The next day, I came to an encampment southwest of the city that took half a day to reach.
This was the middle point of the multiple manors to the southwest in the territory of the Mouskouri family, where Dimon had gathered the soldiers.
Three hundred in number.
For manors, the small one would have a population of about one hundred people, and the big one would hardly have more than five hundred people.
And all of them were “farmers.”
Even if there were five hundred farmers, three hundred armed soldiers would be enough to overrun and crush them down.
And Dimon, who had gathered those numbers here, was “overpowering” the manors.
I came riding up a horse to the location of that encampment, where many tents were set up.
“Welcome, Yuuto-sama. It’s a pleasure to see you”
When I entered the encampment, a man greeted me with several soldiers in tow.
He was a man in his thirties, unarmed, and looked like a civil servant.
I got down from my horse, “And you are?,” and asked.
“My name is Lucius, the one who leads this unit”
“It is reassuring to be able to have you personally come here, Yuuto-sama. As long as you are here, the revolts are as good as settled”
“Oh really?,” I gave an appropriate reply.
I’m not a mere noble.
I’m not a boy born into a noble family, who is ignorant of the ways of the world.
I was an ordinary salaryman with nearly thirty years of life experience before being transmigrated into another world, with my fair share of experience in society.
And I can tell that this guy in front of me is flattering me.
Actually, you can easily tell if it’s this obsequious, isn’t it?
But well, there’s no need to point that out.
“So, how’s the manors now?”
“Right this way, please”
Lucius began to guide me.
He guided me to a tent located around the center of the encampment, which was noticeably larger than the others.
The tent was roughly 32 m2 in size.
And in the center of that spacious tent, there was a table that measured three meters by three meters.
The top of the table was a sandbox.
Why a sandbox on top of the table? I tilted my head.
Lucius used a T-shaped tool, about as long as an arm, to level and shape the sandbox.
It’s that, a miniature “rake” used to level the ground when I was playing baseball as a kid.
And as he proceeded to level the sandbox, I slowly began to understand.
That was the topography of this area.
Around the perimeter of the sandbox formed mountains, the same formation as the surrounding mountains I had seen on the way here on horseback.
“Thank you for waiting. Right now, we are here”
Lucius placed a small model, which looked like a wooden block imitating the encampment, on top of the sandbox.
“And then, here, here, and here are the manors”
Next, he placed models representing farmlands.
At first I thought, “Why a sandbox?,” but then I realized that this was a diorama.
It was a diorama that could be easily and freely remade wherever you brought it to.
So there’s something like this, huh. I was a bit impressed.
“Oh, I see”
“Tomorrow, we will start by taking total control of this place,” said Lucius, tapping one of the three manors with his fingertip.
“Taking total control?”
“Have you tried to negotiate?”
“It is not necessary,” Lucius said firmly.
“They are ignorant fools who don’t know their places. Suppressing them right way is the best plan”
This guy’s really easy to understand, isn’t he.
Well, the easier to understand, the better.
It’s good, because it’s so easy to understand, even from his short statement, that persuasion will be futile.
“Got it. And one more thing”
“Yes, what would that be?”
“My dad said that there’s a swordswoman. Where is she?”
“Yes, that has been investigated — she’s here”
Lucius pointed at another manor.
“This place is planned to be the last. If I could have you wait for a while longer, we will do all we can to bring back the results of battle――”
“Then I’ll be going”
I turned around and left the tent.
“To you, Yuuto-sama, wait, be going?”
Lucius was surprised.
He was surprised, and hurriedly chased after me.
Lucius chased after me, “Wh-where will you be going? Yuuto-sama,” then asked from the side.
“I’m going over to that manor and have a talk”
“P-please wait. That would be dangerous. We will――”
“It’s fine, you guys go just go do your thing”
“What, is there anything wrong with me going there?”
“That’s not what I.. It’s just, much too dangerous to go there alone. I have heard that there are a dozen or so bunches in each manor who are instigating this. And that woman is one of them”
“Is that so”
I kept walking.
That was within expectation.
Completely ignoring Lucius’ call to stop me, I mounted the horse I had come here with.
I directed the horse towards the location of the manor, which Lucius had showed me through the sandbox inside the tent.
The manor came into view after about an hour since I got on the horse .
I proceeded to approach it and then saw a gatekeeper at the entrance of the manor.
“Halt! Who are you!”
The gatekeeper was armed.
Clearly not the manor’s farmer, that said, doesn’t look like a normal soldier either.
A mercenary. That, a bandit or thug.
“A child? Who are you!”
From on top of my horse, I looked down at the gatekeeper, “I am Yuuto Mouskouri,” and declared my name.
The gatekeeper was surprised to the fullest.
“You know me?”
“Family of the lord”
“That’s right.And I came here to talk”
“To talk… But with a child like this…”
The gatekeeper was clearly troubled.
I’m sure that the manor intends to “talk” to Dimon, since the goal is to eventually negotiate with him and get something out of him, but looks like he’s troubled that the one who came is unexpectedly a child.
“I’m the representative of the head of the family. If you aren’t willing to talk, I’m going to just leave”
“Wa-wait! Please wait a bit!”
The man hurriedly went inside.
He retreated further into the manor and came back again in a hurry about five minutes later.
I nodded and urged my horse to enter the manor.
I could see clearly from the horseback.
A manor was a huge plantation so to speak.
A tourism farm I had a trip to in the past, or all-you-can-eat strawberry picking plantation.
The appearance was practically the same as those.
Depending on the manor, there were two types of manors: those that only got fields to grow and harvest, and those that even got facilities to process the harvested products.
And this plantation seemed to be the former type — just fields.
Nothing but fields as far as the eye could see, and simple structures such as private houses and storehouses.
As I continued forward, I could see people gathered in front of one of the private houses.
All of the gathered people were looking over here.
They were the farmers who had been in this manor since before, the bunches who looked like bandits or mercenaries, like the gatekeeper.
And then one more person.
It’s the said swordswoman.
No doubt, this is the one Dimon mentioned.
“Hyuu,” I reflexively whistled.
It was because she was a good woman. Better than I had imagined.
She was wearing a splendid-looking knight armor based on white color, and her back was straight.
Furthermore, she had long beautiful golden hair and a beautiful and gallant face, which could mistake her for a noble.
She’s definitely a good woman.
I came in front of them and jumped down from my horse.
One of the male farmers saw me, “It-it’s really Yuuto-sama…,” and said, slightly scared.
“Hmm? You know about me?”
“Ye-yes. Once in the past, from a distance”
Well, something like this also happens.
“So, you are?”
“Ye-yes. I am the manager of this manor, my name is Sulla”
A “manager.” That means the leader of this place in normal times, huh.
“And? Where’s the leader of the outsiders?,” I asked, and looked at the men who were not farmers.
There was tension in the air.
The men were buzzing.
And one of them glared at me, completely exposing his hostility.
“Kid, don’t act so tough”
“So it’s you, the leader of these guys”
“Watch your mouth, kid”
“And you too watch your mouth”
The man snapped.
“I am of the Mouskouri family, and I have come here as a representative of the family. Do you need me to explain further what this means?”
“You can’t do anything without bringing out your family name, huh, kid”
He really doesn’t get it.
“You are saying that your words are the will of the Mouskouri themselves, right?”
I turned towards the voice that had intruded into the conversation — the female knight.
“Seems like you understand it”
“…To a certain extent”
“I’m called Ceres”
“Hey! What’s the meaning?,” the man who looked like the leader shouted at Ceres.
Ceres frowned just for so slightly, “Nobles value their honor. A statement that carries the family name has weight,” and explained to the man.
This wasn’t just because they were nobles of a different world.
It was the same story even for a company employee in my former world.
For example, even if you were an ordinary employee, when you took out your business card to a client, your conduct and speech would then represent the company.
That was why you would have to pay attention to your conduct and speech. And it would be a problem if you were not careful.
Of course, there was a difference in the level of what an ordinary employee and the son of a noble family could say, but the fundamentals remained the same.
I introduced myself using my family name.
The female knight, Ceres, explained about this to the man but, “Hah! That’s just sophistry. Nobles are just a gathering of worthless bunch. As if you can trust anything those guys say,” the man said and snickered.
I was astonished, “You, you still don’t get it?,” and said to the man while sighing.
“You don’t have the intention of negotiating with me. Is that right?”
“Obviously! Who the hell want to with a brat like――”
“I’ll confirm it with you once more. I have come here to represent the head of the Mouskouri family. And you don’t have the intention to negotiate with me, is that right?
“How many times you gonna make me say the same――”
“Th-that’s not true!,” Sulla, the manager, who had been watching the developments with an anxious face, said before the man could spit it out.
“Hey, what the hell are you saying!?”
“We-we would like to have a proper talk if possible”
Looks like this Sulla has a better head on his shoulders.
“Then let’s hear it. What is it you guys want?”
With his face facing downwards, Sulla alternatingly looked at me and the man.
“Hey, bastard. You know what this means, right?”
“Hey, how many of your men are here?”
The man glared at me.
“I’m asking you how many,” I asked while looking around.
I could see bunches who seemed to be part of the man’s gang here and there, but their number is not clear.
“That’s got nothing to do with any of this!”
“Eh? Umm… Seventeen, yes…,” Sulla replied to me while looking into the man’s expression.
“Seventeen, huh. Well, that should do”
“Huuh? Bastard, what are you sa――”
“Enough already, now drop dead”
I pulled out my sword, unleashing it.
In the next instant, the tip of my sword had already pierced the man’s heart.
A woman’s scream reverberated.
It must’ve been one of the people from the manor who had been watching from a distance.
“The hell you’re doing!?”
Anger and furious roars, different from screams and agitations, came at me.
The man’s comrades, all at once, rushed to attack me.
I intercepted these guys.
One after another, I cut them down.
A little later, Ceres came to attack me as well.
She drew her sword and slashed at me.
I continued to cut down the men while parrying that.
After I cut down about ten of them, they turned cowardly and stopped attacking me.
They stopped attacking me, but one of them took someone from the manor as a hostage.
He restrained the hostage from behind and pressed the edge of the sword against the neck.
“Don’t move! D-don’t you care what will happen to her?”
I stopped dead in my tracks as he took a hostage.
Ceres also stopped moving.
The people of the manor all around fled in all directions.
The only ones left were the bunch of bandit-like outsiders and the woman from the manor who was taken hostage.
And then me and ceres.
“Stop it! Leave the manor people alone!”
It was Ceres who tried to stop the man.
“Shuddup! You too, whose side are you on!?”
“It has nothing to do with the manor people!”
“I SAID SHUDDUP!!,” the man roared back at Ceres.
It turned into a glaring standoff.
I fixed my eyes on the man, “…What do you want?,” and asked.
“Drop your weapon!”
“No, I’m asking you what do you want to do with that”
“Huuuh!? A-are you mocking me!? I’ll kill her if you don’t do what I say”
“…Go ahead, try it”
“I said, ‘Go ahead, try it’”
“――! DON’T SCREW WITH ME!!”
The man raised an angry shout and briefly pulled back the the sword to gain momentum to kill the hostage.
I knew this would happen.
He did press the edge against her next for a moment, but I knew that if he truly was going to kill her, he would pull it back to gain momentum.
I didn’t know for sure whether it was the common sense I possessed from the start, or if I knew it thanks to “Flowing Longsword Mastery.”
However, I knew it was coming anyway.
About the same time the man shouted I stepped in, and in the instant he pulled back his sword, I sent his sword flying from him with my sword and immediately killed him with my sword.
The hostage was rescued in the blink of an eye and the other bunches were dismayed.
And then — ran away.
I had absolutely no need for them, so I ignored the ones who ran away.
And still holding my sword, I turned towards Ceres.
“Are you not gonna run away?”
Ceres made a complicated face.
It was a face that was unsure if she should fight me any more.
Then it should be alright, I thought as I sheathed my sword.
And I called Sulla, who was running to the distance.
Sulla rushed over here in a panic.
“Bury these guys around there. They’re probably wanted men anyway”
“So, about you guys…”
“I-I apologize! It was a sudden impulse. That man tempted us”
I nodded and looked at Sulla and the other manor people.
Certainly, they are dressed modestly, perhaps leaning towards poverty, but some of them are putting on weight.
There were various kinds of poverty.
The popular image of poverty was that of someone who lost weight and was very skinny, but the truth was, the one called “moderate poverty” was something that could make you put on weight.
When you were moderately poor, the food you would eat would be centered on carbohydrates.
If potatoes and such were your staple food, you would put on weight in an uncool direction.
Therefore, if you were moderately poor, you would be more likely to put on weight instead.
Even eating three meals a day of a convenience store’s stuffed bread could make you put on weight.
And in comparison to that, the manor people were still “able” to put on weight.
Looking back at history, a revolt after having difficulty to feed yourself for a long time was quite capable of overthrowing a government, but if it was still at the level where you could eat, it could be managed by letting off steam.
“So, what is it you want?”
Sulla looked into my expression.
He was sending glances at his fellow manor people, asking for help.
The manor people looked at Sulla with eyes that said, “Aren’t you the leader?”
It was turning into a rather tedious situation.
“I will have travelling entertainers here once a month”
“The money’s on us, of course. Is that alright?
“Travelling entertainers… Is it really okay!?”
The manor people’s eyes glittered all at once.
“You’re alright with that, right?”
“Ye-yes! E-everyone too, right?”
The manor people agreed all at once.
It was that after all.
Looks like the “bread and circuses” theory works in this world, too.
Sending the manor people cleaning up the bodies of the men a sidelong glance, “So, what would you do?,” I spoke up to Ceres.
Ceres looked at me with a complicated face.
“In the first place, you and them aren’t comrades, right? Why did you get involved in this?”
“I’ve heard that the people of this land were being exploited”
“Will someone exploited put on weight like that?”
“R-right, I also thought something was strange when I came here. But, it was certain that the manor people have dissatisfaction”
“And so you were hesitating, huh”
Ceres was dejected.
I reflexively clicked my tongue.
Being bothersome even has a limit.
My hypothesis was that Ceres was deeply involved with those bunches, and would’ve come with incredible spirit and hostility.
And defeat her through sheer strength, then making her mine, or something along those lines.
But that went outside of my expectation. A real pain in the butt.
I thought for a bit. And then, “I-I’m truly sorry. I’ll do anything so please forgive me”
If this was a manga, I bet my eyes or glasses would have sparkled.
“Did you say you will do anything?”
“Y-yeah. As long is it’s something I can do”
“Then be my woman”
Ceres froze in place.
Her face gradually reddened, and her shoulders were trembling.
She’s mad — it’s unexpected, huh.
“What kind of joke is that?”
“I never intended to tell a joke. Be my woman”
“…I can’t really admire a child making a joke like that”
“I said I never intended to tell a joke”
I repeated the same words.
I declared in a tone of voice like an official notice.
Trembling, Ceres glared at me.
“…Are you serious?”
“You’re awfully persistent, how many times you want to make me say the same thing?”
Ceres made a cold smile.
She made a cold smile, drew her sword and pointed it at me.
“Very well, try to defeat me”
“And you will if I defeat you?”
I made a light smile.
I was thinking it’d be bothersome, but it might be the easiest to understand pattern.
“Yeah. If you can defeat me, you can have me however you like”
I drew my sword.
And I slashed at Ceres.
Longswords were clashing with each other. The sounds of fight between swords reverberated and sparks flew in the air.
Some of the manor people came, and were surprised at seeing me and Ceres, who suddenly started a fight.
“At that age with that strength, I can understand why you have confidence”
Ceres disappeared from in front of me.
I was surprised and made a 180 degrees turn right away.
It was a split-second judgement.
It was the impression of her disappearing. She just looked like she had disappeared, and it was not like she had gone “poof” like a smoke.
In other words — high-speed movement.
Then I guessed she would’ve gone for my back, and I quickly turned around and readied my sword.
The sound of sword clash reverberated again.
“Tsk! So fast, even though your armor looks freaking heavy!”
“I’m going to go faster”
Ceres became even faster, as she had declared.
So fast that I could almost see the afterimage.
And she came to attack me with her sword from all directions.
All I could do was defend.
Seeing me like that, Ceres stopped attacking me for a moment and distanced herself.
“Do you understand now? That you can’t defeat me,” and made a victory declaration.
“…Hey, you’re just like the man who took the hostage earlier”
“Push at once whenever you can win. It’s a dumb move to withdraw after you’ve made a checkmate, you know?”
“Kuh, you’re just a child!”
Ceres got angry, and came to attack me again with extreme speed.
I recalled the skill I had copied and evolved from Auxo.
I used it.
And then — I can see.
Something like a flash of lightning gleamed around the corner of my temple.
Like a ghost in a racing game, I could see Ceres’ next move.
Standing in place, I readied my sword behind my back to guard against the attack coming from behind.
Ceres, who was surprised, upped her speed even further and came to attack from a different angle.
And I could also read that with “Prophecy.” Without moving for a single step, I blocked the attack coming diagonally from in front of me.
Front, back, left, and right. I deftly handled the attacks from all directions without making a single step.
“Here I come”
Since I saw Ceres pulling back with “Prophecy,” I stepped in exactly one step before she did and sent the sword of the surprised Ceres flying.
Without pausing, I dealt a decisive blow into the gap in her armor.
Having her weapon snatched away, Ceres collapsed and dropped to one knee.
I pointed the tip of my sword to Ceres, who was on one knee.
And it’s settled with this.