132-115. Position as the lord of the Forty Wards

The day after the incident with the 41st district, Estella and I were walking towards the 40th district.
To be honest, I was surprised that we were able to make an appointment much sooner than I had imagined. ......

I was just about to consult with the old man regarding the introduction of a toll tax in the 41st district when I was contacted by him. He said, 'I need to talk to you, so come at once.
'It's a great opportunity.
'Probably the toll tax story got into his ears. It's a neighboring district, so it's not like he can't announce anything. ......'
'It's either good timing ...... or he went to talk to us because we moved ......'.

It's probably the latter.
It would not look good if the information about the introduction of the new system was leaked by others.
It was a natural decision to go and greet them before that happens. This is especially true if the new system will have a significant impact on the logistics and economy of the other territory.
It's ....... It's a good thing you've got a little footwork, that little lord.

I'm sure you'll be able to find a lot more information on this subject in the future. If things go well, he might be able to put pressure on District 41. There's also a lumberjack guild in District Forty.

A hunting guild that spans the entire district. The power of the guild is so great that an ordinary lord can't have a straightforward opinion. But there's a lumberjack guild in District 40. They have as much power as the hunting guild.
As Estella said, if things go well, we may be able to have an equal discussion.
If you want, we can bring the Sea Fishing Guild into the fold.


Suddenly, Estella stopped.
The narrow mountain road that extends from the central square of District 42. It's called a back road in contrast to the main road. Ahead of her on the one-and-a-half lane road, called a back road in contrast to the main road, she saw a familiar large cart.
The cart was loaded with a large quantity of flowers.

'Hey, Milly!
'Oh, ......, Estella. You too, ladybug.

Millie was walking down the back street, pulling a cart. Is she on her way to deliver a package somewhere?

'Are you in the forty-first ward, ......?
'No, no. We're in the forty-second ward.
'That's a lot of .......'
'Not as much as Millie, who's making deliveries. Oh, right.

Estella clapped her hands and pointed to the flowers on the cart.

'Hey, Milly. Can you sell me some of these flowers?
'Oh, ......, that's fine. ...... I'll make you a bouquet.'

Estella's offer brightened Milly's face. I'm sure she'll be very happy.

'Let's take some flowers to your father. He loves beautiful flowers, you know.
Is that so?

I can picture the face of a balding, friendly, smiling old man.
Yeah, it's fine. Your love of flowers has nothing to do with whether or not you have hair follicles.

'I'll pick a flower that will make my old man happy...'
'Millie. Isn't there a flower with hair-growing properties?
'Yeah, ............, no ...... maybe.'
'Yashiro, you don't need to worry about anything else!I'm sorry, Milly. Don't worry about what Yashiro says.'
'...... Yeah. I don't care.

I don't care. You'd be so happy if they existed, hair-growing flowers.
If we planted dandelions on their scalps, they'd all turn into cotton wool by fall and look like Afros.

'Millie, can you give me a bunch of dandelions?
'Yashiro, shut up!The dandelion afro fiasco is on Oji-sama's list of the five worst traumatic incidents he doesn't want to remember!

It's already been tested!

'Oh, ......, I'll let Miri choose the ladybug's.'

What, am I going to buy one too?I was just kidding about the dandelion. ......
Yeah, I don't think I need it. Only Estella should buy this stuff. ............ Please don't look at me with such sparkling innocent eyes. ...... My heart will be purified. My heart will be cleansed.

'Well, I'll ask you.

Ohhhh, ......, the smile got the better of me.
I don't think I can beat Millie. ...... If it were Regina, I'd kick her ass.

In the end, Estella bought a modest but cheerful bouquet of warm orange flowers.
It's a great way to make sure you're getting the most out of your time with your family and friends. I'm sure you'll be pleased with the results. ...... Um, Millie?This is a great way to make sure you are getting the most out of your money.

Millie seems to be very much in favor of the custom of giving flowers to each other, and has started to carry a number of reasonably priced bouquets. Perhaps that's why they've been selling so well lately. That's what she told me the other day with a big smile on her face.

'Well then, Miri, this way.
'Oh. Be careful.'
'Thank you for the flowers.
'Mmm......, bye!

Millie waved her hand as she pulled the big cart away.
There was only one 'bye' today. I wondered if she was hesitant because we were in another district.

'Well, let's go, too.
'...... What should I do with this flower?
'If you're hesitant to give them to the old man, why don't you give them to someone you like?

Where can I find someone like that?
Who am I supposed to give it to? ............ Wow, what's with that smiling face?
What's that?I'm not sure what to say.
I'm not sure what to make of it.
I can't have a serious discussion while I'm squirming. Dismissed, dismissed.

'Right. You might even meet a beautiful woman with big tits at Demilly's.'
'Mmm ......, I'd have very mixed feelings if there was such a disreputable person at the old man's place ......'.

Demilly is a lord, remember?I'm sure he's doing what he can. I'm sure he's doing what he's supposed to be doing. .................. That bald guy, what an envy. ......

'Do you have a convex lens anywhere?I've got to burn out his hair follicles. ......!
'You're going to see a lord now,......, so don't be rude!

What are you talking about now?
Once you've messed with him, you're his friend.

Well, unlike the time in District 41, we should be able to visit him with some ease.

--It wasn't long after that that my naive thoughts were blown away.

Ambrose Demilly, the lord of the fortieth district, who I hadn't seen in a long time, had a very stern expression on his face.

'Estella. I don't think you're entirely to blame. But I can't say that you're entirely blameless either.
'............ Oji-sama'.

What are you talking about, you baldhead?
It was not the kind of atmosphere where you could talk ...... lightly.

The introduction of the toll tax in the forty-first district has caused more tension in this district than expected.
The biggest factor was the existence of the Woodcutter's Guild.

'I think you're as cute as my own niece. But there are some problems that can be solved with ...... niece cuteness and some problems that can't. ......'
'...... Yes'.

In a serious voice that does not fit the image, Demilly continues.

'If you create a branch, all the contracts you've been forced to sign may be for naught. ...... This is an alarming problem.'

The Lumberjack Guild gave us permission to establish a branch on the condition that we build a city gate.
The city gate must not be withdrawn.
On the other hand, if a toll tax is introduced due to the current complications with the 41st district, a large tax will be imposed on the transport of wood taken by the branch.
The profits of the Lumberjack Guild would be severely impaired.

This situation would be unpleasant for the lumberjack guild.
In the first place, it was the Demilly who mediated with the Lumberjack Guild, and the Demilly did everything he could to help. If we let the woodcutter's guild do any damage here, it would ...... be a blot on Demilly's face.

'Couldn't you have defused the situation a little earlier?
'...... That's .................. sorry, sir... ...ugh.'

Estella looks down and bites her lip.
I thought she was going to be on my side, but she gave me a hard time. ...... It must have been pretty damaging.

It's a wonder Estella hasn't started crying, she's so depressed.
...... You bald old man ......'s squeaky! I'll polish you up so much that you'll be a squeaky wheel!

It seems that I was not the only one who was hurt by Estella's depression, Demilly rushed to Estella in a panic.
She bent down and looked into Estella's face.

'Oh, Estella,...... please don't look so sad,...... I'm not blaming you for anything.'
'............Yes. I know. ............'
'Oh ...... when you look at me like that, it makes me sad and want to ...... pelop you.'
'What are you talking about, you bald old man?

Where did you lose your sense of decency and common sense?
You should only lose your hair follicles.

'Oba-kun......, we're having a serious conversation between lords. Don't interrupt me.'
'What's so serious about that, you demon vine peropero!

Since Estella is down, I have to follow her somehow.

'I've tried to be as polite as possible. They're the ones who rejected it. Isn't it wrong to blame Estella for that?

What could Estella have done in that situation? ......
Well, if it had been before the situation, you might have been able to do something about it,......, but that's not my place to interfere.

So I'll at least do my best to defend him as best I can.

'The way I saw it, that wasn't an attitude of listening. She was aggressive, and nothing you could have said would have changed the outcome. If Estella didn't try hard enough, doesn't the lord of District 41 have a problem too?

The more you talk to him, the more he gives you a disadvantage.
I think keeping your distance is one way to deal with him.

'How can you be considerate when you're repeatedly harassed so blatantly?

I'm trying to give an honest opinion.
No matter how much you point out that you didn't respect the other person, if the other person is a bastard like that, it's a different story. If you are not a respectful person, you cannot behave in a respectful manner.

But ......

'I don't think Siegenthaler's son is small enough to be harassed like that.
'What about ............?'

What is this bald man talking about?
I've never seen a man with such a small capacity before in my life.

'It's true that he's not as well-spoken as his father, the former lord, and his attitude is not always the best, but he has the discipline to be reasonable. I'm sure you'll be able to understand why I'm here.
'......It's because he's the lord of the 40th district. ............'

In the event that you're not happy with the way Demilly is defending Ricardo, Estella will say as if to spit out.
I'm not sure what to do, but I'm sure you'll be able to do it. They are bosses, seniors, or people in slightly higher positions.

'He's not that handy of a guy to be able to use two sides of the same coin, you know?

From the reactions so far, Demilly seems to think that the trouble was caused by Estella's lack of effort.
...... I don't like that.

I'm sure you're right. In other words, Mr. Demilly says that if the 42nd district were to make more of an effort, the current turmoil could be put to rest.
'Oh?Hmm, ah, ah... Well, I don't know. It's not that simple. But what's the matter with you, suddenly taking on a more formal tone?It's not like you.

Formal tone?
Isn't it obvious?
Isn't it rude to be familiar with someone you're not particularly close to?

'Estella. Mr. Demilly has a point. Let's go back and see what we can do. The busy Mr. Demilly has taken the trouble to invite us to this wonderful house and has even given us some advice. I think we should return the favor.
'Oh, um, Oba-kun?Are you angry about something?

I'm not mad at you, though I'm surprised that you'd dare to speak so highly of me after shutting down everyone else's opinions.

'From my point of view, Estella seems to be a caring person. For example, when I was in trouble and on the verge of tears, she kindly called out to me, a reliable acquaintance of mine, and to make her happy even a little bit, I rushed to pick up some beautiful flowers 'by myself' and bring them to her.

I snapped my fingers and the maid from Demilly's house came into the room with a bouquet of flowers for me and Estella.
I had asked her to keep them because they might interfere with our discussion.
Estella said she wanted to give them to us as a thank you after the discussion. ......

...... Oops, that's the one I shouldn't say out loud.
'This, this flower is by ...... Estella?'
'...... Yes.'
'Wow, ...... to give to me?'
'...... Yes. I was told that you often go to the mountains to look at flowers, so I thought you would be ...... pleased.'

Demilly's face brightened up.

'I'm glad to hear that, Estella!That's right. I love flowers.
'That's why you're going bald.
'None of your business, Oba-kun!
'They're taking all the nutrients.
'That's not possible .................., is it?

There's no way.

Demilly begins to get nervous and stands in front of Estella.
Estella took the bouquet from the maid and handed it to Demilly with a slightly downcast look on her face.

'...... It's Estella. It's a beautiful flower. Can you give it to me with a smile?'
'......, but ............, it's almost as if this is a cunning ploy to get you to do me a favor... ...'

Give them something they like so that you can get their cooperation. It's a cunning ploy and one that Estella would hate.

'What are you talking about? How could I possibly think such a thing?I know Estella's straightforward nature better than anyone. I'll take this as a gift from a dear friend.
'...... Oji-sama'.

Demilly gently stroked Estella's hair.
Finally, Estella's expression softened a bit.

...... At all. If you know Estella's character, the first thing you should do is to be happy to see her again. If you know Estella's personality, you should be happy to see her again. I'm neutral!" Of course Estella would be depressed.

She'd been beaten down so much she'd only managed to keep her spirits up.
If the big tree that she thought she could be close to was unexpectedly cold, ...... her heart would fade at once.

'Estella. Don't misunderstand me, please listen to me. As the lord of the 40th district, I'm in a position where I can't take sides with either you or Siegenthaler's son. If I were to join either side, the balance would be shattered at once and the security of this whole area would rapidly deteriorate.''
'Yes, sir. I'm aware of that.

Like a parent looking at a child, Demilly looks at Estella with gentle but slightly stern eyes.
She speaks slowly in a soft voice that seems to sink into her heart.

'But you see. I'm not a lord, I'm just Ambrose Demilly, and I want you to remember that I care about Estella more than anyone else.
'...... Yes. Oji-sama.'

Estella's nose is turning a little red.
She didn't cry, but it must have been ...... hard for her.

'You've ...... got a good friend who's angry for you, Estella.'
'Yeah ......'.

Demilly and Estella both turned to look at me.
Don't look at ...... me. What if there's a hole.

'...... Yes. I'm a good friend, I think.'

............, can you stop saying things like that in front of him?

'You really are a good friend.'

...... Why did you emphasize that so much?

'Let him be a good friend forever and ever. You'll always be a good friend.

...... When did you become Estella's father?
If you're related to her, you've got a gene for trouble whether you're born a man or a woman. ......

'By the way, Oba-kun. It's a nice bouquet of flowers.

Demilly points to the bouquet I'm holding and says.

It's ....... You're asking for it, you sunshine reflection.

'...... You're not giving that to Estella ............, are you?
'Are you my father?
'You have no right to call me father!
'I didn't call you father!

I'm not calling you father!' Seeing Estella on the verge of tears, she must have suddenly become very cute.
This is a great way to get the most out of your time and money.

This is a bouquet of flowers that I brought with me to give to any woman in this building who has breasts that are bouncing around!They're not yours!
'I don't see any such disreputable women in my mansion, do you?

What, you don't have any?You should have a mistress or two around!
Ah, Estella is looking so relieved.

'Anyway... If the 41st district starts charging a toll tax, all three districts will be hurt.

That's right.
Even the forty-first district, which started the toll tax, will be hurt.
At the very least, there will be friction in diplomacy and trade.

The reason why they are trying to force the introduction of such a tax is ...... the city gate of District 42.
If you can convince them that it does not interfere with the interests of the 41st district, the matter may be resolved. ............

''Please return!The Master is currently meeting with a guest!

Suddenly, the hallway of the building becomes noisy.
'What is it?

'That's right!Just calm down!Even I can't protect you from this!Even I can't protect you from this, that's for sure!

This voice is ...... Stuart Javier, the guild leader of the Woodcutter's Guild?
What's that muscle-bound bastard doing here?

I'll take full responsibility.I'll take full responsibility!If you have a problem with that, you can take it to court or a judge!

And then, a shrill female voice: ......

The shouting and screaming and the rattling of footsteps eventually came to the front of the reception room where we were: ......

'It's me!I'm coming in!

With such a voice, the large door was thrown open with a roar.


There was an old lady who looked like a ...... gorilla, with long white hair tied in two at the shoulders with a cute red bonnet, and a muscular physique that would be a good match for Javier, who boasts grizzly muscles.

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The gorilla hag shouted those words with a snort.
I managed to say aloud the words that I needed to say right now, as the air in the reception room was frozen, unable to comprehend the situation.

'At any rate, pretend to be dead!

I don't know if this will work with ...... gorillas.