How a Realist Hero Rebuilt the Kingdom: Volume 10 (Premium), page 8part #10 of Realist Hero Series
We moved from beside the experimental drill to a place a little further away. They said Trill had broken all sorts of stuff while she was in the Empire, so I was a little worried to be so close, even at this distance.
Apparently Aisha had the same concern.
“Sire, please, stand behind me.” She put her hand on the hilt of her greatsword as she positioned herself between the drill and me. If it broke and sent shards flying this way, she probably meant to cut them down.
Genia and Trill both had past offenses on their records, so I took Aisha up on her kind offer and hid behind her.
“Now, I will begin,” Trill said, raising her hand.
One researcher in a white coat pressed a switch of some sort.
Bwun, een, eeeen, eeeeeeeen, eeeeeeeeeeeeeen...!
The front part of the drill began to spin while making strange noises.
It was slow at first, but the speed gradually picked up, and in no time, the countless blades embedded in the front of the drill were revolving too fast for the eye to see.
“...It looks stable,” I said after maybe a minute.
Trill thrust out her chest, which, relative to her height, was quite sizable, with pride.
“Yes. This is all thanks to Big Sister Genia.”
Then she hugged Genia’s left arm.
Though she was younger, Trill was the more well-endowed of the two, so Genia’s arm was buried in her soft flesh.
“The biggest task was supplying the stored magical power to the apparatus in a stable manner, but the magical power storage system Big Sister Genia provided sorted everything out nicely. Ohh, how wonderful the technology of the House of Maxwell is!” Trill rhapsodized. “Viva Maxwell!”
“You’re too into this,” Genia told her. “Also, your drill hair is sitting on my head.”
Not only was Trill rubbing her cheek against Genia’s, her hair, which was tied in a distinctive drill-like sidetail, was resting on top of Genia’s head, so Genia was a little unamused.
However, Trill didn’t let go. “Ohh, if I were a man, I swear I would take Big Sister Genia as my bride...”
And she was saying some pretty incredible things, too.
I knew she was a big fan of the kingdom’s overscientists, the House of Maxwell, but this was already to feel less like she was a fan and more like she was a worshiper.
It seemed not even Ludwin could let that line go unchallenged. He took Genia by the arm and pulled the two of them apart.
“Please, stop, Madam Trill. Genia is my fiancée.”
Genia, with a look that showed she felt she had finally been liberated, hid behind Ludwin’s back.
Trill looked at Ludwin and puffed up her cheeks. “They tell me you’re Big Sister Genia’s childhood friend, but I see you have no appreciation for the things she develops. I, however, can properly understand the way she thinks!”
“True, Genia’s greatness is difficult for me to comprehend.” Ludwin, who was by nature a serious man, countered Trill’s argument directly. “But I’ve been with Genia for a long time. If you claim to understand Genia’s greatness, I understand everything that’s wrong with her. She’s a shut-in, unconcerned with anything outside her research, lacking in common sense, and unconcerned about how she looks to others. Even though she’s a girl, she doesn’t take care of her appearance, she lets the laundry pile up, and if you leave her alone, she’ll even collapse because she forgets to eat. I can’t say I don’t have my reservations about our married life.”
“Big Brother Luu, if you take it that far, even my feelings are going to get hurt, you know?” Genia pursed her lips in displeasure, but...
Wow, Ludwin sure has been through a lot, huh?
It seemed even Trill was put off by how bad it was. “E-Even so, the greatness of her technology wins out!”
“Because you comprehend its greatness,” said Ludwin. “I can only vaguely understand it. However, despite that, even as I’m confronted with Genia’s bad points and can’t understand her good ones, I still want her to be with me. I still want her as my wife.”
“Big Brother Luu...”
As Genia clutched at Ludwin’s cape, her cheeks reddened and her face melted into a big silly grin. It was an uncommon expression for one who was usually so aloof.
I guess if he was going to talk so seriously about how much he loved her, that would be enough to make anyone smile.
It seemed Trill was not amused, because sparks flew where her eyes met with Ludwin’s.
...Hold on, why was this turning into a love triangle? It was an unusual one, too, where even though there were two women and one man involved, Genia was the one at the center of it.
Well, in the interest of friendly relations with the Empire, I couldn’t have the commander of our National Defense Force and the Imperial ambassador’s relationship go sour, so I’d have to put my foot down.
I slipped into my king mode just a bit, and spoke to Trill in a frightening tone.
“Madam Trill. If you mean to take issue with the engagement of one my vassals...”
“Wh-What are you going to do about it?” she shot back defensively.
“I will report your words and actions just now, not a single detail omitted, to Madam Maria and Madam Jeanne. Madam Jeanne told me, ‘Please, tell me if she does anything to embarrass the Empire. I will bring her back, even if I have to tie a rope around her neck to do so.’”
This time, it was Trill who hid behind Ludwin’s large body. “Th-That’s the one thing I don’t want!”
Her distance from Genia, who had already been hiding there, dropped, and Genia looked bothered by that.
“I’m finally in a position to learn from Big Sister Genia!” Trill wailed. “I don’t want anyone taking me back to the Empire! Please, spare me that, at least!”
“Then please refrain from making waves about any of my vassals’ marriages, would you?” I glared at her a little.
Trill quickly saluted. “Understood, sir!”
Watching that exchange between us, Kuu smirked.
“...What?” I asked.
“No, I was just thinking you can sure talk the talk when you need to, Bro.”
“The castle is in a frenzy preparing for my coronation and wedding right now,” I said tiredly. “More than that, we have a plan to hold weddings for a number of my vassals at sites around the capital at the same time. I’m short on couples to marry as it is. If someone tries to get in the way of Ludwin and Genia’s engagement, that’s a problem for me. I don’t need more work.”
“Isn’t that a pretty personal grudge to be acting on?” Kuu questioned.
“I won’t deny it.”
I was already busy, so I didn’t have time for this. If I was being honest, I wanted to spend more time raising Cian and Kazuha. Ohh, how I wanted paternity leave!
While I was thinking about that, Kuu got a pensive look on his face. “Weddings, huh...”
It looked like he was plotting something, but, well, I could probably leave him be for now.
For now, I had to focus on what was in front of me: the drill, “Little Piercer.”
While we’d been bantering like idiots, it had kept on spinning.
One of the earth mages who was standing nearby carried the Little Piercer in front of a massive rock wall that had been prepared, and then moved the drill forward.
We were moving the Little Piercer with an earth mage’s gravity manipulation magic for now, but in actual practice, it would be pushed from behind by a large animal like a rhinosaurus.
As the front end of the Little Piercer made contact with the rock, it kept spinning and chipped away at it.
The power to keep spinning when it hit a rock wall was incredible. However, the speed with which it was carving away at the rock felt rather slow. Though it was making steady progress, it went as slow as the walking speed of a giant tortoise.
“Well... it’s a start, I guess?” I said. “Can’t you have it dig any faster?”
“That’s what we’ll have to solve going forward,” said Merula, who despite being part of the research team seemed to have been left on the sidelines a bit. “Currently, this is the fastest it can dig. If we increase the speed it moves without increasing the speed at which it can dig, it will break the machine. That’s why I suspect we will need to improve the spell so that the central axis can spin faster.”
“You think that’s possible?” I asked.
“I think it will take time. But we’ll do it.”
If Merula, an expert on magic spells, was on the job, I could safely leave it to her.
Fortunately, it seemed to be spinning nice and stably.
“The rotator itself is stable, right?” I asked. “I’d like to think of other uses for it, too.”
“Ookya!” Kuu exclaimed. “In that case, Bro, I’m interested in that ‘leisure skiing’ you were talking about before. If we have a rotational mechanism, we can make what you were calling a lift, and that’s what you said would make this ‘leisure skiing’ stuff possible, right?”
Kuu’s eyes were sparkling. Now that he mentioned it, we had discussed that.
True, if it had leisure skiing, the republic, with its snow and hot springs, could likely bring in tourists from the kingdom and Empire to gain foreign currency.
I mean, I’d want to go skiing with my family, too... but still.
“I’d have to turn this machine over to Turgis for that, you know...” I began.
“What are you saying, Bro?! This is a joint development project between our three countries. No one’s going to let the kingdom monopolize it!”
Kuu sounded offended, but I tried to mollify him as I explained.
“No, I know that, of course. But some of the materials used in this machine are sensitive. If I’m not careful, it could cause a conflict over them. With the Lunarian Orthodox Papal State in particular.”
The material in question was, of course, the central element of the magic storage system, curse ore.
Curse ore, which had the property of nullifying (actually absorbing) nearby magic, was hated in this world where magic tended to be seen as the work of spirits or the gods. That trend was especially prevalent in countries like the Lunarian Orthodox Papal State and the Spirit Kingdom of Garlan, so if they found out we were using curse ore, it was bound to cause some serious headaches.
It seemed it was commonly dug up in the southeast of this continent, and our country had abundant reserves. They could probably mine it in the east of the republic, too. I could keep it under wraps if we were only using it in our country, but if we shared the information with other countries, too, there was the risk that it would eventually leak to third parties.
When that happened, how many of the countries of mankind were willing to support its use would determine how things developed after that.
In light of resistance from people connected to the Orthodox Papal State and Spirit Kingdom, would the Empire and republic really be able to continue cooperating with us?
I would need to sound them out on that as I negotiated.
That’s why I told Kuu, “It’s certainly true that this machine will have a major positive effect on the Republic of Turgis. If the country profits, it’ll be easier to shut up those who support the policy of northward expansion, so I’d very much like to see you introduce the technology.”
“It’s just that we need to talk more about how the materials used in it are to be handled first. So, Kuu, I want to arrange for talks between the kingdom, Empire, and republic. Would it be okay to have you as representative of the republic there?”
Kuu thumped his chest. “Yeah! My old man left me in charge of any negotiations involving this drill. I’m not that smart, but I can tell this machine’s going to open a way to the republic’s future. So, if it gets this thing into the republic, I’ll do whatever it takes to help!”
Kuu’s eyes were earnest.
He’d been a bit of a goofball when we first met him, but at some point, he’d become so reliable. There was a saying about how fast boys grow up. I’d felt this with Julius, too. It seemed as long as people stay alive, they keep growing.
I had to keep doing my best, too... or so I was thinking, but...
“Ookyakya! I can’t help but wonder what this ‘leisure skiing’ stuff is. The name’s got a nice ring to it,” Kuu added with a devilish look on his face.
It seemed his growth was a bit uneven.
Half out of exasperation, I shook hands with him.
I didn’t even notice the serious eyes Taru and Leporina had fixed on Kuu.
Some days later, it was busy in Taru’s workshop in the Parnam craftsmen’s town.
“Hey, Taru,” Kuu said. “We’re done filing the anvil. Where do you want it?”
“Ohhh, it’s pretty heavy,” Leporina groaned.
Kuu and Leporina were carrying in a heavy-looking anvil. They had been doing maintenance on it outside the workshop until just now.
Hearing their voices, Taru, who had been cleaning the ash out of the furnace, stopped and wiped the mixture of soot and sweat from her brow. She pointed to a spot near her.
“Close to the furnace here.”
“Gotcha,” said Kuu.
Kuu and Leporina laid the anvil down where they were asked to.
The three of them were currently doing a major cleanup of Taru’s workshop.
The workshop had been left vacant recently because of her work on the drill development project, so Taru was using her day off today to clean the place up and do maintenance on her tools there.
Kuu had volunteered to help, and then dragged Leporina along, too.
Ever since they were in the republic, Kuu had wanted to show Taru his good side, so he often helped with cleaning the workshop, and was used to doing maintenance on her tools.
Leporina, who was often dragged along into helping, was the same.
Taru had anticipated the work would take all day, but with the extra help, they were finished before the sun went down.
As thanks for the assistance, Taru served the two of them black tea that she had allowed to chill after making it. It was still before spring, and cold, but the three of them were sweaty from their work, so the cold tea tasted especially good.
“Thanks for today,” Taru said bashfully, hiding her mouth with her cup. “Master Kuu, Leporina.”
“Ookyakya! It was nothing,” Kuu said energetically. “Right, Leporina?”
“Yes.” She seemed a little exhausted, her bunny ears drooping. “I’ve long since gotten used to being run ragged by Master Kuu.”
Taru watched those two contrasting individuals for a moment.
“So, Master Kuu, I still haven’t heard what you were here about,” she said at last. “Why did you come to see me today? You didn’t come just to help clean up the workshop, I assume?”
“Ookya? Oh! Right, right!” Kuu slapped his knee as if he’d just remembered.
Oh! He actually came on business... Taru’s eyes widened a bit in surprise.
In Kuu’s case, it was more than possible that he’d just dropped by on a whim. Or rather, before this, that would definitely have been what Kuu was doing. However, today Kuu spoke to Taru with a serious look on his face.
“I wanted to hear about that drill in detail. How about it? How’s development?”
“Going smoothly,” Taru said. “Even when there’s an issue, if Madam Genia and Madam Trill argue over it for a while, they have a new breakthrough in no time. Those two are smart. From there, it’s simply a matter of me making parts of the quality they demand, and Merula providing the spells.”
“Simply...? I’m sure it’s not as easy as you’re making it sound, though.” Kuu let out a sigh.
There was no doubt Genia and Trill were geniuses, but for Taru to be able to respond to those geniuses’ demands surely meant she was a first-rate craftsperson.
Kuu smiled in satisfaction. “Ookyakya, it’s all thanks to you. I
Taru’s response was curt, but her cheeks reddened a little. She probably didn’t mind the compliment.
Leporina was watching Taru with a peaceful look on her face.
Putting a hand on his knee, Kuu stood up and picked up the hand-operated drill for use on wood. While spinning it, Kuu let out a little sigh.
“The problem now is, will our country be able to put the drill that’s developed into use? The question of whether we have people who can or not... will have an effect on its future.”
Kuu wasn’t acting like his normal self, so Taru and Leporina got worried. The usually easygoing goofball was acting like another person entirely.
When Kuu unfurled a map of the continent in front of the two of them, he smirked like a beast that had its eye on some prey.
“I’ve been thinking about what’s to come ever since I met Fuuga in the north. The future of the Republic of Turgis.”
“The future of the republic...” Taru whispered.
Leporina was silent.
Taru was surprised by the unexpected seriousness of the discussion, but Leporina had seen Fuuga in the Union of Eastern Nations with Kuu, and she’d already been told all this.
“In future, Fuuga’s Malmkhitan is going to rise in the north,” Kuu said. “He has the ambition, as well as the ability, to make it happen. Bro’s Kingdom of Friedonia is in the east, and Empress Maria’s Gran Chaos Empire is in the west. It’s likely that future events on the continent will revolve around these three countries.”
Kuu pointed to the map as he said that, then he pointed to the Republic of Turgis.
“In the middle of all that, what will our country do? We’re involved in the medical alliance and joint drill development project, so we have friendly relations with the kingdom and Empire. But that’s not enough for us to relax. If Fuuga’s Malmkhitan swallows up the Union of Eastern Nations, and then either allies with or invades and destroys the Lunarian Orthodox Papal State and the Mercenary State Zem, his fangs might reach all the way to the republic. It can’t even be assured that the kingdom and Empire will be safe forever.”