Volume 4 Chapter 1

Volume 4 Chapter 1, “The Rainbow is Dipping.”

 

—– The Kingdom of Metal, the Palace, in a Heated Room

The Lone Winter King: “—After that, how are the people?”

Marshal of Metal: “Yes. Right now… Maybe it’s because of the celebratory mood, but there doesn’t seem to be too many hard feelings about the end of the battle.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “Good.”

The Iron Fist King: “Is that so.”

The Lone Winter King: “To the people, we have managed to protect the land.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “Though the pain and anguish incurred is terrible.”

The Iron Fist King: “The pain is one thing, but our integrity is another.”

The Lone Winter King: “That’s right. The number of soldiers the Crusaders from the Central Continent can field is far above our expectations. If we incurred even the same number of sacrifices, the pain would be too great for us to even sustain our society.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “All we can do is try to reconstruct.”

The Iron Fist King: “It’s people. Whether it’s battle or reconstruction, it all rests on the numbers. Without people, we can’t start to do anything.”

The Lone Winter King: “We are now in a limited-scale war, so the number of casualties…”

The Iron Fist King: “There are approximately 3,500. —To break it down further, the Kingdom of Metal and the Kingdom of Winter have lost roughly 1,500 apiece.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “I apologise for the burden we have placed on you.”

The Iron Fist King: “You will bear the burden in other ways, and this is the land of the Kingdom of Metal after all.”

The Lone Winter King: “We will ship food from our lands first. The families of the casualties must also be cared for. With the change of seasons, we should also plan for the export of charcoal.”

The Iron Fist King: “—More importantly…”

The Lone Winter King: “Mmm.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “The Holy Crusaders still control the Kingdom of White Night.”

The Iron Fist King: “That’s…”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “According to my hand — a courtier of mine known as the Disciple Nobleman has submitted a report. The Crusaders are regrouping and conducting exercises.”

The Iron Fist King: “Damn…”

The Lone Winter King: “We have to be prepared for the possibility of another attack.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “Or we could take to the sea.”

The Iron Fist King: “Hmm…”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “They must have brought quite a bit to attack the Southern Alliance. If another conflict breaks out along the border between the Kingdom of White Night and the Kingdom of Metal, that would leave the Central Continent as a completely exposed and defenceless trap.”

The Iron Fist King: “But can’t we wait for these Crusaders to disband?”

The Lone Winter King: “No, we can’t. Our reports indicate that this Expedition was put together with the direct sanction of the Primarch himself. As a result, disbanding it before it has achieved its goals would send a terrible message from the Holy Church. The Crusaders have no way of giving up without achieving their goals.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “In that case…”

The Iron Fist King: “It’s a stalemate.”

The Lone Winter King: “That is a blessing. We need time.”

The Iron Fist King: “To heal the wounds of war.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “It’s not just that. — Please remember the conversation we had with the envoy of the Demon World. We have to make a decision as soon as possible. For that purpose, Iron Fist King, you too…”

The Iron Fist King: “I understand! But I still remember what it was like to fight those Demons. As the King, I will have to swallow my reservations in the name of peace for my people!”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “…”

The Lone Winter King: “Do you mean to say some of the punitive force sent to attack the Demons of the Pale are still here?”

The Iron Fist King: “Yeah.”

The Lone Winter King: “…Hmm.”

The Iron Fist King: “I will go and confirm just how things are. Everything else will follow.”

The Queen of Ice and Snow: “Yeah… We’ll be counting on you then, Iron Fist King.”

The Iron Fist King: “Hmm. — An unclouded heart makes the best decision, does it not? I understand.”

 

——– The Kingdom of the Lake, the City of the Lake, Field Headquarters of the Union

Union Employee: “A message! The Southern Kingdoms have come under surprise attack from the Holy Crusaders of the Central Continent!”

Female Union Employee: “!”

Branch Chief: “…We were late.”

Union Employee: “Yes.”

Female Union Employee: “We couldn’t make it in time…”

Branch Chief: “We didn’t manage the crackdown on the supply of metal in time. They were able to coordinate their logistics in absolute silence, I fear they may have planned this much further in advance than we thought… If it wasn’t for that, it would have been far too strange that there was no reaction from them despite the wavering of the metal prices.”

Union Employee: “That means we couldn’t affect their production of armaments.”

Female Union Employee: “At this rate, we’ve suffered terrible economic wounds. Shouldn’t we be looking for an opening to retreat?”

Branch Chief: “…”

Union Employee: “I am sorry. We should have gained a practical grasp of things earlier.”

Branch Chief: “No. This was an issue of intelligence from the very beginning. It seems that there are still many spheres of the economy which are beyond our intelligence and understanding.”

Door opens.

Young Merchant: “…My, my. You are all still here.”

Union Employee: “Councillor!”

Branch Chief: “When did you return?”

Young Merchant: “Only just. I had to leave the City of the Gate.”

The Mage: “…”

Union Employee: “Umm, this is?”

Young Merchant: “Oh right. Please bring lots of food and some sweets.”

The Mage: “…” Smiles.

Young Merchant: “Right… Situation report.”

Union Employee: “We’ve only just received a report that the Southern United Kingdoms have come under attack from the Crusaders of the Central Continent… They are using some new weaponry from the Central Continent.”

Young Merchant: “Would that be muskets?”

The Mage: “…Yeah.”

Young Merchant: “Do you have a better understanding by any chance?”

The Mage: “…At first, the Southern United Kingdoms were engaged in battle against the Tribe of the Demons of the Pale which was controlling the Kingdom of White Night. The Female Paladin, acting as the Supreme Commander, assembled 7,000 men on the border of the Kingdoms of Metal and White Night. The Tribe of the Pale met them on the field with 20,000 soldiers and the battle continued for a day. However, both sides were suddenly faced with a strong assault by approximately 40,000 Holy Crusaders from the rear… Their main targets were the Demons of the Pale, but they did not make a distinction during the attack. The bulk of the force was comprised of fresh recruits armed with muskets. A contingent under the Female Paladin had prepared a fire attack across the marshlands, and they used this to retreat from the Plains of Scilla. The Holy Crusaders were also prevented from advancing by this sea of fire, and they moved to seize the Kingdom of White Night from the Demons of the Pale. Having swept the city, they garrisoned there.

…At present, even though the military situation is tense, there is a semblance of ceasefire. Moreover, the 20,000 strong Tribe of the Pale force has been completely exterminated. The Southern United Kingdoms have lost roughly 3,000 while the Holy Crusaders have lost 6,000. However, if one were to consider the attrition rate, then the Southern United Kingdoms have lost 30% of participating forces and 12% of the entire armed forces; the Holy Crusaders have lost 15% of participating forces but losses for the entire armed forces do not exceed 3%.”

Young Merchant: “In that case, the Holy Crusaders…”

The Mage: “Moreover, there are more than 20,000 additional soldiers being trained to arrive as reinforcements.”

Young Merchant: “The Southern United Kingdoms are at the verge of extinction…”

The Mage: “That would be a premature judgment. There are two reasons. Firstly, the Holy Crusaders seem to have set the priority at attacking the Demon World rather than attacking the Southern United Kingdoms.”

Young Merchant: “Hmm… It’s true that the general polemic of the Church and the mandate of the Crusaders have been directed at this, but…I don’t believe they would just allow the Southern United Kingdoms to exist.”

The Mage: “…This is just an inference, but I believe the Holy Crusaders can exterminate the Southern Kingdoms with just a third of their massive army. In other words, they would easily be able to enact strategies like pincer attacks.”

Union Employee: “With 20,000 soldiers, there are such possibilities…”

Young Merchant: “And the next point is?”

The Mage: “Right after the start of the war, the Southern Tripartite Economic Union gave up on that name. With the addition of the Kingdom of the Lake, the Kingdom of Elm, the Kingdom of Reeds, the Kingdom of Red Horses, and seven Free Trading Cities, they have founded the Southern Alliance.”

Branch Chief: “Finally, eh?”

Young Merchant: “With the present timing, there are other considerations outside of this. The way it is… 20,000 soldiers is definitely an impressive force for the Church to muster, but mobilising such a large force will probably result in the weakening of the national forces in each of the Kingdoms. Of course, it’s not like the countries under the Holy Church of Light are willing to fight as a cohesive force. To begin with, even if they wanted to fight, the bulk of their fighting forces, having been dispatched on the Crusades, would be incapable of mounting a strong self-defence. With this many troops out of the Central Continent, the establishment of the Southern Alliance is sure to shake up the balance.”

Female Union Employee: “Right now, in the event that the Holy Crusaders were to launch an attack on the Southern Alliance, a country closer to the Central Continent — for example, the Kingdom of the Lake or the Kingdom of Elm — might respond by launching a retaliatory attack on the less guarded kingdoms of the Central Continent. Even though the peasants form the core of the Crusader armies, their military support and coordination is definitely being controlled by the nobility. They would definitely not be able to stand by and allow that to happen.”

Branch Chief: “It’s really a hostage taking situation on both sides…”

Union Employee: “That’s right. The Crusaders can use their massive military might to take the central portion of the Southern Alliance hostage. And in response, the newly expanded allies of the Southern Alliance can also take the undefended portions of the Central Continent hostage.”

Young Merchant: “That’s not it all of it, though… This is where it gets complicated.”

Female Union Employee: “?”

Young Merchant: “Both sides are actually in remarkably similar situations. On one hand, you have the Southern Alliance, which wields its promise of freedom for the people as its weapon; hence they cannot afford to lose the trust that has been placed in them. On the other hand, you have the Central Continent, which wields the muskets of the people as its own weapon; they, in turn, cannot afford to have these muskets suddenly turned upon them… Both are in very difficult straits. Notwithstanding the efforts of the Union, the Demon Council, the Demon World…”

Union Employee: “…There is a chance of victory then?”

Young Merchant: “I cannot guarantee it. But if it were merely a contest of might, then there would be no room for intelligence to take the field. If situations weren’t complicated, the merchants would not be able to capitalise on situations like we do. Because of this, we cannot abandon chance. On a board with many players, chaos is king, and that is the optimum battleground for us merchants.”

Union Employee: “But right now the military strike has been…”

Young Merchant: “Yes, I know it has started. But it’s still too early to say it has been decided. If the opposing side does not have specialised staff, then we may have a strong chance yet.”

Union Employee: “Specialised…”

Young Merchant: “Logistics… What do we know about the Central Continent’s secret musketsmiths?”

Union Employee: “Yes, they belong to the Kingdom of Metal. There are three locations in total.”

Young Merchant: “Very good. Branch Chief, please move onto these three locations to prepare—”

Branch Chief: “Move?”

Young Merchant: “Inns and brothels… I want ears and eyes on the ground.”

Branch Chief: “Understood.”

Young Merchant: “Please get me intelligence on how many muskets the Crusaders have with them. No matter how well stocked they are, it would be ridiculous to think they would be able to procure 20,000 muskets for their 20,000 soldiers. Moreover, muskets are complex machines. They are prone to accidents and require a lot of materials in preparation. And they need gunpowder, don’t they?”

The Mage: “…Yes. It is a crucial requirement.”

Union Employee: “In other words, we can assume that a significant quantity of saltpetre would have had to be acquired by the Holy Empire… Their muskets have already been prepared, so applying any further pressure on their supply chain can’t possibly have much effect, can it?”

Young Merchant: “No, there is an effect. Our enemies are the Kingdoms of the Central Continent. The enormity of it is in the weaponry, but it has its weaknesses. Any sort of necrosis along the chain can lead to a significant time lag.”

Union Employee: “Eh?”

Young Merchant: “Think about the itemisation of the production process of metal products. That’s where we’re going to strike.”

Union Employee: “…The production cost? But the leftover production cost will compose largely of labour costs. At present, the intensive factories and manufactories house all the craftsmen in private, and we would be hard-pressed to offer a better pitch under these circumstances.”

Young Merchant: “It’s not just about the production costs.”

Branch Chief: “I see!” Claps.

Young Merchant: “Yes, I’m talking about charcoal. In order to forge metal, you need double or even triple the amount of charcoal. And why wouldn’t they be able to use coal?”

Branch Chief: “We’ve already suppressed their supply of that.”

Young Merchant: “The wind is blowing in the right direction. The country that produces the majority of the charcoal for the Holy Empire, the Kingdom of Elm, has already joined the Southern Alliance. In this case, controlling the supply of charcoal would not be a difficult thing to do.”

Female Union Employee: “What about the capital involved?”

Young Merchant: “We’ll get it from the Central Continent. There are 200,000 people moving towards the Kingdom of White Night, these people need food to eat. All of this food needs to be shipped by the sea. We’ll profit from importing the food through the Free Cities and then distributing it to the ports of the Kingdom of White Night.”

Union Employee: “Understood! I’ll make the arrangements.”

Young Merchant: “Please begin.”

Female Union Employee: “Yeah.”

Branch Chief: “Got it.” Runs off.

Young Merchant: “Hmm… Will we make it in time?”

The Mage: “…Is it over?”

Young Merchant: “Yeah, somehow.”

The Mage: “…”

Young Merchant: “Hungry?”

The Mage nods.

Young Merchant: “Understood. I’ll go prepare something. Without your help, we would definitely have been too late. You really are the Mage of legend.”

The Mage: “…The present circumstance is a gift for that child.”

Young Merchant: “That child?”

The Mage: “That girl who could not be of the Tribe of the Library. That mere human.”

Young Merchant: “—”

The Mage: “…Nothing.”

Young Merchant: “I see.”

The Mage: “Why do you seek to end the conflict?”

Young Merchant: “For profit.”

The Mage raises her eyebrow.

Young Merchant: “The world that we live in is a place for us to make our profits. If we were allowed to just destroy it as we see fit, it would be very troublesome.”

The Mage: “…How individualistic.”

Young Merchant: “I am a merchant.”

The Mage: “…I feel the same way.”

Young Merchant: “Sorry?”

The Mage: “Nothing.”

Young Merchant: “But teleportation magic… I’m sure that would be really useful for many things.”

The Mage: “…Will you go back?”

Young Merchant: “No, I think I should stay here to direct the efforts for a while.”

The Mage: “…”

Young Merchant: “The City of the Gate? There’s a certain Lady over there, a high ranking personage. Someone who is willing to get lied to for her ends. I must factor her into my calculations.”

The Mage: “…As a lover?”

Young Merchant: “Please… Nothing of the sort. A merchant partnership is a far more sacred thing.”

 

——— The Kingdom of Winter, the Winter Palace, the Room of Accounts

Disciple Merchant: “Aghh!”

Throws papers around.

Disciple Merchant: “What’s going on! This has to be the evil machinations of some terrible party… Because of this war, the food situation has gotten really troublesome… Agh, it’s tough to be an official. It’s really terrible. I give up. I give up.”

Assistant: “Disciple Merchant, sir!”

Disciple Merchant: “We’ve come to an impasse, eh… On the one hand, we have to create avenues for remittances, replenish our depleted stockpiles, issue and enforce the trade permits… We have a whole lot of things needed to be done.”

Assistant: “Disciple Merchant, sir!”

Disciple Merchant: “Agh, what…”

Assistant: “Disciple Merchant, sir!”

Disciple Merchant: “It’s all piling up, how despicable.”

Assistant: “Disciple Merchant, sir!”

Disciple Merchant: “Oh. What is it, you doggie?”

Assistant: “I’m not a doggie!”

Disciple Merchant: “You’re shaking your little tail, aren’t you?”

Assistant: “What? — What are you talking about?!”

Disciple Merchant: “Well, what is it?”

Assistant: “That’s right.”

Disciple Merchant: “?”

Assistant: “I’ve solved your assignment!”

Disciple Merchant: “Assignment?”

Assistant: “The cheese!”

Disciple Merchant: “What about it?”

Assistant: “You asked me to consider how it would be possible to stabilise the price of cheese and provide it to the market at an affordable price range!”

Disciple Merchant: “Ohhh. That assignment. Sorry, there were too many issues with the Crusaders, I forgot all about such tiny details.”

Assistant: “How cruel! You’re just bullying me!”

Disciple Merchant: “Well, don’t say that. It’s almost time for tea anyway.”

Assistant: “I’ve already prepared it.”

Disciple Merchant: “Alright, let’s discuss this over tea.”

Assistant: “Yes!”

Sits down.

Assistant: “Firstly, I’ve looked into the production process for cheese.”

Disciple Merchant: “Very good, one must begin from the basics.”

Assistant: “To say it simply, cheese is a dairy product. Cheese is warmed, churned, and then fermenting agents are added. This fermenting agent is basically made from the Thistle* flower. After that, the water content is pressed out once it has hardened. While adding heat and pressing out the water, the cheese is squeezed into a container to form the raw product. However, the product we are able to consume just begins at this stage, this raw cheese must be placed in brine; after this, the product is not finished until the taste is adjusted and the cheese is stored and matured in a cold and dark environment for a period ranging from many months to a few years… It takes time, but that’s how it’s done.”

Disciple Merchant: “What a troublesome process.”

Assistant: “It is! But it’s delicious. I’ve tasted a lot of it during my research.”

Disciple Merchant: “What a cheeky fellow!”

Assistant: “Hahaha.”

Disciple Merchant: “Well, looks like you’ve got the fundamentals down. What have you thought of next?”

Assistant: “Well, the first thing I thought of is that the quantity of product decreases remarkably during the transition from milk to cheese.”

Disciple Merchant: “Hmm… Well, but that’s to be expected, right? You have to squeeze out the water content, after all.”

Assistant: “Yes, that’s true, but just how much needs to be lost? I’ve gone and asked around, and it seems that if you prepared 10 pots of milk, you would only get 1 pot of cheese.”

Disciple Merchant: “One out of ten.”

Assistant: “But on the market, cheese fetches 30 times the price of milk at the same price. So a 10% reduction in final output is still profitable.”

Disciple Merchant: “Hmm, so in other words, the rest of it is comprised of labour costs, other materials, and transportation costs.”

Assistant: “Umm, there’s that, but a large part of it is spent on the maturation.”

Disciple Merchant: “Maturation…”

Assistant: “In other words, the cheese needs to mature in a cool and dark environment, right? From a farmer’s point of view, it is not possible to move the product immediately. In fact, it takes at least half a month to two years to make any profit. By that time, I’m not even sure if there even really is a net profit.”

Disciple Merchant: “Why not? Once he sells it, he still makes profit, doesn’t he?”

Assistant: “Well, because maturation takes time, you have to be especially careful that it doesn’t rot. Moreover, you can never be certain how the price of cheese will fluctuate in this time. And since people only make cheese because they want to sell it at a higher price, you will never find a cheesemaker willing to sell cheese at an affordable price… And that’s why they don’t produce enough cheese.”

Disciple Merchant: “Hmm.”

Assistant: “There are also those who produce enough cheese for their family and then sell the rest if there are any leftovers. That also means that not much is sold and the price is high.”

Disciple Merchant: “Very well researched.”

Assistant: “Ehehehe. Well, producing cheese is like… Umm… Like playing the lottery. So people aren’t certain of being able to profit from it.”

Disciple Merchant: “And so?”

Assistant: “And so, this is what I’ve thoughtof.”

Unfolds paper.

 

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

Explanation

Thistle: Cheese is produced through the coagulation of milk proteins obtained from animals. For this to be achieved, the enzyme needs to be added. In Europe, this rennet is usually obtained from the mulch in the stomachs of young sheep and mountain goats. However, there are forms of vegetable rennet such as from fig juice, artichokes (Korean thistle) and thistle. This is especially widespread in the Iberian Peninsula throughout Spain and Portugal.

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

 

Assistant: “It’s all written down here, but…”

Disciple Merchant: “This is basically a storage unit?”

Assistant: “Yes… Umm, umm. Basically, we allow farmers to sell raw cheese for which salt has already been added to, but this will not yet have been allowed to mature at 60% of the sale price. In this way, people who want to produce cheese can obtain disposable capital within a few weeks of the milking, right?”

Disciple Merchant: “Indeed.”

Assistant: “The people who run this storage facility can maintain the necessary conditions and remove the cheese for sale at the preordained time. In this way, the storeowner of the storage facility would always have cheese ready for sale and would not require any expertise or tools to create it. In other words, they would just be taking care of the cheese.”

Disciple Merchant: “But if the cheese were to get infested or rotten during that time, it would be completely useless, wouldn’t it?”

Assistant: “Yes. And that’s why we buy it at 60% of the price. The remaining 40% is not really for us to gain profit, but rather to cover any accidents or…”

Disciple Merchant: “Risks?”

Assistant: “That’s the word. It covers our risks. The key is in numbers. In other words, if we build our storage facilities in many areas, the cheese can be kept in many areas as well, and that will lower our risk. It’s probable for any given unit of cheese to go bad or to turn out well and become delicious, right? For a small farming household, if a unit of cheese were to go bad, that could represent a significant portion of his income and he would not even have any milk to sell to replace it. However, even if 20% of all our cheese went bad, as long as the rest is fine, there would be no issue. That’s why, umm… If we bought the raw cheese at a price between that of milk and cheese, we would be able to balance out the losses that we could incur… Umm, did I say something strange?”

Disciple Merchant: “No, no, please continue.”

Assistant: “This price that we’ve been referring to is preliminarily set at 60%, but depending on the market price and any other impinging factors, it’s just an approximation. If the cheese has a high failure rate, then we will have to adjust the price further downwards. But if it has a high success rate, we can adjust it upwards, right? Umm, this…”

Disciple Merchant: “I see — What you’ve just come up with is a form of hedging. You envision what the success rate will be and stabilise our earnings based on that.”

Assistant: “Yes! The farming household now doesn’t have to worry about saving lots of money because they only need to worry about producing the first stage of the product, and so we can have entire farming communities devoted to cheese production!”

Disciple Merchant: “Is that so?”

Assistant: “But there’s more. At present, the price one can fetch from cheese is not so much dependent on the techniques of the farm or the deliciousness of the cheese, but rather on how much or how little cheese is produced. This is because it’s hard to differentiate good cheese by sight.”

Disciple Merchant: “I see, and what can you do?”

Assistant: “Well, in order to ensure good flavour, we can create a seal to be given to good cheese to certify their quality. Producers will then have to work hard if they want to maintain these standards, right?”

Disciple Merchant: “That’s not a bad idea.”

Assistant: “Hehehehe.”

Disciple Merchant: (I’m surprised by his practical ability. There are lots of holes in this plan, but he was able to combine risk-reduction with the division of labour. It’s worth a shot. He really has grown…)

Assistant: “What do you think?”

Disciple Merchant: “You’re really getting better!”

Assistant: “Am I? Am I? Is that a compliment!”

Disciple Merchant: “I’ll save my praise for the next assignment.”

Assistant: “…”

Disciple Merchant: “It’s a tough one… Boots.”

 

——– The Village of Wintering, the Manor of the Demon King, the Dining Room

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “…Demon King, salt.”

The Demon King: “Got it.”

The Hero: “…”

The Demon King: “Hey, Hero.”

The Hero: “What?”

The Demon King: “Why are we doing this?”

The Hero: “Well… The Demons of the Pale are retreating, so it’s a good time as any to go back home for a bit.”

The Demon King: “That’s not what I’m talking about. Why are we eating this?”

The Hero: “We don’t have anything else to eat.”

The Demon King: “What did we have last night?”

The Hero: “Boiled potatoes with salt?”

The Demon King: “And the night before?”

The Hero: “Boiled potatoes with salt.”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “…”

The Demon King: “How did it come to this!”

The Hero: “We don’t have a choice! The Chief Maid was sent to be an envoy to the Council of the City of the Gate and the Little Sister Maid is on a learning trip to the Kingdom of Winter.”

The Demon King: “So we can only have boiled potatoes for three meals?”

The Hero: “But you made this, didn’t you?”

The Demon King: “I can’t really make anything else.”

The Hero: “Then we should just eat it.”

The Demon King: “When you made lunch you made the same thing too.”

The Hero: “That’s the only thing I can make, so I’ve got no choice either.”

The Demon King: “…We lose.”

The Hero: “…Sorry?”

The Demon King: “At this rate, we’re going to lose. For sure. The Demon World will be exterminated.”

The Hero: “What are you saying?”

The Demon King: “I have a premonition.”

The Hero: “…Whoa, that’s a really dark expression.”

The Demon King: “That’s right.”

The Hero: “What?”

The Demon King: “We’ve got some jam, right? Let’s put some on the potatoes so it’ll be sweeter.”

The Hero: “Say so earlier!”

Bonk. Spreads jam.

The Demon King: “…We will lose. The Demon World will be wiped out. Hero, I cannot go on any longer. And like this, 3,000 years will pass.”

The Hero: “That escalated quickly.”

The Demon King: “Throw all the books aside, let’s go to town.”

The Hero: “What?”

The Demon King: “I’m going to town! I can’t take it anymore! This meal is destroying my body and my brain! I’m the Demon King after all!”

The Hero: “Where to?”

The Demon King: “Let’s go somewhere right and proper.”

The Hero: “But you don’t know where.”

The Demon King: “Let’s just go somewhere, Hero!”

The Hero: “That was completely unhelpful… Ahh, there’s no choice.”

 

———- The South of the Kingdom of Metal, the Forests

Lieutenant of Metal: “Just up ahead.”

Scout: “Yes.”

The Iron Fist King: “…Hmph.”

Disciple Soldier: “Your Majesty, you appear to be bearing a difficult face.”

Lieutenant of Metal: “Indeed.”

The Iron Fist King: “…I was born with this face.”

Grass rustling.

Lieutenant of Metal: “Who goes!”

Herald of the Gate: “I am a herald of the Tribe of the Gate. Are you of the Kingdom of Metal?”

Disciple Soldier: “Yes, we are.”

Herald of the Gate: “We are now in contact, please come this way.”

Lieutenant of Metal: “…What a lively soldier.”

The Iron Fist King: “Hmph.”

Lieutenant of Metal: “Now, now, don’t make that face. — If you smile more, you’ll look like a kindly grandfather.”

The Iron Fist King: “What?”

Lieutenant of Metal: “Nothing at all.”

Herald of the Gate: “We are currently leasing this valley. Thank you for the friendship and assistance of the Kingdom of Metal on the battlefield.”

The Iron Fist King: “Hmph.”

Leaves rustling.

Herald of the Gate: “May I introduce the King of the Kingdom of Metal.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Good work.”

Disciple Soldier: “Hmm.”

Lieutenant of Metal: (A man with an air of gravitas…)

The East Fortress Base Commander: “There are many courtesies I ought to extend to you, but perhaps we should adjourn to the pavilion.”

 

———- The South of the Kingdom of Metal, the Forests, the Pavilion of the Tribe of the Fang

Flap.

Lieutenant of Metal: (Hmm…)

The East Fortress Base Commander: “This way, please… Ahh. I apologise, I have forgotten my manners. Hey, bring something to drink.”

Warrior of the Fang: “Yes.”

Disciple Soldier: “Now, please be at ease. We are all military personnel, there are many formalities we would all be glad to dispense with.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “That would be a great relief. I am a brusque and impolite person, and I hope you will be able to pardon my words. I am the East Fortress Base Commander. Originally, I was one of the mercenaries involved in the Second Holy Crusade, but after that, I served for a long time as one of the garrison fortress commanders in the City of the Gate. Thanks to some very strange vicissitudes of fate, I have somehow ended up in the Council of the City of the Gate, and I am presently the Khan of one of the Nine Great Tribes of the Demon World: the Tribe of the Gate. In this present war with the Demons of the Pale, I serve as the General of the Left.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “I am the Silver Tiger Lord. The Khan of one of the Nine Great Tribes, the Tribe of the Fang. I serve as the General of the Right.”

Lieutenant of Metal: (…This guy is really intimidating.)

Disciple Soldier: “I am the Minister for Defence in the Kingdom of Metal, the Disciple Soldier. I served as Deputy Commander in the Battle of the Plains of Scilla. With me, as stated, is the Iron Fist King. As the King of the Kingdom of Metal, he is the present leader of the Southern Alliance. Today, we represent the Southern Alliance in meeting you here.”

The Iron Fist King nods curtly.

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Firstly, we would like to express our gratitude for allowing us to use this venue. The Tribe of the Pale are a renegade faction of the Demon World which sought to assassinate the Demon King. We are grateful for the offer of passage to deal with them.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “We also sincerely apologise for having dragged the Human World into one of the Demon World’s power struggles, in other words, an internal affair.”

The Iron Fist King: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “Your Majesty, shouldn’t you say something to acknowledge this?”

Lieutenant of Metal: “Yes, I believe so.”

The Iron Fist King: “…”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “…”

The Iron Fist King: “…I hear the Tribe of the Fang also suffered immense casualties in this war?”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Indeed. Many of my warriors fell while fighting with the sudden reinforcements of human soldiers. However, they are brave warriors of the Fang. They fell with honour and valour.”

The Iron Fist King: “It must be shameful to have to fight in the Human World.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “There can be no excuse for defeat or shame. We do not fight with even a hint of shame. To fight with shame is to dishonour our values.”

The Iron Fist King: “…”

Disciple Soldier: (Don’t pick a fight!)

The Silver Tiger Lord: “As we said earlier, the Demons of the Pale are traitors of the Demon World. They disgraced the Kurultai. To hunt them down, we have gone through many trials and challenges, we have nothing to be ashamed of.”

The Iron Fist King: “…To chase a renegade faction all the way here, how futile.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “We are a Tribe of warriors. No matter where they go, to uphold our honour we are willing to chase them there.”

The Iron Fist King: “We shall see.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “…”

The East Fortress Base Commander: (Uhh…)

Disciple Soldier: (That seems to have ended somehow.)

The Iron Fist King: “This forest is thick. These are virgin, unspoilt forests. Is it not inconvenient?”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “My people live in the mountain forests. The air here is fresh and the ground is good. We thank you for its provision.”

Disciple Soldier: “What of food?”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “We brought much of it with us. We have also supplemented it with boars and deer we catch in the forest, though you may be assured we did not hunt many and we will not be staying long.”

The Iron Fist King: “I shall arrange for food and wine to be sent.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Thank you.”

The Iron Fist King: “Then let us go.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Oh, but you’ve only just come.”

Disciple Soldier: “That’s right. We can’t waste such an opportunity! Surely we should talk more?”

The Iron Fist King: “We have both lost many comrades. There is much time and wine for us to spend with them. We, the Kingdom of Metal, are a military kingdom. The military has its military ceremonies.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “…”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “I…see…”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Thank you for your concern.”

The Iron Fist King: “With regards to our inter-world diplomacy, that will be handled by the Queen of Ice and Snow and her diplomatic corps. I have no intention to become best friends with you Demons just yet, and that is a view shared by many of my people… However, I would be glad to share a glass of wine with you one day. That would be a fine time.”

The Silver Tiger Lord nods.

The East Fortress Base Commander: “…”

The Iron Fist King: “Let us go.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Warrior, raise your spear to send him off.”

Warrior of the Fang: “Yes, my Lord.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Let us go comfort the spirits of our warriors.”

 

——– The Demon World, the Banks of Phoenix Lake, Temporary Conference Venue

The Cyclops: “Today…firstly…”

The Baron of Steel: “Mmm.”

The Cyclops: “We have…managed to…make three…tunnels…”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “The design allows for the securing of five fist-lengths of leeway on the two sides.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Oh! That is a good thing.”

The Cyclops: “We the…Tribe of the Giants…paid a very…expensive…”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “As did the engineering crew of the Tribe of Banshees.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Hmm. On a related note, I also need to commission the paving of roads between the territory of my Tribe and the City of the Gate, and between the City of the Gate and the old territory of the Tribe of the Demons of the Pale.”

Aide-de-Camp: “I believe we can raise the capital required for this from loans as well as financial support from the Self-Governing Council of the City of the Gate.”

The Cyclops: “…Great.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Mmm.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “We will rely on you then.”

The Baron of Steel: “We are also very grateful to you. It would be a great help to the administration of the old territory of the Demons of the Pale.”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “That’s right. How are the remaining Demons of the Pale?”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Hmm.”

The Baron of Steel: “There are many problems, the first is logistical.”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “Hmm.”

The Baron of Steel: “We are especially concerned about the lack of clothing and food. The Army of the Pale seems to have taken these supplies in particular on their expedition.”

Aide-de-Camp: “If it’s about food, we can definitely send some of the necessities from the City, but unfortunately, it probably isn’t going to be enough.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “We have a productive advantage, so we can probably come up with quite a large amount of food. We’ll send some over. In return, we don’t mind taking payment in metals. We’ll require it for next year.”

The Baron of Steel: “I thank you.”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “And the other things?”

The Baron of Steel: “Logistically, we are not lacking in many other things. The Army of the Pale did not pillage anything on their way out, so the homes and facilities have not been destroyed. The ore mines are also completely intact, and we can quickly start to mine from them. However…”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “However?”

The Baron of Steel: “On a psychological level, we’ve got some massive problems. To begin with, the Demons of the Pale have a very strict, rigid, and stratified class system. The top of the hierarchy is dominated by the military. The remaining civilians and labourers form the lower hierarchies. With them being so used to such a society, it is incredibly challenging to direct…”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “Don’t tell me there’s violence?!”

The Baron of Steel: “No, there’s no violence, but it’s a very tense situation. It seems many of them are completely unable to accept that they have been ‘abandoned’ by their own people. There are also elderly labourers and civilians who have adopted an attitude of depression and resignation to the end.”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “What…”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “To think it got to that extent.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Mmm…”

The Cyclops: “How troublesome…”

The Baron of Steel: “The populace are used to being threatened with weapons in order to be coerced to follow orders and work hard and diligently, but we bear a sacred mission from the Demon King herself, and we the Tribe of the Automatons could not possibly adopt a similar course of action.”

Aide-de-Camp: “Mmm…”

The Baron of Steel: “With such a situation, we’ve got way too much on our hands to deal with.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “But these are not issues that we can resolve overnight.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Hmm.”

The Baron of Steel: “Do you have any good ideas?”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “…”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “I fear we must use a mixture of techniques.”

The Cyclops: “A…mixture…?”

The Baron of Steel: “What do you mean?”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “This rigid class system is the product of the hardening of ideologies. In other words, because they only consider their own fields and boundaries, their thoughts and ideologies are moulded by their society. It may decrease work productivity, but we could consider having them rotate their jobs. For example, letting the miners do some farmwork and letting the farmers do some of the mining, this will expand their understanding of the other elements of society and help break down any misunderstandings and intolerances.”

Aide-de-Camp: “I think that is a good idea. What do you think of this? At a specified date, we will buy over everything that they produce.”

The Cyclops: “That’s right…we also welcome…their involvement…in the road construction…”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “On a separate note, the Demon King did mention something about constructing a university when she took up the post. Since we’re doing something related, we might as well see that through as well.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “That sounds like something the Demon King would want.”

Aide-de-Camp: “How is the Demon King anyway? I hope that terrible Khan of ours hasn’t been troubling her too much.”

The Cyclops: “I wonder…”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Ahem! About that, I have a report to make to this Committee. It’s a report on the movements in the Surface World.”

The Baron of Steel: “Let’s hear it. It would be great to know how things are going with the Tribe of the Demons of the Pale while we deal with them down here.”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “Mmm.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Firstly, our primary objective of defeating the expedition of the Tribe of the Pale has succeeded.”

Aide-de-Camp: “Very good!”

The Cyclops: “Good…”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “And during this war, as a result of fighting together with them, we have also reached a ceasefire agreement with one of the factions in the Surface World, the Southern Alliance.”

Aide-de-Camp: “Southern Alliance…”

The Cyclops: “Who are…the Southern Alliance…?”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Based on our reports, the continent we know of in the Surface World is formed from a loose messy group of 30 or so different countries.”

Aide-de-Camp: “A country is similar to a Tribe in the Demon World. But your country is limited by where you were born and who you were born to. All of this land is controlled by one leader, a King… something like a Khan, but with more powers.”

The Cyclops: “So it’s like the Western Giants and the Northern Giants…Separate… but together…”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “The Southern Alliance is an alliance of seven of these countries formed in opposition to the group on the continent.”

Aide-de-Camp: (The Tripartite Economic Union has progressed to that extent.)

The Baron of Steel: “And we have formed a ceasefire with them?”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “Hmm.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “However, the Central Continent and the Holy Church of Light seem to be planning their third conquest of the Demon World, we must be very careful of that…”

Aide-de-Camp: (As I thought, we still have much to fear of from the Human World.)

The Cyclops: “The Central Continent…The Holy Church of Light?”

Aide-de-Camp: “Those are the strongest organisations in the Surface World.”

The Baron of Steel: “How strong are they?”

Aide-de-Camp: “They can field a massive army from the strengths of 20 countries. Until this Southern Alliance was set up, they were without parallel in strength. In some ways, they’re similar to the Kurultai. It was they that launched the Second…in other words, the attack of the City of the Gate by the Humans led by a force known as the Holy Crusaders. It’s a bit hard to explain without writing it down.”

Scribble scribble.

Aide-de-Camp: “Hmm… Mmm…”

Scribble.

Aide-de-Camp: “…”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “What are you writing?”

Aide-de-Camp: “Umm, this is a more detailed analysis of the battle with the numbers in. Firstly, the Holy Crusaders I talked about earlier. These are soldiers mustered from the Central Continent under the banner of the Holy Church, and have already been mobilised. They are currently in the Kingdom of White Night…”

The Baron of Steel: “The country that the Demons of the Pale invaded?”

Aide-de-Camp: “The very one. Having seized the kingdom from the Demons of the Pale, they seem to be working to make it their own territory.”

The Baron of Steel: “Is that something that happens often in the Human World?”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “Seizing other Tribes’ territories.”

Aide-de-Camp: “It is not a very common thing, but it’s definitely not unheard of. But the real issue is what effect this will have on their grand designs. The Kingdom of White Night is an important port along the great Polar Sea. Our Khan feels that the Crusaders may have engineered the fall of the Kingdom of White Night in order to seize that port. Their strength is roughly 20,000 strong, and is set to increase… It seems their objective is to throw their entire army behind an attack on the Demon World. Twenty thousand is many times more than the previous invasion force.”

The Cyclops: “…The Humans…are coming.”

The Baron of Steel: “So all this talk of ceasefire that the Demon King came up with was worthless.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “The Humans are still going to attack us after all, at least we have solved the issue with the Demons of the Pale.”

Aide-de-Camp: “Indeed. The Southern Alliance comprises of the following kingdoms that have entered a treaty with each other: the Kingdom of Winter, the Kingdom of Ice, the Kingdom of Metal, the Kingdom of the Lake, the Kingdom of Reeds, the Kingdom of Branches, and the Kingdom of Red Horses. They may be just seven countries, but they hold vital resources and are powerful countries in their own rights. Had we not entered a ceasefire with them, we could be facing an enemy force upwards of 30,000 strong.”

The Cyclops: “…Is that so.”

The Baron of Steel: “Hmm.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “No, there’s even more. Had these seven Tribes not stood with us, not only would the attacking force increase, their army would be able to mobilise entirely without fear of attack from behind. Because of the ceasefire between the Southern Alliance and the Demons, these Holy Crusaders now have to be wary of any movements from the Southern Alliance while they attack us. With the Silver Tiger Lord and the Khan of the Gate, we have already managed to nullify and tie down 10,000 enemy soldiers.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Very true.”

Aide-de-Camp: (These Demons are very quick to recognise good work.)

The Cyclops: “But…even so…20,000…”

The Baron of Steel: “What would be the outcome of a war?”

Aide-de-Camp: “I do not know. I fear if it was easily settled, the Demon King would not still be out in the field.”

The Cyclops: “What should…we do…”

The Baron of Steel: “Hmm.”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “What do you think?”

Aide-de-Camp: “I am but a mere Aide-de-Camp, but… it seems that the Crusaders are bearing a new type of arm known as a musket. I will have to find time to explain it more clearly, but it is an extremely powerful weapon. The success of any battle seems to hinge on these weapons. We will need to strengthen our equipment, training, and command systems in the face of this. Furthermore, we must survey and judge possible battlegrounds and strengthen our signals and communications systems. Any larger decisions would probably have to wait for the Demon King’s return.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Survey and judge possible battlegrounds?”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “It should be somewhere near the Portal. Most of it is wasteland… but it’s on the borders of the Tribe of Dragons, the City of the Gate, the Tribe of the Fiends, and the old territory of the Tribe of the Demons of the Pale.”

The Cyclops: “…Surveillance.”

The Baron of Steel: “Indeed, we must work to improve our surveillance networks.”

The Chieftain of the Tattooed: “While the Queen of Fairies is still on the Surface World, the Fairies will continue to keep up their surveillance. The Tribe of the Fiends will assist in communications.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “In that case, let us divide up the workload.”

The Fire Dragon Lord: “Hmm, we will soon know if our efforts are to bear fruit.”

 

————— The Cliffs near the Plains of Scilla

Resourceful Young Man: “Hey, hey, coming through!”

Disciple Nobleman: “Hoho, splendid.”

Mercenary Survivor: “Delicious.”

Resourceful Young Man: “Hehe!”

Disciple Nobleman: “Alright, open the chains. You’ve redeemed yourself.”

Mercenary Survivor: “Hahaha.”

Resourceful Young Man: “Heh! I’ve shown you, haven’t I?”

Disciple Nobleman: “We’ve been protecting you all this while, though.”

Mercenary Survivor: “It’s great, isn’t it. He’s bought you warm clothes and given you good food to eat.”

Resourceful Young Man: “It’s an appropriate reward!”

Disciple Nobleman: “That’s right, a reward. You don’t have to give it back.”

Resourceful Young Man: “I’ll hold you to that.”

Disciple Nobleman: “But I’ve given you the opportunity to do something good for your home, to turn from the path of indolence to do something righteous, I think you should be grateful for that.”

Resourceful Young Man: “I… am.”

Disciple Nobleman: “Very good, but it’s about to become troublesome.”

Resourceful Young Man: “What?!”

Disciple Nobleman: “No, no, that is my problem.”

Mercenary Survivor: “How will we do now without our Leader?”

Disciple Nobleman: “I placed my utmost trust and confidence in your Leader to carry out his duties no matter the cost. I will be sure to uphold our contract.”

Mercenary Survivor: “Thank you very much.”

Resourceful Young Man: “Will we really be fine in such a place?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Yeah, in contrast, if we tried to carry this all the way back to the Kingdom right now, we would definitely be discovered. The enemy has surveillance in this area. But they’re not fools, and besides… it’s a very heavy load.”

Mercenary Survivor: “That’s right, it’s clunky.”

Resourceful Young Man: “That being said, what is it?”

Disciple Nobleman: “Saltpetre.”

Mercenary Survivor: “…It’s a treasure, even though it may look dirty.”

Resourceful Young Man: “Isn’t it just a useless rock?”

Disciple Nobleman: “If only it really was just a useless rock.”

 

———- The Winter Palace, the Grand Hall, the Strategy Room

The Lone Winter King: “Hmm… In that case…”

The Queen of Fairies: “Yes, preparations are complete.”

Fairy Maiden flits around.

Butler: “Very good.”

The Lone Winter King: “Hmm, for the moment, I will take the first step by putting my seal on this treaty of ceasefire and peace.”

Disciple Merchant: “We will have to work a bit more on the content. The first is that a distance of twenty miles around the Portal shall be designated as a demilitarised no-man’s land. The second is the exchange of all prisoners captured during the first two Holy Crusades and the battles for the Isle of Light. Furthermore, it is forbidden to pursue judgment for the beginning of the war on both sides. A Consulate* shall be established in the City of Winter and the City of the Gate, so that communication and exchange can be better facilitated… That’s it, I think.”

The Lone Winter King: “We can continue to amend the clauses, but once I place my seal on this, it will be binding throughout the Southern Alliance. I can obtain the guarantees and support from the other Kingdoms of the Alliance, but I cannot do anything about the Central Continent. I hope you understand…”

The Queen of Fairies: “Yes, I understand. I will take the document and discuss it with the other Khans of the Kurultai to reach their signed agreement.”

The Lone Winter King: “On my side, I will ensure the signatures and seals of all the Kingdoms of the Southern Alliance. Once we have finished working out the details of the content, all that is left is just a formal ceremony.”

The Queen of Fairies: “This is a very great step for our worlds.”

Fairy Maiden nods.

Disciple Merchant: “I hope it leads to greater things.”

Butler: “That being said, how about the matter of the coalition army in the Kingdom of Metal?”

 

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

Explanation

Consulate: A consul is a type of diplomat. Compared to an ambassador, a consul is of a lower rank. Embassies are diplomats who represent the country to make agreements and enact foreign policies, but consuls are diplomats whose duties are to perform diplomatic services for the good of people in the countries. However, in some countries where ambassadors are not exchanged, consuls also have to enact foreign policy. For countries with chilled foreign policy, exchanging ambassadors may be an act of friendship and goodwill which is too hasty at the present moment; hence it may be more prudent to establish a consulate and build upon that for the embassy at a later time.

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

 

The Queen of Fairies: “As the Tribe of the Demons of the Pale has collapsed, we should be heading back to the Demon World, but how do you feel about a joint coalition?”

The Lone Winter King: “I have no objection to that.”

The Queen of Fairies: “In that case, I shall have to seek approval for this.”

Fairy Maiden: “Yes.”

Disciple Merchant: “Right, we’ve got a lot to do.”

Attendant: “Yes.”

Butler: “There really is a lot of work that needs to be done.”

The Lone Winter King: “This seems strange to us as well, but the Central Continent seems to have declared the Kingdom of White Night their direct demesne* after assuming control of the country.”

The Queen of Fairies: “Direct demesne…”

The Lone Winter King: “Basically, the Church owns the Kingdom directly. More importantly, the Central Continent now has a strong foothold in the area. Our reports indicate that the aim of their invasion of the Demon World is to procure something known as the Holy Relic.”

The Queen of Fairies: “Our reports indicate so as well, but we do not know anything of this Holy Relic. We have consulted the Kurultai and various scholars, but even up till now, we know nothing of it.”

Fairy Maiden flits wings.

Disciple Merchant: “Hmm.”

The Lone Winter King: “It could be a fake.”

Disciple Merchant: “Indeed…”

The Queen of Fairies: “What do you mean?”

The Lone Winter King: “Very simply, I believe this is purely an annexation of territory for the Central Continent. It’s a lush territory with infinite possibilities. They’re probably using this pretence as an excuse to invade.”

The Queen of Fairies: “That is a terrible possibility.”

Butler: “But, at the same time, the invasion of the City of the Gate is set as well. Of course, they will need to pass through the Gate, or rather the Portal, and having passed through, their logistical networks would have to be funnelled through that small opening, hence they couldn’t possibly think about advancing on the Demon King’s Castle. I have no idea about their intentions.”

The Queen of Fairies: “Yeah, they could be attempting to invade the territories of the Tribe of Dragons, the Tribe of the Demons of the Pale, or the Tribe of Fiends. — But last time, our Tribes did not trust each other, and there was a problem with coordination and cooperation. Even the City was under the protection of the Dragons. With all the different Tribes residing there, its defence was a serious issue.”

Butler: “But it’s different now?”

The Queen of Fairies: “Yes. With the end of the Kurultai, I wouldn’t say the Demon Tribes have unified, but it’s definitely not what it was like before.”

The Lone Winter King: (But the Demon World doesn’t yet understand what those muskets are, right? If there really are 10,000 soldiers equipped with those things, then the Demon World’s defences will simply crumble like paper…)

The Queen of Fairies: “We Fairies do not have large-sized bodies, neither do we have magical abilities suited for combat purposes. That is why we hope to avoid war at all costs.”

Disciple Merchant: “Indeed, our priority is to prevent conflict.”

The Lone Winter King: (That seems difficult… With all the countries and noblemen pulled into this, it would be ridiculous to think they would all just go home.)

Butler coughs.

The Lone Winter King: “Yeah, that’s what we hope for as well. However, at the same time, we must prepare for the event that peace is not achievable. Please convey my best wishes to the Khans of the Kurultai and the Demon King who rules the Demon World.”

 

——– The City of the Gate, an Inn Under Renovation

Bells jingle.

The Hero: “Heyyyyy.”

The Demon King: “Oi, is this really alright?”

The Hero: “It’s fine, it’s a very light-hearted shop.”

Horned Barmaid: “Welcome!”

The Demon King raises an eyebrow.

Innkeeper: “Ohh, if it isn’t the Black Knight. Please, please, come in!”

The Hero: “Oh? What’s with that expression?”

Horned Barmaid: “What will you drink?”

The Demon King: “Ah.”

The Hero: “Two flagons of cold ale, please.”

Totters away.

The Demon King: “I haven’t decided yet.”

The Hero: “It’s customary to begin with a cold flagon of ale.”

The Demon King: “Really… This is my first time being in this sort of establishment.”

The Hero: “Is that so?”

The Demon King: “I’ve never needed to.”

Horned Barmaid: “Sorry for the wait!”

The Demon King: “Th-thank you.”

The Hero: “Let’s drink! Today we’ll drink a lot!”

The Demon King: “Yeah. Don’t you need to pay, though?”

The Hero: “We’ll pay all at once later… You really don’t know all these common sense things.”

The Demon King: “I’m sorry.”

The Hero: “Don’t apologise. Let’s fill up on some good food.”

The Demon King: “Yeah.”

The Hero: “Bottoms up!”

The Demon King: “Bottoms up!”

Glug glug glug.

Fiend Merchant: “Hey! Get some wine over here! A bottle!”

Demon Merchant: “And two sticks of roast lamb too!”

The Hero: “What should we eat?”

The Demon King: “Which one is most delicious?”

The Hero: “Excuse me, what do you have?”

Innkeeper: “I’ve got just about everything, but we’ve got some new bread here. I’ve got potatoes, and the lamb is juicy. I’ve got some fresh bread, which I can make with cabbage, bacon, and sausages. The sausages are those really popular black pepper and soft bones kind.”

The Hero: “Then we’ll have some of that. And cheese. Hmm, and maybe some salt sprinkled soft lamb rack with steamed vegetables. And apples.”

Innkeeper: “Got it! And the order of serving?”

The Hero: “I’ll leave it to you.”

The Demon King: “Wh-what? Why are you so used to such things?”

The Hero: “I’m the Hero. I’ve spent a lot of time travelling from places to places.”

Rowdy songs.

The Demon King: “Is that so… It’s very crowded here.”

The Hero: “Yeah, this store is fairly popular. It’s an old store from before the Human Invasion of the City of the Gate, it sells great food and affordable prices.”

Innkeeper: “My, my, thank you for the recommendation. I’ll serve the cheese first, then the sausages. I’ll make sure to bring lots.”

The Demon King: “Thank you?”

The Hero: “What are you so flustered about?”

Innkeeper: “Hahaha! I see now! The lady isn’t used to such low-class establishments as ours. You rascal! Hahahahaha! This isn’t the kind of place you choose for a date!”

The Hero: “Come now, you shouldn’t belittle your own establishment, old man.”

Innkeeper: “Oh please, it’s fine that we’re a low-class establishment. We’re the kind of place you’re drawn to by the smell of great food, the scent of great wine, and the promise of great company.”

The Demon King: “…Mmm. It’s delicious.”

The Hero: “How has it been recently?”

Innkeeper: “Ahh, it’s been great. How do I put it? It’s really gotten bigger. Since they expanded the roads in the area, I’ve also expanded my store by a bit. There’s a moneylending service now, and the price of food items have gotten steadily cheaper as of late. There are more people around here too, and my profits just go up every day.”

The Hero: “Really? That’s good to hear.”

Innkeeper: “Well, it’s all thanks to your efforts, right?”

The Hero: “Come now.”

Horned Barmaid: “Refill?”

Innkeeper: “Ah, right. What will it be next?”

The Demon King: “Hmm, umm…”

Horned Barmaid: “How about wine?”

The Demon King: “Let’s have that then.”

The Hero: “Bring two.”

Horned Barmaid: “Coming right up!”

Innkeeper: “Well, take it easy then! I’ll bring the lamb soon.”

Rowdy jostling.

Fiend Merchant: “How’s the salt trade going?”

Demon Merchant: “I’m profiting, but the price is stabilising, so it’s not as profitable as it used to be.”

Tattooed Storekeeper: “My, my, how troublesome, hahahaha.”

Travelling Mercenary: “I suppose that’s how it is!”

Rowdy jostling.

The Demon King: “—”

The Hero: “How is it? Nice?”

The Demon King: “Eh, ah.”

The Hero: “?”

The Demon King: “Yeah.”

The Hero: “Don’t tell me it was bad?”

The Demon King: “Not at all, these sausages are delicious.”

The Hero: “Then, you’re not good with stores like this? I’m sorry.”

The Demon King: “No, that’s not it. It’s just. It’s my first time being in such a happy and rowdy place. I didn’t think of it that way at first, but I clearly don’t know enough about the world.”

The Hero: “I see.”

Fang Hunter: “Pelts are selling well this year. I’m going to need a present to take back.”

Human Merchant: “How about some Jasper*? If you give it to a girl you’re interested in, you’ll definitely advance your relationship. Otherwise how about a metal pot? You can bring it with you everywhere, it’s very convenient.”

Rowdy cheers.

The Demon King: “—”

The Hero: “?”

The Demon King: “What are they talking about?”

The Hero: “A whole bunch of things. That Fang boy is here to sell the pelts he got from the forest. He’s at a good age, so it’s about time for him to do these things independently. His sword and scabbard look quite new, so I suppose he’s just started. He probably came to the city to sell those pelts on his own? He probably sold them at a good price. I’m not exactly clear on how it works, but it seems like the profits he brings home are a mark of his adulthood. He’ll probably use them as a dowry for his marriage.”

The Demon King: “I see… I’m very familiar with the politics, economic breakdown, and demographics of the Tribe of the Fang. But I should really try to understand their culture too. That’s why even though it’s been explained to me and I know that business is often transacted in informal settings like this, it’s my first time seeing it.”

The Hero: “Yeah.”

Horned Barmaid: “Steamed vegetables!”

The Demon King: “It’s warm.”

Horned Barmaid: “It’s most delicious when it’s warm! Please enjoy!” Smiles.

The Hero: “Thanks!”

Horned Barmaid: “No, no.”

The Demon King: “…” Chew, chew.

The Hero: “Delicious!”

The Demon King: “Yeah.”

The Hero: “?”

The Demon King: “No, it’s delicious…”

The Hero: “…”

Rowdy cheering.

Water Dragon Lady: “Ahahahaha, how beautiful.”

Travelling Bard: “No, no, it’s just some of my feelings.”

 

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

Explanation

Jasper: A semi-precious, opaque stone. Semi-precious stones are expensive, but not to the extent of other stones like diamonds or rubies. Jaspers come in many varieties and colours, such as green, yellow and red.

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

 

The Demon King: “Everyone seems to be having fun.”

The Hero: “Yeah.”

The Demon King: “Everyone’s faces are flushed red, and they’re all laughing.”

The Hero: “This is what an inn is like.”

The Demon King: “Really, but?”

The Hero raises eyebrow.

The Demon King: “It’s just, so amazing… I can feel a floating feeling in my chest.”

The Hero chews.

Innkeeper: “Here it is! Freshly roasted lamb with salt, herbs and spring onions. — What is it?”

The Demon King: “Your food is really delicious.”

The Hero: “?”

Innkeeper: “Well, well, it’s always great to receive compliments from such a beautiful lady. Thanks for the flattery!”

The Demon King: “No, I meant no pretence.”

The Hero: “…That’s right. It’s much, much better than having boiled potatoes. I’m really grateful.”

Innkeeper: “I’ll take your word then. Bring some wine! Make sure you take care of these two! This is the Demon King’s right hand man, the Black Knight! Don’t think he’s just any rascal!”

The Hero: “Stop it!!!”

Innkeeper: “Our establishment is proud to have you as a regular customer. In fact, our store was used as a base for the Liberation War!”

The Demon King: “Is that so?”

The Hero: “In a way.”

Fang Hunter: “The Black Knight is here?!”

Human Merchant: “Really! I never thought I’d see him here!”

Demon Merchant: “Is the Demon King alright? I heard that she fell during the Kurultai.”

Tattooed Shopkeeper: “It’s really thanks to her that we were able to keep up our business! We’re all grateful to the Demon King!”

The Demon King: “Ah…”

The Hero: “…”

Horned Barmaid: “Eh? Eh?!”

Innkeeper: “Hoho!”

The Hero: “Ah! Alright, listen up! It’s true that I’m the subordinate of the Demon King, the Sword of the Demon World, the Black Knight! Do not be worried. It’s true that the Demon King had taken an arrow from some troublemakers, but the wound is mostly healed and today she is working to bring the Demon World to the path of peace and prosperity! Look at the City of the Gate, the personal demesne of the Demon King! This is a place where Humans and Demons can share a glass together, where we can restore relationships even after a fight. Where we can buy and sell whatever we want! Hey! Old man!”

Innkeeper: “Here!”

The Hero: “Make sure everyone gets what they want. The first glass is on me! Alright, raise your glasses everyone! To the Demon King! She may be weak at fighting, but she’s serious about defending the people! Let’s drain this glass in the name of the Demon King!”

Horned Barmaid: “Yeah!”

Horned Barmaid: “Have some here too.”

Fang Hunter: “For the Demon King!”

Human Merchant: “Long live the Demon King!”

“Long live the Demon King! Peace throughout the land!”

 

————- The City of the Gate, the Headquarters of the Union

Shrewd Accountant: “Hmm.”

Union Employee: “What is it?”

Shrewd Accountant: “We’re 10% closer to our goal compared to last month. What an anomaly.”

Union Employee: “We’ll soon require manpower then.”

Shrewd Accountant: “Damn… And how is the city?”

Union Employee: “It’s very vibrant… Well, that’s not exactly a very surprising thing. It’s really always been this way. Oh, that’s right. A large caravan arrived from the Automatons today.”

Shrewd Accountants: “Those must be things like springs and bolts. Human blacksmiths can’t match the quality Automatons are able to create.”

Door opens.

Union Employee: “My lady.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Employee. Thank you for your hard work.”

Union Employee: “Have you finished the letter?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I just need to add some personal things.”

Shrewd Accountant: “It sure would be great if we could use Teleportation Magic as and when we like it. It’s a once-a-week thing, but transporting these small things is really important for trade.”

Union Employee: “That being said, communications is really a challenge.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “And that’s why we have to act with some degree of independence.”

Shrewd Accountant: “No letters from the Councillor?”

Union Employee: “Nope.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “We don’t have a private letter-writing relationship, so it is to be expected.”

Shrewd Accountant: “Is that so?”

Union Employee: “And this is?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “That is for one of my correspondences.”

Shrewd Accountant: “Correspondences?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Yes, a man who has set my heart on fire like a crystal rose. A truly gorgeous man.”

Shrewd Accountant: “Umm.”

Union Employee: “I suppose it’s a secret?”

Shrewd Accountant: “You’d best erase it from your memory.”

Union Employee: “Understood.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Hmmm.”

 

Hello! Fire Dragon Lady. How is your work? The Kingdom of Winter is about to welcome the best season of the year. It’s summer, so the potato crops will have been harvested and brought to the palace. Every day is a real banquet.

This year, the tulips are in full bloom. The pigs have a lot to eat and are getting plump and happy. In this time, there was a painful battle in the Kingdom of Metal. The Merchant seems to be extremely worried every day. It is my job to manage the daily accounts and ledgers. Recently, I’ve become able to perform six figure sums mentally too. I seem to be getting faster because I do it every day. It’s still a secret from my teacher though.

I suppose you’ll come again to the Kingdom of Winter? The honey sweets they make at this time of the year are exceptionally delicious.

Fire Dragon Lady: “Hehe.”

Umm, that’s right. In this time, the issue with the cheese is exactly as you said it would be. Having researched extensively, we went ahead with the securities plan. Securities are real dandelions.*

 

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

TL Explanation

Security/Dandelion: Security is tanpo. Dandelion is tanpopo. It’s a bad joke.

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

 

I’ve really matured, can you tell? The plan that we developed together was praised by my teacher. But it seems my teacher has other plans for me and new assignments too.

Fire Dragon Lady: “Heehee.”

I’ve also begun to wear long boots. They’re soft and made out of really nice leather. Normal people usually only have two pairs of shoes. Long boots and short shoes worn in the summer. Of course, noble people have a lot more shoes than that.

In the winter, shoes lined with felt or fur are better to keep the snow and the cold out. Shoes are a very important thing, so they’re always placed under the bed when we go to sleep. Every village always has a craftsman specialising in making and fixing shoes.

My teacher doesn’t seem to care about things like shoes. Maybe it’s because we’re so short-staffed and he has other things to worry about. I wonder where soldiers get their shoes, they seem to be able to walk forever without getting tired. If you know, do you think you could tell me?

I’ll write to you again. I hope we can eat some sweets together soon.

Shrewd Accountant: “…You look happy.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Quite. I can see a lot of work has been put into this.”

Union Employee: “I don’t understand.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Don’t you know that this is part of being a merchant too?”

Shrewd Accountant: “Cultivating relationships?”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Relationships can change the business, can’t they?”

Shrewd Accountant: “Hahaha, you’ve really taken that very seriously.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “Do you know where there’s a shoesmith in the city?”

Shrewd Accountant: “I could help you check.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I hear that the Fang Hunters have had a good pelt harvest this year.”

Shrewd Accountant: “That’s right. Deer, boars, even ice snakes. The season is good and there haven’t been any wars.”

Union Employee: “It must be a good time.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “And will they make military boots?”

Shrewd Accountant: “What an interesting question.”

Union Employee: “That being said, shoes are made very well in the Demon World.”

Fire Dragon Lady: “I think the Human shoes* are pretty strange. They don’t seem to have very solid soles.”

Shrewd Accountant: “But that’s considered normal back over there.”

Union Employee: “Perhaps we could start a trade in shoes.”

 

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

Explanation

Human Shoes: In the early Middle Ages, shoes were made with the turnshoe method of construction, using one piece of leather to form a leather sock before turning it inside out to wear. In the Middle Ages, the turnshoe method was improved and the sole was separated from the shoe itself. The sole was then strengthened, and hence this required at least two separate pieces of leather. However, the method of shoe making, using a welt to connect the shoe and the soles, is a more recent invention in the 16th century. This is a complex procedure, and hence necessitated the need for professional shoesmiths.

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

 

———- The Outskirts of the City of the Gate, on a Hill

Grass blowing in the wind.

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “…”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “Shall we?”

The Demon King: “…Yeah.”

The Hero: “Are you alright? We can go right away.”

The Demon King: “No.”

The Hero: “?”

The Demon King: “If we go now, it’ll end.”

The Hero: “Umm.”

The Demon King: “My dignified image as the Demon King, and my relationship with you will end.”

The Hero: “Not again.”

The Demon King: “Anyway, not right now.”

The Hero: “Got it. Should we go down?”

The Demon King: “Yeah.”

The Hero: “…Are you alright?”

The Demon King: “I feel unexpectedly uneasy.”

The Hero: “Ahh.”

The Demon King: “Water.”

The Hero: “I just gave you some, but here.”

Gulp gulp.

The Hero: “How do you feel?”

The Demon King: “My head is throbbing.”

The Hero: “You clearly drank too much.”

The Demon King: “What’s the point of being the Demon King? Despite all my efforts, the world has gone to war three times. What is up with the world?”

The Hero: “What are you saying?”

The Demon King: “I raise my head and I see deflation, I lower my head and I see inflation.”

The Hero: “I have no idea what you’re talking about, but I can tell you’re not in a good state.”

The Demon King: “If you don’t hold on to me, I’ll fall off the world.”

The Hero: “I’m holding on to you tightly.”

The Demon King: “Save me, Hero.”

The Hero: “I’m holding on to you while you’re drunk, you should be thankful.”

The Demon King: “Not at all.” Slumps.

The Hero: “Hey, you’ll get wet on the dew.”

The Demon King: “That’s okay, it feels nice too.”

The Hero sighs.

The Demon King: “The Chief Maid isn’t around so she won’t get angry.”

The Hero: “That’s not really the point.”

The Demon King: “Hero, Hero!”

The Hero: “?”

The Demon King: “Hehehe, I love it when you hold me.”

The Hero: “Are you a kid?”

The Demon King: “I’m just really happy.”

The Hero: “You’re not a kid, you’re just drunk.”

The Demon King: “But it was delicious.”

The Hero: “It was.”

The Demon King: “And you told me to bottoms up.”

The Hero: “I suppose I did.”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “…”

The Demon King: “Hahahahaha!”

The Hero: “That was sudden!”

The Demon King: “It feels great to be invincible!”

The Hero: “Something strange seems to have triggered.”

The Demon King: “Yeah, I’m all relaxed and I can go anywhere now.”

The Hero: “That’s good.”

The Demon King: “Now I just need to feel something fluffy and it’ll be perfect.”

The Hero: “Not with this again.”

The Demon King: “Stingy.”

The Hero: “You’ll wet it.”

The Demon King: “You’re a stingy, stingy Hero.”

The Hero: “You’re a drunk, drunk Demon King.”

The Demon King: “Look there, Hero.”

The Hero: “You’re not going to trick me with that. How many times do you think the old man has done that to me.”

The Demon King: “Come on.”

The Hero: “What is it?”

The Demon King: “The rainbow is dipping.”

The Hero: “Ahh…”

The Demon King: “Isn’t it pretty?”

The Hero: “Yeah.”

Grass sways in the wind.

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “…What a nice wind.”

Grass sways in the wind.

The Demon King: “We can’t lose.”

The Hero: “Yeah.”

The Demon King: “I’ll make sure to remedy all my plans. It was my mistake that the enemy managed to get their hands on those muskets. I was originally intending to take responsibility by offering an even stronger weapon to the Southern Alliance… But, if I were to do that, more people would just die.”

The Hero: “Yeah.”

The Demon King: “But while I was hesitating… about whether or not the widespread use of gunpowder was a good or a bad thing, the enemy has produced countless numbers of muskets.”

The Hero: “…Yeah.”

The Demon King: “But after receiving that lecture from you, I’ve woken up. I can’t continue this way.”

The Hero: “…”

Grass sways in the wind…

The Demon King: “I know now. I can’t do anything on my own. I should have discussed these things earlier. If I had entrusted it to her, she would have found a way to reduce the bloodshed.”

The Hero: “Yeah.”

The Demon King: “I have to stop running away from this thing. I should have spoken to the Female Paladin from the start. Had I talked to her about the muskets earlier, a lot less people would have had to die.”

The Hero: “I see.”

The Demon King: “Well, when we get back, I’ll sort it all out… So we can see what’s on the other side of the hill. You’ve got a lot of work to do as well.”

The Hero: “Leave it to me.”

 

< The Song of the Nameless Bard                                                                                                                                    Chapter 2 >

 

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26 thoughts on “Volume 4 Chapter 1

  1. awww this chapter sure was “cheesy”. I always like my potato with a little bit of salt : V

    No but seriously, i think i’ve seen everything now..a drunk demon king, a “that escalated quickly” reference. xD now i can die fulfilled.

    Give us a picture for the christmas edition *_* plox, december is coming!
    Demon king is already red, make her wear a santa suit!

  2. Took me 1 hour and 5 minutes to read this, this one was amazing as usual so it was totally worth it.
    Keep translating, I LOVE YOU GUYS\GIRLS!

  3. I was originally intending to take
    responsibility by offering an even stronger weapon to the
    Southern Alliance… Give them AK-47! xD

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

  5. I’m a bit confused as to who wrote the letter to Fire Dragon Lady, since it definitely wasn’t Young Merchant. it looks like the Assistant sent it but I can’t remember them having met each other before……
    but wait a second if this keeps on my Young Merchant X Dragon Lady pairing will be in danger!!! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!

    Leaving that aside looks like the Demon King will be coming up with a counterattack, this is gonna be fun. And the Mage actually spoke all those complete sentences, weird!!

    P.S.
    Young Merchant should really get more appearances, he’s cooler than half of the cast.

      • Idea is humans x demons are mating like crazy.

        Prophecy of legend:
        And peace shall reign when the two species start eloping and accusing one another of NTR.

  6. Hmm… using Mage volleys to set off the powder supplies seems like a viable idea if those guys weren’t so rare… Flame arrow volleys? even if they miss the supply for restocking, some of them may land on the musketeer’s personal supplies. Crude Oil has been in use for thousands of years in some shape or form, so naphtha isn’t a stretch, and from there, napalm dome to mind.

    In any case, with black powder, once it gets wet, the saltpeter leeches out, depriving the mixture of its primary oxidant. So, if you wanted a less spectacular solution, diverting a river to make an area impossible to reach without crossing it could wet the supplies, or with a Mage: rain. Fog could also render powder supplies useless.

  7. >>a gift for that child
    I’m thinking in circles, wondering whether or not she’s referring to someone we thought to be in the tribe, or if it’s possibly even self-referential.

    • late, but isn’t she referring to Elder sister maid?

      Oh, just finished reading all the available chaps here in ND and I just want to say thank you to all ye translators working on this awesome series. Never thought I’d like another LN series other than oregairu but maoyu proved me wrong.

      • Heh,Im actually the only translator for Maoyuu, but youre very welcome. Expect delays because it’s impossible to translate while fighting.

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