“Now, that’s why I’m here. This is a land no one has ever laid hand on before. Even when there’s a river nearby, it isn’t being put to good use in the slightest.”
Looking over those gathered and clapping, I felt as if I was the only one getting so excited like an idiot.
The lined up faces started with Leold-kun, then Clara, before going on to include the manpower scraped together from nearby villages.
From our side, besides Clara, there was Aria, Maksim-san, and Adele-san participating as well.
Other than them, the Valkyries expressionlessly applauded me. I wonder what it is… the mass produced models seem to be the cutest of the bunch.
While there was a river running nearby, the ground sprouted grass that grew to the hips. A forest stood in close proximity, and with the Skills… Map and Search… I could confirm that it was full of monsters.
Taking out the large-scale Porter, we had also gotten together the tools we thought necessary. Within the present situation where we carried out such preparations, Leold-kun raised his hand.
“Okay, first drop the ‘Mr’. You can just call me Lyle. Anyways, just don’t add a ‘Mr.’.”
I informed him of a crucial fact. Leold-kun tilted his head a little, but he nodded, and continued on with his question.
“Um, even if you suddenly call me out and say, ‘let’s go pioneering’, the Grand Duke House is just barely scraping by financially, you know?”
Since he knew I knew of his House’s internal situation, he had no restraint in exposing the financial status of the Grand Duke’s House.
(Well, from my research, I know it down to its smallest copper. It’s true the Grand Duke House has no money. But staying that way is troubling.)
Right. At the rate we were going, fall would have to pass by before the Grand Duke House could procure any extra funds. What’s more, from war expenses, and compensation to the bereaved, a large majority of that would disappear.
I spoke with a smile.
“Don’t worry. The world is full of money, if you know where to look. I borrowed a little for this operation. Ah, it was just an advance payment, mind you. I’ll properly return it someday.”
Once more, I asked Vera to lend me money. I can’t forget Fidel-san’s eyes of scorn, but Vera said, ‘I guess there’s no helping it,’ and lent it to me.
I’m sure I’m not the right person to say it, but Vera is surely the type of woman that would get extorted by a man.
Leold-kun looked at me, and turned his eyes to Clara.
“He’s quite an amazing person, isn’t he? I’ve only ever hear the rumors.”
Clara corrected the positioning of her glasses.
“… Well, if you just look at his career history on paper, he’s perfect. Know the details, and you’ll be a bit disappointed, but that’s Lyle-san’s charm.”
Leold-kun sent eyes of aspiration my way. It was as if his eyes were focused on the hero of a child’s fairy tale.
(What’s this… my heart hurts. Since I’m trying to use Galleria to my own ends, my heart freaking hurts.)
From the Jewel, from the Third and up.
『Kuh, those innocent eyes burn!』
『D-don’t look at us like that!』
『… Back then, they all had such pretty eyes too, didn’t they.』
『This aching of the heart… for a look of purity to hurt to such an extent…』
『It’s no good. Even I can’t bring myself to tease this child.』
I cleared my throat, and went into explanations.
“Now then, Leold-kun, this time you’ll be the person responsible for cultivating this land. This area has an abundancy of monsters, and whenever rain falls, its small river overflows and floods. Cultivating this land will be of the utmost difficulty.”
The gathered manpower also nodded at that opinion. The second and third sons of the area, and the existences called dependents.
“But then why would you cultivate such a land?”
“I’d be thankful if you’d just normally expand the fields, though.”
“People have tried to cultivate this place numerous times, and failed, or so the old lady of the village told me.”
To the men who weren’t really on board, I proclaimed.
“That’s exactly why! If we reclaim this point, that achievement will go to Leold-kun… to the next Grand Duke. Steadily start from the small things! Let’s pile up results here, before taking on an even bigger river, why don’t we!”
But Leold-kun looked around.
“Um, if we’re really doing it, isn’t this group too small in scale?”
I also thought so. I thought there would be more free hands lying around, but fitting of a country that had continued fighting on time and again, manpower was a scarce resource.
It was also a busy time, so all we could gather were the village’s burdens, ten-odd men who wouldn’t be succeeding their houses.
“Well, let’s just say we’re working with a select few. So let’s use magic to finish it in a flash, cultivate the land, get some results, and report to your big sis.”
Leold-kun, still a little worried, nodded. And from the Jewel, I heard the Fourth’s laughing voice that seemed to have some implication behind it.
『… Lyle, you’re in quite good form. It’s time for some on-site learning.』
As the third day of cultivating passed by.
“Gyaaaah, the bank collaaaaapsed!!”
Cracks travelled across the magic-made weir, and once water leaked through, the wall collapsed, and the water behind it jetted out with good momentum.
Because it had been dammed up, the pressure built even higher, and as near as I was, I was washed out.
There, Adele-san, who had been giving out orders closeby, was washed away as well. Clara-san stumbled from the impact, and floated in the river.
As she bobbed downstream, I went to retrieve her, when Maksim-san rushed over.
“Milady! Now, quickly wipe down your body!”
After handing Adele-san a towel, he protected her from the eyes or surrounding men. I recovered Clara’s body from the flow, but I didn’t have a dry towel on me.
More than that, Adele-san was shaking as she looked at me.
“That’s why I told you! Build it sturdier, I said! Otherwise, make it so it changes the flow of the river itself, I said!”
Soaked, with her clothes stuck fast to her body, she complained to me. Spitting up water, Clara didn’t remain silent herself.
As she wiped off her wet glasses.
“The one who said something about budget, and didn’t want to use the proper tools was you, Adele-san. I’m sure I said to reinforce it just as was written in the book.”
Acting as a dispatch from the Grand Duke of Galleria, this time around, Clara was being treated as Leold-kun’s aide. Using the knowledge she’s stored up, she was supposed to play a large part in our flood control.
Supposed to… but, she couldn’t help but collide with Adele-san.
“And I explained that we didn’t have enough to use the book’s knowledge as-is, didn’t I!? That’s why I said to do whatever we could, and use other methods to compensate! In the first place, there’s got to be a more efficient solution here!”
As their two opinions clashed, me and Maksim-san used all forms of gestures to calm them down.
Maksim-san to Adele-san.
“Milady, there’s no helping what’s been broken. We have to make some improvements for the next one, and keep working on.”
“Wah, our expenses have been needlessly wasted again…”
I tried to sooth Clara.
“Clara, isn’t there any other method? And different knowledge or so?”
“I’m sure I chose the best option. And if the right materials were used from the start, nothing would have been wasted, to say the least.”
Both Adele-san and Clara grumbled off complaints at the other. Both points were important problems, so I hadn’t an idea of what to say.
But from the Jewel, came a laughing voice.
It was Milleia-san.
『Splendid. How splendid, Lyle. That follow-through, and the failure that let to absolutely no progress in the situation, it’s exceedingly fun to watch!』
This person had a considerably terrible personality. It’s a definite that she put on an act before the Sixth. The Sixth kept talking about some kind sister, but that was definitely a lie.
(As expected of Miranda and Shannon’s ancestor.)
She had it in her to be the progenitor of the two with problematic personalities, but that wasn’t much different from the other ancestors.
The Third was also enjoying himself.
『I knew that one was definitely going to break from the start.』
The Seventh laughed as he agreed.
『Quite right. Lyle, you have to be careful in these sorts of preparations.』
If they knew, they could have told me, but they just stood back and watched.
As that was happening, Leold-kun ran out from the forrest.
“S-someone! Come quick! Aria-san’s…!!”
I turned to see what had happened, only to find Aria emerging from the forest carrying a large bear by the head over her shoulder.
She was soaked in blood, but I was certain it was monster blood. With its tawny fur, the Brown Bear was classified as a tough monster with a rough temperament. A troublesome monster.
And having taken it out by spear, it appeared that Aria was carrying it out of the forest.
“Oh shut it. Don’t make such a fuss over a blood spurt.”
Perhaps Leold-kun was actually raised with excessive care, as this was the first time he had ever gone out and done something like this, it seems.
(So Gracia-san… was a brocon.)
When Aria tossed the Brown Bear onto the ground, one of the Valkyries handed her a wet towel.
Accepting it, Aria wiped off her face, nape and hands.
“And wait, there are a lot of monsters. Way too many! Maksim-san disappeared before I realized it, and the other Valkyries are busy with work.”
To cut open the forest, most of the Valkries were felling trees, lopping off their branches, carrying around logs, and extracting stumps.
Seeing Leold-kun croached on the ground, Aria let out a sigh.
“You, if you stay like that, you won’t be able to move when you stand the battlefield.”
In worry for the boy, she called out.
But looking at her, I…
“Aria, you were quite terrible at the start too, weren-”
Halfway through, receiving her sharp glare, I closed my mouth.
The Valkyries brought towels over to the rest of us as well. I handed the first towel to Clara, and looked around.
Having unskillfully been dammed, the surrounding soil was now a mess. Thinking it would have been best I did something with the grass first, I breathed out a sigh.
Looking up at the sky, the sun was beating down brilliantly, making sweat pour down my face.
(… This isn’t ending easily at all. I thought it would end at once with magic.)
And my thoughts had been quite naïve, it seems.
While the third day was reaching its end, there were almost no results to show for it.
The original plan was to carry out flood control, build a weir, and alter the flow of the river.
If all went well, it wouldn’t be strange if we already started building the foundations for the village.
With a stream of failures, the plan wasn’t going forward at all, and even if I sought advice from the ancestors in the Jewel, they kept on dodging the question.
While I was sure there was a reason why they wouldn’t give advice, I was tired.
A tent was set up to Porter’s side, and sitting on a chair of crates in it, I sighed under the light of the lantern.
With crates piled up, and a board put across to form a desk, I put Adele-san’s report through my eyes.
“We’ve lost logs for raw material… dammit, time keeps going by, and we just keep wasting money.”
Moving people also required money. One of the finer points was food. And cultivation required tools. Those tools could be expended. There were times they would break.
Flushed away by the water, there were times they could be left unfound.
“It isn’t going well.”
When I sighed again, a voice came to the tent. It was Leold-kun.
“Um, are you awake?”
Inviting him in, I told him to take a seat on a crate. As he sat, he hung his head.
“Hmm? For what?”
As his sudden apology confused me, Leold-kun quietly went on.
“Up to now, I had always been at the mansion… I had never thought flood control and cultivation would be this hard. I had the knowledge, but that being the case, I never thought I’d be unable to do anything.”
Having thought he would be capable of much more, he seemed to be disappointed in himself. Around Noon, he had followed Aria, and entered the forest, but he regretted how he couldn’t really do anything there.
“M- Lyle… dono, I’ve heard you succeeded as an adventurer. Even when you’re only two to three years older than me. I just thought myself too pathetic.”
I’m sure if he saw my failures through the day, he wouldn’t be holding such an impression. As I thought it a good thing he hadn’t seen, Leold-kun…
“Perhaps I was just talk. I always thought if I worked on internal affairs, I would be able to do something for Galleria’s Grand duke House. I was unhappy that my sister was doing nothing but war, yet even so, I wasn’t able to do anything myself…”
Seeing his depression, I tried calling out to him.
“… Me too. To this point, I’ve just been fumbling through trial and error.”
“You have? I can’t believe it.”
With his extent of wonder, just how had Leold-kun been seeing me, anyways? Giving a bitter smile, I prepared a drink, and handed it over to him.
“It’s was nothing but failure. I’ve troubled many people. And in the present tense, I’m still troubling people. To add to that, assisting Galleria is for my own profit, you hear.”
Leold-kun gave a wry smile.
“I heard from Gracia. Who would have thought she was exchanging letters with the witch of Rusworth. It’s true that if the fact came out, her life would be in danger. But from my point of view, it’s still a mystery. Why would you go so far?”
In a sense, I’m a blackmailer who threatened her. But at the same time, I prevented the capture of the adventurer who’d helped with her letters up to now.
While both countries were at war, if it became known the top dogs were connected behind the scene, those around wouldn’t find it too amusing.
Having protected her against that, it seems I was a mysterious existence to Leold-kun.
I scratched my face.
“Well, I’ve got a a few reasons of my own. Forming a union with Zayin and Lorphys. Making a foothold in Rusworth while I’m at it. If Galleria recovers, and receives aid from two countries on top of having a favorable relationship with Beim, Rusworth will instantly feel cornered.”
Hearing that, Leold-kun spoke.
“… If it comes to that, my sister will lose the reason for her existence. Played poorly, that’s what assassinations are made of.”
“In that case, I’ll just have to take her (as a comrade). In all truth, I do want her fighting strength.”
Leold-kun made a bit of a surprised expression.
“… Is that so? Aria-san was strong too. Though she’s a different type from my sister. Gracia has a battle style that yields heavy casualties and collateral damage.”
While Aria could take on individuals, and a group one by one, it seems Gracia-san was specialized in the ultimate anti-army battle-style.
That as it was, I had no objections to her as war potential. And I needed such power from here on.
“I’m not a good person myself. I have my own reasons for assisting. So you should just use me to stack up achievement for yourself. Once we succeed here… I’m sure the eyes around you will change.”
Will it succeed? Such thoughts crossed my head, but I immediately shifted my thoughts. It’s no good if it doesn’t.
Hearing that, Leold-kun nodded with a smile.