The Ugliest Woman in the World
While I had discussed the matter with Tyron, I had not yet spoken to the candidate himself.
And since he would likely not react well to suddenly being told he had a wife, I decided to ask him if he had any intentions of getting married.
I took out a hawk that was in a cage on the carriage, and attached a message to its leg. And this is what I wrote.
‘You are also the lord of a castle and land. It is not good for you to stay alone. I urge you to marry a woman who is filled with knowledge.’
Eve saw this message and questioned me.
“Master, to whom are you sending this message?”
As I had no reason to hide it, I told her honestly.
“I am sending it to Kongming.”
‘Oh’ Eve said with surprise.
“So you have chosen him to marry Tyron’s daughter.”
“I have. Do you take issue with that?”
“I do not. However, men often judge others by appearance. And I don’t know if he is an exception.”
“You might find it hard to believe, but he is an exception.”
And then I brought up a few other names.
“Akechi Mitsuhide, Kikkawa Motoharu, and Kongming. They all have one thing in common. Do you know what that is?”
“I see. Well, there is little point in telling you about Heroes from other worlds I suppose. In any case, the answer is that none of their wives were great beauties.”
“Ah, I see.”
“Indeed. Akechi Mitsuhide was a great general who served Oda Nobunaga, but his wife’s face was marked with smallpox. However, Akechi Mitsuhide loved his wife until he died. And it is said that she once sold her hair for him.”
“What a wonderful bond they shared.”
“Yes. And Kikkawa Motoharu was the same. In fact, he went out of his way to marry someone who wasn’t beautiful.”
“Why is that?”
“It is said that he did it so that her country would owe him a favor. As he married this daughter, they would fight harder for his sake.”
“I see. That is intriguing.”
“Well, not the most pure of intentions. But it is said that he still loved his wife, and they had a happy family.”
“So Kongming must have had a similar family in his world. A wife who was not beautiful.”
“Exactly. It’s even been written in texts that his wife was not pretty. However, she was very intelligent, and they got along very well. I am hoping to recreate that.”
Two days later, Kongmind sent a reply.
“Regarding the matter you set forth. While I shall travel to meet with you, I must also say that I do not intend to take a wife in this world.”
“My, that is a problem. Isn’t it, Master?”
“Yes, it is. Regardless, we must prepare to meet him. I hear that he likes intelligent women. So perhaps they shall get along quite well.”
“We must bet on it.”
Said Eve. Then she went to Tyron’s kitchen and made preparations.
And three days later, a carriage arrived, carrying Kongming.
And while he looked quite dashing as he approached in his carriage, when he met me, he declared, ‘Demon King. I am still in love with my wife from my previous world. I cannot remarry.’
“I understand. However, this is a new world and a new life. Do me a favor, and at least meet with her.”
He had little choice when his master was making the request, and so Kongming agreed. However, a new problem arose.
Flora was now refusing to meet with him.
To be precise, she insisted that she would not meet him unless he solved a riddle.
Tyron banged on her door and remonstrated with her. However, Kongming told him to calm down.
“What an interesting daughter you have. I hear that she wishes to marry an intelligent man.”
“Yes. As if she has such options available to her.”
“That is not true. Besides, I find it quite commendable that she values the mind more than the face. And that is why I brought Kongming, who is both wiser and more honest than any man.”
I said. And then I ordered Kongming to solve the riddle.
Kongming bowed and read out the letter that Flora had pushed out from the crack in her door.
“What creature has four legs in the morning, two during midday, and three at night.”
I knew that one. It was a popular riddle in that other world. However, I didn’t know if Kongming knew. And so I waited for his answer.
He closed his eyes and thought about it. After a minute, he opened his mouth and spoke clearly.
He answered. And then he explained.
“The morning is when he is born, in other words, a baby. All babies crawl on their hands and feet. When they grow a little older, they can walk on two feet. That’s during the day. And when they grow old, they use a cane, which is the night.”
It was, of course, correct. However, without any reaction, another letter was pushed through the door. Perhaps she was not the best at communication.
This was what was written on it.
“What is the most delicious thing in this world?”
It was a simple question that would have a different answer depending on who you asked. But I suppose it said something about the sensibilities of the person.
My own answer would be the roast beef that Eve makes. I whispered this to her, and she smiled happily. I asked her what her answer was, and she said it was pancakes. Yes, people were certainly different. And so I waited for Kongming’s answer with deep interest.
Once again, he fell silent for a moment and then said softly, ‘salt.’
“That is an odd answer. I know some who take a pinch of salt with their drink. Is Kongming such a man?”
“No, Kongming does not drink. But yes, it is very interesting.”
“Master, you seem to understand his intent.”
“I do. I’m sure he’ll explain it now.”
And then Kongming nodded.
“No matter how delicious the ingredient, it is nothing without salt. Soup without salt, stew without salt, roast beef without salt. None of it will have any taste. However, you cannot put too much salt on it either. No matter how fresh the ingredients, too much salt will make it taste bad, and be poisonous to your body.”
“I see. That is true. There is salt in pancakes as well. It helps draw out the sweetness. But you will ruin it if you put in too much. It’s all about using the right amount.”
Kongming nodded at Eve.
And Eve wasn’t the only one who seemed to be satisfied by this answer. There was a click as the door was unlocked, and Flora’s voice could be heard, inviting him in.
I hoped that the matter of their marriage would be settled here, but it was unlikely to be so easy.
Flora only agreed to meet with people who she accepted as wise. However, all previous men had rejected her at this stage.
And so I waited anxiously for a while, but then chuckled as I realized how foolish this was.
(It wasn’t like I was getting married.)
This was just about bargaining with Tyron. The only thing that needed to change was Kongming’s wish to stay alone.
I didn’t believe that marriage meant happiness, but it was not a bad thing either. And while I didn’t know why, I had a feeling that these two would make a good match. They were both odd and would likely have a lot in common.
In fact, Kongming seemed very amused by the letters. And so I opened the door so that he could be amused even more.
In the room behind it, sat the farmer’s daughter, who was known for her ugliness.