After we managed to chase away the orcs using the big cannon, we searched through dead carcasses of many of them for their weapons, and received ten platinum coins for the completion of the Earl’s special request.
The recapture of Ona village turned out to be highly profitable.
We had obtained so many internal organs that we couldn’t eat them all, therefore, Louise was pleased with herself at that fact. (Obviously, she tried to offer them to the villagers by distributing organ-based soup once we had returned, but, they didn’t receive much recognition.)
Because we were the ones to gain the most from this battle, we felt sorry for the villagers, so we decided to help restore their village while picking up the cannonballs that were responsible for tattering it.
We repaired the fence enclosing this village’s pasture and helped gather the livestock, which had previously scattered and ran away due to the monsters.
Borrowing the hands of the young villagers, who became adept with the guns, we finished off the remaining orcs that were hiding nearby after they had escaped.
With this, it should be fine to say we brought peace back to this village for the time being.
Still, the root of this monster wave has yet to be solved.
“If we go further north from here, there will be a fort belonging to a group of bandits. They are referred to as the Golden Eagle Bandit Group, but apparently, they’ve already been destroyed by monsters, who proceeded to turn that base into their own, and they keep charging at the territory of Est from there.”
Based on Louise’s intel, things turned out that way.
‘Well then, it should be fine if we just crush that bandits’ fort using our large cannon.’ – As I said so, nobody seemed to object to my opinion, so we decided to set out on another expedition.
I thought our plan would succeed with just the large cannon, however, there were twenty volunteers who were willing to join us while carrying guns on their shoulders.
Just as what Louise had checked beforehand, we set a camp nearby a hill, from which we could launch an attack on the fort (Even though it belonged to those bandits, how on earth had they managed to construct such a splendid, stone-made, three-story building in this small mountain, away from the main road?)
“This fort belongs to the bandits anyway, so nobody besides them will probably mind even if we blow it up. Well then, aim the cannon toward the fort.”
“Just give me a moment. I’ll calculate and decide the right angle.”
Lyle-sensei, took out a bunch of paper.
Apparently, he was also in charge of calculating the right distance and firing angle back when we launched the attack on those orcs in the village.
“My calculations might vary depending on the weight of the cannonball and the amount of gunpowder, but, it should set a criterion. (?)”
It seems that Lyle-sensei, has realized he could predict the landing point of the ball by calculating the cannon’s angle. Just what kind of cheat is that?
Like Lyle-sensei had instructed us, we aimed the cannon and fired. Once we did so, the cannonball hit right in the middle of the fort with the first shot.
Getting carried away, we continued to rapidly fire at that angle, making the stone made fort start to crumble.
The orcs residing inside the fort run out in a bustling manner, so we inflicted a single blow at the entrance and buried them alive.
We have, created something fearsome.
“What a terrific strength. I guess, we can use this for sieging forts from now on….”
Was, Lyle-sensei thinking about something diabolical.
I wasn’t very keen on using this cannon against human fellows, but well….
“……No, in the end, they should be used for self-defense.”
If you say it that way, humankind will certainly start a war against each other.
Saying this and that, I guess, it was fitting of him as the secretary of the Silesie Kingdom.
Ah, is that so? I think I used to have the same way of reasoning.
The extermination of the monsters went favorably, but, I later realized it went so well it became scary.
We finished off the remaining orcs and kobolds with our guns and received meat and skins while collecting the bullets and cannonballs.
Since it was formerly a fort belonging to the bandits, there was a rumor about valuable goods left inside of it, and even gold and equipment.
‘Let’s use this chance and prepare a meal.’ – Feeling joyful, Louise took out the large pot that somewhat settled down the situation.
The white stew made by Louise from internal organs had a bad reputation among the villagers of Ona, however, its porky taste perfectly matched my buds.
The villagers had pale faces upon seeing Louise processing an orc’s meat, however, as for me, I could only think of it as food preparation.
It could be that my common sense has gradually accustomed to Louise’s while we’ve been hunting together, which made me become a little bit scared.
“I wonder if we shouldn’t be returning to Est….”
We discussed together whether we should continue further our expedition or not, but, Louise was against that idea as she had advised us before not to come too close to the Miasma Hole of Doom.
It was certain we felt self-confident thanks to us acquiring guns and cannons, so we were ready to even go as far as where only a hero class person could go. At this rate, there won’t even be any need for a legendary dragon to make its appearance.
What’s more, a reinforcement sent by the royal capital had arrived, so the Earl didn’t make any further request to attack.
It was decided we would return back to Est.
While we are at it, we’ve received one more horse cart set, which doubled our horsepower at the same time.
In addition to the artillery battery, our covered wagon was also completely filled with meat and pelts. Despite that large amount, we were somehow able to transport the goods.
Things which we couldn’t load on the cart, like gold and equipment, would apparently be taken care of by Louise, who would go and return one more time.
Upon our arrival in Est, we visited Earl Donovan’s castle again and reported the result of our expedition to him, at which, he was greatly pleased.
He told us it was completely fine for us to keep the money and goods we had found in the bandits’ fort.
Not to mention, the Earl placed a sack of 500 golden coins, with a thud, on the table.
The victory coffee, with which the Earl treated us, wouldn’t compete with a high-grade sake, however, it was tasty.
As one would expect, even I would be in good mood upon receiving such a lavish treatment.
I could understand more or less the Earl’s intention of wanting to put me in good mood.
After all, he too was an authority with great sharpness and capability.
Still, there is no doubt it was also his way of saying he wanted our guns and cannons….
“And then, there’s something I’d like to discuss with you, but….”
Look, it’s already here.
“I’ve been thinking about appointing you, Takeru-dono, as the knight of our household, Almark, but, would you accept the offer?”
I lost a bit of my composure at these unexpected words.
Did he notice that on my face? The Earl put on a smile as if he trying to curry favor with me.
“Yes, rather than becoming a knight, I’ve been wondering if it wouldn’t be better to make you a Baron judging from Takeru-dono’s actions. But, as expected, my rights as an Earl don’t extend that far.”
“Haa, ah no, that’s a little….”
“However, despite saying you’ll become a knight, I’d like to bestow you privileges as my governor and ask you to govern Ona’s site alongside protecting it. If you agree, you’ll practically hold the same power as a Baron. How about that?”
What should I do in this situation?
I, who didn’t anticipate this course of action, became troubled and shifted my gaze towards Lyle-sensei.
I was glad to have him by my side.
===Why not accept his offer? I think Earl Donovan’s offer is even more genuine than his desire to have the new weapons.===
Ahh, so he meant it that way? Does the Earl want to convey something, like ‘You can do whatever you want with Ona, as long you can hold back those monsters coming south from the Miasma Hole of Doom.’?
With the Earl’s territory being constantly attacked, even the devastated village of Ona would need time to recover, so there was probably no loss in handing it over to me.
One could say it was a decent deal.
“Earl Donovan, I’ll take up your offer.”
“Ohhhh, so you agree?!”
Like this, I was accoladed as the knight of the Almark household, the ceremony of which I had happened to see very often.
“Excellent, Takeru-dono, from now on your name shall be ‘Takeru Ona Sawatari’.”
“Ah no, that’s a little bit…”
Please, don’t put ‘Ona’ between my nameeeee.
The village of Ona, which I had newly acquired, thrived in stock-farming and its business efficiency progressed even further.
Just like the last time, we used the previous site as the base for making niter.
I also gave jobs in my company to villagers who lost theirs due to their farms being devastated.
We could gather as much soil as we wanted for the niter production.
What’s more, we were allowed to build small huts in public places inside the village, to our heart’s content.
On the other hand, the company kept manufacturing and selling soaps in Est.
With the surplus of money I had received, I sent further requests to the mine in Losgow to build more cannons.
For now, we managed to suppress the monsters that are coming south, but, if there is any chance of greater demons or dragons appearing from the hole one day, we better have many large cannons.
If it’s about finding carts with pedestals for carrying cannons, we can obtain one in the stock farm of Ona village.
Naturally, my true intention was to use guns and cannons to fight against monsters, therefore, I didn’t feel like promoting them on a large scale for now.
Earl Donovan appeared to be somewhat skillful in trade, but, he gave off the feeling of being unfamiliar with military affairs.
I couldn’t comprehend why I, who was supposed to be a merchant, had to think of a plan to defend a territory, but, I guess it can’t be helped, since I accepted the Earl’s offer to become his knight.
“I guess we lack hands…..”
“Should we make more use of the girls?”
Lyle-sensei whispered, like a devil would, upon hearing my murmur.
I considered both the options of utilizing the girls and hiring new people.
Still, why does it have to be only the girls, Sensei?
It wasn’t just making niter or soap that the girls were entrusted with.
They were also being trained to wield weapons, just like Louise.
You won’t find soldiers comprising of slave girls in just Africa.
“Sensei, despite them being slaves, it feels awkward to let children fight with guns and large cannons.”
“Isn’t it better than leaving them to their certain death in the mines? Even children can easily master weapons upon seeing them, as they can memorize how to use them much better than adults. Not to mention, slave girls are dirty cheap in comparison with adults, so they can be quickly gathered.”
“Hmmm, I see. So we’re doing a philanthropic work?”
Indeed, Sensei as well, is dark inside.
“Hahaa, that’s some splendid work there. Since our side has gained control over the route from the royal capital to the mine, we can contact slave merchants and get more slaves at any time.”
“Still, won’t those at the mine’s side become troubled if we buy up the slaves?”
Certainly, child slaves were supposed to be consumable goods for digging narrow holes inside a mine.
There were also regular customers from mines who ordered gunpowder for blasting purpose.
As for Losgow, we had received requests not just for gunpowder but also guns and cannons.
“Don’t fret. About that, I think they will use adult slave miners instead and make them work away to death.”
“….I guess you’re right. Then, let’s do as you say.”
If children don’t die from work exhaustion, then adults will take their places.
It was something I was quite mindful of, however, such things couldn’t be helped in this world.
I thought it would be nice if gunpowder could be proven effective and help reduce the number of deaths, but, was there little hope for that?
In this world’s society, being heartless was something based on personal affairs.
“……..With that, we’ll be gradually receiving more fellows from now on, so…”
I told Sharon, who had grown to be near me in height, about us hiring new slave girls.
Today as well, she was in charge of managing the company while selling our goods. Sharon was fit to become a leader who would be looking after other girls.
That’s why, I deemed it was best to inform her about any news. However….. her ears looked as though she was somewhat discontent.
I couldn’t see her tail, as it was hidden, but, I normally would understand when she was in good mood from her standing ears.
Sharon is usually in good mood, however, her completely hidden ears now somehow gave off the feeling of her grieving over something.
“You don’t have to worry about living here. We’ve got enough funds and the company will also expand alongside the number of people.”
Are? Did I miss your target, Sharon?
“If there’s something you aren’t content with or troubled with in your life, I’d like you to tell me, but…”
“No, it’s fine. I’ve already received enough pay.”
“Is that so? In case you’d wish for me to set you free from slavery, you can always go back to living as a citizen using that money you’ve earned.”
“Everyone is now content with their lives. Rather, if they were told they would be thrown out, I think they would hate it and cry.”
Ah no, even though I said I’d set you free, I didn’t mean to throw you out.
I still want to utilize children who can memorize their jobs.
Fumu, so there’s some other kind of problem present.
I couldn’t understand it anymore, so I gave up and decided to ask her directly.
“Could it be, it’s something personal?”
“Uhmm, just one thing….. When new children join us, like last time, we’ll have to wash them, right?”
Their dirty appearance probably felt inconvenient to them, so nothing would start, until we made them neat and clean.
However, you as well, don’t you always bathe yourselves in hot water, behind the company’s shop?
It was okay for them to wash themselves at their own convenience, but, all of them were still children, so girls, like Roll, quite disliked hot springs.
“…..Ah, yes, rather than that…”
It should be fine for us to build a hot spring when expanding the company, right?
I feel bad for having Sensei cast magic each time we needed water, so let’s dig a well and make a pump.
Speaking of which, in the past, I’d thought about constructing a pump the first time I arrived in this world. Since its mechanism is simple, should I discuss this with Sensei and try it out?
I too, want to occasionally submerge myself in a tub and enjoy my time, therefore, it was bothersome when I had to go to Losgow just to enter a hot spring.
“Ah sorry, I’ve been thinking about something. Like if it wouldn’t be better for us to construct a new hot spring.”
“That’s not what I mean. I was wondering, why, am I the only one who can’t have you wash my body.”
“Ah no, that’s, you know….”
I wondered if she could do it by herself, since she was the only one, among the other girls, who had an adult body.
Rather than that, does this mean she wants to be treated the same as the other girls?
Ah, so it was about that? Is this what she wanted to say?
Sharon possesses the blood of a beastman, so her growth has been fast, however, her insides are still that of a child.
She comes from a family of merchants, so she could write using low class letters and memorize how to do single-entry bookkeeping. Her sagacity is also what persuaded me to talk with her, like an adult.
That’s right, being the only one left behind, perhaps she felt worried about herself being discriminated against.
“…….I wonder what will become of me.”
“Sorry, that was my bad. I shall consider you as well, the next time I bathe the girls.”
You don’t need to make that face, as if being about to burst out in tears.
Finally, as I caressed her head, a pair of animal ears stuck out from her soft, orange-colored hair.
Well, just because her body grew up a bit, doesn’t mean I couldn’t pamper her a bit…..speaking of which, it feels quite inconvenient, but, is it fine for me to think of her as a grown-up child?
Considering her age, she probably still wanted to be spoiled despite her looking like an adult.
“By the way, since Lyle-sensei won’t object, it should fine to entrust him with bathing you, right?”
Once I said so, both Sensei and Sharon’s moods worsened.
This was intended to be a joke, but, could it be it was something forbidden to Sensei……?