This is really disgusting.
However, there’s nothing I can do.
Give up and move on.
Using a carriage to go to your neighbor.
It would have been faster if I walk but nobles must move using a carriage.
I get off the carriage after arriving at the gate of the mansion I’m heading to.
I managed to get in without problem since this is not the first time I came here.
The owner didn’t even bother welcoming me.
I’ve also come to know him.
The lord of this place.
I also know the floor plan of this place since I’ve been here a lot of times.
Even if there’s no servant to guide me, I can go on alone.
After arriving at the place we’ll meet, the lord is already there, waiting for me with a smile.
Yeah, darn it.
My name is Watogang.
Head of a count family of the demon king’s kingdom.
The lord of this mansion is Beezel Chrome.
Like me, he’s also a head of a count family of the demon king’s kingdom.
However, this guy has higher social standing compared to me since he’s a member of the four heavenly kings.
Well, not really.
The four heavenly kings are always busy.
I often see them at the castle.
They are working like no one should bother them or else.
On the contrary, you can always meet them if you want.
「Welcome, Count Pugyaru. What can I do for you today?」
Oh, I should have greeted him first.
It’s a courtesy for having an intimate relationship.
Also, you should be firm when you say your greetings.
「My business for today, I’m sure you are aware, Count Chrome.」
Yes, Count Chrome knows why I came.
That’s the reason why he’s already waiting for me here.
Yeah, darn it.
Count Chrome was waiting for me at the game room of his mansion.
There is a huge rectangular table installed at the center of that room.
It is something heavy.
It also has a mechanism that makes sure it’s perfectly flat.
You can consider this thing as a work of art.
I want it.
I super want it.
That billiard table, I absolutely want it!
But I also have pride.
Before I claimed that I wanted that thing, I already tried making it in my territory.
And that, I can.
However, the furniture craftsman said that he has not seen the real thing so it is impossible for him to make an exact copy though he says that he surely can make it.
Furniture craftsman in my territory, you are amazing!
It seems like it will take a year to complete.
There are a total of six holes on the table, on the four corners and at the centers of the long sides of the table called pockets.
Though punching a hole is easy, the mechanism of the balls rolling down from the hole to the same place to collect them all is troublesome.
The furniture craftsman suggested that we can just make a collection point on each pocket.
That is feasible but I feel like I lost to Count Chrome so please do your best instead.
By the way, he said that it is possible to do that but it is impossible to make the billiard balls.
A perfect sphere made of wood.
The center of gravity should also be uniform.
He can make one.
However, it seems like it is already impossible to make a number with the same size.
Ma, maa, I thought it was because he’s a furniture craftsman.
Because of that, I asked a woodwork craftsman but the answer is the same.
If that’s true, why does Count Chrome have them?
Are the woodworkers in his territory more skilled?
Or did he discover a new type of magic?
Because of that, I have asked the Woodworkers Guild and the Mage Guild of my territory to study the creation of billiard balls.
I’m expecting good news from them.
As for now, nothing.
It is regrettable but there’s nothing else I can do.
That’s why I came to this mansion.
To play billiards.
I’ve been playing billiards lately.
The action of poking a ball with a stick is fun.
It is also exciting to make your ball move the way you want it in order to make the other balls move to the pocket.
My only complaint is that I have to go to Count Chrome’s house to enjoy this.
I want one in my mansion too.
「Which cue are you going to use?」
Count Chrome shows me his sticks.
「Thank you but I’ll use this.」
I showed the cue I brought.
This cue was made by one of the woodworkers of my territory.
It is decorated but only enough to not get in the way of playing.
It is the only stick suitable for me.
The material of the stick used by Count Chrome is good but its design is focused on practicality.
As something that nobles will use, I think it is better to improve aesthetics.
Fortunately, only the material and size of the tip are specified so the material and design of the grip can be devised the way you want it.
My stick, in addition to being good-looking, is also easy to grip.
「I see. Your cue looks good however, the game is not decided by tools.」
Of course, I know.
But for the woodworker that made this stick, I can’t lose.
My billiard match with Count Chrome started.
Nine ball rule.
On the table, there are balls with number labels one to nine plus the cue ball. The cue ball must be poked by the cue ball stick and the ball it must hit first should be the ball with the smallest number.
If the cue ball dropped into the pocket, the player will change.
The one who’ll be able to make the 9 ball drop into the pocket will win.
It sounds easy but the other balls will get in between the cue ball and the nine ball so it is pointless if you can only poke the ball to go in a straight line.
Also, even if you can hit the ball with the smallest number but can’t make any ball fall on a pocket, the player will change.
It’s quite a strategic game.
Our match started with a toss coin.
While Count Chrome is playing, I will be waiting quietly….two heads of two count families are too precious so it is only not a competition.
We also exchange information.
「I heard that the prince of Goruzen Kingdom has come.」
Goruzen Kingdom is one of the human countries.
They came to the demon king’s kingdom to form an alliance.
Until now, they were a hostile country but for some reason, it seems like they changed.
I want to know why.
「Their purpose is food.」
「Food? Wasn’t the food situation of human countries already improving? You even helped them behind the scenes, right?」
「They were hit by a disaster.」
「Do you know the floating island in the sky of Goruzen? It fell.」
「It’s true. It seems like it fell to their major river so the farmland downstream was severely damaged. There are no casualties because of the support of the Korin Religion but it will take time for their farmland to recover. They can no longer feed their own people so they have no choice but to rely on other countries.」
「And that’s where the demon king’s kingdom come in?」
「The demon king’s kingdom and Goruzen were hostile to each other but they never had a war. People will easily accept it.」
「I see. Does that mean that the prince is their messenger? There’s a rumor about an incident in the castle but it sounds blurry」
「That prince is excellent. He only proposes to women who will surely reject him.」
「Exactly. Isn’t that kind of blurry? Could there be a succession battle there?」
「The only feeling he gives is he doesn’t want to be a successor.」
「I see. Then, how about his disease….」
「It’s true. He continued to travel here to form an alliance disregarding that he’s on the verge of death. Quite a man. Ugh….」
Count Chrome made a mistake.
The remaining balls are 8 and 9.
And their arrangement is pretty simple.
I got this game.
The second game started.
I won so I’ll continue to play.
The balls scattered in good positions.
As long as I don’t let my guard down, there won’t be a problem.
Count Chrome is watching me play while drinking a glass of wine.
Fufu, are you in love with my solid poke?
「By the way, Count Pugyaru, how’s the royal capital clean up?」
「Royal capital clean up?」
Once every ten days, the residents of the royal capital are required to clean up.
Of course, I’m doing my part.
However, he’s probably talking about the other clean up….
「You mean the backstreet?」
There is no such place that is officially called backstreet.
Backstreet means several organizations that are moving behind the scenes that are involved in theft, assassination, kidnapping, and so on.
These organizations are open secrets.
And they are utilized as necessary evil.
They are not a hostile force that stands out in the demon king’s kingdom.
However, demon king-sama began moving against the backstreet as soon as it became summer.
They crushed all vicious places and left the obedient ones.
On top of that, he ordered them to reduce their activity for several years starting next spring.
Any resistance was crushed by the army.
There was also an organization that moved to assassinate demon king-sama but they were exposed by a high elf.
There’s also an assassination who openly challenged demon king-sama.
However, that organization was obliterated by three dragons hired by demon king-sama.
I thought they were just women with nothing else to do but swing a wooden stick in the castle. I never thought they were dragons.
How did demon king-sama manage to hire them?
Anyway, those in the backstreet judged that resistance is impossible so they asked Count Glitch to arbitrate for them.
That happened at the end of fall.
What Count Chrome wants to hear is what happened to that.
「Demon king-sama informed them why he did that and he got them to agree with the activity reduction. The other party also said that they would have obeyed him if he had asked them in the beginning….」
「Maa, that’s not possible.」
I agree with Count Chrome.
That’s because I’m talking while shooting….
There is only one reason why demon king-sama cleaned up the backstreet.
There will be state guests that will attend Gullgald Noble Academy.
During that period, he wants to prevent those people from getting involved in crime as well as seeing one.
I think he’s being a little overprotective but demon king-sama said that it is related to the survival of the kingdom itself.
Because of that, he did not inform the guys in the backstreet when he started.
Certainly, there will be those who’ll try to get involved for fun.
The second match, I lost.
The first thrust of Count Chrome made the 4 ball fall into the pocket but the position of all other balls are bad.
The 7 and 8 balls are hiding the 1 ball, which is the smallest number so he can’t shoot it.
It will also be difficult to use the wall for rebound.
It will be my turn.
Or so I thought but Count Chrome sat on the table.
What is he doing?
Then, he held the stick vertically.
What is he trying to do?
I move a few steps forward to look at what he is trying to do.
Count Chrome poked the cue ball from above and made the cue ball curved through the 7 and 8 balls and hit the 1 ball.
「What the! What’s that cool trick?」
「Fufufu. It is a shot called masse.」
「C-cheater! You’re the only one who can do that!」
「I learned that from your daughter.」
「Your fourth daughter.」
「Crakacce? You’re not messing with my daughter, are you?」
「Don’t say something dangerous. If my wife hears you, I’ll be killed. I know that your daughter is pretty but do you really think I’ll do it?」
「Your fourth daughter is living peacefully at the place of demon king-sama’s friend. I’ve carried several letters from her to you.」
I suspected that it was a fake letter at first since there’s no way my daughter Crakacce will do what she has written on those letters but the letter was written using the code that only our family knows.
「Is it someone from Village Five? Are you referring to Youko-dono when you say demon king-sama’s friend?」
A beautiful and intelligent woman.
And she’s a woman with power that seems to be comparable to demon king-sama.
I doubt that she’s demon king-sama’s mistress…..
「It’s her boss」
I guess I’m wrong.
「Youko-dono’s boss….Crakacce is serving that person?」
「Together with my daughter.」
I heard that Holy, the one in charge of this mansion, also went there.
I want to ask him and listen to the details but….my instinct is telling me to stop.
I say instinct but it’s really a skill.
This skill has no name.
From generation to generation, the head of Pugyaru family will gain this skill. It’s like an oracle from god.
Is it stupid to go against this instinct?
I followed this instinct and got to where I am now.
Because of that, I’ll continue to follow.
“Don’t leave the barrier”
The third game is Count Chrome’s victory.
It doesn’t matter.
I’ll admit defeat.
But before we start the fourth game, you have to teach me that masse thing!
That’s absolutely cool!
Also, we are talking about you so there should still be some tricks under your sleeves!
Teach me those too!