“Chancellor Evers! I need your help over here with the materials!”
The commanding voice of a competent secretary broke my train of thought. Though, I had to get used to his new title as he was no longer a mere assistant. Looking briefly toward the raven-haired, sharply-dressed man walking toward me, notebook in hand, I then turned to the hustle and bustle of a new town being constructed.
Located just a bit east of Minsk, the kingdom needed a place to house the Purnesian refugees that no longer had anywhere to go. There was no Empress to lead them anymore, and they were not prisoners. Given that we wanted to dissolve the long-held hatred they possessed for Sistina, it seemed like the first step toward making amends. Many of them had also helped in the battle against the demon army.
It had been almost a month since the final battle, and life was starting to return to normal again. By normal, I meant that the conflicts of war had finally died down. There was still much to be done in terms of rebuilding and establishing a new routine for those affected.
“Chancellor, can you spare a moment of your time? I’m sure that you will complete it in a flash,” Dengel called out to me again.
This time, I gave him a thumbs-up before letting him guide me toward a giant pile of logs and solid blocks of magically-compressed earth, each three meters tall. I pulled out a knife, knowing what to do.
My shout was meant more to warn others of the impending strike than anything; even if they were struck, no harm would come to them. Mana shot out in a wave from my weapon at a block of earth, making numerous horizontal lines across the surface in one stroke. I sliced downward next, creating vertical lines in the same manner before moving to the side and doing it again. It felt like cubing tofu.
Dengel approached, reaching up to grab a piece loose from it. After only 3 swings, the entire block had turned into a neat stack of bricks to be used in construction. He spun the one in his hand around to examine it.
“Truly a marvel at how precise and flat your cuts are. Been practicing, I presume?”
I scratched my head and waved my knife in the air vacantly in response. “Better to get good at this than cutting down people, you know. I’m surprised how things will just come apart now, however I intend it to. Even in places where a weak point doesn’t exist, I can disrupt the mana flow and artificially create one.”
Dengel grinned as he held up the brick, stroking the surface with one finger along a mana grain that suddenly was cut off. If I had realized that I could simply make weak points of my own, then my previous battles wouldn’t have been so hard.
“Speaking of which… how has the mantle of nobility been treating you, Earl Dengel Faulkner?” I said, changing the subject. What I got immediately was a thin frown and a sigh of exasperation.
Since Eryn had technically been killed in the war against Purnesia, there were already talks of who was to lead the region she left behind. And when given the option to return, Eryn simply turned it down. After what she did, it was understandable that having her be Lord again would be problematic.
For now, not many people realized that the one leading the demon army was her, aside from those at the top. The general public believed that she was dead, and her current condition, being pale with demonic characteristics, would invoke some strange inquiries eventually. The last thing that they needed was yet another surprise sprung upon them. A bit of time to settle the dust was best.
As a result, Dengel became shortlisted as the next candidate for Lord. Diligent, commanding, and thorough, the only drawback was that he wasn’t a noble. But with my approval, Queen Katalina formally bestowed him the title of Earl to make him a suitable replacement. The sudden rise of his renown spread like wildfire across the kingdom, the first time anyone had jumped so many rungs.
But I could think of no one else with the proper credentials that would keep Eryn and my interests in mind. He had been groomed by the former Duke Charlemagne to handle just about everything, and his competence in leading the Faulkner Trading Company was second to none. Add that he had been guiding Eryn’s governing to begin with, and it only made sense, merit-wise.
“Aside from the wardrobe change, I guess I have to keep a more watchful eye on Alice. Now that she is a respectable Lady of the House, the longing glares of opportunity in taking her hand can be felt every time we step upon the streets.”
“Are you sure that some of them aren’t directed at you, Mr. Raven-Haired Secretary?”
“That. Is. Fantasy.” Dengel shot me an evil glare before he turned away and let his expression soften. “Who in their right mind would transfer such an impression upon reality?”
“More than you think.” I chuckled, having long grown used to the weird caricature of myself developing in the minds of romance readers. Dengel, unfortunately, needed more time to cope with such, particularly since his rise to nobility, which sparked a spinoff of the main series. If he would learn to drop his seriousness occasionally and joke around, then he would find a suitor quickly to squash those unsavory ships.
Waving off my jests dismissively, he pointed to the rest of the materials that needed to be trimmed in a similar fashion. It took mere minutes for me to shape what the workers needed, a task that would normally have taken days to do without a competent magician. With a sigh of relief, I looked upon the prepped materials, enough to build more than half of the planned structures.
The amount of mana that I expended in those minutes was enough to level the entire region with a continuous bombardment of magic, but I hardly felt tired at all. That was the benefit of having a near-inexhaustible mana supply.
I had indeed absorbed the powers of the Electi of Life and Electi of Mana into my core when I defeated the god. Why that happened was a mystery. But the skills came in handy. I could help out in so many ways without becoming fatigued.
Just like how I had been helping with construction, I spent many days making use of my large reserves. Cooking tons of stat-boosting food for the workers, supplying magicians with mana through Resonance Stones, and treating the wounded with mana-infused acupressure healing – these were just some of the things to be taken care of while the kingdom continued to rebuild.
It was all mindless, busy work, but it needed to be done. But most of all… I wanted to do it. Seeing the peaceful, boring days again brought about a spark of enthusiasm. I loved this world after all, despite all that had happened and its current imperfections. What was most important to me was still within reach, and that was all that mattered.
“Done with all of this already!?” a voice in the distance bellowed out.
I turned to see a man with a crew cut and very keen eyes. The gleam of his pistols at his hips reflecting the afternoon sun was the next thing that caught my gaze. He was dressed in a tidy, button-up coat and slacks, similar to his old military uniform but in Sistina’s colors.
“Hello there, Viscount Golabki. Making the rounds, I presume? I hope that things work out once this new town is built.”
I extended my hand to him, which he took for a handshake. After the war ended, the Purnesians needed a figure of authority representing them, someone of their own. Being a good judge of character with his keen vision, Golabki was naturally chosen for that role. He had been the one to rally a group to fight off the demon army, convincing the Queen to temporarily arm themselves with normal rifles.
“It’s a good start, but only time will tell. The embers of conflict still kindle within the hearts of my countrymen, but I think they are responding to the positive outreach. We have you and the Queen to thank for that.”
I smiled at the man. He was quite a decent person once I got to know him. But that was likely because he no longer carried such a heavy weight upon his shoulders. His days of executing petty criminals were behind him. His pistols were now wielded for his people, for the right reasons. His eyes told me that much.
“Say, what are you planning to call this region? I’ll have a cartographer pen it into the royal map of Sistina.”
Golabki thought for a moment before speaking with vacant eyes.
“Oldenburg… that was the real name of our empress, wasn’t it? I recall you mentioning that her family once owned land around here. Despite her heavy-handed methods, I do believe that she was honestly looking for a place to belong. Some purpose for her existence. I can’t help but wish to honor such dedication. Do you object?”
I shook my head. “Nah… We decided to bury the hatchet when it came to things like that. If things had happened just a bit differently, maybe we would be shaking hands with them over peace talks. I was present at Olivia and Lamps’ last moments. Surely, we were seeing eye to eye in the end.”
Golabki turned to me and placed his hands on my shoulders. He bowed his head before me, bringing his larger frame down to my height.
“Thank you, Chancellor. For understanding. You otherworlders are pretty amazing, aren’t you? Enough to change nations in the blink of an eye and even bring together the world.”
“It’s not just me. The people themselves must agree to it also. We’re just here for some reason with special gifts. But it’s because of those powers that we need to listen to those around us. We can make a difference, but if there’s no one there to support us, then we become just as lost. We can turn into the very Demon that we just defeated.”
We bid each other goodbye for the time being. Since I was done with the requested task, it was time for Dengel and I to return to the capital. We hopped into a carriage and leisurely rode back, taking the time to review some of the other assignments that were allocated to the others.
“So… Saki’s in charge of tearing down that wall in its entirety, huh?” I chuckled as I thought how the entire length of it would take her weeks to do, even with her massive strength. Of course, there was also clean up to consider as well.
“To tear down the walls of people’s hearts, one must first remove physical barriers,” Dengel stated, adjusting his glasses.
“Right… I guess that was the same for my world too.”
“Nothing, just a bit of history back home.” I waved a hand to dismiss his inquiry. It wasn’t like I had the charisma to make an impactful ‘Tear down this wall!’ speech. Well… I would try if needed, but there was no oppressive leader on the other side anymore.
“Moving on, Miss Ludmila is sprinting across the plains of Purnesia, informing the remnants of the Empire’s people. Not all of them know of the outcome, especially the smaller towns in the outer regions. And they are no doubt wary of any Sistina banners marching into their homes. Your plan of bringing them hearty rations as a sign of peace appears to be leveraging on their hunger as a way to open their doors.”
“Dengel, you make it sound like I’m brainwashing them with good food.”
“… You’re not?” A smile crept onto Dengel’s face, a clear indication that he was jesting.
‘If only he would joke around more with other people…’
I tossed a knife at him while thinking that, making him jump in panic. But the metal blade bounced off his chest, completely harmless due to my lack of intent. One’s will controlled everything in this world, and I had only recently learned just how much it gave strength to all.
When Dengel realized that he wasn’t in any danger, the two of us laughed it off, chatting until we reached the front of my mansion.
“See you tomorrow, Dengel.”
I stepped out of the carriage and walked up to my home, ringing the bell at the front. I stared up at the darkening sky as I waited. The giddy voice of Roberto sounded as the door opened. I had grown quite used to his jolliness, and he, in turn, catered to my whims and informality. That included letting me use the kitchen when I felt like a change occasionally.
“Welcome home, Sir Claude. How was your day?”
“Things went smoothly.”
“Excellent, Sir. Supper is ready for you. I’ll give the go-ahead to set the table for two, which reminds me that your lady friend has been waiting for you. I suggest that you attend to her needs while the preparations are being completed.”
“Thanks, Roberto. I’ll go see what’s up with Eryn.”