Chapter 518: Unconventional Means
Capital Mansion – Office.
Adolph taps a stack of documents on the desk to align them, making a crisp sound.
Maybe it’s closer to a thud because of how thick the stack is……I’m already dreading this talk before we get started.
The fully motivated Adolph and Polte sit down inside the not-so-large office of the mansion in the capital.
Before I knew it, she had completely become Adolph’s assistant.
Sitting opposite them is Leopolt and Nina, who is more like an errand girl than an assistant.
It feels like forever since I’ve seen her. While her face still retains its innocence, she is a full-fledged adult now.
Beside them, is Myla, who is leaning slightly toward me.
Of course, in between the two groups, Celia is sitting next to me.
There is the domestic affairs team, the military team, and me.
We are beginning to look like a faction of Goldonia, albeit a small one.
「Alright, let’s start. Keep it as short as possible.」
I was prepared to get right to the chase, but they just stared at the desk without saying anything.
Placed on the desk by Adolph are the stupidly tall pile of documents, drinks, and a half-eaten cake……damn Irijina, you didn’t finish it, huh? The only other thing on the desk was head-helmina.
Celia, Myla, and Polte shouted at the same time.
Eeei, it’s annoying to explain. I mean, I don’t know how to explain it.
「Various things happened to get to where we are. You can submit your question in writing later.」
I’ll let this thing write its own replies.
「Knowledge is like a stream of water. Rumors, love affairs, others’ financial situations, each individual miscellaneous matter may gather together to form a great river and accomplish something. I was formerly a sworn enemy, a suspicious outsider, but now I am merely a head that can’t roll around telling everybody, so please pay me no heed and leave me be.」
The head bows politely.
After some complications, the meeting began.
「Ahem. Firstly, regarding the number of civilian casualties in the series of wars, although it’s still a rough estimate, there shouldn’t be much difference. This doesn’t include those hunted down as soldiers.」
「That’s not many.」
It’s not nothing.
However, in a war of such magnitude involving the taking and taking back, and a messy end which can hardly be called warfare, this amount can be considered small.
「It’s the result of the hand you played in advance. Well done.」
「Well, it’s fine I guess.」
Come on, you were given praise.
「The corner of your mouth loosened for an instant. You can’t fool my eyes.」
「Ahem! Err, the issue isn’t with the citizens, it is with the land they should be returning to!」
Adolph, whose behavior was highlighted by Celia, coughs to hide his embarrassment and continues on.
「In addition to the ruination of farmland caused by the war, the final scorched earth campaign literally reduced the southern towns and villages to ashes. From the villages themselves to flood control channels and watermills……everything has been destroyed, and there won’t be any prospect of harvest next year or the year after, let alone this year.」
We went around burning the entire fields of villages after all. There’s going to be fewer of them left intact.
It may be a nightmare for Adolph, but it was necessary at the time. Unless we did what we did, insects would be moving in this room instead of us.
「Necessity aside, calculations show that we can survive through the winter based on the less-damaged northern harvest and our current stockpile. However, until then, we will not be able to afford to sell anything for profit.」
「Even without selling our precious food supply, can’t Lindbloom make money with its products?」
Adolph shakes his head at Celia.
「Needless to say, Lindbloom’s products are iron products obtained from the iron mines……and right now, the price of iron is plummeting.」
War ravaged throughout the entire Central plains.
With so many things broken all over the place, iron should be needed to repair and rebuild.
「Damage has exceeded the limit. Too many things were destroyed so people are choosing cheaper materials such as wood or stone and not iron.」
Iron was never necessary to repair houses or water canals or walls.
There is no reason why work can’t be done with the inexpensive stone or the common and simpler-to-process wood.
Sure, using iron would increase the strength and durability, but the material is harder to manipulate and also not affordable for everyone.
「If we were to look at what does need iron……」
Weapons, armor, forts, ramparts and the like――although now that war is over, those things can wait.
「There are more bad elements. Since roads and bridges are damaged, it’s harder to transport materials from a remote region like Lindbloom……and the army’s spare weapons are circulating widely as a form of scrap iron.」
「Disposing the spares……」
Myla makes a conflicted expression.
The military possesses a large supply of weapons aside from the ones in use by soldiers.
That is so soldiers are not left idle when their weapons inevitably break.
「And because an enemy no longer exists, there is no reason to keep spares……?」
I’m beginning to sense the “soldiers’ cold treatment” mentioned by Wilhelmina previously.
「The value of iron is a fraction of what it was before the war. It is still an important stream of revenue, but it is no longer as reliable.」
Adolph places multiple bonds on the desk.
「Most of them belong to Claire-san, but this is how much debt we have. There is obviously also interest attached, so the situation will only worsen if this drags on.」
The total sum of the promissory notes is――95 000 gold. With interest, the amount easily exceeds 100 000 gold.
It’s not a sum that can be paid off quickly. I’m surprised we borrowed so much in the first place.
「Can’t you do something about Claire?」
「That’s right. At worst, you can her take away the interest.」
Adolph slams a fist on the desk.
The angry Celia slams the desk with twice the strength, causing Adolph to fall on his butt.
「Stop. I’ll fall.」
Adolph speaks in a harsh tone as he ignores head-helmina who bounces up twice from the desk being hit.
「Claire-san’s personal relationship can be used as a shield to make the interest go away. It is also possible to use the power of the feudal lord. However, that is forbidden. If we use this method once, the trust of the Hardlett house among merchants will sink, making future borrowing more difficult, and even when we manage to do so, the interest will be exorbitant.」
I stabilize the rolling head-helmina while nodding in understanding.
The unusually animated Adolph catches his breath and then continues.
「An order to cancel a debt is like a temptation by a devil. You may rejoice from the elimination of a loan today, but hell awaits you tomorrow. You must not do this for your own sake and for the sake of the people.」
Alright, if you insist so strongly.
「We have to pay it off properly then. What’s the plan?」
「I don’t have one.」
We’re done for if you say that.
When I turn the head in Adolph’s direction, he and Polte pull away.
「Don’t play around. Stop.」
Adolph rebukes me with his eyes, then takes documents from Polte.
「I have an idea, of course. Gather the people who were burned out of their homes in the well-equipped north and increase productivity to the maximum. In the land of the south devastated by the scorched earth operation where animals run free, we can only set up a few hunting villages. We don’t have the manpower or money to do reconstruction.」
That is when Leopolt opens his mouth.
「What about the new territory in southern South Yuguria that is supposed to be granted to us?」
「Completely abandoned. There are only occasional patrols done by guards so it doesn’t become a hang-out for bandits.」
Adolph replies immediately without glancing at the documents.
He must have ruled out the new territory since he can’t even fix his own land and didn’t investigate.
「I’m thinking of a different and slightly outlandish approach.」
It happened as I was about to let him say his idea.
「Can I make a suggestion?」
Head-helmina raises her hand……or rather, a tuft of hair.
I wonder how she does that with such beautiful silky hair.
「I don’t mind.」
Head-helmina skims over the documents Adolph reluctantly lays out and then speaks.
「The losses of each cultivated land, the surplus production of fallow land and the number of people that can be accepted, the necessary material procurement plan for migration, all the required data has been gathered. The yield for Mitt village on the top of the third page doesn’t seem right, perhaps due to miscalculation.」
Polte hastily corrects it with a writing brush.
She appeared to glance over the papers, but she checked everything, huh?
「The analysis is perfect and there are no holes in the actions taken. I’m amazed at how far you have planned. It’s no exaggeration to say that you are the best domestic affairs official」
Adolph isn’t sure how to react.
Understandably so because he’s getting told this by a severed head.
「On top of that, it doesn’t seem like you have broken out of the mold for a domestic affairs official.」
Oh, that made Adolph pout a bit.
Head-helmina turns to me.
She still has a nice face and voice as a severed head. Why couldn’t she be my woman?
「Is there no other option than abandoning the charred southern region?」
「Yes, I’ve considered various plans――」
「That is based on the extent of your own knowledge, is it not?」
Head-helmina looks this way.
「I’m sure he knows a solution.」
I haven’t thought of anything.
Adolph and Polte shake their heads denying the claim.
「That’s quite impossible. We have to prepare the burnt and trampled fields before plowing, and fix the broken canals before watering. There is no way we’ll be able to finish in time for the planting in spring. We have to concentrate our manpower on the arable land in the north――」
Adolph is absolutely correct.
It is already winter and there is too much work to do in so little time.
It will be disastrous if we don’t make it in time.
That means we would have invested manpower to attain zero return.
If we had excess workers, I might see it as development for the future, but dividing our labor right now could very well lead to a food shortage next year.
「We really can’t do it? Isn’t there a method that throws out common sense and breaks down the situation?」
I already know that no matter how I use my dick, I can’t get Pochi to pull a giant plough, and if I let Brynhildr hold a hoe, it’s going to end up in my head.
In the first place, I’ve never done farm work before so I don’t know anything about soil, water or crops.
「Wait……earth and water……」
A pair of long dark brown ears pop up in my mind.
「Crops……plants are basically the same as trees.」
A pair of long white ears wiggle in my mind.
「I might have an idea.」
I call Ijaris, Yularen and a few of the other elves to the office.
When I explained the situation to them, their reply was simple and clear.
「We can. It is an easy task.」
Ijaris, the chieftess of the black elves, leaned out of the window and waved her hand with a flick of the wrist toward the garden.
The ground under Irijina, who was training outside, stirred and instantly became like farmland.
Next, water was drawn up from a nearby well like a long string and moistened the ground.
Incidentally, Irijina tripped and fell.
「We are elves who have received the grace of the forest, you know.」
Yularen takes out a seed from her pocket and exhales erotically.
A strong wind whips up, dropping the seed into the garden.
Almost instantaneously, the seed sprouted in multiple directions and filled the garden with flowers.
「Am I……dead……I must be halfway……what a nice fragrance……」
Irijina, surrounded by flowers, calmly closes her eyes.
She’ll probably wake up on her own by dinnertime.
「……what’s this!? You can create waterways and tidy up rough land? Can all elves do this?」
Ijaris answers promptly as Adolph grabs her hand, then smiles when she sees me adopt a half-standing posture in jealousy.
「C-can you also make crops grow like you did with the flowers just now!?」
「Making a seed sprout is easy enough that even a young girl can do.」
Yularen kisses the neck of Polte who brings her face close.
She lets out a soft moan, and I, no longer able to maintain my stance, sit down.
「Well, that solves the problem.」
The elves will help us fix the fields and waterways and plant the seeds.
The farmers will protect the crops with their lives while rebuilding the village……we can do this.
「But I believe we have long repaid our debt to you. It will go against our law to involve ourselves any further with the forces of humans.」
「Can you help out this time? I’ll do anything if it’s within my power. Please.」
I hold Yularen’s hand to apply pressure. If this won’t work, I’ll try licking her foot.
Fortunately, Yularen is a beauty and I have no issues doing that.
「Gosh, you leave me no choice. Just this once.」
That was easier than expected.
「「「Do anything, eh……fufufu.」」」
I’m concerned that Yularen, Ijaris and even Felteris exchanged looks with each other and smiled, but it’s fine.
「There is no such thing as a free lunch.」
Did the head just say something? I couldn’t quite make it out.
「……what did I stay up all night for?」
It’s not Adolph’s fault.
He couldn’t have known about the magic of the elves.
He can’t incorporate something unconfirmed into his plans.
Adolph created a plan to the best of his abilities using the information he had.
Conversely, is the fact that he didn’t seek knowledge outside of what he acquired the limitation of a domestic affairs official?
「I would venture to say that it’s the top’s fault for knowing about the elves and not sharing the information.」
Damn head-helmina, poking where it hurts.
「With that said, we can’t continue to rely on the elves. Let us treat this as the help of the compassionate god of fertility saving us from unreasonable destruction and form a plan to rebuild. We’ll do a complete review by the day after tomorrow.」
Staying up all night again? I’m worried about Polte’s skin and Adolph’s hair.
Leopolt stretches as if the problem has been solved.
「Why don’t we discuss the state of the personal army next?」
You’d talk about it even if I didn’t agree.
Fine, I’ll listen as much as you want today. I might fall asleep, but that’s out of my control.
Leopolt summarized things succinctly and bluntly to Adolph as follows:
With no money or provisions, there is no prospect of reorganizing the personal army once they have been sent home.
There is no support from the kingdom and no plans have been made to connect with the new territory in the south.
The royal army has also not been replenished and it is likely unavoidable that they will be greatly weakened.
After reporting as such, Leopolt turns to me and declares.
「Regardless of the royal army’s policies, it is imperative that we re-establish our private army. Preferably, I would like it to be expanded to a greater degree than before the war.」
Naturally, Adolph snaps at him.
「No, no, no! Did you listen to what I said!? Our food supply is barely enough to last through winter, plus our income is low to the point that we are looking at potentially going further in debt. Yet instead of dismantling the army, you want to enlarge it? Are you insane?」
Adolph’s repulsion is reasonable.
I can also understand how Polte can go from glaring at Leopolt to on the verge of tears when he glares back.
「It is essential. We must restore the army even if in the worse case there are a few who starve or desert.」
「You’re asking for something absurd again.」
I make eye contact with Leopolt, who is having a heated discussion with Adolph.
If I was a great feudal lord who ruled over the land for several generations, I just need to restore the territory.
However, I rose up the ranks by means of military prowess, and my influence is based on armed might instead of my lineage.
If my goal is to rule this land for many years and be loved by the people, then I should focus on domestic affairs.
But, my goal is――
「Enough arguing. I will handle this matter. Your instructions will given to you through orders, so get back to work.」
I’ll make all the decisions.
After saying that, both Adolph and Leopolt stopped debating, bowed, and exited the room.
This is not about choosing a method, it’s about choosing which path to take.
I have to be one who determines what to do.
「Or I could use Celia’s nipples to do a reading.」
「You learned some ridiculous game from the brothel again!?」
I laugh as Celia and Myla attack me.
「Fumu. Seeing as how the discussion is over, can I ask for a favor?」
Head-helmina looks at me.
I can’t keep her on the desk……her upward gaze is unbearable.
「Can you let me take a bath? I am a little dirty and it feels uncomfortable.」
It’s the perfect timing for a change of pace.
The bath is narrow compared to the one in the Rafen mansion, but it is still wide enough for several people to get in the tub together.
A head floats past me in a shallow bucket as I stretch my arms and legs and submerge my body in the water for a relaxing soak.
「You’re not going to say anything?」
I thought she was going to argue about the earlier topic, but she just floats silently.
「I interrupted too often. I will give advice when asked, but otherwise, having already lost my ambition and body, I feel that I should remain quiet. Life is a series of indiscretion and reflection.」
Head-helmina jumps from the bucket into the water.
For a moment, I wasn’t sure if she would drown, but she drinks water with her mouth and ejects it from the hole at the base of the head, moving herself to the edge of the bathtub.
Is that supposed to be swimming……?
「I’m coming in!」
Announcing in a loud voice and barging in naked is the dwarf, Balbano.
He also didn’t return to Lindbloom for some reason and decided to tag along to the capital.
「Hey, wait a minute.」
Head-helmina is here.
She is still a woman and letting another man see her naked body is――she doesn’t have a body, so I guess it’s fine.
「Umu. Don’t worry about it, there’s steam here.」
Head-helmina, who gives her permission, is really dextrous to have wrapped herself with a warm wet towel.
Balbano waddles his way over and boldly lowers his hairy body next to me.
「Hooee. Life on the plains has its inconveniences, but it’s so relaxing just to soak in the water.」
The dwarf is short for how muscular he is, almost like a vertically compressed version of a human, so it’s comical how only Balabno’s face is above the water when he’s sitting.
「Drinking this booze in water makes it taste even better. Have some.」
After taking a swig straight out of the bottle, Balbano passes the alcohol to me.
I don’t hesitate to tilt the bottle and then let the more-than-half-empty bottle float gently in the water.
「The war’s over too, huh?」
It’s peaceful now.
「You guys are boundless idiots for killing each other. If you don’t like each other, why not just live apart?」
「That’s not how things work.」
I wash my face for no particular reason.
「They even dragged the monsters from the abyss and made a mess, I’m sure you have a hard time cleaning up. When the mountain collapsed and lava spewed out, I thought the world was going to end.」
「Yeah, it’s such a headache.」
I pick up the bottle and take another drink.
Just when I thought there was none left, Balbano takes out another bottle.
「It would be more of a pain if the elves didn’t help.」
That one phrase changed the gentle atmosphere completely.
「……what did you say?」
Balbano grabs my shoulder with bloodshot eyes.
Damn, did this guy get aroused because of the alcohol?
「Grr, that’s not it! I’m asking what you are doing by relying on the long-ears while being a friend of us dwarves!!?」
The agitated Balbano stands up.
Hey, something unpleasant is going to hit my face!
「Why did you not consult with us before the long-ears!?」
「Because we want to turn the wasteland into fields and fix up the waterways and plant crops.」
Balbano plops himself back down.
「I can’t do that.」
「I didn’t think so.」
A few seconds of silence followed.
「Still, I can’t stand it when people think that dwarves are useless compared to the long-ears!」
He stands up furiously again.
C’mon, don’t wave that thing around.
「Give me a job! Do you want me to build a cannon larger than that palace? Perhaps you want a moving castle? Or how about a steam-powered cart? Our payment can be in booze, this is a matter of pride!」
I grab Balbano and sit him back down in the water.
The tip just grazed my cheek.
「I don’t need such dream-like creations. Besides, I don’t have any money. I’m totally in debt.」
I stepped on something foreign in the water, and when I lifted my foot, I found a gold coin for some reason.
「If I had a hundred thousand of these, I’d be able to breathe a sigh of relief.」
I smile and toss the coin at Balbano.
I wonder who dropped this.
「Oh, isn’t this gold? What are you gathering this soft metal for? The only thing that’s good about it is its shininess.」
「I think so too, but in this world people exchange it for booze, food and even a bath.」
Balbano fiddles with the coin and carefully examines it, then tosses it out of the window.
Just one of those can sufficiently feed a commoner family of four for a month.
「Do you want me to dig it up then?」
Balbano and I make eye contact.
「We have some, gold that is.」
「He fanned the flames of the conflict and found this brilliant move? He must have some talent in strategy or maybe he’s just lucky……blub, blub.」
All I heard was the sound of Head-helmina blowing bubbles in the water.
「Would you be willing to do some shopping for me?」
Head-helmina politely bows.
「I know it isn’t normal to ask you, the family head, but there isn’t anyone else who will listen to my request.」
Dorothea and the children of the orphanage who were taking care of chores in the mansion didn’t want to come near me. No wonder.
「I was going to go to the bro――I mean, I was going to go buy some alcohol anyways. I don’t mind if it’s on the way.」
I accept a memo with neatly written words on it.
That is when Tristan peeks his head out from behind.
「Uwah, a philosophy book by Orcuteles? I’ve only heard about it from the quotes of other books, but apparently it’s a difficult book that he wrote while shoulder-deep in a swamp of thoughts with no intention of letting the reader understand.」
「I’m not going to look inside. Will the bookstore have it?」
Tristan scratches his cheek.
「If you go to all the bookstores in the capital or maybe……realistically, you may be better off gathering fragments from different old books.」
Ok, so this is going to be incredibly annoying.
The other item is a special writing brush?
Coincidentally, Nonna walks along.
「Oh my, a Mirose brush? Mirose is a high-class brushmaker that uses the hair of rare animals and allows you to customize the length, hardness and how soft the tip is.」
Nonna knows a lot.
She doesn’t look like someone who is into literary arts though.
「It’s not that I want to buy a luxury item, but since I am only a head, I can only hold a brush in my mouth. I can’t even write properly without a custom-made brush. Not being able to write is a very painful thing for a human being. Considering the thickness, length and elasticity, the material is……」
She drew a picture, but this order also seems annoying.
The last thing is a ham sandwich?
「That is a new product from Maroma bakery. It is a dish where ham is placed between two pieces of hot bread and the residual heat melts the sugar topping and butter. When freshly baked, people line up for it.」
Let’s leave it at that.
「Sorry, but the book and brush are too much for me. I’ll likely buy some erotic art and a toothbrush by mistake.」
However, it’s not like I can tell her to roll out on her own, and it’s too risky to carry a severed head into the store with me.
「I have a request for the administrator.」
Then, in came Tikuku.
She is wearing a hollowed-out pumpkin because she lost her head……but it’s better than not having one.
At least it won’t make the orphans cry.
「I request oil for maintenance.」
「If you want oil, there is some in the kitchen.」
Are you going to drink it? It’s going to make you fat.
「Negative. Animal oil and plant oil are inadequate. ――type mineral oil is preferred.」
Is there a difference?
I wouldn’t know if she told me to buy it.
Both Head-helmina and Tikuku need to do their own complicated shopping, but they are in no shape to walk outside.
Headless and just a head……I just thought of something.
I pick up Head-helmina and hand it to Tikuku.
「Everything will be solved if you two go together. Great idea, huh?」
Tikuku is 150 cm tall with a child-like stature so she wouldn’t look strange with the small face of Wilhelmina.
It might be a problem if a child has the face of a beautiful woman and the face of the enemy empress, but covering her head with a hood will take care of that.
「Fumu, nobody will suspect a thing.」
They are smart so no further explanation was necessary.
Tikuku walks out of the door with Wilhelmina’s head under her arm.
Now I don’t have to do complex shopping and the two of them can slowly choose what they want.
All’s well that ends well.
「Isn’t this wrong?」
「I am following orders faithfully. It is not a problem.」
It’s going to be fine.
――A Few Hours Later.
Carla covers my face with her breasts when I’m taking a nap.
「Guo, what’s wrong?」
I ask as I fondle her boobs through her clothes.
「I heard there was a Dullahan that appeared in the market in broad daylight.」
「A Dullahan? A headless knight?」
I question as I pull up her thin shirt and suck on her tits.
「Ahn……the one that appeared in the market wasn’t riding a horse and was walking around with its own head in its arm.」
「Ghosts are showing up in the capital? What is the world coming to?」
My hand reaches into her crotch and rubs her pussy.
Why isn’t she wearing any underwear?
「Aahn……nnfu……I’m turned on now. Let’s get in bed. The thing about that Dullahan is its head was on backwards.」
I let Carla stand up and walk while my finger stirs her insides.
I hear screams and crying coming from the children and Celia at the entrance, but I leave them alone because I don’t sense any murderous intent.
Protagonist: Aegir Hardlett. 25 years old. Winter.
Status: Goldonia Kingdom Margrave. Great Feudal Lord of Eastern Area. Mountain Legend.
Friend of the Dwarves. Friend of the King of Aless. Dragon Slayer Hero.
Elf Mediator. Sex King of White City. Mad Demon God. Poison Resistance.
Pipi (super erect nipples), Nonna (legal wife), Carla (concubine), Mel (concubine), Melissa (concubine), Miti (concubine)
Maria (concubine), Catherine (concubine), Gretel (concubine), Leah (lover), Kuu (lover), Ruu (lover)
Mireille (lover), Casie (6.5 head figure), Rita (stink), Yoguri (masterpiece)
Mother: Marceline (lover), Daughters: Eldest – Stephanie (lover), Second – Bridget (lover), Youngest – Felicie (lover), Sofia (returning home), Claudia (training), Clara (sigh), Adela (stink), Alice (pure white)
Celestina (reigning queen), Monica (mama attendant), Benel (coma), Dorothea (relief request)
Natia (sad), Felteris (cultivating new land), Yularen (cultivating new land), Ijaris (cultivating new land)
Celia (adjutant), Irijina (ascension), Leopolt (staff officer), Tristan (staff officer), Adolph (staying up all night), Polte (staying up all night)
Myla (commander), Luna (commander of bow cavalry), Rafaella (stink), Marta (returning home), Sally (responsible for explaining), Maruru (returning home)
Altair (world crisis), Remia (seeking salvation)
Yakov (free), Gido (letter of resignation), Mack (free), Christoph (jitters), Guigue (suspicious), Sebastian (butler)
Jim, Suzy, Solana
Dingus (holiday), Rinuga (probation)
Sekrit (???), ??? (abduction)
Piris (insane), Baroness Rukino Escaote (interview), Seika (interview), Visitacion (desertion)
Busco (domestic affairs), Gildress (King of Aless)
Head-helmina (Dullahan Upper), T-99 (Dullahan Lower)
Pochi (complications), Brynhildr (capital), Lammy (lamia), Alraune (root division), Mirumi (mermaid)
Messerschmitt (sleeping), Tropical Smooth-scaled Monitor Lizard (!!), Schwartz (demon erection)
Battle Ended – Temporary Disbanding of the Army.
Assets: -105 000 gold (corresponding interest -10 000)
Sexual Partners: 806
Children who have been born: 70 + 567
Current Location: Goldonia, Capital