I am Yudence Sia, the lord of Sia.
On that day, I was looking over the latest version of the peerage listings.
I stumbled across the name of Golen Village, a village that cropped up just last yet but was developing remarkably quickly.
“Kehma Golen…? Hmm? If I recall, Kehma was the name of that village’s leader… he was a n.o.ble?”
That question lingering in my mind, I immediately put in an inquiry.
Information on aristocrats can be obtained by contacting the administration bureau in the imperial capital.
For ventuliers, there we also be information regarding their party members and past achievements as adventurers. B-Rank adventurers will have made a name for themselves and have some distinguishments in their history.
A few days after I made an inquiry through magic mailing, the information was sent to me.
According to the information I received, Kehma Golen had three other party members also at B-Rank and had completed five dungeons with his party.
[White Trial] [Cave of Desires] [White Beach] [Bone Cave] [Cave of the Three-Way Struggle]…
… I’d never heard of some of those dungeons, but he completed them all with a single party. It even says that he finished three of them after obtaining the peerage. He even went so far as to destroy two of them.
He completed two dungeons that he was just barely permitted to enter due to their danger. In other words, he has shown himself to be a considerably powerful individual. Moreover—
—[White Goddess guarantees this individual’s wit.]
Of all things, it had that comment added on.
… That’s bad. When I saw that sentence, I unintentionally wound up dropping my cup of tea, breaking it. An influential person made a village this close to Sia and was developing it? And having the White Goddess, someone who everyone knows of in the Raverio Empire, backing him…
No matter how I think about it, that’s bad. I can’t leave this alone.
Gah, my stomach’s starting to hurt. I might lose some hair over this…
By the way, according to that same bit of information, there was also an inquiry sent to Sia from the imperial capital.
Are you fine with the [Godly Pillow] that is being managed in Sia being moved to Golen Village? That was a rather nonchalant question…
I am not such a fool as to misunderstand the meaning behind such a frank question… It was telling me that I should use the [Godly Pillow] as a trump card for securing my friendship with them.
What to do… Should I try marrying my daughter to Kehma Golen?
There’s a chance that he’s a different person I suppose, but I suppose I should take precaution as an insurance policy.
It may be because he himself has attempted to hide his peerage, but Golen Village’s chief is stated to be Kehma, a commoner.
And as the village’s chief, Kehma is very good at what he does.
Reason Given: ‘The excellent Village Chief is the village’s best adventurer.’
Reason Given: ‘He is a sincere man who lends aid to others.’
Reason Given: ‘An extraordinarily wise and capable man.’
Seeing Golen Village’s remarkable development recently, the credibility of his reputation is high.
The fact that he was able to develop a place that was empty just last year enough to easily make it through winter—no, even develop through winter is a frightening accomplishment. He’s been able to fully utilize the dungeon mine’s capabilities and is on the right track for its management… While he is certainly lucky, doing that would be impossible without enough talent to match it.
Even if he wasn’t backed by White Goddess, just his talent alone would make bringing him into the family not a loss.
Well, there is a rumor about him preferring young girls, but aristocrats are sometimes like that.
At any rate, let’s invite him over for a chance to see him face to face.*
Having come to my estate, Kehma-dono was a polite man with black hair and dark eyes.
He had also brought along a beautifully dressed dog beastkin slave… She should be one of his party members, Meat Kuroinu, if I recall.
It was an awful name. assuming I’m not wrong, this girl should be the origin of the news saying that he prefers them young. That said, I’m not sure whether it’s because of this girl that he’s considered as such or that he brings her around because he is like that.
“Did I keep you waiting? I’m Yudence Sia. I take it you know that I’m the lord?”
“I am Kehma. Pleased to meet you, Lord-sama. I wasn’t waiting too long.”
He didn’t appear to be angry at all despite me having him wait in the room for enough time for the bell to toll.
… Is he a man that doesn’t care about time or is he going to stick with the pretense of him being a commoner? At the very least, the rumors about him that say he’s tolerant appear to be true.
I noticed right away that Kehma-dono was uninterested in marrying my daughter, Maidence.
To Kehma-dono, someone who is preferred White Goddess-sama, the position of being a family’s head might not hold any significance.
Either way, I kept trying to forcibly tie him to us. I inquired about the village’s plan and Kehma-dono’s own story. I’d already looked into that information in advance though, of course.
According to what Kehma-dono’s said, they had captured around as much as thirty iron golems, but just from the information we’ve collected here, they’d exported forty golems’ worth of ingots. If I assume there’s some we didn’t catch, there should be at least fifty worth, if not more.
Normal village chiefs would generally exaggerate their reports… yet Kehma-dono merely said it wasn’t a big deal.
In other words, it meant that something like that wasn’t much compared to the rest of his exploits.
As we were conversing with each other, Mai came along and began talking with Kehma-dono as a fiance candidate.
My sagacious daughter understood that Kehma-dono was an amazing person from that short talk.
I also want to tie her together with Kehma-dono. At the very least, I don’t want them to be hostile with one another.
But just then, Kuroinu-dono spoke up.
“This matter, he refuses.”
“… Kehma-dono? Is that your intention?”
My daughter was dissatisfied by the abrupt and grand refusal, so I tried scowling at him after infusing magical power into my eyes.
As the lord and as the father whose betrothal invitation was just denied, it should just barely be seen as not hostile.
“Yeah, I don’t intend to get married…”
But Kehma-dono didn’t even bat an eye. A weak human would have fainted, even a well-trained merchant would have broken into a cold sweat… what terrific willpower.
As expected of someone that the White Goddess has guaranteed. Ah, I might be seen as hostile if things keep going like this, let’s turn the flow of the conversation back around.
“Great! Isn’t that nice? How about we simply respect Kehma-dono’s esteemed opinion on the matter?”
“Otou-sama, your view clearly seeped into your words… Kehma-sama, you’re so dreamy!”
After that, Mai’s cleverness made it so that Kehma-dono would be her fiance candidate. After she left, I spoke under the pretext that we would simply be borrowing his name to use as her fiance.
I said that an impertinent youth from Pavuera was wanting to marry Mai, saying that the want was spurred by the tunnel that now connected our towns… and that we refused.
There’s rumors about him being a child prodigy, but I didn’t want Mai to leave Sia. That said, Golen Village is rather close, so that’s fine.
… I know that it’s my own selfishness, but really, my daughter is so cute.
When I hinted at Kehma-dono possibly gaining the [Godly Pillow] as a reward, he showed enough interest in it that it surprised me.
The timing felt right, so I figured it just might work if I pushed a little.
By the way, the room I lent to Kehma-dono is able to let me see what’s happening… but according to what my spies tell me, Kuroinu-dono refers to Kehma-dono as ‘Otou-san’ and that Kehma-dono treats their relationship as one between a parent and child.
Kehma-dono himself referred to her as an important member of his family, and now that I think about it, they do both have black hair. In other words, they may both be descendants of a hero.
It wouldn’t be odd if the two truly were connected by blood.
There’s even a high probability that the two are parent and child.
Kehma-dono said that he’s single, so he might have had a relationship in the past that he doesn’t want coming to light.
His daughter’s name is Meat, something that basically acted as a slave collar for her… it’s probably something he doesn’t want to talk about at all.
How should I put it? Despite their circumstances, I wound up saying things that did a great disservice to Kehma-dono and Kuroinu-dono.
There were rumors about them often sleeping together in the same room, but it would be natural to sleep with your daughter.
I would like to sleep with Mai if I could. Maybe that wish would come true if I were a commoner? It’s impossible for me to abandon my position as the lord, though.
… I’d like to hear more details about his circumstances, but probing any further would just be hostile toward them.
I told the spies to tell me if anything else happened and went back to my normal routine.
But Kehma-dono’s age is a bit young for a daughter that big, just what age did he have her at?
Kuroinu-dono would have had a dog beastkin as a mother, but I don’t recall hearing anything about dog beastkin having an accelerated growth period?
Does that mean Kehma-dono is older than he looks, then? He may not only draw on the blood of a hero, but maybe of elves, too?
… Could he be White Goddess-sama’s…? No, he couldn’t be. Right…?
We entertained Kehma-dono with a dinner.
After introducing my family, our head chef—I say chef, but he merely just learned by following a single person’s example—did his best to prepare the meal.
Our head chef is the best chef, lauded throughout the Sia territory… is what I thought, but it’s said Kehma-dono’s inn serves new and rare dishes.
For such a brilliant chef to work at a lodge in a remote area like that… mmm, just that much makes it feel profound.
I can’t know which of the two chefs are better without comparing theirs with ours, but there’s a possibility that chef might have the same skill Cooking God Ishidaka had, [Cooking]—doubtful, though.
Kehma-dono talked about this and that during the dinner, the mood was good.
But it felt like Kehma-dono had his mind on something.
“Kehma-dono, you’re still capable despite being a rear guard right? How about we have mock fight after dinner?”
“Hahaha, surely you’re jesting, Rondeau-sama. You wouldn’t have fun with someone as unskilled as me.”
… Rondeau, you are the eldest son. You need to put more effort into your official duties than standing in the front line.
By the way, I’d told everyone here about how Kehma-dono’s wit was guaranteed by the White Goddess, as well about his distinguishments in his dungeon captures. Due to that, the engagement discussion for Mai and Kehma-dono was taken well.
My wife looked at me as I drank some tea after the dinner and smiled.
Ah, I was making the face I make when I’m thinking about bad things. She gets me.
“Oh right, I heard that Kehma-san received words of compliment from the White Goddess?”
“… The White Goddess?”
Despite his expression having been generally unmoved this entire time, even during my coercion from before, Kehma c.o.c.ked his right eyebrow at that.
"Ahem! Right, I'm told that Kehma-dono's inn has an onsen? The White Goddess seems to like it a lot."
"Yeah, she does. It sounds like Kehma-dono has a wonderful inn."
Waltz, you did that on purpose, didn’t you?
One way or another, we’re still uncertain as to whether this Kehma-dono from Golen Village was the same Kehma Golen found on the peerage listings. She was probably wanting to make certain.
What a lovely wife. But please, let me know you’re going to do something like that in advance.
Well, Waltz probably also already thought that Kehma-dono and Kehma Golen were the same person. Something like 98% certainty becoming 99% certainty…
He reacted with something similar to ‘you knew about that?’ as a pretext. Usually, people would have been thrilled to show off White Goddess-sama’s affection, it wasn’t something to be hidden.
Nevertheless, him sticking to hiding it probably means he has some circumstances going on.
Circumstances that make him hide his peerage.
Sublime circumstances that make him have to hide his relation to his daughter…!
"More importantly, Kehma-dono, you talked to Mai, right? She's a good child, isn't she?"
"Yeah, she's more than someone like me would deserve. Don't you think that the engagement between her and someone like me would damage your reputation?"
"Oh? Being engaged with Kehma-sama wouldn't be a bad thing at all. We want to know about Kehma-sama, too. Right, Otou-sama?"
Even if the engagement got annulled, getting engaged to someone talented enough to earn the White Goddess’ attention wouldn’t marr her reputation.
Well, it’s not as though it wouldn’t do anything, but it definitely wouldn’t harm it much.
"Right. It's a good thing, even.”
Setting aside my wants as the lord, I’d prefer to take my time in marrying off my adorable Mai, but that’ll just be my little secret.