Volume 2 Chapter 5

Volume 2 Chapter 5, “Ahh, it’s Snow.”

 

—— The Northern Plains, Camp of the Tripartite Union

Winter Soldier: “Commander! Commander Female Paladin!”

The Female Paladin: “What?!”

Winter Soldier: “Enemy movement!”

Seneschal: “What?! But we haven’t even decided when the battle will take place!”

Winter Soldier: “Th-that’s—Only one division of mercenary soldiers are moving. It seems they’re moving of their own accord. We’ve verified their Commander through the telescope. They appear to be hiding even from their own people.”

Seneschal: “Fools! Don’t they at least know the basic rules of engagement?”

Winter Soldier: “What should we do?”

Seneschal: “Our troops are also quickly moving to position, the Third Heavy Armoured Division is ready to engage—”

The Female Paladin: “No!”

Seneschal: “But we cannot compromise our position.”

The Female Paladin: “Look at the big picture.”

Seneschal: “?!”

The Female Paladin: “It’s certain that these mercenaries are now breaking the laws of both the Central Continental Church and Command. They will definitely face harsh disciplinary measures when they return, so they must have some reason— I fear it has something to do with lack of food stocks. But if we were to enter into a prolonged fight with these mercenaries, the 20,000 soldiers of the Central Continent will descend upon us as reinforcements.”

Seneschal: “…That’s true.”

The Female Paladin: “Send a directive to the Winter Knights to don Military Equipment No. 1. Don’t carry anything unnecessary, speed is of the essence.”

Winter Soldier: “Yes!”

Seneschal: “But we don’t even have 200 knights.”

The Female Paladin: “The enemy is just mercenaries, right? They probably only have about a thousand.”

Seneschal: “Ridiculous!”

The Female Paladin: “I just want leather mail and gauntlets, shields are not necessary.”

Female Templar: “Yes!”

Seneschal: “Commander Female Paladin!”

The Female Paladin: “This is not a battle.”

Seneschal: “No, but what about chainmail?! And plate mail?!”

The Female Paladin: “Too heavy. And it takes too long to wear as well.”

 

—— The Northern Plains, in the Middle of the Wasteland

Mercenary Chief: “Alright! Everybody! Listen up!”

Heavy marching.

Mercenary Chief: “We can’t rely on those people we call our superiors. At this rate, this war will never begin, what a bunch of useless slobs! But we are different! They lack balls completely! These pansies need a push in the right direction!”

Ahahahahaha!

Mercenary Chief: “But just because these guys have numbers, they think they can fight the Tripartite Union in the countryside. This is an extremely well-trained standing army drilled specially to fight Demon Hordes, high-quality Spearmen, and eagle-eyed Archers. We will descend upon their base camp like a strong wind and then flee as quickly as we can. The vanguard will be Spear Cavalry. Let’s go!”

Mercenary Spear Cavalryman: “Leave it to us, Uncle!”

Mercenary Chief: “Alright, alright! Let’s take them straight down! Do whatever you need to. Archer Cavalry!”

Mercenary Archer Cavalryman: “Yes!”

Mercenary Chief: “Use fire arrows. Set fire to their camp!”

Mercenary Archer Cavalryman: “Understood!”

Mercenary Chief: “Alright, all of you! I have no intention of prolonging this raid. Attack quickly and get out quickly. Once you hear the flute, you will retreat immediately. They might mobilise their entire force to come and deal with us. We will try to draw them out from behind their trenches and into the battleground. If we anger them enough, they’ll chase us like a crazy ferret, and we’ll lure them into a battle with the Central Continental people! It’ll be a wild fight, and in a situation like that, with superior numbers, we’ll surely win!”

Ahahahaha! You’re amazing, Uncle!

You’re the real Commander! The war begins now! Our Uncle!

Mercenary Chief: “This is definitely against the codes of chivalry, but if we don’t do this, who knows what could happen. There will be noblemen and bishops who would say it’s a bad thing we’re doing here!”

Ha! That’s definitely our Uncle!

Only our Uncle could come up with such a cunning plan!

Mercenary Chief: “You rotten swine! This isn’t cunning! Gahahahaha! That’s right. It’s ingenuity! It’s a battle tactic. It’s what of the things you learn after accumulating years and years of battle experience! Move out!”

Yes! Yes! Haiya! Let’s go!

Mercenary Cavalryman: “Cavalry, move out! — Hm? What’s that?”

Mercenary Spear Cavalryman: “—! The enemy! We’re under attack!”

 

——- The Northern Plains, in the Middle of the Wasteland

The Female Paladin: “Alright, let’s hit them just like we agreed. Gentlemen! Show them the power of the warriors from the Southern United Kingdoms! Attack!”

Winter Knights: “Charge!!!”

Swords clashing, spears breaking, shields splintering.

Mercenary Cavalryman: “What?! Where did these guys come from!”

Mercenary Archer Cavalryman: “Aghhh!”

The Female Paladin: “Don’t worry about the outcome! Retreat and swing right. Change to spears!”

Winter Knights: “Understood!”

Mercenary Cavalryman: “Wha-What’s with this speed, they’re turning! Behind us!”

Mercenary Spear Cavalryman: “No, to the right!”

Mercenary Archer Cavalryman: “Where, I can’t see them!”

The Female Paladin: “Second attack, commence!”

Winter Knights: “Victory for the Commander!!!”

Mercenary Cavalryman: “Arghhh!”

Mercenary Spear Cavalryman: “What’s with this ferocity?! What monsters!”

Mercenary Chief: “Fools! The enemy is few! Break out of the encirclement! Spread out and push!”

The Female Paladin: “Move out! Reform the formation! Rendezvous at Number 16! Move straight to Formation Three!”

Winter Knights: “Retreat! The Commander has sounded the alarm!”

Winter Knights: “Alright! You’ll never catch us!”

Mercenary Chief: “Chase them down! The enemy are only three hundred! When we catch them, we can kill them all!”

Mercenary Spear Cavalryman: “Yes! Chase them!”

Mercenary Archer Cavalryman: “Capture that woman!”

Seneschal: “Formation Three!”

Mercenary Cavalryman: “?!”

Mercenary Spear Cavalryman: “What?”

Mercenary Chief: “What do you mean, chase them down!”

Mercenary Cavalryman: “Th-the enemy has split into two groups. Which one do we chase?”

Mercenary Chief: “They split into two even though there’s so few of them? Are they insane? That’s why women should not take part in wars! You take the group on the right! I’ll chase the ones on the left!”

Mercenary Cavalryman: “Yes!”

The Female Paladin: “Hmph, they’re chasing us. How adorable.”

Winter Knights: “Hahahahaha! Even though their horses aren’t in shape.”

The Female Paladin: “We’ll be going soon!”

Winter Knights: “Understood!”

Mercenary Cavalryman: “What! They’ve split into two again?!”

Mercenary Sword Cavalryman: “What should we do? Which one do we chase?”

Mercenary Cavalryman: “—! What’s up with them, we can even count their numbers now! Let’s split up again! You take the forest route to the left! I’ll take the one to the right!”

Mercenary Sword Cavalryman: “Understood! We’ll meet ahead!”

Mercenary Cavalryman: “Girls sure are foolish!”

 

—— The Northern Plains, the Wasteland, Rendezvous Point No. 16

Horses stampeding.

Seneschal: “Which section is this?”

Winter Knight: “Section Eight. We’ve just formed up.”

Messenger: “Sections form up! Report strength!”

The Female Paladin: “How is it?”

Seneschal: “Yes. All sections have formed. We’ve just received the report, there’re few light injuries and broken bones, but it seems we’ve managed to extricate ourselves from a large casualty count.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s just the Second Attack. The enemy hasn’t suffered many casualties either… What do you think of the enemy?”

Winter Knight: “Huh! We’ve led them fairly astray, so they’re all very spread out.”

The Female Paladin: “Right then! Are you all tired?!”

“No, ma’am! We’re still in high spirits! Commander, let’s go again!”

The Female Paladin: “Alright, take a while to catch your breaths. Let’s begin the next attack. This time we’ll go out as one unit. I’ll take the lead.”

“What

“How could you go out in such light equipment…”

“The Commander is still wearing her sister’s habit, isn’t she?”

“At least go to the middle section!”

“We’ll do the fighting!”

The Female Paladin: “All who thinks like that can shut up!”

Winter Knights flinch in shock.

The Female Paladin: “We have no need for killing them! At most, try to get them off their horses! Killing the enemy is not our intention! They are also disciples of the Spirit of Light. In a different situation, we could have been comrades. Don’t do anything drastic. As much as possible, don’t kill anyone. If we can get them off their horses, we will take the victory in this battle. I learnt about this from the Hero… Ah, anyway, just take them down!”

Winter Knights: “Yes!”

The Female Paladin: “The enemy numbers are many, but they’re all split up and each section is smaller than ours, maybe even half of ours. Attack them swiftly and strongly, take them off their horses and make them incapable of making further movements!”

Winter Knights: “Understood!”

Seneschal: “Shall we go?”

Winter Knights: “Ah.”

Winter Knights: “Ohhh.”

Seneschal: “…?”

The Female Paladin: “It’s come.”

Seneschal: “Reinforcements?”

The Female Paladin: “Yeah… the snow.”

 

—– First Snow

Trudging through snow…

“Snow…”

“Yeah, it’s snow.”

“How can we fight like this…”

“The commanders have got to make a move now.”

“What? …Hmm.”

“Assemble! Assemble! Riders of the Kingdom of Branches! Assemble at the Commander’s Tent!”

“The Crown Prince Marshall has decreed! His most Benevolent and Gracious Excellency, in light of the deep snowfall and growing hunger faced by the Knights and Soldiers, a prudent course of action has been chosen! One company will remain as a garrison, but this Expedition is now postponed until the Spring!”

“Home!”

“We’re going home!”

 

—— The Kingdom of Metal, Street of Guilds, on a Rooftop with the Moon Reflected Clearly

Swords clashing.

One-Eyed Commander: “You think that’s enough?! Then take this! Useless! Useless! You’re completely useless!!!”

Disciple Soldier: “Agh?!”

Little Maid Sister: “Oh no!”

Elder Maid Sister: “Disciple Soldier!!!”

Swords clashing.

One-Eyed Commander: “Can you keep your footing! Huh!!!”

Disciple Soldier: “—!”

Little Maid Sister: “?”

One-Eyed Commander: “Hahaha, I saw that.”

Disciple Soldier: (If I retreat, the sisters will… I might as well just throw away my shortsword…?!)

Swords clashing.

One-Eyed Commander: “You should just give up. You can’t save everything.”

Disciple Soldier: “What of it!!!”

Swords clashing.

One-Eyed Commander: “?!”

Disciple Soldier: “I will continue fighting! I will!” Swords clashing.

Disciple Soldier: “Even if there’s just a 1% chance!!!” Swords clashing.

Disciple Soldier: “I will continue to fight! No matter what!!!” Throws sword.

One-Eyed Commander: “Agh! …Damn you… You’re just 20 years old, but…! You’ll regret this…  Arrogance…”

Disciple Soldier: “If I shall regret, I will cry when it comes. All kinds of things happen, whether they are unfair or not, but if I want to continue to call myself a commander… I will not retreat, here or ever!!!”

Final slash!!!

Elder Maid Sister: “Disciple Soldier…”

Little Maid Sister: “You’re bleeding!”

Disciple Soldier: “Ahh… It’s just a flesh wound.”

Elder Maid Sister: “Sis, your wrists are bound.”

Little Maid Sister: “Yeah.”

Disciple Soldier: “…Living a life of envy is just useless and tiring. It’s miserable. — To live like that is the equivalent of living in hell.”

Elder Maid Sister: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “…We should go, the two of you as well. Today is an unbelievably cold day.”

Little Maid Sister: “Yeah.”

Elder Maid Sister: “Indeed… Oh?”

Disciple Soldier: “?”

Little Maid Sister: “Snow. It’s snowing.”

Elder Maid Sister: “Yeah, it’s white… It’s so white.”

 

——— The Kingdom of Winter, Avenue of Ministries, in a Luxurious Hotel

Running down the corridor. Door slams open!

Shrewd Accountant: “Councilman!”

Young Merchant: “What is it?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Whatsh happened?”

Shrewd Accountant: “Man… You’ve been drinking heavily since the afternoon.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Itsh so cold, there’s nothing elsh I can do.”

Young Merchant: “You’re just enjoying yourself.”

Shrewd Accountant: “More importantly, it’s snowing.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Snow…”

Young Merchant: “You’ve heard of it.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I saw some near the gate.”

Young Merchant: “Has the Central Continent retreated?”

Shrewd Accountant: “Yeah. The Central Continental Expeditionary Force appears to have retreated for the moment. Of course, they’ve begun constructing a few simple fortifications in the Plains and left a minimal number of soldiers to defend them. The vast majority of their army has returned to their homes, probably until the summer.”

Young Merchant: “Just for the present.”

Shrewd Accountant: “How now?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “…”

Young Merchant: “It seems even the sky has become an ally of the Southern United Kingdoms. If we want to expand our market, this is a good opportunity.”

Shrewd Accountant nods.

Young Merchant: “With the new currency flowing from the heart of the Central Continent, they have already entered the process of self-destruction. They’ve also stepped up the minting of the currency. They’re probably using this as an emergency stop-gap measure. However, emergency measures are still emergency measures.

Fundamentally, this is about the poverty of the peasants. The confidence in the value of money has decreased. What is really needed are productive agricultural reforms to decrease dependence on war and seizing of territory. Simply increasing the amount of money…”

Shrewd Accountant: “You say the confidence has decreased?”

Young Merchant: “The Holy Church of the Spirit of Light, particularly in the Central Continent, enjoys an almost infinite amount of confidence and respect. They can do anything to anyone with no conditions, and hence they are over-confident in their own abilities.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Then it ends here.”

Shrewd Accountant: “Huh?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Isn’t this a war? In that case, we should stop unnecessary suffering.”

Shrewd Accountant: “But this situation isn’t the same.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “—

There is a time for everything,
and a season for every activity under the heavens:

A time to be born and a time to die,

A time to plant and a time to uproot,

A time to kill and a time to heal,

A time to tear down and a time to build,

A time to weep and a time to laugh,

A time to mourn and a time to dance,

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

A time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

A time to search and a time to give up,

A time to keep and a time to throw away,

A time to tear and a time to mend,

A time to be silent and a time to speak,

A time to love and a time to hate,

A time for war and a time for peace.”

Young Merchant: “Is that… what you think?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I think that while you may act purely like merchants, sometimes I can still see it. Like the brittleness of pure copper. You must regret your lack of emotion sometimes. That’s why you’ve come to this country, is it not? To make the final decision. That’s why I see.”

Young Merchant: “As you say, it is true that emotion is forbidden on the path of the merchant.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “It’s true that letting your emotions run away with you can be dangerous, but emotions can also become deadly weapons in the right hands.”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lady: “You’ve made arrangements so that you can work with any party, haven’t you?”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lady: “What a strong-willed individual.”

Young Merchant: “Not strong-willed, just prudent.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I won’t help you. I am the Hero’s wife.”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I want salt, but these are different things.”

Young Merchant: “You never relax, do you?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Of course. The flames of war really do fan far and wide. This is a war, but I have no intention of sacrificing my heart.”

Young Merchant: “I understand. Shall we go save the Holy Church then?”

Shrewd Accountant: “…Save?”

Young Merchant: “For business interests. To begin with, this new currency system undermines competition. In this, we can also gain advantages. Rather than exploiting it all in one go, it would be better to reap business benefits steadily. That’s what I’ve decided.”

Shrewd Accountant: “Huh…”

Fire Dragon Lady: “You’ve turned it all inside out.”

Young Merchant: “Get the Disciple Merchant to arrange an audience with the Lone Winter King.”

Shrewd Accountant: “Yes.”

Young Merchant: “Let’s see just what these heroes from the South will say.”

 

——- Holy Imperial Capital, Octagonal Palace, in a Deep Room

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Do you have anything to say?”

General of the Pale: “Hmph.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “And you call yourself the greatest Demonic force. You couldn’t even overcome a frozen wasteland.”

General of the Pale: “You say that but the elite Central Continental soldiers you’re so proud of spent the entire campaign not fighting and then went home after exhausting all the supplies. Even when we landed at the rear of the Southern United Kingdoms, you still did not make a move. Were you planning to draw us into a trap?”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “What are you trying to say!”

Assassin: “Hehehehe.”

General of the Pale: “And you still call yourselves a chivalric order.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Damn you. You think I will take this humiliation lying down? Let us settle this with our swords right here, right now!”

Shadow Behind the Curtain: “…”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “Gentlemen, no weapons will be drawn here today.”

General of the Pale: “…”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Fine.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Good. I have no intention for us to break our ties so early.”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “Indeed.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “But considering the famine faced this winter, it might be difficult to reinforce our armies, after all, what if we get drawn into another winter? Among the Kings and noblemen of the land, there are many who are willing to turn their backs to a war with the Southern United Kingdoms.”

General of the Pale: “Traitors? Just purge them then. You should not allow weak-willed defeatists willing to surrender even before the war begins come with us.”

Assassin: “Hehehehehehe. As expected from a Demon General, all you can talk about is slaughter. How delicious.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Enough. — It’s true that we weren’t able to break the Southern United Kingdoms’ Tripartite Union on the snowy plains and achieve our victory, but it cannot be said that we lost a great deal in this war. We still managed to preserve the vast majority of our officials, land, supplies, and soldiers. If you think about it, all we lost in this war were a few hundred mercenaries.”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “Indeed.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Yes.”

General of the Pale: “Hmph.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “We have also verified that the sudden shock in price is due to the work of the Union. It was just a group of merchants who had taken advantage of the situation. We’ll bring them back in line through bribery, lawsuits, and coercion, by the Church. The minting of the new currency is also progressing very well — is it not?”

Assassin: “Hehehehehehe… Indeed. From the Demon World, through the City of the Gate… We’ve managed to replenish our gold stocks.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Can we pay the soldiers with the new currency?”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Yes.”

General of the Pale: “This has nothing to do with us.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Our agreement with the Pale will be as it stands. It is a bit regrettable to us, but we will continue to give you land from the Southern United Kingdoms. You will be the only Demon Race to own land in the Human World.”

General of the Pale: “Exactly. And we will continue to play our part as the Enemy of the Church. Of course, you will show us the appropriate restraint as well.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “…Cowards.”

General of the Pale: “Kindly shut your mouth.”

Assassin: “Hehehehehehe.”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “If you think about it, this is a pretty hefty price we’re paying just to deal with some border guards from those useless Southern United Kingdoms. We should be able to just threaten them into submission.”

General of the Pale: “Indeed. How rare.”

Shadow Behind the Curtain: “…The Church is originally… one.”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “Indeed. Our Church was originally one Church, with one Bible, aiming to reach one spiritual peak. That’s what we taught the people. We were the Church, firm and steadfast as a boulder. The faith of the people was stronger than the strongest steel.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Then…”

Assassin: “Hehehehehehe.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Assemble the Third Holy Crusade.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Yes!”

Crown Prince Marshal: “I don’t just want noblemen this time. Sound the call for every able-bodied believer of the Faith to join the greatest Army in the world. With this Army, we will obliterate the Tripartite Union then march on the City of the Gate and bring the Demon King to his knees.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “How magnanimous…”

Assassin: “Hehehehehehehe.”

General of the Pale: “Hehehe. That is a good state of affairs for us as well. If you kill the Demon King, we can begin the next Demon King Election earlier. My Lord holds this view as well.”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “And the next Demon King will be… Hehehe.”

General of the Pale: “A Demon of the Pale.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “But how will we divide that expansive Demon World?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Now that we have collaborators from the Demons, we can also request for detailed maps of the Demon World. But on top of that, hehe, I’ve got something you ought to see… Bring it here.”

Servant: “I have it here, your Excellency.” Passes thing over.

Expeditionary Nobleman: “What’s that?”

General of the Pale: “What a strange rod of metal.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “— It’s a Musket. Hehehe. It’s a device that allows even non-magical soldiers to fire off Medium-class Fireballs.”

General of the Pale: “— Device?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “It uses black powder to generate force. Its greatest advantage is training time. To train one archer takes at least one year of military training. To train a mage capable of casting a Medium-class Fireball takes more than five years. But this musket is different. Using this, even a slave can be trained in just a week.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “What?!”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Hehehe. Well, this is a heretical technique. Metalsmiths in the Kingdom of Metal have been producing these since last year under the direction of that heretical woman, that Crimson Scholar.”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Is that so?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “If we succeed in mass production, the battlefield will change. There may be up to ten times more soldiers on every battlefield! Definitely to our advantage!”

 

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Explanation

Musket: Muskets were early firearms invented around the 15th century. The Tanegashima used in Japan during the Sengoku Era was a type of musket. Ignition methods were varied, including matchlock rifles like the Tanegashima or flintlock (sparks are produced from stones striking each other to ignite the gunpowder) ones, but all were known as muskets.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

 

General of the Pale: “…So you’re double-crossing.”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “This is not double-crossing. Since he is striving towards the Spirit of Light with a heart of righteousness, these new ideology and methods are endorsed by the love and blessings of the Spirit himself.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Let this winter be a blessing in disguise. We shall begin the mass production of muskets. Gather the craftsmen, let us construct a massive furnace in the palace! Everything must be conducted in absolute secrecy, even in the Demon World! Let us prepare for the Holy Crusade!”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Spirit willing we shall.”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “All is as the Spirit wills.”

Assassin: “Heheheheheehehe.”

Shadow Behind the Curtain: “Listen… to me….”

Crown Prince Marshal: “…”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “Please…”

Expeditionary Nobleman: “Holy Father…”

Crown Prince Marshal: “…”

Shadow Behind the Curtain: “Bring me… the key. The life of… the Demon King…”

Shadow Behind the Curtain: “And, my greatest regret… the City of the Gate…”

General of the Pale: “…”

Shadow Behind the Curtain: “The regret of… the Church.”

Bishop to the Imperial Court: “Definitely! Definitely!”

Shadow Behind the Curtain: “Our thousand year… Ten thousand year…”

Assassin: “Hehehehehehehe!”

Shadow Behind the Curtain: “The remains of… the Spirit… of Light… must definitely… belong to us.”

 

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Explanation

Holy Father: This is the highest mark of respect only given to the highest in the hierarchy of religious organisations. Only the Pope in Catholicism or the Dalai Lama in Tibetan Buddhism or some Chief Abbots in other forms of Buddhism are called by such a title.

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——– The Palace of Winter, a Large Room, Strategy Committee

Young Merchant: “As this is our first meeting, I would like to offer my most sincere greetings. Lords and Kings of the Southern United Kingdoms, I am a merchant of the Union. We would like to purchase the Isle of Light from the jurisdiction of the Southern United Kingdoms.”

Shrewd Accountant: “I am an accountant, acting as his aide.”

Iron Fist King: “Hi.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “I am the Queen of the Kingdom of Snow. I hope to see you more in future.”

Lone Winter King: “I cannot agree to this. We may be royalty, but we represent the Tripartite Union, and the liberated people of the land, and the land itself. Of course, we are willing to gamble our pride, our names, even our lives for the sake of our people. We are just caretakers of the land, with the title of ‘King.’”

Disciple Merchant: (This is definitely the disposition of the King, there’s not much we can do…)

Young Merchant: “I would be grateful if you were willing to listen to what I have to say in full. And, since I understand time is short, shall we move quickly to negotiations?”

Lone Winter King: “…”

Disciple Merchant nods.

Lone Winter King: “Please proceed, Young Merchant.”

Young Merchant: “Firstly, we in the Union would like to purchase the entire national reserve stock of the Tripartite Union of potatoes. We would also like to purchase the entire production stock of the next summer.”

Iron Fist King: “All of it…?!”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “It’s an incredible amount. To transport it by ship would require at least ten ships.”

Lone Winter King: “What do you intend to do with it?”

Young Merchant: “Sell it in the Central Continent.”

Iron Fist King: “Don’t you know that the potato has been designated as a heretical crop by the Church?”

Young Merchant: “The Central Continent is now experiencing shortage of food crops. To begin with, this shortage has many causes and problems that accompany it, but one of these is the reality that we may have to soon face widespread famine. In order to break this situation, we may need some very bitter medicine.”

Lone Winter King: “So, potatoes?”

Young Merchant: “I do not believe a starving person will reject a potato.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “…”

Young Merchant: “Eating a potato is preferable to starving to death. People do not place reverence for minor details of their faith over the preservation of their lives. There will definitely be some fanatics, but these are not a majority, right?”

Lone Winter King: “But we definitely don’t have enough potatoes to save the entire Central Continent…”

Young Merchant: “Please do not worry. We will continue to release wheat as long as we can control the high prices. The goal of the Union is definitely not to incite a famine.”

Lone Winter King: “So you want the Tripartite Union to become your accomplices?”

Iron Fist King: “Hmm? What do you mean by accomplices?”

Young Merchant: “Well, the citizens of those countries who eat the potatoes will quickly understand for themselves just by the pure taste that potatoes are not demonic, poisonous fruits. As a result, more countries will develop favourable impressions towards the Tripartite Union. Of course we have our gains to make, but this is really a gesture of goodwill from the Union to the Tripartite Union.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “…”

Disciple Merchant: “Even so, this is favourable to us.”

Young Merchant: “Of course it is. Then, I suppose there is room for negotiation?”

Lone Winter King: “What is the goal of the Union in doing this?”

Young Merchant: “…”

Lone Winter King: “If this is a trade secret of the Union, then I suppose I shouldn’t ask, but…”

Disciple Merchant: “No, I’m afraid this is one of the issues of today’s discussions.”

Young Merchant: “Indeed, Your Majesty. Whether Your Majesties are aware of it or not, you know stand on the crossroads of history.”

Lone Winter King: “…”

Young Merchant: “We now have the opportunity to seriously expand the Union. We have managed to put an end to this war without shedding any blood. With the threat of famine on the Central Continent, their economy is facing extreme uncertainty and has ground to a halt. Also, there is the issue of the schism of the Church and the emancipation of the serfs.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “And these are the crossroads?”

Disciple Merchant: (These aren’t the crossroads. This is the path that leads to the crossroads, creating the circumstances under which we have to choose…)

Young Merchant: “…You have already begun to receive many propositions, have you not? To reduce tariffs for a single nation or to agree to a secret military alliance, things like that?”

Lone Winter King: “I’m afraid I cannot answer.”

Young Merchant: “Up till now, there has only been one state of affairs, where the Holy Empire = The Holy Church of Light. Of course, all the other countries and lords are still relevant, but one could say that the Central Continent is ruled either directly or indirectly by them. The situation is such that while they govern the people, there are none who govern the Church.  Moreover, the Church has practically amalgamated with the Church, purging elements who would oppose it. These are the conditions under which the Tripartite Union has emerged, with a military might distinct from the Holy Empire and a religious system distinct from the Holy Church, essentially through a union with the Order. This is something unprecedented in the annals of history. While the scale may be relatively small, this is surely a new opportunity.

…But this opportunity is wrapped up in both political and economic considerations. To use mercantile terminology, this is a new market. The Tripartite Union is a rapidly growing region constantly devising new strategies and constantly reforming and reinventing its agricultural sector. With more countries in the Central Continent shifting allegiances, the Holy Empire and the Holy Church are quickly becoming powerless to prevent the growth of the Tripartite Union.”

Iron Fist King: “So you want to take us all down together?!”

Young Merchant: “What?”

Disciple Merchant: “…No, that’s not it, your Majesty. He’s a merchant. If he really took us all down, he would have nobody to do business with. What he is concerned with, to the end, is profit.”

Young Merchant: “Indeed… The narrow situation of only having one country to do business with is undesirable. If there were two different powers, then the scale of the business would also increase, wouldn’t it?”

Iron Fist King: “That’s the real question?”

Lone Winter King: (Many countries in the Central Continent are hanging back and taking the middle ground so as not to be drawn into conflict. We’ve been hoping to use that to find a way to end the war. But, if it is as he says, this might be able to expedite the process. But…)

Lone Winter King: “Merchant… I understand what you have been trying to say thus far. So what price are you willing to pay?”

Young Merchant: “First, with regards to potatoes, we would like to exchange for either 0.7 times the weight in wheat or 1.55 times the weight in barley. What do you think?”

Lone Winter King thinks.

Disciple Merchant: “That would seem to be… acceptable.”

Young Merchant: “Next, about the proposal to improve your Economic Institutions, this is just advice, so it’s free.”

Iron Fist King: “Nothing costs as much as what is given to us.”

Young Merchant: “…Yes, there is such a saying. Someone taught me this method anyway. Hahaha. In this situation, rather than selling ideologies, one could say we are selling perspectives. I carry with me an objective, an outsider’s perspective.

“The Union would like to establish a new institution for trade and extension of influence. Just by being able to extend our business influence, we will already be able to reap large benefits. That’s why it is profitable to extend this proposal, even for free. To begin with, we hope to receive permission to establish a Chambers of Commerce and a Bank. The Chambers of Commerce must be in a central location. This will be the base of operations for the Union.”

Lone Winter King: “Hmm, a bank, huh?”

Disciple Merchant: “Your Majesty…”

Young Merchant: “Is something wrong?”

Lone Winter King: “Well, both I and the country are in the same state. We’re poor. If I wanted to initiate a project using money from my own purse, would this bank be able to support me? Merchant, would you be able to call this a joint economy?”

Young Merchant: “What sort of project?”

Lone Winter King: “With permission, I would like to establish a Branch of the Holy Order of the Lake in every country.”

Young Merchant: “That is indeed very important. In order to combat the activities of the Church, setting up more Headquarters will be beneficial to spreading the ideologies and teachings. But it would be difficult to say whether or not the Order will consider this a worthwhile investment. Even though I hear that they’re a charitable organisation.”

Lone Winter King: “No, I would like for the Order to treat smallpox from these Branches.”

Shrewd Accountant: “What?!”

Young Merchant: “…Is this the truth?”

Lone Winter King: “Yes.”

Young Merchant: “Is it her?”

Lone Winter King: “…Someone like her.”

Young Merchant: “I understand. The Union will also provide 2,000,000 gold pieces to support this project.”

Shrewd Accountant: “If this is true… It is indeed a miracle.”

Young Merchant: “Why haven’t I heard…”

Disciple Merchant: “We have been keeping very silent about this, we don’t want it to be too widespread.”

Young Merchant: “Of course I understand this. As merchants, we would also try our best to guard such an important trade secret. But I’m shocked.”

Lone Winter King: “You’ve met the Crimson Scholar?”

Young Merchant: “Yes. We didn’t have many opportunities, but that beautiful person isn’t just a pretty face, she is also a highly intelligent and prudent soul who clearly understands the ways of the world.”

Lone Winter King: “Indeed. That is the Crimson Scholar.”

Young Merchant: “—”

Shrewd Accountant: “?”

Young Merchant: “What of it?”

Lone Winter King: “That person really lives an impression… No, it’s almost like she plants seeds in the hearts of the people she meets. I can feel the shoots of those seeds growing within you merchants.”

Disciple Merchant: (…I can’t say I disagree.)

Young Merchant: “You seem to understand this very well. However, I am a merchant. I will not back down on business. Is that alright, sir?”

Lone Winter King: “Fine.”

Young Merchant: “Then, allow me to bring up the second and last point of today’s discussions.”

Lone Winter King: “Let’s—“

Young Merchant: “We would like to arrange for an early resolution agreement to the war between the Union, the Tripartite Union and the Demons — or at least a faction of the Demons.”

Iron Fist King: “What?!” Clenches iron fists.

Young Merchant: “Please calm down.”

Lone Winter King: “…”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “We’ll hear you out first.”

Young Merchant: “I hope to conduct trade between the Union and the Demons. This isn’t a small scuffle or anything, a full blown war will be very non-conducive for business.”

Iron Fist King: “Your counterparts are Demons?! Can business be done like that?”

Young Merchant: “It can.”

Iron Fist King: “How dare you?!”

Young Merchant: “Please do not be mistaken. You are not the only people whose lives are on the line. I have brought material for our negotiations today — data, money, reports, credit. These are all the results of merchants in the Union risking their lives. I represent them. You could say I currently enjoy the position of a Commander of the Union.

“And because of that, I say that business can be done. These are the voices of all the merchants in the union. You ask me how I dare? I’ll demonstrate to you just how. Because I am me. Because I am a merchant. Because I am willing to put my life on the line.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Heh.”

Disciple Merchant: “…Your Majesties. On this matter, I am definitely on the Young Merchant’s side.”

Assistant: “Eh?”

Disciple Merchant: “No, I am no more than a humble servant to Your Majesties. But I come from a family of merchants. A merchant is one who is more than willing to continuously make voyages and trips. He has to leave his familiar territories to head from village to village, from country to country, buying and selling goods along the way. There are neither enemies nor allies, just things which must be done. A merchant decides what he needs to do and then does it, all by himself.

“To the Young Merchant, all of this is just a situation of, ‘There may be a war going on, but these countries have special produce. Oh, wait. If there wasn’t a war on, we could trade it to that place.’ That’s why he’s willing to do so much to make such an effort, using the lives of the farmers of the Central Continent as a shield in order to put an end to the war. I can sympathise with his intentions.”

Young Merchant: “…”

Shrewd Accountant: “…”

Disciple Merchant: “Well, umm. Bring the calculations!”

Assistant: “Yes!” Brings graphs.

Disciple Merchant: “The real problem is that it is essentially impossible to maintain this conflict and confrontation both with the Central Continent and the anti-Demon defensive line and border perimeter, right? Because the Holy Empire came out with the Declaration of War, we could slowly persuade the Demons or at least bring them to a central position so that it wouldn’t be a large problem to at least lengthen the duration of the current ceasefire.

According to calculations, by trading with the Demons along the structure as proposed by the Union, the Tripartite Union stands to gain a 36% increase in tariffs alongside other taxes and port charges. Also, if concrete peace with Demonkind can be achieved, troops currently used to guard the border can be reassigned to more productive places.”

Shrewd Accountant: (small voice) “…Good job, using both head and heart to win them over.”

Iron Fist King: “…”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “How will we gain the approval of the people?”

Disciple Merchant: “To our Kingdoms, which have been seriously battling Demonkind, I think we should consider this seriously. Are Demons really monsters which seek to corrupt and destroy human society? I… apologise to all those who have died so far in the wars against the Demons, but the Demons I met on the field are much less like the kind of Demons the Church would have us believe, and much more like normal human beings.”

Lone Winter King: “This matter bears far too much weight for me to make a speedy decision, I’m sorry.”

Young Merchant: “That’s…”

Lone Winter King: “However, I will send an investigation team to the Demon World.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Investigation team?”

Lone Winter King: “I would also like to find out more. We know far too little about the Demon World. Why is that? We’ve sent two Holy Crusades into it, with at least 10,000 humans entering it as well. Shouldn’t we have heard more about its culture or produce, or at least about the scenery there? But why is that all we hear about it is its nightmare of a wasteland and its terrible battleground. I feel that there’s something amiss here.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Now that you say it…”

Lone Winter King: “I can only reply you as such for now, I apologise.”

Young Merchant: “No, it’s enough.”

Shrewd Accountant: “Councillor…”

Lone Winter King: “It appears the two worlds are beginning to draw closer. I can feel it…”

 

——- City of the Gate, the Godless Temple, the Deepest Section

Footsteps echo in the empty halls.

The Mage: “…”

The Mage: “…Here?”

Star Sparrow: “Chirp, chirp, chirp. What’s wrong?”

The Mage: “…”

The Mage: “…I see it.”

The Mage: “…Don’t let it out of your sight… Here.”

The Mage: “…”

Star Sparrow: “Wh-what? This is… What a powerful presence… What strange magic.”

The Mage: “Secret Pillar Magic. It’s ancient… No, this is divine Demon magic…”

Star Sparrow: “What do you mean. Chirp?! This is… water? No, it’s liquid magic?!”

The Mage: “…As I thought.”

Star Sparrow: “What do you mean as you thought?!”

The Mage: “…Since the day I opened my eyes, I knew I was fake of something. I could never deny this no matter how hard I tried. I hoped to escape to this place so that I could become the original of myself.

…I don’t know how a calculative person would act, but while I exist, I will move forward. — You and the Hero aren’t bad people. But I want to be myself, not a fake. Since I became a Redundant String, falling into this nightmare, I’ve been lonely, and wishing to return to my correct dream… To my correct spare.”

 

—— The Demon King Castle, Front Yard, the Courtyard of Unforgettable Doom

The Demon King: “My comrades! My people!”

Ohhhhhhhh! Demon King! Demon King!

The Hero: “What’s this? Didn’t you say you were really unpopular?”

The Demon King: “The previous Demon Kings were very unpopular. They gained their so-called respect by dominating the Demon World with force and military might. If the previous Demon Kings did such a populist thing like inviting this many people to the square to talk and hold a rally, most of the Demon World would probably vomit blood and die from shock.”

The Demon King: “I apologise for my long absence! Thank you for the concern you have shown me. I know there have been many rumours and guesses as to my absence, but be assured that I am fully recuperated and ready to lead!”

Ohhhhhh! Demon King! Demon King! Glory to the Demon King!

The Demon King: (small voice) “Chief Maid.”

The Chief Maid: (small voice) “Yes, Your Majesty?”

The Demon King: (small voice) “I might as well be wearing nothing if I’m wearing this.”

The Chief Maid: (small voice) “It’s not that bad.”

The Demon King: (small voice) “My boobs are spilling out.”

The Hero: “Well, at least everyone’s staring at you.”

The Chief Maid: “Since you’re a female Demon King, we’ll take advantage of that and make them all drool.”

The Hero: “Promise?”

The Chief Maid: “Promise.”

The Demon King: “My people! I am glad for the end to these days of anguish… for I have returned. To the Demon World!”

The Hero: “Wow, I didn’t think she’d be this popular. The people almost look like they’re going to cry.”

 

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Explanation

Redundant String: A series of commands in-built into digital or mechanical systems which do not usually serve any purpose. However, in times of crisis or when something is deemed to be broken, this will kick in to ensure that the system can continue functioning and that no further damage will occur.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

 

The Chief Maid: “You’ll soon have your chance to demonstrate your appeal.”

Ohhh! Demon King! Demon King!

The Demon King: “I know what has happened while I have been convalescing. Firstly, we have managed to reclaim one of the holy lands which the Humans have unlawfully seized from us, the City of the Gate, and I am happy for that. The City will remain under my personal control and direct protection.”

The Chief Maid: “And the next matter is…”

The Demon King: “While I have been away, there have been those who have begun waving the flag of rebellion, thinking that they could break free from the laws of the land which govern over them. However, my loyal and capable sword of justice, the Black Knight has purged these impure elements!”

The Chief Maid: “This is the part where you step out and say something fierce.”

The Hero: “Eh?” Waves. “Like that?”

The Chief Maid: “Do something impressive, something fierce!”

The Hero: “Hmm. What should I… Aha! Titan-class Grand Destruction Plasma Annihilator!!”

Magic swirls through the air … Searing heat and massive explosions… Bricks falling all around.

The tower was… in the blink of an eye?!

…What the hell?!

The Demon King: “…Witness the power of my Black Knight!”

The Chief Maid: “Nice ad-lib follow!” (TL Note: she said this in English.)

Ohhhhh! Amazing! The Black Knight is amazing! Wonderful!

Demon King! Demon King! Demon King! Demon King!

The Hero: (Oh no, I think I went a bit overboard.)

The Demon King: “Today I have something to tell you. Loyal comrades, my people! We first made contact with the humans 20 years ago. Their power and attitudes are now something we know very well. But today, today we stand on the crossroads of history!”

Demon King! Demon King! Demon King! Demon King!

The Demon King: “Today!”

Silence.

The Demon King: “Today, I declare the mustering of the Great Demon Conference, the Kurultai!”

Demon King! Demon King! Demon King!

Finally this day has come!

We’re going to go all out on these Humans! It’ll be our great and utter victory!

The Demon King: “Uhh, wait, no—“

Demon King! Demon King! Long live the King! Long live the King!

The Demon King: “…Umm, all will be decided at the Kurultai! Spread the word to the farthest corners of the world! The Demon King calls!”

 

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

Explanation

Kurultai: This refers to the Assembly of Khans as used to be conducted under the Mongol Empire and its descendants in the Golden Horde and Ilkhanate, under which important nobility and military figures would gather for a conference. In the Demon World, a Kurultai was convened to enact important new laws or to strategise for a war. To Demonkind, it would have been an extremely important event.

————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————————-

 

—— Omake!

The Chief Maid: “The Demon King Hotsprings Villa. That sounds like a great name for an establishment.”
 

< Chapter 4                                                                                                              Chapter 6 >

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9 thoughts on “Volume 2 Chapter 5

  1. Holy fudge on a popsicle batman! Sheat just got down.

    Shadow behind the curtain may refer to: ‘shadow of the former demon lords’, ‘king/general/ruler of the pale’, ‘the chief made – she was behind it all along!’ or ‘the spirit of darkness’.

    Also i sorta like how the young merchant went true neutral on us. I always though him to be a sleazy, slimy, money grabber, glad to see the demon queen knocked some boobs into him.

    Can’t wait to see the lone winter king meet the demon queen and …talk…i’m gonna burst when i see that xD

    10/10 😀 with gusto.

      • aha.
        Either way it’s good to see humans and demons mingle with one another even if they’re bad guys.

  2. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8, As a non-Christian, this is one of the few psalms I recognise. The passage here doesn’t seem to be based on a standard english translation of the psalm, could you be of translating it from japanese?

    • Holy cow I had no idea. I’m a Communist who refuses to be exploited by petty religion after all. 🙂 I was translating it fairly literally but I’ll change it to fit the Bible, for consistency.

      • Cool, but is the font supposed to be black? And lest I forget, this line seems to lack a verb:

        Fire Dragon Lady: “Isn’t this a war? In that case, we should unnecessary suffering.”

  3. Pingback: Chapters Completed in Recent Weeks | NanoDesu Light Novel Translations

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