On one cold night, in the Nobles District, where the dazzling buildings were neatly arranged, was a manor that was a little smaller and slightly inferior to the rest. It was the owner of this manor whom the duke, Reinhart Jamil, was visiting.
“Welcome, Your Grace. We’ve met every year in social situations, but we’ve never really met in private like this.” [Porco]
“Indeed, but we’ve spoken a lot during our time at the academy, and today I’d like to call you ‘Porco-senpai’ once again, just like I did in the past.” [Reinhart]
“Yes, Your— I mean, I see.” [Porco]
The two spoke formally for awhile at the reception office.
“Come to think of it, when we met for the first time too, it was kind of like this, wasn’t it?” [Reinhart]
“Yes, at the time, I was so surprised that a person would go to a place like that. What’s more is that it was the rumored son of the duke who came.” [Porco]
“I can’t maintain relationships with people I’m not good with, as it’ll only cause problems for my father.” [Reinhart]
“But of course, after all, the influence of your father— I mean the ‘Contractor of the Divine Beast’ is not something even His Majesty could ignore. I’m sure there were a lot of people who approached you because their parents told them to. It was probably out of their hands too.” [Porco]
“But even then… Please do hear me out, Senpai. Actually, before coming here today, I met my daughter after a long while. I was curious how she’s been doing, and she brought four friends with her. They were all good kids.” [Reinhart]
“Isn’t that a good thing? Why do you sound so unhappy?” [Porco]
“When we ran out of time, and I told her that I would be coming here, she said this. ‘…You had friends during your school days?’” [Reinhart]
“Oof, what a tragedy… Didn’t you tell her about your situation?” [Porco]
“I did warn her a little, but I also didn’t want her to think like I did, so… And besides, she had little interactions with nobles of her own age, so she was able to grow up with an innocent outlook, and that makes me really happy.” [Reinhart]
“I know it’s strange coming from me, but just make sure you don’t regret anything.” [Porco]
“Of course, if necessary I won’t just stand idly, but I believe it’s important that she experience things herself. Besides, my daughter managed to find five friends in just one year when it took me six to find one. I pray that they and he will be able to support her.” [Reinhart]
“They and he? Are you talking about…” [Porco]
“Yes, Ryouma-kun. I heard he visited you a few days ago. Another reason for my visit today is to thank you for taking care of him.” [Reinhart]
“I didn’t really do anything noteworthy, though. If anything, he was the one who took care of me. Hence, I would actually like to thank—” [Porco]
“I’ve heard about that too. He said you gave him plenty as thanks.” [Reinhart]
Reinhart’s anticipatory words made Porco brace himself.
“Hmm… Are you unhappy about something? I’m truly sorry that I’m unable to give any more compensation than that.” [Porco]
“Oh, no. We’re perfectly happy with the compensation you gave, and neither I nor the person himself have any problems. In fact, he thinks you gave him too much… Do you find it difficult to relax?” [Reinhart]
Reinhart asked, having sensed Porco’s thoughts.
In response, Porco spoke slowly but honestly.
“….To be honest, I’m glad that you’re willing to put aside your status and treat me with respect as my kouhai, but I think I might be a tad too old to still be called by that term.” [Porco]
“I understand. We also have our duties and position as feudal lords and as nobles. And while I wasn’t lying when I said I wanted to talk with you like I did in the past, that’s not all there is to it either… If we keep trying to feel each other out like this, we’ll never get anywhere, so may I propose that we get the noble talk out of the way first?” [Reinhart]
“I would be most grateful.” [Porco]
“Then if I may be frank, Porco-senpai, please allow me to participate in the assembly that you are organizing.” [Reinhart]
“Assembly, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, what I’m organizing is merely a dinner party, which I do as a pastime. How did you find out about that anyway?” [Porco]
“I heard from Ryouma-kun. Apparently, you’ve gotten word that my territory is currently in turmoil.” [Reinhart]
“Yes. Are you saying…?” [Porco]
“Unfortunately, several houses have joined together and are pulling strings behind the scenes.” [Reinhart]
Porco softly covered his eyes with his hands.
“What fools would… Ah, but from the way you’re acting, I’m guessing you already have an idea who these fools are? If so, then your objective mustn’t be to look for a way to solve it but in consideration of what’s to come.” [Porco]
“As usual, the conversation progresses quickly with you, Senpai. Personally, I’m not fond of these power struggles, but since there are people who think they can just lay a hand on my territory, I’ve decided to use this opportunity to hold a lesson. And to prevent something similar from happening again later, I wish to expand my personal connections.” [Reinhart]
“But you don’t really have to ask me, do you? I’m sure there are plenty of houses who wish to form a relationship with the duke and his house.” [Porco]
“True, but not just any noble will do. It would be most reassuring if someone like you who is both shrewd and who’s continued to establish useful contacts through your ‘dinner parties’ would work with me.” [Reinhart]
“Of course, I’ll compensate accordingly. I’ve left my luggage with your subordinates.” [Reinhart]
“I’ll have them bring it in then.” [Porco]
Porco rang the bell on the table, and the butler, Piguu, entered.
After hearing what he needed, he left and immediately came back with three boxes in various sizes.
“Please take a look at this.” [Reinhart]
The first box that Reinhart showed was the rectangular one.
“This seems to be a necklace of some sort…!!” [Porco]
Porco guessed what was inside the box.
His guess was by no means wrong, but the actual product inside the box was beyond anything he’d expected.
“Pearl!? And so big and so many too!” [Porco]
For their country which did not possess its own sea, every bead of pearl was a great luxury. And yet here was an accessory that strung together a series of such pearls to form a necklace.
Porco thought of procuring it, but he couldn’t even imagine just how much it would cost.
Tl Note: Correction, in an earlier chapter I translated a line to mean that ‘the pearl was yet to be harvested by their country’ (paraphrased), that line should instead be translated to mean that ‘the pearl couldn’t be harvested yet by their country’.