Magi Craft Meister 586
18 Further Progress Arc
18-06 At the Residence of Earl Kuzuma
Ten minutes later, they heard the sound of carriages approaching. As it reached the blimp’s landing point, the coat of arms of Earl Kuzuma became visible.
Two medium-sized carriages with two horses each had arrived at the clearing where the blimp had landed.
As soon as the carriage at the lead stopped, its door opened and a red-haired girl jumped out from it.
“It’s been quite a while, Beana.”
“Yeah, really! It’s been what, half a year? No, more.”
Beana now looked like a lady, and was wearing a dress with just the right amount of ornaments.
“Lady Elsa, long time no see.”
Beana pinched the sides of her skirt and made a small lady-like reverence.
“I have already abandoned the Randall family, and now I am Brother Jin’s younger sister. So there’s no need to call me a lady. Please continue to refer to me as you always have…”
Beana’s eyes widened at those words.
“Huh? You cast your house away…? Really? I was sure that…”
But those words were interrupted by another voice.
“Beana, let’s not talk about such deep things here. Jin, Miss Elsa, welcome. I was surprised when I received your letter yesterday.”
Surprisingly, Earl Kuzuma himself had come to pick up Jin’s party.
Jin had sent Regulus 5 in advance to inform Earl Kuzma of his visit to Blueland.
“Long time no see, Earl.”
Jin bowed at him in 45-degrees Japanese style.
“These two are my butler and maid, Barrow and Belle. This is the Automata Edgar, and you already know Reiko. And this is…”
“Beat, right? I was surprised when he brought me your letter yesterday. …Wait, if we keep talking here, Beana’s gonna get mad at me. Let’s get in the carriage.”
Jin, Elsa, and Reiko got on the same carriage as the Earl. Barrow, Belle, and Edgar got into the carriage behind them. Since the only luggage they had brought along was hand luggage, they simply carried it all on their persons.
Beat, that is, Regulus 5, was to stay behind.
“Lord Jin, I’ll remain here with the blimp.”
“Yes, thank you.”
After that, the carriages started to move and got on the road to Blueland. Jin found that ride was quite comfortable, contrary to his expectations.
“Beana did a lot of trial and error to get these carriages to move about smoothly on these roads.”
Earl Kuzuma said this with pride. Jin was truly impressed. He figured Beana must have taken some notes after looking at the carriage that Jin had made back in the Egelia Kingdom, but other than that, she seemed to have developed the suspension and dampers all by herself.
After going through the castle gates, the carriages headed down the main street and deep into the castle town.
By the time they arrived at Earl Kuzuma’s residence near the center of the town, it was already late. The short autumn day was getting dark.
“Once again, welcome to Blueland, Magi Craft Meister Jin, Miss Elsa.”
“Welcome, Master Jin, Lady Elsa.”
Once they reached the entrance hall, Earl Kuzuma and Beana stood side by side to welcome Jin and Elsa.
Then they escorted their guests to the guest room area.
There were four luxurious rooms there. Aside from the living room for guests, one of these rooms was for Jin, the other one was for Elsa, and the last one was for the retainers Barrow and Belle.
“Is it really okay for us to occupy this room…?”
It was normal for retainers to be assigned to a guest room as well. And Barrow knew as much. After all, he had been forced to live under harsh conditions in the Celuroa Kingdom.
“I think it’s okay. I’m sure Lord Lewis… I mean… Earl Kuzuma, sees you two as guests, just as honorable as any other.”
Elsa stated her thoughts on the matter.
Clearly speaking, Jin was a guest of the state. He was the only person in the world recognized by this government as the “Magi Craft Meister”. That’s why there was no way anyone in this country would treat even Jin’s butler and maid like common servants.
As such, Earl Kuzuma had decided to leave Jin’s everyday necessities to Barrow and Belle whenever they were in the guest room area, and otherwise treat everyone as his own guests.
“And besides, I think the furniture and rooms that Jin made are more elegant than these.”
Even looking at a simple futon, it could be clearly seen that there was nothing that could compare to those made by Magi Silk in Hourai Island.
Design aside, it was natural that the quality of the furniture and magic tools for daily life commonly available to people would be inferior to Jin’s work.
Still, this treatment came as a surprise for Barrow and Belle, as they had had a rough life for as long as they could remember.
About ten minutes later, after all that had been sorted and everyone had settled in their rooms, there was a knock on the door of the guest living room.
It was one of the maids of the Kuzuma residence.
“I’ve come to inform you that the bathroom is ready.”
Jin and Elsa took out a change of underwear from their luggage. Barrow and Belle remained in the room. Of course, Reiko and Edgar would go with their masters.
They followed the maid down the corridor and went down some stairs.
The bathroom area was in a semi-basement.
“This place was made by Earl Kuzuma with the help of his lady wife.”
In other words, Beana, having taken a liking to the hot springs on Kunlun Island, had decided to have something similar in her house and advised the Earl on how to make it possible.
By the way, Jin and the others thought it was heartwarming that Beana was already being called ‘lady wife’. Even though she was of commoner origin, there seem to be no scorn from the residence’s servants.
Jin and Elsa entered the bathhouses, which were separated by gender.
Earl Kuzuma had been considerate enough to entrust the tending of the bathing necessities to Reiko and Edgar respectively.
“Ah, I never thought I’d be able to bathe in a hot spring here.”
A closer look revealed that this hot spring was of the salt-water type. It was a type of hot spring that keeps the body lukewarm to prevent feeling chilly after coming out of the bath.
Though it couldn’t be said that it was close to the sea, Blueland was probably the city in the Egelia Kingdom that was closest to the sea of them all.
“How’s the water, Father?”
Reiko knew that Jin liked his baths to be really hot.
“Ah, to be honest, it’s a little lukewarm. But let’s refrain from heating other people’s baths without permission.”
Since it was lukewarm, Jin just sat back and relaxed.
Barrow and Belle had been invited to use the hot springs dedicated for retainers and servants. It seemed that the servants were also allowed to use the hot springs, which reflected the virtuousness of the Earl’s personality.
“Ah, I’m all nice and warmed up now.”
After coming out of the hot spring bath, the maid from earlier came to pick them up, as dinner was ready.
“Mr. Jin, Miss Elsa, and you as well, Barrow, Belle… Please have a seat.”
Even though they were at the lowest seat of hierarchy in this room, Barrow and Belle were surprised to have been invited to join Jin and Elsa at the table. They figured Earl Kuzuma was someone who didn’t really care much about his status.
“A-Ah, th… Thank you… very much.”
However, Barrow and Belle were still rather anxious about being sitting at the same table with a noble from another country, especially an Earl.
Seeing this, Earl Kuzuma’s own butler whispered something into his master’s ear.
“I see… Barrow, Belle, I see you’re not at ease here. I’m sorry for making you two feel uncomfortable. My maid can escort you to another room if you wish.”
They agreed, and together with the maid they disappeared into a different room.
“They’re still not used to being in a place like this, huh…”
A bitter smile appeared on Earl Kuzuma’s face.
“Earl, I’m sorry you had to take the matter into your own hands…”
Jin bowed apologetically. But Earl Kuzuma raised his open palm as if to stop him from speaking any further.
“Oh no, Mr. Jin. Don’t concern yourself with that. It was imprudent of me as a host to assume that they would feel perfectly at ease sitting here with us.”
“Come on, let’s have a toast to commemorate our meeting here today.”
Beana jumped in with a bright tone of voice in an attempt to dispel the slightly awkward atmosphere.
Wine was poured into their glasses, and Earl Kuzuma was the first to raise his own before he began to speak.
“I’m filled with gratitude for this chance of meeting you again. I wish we can all stay in good health, as well as enjoy a life full of happiness. Cheers!”
The clear sound of the glasses touching each other echoed through the room, and the four of them took a sip of their wine.
“…Oh, this wine is very good.”
It was a slightly dry white wine, which was meant to be served as an aperitif. Jin didn’t know much about wine, but he still thought it was delicious.
“That’s correct. You seem to know your wine very well, Miss Elsa.”
Elsa had guessed the wine’s brand. Both Jin and Beana were surprised, but the Earl immediately praised her without even batting an eye.
“Oh, it’s just a coincidence. I just happened to have had this exact brand of wine quite a few times in the past.”
For those outside the loop, Elsa must have sounded like a heavy drinker. However, the truth was that Olsen was one of the many wine producing regions of the Shouro Empire, and their wine was Reinhardt’s favorite. Elsa had several chances to enjoy this exact same wine every time she went with him on his diplomatic journeys.
Jin, who had also traveled with Reinhardt, didn’t know about this. The reason for that was that Reinhardt would only drink on the outward journey, as he couldn’t allow himself to drink on the way back.
With this as the trigger, the conversations during their meal were centered around travel stories.
Incidentally, the table manners of the Egelia Kingdom did not prohibit conversation during meals. Rather, eating while chatting was fairly common in these lands.
Naturally, the travel stories that were shared on this occasion were related to everything that happened after they had left the Egelia Kingdom.
“So you had to go through all of that, Miss Elsa…”
“To be kidnapped and then rescued… Like a princess from a fairy tale, huh?”
Earl Kuzuma and Beana both voiced their amazement after hearing Elsa’s story. Their reaction was understandable; after all, the story was full of events that would normally never happen in someone’s life.
“And you too, Jin. You’re great! Back when I first met you, I would’ve never guessed you were such an amazing person. After all, you were always nitpicking at my work.”
“Ah, sorry about that. I tend to blurt out whatever’s on my mind without thinking too much about it.”
“You don’t say.”
Everyone started laughing cheerfully.
“Ah, right, this is quite belated, but congratulations on being formally recognized as the Magi Craft Meister.”
After having talked about Jin’s participation in the technology expo in the Shouro Empire, the conversation reached the moment when Jin was formally given the title of Magi Craft Meister.
“Thank you very much.”
Then Earl Kuzuma continued.
“Mr. Jin… No, can I call you just Jin? I’d be very happy if we could refer to one another as friends, like you do with Reinhardt.”
There was no objection from Jin.
“There is only one Magi Craft Meister in the entire world, after all. And not only that, I would also like to congratulate you on becoming an honorary Knight.”
Earl Kuzuma’s tone was now much more informal than before.
“…Thank you, Earl.”
“Oh, enough with the ‘Earl’ thing. Please call me Lewis.”
“Okay, Lewis. Are you sure about this?”
“Yes, this is much better.”
After that, the topic of their conversation naturally transitioned to Prince Ernest.
“Did you know that he was engaged to Princess Lieschen of the Klein Kingdom?”
“Of course. Or should I say, I saw that for myself. We actually met in the Shouro Empire.”
“Oh, come to think of it, they said they’d been planning to marry for some time, didn’t they?”
“They seem to get along very well, and personally, I think they’re a great match for each other.”
“I’m really happy for them.”
Thus the dinner progressed in a friendly, casual manner.