Did I mess up?
Thinking about the face of Natora-san when heading to where Rakura was, I don’t feel like it was all bad. But Rakura acted in a way that showed strong aversion in front of her mother.
I thought I knew she had an indifferent personality, but with that reaction of hers, the gap between those two must be extremely deep.
That said, I was the cause of this, so I can’t just leave it be. I must at least learn the feelings of Rakura and relay them to Natora-san.
I run around the village searching for Rakura and find her looking at the holy knights from the shadows.
“Rakura, you were here, huh.” (Masetta)
“You were searching for me?” (Rakura)
“Obviously. First of all, sorry. I did this thinking it was the right thing, but it seems like it was an annoyance for you.” (Masetta)
“Don’t worry. You simply didn’t know my circumstances. I think I would have done the same thing in your shoes.” (Rakura)
Rakura’s face is the same as always.
Well, we are not that close, so I can’t really tell what she is thinking though. That’s why there’s the need to talk.
“I have no intention of finding fault in your actions, but can you please tell me the circumstances? I can’t really leave Natora-san as she is.” (Masetta)
“Right… Do you already know about my background?” (Rakura)
“Yes. Your village was destroyed by devils, and Natora-san gave birth to you when she was moving from village to village. But Natora-san had no confidence in raising you at that time, so she entrusted you to an orphanage.” (Masetta)
“I think that was a good decision. It is not rare for a woman to raise a child by herself, but rather than forcing herself to raise a child while troubled about a place to live in, that choice of hers was far more beneficial for both of us.” (Rakura)
There’s a lot of people who think that they might be able to raise a child by themselves if there’s people around who can help them. But the village she was living in was gone, had no place to live in, had no job, moreover, no people to rely on; it is plenty possible to have your heart break in such an environment. You may have the confidence, but reality is not that soft.
“That’s true. I have heard that the orphanage you were raised in was a good one at least.” (Masetta)
“Yes. I was grateful for it, and felt no sadness or anger. I met Ukka-sama and Counselor-sama. Also Ilias-san, Wolfe-chan, and everyone else. I messed up a bit…quite a bit, but I like my new lifestyle. I am honestly satisfied to a degree where I don’t think there’s any better.” (Rakura)
The treatment of Rakura at the time when she was acting in Mejis wasn’t that good. I was within the people who disliked her, so there’s no doubt about it. But Rakura met that person and has been acknowledged by her surroundings.
That person must have understood Rakura, accepted her, and provided her with the world she wished for. That person can do that. He is capable of it. He even managed to release me from the past that was tying me up despite being hostile towards Rakura. I can believe in that without doubt.
“Then why?” (Masetta)
“I have come to see my mother once because I was curious. I didn’t meet her face to face though. At that time, she was apologizing in front of Father’s grave about him and Ekdoik-san. Over and over, with so much grief.” (Rakura)
I have heard of Rakura’s brother, too. He was kidnapped by devils, was raised in order to kill humans, moreover, tried to kill Rakura. My honest opinion from that is: How is he alive?
Anyways, Natora-san at that time didn’t even have the hope that he was alive. For her, he must have been pretty much dead. I wouldn’t be able to measure her feelings when she learned this.
“Doesn’t that mean that’s how much she treasures her family?” (Masetta)
“I think so. But when I saw her like that, I thought: ‘Maybe she will apologize like that to me when she meets me’. I didn’t want that, so I left. I felt like if she were to apologize to me in such a manner, I would end up viewing my life until now as something bad -felt like my life itself would be denied. Mother might be satisfied with that, but I don’t want what I treasure to be denied for the sake of that.” (Rakura)
Rakura felt strong emotions at the act of Natora-san apologizing in front of a grave. I can easily imagine her saying ‘Sorry for making you suffer’ if she regrets having abandoned her in an orphanage. She didn’t want her life until now to be denied from those words.
I think it should be fine if they are just careful about that, but it is pretty hard for Natora-san who feels bad about entrusting Rakura to an orphanage due to her position. She might end up accidentally slipping it.
“Can I tell that to Natora-san? I understand your feelings now, Rakura, but I can’t leave Natora-san either.” (Masetta)
“I am one-sidedly avoiding her after all. Do as you please.” (Rakura)
There’s nothing I can say to Rakura for now. But there was worth in talking to her. It may not be a satisfying result for Natora, but it at the very least doesn’t mean she is denying her position as her mother.
I separated from Rakura and checked the state of the house, but Natora-san was not there. She must have left.
Should I talk to Rakura’s brother too? No, this is not a matter I should delve so deeply into.
“Oh, ain’t that Masetta? Is something the matter?”
The one who spoke to me while I was pondering in front of the house was Haakudoku. Speaking of which, it was because he told me about it that I met Natora-san and things ended up like this. Hm? Could it be that he is the source of everything?
“Rakura left, right? That’s why I chased after her and asked for the circumstances. Natora-san already left?” (Masetta)
“So it seems.” (Haaku)
“So it seems? Weren’t you there?” (Masetta)
“I lost consciousness a few seconds later. Well, I am the one at fault though.” (Haaku)
Just what did he have to suffer through?
Leaving that aside, let’s arrange my thoughts for a bit. Rakura and the others didn’t want to meet Natora-san. It would make sense that Haakudoku helped out in that. But what he did led Natora-san to me… Aah, so that’s what it is.
Rakura is a member of Morgana, but she barely has any interaction with others. That’s why he must have thought there wouldn’t be any issues in introducing her to me.
“Judging from your reaction, it seems like you didn’t know that I was a classmate of hers and were raised in the same environment.” (Masetta)
“I am a new recruit after all. We have tried killing each other, but I barely know anything about Rakura. But sorry for making you taste a bad experience.” (Haaku)
Haakudoku scratched his head and lowered his head.
I was thinking about being snarky with him, but it is hard to when he apologizes first.
“It is fine. I would have done the same for Natora-san even if you hadn’t introduced me to her… I messed up in a lot of ways because I didn’t think of the feelings of Rakura, too.” (Masetta)
“We’ve got it rough, messing up all over. I angered the Blue Demon Lord, so I will have to search for an inn somewhere for a while.” (Haaku)
“Yeah… Hm? Blue Demon Lord? W-Wait a moment! The Blue Demon Lord is here?!” (Masetta)
“The demon of the Blue Demon Lord, Ekdoik, is here, so of course she is.” (Haaku)
…Endure. Endure, me. If I were to freeze here, I would let a lot of opportunities escape just like the time in Kuama. I must ask!
I take a deep breath and ask for the details.
I knew that the Blue Demon Lord was working under him, but this is the first time I hear that her brother Ekdoik is a demon.
It makes sense that they wouldn’t be able to meet their mother so readily if her son is a demon of the Blue Demon Lord, and the brother of Rakura would have a hard time explaining it.
Could it be that he told everything to Natora-san while I was chasing after Rakura? How can this be? Moreover, from what I am being told here, isn’t this basically Ekdoik cutting ties with Natora-san?!
“You are impressive. Even though you are making such a complicated expression, you are easy to understand.” (Haaku)
“Is that a praise?” (Masetta)
“Showing things in your face is a personal trait. But I can tell that you are super worried about Natora-san and your integrity reaches me. You must be a good person.” (Haaku)
…Looks like he is praising me. Being praised in such a straight manner is a bit embarrassing.
Him introducing her to me must have been because he wanted to be of use to Natora-san in some way.
“I would like to do something if possible, but…just explaining the circumstances wouldn’t be enough.” (Masetta)
“Ekdoik is merciless when he speaks after all. The husband of Natora-san was killed by a devil. She most likely can’t throw away her hatred towards Demon Lords that easily.” (Haaku)
In Mejis where the teachings of the Yugura Church are the most permeated, feeling hatred towards Demon Lords has become natural. It is not only because of the teachings of Yugura. There has been no end to the lives the devils have taken in history.
There have been no casualties at all lately and the purification of the Nether is going at a pace of historic proportions, but…that’s how big the influence of that man is.
It is because I know his identity that I can hear about a Demon Lord and not feel much apprehension towards it.
“I will explain the matter of Rakura to Natora-san so she can come to terms with it for a bit.” (Masetta)
“Yeah, please do. I…pretty much deceived her, so I will apologize to her later. But if Brother were here… No, relying too much on him would not be good.” (Haaku)
Looks like Haakudoku calls that person Brother. You could say that’s just like him, but I am honestly jealous of how easily he can close the distance.
Maybe I should also… No, no, that won’t be happening when I am feeling admiration towards him. It might be a different story if this were love, but my chest is unfortunately not skipping a beat here.
“It is true that he would be able to wrap things up cleanly.” (Masetta)
“Yeah, he would solve things ‘safely’ just as he always says!” (Haaku)
Safely…huh. Thinking about his actions until now, I feel like he is far from leading a ‘safe’ life though… That may be why he seeks it.
“Melsashtiwel, how are things progressing with each unit?”
“All units are slowly advancing north. For the side of Gahne, they have reached the headquarters that the humans created by the side of the Gahne capital. As for Mejis, they have gotten through the Mejis Nether, and it is possible to invade the Mejis territory.” (Melsash)
I moved the pieces on top of the map with mana and showed the accurate locations of each unit. I recreated the information of the human side as much as our information allowed.
“It is awfully slow.” (Scarlet)
“That’s…the troops have been assailed with their diversions and traps. The momentum of their advance has been shaved away.” (Melsash)
If we tried to speed up the march, they would keep them at bay with swift attacks, and when we tried to fight back, they would immediately retreat. If we forced a chase, we would fall into the traps that they set, so we haven’t been able to advance as intended.
It would be one thing if it had been one or two units, but all units are being hindered in the same manner. There’s someone within the humans that can do godlike commanding.
“It seems like the center of the humans is capable.” (Scarlet)
“I don’t want to admit it, but…that seems to be the case.” (Melsash)
“Melsashtiwel, don’t get haughty against humans. They may be weak individually, but they have history. No matter how strong the captains of each unit are, we are the ones at a disadvantage when it comes to a battle of wits.” (Scarlet)
“…My apologies.” (Melsash)
“I don’t mind. All units have been fulfilling their bare minimum role at least.” (Scarlet)
“…What does that mean?” (Melsash)
We are following the orders, but our progress is falling far more late compared to what we planned because of the enemy tossing us about. But the Demon Lord-sama is saying that’s enough.
I thought of the reason why, but I can only think of how lacking we are and can’t think of anything to be praised about.
“They have managed to advance without self-destructing. It means that much is enough.” (Scarlet)
“Shut your mouth for a bit.” (Scarlet)
I hurriedly closed my mouth at the sudden order. The Demon Lord-sama is silently looking down at the map.
Is he trying to get a grasp of the battlefield? I don’t know. The Demon Lord-sama sent mana to our pieces after a while, and moved them on the map.
“Give this order to all units: From here on, don’t move as one. Several units should join up and attack the headquarters of the humans.” (Scarlet)
Basically, have the units scattered about to change their marching course to have them group up. It is logical, but wouldn’t it have been better to advance as one unit from the beginning if that’s the case?
“Demon Lord-sama, could you please tell me the intention of this command to this foolish me?” (Melsash)
“Your commands get polished when you get more information; that’s what’s called resourcefulness. The direction of your march, speed, how each unit deals with the situation; no matter the information, you would end up giving the opportunity to the enemy to learn about them. Thus, I allowed each respective unit to act as they saw fit instead of commanding them myself. The enemy will be getting serious too as they face us. The quality of their commands will lower drastically without proper information. Of course, spreading out your units and having them advance would be a foolish plan if it were a battle between humans, leading to all units simply being shot down. But we have the power of Strife. You may be able to hold them down with half-baked measures, but they can’t crush them. The reality is that, even though they have such skilled commanders, they can only buy time. The result was the same regardless of my orders, and so they have no proper information as of present.” (Scarlet)
“I-I see…” (Malsesh)
I was only thinking about the progress of the invasion and the results of the battles. But the Demon Lord-sama didn’t. The Demon Lord-sama was looking at the whole battlefield with the scale of a Demon Lord. There’s someone with high intelligence within the enemies. But right now that person has barely any information of the Demon Lord-sama himself. That difference is certainly big.
No, the use of his Strife is groundbreaking to begin with. I thought this power was used for the sake of defeating the enemy, but the Demon Lord-sama was using it to not give information to the enemy and to protect us.
“I also have a reason why I divided the troops. But it would be faster to just see it for yourself. Give the order.” (Scarlet)
Leaving aside the Gold Demon Lord, the Purple Demon Lord and Blue Demon Lord lost to the humans despite having massive power. That’s because they didn’t wield their powers as Demon Lords properly. But our Demon Lord-sama is different. He understands his own power and has the technique to utilize it without any waste.
I am proud of having been born in this Nether. Our Demon Lord-sama is the true Demon Lord.