Weekly chapters (2/2)
This chapter is very very very long.
Savor it thoroughly, alright?
Episode 49 ~Holding the 1st Development Conference~
[This should be good enough]
Deborah’s dagger was the last to be finished――I exhaled as I put down the dagger that was so thick and heavy it looks like a machete now on the table.
An exquisite engraving decorated the thick blade, though it would normally be hidden inside its dragon leather sheath. So it’ll look rugged while sheathed, but turned into a beautiful work of art once unsheathed. Nothing else was special about it, other than the obvious unbreakable magic engraving. By the way, I also had the wooden handle polished until it was glossy.
Rugged at first glance, but like a beautiful maiden inside. Doesn’t that fit Deborah?
Tina’s dagger, made after I finished Fram’s, had a different kind of engraving that allowed it to heal its wielder or anyone she touched as long as it remained sheathed. Of course it could also still be used as a regular dagger once unsheathed.
The reason why I designed the magic engraving to function only while sheathed was because I couldn’t get a satisfactory result if I only did the magic engraving only on the blade and handle.
Tina’s dagger had a mithril sheath which also had its own magic engraving. By sheathing the dagger, the magic engraving on the dagger and the sheath would connect together, allowing the combined engraving to finally take effect.
The magic engraving technique was actually quite similar to the『secret seal』the Crossroad Knight Chief Twanning used to track me. Actually, I suspected that the secret seal was the simplified version of magic engraving with far inferior effects.
To my knowledge, magic engravings had been mostly abandoned for a long time now. It’s probably because even a single error might cause the entire thing to go haywire and in the worst case scenario, explode. This reminded me of software programming back in my original world.
The engraving itself was a very complicated process. You need not only knowledge, but also a high level of processing ability in order to master it. And very few were capable of all that. Perhaps it’d be possible if it’s a high precision machine.
In my case, not only do I have blacksmithing at level 5, I also have my inflated statuses to rely on. I could even hammer at high speed while maintaining a high amount of precision. It’s at the level of, as Marl put it,『disgustingly magnificent hand movements』.
Ah, sweat got into my eyes.
Enough with the small talk. Back to the main topic.
Kusuha’s dagger was actually the most difficult to design. The outward appearance was the easier part, but deciding upon what special effect I would place on it while maintaining the theme of self defense weapon and complementing Kusuha’s ability was hard.
In the end, I decided to give the dagger an ability to absorb magic power that later could be used to erect a strong magic barrier. The wielder could make the barrier more powerful by feeding their own magic power into the dagger, though doing so might be a bit costly. I believe Kusuha can master it since she has a fairly high magic power reserve.
For the half-sheep girl Karen and half-fox girl Sherry, I made their daggers to have similar functions albeit with different outward design. Karen’s look like a regular dagger, while Sherry’s resembled a tanto like how I designed Kusuha’s.
Since the two were magic users, I made it so that the daggers have both magic power containers and spell empowering functions. I managed to ramp up the spell empowering feature by embedding a crystal that had been refined to the utmost limit on each dagger. This will also allow the wielder to cast high level magic with a lower magic power cost.
When I tried casting a fire bolt while holding the dagger, what came out was a fiery laser beam instead of an actual fire bolt. That’s when I realized that I might’ve made something ridiculous. I promised myself that I would be there to supervise the two when they test out the daggers.
Next were Shitan’s and Mechina’s.
Since Shitan was not exactly a combatant type, designing her dagger was no easier than when designing Kusuha’s. In the end I simply placed unbreakable magic engraving on it so that she could use it for anything without worry.
It was a simple double edged dagger, with one side a regular sharp edge and the other side being shaped like a saw blade. The regular edge can be used to cut things like meat, while the saw-shaped side can be used for ropes, bones, tree branches, etc.
Well, she could probably cut a regular metal sword down regardless of which side she uses. It wasn’t in the design, but that’s just how the dagger ended up like.
Melchina’s dagger was like the upgraded version of Marl’s. It had a wind attribute, making it lighter, increasing its wielder’s speed, and can also act as a magic power container.
It can’t be helped that my later works ended up better than my early works. However, for this kind of thing, it’s the order that it was given that makes it important. Marl being the first makes her dagger so much more special despite it’s lower attributes.
Well, I have reworked Marl’s mithril dagger once in the past, so it should be possible to strengthen it again if Marl wished so. And I’d do it as many times as she wants.
[Ah, it gets tiring cause it’s been a while since I do this kind of intensive blacksmithing]
Stretching and moving my stiff neck and shoulders around, I collected all the finished mithril dagger into my inventory. All I need to do now is to find an opportunity to hand them over to their rightful owner. For the time being, let’s begin with Fram and Tina first.
Ah dammit, I feel nervous for some reason. Is this what they call marriage blues?
[Fram, I’m sorry if it’s a little late. And this one is for Tina. These are the tokens of my readiness, so to speak.]
When Marl and the girls returned home in the afternoon, ignoring the mood and the likes, I handed over the mithril daggers I just forged earlier in the morning as soon as they entered the living room.
It’s because I didn’t know what kind of face I should make or what sort of preps I need to do.
[Thank you, dear]
That was how Fram and Tina reacted, respectively.
Fram seemed so happy she’s on the verge of crying, while Tina received her dagger with a wide smile on her face. I mean, I just want to make it official.
[Ahー, let’s sit down for the time being]
Following my suggestion, we all took a seat and had Maybell to prepare us some tea.
[At lastー. I was wondering if Taichi-san somehow forgot.]
Marl shrugged as she looked at me with a menacing gaze. Well, sorry if I forgot. Couldn’t help it. I’m still new to all these customs.
[The other day Taichi-san gave Fram a sword for self defense, am I correct? It should have been a mithril sword instead, considering that this important matter seemed to have been forgotten all this time]
[Mu… Taichi-san should have treated Fram-san more delicately. If it were me, I would have treated it as my highest priority. Should have handed down the daggers as soon as possible.]
[Alright, alright, nevermindー]
Marl finally relented knowing that Fram rarely made a fuss about things.
On my end, cold sweat profusely flowed out on my back.
I couldn’t afford to tell them that I actually forgot. Let’s take this secret to my grave. If it’s become known, most likely they will use the dagger I forged for them to stab me to death.
[I’ll go to meet Kusuha after a short break. How about telling me the result of the investigation once we returned from visiting Kusuha and the beastkin village?]
[Indeedー, though it will be more efficient if I explain it now.]
[Un? That was such a troublesome tradition. But well, umu. Receiving a token of appreciation once in a while is always good, umu. At least it’s a pretty trinket]
Although she tried to sound neutral about it, it was quite obvious to me that Kusuha was elated to receive the dagger. Her hind legs excitedly tapping around, and the smile on her face gave it off.
[It is no wonder that you have remained single for the past 500 years with how dishonest you are to your feelings]
[Milady certainly has a way with her words]
The corner of Kusuha’s lips twitched ever so slightly after hearing Marl’s jab. But it’s too visible for me. And I found it cute.
[Alright then, Taichi-san. Next next]
Marl was obviously in a bad mood.
We left Arachnean village in a hurry due to the moody Marl’s insistence. Arriving at the Beastkin village, we were greeted by Karen with her usual sleepy look.
The problem was how she greeted us.
I mean, she’s sitting on a tall chair that reminded me of those high benches usually used by lifeguards on a pool or beach. The chair itself was most likely made with the help of earth magic.
Strikingly enough, the chair was situated smack dab on the center of the entrance to the village.
Her legs were visible under the hem of her dress, which was shorter than normal. And only now I noticed that she has hooves as feet. Her head is mostly human with the exception of the sheep’s horn and ears. Her hands are humanlike, but she had hooves from the ankle down.
And the way she placed her legs, it’s like she’s trying to funnel my vision toward a certain area… ah!?
[Wait, stay calm, I smell a honeytrap.]
[Do you like little girls that much!]
[It is different! Liking lolis does not make you a lolicon!]
[Indeed he still reacts properly to our advances though]
[I couldn’t care less about my age as long as I can get pregnant]
[As expected from a 500 years old maiden!]
[Yo, I take that personally, little girl!]
It was chaotic. Karen looked down on me with her sleepy look, Fram had a serious look on her face, Tina smiled as she gave my side a pinch, while Marl and Kusuha started bickering from god’s know when. By the way, can you stop that please, Tina? it’s starting to hurt.
[What are you doing?]
Torn, who popped out before I knew it, asked with an aghast look on his face. His ‘beast-like’ level is pretty much 5 out of 10. His whole body is covered with fur, and he has a dog――wolf head. Strangely, he still possesses hairs in his head like humans do. He has paws in place of hands and feet, but stand like theropods. And I’ve seen him running on all four like an actual dog――wolf before.
[What’s with you, staring at me like that]
[You are a dog, right?]
[I’m a wolf!]
As usual, he bared his fangs angrily, so I slapped him with a piece of dried meat. He ended up lying on his back in pain, but he can take it. Oho, Tina-san, why are you eyeing the dried meat hungrily? Didn’t we have lunch already?
Since it hurts to be pinched on my side, I gave Tina the piece of dried meat I had in hand. She started snacking on it happily after letting go of her pinching on my side. Thank goodness.
Was Tina secretly a glutton? Nah. She just likes to try something new, and currently she’s interested in crude and simple food like dried meat. More like she’s a junk food enthusiast.
Hmm hmm, doesn’t that mean I need to control what she eats? No, she’s not a kid anymore, so she should be able to manage her own body… hmm, but it can be dangerous for someone of her age.
Eh? How old was Tina again? Asking a woman’s age is not something that can be done freely though HAHAHA… but I know that she’s younger than myself. Now that I think about it, our relationship might be closer to the forbidden area than I thought.
What about Karen. Sherry, and Shitan? No, nothing’s wrong with it.
All I have to do is not lay my hands on them. Hold fast my steely determination.
Although I knew better than anyone that my so-called ‘determination’ was as brittle as tofu.
[Speaking of which, it’s been about half a year since the first, yes? That means I can have my turn to bear children like a proper wife immediately]
[You cannot! I have to be the first to bear his child!]
[Such is like the gift from heaven. But how come you haven’t been pregnant yet after all this time?]
[Both me and Fram had magic contraception casted on us, so we wouldn’t bear offspring yet!]
It seemed that Marl was not yet a match for Kusuha by a fairly large margin. The latter easily captured and encased the former in her thread, leaving her like a bagworm hanging on the village entrance. That was one precious scene to behold.
I completely forgot about this, but Marl and Fram had indeed magic contraception casted on them. Thanks to that, despite doing it with them nearly every night, there were no unwanted pregnancies yet.
This magic seemed to be very popular in more civilized areas like towns or villages. On the other hand, Kusuha, Karen, Sherry, and the others who lived in less developed places didn’t have that kind of luxury. Eitherway, would such magic actually work on Kusuha?
With me becoming a noble and gaining a land of my own, the need to have a successor will also emerge. It wouldn’t be nice if I were to have children with the other ladies first, right?
Uーmu, not only that I’m confident I can provide for their livelihood, I was actually ready if I were to suddenly have a child… no, not really. Doing it anytime I want might’ve made me forget about that magic. But honestly, when I found out that I had sex with Marl for the first time, I had resolved myself to take full responsibility.
After that, I learned about the contraceptive magic, and became lax.
[If so, then undo it as soon as possible. Otherwise we will be pregnant first.]
While I was in agony, Kusuha provoked Marl even more.
[Fufufu, you might say that now, but I wonder if you can really take it? Taichi-san can go five times non-stop, even during the first time.]
[Stop it please. Too much information]
I covered the little bag worm’s mouth before she spouted out more weird facts about me. There are things that should be left a secret. Un.
But well, in the future, there’s no need to bring Marl or any of my wives on an adventure that might risk their life. I’ve got money, connections, land, and power after all.
All I need to do is to make a conducive environment and protect them all from foreign enemies. I think it’s alright to have children and spend the rest of our life living leisurely.
For adventures, I guess it’s best to do it when I have some free time alone. With long range transfer, it’ll be like a short business trip.
[Alright stop playing around. Let’s clear things up.]
But before that, we needed to establish a secure and solid base first.
[Alright, let’s start the first relocation and development meeting. I will be the acting moderator for this meeting! Please give applause!]
Despite the sudden request, the sound of applauses still rang in a surprisingly consistent manner.
The meeting was held in the same place as before, the plaza near the Beastkin village’s food storage. I gathered some wooden tables and arranged them into a large table, where I, Marl, Kusuha, Torn, the intellectual horsekin Yamato, the bearkin Deborah, and other representatives for the Beastkin village, sat around.
Tina, Fram, Karen, Sherry, and most villagers except those who couldn’t put off their work, also gathered in the plaza. Naturally, many of them gathered here because the meeting would revolve around their future livelihood.
[First of all, we have something to report. Yesterday, Taichi-san succeeded in securing a considerably vast expanse of land. The land was originally swarmed by undead, but Taichi-san managed to eliminate them and even purify the land. The site has also been secured with an anti-monster barrier.]
[How large is it?]
[Since the land was secured only yesterday, we have no exact measurement yet. But according to Taichi-san, it is about as large as Crossroad town. Crossroad’s population itself is around 10.000 people, so even if the entire Beastkin and Arachnean village were to move there, with adding extra space for farmlands, there should still be a lot of vacant land left.]
Marl replied to Torn with barely a pause.
I might not know their exact numbers, but the total of both the Beastkin and Arachnean villages combined was probably only about 200 people. Even after securing separate spaces for farmlands, there should still be a vast amount of land left given that it’s enough for 10.000.
[Is there a nearby water source? It should be in the middle of the forest, right?]
[I think some will come out if I dig deep enough. But I’m planning to make a magic tool that generates water for us using the serpent dragon eye bead that I obtained in the forest. At first it will be a simple well, but later we can expand it to handle water source, sewage, and farmland irrigation.]
That said, I took out the eye bead from my inventory for everyone to see. I could hear some impressed gasp. Fufu, do you understand the greatness now?
[Is, is it really that great?]
[Amazing, very amazing! This is a super nice item that could produce magic power like a geyser! If used as the power supply, we can even probably create the so-called perpetual engine!]
So they weren’t quite convinced. There should be a skill that will allow me to craft magic tools. I’m going to take it and craft something amazing to make them slack jawed.
[Yes, that is all for the water source. As for the rough draft for the future plan――]
Ignoring me who was sulking, Marl explained the rough plan for developing the land. First of all, initial preparations such as creation of work sheds and well digging, development preparations such as surveying, construction of houses and facilities, construction of castle walls and laying the roads, main development such as field reclamation, infrastructure development, etc. We aim to develop as a territory by developing a trade route between Miscronia kingdom and Karendil kingdom. We’ll also have our own laws, organize our own military forces in preparation for emergencies, inviting various human resources, and attracting merchants.
[Our first goal is to open a trade route between Miscronia and Karendil. That is the bare minimum we have to achieve!]
As far as I could tell, the only people in the beastkin village who could keep up with Marl’s presentation were Yamato, Pamela, and surprisingly, Melchina. Karen seemed to understand to a lesser extent. I guess this kind of talk is not suitable for the carnivorous type of beastkins. Some of them were barely awake. Only foxkins and raccoonkins seemed to keep up just fine.
Fram, Tina, and Kusuha seemed to get it just fine.
[Next is developing relationships with the other intellectual races living inside the Sea of Trees. Apparently Taichi-san had run into an intelligent race that calls themselves Antillians living in the area. Kusuha-san, you said that the other intellectual races did not dare to approach the area. What is going on here?]
[We never encountered them for all the time we stayed inside the Sea of Trees. As I said before, that area was swarmed with undead that would attack violently on sight. So after discovering the area, we couldn’t really go deeper to investigate. We didn’t know anything about them. And we’d still don’t know if I didn’t hear this information. Perhaps the other races we have come in contact with are also the same. Regarding this matter, I admit that we have made a mistake. Please forgive me.]
[Ah, no, I am not blaming you or anything! I just thought that you may probably know something about them. I have also investigated the Antillians in the capital of Karendil kingdom. But there is no information regarding them whatsoever.]
[It’s a bit scary since they are totally unknown to us.]
Fram commented with a frown. I have to agree with her.
Then again, they are ants… which makes me wonder if we can actually coexist with them.
[We have scheduled a discussion with them, that is why we need to also discuss this right now. It is all good if we can coexist, but if we cannot――then nothing else we can do.]
It’s not like I want to build a country because I’m a philanthropist. If we can have a talk and coexist, then good. We should create a relationship that benefits both sides if we want to walk together.
Even if we can’t coexist, then at least we shouldn’t interfere with each other. As long as there is no conflict of interest, and diplomatic efforts were still possible, then a mutually beneficial relationship could still be forged.
Those who we can’t even communicate with, or those who refused to coexist even if they could were no good. This might sound a bit extreme, but I’d rather those kinds of people just disappear.
My intention was to have Marl and the others to live in my territory, and I needed to protect them as their lord. I can’t allow the existence of such forces that could harm those I should protect near my territory.
[To be honest, I’d like to rope them in to work with us. Ants, as we all know, are good for civil engineering. And if their numbers are big enough, they can act as our military forces. We’ll be building a highway for our goal, so having their help will certainly be huge.]
Everyone nodded, convinced by my words.
[Then let us proceed with that policy in dealing with the Antillians. Moving forward, Kusuha-san, can you please tell us about the other intelligent races?]
[Umu. I’ll give a rough explanation for now.]
Kusuha started to talk about the other races that had interacted with the Arachneans.
The first was the Fairies.
Their sizes varied, but usually ranged from that of a baby human size to one of a human kid. All of them looked like youthful men and women. They also had transparent wings with varying forms between individuals which allowed them to flit around in the air freely.
They’re mostly innocent in nature, preferring to sing and dance. Although their fighting capability was low, they’re really good at hiding. They usually live on the flower field or on a tree nearby. On rare occasions, a few of them would get stuck on the webs that the Arachneans placed around the forest to hunt.
The second was the riverkin.
Although they call themselves riverkin, they are actually a community which consist of lizardkins, half-lizards, dark skinned aquatic elves, white beaked sahagins that have similarly white disk on top of their heads, and also the merman and mermaids.
The main base we planned to cultivate this time is located slightly east of the center of the forest, but there is a small mountain to the north. The water flowing from there flows in the northeast direction, and the river flows in a mesh pattern over a fairly wide area from the source to the northeast.
The riverkins lived in clusters of small villages in the river basin.
Come to think of it, those sahagins are pretty much kappas, aren’t they?
The third are the demonkins. They are collectively called demonkins regardless of their sizes.
They’re a race that boasts immense physical strength. Their numbers might be small, but their physical prowess greatly eclipsed that of the humans.
They had no talent in magic whatsoever. But a particularly talented one that could develop an ability that was similar to magic would be born on rare occasions. This talented individual would often become the chief of the village.
Due to their physical strength, they’re also the most prosperous race in the sea of trees. Unfortunately, Kusuha had a disagreement with their current generation chief, so the relationship between the two races had been estranged thus far.
The fourth and the last, are what Kusuha and the others called Guardians.
It is a spherical race with a whitish stone-like metal-hard skin and a red glowing mono eye. Their spherical body had indentations and holes that could grow feet and hands. Normally, it floated and moved according to a certain pattern, but in an emergency, it moved at high speed by blowing fire from holes in various parts of the body.
[They sound like robots]
[Ah, to put it simply, they are dolls made by advanced magical or mechanical technology. If they actually have their own will, it might be better to call them androids instead]
[What’s the difference between the two?]
[That’s a philosophical question. It’s going to be a very long talk, so how about I’ll tell you about it in bed tonight or tomorrow?]
Kusuha’s face turned bright red, but she pushed forward with her explanation.
It seems that the guardians were based on the ancient ruins in the northwestern part of the Sea of Trees. They stubbornly refuse anyone from invading the ruins interior, but otherwise hungry for entertainment and small talks. And for those who don’t even try to invade the ancient ruins, they will actually entertain these visitors.
[E, ee, that, really, tonight….?]
[Un, we can slowly talk about it as much as we want. Nn?]
Kusuha’s face turned even brighter red, I could almost picture steam coming out from her head. All eyes were on us. It didn’t need a Hero’s sharp eyes to tell that something was afoot.
After taking a deep breath, she surprisingly could still reply calmly despite still blushing furiously.
[Umm…. anyways, moving on. We should get in touch with the fairies and the riverkins as soon as possible. Let us set aside the demons and the guardians of the ruins for now. Especially the guardians of the ruins. It’s unlikely to come out of the ruins, but it is alright to go deal with them once the village is ready to some extent.]
Marl’s mood further plummeted after seeing the exchanges between me and Kusuha. Well, Marl-san feeling jealous is… unavoidable. She’s sitting on my opposite side of the table after all, so she couldn’t come over to guard her territory. But it’s good if she could show her jealousy.
Is this actually Marl’s measure to prevent a couple’s life from becoming stale? By creating rivals in a sense?
[Lastly, we plan to increase the productivity of food to the point that we can be self-sufficient, but for the time being, our lord, Taichi-san, will provide it. Of course, we will still collect some food by exploring, hunting, and foraging around the territory. Once things are in motion, we will be able to exchange materials and resources from the Sea of Trees with items from Miscronia and the Kareendil. That’s all for now, if you have any questions, please ask!]