40.1 The Overlord Welcomes a Messenger
[We come as the envoy of Silvia Kittle-sama, the 3rd daughter of Governor Kittle-sama.]
Says a man in armor.
Of the envoy from the Governor’s territory, in total, there are about 20. All of them are armed. The man speaking to us appears to be a swordsman. He is a tall man with a double-edged, great sword resting on his waist. Beside him is a robed elder. Judging from how the swordsman responds to him, that elder seems to be the one in charge.
We decided to receive the envoy outside the village. Allowing a large number of armed men beyond our walls is dangerous. As such, we decided we’d only let them enter the village after hearing their business first.
Haruka and I are receiving them. Lizette and Yukino are waiting in the back.
We are past the fields surrounding the village. Nearby is the wooden fence we built to keep the animals out.
Neither Haruka nor I are carrying weapons. Let’s try being cordial first.
[I am the chief of this village, Haruka Carmillia. This is my sworn brother, Shouma Kiryuu. For us siblings to be granted an audience with an envoy from the daughter of the illustrious Governor Kittle is an honor.]
Haruka, in a single breath, recites the greeting Lizette had taught her.
[This is the frontier, and we are ajin. If I may, what sort of business brings our esteemed guests here?]
[You’re being disrespectful.]
The man with the sword says.
[How dare a mere ajin like you stand when receiving Hime-sama’s envoy. Kneel. And remain silent until we finish speaking to you.]
Bewildered, Haruka looks at me. She probably didn’t expect such a condescending attitude.
Before welcoming the envoy, we had a small discussion with everyone in the village. An envoy from 『Governor Kittle』 had never come to the frontier before. As such, we were completely clueless to what their business might be. If they treated us cordially, then we’d treat them cordially as well. If they acted high and mighty, well, we decided that we’d do what was within our capacity.
In the unlikely event that they are so arrogant that we can’t even reason with them, then— —
[At that time, we will entrust the matter to our king.]
Lizette, Haruka, and everyone in the village smiled and laughed as they said that.
No, even if you entrust the matter to me, I’ll be troubled.
All on her own, Haruka quietly whispers to me.
[I will not kneel to anyone other than Aniue-sama.]
With those words, Haruka holds out her hand. She then lightly slaps my hand with a, paan. It’s as if she’s saying, “I’ve tagged you, time for a player substitution.”
Not even 3 minutes have passed since the envoy arrived. You’re giving up way too soon.
……It can’t be helped.
I’ll try utilizing the authentic processing power of a former fully-fledged member of society.
[I offer my apologies to our envoy.]
From the other side of the fence, Lizette, Yukino, and all the adults and children of the village watch me with concern.
Don’t worry. I learned how to deal with difficult people back in my former world. I just need to arrange the words from the manual to deal with this situation.
[This is the frontier. We are certain the wise Hime-sama understands we are ignorant of the etiquette in the central territory. Furthermore, the frontier is under constant danger from mamono. Immediately being able to do battle is common practice here. To kneel is to endanger one’s life. Therefore, we wish to speak with you as we are.]
For starters, I make a sound argument. Also, I deliver it in a way that avoids embarrassing them.
[Furthermore, we understand you have come all this way because you have something important to say to our village. Would it not be impolite of us to proceed our conversation without even looking at the faces of the people entrusted with such a mission? Therefore, in spite of our frontier etiquette, we believe it would be best for us, indeed, to remain standing as we proceed with our conversation.]
Something like that should do it.
Thanks to my being a former fully-fledged member of society, I used to type greetings in emails. Also, I’ve had to change jobs. As such, this sort of indirect talk is a strong point of mine. I never expected it’d be useful in another world, though.
[…………Aniue-sama…… You’re amazing.]
At my side, Haruka sighs, hau.
On the other hand, the envoy is grinding his teeth and reaching for the sword on his waist…… Hey, come on now. Do you intend to draw your sword here?
[That’s far enough, Dims!]
The elder beside the swordsman speaks up.
[Since you requested it, I entrusted the discussions to you. But if you’re unable to properly hold a conversation, then stand down.]
The man clicks his tongue and steps back.
The robed elder steps forward in his place.
[Excuse our discourtesy. We may be dealing with ajin, but we should nonetheless preserve the minimal amount of courtesy.]
[I am Silvia Kittle-sama’s representative, Dougal.]
The elder holds up his head and introduces himself.
[We thank you for your polite gre──]
[Are you aware to the destruction of the 『Cult of Awakening Contentment』?]
The elder speaks with disregard to my words.
[The other day, the people of 『Mawari Village』 and oni tribesmen brought one of its leaders to the Governor’s territory. From the information we extracted from him, the army of 『Governor Kittle』-sama was able to take the cult from behind and destroy it. About that leader’s capture, there were talks that a human man from the 『Hazama Village』 played an active role in the capture. Were they referring to you?]
[Well, I wonder……?]
I could admit it…… but I refrain from doing that.
This guy doesn’t acknowledge Haruka, who is standing right next to me, nor does he acknowledge Lizette and the others. His tone might be polite, but in the end, he’s no different from the rest when it comes to looking down on ajin.
[We shall grant you a reward, the privilege to serve Hime-sama.]
I don’t need that.
However, the soldiers behind the elder are raising their voices, “Ooh!”
The elder seems to be puffing up his chest in pride.
[Silvia-sama is gathering a wide range of talent. Moreover, the house of Governor Kittle is a prestigious household well-known for having produced high-ranking officials for past dynasties. Normally, you’d have to wait three months for an interview, but you are being granted a special exemption. Please pack your belongings immediately.]
[I must decline.]
[In addition, if these ajin are your subordinates, order them to accompany you, too. Of the ones who can fight, at least 10 of them shall be incorporated into Hime-sama’s unit. You shall be granted the same salary as a regular soldier, while the ajin shall be granted 50%. That is all.]
[I believe I said I must decline.]
[What in the world are you saying?]
That’s my line.
Even though the frontier has finally settled down, why do I have to serve as a subordinate within someone else’s military? Ridiculous.
[Did you not escape to the frontier for some sort of reason?]
The gray-haired elder declares such with an eerily gentle expression.
[If you serve under Silvia-hime, she will protect you. In exchange for fighting for her, your crimes shall be absolved. Would you not call this an enticing offer?]
Ah, so it’s that?
Apparently, he believes I fled to the frontier after committing a crime in the central territory. It’s something along the lines of, if I place myself under their command, I wouldn’t be punished.
[……An outrageous development has occurred.]
Haruka anxiously watches me.
What should I do? That said, I am going to refuse.
However, I want to ensure no one in the village is troubled by it. They brought an army with them and are connected with the Governor-sama, after all.
[My apologies, but as expected, I must humbly refuse your offer.]
I look back at the elder and stop being indirect. It’s not like he’s listening, anyway.
Having a prolonged conversation with someone like him is a waste of time.
[I, after all, find life in the frontier more agreeable.]
[……Looks like this was a fool’s errand, Dougal-kyou.]
The swordsman from earlier shrugs.
[The frontier is populated by inferior species like them. Didn’t I say that there are no useful human resources here?]
[Be silent, Dims. Are you questioning Hime-sama’s order?]
[I was brought to such a shabby village. I can’t help but want to complain.]
The swordsman takes the great sword resting on his waist and, gatsun, strikes the ground.
[I could take down a village like this all on my own, so long I receive the order. Besides, we’ve only got to bring this guy with us, right?]
[Stop speaking nonsense!!]
[……It is as the elder said.]
Enough already. I’m getting sick of how long this is taking.
Haruka, along with Lizette, Yukino1, and the villagers behind me all seem to feel the same way. All of them look as if they have bitten into something sour.
[You are unable to bring down this village. No, in fact, you would not even be able to just deal with me.]
The elder, the soldiers, and even the swordsman from earlier, all raise their voices.
[You! What did you just say!?]
The swordsman takes hold of his double-edged great sword and glares at me.
[You’re saying I’m weaker than you? Don’t screw with me! I am a swordsman recognized by Silvia-hime herself!]
[Is that so. Then, would you demonstrate your swordsmanship for me?]
I point at the wooden fence that’s surrounding the field.
[Can you cut down that wooden fence post?]
[You claimed being able to bring down this village on your own. Surely, you can manage that much?]
[YO, YOU BASTARD! ARE YOU MAKING A FOOL OUT OF MEEEEEEEE?!]
The man draws his great sword and steps forward. He continues up to the fence and hoists the sword overhead.
[Don’t screw with me! What’s so special about a thin, wooden, post like this?!!]
[You’d better stop. You’ll damage your precious weapon.]
The man swings his sword down on the fence.
The villagers all stepped back in unison.
The sword, with a firm sound, brakes.