Translator/First-Pass Editor: HelloMojo
Translator Message: Previous chapters were not that interesting with it all being about cooking and such. Some commenters even graciously took the time to say how they didn’t bother reading it, which I guess was their way of “inspiring” more motivation…?
Editor Message: Thank Egads for doing all work he has done and will continue to do.
Chapter 2: Wind, Fire, and…
Chapter 9: Negotiations (交渉)
It’s a little hazy as I slowly open my eyes, I remember blacking out at some point. I was having a lively bout at the get-together and I felt like tidying up the cooking tools and the tables.
And then I was heading toward the workshop, no wait, after that, I was rushed by the Firefox girls. There was like a half-empty bottle of sake left over or so, there wasn’t any surplus food[After-party]. Because they were working behind the scenes, there were girls that didn’t have a chance to have fun. So they proposed it.
I tried to refuse them, but I couldn’t get out of it.
Being surrounded and served sake from all the fox girls, I ended up drinking too much.
It started with one girl serving sake, then it started to form a line with the others saying “me too, me too!”, if I refused, that girl would be like “am I no good?! no fair!”, and from that I drank too much and got smashed.
From that point I can’t remember anything.
When I opened my eyes, I found myself staring at the ceiling of the old workshop wrapped in a warm futon.
Then I started to remember a little bit more of what happened. I had given up going back to my house back in the village. Of course, sleeping in the new workshop with only the girls would have been bad. When I thought of how sleepless it would be doing that, a bedding was prepared in the old workshop and I slept there that night.
Kuu came to shoulder carry me and just before leaving that girl, Kemin……
「Kuu-ane-sama, do your best! It’s okay to stay out all night! Also get him in one shot!」
I had a feeling there was a thumbs up that went with that, and then it faded to black.
As I was thinking about it there was a sound of cloth rubbing.
I direct my attention to it, and I see Kuu taking off her dress, only wearing her underwear.
「It will get wrinkled if I don’t take it off, the clothing is certainly cute, but it’s tiring to wear it.」
Saying that she folds the dress. Even in her underwear that had no sex appeal, loose and spacious short pants with little exposure, my eyes went to the pretty thighs and big breasts.
「Only just little, it’s okay if it’s only a little right…」
While she said that she walked in my direction. I was silently watching her, remembering the feeling of guilt, I pretended to turn over in bed with my back to her.
「Cyril-kun, you’re asleep right? Even when I carried you, you didn’t show any signs of waking up, you’re okay right?」
Kuu said with a whisper
Of course, I am suppose to be asleep so I don’t answer.
Although my eyes are alert, because of the sake and normal stress from the day, my sense of reason is being challenged, and right now I’m in trouble.
With that, Kuu came and entered the futon and hugged me from the back.
Kuu’s softness and her smell was making my head spin.
「Lucie-chan, I’m sorry. But, for just a little bit please lend Cyril-kun to me. Just for today.」
Kuu said so in an apologetic voice.
Don’t sleep my sense of reason! If you go to sleep like that you’re going to quietly die.
「Please let me speak a little to myself.」
Kotsunto~(soft hugging sound effect) She pressed her volume against my back.
I have a good rapport with Kuu. Originally, that girl I thought she wasn’t a strong person but to go that far for her friends, her desperate struggle to do her best, I thought was just beautiful.
Not giving up no matter how hard it gets, knowing her own weakness and immaturity, and struggling to grow. That girl had the same shine as Lucie, it’s why I want to help her.
For this situation, Kuu to be lightly dressed and glued to me is bad. Even not marrying Lucie, and being invited by Kuu, my mind is floating. Excuses that are coming to mind one after the other are desperately being erased.
Those breasts pushing on to me, that softness and warmth feeling is like a fantasy.
「Cyril-kun, really for us to meet again, I couldn’t help thinking that it was good that Cyril-kun was still good friends with me. Even when father said you were my fiance, even without feelings between us. But, since there were no cultural exchanges happening between the Elf village, somehow I was wondering if the talk had just died out.」
It was because it was impossible right.
The final time we met was five years ago, even then it would have been better to have met once in February.
At the time, we were still young, so there were no romantic feelings. Even so, for her to have liked me since that time, and for those feelings to keep on going, that is without saying pretty scary.
People change. Five years, to not have seen them at all, but for them to like someone without changing, is just liking someone out of a convenient fantasy. It’s someone I can’t really believe in.
「Even so, from the time I met Cyril-kun again, you were just really cool, like a prince you appeared and gallantly saved me, it was a little heart throbbing. 」
That is a story I already heard.
「When we went to my village, I was happy you scolded me. I was weak, and I wanted a person I could depend on. But, not only that I wanted someone that would lead me, to help me get stronger, because I didn’t want to be weak anymore. Someday, I want to be like father. To be a person who is both kind and stern, I thought there wouldn’t be a person who would be like that. That is until Cyril-kun. And then more and more I came to like you.」
Kuu put more strength in her embrace.
「Cyril-kun, always giving his best at various things, not only just that, but why did you do it like that for me? Wanting to do more like that for me, was to show me how important I was to you right? Doing such things made me very happy, it’s just that someday, I will become like Cyril-kun, because you believe in me.」
I certainly have that expectation for Kuu.
If it’s her, someday she can become my right arm.
Of course, right now it’s impossible. Not just because of Kuu’s ability and such, the Elves will not accept someone other than an Elf in a important position at this time.
Even so eventually, I want them to accept anyone based on their merits.
Kuu has the necessary element to be a leader, charisma. Seeing the Firefox girls yearning for her is easily understood. About charisma, it’s something that can be acquired through effort and trial and error, but it’s still heavily influenced from the qualities ingrained from birth.
「Even so, the feeling of embracing Cyril-kun is different from Lucie-chan’s. Not quite love but I think it’s more like yearning to, it certainly seemed like love at first sight and the feeling would cooldown and even disappear. That’s why even when Cyril-kun loves Lucie-chan, I am not sad from it, I actually feel relieved from it.」
Her pressed forehead was a little wet and cold to the touch.
「But, it didn’t disappear. With Cyril-kun, here it got enjoyable, believing that tomorrow will be more enjoyable and more become spectacular. For awhile I thought of wanting to be together with you, and that feeling only got stronger. But, it’s the first time for me and I don’t know if it is what it is, but this must be love right?」
I wonder if it’s okay to give an answer to that.
「I’m jealous of Lucie-chan. I wasn’t able to meet you for five years. She was always together with you making memories, even falling in love with Cyril-kun. If, the Elf village wasn’t under the control of the Empire, and I was still your fiancee. If I was able to meet you, I also would have come to like you. I can’t think straight and I am feeling like an idiot. Even though I don’t like it, I can’t help but feel drawn to Cyril-kun, to the point that I’m scared」
So that’s why she’s talking to my back while she thinks I’m sleeping like this.
This is Kuu’s confession.
「I know that if I don’t give up, Cyril-kun will be troubled, as it is I must not let you get into any more trouble. Also, I am such a coward, it really isn’t a joke, being turned down for real is scary to me. That’s why, I’m throwing out all my feelings all this night, for it all to be done. Even if it doesn’t end, I will end it.」
Kuu’s arms loosened, for sure she isn’t going to say it in the future, there is no way she would be saying whatever was on her chest unless she wasn’t.
If she is talking about me, this is a most convenient situation for her. Even so….
No matter what I would regret parting from Kuu’s warmth and softness…..
「Letting you sleep was good, if Cyril-kun was awake there is no way I could have said all that. I will let go of this feeling. Rather….. ya, of course that might be good too, loving a person I shouldn’t love might fit me.」
Giving up on it completely, Kuu made a smile while crying. And like that, she stood up and was about to leave. But, I won’t allow that, I grasped Kuu’s hand and pulled her into an embrace.
「Cy~Cyril-kun, you were awake…?」
Landing not on her back, Kuu settled on my chest, and said that with a panicked voice.
Hugging her like that, her smallness and fragility was a surprise to me, with such a body how was she able to do so much?
「I’ve been awake this whole time. I heard it all, that’s why I hugged you.」
「w~ wh~ why!?」
Her face turned bright red and she was terribly dismayed.
「Umm, for you to pretend not to listen and remain silent like that. Is that how a gentleman acts?」
I grasp Kuu’s tail hard.
「Hya~aaau. Suddenly doing that, what are you doing!?」
Kuu raised a strangely erotic voice, and then raised a voice of objection.
「I only gripped your tail, you know.」
「From the beginning you touched it because you didn’t know about the Firefox customs, but Cyril-kun knows about them now don’t you? Our tail is special to us, to grasp it so lightheartedly will make me angry you know?」
「I’m doing it cause I do know and anyway, the formal way to do it is for the girl to gentle put it in their hand right? Kuu, I like Lucie and she is the number one in the world that I like, that is something I absolutely won’t yield.」
It’s the lowest kind of confession, at least I’m not saying it as a person who is just in love with himself.
「That, I already knew that. I can tell from just looking, you know.」
「Even so, I also came to like you Kuu. That’s why I don’t want to hand you over to anyone. Kuu is kinda like my type, not giving into one’s despair, running to sacrifice yourself, I couldn’t keep my eyes off you. In any case, for the Firefox family, to dedicate one’s body to the person who is influential to the elves, you also thought about that too right? You did precisely that today punishing yourself for loving someone you’re not suppose to fall in love with, above all as long as everyone is happy that would be for the very best. That is all that mattered so on and so forth.」
Kuu had a blank expression.
And then slowly spoke.
「……. Cyril-kun, are you using mind reading magic?」
「No, I can’t use that kind of convenient magic right now.」
Well, it’s not like I can’t use, but it’s just that I can’t use it as Cyril.
First of all, I don’t have to use it on such an easy to understand person.
「Kuu, please become mine. I want you to be the number two in the world that I love, of course you can call me just a despicable man, there is also that too. The choice is yours Kuu, If you feel up to it, please put your tail in the palm of my hand.」
Kuu is in a flustered, while her eyes dart about in a panic, she speaks.
「What are you going to do about Lucie-chan?! Even if I said yes, if Lucie-chan doesn’t like it, it would be impossible right.」
「I will convince her even if I get killed. And if Lucie says no, please go out with me in secret.」
「its really manly for you to say it like that, but that is just the lowest you know!?」
「It will be okay, since both of you are very special to me, and Lucie really loves me. It was only Kuu’s feelings that were a problem. I didn’t intent to extort you, you know. It’s just that I do like you and I wanted to be together with you Kuu, it’s just for that to happen it has to be done in this way.」
Yes, this is at present the best option.
It’s really just an excuse, but in the Elf village, polygamy for villagers is prohibited. In this small village for such a thing to be allowed would have the an effect on blood becoming more dense.
But, with the exception of the chief, it was recommended so that they could leave behind a lineage. Lucie knows about it.
「I have one condition. Three people wouldn’t be good. Girl’s get deeply jealous. Even if Lucie-chan would forgive it, I should think that Lucie definitely wouldn’t like it. Even so, I….. That’s why three people absolutely can’t be allowed.」
「I promise, there will not be three people.」
With me saying so, Kuu expressed a bitter smile.
And then, she buried her face in my chest to hide her face.
「umm, uhh…. Please take care of me.」
And like that Kuu placed her tail in my hand.
Unlike earlier, I gently gripped her tail, and then gently had my hand flow over it and combed it, I also lightly squeezed it.
「Kyau~, my tail is sensitive, please stop.」
That reaction is kinda interesting, I might wanna try various things.
「And Kuu. I think you already understand, but don’t think you’re safe entering a man’s futon in just your underwear.」
I hugged Kuu and pressed her down and hung over her. Kuu’s eyes water and her face gets red.
「Umm, that, now, I can’t think straight, my chest is full. I can’t organize my feelings, if can we do this later, I haven’t even cleaned my body.」
「But, I’m in a mood to want to do it now, and after taking the time to listen to Kuu’s real feelings I already know what’s in your heart Kuu, this time I want to know your body.」
I breath on Kuu’s ear. Because I enjoy moving with a beautiful girl, I slowly start to touch her body.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
Morning came, I leave Kuu who is still sleeping inside the futon, and left the workshop.
Once, they showed their faces to my house and Lucie’s, Kemin was looking after me after I had gotten smashed thanks to them saying various things to Lucie, the matter was settled without much worry.
I meet Lucie and change clothes then I go outside.
When I’m outside the house, Lucie….
「Cyril, you smell like Kuu-chan. I wonder if it’s my imagination?」
Her just saying that, wouldn’t mean there is any special meaning behind it right?
Surely, that must be the case.
My body is heavy since there is sake left in my system.
Using magic power odo inside my body, I activate the somatic cells to speed up my metabolism.
The speed that the alcohol is broken down is increased, but the discomfort at the same time does too.
Since Alcohol is an unpleasant substance produced from decomposition, if the metabolism is raised it can be more quickly processed. In exchange though you suffer the assault of its effects all at once.
If possible I didn’t want to use it, but from here on out is a battlefield. So I must be in top physical form.
While I was tasting the feeling of suffering in hell, the remaining alcohol from my body finished metabolising. Then I headed toward the jail that was next to the old village chief’s house.
「Good morning. Thanks for your hard work.」
「Cyril-sama. Good morning.」
The Elves watching the jail open the door with a key, and inside were four captured nobles. Well, three since one of them was made an example of, then there was the other one that died during torture while gathering intel, so there are only three of them left.
There is always a guard posted here since there was a scheduled rotation. They are an important source of income so they have to be treated with care.
To keep them alive, they were given food and water, along with the place being kept sanitary.
「Be glad, today you’re getting out of here. The second son of the earl of the Empire for one thousand gold coins(Sixty million yen equivalent: USD $507,088.94), the viscount’s eldest son for seven hundred gold coins (Forty-Two million yen equivalent: USD $354,962.26) the baron for three hundred gold coins(Eighteen million yen equivalent: USD $152,126.68), is the prices that were set. If it’s all paid you will be all released is what was in the letter. Isn’t that great.」
If you were to count it, the large sum would come out to two thousand gold coins(One Hundred Twenty Million yen: USD $1,014,177.88).
If it’s a normal slave, they would fetch about twenty gold coins(1.2 million yen: USD $10,235.42), that would be a reasonable price. I would expect only about double for the second son of the earl, after all a second son is just a spare. Rather I must be thankful they are willing to pay such a large sum of money.
However, to be really thankful for is setting the price easily with gold coins, for them to send such an important son to a not so usual battlefield. I’m not going to lose sleep or step over the idiot earl and viscount parents.
「We~, we can go home?!」
「Yay!, Mama, Thank you for not abandoning me.」
「Really? is that really true?!」
The three are in the middle of celebrating. Seems about right, for someone who lived like a noble, this kind of life should be like a hell to them.
Various considerations were made, such as them being given something better than what the Elves normally ate. Even so it’s still harsh for them.
「If they return a sincere response, you can go home. Although, don’t think of anything funny. That choker was crafted so that only I can remove it. If you try to forcibly remove it, you die. If you return before I receive the gold, you will wear that collar for the entirety of your life.」
The three nobles can use body reinforcement magic even though it is a bit immature, is it because they received some guidance in magic? Anyway, since it’s dangerous for the guards, they have magic inhibitor collars.
Originally, it was an item worn by all the Elves. I analyzed it and found a way to remove it without breaking it. Taken off each and every person there was a lot of them stowed away, so I improved them.
「We~, we get it. We already don’t have the power to go against you.」
「Hi~i, hi~i, we get it, so please don’t hurt us.」
Since the person in front of me was literally broken and thoroughly tormented, he was surprisingly obedient.
One by one, their arms were tied behind their backs.
「I already said it, but those collars. If I feel like it, I can give a signal at any moment and kill you all, it’s best you all remember that.」
I constructed the circuit inside it for that reason
With one activation key, they’re done.
My words made the nobles turn pale, I stuffed them in the carriage and set out from Elucie.
Today I am going alone. A fight is certainly going to break out and during that time being encumbered is something I don’t need.
◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇ ◇
The meeting place was about 20 kilometers from Elucie, on a hill with a good vantage point. On both sides there was 30 meters of overgrowth in the forest ahead.
The place is about one day away from Elucie, the area that was decided upon didn’t have much cover[Cover].
I arrived at noon, just before the promised time. There were five carriages and support units of armored soldiers, about twenty of them.
Just to be sure, I search the surrounding area with【Enhanced Perception】, there are agile soldiers armed with bows hiding among the trees in the forest looking in on us.
The way they erased their presence is good, they are certainly masters at it. But, as long as there is air around in the atmosphere, it’s impossible to deceive me.
Hanging from my hip was a custom made knife, also I check the state of the integrated shortbow that was on the back of my hand.
「Soldiers of the Empire, I thank you for taking the trouble to come here. I am a representative of Elucie, Cyril. I am different from you in that I have no surname, just Cyril. The representative in the letter is Baron Lurvishe Florence, is it okay to ask for him? 」[Lurvishe]
I greet them with a smile.
But I find it hard to stomach the bear-like man that has such a beard. He lumbered about in his party and squared his shoulders.
「For savages like you from your savage tribes to demand a ransom and to make a fool of us humans! And what is with that noble-like way you talk!? Did you think you could hide your despicable nature?!」
「That wasn’t my intent you know, just as Elucie’s representative, I thought it would be good to negotiate in good faith.」
I say so while lowering my head, seems like that was just pouring oil into the fire, the other party is just boiling.
「What is Elucie?」
「It’s the name of our country, since we are independent of you, that’s all that is needed to declare it so.」
「For you to even bring it up, that kind of thing is something we don’t recognize! You bastards are just a village that revolted, sooner or later, we will dominate you!」
「We already are aware that the Empire is going to try, even so we have no intention to stop calling ourselves Elucie.」
That is something we will absolutely not yield, it is the foundation of our pride.
Incidentally, the Empire is not really it’s actual name.
In this world there is one Emperor that governs the country, that’s why it’s called the Empire. Except for the Emperor in the Empire, any other Emperor is not recognized. That’s why, in this world there is only one Empire, so there was no need to name it anything other than that.
「Since this kind of talk is just going to get more unpleasant, let’s just get to the real issue at hand. Shall we exchange the prisoners for the money? The procedure is simple, I’ll let everyone but the Earl’s second son go, then, when I get the full amount of gold coins I will leave the last person here.」
「Very well then.」
Thinking about it normally, It’s easy to recognize that the Empire is accepting a procedure that they wouldn’t normally accept.
There is only one meaning to this, for this exchange to be going this well, the Empire’s side must be thinking this is all going as intended…..
「Well as arranged.」
And then as if unconcerned I exchanged the hostages for the money.
The money I received is tightly packed in a large leather bag. The sound of the leather bag doesn’t indicate any impurities mixed in the bag, checking the weight and seeing if it’s what it’s suppose to be, two thousand gold coins inside.
I release the third person. Surprisingly the exchange of the hostages ended smoothly, I unfasten the collars on them and send them off.
「You bastard, you said you’re the chief didn’t you. You don’t intend to obediently follow the Empire? I will forgive you, If you give ten Elves as tax this year, and promise your previous way of life will not change, if you do it now.」
「You’re looking from high above aren’t you? For those words you say, the forces needed and the range of profit in your judgement would make you unable to capture Elucie, right? I am doing this in good faith, I didn’t even have to tell you that.」
Yes, war requires money. Much less the Empire is 200 kilometers from the remote region Elucie is located in. Dispatching soldiers is a burden, even five hundred people is considerably harsh. Unless they can send a force that is guaranteed to win, the Empire would run a loss.
「Well… So you understood that much huh.」
Today is the first Baron Lurvishe made a smile on his face.
「Ahh, yes that right isn’t it. Of course you assume the needed amount to get Elucie to fall, would be about two thousand people or so right. That said, you’re going to assault it with about three thousand instead, right. I mean that is the amount you should be sending.」
「Hahahaha, for you to say it that magnificently, I can’t deceive you now can I. Ah yes, that is exactly that, it’s certainly as you say. It isn’t worth it to send three thousand soldiers. But even so, the Empire will do it.」
He looks at me with a glint in his eye.
「This a matter of pride, as it stands now to lose to a bunch of savages is something I can’t forgive. When spring comes, I will spearhead three thousand troops and assault Elucie.」
Those words would be the truth.
The feeling behind those eyes and that guy’s demeanor and presences, don’t give me a sense that he is not lying.
「Of course, when the time comes you will have countermeasures for our bows, right. The front guard is going to be a large amount of expendable mercenaries, along with burning down the forest to do a multi-directional assault. Or perhaps what you were thinking beforehand was you will send a few hundred lightweight soldiers as ambushers from the opposite direction?」
「wha~, you, why.」
The Empire is just a bunch of morons, there were several people who returned alive with two or three arrows, with that it wouldn’t be weird for them to think up countermeasures.
「Until then, Elucie doesn’t take the Empire lightly you know. And also the one who made the bows was me. So, it’s not like I wouldn’t know its own weakness right? And then, knowing that you would think that I needed to have a countermeasure after that countermeasure ready right? I’ll give you a warning, if for example your soldiers number in the thousands and you assault Elucie. Even with your countermeasures, it’s still going to end up like the last time you know. If you increase the amount of people the damage that will be inflicted will also get higher, right. 」
Half was a bluff, the other half was a serious warning.
Of course, I don’t think I could pull it off with just this.
So my goal for now at this juncture was just warn the other party.
「Interesting, how interesting this is. You, for there to be Elves like you…. I changed my mind, I’ll negotiate, your an opponent that deserves it. Give up the Firefox bitches[bitches] you’re harboring. If you do that, I promise until the end of time, the Empire will have nothing to do with you guys. Like before, it would be problematic if the Firefoxes self-destructed along with you guys. Deceive them, put magic inhibitor collars on them, and then bring them to us. You guys can do that right? The fire magic stones are worth a bit more than the wind stones. It’s needed for iron processing. Even though we can make iron, it requires a large amount of wood, and we have reached the limit to how much trees we can cut down. If we can get the fire stones we will overlook it if the Elves surrender them in some form, in this way the Empire can save face.」
If it’s just thinking about only the Elves, this is the best proposal.
Originally, Kuu and the others were just a nuisance, selling them off would make it over and done with and I could return safely.
In fact, if it’s me, it would be easy to trick the girls right. I could put sleeping medicine in the food and place collars on them all, then send them off in a carriage to the Empire.
But in this case I don’t even bother thinking about it.
「I refuse. the girls are citizens of Elucie.」
More importantly, the problem is how did he know the Firefoxes were in Elucie.
From the beginning I suspected there was a certain Elf inside Elucie that was leaking information, just coming here and hearing all this just confirmed it right.
「If that’s the case there is no choice but war, isn’t there. Here is another proposal. How about only you come to the Empire? You have a good head and nerve, and also having the technology of that iron bow. I was impressed seeing the arrows you know. It was pure iron with no impurities in it, along with that even the arrows were exactly the same quality. Even the Empire can’t make such things. You’re a person that would profit the Empire, killing you along with the savages is something I don’t really want to do, I would rather collect you.」
For whatever reason, this man thinks if he goes to war he can win.
My saying is, have confidence to smash through countermeasure after countermeasure.
He is quite an interesting human, if he was leading the recent raid with five hundred soldiers. Just to be sure, out of say five cards I had up my sleeve, I probably would have used all except one card.
「I also refuse that. I am the chief of Elucie, and it’s my duty to protect everyone.」
「Is that so, what a shame. For such a person to die here in vain, I would say for an all around enemy like yourself, I can’t let such a dangerous one like you live.」
At the same time, the bowmen that were hiding drew their bows, and arrows flew at me from five different directions.
I made a distorted grin.
From the beginning the empire had no intention of handing over the money, after so easily exchanging for their prisoners.
Answer courtesy with courtesy, words with words, rudeness with rudeness and swords with swords.
Because that is the thing called negotiation.
After-party: Probably referencing an after-party.
Cover: Cover actually says like screen more like coverage from being fired upon.
Lurvishe: ルルビッシュ rurubisshu Sounds kinda like Lurvishe, if you don’t like it comment with a suggestion to see if it goes through.
Bitches: 雌: mesu :Female animal, essentially saying it in the derogatory for the girls.