Oukoku e Tsuzuku Michi

Ofuro Ashitsubo

Chapter 562

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Chapter 562: King and King

I quickly explain to the frightened heads of the houses of Myla and Gretel.

「That’s why-」

「Eeek.」

I try to speak gently and not be intimidating.

「And so-」

「Ahii.」

I explain something not particularly interesting and ask for their continued support.

「I’m counting on you.」

「Uhiii.」

I slap my thigh.

「Your squealing is annoying! I already said you wouldn’t be blamed and nothing would be done to you! Don’t make me kill you!」

「So which is it?」

I got frustrated and yelled at them unintentionally because the conversation wasn’t progressing.

Rebecca’s calm retort stings.

In the end, I had to call Gretel and Myla, to help settle them down.

Aside from the awkwardness between Gretel and the apprentice servant……who the Beltz family offered as essentially a hostage-slash-lover that happened to know Gretel, everything is settled for the time being.

「Fuu……I’m clean.」

Wiping her hands, Celia comes back with a composed face.

「You’re often in the toilet during the most important times, aren’t you?」

「Wha-!?」

Celia sees Rebecca and gets into a stance to threaten her.

During these situations, the hair on her nape really stands on end like a cat.

「Ah, Aegir-sama, you can stand.」

「Oh, I guess so.」

My anger pulled me up.

Although I’m still unsteady on my feet and my hips are shaky, I at least look cool.

「Next, Count Monas.h.i.+, Viscount Binbo and Baron Gokhin are jointly requesting an audience. They are wearing some unusual attires.」

Those guys are close territorially, but I haven’t seen them at all.

I thought I would have to cut them down if they interfered, considering they have a considerable number of soldiers.

I didn’t want to get near them because they tend to attract misfortune……they’re good friends and an amusing bunch, so I’m glad it didn’t happen.

「I already have few friends as it is.」

I didn’t intend to say it in such a heavy tone, but Celia makes a conflicted expression anyways.

「The three are entering!」

The door opens and the poor trio walk in.

「……again with the strange outfits. You better not have went into debt to buy those.」

Dressed in completely white clothes devoid of any decorative ornaments, they kneel in front of me.

「The three of us owe Lord Hardlett a great debt.」

「It is the same for His Majesty and Lord Radhalde.」

「That’s why we stayed in our territory.」

「Oh, got it. So what’s with those weird garments? And wouldn’t it be easier to talk if you selected one person as representative?」

I’m surprised the three of them could put together a collective thought separately in such a smooth manner.

If it were me, I wouldn’t be able to resist the urge to slip in an obscene word here or there to inconvenience the guy who spoke before.

「We are prepared to be called indecisive!」

「But we did not hide just to ride on the winning horse!」

「That’s why we have come in clothes that can reflect our deaths, now that the battle has ended, to receive our judgment!」

Fumu, I also owe Erich and the King, since neither of them can fight.

But I don’t want them to think they were sticking to the winning side.

Is it just a case of not knowing how to swim with the tide or something?

「I admire your resolve. Very well……」

Celia circles behind them and unsheathes her sword.

The trio straighten their backs and don’t move a muscle.

At least they have guts.

「If you have a debt of 300 gold that has reached its expiry date and become invalid during turmoil……and the party confines themselves in their home, you can’t collect it. But did you know? In the event that you are not able to collect the money due to a large scale disaster or warfare, there is a law in Goldonia that extends the deadline for collecting the debt.」

Rebecca licks her finger and flips her notebook.

The three of them start sweating and avert their gazes in different directions.

It seems they are more afraid of the debt than Celia’s sword.

「I understood that you didn’t hide due to cowardice.」

Not only are there few people I can trust, there are almost none outside of my own family.

Although they are not the most competent, there are jobs I can leave with them based on trust alone.

Just as I opened my mouth, contemplating what to do, I hear laughter in the distance.

And it seems to be gradually getting louder.

「H-he’s here! That person is here!!」

Celia becomes incomparably more vigilant than before.

「What is coming?」

Rebecca hasn’t grasped the situation yet.

「A stupid stifling unconventional musclehead!」

「Eh?」

I swear Rebecca looked at me for a second there.

The next time I’m on top of her, I’ll repay her two-fold.

The laughter reaches the front of the throne room.

Even the cheeky footsteps are echoing.

「Wait, who goes there!? If you don’t have an appointment――uwa, yaaaaa!!」

I hear a grunt followed by the sound of the guard rolling along the corridor.

「……is it a ruffian? Shall I call the escorts?」

Rebecca says as she whistles once for precaution.

「He stinks, he gives off heat, and his very existence is suspicious, but he is the king of Aless.」

As soon as the footsteps cease, a booming voice resounds.

「I am here, my man!!」

I reply in a voice that doesn’t lose to him in volume.

「Sorry, I’m not home. Try another day.」

「Eeh……」

Right after Rebecca’s disinterested sigh, I hear hearty laughter.

「Don’t lie. The energy of a man is travelling through the door to me! There’s no question you are here.」

「Eeeh……that’s how he tells?」

Celia slumps her shoulders.

「Can I come in?」

「I have guests right now. Go in the waiting room.」

The poor trio’s eyes dart back and forth between me and the door.

「I’m coming in, my man!」

「……then don’t ask.」

「You guys are talking 30 m away through the door like it’s normal, how loud are the both of you? Your voices are reverberating all over the palace.」

「King Gildress……is it? Are you going to see him in those clothes?」

Rebecca asks, glancing at me.

I don’t consider what I’m wearing to be for sleeping, but it’s not much better than casual everyday clothes.

It’s not as big of a deal with my subordinates, but they are not appropriate for a meeting with the king of another nation, even if it is an unofficial one.

However I don’t panic and wave her off.

「No need. I’m sure he’s just wearing a cape and a single pair of underwear anyways. Worse, he might be naked.」

「No, he couldn’t be.」

That’s what you think.

Common sense is not something this guy has.

The door opens and Gildress lumbers in.

Celia’s eyes widen, Rebecca’s face distorts, and my jaw drops to the floor.

Gildress pushes the three poor n.o.bles aside and walks up to me.

Not lowering his head or kneeling, he greets me like a king, as an equal.

That’s fine.

I don’t want this guy to obey me. In fact, I want some distance put between us.

The problem is――

Wrapped snugly around the collar of his crimson cape is the fur of a beast I’ve never seen and on his head is the head of a certain beast with long fangs.

His reddish brown armor is scratched up but polished until it s.h.i.+nes, accompanying his similarly glossy gauntlets and shoes……it’s like the only missing part is the pride of a long military service.

The s.h.i.+eld he is carrying on his shoulder appears to be that of a typical Aless soldier, but there are no corners being cut here, it gives off the feeling of their unshakeable will that a king and his soldiers are one.

This was definitely their full uniform.

「We, Aless, respect your nation, but we don’t borrow or lend. Thus we have no right to speak about your political change. What is important is one thing――and that is how the new king will treat us?」

Gildress stomps up the steps to the throne.

I reflexively stand up.

「Will you respect Aless and make friends of us or will you reject us and cross blades with us? Declare your intentions straight to me, the king of Aless!!」

Gildress exclaims with his arms spread, his voice bouncing off the walls.

「……nnuhn.」

It was an unintentional sound.

My sloppy attire was sketchy compared to Gildress’s formal dress.

This isn’t a matter of magnificence or etiquette.

Gildress’s cape and armor are packed with Aless’s character.

He came with determination carrying all of that.

Meanwhile, I met him in a manner matching my clothes, half-hearted.

I faced him without mentally preparing myself to accept him or Aless.

At this rate, I will be overwhelmed and have no choice except to look down and respond weakly.

「In that case, let me go get your……」

I stop Celia from running off.

It’s already too late. Besides, I can’t display my resolve with a hurriedly prepared king’s outfit.

I instantly tore apart my shabby clothes.

The bulging muscles, scars, and scratch and bite marks left by Lucy are the proof of who I am.

I won’t lose to Aless. Now I can answer confidently.

「Nuu!?」

Gildress’s center of gravity s.h.i.+fts backwards slightly.

Flexing my muscles, I take one firm step forward, as if to force his momentum off the stairs, and then reply.

「I hereby pledge my friends.h.i.+p to Aless! Since I have no good name to swear upon as an usurper, I will swear it as a man!」

After Gildress gives a frustrated rebuke to his backward-leaning body, he rips his clothes off down to his underwear and stands in front of me. Of course, I don’t back down.

Both of us approach each other until we are close enough that our faces are not separated by a finger’s width and our chests are touching.

「As a man, I will trust you! I have confirmed your friends.h.i.+p with my own eyes!!」

Gildress and I exchange a man hug.

That’s when the stench of sweat and mugginess of his body brings me back to my senses.

「Eugh, stinks!!」

「Fuhaha! I lost track of the time when playing in the brothels. I had to rush over without taking a bath.」

This guy, he put on a pelt and his armor while he was still sweaty from his night activities?

Knowing that, it smells even worse. This room needs to be ventilated and cleaned.

「Anyways, shall we chat for a bit?」

Gildress sits cross-legged in front of the throne and sets down a bottle of alcohol and cups.

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「Having a drink in the throne room, and directly in front of the throne no less, there’s a limit to how unconventional you can be!」

The naked Gildress struts toward Lucy only to fall to the floor on his knees.

It seems Lucy kneed him in the groin, he isn’t dead right?

「Just kidding.」

Lucy sticks out her tongue.

「It’s because we went all out yesterday. Normally Aegir would be……at the very least, the same size.」

「Don’t play with my heart. If you were stolen from me, I would turn into the demon king and destroy this world. Men would sink in a sea of blood and women would sink in a sea of s.e.m.e.n.」

Lucy lets the fox, which runs from who-knows-where, climb up to her shoulder, and yawns before turning around, probably going back to sleep.

She pauses midway.

「Or does Aegir like that kind of thing as well?」

「That kind of thing?」

Lucy points to the fallen Gildress.

Even though he’s fainted, his d.i.c.k is erect.

「Doing it with other men……fufufufufu.」

「Absolutely not.」

Rebecca, don’t take notes.

And you as well Celia, what do you mean “I knew it!”

Nonna and the others, having followed Lucy, are also speechless.

I said I’m not into that. Why is Catherine giving me a thumbs up?

I’ll have to clear up the misunderstanding later.

「Your Majesty.」

Someone spoke in a voice that was out-of-place to the slapstick.

It was Rosario, still wearing the black mourning dress.

I hastily put my clothes back on and sat on the throne.

It seems she was still grieving the death of her lover, the previous king.

Naturally, I can’t remain naked to talk to her.

「May I ask you to lend me a bit of your time?」

「Sure, I also have things to ask you.」

I heard from Rebecca that Rosario collapsed as soon as my betrayal was confirmed.

It’s too good to be true for that to be a coincidence.

「Was the illness real?」

Rosario replies immediately, not even lifting the thin veil covering her face.

「It was a feigned illness.」

She states definitively.

「I wanted you to be on the throne more than His Majesty Alexandro. I devised a plan for that to happen.」

「Oh, I appreciate it.」

Her phrasing became a little crude.

I knew the former king treasured her more than anything.

That’s why he took time to address her fake illness even after finding out I betrayed him.

I don’t blame her, it’s the previous king’s fault for not capturing her heart, but I guess he wanted to be by her side until the end. How complicated.

「Muuun.」

When I fold my arms, Rosario scoots closer to me.

「I heard you will soon gather all the lords and retainers, and announce your new plan……and on the spot……」

I tilt my ear.

Right, she isn’t a woman who simply fawns on men.

Against the former king, she prioritized that and concerned herself only on being liked, but against me, she seems to be aiming for something more and different.

「……whether you convince everyone or not depends on how hard you work.」

「I am aware.」

I smile wryly and remove Rosario’s black veil.

「And no matter which way the situation unfolds, you will become my woman.」

「I know――Your Majesty.」

Rosario’s smile wasn’t the radiant and honest one she showed the previous king, it was one full of deep thoughts.

「Err, I apologize for not reading the mood. It seems there is unsettling movement in the south around Zwei Elfie.」

When Tristan appears scratching his head, Rosario separates from me like she used teleportation, lowers her black veil and leaves quietly.

「Zwei Elfie? Obviously there is going to be unsettling movement in an unsettling place with unsettling people.」

「Yeah, the thing is we, as well as the kingdom, neglected the mess in the south. Now it seems a problem has occurred.」

I stretch and crack my neck.

「With a bunch of sc.u.m in one place, there will inevitably be a few disturbances here or there, but that whole area is near barren. There are no people and no supplies. If they are pretentious, we can stop their food source and they’ll be finished. Ignore them.」

「Well, you’re right. I agree, but I didn’t want to be blamed for not telling you, so it was hard for me to outright say it. Now if something unexpected happens, it’s your fault.」

Don’t brazenly avoid responsibility.

「Well, it should be fine.」

「I hope so.」

「It’ll be fine.」

Tristan, Celia, and I nod.

I hear Irijina’s laughter from afar.

I will call the n.o.bles again in a short while.

Until then, let’s enjoy life with Lucy.

「Guu, I lost?」

Gildress slowly rises.

He’s already able to get up after being kicked in the crotch by Lucy?

I’m surprised his b.a.l.l.s weren’t crushed.

「Falling from a woman kicking me in the b.a.l.l.s, I guess I’m still not man enough. I’ll have to refill my guts with a hundred female bodies in a row.」

It doesn’t seem Gildress will go home.

Do I have to entertain him too?

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