“A, a date!?”
I explained to Liecia that I had a day off and that Hakuya recommended that I take this chance to go on a date with her, to which she looked taken aback.
“Is that something you do because somebody else tells you to?”
“I thought so too, but…. in Hakuya’s mind a royal date is official business”
“Such an inhuman line of thought”
“He’d probably say, before I’m a human being I’m a prime minister”
“Ahaha, that’s just like him”
“And he’d probably expect us to be King and Queen before being human beings”
“…….. sorry. I can’t laugh to that”
The two of us breathed a sigh. Yes, it’s honestly a pain. Hakuya had a good head on his shoulders and he’s reliable with work, but his overdevotion to his job is the fly in the ointment.
“But I’m glad for the holiday, we can go out somewhere right?”
“Well, we can”
“Yes, yes! Then you simply must go to our forest!”
Aisha raised her hand in appeal, but I shook my head.
“We still have lots of work to do. I can’t take more than a day off”
“Uu…. certainly the Dark Elf forest is three days there and back, but….”
Ah, we can’t do that then.
“Give it up for now. I’ve at least taught you about periodic thinning for now, didn’t I?”
“Yes. But there are extremists among the Dark Elves…. they say ‘why in the world do we, the protectors of the forest, have to cut the forest’s trees'”
Ah, they exist in any world, I guess. People who misunderstand things.
Not realizing that the thought that “people must protect nature” is itself a form of arrogance.
“Which is why the King must go out there and yell at them…”
“….. when I have the time, okay”
“Please. For that reason please use this body, this life, in however way you want”
Aisha said as she bowed.
I feel like I’m only adding to the list of things I have to do, but…. mentioning it won’t help me any.
“In that case, there’s one thing I’d like you to do”
“Yes! You want me to service you?”
“The hell’s with that!”
“Well, didn’t I just say I’m offering you my body?”
“…… the worst”
“Like hell I’m asking that! Liecia, don’t you look at me like that!”
Seems like Aisha is the type to run wild once she gets fired up.
Will I be okay with a guard like this? I wanted the best guard I can have.
“…… what I want your help with is to be our escort around the castle town”
“Y, you want me to come along with you on your date?”
“Well, if anything happens it’ll be difficult with just me and Liecia. Even though it’s formally a date it’s just us going on an inspection around town so it’ll be alright”
“……. It’s bothering me though”
Liecia was pouting for some reason. Did she want to have a date with just the two of us?
…….. couldn’t be¹. I’m only her fiancé as an official stance, after all.
¹ «TN: ET TU SOMA!!? »
“Well, that’s how it is. I’ll be counting on you both on the day”
“….. Haaah, all right”
In contrast to the energetic Aisha, Liecia looked glum.
Like I said, why?
◇ ◇ ◇
This and that happened and came the day of the date.
Liecia, Aisha, and I were walking around the Parnam Castle town. Hakuya said to “show the citizens that you wanted to be friendly with them”, but of course he was kidding and on the appointed day he asked us to go incognito. I surely can’t go walking around saying “I am thy King”. If I did so then Aisha alone won’t be enough to guard me.
Which is why the three of us were each wearing the uniform of the Military Academy here in Parnam. I should’ve been going into college right about this time so why do I have to sadly go back to wearing uniform!? Anyway, Aisha was simply wearing school uniform, but Liecia whose face is well-known had her hair tied in a braid and was wearing glasses in an honor student disguise. This way we’d look to anyone like school friends who are going out to town.
“Liecia, the glasses look good on you”
“R, really?…. thanks”
“Milord! How about my uniform!”
“….. Ah, hm. Doesn’t really suit you”
H~m, the school uniform looks almost exactly like a blazer, but that and the dark brown skin and silver hair of a Dark Elf doesn’t really match. How should I put it, it’s like seeing a cosplay of a school anime character, I guess… there’s no pink-haired girl in real life and dyed hair just feels out of place, or thereabouts? This is the contrast between reality and fantasy, maybe….
“I don’t think it looks that bad, though”
“Hm. Well, it might’ve been my world’s value standard”
I’m in a world with diverse peoples now. Better get used to it soon.
“……. Rather than Aisha, it’s that thing you’re dragging around that’s getting on my mind”
“The thing I’m dragging around? …. this carry bag?”
“How is that a bag? It’s got wheels on it”
“Yeah. It’s got roller wheels underneath it so I can carry even heavy things easily”
“I see. Seems like something useful, huh”
Aisha looked at it wide-eyed. A carry bag is something that never existed in this country before.
By the way, this is order made by the castle town’s artisans. The artisans who made this said they wanted to sell this as their product so I allowed them on the condition that they don’t monopolize it. If it fills people’s needs well then it will no longer be an oddity in a few years.
“But Your Highness, I can carry any luggage…”
“We’re in disguise as school friends, it’ll be weird for a schoolboy to have a girl carry his things”
To add to that, this contains my self-defense equipment.
No matter what happens I can’t let go of this.
“And stop calling me ‘Your Highness’, we’re incognito here”
“Yessir! So how should I address you…”
“You can call me normally by name. If you like you can call me by my given name [Kazuya]”
“” Eh? “”
Huh? Why does even Liecia have a dubious look?
“Eh…. isn’t Soma’s given name [Soma]?”
“Huh? Souma³ is obviously my family name. Kazuya is my given name”
“But you said your name is Soma Kazuya, right?”
³ «TN: For clarification, whenever the raw says ソーマ I translate it as Soma, whereas 相馬 becomes Souma»
Whoops. This country puts the given name first like America or Europe. So I should’ve introduced myself as Kazuya Soma. Aaah, I see… so that’s why everyone’s been calling me [King Soma]. Come to think of it now, calling a King by their surname isn’t normal. It’s a hereditary position so several Kings would’ve had the same name.
“Can we fix it now?”
“Impossible, isn’t it? Everyone thinks of you as Soma, and foreign documents have been written in the name of [Soma Elfrieden], since our engagement I think”
“DAAAAH WHATEVER! I never thought I’d fail this hard…”
“W, well, it’s fine, right? I know, why not make it a public-private thing? We’ll call you [Kazuya-dono] in private times like this”
Having Aisha follow up after me made me feel down even more.
“To even have that Aisha follow up after me…”
“Just what am I inside Kazuya-dono’s head!”
“Let’s see … a failure of an Elf?”
“That’s way way over the line!”
“Sheesh, enough with your stand-up comedy⁴ act, let’s go”
⁴ «TN: manzai»
As Liecia dealt with a teary-eyed Aisha, she prompted us to go.
H~m… Even though she says go, we haven’t decided where we’re going to go to.
“Do you two have anywhere you want to go?”
“I’ll go anywhere Kazuya-dono goes”
“Mm. You two should at least act like you’re thinking about it”
It’s hard on me to be left with all the decisions. Now that reminds me, this is the first time I’ve been outside the castle, huh.
Hm…. In that case it’ll be better to go around looking at things. I’m a bit curious how much the policies I decided bore fruit, or didn’t.
“Well, let’s just go look around, I guess”
◇ ◇ ◇
Parnam Central Park.
It was a large park situated in the center of the Parnam castle town. Despite being called a park it was only a place where they plant trees and shrubs and flowers, but the size of the place was over three Tokyo Domes. There was a huge fountain in the middle of the park, one that whenever there was a Royal Broadcast, could make it visible from several hundred meters away. There were seats prepared around the fountain just like a circular arena, several tens of thousands of people seemed to have gathered in this fountain plaza during the last royal broadcast. The scene would’ve been just like the idol Dorma Concert, I suppose.
Hm… It’ll probably be interesting to hold a live concert here someday. I will certainly plan on it once Gyna-san’s [Show Business and Celebrity Making using The Royal Broadcast Project (I’ll call it the “Lorelei Project” since it’s too long)] starts. One day this fountain plaza will be the Big Stage to Elfrieden’s songsters and songstresses just like the [Tokyo Dome] or [Hibiya Theater].
… well, leaving the unhatched chickens uncounted, we went to the central park.
“It’s quite a lovely spot with all the nature”
“The air is so clear even though we’re right in the middle of the city. Mmm~”
Aisha looked all around while Liecia did a big stretch.
“Huh? But I think it wasn’t all this pretty before…”
“That’s because we worked hard to fix it”
I puffed my chest with pride to Liecia’s question.
“What did you do to fix the park?”
“Not just the park. We fixed the entire Parnam underground, even more, we also fixed the regulations. Sanitation is much better compared to how it was a few months back, I believe”
Frankly speaking, before I fixed it this country’s sanitation is at the level of a medieval European city. In other words, it’s filthy. Horse droppings littered the streets like that’s where it’s supposed to be, and household sewage was drained from the houses into gutters by the roadside, giving off a foul stench in the summer. Because the idea of hygiene itself doesn’t exist, these problems are left alone and are allowed to continue. Even though when the horse droppings dried they became airborne particles and caused all kinds of respiratory illnesses when people inhale them.
Which is why as a first step I maintain [Underground Sewers] as a measure against the sanitation problem.
“Underground sewers … when did you make those!?”
“Well, it wasn’t that much work. Parnam already had underground tunnels going all over the place to begin with, so I just ran river water through those”
“AREN’T THOSE THE ROYAL ESCAPE ROUTES!”
As Liecia said, the underground tunnels going all across Parnam were routes used by royalty to escape if the capital came under enemy attack and its fall became inevitable. In order to prevent the enemy from easily chasing after them when the passages were discovered, it was made in the form of a maze, the scale of which covered the entire area of Parnam. It was convenient for making sewers out of”
“To even make those into sewers …. what’ll you do if there’s an emergency!”
“If it came to it that the royalty had to escape from the capital, doesn’t it mean the country is checkmated? I personally would surrender at the point when they approached the capital”
“Liecia, a King would be safe so long as the people are his allies”
This is one of Machiavelli’s teachings.
He says “the best possible fortress is not to be hated by the people”⁵ A ruler has the two enemies of rebels internally, and foreign invaders externally, but if he had the support of the people the rebels would not be able to recruit allies or instigate a revolt and can only give up. Conversely, if the people hated him, there shall never be a lack of foreigners willing to assist such a people, and he would sooner or later come to ruin.
⁵ «TN: The Prince, Chapter XX»
“Even if the throne is lost, if he had the people’s support he can make his return. On the other hand, if only the King survived, even if he made a successful counteroffensive he would be prey to another conqueror without the people protecting him”
“… it’s a harsh world, huh”