Volume 4 Chapter 8

Volume 4 Chapter 8, “The Names of Those Who Cannot Return.”

Demon Thrush: “……”

The Hero: “Don’t screw with me!”

Demon Thrush: “I understand that you’re angry, sir.”

The Hero: “What?”

Demon Thrush: “People, whether Human or Demon are all like that.”

The Hero: “……?”

Demon Thrush: “People are not like you, they do not have your magical power or your battle ability or your teleportation, they do not have your limitless courage and your impossible stubbornness. Compared to you right now, people are hundreds of times more powerless.”

The Hero: “Ah……”

Demon Thrush: “However, people are not wooden dolls.”

The Hero: “Sorry. I…… …….. I said something I didn’t mean.”

Demon Thrush: “……”

The Hero: “Okay, continue your surveillance.”

Demon Thrush: “Yes, sir.”

Flaps away

The Hero: (I want to help them. Everybody. Humans and Demons both. Why can’t I help them? Why can’t I do what I really want to do? Always and always—- Demon King…… Please be okay. In just a little while, just a little while, the Mage’s preparations will all be complete. So just hold on.”

——- The City of the Gate, the Self Governing Council, the Barracks

“The Demon King!”

“The Demon King!”

“The Demon King has returned!”

Human Elder: “It seems that she’s returned safely!”

Fiend Merchant: “Her Majesty has returned without harm.”

The Demon King: “—– I’m sorry for making worry. Make preparations, we will hold a military conference.”

Aide-de-Camp: “My lord. I have been very worried.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “You and I both.”

Aide-de-Camp: “I am pleased to see you unharmed……”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “I wouldn’t say unharmed……”

The Fire Dragon Lady: “Your Majesty.”

The Demon King: “We are in the midst of battle. But it is good that we are all unharmed.”

The Fire Dragon Lady: “Yes.”

The Demon King: “I am carrying a very heavy burden. I recognise that. Even if I were to wager my entire life, I would still be unable to do anything.”

The Fire Dragon Lady: “…… Yes.”

The Demon King: “For the names of those who cannot return.”

The Fire Dragon Lady: “……”

The Demon King: “Somebody! Call the person responsible the defences of the fortress. The man who design the fortifications. It should be a Fiend with a sleepy face. I’m eager to see how he has changed from an unreliable guy to an unwavering adult with forward-facing red eyes. Call him over!”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Banshee……?”

The Tattooed Chieftain of Fiends: “Your Majesty, who is this person?”

The Demon King: “Just a boy who I taught some things to a very long time ago. If he continued to build up on his experiences from that time, he should be able to construct some very formidable defences now. If he is as I expect him to be, these fortifications may well form the lifeline of this battle.”

Human Elder: “…… What!”

Aide-de-Camp: “So that person is your Majesty’s discicplE?”

The Fire Dragon Lady: “So that’s why he was willing to do it.”

The Demon King: “Well then, members of the Self-Governing Council.”

Human Elder: “Yes.”

Fiend Merchant: “Yes.”

The Demon King: “In my absence, I have placed a large amount of worry and burden on your shoulders. I apologise for the impact my naivete has had on the turn of events. —- And I thank you for enduring thus far.”

Human Elder: “No……”

Aide-de-Camp: “……”

The Demon King: “We will need to continue to survive. Chieftain.”

The Tattooed Chieftain of Fiends: “Your Majesty.”

The Demon King: “How are your wounds?”

The Tattooed Chieftain of Fiends: “With some more rest, I should be able to rejoin the battlefield.”

The Demon King: “Do not press yourself. I do not want to see a repeat of what happened to the Silver Tiger Lord.”

Aide-de-Camp: “……”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “……”

The Demon King: “Base Commander. Can I count on you?”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “Yes.”

The Demon King: “Then I appoint you the Commander-General and entrust to you our counter-attack.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “I humbly accept your appointment. I give my life as your shield.”

The Demon King: “—– That’s.”

The East Fortress Base Commander: “I won’t allow a word of complaint even if you’re the Demon King.”

The Demon King: “…… Witch-Queen.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “Yes.”

The Demon King: “I will entrust the organisation of the interior of the City, as well as the maintenance of public order to the Self Governing Council. The Witch-Queen and the Tribe of Banshees shall take charge of this. I entreat all to lend her your assistance to expedite things.”

The Witch-Queen of Banshees: “I understand.”

The Demon King: “I will not allow this City to fall. That is something I promise to the Demons and to the Humans alike. If this City were to fall again in a blaze of furious fire, the echoes of their screams will form a curse lasting a thousand years, forming a black chain that will forever bind the fates of the Human and Demon Races. We were not born for conflict. However, in order to prove exactly what it is we were born for, we have to live beyond today. I will not allow this battle to consume the City of the Gate!”

——— The City of the Gate, the Encampment of the Holy Crusaders Surrounding the Fortress

Green Ash King: “How is it?”

Scout: “I apologise. We did not detect the surprise attack from the rear.”

Green Ash King: “No, I do not mind. We are all working for the sake of the dominance of His Holiness under heaven. It is our duty to protect him in this manner. Do you have any reports regarding the outcome of the attack?”

Scout: “It appears that the Demon Army losses amount to 30,000.”

Leader of the Hundred Paladins: “Green Ash King, how is it going?”

Green Ash King: “The enemy losses are 30,000; approximately half of their strength.”

Leader of the Hundred Paladins: “Half? Were you not instructed to exterminate them!?”

Scout: (A simple girl who knows nothing of the realities of war.)

Green Ash King: “Please do not say that. Well…… Under doctrine, in order for an army to be unable to function effectively, all that is required is the loss of a third of an army’s forces. The Demon Army, which has lost half of its forces is practically destroyed.”

Leader of the Hundred Paladins: “Heh. Demons…… Exterminate them.”

Green Ash King: “We will need to regroup our forces and reform our frontlines. The noble soldiers will rest for the time being, and in the meantime, the frontline will be manned by the knights of the Kingdom of the Mist.”

Leader of the Hundred Paladins: “Hahahaha. We shall ride into the City and squish them like insects.”

Green Ash King: “Yes. The Demons are no longer able to sally out and fight us in the field. Furthermore, our siege is proceeding very well. Their unsightly, turtle-like fortifications should not be able to endure another afternoon of cannonade fire.”

Leader of the Hundred Paladins: “I assume it is no question that they will drown in a sea of despair and pain?”

Green Ash King: “We will continue our siege. Musketeers to defensive positions. Cannons, adopt positions and begin firing! Infantry units link up with logistics units to construct our rear support area!”

———- The City of the Gate, Atop the Citadel, Defenders

Beast Soldier: “The sun is going down! Hurry!”

Disciple Engineer: “Light the lanterns.”

Giant Craftsman: “…… How bright.”

Volunteer Archer: “What is this?”

Disciple Engineer: “A glass mirror. Right then, let’s support the retreat. Engineers, raise the ramparts! Load up the oil and rubble.”

Giant Craftsman: “Understood……”

Volunteer Archer: “Open up! Open up, there are wounded!”

Human Craftsman: “We cannot do that, the people will flood in.”

Disciple Engineer: “Open the doors to the temples! We will put up a tentage between the hills.”

Boom! Boom!

Giant Craftsman: “!”

Human Craftsman: “What’s that sound!?”

Boom!

Disciple Engineer: “Stay calm! Those are cannons. They are giant metal tubes fileld with gunpowder.”

Human Craftsman: “What? Then will we be alright?”

Disciple Engineer: “Listen up! The fortifications will be fine. They are thick and we have built them slope in anticipation of the cannon fire. Everything is proceeding within our calculations. Time is short, but we have prepared good fortifications. So, calm down!”

Giant Craftsman: “That’s……”

Banshee Craftsman: “Our engineer can’t be lying! He’s the one who managed to build those incredible stone bridges after all!”

Human Craftsman: “He is?”

Disciple Engineer: “Assist the soldiers! Volunteers, carry in the wounded.”

Beast Soldier: “Understood!”

Banshee Craftsman: “Let’s go!”

Human Craftsman: “How about us?”

Disciple Engineer: “Engineers will stand watch. The clock tower of the Temple is not appropriate. While it is made of stone, it is still not very strong. Watch the enemy positions from atop the walls. Do not use bright lights, try to observe by your eyes alone.”

Human Craftsman: “Understood!”

Disciple Engineer: “Apart from that, we need to speed up the movement of supplies. Bring water up using the pulley systems. Tonight it seems we will have to endure an entire night of cannon fire. Let’s have a rotating shift. Umm. Where should we put our emergency headquarters? Damnit. I’m just an engineer!”

Fiend Signaller: “Hey! Hey!”

Giant Craftsman: “What is it……?”

Fiend Signaller: “Who’s in charge here? Who’s the man who design the forts?”

Disciple Engineer: “Design? That would be me.”

Fiend Signaller: “Sir! You are wanted by Her Majesty the Demon King.”

Disciple Engineer: “The Demon King!? Wow. But I’m just an engineer. Why would such an important person…… No, perhaps she’s not pleased with the state of the fortress. Spare me!! I’m not a military person! I shouldn’t be punished under military law!”

Fiend Signaller: “Her Majesty had instructions for me. —– ‘If he seems reluctant to comply, tell him that the one who wants him is Ruby Eyes.’

Disciple Engineer: “Master!?”

——— The City of the Gate, a Busy Street, a Covered Tent

“Aghhh, my leg.”

“It burns. It burns.”

“Aghhh.”

“It hurts. Somebody.”

“Water. Please. Just a glass…… Water……”

Demon Girl: “Boil more water! Those lightly injured people, help with the bandages, and someone get me more thread.”

Human Civilian: “Water!?”

Demon Girl: “I’m sorry. Sorry. I gave instructions as if I was some bigshot.”

Middle-Aged Dragon Woman: “What’s with that expression! You are the person in charge of the Temple Hospital! Water? I’ll get it!”

Medic: “Coming through! Coming through!”

Demon Girl: “Sorry!”

Signaller: “Madam, we have exhausted the stocks of cloth in the warehouses of the Self-Governing Council. What should we do?”

Demon Girl: “Umm, that’s… Well…… Hands……”

Signaller: “Hands? I understand. I will get the volunteers to come and help.”

Demon Girl: “Sorry. Sorry!”

One-Handed Beastman: “This girl……”

Demon Girl: “Ah! Sorry.”

One-Handed Beastman: “Damnit, what now.”

Demon Girl: “I will bandage you up now. Leave it to me…… Even though I’m not very good at it.”

One-Handed Beastman: “It doesn’t really matter. I’m already one-handed anyway.”

Demon Girl: “Sorry, sorry!”

One-Handed Beastman: “Agh…… Girl, can you get me some wine to drink?”

Demon Girl: “No, no! If you drink it’ll make you bleed!”

One-Handed Beastman: “Shut up! What kind of battle is it when you can’t drink?”

Demon Girl: “No, no! I already told you no, didn’t I! And you’re already missing a hand! You still want to go out and fight!?”

One-Handed Beastman: “Of course. You can’t stop us. This is a fight to the finish. Alright, hurry up and fix me up. Make my arm good and hard, maybe I’ll attach a metal pole there and go out to fight.”

Tightens bandage

Demon Girl: “……”

One-Handed Beastman: “Thank you.”

Demon Girl: “…… I couldn’t help at all. I’m sorry.”

One-Handed Beastman: “Nah, it’s fine. You’re helping with what you can do. That’s the best thing to do.”

——– The Kingdom of the Lake, the Capital, the Headquarters of the Union

Union Employee: “The report is finished.”

Young Merchant: “How is it?”

Union Employee: “As expected, we were unable to completely cover the entire region. I have made a pictorial graph…… We control 30% of the main trading routes.”

Female Union Employee: “As expected, the sheer number of churches is just incredible.”

Even if we turned all our branches into banks, we would still need ten times that number.”

Young Merchant: “Leaving the number of branches aside, if our friends in the banks were to begin issuing money orders as well, how many lines would we be able to open?”

Union Employee: “Umm. 38 routes.”

Young Merchant: “As expected, those are the critical trading routes.”

Union Employee: “To begin with, the branches of the Union are concentrated in important trading cities and countries where trade goods are being produced, so it’s obvious that the routes we have access to will comprise of critical trading routes.”

Young Merchant: “The problem is, if we take a share of these routes, in other words, if we take over their money orders, how much damage can we do to the Church?”

Union Employee: “Umm……”

Young Merchant: “What do you think, Branch Chief?”

Branch Chief: “I can’t give you an exact answer, but our annual revenue from these trading routes can increase by up to 15%. However, routes apart from this, in other words, routes which are subordinate to the main trading routes, can still be heavily affected by our transactions.”

Female Union Employee: “What do you mean subordinate?”

Branch Chief: “For example, wheat goes from the trading cities to the port cities through smaller routes passing through some villages…… Something like that. These regions have networks of small trading routes which fall outside the purview of our operations. However, these routes all share the main trading city as their starting point, don’t they? In that case, a large proportion of the wheat will pass through the primary trading routes. Even an unimportant terminal route has an extremely high possibility of having most of its goods originate from a primary trading route.”

Female Union Employee: “I see……”

Branch Chief: “If you think about it this way, I would estimate that we would be able to swallow up 20-30% of the Church’s money orders along all the trading routes.”

Young Merchant: “30%…… In that case, perhaps we need to conquer these trading routes.”

Branch Chief: “How much do we need?”

Young Merchant: “To avoid a mudslinging campaign, 60%.”

Branch Chief: “Hmm……”

Young Merchant: “How about it?”

Branch Chief: “No. So 30% is not possible then?”

Young Merchant: “We need a bit more. I want to create our victory by stealing their share. That’s the kind of impression I want to make.”

Branch Chief: “What can you buy with that impression?”

Young Merchant: “We can discuss that after we win.”

Union Employee: “Hmm.” Scratches head

Female Union Employee: “Why are you scratching your head like that?”

Union Employee: “I seem to be thinking of something. It feels like something is going to come out. To avoid a mudslinging campaign…… Uhh. It feels like a similar situation has happened before.”

Female Union Employee: “How did it turn out?”

Union Employee: “No idea.”

Female Union Employee: “That’s no help at all.”

Young Merchant: “Mmm.”

Union Employee: “30…… I suppose the point of view is that it’s before the competition.”

Young Merchant: “Before the competition—-“

Union Employee: “…… Yeah, that’s the key.”

Female Union Employee: “……”

Branch Chief: “What are you so troubled about? We can’t make a decision just yet.”

Young Merchant: “Yeah, let’s wait.”

Branch Chief: “…… Pressure them? No…… Purchase their share? What we need is something the enemy doesn’t have, that we have!”

Young Merchant: “Time. How about that?”

Union Employee: “That’s true. How do we use that……?”

Young Merchant: “We will stockpile the money orders we have purchased and flood the market with them…… Then we will announce our victory in that time and raise our share…… That’s double. Double of 30%.”

Female Union Employee: “Huh? Huh!?”

Young Merchant: “I understand. First we need to win. Anything else comes after that…… Shall we go with this?”

Union Employee: “Okay. It’ll definitely work!”

———– The City of the Gate, the Encampment of the Holy Crusaders Surrounding the City

Boom……

Disciple Bard: “How are you doing?”

Crusader: “Ahh, sorry.”

Spearman of Light: “Is there enough water?”

Auxiliary of Light: “Ms Bard, Ms Bard. I couldn’t find any mugwort, but there is some cattail.”

Disciple Bard: “Put it over there.”

Boom!

Noble Squire: “Agh.”

Disciple Bard: “Be strong. If we stop the bleeding, we might be able to save your arm.”

Noble Squire: “Those damn demons.”

Disciple Bard: “……”

Spearman of Light: “Sigh……”

Auxiliary of Light: “It’s painful.”

Spearman of Light: “Yeah, my ears keep ringing. I can’t hear a thing anymore.”

Auxiliary of Light: “Probably on account of the cannons.”

Crusader: “They make an amazing sound.”

Boom!

“Hahahaha! What formidable defences!”

“It took us just one day to put up these things!”

Spearman of Light: “…… Seems like those guys are doing their best as well.”

Disciple Bard: “——– The Beasts are a tribe of warriors. They are absolutely loyal to the Demon King and have all pledged their lives to her cause.”

Spearman of Light: “Eh?”

Disciple Bard: “That’s why, I think they’re fighting very courageously. They’re here to protect their homes and their lord.”

Auxiliary of Light: “Why do you know…… so much?”

Ears stand up

Disciple Bard: “…… Ehehe.”

Spearman of Light: “Your ears!”

Auxiliary of Light: “Ms Bard, don’t tell me-“

Disciple Bard: “Well, keep this a secret.”

Spearman of Light: “Why……”

Auxiliary of Light: “Ms Bard, you’re a Demon……”

Disciple Bard: “Demons come in all shapes and sizes. Some Demons even look like Humans.”

Spearman of Light: “That’s……”

Disciple Bard: “I apologise for startling you.”

Spearman of Light: “Ms Bard, you’ll be killed if you stay in a place like this.”

Auxiliary of Light: “In any case, hide your ears.”

Disciple Bard: “Well, yeah.” Tucks ears under hat

Spearman of Light: “……”

Auxiliary of Light: “……”

Disciple Bard: “……”

Spearman of Light: “Why would you do that?”

Disciple Bard: “Because I don’t want this war to happen. At the very least, it is not what I wish for.”

Spearman of Light: “But-“

Disciple Bard: “I decided. In the middle of it all, I will continue singing. Whatever I see, I will not run away. I still do not know what it is that I can do, but that is what I decided.”

Spearman of Light: “……”

Auxiliary of Light: “MS Bard.”

Disciple Bard: “Sorry.”

Spearman of Light: “No, you’re our benefactor.”

Auxiliary of Light: “You should do what you want to do.”

Disciple Bard: “……”

Spearman of Light: “We don’t know what is right or wrong anymore. I realised that after listening to your songs.”

Auxiliary of Light: “That’s right.”

Disciple Bard: “Yeah.”

Spearman of Light: “Your songs have really had an effect on us. So we’ll help you keep this secret.”

——— The City of the Gate, the Holy Crusaders Surrounding the City

Green Ash King: “How is it?”

Scout: “….. The third barrage has been confirmed. However, we are unable to ascertain any visible damage.”

Green Ash King: “What are you saying? How can that be?”

Leader of the Hundred Paladins: “What is happening?”

Green Ash King: “Hmph…… Somehow it seems that those Sloped Walls are not like normal walls. They may be black and unsightly, but it appears that they offer significant protection against cannon fire.”

Leader of the Hundred Paladins: “I was informed that in all previous tests, even the strongest fortifications were reduced to rubble after three hours.”

Green Ash King: “This is the Demon World. It is reasonable that tests which apply in the Human World are not effective over here. We will confirm what is going on, but we don’t have the time.”

Artillery Commander: “Fire!”

Cannoneer: “Yes!”

Boom!

Leader of the Hundred Paladins: “But—“

Green Ash King: “Despite that, we have other means. We’ll demonstrate the obvious difference in fighting strength and numbers. Artillery Brigade!”

Artillery Commander: “Yes!”

Green Ash King: “Form your brigade into four batteries. Take turns to pound them continuously without stopping. Don’t let this Demon City have any rest!”

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

Explanation

Sloped Walls: When large calibre artillery were introduced onto the battlefield, defences had to be specialised to endure direct cannon fire. Rather than height, thickness was prioritised; and in order to deflect the rounds, the walls were constructed as a slope.

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

———- The City of the Gate, Atop the Walls, the Defensive Unit

Boom!

Giant Craftsman: “……!”

Beast Soldier: “Damnit! We can’t sleep at all like this.”

Human Craftsman: “Damn.”

Disciple Engineer: “Let us sleep damnit.”

Giant Craftsman: “…… Defend……”

Disciple Engineer: “We can’t keep this up! Half of you go back and sleep! We’ll form two shifts!”

Beast Soldier: “Got it.”

Giant Craftsman: “Ahh! Leader, the wall is giving way!”

Human Craftsman: “Get a maintenance squad to cover it up!”

Disciple Engineer: “Use rubble. And don’t forget to bring water up in buckets!”

Giant Craftsman: “Rocks, tiles……”

Disciple Engineer: “If we work like this we’re going to have more injuries. Wait till dawn.”

Giant Craftsman: “Got it……”

Disciple Engineer: (Ahhhhh. Teacher, teacher. Was it a joke that you were the Demon King!? Thanks to you I’ve become the head of a defensive maintenance unit, a real commander…… Agh, damnit. Not yet! These defences can still hold on much longer!)

Banshee Craftsman: “Not yet. Damn, dawn is still…… far away.”

Disciple Engineer: (…… Disciple Bard. Are you alright? …… Are you doing well? Have you found the song you’ve been seeking? Until you return, I will not allow this City to fall.”

——— The Imperial Army, the Tent of the Hero

The Mage: “…… Hero.”

The Hero: “…… Mmm.”

The Mage: “Hero.”

The Hero: “Whoa!? Is it the Mage!?”

The Mage: “Yeah.”

The Hero: “…… Where are you?”

The Mage: “…… This is a long distance call. I’m in a secret place.”

The Hero: “That’s no explanation at all.”

The Mage: “It’s a secret.”

The Hero: “Ahh, fine.”

The Mage: “……”

The Hero: “Hey.”

The Mage: “?”

The Hero: “Not yet?”

The Mage: “Not yet.”

The Hero: “At this rate, it’s going to end before I can even do anything.”

The Mage: “Right.”

The Hero: “…… Why?”

The Mage: “Like I explained, if you make a move, it will just make everything even more chaotic. So I just need you to wait a while more.”

The Hero: “What for?”

The Mage: “…… An ancient magical ritual.”

The Hero: “I don’t get it.”

The Mage: “……”

The Hero: “……”

The Mage: “Hero.”

The Hero: “Mmm?”

The Mage: “I’m not you.”

The Hero: “— Sorry.”

The Mage: “No, I don’t hate you because of that.”

The Hero: “But I’m just a person who robs others.”

The Mage: “I was a fake Hero from the start. A counterfeit.”

The Hero: “You’re you. You’re the Mage. You’re the real thing.”

The Mage: “—— That’s because I’m not the Hero.”

The Hero: “……”

The Mage: “A person like me who just goes back and forth, can’t understand the real Hero.”

The Hero: “…… Why are you saying something like that now?”

The Mage: “……?”

The Hero: “That has nothing to do with this, doesn’t it?”

The Mage: “…… I am me. No matter where I go, it doesn’t matter.”

The Hero: “Then get rid of those previous thoughts.”

The Mage: “So I can meet the Hero.”

The Hero: “……”

The Mage: “So just trust me……”

The Hero: “I wasn’t doubting you to begin with.”

The Mage: “—– Sorry.”

The Hero: “It’s alright.”

The Mage: “—- I apologise from the bottom of my heart.”

The Hero: “You didn’t do anything bad! Why are you apologising!?”

The Mage: “?”

The Hero: “You’re starting to make me doubt you!”

The Mage: “Hehe.”

The Hero: “What a bitter smile.”

The Mage: “……”

The Hero: “…… Good grief.”

The Mage: “…… Just a while more. Just ten days more.”

The Hero: “Wait.”

The Mage: “……”

The Hero: “I’m not worrying. I will act as you instruct. I know it’s important.”

The Mage: “…… Yes.”

The Hero: “I don’t understand your explanation, but I understand at least, that it’s important.”

The Mage: “Yeah. —- Hero.”

The Hero: “Yes?”

The Mage: “…… …… Nothing.”

The Hero: “Really?”

The Mage: “—- I’m going to eat some cream pie and take a nap.”

The Hero: “Don’t sleep yet!”

The Mage: “I’m hanging up.”

The Hero: “Hey!”

Click

The Hero: “Damn. I don’t get it…… But hmm, ten days. I just need to hold on for that long…… I hope nothing happens in that time, Demon King, Paladin……”

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

Female Union Employee: “Buy. Buy it all up.”

Union Employee: “It’s fine, so just buy. I don’t really care how much the commission is. Just make sure they feel the presence of the Merchant’s Union in this.”

Female Union Employee: “That’s right. Buy up the money orders.”

Courier: “Three quick horses have arrived!”

Union Employee: “Dispatch them individual to the Free Trading Cities. Have them do circular despatches between the Merchant’s Union branches.”

Female Union Employee: “We have made contact with the Minister of Finance from the Kingdom of Waves. We will now begin negotiations!”

Young Merchant: “How is it going?”

Branch Chief: “It seems that we’re gradually making progress.”

Young Merchant: “All of these bargains are necessary tinder for our fire.”

Branch Chief: “Will this strategy of ours work?”

Union Employee: “’People believe lies to accomplish realities, or to defeat realities. When two realities are rolled into one lie, even a duck will swallow it as it does a ball of feed.’

Branch Chief: “Hmm. That’s one of the maxims of the Merchant’s Union.”

Young Merchant: “…… Firstly, with the Holy Order of the Lake having completed the smallpox vaccination programme, Branchquarters of the Order have begun to be established all across the Free Cities. Further, refugees fleeing smallpox have begun to flow into the Southern Alliance. That is a fact.”

Branch Chief: “Yes.”

Young Merchant: “Secondly, whether or not next year’s wheat harvest is prosperous or a failure, in order to supply the battlefield, it will need to be purchased at a high price. Having obtained these purchasing rights, the tax collectors of the Church have no way of avoiding this inflation. Furthermore, churches throughout the land have started to levy metal for the purpose of forging weaponry, to the extent that church bells are even being melted down. This too is a fact.”

Branch Chief: “Yes.”

Young Merchant: “…… And so, the fact is that the coffers of the Church are under severe pressure, and with the money orders, bankruptcy is just ahead of them.”

Branch Chief: “…… That is a lie.”

Young Merchant: “That may be a lie, but it’s not ‘just a lie’, is it?”

Female Union Employee: “Eh? What’s the difference?”

Young Merchant: “The money orders are basically money that the merchants have deposited with the Church. For this security, the pay a commission of 10% of the deposit. For example, if you place a hundred gold piece deposit with them, then you receive a certificate entitling you to collect ninety gold pieces from any church. Your money decreases, but this certificate can effectively be converted into cash at any church. In this way, risks are decreased. However, it is impossible for the certificates to be converted immediately into cash. For example, holding a certificate for ninety gold pieces is effectively the same as holding those ninety gold pieces, however, it is much safer to travel over long distances with the certificate. As such, as a merchant, if you had to pick between carrying cash or money order, isn’t it obvious that you would pick the money order?”

Female Union Employee: “Yes, that’s a reality in the market.”

Young Merchant: “In other words, some money orders exist that cannot be easily liquidated. If you look at it from a different perspective, a money order is basically a loan from the merchants to the Church. If all the merchants were to make a withdrawal at one go, then the Church has the obligation to pay them. So if you were a merchant who discovered that the Church might have some cash flow problems, what would you do?”

Branch Chief: “Ah!”

Young Merchant: “That’s right. I would try to convert all my money orders into cash as quickly as possible. If the Church’s wallet is overstretched, then they might be unable to reimburse the money orders. If that were to happen, all those certificates would become worthless trash.”

Female Union Employee: “Will that really take down the Church?”

Young Merchant: “Of course not! No matter how stretched the finances of the Church are, they aren’t that weak. If you were to aggregate the donations from the people and other countries, taxes and levies, industries and the sale of absolutions, the wealth of the Church is immensely larger than the Union. They truly hold an astronomical amount in their treasury. Such a small-scale reversal is unlikely to be enough to destroy them.”

Female Union Employee: “Then.”

Young Merchant: “However, if we were really able to get the merchants to make a mass withdrawal, the Church’s inexhaustible supply of money would be of no help to them.”

Branch Chief: “Indeed.”

Female Union Employee: “Really…… Why?”

Union Employee: “It’s impossible for every single church to have an inexhaustible supply, am I right? Don’t forget that moving money across vast distances is risky and takes a lot of time as well.”

Female Union Employee: “Y, you’re right!!”

Union Employee: “That’s right. Even if the Cathedral in the Holy Imperial City has got the money, it’s impossible to send that money to the other churches in time.”

Young Merchant: “There will be a limit to the extent our rumours can spread, but I believe the speed of spread is faster than the speed that the Church can convoy their money about. To begin with, various processes have to be fulfilled according to internal Church policies and organisation, so it forms a political issue as well. Compared to steady change, sudden reversals of situation will be much harder to deal with. These intricate processes will compound with the difficulties involved in sending money about, and they can’t possibly appease all the panicked merchants attempting to draw out their money. With such timing, our victory is assured.”

< Chapter 7                                                                                                                                                  Chapter 9 >

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2 thoughts on “Volume 4 Chapter 8

  1. A banking panic-induced capital flight. Nice… Even when the church manages to reimburse the certificates, the delay will definitely cause a drop in the churches trust capital.
    I always love Young Merchant’s exploits.

    Considering that many of the horses may have been sent down for the campaign, inflating the cost of transport doesn’t seem like a bad idea either. Which isn’t too hard with a theoretical drop in public safety from part of the peacekeeping forces having gone the same way. The need for more heavily (and expensively) protected transport increases and with Central still feeling the blow from the wheat crisis, not to mention the irregular activity regarding raw materials like Iron and charcoal, the economic situation will not look good. Governments are getting a bit more antsy about their personnel cross-gate who haven’t achieved anything much other than consuming resources and dying, and support for the war is a lot less fervent than it was before.

  2. I kind of thought from the previous bit that they were going to basically create a “bank rush”, quite clever for the author to come up with this idea.

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