Queen of the Mad Dog Knights - Chapter 23
Chapter 23 – I’m Not Cute, Okay?! You Don’t Have to Love Me or Anything! (By Shiba.)
If someone were to ask me which do I like better, the ocean or the mountain?
I would definitely answer the mountain.
The mountain is cooler, there are a lot of trees and lush greenery, the perfect atmosphere for reading.
My father once took me and Dashiba, who wasn’t fat yet, to a mountain for summer vacation
We were happily reading picture books on the deck of our villa, accompanied by the highland breeze.
Sunlight shone through the gap between the lush trees, there was also the refreshing breeze and the quietness of the mountain, all I could hear was the chirping sound of the birds and Dashiba’s snores.
It was a wonderful memory.
I always thought that mountains were part of a peaceful world, so peaceful that they could heal my soul every time I look at them.
That was the case until I saw a dam filled with dogs.
“Ah, as expected, that’s why the water quality is getting worse. Master, are you sure you want to do this?”
The Ayer Dam is located in the northern mountain range of the Kennel Kingdom, close to the border with the Empire.
I’m currently at the observation facility at the top of the dam.
A huge amount of water, enough to completely cover two mountains, is being held by the dam below me.
The Ayer Dam is the largest reservoir in the country and it was built during the reign of the Founder King, Ayer-sama.
It’s located upstream of the Pochi River, the largest river in the kingdom.
Now the largest reservoir is covered with the colors black, white, and brown.
If you zoom in closer with a binocular you can see that those are… the citizens…
In other words, those are dogs.
The dam is filled with dogs, swimming on both the sides of the dam and in the middle of the water itself. You could even see several boats floating in the water.
Apparently, the weather is so hot that they gathered here just to take a bath.
Wan wan, kyun kyun, gau gau.
Washing potatoes? More like washing dogs.
One after another, the dogs climbed the mountain and jumped into the dam from the edge of the dam.
The river on the way to the dam is almost completely filled with dogs.
The supposedly cool mountain air is now replaced by the heat generated from the Dog-Kins body.
I feel hot just by looking at it…
I’m wearing my favorite cream-colored dress and spats to avoid bug bites. Also, I wear a hoodie to protect me from the heat, but I still feel the heat because of them.
Why do the Dog-Kins love the dams so much?
Well, that’s because, unlike natural rivers, the dam doesn’t have water currents.
Dog-Kins who live near the ocean usually come to the river in summer to cool off.
However, for families, those rivers could be dangerous because the current could sweep their puppies away. In fact, there are victims reported every year because of this.
That’s why in the summer, ponds, lakes, and dams are always filled to the brim with dogs.
I was frozen stiff after looking at the scenery shown by the binoculars when Mars-sama, my bodyguard asked me what I was doing.
He changed his outfit to shorts and sleeveless military uniform and he completely changed his way of addressing me to ‘Master’.
“Are we really going to hold another ‘Summer Cut is Disgusting’ campaign here? I’d rather if both Master and I go on a vacation together instead.”
“I’m also here you know?!”
Said Mameta von Shiba-sama after he left his tank in the dam’s parking lot and rushed up here.
The black-haired man with an angel-like face seemed upset.
“In the first place, Maltese-kun, this is work! If we don’t hurry, those people will notice Her Majesty’s scent and start making a commotion! Hurry up and help to get ready!”
“Man, Omame-kun, relax.”
“What ‘Omame’? I’m Mameta! Stop calling me that name and call me by my glorious name, Shiba!”
“Don’t even try to make that joke!!”
Mameta-sama who went kyan kyan over there is an overly serious person who acted as the representative of the Kennel Kingdom on the new continent.
Sometimes he can be a tsundere though.
When I first met Mameta-sama…
I turned my head to look at him in the corridor of the castle, he was hiding behind a pillar with only his nose and tail showing.
“That round tail… Are you from the Shiba Family by any chance?”
“Y-yes, I am!”
“That’s great, I always thought that I should give my thanks to you personally.”
“I-it isn’t like I’m doing it for you, I’m just doing what I’m supposed to do, okay?!”
His curled tail stood up, a sign that he was nervous.
I softened my gaze and walked over to him.
When I got closer, I saw a dignified Shiba Inu— a really small one, he was probably a Mame-Shiba—.
That was the first member of the Shiba family I’ve ever met ever since I came to this country.
Dull black eyes, tiny nose, rounder fur, and muscles.
He looked smarter than my dog in every way possible.
No… wait… I’m sorry.
That was rude of me to compare the two of them.
I bent down and gently reached out my hand to ease his nervousness.
He trembled slightly, but eventually, he stayed still and accepted my petting.
“I’m sorry I touched you without permission, but your fur is very nice. Thank you for always working so hard for the kingdom.”
“I-it’s okay! I’m a noble of this country, so of course, I have to work hard for the sake of the country! A-also you don’t really have to pet me! It isn’t like I like it or anything!”
He said that, but when I let go, he made a lonely face.
So, I continued to pet his neck as well.
Mameta-sama was entranced by my petting.
But at times he would stop me and declare with a sharp gaze ‘No more! I can’t bother you any more than this, my queen! I don’t need to be petted like this, to be called Mameta or to be calling you Master, not at all! I’ll be coming back to the new continent soon after all!’
His tail was still wagging though.
So I gave him everything that he wished for.
He was so happy that he fainted on the spot.
Mars-sama, who had the same age as him, collected him while saying, ‘Mameta, are you an idiot?’
After that, he stayed in the new continent for a while until after the coronation happened but recently he returned for a vacation.
When he heard about the trouble in the royal castle, he came forward and offered to be the tank’s driver.
“Well, let’s begin our preparations.”
With my back facing the dam, I started my preparations.
It’s to prevent heat stroke for the dogs.
* * *
—-Why am I at the dam? Well, let’s trace back for a bit.
Since the day of the audience, the temperature was getting hotter.
And the number of heatstroke patients increased dramatically.
In the royal castle, it was mainly civil servants who fell victim to it.
Among them, those who were less confident about their look actively shaved their fur and began to suffer from heatstroke. Especially the small dogs.
My stepbrother complained, ‘It’s dumb, seriously, collapsing because of that dumb haircut?’
My personal designer, Grace Cory von Pitbull-sama was livid, ‘Don’t they know the word practical beauty?’
The work efficiency of the castle had also declined. In the royal capital, a lot of the shops started to close down and even the country’s infrastructure turned into a mess.
Particularly, drinkable water.
Some of the facilities that have something to do with it had broken down, but there weren’t any attempts at repairs.
The reason being many of the technicians were stuck because of the heat.
No one wanted to work in the daytime because there was a danger of heatstroke.
My tutor, also the Head of the Research Institute, Dr. Schnauzer, told me if the quality of the water drops, people will get sick from drinking them.
Furthermore, if this wasn’t fixed, the Dog-Kin’s survivability will be at stake.
In just a short period of time, the country was in big trouble.
When I went to visit the Prime Minister’s office, which was missing two of its members…
I picked up a document that was laying on the ground and looked at it.
The list of the names of facilities that were in a bad state made me feel faint.
This season of hell continued to choke us without fail.
At that time, Duke Hainuwele came to visit us in a good mood.
Leonhardt-sama’s hospitalization period was extended.
Because of his stress of not being able to be taken care of by me, he forced himself to put on his kappogi, ran away from his isolation, and eventually collapsed.
Sir Shepherd was the same.
He wanted to see Leonhardt-sama at work, so he followed him and collapsed.
The person who represented us instead of those two was Angela Leonberger.
She was one of the ministers.
She was the woman who ran the country in Leonhardt-sama’s absence. She had a dignified appearance and was the most popular woman in the ministry.
She was a widow whose husband died in the war.
She had a son that she left at the Royal Nursery and she worked diligently every day.
The other day, her son collapsed because of the ‘summer cut’ and she gave him her fist.
She was heat sensitive, so she secretly wore an ice pack on the pack of her collar.
“It seems like the summer has been rough for you Dog-Kins. How about letting us dragons rule instead? We can lend you a hand.”
With that sentence, the duke left in high spirits.
Angela-sama spat quietly, ‘play hero all you want, fucking reptiles’, then she gave instructions to the Fifth Division through Darius-sama.
Outwardly, the Empire didn’t seem to move.
However, there was always a chance that they moved secretly in the dark, proving that suspicions, in the past crisis, they were almost up to something bad.
The small dogs of the Fifth Division, who specialized in covert operations, quietly began to act.
—Incidentally, due to their nature to not stand out, the Fifth Division didn’t follow the strange haircut hype.
So, all of them were able to continue their work.
Also, they were proud of being ‘small dogs’ because they closely followed the conduct of their previous commander, Mars-sama.
What about their current commander, Lyric-sama who kept apologizing for every single little thing?
Well, he was out of the country for diplomacy work, so I didn’t know.
In contrast to the Fifth Division, the small dogs from the Fourth Division were basically annihilated.
Pug-sama whom I met the other day tried to have a mohawk and ended up with a burn on his head.
Their commander, Rascal-sama tried out the tiger claw hairstyle and ended up hospitalized from heatstroke.
And so, for the sake of breaking the limit of men’s haircut, the Fourth Division either got burnt, turned completely white, or ended up unconscious.
Thanks to this, the Puppy Squad, who operated the tanks, was almost out of commission.
The ordinary tanks had a lot of equipment inside them, so there wasn’t enough room for people to enter them (The Liselotte is an exception, that tank is a unique model).
As a result, the small dogs were usually chosen as the tank’s operator and since the Fourth Division consisted mainly of small dogs, most of the operators were the members of the Fourth Division.
The Kennel Kingdom’s mobility was drastically reduced.
Darius-sama, Gray-sama and the First and Second Division’s members were running all over the place with other means of transportations, trying to fill the holes created by the absence of the Puppies.
—-What about the frontier knights or public securities?
Well, their numbers were too small to cover the entirety of the country.
In the end, the Knight Order was the one who did all the work.
What about the other members of the order?
The Sixth Division followed Mazo-sama on his diplomatic duty.
The Seventh Division had the majority of them hospitalized because the division was filled with small dogs and dogs that love to follow ongoing trends.
The Eighth Division had to take care of the patients, some of them even collapsed from overwork.
The Third Division?
I haven’t seen them actually, they were probably fine…?
This also applied to the nobles’ private armies, they were probably fine, even Barbarian-sama’s…
Apparently, the Pitbull’s army was staying inside their territory, I confirmed that they were busy dealing with the water problem, but the man himself said that he was going to the mountain for a while and never came back.
I had a bad feeling…
Anyway, the domestic force was in a terrible situation.
Border dispute aside…
If we were to be invaded at a time like this, we would be in big trouble.
The former Humanist Kingdom territory had been completely annexed and was relatively calm due to the influence of the Archbishop of the Purist Religion, Gorton-sama.
But the main problem wasn’t them…
It was the Empire.
I received bad news from Greyhound von Yoch-sama, who was in charge of information.
He scratched his head apologetically while reporting.
“Your Majesty, I’m sorry. We published an extra special issue of monthly ‘Inudo’ featuring ‘The Summer Cut is Bad! Her Majesty thought the style is too dull’ along with your thoughts about it, but it failed in serving its purpose.”
“I wonder why that’s the case?”
“More people similar to the Fourth Division members appeared, instead of stopping they went ‘What? It’s bad? Then I need to find better hairstyles!’ and worsen the situation. In addition, dubious hair clippers were starting to circulate in the past few weeks.”
For Dog-Kins and Cat-Kins, Medical Hair Clippers.
These clippers were useful for trimming the part of the skin that was affected by skin disease.
They had been sold in large quantities since before the summer and were lined up in stores.
The Empire made them.
The product was really suspicious, considering the time it was first distributed.
Sure, there were many races with fur in the empire.
But this amount of production and distribution was abnormal.
I can only think that they were attempting to harm our country in some way or another with this.
Did they predict that fur trimming would become popular here?
The face of a beautiful young man, whose beauty made even the moon pale in comparison, Mazo-sama came to me.
Though for some reason, his eyes were covered with mosaic in my imagination.
I looked out the window and saw a bright blue sky, the air felt moist.
They called it the season of hell, but it was quite beautiful, no?
Well, if this continues, there will be more victims.
I’ve made a decision.
Enforce a total ban on summer cuts.
It would be too late if I were to sit still in the palace and give orders.
“I will appeal directly to the citizens.”
After consulting with Dr. Schnauzer, I decided to appeal directly to the citizens by saying ‘the summer cut is the worst.’
—-Of course, there was another thing that I decided.
It was to sentence Mazo-sama to nail clipping.
At first, I was against this idea.
But, the only surviving member of the royal family was me.
If anything ever happened to me, it would be a repeat of the previous war, I must not cause any more tragedy like that.
Once I decided on something, it would be hard for the dogs to disobey it.
The Wakens were flexible in their thinking, but if it was something that concerned my well-being, they would go as far as disobeying me on the basis of ‘It’s for the Master’s sake.’
That was why I need to be independent, actively discipline myself and be a good role model to my people.
That way, I would play a larger role in the eyes of my people.
An owner who did nothing when their dogs were in a state of confusion wasn’t cut out to be a dog owner.
That was why I imposed some rules on myself to be the true queen of the Dog-Kins.
- Stay within my escort’s line of sight.
- Take care of the bug bites.
- Whenever everyone comes back from their duties, make sure to pet them.
- Eat three meals a day and sleep well.
Those were the 4 rules I made for myself.
Then, my trump card, I showed my personal doctor, Josee-sama my progress on gaining weight.
I’ve proved to myself that I’ve gained so much weight.
I had always been thin and people my age often called me ‘skinny’. Furthermore, due to my stepmother’s abuse, at the orphanage, I was on the verge of dying of hunger.
No matter how much I ate after I was rescued, I always failed to gain weight.
Theresa-san, Leonhardt-sama, and the other dogs had been worried about me.
But since then, I’ve gotten so much healthier!
Even my cheeks had changed from skinny to chubby and there was even pink lush on them.
This is what I’ve been waiting for.
Now I can go and see the dogs who were suffering because they were unable to see their Queen directly!
—-In the end, my efforts paid off.
With the constraint of time, limited personnel, and two weeks deadline.
I persuaded the ministers, officials, Leonhardt-sama, who was stuck in bed, and Darius-sama as well.
Darius-sama in his dog form held on to the hem of my skirt with his mouth and refused to let it go.
It will flip, so please stop it!
In the end, I hugged him tightly, gave him the skirt I was wearing, and told him to be patient for two weeks.
“I leave the Royal Capital to you, please take care of it properly for me, okay?”
He would be Duke Hainuwele’s conversation partner in Leonhardt-sama’s absence.
* * *
Back to the present, what we are going to do now is the ‘Summer Cut, Bad’ campaign.
We are planning to tour the entire country and tell the Dog-Kins directly that they should stop doing the summer cuts. If we do it indirectly again, the order would somehow get distorted.
In the meantime, we will also identify a part of this country’s system that is currently dysfunctional.
Our main targets are the Dog-Kins living in big cities and the Dog-Kins gathering at the water sources.
Since The Puppies couldn’t move with us, the First Division would come with us instead.
Their leaders are the vice-commanders, Ryoma von Tosa-sama and Hachi von Akita-sama.
The route we will be taking is the underground passage and the total personnel we have at hand are several hundred strong.
Accompanying us, Josee-sama the medic and Mars-sama the Queen’s guard dog.
There are also Dr. Schnauzer and Yoch-sama, who’s leading the Seventh Division, the press.
Yoch-sama snorted and declared, ‘I’m going to get a lot of scoops, worthy to be put on the front page!’
He said he’s going to write about the Queen, who is worried about the negative impacts of the summer cut.
But I’m sure that he just wants to collect stories about the local lords’ affairs.
And last but not least, Mameta-sama, who happened to be there, walked up to me and said ‘Please let me accompany you!’
—-By the way, about my dog.
I asked Yoshimune von Kishu-sama, the Vice-Commander of the First Division, who is also an excellent trainer to take care of him.
Proof being every time I left Dashiba to him, the dog would gain a little bit more muscle.
I’m glad I can leave it to him.
Anyway, we’ve been around to some of the major cities.
In the suburban area of those cities, there were people selling trays here and there.
Apparently, it’s a summer tradition in this country.
Also, everywhere in the city, dogs were bathing inside the trays.
Dogs inside trays, dogs under the shades, dogs that fell in awkward positions.
Of course, we immediately helped the dogs that fell, refilled the trays with water, and let them get back inside the trays.
And, whenever we arrived in a city, we were always received in a grand welcome.
And most importantly, my message of ‘The summer cut increased the risk of heatstroke’ was finally received properly by the citizens.
Originally, the male Dog-Kins, mainly the small dogs, jumped on the hair-cutting hype train proposed by Mazo von Borzoi-sama in order to be popular with women.
Some of them also wished to ‘make ourselves stand out in the eyes of Her Majesty the Queen.’
In the end, the result of their efforts was in vain.
And from this incident, I realized.
If the Queen didn’t properly convey her feelings, the dogs would run wild with their imaginations and distort her wish to their liking.
After seeing Mayor Shih Tzu and Count Frise in mohawk, even Mars-sama was shocked.
Marquis St. Bernard had a lion cut and was given an iron fist of anger by his sister, Josee-sama.
Because of this incident, Mameta-sama went as far as doubting the baldness of Viscount Hairless Dog.
We told everyone off one by one.
Though at the same time, we gave them our thanks and praised them by saying, ‘You’ve worked hard to support the country.’
That alone brightened their mood tremendously.
Praise the dogs for their efforts.
I learned that it’s more important than anything else.
Even the unmotivated nobles who had been gathering in the royal capital to sniff my scent also hurriedly returned to their own hometowns and started managing their territories.
I’ve been learning a lot myself.
While listening to the explanation of the sagacious Dr. Schnauzer, I learned about the current situation of the various regions of the kingdom.
With Yoch-sama in tow, I’ve been learning about wonderful news from those regions (affairs aren’t wonderful news by the way).
I’ve learned that there is more to learning than just reading a book.
It was so much fun.
I never knew that interacting with people could be so much fun.
Finally, we went to big rivers, lakes, and beaches to share our joy.
The last thing in our schedule was to warn the people gathering in those places about heatstroke prevention.
“Let’s prevent any more victims from the heatstroke! Stop bathing in the water used as our drinking source, let’s keep them clean! And more importantly, stop getting the summer cut! They could easily give you heatstroke!”
At first, everyone tilted their heads in confusion, but eventually, they happily agreed after hearing my voice.
I didn’t expect some of them would collapse from the heat in their dog forms after trying to show their respects to me though.
And finally, here we are.
The last place in our schedule, this dam.
It’s the most popular summer destination for the Dog-Kin and also an important nationwide water source.
Now that the water purification plant isn’t running properly, we can’t let the water be polluted.
I hope I can convey my feelings properly.
I held the loudspeaker tightly.
Then I took a deep breath.
Suddenly I heard a distant yet familiar voice.
A dog was dexterously diving from the shore of the dam.
It was my Dame-Shiba.
 This is a pun of the expression イモ洗い, which literally means washing potato, but it refers to a state where a pool or any water source like river, etc., is filled to the brim with people. Because the sight of that to Japanese is similar to when you wash a bunch of potatoes, hence the expression ‘washing potatoes’.
 Lion Cut.