Chapter 75 is here!
For the Patrons, Chapter 76, chapter 77, Chapter 78, 79 (Easy mode) and chapter 79 (normal mode) are all available on the Patreon page, and now right here, on the wordpress.
Anyway, here’s chapter 75, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
【”Come on, Marika, I said I’m sorry! I get that maybe you got embarrassed that you leaked yourself but-…”】
【”Alright! I get it! I forgive you! Please just stop talking about it!“】
Although Marika had been pouting and ignoring Clodette until now, it was too hard for her to stand her ground against such a natural airhead.
It got to the point where Marika became teary-eyed from frustration before she gave up and stopped ignoring Clodette.
【”But I’m so happy you’re alright. When I heard from her highness Lunaria your life was in danger, I thought my heart was going to stop…“】
【”Sorry for worrying you…”】
Marika knew how much danger she had put herself in.
【”But when you think about it, didn’t you put yourself in plenty of danger, too?!“】
The best example of this was the fact that Clodette had reported the fraud directly to the person responsible for it.
If Serge had been a little more wary of her, Clodette would likely be dead by this point in time.
【”By the way, how the hell did you become acquainted with her highness Lunaria? She’s above even the head of the tax collection department!“】
【”Math and calculations are the only thing I’m good at. Sooo, I thought I’d try my hand at becoming a merchant, but people from the tax collection office have a really bad reputation, so I couldn’t get hired anywhere… Around that time, I heard that the count of Bashtar was recruiting personal retainers to go with him. It sounded dangerous but…”】
【”Are you an idiot? Do you have a death wish? Do you you know what kind of place is Bashtar? Why do you think they’re having a hard time hiring people to go there?!“】
【”I-iiiih! But sir Kurats is kind and reliable, you know? Didn’t you see how strong he is?”】
【”Yes, well… You’re right, he really is incredibly strong.“】
When Kurats dashingly came in to save her, Marika certainly did feel her heart throb.
However, the main reason she had leaked on herself was that Kurats had cut the assassin right in half with his Arachne thread. This balanced things out, making her impression of Kurats barely positive.
【”Anyway, I’m saying this for your own sake, forget about Bashtar! I’ll go talk to the chief right now about hiring you back.“】
Clodette had been innocent from the start; her dismissal should have been cancelled right after Serge’s crimes were proven.
【”It took me a lot of efforts to hire this cute retainer, would you please not take her from me?”】
The voice came from above Marika’s head.
Marika was greatly startled by Kurats’ sudden appearance.
【”Hehehe〜Am I really that cute?”】
Marika would normally have had a say about Clodette’s bewitched reaction, but right now, she couldn’t.
Inside Marika’s mind was a flashback of the gallant figure of Kurats, coming to save her life, and lifting her embarrassed and dirtied self in a princess carry.
【”F-for everything you did for me… For saving my life, I’m really, really thankful…”】
【”Ooooh〜〜? You’re feeling shy, Marika?“】
―― Bam! Bam! Bam!
Marika angrily hit a nearby table, making best friend’s face turn blue from fright.
【”It’s truly a relief to see to see that you are safe. Clodette was immensely worried about you.”】
【”I know. I was worried about her, too…”】
As she listened to Kurats’ calm and cool voice, Marika couldn’t even look up.
She turned her face away, trying to hide the fact that she was blushing like a little girl.
【”I know you were. I do. And looking at her, I understand why you would be worried about leaving her by herself.”】
【”What do you mean? I might not look like it, but I actually have a reputation for being a strong woman, you know?”】
【”Iiiiih! Okay, okay, I was lying!“】
If Clodette was strong, then every child in the world was strong, too.
But that was okay. Kurats and Marika did not dislike Clodette’s small-animal-like spontaneity.
【”But I’d like you to believe in me. If there is one thing I have, it’s the determination and power to protect my retainers.”】
【”I-I have no doubts that that’s true but…”】
Marika couldn’t come up with anything to say back.
She was acquainted with a lot of nobles, and she was very well aware of how unusual the actions Kurats had taken the previous night were.
It would certainly be hard to gather personnel to Bashtar.
However, no noble would take the risk of fighting an assassin for the sake of some woman who came for an interview.
As she once again realized how miraculous of a coincidence her rescue had been, Marika felt a chill.
(So, how long do I have to keep acting like a gigolo?)
『I know what I’m doing, just keep it going! In my assessment, these two women are quite talented. They could be very useful.』
While sighing in his mind, Kurats continued his act.
【”If you’d like, why not come along with her? You will be a retainer of a count’s household, and you will be treated accordingly. You have my word. That way, Clodette won’t have to feel too lonely, don’t you agree?”】
When she realized there was such a great option, Clodette grabbed Marika’s hands with a big smile.
【”That’s right! Let’s go together, Marika! You know, when I was trying to be hired as a merchant, I learned that people really don’t like us… so this is a perfect opportunity!”】
People who paid taxes tended not to appreciate those who collected said taxes. There was nothing strange about that.
Even so, tax collectors still dared to keep working, for the sake of the country. But their efforts did nothing to change society’s opinion of them.
If Kurats hadn’t hired her, Clodette’s talent would have gone to waste, and perhaps she would even have had to sell her body in the end.
【”B-but, Bashtar is just…”】
Bashtar was a barren land that couldn’t be taxed even decades after the big invasion.
The territory was infested with monsters, and it was statistically the first in number of monster attacks and number of deaths, in all of Jormungand.
So, to say the least, the problem to consider here was not the change of scenery.
【”Maybe so, but I will change that Bashtar.”】
It was better left a secret that Kurats’ true goal behind going to Bashtar was only to face a strong monster.
Marika considered Kurats’ words while looking down at the ground.
When she thought about it, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad to go along the king’s wishes and contribute to achievements that would be marked down in history.
Marika often destroyed ambitious men, she knew how to recognize them. But she did not sense any grand ambitions from Kurats’ voice.
However, at the same time, she felt like he just might be able to succeed.
It would be natural to assume that a single man by himself would never be able to bring a change to the nest of monsters called Bashtar.
And yet, for some reason, this man was shining with confidence.
【”Sir Kurats, you can do it! I’ll be helping, too, so you can definitely do it!”】
Clodette had apparently already chosen to follow Kurats.
From Clodette’s perspective, Kurats was likely the first form of authority that recognized her for herself, and not just her talent for maths.
【”Aaah, alright! I understand! I’m going! I have to! I can’t leave Clodette by herself the way she’s acting!”】
【”Yaaay! We’re going together!”】
Clodette’s face burst into a big smile as she caught Marika by surprise into a tight hug.
【”Welcome aboard, Marika.”】
When Kurats gently brushed her head, Marika became red from her neck to her face like she was boiling.
【”Is it true that a new lord is coming?”】
【”Yeah, we just found out. He’s apparently being backed by his majesty the king on this.”】
【”What are you saying? Does he not understand what kind of place Bashtar is?”】
【”Anyway, because of that, our guard force has officially been dissolved. Sorry to say, but I’m going back to the capital.”】
The man bit his lip from frustration.
His name was Gilbert Orange.
Although he was still only in his early thirties, he was the chief of the Narak village, which was a relatively big village in Bashtar.
The reason he took on that role at such a young age was that the previous head of the village, his father, had been killed by monsters.
【”In the name of all the time we spent working together, I’m leaving as many weapons and rations as I can. Don’t be pessimistic, the new lord is a warrior, so this might be a good thing.”】
The commander of the guard force, Lucas, caught Glibert’s by the shoulders and tried to cheer him up.
【”…I hope so.”】
However, contrarily to Lucas, Gilbert believed that having a warrior as a lord would bring problems.
If he were to overestimate the power of his army and try to attack the monsters, that would be very troublesome.
If he brought a second big invasion in the process, the territory would be definitely done for.
Bashtar used to be a place that took pride in its prosperity, but nowadays, the few people still left here were the ones who couldn’t bring themselves to give up on their place of birth.
Moreover, since the monsters had taken all the good, fertile land, those people were forced to live in remote places, under harsh conditions, in constant fear of being harmed by the swarms of monsters that came for them on a daily basis.
Because of this, even decades after the big invasion, they still could not fulfill their tax obligations.
Their harvest was quite poor as they had to focus a lot of energy on defending themselves.
Under those circumstances, if the next lord sought taxes from them, or if he did not bring a replacement for the guard force, that would inevitably spell the end of the village.
【”I heard he made some great achievements in Lapland against the Asgard empire’s army. Who knows, maybe he could reduce the damage against the village, too?”】
The guard force’s main purpose was only to watch for any signs of a new big invasion. When it came purely to their capabilities as military units, they were not as good as those experts who fought on battlefields.
Even so, Gilbert was less optimistic than Lucas.
Because of their years of experience, Lucas and his colleagues were familiar with the local monsters’ traits and habits, which was probably not the case for whoever was coming,
Anyone with experience knew that such small details were not insignificant in battle, they could make all the difference.
【”He should be here in around ten days. It might be troublesome, but you have to prepare yourself and set things up for your meeting with him. Don’t make a bad first impression, okay?”】
Even among aristocrats, there were some men who were incompetent enough to accidentally destroy a village through heavy taxation.
So what Lucas was saying was that Glibert had to make this new lord understand the reality of Bashtar.
Realizing the difficulty of the mission that was being imposed on him, Gilbert secretly wanted to curl into a ball from stress.