Part one Epilogue
“Okaaay! The breakfast here is done so take it please!”
The sounds of a lively kitchen could be heard today as always.
I plate the dish that I had finished cooking and called over the person responsible for taking it to the tables.
Okay, time to start on the next dish. After confirming the order with those around me, I began planning for our next course of action.
Good, let’s start. I double-check the ingredients that had already been cut for me and toss them into the pan to stir fry.
“Gann-san! How’s it going on your end!?”
“Orders three and seven have gone out!”
“Then next are orders eight and ten! What about you Adora-san?!”
“We’ve finished chopping the ingredients for orders one and five over here!”
“Two and four next! The rest of you prepare for orders six and nine!”
Under my instruction, everyone in the kitchen was moving busily.
How nice~ So much better than when I was in the Mercenary Corps, when I was pretty much doing everything by myself.
To think that I would get a job cooking in a castle… you never know what life is going to throw at you.
I embraced that thought as I finished that next dish.
“I’m done over here! Take it away please! Make sure you don’t mix up the seating for this order and that order there! There’s one ingredient that person doesn’t like in one of them!“
The waiter responds energetically and left the kitchen.
Alright, next is this and then that…
Just as I was thinking about what to do next.
“Is Shuri here?”
Cougar-san walks into the kitchen.
He looks around curiously, finds me and then approaches.
“Here you are. Shuri, I’ve got a small favour to ask of you and…”
“Can’t it wait? I’m a bit busy at the moment.”
“It can wait till later, but I’m here to ask for some refreshments to the training field. It’s all good that they complete their training but they get all battered out afterwards, you know?”
Cougar-san said with a face of exasperation.
These days, Cougar-san was training the troops under him, acting as their commander.
Once the army begins its official operations then he would instruct the soldiers on the front line together with Gingus-san. However, since Cougar-san himself was way too strong, I’m pretty sure most of the commands would probably be left to Gingus-san.
“So, do you think you could help me out? Please?”
“Got it. Before lunch time?”
“No, after lunch please. Since we plan to have a night march as well today.”
“Shuri~ you here, su?”
Next Teg-san walked in.
“What is it Teg-san?”
“Hm, it’s no big deal, su. Just wondering if you want to go grab a drink after work. How’s about it?”
“What about your work…?”
Teg-san was currently in charge of leading a separate unit to Cougar-san. He’s mainly instructing the people in charge of maintaining public security as well as the city guards.
Simply put, Teg-san was responsible for the defensive side of things. Mm, it’s a hard job.
“We’ve got a wonderful little vice-captain of our side, su! So yeah, see you tonight, su!”
“Alright, I’ll leave you to it then.”(Cougar)
Before I could call them to a stop, the two of them had left.
Geez, those two are the same as always. Even though they’re both in charge of a greater number of people than before, I guess it’s still hard for them to feel the responsibilities that come with it like proper adults all of the sudden.
Which, in a sense, is just like them as well. I smile bitterly as I went back to work.
After some time had already passed by, that was when the waves of people coming in for breakfast had slowed down.
“Okaaay! Take break everyone!”
Everyone looked exhausted as people leaning on the tabletops appeared one after the other.
Well, it’s a given that they would be tired. They have to cook for a lot of people every morning after all.
By the way, lunch was a lot more free. There are people who don’t eat in the castle and would instead go outside to eat so there’s less people.
“Alright, it’s free time now. I’ll start preparing for lunch now.”
“Eh…. you’re still going to work Shuri-san?”
“There’s still a lot of work I have to do after all~”
I replied in jest, hearing one of the chefs under me ask with such shock.
Even though I said that there’ll be less people during lunchtime, a lot of people will still come. I have to make preparations for that.
Which is why I reached out for a potato, thinking to peel them in advance, when someone suddenly took that potato right out of my hands.
“Shuri. That’s enough. Rest. If the boss doesn’t rest then your troops can’t even if they wanted to, right?”
“Exactly. Leave this to me and Gann.”
The ones who said so, grabbing a knife and potato, was Gann-san and Adora-san.
The two of them had been living in the shadows when they had been working as a spy and soldier respectively, but now they look like men who belong in the kitchen.
Honestly, since the two of them have such nicely built, muscular bodies, yet work in the kitchen, it really does give people a bit of a shock sometimes.
“This is also practice for us. For the time being, I am the one responsible for the chefs under you, Shuri.”
“It won’t do if we can’t even compare something like peeling potatoes to you.”
Saying so the two of them got to work, but they had already become experts at peeling potatoes and the potato skin was being peeled smoothly and beautifully. Their knife skills and how they handle food had improved so much that it even makes me happy.
Right now, the two of them were acting as the vice leaders of the kitchen, with me as the leader.
Nevertheless, there are people who judge me and look down upon me just based on my looks, you know? And they’re even within my crew. Those people are friends with the people who were on strike and were people who had been interfering with our work.
Those sorts of people had been put under pressure and chased away and such by Gann-san and Adora-san, so they’ve really been a great help. If possible, I would’ve wanted to be the one to have done that though.
However, the two of them really have improved huh~ that’s what I truly believe
I remember when they first started and how they would often cut their fingers… now they’re in charge of managing the equipment to even the training of the crew. They’ve become very reliable.
“Then can I leave it to you two?”
“Yea, yea, leave everything to us.”
“For now, we’ll just mash all the potatoes here.”
If you do that then we can’t put them into the soups.
“Um… is Shuri here?”
Just as I was calming down and relaxing, someone else came into the kitchen.
“Oh my, if it isn’t Ahrius-san~”
I approach Ahrius-san, who was standing at the entrance of the kitchen for some reason and spoke.
“What’s wrong? Did you need anything from me?”
“Nothing much, I just woke up a little late today so… do you think I could get some soup right now?
“It’s fine. We have some soup and bread left over anyway. And if you’re alright with the staff meals then you can have it now.”
“Then, that please.”
Saying so Ahrius-san tried to leave the kitchen however she staggered and had to stable herself by pushing against the wall next to her.
In panic, I went to support Ahrius-san.
“Are, are you alright!?”
“Ye-yes. There’s no need for worry.”
“Are you hurt anywhere? If so I’ll go get Ganglabe-san…”
“Rea-really, there’s nothing wrong!”
I’m surprised. She yelled out in such a loud voice all of a sudden.
However, Ahrius-san was now glaring at me with a completely red face.
“I’m thankful for your concern however… it’s because you gave that thing to Ganglabe to drink that I’m having such a rough time.”
“Because of that we stayed up really late and now I can’t walk properly.”
….Ah, now Ahrius-san is waddling along with her feet facing towards each other. Furthermore, she’s so tired and sleepy that she has to support herself by putting her hand up against the wall.
I gave Ganglabe-san some mead to drink. And he drank some this morning as well.
I get it now.
“You two sure were energetic.”
“I’m sorry! I’ll bring it to you immediately!”
I hurriedly ran back into the kitchen seeing that Ahrius-san’s face was turning even brighter red and her hand was reaching for her staff on her back.
I see. Kids might not be that far off.
That outrageous thought was something else that came across my head.
After bringing Ahrius-san her breakfast, since I was on my break I decided to head to the toilet.
Ahrius-san had yelled at me, calling me a perverted bastard, but it’s not like I took it as a compliment. I can do naught but apologize wholeheartedly for my lewdness.
Anyway, that’s how I came to be walking down the corridors, before coming to a stop feeling that something was not right.
Why you say? That’s why.
It’s because lying down on the floor with his face down, sleeping in the corridor was Ganglabe-san.
Since Ganglabe-san had become the leader of this country, he should’ve been swamped with the coronation and other work.
So why… is he sleeping here?
“What’s wrong Ganglabe-san?”
“Nothing. I’m just relaxing, feeling the coolness that’s coming from the ground.”
That’s what people would call weird.
Swallowing those words, I shake Ganglabe-san’s body.
“Hey now, you’re going to get dirty from all the stuff on the floor. Why don’t you get up first? Okay?”
“No! I want to lie down more!”
“Well stay down then.”
This is the first time I’ve seen such an annoying way to throw a tantrum. I can’t deal with this.
Which is why I walked over him and tried to once again go to the toilet, but my feet could no longer move.
Looking down, I saw Ganglabe-san clasping at my ankles.
“Aren’t you worried about me?!”
“I do… about your head. …What? Tell me in detail, did something happen?”
I can’t deal with this but, can you not tell me to go away then come complaining to me about it when I do… Seriously, such a pain.
I can’t really do anything with this, so I turned around Ganglabe-san, who had caught my at my heels, to face me.
Staring back at me was a face with two wide black circles.
“I’m so tired.”
“It’s totally different to managing a Mercenary corps, everything and all this has just been so tough.”
I couldn’t come up with anything good to answer back with, so I just replied generically for the time being.
“Good! That’s enough of this whining! Time to get back to work!”
However, Ganglabe-san immediately got his vibe back and stood up.
Eh? Then what was with all the drama these last few minutes?
“Go do your best.”
However, I don’t mention that either, keeping my thoughts to myself as I couldn’t bear to do anything other than to push him along.
“Of course. It starts here… this is just our beginning after all.”
Ganglabe-san says as he stretches both his shoulders, firing himself up.
Taking all of the negativity… from his subordinates being on strike, from the pressure of a rebellion, from the attitudes of his citizens, that’s what Ganglabe-san has been taking on, all by himself. It truly is a tiring thing having to deal with all that on top of work.
We have to turn those attitudes around.
Which is why I will try to support him where I can.
“That’s right, it all begins from here. Come over to my place whenever you feel hungry. There’ll be a delicious meal waiting for you.”
“Ohh! I’m looking forward to that.”
Ganglabe-san answers before returning to his room.
Seeing the confidence embedded in that back of his, I feel reassured.
Everything’s okay. If it was somehow not okay then I would be there, even if just to listen to his grumbling.
I think that as I once again head towards the toilet.
Now then, it’s all good and dandy that we make breakfast, however there is one person, in the entire castle, who is too lazy to come to the actual dining hall to eat.
Thus, to deliver that person food, I had to return to the kitchen and bring over a tray of breakfast.
After climbing up the stairs, I saw Ekress-san and Gingus-san down the corridor. The two of them seemed to be having a friendly conversation as they walked.
If the people who knew Ekress-san and the others from back then saw them now then they would definitely be shocked.
Well, I mean those sorts of people would’ve been the people who were fighting deciding which of the two would become the Lord of the country so, I can’t say I don’t understand.
“Good morning. …Are you two heading off to work now?”
“Pretty much. This one is heading off to meet with Cougar to discuss some military matters.”
“I’m done with work so maybe I’ll head over to your place Shuri-kun~ who knows.”
Ekress-san says as she comes over, standing next to me and smiles.
“I would still be working but… Eh? You’re already done with work?”
“Yes? Most of the internal affairs has been passed over to Ganglabe-san, you know? I don’t really have that much to do these days.”
“Is that so? Hey, Gingus-san.”
It’s true that Ekress-san is living a normal life these days. It’s also good that she no longer has to dress like a man and inherit the seat of Lord. And her work, from what I’ve heard from Ganglabe-san and the others really seems to have lessened quite a bit.
I see… so Ekress-san is free now and having fun with her life. That’s great. Right now, she’s still cross-dressing because of habit but, how do I say this… it’s in a sort of middle ground and since it looks really good on her, and she personally likes it, it’s not really my place to object anyway.
However, hearing that Gingus-san turns to me with a bitter expression.
“…It’s less than before but the amount of work my sister has is still abnormal, alright?”
“It’s only because she’s smart and moves fast that she can finish all her work so quickly. Normally you would take until the evening to finish everything, alright?”
Surprised, I asked Ekress-san and she laughed it off, embarrassedly.
“Of course not~! Even I know how much work I have, geez! It’s less than before so that means I can do my work more at ease, that’s all! But, I mean, it wouldn’t be so bad to hear you say I’m amazing or anything Shuri-kun, you know! Ehehe!”
“You really are amazing though, even amazing itself doesn’t…”
Cut it… was what I was about to finish the sentence with but, before that someone put their hand on my shoulder.
Looking over, it was Gingus-san who shook his head meekly with a face of exhaustion.
As if to tell me, don’t encourage her.
“What she’s doing includes scanning over the income reports to make sure there are no mistakes, listening to the secret intelligence from her apprentices, managing the food and wealth within the castle, managing the tax as well as updating the center for land rights etc…”
“Is that really… less?”
I ask Gingus-san who shook his head.
“It is less but it’s still not an amount that a normal person would be able to manage, you know?”
“I thought so.”
“It’s all because my sister is particularly talented in internal affairs. It’s seriously hard to believe.”
As I thought, this woman is one talented individual… the admiration I have for her continues to pile on.
“Well then, I have to go deliver this so…”
“Oh, sorry for delaying you.”
“Eeeh? Didn’t you didn’t come here to talk to me?”
Kuh, Ekress-san is being so sly when she asks that…! If you do that then I might just start thinking you’re cute!
Anyway, let’s leave that thought for now.
“I’m still working.”
“Aw shame~ See you later then!”
“Shuri, I look forward to lunch.”
Ekress-san and Gingus-san continue down the stairs.
Is that how happy siblings are supposed to look like…? I mean, their reason for conflict had pretty much disappeared so I guess it’s a given.
However, it does make me relieved.
Anyways, let’s deliver this breakfast. I walk through the corridor, heading to my destination.
I could smell something terrible from the room in front of me.
Just as I was going to knock on the door to the room that was my destination, I had to stop due to the indescribably horrendous smell that assaulted me.
What is it? What is this smell? It’s like that smell when the asphalt on the ground is baked in the hot sun and then it suddenly starts raining…?
“Are you alright, Riru-san?”
Suddenly worried, I entered the room.
Inside the room various experimental equipment had been installed.
This was the room that had been taken as the headquarters by a certain person, who had forcefully made this castle room into a research and development room and locked themselves inside.
In the center of the room the subject of conversation had collapsed onto the ground.
Oh god, Riru-san was lying on the ground, completely out of it.
This room was being used by both the magic engineers of our Mercenary corps, as well as the magic engineers who used to work here in the castle.
It was a rather large space that they occupied and with all the various experimental equipment they keep tossing around, it had become a sealed off room even within the castle confounds, an underground chamber room.
It wasn’t a room that they can’t open, but one they shouldn’t open. A room that they should not be too involved with.
Why? Because, similar to my current dilemma, it smells horrid, there are researchers sleeping on the floor and you might just become a lab rat for the people who experience some sort of eureka.
“What’s wrong Riru-san!?”
Riru-san struggles to open her eyes and inquired whether it was me.
“Understood. Hamburg steak right? Here you go.”
Since I already know what was going on I take the dish that was sitting on the tray… and hand her the Hamburg steak, bread and soup.
“You have my gratitude!”
Riru-san revives instantly and started to dine on the food. As if she had been craving it.
I would like to have her eat a little more civil but looking at how happy and delicious Riru-san considers the food as she eats, I just couldn’t bring it in me to do so.
That’s right, Riru-san was just hungry, that’s all.
This happens every single time, so I just smile reluctantly now.
Basically, what happens is that Riru-san is all hyped up about the castle laboratory of her dreams and devotes herself day and night to invent new magic tools.
Although she really does go too far sometimes.
“Mufu~ Thanks for the meal.”
In the blink of an eye Riru-san had already demolished the food. She’s quick.
“It was delicious. Thank you.”
“No problem. …What are you experimenting on today?”
I ask and Riru-san’s eyes glitter as she begins her pitch.
“Well, today! Or rather, yesterday, Riru had thought about a new magic device!”
“Ohh, what is it?”
“A tool that allows you to dig up the ground easier! This!”
Eh? Did she make a excavator or something?
Just as I thought that, what Riru-san brought out to me was just an ordinary shovel.
“Isn’t this just a shovel?”
“Wrong! The blades on this have been installed with a certain device! The instant it is planted onto the ground, it vibrates at an extremely high speed thus loosening the earth and making it easier to dig!”
“Not just that, it even has a device installed which helps you lift the dirt that you dig out, and it can reduce its weight!”
Amazing, truly amazing.
“Basically, it’s a shovel that makes it easier for you to dig and plow.”
“Exactly! Next is this…”
And with that she introduced me to the magic tools she invented one by one.
Any and all of them could be considered inventions which had quite some thought put into them. Things that would make you genuinely believe, how convenient.
Once she had finished giving me a brief overview of it all, Riru-san calmed down.
“And, that’s what Riru’s been thinking… Honestly it’s fun.”
Riru-san smiles as she says.
“It’s not something Riru would’ve thought of before. Back when we were all traveling together as a Mercenary corps, we didn’t have the time to make these sorts of devices which are useful for people.”
“Which is why… thank you, Shuri.”
“What do you mean?”
“It’s because you’re here Shuri, that Riru is here. Why Riru can do what Riru loves. It’s all thanks to you Shuri.”
Thanks to me, huh.
That’s not it.
“No, it’s thanks to everyone.”
“But… no, that’s enough.”
Riru-san smiles and says with a troubled expression.
“Shuri is never going to stop being humble so, that’s enough from me.”
“Is that so…. Oops, well then I have to get going.”
Just as I was heading out after grabbing the tray, Riru-san stopped me.
Turning around, Riru-san said with a joyous smile.
“Shuri, are you happy right now?”
…Geez, that’s such an unfair question.
“Of course. I’m really happy.”
There’s no way I wouldn’t be.
Ever since meeting Ganglabe-san I’ve been having nothing but happy days.
It’s not an easy path but I’ve still been happy.
And I’m sure that these days will continue.
“I’m happy. Very much so.”
Which is why I want to stay with everyone from now on.
Ever since that day when I swore to live in this world.
This world had already become my home.
Hi I’m back. 🙂 Can you believe my wordpress auto-renewed at full price 😦 sad ree. I was almost caught up and then the author releases another 12+ chapters while I disappears.