Saturday, January 21, 2023 @

Chapter 45, Part 2

 "......Hmm, I have confirmed the details. So there were five slightly injured, two seriously injured, and one dead. The damage was less than I expected. To be honest, I was expecting a few more deaths, so I was surprised."
 In an office in a corner of the Kizuki family's mansion, Kizuki Shisui, the head of a group of servants, is smiling and boasting with a sociable and superficial smile. With his assistant, the assistant of the servants, standing beside him, I submitted my documents and then kneeled down to report the details of the recent extermination of youkai.
 "As always, I appreciate the detailed progress report. Some of the people who actually exterminate youkai only give a random report. I was having trouble keeping track of it."
 Shisui glanced at the documents in his hand and gave a small smile. The regular exorcists authorized by the imperial court are what is called the intellectual class. However... that doesn't mean that all of them are serious. In fact, there were a few who were proud of their power and underestimated the threat of youkai.
 And such people tended to neglect to report after the youkai extermination, which made it difficult to obtain information and war lessons from them. Well, even so, if it is not against calamity youkai, they would not be behind... and for the exorcists, the servants and the hidden group would risk their lives every time for them.
 "Ayaka-kun still reports to me, though. But Touya-kun is not so good at it because he has a lazy way of doing things. And you do a great job of calculating the expenses. It will be easier to convince Uemon-dono if it is done in the proper accounts."
 Kizuki Oversees Finances... Uemon is not a tightwad, but he is a greedy one. He does not pay unnecessarily and without limit. Therefore, to persuade him, it was also necessary to keep an account of the expenses.
 "Aside from the loss of goods, the shortage of manpower became more serious. We can recover the injured with time, but we still cannot overlook the absolute decrease in the number of members. I would appreciate it if you could secure additional personnel."
 As I bowed my head deeply, I said the request that I had made many times since I became Yun-shoku (允職). It was an earnest request.
 The Kizuki servants are the largest family of exorcists authorized by the Fusō-kuni, numbering close to a hundred. However, this is only the maximum number of members, and the quality of the work has not been very good due to the losses of the past few years and the number and difficulty of the requests that Kizuki receives. No, let me make it clear. I was half-convinced that the quality of the work was not likely to improve even if it might have decreased compared to the time when I started working in this position.
 What should be done to improve the skill? Real combat? No, no. The experience in actual combat is not to be underestimated, but it is only a place to experience know-how that cannot be obtained through training and to prove the skills one has acquired.
 Simply put, the best way to improve a skill is to train. It is not just a matter of inertia. It is essential to learn the techniques.
 The basic use of weapons, how to deal with illusions, how to conceal one's presence, how to tail someone, how to survive in the mountains, how to maintain mental stability in the face of death, how to have confidence in one's own strength in the face of hardship... these things can only be learned and acquired through training. And the ability of the instructor as a partner is also important.
 The shortage of personnel... especially of mid-level and higher-level servants was serious. The decrease in the number of those who have the ability and experience to serve as instructors leads to a decline in the quality of training content, and the ability of newly produced servants also declines. Furthermore, the shortage of skilled servants is also the result of the shortage of field commanders. As long as there are not enough skilled servants, there is no choice but to bring in low-quality servants to fill the shortage, and this will adversely affect the ability of the team to accomplish its mission. A simple manpower shortage is also troublesome. It leads to a shortening of rest and training, and further reduces the survival rate of servants.
 Of course, this does not mean that manpower can be obtained at will.
 "That kind of thing... as I have told you many times, Lord Shisui is very busy. We don't have time for servants. You should solve the manpower shortage with your own ingenuity!"
 Miyamizu Shizuka, the assistant to the Kizuki family, said in a displeased tone. She is one of the household members under the protection of the Kizuki family.
 In this case, the term "household members" here refers to those second-class exorcists with a short history who are not officially recognized as exorcists by the imperial court, but are subordinate to a family officially recognized by the court, such as the Kizuki family. Miyamizu Shizuka is one of them. She has a history of only about half a century in three generations, serves Kizuki's family, and earns a salary there. Well, even so, she is capable of dealing with ten servants at the same time.
 Well, anyway...
 "I understand. I am ashamed to say that we cannot deny our lack of effort. However..."
 I affirm Miyamizu Shizuka's words so as not to arouse the other party, but I still demand it. I have no choice but to demand it.
 Needless to say, I have done everything I can do since I took over the position of Yun-shoku.
 If the time for training was not enough, I made up for it with tools and information, and by making the best use of those tools and information. I have visualized various tips and tricks to share the know-how of training. I knew that most of them could not be read in words, so I made manga of them. I modified the contents of the ideological education to the extent that Kizuki's staff could not understand it, and tried to teach them to be independent and to think independently, and to improve their flexibility and ability to adapt to the situation. Especially the last part is a little bad.
 If things went badly, I would have been dismissed... but it is true that my subordinates are not well trained, and I don't want them to die in vain. So, I guess I will have to make do with some deception.
 And even so, the reality is that our manpower is still desperately insufficient.
 "Tsk, you're useless...!!"
 "Calm down, Shizuka."
 Shisui quietly remonstrates with the household members who are criticizing me for my pathetic words.
 "But, Lord Shisui. He's just a servant making demands..."
 "Yun-shoku should not be someone who only gives his approval without thinking. If there is a problem, it would be better for him to tell us clearly that he has a problem or a request. If someone reports it to us after the problem is irreversible, we will be blinded by the consequences. Don't you agree?"
 The words were meant to calm her down, but in the end, they were directed at me. I responded only with more silent bowing. I wondered how he received my attitude, but he silently squinted his eyes for a while.
 "...Now, I don't approve of what Shizuka said, but you know as well as I do that even servants can't be wasted without thinking of the consequences. Even servants must have at least spiritual power, and in the first place, people with spiritual power are in the minority."
 And it does not mean that a servant can be made a servant as soon as a person with spiritual power is admitted. The demand for spiritual people is not only among exorcists, but also among servants.
 "Of course, I am not sitting by and watching the situation deteriorate. I'm still searching for good people for the job. So... hmm. In fact, there is one child I'm still trying to decide if I should include in the servants' group."
 In the end, Shisui slightly pauses, and a difficult expression appears on his face. There is a moment of silence, and then he grabs the bell on the desk. Then he opens his mouth, which has grown slightly heavy.
 "Come in."
 Ringing the bell, Shisui Kizuki calls for someone in the back of the house. A few tens of seconds later, the sliding door opens and a figure enters.
 It was a little child dressed in a Suikan.
 At the same time, I'm a little flustered by the familiar figure. I see. This little kid is coming at the right time.
 "I found this child the other day when I visited the temple. I negotiated with the priests of the other side and bought it. I haven't decided yet whether to make this child a household or a servant... but I'd like you to take care of this child for a while."
 Shisui ordered me, still smiling superficially... with a searching smile.
 "...Yes, I understand."
 I bowed more deeply and agreed, though I knew from my knowledge of the game that she would not be a servant in the end. Well, I have no right of refusal anyway.
 And so, I am entrusted with the child. By the way, this little kid is a sub-character of "Firefly of the Dark Night (Yamiyo no Hotaru)." This unique character has made many players' propensity for sexual deviancy and attracted many Fujo girls at the same time.
 Shirawakamaru is a young boy who was taken in by the Kizuki family from a temple shrine because of his spiritual power. This young male girl (Otoko no Musume), who could be mistaken for a girl, used to be the name of the person I was to be entrusted with...
* * *
 "......Totally, both sisters do well."
 Miyamizu Shizuka muttered half-heartedly to her boss after confirming that the servant known to be a pawn of Kizuki's second princess had left the room.
 The servant had taken the position of Yun-shoku for political reasons.
 Perhaps, the reason why the first princess of Kizuki appointed a servant of the enemy faction to the position of Yun-shoku was probably because she expected him to be able to win the position. It is obvious that a servant who is not well educated would fail in this position, and she may have tried to remove and undermine her sister's vassal.
 "But, how could the second princess have trained an uneducated servant in arithmetic and writing...?"
 She was somewhat surprised to find that the servant had performed his duties unexpectedly well in the little over a year since he had been appointed, although many had expected him to fail soon.
 On the contrary, the second princess took advantage of the fact that her servant had been appointed to this position and strengthened her influence over the servants. The increase in the number of applications for the purchase of tools from the Tachibana family, which she had seized as a shield, must have been an instruction to the servants. Behind the scenes, interests must be at work.
 However, the faction of the first princess, whose scheming had failed, would not remain silent. In fact, it is said that they are trying to take advantage of the unexpected success of this appointment to intervene in the appointments of the other factions as well. Of course, it seems that they are trying to push in people who have their breath on their side.
 "I don't care if he's useful in any way. But then, he is more useful than we expected. Then there's no need for us to object."
 Shizuka looks at Shisui, who is working casually, with an uncomfortable expression on her face. From her point of view, the background of the person who had been forced into the Yun-shoku, not to mention his own abilities, was unpleasant to her to no end.
 As to who should succeed the current head of Kizuki, who is now as good as dead, Shizuka would have no hesitation in mentioning the name of her boss and mentor in front of her. She still respects Kizuki Shisui, who was once the most promising candidate for the next head of the Kizuki family, even though he himself withdrew from the list, and she still believes that Shisui should be the next head of the Kizuki family, rather those two sisters.
 "They are excellent. They will be much better than me in the future. The right person in the right place is important."
 Shisui replies as if pointing out a fact. It was not a humble or reserved remark, but simply a statement of fact. And he was half right. Except for their personalities, both of the Kizuki sisters are talented and promising individuals.
 But their personalities are the biggest problem, though many of them do not realize it...
 "...is it also the right place to entrust that cheeky and dirty kid to that servant?"
 Shizuka asked in response to the previous personnel change. She looked unconvinced.
 "Are you dissatisfied?"
 "No, but... a little kid like that... might be a problem whether as a household or a servant..."
 It was a statement with clear contempt and dislike in her words. In fact, although the little kid might have spiritual power comparable to that of a defected exorcist, the kid seemed to her to be an unsuitable person to be welcomed into Kizuki's house. In fact, the little kid himself would probably not be so obedient.
 "I understand your feelings. But, we should leave him alone for a while."
 "Leave him alone, you mean..."
 "Yes, leave it. Tomobe is not an idiot. It's been more than a year since he started working as a Yun-shoku, and it's time for him to experience this kind of work. In a way, it's convenient."
 Saying this, Sisui smiled with a smile that did not reveal his true intentions. On the surface, this man was kind and gentlemanly to everyone, but in reality, he had a deep-seated suspicion that would make anyone with a good enough eye to recognize him wary of him.
 "Well, let's get back to work. Even though the order is done, there are still a lot of documents to be approved afterward."
 With a small chuckle, the man who once bought the servant from the village and brought him to Kizuki's mansion focuses his attention on the task at hand... 

Revised: The leader of servants is now referred to as "Yun-shoku". 
Yun-shoku: the person in charge of giving permission or approval for actions taken by lower-ranked personnel (servants). 

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