Volume 4 Chapter 2

Volume 4 Chapter 2, “What the Human World Hates Most is a Cowardly Hero.” 

———- The Portal, the Construction Site, One of the Bridges

Boom! Boom!

Middle Aged Merchant: “Any time now!”

Disciple Engineer: “Ohh. Middle Aged Merchant! It’s done! It’s finally finished!!”

Middle Aged Merchant: “I dropped by at the dormitories just a moment ago.”

Disciple Engineer: “Really? And is everybody happy there?”

Middle Aged Merchant: “Yes, everybody is over the moon. And tonight will be a banquet, I may assume?”

Disciple Engineer: “Yes, we’ve got to celebrate after all!”

Boom! Boom!

Middle Aged Merchant: “Finally.”

Disciple Engineer: “Yes. A lot of incidents occurred, but we’ve managed to make one more bridge than we originally expected, and the safety is assured.”

Middle Aged Merchant: “I’ve already received some reports from fellow merchants who have passed these bridges. Everyone is very grateful. Because of these bridges and the lifts to change the elevation, goods can be shipped across easily. What fantastic work.”

Disciple Engineer: “No, no! I was glad to be of service. I only did what I could as a craftsman.”

Middle Aged Merchant: “No… These bridges mean a lot. They’ll probably go down in history from now on. They may change in form over time, but I know this for sure… Thank you! Disciple Engineer.”

Disciple Engineer: “…No, umm, hahaha! When you put it that way, I really have no way to reply!”

Middle Aged Merchant: “In that case, I’ll be relying on you for the next eight years of stone bridges.”

Disciple Engineer: “—So, you procured the funding?”

Middle Aged Merchant: “No, but leave it to me. If it comes to, I have my ways. I know some people…”

Disciple Engineer: “Shall we discuss something else?”

Middle Aged Merchant: “Yes.” Smiles.

Boom! Boom!

Disciple Engineer: “Don’t tell me, that’s… a fort?”

Middle Aged Merchant: “Why do you think that way?”

Disciple Engineer: “Actually, it was the first thing I thought of when I saw the temples around the City of the Gate.”

Middle Aged Merchant: “That’s—”

Disciple Engineer: “This city used to be a great battleground. It’s an ancient city with a heart of steel. If anything were to happen, these defences can be deployed to ensure the protection of the people for years.”

Middle Aged Merchant: “Is that so?”

Disciple Engineer: “…”

Middle Aged Merchant: “I see. Then perhaps I should take a look around?”

Disciple Engineer: “So you have thought of it?”

Middle Aged Merchant: “We may be in the middle of a ceasefire, but I do not know what will happen. It seems that the City will prosper best if we can maintain its security. That would allow us merchants to travel safely without fear.”

Disciple Engineer: “Indeed…”

Boom! Boom!

Fiend Labourer: “Let’s eat well later!”

Labourer: “Let’s have a mutton hotpot tonight!”

Giant Craftsman: “I’ll look…forward to…that!”

Middle Aged Merchant: “…”

Disciple Engineer: “Oh right. Now that the work is complete, it’s definitely time to pay their salary.”

Middle Aged Merchant: “Yes. Indeed—Well then! Shall we go? To the City of the Gate?”

Disciple Engineer: “Sure. Let’s paint the town red tonight, tomorrow as well.”

Middle Aged Merchant: “According to the reports we’ve received, it seems that the likelihood of the City of the Gate becoming a battleground is not low.”

Disciple Engineer nods.

Middle Aged Merchant: “Could I count on you for one more thing? This time it doesn’t come from the Union. In other words, it’s not an official request from the City of the Gate. Rather, it’s a request from me personally, and all the people of the City of the Gate who hope for its independence. I sincerely apologise, but you probably won’t be paid sufficiently for it as well.”

Disciple Engineer: “Sure, I’ll do it.”

Middle Aged Merchant: “Really? — Without hesitation?”

Disciple Engineer: “Yeah. No matter what, there’s a girl whose return I am waiting for. My greatest hope is to welcome everyone who comes back to this bridge.”

Middle Aged Merchant: “Is that so…”

Disciple Engineer: “So, I suppose you want me to build fortifications. Let me show you the skills I have been bestowed upon by my teacher, is that acceptable?”

 

———– The Village of Wintering, the Headquarters of the Holy Order of the Lake, the Private Quarters of the Grandmaster

The Female Paladin: “Hmm…”

The Demon King: “I’ve been enlightened. War is unavoidable.”

The Chief Maid: “You’ve become a very splendid person.” Smiles.

The Female Paladin: “So, what do you intend to do?”

The Demon King: “I have absolutely no idea.”

The Female Paladin: “…Hey, hey.”

The Demon King: “No, you’ll find that the members of my Tribe are very removed from subject matters outside of our specific areas of expertise. I’m an economist, so I’m very familiar with technological advancements and sociology, but other areas of expertise are out of my reach. Especially the field of military studies.”

The Female Paladin: “Really… I thought you would have been an expert of such things since you’re the Demon King.”

The Demon King: “I’m not that great.”

The Female Paladin: “But wasn’t the musket given to the Kingdom of Metal as blueprints for production by their craftsmen your idea?”

The Demon King: “Yes, I did not expect the blueprints to be leaked and transferred to the Central Continent. Not without my capture, at least. What’s scary is that one of these craftsmen was willing to pass the technology straight on to the Holy Church.”

The Chief Maid: “…Yeah.”

The Female Paladin: “This?” Clunk.

The Chief Maid: “Oh, you got your hands on it?”

The Female Paladin: “We found quite a few when we searched the battlefield. But I suppose I still don’t understand. Would you care to explain?”

Click click.

The Demon King: “Hmm, it’s lighter than I expected. This must be a matter of engineering… To explain it, well… basically, this musket is a metal tube. Inside the tube, there is a round metal bullet and some gunpowder.”

The Female Paladin: “Gunpowder, isn’t that an ancient lost technology?”

The Demon King: “That’s right. It’s black powder. This gunpowder is basically a substance capable of rapid combustion when ignited. By closing one end of the tube, the explosive force can be concentrated to propel the bullet at high speeds from the open end of the tube. In essence, that’s basically how the mechanism works.”

The Female Paladin: “It sounds like a very simple weapon.”

The Demon King: “It’s simple in a way, but wouldn’t you say it’s more complex than just swinging a sword or a spear around?”

The Female Paladin: “That’s true… Then, how do you feel about the performance of the weapon?”

The Demon King: “I don’t actually have any experience using it, so I don’t know. But even though the basic mechanism which I talked about earlier is simple, the craftsmanship and precision of engineering can greatly affect its performance.”

The Female Paladin: “…Really?”

The Demon King: “However, as I’m sure you have noticed, it can fire up to a range of about 100 steps, and its penetrating power is insufficient to pierce through plate armour from a distance.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s still impressive, better than crossbows at any rate.”

The Demon King: “That’s right. The firing interval ranges from one shot in 5 minutes to one shot per minute depending on the skill of the firer. Its accuracy is also dependent on the skill of the firer.”

The Female Paladin: “Mmhmm.”

The Demon King: “That being said, the bullet being ejected from the tube flies in an almost completely strange line and, due to its size and speed, is much less affected by wind than arrows. Used by amateurs, it has a much higher accuracy as well.”

The Female Paladin: “…”

The Demon King: “I’m sure you have a vague idea of this as well, but the power of the bow and the flight speed of the arrows are largely decided by the size of the bow and the strength of material. In other words, elasticity is directly proportional to force generated. A crossbow has the same construction, except it uses cranks and gears to replace the sheer pulling force of the arm. In contrast, the musket’s force is directly proportional to the explosive force of the gunpowder. A stronger person using a musket would not make the force generated any stronger, but on the other hand, a weaker person using a musket would not make the force generated any weaker either. Even a weak, thin, young man has the power to penetrate a full suit of plate armour in his hands.”

The Female Paladin: “I sort of understand.”

The Demon King: “Mmm.”

The Female Paladin: “The weapon itself is not the problem.”

The Demon King: “Really?”

The Female Paladin: “It’s a troublesome weapon, but in the end, it’s just a weapon. With appropriate strategy, victory is possible. It can fire up to one hundred paces, but it’s not reliable at that range. At anything more than 50 paces, it can’t stop an armoured enemy. Moreover, its accuracy is inconsistent. If for instance, you wanted to aim at the Commander, you would be better off finding an experienced archer.”

The Demon King: “Is that so?”

The Female Paladin: “But this is in a situation of equal numbers. The reason why these weapons are troublesome… No, rather, the reason why the Holy Crusaders are so troublesome is the method in which they employ these weapons. — In other words, it’s the fact that they are all willing to borrow the invention of their ‘human comrades’. Were ten peasant musketeers to face ten knights on the battlefield, it is likely the ten knights would win easily. However, if we changed that to thirty peasant musketeers, the situation is now different. It’s a weapon which is capable of overturning the power held by cavalry and heavy infantry.”

The Demon King: “…”

The Chief Maid: “…”

The Female Paladin: “Also, the really efficient way of using these weapons is for a pitched battle on an open plain, with infantry firing in a closely compacted formation.”

The Demon King: “Hmm.”

The Female Paladin: “…Then.”

The Demon King: “What?”

The Female Paladin: “What do you think the weakness of this weapon is?”

The Demon King: “Well. Simply put, this is a firearm. It needs a fuse to be lit for it to engage, so it’s not a very reliable weapon. In other words, there may be misfires. Moreover, you also lose the freedom of position. If it’s fired in a level manner, it still functions, but when the aim is adjusted upwards or downwards, the efficiency is reduced.And because it needs to be lit, humidity has to be low. Its greatest enemy would be rain. There’s also the issue of the difficulty of lighting the fuse in a compact formation.”

The Female Paladin: “…And is there a way to remedy these issues?”

The Demon King: “Hmm. What you’re talking about is a flintlock, which is basically the next stage of evolution. By using a struck flint to produce sparks to light the gunpowder, many of the disadvantages can be overturned. The compactness of the formation can also be improved.”

The Female Paladin: “No. What are the chances those will be leaked as well?”

The Demon King: “I can’t deny it. But there’s also the issue of production. If they succeed in the production of the new design, they would still be laden with massive stocks of the old design.”

The Female Paladin: “That’s true…”

The Demon King: “Supplies is another issue. Without gunpowder, it’s just a useless tube. Unlike arrows, gunpowder isn’t something you can make in the field.”

The Female Paladin: “…Firstly, I reject the idea of large scale production of muskets for the Southern Alliance.”

The Demon King: “Really.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s not that I reject your good intentions or anything. However, the specialty of the muskets is that they can replace combat skill with numbers. In other words, with the same muskets and the same strategy, it is the side with more people which wins. Of course, with strategy, a smaller force can still achieve victory, but numbers matter more now than ever. This strategy of replacing combat skill with numbers is not suited for a professional army, it’s meant for equipping irregular soldiers with poor and short-term training. That is the precise aim of the Holy Crusaders. You cannot fight on the terms of the enemy when he has the advantage. For the Three Kingdoms to fight a battle of numbers is simply suicide. We may be fools, but this is common sense on the battlefield.”

The Demon King: “I see. Then this has no meaning.”

The Female Paladin: “The best thing would be to win a logistical victory. That would allow us to win even without fighting, regardless of the size of the enemy.”

The Demon King: “That is something closer to my expertise. Seems like we can cooperate on this.”

The Female Paladin: “But now we have to fear their desperation too. The desperate, last-ditch attack of twenty thousand starving soldiers would be enough to break any army.”

The Demon King: “Yeah.”

The Female Paladin: “Furthermore, other unexpected things could occur on the battlefield. That is something I paid a high price to learn this time. It would be too naïve to think we would win instantly with a logistical victory.”

The Demon King: “Yeah…”

The Female Paladin: “…”

The Chief Maid: “…”

The Female Paladin: “Demon King, if one were to try to increase the force—would that be a matter of increasing the amount of gunpowder?”

The Demon King: “That’s one way. But if you increase the amount of gunpowder, you’ll also need the tube to be able to withstand the impact. If you increase the size of the bullet, then of course the force increases as well.”

The Female Paladin: “If you increase the force, could you extend the range as well?”

The Demon King: “Of course. Basically, if you don’t increase the weight of the bullet, then by doubling the amount of gunpowder, you can also roughly double the range.”

The Female Paladin: “Isn’t there a way to just increase the range?”

The Demon King: “Range…”

The Female Paladin: “If we were to fight on the same battlefield, we would lose. So what’s the point of doing so? Isn’t that right? With enough range, it might be possible to fight outside the range of the enemy.”

The Demon King: “With enough range, outside the range of the enemy…”

 

———- The New Territories of White Night, the Barracks Headquarters

Crown Prince Marshal: “What do you think? Would you like to try leading that army?”

Green Ash King: “Doesn’t sound bad.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Heh.”

Green Ash King: “It’s true that they’re a ragtag, ill-disciplined bunch of peasants, but unlike the private armies of noblemen, whether good or bad, they’re at least simple.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “And what of the muskets?”

Green Ash King: “At present, they’re very powerful, but they have some shortcomings. This is what I feel. Have you read the paper I submitted?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “I’m reading it.”

Green Ash King: “In it I wrote that there was a state in which due to the humidity and the water content of the marshlands we were fighting in, the gunpowder got wet and could no longer fire. There were also instances of chamber explosions. They accounted for relatively few of the casualties, but there were still some damages inflicted by our own muskets.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Hmm.”

Green Ash King: “There’s something interesting.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Interesting…?”

Green Ash King: “In previous battles fought with nobleman armies, we have always had to worry about the togetherness and commitment of the noblemen to the battle. But in this battle, this weakness has been amplified. To put it simply, these are all serfs who do not understand war, they’re completely ignorant peasants. It is natural for them all to be cowardly. But, that’s where it gets interesting.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “What problems do we have now?”

Green Ash King: “Data, please.”

Secretary: “Yes.”

Green Ash King: “May I assume the perspective of the Commanding Officer?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “By all means.”

Green Ash King: “First is the mustering of penetrative power. This is the gathering of substantial force from across the length of the battlefront to a specific point. It could be for a long period of time, or it could happen for just a single instance. Either way, this has to be accomplished.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Hmm.”

Green Ash King: “In the past, with regards to this mustering, there has been a history of elevating the quality of the soldiers. In other words, the increase of the standards of individual soldiers’ equipment and weaponry, or the reform of commanders. However, this time, your Majesty’s soldiers, the Holy Crusaders, are not heavily equipped enough for this. Is that not correct?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Hahahaha.”

Green Ash King: “Then, in that case, we must operate with the aim of improving training and regimental standards, but apart from improving penetrative power, we need to improve the weapon… In other words, I hope we can modify the weapon itself.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Hmm.”

Green Ash King: “What about it?”

Crown Prince Marshal: “The new model of musket, a flintlock design will soon be unveiled. However, because of some issues with production quality, it will take a while for all the numbers to be there.”

Green Ash King: “I don’t mind. In any case, before we start to deploy them, they will require some field testing. The other issue is with defensive ability.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “That was touched on in the reports as well.”

Green Ash King: “Yeah, it is regrettable that muskets are only capable of fighting one volley at a time. Of course, it just means that the weapons need to be reloaded, but that’s an additional gesture which has no place on the chaotic battlefield. Moreover, immediately after firing, the musketman is left completely exposed.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Mmm.”

Green Ash King: “With regards to this, I have taken the steps suggested by Your Majesty by attaching spearmen units to the musketmen and solved the issue.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Very good. Anything else?”

Green Ash King: “Nothing specifically with the muskets, but there are some differences in ideology with the nobility participating in the Crusade. Especially some measure of scorn and discord between the nobles and the musketmen. This is a problem.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Well, they are noblemen.”

Green Ash King: “Yeah that’s right. However, the musketeers, who form the centre of the penetrative power and the strategy, are ultimately a division of serfs. They definitely did not receive any specialist military training. However, when it comes to high speed military manoeuvres, we still undoubtedly need to rely on the heavy cavalry power of the nobility. For this reason, we still need to maintain a good relationship with them and the nobility. Muskets aren’t invincible soldiers after all.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “With regards to that, do you have anything planned out?”

Green Ash King: “Well, I was thinking of what sort of country your Majesty would be trying to create.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “…”

Green Ash King: “With the maintenance of the present system, the nobility and the royalty can cooperate to save each other. The system is such that there is a feudal lord on top of the people, such that the royalty can control the people directly as it is in an Absolute Monarchy*.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “…”

Green Ash King: “At present, the countries of the Central Continent function in anarchy, but in reality, the Church is like a very large ring, within which the countries are like trapped wild horses. Within this group of horses, the Holy Empire is like an older brother whose influence cannot be underestimated.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “Haha, please don’t exaggerate. The Holy Empire is no more than a country, like any other, which believes in the Holy Spirit. These Crusades are also formed from the free hearts of the myriad believers from the many countries to the many nobles…”

Green Ash King: “Hahahahahaha. But this freedom is only allowed and encouraged by certain more powerful elements.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “—Hmm, it’s hard to say what the Primarch is thinking, but I myself believe that the noblemen are indispensable. It’s just that the times and the resources available to these men have changed.”

Green Ash King: “With regards to that, he who sows the seeds reaps the harvest. I believe we can devise strict military regulatory stipulations based on those used by the warrior class. The nobility and the royalty should take the initiative in acting based on these rules, so that they can set an example for the people to follow. Moreover, we must reward those nobility who respond well to the scheme. We need to ensure that we take matters into hand and enforce some discipline, so that we can reduce the friction between our forces. We are all part of the effort against the Demon Race after all.

“It may be a bit unprecedented to use mercenaries, but to begin with, mercenaries have always been supplementary soldiers in time when manpower is short. In this war, the nobility have their private armies, which are essentially mercenaries; but the Holy Crusaders lack mercenary forces of our own. So it should not be a problem to hire some. Those noblemen who have a problem with it… Well, we can just declare them heretics.” Chuckles.

Crown Prince Marshal: “I suppose this is what is meant by a capable commander.”

Green Ash King: “In that case, I will begin the disciplinary reforms.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “I await your success.”

Green Ash King: “Thanks to your instructions, the range of the musket, the timing between shots, and the fuses have been improved. I hope you will look into improving the direction of fire next time.”

Crown Prince Marshal: “I expect much from you as well, young hero King of the Mist.”

Green Ash King: “Haha.”

 

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Explanation

Absolute Monarchy: This refers to a system in which the King is given absolute authority over his subjects. There are noblemen, but they receive their positions and responsibilities directly from the King, and the government has limited powers. In Europe, from the 16th to the 17th century, the feudal system began to evolve towards an absolute monarchy. The powers of the nobility went down, while due to the establishment of standing armies, the authority of the King went up. As a result, this form of government steadily gained momentum. However, a truly absolute monarchy with authority vested completely and solely in the King has never existed in history. Even though one may be an absolute monarchy, Kings have always had to consider the intentions of the nobility and the merchant guilds on affairs of government and politics. However, in comparison to the feudal times, the King had much more deciding power, and his individual will held much more sway over national decisions.

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——- The New Territories of White Night, the Halls of the Palace

Strategist: “What is this?”

Holy Imperial Soldier: “Well, umm… Uhh.”

Holy Imperial Cavalry: “We don’t have the expected upon amount of saltpetre?”

Strategist: “We don’t? Stop fooling around. Did you scour the palace and confirm it!”

Holy Imperial Cavalry: “Yes, of course we’ve confirmed it. There should be 64 wooden chests, but…”

Strategist: “So was there anything else in those wooden chests in the warehouse?”

Holy Imperial Soldier: “They were empty.”

Holy Imperial Cavalry: “It seems that only the wooden chests near the entrance of the warehouse were filled with saltpetre, all the others were empty.”

Strategist: “…”

Holy Imperial Cavalry: “What should we do?”

Strategist: “And what of the other things?”

Holy Imperial Cavalry: “We have about 50,000 sets of clothing and cold weather apparel. With the present numbers, we have enough food to last roughly another month.”

Strategist: “…”

Holy Imperial Soldier: “Moreover, we are in the midst of constructing ships, but we severely lack tar and equipment.”

Strategist: “Firstly, we can try to collect taxes from the settlements within the realm of White Night. We can probably cover the costs of providing for the necessary tools and cold weather apparel.”

Holy Imperial Cavalry: “No, that’s… According to our reports, the Kingdom of White Night is an extremely poor country. Moreover, most of the settlements have been deserted… The large majority of them have fled to neighbouring countries as refugees.”

Strategist: “…To the impoverished countries of the South?”

Holy Imperial Cavalry: “This is just something I’ve heard, but, it appears that the royalty and nobility of many countries have already joined hands with the merchants in order to purchase goods from their countries and have begun exporting them. Even within the Holy Crusaders, significant levels of inflation are being felt, particularly for these imported luxury goods.”

Strategist: “…Mmm, how arbitrary.”

Holy Imperial Soldier: “…”

Strategist: “I got it. If it’s about prices, we can try to take appropriate action in collaboration with the Church and the other countries. We can streamline the import and export infrastructure and enact a price ceiling for essential goods.”

Holy Imperial Soldier: “Yes.”

Strategist: “With regards to saltpetre, we will still need to investigate more. To begin with, it was difficult for us to predict from a distance that the Demons of the Pale would only bring half the agreed amount of saltpetre with them. I fear somebody else is now in possession of the saltpetre. Convoys formed from hundreds of loaded caravans are not exactly easy to disguise. Try to check with the refugees if they have information.”

Holy Imperial Cavalry: “Yes! Understood!”

 

——– The Kingdom of the Lake, the Capital, the Headquarters of the Merchant’s Union

Female Union Employee: “The price of charcoal imported from the Central Continent is now 320% compared to last year. It’s probably got something to do with the 70% decrease in quantity sold. The quantity sold of ores has also gone up sharply.”

Branch Chief: “The reports have come in. Even if these are the accounts of secret factories, in order to obtain enough charcoal for their purposes, they needed to put up a significant portion of their ore supply on the market.”

Young Merchant: “Please purchase what you can.”

Branch Chief: “Similarly, even though this information comes from our brothel networks, it seems that the secret factories and the metal guilds in the Kingdom of Copper are also concerned about the lack of charcoal. We have unconfirmed reports from yesterday that the factories were operating at only half the efficiency.”

Female Union Employee: “Just goes to show how interconnected everything is.”

Young Merchant: “Moreover… Our opponents are the Holy Empire and the Church behind them. These are crazy beasts, as powerful as massive dragons. If we do not exercise prudence, we will be crushed.”

Branch Chief: “We will need to expand our net?”

Young Merchant: “Yes.”

Door opens.

Union Employee: “Report. We have secured charcoal from the Kingdom of the Lake. The profit made is approximately 1,800,000 gold pieces.”

Young Merchant: “…The Kingdom of the Lake? Good, let’s rely on reinforcements now.”

Branch Chief: “Reinforcements? You mean the Southern Alliance?”

Young Merchant: “Yeah, the Southern Alliance seems to have gotten a hitherto unknown military commander. Let’s send them a greeting. — This letter goes to the Disciple Merchant in the Kingdom of Winter.”

Female Union Employee: “Understood. I’ll send it as soon as possible.”

Young Merchant: “Of course.”

Branch Chief: “Then our net of encirclement is almost complete.”

Young Merchant: “Indeed. The Kingdom of Branches and the Kingdom of the Lake are now members of the Southern Alliance. There is no place for countries like the Kingdom of Copper to carry out their orders. The secret factories of the Kingdom of Copper still rely on the Kingdom of the Lake to import their resources across the lake. Now, the Kingdom of the Lake has tariffs imposed on the movement of charcoal across the lake. This is a strategy to protect the Kingdom of Winter, but it can also be an economic attack. The kingdoms of the Central Continent are too used to peace, they have problems handling such intense issues.”

Branch Chief nods.

Young Merchant: “For the time being, let us set the tariff at 60 gold pieces per caravan of charcoal.”

Union Employee: “Sixty?! That’s more expensive than the charcoal itself!”

Young Merchant: “The thing about tariffs is that there is an option to simply not buy the goods. It is completely permissible not to buy if one finds the price too high. In this way we can suppress the quantity of the good demanded.”

Union Employee: “Un, understood.”

Cough, cough.

Young Merchant: “…Not yet.”

Branch Chief: “Has anything happened?”

Young Merchant: “I was just thinking it’s not enough.”

Branch Chief: (I just saw him smile. This guy… He’s got an evil feel.)

Young Merchant: “With the chains we have created, we don’t even have enough to restrain one-tenth of the ferocious dragon. At this rate, we won’t be able to stop the war.”

Branch Chief: “Councillor, do you intend to stop the war?”

Young Merchant: “You mean the Holy Crusaders? No. I have no interest in stopping armies. We still have much else we need to do… It would be really troublesome to act carelessly and destroy everything we have worked towards.”

Branch Chief: “But this Holy Crusades is supported in full by the Primarch himself. At this rate, they can simply swallow everything.”

Young Merchant: “Yes, indeed. That is why they can act so crazily. — What an insane affair.”

Branch Chief: “…”

Young Merchant: “Their ambitions are like a blazing inferno.”

Branch Chief: “Indeed. It’s an inferno fuelled by the permission granted by the Church, to fulfil the wishes of the nobility greedy to gain new lands in the Demon World. “

Young Merchant: “It’s a snatch and grab. Well, to anyone else, it would be a condemnable act; but this time, they can do it without anyone else condemning it. Of course, that is our way of life. — But there must be limits.”

Branch Chief: “Eh…?”

Young Merchant: “Greed is a facet of human nature. If properly applied, one can gain riches. However, that is if you have the discipline to employ greed as a weapon. If you become a tool of greed… What awaits is destruction. As merchants, we know this very well.”

Branch Chief: “Definitely.”

Young Merchant: “…Well, then. Even though the border situation of the Kingdom of Metal has entered a lull, the economic battle of us merchants has only just entered the Ashura. Shake off everything we can’t deal with. That’s the way to deal with things, isn’t it, Mister Disciple?”

 

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Explanation

Ashura: One of the six realms of Buddhism (Deva, Human, Ashura, Animal, Preta and Naraka). It refers to world of endless war without peace.

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——— The Village of Wintering, the Manor of the Demon King, the Kitchen

Blub, blub, blub.

The Demon King: “It’s boiling, Hero.”

The Hero: “Put in a pinch of salt.”

The Demon King: “Like this?”

The Hero: “That’s a handful.”

The Demon King: “Is that wrong?”

The Hero: “It’s the same, isn’t it? Salt is salt.”

Blub, blub, blub.

The Demon King: “Mmmm, it doesn’t make much of a difference, I guess.”

The Hero: “Let’s add these sausages.”

Glub, glub, glub.

The Demon King: “And?”

The Hero: “Next, add sliced cabbages.”

The Demon King: “Slicing, eh?”

The Hero: “Let me handle that.” Shing! Shing!

Plop!

The Demon King: “Perfect!”

The Hero: “Ahh, I almost scared myself.”

The Demon King: “Is this alright? Can we eat already?”

The Hero: “No, wait. Let it heat up first. Let’s give it another 5 minutes for the mushrooms.”

The Demon King: “5 minutes?”

The Hero: “Yes, 5 minutes. In other words, three hundred seconds.”

The Demon King: “Isn’t it ready?”

The Hero: “How can it be so fast!”

The Demon King: “You know I’m not so good with measuring time.”

The Hero: “No choice then… One, two, three, four…”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “Twenty five, twenty six, twenty seven…”

Blub, blub, blub.

The Demon King: “Hmm… Let’s give it a try.”

The Hero: “Thirty four, thirty five, thirty six…”

The Demon King: “Yeah, it tastes great.”

The Hero: “Fifty two, fifty three, fifty four…”

Door opens.

The Female Paladin: “Oh. There you are… What are you doing?”

The Demon King: “We’re just making supper.”

The Hero: “Seventy eight, seventy nine, eighty…”

The Female Paladin: “Why?”

The Demon King: “The food we’ve had recently has been terrible. So we’re trying a recipe we managed to get from the Chief Maid. It uses minimal ingredients for maximum taste…”

The Hero: “Hundred and one, hundred and two, hundred and three…”

The Female Paladin: “That’s very interesting. What’s on the menu?”

The Demon King: “Mushrooms, sausage and cabbage. And bread.”

The Female Paladin: “Really? That sounds like it can’t fail. And what is the Hero doing?”

The Hero: “Hundred and twenty, hundred and twenty-one, hundred and twenty-two…”

The Demon King: “Yeah, he’s counting. The mushrooms need to be cooked for exactly five minutes.”

The Female Paladin: “Can’t you be more spontaneous?”

The Demon King: “Spontaneous?! How much more spontaneous do we need to be to make food?!”

The Female Paladin: “No, isn’t cooking a spontaneous thing?”

The Demon King: “That’s not true. It relies on perfect harmony created from perfect preparation and portioning, and it’s only basic to follow the order of things.”

The Female Paladin: “Is that so?”

Blub, blub, blub.

The Hero: “Two hundred and twenty, two hundred and twenty-one, two hundred and twenty–two…”

The Female Paladin: “It looks like the water level has really gone down.”

The Demon King: “It’s due to evaporation. That’s when water turns to a gaseous state and dissipates into the air. Logically speaking, it’s the correct thing.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s not just normal boiling?”

The Demon King: “No, it’s evaporation. It’s a scientifically proven phenomenon.”

The Female Paladin: “Hmm.”

The Hero: “Two hundred and thirty-five, two hundred and thirty-six—”

Blub, blub, blub.

The Demon King: “It’s almost time.”

The Hero: “Two hundred and forty, two hundred and forty-one—”

The Female Paladin: “Shouldn’t we take out some plates?”

The Hero: “Now that you say it.”

The Female Paladin: “Two hundred and seventy-six, two hundred and seventy-seven—”

The Demon King: “Hero, it’s almost time to put out the fire!”

The Hero: “Got it! Burst of Frost!”

Whoosh!

The Demon King: “It’s finished!!”

The Hero: “Ahh, what a long battle.”

The Female Paladin: “…”

The Demon King: “Right, it’s time to eat then. Hero! It’s time to share our victory.”

The Hero: “Hey! Demon King! When did the Female Paladin get here?”

The Female Paladin: “No, I’m good. I was just passing by and felt curious, but I wouldn’t want to get in the way of your education from the Chief Maid.”

The Demon King: “Really? Let’s eat!”

The Hero: “Let’s eat!”

The Demon King: “…”

The Hero: “…”

The Demon King: “Ugh, why is it so salty?!”

The Hero: “My mouth, my mouth?!”

The Female Paladin: “Did you add too much salt?”

The Demon King: “How could we? We followed the instructions.”

The Hero: “What an unbelievable taste.”

The Demon King: “I need some water.”

The Female Paladin: “My, my.” Pours water.

The Hero: “Me too.”

The Female Paladin: “Ahh, I can’t watch. Here, hand it over.”

The Demon King: “Eh? You can’t eat this.”

The Hero: “It’s way too salty. It’s cursed.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s a waste to just throw it away. The Holy Order of the Lake is renowned for our virtue, prudence, and diligence.”

The Demon King: “That’s true.”

The Hero: “But it’s definitely inedible.”

The Female Paladin: “Well, the taste will be affected, but there’s no choice.”

Glub, glub, glub.

The Demon King: “Eh?”

The Female Paladin: “For the time being, we can reduce the saltiness by adding water. Then, by frying some of the fat from the bacon…… And maybe by adding some sausage and sliced cabbages…”

Chop, chop, chop.

The Demon King: “Whoaa.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s a bit difficult to control the fire on this stove, so we’ll use to distance to control the heat. If we move it away from the fire, it’ll be low heat. Then when it starts to give off a good smell, we’ll add six boiled eggs.”

Whistles.

The Hero: “Looks like you can really cook!”

The Female Paladin: “After adding the eggs in, we put on the lid, move it away from the fire and wait. Until it starts to steam.”

The Hero: “What number should I start counting from?”

The Female Paladin: “We’ll go by instinct. It would be great if you could take out the plates.”

The Hero: “With pleasure!”

The Female Paladin: “Alright.” Raises lid. Inhales deeply.

The Demon King: “Looks great.”

The Hero: “It looks delicious!”

The Female Paladin: “…The two of you somehow have the same reactions for everything.”

The Demon King: “Mmm, maybe it’s because we’ve lived together for so long. We’ve got a certain bond.”

The Hero: “Or rather, it feels like people with empty stomachs have a strong sense of camaraderie.”

The Female Paladin: “Under one roof, eh… What a handicap.”

The Demon King: “Can we eat yet?”

The Hero: “Is it ready yet, Female Paladin?”

The Female Paladin: “Not yet. It doesn’t matter if you have forks in both hands. In addition, we’re going to slice some of this hardened cheese over the top. And it’s done. Pass the plates. I’ll divide it into halves.”

The Demon King: “Yeahhhh.”

The Hero: “It smells wonderful.”

The Female Paladin: “Seems like we’ve had a good relationship recently, doesn’t it?”

The Demon King: “Our relationship has always been good from the start.”

The Hero: “Well, yeah.”

The Female Paladin: “That’s…”

The Demon King: “It’s delicious. Looks like you can really cook.”

The Hero: “Now that you say it, you were cooking in the past too.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s a basic necessity that us Paladins try to reduce the burden we place on others. Well, the best cook among the party is actually that old pervert.”

The Demon King: “Pervert?”

The Hero: “The Butler of the Kingdom of Winter.”

The Female Paladin: “It was a long time ago.”

The Demon King: “Really?”

The Demon King: “Oh right, so what do you have to do today?”

The Hero: “Would you like to make an omelette with us?”

The Female Paladin: “Ah, well, yeah, I don’t have anything important today.”

The Hero: “Is that so?”

The Female Paladin: “We’ll have to touch up on our observations from the battle.”

 

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

Warrior of the Fang: “Gahahahaha!”

Little Maid Sister: “Hello, beardy-beardy!”

Warrior of the Fang: “Hey don’t worry about that up there. Here, if you fall you might get injured, you know?”

Little Maid Sister: “It’s alright! I’m very used to cleaning things in high places!”

Disciple Soldier: “Hey, Little Maid Sister, don’t make trouble please.”

Warrior of the Fang: “Gahaha! There’s no Fang who would be troubled by a girl of this weight.”

Disciple Soldier: “I see…”

Footsteps.

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Yo!”

Disciple Soldier: “I apologise for intruding.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “You’re really persistent, aren’t you! You keep going into the forest. Is there something interesting there?”

Disciple Soldier: “As interesting things go, I’m in a whole new world I’ve never heard of nor seen in my life, isn’t that interesting enough.”

Little Maid Sister: “Yep, yep.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “That’s true. Oh?… And who is this young lady?”

Disciple Soldier: “Well, this is my sister.”

Little Maid Sister: “Hello!”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “How spirited!”

Warrior of the Fang: “She’s a very interesting young lady.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Is that so?”

Human Mercenary: “She’s somehow become very involved. Hahahaha.”

Disciple Soldier: “She came to bring some provisions for the soldiers.”

Warrior of the Fang: “They were delicious.”

Disciple Soldier: “She may be very young, but she’s a fabulous chef.”

Little Maid Sister: “I made lots and lots!”

Youth of the Fang: “It’s really delicious.”

Warrior of the Fang: “Yeah, it’s really something!”

Human Mercenary: “Another serving please.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “You brought enough food for everyone?”

Disciple Soldier: “Oh no. We brought the ingredients. All we brought along in our carriages were pots… This little girl slipped onto the convoy without me noticing, how troublesome.”

Little Maid Sister: “I didn’t want to let him go alone!”

Disciple Soldier: “This camp in the middle of the forest is very, very far away from the city, you know.”

Little Maid Sister: “But I want to hear about the Demon World.”

Disciple Soldier: “It was curiosity that killed the cat.”

Little Maid Sister: “I bet there’s loads of new food in the Demon World. I’ve never been there. So at least I want to hear about it.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Hahaha, what an energetic little girl.”

Disciple Soldier: “I apologise for her cheekiness.”

Little Maid Sister: “I learnt it from you!”

Disciple Soldier: “I am nothing of the sort. I am a bladesman honed under the Female Paladin herself.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Hoho.”

Disciple Soldier: “In any case, we bring supplies today.”

Little Maid Sister: “Yup! Yup! Please eat a lot today. And give as much feedback as you can on the food.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “I see, I see. What a chef you are.”

Little Maid Sister: “I am the future Imperial Chef after all.”

Footsteps.

The Silver Tiger Lord: “What’s this?”

Disciple Soldier: “I apologise for intruding upon you today as well.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Hmm.”

Disciple Soldier: “I hear you are about to depart.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “I’ve received the orders today. We are to rendezvous with our reconnaissance unit and leave the day after tomorrow.”

Disciple Soldier: “I see…”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “This place is very far from our homes. My people are also eager to get back. We will have to return by departing from the shores of the Kingdom of Winter, since the lands of White Night are presently occupied by the Crusaders.”

Disciple Soldier: “I see.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Now that the war is over, our presence is no longer required.”

Disciple Soldier: “In that case, before it happens, I will not allow you to go without sharing a cup of wine with me.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “…”

Disciple Soldier: “I believe the liquor in the Human World is not too bad. This is some very strong wine from the Kingdom of Metal. It’s nothing elegant or opulent, but it is the wine of the earth.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “…And you’re treating us to this feast on top of it?”

Disciple Soldier: “Please enjoy your fill of the food.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “It is terrifingly good. For such a young girl, no less.”

Disciple Soldier: “My sister is rather special.”

Little Maid Sister: “Please have it while it’s hot, and eat as much as you like.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Thank you.”

Disciple Soldier: “And as much wine as you’d like as well.”

The Silver Tiger Lord: “Mmm.”

Glug, glug, glug…

Disciple Soldier: “I hear there is no moon in the Demon World.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Yeah.” Munch, munch.

The Silver Tiger Lord: “You mean that white thing?”

Disciple Soldier: “To eat a splendid meal with brave warriors from distant lands. The moon shines bright on me tonight.”

 

——— The Kingdom of Winter, in Front of a House in the City Centre

“Nyohohohohohoho.”

The Female Paladin: “…”

“Well! This is wonderful! Fukurami, Maromi. What beautiful ladies I have around me!”

“Didn’t I tell you to leave your wounds alone?”

“No no no no no, it recovers better this way. But look at that bounciness.”

“Kyaa! Heeheehee. Bounce bounce 

The Female Paladin: “…”

“Let me join in too 

“So energetic!”

“Bounce bounce. Nyohohohoho!”

“Heehee. Bounce bounce ♪ 

Opens door.

The Female Paladin: “Excuse me.”

Butler: “…”

Nurse: “…” Gasps.

The Female Paladin: “I think it’s best that you stop whatever it is you’re doing.”

Butler: “What? I’m not doing anything?!”

 

——— The Kingdom of Winter, Inside a House in the City Centre

The Female Paladin: “Are alright, grandpa?”

Butler: “Nyohoho. Don’t you worry. I am nothing more than a grizzled, old soldier. Old soldiers don’t die, they just fade away… When that leaf falls to the ground, so too will this old man.”

The Female Paladin: “Why are you suddenly so interested in dying? You were so energetic just a minute ago.”

Butler: “That. Well. Nothing inappropriate happened.”

The Female Paladin: ““Let me join in too!””

Butler: “What! Where did you hear that?”

The Female Paladin: “I wish I had heard… nothing at all.”

Butler: “In any case, nothing untoward took place. If anything ever did take place, my conscience as a man with the heart of a man is completely clear.”

The Female Paladin: “My. It looks like your age is really no obstacle to you.”

Butler: “Nyohohohoho!”

The Female Paladin: “It’s not a compliment.”

Butler: “Damn.”

The Female Paladin: “In any case, I am relieved that you appear to be well.”

Butler: “Well, I have been training even here.”

The Female Paladin: “Have you been undergoing therapy?”

Butler: “Yes. And I am much better. Thank you for your concern.”

The Female Paladin: “I just thought it would be proper to pay you a visit.”

Butler: “That makes me happy.”

The Female Paladin: “It’s great that you’re being taken care of. By girls with huge breasts.”

Butler: “Nyohohohoho!”

The Female Paladin: “By girls with huge breasts.”

Butler: “Ahem. Well. Thank you very much.”

The Female Paladin: “…”

Butler: “What is it?”

The Female Paladin: “…Actually.”

Butler: “…”

The Female Paladin: “…Yeah.”

Butler: “What is it? If it’s about your relationship with the Hero, perhaps you might want to borrow some wisdom from this old man.”

The Female Paladin: “Why do you know?!”

Butler: “I am known as a pillar of wisdom, hahahaha!”

The Female Paladin: “Really?”

Butler: “It was very clear from the very start that you had a thing for the Hero. Nyohohohoho!”

The Female Paladin: “Really…”

Butler: “Yes, really. Even when we were travelling as a party, the two of you have always had your sights on the Hero. He truly is a naïve, inattentive boy. Nyohohohoho.”

The Female Paladin: “Two of you?”

Butler: “Oh, don’t mind me. In any case, how far have you gone?”

The Female Paladin: “What do you mean?”

Butler: “In your relationship with the Hero.”

The Female Paladin: “Well, he accepted my sword. And I became his.”

Butler: “…Sigh.”

The Female Paladin: “What’s with the sigh?!”

Butler: “Well, I suppose entering into the Knights’ Vows is a sort of advancement in your relationship. As a Butler, I cannot be heartless—I shall laugh for you. Nyohohohoho!”

The Female Paladin: “Stop laughing. I know what you mean.”

Butler: “Well, you are both shy people. And your target is the Hero, after all. I won’t say it’s an easy target.”

The Female Paladin: “Really?”

Butler: “Yeah. The Demon King is having trouble too.”

The Female Paladin: “Which reminds me. Have you reported the whole Demon King thing to the Lone Winter King?”

Butler: “That is something out of my hands. When the time is right, the young man will know.”

The Female Paladin: “I see… When you mean trouble, do you mean the Hero…”

Butler: “?”

The Female Paladin: “The Hero doesn’t actually like us?”

Butler: “No, no, that’s not what I mean. It’s just that the Hero is not an easy target. You have much ahead of you.”

The Female Paladin: “What exactly?”

Butler: “Mmmm.”

The Female Paladin: “My old friend. Can’t you give me a hint? I’m a bit bashful asking your perverted insights, but in order to close the gap between me and the Demon King, perhaps there are some strategies I could borrow from you.”

Butler: “Gap, eh?”

The Female Paladin: “Yes.”

Butler: “I don’t think there’s a gap.”

The Female Paladin: “That’s not true. The two of them were making sausages and mushrooms together, there was really the atmosphere of a relationship…”

Butler: “That may be so, but the target is the Hero.”

The Female Paladin: “I don’t understand.”

Butler: “Well, do you remember that day at the City of Dunes?”

The Female Paladin: “Yeah. We were travelling.”

Butler: “The Hero and I left the camp and gallivanted until the morning, and we really pissed you off.”

The Female Paladin: “Yes, I remember. Why are we talking about this?”

Butler: “And after that, there was the quest for the singer. And the Hero happily flew out for it like some falcon or some hawk, to be the mighty saviour of that damsel.”

The Female Paladin: “Makes me angry just thinking about it.”

Butler: “No, no. It’s just such a normal thing for a guy to do.”

The Female Paladin: “?”

Butler: “To get closer to a girl and impress her, no matter who you are, every guy will experience this desire at some point or another. But the Hero feels this more than anyone else. Do you know why?”

The Female Paladin: “Because he’s a skirtchaser?”

Butler: “Well, ahem… I wouldn’t exactly say that is false. The truth is a bit different. The Hero is actually very scared. It’s because he carries that much power within him. If he started to be despised by the people, they would think of him as some kind of monster, which is scary. It’s because of this that he has to behave nicely to everyone, to be kind and to make people happy.”

The Female Paladin: “I don’t think he’s a monster. I don’t despise him.”

Butler: “It would be great if everyone felt that way…”

The Female Paladin: “…”

Butler: “Moreover…”

The Female Paladin: “?”

Butler: “When you’re a special person, it can be very scary.”

The Female Paladin: “?”

Butler: “He may be a Hero, but he’s a coward when it comes to people disliking him. Because of this cowardice, he decided to go and confront the Demon King himself. He may be special, and so he can think of doing such things, but—the reason why he left is surely because of fear. The Hero has a deep relationship with both you and the Demon King, within which he may be just a fool who can’t read the situation; but without that, with his ignorance and inattentiveness, he would be liable to seek to escape from the difficult future he has to face.”

The Female Paladin: “Is that so?”

Butler: “—Maybe. Nyohohohoho. I can’t say for sure. That’s just what I feel.”

The Female Paladin: “Yeah…”

Butler: “Hey, don’t be so down. This grandpa has got a terrific strategy.”

The Female Paladin: “Really?”

Butler: “Of course.” Smiles.

The Female Paladin: “And what’s that?”

Butler: “Firstly, don’t think of him as a human.”

The Female Paladin: “?!”

Butler: “A horse. Think of the Hero as a horse.”

The Female Paladin: “Why a horse? Oh wait.”

Butler: “What is it?”

The Female Paladin: “I’ve got to take notes.”

Butler: “Hohoho. You’re really serious.”

The Female Paladin: “He’s even munching straw.”

Butler: “Hahaha! My brilliant plan will definitely see you through. Nyohohoho!”

The Female Paladin: “What do I do now that he’s a horse?”

Butler: “Well, to train a horse, you’ve got to raise it correctly, right? So how do you take care of a horse?”

The Female Paladin: “Talk to it.”

Butler: “And?”

The Female Paladin: “Touch it. Pat and rub its head. Brush it. When I touch it, I feel that the horse feels happy.”

Butler: “That’s correct.”

The Female Paladin: “And I give it carrots and apples as well.”

Butler: “That’s a good progression.”

The Female Paladin: “Is it really that simple?!”

Butler: “When it comes to boys, the basics are rather the same.”

The Female Paladin: “Really…”

Butler: “But after that, you’ve got to do a frontal assault.”

The Female Paladin: “Frontal assault.” Scribbling.

Butler: “You’ve got to tell him what you want to his face.”

The Female Paladin: “Tell him what I want.”

Butler: “Whether you want to kiss, or even to hug.”

The Female Paladin: “That’s too much.”

Butler: “The Hero is your target, so if you don’t say anything, nothing will happen. On the whole, the Hero is as aimless as a horse. When the horse gets lost, you have to lead it out by the hand and show it the way.”

The Female Paladin: “That’s…true.”

Butler: “Of course, you’ve got to build a relationship of trust, and not just throw yourself at him. For that reason, daily contact is an important factor.”

The Female Paladin: “Ugh… So that’s how it is?”

Butler: “What is it?”

The Female Paladin: “The Demon King is always touching his hair like he’s some little kid… But maybe this is part of her long-term strategy…”

Butler: “I don’t really understand, but I can definitely feel your murderous intent.”

The Female Paladin: “No, I’ve got it under control, master.”

Butler: “Master?!”

The Female Paladin: “I’m borrowing your expertise, so you’re the master.”

Butler: “Nyohohohoho! How nice.”

The Female Paladin: “Next is, well…”

Butler: “What is it?”

The Female Paladin: “No, it’s okay. It’s time for reality.”

Butler: “Hahaha.”

The Female Paladin: “I will have to rely on my own strength for reality.”

Butler: “Well, well, that’s a bit shallow, don’t you think?”

The Female Paladin: “Eh?”

Butler: “Your strengths, your weaknesses, they all form part of your trademark.”

The Female Paladin: “?”

Butler: “Your trademark is that of a person who confidently strides on the battlefield and wins the war!”

The Female Paladin: “That is true.”

Butler: “I have one present for such a Female Paladin.”

Rummages about.

Butler: “It’s the ultimate equipment made from fabric. It is of course too early to use right now. But when your heart is ready, open this bag.”

The Female Paladin: “I don’t really understand, but I appreciate your kindness! I’ll give it a try and see how it goes!”

Butler: “Nyohohohohoho! Anything is fine as long as it’s interesting. Do your best, Female Paladin!”

 

——– The Village of Wintering, the Manor of the Demon King, the Study

The Demon King: “Ughhhhh.”

The Chief Maid: “Does your back hurt, your Majesty?”

The Demon King: “Mmm, it’s just a bit stiff.”

The Chief Maid: “Shall I massage your shoulders for you?”

The Demon King: “Please.”

The Chief Maid: “Here we go then.”

The Demon King: “Mmm…”

The Chief Maid: “The Female Paladin’s demands sure are stubborn, aren’t they?”

The Demon King: “Very much so. In order to meet her requests, we need to advance production and metallurgy techniques. We’ll need to increase the toolmaking technology as well… Looks like I’ll have to go and check the Library.”

The Chief Maid: “Indeed.”

The Demon King: “We really can’t do anything about the Crusaders.”

The Chief Maid: “Is that really a problem?”

The Demon King: “Eh?”

The Chief Maid: “No, it’s just I don’t think they’re that big a threat.”

The Demon King: “Really?”

The Chief Maid: “Yes.”

The Demon King: “What do you mean?”

The Chief Maid: “Their leaders number only in the hundreds, it’s a simple matter to just kill them. Neither your Majesty nor the Hero needs to dirty your hands to accomplish this. It may be presumptuous, but…”

The Demon King: “Well, yes, that is true.”

The Chief Maid: “…”

The Demon King: “But the problem is, we require their consent.”

The Chief Maid: “Consent?”

The Demon King: “Yeah, consent.”

The Chief Maid: “I don’t understand.”

The Demon King: “Well… To put it better, we’ve cleared the majority of the issues I highlighted at the start. For example, the issues of famine in the Human World were greatly resolved by the introduction of potato and corn cultivation. Of course, there are still issues of governance which need to be solved in order to truly cure famine permanently, but I believe the problem has been greatly and significantly reduced. Moreover, with the Mage’s help, vaccinations have begun to take root across the world. In both the Demon and Human Worlds, population increases are taking place. The Human World has seen the birth of the Southern Alliance as an economic and political union, and while there are still military tensions, as soon as these are resolved, I believe we can try to build diplomatic infrastructure with the Central Continent. Resolving issues with the Central Continent is now the key to peace. Development speed and security will be greatly aided without the development of two competing spheres of influence.

“Moreover, with the many conferences taking place, the Demon World has managed to end its long periods of inter-tribal conflict and, by resolving incidents, is moving closer towards a greater sense of unity. For a tribal society like the Demon World’s to accept outsiders like the Human race will likely act as a sort of social lubricant to bring the tribes closer together. The Demon World is moving towards a closer sense of solidarity, away from the previous disparate elements. Right now, with the economic trade plan in motion, the different tribes have even united to build a bridge together. We have entered a new era in Demon history. — If you think about it, we have accomplished much of what we should, with the ‘Famine in the Human World’, the ‘Independence of the South’ and the ‘Coalition of the Demon Tribes’. Of course, there are still more deep problems, and we will have many more troubles ahead of us. However, these are not insurmountable obstacles. I have no intention to bear this responsibility on my own. This is the world we all live in together, so it would be problematic if we did not all contribute to its development together as well.”

The Chief Maid: “Indeed.”

The Demon King: “However, to do that, with the war we have going on right now… To put it simply, we can’t have this Central Church sanctioned Third Crusade intending to entrench and secure the system. We cannot continue to have this pointless, reactionary war. It may be their wish, but I cannot understand their crazed fanaticism. However, this is a lesson in how we can mobilise people to work for greater causes like removing famine and poverty.

“If my observations are correct, we can remove the root cause… In other words, while we can raise the self-sufficiency of food supplies for the countries and even reduce accumulated conflict by encouraging dialogue between tribes, whether or not these methods can resolve the issue is still circumspect. The leadership of the Holy Crusaders still has the ability to ruin these plans, but with the religious fervour that they command at their fingertips, they can also remove and disarm the reactionary uprising permanently. This is a very delicate issue. We need their ‘consent’ if we want to do things well, and we can’t do that by assassination.”

The Chief Maid: “I see…?”

The Demon King: “…That the Demons are killing the Humans is true. That the Humans are killing the Demons is also true. Between them, there is some true animosity. Even if we know we have to move forward, it is hard to take that step. In order to prevent further blood from spilling and worsening the situation, we cannot take such measures.”

The Chief Maid: “Then how should we resolve it?”

The Demon King: “That’s what I’m worrying about.”

The Chief Maid: “How difficult.”

The Demon King: “Aghh, it hurts!”

The Chief Maid: “Oh, I’m sorry.”

The Demon King: “I feel like I’ve done something wrong or missed something out.”

The Chief Maid: “Really?”

The Demon King: “I’ve placed the emphasis on resolving food issues, employment issues, diplomatic issues, and economic issues. Without resolving economic issues, the world can never be a happy place. But by simply resolving economic issues, the world still cannot be a happy place… What is this happiness? How do we achieve it? That’s a difficult question.”

 

——— The Kingdom of Winter, the Winter Palace, the Ministry of Finance

Disciple Merchant: (60 gold pieces?… Rather than defence, this is clearly an attack. This is clearly meant as a barrier to trade. The Central Continent probably does not have the talent to recognise such a crafty weapon…

This means that the key is to not let the situation develop to the point where the already impoverished Southern Alliance is seen as pouring oil onto the blazing fire of the Central Continent. This is a very high risk situation, and while it may result in large gains, it could also lead to high tensions that could force the market to crash completely… Indeed, the merchants who could pull off such a risky target can only be found in the Union.)

Disciple Merchant: “Sigh.”

Assistant: “What is it?”

Disciple Merchant: “It’s nothing. I received a strange letter from a strange person.”

Assistant: “A strange letter? But Milady’s letters are very well-written.”

Disciple Merchant: “Huh?”

Assistant: “Ah, it’s nothing!”

Disciple Merchant: “What a strange fellow.”

Assistant: “So, what sort of scary letter is it?”

Disciple Merchant: “Well uhh, the letter says something like—In order to prevent the enemies of the Southern Alliance from building some strange weapons, let us raise the price of charcoal. Shall we work together? I look forward to it.”

Assistant: “Isn’t that a nice letter?”

Disciple Merchant: “Huh?”

Assistant: “Eh? Then. By using such weapons, aren’t we just forcing the enemy to go to war?”

Disciple Merchant: “…”

Assistant: “That’s… true.”

Disciple Merchant: “No, well, that’s just one side of the story.”

Assistant: “War is a bad thing. There are many soldiers who can’t go home, and we have to eat bad food.”

Disciple Merchant: “…”

Assistant: “?”

Disciple Merchant: (What a dilemma… I’ve been trying to shield his Majesty from making such difficult decisions, but I’ve got no choice now. It is just as the fool says, lives are truly inexchangable.”

Disciple Merchant: “Hey, fool.”

Assistant: “I’m not a fool, but what’s up!”

Disciple Merchant: “We’re going to see the King. Together.”

Assistant: “Yes!”

 

< Chapter 1                                                                                                                                                         Chapter 3 >

 

6 thoughts on “Volume 4 Chapter 2

  1. ahaha comparing the hero with a horse – he even munches straw. Priceless.
    This chapter seems to be a trap. It’s clearly chapter two, but the lead in chapter also seems to be chapter two : V

    Ah, mr. butler really is insightful. I was expecting him to be the mentor trope but his psychological approach in regards to the hero really makes me admire the author and his layered story telling capabilities!

    My only gripe with maoyuu is that it’s too heavily focused on exposition and while sidelining action and sometimes even character development. A chapter like this one, where we see get a peak of how at least 4 characters truly operate is a big bonus in my books.

    If only they’d swap a few of the insightful yet dreary process and object explanations for political debates or some psychological battles….we’d already have a licensed U.S translation of maoyuu.

    …..

    …..

    Oi, boh i have some questions i’d like you to answer, if you don’t mind.

    Firstly i would like to know your age. Next i’d like to know when and how you learned japanese. If you can give me a few details as to your studying method, or if that’s too much of a hassle, could you tell me the process that lead you to undertake foreign languages?

    And the most important question i have is “why” you choose to learn japanese. Who or what motivated you to go the extra mile.

    Lastly i’d like to know what you did before you became a soldier. – if you’re not a soldier and i guessed wrong, i apologize. I assume you really are a soldier and not a KGB spy :V –

    In any case, i’m asking all these things cause i wanna know how to you worked up your proficiency for foreign languages.

    if you’ve already explained everything i asked once before please toss me a link to the appropriate section ^_^

    • 1) I’m 19. Started learning Japanese in school when I was 12, which is actually a very, very slow way of learning. The most important thing I can tell you is that you’ll never go far without immersion, but even a week or two of immersion can do wonders. Of course, there’s no point doing immersion until you can make yourself understood. Apart from that, there’s no substitute from rigorous studying, especially for grammar and kanji. I usually start learning languages by mugging the grammar rules from Wikipedia: for Japanese it’s mostly the verb conjugations and particles; for Russian it’s the case, gender and number inflections as well as the prepositions.

      2) I started learning Japanese when I was young and naive and had no idea what I was doing. It turned out to be extremely difficult and I almost gave up at many stages along the way. To be honest, it will probably be three to four times more difficult for you, since I already knew Chinese, I didn’t even need to study Kanji; and even then it was insane. I know you probably think I’m some major otaku, but sadly I’m not. I translate mostly for practice, except Maoyuu is really interesting. I used to translate manga without even understanding what the hell I was translating. Manga is terrifically simple to translate by the way. The folks at Nanodesu do easily hundreds of times the workload a manga translator does.

      3) Umm… I’m basically a conscript. So I was a student before becoming a soldier haha. But right before that I did a handful of research internships.

      Heh. Hope you found my secret biography interesting. I’m sure no one else does. 😛

      • indeed. My secret, fiendish plan to flood the internet with horrible romaji is one step closer to fruition, thanks to you ahahaha ahahaah “cough”. Though i really need to master my hiragana and kanji first. no point in making poor latin scribbles if i don’t know the language. Rest assured that when the internet falls into an abyss of nonsense and poorly written fan translations, it will be on your hands : V

        I started learning japanese a while back actually, but getting pointers from someone with more experience and quick wits is always helpful. 😀

        Don’t underestimate your secret biography. You’re a little controversial in some aspects(though i’m not allowed to say which) so i’m sure many people will find it interesting.

        btw, the kanji thing. I still have to follow that lame rule with learning a bare minimum of 2000 symbols, right? ; ( fml

      • @Anthar Actually you can get away just fine with less. At least 500 of those 2200 or so kanji come up only once every 50 blue moons.

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

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