“From today on, I will rescind your mission as bodyguard, Lady Ratzel.” (Marito)
Marito called me together with Ilias, and the bodyguard mission of Ilias immediately ended once we entered the main topic.
As for Ilias herself…she is frozen solid.
Oh? But she has changed a bit into a pondering look.
And then, she turned this way and spoke with a serious look.
“I would like an explanation.” (Ilias)
“Tell that to Marito. The one who is talking here right now is your superior.”
“I would like an explanation.” (Ilias)
It looks as if she isn’t that fazed by this, but it seems like she is actually completely overwhelmed here.
Marito winked at me here as if telling me to go ahead and explain, so let’s just do that.
“I don’t think there’s any need to explain though. I have declared that I won’t bring harm to the humans, joined forces with Demon Lords, and have formed a 3rd faction. Marito…no, Taizu has approved of this 3rd faction, but it is not like they have joined our side. It would be weird for Taizu to provide a bodyguard to a VIP of that 3rd faction, right?”
“That’s…true. But I said I would protect you—” (Ilias)
“But you would have your priorities reversed if you were to quit being a knight of Taizu, right?”
Ilias wanting to protect me is -at core- because she wants to live as an honorable knight.
But right now being a bodyguard is getting in the way of her job as a knight.
“Don’t make such a troubled face. I understand what you want to say. Marito has considered that and has prepared another method.”
“I-Is that so?” (Ilias)
“Thanks for the explanation. With powerful individuals like Ekdoik and Wolfe around him, there’s almost no necessity for Lady Ratzel at present.” (Marito)
“Don’t make that face. My friend is grinning here, you know?” (Marito)
“Ah, don’t snitch. Of course, Marito wouldn’t want to do something that lowers your morale. It is not like Ilias alone is being seen as the military symbol of Taizu, so there’s no need to get adhered to that.”
“That bothers me in its own way though…” (Ilias)
“Lady Ratzel’s growth is splendid, but the Chivalric Order of Taizu is not an organization that is concerned with individual power. Of course, it would be troubling for you to go somewhere else, but there would be no issue in adhering to guarding. And so, I am thinking about giving you a new mission.” (Marito)
“A new mission…?” (Ilias)
“That’s right. I will have you serve the VIP that calls himself a 3rd faction. It goes without saying that I am referring to my friend. The pretext will be that your role is that of an inspector.” (Marito)
“That’s right. Taizu can’t antagonize the 3rd faction that has 2 Demon Lords. And so, we make it so it looks like we are placing an inspector with skills in the 3rd faction and, in exchange, they can use you for manual labor.” (Marito)
I don’t plan on doing evil in the shadows anyways, but it can’t be helped that the humans would be holding doubts with Demon Lords on my side.
And so, Taizu will be sending an inspector -putting it in a cooler way, a spy- right into our lines to always make clear what we are doing.
“Next, you just have to accept an inspector from Mejis too, and even if there’s wariness left, the impression that you are a dangerous organization should lessen.”
“In that case, the inspector of Mejis would end up being Rakura though. We will designate Lady Ratzel as the permanent stay inspector, but we also plan on assigning several other knights as well.” (Marito)
“…I see.” (Ilias)
Ilias nodded with a serious face, but this is the sign that she doesn’t understand that well.
“It is basically like the excuse for Ilias, Mix, and Rakura to be around me. It will be the same as usual, so there’s no need to worry about it.”
“What, so it is just an excuse. Is there a need to do something as roundabout as that?” (Ilias)
“There is. You have to properly explain to society that order is being maintained or there will be people that will complain.”
“We will be dispatching Lady Ratzel and Mix from Taizu for now. I will arrange the documents for this at a later date.” (Marito)
“Alright. I plan on settling my talk with Pope Euparo after this.”
“Will you be fine without me tagging along?” (Marito)
“No issues. Negotiation tables like this one are my specialty.”
After that, I bid farewell to Marito and group up with Ekdoik.
Ilias had to report the process to Lord Ragudo, so we separated there.
The place we headed to was Dog’s Bone.
I invited Pope Euparo and Archbishop Ukka to dine together.
Normally, I wouldn’t recommend a lively bar or an eatery, but according to the information I got, Pope Euparo likes the food here an awful lot.
They are using the luxury product that is salt, but the ingredients are simple, and the taste is really good, so he likes it.
I heard about this from Gozu and Saira that he would go there whenever he had the time when he is in Taizu.
“I see. I thought the taste of this place was different from others, but it was because you were involved in it, huh. I am pretty interested in the cuisine of Yugura’s planet.” (Euparo)
“It seems like you prefer simplicity, Pope-sama. Salt is a luxury product in this world, so I was a bit bothered by it though.”
“That’s certainly a worrying point, but the taste itself is simple, and they are properly bringing out the greatness of the ingredients. There’s no sin to tastiness.”
“True. Then, that might be a good option too. Please wait for a bit.”
I said this, went to where Gozu is, and had him stealthily add the new product on the dish.
I then tried putting it on the table of Pope Euparo.
“These are…vegetables, right?” (Euparo)
“Yes, it is a staple dish in my homeland.”
“This only looks like sliced vegetables… Moreover, slightly wilted.” (Ukka)
“Now now, just think you got deceived and try a bite, Archbishop Ukka.”
Pope Euparo brings it to his mouth with interest and Archbishop Ukka does so with a dubious look.
But the moment they put it in their mouths, the crispy texture and the moderate saltiness as well as the juices of the vegetable made them nod, impressed.
“So these are vegetables sprinkled with salt? And that’s not all there is to it.” (Euparo)
“There’s a little bit of vinegar.”
That’s right, these are tsukemono**.
If possible, I would have wanted the vinegar that’s produced in Japan, but that’s unfortunately me wishing for something that’s not there, so I am using balsamic vinegar which is made with the same procedure as wine.
I could provide them with a light version and a rice bran version if there were seaweed though.
“It is like an undecorated dish… And yet, there’s a lot of depth in its taste. I see…” (Euparo)
“Its charm is also that the taste changes depending on the household. I will give you the recipe, so how about making some yourself?”
“Hohoh, so it can be made easily… Secretly eating the matured vegetables with my own hands… Umu, there’s charm in that.” (Euparo)
I thought: ‘When talking about simplicity, it gotta be tsukemono’. It seems to have had favorable impressions.
I am sure he would get super into it if we were to make something like miso soup.
It might not be a bad idea to research it as a measure for diplomacy.
After enjoying the meal, I tell them how we will be accepting an inspector from Taizu.
“Fumu, so we can send people from our side too, right? I will be counting on you with Rakura as per usual. Being able to send other people will be effective in convincing others.” (Euparo)
“I would prefer a calm person though.”
“It seemed like you couldn’t handle Archbishop Seraes. I could see you averting your gaze the whole time, you know?” (Euparo)
“Being glared that much is a bit, you know…”
“What are you doing getting scared when you are declaring you are a 3rd faction? Even though you can talk normally with me who is above him.” (Euparo)
“It is not like I am scared of him. When someone directs hostility towards me in that fashion…I also end up reacting, you see.”
“…Right, you are the personification of a mirror after all.” (Euparo)
If I continue receiving the hostility of Archbishop Seraes, I would instinctively end up facing him with hostility too, but I couldn’t show antagonism in a place like that.
I had no other countermeasure aside from averting my gaze.
“The Yugura Church will shake for the foreseeable future. I personally would like to wrap things up peacefully though. Don’t lower your guard even if it is about the people close to you.” (Euparo)
“The amount of people is on another level after all.”
Archbishop Seraes is most likely the person to be the most wary of at present in the human side.
There’s Pope Euparo above him, but his personal authority is also massive.
There’s a high chance a new faction might be created inside the Yugura Church that will be shaking in the future, and they will be pulling strings in the shadows.
“I won’t let them do something like bring harm to you in public. Creating unnecessary disputes won’t serve for the sake of the world after all. Of course, I am also worried about you on a personal level though.” (Euparo)
“That’s truly relieving.”
Gold and Purple have become my allies, but it is not like I am holding their reins completely.
Especially Purple. The chances of her becoming an enemy of the humans again once I am gone are high.
And so, I can’t just die here. That said, I wouldn’t want to drop dead anyways.
“So, have you grasped the movements of the Demon Lord side?” (Euparo)
“Yes. It seems like the Colorless Demon Lord has told the other Demon Lords about the absence of Yugura. He must have kindled the Scarlet Demon Lord. I think there will be movement from them in a not so far future.”
“Fumu… With him giving information so easily, I did presume he would also give as much information to the Demon Lords, but he went and told them directly, huh. What’s your view of this?” (Euparo)
“The other Demon Lords will make a move too when the Scarlet Demon Lord moves. Most likely the Blue Demon Lord at Kuama.”
“Kuama, huh… I have already sent a messenger, but the response has been put on hold and there’s no reaction. The Kuama Branch is under the jurisdiction of Archbishop Seraes. He should be able to ascertain the credibility of this though.” (Euparo)
I have been thinking about going to Kuama once, but after hearing that, I am not really feeling it now.
Even if we are going, it would be a day trip plan. I do have Ekdoik and the others after all.
“The Scarlet Demon Lord has learned that the Gold Demon Lord and Purple Demon Lord have joined our side, so I think there won’t be any reliable information rolling our way.”
“I wasn’t expecting much of that anyways. The Demon Lords are rulers in their respective front. It is not like they would display everything they are holding. By the way, I will be changing the topic a bit here but, Ekdoik, I heard you are the brother of Rakura.” (Euparo)
“What about it?” (Ekdoik)
This is the first time Ekdoik speaks in this exchange. He was eating silently, but reacted slightly when the conversation turned to Rakura.
This information most likely came from Maya-san.
“I was just thinking fate is a curious thing, you see. That Rakura showed some sort of achievement when she defeated the Great Devil, moreover, to think it was the one who kidnapped her brother and taught him the techniques of devils.” (Euparo)
“It certainly is strange, but it is trifling when compared to a resident from the same world as the Hero appearing after more than a century.” (Ekdoik)
That’s true, but I feel like Ekdoik’s one is a lot rarer when considering the series of events.
“Ukka, what’s your view of this as the teacher of Rakura?” (Euparo)
“It is true that I did teach her techniques, but she was a genius. There was little I could teach her.” (Ukka)
“The evaluation of the Yugura Church towards Rakura was low. Even so, you still saw her highly, Archbishop Ukka?”
“Of course. Even if her results as a cleric were all pitiful, as the one who taught her her fighting techniques, there’s no way I wouldn’t notice her talent. I cannot apologize enough, thinking about how I might have been able to lessen the pains you tasted if I had paid more attention to Rakura,.” (Ukka)
The Great Devil that was defeated by Rakura, Beglagud, had his existence acknowledged by the humans, but the reality that he was defeated was only discovered recently.
The person herself didn’t notice she defeated a Great Devil.
Ekdoik was shocked by how low Rakura was being seen.
I can understand his gripes about learning that the one that defeated your father is a pitiful person.
“Don’t worry. It is because Rakura wasn’t evaluated highly that I could rouse myself, so it isn’t all bad.” (Ekdoik)
“I have heard about your skills to great extent. It seems like you both have wonderful talent befitting of being siblings.” (Ukka)
“I may have been born with talent, so I don’t plan on saying anything about that, but I have also put in great effort. I don’t want to wrap it all up as being purely talent.” (Ekdoik)
“I apologize if I offended you there. But Rakura has also put in unreal amounts of effort. No, I couldn’t bring about anything else from her.” (Ukka)
Rakura is fatally bad at processing several things at the same time.
Due to this, she can’t work properly in her every day labor, so there wasn’t any important work that could be entrusted to her.
That’s why she was immersing herself in battle training all by herself.
It goes without saying that someone with talent concentrating on one thing will make them grow.
It is even said that, in terms of battle sense, even Ilias can’t match Rakura.
That said, she hated physical training, so her physical specs differ greatly though.
“Right. The speed at which Rakura weaves her magic is bone chilling. You could say that’s a realm of its own.” (Ekdoik)
“If you can understand that, that means you also have quite the decent ability too.” (Ukka)
“What kind of training did you make Rakura do in specific?” (Ekdoik)
“Ooh, interested? Alright. This might be a bit too stiff of a talk in between drinks, but even dried fish brings out its own taste at times.” (Ukka)
Ekdoik and Archbishop Ukka were beginning to get heated up in their talk about the training of Rakura.
It felt a bit lonely, but Pope Euparo asked me a variety of things about tsukemonos, so I didn’t feel like I had nothing to do.
What is Rakura in question doing right now? Is she lazing about at home while drinking?
Or maybe… Who knows, yup.
The border separating Kuama and the Kuama Nether. There exists the defensive wall that had been made a long time ago by the humans.
The monsters that appear in the Kuama Nether don’t have much of anything that resembles consciousness.
They have no intelligence either, and they were silently advancing through the presence of the living.
The effect of this defensive wall is big due to this.
You can snipe them from above the walls, throw rocks, and shoot magic one-sidedly.
The monsters try to climb, but they are always safely dealt with by the Kuama army.
The soldiers have been repeatedly doing this since the day they were born. They didn’t feel much of a threat from this and were dealing with the monsters while talking with each other.
“Alright, we have cleaned up most on this side.”
“The ones north apparently have begun drinking a long time ago.”
“The amount of monsters has decreased even more recently after all. They can’t give birth, so maybe they are soon going to run out of numbers?”
“What, you don’t know about how monsters are born on their own?”
“I know, but with them decreasing this much, it makes me think there’s some sort of reason behind it.”
The amount of monsters flowing towards the defensive walls has decreased in these few years. This is a reality known by the soldiers working in the Kuama army.
They have decreased even more recently. Most soldiers of Kuama would think their job is easier compared to Mejis who have to eliminate devils on the regular.
One of the soldiers began to clean up and directed his gaze at the Kuama Nether.
Even though he can see grass growing right at the back in the land of Kuama, there’s not a single blade of grass in the Kuama Nether.
A dried out land as far as the eye can see. It is a world that’s fitting to spread undead.
“If Kuama were to do a bit more work in purifying the Kuama Nether, we would have more land.”
“We can’t move these walls after all. If we can’t secure even more safety than this, the ones working the fields would dislike it too.”
The defensive walls of Kuama have fend off the monsters of the Nether for years.
Their trust towards this wall is unshakeable because of this.
The only ones who would go beyond this would be adventurers who seek rare materials from the monsters.
He thought there were some weird people out there as he felt something off in what he saw.
“Hmm… What’s that?”
He should be used to seeing the Kuama Nether, and yet, there’s a strange thick line painting the horizon.
The soldier had a bit of magic skills, so he used farsight magic.
You are rendered unable to see at close distance, but it is the perfect spell to see faraway things. If you use it for peeping, you will get hit with a pretty harsh punishment though.
He could see all the way to the horizon and stared at the strange line he found.
“…Are you kidding me?”
“What’s up? What’s the matter?”
“That… You can see a line at the horizon of the Kuama Nether, right?”
“Hmm? …Aah, now that you mention it, I can certainly see it.”
“Look at it with farsight magic.”
“Dude, just be clear… W-What the hell is that?!”
The two soldiers witnessed it.
What was painting the horizon were countless undead heading towards the defensive wall.