Two men stood atop a grassy hill. The two didn’t attempt to wipe the sweat that dripped down their foreheads. They just stood there silently.
There were ruins before the two men. No, three days ago, when they came here, there was a town. It wasn’t big, but it was full of life. You could hear the voices of the strong fishermen, the women; who wanted that fish, and the kids; who played around.
However, right now, they could hear only the wind. The warm wind carried an unpleasant smell with it. The town was, most likely, full of corpses.
「What should we do?」
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A few hours after this short conversation, the town was turned into ash. After completing the assignment, a soldier approached them.
「Reporting. Honorary Marquis Versam has arrived」
「……So he is finally here」
These words unintentionally left his mouth aimed at no one in particular.
The two turned around and left this place.
We reached the Kurumfar’s mansion near the evening. We entered the mansion as I admired the sunset beyond the sea. We told the soldiers stationed around the mansion to report our arrival and were guided by them to the big room. When it became completely dark outside the window, the two men have arrived.
「The baron of the empire, Jiano Reiar」
「The vice leader of the northern imperial knights, Oshe」
The two were responsible for the administrative and military work respectively.
「I’m sorry to ask after you’ve just arrived, but I would like to finish the procedures to pass down the territory. The details are in this document. If you have any questions, please ask them before tomorrow afternoon」
In the document, there was the map of the mansion and the territory, and information about the identity, quantity, and location of things inside the mansion.
「There are too many unknowns. First, what is the current state of this territory? Financial situation? I didn’t see any documents regarding these」
「You can find them in the previous count’s office」
「No, I want to hear it from Baron Jiono’s and Vice Leader Oshe’s perspective first」
「No, we are supposed to preserve the mansion until the next lord arrives, we aren’t well-informed regarding the situation outside」
「It is as the baron says. We have been guarding this mansion for that last three months after we received this duty from Baron Gragoleir. After the incident with Count Kurumfar, this territory was managed by Baron Gragoleir. If you want to hear the details, you should ask him」
Answered Oshe, intending to withdraw.
「Baron Jiono. There is no way the emperor would have stationed a baron here only to watch over the mansion. If you really don’t know anything, I will report you for neglecting your duty to the prime minister and Prince Viras, is this fine with you? 」
Baron Jiono’s face contorted. Oshe, who saw it, said.
「This country has no future. The fields are covered in salt, the bandits are pillaging everything, and the fishing industry is in ruins. One town was destroyed by the bandits just a while ago. We turned what was left of that town into ash right before you arrived」
「You burned down the town!?」
Rico stood up in a surge of emotions.
「Isn’t it Princess Ricolette. It’s been a long time. I’m sorry for not noticing you. Allow me to congratulate you on your wedding. The town was full of corpses. Unless we do that, the monsters would come out of the forest to feed on the dead. Please understand the necessity of this action」
「Why didn’t you subjugate the bandits who attacked the town?」
「There are about 100 bandits against our 300 knights. More than this, they built their base deep inside the forest. To wipe them out, we need to plow our way through the monsters while being wary of them. I can’t let the knights participate in this dangerous mission」
「First things first, congratulations for receiving this mansion in our stead, Honorary Marquis Versam. You can use this mansion however you want. Our duty ends here. I will depart tomorrow in the afternoon, I leave everything here to you. Well then」
Jiono concluded with just that and swiftly left. Following after him, Oshe too left the room.
「So that’s why he said to ask him before the tomorrow afternoon」
「We were left to deal with the consequences, Rinos-dono!」
The oldest, Bius, raised a scream of anger.
「That being said, it was quite a report. Those two didn’t manage the territory properly! 」
Rico was fuming with anger.
「Well, nothing will change whatever we say here. For now, let’s have a meal. Rico, Ferris, I will take the dishes from the infinite storage, arrange the meal properly」
Rico and Ferris swiftly filled the table with dishes. Rico’s attendant, Kuena, helped them out. In a blink of an eye, a buffet-style meal was completed.
「All right, good work everyone. Fill your bellies to the brim」
To be honest, there wasn’t much work involved, though. Maybe it was because of the barrier that obstructed recognition. We just had fun camping out for a few nights.
「They don’t have any more materials that this? How horrible」
「It is absolutely the neglecting of duties」
After a meal, we left the cleaning to Kuena and the guys immediately went to secure their bedding. I told them to wipe themselves while they were at it as I filled the tub with water. Meanwhile, Rico, Gon, Ferris, and I went to the office to look through the remaining documents. There was a safe, but it was empty. It was a vast mansion, yet it was filled with only the necessary things.
The only useful thing there, was a family register that recorded every person living in this territory. Besides the names and ages, it also recorded their occupations and addresses. The list was sorted by the occupation. It was personally created by Count Kurumfar, which showed his excellence.
As for everything else, there were only people who watched over this mansion. I found the reports addressed to the count, but they weren’t useful at all. The reason is, they mostly reported some stupid things.
They didn’t speak about the crisis and only described some rumors. The reports also described the rumors about Rico, which made me uncomfortable to read any further. It seems that the Kurumfar couple was too eager to educate Rico and failed to educate their subordinates. Most likely, they were the type that couldn’t concentrate on multiple things at the same time.
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For now, I will examine the territory through my map. There is a forest to the west of this mansion and several towns close to the sea. As for the burned town, it should be the town about 5 kilometers away from the mansion. There we no human presences. Most likely, the survivors have evacuated to nearby towns and villages. In other words, this mansion is completely isolated.
Also, there was a dense cluster of people in the forest. This should be the bandit’s hideout. Still, they built their base in the forest in the midst of the monsters. Perhaps, I shouldn’t underestimate them.
「These bandits might be surprisingly strong. Their leader seems rather intelligent」
「It would be difficult to catch them unprepared」
「Well, it’s not like it is completely out of question…..anyway, it is late, let’s go to sleep. 」
I created the teleportation barrier in the office. I told the guys to stay here and report through the portal if something happens. I let Irimo and the harpies stay in this mansion. The stables were neatly arranged and seemed to be quite pleasant to stay in. Kuena decided to return with us and together we passed through the teleportation barrier.
I enjoyed a long-awaited bath. When I told Mei about the salt problem, she said that she would try to develop a solution for it. We also have the fertilizer developed by Gon and Peris to grow their crops, it should be useful for the Kurumfar territory.
Kuena slept together with Rico while I enjoyed the time with Mei first time in a long while. Mei’s beautiful big breasts are indeed a nice article. 
- My lonely self is sad. ↩