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Magi Craft Meister 352
12-02 At Reinhart’s parents’ house
“The boat that Reiko was sailing? Ah, a paddle steamer, right?”
It’s a propeller that Jin had hurriedly built at the port town Port Rock. It’s a boat that, instead of using oars, has a paddle wheel attached for propulsion.
By having Golems paddle, control of the boat is self-supported, making the use of a rudder unnecessary.
“That’s right, that paddle steamer… Once we’ve returned, I want to make one for myself. Is that ok?”
As expected from Reinhart, the fact that he expressed such intention to start learning Magicraft as soon as he got back home left Jin half impressed, and half shocked.
“Of course, that’s not a problem. Still, are you sure? What about Berthie?
Hearing those words from Jin, Reinhart laughed.
“I wouldn’t worry about her! She knows I’m like this, and still likes me!”
It was nothing more than speaking fondly of a loved one.
“Gosh, you’re such a sentimental.”
Jin also let out a sarcastic laugh when saying that over his shoulder.
＊ ＊ ＊
On the next day, the 22nd, Jin and his party departed from Koju at 9AM heading to Vanne, on the opposit shore of the lake.
Just like Reinhart said, they were using a wide boat with a shallow bottom.
There were 3 of such shallow-bottomed boats that tied together being towed by a large cargo ship loaded with carriages.
The speed was about 6 or 7 kilometers per hour, which meant it would be a 3-hour cruise to the other side.
The ones on board were Jin, Reinhart and Reiko, along with Reinhart’s butler Claude. The maids Beth and Dolly had returned to their hometown of Vanne a long time ago with Reinhart’s permission.
“Vanne is a provincial town in the center of the Count Randall’s territory, and it’s also where my parents’ home is.”
Reinhart had explained this to Jin while on the deck.
“Maybe you know about the tax system of Klein Kingdom, Jin? I haven’t personally been to the Klein Kingdom, but as a diplomat I have a general idea about it.”
After that introduction, Reinhart began to explain.
“Our Shouro Empire is divided into several territories, each of which is governed independently.”
As Jin heard that, he thought “I see, so there’s a decentralization of power”.
“Basically, taxes are paid to the lords, and each lord pays a certain tax to the state. Of course, there are also areas under the direct control of the state. That’s the general gist of it.”
There are merits and disadvantages to both decentralization of power and its opposing centralized authoritarian rule. The tendency is for small countries to decentralize, while wider countries seem to have a high tendency towards decentralization. At least in this world, Jin thought back upon the country he had visited.
“Our territory is naturally governed by my father, Wolfgang Randall Von Morgan. Within it, Elsa’s father — and my uncle — George Randall Von Amber rules over the town of Exi. That’s where Elsa’s parents’ home is.”
“Elsa’s… I see.”
There are many noblemen in the Shouro Empire who have no territory. Some of them managed to unify towns within the territories controlled by the head families, and rule over them as their own small territories.
“By the way, the territory to the west of it belongs to the Marquis Theodoric. Matheus’ family governs the cities of Sagina and Mahahama, two of the cities under the Marquis’ jurisdiction.”
It all seemed quite complicated. Jin tried to get the gist of it as background knowledge for the future.
Between these conversations, while enjoying the scenery from the lake, the ship approaches the opposite shore.
This area of the Shouro Empire consists of great plains, with only a few gentle rises towards the north.
The wind of May across the lake was neither hot nor cold, and the ships sailed through as if they were gliding over the surface’s ripples.
After going over halfway through the lake, another ship approached them from the opposite shore. It was a shallow-bottomed ship which was somewhat bigger than the one Jin and the rest were in.
It was Reinhart’s fiancee, Berthie.
“Would you like to come over to this ship?”
Reinhart, Jin, and Reiko switched ships over to board Berthie’s vessel. Claude, the butler, remained in their ship to look after the luggage.
“Since it’s exactly noon, the preparations are ready.”
As she said that, she ordered her female automata ‘Neon’, who was on board with her, to prepare lunch.
The bread was thinly-sliced, and there were various fruit jams. The fruit juice in the flask was cooled with ice magic.
The dried meat’s warmth was well kept over a fire, since it wasn’t ready yet.
Then, the specialty Lake Tosumo came out: salt-grilled Pink Toromon.
Everything was delicious, and both Jin and Reinhart were delighted.
Reiko was at leisure while everybody was eating. So Neon shuffled her feet to her side, and lowered her head.
“Reiko-san, how are you? Do you remember me?”
“… Neon-san, was it?”
“Yes, that’s correct. I’m glad you remember me.”
Before, Neon seemed to become friends with Reiko at the town of Riare in order to speak with her. She would frequently talk to her in order to attract her attention, but Reiko had always given out bland replies.