131-114 In order to make it difficult to talk about,

Ricardo Siegenthaler, the lord of District Forty-One, has demanded that the construction of the city gate in District Forty-Two be cancelled.
This is an absurd demand that we cannot possibly accept.

There is no way we can tolerate the development of District 42 being blocked by other districts.
Who in the world has the right to say, 'You are not allowed to develop'?

If the representative of the forty-two districts had been anyone other than Estella, the acting lord, he would have declared war right here and now.
There was no way we could negotiate, so we decided to leave.

Nothing came of it.

...... Well, that's one thing clear.
I don't like the lord here. It's a good thing we found out.

The man who saw us off was the old man who took us in the first place.

'I'm glad to see you back early, sir.

If the master is the master, then the butler is the butler.

We left the lord's mansion without speaking a word.

When we went outside, we saw a carriage parked in front of the gate. It was the carriage of the Clairmona family, the lords of the 42nd district.
We've come here today in this carriage.
Normally, Estella rarely uses a carriage even when going out. She also walked when she went to see Demilly, the lord of the forty districts.
Estella said, 'I walk as far as I can,' but I'm sure there are many reasons that she doesn't dare to say.
The Cremona family was in financial trouble when she went to Demilly to ask about the sewage system, although it was in a good condition now. What's more, Estella is not a lord, but an agent. She may have her own thoughts on the matter.
And yet Estella has decided to use the carriage today. It's clear that she had mixed feelings about this as well. ...... Don't worry about that for now. I'm not going to pry into it. It's not my place to poke around. I know what I'm doing.
So, what's the problem now, as I said before, is that the carriage is 'parked' in front of the gate.
They have not moved the carriage into the grounds, nor have they let the horses rest. That's how thorough they are.

'Well, I expected this to happen.

Estella gets into the carriage.
Estella is the first one to get into the carriage as she sits on the top seat. Natalia, as expected, does not get into the carriage first and pull Estella's hand.

When Estella gets in, the carriage shakes.
She must have been frustrated and put too much pressure on her foot.

'So, Master Yashiro.
'Oh, Sankyu.

Natalia is looking out for me too.
She lets me sit next to Estella and she sits at the bottom. She even opens and closes the door for me. I'm sure he has no reason to respect me.

As I stepped onto the carriage step and was about to enter the carriage, I saw a group of people out of the corner of my eye.
As I looked at them, I saw a group of incredibly stout men pulling a simple cart made of wooden boards with wheels.
The cart had a large beast strapped to it, and I could tell at a glance that they were members of the hunting guild.
The people at the headquarters all seemed to be as well-built as Use.

'Yashiro-sama......, you're not interested in macho men......'

I was a little annoyed by that casual plural!

Muscles are no fun to look at.
Let's just get on with it and get rid of this town.
......, I thought, and turned my gaze once more to the men.
With a bang and a bang.

'...... You're very curious.'
'Shut up for a second.'

I silenced Natalia with my usual tone.
Perhaps she sensed the seriousness of my words, but the softness in Natalia's voice disappeared.
She seems to be following my lead and looking at the men. ...... And I think I've found them. A quiet murderous tone emanates from Natalia.

'............ So that's it, huh?
'It looks like .......'

There were a lot of things that were bugging me.
I knew that would be the case.

But now it's conclusive. I'm convinced.

'It's all ...... his fault, isn't it?

As I stared at them, I saw a familiar pair of men - the two muscle men who had caused the bug riot in Cantar Chica.


'I'll call Estella and show her what's going on outside.

'............ Aah!'

Estella seems to have noticed the muscle men and shouts loudly when she finds them.
The muscles noticed her voice and gave her a look like 'Oh, no! and quickly disappeared into a side street.

Other than the two men in the bug racket, the other men approached us.
They stared at us with menacing, wary, hostile eyes, as if they were trying to intimidate us for shouting.
Have you come to report the results of your hunting to your lord?
You'll be able to find a lot more than just a few of them. There is probably a guild or a demon beast dismantling site up ahead.
The two men who just came in are going to take a detour and meet up with you later.

'Did you see that?

'Oh. Stay strong.'

If those two were here in District Forty-One, then ......

We should assume that the whole thing was arranged by Ricardo, the lord of the forty-first district.

We got into the carriage and decided to go over the information we knew.

'It was the cake they were trying to block, wasn't it?
'I'm guessing this is because it's the most exciting product in the Forty-second Ward and the Forty-second Ward seems to be emphasizing cooperation with the Forty-second Ward.'

It's only a theory, but ......
So far, the 42nd district has done many things jointly or in mutual cooperation with the 40th district.
We have built sewage systems and roads. Attracting lumberjack guilds.
And most recently, a cake performance with Luxury.
Now, the topics of conversation between the 42nd and 40th wards are often linked. They are all talking about the same thing.

Skip the intervening forty-one wards.

'You mean you didn't like that ......'.
'Well, you'll never admit it that clearly, but I'm sure you're not that far off .......'

As you can see from Ricardo's attitude, the people of District Forty-one look down on District Forty-two and give a glance to District Forty.
It would be unacceptable for the Forty Wards to stand shoulder to shoulder with the Forty-two Wards.

If forty wards had fallen to the level of forty-two wards, it would be self-contained, but if you look at the current situation seriously, forty wards are not in decline.
If that is the case, it means that Ward 42 is now on par with Ward 40.
They have overtaken their own 41st district.

Well, you can't admit that, can you?

'So, you want to kill the cake?Isn't that too short-sighted?'
'Maybe they were just scouting the city gates. It's also possible that he was walking through the Forty-second District when he heard about the cake .......'

Natalia's opinion is strangely convincing.
It's not unreasonable to think of it as the actions of a single person.

When she received information about the construction of a gate in a neighboring district, which would greatly affect the interests of her district, and sent her to inspect it, she found that the city had undergone a drastic change and the residents were happily talking about cakes. The reasoning that this caused such a ruckus ...... was more likely to be: 'Cakes are the specialty of the forty districts, and you're copying them when you're from the forty-two districts!I'll destroy it! I'm going to destroy it!'--that makes more sense to me than some crazy idea.

'If that's the case, he might have come to visit a few times.
'I'll ask Umaro. I'll ask Umaro if any of the workers have seen the strange muscle man.

I don't know if they were doing anything as big as espionage, but I'm sure they came to inspect.
Because our information was conveyed to the lord.

'You must have heard from the Longhorns who sat around and tried to sabotage our business that we were expanding our military. As soon as they knew about it, we can be sure that the ruffians who were harassing the 42nd district and the lord of the 41st district were connected.''
'That's for sure. If they were conducting intelligence activities in other ways, there's no way they could have received information that District Forty-two was expanding its military.
'That's right. In fact, there has been no military expansion in our territory.

The horde you showed those ruffians was just a wax dummy.
There's no way anyone other than those ruffians could have gotten that information. The hordes of soldiers were only there at that time and place.

While we were talking about this, the carriage arrived at the lord's mansion.
But I took Estella out of the carriage and headed for the square.

'Next, let's talk about the fact that you know this guy who appeared after the sitting incident.

In the square, there is a huge Bonacon skull.
But as you can see by touching it, it's a wax replica. It's a disgustingly elaborate replica, though.

Using the giant skull as playground equipment, kids are playing around loudly.
In their hands, they hold a flag with the emblem of their lord on it, occasionally shouting things like 'Ryoshusama! and so on.

At first, it was just a jinx to make it easier to win a children's lunch, but now the flag itself has become valuable, and waving the flag in praise of the lord has become a boom among the kids.
As small children imitated what the big ones were doing, the original meaning of the flag gradually faded away.
Some of them may be shouting 'Ryoshusama' without even knowing its meaning.

'...... Maybe it's time to impose some restrictions.
That's right. If we go too far, the other wards and royalty might take notice.

It's all well and good to respect and celebrate, but these kids have gone a bit too far.
Sometimes it's just too much.
Enthusiasm can reach its end if you don't stop it there. Especially when it's a pure child.

I'll teach them what a lord is, how to treat one, what not to do, and so on, at a later date.
I'll have to take some responsibility for firing him up.

We need to be very careful not to become anti-lord forces as a reaction to the expiration of the lord's power. A reaction is a terrible thing.

So, back to the topic at hand. We only got into this situation after we fought off that ragtag bunch of longhairs.'
'If you know about it, it means you're here to inspect.

Most of the people coming from District Forty-One would pass by the Lord of District Forty-Two's mansion to reach the main road.
This central plaza at the end of the street is a kind of 'back entrance'. It is connected to the 41st arrondissement by a narrow street, and there is little traffic of carriages.
Carriages and wagons loaded with goods would go through the big road.

In other words, the only people who know the situation in the central square are those who came here with the intention of coming here.
Which brings up the fact that the 41st district is probing the 42nd district.

Well, it's full of circumstantial evidence.

'At first, the low-level members of the hunting guild were harassing the store, but when ...... Yashiro got back at them, they decided it was a bad idea to act on their own.
'So they hired a ragdoll to do the job, ...... I guess.
'It's not fair to ask a ragdoll from the 40th district to do the job.

'I can smell the small stuff.

When the ruffians were caught, if they were found out to be from District 41, they would be suspected.
That's why they asked the ruffians in District 40 to do it anonymously.

Yeah. Small guy.
They can't even take responsibility for themselves.


Smart people don't trust sloppy planning to useless riffraff, and careful people do careful research before they act.

They get pissed off, act quickly, get beaten back, and run away with their tails between their legs. After that, they sneak off to hide. ...... What is smart and careful about that?

'Let's go back to the sunlit pavilion.
'Yes, we should. My head hurts from all the frustration. I'm in the mood to look at Ginette's face and be soothed.'
'Then I'll look at her tits and let them heal me.
'Can you please stop doing that next to me?

I'm sure we won't have to fight over it. ......

In any case, a lot of information had been pumped into my brain in the past few hours, and I needed a break.
I'm in the mood to go back to the sunny pavilion and eat something sweet.

'Welcome back, Mr. Yashiro. Estella-san.''
''Ah, ...... is soothing. ............''

Estella and I were fully healed by the smile of Ginette who greeted us at the sunny pavilion.
I think Ginette has a waterfall or forest among her relatives.You can find a lot of negative ions in the air.

'...... If you're tired, pudding is the way to go.

Ginette seems to have picked up on it and put it on the menu right away.
Then let's see what she can do.

'I'm still a little unsure, so this is a trial period.

Ginette said embarrassedly, and then Loretta spoke to us.

'We have two kinds of pudding, the manager's version and Estella's version. Which do you prefer?
'I'm tired, so I'll take Jeannette's.'
'Yes, sir.'
'Hey... Does the pudding have my name on it?
'Just for now, I'd like to borrow it.
'That's fine, but ......, since it's so nice, I think I'll go with that one.'
'...... Estella-san, are you full now?
'I get it, it makes sense!That's what it means!

Estella senses something and tries to grab Loretta. But Loretta successfully dodges her and runs to the kitchen.

''Um, ......, I'll serve you both a normal size.

I'm not sure if you've seen this before.
...... That means Ginette's version wasn't 'normal size'!

'...... special size'.

Leaving the meaningful words behind, Magda returned to serving the customers.

'I demand that you retrain your employees,' he said.
'I feel like the people of the lord are in the lord's category~'

As I sat down in my usual seat in the back corner, I felt instantly lighter.
I was relieved to know that I was back, after all.
The same is true for Estella, who is sitting across from me, her face completely relaxed.

............ This is not the time to be relieved, though.

'It was a terrible thing, the 41st district.
'That's because he's that lord,.......'
'No, that's part of it. ......'

On the way home, I was observing the streets of the 41st district from the window of the carriage.

The main street through which the carriage passed was lined with reasonably large buildings. The street was lined with large buildings and had a good view of the city, and although it was poor, it was still a decent place to live.
It was ...... very quiet.

Between the buildings, I could occasionally catch a glimpse of the inside of the forty-first district. ......

'Isn't the gap between rich and poor too great in that district?

Just beyond the main street, I could see a number of dilapidated buildings that looked like abandoned houses.
It is inevitable that slums are formed in the secluded areas, but ...... to see buildings of that level right behind the main street is ......

'I got the impression that it was just a ...... papier-mâché surface that had been painstakingly mended.
'That may be true.

Estella says that the 41st district is not a very financially secure district either.
Well, it's second to last.

In such a situation, the wealth is concentrated in the center of the city because of the outstanding groups like the hunting guild.
The hunting guilds are favored so much that the rest of the people are not benefited.
Not only that, but they also impose heavy taxes to give priority to a few nobles.

'So those who can't take it anymore try to flee to other districts.
'The outflow of the people, ...... but if that happens...'
Yes. The tax revenue will be squeezed even more, and the burden on the residents will be even greater.

It's a vicious cycle.

'But thanks to the hunting guilds and the city gates, there was once a difference in economic power that the forty-two districts could not compete with.

That's why only the 42nd district was suckered by the peddlers' guild.
No one can be strong against those with economic power and authority.
So, let's make up for it by exploiting those who can. That's the easy solution that everyone thinks of.

It's the start of a vicious circle.

'Can't you stop that biased policy?Like, with external pressure?

For example, colluding with the lords of the forty districts and other districts to make them change the policies of the forty-first district.

That's difficult. After all, it's the hunting guild that's benefiting.

The hunting guild is a guild that works across all districts.
That means that the hunting guilds are responsible for the majority of the meat distributed in all districts.

Every district wants to eat meat.
They don't want to get into a conflict with the hunting guild and ruin their relationship.

'...... This city is rotten.
'Maybe everyone is aware of that.

But no one can speak up.
But no one can speak up, because the more corrupt the city is, the better off the people in power are.
...... Keh.

'The toll tax is more of a problem than the gap between rich and poor in the 41st district. ......'

Estella plops down on the table, scratching her hair.

'We may be able to appeal to the General Court to stop it, but ...... it's a 50/50 chance we'll win. ...... No, neighboring lords can challenge unfair ordinances. If the other side makes unreasonable demands, the other side will have to pay the price. ............

I understand that the other side is making unreasonable demands.
I am also confident that I have legitimacy.

But in a court of law, the outcome is not always as you want it to be.

The other side is making a preemptive move, and may have obtained information or other information that could be used against us.

But that is not the point.

'Don't go to court.
'Is it a disadvantage, after all?
'No, regardless of whether we win or lose, if we go to trial, the 42nd district will be hit hard.

If we lose in court, it will be impossible to stop the toll tax in District 41, and the distribution to District 42 will take a big hit. In the worst case, if such a precedent is set and other districts start copying it, the distribution will die completely. There is a high risk that goods will no longer flow to the 42nd district.

'Then, what if we win?
'You'll be harassed forever.

Harassment of all sizes. Denial of work between guilds. Interference with the forty districts and others.

'There are so many ways to do this. As a 'lodger' who has left District Forty-One, you can commit repeated crimes in District Forty-Two, or become a resident of District Forty-Two and commit evil deeds inside and outside of District Forty-Two.
'...... Would he go that far?
It's a possibility that can't be denied.

If I were in Ricardo's shoes, and I lost the case, ......
In the event that you are in the position of Ricardo, and you lose the case, you should advertise that District 41 has failed because of District 42, and release all of its citizens at once. Only the hunting guild and the lord's relatives will be left in the district.
The released lords will drop in rank and pour into District 42. There, they rampage, looting and destroying.
I, the lord of the 41st district, give money and goods to such ruffians in the name of 'making amends for the trouble caused by the collapse of the district. The more they rampage, the more I give them more apologies, thinking that they must be hurting so badly.

Now the ruffians know that the more they destroy District 42, the more money and goods they will get from District 41, and they will destroy all of District 42 in no time.

When that happens, what action can District 42 take?
Start a war against District Forty-one?How?In a district where there are only lords.
That's an invasion. The other districts won't allow it.

So we dispose of the lords?
Dozens and dozens of them, by the lord?
What would the outside world think of that? ...... Most likely, there'd be no decent people left before then. You may have escaped ...... or .............

Now, after such a situation continues and the 42nd district is destroyed, I will stand in front of them without hesitation and say, 'After all, the lord of the 42nd district is incompetent and useless. I'll rule this area again.' I appeared like a savior and ruled both District Forty-one and District Forty-two.
I'll distribute the land to the ruffians who have worked so hard, so they won't rebel.

'...... and even if you just think about it, you can do this much.'
'Yashiro ............, you're not going to betray me, are you?Don't abandon me, okay?

Estella is really trembling.
I'm not sure what to do.
This is just a simulation with the impossible condition of 'if all the people in the forty-two districts were ignorant and unresisting.

'Ya, Yashiro. I'll treat you to pudding today. So, okay?Hey!
'Don't worry. I'm not interested in being a lord.'
'I see. ........................ What?Not at all?Absolutely not?You feel like it's impossible no matter what?'

Why are you so desperate?
I'm not going to be a lord or anything, am I?

'............ I'm in a bit of a mood. Here's the pudding. Yashiro's buying.'
'Hey, hey, hey. I think you just flipped out a little bit. ......'

d*mn. What the hell?

'Anyway, don't go to court.
'Then what should we do ......?
'Let's just ask for help.
'Ask who?
'Another district that would be harmed by the introduction of a toll tax.
'...... Ah!

Yes, the 40th district.
If a toll tax is imposed just for passing through the forty-first district, it will be difficult for Imelda's father, Javier, to see his beloved daughter.
That father is not so naive as to allow such a thing. He's such a pervert that he'll turn the whole country off.

'It seems to me that Ricardo's words and actions stem from a personal grudge. Then it's better to resolve the grudge on a personal level.

The bigger the fuss, the more time and effort it takes to calm it down. And money.

'All right. I'll make an appointment with the old man.
'Oh. Take care of it.

You're only looking in one direction.
It's not just the 42nd district you're trying to make enemies with.
I'll remind you of that.