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Might want to have a read of Volume 1, Chapter 31 first: https://oniichanyamete.wordpress.com/2015/10/02/tileas-worries-chapter-31/
Chapter 15 – Sera vs Ortissio the Fiend!?
“Niel, stoppu! Y-You two, stand by outside!”
“”As you will!””
The two of them did as my daughter asked and left the room. Nielsen is one thing, but Ortissio the noble listened as well. Was he trying to play up his harmlessness? Or did he have some other scheme?
Wait, hang on. More importantly…
…Tilea, weren’t you supposed to let me meet him?
“Tilea, why did you tell the two of them to wait outside?”
“Be-, B-Because I’m not mentally prepared yet…”
I looked up to find my daughter shaking pitifully, pacing about the room.
“Calm down a little.”
“Mum, w-w-w-what do we do? We’re going to be turned into meat slaves!”
Oh dear. Did I scare her a little too much? Tilea was too trusting in Ortissio so I brought up the Fiend as a bit of a warning, but…
I suppose it was a little too effective. I could pick out “The Fiend is-! The Fiend is-!” and “Anything but a meat slave!” amongst my daughter’s ramblings in the background. I couldn’t exactly talk to Ortissio with Tilea like this.
Certainly, Ortissio isn’t trustworthy. It’s more than possible that he’s using all this money to deceive my daughter. Tilea is silly but cute, so perhaps he intends to bind her with debts to satiate his lust. I need to find out what he wants. And for that to happen I need Tilea to calm down.
Gosh, why did I not see this coming. My daughter has always had the terrible habit of fixating on an idea once it gets into her head. Once she’s afraid of something she’ll believe it until the end.
“Just calm down, Tilea.”
“Oh no, the Fiend. The Fiend is coming. The calcium deficient Fiend is cominggg!”
It’s no use. She’s not listening at all. Also what on earth does she mean by “kalsiyum deficient”?
Sometimes my daughter will mutter made-up words. When she was young my husband and I had suspected that it was some illness of the mind so we invited a physician to have a look at her. When his prognosis was, “She’s not ill. That’s just her personality,” I was relieved but also incredibly sad for some reason. Well, these days I’ve come to find her silliness quite endearing though.
At any rate, I need to calm her down!
I held Tilea firmly by the shoulders and looked straight into her eyes.
Oh, that seemed to work. Tilea stopped muttering and grasped onto my hands.
“Ah… M-, Mum… W-What do we do…?”
“Leave the talking to your Mum. There’s nothing for you to worry about,” I said as I gripped her trembling hands back.
“B-But, he’s a powerful noble just like that Fiend that eats women.”
“It’s going to be okay. Your mother is actually quite good at negotiating these days. I won’t let him push me around.”
“Yeah. So you wait outside for a little while, okay?”
Having you here might cause all kinds of problems.
“B-But I can’t just leave you alone, Mum. I’ll stay.”
Tilea’s legs were still shaking. She must have been terrified. But she still managed to muster her bravery for her mother. She really is such a sweet child. I can’t let anything happen to her.
“I’ll be fine, Tilea. Besides, isn’t Timu coming home from school soon?”
“Oh no! At this rate she’ll bump into the Fiend(Or)!”
“Right? So I want you to pick her up for me.”
“You’re an older sister, Tilea. Don’t cut corners and take care of your sister!”
“You’re right! I’ll find her and we’ll be back in no time. Mum, you can’t be alone with him.”
“I’ll be back really soon, okay?”
With that, Tilea rushed outside.
Sorry, Tilea. I really hate abusing your concern for Timu like this but I really need you away from here.
Alright then. Time to negotiate.
I clapped my cheeks to wake myself up, and then went to talk to the two men still standing outside.
“Ortissio-san, Nielsen-san, please come in.”
“However, Tilea-sama ordered us to stand by…”
“My daughter has left on an urgent errand.”
“I see. Then we shall stand by until she returns.”
Wai-, Nielsen-san, aren’t you taking this a little too seriously? If Tilea tells you to wait here will you stand here until the next morning!?
Goodness, Nielsen-san is the same as ever. Always following my daughter’s words to the letter. Even when those words are completely ridiculous. I don’t know if it’s because they help him at work but he never treats himself as their equal. Honestly, I don’t know if I should praise him for his earnestness or…
“Nielsen-san, Tilea said that you don’t need to stand by any more.”
“Then I shall stand by until Tilea-sama returns to confirm my orders.”
Oh my goodness, this man is too inflexible. What kind of adult are you if you’ll treat a child’s babble as law!
“Um, did my daughter not tell you about how I wanted to speak with Ortissio-san?”
“She did indeed tell me.”
“Then, if possible I’d like to have a chat with him while we wait for my daughter, but…”
“However, Tilea-sama ordered us to stand by…”
He’s still undecided. Sigh. When Nielsen-san is being stubborn like this nothing I say makes a difference. What do I usually do to get around this. Oh right, “A Secret Mission From Tilea”. I’m going to have to use that word again, aren’t I.
“Nielsen-san, my daughter wanted us to finish our discussion before she arrived home. She said that this was an… executive order.”
“I see. Then please excuse me.”
Hahh, I’m starting to really see what Tilea means about this man. I’ll bet it’s this personality of his that kept him unemployed for so long.
I let out another sigh as he headed inside. Following behind him was a young man of perhaps thirty. His face was ordinary and unremarkable. I supposed that this was Ortissio.
Get your game face on, Sera. You’re used to dealing with these nobles. Make sure to protect your daughters!
Just as I was firing myself up…
“Greetings. My name is Ortissio Bo Bach. It is my humble pleasure to make your acquaintance, Sera-sama,” said the man, before immediately prostrating himself before me.
Eh!? Eh!? Do you have to go that far!?
This was beyond the scope of my expectations. An aristocrat getting on hands and knees to prostrate himself before a commoner? No matter what kind of plan he had I just couldn’t imagine a noble throwing away their pride like this.
Oh no. This was so unexpected that I couldn’t think straight.
U-Up! I had to get him up! A noble prostrating to a commoner like this could be the seed for all kinds of trouble…
“U-Um, Ortissio-san, please raise your head. I truly don’t know what to do!”
“Is there any soldier who would just raise their heeeaaaad!?”
Out of the blue, Nielsen-san started bellowing and then struck Ortissio in the back of his head, causing him to fall flat onto the ground.
“N-Nielsen-san!? What are you doing!”
“Oh? I was simply disciplining him. I am teaching Ortissio the appropriate bearing for a retainer.”
“Discipli-, p-please don’t just suddenly hit people!” I screamed in the chaos.
How could you treat a major noble this way…
No matter what kind of fault the noble had, striking them like this was grounds for being sentenced for treason.
Are you insane, Nielsen-san! You’re really just like Tilea said. And here I thought you had more sense than this.
Forget about attacking a noble, suddenly hitting anybody like that is insane! Wait, don’t tell me he’s actually going senile at his age…
“Ortissio. At Sera-sama’s request I will end your punishment here. Remember your respect next time.”
Ortissio shakily returned to his feet. He seemed to have been concussed.
“Ortissio, you dare command a division when you can be shaken with such a punch?”
“M-My deepest apologies.”
“Apologies are meaningless. More importantly…”
And thus began Nielsen-san’s merciless verbal attack on the unsteady Ortissio.
“N-Nielsen-san, isn’t that enough…? You could be arrested for treating a noble this way, you know?”
“Noble? Sera-sama, you were told that damned Ortissio was a noble?”
“Impossible. How could Ortissio be a noble.”
“Eh-, is he not? My daughter told me he was so I was sure…”
Hahh, goodness, that ridiculous girl!
Ortissio-san wasn’t a noble. It looks like that girl has gotten into yet another incredible misunderstanding.
“…Actually, Ortissio is indeed a noble. Isn’t that right, Ortissio!”
“Y-Yes. I am a noble. My parents and their ancestors were of course nobles, making me also a noble.”
“H-Hold on. Nielsen-san? Didn’t you just say that he wasn’t a noble? Which one is it?”
“My sincere apologies, Sera-sama. At my age I seem to be forgetting things all the time. That was a mistake. Tilea-sama’s words are the correct ones. Damned Ortissio is most undeniably and unmistakably a noble.”
After that, the two of them began going on about how this ancestor was a count, or how this other ancestor was a duke…
What on earth is wrong with these two…
It’s way too fake! They’re acting like complete children! Even Ortissio being a noble is under doubt now!
Still, the truth remained that Ortissio was incredibly rich. At the very least the furnishings in this restaurant could attest to that. But I wasn’t sure if it was possible to have a proper chat about the debt. Nielsen-san in particular was acting especially strangely. Could it be he really was becoming senile…?
I levelled a careful gaze at him. His hair was silver-grey, and his moustache was trimmed frustratingly neatly. Mn. A total fop of a man. But he didn’t seem at all senile. Still, I could tell that his being here was only going to get in the way of things.
“S-Say, Nielsen-san, do you think you could leave the two of us to have a chat in private…?”
“Understood. Well then, I shall stand by outside.”
“Sorry about this. In the end I’m kicking you out.”
“Absolutely not. This much is natural for a retainer such as myself. Well then, Ortissio, do your best to remain respectful.”
“O-Of course I will.”
“Sera-sama, if damned Ortissio shows you any disrespect you need only call out for me. I shall acquaint him with the iron fist of the law,” said Nielsen-san as he clenched a fist in front of his chest. Not a shred of fear towards nobility could be seen in him. It was as though he was talking about some naughty neighbourhood kid.
“…Nielsen-san, Ortissio-san truly is a noble isn’t he?”
“Yes, that is exactly the case.”
“Could it be that you also hold a peerage, Nielsen-san?”
I could at least understand if he was also an aristocrat.
“Is that what Tilea-sama told you?”
“No, I haven’t heard anything like that. But you just seem so close with Ortissio-san.”
“Ha ha! I simply go back a long way with this idiot. But I myself am simply…”
“…Sera-sama, may I ask what Tilea-sama said about me?”
“Eh!? J-Just that… Well, she called you a ‘chuuneebyoh’ and a ‘niit’.”
“Ohh! That is exactly right. I am indeed a ‘chuuneebyoh’ and a ‘niit’.”
W-Why are you declaring that so proudly! Tilea told me that a ‘chuuneebyoh’ means somebody who can’t face reality and holds all kinds of embarrassing delusions, and a ‘niit’ is a useless human who won’t find a job.
I don’t understand. I’ve only known Nielsen-san for a little over a year. There are still too many things I don’t understand about this man. Anyway, I need to focus on Ortissio.
Once Nielsen-san left to ‘stand by’ outside, Ortissio sat down opposite me at the table.
“U-Um, Sera-sama,” he began meekly, “You said you had something to discuss with me?”
“Yes. I deeply apologise for the losses my daughter has incurred upon your store.”
I decided first to begin with apologising for Tilea’s mismanagement. Because of the earlier prostrating perhaps it wasn’t as effective as I would have liked, though. Unfortunately I couldn’t return the favour. The nobility will grasp at any weakness you show them.
Confusingly, Ortissio didn’t seem to understand because he stared blankly at me. His entire expression was screaming ‘Why am I being apologised to?’. Did he even know about the debt? Could it be that the restaurant was owned by somebody else?
And just as expected…
“U-Um, I do not understand what you are apologising about…”
So I voiced my doubts.
“My daughter owes you a great debt, does she not? You own this shop, right?”
“I certainly have handed money over to Tilea-sama. However, you say that I’m the owner of this shop?”
“Are you not? My daughter said that you were.”
“…T-, That’s exactly right. I am indeed the owner of this shop, who is Ortissio. I look forward to your continued patronage.”
An incredibly unnatural response… What on earth have these two been playing at…
“And what might the truth be?”
“As I said, I am the owner.”
“Y-, You must be joking, right?”
“No, no, I would not dare.”
“…Very well. In any case, I would like to talk about the debt. I sincerely apologise but at this point in time we have no means to pay it back. You could say that we can’t ever pay back the entirety. However, we will try our best in instalments to contri-”
“Debt? There is no need to pay it back. Actually, far from repayment I would be more than happy to continue providing money as long as Tilea-sama still desires.”
“W-What are you saying! The debt has already exceeded a hundred million gold, you know. Are you saying that you’re going to just forget about that!”
“Yes, quite so. Is there some problem…?”
“Hah!? There’s a huge problem! Three hundred million gold in debt. I can’t believe that you’d just forget about that. And you keep saying “Tilea-sama, Tilea-sama”… You’re a high-ranking noble, and the owner of this store, aren’t you? What are you planning by acting like a servant!”
“Ah, no, that’s because the Generalissimo of the Evil God Army is none other than… I mean, wait… S-Say, Sera-sama, I apologise for the sudden question but what do you know about the Evil God Army?”
“Evil God Army? What is that supposed to mean? An army of demons? Shouldn’t it be the Demon King Army then?”
“Hm. So if I mentioned the terms ‘Evil God-sama’ and the ‘Legendary Demon Camilla-sama’ you wouldn’t understand…”
“What are yo talking about! Are you planning on lecturing me on history now? Please do not avoid the subject.”
“I see… So Tilea-sama… is hiding it… Then I too.”
“W-Why are you just muttering to yourself! Are you saying that Tilea is involved in this Evil God Army?”
“No, no, I was simply talking to myself. It is nothing that you need to worry about. R-Right, I was simply thinking about some of the military investments I’ve made. As a noble.”
“I see. I wouldn’t understand investments in military expenses. But please do not get my daughter involved.”
“Of course. Tilea-sa…n, is simply an excellent cook that I employ.”
Suspicious. He’s clearly hiding something. This man might be smiling politely but it doesn’t reach his eyes. At a glance he might seem incredibly courteous but from his eyes I can tell that he thinks of me as an idiot. No, as a bug of some kind.
Because of this act, Tilea has probably mistaken him for a good person. This is bad. There’s something incredibly dangerous about this. I was right, Tilea. You’re being deceived.
“Do you think I’ll just accept that! Even if you’ve fooled my daughter, you haven’t fooled me.”
“Nobody is fooling anybody. Tilea-sa…n, is simply a talented cook with incredible prospects. That I have any ill-intentions towards her is unthinkable. And that debt you mentioned might be a lot to you, but as a major noble it simply isn’t much. Please be at ease.”
“A few hundred million isn’t much, you say!”
“Yes, exactly so.”
It didn’t feel as though he was lying. He really didn’t seem to think anything of that money. But no matter how he saw it, the debt was still a three hundred million.
In the end, why did Ortissio spend so much money on my daughter? It made no sense.
Whether for good or for ill, my daughter is incredibly beautiful. It wouldn’t be strange for some noble to want her. But a few hundred million was simply too much. I couldn’t read this man at all.
“Let’s just be honest with each other.”
“In other words…?”
“What are you planning?”
“Planning? I would never…”
“Please stop taking me for a fool!”
In my anger I pointed my self-defence dagger at his stomach.
“Please stop this, Sera-sama.”
Even with a dagger pointed at him, he was still completely composed. As I thought, he was somebody from the underworld. The man reeked of danger.
“Listen. My daughter might be an idiot, but she’s a good girl who loves her parents! I won’t allow you to hurt her.”
“Hmph. I’ve been keeping silent, but the likes of you making light of…”
“Oh? So you’re finally showing your true colours. I have to say, it suits you much better than that cheap smile you had plastered on.”
Ortissio’s expression warped with rage. I finally got him to discard his mask. It would have been impossible to find out what he wanted as long as he kept giving me evasive answers.
It’s dangerous, but like this I’ll be able to find out what he really wants.