Disclaimer: I do not guarantee a 100% accurate translation. Do kindly notify me if you see any mistake.
Suggestion in the Rain
Haiderota, which was 1 of the 12 countries when the “Holy Alliance (Furigana: Riga Santourear)” came into existence and presently boasted the second-place national power among its allies, was a militaristic superpower that was steadily pressing forward its military expansion in order to unseat Amaddo from the position of the leading power, though it didn’t make the declaration as one would expect.
Geographically facing the sea in the north, Haiderota could be said to be the continent’s best in naval strength already, but on the other hand, it was limited in ore resources such as iron ore and coal. It was simply too much to cover the ore resources that were necessary to not only manufacture swords, armours and helmets, but to also construct warships with just its domestic production output.
From the fact that Haiderota appropriated an enormous military budget like every year and forced that burden onto its people in the form of tax, its worldly matters were constantly unstable.
However, the antagonistic attitude towards Amaddo wasn’t entirely the only reason for Haiderota being zealous in the augment of its armaments to that degree.
Truthfully, she had been worrying about whether she could properly greet nobles from another country, but it seemed that she was able to successfully pull through it somehow. Putting her hand against the chest of her tabard, Valeria leaked a sigh of relief with a “hoo”.
「…Setting aside that His Excellency, Diaghilev-geika looks quite formidable」
Karin who was beside her whispered in a low voice. Although Clotilde was certainly punctilious and polite in her demeanour and speech, it made them feel an invisible thorn. Especially in the looks that she occasionally gave Valeria and Karin, an emotion which was hard to say was amicable was obviously mixed in.
「Nevertheless…why is she the only one who isn’t wearing a pair of trousers?」
Staring at Clotilde’s figure from behind, Valeria tilted her head to the side.
Every member of the Gale Chivalric Order (Furigana: Rorudor Rafuale) below its leader, Sigibert, was wearing a military cap and uniform with identical design lines. They most likely signified the difference in position within the group; basically, one could say that everyone wore the same uniform.
And Clotilde was fundamentally wearing that uniform too.
However, she was wearing a military cap and jacket only. Her bottom, which was covered by clothing that seemed to be white undergarment, could be seen every now and then since a little while ago through the shirttail, which split into two like a shallow’s tail, at the back of the uniform. Although she had properly put on boots, her thighs were almost completely visible.
「…Put your imagination to work a little」
Perhaps he heard the conversation of Valeria and Karin, Dimitar interrupted.
「If you take off the tabard as well, you’ll be in a shameless appearance that isn’t much different to that though」
「It’s not shameless! That’s the proud uniform of Amaddo’s Dominas! To begin with, we’re lightly dressed so that we can use our magic immediately at the critical moment—ah, I see」
The skin exposure of a Dominas was a lot was because large quantity of magic crests (Furigana: Hierateika) to that extent were carved onto her skin. In that case, it might be because magic crests were carved there and so that she could use them immediately at the critical moment that Clotilde was exposing her thighs that way too.
Maybe Karin had guessed it from the beginning, she didn’t have the look of being surprised or impressed in particular. Valeria felt embarrassed somehow and tried to relax her limbs which had grown stiff due to the long trip in a carriage while taking deep breaths greatly.
Realising that Dimitar was fixedly staring at Clotilde’s bottom, Valeria narrowed her eyes.
「Aren’t you looking at it too much?」
「Looking at what?」
「”What”, you say…like I said, hora」
「Surely you’re not thinking that I’m looking at that woman’s bottom or something, are you?」
「Y, you aren’t?」
「Not her bottom; it’s her thighs」
「I don’t want you to put on airs! There’s not much difference, right!?」
Dimitar threw a cold look to Valeria who had lowered her voice and screamed.
「…You’re fundamentally misunderstanding something」
「W, what’s it!?」
「On the whole, there shouldn’t be magic crests carved onto your bottom, no?」
Of all things, what did he start to say in front of Lucius? Valeria wanted to give an unsparing round of applause to her reason that somehow endured slapping Dimitar.
However, Dimitar continued indifferently, unconcerned about Valeria’s anger.
「That’s why I’m saying you’re misunderstanding it. …I’m looking at her thighs fixedly is because I’m anticipating “Won’t her magic crests emerge by some chance?”. Even if I gaze at her bottom, magic crests aren’t carved on it anyway」
Magic crests were carved onto the whole body of a Dominas—that was true to a certain extent, but it didn’t mean that her entire body really had them. As Dimitar had said, Valeria also didn’t put magic crests on delicate areas like her breasts and bottom. Such circumstances were probably the same even in Haiderota.
Valeria arranged her breathing and then enquired after clearing her throat slightly.
「…In, in other words, Richternach-kyou wants to say that you’re observing her because of your sense of duty as a Hiera Glaphicos? That you’re interested in the magic crests of another country’s Dominas?」
「Ma, it’s not only that, I guess. Individually speaking, bottoms that are a bit bigger are」
Lucius interrupted the words of a grinning Dimitar midway. It seemed that Lucius, as one would expect, understood well the topics that were fine to talk about and topics that weren’t in a situation like this.
「…From what I heard, she’s a Dominas whose forte is extremely offensive magic; going to missions such as international border disputes and subjugation of thieves, she’s said to have rendered military exploits many times. She’s practically a female soldier rather than a Dominas」
Perhaps he wanted to change the topic, Lucius talked to Valeria and party about Clotilde. If she was a possessor of a personal history which was so spectacular, they could certainly agree with the fact of her being called by an impressive second name such as “White Rose of Steel” too.
On the map, this prairie where the Gale Chivalric Order had set up camp seemed to be Haiderota’s territory already. Valeria who was sitting in the carriage completely didn’t know when they had crossed the national border.
At the circumference of the camp where innumerable large tents were put up, members of the Gale Chivalric Order were getting ready for the evening and running about in preparation for encamping at night. Meanwhile, all of the Seal Chivalric Order (Furigana: Tanpries Aegis) which had just arrived a short time ago were also starting the work of putting up tents. When watching them like this, it looked like the Seal Chivalric Order and the Gale Chivalric Order didn’t have much difference, but perhaps, between His Highness and His Excellency who were unfolding an exchange of sarcasm, there were great conflicting opinions in that perception.
「It’ll take a bit longer until our meals. Please have these beverages first」
An assembly-type table was placed in front of a conspicuously large tent, and wine and fruits were already lay out on it.
At that table, a girl was pouring wine into a tin tankard and wandering around, humming a tune. All in all, even though it should be the same style as Clotilde’s, it might be because she was a little plump that it didn’t look like she was wearing a similar uniform. Perhaps she’d be called a charming beautiful girl; the back figure that was moving around with small, quick steps gave one an impression of a stuffed toy bear in some respects.
Valeria stared in amazement and secretly whispered into Karin’s ear.
「…Nee, is she perhaps—」
「That seems to be the case」
From the look of it, there were no other women in this Chivalric Order. Hence, it meant that the girl, who had a same appearance as Clotilde, was probably the other Dominas who belonged to this Chivalric Order.
Maybe she didn’t notice the party that had turned up yet, the girl picked up a bright red apple which was served in a bowl and began biting it with a “shaku shaku”. Moreover, munching roasted amandes (almonds) and licking marmelos (quinces) which were dipped in honey, she occasionally snitched the dining table’s delicacies.
Clotilde gave an unnatural cough after breathing out a big sigh.
And then, perhaps she had finally perceived the arrival of the guests, the girl hurriedly held her military cap under her arm and gave a military-style salute with a snap.
「T, thank you for your hard work! I, I’m Malena Puyol! I serve as the assistant of Haiderota Gale Chivalric Order’s vice-leader!」
Although her words were exaggerated, it was comical that 「Mugugu」or something like that was sometimes mixed into them. In any case, just the fact that she wasn’t used to such situations was well understood. She was probably still a newcomer, though this wasn’t something that could be said in Valeria’s standpoint. One would feel relieved somehow when seeing her still chewing her food.
「I feel like I can get along well with this child…」
「Is it because it feels like you’re seeing the same kind?」
「I wouldn’t act suspiciously to that extent as expected」
Counterattacking Dimitar’s sarcasm in a low voice, Valeria sat down on a chair that was offered by Sigibert. Sigibert and Isaac sat at both ends of the long table facing each other, and two Dominas were at both their sides. The Amaddo’s Hiera Glaphicos were given seats next to them and then took their seats. Only Lucius—as if it was his duty—was standing nearby Isaac.
As soon as he sat on his seat, Sigibert opened his mouth.
「We’ll spend the night here as it is today; tomorrow morning, we’ll depart towards our capital, Aurillac, but I’d like Isaac-denka and the gentlemen of the Seal Chivalric Order to return to Roma as it is. Please leave the escorting of both Her Eminences from here on to the Gale Chivalric Order」
「I’ve no doubt in the abilities of both Her Eminences, Diaghilev and Puyol, but regrettably, you’re the one who consolidate the Chivalric Order」
Chewing the amandes with a “pori pori”, Isaac smiled thinly.
「—At least, I’d like you to present a security system that we can agree to. To begin with, how do you plan to take them to Aurillac? It’s an international problem if something happen to our Ojou-samas, you know?」
「Be at ease」
Sigibert waved his riding crop with a “pii” and smiled confidently at Isaac’s head-on sarcasm.
「—Our Haiderota army is the king’s army. Therefore, I’m thinking about making it into an appropriate journey. This is also an excellent opportunity to make known the dignity and authority of our Dominas and the Gale Chivalric Order to the people along the way」
「Setting aside the matter of what’s a king in your country, in other words, it means that you’re parading to Aurillac?」
「To say it so that it’s easy for you to understand, it’s like that」
Sigibert lifted up his tankard of wine and looked at Clotilde who was beside him.
「—Even just recently, our Dominas, Diaghilev-geika, personally just led the army and exterminated a group of robbers. There are many people who wish to catch a glimpse of her. Besides, the public sentiments will settle down by doing so as well. This is also called “politics”, but…Isaac, do you not understand, I wonder? You don’t understand, right; you surely won’t understand」
「Call me “Your Highness”, Sigibert-kun」
Sighing as if he was astounded by him, Isaac put down his tankard.
「…In the first place, there’s no need to get three of Her Eminences to take the trouble to appear to capture thieves in our country, and there’s also no need to have a parade to dispel the dissatisfaction of the people who suffer from heavy taxation. Even if we’re told to understand the circumstances of your country in spite of the big difference in the public order levels, that’s impossible」
Sigibert’s face began to turn red again. Even though the person himself intended to make Clotilde’s bravery and reliability appealing, he was probably frustrated that he had conversely ended up pointing out the poorness of the internal public order.
As Orvieto had said not long ago, Haiderota was a country that put its military expansion first and its people second; it seemed that those people who held dissatisfaction immediately carried out armed uprising and became groups of robbers. Therefore, the fact that Isaac interfered in this and that regarding the journey’s escort—even if the side of pestering Sigibert existed considerably—was very reasonable.
「Your concern is unnecessary」
Taking over Sigibert who was biting his lips with a “Ginuu…”, Clotilde spoke.
「Our country’s public order hasn’t been so poor in the recent years either. …However, we’re only severely conducting crackdowns especially of late due to the thought of His Majesty who wants to make the country difficult for criminals to live in. Besides, if in the unlikely event that thieves obstruct our journey, I’ll show you this me cutting them down personally」
「Iya—, you’re really courageous. Diaghilev-geika is a Dominas of the type that we don’t have」
Brazenly clapping his hands with a “pachi pachi”, Isaac shifted his gaze to-and-fro between Sigibert and Clotilde several times.
「—If Your Eminence is saying to that extent, I’ve nothing to say. In fact, the one whom we should depend on when something happens isn’t Sigibert-kun, but Diaghilev-geika. His words couldn’t put me at ease, but since Your Eminence said so, there’s no doubt about it」
「W, why are you saying such—」
Just when Sigibert was about to half-rise to his feet, plates of cuisine which smelled good were carried here. Green peas potage, partridge roast and frumenty containing venison—all of them were very exquisite cuisine as dinner on the ground of a night camp.
Plates were lined up one by one before Isaac and then he spoke to Lucius.
「—Is it about time that our tents are also finished being put up? Lucius-kun, you’ll instruct everyone and get them to finish their meals」
Bowing politely, Lucius left. Although it was a disappointment for Valeria, so long as Isaac ate here, Lucius must look after the Chivalric Order.
Dimitar suddenly stood up.
「I’d like to give the instructions for hereafter to Bettina-jou, but may I?」
「Ah—…that’s right. Since that child will definitely feel helpless by herself, go and see her situation just a little」
「Understood. —In that case, I’ll be leaving」
Dimitar also bowed politely and left the dinner’s dining table.
However, Valeria didn’t think that he’d straightforwardly disappear because of Bettina. Although she didn’t have a definite reason, she somehow understood from the short association with Dimitar thus far that when he purposely spoke like that, his real aim lay in another place.