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10-08 Gloria Ohlstat
Is she training, Jin thought as the woman with short light brown hair ran towards their group from the other end of the street.
She was in an outfit that looked like it was easy to move in.
She had grey pants. They looked comfortable and very easy to move in indeed. Her top was a white T-shirt with sleeves tailored similarly to raglan sleeves. She was wearing short boots.
Just by looking at the color and lustre of the clothes one could see that they were made out of good cloth. The leather of the boots also seemed to be high grade judging from its flexibility.
Once the woman got closer Jin saw that she looked to be in her early 20s. She was tall, slender, and gave the impression of having a toned body without being slim.
Once the woman saw Jin’s group she slightly slowed down her running pace.
“Excuse me, could I ask you something?”
Jin called out to the woman.
“What is it?”
She replied and stopped.
“Might you know where the Fahlheit house is?”
“Hmm, the Fahlheit house you say. Yeah, I know. Turn right at the corner over there, it’s the second house you’ll see.”
The woman told Jin, who bowed his head and thanked her.
“Thank you very much.”
The woman then waved her hand as if it was no problem and,
“What, it was nothing. Incidentally, it seems you’re an Honorary Magi Craftsman of Egelia Kingdom?”
After seeing the half coat Jin was wearing the woman asked to confirm.
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“Hmm, I don’t know what business you’ve got with the Fahlheit house but the head of the family Nicholas and his daughter Lithia are both away, you know? Only they lady and her maids should be around.”
This was because both Nicholas and Lithia were still at Tetrada. Oh right, Jin thought but didn’t say it aloud.
His primary objective wasn’t to meet with Lithia but to return the sword after all.
“Is that so, then that’ll have to do.”
Jin said. The woman seemed to be pondering something and then asked,
“Could you perhaps be the Magi Craftsman who repaired Lithia’s sword?”
“Eh, um, yes, I believe so.”
Far from just believing so, he had the sword in question with him.
“Ah, I see! My name is Gloria Ohlstat. Right now I’m the vice-captain of the women’s Imperial Guard troops among other things.”
“Oh, I… My name’s Jin.”
Jin also gave his real name. Since he had been recognized as an Honorary Magi Craftsman it seemed like if he tried to poorly deceive her it would spell future trouble.
“Jin-dono, huh. No need to be so humble since you’re from another country and all, just call me Gloria.”
“Thank you very much, Gloria. These girls are my sisters. And she is an acquaintance of mine from here, Virgo. And this is Reiko.”
Virgo greeted her normally, and Hannah energetically. Elsa pinched her skirt lightly and did a so-called curtsy. Seeing Elsa’s greeting, Gloria looked a bit impressed.
“Huh, you sure know your manners, Elsa-dono. It’s as if you were a noble’s daughter.”
It was just natural with her originally being a viscount’s daughter, but Elsa still blushed a little when praised. Finally, Reiko’s greeting was with a small nod of the head.
“Jin-dono, what is it that you came to this country for, I wonder? Since Celuroa Kingdom is between our country and Egelia Kingdom traveling surely isn’t easy? Not to mention right now in these times of war.”
The battle with the Unifiers was on the 23rd, and the Unifiers became Nostalgia on the 24th. And today was 27th. It seemed like enough information hadn’t arrived here yet.
“Well, to broaden my horizons, should I say?”
Jin gave a noncommittal answer. Gloria seemed to more or less realize it,
“Hmm, oh well. I don’t know what business you have with the Fahlheit house, but once that’s over with, I wonder if you could pay me a visit? My house is over there.”
She said and pointed at a largish house behind Jin.
“I’m off duty today, you see. Just now I returned from my habitual morning training. So could you please come visit after I’ve finished dressing myself, let’s say at around eight o’clock?”
Right now the time was probably around half past seven. No matter how Jin looked at it there wasn’t a lot of time until eight o’clock. Maybe the thought was apparent from his expression as,
“Haha, a knight doesn’t spend time on eating or dressing. Twenty minutes is enough to do anything necessary. So, I’ll be waiting.”
Gloria said, then without even waiting for Jin’s reply opened the door to her house and disappeared inside it.
“Sigh, she’s a little pushy, isn’t she. Virgo, do you know her?”
Jin let out a sigh and asked with a strained smile.
“Just the name. Just like she said, she is the vice-captain of the women’s Imperial Guard troops. She’s from a Baron’s house, and of course is a Ritter.”
Since knighthood was a social status rather than a title, it was enough to call her a knight from a Baron’s house.
“As she’s rather strong, I’ve heard she also serves as the instructor for the female knights.”
“Ah, that’s why she knows Lithia, huh.”
Jin’s guess was on point.
“Well then, shall we first get the errand done with?”
Jin said began to walk towards the house that was pointed to them. Hannah and the others followed.
“Reiko, could it be that you and Laojun too knew that Lithia hadn’t returned yet?”
While walking, Jin spoke about what he was thinking of. Reiko nodded.
“Yes. However, since we thought that if Father were to hand the sword over to Lithia-san directly she’d wonder why you had the sword she had lost at Tetrada, so me and Laojun decided to stay quiet.”
Indeed, Jin thought after hearing that. It would be very bad if the connection between Jin and Machina was known.
Knowing that Reiko and Laojun had stayed silent for Jin’s sake, he reflected on his own thoughtlessness..
Simultaneously he felt happy knowing that instead of blindly obeying him Reiko and Laojin judged on their own what was the best when working for him.
Well, had he been told beforehand he probably would’ve obeyed them, Jin thought, but didn’t say a word since him not doing that wasn’t completely unthinkable.
The second house around the corner. Indeed, the gates had ‘Fahlheit’ carved on them with small letters.
“This is it.”
After verifying the house Jin handed the sword over to Virgo.
“Please tell them that a person called Machina kept hold of it.”
Virgo used the knocker attached to the door. After a while the door opened.
“Hello, who might you be?”
A woman past her middle age who appeared to be a maid showed up.
“Ah, this is the Fahlheit house, am I correct?”
“Yes, that is the case.”
“Even though she’s not around, I’ve got something here for Miss Lithia that a person called Machina held onto. Could you hand this to her once she’s back?”
Virgo said and presented the sword wrapped in a cloth. The maid accepted it without any questions
“I’ll be going then.”
Virgo said and turned back. She had a feeling that the maid asked for her name from behind but she left without minding her.
“Well then, now the most important errand is done.”
But there was still some time until eight o’clock.
“Father, are we going to that woman’s house?”
“Well, I don’t know what she wants to talk to me about, but I feel like there’ll be future trouble if we brush off the vice-captain of the women’s Imperial Guard troops from a Baron’s house.”
“Indeed. There’s a lot of nobles like that.”
As Elsa said so too, Reiko had no further objections.
“Well? What’ll you do? Hannah and Elsa, you don’t have to come along with me.”
But Hannah and Elsa said,
“I said it earlier. Since we came here together, let’s move together.”
“I’m fine being with onii-chan.”
And like earlier, the two declared they’ll be with Jin.
“Got it. Let’s go together then. Right, also, thanks for your help, Virgo. If your identity gets revealed from prolonged contact it’ll be troublesome, so you can stay behind now.”
If she was needed for everything she could be contacted through her internal ManaCom.
“Yes, I understand. Please excuse me then. If you need me for anything, please call me at any time.”
Virgo said, bowed, and left.
“Well then, shall we go after spending some time taking a look around there?”
And so they decided to go around the district of the lesser nobles.
Jin’s impression was that they were like ready-built houses. They had small gardens of a several tsubo and in the middle of them were two-storey houses.
All the various gardens had their own styles, one was just a lawn, another had lots of flowers, yet another had fruit trees planted in it, and one was dreary with uncovered soil, and so on.
Jin was surprised that many of the buildings had pumps installed.
On the other hand,
“Wow, how pretty! Oh, those flowers look like Kherries! Ah, is that a pump?”
Hannah kept running around merrily as if everything she saw was unusual. Seeing Hannah like that, Jin thought it was good that he brought her with him.
Most of the houses were made of stone. There was a lot of granite. Occasionally a wooden house was mixed in too.
They went around and returned to the central intersection where the sundial was nearly pointing at eight o’clock.
“Ah, we’re just in time. Let’s try going to Gloria’s house then, shall we?”
They walked for about five minutes from the intersection. Then they were at Gloria’s house.
They got in front of the house where an aging man who appeared to be a butler was standing.
“Welcome. The young lady is waiting. Please come in.”
He said and opened the door to the hallway.
“Ah, thank you for having us.”
The house was tidy and well-organized.
“Over here, please.”
The butler guided Jin and the others to a parlour-ish room at the back of the first floor.
“Jin-dono and your sisters, welcome.”
There Gloria who had tidied her appearance in order was waiting.
Her blouse moderately decorated with lace and such showed quite a bit of her bulging breasts, and befitting a knight’s dress the cord where her short sword was hung from was wedged diagonally in her cleavage.
The riding pants she was wearing were dyed a refined purplish gray and had a subdued sheen to them.
Her light brown hair had also been tidied up prettily and in one point a golden hair clip accented it well.
But most of all what caught Jin’s eye were the dozens of swords hanging on display on the wall behind her.
“It was an honour to be invited.”
As the oldest of them, Jin gave greetings for the group. But Gloria told him,
“Ahh, I told you earlier, you’re a traveler from a foreign country. I don’t mind you being less formal. I’m also speaking in a tone like this, see?”
Maybe related to her work as a knight, she had a manly way of talking. The butler knit his brows a little but said nothing.
She told them to sit down. Jin’s group sat and,
“First, please relax and have some tea.”
Gloria said and ordered the butler to prepare some tea and tea cakes.
Speaking of, the tea that was usually drunk in Cline Kingdom was brewed of the same tea plant as the one Kaina Village gathered the leaves of.
The familiar taste relaxed Jin, Elsa, and Hannah. But Reiko didn’t drink.
“Hm, what’s wrong? The lady over there… Reiko-chan, was it? You’re not drinking?”
Jin was prepared for this beforehand so he replied honestly.
“Reiko’s an Automata so she doesn’t need to eat.”
Hearing that, Gloria’s eyes went wide.
“W–what? An Automata? …What amazing workmanship! Indeed something only an Honorary Magi Craftsman could make!”
Gloria began raining praise on Jin after being surprised when she learned Reiko was an Automata. But Jin was more interested in the swords on the wall behind her.