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“This is a request from all General households except the Hou Household. Yuri-dono, it’s about you.” (Queen)
Queen Simone said so.
‘What? Maybe this is the reason why I was called here, but I have no idea what it is.’
“There was a joint request from the three General households that they would like to know the technology of the ignition bottle that the Hou Household has created.” (Queen)
‘Aah. Is that what it is? Yeah. It makes sense.’
“I consulted Rook-dono earlier, but I was told that it wasn’t under his jurisdiction, so I called you in a hurry.” (Queen)
‘Father…. Certainly, after the ceremony, a messenger met Rook and went somewhere after that. At that time, there was an explanation on the agenda, and Rook probably said ‘No, I don’t know. It’s under the jurisdiction of my son’.’
‘Then, the messenger met me and said ‘There is a meeting where all the generals including the Queen are there, and you’re also called’. I also had a plan, but I can’t refuse if it’s a meeting where the Queen and the General households gather.’
‘If I refuse, I would have been asked ‘Do you have more important business than this?’. My parents are attending the ceremony, so I can’t say that they are in critical condition.’
“I refuse. This is the technology of Hou and Associates.” (Yuri)
I said briefly.
“Yuri-dono. This country is now in a state of emergency. It’s time to cooperate with each other.” (Borafula)
It was Borafula Noza who said that. Although he looked like a public servant, his appearance was dignified.
‘There is no sense of intimidation so far, but I feel the pressure of dealing with big players, similar to some minister level person.’
“Certainly, that’s right. Yes, let’s sell the bottles from the Hou and Associates to all Knight chivalric order.” (Borafula)
“It is a powerful weapon. I propose that each General household produce it.” (Oron)
It was Oron Boff who said in a thick voice of the vocal cord’s peculiar to the fat person.
“No, I refuse to teach you how to make it.” (Yuri)
I said it.
Sure enough, not only the two of them, even Kien was glaring slightly.
‘Well, he probably wants the technology too. I wonder how I should explain.’
“I’m the one who proposed this to Her Majesty the Queen.” (Oron)
‘That means he is asking Her Majesty the Queen to decide. Certainly, the previous remarks were directed toward her, and not me. Certainly, if she says ‘Since it’s about that, please publish it’, it will become an order.’
“First of all, listen to his opinion. Do you have any reason to refuse?” (Queen)
Fortunately, Her Majesty the Queen was like an ally.
‘Even so, her tone is somewhat strange. From a standpoint, rather than being a retainer, if she uses a kind of honorifics for someone who isn’t a retainer at present, the order from the governing to the governed would probably be inefficient.’
“The main reason is there is a risk of information leakage. If the manufacturing method leaks to the Kuran, the same thing can be made there. That is one of the reasons why I can’t teach you how to make it.” (Yuri)
“Are you going to sell it to our enemies?” (Oron)
“I am different from the unscrupulous Witches. Such anxiety is an insult.” (Borafula)
“Well, please listen to the end. The second reason is that it can only be made in the Hou Household’s territory. This is because it doesn’t produce the raw materials needed. Even if I teach you how to make it, you can’t make it.” (Yuri)
Oron was silent.
“Then, the reason I refused earlier is that spreading only the manufacturing method to the lords has bad effects in terms of national strategy. It is that simple and clear whether you’re convinced or not.” (Yuri)
“Why do you know that the raw materials aren’t produced? I can’t be convinced if I can’t know the reason.” (Borafula)
It was Borafula who said it. He seemed to have wisdom, and he said a reasonable rebuttal.
“I investigated it. It didn’t exist other than the Hou Household’s teritory.” (Yuri)
“Did you investigate my territory without permission?” (Borafula)
Borafula frowned and said so.
‘Yes, it’s a bit unpleasant when hearing that. After all, his territory was investigated without knowing the strategic resources related to defense.’
“Certainly, that’s not it. Our investigator’s application for stay should have stated that it was a survey of new resources. That means I got the permission locally, alright?” (Yuri)
“If it’s such an important investigation, you should apply it to the center, not to the local area.” (Borafula)
‘That’s right. For example, in the case of the local area, even an application in which the officials find weird, they will give the permission by giving them a bribe. The application for stay isn’t an important application, but since they have to stamp many applications, this kind of application becomes a small matter to them as to whether they may check it or not. It is an application which will be approved if there is no distrust in appearance and without giving a bribe.’
“It was only recently that it turned out to be important. I only thought it would sell as a liquid that was convenient for ignition, and I didn’t recognize it as an important resource at the time of the survey.” (Yuri)
“You can say anything with that mouth of yours.” (Borafula)
“Borafula-dono, there is no point in arguing about that matter, right? Would you like to discuss the legality of the stay?” (Queen)
“Haa… it’s fine.” (Borafula)
‘In fact, every house owner will look at the garden of the next house. No matter how peaceful the situation is without any fighting, the movement of the army near the border is important information as expected, so I am doing things like allocating people in the villages on the border to search for it. Of course, at that time, I wouldn’t submit an application of ‘I am a person named XX who is connected to the YY Household and I am staying to search for the movement of the army’. If I do that, I will obviously refuse.’
‘For example, infiltration work such as letting spies go into an organization. I couldn’t do that because the Queen’s Swords are always doing it because it is necessary, and even if I try hard, I will get involved with the local lords, so I don’t do it because it’s not cost-effective in general. My aunt, Satsuki told me that.’
“The survey wasn’t something you did in earnest. There should still be room for exploration.” (Oron)
Oron, the fat guy, said in a grumpy manner.
“No, I did it quite earnestly. Shall I tell you the reason?” (Yuri)
“Tell me.” (Oron)
“It is because the material produced in our territory may be inferior. This is true for wood and iron ore, but there is no way to compare it with just one sample.” (Yuri)
‘Crude oil is mixed with a wide variety of oils, but it’s better to have a lot of light oil from the current usage. On the other hand, if there is more heavy oil, no matter how much fractional distillation is done, the light oil that burns easily can’t be obtained, and only asphalt-like substances remain.
Therefore, in terms of output, it is better to have a lot of oil wells. So, I searched for it, but I didn’t find it.’
“If I want to devise or research, good products are better than inferior products.” (Yuri)
“Is that why you investigate without asking for permission?” (Queen)
“Yes. I searched in a range that I could easily find. I didn’t look for the area that was in the hands of the enemy because it would be a waste of time to look for it.” (Yuri)
“As for us, that’s not good news.” (Oron)
“…The problem is that the material isn’t always in the Kuran area.” (Yuri)
I ignored Oron in the middle and proceeded with the explanation.
“Rather, it’s so wide that I could be everywhere. I understand that you’re not convinced, but I’m convinced that it will only harm the nation if I tell you the manufacturing method.” (Yuri)
“Hmm… I see.” (Kien)
It was Kien, who was observing the discussion, who said it.
“It’s a reasonable theory. If we can’t make it, talking about the method only poses a danger of leaking to the enemy.” (Kien)
“Yes, that’s right.” (Yuri)
“So, you have reasons. In that case, we have no choice but to retract the request. However…” (Kien)
‘Is there still something?’
“As long as the materials aren’t revealed, there’s no way to tell if you’re speaking the truth or not. It’s good to know that in fact, the raw material that exists is collected one after another and may be exported to the Hou Household.” (Kien)
‘Are you going to bring that into the discussion? He’s right, but isn’t it worse to be deceived about that? If he wants to know, he can send spies himself and know it through intelligence.’
‘I don’t think that’s a bad thing. After all, Witches would do it for granted. Even if he threatens me so that I give it for free, I’m not telling unreasonable logic, and I don’t come out as a person who is exposed in the parent-teacher association meeting. I wonder if it’s a cultural difference. No, did I get influenced too much by the Witches?’
‘For us, we have no idea what the ingredients are. It may be something that can be taken from the mountains, fields or oil of sea animals. Even if it’s exported in secret, I’m still not aware of it.” (Kein)
“Kien-dono, I understand your concern. However, if the method is leaked, the enemy will use the weapon that you say is already powerful, right? I’m more worried about it, so do you understand me?” (Yuri)
“I understand that. But…” (Kien)
Kien stopped his words for a moment and moved his gaze with a stern look.
“If something like the one I mentioned earlier is actually done, you would know what will happen, Rook-dono.” (Kien)
‘Aah. Is he really going after that?’
When I looked at Rook, he didn’t seem to falter. He was sitting in a chair normally with the eyes of a veteran warrior.
He moved his head, asking for my opinion through his eyes. It was a gesture of telling me to say something.
“I don’t have a feeling of guilt.” (Yuri)
I intentionally didn’t suppress my voice and said it in a conversational tone.
“If that happens, the Hou Household will take full responsibility.” (Rook)
“That oath is certainly in the name of the Queen. Kien-dono, it should be fine.” (Queen)
“Yes. Your Majesty.” (Kien)
With that said, he lost his rugged appearance, and sat back in his chair.
“Well then, the discussion is over. Everyone should be tired by now. Our meeting will be temporarily dismissed.” (Queen)
‘What? It wasn’t probably an act to hold both Noza and Boff, but… did she manage to control the situation? The Queen moved as shown, and the whole agreement was done, and the meeting finished in no time.’
The two of them, who had been complaining until now, looked like they were done when Kien held up his pike spear, and it didn’t seem that they would talk about the matter again.
‘There is a feeling coming from Kien telling ‘if I’m done, the matter is already out of discussion. I was saved, but… I don’t think there’s a rush to stand up. It makes me feel that I’m a brat…’
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After that, Borafula Noza and Oron Boff left the room with a slight bow to the Queen as they stood.
‘I probably should give the order to my subordinates. It has to be fast. It will be necessary to secure the security of the refinery, but I don’t have to do it right now.’
“Kien-dono, I don’t think there’s an important agenda after this. If you want to go back to the north, it would be nice to have a representative for the next meeting.” (Queen)
“I will do that.” (Kien)
Kien bowed to the Queen while still sitting.
“Well then.” (Queen)
The Queen stood up and looked at me. She raised the edges of her mouth slightly and displayed a smile.
‘It’s probably like a signal of scheming together.’
The Queen nodded again slightly and didn’t say anything more. She opened the door and left the room. Her Majesty the Queen is doing her job well too. Well, there is no such thing as the majesty of a king. Anyhow, I guess the issue has settled down.’
“Phew… It seems that the matter is solved. I’m sorry about that.” (Yuri)
I whispered to Rook.
“Goodness, I think my liver is splitting…” (Rook)
I was told to spill everything.
“But I’m not doing anything illegal, you know.” (Yuri)
‘In the first place, I searched about the technology from A to Z, so I have no obligation to teach them. There is something wrong with their attitude, telling me to teach them.’
“I’m not angry. If we were to export it, our finances would be good.” (Yuri)
“Well… that’s true.” (Yuri)
‘Since there is no concept such as a license fee in this world, it doesn’t even bring any profit to the Hou Household territory if it is made without permission. Although the concept of patent fees was created, there is no concept of secret patents, so we haven’t applied the patent for oil refining. If Hou and Associates could sell and make a profit and put taxes on the Hou Household territory, that would be the simplest and easiest to understand.’
‘Unfortunately, there’s no concept of license fees, but fortunately for me, there is no antitrust law in this world. If you have a monopoly, you can freely decide the amount here, and I can sell it at a price that is several times higher than the cost. It’s like a high-class alcoholic beverage that has been aged for decades. Let’s make a profit at best.’
‘Now, shall I go home too?’
When I thought of it, I met Kien’s eyes. He was staring at me, so when I turned my face, our eyes met.
“Kien-dono, it seems that you were able to send timely help.” (Yuri)
The waist that floated from the chair was lowered again. Then, he said…
“That’s because I’m indebted to you, Yuri-dono.” (Kien)
‘Debt? What? Is it about his son? If it means that they were able to earn the achievement of the war, then, a debt is a debt.’
“Is it about Liao-dono?” (Yuri)
“No, it’s about what happened at the border.” (Kien)
‘Aah… Is that the debt? Rather, it feels that I owe it to him.’
“If you had lost Her Highness Carol, I had to offer my neck.” (Kien)
‘Well, that’s right. They were so obsessed with retreating that they went through an army heading toward Carol. So, overlooking her death is simply pathetic as an action and a shame as a warrior. I think it’s not enough to die.’
“Please rest assured. They were able to follow up.” (Yuri)
“Aah, those guys? They weren’t commanded by me, but they are courageous.” (Kien)
“Well, they gave me such a feeling.” (Yuri)
‘In the first place, it was a mission that wasn’t suitable for secondary soldiers, but it could be said that they were fine soldiers when it comes to that point.’
“When your soldiers chased the enemy, you seemed to divide their unit little by little and threw them away. Because of that, they were able to escape with their supreme commander.” (Kien)
‘Ooh. They seem to be abandoned. Everyone can think of that kind of tactic, but it’s not something that can be implemented much. It would be nice if the soldiers were robots, but the actual soldiers aren’t so capable, and we know that they are trying to distract us.’
‘Therefore, when they were asked to leave the main unit and served as fodder, they will realize that they are discarded pieces if they aren’t stupid enough. It seems contradictory, but ordinary soldiers do not fight to die. They are fighting to live, so they will not be happy to jump into death. In that situation, only real soldiers, who have tied their lives to patriotism and creed, can fight without running away. Was it that amazing?’
“Such a tactic can’t be done by ordinary soldiers. You guys were able to fight well with the soldiers you had.” (Kien)
“The enemies didn’t have armor. They were tired because they were forced to climb the slope. No matter how strong a soldier is, they can’t fight satisfactorily.” (Yuri)
‘I’m sure they were angry because I burned their provision.’
“That might be the case. However, it’s good for the first battle. Rook-dono would be happy too.” (Kien)
The conversation was directed to Rook.
“Yes, he’s a proud son.” (Rook)
He answered tactfully.
‘This kind of question is being asked everyone, so I wonder if he got used to it already.’
“It would be good if our sons aren’t fighting each other.” (Kien)
Rook was wondering when Kien threw that remark.
It was a feeling of ‘Hmm? What do you mean?’.
In the current political situation, the situation where the General households are in conflict will not happen from Rook’s point of view. So, he was wondering what Kien talked about. Would both of us fight each other? Rook could only make that much guess.
It seemed that Rook couldn’t reply anyway, and as a result, he decided to shut up in a meaningful way.
‘This is also a secret of success in life. Sometimes, it’s better to keep quiet than blurting something unnecessary in a state of dismay.’
“A woman is a troublesome existence, Yuri-dono. Sometimes, they break two men who should join hands.” (Kien)
‘Aah, is that it?’
Rook looked at me and made a face of ‘Oi, oi’.
“There is such a thing. However, Liao-dono seems to be much more enthusiastic about women.” (Yuri)
‘I have to check it out.’
Kien took a break, and then, he stood up.
‘Is the talk over?’
After passing behind Rook, Kien put his hands on my shoulders. The shoulders were grasped strongly with his big hands.
“I’m looking forward to your success. They seem to have misunderstood, but your gains aren’t the loss of the other General households.” (Kien)
They were probably Noza and Boff who went out earlier.
“That’s true. Kien-dono, I wish you well.” (Yuri)
It meant that my gains weren’t a loss to him either. In other words, he meant that young people shouldn’t be too cheeky.
“Well then.” (Queen)
When Kien left the room, only me and Rook were left in the room. Since there was Kien, the delicate air between a father and son didn’t appear.
‘I wonder what I should do.’
“I don’t get it, but don’t tell your mother.” (Rook)
Rook said with a troubled face.
“I’m not saying anything. It’s not even cheating anyway.” (Yuri)
When I thought again, it was too late. Rook looked at me and grinned.
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