On a certain afternoon, roughly ten days after Xavier and his men fought on the Salt road.
Aura was performing her duties in her office like always and was reading the document that the “small flying dragon” had just delivered from the fortress on the edge of the royal domain, making a deep sigh.
“…Fuh. I see, the son of Marquis Guzzle failed the subjugation. Well, at least he brought back the concrete information about the cause of the road’s disorder. That is an achievement in itself.”
Thinking that it had turned out a little bit troublesome, she craned her neck while remaining seated on her chair. The sunlight coming in from the windows let her loose, red hair shine beautifully.
“Yes. It certainly is a bit too much for a hundred soldiers if their target was an coordinated pack of over fifty Pack Dragons, like the report said. I would say Xavier-dono made the right decision.”
“I know that.”
Aura kept her face facing forward while she replied to her secretary, standing at an angle behind her, with such short and blunt words.
She agreed with the opinion that Xavier had made the correct decision.
The Carpa Kingdom was still in the middle of replenishing the losses from the previous war. A young man in perfect health was an important asset, no matter if he was under her direct command or under some feudal lord.
The subjugation couldn’t be called a success when they got rid of the “Pack Dragons”, but lost half of the soldiers in doing so.
For that reason, the third son of Marquis Guzzle had made a rational and correct decision in spite of being a young commander on his first assignment.
At least Aura wasn’t counting the “subjugation failure” against Xavier. However, due to her position, it was likewise a fact that she couldn’t openly appreciate his decision.
“Now the ‘Pack Dragon Subjugation’ mission switched from the Guzzle Family to General Puyol.”
Aura heaved a deep sigh.
One thousand elite royal soldiers lead by General Puyol were already on their way to the fortress under the pretext of “countryside training”.
It was even possible that they had arrived there already.
Either way, the initiative of this mission had shifted to General Puyol.
As Aura couldn’t leave the capital, she could only watch in silence how things developed.
“Well, whatever. We are talking about that man here. He will definitely resolve the matter in one way or another.”
His personality aside, General Puyol could be trusted when it came down to his military abilities.
It was a bit unfortunate for the Guzzle boy, who wanted to raise his reputation as the next feudal lord through this case, but the re-establishment of the Salt Road was an urgent matter. It would be Marquis Guzzle first and foremost, when it came to compensating the resulting loss from a delayed solution, so they had to put up with it, even when their objective wasn’t exactly met. However…
“It certainly is hard to imagine that General Puyol will fail. The problem is that he will try to use this achievement as a stepping stone to reach even further.”
The slender face of Secretary Fabio kept an inexpressiveness that raised the question if he actually was wearing a well-made mask, while he said that in an unemotional tone.
“…Well, on the other hand, it might actually be a good thing. At least he will not be present in the capital when the Prince and Princess from the Twin Kingdom visit.”
* * *
In the past, when Zenjirou had still been in elementary school, he had watched the talk corner of a music show.
There a certain musician had answered a question about his pre-debut time when he still had been poor: “What was the toughest part-time job you have experienced back then?”
And that musician replied at once: “It was assembling air conditioning units.”
For the simple reason that a room, where an air conditioning was to be assembled, naturally had no prior air conditioning. And since the room required air conditioning, it was accordingly hot.
An arduous work in a room without air conditioning and when you were finally done, you headed straight to the next place. Needless to say, that place had no air conditioning either.
The part-time job was akin to penance as you move from one room without air condition to another all day long in the middle of summer in Japan. The musician claimed the air conditioning assembling job as such and back then, Zenjirou sat in his living room with air conditioned and ate rice crackers while commenting “Ahaha, oh really” with a laugh.
So, why was he remembering something from more than ten years ago now? The answer was simple.
“Damn it. The sweat got into my eye! I can’t see the scale of the level!”
“Zenjirou-sama, are you alright?”
“Z- Zenjirou-sama, please watch your step!”
At the present time, Zenjirou was sweating all over as he tried to assemble the “air conditioning” inside the inner palace, where it was so hot that he would rather spent his time in the midsummer of Japan.
“…Good, I got the backboard done…!”
Some way or other, he managed to assemble the back board of the air conditioning at the wall of the bedroom and he muttered that with an expression like he was already satisfied with having accomplished just that.
“Zenjirou-sama, here, a towel.”
Zenjirou took a well-chilled towel from the tall waiting maid, standing at attention next to him, and wiped the sweat from his face.
“…Fuh, I feel alive again.”
In the stuffy bedroom, he had stood on a ladder, set against the wall, and done unfamiliar work. The expression “feel alive again” was by no means an exaggeration.
With the help of the waiting maids, who had steadied the ladder or held up the back board, he somehow had succeeded in attaching the metal back board, glowing in a silver light, to the three wooden supports in a straight line with long screws.
“I’ve gotta be grateful to the carpenters. And I did cause some troubles to Aura yesterday. I’ve to reciprocate the favour later on.”
Zenjirou looked up at the just-finished back board and uttered that.
Yesterday he had worked out a special permission for the carpenters to enter the inner palace in order to assemble the air conditioning. They had set up the wooden supports at the wall of the bedroom. The supports were properly stabilized with cross-beams, so it wouldn’t collapse even when the heavy air conditioning unit was attached to it.
The wooden construct with diagonal beams looked rather ugly against the white marble wall, but there was nothing to be done about it.
There was no way he could screw into the marble wall. His original world may have anchor screws and electronic screwdrivers, but unfortunately Zenjirou hadn’t considered these peculiar tools when he got ready to move to another world.
Anyway, after he wiped the sweat off his face with the cold towel and heaved a sigh, Zenjirou noticed that the waiting maid were standing respectfully at attention around him and called out to them.
“You can help yourself to the chilled towels as well. Ah, drink plenty of water as well. I wouldn’t want you to suffer a heatstroke or dehydration.”
The waiting maids, too, had done a tough job as they had steadied the ladder from below and held up the back board while Zenjirou had fastened it in place.
Unless they cooled themselves a bit and drunk enough water, there was a serious chance that they would break down.
“Yes, thank you very much.”
“We will gladly take you up on the offer.”
The waiting maids, drenched in sweat on their cheeks or scalps, thanked him honestly and quickly moved over to the neighbouring room, where the refrigerator stood.
Left alone in the bedroom, Zenjirou spread the bundle of papers, which he had printed out from various homepages in Japan and showed how to assemble an air conditioning by yourself, on top of the bed and read through them again.
“Hmm, I mounted the back board even to the wall. Next up, I attach the device to it once to see if it holds. After that I lay the plumbing, power cable and drainage hose through the hole in the wall…”
By saying so, he shifted his gaze to the right of the back board, where a round hole gaped in the thick marble wall. It was obviously pointing a bit downward, so that the drain water wouldn’t flow back into the device.
“Still, I’ve gotta say, professionals sure know their stuff, regardless of worlds. The hole got the right size and slope. They worked exactly according to my instructions.”
He uttered his admiration as he gazed upon the hole to the right of the back board.
Their skill of opening a hole into the marble wall, which was thicker than his upper arm was long, accurately to his instructions without using any electronic tools was so impressive that he couldn’t help but be fascinated.
The first-rate stonemasons of the palace apparently used “Element Magic” of the earth kind. Before opening a hole in the wall, they “weakened the stone” with magic and afterwards they “strengthened the stone” with magic again. Still, it didn’t change the fact that they had done an incredible job.
Zenjirou turned over the towel as it had gotten lukewarm from wiping his face once and used the still cool inner part to wipe his face once more. Then he raised a voice to get himself back into spirit.
“Okay, first I’ll set-up the internal device. Then pipe the plumbing and stuff outbound. After that, I assemble the external device! …The external device, hmm…”
The sun was blazing outside. He would have to do the same kind of labour he did just now, now out in the courtyard without any shade.
He glared at the sun shining in from the open window and heaved a sighed.
* * *
Around the time Zenjirou was sweating bullets as he assembled the unfamiliar air conditioning in the garden under the sparse shadow of the parasols held up by the waiting maids, Queen Aura finished her duties in her office and swung by the back yard of the royal palace.
Surrounded by soldiers, wearing white leather armour and carrying short spears, from all sides, Aura walked over the ground dotted with weed with unusual large steps for a woman.
Compared to the front yard, which was kind of the figurehead of the royal palace, or the courtyard, where sometimes parties for privileged guests were held, the back yard could only be described as “bleak”.
To make up for that, though, it was bigger than the other two combined.
The place was allocated to the work of the craftsmen serving in the royal palace.
The stonemasons cut their stones here and the carpenters roughly shaped their wood here. The blacksmiths repaired the weapons of the Palace Knights here and the leathersmiths mended the armours.
In a way, you could call it the “business district” of the royal palace.
The royal palace also accommodated large fields, countless wells and grassland for the livestock used for food. With that in mind, it was self-explanatory that the palace could function as a fortress that was able to withstand a siege if necessary.
That said, the flames of war fortunately had never reached the capital so far, not even in the previous war.
As the craftsmen noticed Aura with the guards following her, they stopped their hands from working for a moment and bowed shortly.
“Greetings. Just keep working.”
Aura called out to them briefly and walked past them.
The craftsmen in the royal palace were allowed to skip the greeting while they were working, even when faced with the Queen. It was surprisingly lenient in that aspect.
The place Aura headed to with fast steps while drawing the attention of the craftsmen, was a wooden shed newly built this year.
It stood besides the canal of the palace and although it was new here, it obviously got special treatment, seeing as it had a waterwheel attached to it.
A couple of men in dirty working clothes stood at attention in front of the shed, waiting for Aura’s arrival.
“Thank you for coming, Your Highness Aura.”
An old man, his hair and beard completely white, greeted her as their representative. His aged, but robust hands, sticking out from the long sleeves of his shirt, were rather gnarled, which distinguished him as a proficient artisan. But a trained eye could see that the muscles hidden behind his shirt had become too weak for him to be still in “active duty”.
As opposed to this, everyone standing behind him were young men in their mid- to late-twenties, who couldn’t conceal their nervousness and had stiffened up due to it.
Their bodies were still slightly built and their palms far from battered.
A retired, old “blacksmith” and still fledgling “blacksmith apprentices”.
Aura had gathered these craftsmen for the “glass manufacture”.
At this moment in time, it was quite unapparent whether this craft would yield any result or not, so it had been impossible to withdraw manpower from the current active generation.
In front of the attentively “glass manufacture team”, Aura threw out her chest largely and talked straightforward.
“Give me a report. I heard you produced some result?”
The aged blacksmith nodded short to her words.
“Yes, Your Highness. According to your instructions, we have
heated up a mixture of white sand, milled shells and natural baking soda for five days and five nights at the highest possible temperature and somehow succeeded in melting it together into a fluid substance.
Then we entwined it around an iron rod and cooled it down by suspending it into ash. Please take a look at the result here.”
Saying so, the old blacksmith held out a long and narrow object to Aura with his gnarled hands.
Saying so, she jerked her chin and one of the soldiers, standing at attention by her side, took it from the aged blacksmith. After he frisked the object carefully and had confirmed that nothing was wrong with it, he handed it over to Aura.
She checked the presented object with her own hands and raised a voice.
To be frank, the object resembled a “greenish obsidian”.
The surface was relatively smooth, it glittered and had an almost pitch-black colour, so that you wouldn’t notice the green tint unless someone pointed it out.
By no means did it look like the “glass” that was used for Zenjirou’s tableware or alcohol bottles.
However, it definitely had a faint transparency when you held it up against the sun. As proof, its shadow, cast onto the hand, in particular was greenish, instead of black.
Seeing that shadow, Aura showed a satisfied smile and nodded.
It was nothing more than a drab pebble without any utility, but at least it proved that the method to create glass, taken from Zenjirou’s DVD, wasn’t mistaken in principle.
Definitely a success for a first try.
“Well done. Continue to specify the manufacturing process of this substance and try to find a method to increase its transparency. I know it is a completely unexplored field of work. You have all the time you need. Failures will be tolerated, too. But giving up on it is not an option. Give it your all from now on as well.”
“Yes! Very well!”
Upon her speech, the old blacksmith lowered his head excessively with these words. The rigid young apprentices behind him quickly followed his lead a second later.
Aura had actually spoken the truth. From the beginning, she herself had never expected that they would create the same glass that she had seen on Zenjirou’s DVD.
It was already “more than she could ask for” that they somehow or other made something that “certainly looked like glass on a closer look” in such a short time.
As a matter of fact, she had heard from Zenjirou that glass was even harder to melt than iron, so she had expected that it would still take some time before it took shape.
“So, how is it going? Right now, you are using a furnace for wrought iron as it is, it seems, but will it suffice in the future?”
The aged blacksmith shook his head with a bitter expression in response to her question.
“Not quite, Your Highness. I believe it to be somewhat problematic. To be honest, it would not be all that strange for the furnace to blow up in our faces at some point from the heat when we continue to repeat the current method. Besides, it takes us five whole days to refine an amount of just this size, so it will prove to be difficult to polish the technique.”
“Hmm… It ultimately might be quicker to advance the manufacture of the so-called “firebricks” at the same time… You are probably understaffed then.”
In a moment of silence, Aura placed her right hand against her chin and was absorbed in thought. And then,
“Okay. I will see what I can do to increase the personnel. But it will not happen right away. Continue your efforts with the current staff for now.
I leave it up to your decision whether you keep up with the research of ‘making glass’ itself or rather prioritize the research of the ‘firebricks’. Do the best possible. Understood?”
After saying so, she gave the elder blacksmith a questioning look.
“Understood, Your Highness.”
The former blacksmith humbly accepted the order of the Queen.
With her guards still in tow, Aura left the glass manufacture research shed behind her and walked along the canal towards a different area.
Before long, her eyes beheld a somewhat strange spectacle.
Namely, a great number of “waterwheels” set up parallel to the canal. In total, there stood ten of them in a line.
The common practice would consider it improbable.
If waterwheels were built one after another in such a short range, the hydraulic power would be too weak and the later wheels wouldn’t produce a satisfying power. However, there was no such fear for these waterwheels to begin with.
After all, all of them were only a knee-length tall.
Their dynamic power was pretty useless to begin with.
Aura crouched down, holding up the hem of her dress, and looked at the miniature waterwheels from above. At that very moment.
“Y- Your Highness! You have come by. I would have properly greeted you if you had told me beforehand!”
A middle-aged man with the beginnings of a paunch and a couple of young men with solid physiques came rushing over to her.
Without catching their breathes, the craftsmen tried to prostrate themselves at once, but Aura shrugged her shoulders a bit and stopped them with a wink of her hand.
“Relax. It is a spontaneous visit. Sorry to trouble you with my whim.”
“Very well. How gracious.”
Although they didn’t go as far as prostrating themselves, the waterwheel artisans all lowered their heads deeply.
As Aura had no interest to waste time with unproductive actions, she spoke straightforward here, too.
“I have been told you also got some ‘results’. As far as I can see, though, six of the ten waterwheels are broken.”
“Why, indeed. Amongst the six broken waterwheels, five are of the traditional kind. The last one is a ‘new model’, built according to your instructions.”
“Then the remaining four intact waterwheels are all the new model?”
“The knowledge of my husband is impressive…”
Aura muttered that only to herself, so that those around her couldn’t hear it.
This continuous durability test for the waterwheels had been Zenjirou’s idea and realized by Aura as well.
Previously, when Aura had complained in front of Zenjirou how “their waterwheels broke faster than the ones on the Northern Continent”, he had casually remarked that “the numbers of teeth on the meshing cogs were probably not coprime” and his opinion had manifested these ten miniature waterwheels.
The cogs being “coprime” to each other meant that the numbers of teeth on the meshing cogs had no common divisor, except for the number one.
For example, nine and five were “coprime”, because their only common divisor was one. On the other hand, ten and five had five as an additional common divisor to one, thus they weren’t “coprime”.
For meshing cogs it was an extremely important point whether the numbers of their teeth were coprime or not.
When the numbers of teeth of two meshing cogs were “coprime”, then all the teeth geared with each other on the same probability. On the contrary, when they weren’t “coprime”, then only a few teeth geared with each other over and over again, whereas some teeth didn’t gear at all.
What kind of result would that produce?
In the “coprime” case, the two cogs would wear off evenly, allowing for an optimum usage. In the “not-coprime” case, some teeth would wear off most intensive, whereas some other teeth almost didn’t wear off at all, which quickly strained both cogs during a continuous usage.
A crooked cog would start to clatter before long and disintegrate soon after.
As a matter of fact, the average lifespan of coprime cogs was truly ten times longer than non-coprime cogs, even when they were made out of the same materials and with the same precision.
In the modern age of Earth, the cogwheels were made out of carbide with a micron-precise fineness, so its capability smoothed things over, even if the cogs weren’t “coprime”, but the cogwheels used in the waterwheels in this world were only made out of wood, a material that wears off easily, and when the accuracy had been done sloppily, too, the difference became painfully obvious.
“It is just as you have told me, Your Highness. Compared to the cogwheels I have built so far, the ones made in accordance with your instructions last a lot longer.”
Despite the fact that the Queen, an amateur on the field, had given them, experts on the field, an accurate suggestion for improvement, the craftsmen were honestly impressed from the bottom of their hearts without so much as adulating Aura.
Strictly speaking, the recognition was entitled to Zenjirou, not herself, so Aura felt a bit complicated inside, but she wasn’t so careless to let it show on her face now.
“Do not mention it. It was just a whimsical thought of mine. Without your expertise it could not have been done. If anything, I believe your ability to accept my proposal and realize it in such a short time, is all the more praiseworthy. Put out your skills for the Royal Family, for the Kingdom and for myself from now on as well.”
The waterwheel artisans deeply lowered their heads once more in reaction to the words of the Queen.
Satisfied, Aura looked down onto the bowing craftsmen and showed a bright smile while continuing to speak.
“To keep to the point, I would like to implement this new cogwheel in the waterwheels on the royal domain next. I take that would be no problem?”
Aura sough confirmation, whereat the middle-aged artisan, still humbling himself to the best of his ability, answered with an appealing upward glance.
“Of course not. We can begin right away when you give the order. However, uhm… May I pose one question?”
“Mh? What is it? Speak up.”
She was more or less aware already what the waterwheel artisan wanted to ask, but she urged him to continue with feigned ignorance.
“Yes. With your permission, I will do so. Your Highness, do you intend to share the knowledge about the new cogwheel with the other feudal lords?”
The question was exactly what Aura had been expecting.
(I knew he would be bothered about that. Well, considering his standpoint, it is understandable.)
The new cogwheel had an overwhelmingly longer lifespan than the conventional cogwheel.
Its development was good news for the clients, namely royalty and nobility, and for the consumers, namely farmers, but for a few others its existence meant a considerable harm.
Naturally, it affected the waterwheel artisans.
A longer durability of the cogs meant nothing else, but less work for them.
In a way, they were scrapping at their own mainstay, so their worry was only natural.
Aura kept her poker face, even if she fully comprehended their inner turmoil, and replied in a casual tone.
“Yes, of course I will do so. As the ruler of the Kingdom, I have an obligation to share such benefiting information with my trusted subjects.”
Despair. The middle-aged craftsman looked like he was acting as a model for a sculpture with such a theme and spoke with a cracked voice.
Aura deliberately ignored how the artisan dropped his shoulders crestfallen and continued somewhat affected.
“Oh, right. This is an entirely different matter, but I am actually thinking of changing your commission system.
Right now, you only get paid every time a waterwheel or its repair is commissioned. However, my idea is to leave you in charge of the maintenance and supervision of the finished waterwheels and pay all the incidental expenses in advance at the beginning of the year.”
“Eh? That would mean…”
The waterwheel builder couldn’t comprehend her words right away, but before long, its meaning sunk in and his facial expression underwent another shift.
From despair to delight.
To put it simply: Aura’s suggestion was a “yearly contract”.
So far, the artisans had only been commissioned for repairs every time a waterwheel broke.
As the new version of the waterwheel would decrease the number of broken ones, the occurring cost reduction would directly cut into the income of the craftsmen according to that system.
That in turn would make them fear for their existence.
In order to avoid that from happening, Aura was now saying that she would be paying all the expenses for maintaining the waterwheels in advance at the beginning of each year in a yearly contract and that they didn’t need to pay it back if it later turned out that the waterwheels kept working without any problems.
Naturally, it imposed the obligation on them to work without any additional fees when a waterwheel did break down, but it wouldn’t pose such a big problem, unless the accountant was extremely negligent with the bookkeeping.
(Of course I will let them calculate the annual average of repairs for waterwheels up till now and appoint a slightly smaller salary to the yearly contract.)
Aura thought that to herself, but it would have hardly spoiled the craftsmen’s joy, even if they were able to read her mind.
The waterwheel artisans could avoid the worst case, namely falling into poverty at once, with the system proposed by Aura.
Neither was it in her interest to have the waterwheel-builder roam the streets due to the sudden reform.
Besides, a yearly contract also had the merit that they wouldn’t be pressed for “unexpected additional expenses” one day, so it was easier to calculate the state expenses.
And the craftsmen, too, could arrange their yearly budget better when they received a fixed amount of money at a designated time every year, even if their income was slightly less.
(Well, it is a good compromise. Thanks to my husband, the treasury has a bit more surplus again. The question is, what do I do with that money?)
“Thank you very much, Your Highness. Really, we cannot thank you enough!”
The artisans expressed their gratitude while prostrating on the ground, whereas Queen Aura was already thinking of her next agenda.
* * *
Late evening on the same day.
Zenjirou and Aura were coincidentally running into each other in one section of the inner palace. To be more precisely, in the room of their beloved son Carlos Zenkichi Carpa aka Prince Carlo-Zen.
Aura was always heading straight towards her son once her duties in the royal palace were over, but it was a rare sight to find Zenjirou there.
That phrasing might sound like his fatherly affection for his son was lacking compared to Aura’s motherly feelings, but that was by no means the case.
Since he didn’t speak the native language of the western part of the South Continent, he was forbidden to speak in front of the prince as it would disturb the first phase of the child’s acquisition of language.
No matter how careful he may be, he would end up speaking to his son anyway when he spent a long time with him, since that was human nature. Therefore, Zenjirou regretfully refrained from staying in the room of his son for too long.
He looked around the room of his beloved son without saying a word.
The room was maybe around thirteen square metre large at best. For a room in the inner palace it was rather small.
That said, it had originally been larger, but wooden partition walls had deliberately been set up to make it smaller. Of course with good reason.
So, why would they go through all the trouble to make a large room smaller?
The reason for that became obvious once you set foot into the room.
Coolth. Although the sun had already set considerable, the temperature was still at thirty-five degree, but in this room alone it clearly felt more than five degree colder.
Responsible for that were the big “block of ice” in the corner of the room and the young waiting maid moving a large fan with all her might.
The man-made wind brushed over the block of ice and distributed its cold air to the entirety of the room. The chilly breeze could make Prince Carlo-Zen, an infant, sick instead when it was aimed at him directly, so they weren’t doing that, of course.
The room temperature was lowered through ice and a large fan. To maximize its effect, the room had been partitioned, because the larger the room, the weaker the cooling effect of the ice.
“Ah, Zenjirou-sama, please excuse me for remaining like this.”
The waiting maid greeted him without resting her hand from moving the fan, whereas Zenjirou acknowledged her with just a wordless nod.
It had to be quite the tough job to keep fanning without rest, even if they were working in turns.
(I could’ve brought the electronic fan over here, if only the extension cable were longer.)
That thought was crossing his mind in light of the maid’s effort, but if he actually were to do that, the waiting maids would surely make a fuss.
To be honest, the task of fanning the block of ice was currently the most desired assignment amongst the waiting maids of the inner palace.
It definitely was a strenuous effort to keep fanning the ice, but the jobs of the waiting maids were all kind of strenuous in their own way anyway.
That being the case, a task alongside a cool block of ice was naturally preferred over the other tasks. At least it was no exaggeration to call it “heavenly” when comparing it to the tasks of mowing the lawn under the blazing sun or keeping watch on the fire in the oven at the kitchen.
While Zenjirou was lost in thought like that, Aura quietly approached the cradle with their sleeping son and peeked into it.
As if to match the look of his mother, Prince Carlo-Zen opened his big eyes, blinking.
“Mh? You were awake, Carlos?”
Aura pursed her mouth a bit disgruntled, as she had missed the chance to catch a glimpse of the sleeping face of her adorable child.
“Yes. He woke up earlier and appears to be in a good mood right now.”
The wet nurse said so with a bright smile, but faint, dark circles were showing under her eyes.
Most likely, our little prince had been crying throughout the last night again, breaking the well-deserved sleep of the wet nurse.
Every time Aura witnessed these hardships of the wet nurse, she was reminded of the fact that she, the Queen, was unable to properly fulfil her obligations as a mother.
Precisely because of that she had to cherish the time she could spent with her child like this.
“May I pick him up?”
It was a bit humiliating to have to ask for the wet nurse’s permission to hold her own child, but right now, the child was more familiar with the wet nurse, who was raising him, instead of his biological mother, so Aura had to soft-pedal.
“Why, of course, Your Highness. Please give the prince some motherly warmth.”
Hearing the wet nurse’s words, Aura softly put her hands around Prince Carlo-Zen’s head and body and very carefully picked up the unbelievable warm and soft creature.
The lifted baby laughed happily in the arms of his mother and stretched out his chubby and small hands towards her face.
“Fufufu, what is the matter, Carlos? What are these hands going to do?”
Her usual dignified manner vanished and her expression slackened so much it could be called “slovenly”. In order to stick her face against his hands, the Queen inclined her head and brought his smooth body closer to her face.
“Ada, Dah, Ahh.”
The palms of the prince, still smaller than two fingers of Aura together, caressed her face patting.
“Fuh, Fufufu, oh my? Hey, that tickles.”
“Ah, Ahh, Adah.”
The scene between the mother and her child was so heart-warming that it automatically conjured a smile on your face.
So far the father had been silent, but he seemed to have hit his limit and approached the two, opening his mouth.
“Zenkichi, it’s me, papa!”
The words coming from his mouth were in the “language of the western part of the South Continent”.
It had been a bit more than a year, since Zenjirou had come into this world. Consequently, he had learned the words of this world to some extent and could use a bit of the native language now.
That said, his communication skills in the language were at best the same as a Japanese middle school student had for English. Nevertheless, hundreds of vocabularies were floating around in his head.
Amongst all these, the earlier uttered words “it’s me, papa” were the only ones that had been approved with an “unproblematic intonation” by Aura and his home tutor Octavia.
His “pronunciation” for all the other words was still “too rough” for now, so he wasn’t allowed to speak them in front of Prince Carlo-Zen.
Thus, he put all his affection for his son into that short phrase.
“Zenkichi, it’s me, papa!”
Saying so, Zenjirou flapped his arms about besides his face and looked into his face with a clownish expression.
“Fuah? Ah, Ahh!”
His son switched his gaze from his mother to his father, as either the grimace had been funny or the flapping arms had caught his attention.
But Aura wasn’t amused. Zenjirou may be her beloved husband, but during her limited time with her child, he was a rival that competed with her for the attention of this lovely, little angel.
“Aw, Carlos. Look my way. You like Mama the best, right?”
She called out to him while dandling him in her arms, which kind of forcefully brought his attention back to her.
After regaining the interest of her child, the Queen gave Zenjirou a challenging glance and smirked victorious.
That definitely seemed to have provoked him a bit. As if accepting her challenge, he drew closer to their child once more and spoke.
“Zenkichi, it’s me, papa!”
Unfortunately however, these words were the only thing he was allowed to utter.
“Carlos loves Mama! Papa only comes in second! Papa accepts that, too, right?”
While Mama was having her way, Papa was shaking his head with all his might and said.
“Zenkichi, it’s me, papa!”
As he showed a desperate look on his face, Aura grinned devious and continued.
“What is the matter? Just say so when I am wrong. Right, Carlos?”
“Zenkichi, it’s me, papa!”
“Oho, what a loud voice. It will scare Carlos. You are scary, Papa, so scary.”
Aura stifled a laughter with all her might in view of the frantic Zenjirou and turned her back to him as to keep the prince in her arms out of his view.
On a closer look, even the wet nurse, sitting on a chair at the side, and the waiting maid, still working the fan, were choking laughter and shaking their shoulders, but Zenjirou was in no position to notice that right now.
He must have realized that Aura was teasing him, but he turned completely hopeless and circled her with loud steps, then
“ZENKICHI, IT’S ME, PAPA!”
said that with his loudest voice today.
A sudden appearance from behind, a frantic expression and a loud voice.
The result of these three factors coming together was…
“F- Fu- Fuueeeeeeh!”
Their beloved son was crying aloud.
* * *
“Aura… You’re laughing too much…”
As Aura kept on laughing on top of the couch in the living room, Zenjirou, sitting across from her, reprimanded her with an ill-humoured expression.
“F- Forgive me. Still… It, it is no good. Your miserable face when you made Carlos cry was just so priceless… I, I cannot hold back, Ahaha!”
Zenjirou angrily averted his eyes from his wife, who was convulsed with laugher to tears.
Apparently nothing he could say would make her stop.
After making his most beloved son cry, he had fled the scene, leaving the rest to Aura and the wet nurse, and returned to the living room, where he had abandoned himself to depression for a while. As soon as Aura had returned to the room a bit later, she had been in this state.
Frankly speaking, it was no pleasure to see his wife laughing endlessly while she lied flat on her face on the sofa, battering it at a mad pace.
On a rare occasion, Zenjirou gave her a final warning with a low voice while looking down on his wife, who was splitting her sides laughing, with a sharp glance.
“Aura. Why don’t you give it a rest already?”
“Ahahaha. O- Okay. I will stop now… W- Wait, cannot. Ahahaha!”
Even his final warning was seemingly ignored.
Oh well. Since his final warning had been ignored, this called for “drastic measures”.
Standing up wordlessly, Zenjirou slowly approached the couch on which Aura was laughing her head off.
“Hah! If you want to laugh that bad, laugh all you want!”
He fell upon Aura with a flop.
Now on top of her, he proceeded to tickle her waist and armpits with both his hands.
“Hii!? Hey, Hyah, Hihihihi, St- Stop…!”
Aura should have been stronger than him, but because of her unfavourable position, Zenjirou pinned her down on the couch and had his way with her.
“Ahahaha, w- wait. Stop, Fuahahaha!”
As Zenjirou himself started to enjoy it before long, he showed a slightly devious smile while he continued to vehemently tickle the body of beloved wife with his hands. The tables had turned compared to the situation in the private room of the prince.
Taking advantage of the situation, Zenjirou had his fill of exploring all kind of places: Her waist, armpits, inner thighs, nape of the neck and soles of feet, but also the bulging points in the front of the body as well as the back of her body just below the waist.
“Hihi, st… op…!”
“Hehehe, you cutie. C’mon, what’s the harm?”
“Hey! It is me or has your personality changed?”
In the end, the couple messed around passionately and intimately until the waiting maid in charge of the bath came by to report that their bath was ready.
* * *
After cleaning themselves from the daily sweat and dirt in the bath, Zenjirou and Aura returned to the living room in their usual casual nightwear.
“Good grief. I admit that I went a bit too far in teasing you in front of Carlos and I certainly am at fault for laughing afterwards, too, but that still does not warrant your actions. It would have been fine if you had just tickled me, but despite my warning that it would trouble my position as the Ruler if I were to bear another child now, you just went and…”
“Sorry, it was just a little prank.”
“…You remove a woman’s clothing for a prank?”
“If she’s my wife, yes, sometimes.”
While quarrelling with each other friendly, the two of them didn’t make themselves comfortable on the couches in the living room like always, but instead headed straight for the bedroom.
“Jeez… Oh well. Well then, how about you show me that device you have been talking about? The ‘air conditioning’, was it? You assembled it, right?”
“Yeah, well, more or less. It’s working without problems so far, I think.”
With a diffident expression, Zenjirou replied like that to Aura and grabbed the door knob of the bedroom.
The complete assemble of the air conditioning almost took a whole day. On its test run, it had blown out cold air without any problems, so he had left it turned on.
And since then, the door of the bedroom hadn’t been opened even once.
“It was running the whole time. If it really works like it should, then by now…”
Still grasping the door knob, Zenjirou closed his eyes and after a deep breath, he yanked the door open with a wishful expression.
Just like he had hoped, a stream of cold air unthinkable for the hot season of the Carpa Kingdom greeted him from beyond the door.
“Now that is impressive. The light and refrigerator surprised me, too, when I saw them for the first time, but this raises the ante.”
Sitting down on their shared king-sized bed, Aura held out her hands towards the chilling breeze from the newly assembled air conditioning and said impressed.
The cool air felt quite comfortable on her flushed body as she had just gotten out of the bath.
She narrowed her eyes to slits like a cat that was being stroked under the chin, but noticed the sullen expression of her husband as he sat down next to her.
“What is the matter, Zenjirou? Why the long face? Did something upset you?”
Zenjirou scratched his face awkwardly while his beloved wife peeked at it from the side.
“Yeah, well, to be honest, it’s still not ideal. The room is too big for the output and even if we close the wooden shutters, hot air will come in here and there, because it’s not really airtight.
Right now it’s quite refreshing, because it’s night, but we can’t expect it to be just as cool during the day, when the sunlight comes in through all the openings.”
Saying so, he heaved a sigh.
It had been pure luck that he managed to get the air conditioning running on his first try, but considering the house construction in modern Japan, it still couldn’t be denied that the blessing of the air conditioning was weak here.
The domestic air conditioning he had bought was designed for around forty square metre at best, but their bedroom was at least fifty square metre big.
And like he mentioned just now: The buildings in the Carpa Kingdom had a poor air impermeability.
A night like this aside, it seemed unlikely that the device could cope with the sun of the hottest season, which exceeded forty degrees during the day.
“Now, are you not asking too much?”
Aura widened her eyes a bit surprised, whereas Zenjirou replied with a wry smile.
“Mhm, guess so. But I just can’t shake off this refreshing image from the ‘other world’ when I think of an air conditioned room.
Besides, the biggest problem still isn’t solved yet.”
“The biggest problem?”
His wife asked back, whereat Zenjirou nodded once and glared up to the turned on air conditioning.
“Yeah. The problem whether I really did assemble it correctly or not. For now, it’s working alright, not making any weird noises, nor leaking any water.
But from what I’ve heard, it often happens that it gradually wears off when wrongly assembled and then breaks down after a few days.”
If that were to happen, time would have to be reverted with the “Time Reversal” magic for these few days in order to repair it.
And that certainly exceeded a “favour” he could ask of Aura. He would have no choice but to give up on the air conditioning when that ever happened.
(My only ray of hope is that I’ll be able to fix it myself in the future when I learn ‘Time Reversal’ and ‘Future Compensation’.)
“Future Compensation” was referring to yet another secret spell of the Space-Time Magic.
To put it simply: It was a difficult technique that allowed you to activate a magic, whose output exceeded your maximum amount of magical power, by also paying the magical power from your future self, for example one or two days in the future.
Naturally, you wouldn’t be able to use any magic at all for the expended time, so Aura would never be in a position to use it, but Zenjirou was basically not part of the military strength, so he had the chance to use it.
Needless to say, it was more than likely that his magical power, too, would be continuously used for the “national benefit” when he finally could use magic, so he would hardly get any opportunities to use it freely.
Either way, even the most optimistic estimate said it would take him at least until next year to be able to use that magic. At that point, he would have to revert time back for nearly “one year”, if he wanted to return the air conditioning to its state before the assemble.
To wind back that much time, he would surely have to pay a couple of months worth of magical power with “Future Compensation”. Although it was his own magical power, it occurred to him that it would be too selfish to use it like that, considering his position as royalty.
“Well, it’s no use worrying my brain. So far, it’s working without problems, so let’s enjoy its blessing for now.”
Zenjirou came to such a clean decision, whereupon Aura nodded and expressed her opinion.
“Hmm, indeed. Then we have to bring a table and chairs into the bedroom first thing tomorrow. It would feel wrong to take breakfast and do our chats at noon on the edge of the bed.”
“Aura… You’re totally up for moving into the bedroom, aren’t you?”
He inadvertently showed a wry smile as his beloved wife was surprisingly eager for it.
Once they had settled onto the bed, over which the cool air of the air conditioning blew, it was no longer an option for them to return to the living room full of hot air.
Since they still had time until lights out, the royal couple was enjoying a night chat while they sat next to each other on the edge of the bed.
“Then you spent almost all of your day assembling this ‘air conditioning’?”
“Yep. And it’s no exaggeration, I literally took all day for it. Even though there’s so much else I want to do, like making soap or distilling alcohol.”
Zenjirou answered Aura’s question like that and nodded.
Recently, he was appearing at official events in the royal palace as Aura’s proxy, so he didn’t have as much spare time as before anymore. Due to that, there were hardly any days anymore, where he had nothing to do daylong, but today he neither had the time, nor the energy to do anything else.
Assembling the air conditioning amidst temperatures of over forty degrees had been quite an arduous job for Zenjirou.
That said, the soldiers on the Salt Road were marching for days under that blazing sun, but if he were allowed to say his honest opinion, he would claim that all soldiers were “superhuman”.
(I really have to get used to the climate here… Though, saying that the day I assembled the air conditioning, isn’t really convincing.)
Zenjirou was lamenting in his mind, but the matter actually only came to his mind, because he did set-up the air conditioning.
After all, it was human nature to only think of a way to escape a bothersome situation they found themselves in. Because they wanted to get away from the trouble, they started to set praiseworthy goals.
Anyway, he concluded that it was not the time to think about it now, so he told his wife, sitting next to him, what he intended to do from now on in order to change the topic.
“Well, I’ll continue with the soap and alcohol whenever I’ve time. I can’t work at my own sweet will anymore, since I’ve more stuff to do in the palace these days.”
Aura frowned a bit upon the words from her husband.
“I can allocate less work for you when there is something else you would like to do. And I have more or less recovered anyway.”
She proposed that out of consideration for her husband, not because she was thinking lowly of him. But he didn’t accept the good will of his wife.
“And repeat the same drama like last year when you give birth again? No thanks. I’m not proud of it, but I’m just an average guy. Even if I’ve mastered something, I’m sure I’ll forget it after half a year of not making use of it.”
“That certainly is not something to be proud of.”
Her husband replied puffed up with pride, whereupon Aura showed a wry smile and shrugged her shoulders. Then she said with a solemn face.
“Fine. To be honest, I have been underestimating the situation last year as well. I would definitely be quite grateful when you continue with the same workload as now.
But please do not misunderstand me. I am not just saying it from the deep of my heart, but also because I expect the things you make to have a good influence on the country.”
Hearing these words, Zenjirou scratched his head with a troubled expression.
“Um, well, I would prefer if you don’t place such high hopes on me. I’m just an amateur messing around with superficial knowledge. To be honest, I’m expecting to fail nine out of ten times.
Ah, but maybe something was useful, seeing as you mentioned it?”
He asked that as he apparently noticed it mid-sentence, whereupon Aura nodded with a grin.
“Yes. At noon, I visited the craftsmen I had given instructions before and their results exceeded my expectations.
Firstly, the glass. They made something satisfying on their first attempt already. I will show it to you tomorrow. Well, it is only a shiny black stone with a greenish tint, mind you. However, it shows that we are on the right track.”
“Wow, that’s great.”
Zenjirou was honestly impressed.
Somehow or other their efforts bore fruit, relying only on the sparse information about the materials and the rough explanations that were worlds apart from being manufacturing instructions. Appreciation was definitely in order.
“Naturally, there are still a lot of problems. The pitch-black stone can hardly be called glass at this point and the technique to shape it into the desired form has yet to be refined as well.
Above all, the typical earthen furnaces of our country cannot bear the high temperatures needed to melt glass. The craftsmen said that the furnaces would not even last ten attempts at this rate.”
Aura’s expression made a complete turn into a bitter one as she recited the current set of problems.
Likewise making a solemn face, Zenjirou assumed the thinker’s pose with his right hand and pondered.
“Hmm, then we really need the ‘firebricks’, I guess.”
“I am afraid we do.”
Aura consented and snorted frustrated.
It seemed that she really wasn’t pleased with the “method to make firebricks”, which she had seen on the DVD before.
No wonder, considering that the explanation said to “bake a mixture of clay and squelched old firebricks in a furnace made of firebricks”, which was not the least bit helpful.
Zenjirou didn’t want his wife to get any more moody before bedtime, so he quickly continued in a flustered manner.
“Ehm, the remaining problems are how to shape the glass and make it colourless, right?
I think the most realistic method to shape the glass would be to wrap it around a long pipe and blow air into it, just like the TV showed it. Though I’ve heard that window glass is recently done with the ‘Pilkington process’.”
He stared at the ceiling of the bedroom, which was illuminated by the orange LED floor lamps, while he recalled his unreliable smattering of knowledge.
“Mh? I watched the blowing technique together with you, but I have never heard of that ‘Pilkington process’ before.”
Seemingly curious, his wife leaned over a bit in her nightgown, which fascinated Zenjirou as he answered faithfully.
“I don’t know much either, so I can only give you a rough explanation. In short, they make sheets of glass by letting the molten glass float in molten metal that has a lower melting temperature than glass.
In this way you get an even sheet of glass that’s smooth on both sides without having to polish it.
Just think of it how melted lard floats in boiling water. When you leave it like that for a while, the lard solidifies into a flat shape, right? Same stuff.”
“I see. That sounds rather extravagant, but I understand the general principle.”
Aura displayed her comprehension with a nod, but her expression didn’t look like she was all that impressed.
It reflected the different expectation the two of them had towards “glass”.
Speaking of glass, Zenjirou immediately associated window glass with it, whereas Aura’s greatest interest was a spherical glass— the glass marble.
So it was only natural that she wouldn’t be in interested in the manufacture method called Pilkington process.
In fact, the float glass manufacture was way more difficult than glassblowing. It was necessary to control the temperature in the bath of molten metal, where the glass would float in, and there was the danger that the workers would inhale the vaporized metal.
In the modern age, most of the production lines were automated, managed by computers, so it was an effective method there, but considering the level of technology in this world, it might actually be more effective to have the craftsmen flatten the glass they made through glassblowing or rather its practical application, the crown process, by hand.
Zenjirou didn’t take all that into account, but he still realized that the interest of his wife wasn’t really piqued.
“That leaves us with the question how to make the glass colourless. I guess we’ll have to follow the TV show for that, too, and get rid of the iron content in the sand as best as possible.
That means we grind the sand more carefully, stir it in water and separate out the upper layer of the sediment.”
Moving on to the next problem, Zenjirou inclined his head in thought again.
Even the TV show about manufacturing glass explained it only briefly, but the main reason that glass stained was hat metal particles were mixed in the sand.
The simplest and most realistic measure against it was to remove as much metal particles as possible from the sand.
First you grinded the sand as finely as possible, so that it was easier to extract the metal particles. Then you put that sand into a barrel with a lot of water and stirred it thoroughly. Afterwards you let all the sand sediment.
By doing so, the heavier metal particles settled down first and the lighter sand fell on top of it.
After that you only had to scoop the upper layer of the sediment.
Hearing his answer, the Queen placed one hand against her chin, which had started to regain its original edge from the recent training, and replied.
“Yes, you already have explained the course of action to me when we saw that video, so I had them work that way, but the result was as I mentioned earlier. Maybe they did not grind it carefully enough or did not mix it sufficiently with the water?”
“Hmm, or the sand itself may be the problem. I think there is actually a pretty fine line between suitable and non-suitable sand for glass. If the sand’s no good from the beginning, then it might be useless, no matter how hard you try.”
To put it bluntly: No matter how thoroughly you grinded black sand, which was as good as iron sand, there would be no grand refinement.
Of course it was quite conceivable that they didn’t grind carefully enough or messed up either the stirring or the scooping, like Aura had said, so there was no guarantee that Zenjirou’s opinion was correct.
However, his opinion sounded more than plausible to Aura’s ears as well.
“Certainly. The suitability of the sand itself, eh. Maybe we should bring in various kinds of sand from each region.”
“Yeah, that sounds good. Lastly, the TV series was showing the removal of the iron content with a magnet, too.
I do have a couple of magnets attached to the refrigerator door, but I think they’re too weak to magnetise any iron splinters.
Otherwise I could use the rechargeable batteries as a DC supply and build a simple electromagnet if I had a bit of copper wire.”
Zenjirou dug up the middle school science lessons from his memory, whereupon Aura asked with her head inclined in puzzlement.
“Copper wire? What is that? Does it by chance refer to a strand of copper?”
“Yep. You take copper, rolled into a long and narrow shape like a thread, and wind it around a magnetic core. When you run electricity though it then, it creates a magnetic field. In school we experimented like that to turn iron into a magnet, but I guess you don’t have copper wires here? Technically you could use iron wires instead, too, but it’ll be less effective. Copper is the best metal conductor after silver after all.”
Questioned by him, Aura crossed her arms under her voluminous breasts and contemplated.
“Hmm, we definitely do not have something like that in our country as of now. The question is if the craftsmen in the palace can actually make it when I order them to… It sounds difficult to make something that thin. And you even have to coil it, right? Then it must be rather flexible.
It would be a bit more expensive, but using silver instead of copper might give us brighter prospects. A silversmith would be most suited for a delicate job like that.”
Zenjirou showed a bit of surprise upon her answer, but nodded with a convinced expression immediately afterwards.
“Ah, right. We’re not going to mass-produce them, but rather do a small-scale experiment, so it shouldn’t get all that expensive, even with silver.
Okay. When it got brighter conditions, let’s do it that way. Meanwhile, I’ll make preparations, too, and locate the workbench outside into the shadow of the courtyard.”
As a laymen, Zenjirou couldn’t predict what kind of influence a magnetic field would have on its surroundings.
It was hard to see that an electromagnet powered by mere batteries would damage the electrical appliances like the computer, but lack of experience could be dangerous. Better safe than sorry.
Working outside amidst the heat was somewhat troublesome, but it was nothing unbearable when in the shadows of the trees or near the fountain.
“Fine. I will arrange the silversmiths. And I will let them bring in sand from as many regions as possible as a test as well.”
“Yeah, please do.”
The discussion about the glass was thus concluded for now.
Following, Aura started to talk about the results of the “waterwheel” experiment.
“Then there was your idea of making the teeth of the waterwheels ‘coprime’. The result is astonishing. Just like you have said, the coprime cogs last a lot longer than the other.”
Unable to prevent her face from naturally forming a smile and her eyes producing sparkles, Aura declared with an excited voice.
“Oh, so it went well. Good. It was actually quite worried, since I only knew it by hearsay.”
“The difference was truly extramundane. Right now the miniature wheels, deliberately made out of softwood, are still in the experimental phase, but the artisans guaranteed that the actual implementation would work as well.”
Now she could save a little on the budget for the management of the waterwheels in the Kingdom. Aura’s smile as she said that, was brimming with the intensity of a Ruler and to be honest, Zenjirou was backing off a bit on top of the bed.
(Ahaha, my wife’s beautiful and kind, but just as intimidating.)
The Queen, not aware of the impression of her husband, crossed her arms beneath her overly prominent two breasts and mused happily.
“This will be an additional income for the royal family first and last. Unlike the previous case with the money from the accounting books, I can use this however I like. Fufufu, it may not be an impressive amount by itself, but saving expenses every year will make a big difference. Time to dream bigger.”
By the way, the suggestion of running a test phase with numerous miniature waterwheels of the same design except for the cog teeth as well as the idea of changing to a yearly contract in order to avoid a loss in the waterwheel industry, actually originated from Zenjirou.
He himself wasn’t thinking much of it, but Aura was now thinking even more highly of him than before.
“Mhm, I’m glad. I really am, but since it’s some precious extra money, I hope it can be used as effectively as possible. Maybe you could consider its use carefully once you have settled down a bit?”
Zenjirou patted the shoulder of his wife to calm her down while he said so, whereupon Aura quickly regained her composure as if her earlier delight had just been an act.
“No, I am afraid that I will not have the time to think it through for a while. Now is the only time I can spare time like this as well.
Truth be told, I received a report from the Twin Kingdom that said that Prince Francesco and Princess Bona have set out for our country. Before long, the Prince and Princess of the Twin Kingdom of Sharrow and Jilbell will arrive here.
Once they do, we both will be extremely limited in our free time.”
If anything, then now, was Aura saying, whereat Zenjirou inadvertently heaved a sigh.
“Uhh, it already has reached that point?”
“Yes. They are travelling in a large dragon carriage and its speed is affected by the weather and other factors, so it is not certain when they will arrive, but if everything goes well, we expect them to arrive in around a month time. From then on, we both will be busy with hospitality.
You better say your farewells to the leisurely days while you can.”
Infected by Zenjirou, Aura likewise heaved a deep sigh.
The royalty of the Twin Kingdom was coming.
In face of such a big event, other circumstances or the sentiments of the involved people became secondary.
Just as Aura had said, there would follow a whole series of days, where he entertained the guests while hiding his vigilance and tension behind a smile. Even if the Prince Consort was to keep a low profile, it didn’t change the fact that he was one of the two current members of the royal family.
Zenjirou’s schedule would definitely become booked out for a while.
“Got it. I’ll try my best.”
Slouching his shoulders largely once, he exhaled all the gloomy air after a deep breath, pulling himself together. Only then he spoke.
Still sitting on the bed, the royal couple then continued their business talk for a little while longer, but it was interrupted by the sound of the cell phone left on the edge of the bed.
“Oh, it’s my alarm.”
“Oh my, bedtime already? I guess time really flies when the temperatures are comfortable.”
Wallowing about on the king-sized bed, Zenjirou fetched the cell phone and stopped the alarm, whereas Aura said regretfully.
He had set the alarm of the cell phone just in case, so that they wouldn’t forget the time and miss out on sleep, but it turned out to be useful at once.
“Yeah, we could talk all night like this. Let’s just go to bed.”
Taking the remote control of the air conditioning, Zenjirou pressed a button, whereupon Aura declared a bit disappointed.
“Grml, you are turning it off?”
Zenjirou made a wry smile as his wife had been totally charmed by the refreshing breeze.
“No, I’m not turning it off. I just switched the setting to the night mode. It wouldn’t really be healthy to have the air conditioning working at full power while we sleep.”
When he saw his wife inclining her head disappointed, he felt the urge to take back his words and put the air conditioning on full power again.
In reality, the temperatures didn’t even fall below thirty degree during the night, so leaving the air conditioning at full power might actually provide for a more “appropriate” room temperature instead. However, there was no need to take any risks on the first day.
“I’m turning of the lights, okay?”
Zenjirou temporarily got off the bed and switched off the orange LED floor lamps that were illuminating the bedroom.
With the lights off, the bedroom was now covered in a pitch-black darkness, since the wooden shutters of the windows were closed and didn’t let any moonlight in.
But he had grown perfectly accustomed to his home already.
Zenjirou returned to the bed without problems amidst the darkness, hopped into it and crawled into the middle, where his beloved wife was awaiting him.
Even in this obscurity, Aura apparently could make out his silhouette as she accurately reached out her arms for him while he came crawling over on all fours, guiding him next to her.
The couple obviously held hands, exchange a kiss in the most natural manner and lay side by side as a matter of course.
The arrival of the Prince and Princess of the Twin Kingdom would surely cause a commotion, for better or for worse. As royalty, it was the role of the Queen and the Prince Consort to handle and control the fuss.
Aura did not know what kind of troubles would await the two of them from now on, not even with her Space-Time magic. But for that very reason, they ought to devote at least the night-time to a peaceful slumber, where they were only conscious of each other.
The loving wedded pair fell into a quiet sleep, embracing each other so closely that they felt the partner’s body temperature and breathe on their skin and ear, respectively.