For the sake of reproducing the golem suit Jin began considering its specifications with great enthusiasm.
Shaping it like a knight’s armor with a two-layered structure, and having muscles of Magical Fiber in between…Or maybe it would be fine to have the armor itself move using [Forming] magic, or something else.
Either way, fundamentally it was armor. And so its defence capability was essential.
“For now, let’s try making a test piece.”
First he’d build armor to fit himself, add the muscle configuration to its outside, and on top of that add the exterior armor, was Jin’s plan for the course of action.
Because he had never built anything like armor it was considerably difficult. The material was the usual Light Silver. Because if it wasn’t light it would be troubling.
For the first time in a while, Jin had Pelshka, Citran and Appleles for lunch after which he hummed and hawed building the armor until evening.
“Father, we have to return soon.”
He worked with such zeal that if Reiko hadn’t advised him he would’ve kept going until midnight.
＊ ＊ ＊
“Nice, I made it in time.”
He returned to the hotel, where the dining room’s preparations seemed to be in good order.
There a voice called out to him. Jin turned around and it was Claude, Reinhardt’s butler.
“Your return was rather late. This evening the meal will be had outside, so please prepare for that.”
“Yes. At Elsa-sama’s elder brother Fritz-sama’s invitation.”
I see, Jin thought. He did say it had been two years since last time, so surely as a brother he wanted to have a talk with her.
“In that case, they’ll be waiting in the lobby after 30 minutes.”
And with that Jin returned to his own room, and began preparing with great urgency.
Because he’d be with Elsa’s elder brother, he decided to put on the Honorary Magi Craftsman’s half coat.
He wanted to take a bath before it, but he didn’t have the time and so he only wiped his body with hot water. He had Ann and Reiko help.
Finishing the preparations in 20 minutes, he went to the lobby where Reinhardt and Claude were waiting.
“Hey, Jin. Elsa went on ahead. It’s a little early but shall we go too?”
Reinhardt said as soon as he saw Jin. Then he had Claude guide them, and they left the hotel.
“It is just nearby.”
Just as he said, after five minutes they found the restaurant in question.
It was a three-storey building made out of stone that resembled marble. It had no extra ornaments and Jin couldn’t decide whether to call it unrefined-looking or elegant in its simplicity.
Maybe because he had noticed Reinhardt, a cloak-wearing man who seemed like a non-commissioned officer came and,
“Reinhardt-dono, right? The major is waiting. Please come this way.”
He said and guided them. Because of the soldier’s brisk conduct, Jin who didn’t generally have a good impression of soldiers secretly had a good opinion of him.
The non-commissioned officer went to the second floor of the restaurant and knocked on a massive door and,
“Major, I have escorted the guests here.”
He said. Immediately he was commanded to open the door, and Jin’s group was invited in.
Fritz who was inside said. Sitting next to him was Elsa in her favorite chartreuse dress.
“Come on, have a seat.”
Reinhardt and Jin were led to their seats by waiters and they sat down. Jin had the lowest seat. Claude stood next to the wall. Elsa’s nanny Mine was there too.
“Now, tonight is my treat so please eat to your heart’s content.”
Fritz said and raised his glass of wine.
“To my little sister, Elsa’s health. And to celebrate her betrothal, cheers!”
He led them in a toast, but no one joined him and instead had faces stiff with surprise.
“Ni, nii-sama, what, i’ve, never, heard of this, before”
The most surprised one was probably Elsa herself. Agitatedly she pressed Fritz for an answer. But Fritz kept calm.
“What, you didn’t know? In the letter I got from father it was written that you knew.”
Elsa shook her head fervently,
“I didn’t know. In the first place I’m not interested in something like that.”
However, Fritz looked at Elsa with a serious expression and spoke as if admonishining her.
“Elsa, you turned 17 recently, right? A 17-year-old is a fine adult. Didn’t you promise to marry after finishing this trip?”
Mine was looking at the siblings’ exchange with a terrible look on her face, but the only one who noticed was Jin. Because at any rate he was constantly treated like an enemy by Mine, so he thought that at a time like this she’d surely be angry, and sure enough she was.
And yet, Mine still didn’t say anything to Fritz.
“But on the letter from Father it was certainly written that Elsa has promised to marry after she returns home from this trip.”
Fritz said, and Reinhardt in turn said to him,
“She said that before marriage she’d tour the world at large, isn’t that a very broad interpretation?”
But it was as if Fritz didn’t hear him.
“Well, you’re at a marriageable age already, and your partner is from a marquis’s house!”
He had his own way.
“His grounds are next to ours so you must know him. He’s Marquis Gehlen Theoderic von Aizen. Since his wife died a few years ago he’s been looking for a second wife, so father certainly offered you.”
Hearing that Elsa’s face went pale. But without noticing her state Fritz continued his talk.
“Even though I said second wife, you’ll legally be marrying as the first wife, and that’s an amazing thing. Because it’s marrying up. So, you must be glad, right?”
At this point Elsa had no words. Looking at the state of affairs, as you’d expect Jin couldn’t stay quiet.
“Excuse me, Fritz-sama. How about Elsa’s wishes?”
However, after throwing a fleeting glance at Jin, he sneered at him with a ‘humph’ and,
“Wishes? As if a noble’s daughter who isn’t even the successor could have something like wishes. It’s a woman’s duty to marry a partner that benefits the house.”
Hearing those words made Elsa’s face go white as a sheet. Still, Reinhardt couldn’t just let it pass and spoke trying to smoothe things over.
“Fritz, isn’t that a bit of an exaggeration? After all, informing Elsa of something like an betrothal all of a sudden would always come as a surprise.”
“Humph, Reinhardt, you’re not planning to make Elsa your concubine or something, right? Because you’ve got a fiancee in our country.”
Fritz’s face was somewhat red. Maybe despite his appearance he was weak with alcohol.
“Yeah, of course not. Elsa’s my precious younger cousin. Nothing more, nothing less. But that’s exactly why I want her to be happy.”
However, the heated-up Fritz had alreay turned a deaf ear to him.
“I’m saying, there’s no greater happiness than marrying into a marquis’s house.”
Elsa was hanging her head, tears of defeat gathering in her eyes. But it looked like Fritz interpreted that as just embarassment and,
“Come now, everyone, for my sister Elsa’s happiness, once more, cheers!”
He said and made a good showing by himself, but Elsa herself, Reinhardt, and Jin stayed silent like it was a funeral.
Of course they didn’t have a good appetite, and as a result the brought-out cuisine was mostly left as-is.
For all that, the cause of the situation, Fritz, didn’t seem to think of it as more than lack of appetite caused by fatigue from traveling.
＊ ＊ ＊
That night, after Jin had returned to the hotel, he visited Reinhardt in his room.
“Jin, huh. I was just thinking of going to see you too.”
Reinhardt said and offered a chair. Jin sat down and Reinhardt apologized.
“Jin, sorry. But Fritz used not to be like that.”
But Jin stopped Reinhardt and said,
“There’s no need for you to apologize, Reinhardt. More importantly, I’m worried about Elsa.”
“Yeah, me too. I couldn’t expect that she’d suddenly be told about a betrothal.”
“He seemed to be seriously thinking it was for Elsa’s sake but he was still in the wrong.”
Jin spoke his mind and even Reinhardt smiled bitterly.
“Certainly, becoming a marquise would be big. Since Elsa’s house would also gain in prestige. But the partner being who he is…”
“Is he that bad?”
Jin’s question was blunt.
“Hmm, if I remember right the Marquis is 53 years old this year. He’s rather fat. Well, he does look better than Earl Guarana.”
Being told that didn’t make Jin think the Marquis would be a good partner at all.
“Is marriage between nobles a this sort of thing?”
“Yeah. However, it’s just the nobles sticking to traditions. Especially family lineages of military personnel. My father wouldn’t do such a thing, but my uncle, how should say this, he’s obsessed with the desire of getting ahead in life…”
To Reinhardt who found it hard to talk about, Jin said,
“Reinhardt, you don’t have to badmouth your relatives. More importantly, let’s go see how Elsa is doing.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
The two then went towards Elsa’s room together.
“The young lady is already resting.”
“Is that so, that’s fine then.”
As she had already fallen asleep, Jin and Reinhardt left it for tomorrow and decided to retire to their rooms for the night.