to look for it.”

His Majesty, the ministers, and the top brass of the Royal Air Force were apparently in the middle of a discussion right now, but they were bogged down by the obvious issues with a search mission. In Japan, people would probably describe this kind of situation as 『political indecisiveness』, but if you force your hand by sending out large magic airships, veteran sailors, and magicians, and those don’t come back later, it’d escalate the damage.

This heavy argument leads to the authorities being unwilling to take action here, but in the eyes of Earl Platte, that’s unforgivable.

“Arnest, what do you think? Did the demon country sink the Lingaia? For violation of their air or sea space, or some other reason.”

“Earl Baumeister, the demons are no brutes. Most likely they seized the Lingaia due to some kind of misunderstanding or problem.”

“I don’t have any way to go check this, and I’m no member of the Air Forces either.”

I have the development of my territory to take care of, and I cannot afford to leave my wives and children behind either. I’m sorry for Earl Platte, but I have no means to do anything about his plight.

“Come to think of it, how did you come to this continent from the demon country, Arnest?”

“Of course, I used a ship.”

“A ship?”

“Yes, a ship.”

According to him, he boarded a small wooden ship to get smuggled out of the demon country.

“You sure were lucky to not have become stranded…”

“That is because I had this here with me.”

Arnest retrieved a magic tool similar to an outboard motor from his magic bag.

“I used this for propulsion.”

No matter how you look at it, it’s a motor that shouldn’t be able to power more than a motorboat. Crossing the untrodden, huge ocean with this is far too extreme, even for a scholar nut, I think.

“It’s something I’d never do, even if I had to die.”

“My research called out to me!”

However, it’s also true that we went through a hard time during the civil war in the Empire because of that scholar nut. Einstein was definitely a genius, but his work led to the creation of nuclear bombs. I don’t think that he went as far as not giving a damn about how many would die because of his research, but he might be a kindred spirit with Arnest when it comes to the inability to imagine what his research might engender.

Then again, many geniuses were self-centered people to begin with. On the other hand, I’ve let Arnest stay here because he’s of use to me at present…

“I think it’d have been the same if you had stuck that magic tool to a small magic airship. Anyway, I didn’t plan to go to the demon country to begin with.”

I’m busy with all kinds of things, after all. I must do my best for my children.

“So you have become a conservative as soon as your children were born. That is the very reason why I have remained a bachelor.”

“Is that really the case?”

I ended up thinking that no woman would approach him because he was too much of an oddball.

“They will not be able to do anything for a while either way.”

 

◆◇◆

 

Arnest’s prediction proved to be true. The Kingdom’s government couldn’t compromise on any countermeasures in regards to the missing Lingaia. They regularly held meetings about it, but without reaching a single conclusion.

Some of the other nobles agreed with the air force members under Earl Platte that they should send out a search party. However, more than half of the nobles were against the dispatch of a search party. Because they wanted to quickly put the magic airships that had been excavated in the Baumeister Earldom into service, they weren’t interested in deploying people and ships that might also go missing.

In the end, the Lingaia’s disappearance had no impact on the Kingdom’s economy since it wasn’t included in the transport and ferry rotation. The loss of veteran sailors hurt, but it wasn’t a fatal blow either. The shortage of sailors might continue for a while, but that would be resolved in a few years if they increased the number of people in training.

“The higher-ups of the air force must hate the idea of sending out a large airship for a search from which it might not return,” Roderich explained the top brass’s thinking. “The loss of the Lingaia is regrettable, but they don’t have any resources to send out further ships.”

“If those don’t come back, the responsibility of the air force’s higher-ups would be called into question at long last, huh…?”

If it was just the loss of the Lingaia, His Majesty should still close his eyes to it. But, if they send out another ship and that ship doesn’t come back, His Majesty will be forced to punish Marquis Weiz.

Maybe Earl Platte is also aiming at that? No, I think I’m doubting his motives a bit too much here?

“With just the Lingaia, they can still close the whole case as shipwreck that was out of their hands.”

“It is a fact that it is a big loss, but the ship still had not entered official service or become a combat asset,” Doushi expanded on the unofficial circumstances, now that he was in the Baumeister Earldom after having finished his speech tour.

“There exists no proof that the ship crashed or sank, you know?”

“That demon, huh? I cannot trust him, but it is not like he is wrong in what he is saying either.”

Doushi was bad with Arnest.

I feel like both have similar personalities, but maybe it’s something like the same poles of a magnet rejecting each other. Moreover, their way of speaking is similar as well. Though they’re completely unrelated to each other.

“If the ship was seized, it is possible that the demon country will contact us from their side.”

Many shared that opinion that it’d be better to negotiate now that it turned out like this. As a matter of fact, it was me who passed the information, which formed the basis of this view, to His Majesty. Having said that, I just repeated Arnest’s words to His Majesty.

“Just in case, I shall gather information, but at present, we can’t do anything about it. Accordingly…”

“Accordingly what, Roderich?”

“If we’re going to independently run magic airships, we must build airship ports at various places of the earldom.”

“Didn’t we build those beforehand?”

I kinda remember having built quite a few of them when we first settled in this land…

“Their number is completely lacking. Since we also have many uninhabited regions where I wish to start development, it will become easier to transport people and goods if we build ports over there first.”

“You mean, if I build ports over there, correct?”

“Yes, that would be the fastest method.”

“I see, the fastest method, eh…?”

“This is also for the sake of your newborn children.”

“I know, I know.”

 

◆◇◆

 

And thus I got stuck with building the foundations for magic airship ports while following Roderich’s instructions. I created berths for landing with quarried rocks, and the craftsmen and workers organized by Roderich finished those up.

“The one controlling the traffic and goods distribution over land and air rules the land.”

“Yeah, you’re correct about that, Roderich.”

“I am more than happy to hear that you understand my thinking, Milord.”

Ports and roads, which accelerate the flow of people and goods, are similar to blood veins running through a territory. Promoting economic growth by enhancing those was public work as it was carried out by any statesman since ancient times. Even I understand something as simple as that.

“Our Baumeister Earldom still has many undeveloped patches of land, but since your magic is overwhelming, Milord, it shan’t become a handicap for us. It is a matter of great joy that the talents of magicians have also shown themselves in your children who will later take this land over.”

Because the development finished here much faster than at other places, Roderich seemed to be in a very good mood.

“That’s fine and all, but I wonder what will happen to the matter of the missing Lingaia?”

“I cannot make any forecast here…even the Kingdom seems to be troubled as to how to deal with these issues.”

I can’t do much about it since it’s not like I got some important position in the Kingdom’s government.

At any rate, currently I was continuing the construction within the earldom, and since we started to run a small airship as an experiment, we also hired new retainers. One among them was Marquis Weiz’s younger brother, who seemed to be an outstanding sailor since his young days.

Because of him not having to inherit the house, he could take things in an easygoing manner, and thus he deliberately boarded ships out of his preference to be on-site.

In addition, we also hired young nobles of the air force faction and former sailors who had retired their active duty. It was scheduled to have them teach the young folks, which we’d recruit within the earldom.

“Milord, no one related to the Earl Platte house is amongst them.”

Marquis Weiz’s younger brother Johann, whom I appointed to be in charge to the Baumeister Earldom’s Magic Airship Unit, noticed the lack of Earl Platte’s family or their retainers among the people we gathered.

“It might actually be bad, but since he’s so damn annoying, I didn’t want any of his people here.”

“Somehow I can relate…”

 

◆◇◆

 

Ever since his first appearance, Earl Platte came to visit me whenever he had time. As before, he was still asking me to request His Majesty to search for the Lingaia for the sake of saving his heir. Since he himself couldn’t change His Majesty’s thinking, he wanted to borrow my name as someone who was favored by the king.

Just when I thought that his continuous visits here had to cost a lot because of all of the charges for the airship flights, that idiot was making good use of being a big-shot in the air force, riding large magic airships for free to come here. He was a bothersome old dude since he wouldn’t give up because of lacking funds.

『I’m telling you, I have my own circumstances to worry about!』

『The life of my son is on the line here! It’s the duty of a noble to somehow handle such issues, isn’t it!?』

Earl Platte became even more annoying after he started to tell me that I should join the search as well, based on a standpoint of humanitarian aid. But, considering all that, he only cared about his own son and didn’t consider any other people at all.

『I won’t say that it’s impossible to travel that long distance with a normal, large airship, but you’ve heard that it’ll be difficult, haven’t you?』

『With your amount of mana, you’ll be able to constantly replenish the magic crystal. I hear all of your wives are magicians as well. It should be easy for you people to reach the demon country.』

As if. If it was so simple to get there, there wouldn’t have been any need to expressly form an exploration expedition.

『If it’s about a reward, I’ll pay it』

『Reward?』

『I’ll approve of your daughter marrying my eldest son』

『Haaaah?』

At first I didn’t understand what Earl Platte was telling me.

『My son already has a wife, but I’ll take responsibility and demote her to a concubine』

『…What?』

I became stunned out of surprise. He was telling me that he’d allow me to offer the hand of my daughter to the dumb son of his, if I went through the hardship of reaching the demon country and rescued his son after succeeding in negotiating with the demons. Moreover, if he really went through with this, it’d immediately lead to our family buying the grudge of the noble house that had provided his son’s wife.

What kind of reward is that supposed to be? I really don’t get it.

『You just need to bring the search up with His Majesty and take your wives with you』

I was speechless out of sheer shock. Even though we’re both earls, why is Earl Platte arrogantly looking down on me like this? Is he treating me as some kind of junior because I’m a new noble?

『Either way, please leave』

Today I managed to send him back home while succeeding in not snapping. But, I didn’t know whether I’d be able to keep my calm next time.

 

◆◇◆

 

“Because we had that kind of exchange, I didn’t hire any people related to Earl Platte, but do you think that will cause any friction with Marquis Weiz and the other nobles of the air force faction, Johann?”

“No…rather, I wonder what Earl Platte is thinking…?”

“He’s doting on his son?”

“Maybe, but I wonder.”

I tried to ask Johann, whom I had entrusted with the management of our airships for the time being, about his opinion on Earl Platte, but he appeared to be rather perplexed by the earl’s behavior.

“I don’t really know the man, but was Earl Platte always such a person?”

“No…him acting so weirdly…I guess it must be because of his parental love?”

Anyway, since his demands were out of the question, I simply hired no one related to the Platte House as a retaliatory measure. Then again, since sailors were lacking on the employment market, it’d probably pose no issues to these people since they could simply go to other noble families.

“I wonder just what they’re going to do about the matter with the Lingaia…”

“This is something that will likely follow His Majesty’s line of thinking…”

The development of the Baumeister Earldom was proceeding at a fairly high pace, exceeding its schedule by far. Given that my wives were still on maternity leave, I couldn’t do many activities as an adventurer, naturally resulting in me investing more time into public works.

 

Around two months after the Lingaia went missing, a messenger from the Kingdom’s government suddenly visited as I was doing construction work while teaching my three pupils. Although you could call him a messenger, it was just Doushi, and thus I didn’t get too surprised, but…

“Earl Baumeister, it is a disaster!”

“A disaster? What happened?”

“A mysterious fleet of magic airships has been sighted in the west!”

“Eh? Have they come for revenge?”

That was the first thought that crossed my mind. Isn’t it just as Arnest predicted? The reason for the Lingaia having gone missing was because they got into a conflict with the demon country.

The Kingdom and Earl Platte, who had send out his son, probably wouldn’t want to admit it, but the demon country’s fleet, which had stayed away from this continent for more than ten thousand years, suddenly appearing in the west would mean that they came to negotiate on some terms or get revenge for an earlier incident, wouldn’t it? That’s the sole explanation I could come up with.

However, naturally both sides could handle those negotiations moderately or like hardliners.

“That fleet is floating above the western seas while erecting a base on the 『Terra Harrez Archipelago』!”

“That an archipelago I recall having heard of in the past…”

It was located slightly off Lingaia’s western coast, but the vicinity was inhabited by sea dragons and the islands themselves didn’t offer much level ground, making them rather unsuited for settlements. So far as it went, the Margrave Holmia House held the territorial right as ruler of the Kingdom’s west. Apparently they established a simple port over there in the past to claim possession.

“Somehow, I got a bad feeling about this…”

“It is just as you expect, Earl Baumeister! They are completely worthless, uninhabited islands, but they still belong to the Holmia House. Of course, they demanded the demons to leave and started to mobilize their troops in order to recover the land!”

For nobles, territorial issues were nothing short of life or death. No matter how useless a patch of land might be, it’d sully a noble’s name if they allowed for their territory to be stolen without doing anything about it. Besides, if the territorial rights to the Terra Harrez Archipelago were to fall into the hands of the demons, it’d naturally push back the Margrave Holmia House’s defense line.

Manned islands seemed to exist between the archipelago and the continent, so the islanders had become nervous as they were now exposed to danger.

“So, did we hear anything from that fleet?”

“They have not contacted us at all yet! They appear to be in the middle of building an encampment for their soldiers and sailors to stay and their ships to anchor.”

“Things have become troublesome again…”

Problems of territorial integrity also existed manifold on Earth. But, rather than that, the demon’s fleet is kinda eerie since it’s not clear what they’re planning.

“If it is a dispute between fellow nobles of the Kingdom, the government can ignore it, but the other party is a foreign nation. As a result, the Royal Air Force has also started to mobilize…”

“Oh damn it…” I dropped my shoulders in disappointment after hearing Doushi’s report.

Magic airships were necessary for the sake of my earldom’s development, but if those ended up mobilized, the transport of goods and people would stall. It’d be next to impossible to completely offset that loss with the tunnel running through the Greater League Mountains.

“Also, some people within the royal palace are arguing that it is your fault, Earl Baumeister.”

“Mine?”

I’ve been ignoring all the slander by nobles since it’d just drive me crazy if I paid attention to each and every of their little insults, but such claims coming up inside the palace is definitely bad news.

“The one spearheading that group of people is Earl Platte.”

“That bastard…”

In other words, it’s his payback for me not having gone along with his request to save his heir. He believed that we’d have been able to safely reach the demon country if we took a normal, large airship and continued supplying it with mana out of our big mana pools, and since I was unwilling to humor him there, he obviously got upset with me.

“So, is that group forming the majority?”

“They roughly cover 20% of the nobles at the palace.”

“That’s unexpectedly many…”

If you look at the whole, they’re a minority, but such folks tend to be very loud about their opinions. Now that they’ve assertively started to criticize me, it’s also possible that their numbers will slowly grow.

“Given that folks, who have missed out on the development rights in your earldom, have also joined their side, their unity is loose at best, but…”

Because their aim was to betray Earl Platte as soon as they scored some kind of under-the-table agreement, it’d be simple to break their group apart.

“I really don’t want to hand out favors to such people…”

I obtained peerage and land, but my hardships have increased in proportion. I’d love to at least have the option to freely ignore nasty folks.

“Since His Majesty has been laughing scornfully at them, it will end with them just barking. But, leaving that aside, you were ordered to sortie.”

Under normal circumstances, things would wrap up with the Kingdom and the western lords sending reinforcements, but the opponent this time was an unknown demon fleet. Hence, His Majesty ordered me to sortie as well to make doubly sure.

“Does that include me deploying the Baumeister House’s feudal army?”

Their numbers are still very low and their training is quite lacking. If possible, I’d like to avoid sending them out to the front.

“No, the order only calls upon you and your family, Earl Baumeister.”

“And what is the idea behind that?”

“Since it will be a battle over islands, the military forces will be covered with the troops fielded by Margrave Holmia. Seeing how he himself has said so as well, we cannot send many soldiers from our side.”

Margrave Holmia had apparently judged that it wouldn’t be desirable in regards to food supply and public security for a large number of foreign soldiers to swarm into his territory. Even if the ones sending the reinforcements would need to cover their own expenses.

“The royal army is basically going to only dispatch its air force. They want you to gather as many magicians as possible, Earl Baumeister.”

While I have many magicians around me, it’s still quality over quantity, so Margrave Holmia will probably feel relieved as well if I only show up with magicians.

“If it’s a decree by His Majesty, I have no choice but to comply.”

As such it was decided that we’d also head west.

The demon fleet was building a base on the Terra Harrez Archipelago with their ships cruising in the skies above the islands. While being rather small, the Holmia Margravate possessed naval forces which they apparently used to monitor the demons.

“Is a war going to start again?” Elise asked with a worried look while rocking Friedrich, when I informed everyone of our western expedition.

“Who knows? Some kind of troubles might have occurred with the Lingaia and the demons could have occupied the archipelago to have an advantage during negotiations…”

I’ve asked Arnest about the situation in the demon country. As far as he could tell me, they sounded to be very occupied with their domestic issues, not really caring all that much over conquering the continent. Because they have a low population, controlling the entire continent would prove to be impossible too. Although all demons are magicians, the difference in population between our races is simply too big.

“It’s inevitable since it’s an order by the Kingdom,” said Ina.

“Indeed. I’ll go with Wend,” asserted Luise.

“Me too. My body has mostly returned to its previous condition,” Wilma chimed in.

“As head of the Waigel House, I have no choice but to depart to the front as well.”

My four wives seemed to be bored with being on maternity leave to take care of the babies.

“Hubby, I’ll go too.”

“Me too. It’s been quite boring as of late,” Therese admitted.

“I’ll go as well. Maybe a full-power blizzard will be necessary for the first time in a long time.”

“Lisa, saying something so scary all of a sudden…”

Or rather, it sounds like all my wives intend to accompany me.

“I don’t mind you coming along, but what are we going to do about our babies?”

That’s the elephant in the room. They’re still toddlers, so I’d like their mothers to be at their side to take care of them. That’s why I planned to go with just the guys.

“Dear, we will not allow you to head there with just men.”

“Eh? Why?”

“It might certainly turn into a war, but it is quite possible that you will play around too much in the west,” Elise answered my question with a cold expression.

After looking at me first, she shifted her eyes to Erw next.

“So we’re being doubted because Erw will be with us…”

“No, wait! Aren’t you being doubted just as much, Wend!?”

“Rather than Wend making some kind of blunder, it’s more likely that some guy among the western lords uses the ensuing chaos to scheme something odd.”

“That’d be a pain…”

I could understand Ina’s point. Things were swiftly developing in the direction of a war, but it’s not like a war has already started.

According to Arnest’s information, the possibility that it’d finish without any hostilities seems more likely. In such a case, the western lords might push some brides or lovers on me, if I go there with just men. Therefore, my wives intend to come with me in order to thwart that.

“It’s because you’ve been considered to keep your distance from the western lords, Wend.”

“Why…?”

I haven’t kept my distance from them or anything. I’m not treating them as favorably as the south or central, and now that she mentioned it, I guess my connections with the east have recently been improving, too. The current Margrave Browig is an acquaintance, and after being asked by Phillip and Christoph, the trade volume has grown. Because they took good care of us during the civil war in the Empire and seeing how we’ve fought on the same battlefields as comrades, I gladly accepted their request.

“You should clearly know why they think that you’re treating them badly, I’d say.”

“But, the same applies to you as well, Erw…”

Erw had cut all his connections with his family, so I feel like he’s got no right to talk about others.

“My influence, however, is negligible at best, wouldn’t you say? Anyway, you’re really coming along, Elise? So far as it goes, it could very well turn into a battlefield…”

Erw doesn’t approve of my wives accompanying us, as retainer of the Baumeister House.

“I have a nice idea about that.”

“What kind of idea would that be, Elise?”

“Since it is going to be only us anyway…

 

◆◇◆

 

On the next day, we used a small magic airship, we had just recently commissioned, to fly westwards. The ones riding it besides me were Erw, Haruka, all my wives, all our babies, and the maids taking care of them. Otherwise, just a tiny number of sailors and soldiers came along.

“I’ve never heard about taking babies to a battlefield. So, you have the ship also serve as creche, huh?”

This time Amalie-san was accompanying us as well in order to help out with the childcare. She rolled her eyes at me while changing diapers and giving milk to Friedrich and the others.

“If something happens, it’ll be possible for them to get away with the ship, right?”

Even if a violent war were to start in the west, my wives and children would simply have to escape on the airship. This was the compromise I made with my wives.

“Wend-kun, you sure have it tough, don’t you? It might develop into a war once again.”

“I wonder?”

Leaving that aside, I wonder whether it’s just my imagination to feel like other things are going to become much more of a bother.

At any rate, I was heading towards the western Holmia Margravate on a magic airship that got transformed into a creche.

 

 

 

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4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 18 – Chapter 7: Beginning of the Disturbance in the West – Part 1 »

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