The speech, which I had previously made, spread at its own convenience, just like a manifesto, throughout all the territory of Est. Soon after that, volunteers with the desire to become my soldiers began to assemble more and more.
Having the volunteers come to my shop would be troublesome, so I decided to turn Ona village into a gathering spot and set a camp there instead. I also had sets of leather armor, undergarments and arquebuses distributed, alongside having the self-defense unit and the troop of musketeers undergo practice.
Obviously, I entrusted the last part to Louise, who was known as the demon sergeant of training. (I think she’s a competent person.)
Even if we gather volunteer soldiers, it doesn’t mean they will be able to use guns and cannons, unless we teach them how to do it, you see.
Of course, we were also lacking in gunpowder, so I also needed them to learn how to make it together with bullets.
I don’t think the volunteers will have any previous experience as soldiers, as most of them have made a living as farmers. I’ll make sure to give them food and wages, so they probably shouldn’t complain.
As for me, I waited for the practice to settle and endeavored with Sensei, Sharon, and the rest of girls in trade, just like the usual.
Naturally, we’ve received money to cover the cost of arrangements from the Earl, however, we were still in need of more.
That’s because the recovery potions, which we provided the volunteer soldiers with, were costly. (And the cheapest one was 1 silver coin!)
Despite saying so, there would probably be no end to my regrets, were I to let people die because of my stinginess.
Money can’t be converted into one’s life.
Honestly, I’d have manufactured potions by myself if I could, but, it seems there are magic users here capable of casting water and recovery magic.
Too bad, there’s no priest in my group.
However, it should be fine for me to make it up by earning money, earning money!
I, who was in charge of the shop, welcomed a customer loudly. The customer, who had just entered in, turned out to be the blond-hair Sara-chan, whom I remember.
“Long time no see, Takeru…..”
“Oh, Sara-chan, why are you here?”
For some reason, there was a group of boys and girls tagging along behind her, but, could it be they are on a trip to Est?
Somehow, they were holding dangerous, pointy weapons which looked like remodeled farming tools. They were even carrying wooden shields and wearing heavy clothes, but….
“I, Sara Rhode and the Losgow’s volunteers troop of 10 are checking in!”
“Wait, Takeru! Honestly, why do you look slightly doubtful?! I’ve gone through the trouble of gathering volunteer soldiers just for you, so please give us a warmer reception!”
“Ah no, but aren’t you all just kids?”
The boys and girls brought by the 12-year-old Sara-chan were all in the same age category as her. Well, you’d expect the same from the slave girls in my household, but….
These kids, they are way too young to become soldiers, right? Aren’t they really just on a school trip?
“I’ve heard rumors about Takeru giving weapons to very young children and making them fight.”
“Eh, why does it sound like I’m creating a troop of mercenaries…..?”
Just what kind of wicked people spread rumors like these? Honestly, am I going to be punished, before their country will be by the hands of monsters?
Ah, but could it be, this is actually how I look?
I didn’t want to stand out, since this fantasy world is very cruel, but, it may be that I’ve already become a scoundrel.
“Well, actually half of what I said is a joke. The truth is, I’ve heard that Takeru is recruiting soldiers regardless of their age, so I thought children can also participate and brought everyone with me. I also told them I used to be your boss.”
“I’m glad you’re willing to become part of our military strength, but honestly, where we are heading is a battlefield.”
Even if you were to do nothing but shoot from a distance, I can’t afford to bring children with me.
Still, there’s no doubt even that part will be dangerous or life-threatening, as guns and cannons might explode.
“Hmph, what more can I say…..? The 2 girls and 3 boys whom I’ve brought here come from poor farm families. They’ve been nothing but fed and treated as children, so everyone is desperate and determined to help!”
“Ah no, having them become desperate would be troublesome. Even you, Sara-chan, I would feel incredibly sorry for your parents…..”
If something was to happen to her, what would I say to the Rhodes?
Even if it’s just Sara-chan, I’d like her to return back.
“Fufu, but I’ve got Lyle-sensei and Takeru to protect me, don’t I?”
“Well, I guess it should be safe to assign you to the rear, but….”
When it comes to possessing a large army, a battlefield won’t be just about front line.
The rear is too, important for its supportive role.
What’s more, we also don’t know how strong the monsters are going to be.
If, by any chance, the battle were to expand into a large-scale one, it would be seriously bad, were Sara-chan to be attacked.
“Worry not. Rather, I’ll be the one to protect Takeru. I know better than you when it comes to maneuvering.”
Indeed, Sara-chan won’t lose in terms of physical strength. What’s more, back when I was working in their farm, the petite Sara-chan would have much more explosive power and stamina than me.
Since then, I had managed to train my body a bit, but I know very well that children are quite robust in this cruel world.
“Despite saying so, Takeru too, has become successful in your life. You aren’t just a Governor or a Knight but also a General of an extermination army.”
“Well, it can’t be helped about my career rising.”
“From our farming assistant, to a merchant, Knight, and even becoming a General, I guess it was thanks to rumors about you being spread in our village that you became this successful.”
“Please stop thaaaat.”
Good grief, could it be that Losgow is no longer good?
“Ara, but you’re an aspiration for the children in the village. Everyone has come here with the intention to become knights, so please take good care of us, okay?”
Saying so, Sara-chan grasped my hand firmly.
Despite her being a 12-year-old, it’s ominous that Sara-chan is able to capitalize on her connection.
Being told a fictional story about me by Sara-chan, the girls’ and boys’, who were brought here by deception, eyes glittered.
Argh. Good grief, if you want to look at me, then at least do it with eyes filled with honest respect.
That’s right, the blood of those kids must be boiling, after being instigated they could rise to being a knight from a farmer.
“Kuu, Sara-chan, you bad girl. Just what kind of sin have you committed….?”
“Even if I don’t become a knight, I’m fine with being a General’s wife.”
Saying so, she grasped my hand while acting flirtatious, even though she had yet to become a full-fledged adult.
Hmph, I don’t know what she’ll become in 5 years, but, even if she brushes up her silky blond hair and tempts me with her nape, she looks nothing but merely cute to me.
As she was acting intimate with me like this, Sharon and Lyle-sensei finished the distribution of items and returned back.
“Ahhhh, who are you guys?! Get away from Master-sama!”
Before Lyle-sensei could call out, Sharon rushed over and came between me and Sara-chan who was holding my hand.
Indeed, Sharon plunged in quite forcefully.
“Ah no, wait wait. That’s fine, Sharon. These kids are from Losgo—”
“You as well, what’s your relationship with Takeru?!”
Before I could intervene, Sara-chan became enraged.
Uwaa, wait a bit you girls.
Don’t just play Oshikura Manju, listen to me!
“I am, Master-sama’s slave girl, and at the same time, his personal musketeer!”
“Heh, is that so? So you’re one of those rumored slave girls. You look to be pretty huge for a girl, but…. whichever it is, it’s been decided my volunteers troop will take charge of protecting Takeru, so your business is settled.”
“Wait, to begin with, why are you both in bad moods?!”
I shifted my gaze toward Lyle-sensei and looked for help, however, he shrugged his shoulders.
‘Try to figure out something by yourself.’ – As if telling me that, Sensei took all the children, besides Sara-chan, with him and drew back inside the shop.
Well, I do understand that all these children are your acquaintances from the village, but…
Isn’t Sara-chan Sensei’s precious pupil? Why are you leaving her behind to me?!
And then, somehow it feels like, lately, Sensei’s become cold towards me.
It feels lonesome not to receive enough love.
“Get away from Master-sama immediately! It’s been decided before that we, the loyal slave girls, will be his personal guard!”
“Ara, what’s a slave like you suddenly spouting? I, have been acquainted with Takeru since he was a little farmer brat, you see?”
Sara-chan, don’t just fabricate my past to your own convenience.
I used to work for the Rhode family, but, I don’t recall spending my childhood there.
“The time of encounter doesn’t matter. We, the slave girls, and Master-sama are tied with a strong bond and this collar!”
“Haa? What are you talking about? Someone like me has already entered a hot spring together with Takeru.”
Seriously, you two, please stop!
Otherwise, this will become a base for strange rumors.
I’ve the feeling like I’ll be the one to receive all the damage.
“I too, have bathed together with Master-sama, and even had him clean every nook and cranny of my body!”
“Eeeeeeeeeeh, what do you think you’re doing Takeru?!”
I became surprised as the quarrel suddenly involved me.
“That’s right, Takeru! No matter how much of a slave she is, it’s no good to bathe with an adult woman like her. Could it be, that, you were attracted by this slave’s……?”
“Ah no, I don’t know what kind of an idea you’re getting, but, you’re getting it wrong!”
“T, T, That slave’s……”
“Uwaaaa, that’s wrong! Children like you shouldn’t say any more than that!”
Stop it! Don’t be disillusioned upon observing that dirty part of an adult’s body.
My body, is still noble!
“Sharon is still a child despite her matured appearance. It’s because of the beastman blood within her!”
‘What’s this guy talking about?’ – Sara-chan made a face as if saying so, after I had already explained it to her.
“Don’t ‘Eh’ me. I’m the one who actually wants to do it. Do you yourself understand the meaning behind what you are saying?”
“Uhmm, basically that beastmen tend to grow faster? Sharon has the body of an adult, but, she’s still a child inside, so it can’t be helped for me to treat her the same as the other slave girls.”
As I said so, Sara-chan compared both me and Sharon with a fixed eye, and sighed deliberately.
Her expression was better than that of disillusionment a moment ago, but, for some reason, she still was dissatisfied and amazed.
“Takeru, as usual, you’re an idiot, aren’t you….? When a body becomes that of an adult, it’s natural for its owner’s heart to mature as well.”
“Ehhhh, no no, it’s probably not. In what kind of a fantasy world would that be possible?”
What’s wrong? It’s feels as though I’m being deceived, even though I didn’t say anything strange.
I looked in Sharon’s direction.
However, she averted her amber colored eyes abruptly, which was rare for her.
“Hey Takeru, cut it out and admit it. Assuming you aren’t lying on purpose, you’re being deceived by this vixen.”
“Ah no, to say she’s a vixen, she’s actually a dog-type beastman.”
Yes, I know I’m lame, sorry for that.
“Ah no, but, wait a moment! Isn’t this something even Lyle-sensei has said?”
Upon hearing my shout, Sensei suddenly stuck out his head from the interior of the shop.
“I didn’t mention anything about beastmen growing fast while their minds remaining that of a child.”
Ehhhhh, what’s with you Sensei?! Why am I being left high and dry by you at times like these?! Seriously, I’ll be troubled!
“But Sensei, shouldn’t you have noticed that too when Sharon was pestering me back when we were bathing?”
“I don’t think this matter is something I should be concerned with. The girl herself didn’t want to discuss it, so I read the atmosphere and decided to ignore it.”
I guess even Lyle-sensei will sometimes say things like these!
So not only did he keep silent about Louise’s past but is also reserved about that time’s bath?
No, this isn’t the right time to joke.
“Takeru-dono, since it’s come to this, it can’t be helped for me but to tell you. Based on my calculations, beastmen generally reach their maximum growth at the age of 10, which is twice fast as is the case for humans. As for half and quarter beastmen, it would be one and a half. Since Sharon should be around 12 years old, her actual age would be 18 years old.”
“Wouldn’t it mean she’s already fully grown?!”
Apparently, children in this world reach their adulthood at the age of 15.
An 18-year-old adult….? Wouldn’t it mean she’s 1 year older than me?!
So, the person, whom I’d believed to be still a child, became older than me before I could realize? What a shock.
This is too much of a fantasy world for me. My mind can’t follow it anymore.
So it was like that? For some reason, I’ve the feeling like a mystery has been resolved. A mystery which has been troubling me,
I see, so this is why Sharon has been able to memorize things very well….
Assuming her brain has also developed rapidly, it should be natural thing for her to master bookkeeping and trade with ease.
Being unaware of that, I had thought Sharon was a trade-born genius.
Don’t think you can dodge me by averting your eyes.
“So you’re 18 years old after all, right? Do you have any justification for that?”
“Uhmmm….. actually, I’m Sharon’s older sister. ”
Sharon unfolded both her hands in front of her in a cute-looking manner.
“Don’t joke with me!”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry!”
Sharon sat in a neat dogeza style, as if folding up her large, grown body.
She even put together three fingers on each hand.
That’s why, I’m asking, where did you learn that?
Honestly, I don’t feel like I can be mad at her any longer.
“Haaa…… So the only one who was unaware of Sharon being an adult was me?”
“Master-sama, I’m sorry, I couldn’t bring myself to explain it to you that suddenly!”
Is this kind of an excuse popular in this world as well?
Good grief, I no longer know what I should say to make it right, so I kept silent.
Sara-chan interfered from the sideline.
“Shouldn’t we give her some sort of a punishment, now that it’s become clear she’d been deceiving her master?”
“Hmmm, that’s right.”
“I’m sorry, please don’t throw me away!”
“Ah no, I wouldn’t go that far.”
To be frank, this shop won’t function without Sharon being around.
That’s why, even if I’m told, I can’t release her from her duty. What should I do about her punishment?
“Then, let’s do it like this, I will no longer need to assist you when washing your body.”
“I’m sorry, I’ll repent my action by dying here right now.”
Sharon, took out a short sword and pushed it against her throat.
“Wait, why did it come to this?!”
“No, being treated by Master that way, there’s no reason for me, as well as other slave girls, to live any longer……”
It was supposed to be a joke.
Still, for this girl, who had lived in her former environment, it was probably something she could pull.
I want to remain serious toward her, but if she says she’s going to die, she’ll most likely do so.
“Got it. If you promise me to reflect on your action, I’ll let you get away with it this time.”
“Thank you very much! I’ll reflect on my action thoroughly!”
Sharon, again sat in dogeza while holding her head low.
Still, judging from her animal ears standing straight up, I guess she won’t completely reflect.
I must admit however, I’m easily deceived. I must have been silly for taking everything she had said seriously.
“You’re too lenient, Takeru. Is this how a master’s discipline is supposed to be?”
Being told by Sara-chan, I could only ponder about it, but…
“Well, it can’t be helped, since the problem has already been solved. And Sharon too, will probably stand on her own from now on.”
“…..I’ll die now.”
Why has it become like this?
Speaking of which, that short sword is hazardous, so hand it over to me.
“I…..I’m fine with just my hair, so Master-sama, please continue to bathe me.”
“Argh, I get it already!”
So in the end, I guess it’s about that. I got it. It can’t be helped.
“Takeru, you’re way too soft.”
“Sara-chan, please don’t say anymore….”
If I were to say to myself, I felt sorrowful at my mercifulness.
Being told they would put their lives on line for me, I became reluctant to punish my slaves, even though I was literally fooled by one of them.
As expected, I’m not the type of a person who’s oriented to this world.