In Berun, the capital of Wiltia, in the director's office of the Weapons Development Bureau—
"This completes my report on the matter."
"I see. I see..."
Daian let out a sigh after listening to Rebecca's report.
"That Mr. Dread-whatever is quite, well, I hate to say it, but he's quite pathetic, isn't he?"
Daian assumed that Dreadnought's plan to destroy the Defairedead was his own volition for personal revenge, and to make sure that there would never be another indiscriminate massacre like the one Greyten had experienced.
And then, Greyten most likely carried out the plan for its revenge.
But, there was too many strange facts surrounding the plan for Daian to ignore.
Why was it necessary for them to train Pelfish children to be used as soldiers?
And why did they plan to drop the Defairedead over Ponapalas, rather than Berun.
One could give logical explanations for it all. Children could blend in with a crowd and would be harder to discover, and their appearance was itself a powerful weapon.
Secondly, Ponapalas was an important city to Wiltia.
However, even if these were possible explanations, claiming it was absolutely necessary for the plan to succeed was a rather weak argument.
"After all, the one pulling the strings behind the scenes was the Wiltia military..."
Deceiving the young boys and girls of Pelfe, turning them into soldiers, and destroying the former Pelfish capital— still an anchor to the past for the people of Pelfe—with the hovering airship.
If it was believed that all of this was arranged by Greyten, then Pelfe's resentment toward Wiltia would turn instead the enemy nations during the previous great war, starting with Greyten.
The purpose of the party in the sky had been to promote friendly relations between Wiltia and Pelfe.
That was true, without a doubt.
But, some human life was necessary to accomplish that goal.
"Sheesh, his Excellency, the brigadier general, really thought up a heartless way... Oh, no wait, he's a lieutenant general now, isn't he? Doesn't really matter."
It wasn't something that the nation of Wiltia had done.
It was the members of Lieutenant Lieutenant General Genitz's pro-war faction.
They were displeased with the result of the Great War.
As the victors, Wiltia should have won more.
They thought Wiltia should not only have annexed the entira European continent, but have annexed the entire European continent, but should have annexed the entire European continent, to unite the whole world under Wiltia's control.
To them, the peace after the war was nothing more than a delay.
They longed for a new war, the next war, and the war after that as well.
This Defairedead incident as to steer the world in that direction.
A good look at the party's guest list made it plain to see.
Many nobles, merchants, and upper class members of society were invited, but the majority of them opposed the pro-war faction.
There were those among the guests who didn't fall into this category—second and third sons of some noble or other—but as such, they were deemed expendable.
"Dispose of the people in his way, make the people of Wiltia angry, and unite the feelings of the Pelfish people... It's so efficient that it's kind of appalling, isn't it?"
This would be impossible if Genitz thought of the people around him as more than chess pieces to control.
"By the way, did you recover them for me?"
Rebecca showed Daian the contents of a dirty leather bag, the clinking of metal accompanying her movements.
Inside the bag as one of Dreadnought's and both of Sutherland's arms, left behind inside the Defairedead.
The person who developed the mechanical soldiers for the Greyten Empire was formerly a pupil of Daian.
He had taken all of the knowledge and technology he learned from Daian and defected to earn distinction for himself.
"Wait... What is all this, there's still blood on this! That's disgusting."
"Apologies... Target resisted, so it was unavoidable, A necessary action to follow new orders."
Rebecca had observed the movements of Sven and the others from the shadows.
However, she had received additional orders from Daian.
The first was to gather a sample of the mechanical soldiers, and the others was to protect Sophia when it was necessary.
At the time, Sutherland had regained consciousness first, and in a violent rage, he had brandished his claws, ready to kill the still immobile Sophia.
Rebecca butchered Sutherland and took his arms.
"After that? What happened?"
"Disposal measures, Thrown overboard."
Still alive after having his arms plucked from his body, Sutherland was thrown overboard.
"Hmmmmmmmmmm, well that's doesn't really matter."
As long as Sven was safely gaining valuable experience, and Sophia's life wasn't in danger, Daian didn't care about the rest.
"But still, what an atrociously ugly design... I thought these could be of some use to me, but these will be no help. I can't use them for Sven... Or her, either."
Dreadnought's spite, Sutherland's life, the sorrow of the child soldiers, the Greyten Empire's intentions, and the ambitions of Lieuteant General Genitz—Daian didn't care about any of it.
"Oh well, whatever. These are an eyesore, get rid of them."
The Defairedead incident was over and Lud had returned to Organbaelz, but because of his wounds, he had been forced to close Tockerbrot for a while.
"In that case, while you rest, let's expand the store."
Quick to seize an opportunity, Sven suggested they expand Tockerbrot.
As a result of the cover up sorrounding the child soldiers and the Greyten mechanical soldiers behind the incident, the achievements of Lud and the others wasn't brought to light at all. However, their actual achievement of receiving a work request from the governor-general of Pelfe was still quite real.
Regardless of the true reasons behind the work order, Lud and Sven would now be accepted by those people who only valued others based on their status in society.
Although they were paid less than the amount they had originally hoped for, and it wasn't enough to open a second store, they successfully received a new loan from the bank.
With the loan, they set up a small cafe space in the bakery.
Customers could enjoy not only the fresh bread, but light sandwiches and pastries ideal for tea time, and they offered tea, coffe and other drinks to go with them.
"The profit margins on the drinks are quite lucrative you know♪!"
Lud couldn't help but admire Sven's cleverness as she reveled in their progress.
With that, the expansin of the store was completed while Lud's wounds healed.
In addition, Tockerbrot welcomed one more improvement.
The day of the grand opening—
The bells on the door gave a cling and a clang as Jacob entered into the shop.
Milly greeted Jacob, her face bright red and her eyes cast down at the ground.
"No good! Honestly, that's completely wrong! You have to say it louder, with a cheerful smile, like you're dancing, like you're singing, like you're flying—Welcome to Tockerbrot♪! Like that!"
Sven criticized Milly's greeting, picking out the faults without mercy.
"Huh? What's this? What happened?"
Jacob stared, slack jawed in amazement, at the scene in front of him.
Milly was dressed in a maid's uniform, a size smaller than Sven's, designed to be shorter in length to make it easy to move in.
"Oh, it's you Jacob. I am simply educating our shop's newest employee."
After the events on the Defairedead, Milly had visited Lud while he was recuperating.
It hadn't just been a get-well visit.
Looking as if she had given it a lot of thought, she summoned up her nerve and bowed her head to Lud.
"Please let me work in your store!"
Milly had turned down the offer to become a live-in employee at the tailor in Nazalenka.
She had decided what she wanted to become.
She wanted to be a baker.
"I... want to be a baker too... like Dad... and... I want to bake... delicious bread, like you do."
Lud had been surprised by Milly's request.
But he had seen the determination in her eyes, and how much the shy, young girl had been plagued with doubts before making her decision, and he accepted her request.
However, Sven was not happy about it at all.
"H-Hey... I came here to be a baker's apprentice, you know... Why do I have to a waitress?!"
Milly had started working for Tockerbrot as an apprentice, but now, instead of baking bread, she was serving customers in the cafe section.
"I wonder exactly what you mean? We can't leave the bread baking to someone brand new, can we? First, we'll need to hammer the different types of bread and their individual characteristics into your head, and then we'll need to have you memorize what every customers wants. The quickest way for that to happen is to have you in the shop!"
Sven laid out her sound arguments and didn't give Milly a chance to offer a rebuttal.
"Moreover, she can't leave you alone with Lud back at the kiln, either."
"That's absolutely right! Wait, Jacob!"
Without hesitation, Jacob had hit the mark on Sven's true intentions.
"I'm not... good at this stuff..."
Sven's demands were highly difficult for Milly, who wasn't friendly or cheerful.
"At least try to make a smile."
As Sven said this, at a loss about how to deal with Milly, Lud appeared.
"The stollen's finished making... Oh, Milly, you're starting today, aren't you?"
Milly had been given maid's dress the day before, and since she didn't think it suited her at, she shrunk back in embarrassment.
"Hm... It looks good on you. It's cute."
Lud reassured Milly with a gentle tone to his voice.
It wasn't in Lud's nature to compliment others.
If he had the sense to do that, the store might have started flourishing sooner.
Milly's heart pounded in her chest.
She wasn't nervous. A little bit of courage welled up inside her.
"Be confident. Don't worry, you're very cute! You have to be more dignified, and look ahead with your back straight."
Sophia's words from that day on the Defairedead came to her mind.
"I-I'm... going to do my best!"
Milly said, looking up, with her back straight, and a smile on her face.
Without thinking, Sven drew back at Milly's words.
The young girl, who had lacked any charm before, was suddenly wearing an attractive and appealing smile.
The number one, certain way to make a young girl flash a beautiful smile... is for her to be told by the person she loves that she is cute.
Miraculously, Lud had drawn out Milly's charm.
"Master! And me?"
"Eh? W-What is it?"
"Well, because... you see, um... Tell me I'm cute too!"
Not one to let her place as Tockerbrot's charming waitress be usurped, Sven stood very close in front of her most cherished person.
"Um, uh... Sven... if you get up in my face like this, it makes it kind of hard to say."
Watching the two of them, Jacob spoke up in an exasperated voice.
"You guys have customers already."
Lud and Sven raised their voices in alarm at the same time.
Thus, another busy day at Tockerbrot began.
End of Volume 2