Volume 7, Chapter 2: Advertisement

The huge pile of paperwork. The civil official waiting in line. The occasional court lady appearing out of nowhere to sneak a peek.

Jinshi carried out his usual work. The fact that he feels truly happy with the usual, is that a sign of his skewed threshold for happiness?

The normal busy workload had doubled ever since the Western Priestess’ arrival. Afterwards, there was the banquet to which the priestess was invited, where the assassination by poison upheaval took place. In the end, the incident had been a performance orchestrated by the priestess, but the priestess herself had to end up dead.

Issuing me with such unreasonable demands, Jinshi thought.

The priestess was still alive and is currently with former High-ranking Consort Ah Duo. He was sorry that her residence has somehow turned into a haven of sorts.

However, a select few, Jinshi included, had to deal with the aftermath of the priestess’ death.

There were also officials who added fuel to the fire by claiming Sha’ou will invade using the priestess as an excuse. However, that was unlikely as Sha’ou is a trade-dependent nation. Without prominent backing, waging a war would be impossible for them.

And so, their propositions were as feared.

It involved relaxing tariffs, in particular, reducing those imposed on food items.

He thought that there was no way that they would admit to running low on provisions. The former priestess of Sha’ou was well acquainted with the king’s government. Based on their personality and political inclination, the response was within expectations.

There was too much pre-established harmony that it was just enough to parry it, but it didn’t mean diplomatic issues were simple.

After all, it was only a few days ago when he was hounded by work that made him yearn for the tasks in front of him now.

“Jinshi-sama, this as well.” Basen handed over a new stack of paperwork. Still, it’d be better if the workload could be reduced by at least half before it got to him.

“Can’t you cut that down to half already?” Jinshi asked.

“Even if you say that.”

The stamps on the documents mostly belonged to high officials. The civil officials who did the sorting cannot reject documents from those with stamps higher than their own. And so, even trivial matters go to Jinshi.

Jinshi sighed as he affixed his seal.

Meanwhile, a civil official who was sorting stood up, casting a glance at Jinshi. He was the one present when Jinshi’s tea was poisoned. A talented individual and a temporary substitute for Basen until the latter was fully reinstated, he was kept on for his outstanding work manner. As for the person himself, he wanted to return to his former post as soon as possible, but Jinshi was forever shorthanded, and had no plans to release him.

“What is it?” Basen asked on behalf of Jinshi.

The civil official’s shoulders gave a shudder. “N-no, it’s nothing…”

For as much as he said there’s nothing, he was fidgeting. Which reminded Jinshi, his behaviour has been odd ever since a few days ago.

Could it be, Jinshi narrowed his eyes.

“Is it really nothing? Spit it out.” Basen pressed the civil official. These days, dangerous matters were stirring around Jinshi. It’ll be too late once something happens; so Basen, with his guard duties, was particularly on his toes.

“E-eek!” The civil official’s face stiffened, and with a shaking hand, reached into his breast pocket. Without a moment’s delay, Basen held the civil official down.

Are you concealing a weapon? Basen didn’t hold back.

“Who put you up to this?” Basen seized the civil official’s wrists. What he retrieved from his breast pocket, was a scrap of paper.

“Basen, let go.” Jinshi sighed when he saw the piece of paper. “You were restless because of this?”

“Hah?” What’s that? Basen tilted his head.

“Owwww. P-please let go of me.”

Basen let go of the civil official and looked at the scrap in Jinshi’s hands. “Something like that…”

“I don’t know when it was made, but it’s done meticulously.”

The piece of paper contained information about a book publication at a bookstore in the capital on this very day.

“…I, I want it. I don’t know if I can buy it once it sells out,” the civil official said tearfully as he rubbed his right arm. Basen’s face was full of guilt.

A book is a high-class item. A reprint is out of the question unless it garners huge popularity. Once sold out, the only thing he can do is wait for it to be sold second hand.

“However, to intentionally print and distribute paper to advertise, aren’t they quite prepared?” Jinshi said.

Printing requires quite a number of sheets. To break even with production costs, more books need to be printed…

“…I, I don’t know. I think it’ll be popular,” the civil official said.

“Is the author that popular?” Jinshi examined the piece of paper thoroughly. However, he was in awe at this new form of distribution to a large, unspecified number of people by printing on paper. Just who could….

“!?” He saw a name he mustn’t see.

“Umm, is this Grand Marshal Kan?” Basen asked.

Jinshi, who also saw the title, nodded. “A question, if I may. From whom did you receive this paper?”

“A, A friend in the Ministry of Revenue, is an acquaintance of the grand marshal’s son. I got it from a private distribution,” the civil official answered.

The Ministry of Revenue is the department that oversees financial affairs.

It’s Rahan. If Rahan is involved, then the book is not solely Tactician-dono’s idea—it would have undergone genuine editing.

“…they came up with a Go book, huh,” Jinshi said.

Which reminds him, he overheard a rumour. That Tactician-dono had been worked up about writing a Go book.

He never expected it to turn into something this large in scale.

Jinshi can appreciate the distribution of literature, having also dabbled in the paper and printing business in the past.

However, it was unexpected that even this diligent civil official would desire Tactician-dono’s book.

“I wasn’t aware Tactician-dono has such a literary talent.”

“I don’t care if he does. I heard his words are difficult to decipher. And yet, I’m told the book catalogues all the Go formations pointed out by Grand Marshal Kan up until now. There’s no way I can ignore something like this!” Even though he was in tears just a moment ago, the civil official was speaking up now. He was making nonchalant jibes about Tactician-dono. It’s said that people often get worked up about their favourite things, but for this man, it was Go.

“I’ve only dabbled in Go, but is Grand Marshal Kan that good?” Basen looked truly puzzled.

“Not just good. The only person in this country who can best him is his majesty’s instructor.”

“Now that is good.” Jinshi was also taught by the instructor on a number of occasions. How many pieces of his were left on the board after their last session?

“Grand Marshal Kan’s algorithm is impossible to grasp from the start, so you can’t predict how he’s going to play. If you become familiar with the records of his games, this item is a coveted one for Go enthusiasts.” The civil official clenched his fist, eyes sparkling. Basen’s guilty conscience at restraining him also subsided a little.

“But the grand marshal is also human. To claim he’s unbeatable in Go…” Again, Basen was making terrible remarks about Tactician-dono. But since it was the truth, Jinshi couldn’t help but agree.

“What are you saying? It means that in Go, the instructor will triumph six times out of ten.”


“At shogi, too, no one can win against him.”


Indeed, the treatment of that person was no good.

“I understand. Basen, did you bring the wallet?” Jinshi asked.

“Eh, yes.” Basen took out the wallet from his breast pocket. Jinshi made the civil official hold onto it. The civil official, flustered, alternated his gaze between Jinshi and Basen.

“Basen has troubled you. It’s not much, but please take it.”

“N-no. There’s no way I can…. Moreover, it’s Basen-sama’s—”

Unfortunately, it wasn’t Basen’s wallet. He was only managing Jinshi’s money for expenses. He didn’t know the price, but it should be enough for consolation money.

“Also, your right hand must hurt. You can finish your work here and go to that bookstore. It should cover the cost of the book.”

“N-no. This is too much. I can’t take this much.”

The guy was too upright. He should just accept it obediently.

In that case, let’s rephrase it this way.

“What are you talking about? It’s not just one copy. My share is also included. If there’s money remaining, I’ll also leave Basen’s share to you. Come on, hurry up. It’ll probably sell out. Or do you want a different reward?”

“N-no. I understand. I’ll be taking my leave!” The civil official left the office in panic.

Once he could no longer hear the sound of running feet, Jinshi exhaled. “Basen, isn’t it no good to suddenly hold someone down?”

“E-even if you say that,” Basen said apologetically.

“Whatever. The fact that you didn’t break his arm means you’ve adjusted your strength.”

Considering Basen’s innate superhuman strength, it wouldn’t be strange if the civil official’s bones were crushed into tiny pieces. More or less, he matured—Jinshi approved.

“Jinshi-sama. I have no interest in something like Go though.”

It was concerning his request for Basen’s copy.

“What are you on about, there’s no loss from learning it. Even secluded young ladies have an interest in Go. Even if marriage partners have nothing to talk about, if they can play Go at least, they’ll get by.” He had said it jokingly, but Basen’s face turned bright red.

Dear me, Jinshi returned to his desk as he tilted his head.

He regretted it as soon as he got there.

The mountain of documents was still there.

It was too late to call back the helper civil official.

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