Volume 2 Chapter 9

Volume 2 Chapter 9, “The Great Demon Conference, the Kurultai”

 

—– The Winter Palace, the Study

Butler: “That’s not it. Steep the tea more. Two sugar cubes.”

Royal Maidservant: “Y-yes!”

Clerk: “Where should I put the information on agricultural tax?”

Butler: “Put everything from last year in the Merchant’s Disciple’s study. The rest goes to the archives room.”

Royal Maidservant: “There are applications for the Queen of Winter.”

Butler: “Pass them to the King for vetting.”

Lone Winter King: “You look busy.”

Butler: “No shit, Young Man.”

Lone Winter King: “It looks really terrible.”

Butler: “No, no, it’s fine. I’m finally of use.”

Lone Winter King: “I’m a bit worried.”

Butler: “Don’t worry, young man. This is the time to redeem my flagrant young days when I was a carefree dandy.”

Lone Winter King: “I’m worrying a lot.”

Butler: “Besides, apart from me, who else is there to handle all of this?”

Lone Winter King: “That’s true.”

Secret Service Captain: “Sir, the elite squad has been assembled.”

Butler: “Great, prepare Equipment No.2 and stand by for further instructions.”

Secret Service Captain: “Yes, sir.”

Lone Winter King: “Once they’re in the Demon World, it’s going to be difficult to establish contact.”

Butler: “That won’t be a problem. They’ll learn to cope with it. Maintaining one’s cover is the most important part of going undercover. I used to do this a lot in my younger days, but it still makes my heart flutter.”

Lone Winter King: “Well, at least now you won’t go around groping young girls.”

Butler: “…?!”

Lone Winter King: “I’m serious.”

Butler: “Sigh… That makes me sad…”

Lone Winter King: “Your responsibility is to conduct investigation and look for ways to achieve peace.”

Butler: “Understood.”

Lone Winter King: “As much as possible, I would like to avoid conflict with the Demons right now. With the massive influx of immigrants and the soaring growth rates, I have enough on my hands with the Central Continent alone.”

Butler: “Yes.”

Lone Winter King: “Considering the reactions of the people, it is likely that nothing I say will be enough, but on my part, I’m still keeping in view some kind of ceasefire agreement or secret agreement. No, achieving that would really save us.”

Butler: “Indeed… The Demon World—or rather, the Underground World is experiencing its own movements. The City of the Gate has been taken back by the Demons, but despite the rumours from the Central Continent, those Human merchants who were allegedly massacred and exterminated are actually thriving in the City.”

Lone Winter King: “Hmm…”

Butler: “I’m not sure how many of them are still alive, but from what I’ve heard, it’s an impressive number. Many are even crossing into the Demon World, but then again, there are many Demons who look exactly like humans. It’s very difficult to tell them apart at a glance.”

Lone Winter King: “Try to get all this information into a report for me.”

Butler: “As you order.”

Lone Winter King: “This isn’t really an order.”

Butler: “It’s much cooler to give orders, especially at your age.”

Lone Winter King: “I don’t want to hear your jokes right now.”

Butler: “Nyohohohohoho.”

Lone Winter King: “On a side note…”

Butler: “Yes.”

Lone Winter King: “I’ve been thinking recently… What kind of Demon… What kind of man is the Demon King…?”

Butler: “Hmm.”

Lone Winter King: “He may be the enemy, but to wage a war while administrating an entire World, he must be some kind of peerless Hero, and I accord him the respect that goes with it.”

Butler: “Indeed.”

 

—— The Palace of Ice, in an Elegant Small Room

Disciple Nobleman: “—So, that’s how it is.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Great work.”

Disciple Nobleman: “No, no, I’ve just been enjoying myself at your expense.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “In summary, what is the most pressing situation.”

Disciple Nobleman: “There are three countries who wish to join the Tripartite Economic Union: The Kingdom of the Lake, the Kingdom of Branches, and the Kingdom of Reeds.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Hmm…”

Disciple Nobleman: “That being said, the only one who is willing to openly voice their desire to join is the Kingdom of the Lake. The others would like to join, but they’re afraid of the power of the Church.”

Marshal: “As expected, this is an issue of power.”

Disciple Nobleman: “That’s right. The Kingdom of Red Horses will never let those other Kingdoms do that.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Quite right.”

Disciple Nobleman: “To put it another way, the Kingdom of Red Horses… and of course the Kingdom of White Night, if those two countries did not surround the kingdoms friendly to us, we may have even more countries expressing willingness to join us.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “What’s the status with the serfs?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Before that, let me tell you about the other landlords.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Continue.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Well, the landlords… where was I?”

Scratches head.

Disciple Nobleman: “Ah… They want to do business with us! There are about twenty-one of them. Most of these are the ruling nobility of City-States.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “As expected, many people are interested in trade.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Yes. It’s because of the high inflation, particularly with wheat. It definitely hurts that they can’t sell their produce, but most of all, it hurts that they can’t even move any of their produce.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “What do you mean?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Whether the price of goods goes up or down has a direct and significant impact on the City-States, especially if trade is a major industry. If they can buy a good for two gold pieces, maybe they can sell it for three, if they can buy it for three, maybe they can sell it for four. In this way, they make a one-gold-piece profit per good.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Hmm.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Now that prices have gone up, in theory, they should be able to sell for higher prices and hence gain more profit, but because it’s too expensive, they can’t even move any of their goods. If the goods can’t move, then they can earn neither tariffs nor city tax. It’s gotten to such an extent that the volume of water traffic on the River Songboat has gone down to just 10% compared to last year.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “So it’s that bad, huh.”

Disciple Nobleman: “From their perspective, right now, the only place to which it is possible to move their goods is to the South. If they can begin trade with the South, goods can start flowing and they can start making money from the tariffs. Even though they have nothing to do with the production of the goods, as long as the goods aren’t flowing through their cities, they’re losing money constantly.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “That may be so, but it can’t really be helped.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Yeah, well… For example, if they were exporting weapons, then the Church may have a serious problem with that. But as long as they aren’t exporting weapons or anything, and if they just say that they’re using us as a transit point for the goods, the Church might just let them do what they want. It’s clear that being under our umbrella, forming a union with us, is a very strong desire of theirs.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “…”

Disciple Nobleman: “However, on the one hand, the City noblemen will not oppose the Emancipation of the Serfs. For the most part, the craftsmen and guildsmen who work in the cities are not serfs, and are unconnected to it for the most part.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Indeed.”

Disciple Nobleman: “The kingdoms which are going around saying that the Emancipation of the Serfs is anathema to the teachings of the Church of Light are those agricultural communities or other large kingdoms where the Church has significant sway over. The Kingdom of the Lake is a very large country, but since the Holy Order of the Lake is firmly and officially established there, the news of the Emancipation of the Serfs travelled there quickly and was firmly accepted. From her refusal to provide troops to the expedition against us, it is clear that the Queen of the Lake is firmly aligning towards us.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Hmm.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Well, that’s how I feel.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “This is all very chaotic.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Compared to the chaos we are facing here, it’s much worse over there.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Is that so?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Everybody is panicking about what I’ve just explained to you, it’s really chaotic.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Hmm.”

Disciple Nobleman: “On the whole, the nobility everywhere is very afraid.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Afraid?”

Disciple Nobleman: “That’s right. The lifestyles of noblemen are sustained by the taxes which are paid to them, but from a more existential point of view, the reason why they are even noblemen is due to the inherent class system. In other words, it’s because they receive the guarantee from the King which tells them ‘You have power!’ The serfs, ministers and servants then pledge, ‘I will follow you!’ In this system, even the lower classes are spiritually satisfied with their lot in life and accept it.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “…”

Disciple Nobleman: “So what happens when you remove the lowest-class status of the Serfs? In other words, when the bottom of the class system completely disappears? The entire structure of society and their individual fiefdoms will collapse instantly. These lords believe it will be impossible to avoid the degree of unrest which will follow that.

“As I’m sure you can see, in the Tripartite Union where the Emancipation of the Serfs has been successfully enacted, the farmers and settlers still pay their taxes as usual. Of course, the structure of society has changed to their advantage but it doesn’t mean that the Emancipation of the Serfs is equal to the mass execution of all nobility. These nobles aren’t confident that it can be so effectively carried out. It’s very tragic.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “That being said…”

Disciple Nobleman: “Yes?”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “You come from a noble family, you look like you are fairly rich.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Yes, of course.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “?”

Disciple Nobleman: “I believe in civilisation. Even though I am a nobleman, I believe in civilisation and culture.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Culture…”

Disciple Nobleman: “Singing or dancing or other forms of art are not just some trivial, superficial thing. Do dogs wear dresses? Do cats paint? Do cats compose poetry? Do pigs put up operas? The only existences who do that are people with souls, like us. This is what it means to be human. It may look like it is pointless, but it’s actually very important. Because we are who we are, because we do things today so that our legacy can last until tomorrow. We need things like culture and civilisation. What’s the point of being a nobleman if I don’t believe in this?

“If one does not want to continue being a nobleman, then it is perfectly acceptable to become a merchant or a soldier or whatever. It should not be the case that just because you are born into a noble family, you have no way of moving out of it, or vice versa. My grandmother used to say, “A nobleman is one who strives for elegance in everything he does,” and I believe all should be given the opportunity.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “…Hahaha.”

Disciple Nobleman: “What does your Majesty feel?”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Yes, really. How funny.”

Disciple Nobleman: “What would you have me do?”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “Go to the Kingdom of Red Horses.”

Disciple Nobleman: “As you wish.”

Queen of Ice and Snow: “And of course, make sure you strive for elegance as you do it.”

 

——- The Kingdom of Metal, the Royal Palace, the Ministry of Defence

Disciple Soldier: “Aaaargghhhhhh?!”

Metal Lieutenant: “What is the matter, Minister for Defence?”

Disciple Soldier: “I’m at my limit!!!”

Metal Lieutenant: “Please calm down, sir.”

Disciple Soldier: “I’m a soldier!”

Metal Lieutenant: “I am also a soldier, sir.”

Disciple Soldier: “Calm down. Calm down.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Breathe slowly, sir.”

Disciple Soldier inhales and exhales deeply.

Metal Lieutenant: “Do you feel better?”

Disciple Soldier: “Arghhhh, look at all those reports.”

Metal Lieutenant: “You are too agitated, Minister!”

Disciple Soldier: “This whole Minister for Defence thing was a terrible idea. I’m just a soldier, I shouldn’t be anything more than the Commander for the Rear Garrison of the Realm.”

Metal Lieutenant: “It is completely natural that a soldier who performs well on the field should be promoted.”

Disciple Soldier: “But why have I become a Minister!”

Metal Lieutenant: “Well, that’s because the Kingdom of Metal is comprised of military noblemen. The entire system is built around these soldiers. Anyone above the rank of Seneschal is usually also a military person. You could say that the motto of the Kingdom of Metal is, ‘A soldier is only a soldier in times of war. In peace, he must administer the country.’”

Disciple Soldier: “Ahhh, I’ve been swindled.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Well, let’s face the facts, sir.”

Disciple Soldier: “Reportsarescary. Reportsarescary.”

Metal Lieutenant: “They aren’t that scary, sir.”

Disciple Soldier: “If I get the reports wrong, it’ll be my head on the line! The Paladin will stab me with her sword. The Scholar will give up on the entire Kingdom. I won’t even have a chair to sit on. I’ll have to go the toilet and cry.”

Metal Lieutenant: “What kind of past did this guy have…”

Disciple Soldier: “That’s not what I meant.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Well, please calm down, sir. Have some tea. If the reports are so scary, I’ll read them out for you to listen. As long as we do this together, we’ll surely get over that mountain.”

Disciple Soldier: “Thank you. I was about to crumble…”

Metal Lieutenant: “Well, it’s true that the number of reports we have here could kill someone.”

Disciple Soldier: “Ugh.”

Metal Lieutenant: “But actually, if we deal with this, just this one report, half of the reports will be solved as well.”

Disciple Soldier: “…What kind of issue is that?”

Metal Lieutenant: “Actually, it’s an order from the King. It reads: ‘The population is increasing, what the hell should we do?’”

Disciple Soldier: “Huh? Isn’t it good that the population is increasing?”

Metal Lieutenant: “Well, it’s a good thing. As the population increases, our workforce increases and we can produce more food. We can also field more soldiers in times of war.”

Disciple Soldier: “I-I see.”

Metal Lieutenant: “But currently, there are a lot of short-term problems with this. To begin with, the reason why there are so many immigrants in this country is because the Tripartite Union is rich in food supplies and also guarantees the Emancipation of the Serfs. Among the countries of the Tripartite Union, the Kingdom of Metal and the Kingdom of Winter are the ones which are closest to the borders of the Central Continent.”

Disciple Soldier: “Indeed.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Hoever, the majority of immigrants here are refugee serfs, impoverished settlers or other people who often have no assets apart from the clothes on their backs. Even if they did have some assets, it would be difficult for them to find jobs and hence they only become a social problem.”

Disciple Soldier: “That’s true.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Up till now, we have been requesting the assistance of the Kingdoms of Ice and Winter with dealing with the immense overflow, and also distributing them to villages throughout the area, but this is reaching a limit.”

Disciple Soldier: “So what should we do?”

Metal Lieutenant: “That is up to the Minister for Defence.”

Disciple Soldier: “Hoho! …Isn’t that me!”

Metal Lieutenant: “The Minister for Defence has the responsibility to defend the people.”

Disciple Soldier: “Ughh.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Well, apart from that problem, with the influx of bankrupt settlers, we’ve also gotten an issue about the appearance of bandits and rouges. Because the settlers come from different countries, their culture and lifestyles may be completely incompatible with the locals, and hence there are many cases of trouble brewing from these misunderstandings. Those comprise a large proportion of this mountain of reports. Of course, as the Ministry for Defence, we should focus on dealing with the larger picture.

“On the whole, the way we deal with banditry and armed violence is to arrest and detain as many as we can, even force compensation—from those who can afford compensation. However, these are only punitive measures we can conduct after the incident has taken place, right? As a result, we aren’t actually preventing the problem from taking place at all.”

Disciple Soldier: “That’s definitely true.”

Metal Lieutenant: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “…”

Metal Lieutenant: “What shall we do?”

Disciple Soldier: “Hmm… The Scholar made us learn many case studies… especially about settlers.”

Metal Lieutenant: “…”

Disciple Soldier: (This is definitely troublesome. It’s gotten so bad we’ve even got violence breaking out willy-nilly. Above all, if the settlements become a lawless place, it would become a safe haven for criminals and louts and other scary people…”

Metal Lieutenant: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “What about the guilds?”

Metal Lieutenant: “The guilds?”

Disciple Soldier: “Do the metal guilds not accept apprentices?”

Metal Lieutenant: “Well, I’ll ask around. I could probably go the Hall of Guilds… But even so, one guildsman could probably only train five or maybe ten apprentices at a go anywhere in the world……\”

Disciple Soldier: “In that case, contact the workshops and hire some craftsmen to advise on this… I want to expand the workshop networks.”

Metal Lieutenant: “The workshops?”

Disciple Soldier: “No, no, that’s not it… Well, for the time being.”

Metal Lieutenant: “For the time being?”

Disciple Soldier: “My wish is for them all to become soldiers.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Huh?! Soldiers?”

Disciple Soldier: “I mean, they don’t have a job, right? And the guilds have reached their limits for apprentices. Even the village settlements are at their limit for settlers. They’re broke. They have no place to live. They have no place to work, they have nothing, they’re completely broke.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Yes, that’s correct.”

Disciple Soldier: “I’m a soldier, so I think the military is the best.”

Metal Lieutenant: “But if that’s the case, we’ll have to pay them a lot of money, right? Not just their salaries, but we’ve also got to fork out money to equip them, to feed them and to house them.”

Disciple Soldier: “Well, they can provide for their own upkeep.”

Metal Lieutenant: “What?!”

Disciple Soldier: “Like you said, ‘a soldier must administer the country in times of peace,’ right? In that case, we’ll come up with a new class of soldiers, beneath the professional soldiers. In times of peace, they will till the lands, so they’ll be half-farmer, half-soldier battalions. We’ll set their military service at five years for now. If they work for those five years, we’ll give them the appropriate monetary compensation and arable land for their services.”

 

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Explanation

Half-Farmer, Half-Soldier: This refers to the tuntian system. Soldiers are given parcels of arable land to cultivate in times of peace, and they are allowed to reap whatever they produce from the land for themselves, but in times of war, they can be called upon to fight. It first began in China in the 3rd century BC, but was popularised by Cao Cao during the Three Kingdoms Period (of Dynasty Warriors fame). In Japan, during the Meiji Restoration Period, the tonden system was used to spread civilisation to Hokkaido.

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Metal Lieutenant: “So basically, you’re trying to use the soldiers as farmers.”

Disciple Soldier: “Farming also helps to keep the body fit. Many farmers are thin, but that’s probably to do with malnutrition. If we can establish potatoes as the centre of the agricultural economy, we can at least ensure everybody has enough to eat.”

Metal Lieutenant: “That is a national priority.”

Disciple Soldier: “We can allow them to live together with their wives and kids, and even expand the age limits of the scheme. We can send them to the wastelands and forests neighbouring the Kingdom of Ice and get them to build new settlements. This could also form part of our defensive perimeter in times of war. It’s a good defensive place, with hills and rivers, right? The weather conditions are a bit harsh, so we might have to get them to establish villages which rely on forestry, shepardry, or potato farming rather than wheat farming.”

Metal Lieutenant: “And what sort of support will we give them? What will we do about food and the like?”

Disciple Soldier: “They are soldiers, so naturally the Kingdom will support them with money and supplies. We could even get this to come directly from the throne, as a gift from the King. It’s just that it takes about three years for potato plantations to be effectively established.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Yeah, that’s a long time.”

Disciple Soldier: “Let’s make sure we plan this out thoroughly before we do anything. There are a lot of soldiers who used to be settlers or the sons of settlers in the military, right?”

Metal Lieutenant: “Yes. I myself am one of them.”

Disciple Soldier: “Assemble just seven of them, get them to sound out what they feel are the issues and disadvantages of this scheme. Also, contact the Holy Order and request for their assistance and expertise. I’ve thought about this many times before, but we should really establish a Medical Corp. We have to revise the way we’re training our Medics and Medical Officers, instead of relying on civilian doctors. If we do this, when diseases break out at new settlements, they can be tended to and treated without having to go all the way back to a large city. Patients could also go to settlements from nearby settlements, it could be a very effective system.”

Metal Lieutenant: “That’s good. It’s best to reduce the number of civilians we bring to the battlefield.”

Disciple Soldier: “Also, we have to do something about the road networks.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Road networks?”

Disciple Soldier: “The presence of roads can dramatically increase the travelling speed of soldiers many times over, especially in Kingdoms like ours, where troops are mainly infantry. Better infrastructure also facilitates the transportation of goods and people. Right now, I believe we should build new roads between unlinked areas and expand and repave the old roads.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Where will we get the money?”

Disciple Soldier: “About that, I’m sure we can get the Kingdom of Ice and the Kingdom of Winter to help with that.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Huh…?”

Disciple Soldier: “This is not just about the Kingdom of Metal, we should start by building highways between the Three Kingdoms. If we do this, trade will become far more convenient and the movement of our workers will also be easier. The wallets of the Kingdom of Metal will certainly be pleased by this, won’t they?”

Metal Lieutenant: “Well, that’s not untrue.”

Disciple Soldier: “At the same time, we should also create more metal factories.”

Metal Lieutenant: “Metal factories…?”

Disciple Soldier: “Large scale metal workshops. If we want to train craftsmen, we should work them while training them, right? We can get them to beef up the infrastructure of the national economy and to manufacture weaponry and equipment.”

Metal Lieutenant: “I’m sure you know this…”

Disciple Soldier: “What?” Interested.

Metal Lieutenant: “But with something as large-scale as this, there’s going to be a lot of work.”

Disciple Soldier: “I’ve been swindled?!”

 

——- The Village of Wintering, the End of Winter, the Diary of the Little Maid Sister

It’s the end of our third winter.

We’ve used a lot of spices this winter. Spices like nutmeg, pepper and saffron. All of these were brought back by the Hero from the Demon World, and they’re really useful. Hooray for the Hero!!!

The Mistress seems to be very busy with many things. Today, she left with the Hero to the Capital of Winter. They were talking about things like trade, commerce, and applications. She had to prepare a lot of souvenirs for these people. The Mistress may be the King of the Demon World, but if souvenirs are so important, she might go broke from these souvenirs.

Today, I made a sausage-filled pie. I added a lot of pepper so that it’s got its great peppery taste. The Hero seems to love it. I even made some blood sausages. I sent some to the Village Chief and he seemed to really love it.

It’s almost spring.

 

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Explanation

Nutmeg: A sweet spice which is used to mask the smell of fish and meat. It is grown natively in Indonesia.

Saffron: In our world, this spice is native to the Mediterranean Sea. It can be used to make dishes like Yellow Saffron Rice.

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——– The Demon World, the Banks of Phoenix Lake, Pavilion Street

Wind blows.

The Hero: “Ahh, it’s amazing!”

The Chief Maid: “It’s almost unbelievable how much progress there has been.”

The Hero: “That being said… It’s like a city.”

The Demon King: “Yeah, there are so many people congregating there, it’s almost like a small city.”

The Chief Maid: “Powerful people from the various Tribes, even people from the smaller Tribes have gathered here for the Kurultai. But apart from them, merchants and artists have also gathered here, even mercenaries willing to offer their services. It’s normal that while there are many people attending the Kurultai, there are even more people there just to offer their services.”

The Hero: “…It’s about time.”

The Demon King: “Yes, it is.”

The Hero: “What are the odds like?”

The Demon King: “Definitely nothing good, but we’ve got time.”

The Hero: “You’ve been saying that.”

The Demon King: “Unanimity is the principle. If I disagreed, at the very worst, the meeting would just be called off. We can just delay the end of it.”

The Hero: “Mmhmm.”

The Demon King: “That being said, it’s not like we have unlimited time. No matter how long it takes, two months is the limit. At the Kurultai, precedent cases are strongly respected, sometimes even more than the word of the Demon King.”

The Hero: “Is that so?”

The Demon King: “Yeah, that’s why we have two months. In that time, we have to search, compromise, threaten, or look for a way out by any means possible.”

The Chief Maid: “Today is just the Opening Address and Salutations.”

The Hero: “And the Demon King will be making the Opening Address?”

The Demon King: “That’s right.”

The Hero: “What should I do?”

The Demon King: “What should he do, Chief Maid?”

The Chief Maid: “Hmm, I think we can entrust the role of chief of your Security Detail to him… While you’re making introductions, he’ll stand to your back and right to fend off any security threats against you, and also look authoritative.”

The Hero: “That sounds quite cool.”

The Demon King: “You’ll be there as the strongest Knight and General of the Demon King’s personal retinue. You’ve got a certain presence that will make everybody feel assured when they see you with me, right?”

The Chief Maid: “Yeah, I suppose it’s a form of power-play and intimidation. From time to time, if you shout ‘Gaaaah!!!’ the people in attendance will probably think, ‘This guy is really something.’”

The Hero: “That could make things really uneasy.”

The Demon King: “It would be bad if things weren’t uneasy to begin with.”

The Chief Maid: “That’s right. It’ll drain them.”

The Hero: “Well, I suppose that’s true.”

The Demon King: “Our pavilions are this one and the eight tentages surrounding it.”

The Chief Maid: “We don’t really need them, though.”

The Hero: “It’s just us after all.”

The Demon King: “But there’re going to be people sending tributes later, so we’ve got to get ready to receive audiences. To begin with, the Demon King’s pavilion has to be the biggest one as a show of might.”

The Hero: “That’s true.”

All hail the Kurultai!

The Demon King: “Right, it’s about time then?”

The Chief Maid: “Please wait.”

The Demon King: “Eh?”

The Chief Maid: “Don’t tell me you’re going out in that silk shirt with that rolled up skirt and white shirt, it’s so dull. Do you really intend to give the Opening Address looking like that?”

The Demon King: “Should I really not? Like I thought…”

The Chief Maid: “Why are you speaking in such a small voice?”

The Hero: “Ahahaha. She’s embarrassed.”

The Chief Maid: “Hero.”

The Hero: “Yes?”

The Chief Maid: “Please face this way for a moment.”

The Demon King: “No! The Hero should go outside!”

The Chief Maid: “If he’s not here, then Your Majesty will just oppose me!”

The Hero: “Well, yeah, it’s as she says.”

The Demon King: “N-no, no! Fine I get it! I’ll strip. I’ll strip by myself! I’ll do it.”

The Chief Maid: “Well, you’ve got some really dull underwear.”

The Demon King: “It keeps me warm, so isn’t it fine?”

The Chief Maid: “It’s so passé. And you’ve got to consider matching the colours. Here, this is black. Try it on.”

The Demon King: “Ahh, where are you touching me.”

The Chief Maid: “You really need to get rid of the flab here, alright, I’ll pinch it together.”

The Hero: (Black? What’s black?!)

 

——- The Kurultai Venue, the Central Stadium

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

Ohhhhhh! It’s the Demon King! The Demon King has come!

The Demon King: “I’d first like to thank the care and concern that many of my comrades has shown me in my time as the Demon King. The prosperity of the Demon World will last forever!”

Yeahhhhhh!

The Demon King: “My rule has lasted just twenty years. It has been a while since the Humans broke through the gate. We’ve managed to control the region with magic and might, and separate the world we live in from the Human world. We’ve even managed to put another gate in place to separate our two worlds.

“However, the gate has fulfilled its purpose. The Black Knight, my right hand and my sword destroyed the gate himself!”

The Chief Maid: “Alright. Hero. Take a step forward. Don’t overdo it.”

The Hero: “Yeah.”

The Hero buzzes with magic energy.

Ah, it’s the Black Knight! So that’s the Black Knight… The strongest Knight in the personal retinue of the Demon King.

He’s shining with light? Wait, I can almost hear something. Is he saying something?

The Hero: “GAHHHHHH!!!”

Wow! What a killing intent! To think he was that scary…

The Demon King: “My comrades! This is my right hand! The gate has been destroyed. And from now on, the world beyond and our world will be linked as one big world! The world that lies before us is not the same as the world we came from. It is a completely new world altogether!”

Yeahhhhh! Demon King! Demon King! Glory to the Demon King!

The Demon King: “My people! Today, we stand at a crossroad. There are many questions about the big new world that we have in front of us. Many Tribes are gathered here today. We will extend to them the proper ceremonies. But today, we are not here for ceremonies, we are here to search for the road that leads to tomorrow!”

Yeahhhhh! Yeahhhhhh!

The Demon King: “I, the 34th Demon King, Ruby Eyes, declare this Kurultai open!”

Yeahhhhhh!

Demon King! Demon King! Demon King!

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

Glory to the Demon King!

The Chief Maid: “…”

The Demon King: “I think that’s enough for now.”

The Chief Maid: “What a lot of people.”

 

——– The Kurultai, the Demon King’s Pavilion, that Night

The Hero: “Ahhhhh.”

The Demon King: “Ahhh, that was tiring.”

The Chief Maid: “Well, well.”

The Hero: “Why are you still so spirited?”

The Demon King: “You’re some kind of monster!”

The Chief Maid: “I wasn’t the one who had to do all the talking.”

The Hero: “How many people have we seen?”

The Demon King: “Hmm…? I only remember that they came in fifteen or so groups?”

The Chief Maid: “Forty-eight tribes have come.”

The Hero: “Forty-eight?! I would have thought forty was too much!”

The Demon King: “I felt like I had to meet thousands of people.”

The Chief Maid: “Well, when one tribe comes to visit you, the Khan brings all kinds of people with him, representing all the important factions and branch tribes, all the princes and princesses, lords and ladies, so you do have to meet quite a few people.”

The Hero: “And when they all start to talk at once, wow. It’s incredibly rowdy… Quite amazing, really.”

The Demon King: “Tea please, Chief Maid. Make it sweet.”

The Hero: “Me too. Make it super sweet.”

The Chief Maid: “Yes, yes, please wait.”

The Hero: “Right, Demon King.”

The Demon King: “Yes?”

The Hero: “Have the Eight Great Tribes come yet?”

The Demon King: “They’ve come. They were the very first.”

The Hero: “I didn’t really know.”

The Demon King: “If you weren’t familiar with it, you might have missed them. All the tribes came with very impressive audiences.”

The Hero: “I apologise, but would you kindly explain to me the various races? Especially the ones who came earlier.”

The Demon King: “Hmm, I don’t mind… Chief Maid, another cup please.”

The Chief Maid: “As you wish.”

The Demon King: “The first who came was the Tribe of the Fiends. The Fiends have always been a very populous Tribe. They look a lot like Humans. Of course, the shape of their pupils and some other characteristics help to give them some very defining characteristics but it wouldn’t be farfetched for them to successfully infiltrate Human society if they so wanted to.

“Apart from large numbers, the Fiends also conduct trade and mix freely with the other Tribes. The pure-blooded Fiends are the Tribe of Tattoos and the Tribe of Shut Eyes. It is not uncommon for other Demons, especially from the Tribes of the Fang and the Banshees, to join the Tribe of the Fiends.”

The Hero: “Yes, I know. It’s that very intimidating, regal, old man.”

The Demon King: “Yes. Though I hear he’s very good with the axe.”

The Hero: “Is that so?”

The Demon King: “Their Tribe neither supports nor opposes the invasion of the Human World. They themselves admitted that even without conquering the rest of the world, administering their large population and many different branches is already an incredibly difficult task on its own. Not just on invading the Human World, the Fiends have opted for the middle ground on many issues. Well, to the other races, this seems to be a very half-baked thing to do. But that doesn’t mean that the Tribe of the Fiends are a soft people. Individually, the Fiends are a bunch of curious people, and they like to adapt at the very last minute. It’s important to be flexible, but one could say that they go in whichever direction the wind blows.”

The Chief Maid: “Among the Demons which live in the cities, there are a lot of Fiends.”

The Hero: “Ahh! So the Demons who look like Humans in the City of the Gate except with cat-eyes or longer arms are Fiends, right?”

The Demon King: “That’s right. What do you think? Do they not look almost like Humans? As a Tribe, they have their good and bad, and we may yet be able to make use of them. But because they are many in number, their domestic situation is incredibly complex.”

The Hero: “Hmm… Well, it seems that they are neither friend nor foe at this conference.”

The Demon King: “That is correct.”

The Hero: “Hmm.”

The Demon King: “Those who came next were from the Tribe of the Demons of the Pale. Their skin is blue, and they are very decorated… you understand?”

The Hero: “Yeah, I understand. They’re a very intense bunch of people, right? I know the Demons of the Pale, alright. At least, I know about their skill with the sword. You could say that they are the elite among the Demons. Actually, I’ve never met a weak Demon of the Pale.”

The Demon King: “That’s true. The Pale are very strong indeed. Going by numbers they do not have even half of what the Fiends have. But they have outstanding magical capabilities, and each is physically very strong. You could say they are the best of the best among the Demons. They are also split into many different branch tribes, but all of them are united by their blue skin. The colour of their eyes varies from bright gold to deep red though.”

The Hero: “Hmm.”

The Demon King: “They are a very centralised Tribe with a very strong class system in place. The Khan of the Demons of the Pale holds power on a completely different dimension than the other Khans. They are a very militaristic state, with a very military culture. They’re a race which values purity, so you won’t find Demons from other races joining their tribe. Marriages between close family members are even encouraged.”

The Hero: “There sure are a lot of different kinds of Demons.”

The Demon King: “It was like this in the past as well, but Demons take the names of their tribes. That’s why, to put it extremely, the Tribe gives them an identity, and if one attaches himself to the Tribe, he becomes one of their people and one of their comrades. That is why you get Tribes like the Fiends, who are comprised essentially of whoever is willing to join them. However, the Pale are different. They believe in the purity of blood, and hence apart from those born to the Race, there are none who may join it.”

The Hero: “And what are their views on co-existence?”

The Demon King: “They were the vanguard of the assault on the Human World. Of course, they are motivated by land and economic gain, but much of it is just a desire to prove that they are the strongest and most elite race. It’s good that they’re so confident of their abilities, but it makes them very strong instigators for conflict.”

The Chief Maid: “Actually, they have immense military might, so it wouldn’t be easy for us to beat them either. Most of the Demon Kings have been selected from their Tribe, among the Eight Great Demon Tribe, so they are resentful of that as well…”

The Demon King: “Another faction which will strongly support war with the Humans is the Tribe of the Fang. The Tribe of the Fang is comprised of many, many different races. As long as they possess the body of a beast, they may be part of the Tribe. The current Khan is the Silver Tiger Lord. They don’t really live in the cities. Instead, they tend to make settlements in the mountainsides where they live. Many also live in the forests and other places with a lot of nature. They aren’t the most civilised of races, but they are very warlike.”

The Hero: “Ahh. Hmm… So I suppose the Demon Wolf Marshal was from that tribe…”

The Demon King: “He was a great general from a previous generation… It is quite unfortunate.”

The Chief Maid: “Well, he was also for invading the Humans, so it’s for the best…”

The Demon King: “The Tribe of the Fang are on the Invasion Faction. They were always a Tribe with a fair amount of bloodlust. In the world below, due to developments in agriculture, previously forested areas are now increasingly being lumbered and settled. They need more living space and they look to expand to the world above. Without a doubt, land is their main intention.”

The Hero: “How do they lean?”

The Demon King: “The Fang’s ideologies are shaped around the acquisition of new lands for their people. To begin with, most of their members are carnivorous and a single one of them requires a fair deal of space to survive comfortably. Humans and other agricultural Demons only look for enough land for them to farm and grow crops on, but each Fang desires a ‘Hunting Area’ that can be several square kilometres per person. On top of that, they have no qualms with appropriating the land of those with a culture different to theirs, in other words, agricultural cultures. Whatever they take over, they no longer consider farmland, but rather part of their ‘Hunting Area.’ That will definitely pose a severe threat to relations with Demons of other Tribes, let alone Humans.”

The Hero: “I see.”

The Demon King: “Well, that being said, there seems to be a moderate faction taking root in their Tribe, but… Right now, it is the extremist faction which we will be discussing with.”

The Chief Maid: “That’s true.”

The Demon King: “Next are the Automatons. Even among Demons, they are a pretty odd bunch. They are constantly clad in armour, making them resemble a group of machines.”

The Hero: “Oh yeah, we saw them just now.”

The Demon King: “They take special pride in nurturing their mechanical skills and their magical engineering abilities. They are rather famous for producing inventors as well. Because their mechanisms are fused to the bodies of the Automatons, you don’t see them very much throughout the Demon World.”

The Demon King: “They are also part of the Invasion Faction. However, the Automatons are far more cool-headed than the previous two races, so it’s clear that they’re doing this for the profit. What they want is access to more metal resources and rare earth minerals. In order to carry out their research, they need more new metal samples, and for that to happen they need to establish mines throughout the surface world. Moreover, the mines which they own are beginning to deplete. That is one reason why they support this war so vehemently.”

The Hero: “Finally, an enemy we can explain easily.”

The Chief Maid: “Indeed.”

The Demon King: “Well, it’s not that convenient to conclude. To begin with, while they’re part of the Eight Great Demon Tribes, their numbers are exceedingly few. As a result, they are an enigma. I don’t know what their real situation is like. I don’t really know what their motives or purposes are either. In fact, I have no idea how they were born or what they really look like. I can’t even say definitively if that massive suit of armour is their real body or if it’s just a mechanism.”

The Hero: “It’s a mechanism, I think? Inside the armour, there’s a cream or pink coloured goopy substance that resembles the flesh of a fruit. Inside all of that, there’s a girl. The Automaton moves due to magical energy emanating from inside the suit in tandem with pressure cylinders.”

The Chief Maid: “…”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “Eh? What’s up?”

 

—– Ten Minutes Later, the Kurultai, the Demon King’s Pavilion

The Hero: “Wike I said, nothwing hwappened…”

The Demon King: “You have both me and the Female Paladin, so why do you live such a flagrant life of skirt-chasing!!!”

The Hero: “No, umm, thwat’s not skirt-chwasing, it’th pwart of the dwuties of a Hwero…”

The Demon King: “A pointless answer.”

The Chief Maid: “Yeah…”

The Demon King: “If you intended to bring her back and introduce her to us, then fine. But without that intention, you went ahead and looked at a maiden’s naked body, what’s up with that!”

The Hero: “Like I said, I only caught a glwimpse before I cwovered her up!”

The Demon King: “Hero. Do you really want to go back to the way you used to be?”

The Hero: “?!”

The Demon King: “Dammit!”

The Chief Maid: “Please think about what it means for you to deflower a young maiden like that.”

The Hero: “I’m weally sowwy.”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “…Sobs.”

The Chief Maid: “…”

The Demon King: “…Right, so where was I?”

The Chief Maid: “We’ve discussed the Tribes of the Fiends, the Pale, the Fang and the Automatons.”

The Hero: “There’re… four left?”

The Demon King: “Alright… so the Dragons.”

The Hero: “Oww. I know at least a bit about the Dragons.”

The Demon King: “That’s right, you’ve met with the Fire Dragon Lord before.”

The Hero: “We made a bet over the City of the Gate.”

The Demon King: “The Dragons are a Tribe of battle-hardened veterans who place a strong emphasis on chivalry. Their current Khan is the Fire Dragon Lord. The Dragon Races can come in many forms, looking like dragons or looking like humans, but they all boast incredible magical abilities. They have many hidden forms of magic which are limited to their bloodline. Most Dragons are humanoid, but with dragon-like features such as horns or scales. They are also an isolated Tribe that lives primarily in the mountainsides, avoiding contact with the other Tribes. However, they are definitely not foolish, and they can tell that sooner or later, they must begin to assimilate with the rest of society. Having spoken to the Fire Dragon Lord myself, I can tell he is no fool. However, as he represents the interests of his entire Tribe, who have far more predictable attitudes, he is likely to stay in the middle ground.”

The Chief Maid: “Indeed.”

The Hero: “Well, it looks like it won’t be easy to bring the Demon Tribes to an agreement with our proposal.”

The Demon King: “Next is the Tribe of the Giants.”

The Hero: “Oh, those massive guys?”

The Demon King: “That’s right. Speaking of which, most are twice as tall as I am, though there are even some who are three times as tall. They live to the Northeast side of the subterranean world. They are also divided into many branch tribes: some who live in the mountains, some who live in the forests, some who live in the hills. There are all kinds really. There are also some who are incredibly violent but those are the extremists. I wouldn’t say most of them are that violent. If you talk to them, they are actually a simple and direct people.”

The Hero: “So are they our allies?”

The Demon King: “That part is a bit difficult. Their ancestors used to roam the world above freely.”

The Hero: “Now that you say it, I’ve often heard tales of giants walking the land.”

The Demon King: “They definitely don’t have good relations with the Humans. Giant tales are filled with stereotypical Human characters, whom they see as petty villains who are out to deceive the Giants for no reason other than profit. Even their children are told these stories from a young age. They don’t want the Gate to the Human World to be closed. You could say that they are a faction who would be content to be left alone. However, if you were to force them to make a choice, I would think that they would choose to co-exist with the Humans.”

The Hero: “Just what did my ancestors do to them…”

The Demon King: “Well, there’s nothing for it.”

The Hero: “They actually seem like fairly decent folk.”

The Demon King: “If you meet some of them, you’ll find they are very avid drinkers.”

The Hero: “Who’s left?”

The Demon King: “The Tribe of the Banshees are a race of horned Demons. They are a very complicated Tribe who control the East of the subterranean world. There are those among them who are highly proficient with weaponry, and also those who are skilled mages. They are renown for some members who are able to use their Demonic powers to shapeshift and even turn invisible… You know that in the Demon World, there are some creatures you could call animals who possess only a rudimentary sentience, right?”

The Hero: “Yeah?”

The Demon King: “Well, the Banshees are exceptionally adept at controlling these creatures. The world has seen a lot of their abilities, as I’m sure you recall. They have managed to bring many races under their umbrella, and the land they control is massive. They do not have much persuasive power, but that is because they are unconcerned with the rest of the Demon Tribes as a whole. Generally, they are concerned with maintaining the balance of the Worlds. As a result, they oppose the invasion of the Human World. But they’re definitely against co-existence as well. If possible, they would probably like for the two worlds to remain wholly divided.”

The Hero: “I see. I don’t think I have many Banshee acquaintances.”

The Demon King: “There aren’t many in the region around the City of the Gate.”

The Chief Maid: “They are very famous for their wine. And their rice.”

The Hero: “Rice…”

The Demon King: “It’s a crop which is harvested in warm and humid regions. It’s very similar to wheat, but it has very narrow conditions which must be met before successful harvest can commence. In return, the taste and yield of rice is far more bountiful than wheat.”

The Chief Maid: “Very much so.”

The Demon King: “It’s all about the climate, the Southern United Kingdoms are definitely not suitable.”

The Hero: “Then, the last I know as well. The Tribe of the Fairies.”

The Demon King: “Hmm, well their current Khan is the Queen of the Fairies. They were originally a confederation of Demon Tribes that used to live in the Forest but over time, they had assimilated with each other and now the Queen of the Fairies rules over them from her Palace.”

The Hero: “And the Fairies are our allies?”

The Demon King: “Yes, you could say that they are the only pro-co-existence faction. They did not suffer significantly under the Holy Crusaders and hence harbour no resentment against the Humans. Their form is considered fairly beautiful and it is likely that they will get along well with the Humans.”

The Chief Maid: “The Queen of the Fairies is a highly astute individual.”

The Demon King: “The Fairies are a little bit mischievous, but they are a Tribe of war-hating pacifists. They have average magical abilities and their combat ability is rather low. They were often the first to be sacrificed whenever Demon Civil Wars broke out.”

The Hero: “That being said, before the war with the Humans, there was some kind of war between the Demons, right? What was that about?”

The Chief Maid: “That was truly Chaos.”

The Hero: “Chaos…?”

The Demon King: “Fundamentally, there were two wars going on at the same time, between the Banshees and the Pale, and between the Fiends and the Fang, but the flames of war spread very quickly. Eventually, even those Tribes who had nothing to do with the conflict were pulled into it.”

The Chief Maid: “It was an era of bloodshed.”

The Hero: “Didn’t you try to put a stop to it?”

The Demon King: “Of course I did. I even tried to get a Kurultai going. If the Humans hadn’t started a war with us… No, that was inevitable.”

The Chief Maid: “…”

The Hero: “That’s true, though.”

The Demon King: “Hmm.”

The Hero: “As I thought, this is going to be tough.”

The Demon King: “Yeah.”

The Hero: “The only Tribe that supports co-existence with the Humans is the Tribe of the Fairies, right? So to get this unanimous support thing, we’re going to need to persuade just about every other Tribe in the Demon World. Persuading seven Demon Tribes isn’t going to be easy at all. We’ve got to think of some kind of method.”

The Demon King: “I don’t need co-existence with the Humans.”

The Hero: “Eh?”

The Demon King: “It’s fine if we don’t have co-existence. For the time being, a ceasefire is enough for me. If we can lock down the World for now, that would be good.”

The Hero: “Lock down?”

The Demon King: “Seal the Worlds. Put a stop to inter-world exchanges.”

The Chief Maid: “Can we do that? Without a gate?”

The Demon King: “Well, we definitely can’t do it perfectly, but it’ll serve our purposes. Of course, there’s no meaning if we seal the worlds and yet the war still goes on, so we have to get the Humans, or at the very least, a few of the countries to agree to a ceasefire.”

The Hero: “Is that really what you want? Weren’t you aiming for co-existence?”

The Demon King: “That’s true, but everything must be done in progression. Currently, our most urgent goal is to put an end to the war immediately. Right now, because I’m supposed to be recuperating, we’re in a state of ceasefire, but since we have not settled on any terms or anything, this isn’t a real ceasefire. — In other words, we are still at war with the Humans. In this state, even the smallest altercation could retrigger an all-out war. The Demons of the Pale have invaded the Human World unilaterally just a while ago, but because I was out of action, there was nothing I could say.”

The Hero: “Is that so…”

The Demon King: “For the moment, the aim is to achieve a ceasefire. Peace and conciliation are things we can only think about when the war is over. There is value for both worlds if we can achieve conciliation between the Surface World and the Underground world. That’s why I’m not too worried about it. I’m an economist after all.”

The Hero: “Trade?”

The Demon King: “Yes. From the perspective of the Underground World, the Surface World is a treasure trove. From salt to metal to wheat, from lamb to fish, the world above is abound with things that the Underground World desires. It’s the same from the perspective of the Surface World. Spices, gold, tea. If we can achieve peace, even with the world locked down, there will still be contact between the world below and the world above. Of course, it’s because there’s no gate. As people pass between the worlds, due to differences in opinion and ideology, they may come into some form of confrontation. However, on an individual basis, individual Demons and individual Humans may come to understand the nature of each of their different existences. In time to come, co-existence may even be possible.”

The Hero: “I see.”

The Demon King: “Even a temporary ceasefire agreement will be enough to change the opinions of many of the Tribes. Even without co-existence, as long as we can prevent any extreme actions, it’ll be good enough. The extremist factions are the Tribe of the Demons of the Pale, the Tribe of the Fang, and the Tribe of Automatons; these three tribes. We can do our best to persuade those three, or convince the Tribe of Banshees to support cross-world exchanges on the grounds of trade. Either way, I believe we can effect some sort of ceasefire.”

The Hero: “If you think about it… that sounds a lot more difficult than before.”

The Demon King: “Does it?”

The Hero: “Yeah, how can we do anything about it?”

The Demon King: “What are you saying? Until we try…”

The Chief Maid: “Your Majesty.”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “…”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “Well, fine! Let’s deal first with what we’ve got ahead of us.”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “How difficult. Well, looks like we’re not going to resolve this Kurultai in the next few days. Do we have plans to deal with those three Tribes?”

The Demon King: “Well, we’ll start after tomorrow’s negotiations.”

The Hero: “And the war?”

The Demon King: “Let’s work on buying us some time first.”

 

——— The Demon World, a City, in a Tavern

Butler: “Karate?”

Demon Traveller: “No, Kurultai. It’s the Kurultai.”

Butler: “The Kurultai.”

Demon Traveller: “Which mountain have you come down from, Grandpa?”

Butler: “What! I’m not from the countryside!”

Demon Traveller: “No. No matter how you look at it, it’s obvious that you are.”

Butler: “That’s probably true.”

Demon Traveller: “Well, that’s fine. Thank you for saving me from those bandits! Grandpa, you’re really strong!”

Butler: “People used to say I was a true master.”

Demon Traveller: “Used to?”

Butler: “Well, I still am a true master. Especially at that.” Wink, wink.

Demon Traveller: “Hahahaha! Grandpa, you’re still young at heart!”

Butler: “Nyohohohoho!”

Demon Traveller: “Well. Thanks to you, my goods are fine as well.”

Butler: “This Kurultai thing sure is bustling.”

Demon Traveller: “That’s right. It’s a big conference.”

Butler: “Hoho!”

Demon Traveller: “It may be very bustling, but that’s because it only takes place once every few decades and nobody knows when. The Khans of all the Tribes will be in attendance, and even His Majesty the Demon King will take part.”

Butler: “The Demon King?”

Demon Traveller: “You mean His Majesty the Demon King?”

Butler: “That’s what I mean! His Majesty, His Majesty! Nyohohohoho.”

Demon Traveller: “I’ve got me here a shipment of maize that I’m taking to the Kurultai.”

Butler: “Oh? Even if you go there now, I don’t think you’re going to make it in time.”

Demon Traveller: “A Kurultai can go on for as long as a month. Even if the Kurultai ends early, to commemorate the event there’ll probably be a massive feast. Not just maize, but many other goods will be in demand and lots of merchants will flock there. You can probably buy all sorts of amazing things, it is an individual experience after all.”

Butler: “I see, how wonderful.”

Demon Traveller: “Well then, bottoms up!”

Butler: “Bottoms up!”

Demon Traveller: “Bottoms up!”

Butler: “Nyohohoho, this is delicious!”

Demon Traveller: “It is, isn’t it? They make wine from maize in these parts.”

Butler: “Nyohoho, it’s great!”

Demon Traveller: “Right then, I’ll be on my way!”

Butler: (…The Kurultai. A massive, military Demon Conference for which even the Demon King will show his face… I bet there’ll be an unlimited wealth of information over there.)

 

—— The Kurultai, on the back of a Horse

Young Merchant: “Aren’t you concerned about this?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “A promise is a promise.”

Young Merchant: “There’s a right time and place for these sorts of things.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Would you have me discard our contract?”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Or should I make it null and void?”

Young Merchant: “I understand.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I fear you do not.”

Young Merchant: “If I have made a mistake, I will reflect on it.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “If you will accompany me tomorrow morning, I will give you the opportunity to reflect then.”

Young Merchant: “No, I don’t think this is a particularly good time to be drinking.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “They even say wine is the secret to longevity.”

Young Merchant: “I don’t think it applies when one drinks as much as you do.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “We can go and ask my husband.”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lady: “You seem nervous.”

Young Merchant: “Oh, you can tell? The currency in the Central Continent is fast depreciating as well.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Come back safely.”

Young Merchant: “I hope he makes some good fertiliser when he grinds my bones up.”

 

—— The Kurultai, the Pavilion of the Dragon Tribe

Fire Dragon Lord: “Who is it?”

Young Merchant: “Good afternoon, I apologise for the intrusion.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Who are you? Attendant, what are you doing?”

Attendant: “My Lady is the one who saw fit to introduce him to you.”

Young Merchant: “It is a pleasure to meet you.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…Fine. Who are you, Human?!”

Attendant: “H-human?! He’s a human?!”

Fire Dragon Lord: “You smell different.”

Young Merchant: “Very discerning, Your Excellency the Khan of Dragons. I am the Young Merchant. I am one who conducts an enterprise in the Human World.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “A what?”

Young Merchant: “I buy and sell merchandise.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Hmph, whatever. I’ve done my part by seeing you since you were introduced by my daughter. Now be gone.”

Young Merchant: “I will not.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “What are you saying? Is this how a human behaves?”

Young Merchant: “No, I do not wish to leave.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “I will turn you into ash.”

Young Merchant: “There was one whom you could not turn to ash, was there not?”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…”

Young Merchant: “Yes, that’s right. The Black Knight.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “You know of this?”

Young Merchant: “All of it.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Attendants!”

Attendant: “Yes!”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Leave us.”

Attendant: “As you will, my Lord!” Attendants leave.

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Who the hell are you? Wherefore have you come?”

Young Merchant: “Actually I have a contract. To a merchant, this is the highest responsibility, so I have come, bound by this contract.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…”

Young Merchant: “The terms of the contract state simply, ‘I will beat the Fire Dragon Lord black and blue.’ That’s how it is.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “How merchant-like. And will you?”

Young Merchant: “I cannot.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “So you give up… Not unlike that man.”

Young Merchant: “However, this is not a case which I can surrender.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Then prostrate and beg for forgiveness from the one who gave you the contract.”

Young Merchant: “No, no, I cannot do that either.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Why?”

Young Merchant: “If I am unable to uphold my end of the contract, the indignation I feel will more or less heal in time as I make amends for my mistakes. However, since I intend to uphold my contract, I do not think the indignation I feel if I fail will heal.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “You have a very big mouth.”

Young Merchant: “Hence, I have a request… would you lose to me?”

Fire Dragon Lord: “What are you saying? Have you gone insane? Hmph! I should turn you into ashes after all. Rest assured. In an instant, all that will be left are your charred remains.”

Young Merchant: “I will stop the salt.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Huh?”

Young Merchant: “At present, 90% of all salt which flows through the City of the Gate are in my hands. I have the ability to stop all of it.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…What?”

Young Merchant: “The Wealthy Demon Merchant is a fairly powerful member of the Tribe of Dragons, am I correct? The salt which he currently has a monopoly over is all mine. I assure you this is the truth.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Despicable.”

Young Merchant: “This time, I’m actually gambling with my life. I have to be despicable.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…Damn you.”

Young Merchant: “I understand that salt is a valuable commodity in these parts. Since the Dragon Tribe relies significantly on it, I am sure you do not wish for this to stop. In fact, in doing business with the Underground World, having the Dragon Tribe as my new business partner has been nothing but successful, and I hold deep respect for you.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “First you try to blackmail me, now you flatter me?”

Young Merchant: “I have something I wish for you to buy.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…What are you trying to sell?”

Young Merchant: “In truth, this is about the Isle of Light, which was taken by the Human Army last year. I have an agreement to rent the island as of now.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Rent?”

Young Merchant: “That’s right. I’m borrowing the island indefinitely. At present, we are upgrading the old facilities and creating Salt Pans across the island. I want you to buy this salt.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “You want me to buy it?”

Young Merchant: “That is correct.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “What are your terms?”

Young Merchant: “I believe I will be able to sell you a third of all the salt produced in these salt pans.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…You want me to get all my salt from you.”

Young Merchant: “I want to have preferential trading rights. We can decide on the price every year. However, when it comes to the price, we must both reach a consensus based on the market prices.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…”

Young Merchant: “I’m sure I do not need to tell you that this one-third will amount to all the salt that was sent to the Underground World from the Isle of Light when the Demons still controlled it. Please also consider the price involved in building the salt pans and harvesting the salt in the first place.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lord: “You drive a strong bargain.”

Young Merchant: “One must bargain strongly if one wants to reach any kind of deal.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Hmm… Salt is something my Tribe cannot do without. Without salt, many will even lose their lives.”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lord: “What do you want? My head? Merchant!”

Young Merchant: “…No.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…”

Young Merchant: “I just want you to lose to me.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…I’m sure you know, but that is something I hate.”

Young Merchant: “Of course. I’m a merchant. I’m sure you have not enjoyed the high-pressure negotiation we have just gone through. And of course, there’s the matter of personal pride.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Hmph. Where has chivalry gone to.”

Young Merchant: “No, I am only concerned with profit margins. This may be meaningless, but it is also highly profitable. In future, if you wish for the possibility of us being partners, I want to be able to work with you directly. Unless you would rather that we conduct negotiations through many intermediaries, separated by many walls…”

Fire Dragon Lord: “I said I can’t do it.”

Young Merchant: “Ahh—How troublesome. I’ll stop then. The ones who’d have an issue with this are those two anyway.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “?”

Young Merchant: “Right then. Here are the plans for the building of the salt pans on the Isle of Light, as well as information about the forecasted productivity, salt composition, import-export schedules, and cost estimations. All of these are enclosed in the proposal as well.

“…The Union will temporarily borrow the Isle of Light for 20 years, during which we will develop the salt pans and obtain permits to carry out our import business. By right, we should be drinking tea and discussing this over numerous sessions, but that’s a matter of pride for us merchants with our intuition and our abacuses, so I’ll spare you that exchange. I’ll tell it to you straight up. This venture is to be split between us.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Split…?”

Young Merchant: “That’s right. We would like for you to come up with some of the capital for this project. This project is likely to cost, in human terms, 3,000,000 gold pieces. If you look at it another way, in response to the amount of funding you are willing to provide, you will receive a suitable share of each year’s salt. Of course, you can choose how much you are willing to purchase from that amount.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “So I’m still buying salt in the end, right?”

Young Merchant: “It’s completely different.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…”

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

Explanation

Salt Pans: Structures which are built in order to extract salt from sea water. In principle, they consist of wide expanses of land onto which a thin layer of sea water is introduced. Under the heat of the sun, the water content evaporates, leaving highly-concentrated edible salt water. Outside of Japan, there are even salt pans which are intended to cause the salt to crystallize and form a crust of pure salt crystals.

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

 

Young Merchant: “This is a type of accord.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Accord…?”

Young Merchant: “With the existence of this contract, we, the organization known as the Union, agree to provide salt to the Tribe of the Dragons. If expand this project, the Tribe of the Dragons will gain not just salt, but the expansion of their trade networks for further prosperity. In the same way, as the Tribe of the Dragons grows stronger, and upholds your end of the agreement, we will gain business experience and a foothold in the market to raise our profits over time.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…”

Young Merchant: “I’m sure you understand. We intend to use the salt trade as an intermediary to give us both some insurance. In order to link our prosperity and our profits, our profits and your prosperity, I want to seal it with these new terms… in this contract.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “How can I believe you?”

Young Merchant: “All the information you need are in these reports. I have no qualms with you inspecting the grounds as well, and if you wish, I will be able to get a writ from the Wealthy Demon Merchant as further guarantee.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “…”

Young Merchant: “We want the Demon World to be our new market.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Market, eh?”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lord: “And my daughter will be your client?”

Young Merchant: “I’m afraid I cannot answer that.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Fine. I will consider your proposal.”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lord: “I understand your need for funding from us, but I do not hold any of your Human money. Will you accept gold bullion?”

Young Merchant: “Of course.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “So basically what you want me to do is offer you funding, without the exchange of goods and services, suspending the delivery of the goods, leaving me empty handed?”

Young Merchant: “Yes.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Provide me with a list of goods for which I can offer you export. Do you have any other points of contact besides the Wealthy Demon Merchant?”

Young Merchant: “I do not.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “—Don’t you want to monopolise the market?”

Young Merchant: “I have more than enough.”

Fire Dragon Lord: “I have lost… Convey that to my daughter.”

Young Merchant: “…”

Fire Dragon Lord: “Don’t make that face. Since I am making this long-term deposit, I wouldn’t want there to be any problems between the merchant and the client, right?”

Young Merchant: “Yes…”

Fire Dragon Lord: “I’m not sure if I have to apologise to the Black Knight now. Hahahahahaha!”

 

——— The Kurultai, the Pavilion of the Banshee Tribe

Banshee Attendant: “So, you intend to switch to the Ceasefire Faction?”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Yes.”

Banshee Attendant: “We are blessed with a decisive Witch-Queen.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “We Banshees live incredibly far away. Without a gate, we will have to traverse immense distances if we want to reach the Surface World. If we just watch the war take place from afar, we’ll reduce our casualties, though we won’t make any gains.”

Banshee Attendant: “So you have no intention to gain lands in the Human World?”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “It’s true that our people will profit from an increase in land, but protecting the borders of this new land may exact a greater toll on us.”

Banshee Attendant: “That is one way of looking at it.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Assuming we detour around the exclusive lands of the Demons of the Pale, we would have to cross through the territories of the Fiends and the Dragons to get all the way there. Without thinking of our methods, we wouldn’t be able to reap many benefits.

“At the very worst, we would send many soldiers to participate in this battle for Demonkind, but the only ones who reap the benefits are the Demons of the Pale and the Dragons, whose borders are closeby.”

Banshee Attendant: “The balance of power would really shift if that happened.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “To begin with, the present Demon King supports a ceasefire.”

Banshee Attendant: “Yeah, even though she hasn’t said anything explicitly about it yet.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “…Hmm.”

Banshee Attendant: “The Demon King is a real enigma.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “The previous Demon King was a very easy person to understand.”

Banshee Attendant: “Yeah.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “To begin with, this Demon King comes from some small Tribe which I’ve never even heard of. She hasn’t drawn on the armies of either our Tribe or any other Tribe, yet somehow she’s managed to create twenty years without war.”

Banshee Attendant: “It looks like her luck is running out?”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “According to the seer, she has a month.”

Banshee Attendant: “…Heh. Is it because of sickness or injury?”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “It’s hard to say.”

Banshee Attendant: “Well, she seems like the kind who would do something foolish.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “I don’t dislike a Demon King who is unreliable and uncertain… Though other people might not think that way.”

Banshee Attendant: “Well, she does give us a degree of autonomy.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “I know.”

Banshee Attendant: “So about this ceasefire.”

Witch-Queen of Banshees: “I’m counting on you to spread the word to the Khans of the Branch Tribes. Do up a written announcement for the magistrates.”

 

——– The Village of Wintering, the Mansion of the Demon King, the Kitchen

Little Sister Maid: “Are you alright?”

Elder Sister Maid: “I’m fine, I’m fine. Everyone’s worked really hard, so I’m counting on you to make something delicious for them.”

Little Sister Maid: “Yup! Next up is a bacon and asparagus pie along with some steamed kidney on a bed of watercress.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Do your best!”

Disciple Merchant: “Hey, what about us?”

Disciple Soldier: “I’m getting really hungry.”

Disciple Nobleman: “You guys are so inelegant.”

Disciple Merchant: “Even though you say that, you’re pretty weak too, right?”

Disciple Nobleman: “It was a cloudy day. It happens sometimes.”

Disciple Merchant: “So I heard somebody said something inspirational then went charging out with his weapons flying against the enemy?”

Disciple Nobleman: “I heard about that too. And now you’re the Minister for Defence. You’re the best out of all of us for sure.”

Disciple Soldier: “I’ve been cheated…”

Little Sister Maid: “Alright! It’s a new pie ♪”

Elder Sister Maid: “There’s wine too!”

Disciple Merchant: “Ohhh, thank you!”

Disciple Nobleman: “You two are as adorable as always.”

Disciple Soldier: “Can’t have a good meal without drink, right?”

Little Sister Maid: “Umm, Disciple Soldier? You saved us back there in the Kingdom of Metal, right? You were so cool.”

Elder Sister Maid: “You were really gallant!”

Disciple Merchant: “What’s this? Looks like we can’t compare with you.”

Disciple Nobleman: “That’s right, that’s right. I’m useless at saving damsels in distress, you must be really happy with yourself.”

Disciple Soldier: “It is the duty of a soldier to save people in need.”

Little Sister Maid: “They shouldn’t fight…”

Elder Sister Maid: “That’s right. Please don’t.”

Disciple Merchant: “No, no, this isn’t a fight, right?”

Disciple Nobleman: “This is just bickering between friends.”

Everybody eats.

Disciple Soldier: “I’ve been cheated…”

Disciple Merchant: “On another point, the Disciple Nobleman also…”

Disciple Nobleman: “?”

Disciple Merchant: “What’s this I heard about the Kingdom of the Lake and the Kingdom of Red Horses?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Well…”

Disciple Soldier: “I’ve heard about it too!”

Little Sister Maid: “What, what, what?”

Elder Sister Maid: “What were you talking about?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Nothing important, ladies.”

Disciple Soldier: “Hah! It’s a real big deal.”

Disciple Merchant: “There is a relative of the King of the Kingdom of the Lake, the country from which the Holy Order operates. Well, due to various factors, the family is a bit down on their luck, but she’s still a member of the royalty. At a tender sixteen years of age, her beautiful and refined features led to her being known as the Flower of the Lake.”

Disciple Soldier: “It’s a splendid story. That being said, this pie is delicious!” Nomnomnom.

Disciple Merchant: “Well, I heard this second-hand from a bard. If the story is true, this Princess residing in the Palace, on her travels, came to meet the Prince of Red Horses, who had then taken up vows as a monk. — In the bright halls of the Order, neither of the two recognised the other.”

Little Sister Maid: “Wow! It’s like a story!”

Disciple Merchant: “The two fell in love in a single day! But they did not reveal their names nor their identities, no matter how many trysts they had. As time went by, urgent news was received regarding an impending national crisis. It might have been the inflation, or the declaration of war. The Prince of Red Horses was called back urgently to his country, and the Princess had also left for her Palace in a hurry.”

Elder Sister Maid: “…Even royalty don’t always have the freedom to lead the lives they want to.”

Disciple Merchant: “Well, they do say it’s hard work to be a King.”

Disciple Soldier: “They were scammed into the job, just like me…”

Disciple Merchant: “They were truly lovers for whom the stars did not align. The Kingdom of the Lake had a custom of using its maidens as tools for making political marriages. The Prince of Red Horses also had to hurry to support his eldest brother in his gambit for the throne. No matter how you thought about it, the two were fated to part.”

Disciple Nobleman: “…Yeah.”

Disciple Merchant: “That’s where the Disciple Nobleman came in. He had a few drinks together with the Prince of Red Horses and helped the Prince beat off a few brigands. As the Prince’s friend, flying his banner, he participated in a few jousting matches and slowly eased his way into the Palace of the Lake, where the Princess lived. Now the Princess had long lived a cloistered life without much excitement, just staring out of the window. He quickly became a close confidante of the lonely Princess, who up to then, had no friends. He spent his time teaching her how to dance, and with preparation, in time, the Princess became the sterling example of what it meant to be a beautiful maiden.”

Little Sister Maid: “How cool!”

Disciple Merchant: “The two lovers were reunited at a ball. Without realising it, the Prince of Red Horses had fallen in love a second time during the group dance, when he danced with a lady so beautiful she made flowers fall in love with her.

“That night, as the two enamoured lovers wondered if they would not just elope away together, the Disciple Nobleman explained their romance to the King. For political considerations, and because he was touched by the story, the King commended their youthful love. And of course, the two were wed. —- Doesn’t this sound like a fairy tale?”

Elder Sister Maid: “What a beautiful story!”

Little Sister Maid: “Yeah! Yeah!”

Disciple Soldier: “And yet you say I’m the only one here who’s cool.”

Disciple Nobleman: “It’s not really that cool, is it? I’m just a supporting character in this story from head to tail.”

Disciple Merchant: “No, no, you were crucial.”

Disciple Soldier: “So you fought off a whole band of brigands?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Well, a few of them.”

Disciple Soldier: “And you’re useless at fighting…”

Little Sister Maid: “What?”

Disciple Nobleman: “It wasn’t such a splendid battle like the ones they sing about in the street corners. They were impoverished and broken mercenaries, but there weren’t a hundred of them. Actually, there were just fifteen, and they were all drunk out of their minds. Most of them were swiftly dispatched by the Prince as well. I suppose I did have a pretty interesting fight with their leader on horseback, though. I managed to take advantage of his carelessness to take him down but they accidentally started a fire as they were running away… Well, that’s what happened anyway.”

Little Sister Maid: “Is the Princess really as beautiful as they say?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Well… Yes. But she’s a lot more of a tomboy than the stories suggest. She’s really proficient with a Flail, and very brave as well. She’s also highly intelligent, and a very spirited individual. Working in the Order, she was decked out in some pretty ancient-looking costume, but the light from the moon reflecting against the surface of the lake made her look exceptionally beautiful and kind, even though she laughs like a child.”

Elder Sister Maid: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “Why does this guy…”

Little Sister Maid: “She sounds beautiful.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Oh don’t worry, you’re so cute right now. I’m sure in five or six years, you’ll be completely unable to stop the swarm of guys fumbling for your hand.”

Little Sister Maid: “Ehehehe ♪”

Disciple Merchant: “What a flatterer.”

Disciple Soldier: “So, you taught this girl how to dance, and you didn’t have any designs on her?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Hahahaha, no, no, not at all. To begin with, she already had a boy that she liked, right? That being the case, of course I had no place in her heart or anywhere. I merely taught her how to be gentler in her voice and the intricacies and etiquettes of court life, along with maybe one or two dances. Well… She was very determined about all of this. I just helped her, but really, her passion did most of the work. Umm, and she also had a smile as pretty as a flower. When she smiled at me, there was nothing I wasn’t willing to do to help her.”

Elder Sister Maid: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “How nice… I also want a pretty lady.”

Little Sister Maid: “Wow, you worked really hard! Here. Have another pie!”

Disciple Nobleman: “It would be my great order, milady.”

Disciple Merchant: “There will be many opportunities.”

Elder Sister Maid: “Yes.”

Disciple Soldier: “I hope so…”

Little Sister Maid: “Here, you can have this potato. You saved us after all!”

Disciple Soldier: “Why do I just get a stingy potato, I’m the reason you’re still alive.”

Elder Sister Maid: “It was also a splendid job.”

Disciple Nobleman: “And how is managing the tariffs and trade?”

Disciple Merchant: “Busy.”

Disciple Soldier: “I would expect so.”

 

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

Explanation

Flail: A tool used to remove the edible part of a grain from the inedible chaff that surrounds it. On the top of a long pole, a shorter pole is attached with chains. By waving the long pole, the shorter can be used to smash the grain, generating a significant amount of force with minimal effort. Using the same shape, a deadly weapon can also be made for war.

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

 

Disciple Nobleman: “Well, that’s work for you.”

Disciple Merchant: “It’s stressful… Well thankfully, the potato harvest has increased from last quarter. The results of the census are really starting to show.”

Disciple Soldier: “I wonder if we can use what you guys are doing here in the Kingdom of Metal.”

Disciple Merchant: “Things like censuses should be conducted as early as possible.”

Disciple Nobleman: “On our end, we’ve constructed two more paper mills.”

Disciple Merchant: “That’s great! Replacing vellum with paper has really made everything cheaper and more convenient. It’s quite wonderful.”

Disciple Soldier: “Do we really have to do so much work?”

Disciple Merchant: “Making records is very important. Recording, archiving, and referencing are crucial to the accumulation of experiences. You can really learn a lot from things that have happened in the past.”

Disciple Soldier: “Yeah, but if you keep records to such an extent, then you have to use formal and convoluted language. It’s so troublesome…”

Disciple Merchant: “Well I can understand how that could be painful… That being said, the Lone Winter King rose to the throne at a very young age and somehow appointed me as his minister. He’s more or less given me a free rein over things, and the older officials aren’t really complaining, so I’ve been really doing things the way I want to.”

Disciple Nobleman: “To do things in an elegant way, you’ve got to learn to make connections and build relationships. Gentlemen… Wouldn’t you say that’s the language of diplomacy?”

Disciple Soldier: “True, true.”

Disciple Merchant: “Right, so what about you two sisters?”

Little Sister Maid: “Umm…”

Elder Sister Maid: “Sorry?”

Disciple Soldier: “What about the two of you?”

Little Sister Maid: “?”

Elder Sister Maid: “Do you mean…”

Disciple Merchant: “Hey, hey, didn’t we have the same teacher?”

Elder Sister Maid: “Yes but we didn’t have lessons in these sorts of things.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Learning doesn’t just come from formal lessons. Surely not everything you know comes from what you’ve been taught.”

Disciple Soldier: “If you just relied on lessons, you wouldn’t even know how to shit from your ass. That’s scary. That’s really scary.”

Little Sister Maid: “Well, I learnt forty different recipes last year! Everyone says they’re delicious!”

Disciple Nobleman: “That’s amazing. I look forward to tasting your passionate cooking in the Palace from now on.”

Disciple Soldier: “Definitely! You should come and learn how to make some dishes to go with the beer they serve in the pubs in the Kingdom of Metal.”

Disciple Merchant: “Yep, yep, we’ll be sure to recommend you to everyone we know!”

Elder Sister Maid: “I…”

Disciple Nobleman: “?”

Elder Sister Maid: “I haven’t really done anything…”

Disciple Merchant: “Now, now, don’t say that.”

Disciple Nobleman: “We all know that you were the one who made that speech everyone thought was made by the Scholar.”

Disciple Soldier: “That’s right.”

Elder Sister Maid: “But I didn’t really do anything for that. In fact, I caused more trouble for everyone and even started a war. It wasn’t the right thing to do. It was a huge mistake… I’ve been regretting that decision constantly ever since…”

Disciple Merchant: “But look at the result.”

Elder Sister Maid: “…”

Disciple Nobleman: “We consider you to be our little sisters, so don’t worry. I think you’ll be capable of great and wonderful things once you become more confident of yourself.”

 

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

TL Explanation

Little Sisters: In East Asian culture, a strong bond exists between those who have had the same master or teacher. In many ways, the brotherly/sisterly bonds which exist between two disciples may be even stronger than those between real, blood siblings.

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

 

Disciple Soldier: “It was a very brave thing to do.”

Disciple Merchant: “You might have messed up some plans, but the injustice of the world might have been buried forever without you, wouldn’t it?”

Disciple Nobleman: “…”

Disciple Soldier nods.

Disciple Merchant: “Yeah.”

Little Sister Maid: “?”

Disciple Merchant: “Well, there’s still time!”

Elder Sister Maid: “…”

Disciple Nobleman: “We’ve got other things to talk about today.”

Disciple Soldier: “That’s right!”

Disciple Merchant: “I thought she would at least inform us, but her sudden disappearance has left me quite speechless.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Damn. And I really went out of the way too.”

Disciple Soldier: “I think I’ve got the most to complain about.”

Disciple Merchant: “The one who should be saddest is me. She got me to come up with almost 50,000 gold pieces worth of various precious stones and jewels. It’s so saddening, I want to cry.”

Disciple Nobleman: “I went throughout the lands procuring twenty different soil samples. Making a nobleman like myself dig around in the soils throughout the world… She’s a very mean person.”

Disciple Soldier: “She got me to bring a whole caravan of metal ores of different purities. I had to pay for it out of my own pocket…”

Elder Sister Maid: “Oh yeah, I heard about that.”

Disciple Merchant: “Do you think we could leave the goods here?”

Elder Sister Maid: “Yes, I will make arrangements to receive them from you later.”

Disciple Merchant: “Just what is she doing?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Well, no one has ever been able to accurately predict just what goes through that genius mind of hers.”

Disciple Soldier: “She’s the kind of person who would invent a machine to shoot down the moon from the bottom of a well.”

Little Sister Maid: “It sure would be great if the Mistress would come back for dinner with everyone!”

 

< Chapter 8                                                                                                                                Chapter 10 >

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7 thoughts on “Volume 2 Chapter 9

  1. Oh, dear me. There’s such a rich variety of text. I may be imagining this of course, but chapter 9 seems explicitly more hmm, how should i put it, exposishiony than others.

    In any case let’s start with the lol moments:
    1.
    The Hero: “Wike I said, nothwing hwappened……” @this right here was pure awesome. Please note that we have an authentic record of the hero losing, and sobbing. Priceless is the only word i can use to describe two females beating the quote, unquote “savior of humanity”. 😀

    Damn these skirt chasing heroes. Who knows what foul beauties will tempt him in the future. Calling it now. Somehow, the witch banshee queen becomes next in line for the harem.

    2.
    Butler: “Karate?”
    Demon Traveller: “No, Kurultai. It’s the Kurultai.”

    I think you took a more liberal approach with this translation and it was an excellent success. Definitely made me snicker. Ero-butler seems to be good with teleporting and going between worlds playing james bond’s gran dad.
    I bet i’m gonna see him nosebleed when he finds his targeted “demon king” in a skimpy outfit 😀

    3. The final and most ironically amusing line of them all…

    Lone Winter King: “I’ve been thinking recently…… What kind of Demon…… What kind of ->manYou drive a hard bargain. @Don’t you think that latter one sounds better? I assume it’s more a thing of taste so w/e, just thought i’d share my thoughts.

    —–Also a little later on we have this exchange.

    Fire Dragon Lord: “Market, eh?”

    Young Merchant: “……”

    Attendant: “And my daughter will be your client?”

    Young Merchant: “I’m afraid I cannot answer that.”

    Fire Dragon Lord: “Fine. I will consider your proposal.”

    @I’m relatively positive that the person asking about his daughter was the fire dragon lord.

    ———-

    As always 10/10, exceptional read. +Bonus on the young hero “deflowering” the mecha babes. The sly bastard did it without even doing it:P

  2. Oh dear. i think i misspelled a little.
    I was referring to the conversation between the young merchant and the fire dragon lord

    Fire Dragon Lord: “You drive a strong bargain.”
    I
    you drive a hard bargain

    I lost my text in between it seems. Anyway the latter version sounds better to me. Sorry for the hiccup.

    • Indeed. I was hoping the soldier’s son would get some tips being a minister from the merchant’s son. He really got double crossed with that one 😀

  3. GREAT CHAPTER!!!!!
    After nearly 20 days of hiatus, this chapter rocked. My favourite parts in the chapter:- the hero sobbing from the demon king and chief maid’s onslaught and the soldier’s son complaining that he had been scammed(too true)!!!!

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