Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku 15-6

15-6. Temple Knights

 

Satou's here. Going out of fashion is a cruel thing in the society. The end-of-century type of story that took the world by storm in my school era has become a thing of the past now. I guess the only one that I still see today is the story about a supreme ruler in the post war end-of-century world?




"--Are you pretending to not hear me?"

The longearkin (Booch) temple knight whom we meet at the end of our Smoke Car trip, Lady Liedill is glaring here with challenging eyes.

"Then, I'll say it again--You, you're not an ordinary person right?"

While watching her face from the side, I look at the people around.

The level 30 knights who are following her are prepared to cover her anytime even while looking perplexed, the other guards and followers are dumbfounded by the sudden turn of event.

"A-are you talking to me?"
"Feigning ignorance is futile. You cannot elude my Dragon Eyes even if you slip into the crowd."

Lady Liedill points her finger at the bewildered Lady Karina triumphantly.
An inexplicable atmosphere drift from the other girls besides Lady Karina.
There's no one who can break this atmosphere since Arisa and Mia have quickly blocked Tama's and Pochi's mouths.

"Looks like you're wearing some excellent recognition inhibition items that prevent appraisal. However, that's useless. My Dragon Eyes can precisely capture the sign of strong people."

To explain her own skill like that, what a kind girl.

I don't know on what basis that Dragon Eyes thingy judges someone as strong.
If we're only talking about outward appearance, Liza has been looking strong ever since we came out of Seryuu City's labyrinth, while the youth troupe, beginning with Tama and Pochi, don't look strong at all since the start.

Moreover, besides Pochi and Arisa who are equipped with [Thief God Harness], everyone is wearing the highest class of recognition inhibition magic tools, so Lady Karina and the other girls' situation are about the same.

All the members who are present here have acquired [Magic Power Operation], except Lady Karina, so perhaps Lady Liedill sensed it from the magic power leaking from her body?

Further, I think the reason why Lady Karina hasn't been able to learn [Magic Power Operation] is because Raka is just too convenient.

It's only been several seconds, but it's about time for me to save her.

"Shouldn't Temple Knight-sama know the true identity of this person already?"

With the help of Deception skill, I tried to befuddle Lady Liedill.

"True identity?!"
"Liedill-sama--"

Lady Liedill only frowned in puzzlement, but it seemed one of the escort knights hit an answer as he run up to her and whispered on her ear.

"--The crown prince faction?!"

Looks like they've interpreted my suggestive words as [crown Prince Faction].
They call him "crown Prince" even though he's the emperor's younger brother? Or so I thought, but the weasel merchant also referred to him as "His Majesty" instead of "His Highness".

Judging from the atmosphere, it seems there's a huge gulf between the emperor and the crown prince.

"What are the the crown prince faction doing in such a remote region?! Don't tell me the 『Bud of Calamity』 is--"

Hey hey, don't murmur all these dangerous words.
I've already had more than enough fill of such buds of calamity!

"Agaiiiin."
"Mwu"

Look now, you even made Arisa and Mia exchanged tired looks....
They're of rat and rabbit costumes' faces though.

"Well now, I don't know what is this crown prince faction you're talking about. We were just having a fun journey using the smoke car. Being fussed over by the important people of the empire like this is troubling."

After I said that, Lady Liedill scowls at me with a face that looks like it's saying "Gununu."

"Fine then--"

Lady Liedill catches the nape of my neck and continues speaking with her face close enough for us to kiss.
Since it's across the ratkin costume, the impregnable fortress pair, Arisa and Mia are lenient about it.

"--We cannot clash against the crown prince faction in front of the populace. However, the next time you show yourselves before us, I'll make you bathe in blood with this Blue Rose and Red Lily bestowed by His Majesty Emperor."
"Yes, we will bear it in mind."

I boldly smiled at Lady Liedill who threatened me in whisper.
After a bit, Lady Liedill thrusts me away.

Receiving Lady Liedill's anger, the stone floor of the station building is stamped by her soleprints.
Looks like it'll become a new tourist attraction--while thinking like that, we teleport away after slipping into the crowd.





"Satou-san, are we going to continue the tour?"
"Yes, it'll be fine if we just change our attires."

The [Bud of Calamity] uttered by Lady Liedill intrigued me, but I don't want to end this long-awaited vacation like this.

Further, later I'm planning to give a one-to-one special lecture to Lady Karina, the impetus of that accident.

"Gao~?"
"It's tiger nanodesu!"

Tama and Pochi who have changed into tiger costumes that look like it'll be popular in Osaka are taking poses with their hands up in the air.

After the two were done, Zena-san went to change.
Since Mia is also wearing the tiger costume, this time I'm the only one who's different with a gray-colored ratkin costume.

"Stripes stripes."

It looks like Mia who likes stripped pattern likes the costume next to the rabbit one.
They say that white and green stripes are good, but since there's no tiger with such stripes even in another world, I gave up.





"This is the land of dream desuwa!"
"It's a really wonderful place isn't it."

Lady Karina and Lulu talk dreamily.

We're currently going around the attractions in the amusement park of Mogeiba City.
The line in every attraction was great but since the park has a fast pass function similar to the land of a certain mouse, we've been going around, enjoying them at shortened time with the power of money.

As a note, I had sold some diamonds and jewels for the needed money (swen).
Of course they're natural products from the labyrinth.

"One more~?"
"Master, Free Fall next would be good, so I propose."
"You two should go by yourselves next."

I bluntly declined the appeal of Tama and Nana who had become addicted to shriek-inducing attractions, but--.

"We can't~?"
"Master, can't we got together, so I ask."

I can't possibly leave the two who implored while looking like abandoned cats.

"Then, this will be the last time okay?"
"Aye!"
"Let's go quickly, so I urge Master."

With my hands pulled by Tama and Nana, we went toward the Free Fall queue.

"Pochi and the others aren't going?"
"Pochi is already satisfied nanodesu."
"M-me too, I've had enough of scary things desuwa."

I was trying to increase my companion but, not just Pochi and Lady Karina, it seems everyone has had enough of shriek-inducing attractions.

--Afterward, I was finally released after accompanying them for seven more times.

"Satou-san, we found something interesting!"
"Master, it's called house of mirrors."

Zena-san and Lulu who were resting at the bench came inviting me.
The two hold my arms with unusual assertiveness and pull me to the house of mirrors.

I somehow feels like a suspect taken by police.

"Please look, tiger-san is everywhere no matter where you look at."

Lulu said to me happily.

If I had to say, I'd rather see Lulu's true appearance multiplied infinitely in the house of mirrors.

"Satou-san, please look up! The top is reflecting too."

I look up per Zena-san's words, our whole bodies are reflected on the top from sideway too, I don't know how it works.
I don't think it's good to have the image of underwear shown in public like this, though I don't really care since we're in animal costumes.

Arisa and Mia were waiting outside the house of mirrors.

"Master, let's go to the haunted house."
"Nn, horror."

I went into the haunted house with the impregnable pair whose ulterior motives were in plain sight, but it wasn't that scary.
If anything, I feel that there were a lot of jack-in-the-box type of surprises.

"U~n, cultural difference sure is cruel."
"Complicated."

An attraction that requires an explanation for 'where is the scary part' is not good.
Just Arisa's said, it's probably due to the cultural difference.

"Karina, let's spin and spin around more nodesuyo!"
"Yes, I won't lose!"

I rode on a questionable playground equipment that looked like both coffee cups and spinning attractions with Pochi and Lady Karina, and then I'm riding a swan boat that goes around a pond with Liza in the end.

"This is quite difficult."
"There's no vehicle that operates by pedals in Shiga Kingdom after all."

Liza pushes the pedal with serious expression on her face.
And then, the water wheel behind the swan's wings begins to rotate and the boat advances forward.

"Liza, stop pedaling. The wind feels nice."
"Yes, it's very refreshing."

Letting the boat advances by itself, I stretch myself on the boat's seat.
Urged by me, Liza also relaxedly let her body rest on the boat's seat.

"Even though we've played with boats in the solitary island palace, some things feel different with a boat in a pond don't you think."
"Yes, Master. It somehow feels very relaxing."

I think that's because I'm with the calm Liza.





That healing time with Liza didn't continue for long.

"--Noooo"

Attentive Ears skill picked up mosquito-like small scream.

"Liza, I'm sorry but please take care of the boat."

After telling that, I moved to where the scream was with short-range teleport without waiting for Liza's answer.

"It should be around here."

It seems the opposite side of the amusement park is a slum.

People wearing poor clothes are sitting on the sides of the dirty road, muttering something with vacant eyes.
Simply looking at them is suffering.

"Don't come hereeeeee!"

--That way!

I move to where the voice is with Ground Shrink.
It should be nearby.

Light footsteps of a child--above huh!

A girl is falling down from an apartment-like building just when I look up.
If this were a Soft Inc. anime, this would have been the scene to start a two-hour movie.

I extend [Magic Hand] to catch the girl.
Her bones would be broken if I caught her normally.

She's around 7-8 year old. Roughly first or second year of primary school.
She has bunny ears and a round tail.

She's probably a bunnyear-kin unless she's wearing a bunny ears accessory.

"Cross Sword!"

I could hear a cool shout from the top of the apartment.
I might have been charmed by the voice if it wasn't the Command Word for a technique.

I block the down-pouring red light slashes with [<<Flexible Shield>>] I picked from the Magic Column.
It's considerably weaker compared to Liza's Magic Edge Cannon.

The two slashes seemed to be a rapid-fire type of technique.

The after waves cut the apartments on the left and right, the slum populace scream.
Fortunately, there doesn't seem to be any casualty.

"Killing Steel Brandish!"

The shadow who was jumping from the rooftop let out two light blades which tore the road.
A radial crack runs on the ground, the broken asphalt are flying in the air.

Two swords are clad with red light on the other side of the dust cloud.

The assailant jumped along with the scattered asphalt pieces.
Judging from the speed, it must be Flickering Movement skill.

It seems the assailant is wearing a dark brown overcoat with recognition inhibition function, although it's meaningless to me.

"Grass Star Tearing Slash!"

The two swords emitting red light assault us from both sides.

I repel the assailant's dual swords with the magic armor I produced on my right arm.
I can't use my left arm since it's holding the child.

Red sparks are scattered every time the magic armor touches the swords.

I haven't taken off the rat costume.
It's hard to fight unless I go for the win.

I produced magic edge on the costume's claw to try destroying the assailant's swords.
The assailant who sensed that took a distance away from me.

Quite perceptive.

The dark brown overcoat the other party was wearing fell down when they jumped.

"Eluding all three of my secret arts--"

The one standing on the other side of the dust cloud is the Temple Knight we met this afternoon, Lady Liedill.

"You, even though the color is different, you were the ratkin who was beside the female ratkin this afternoon weren't you."

--Her breath is rough.

Looks like she's talking to buy the time needed to readjust her breath.

"As I thought, the crown prince faction has set their sight on the 『Bud of Calamity』 too."

I feel sorry for Lady Liedill who looks triumphant, but I came to save her because I heard a girl's scream by accident, I didn't have any intention to meddle in that kind of troublesome things.

"What are you going to do to this girl?"
"Of course, I'm going to sever her life right here and now."

The girl is surprised and shakes in my arm.
According to AR reading, her level is only 2. And she has three gifts, [Crisis Perception], [Oracle] and [Short-range Teleport]. She has no title.

Summing up all the information I got in Weasel Empire so far, I think the [Oracle] skill is the main cause of someone getting called [Bud of Calamity].

"Killing a young subject with my own hands is painful, but this too is for the sake of the empire's peace. It's necessary to cut off the future anxiety here."
"What can this child possibly do."

I've got the rough idea already, but I'd like to hear something more concrete from this seemingly loose-tongued girl.

"The very existence of that girl is a crime. Lament at the filthy peepers for the misfortune of having the skill carved onto you."

My guess that the skill to channel god, [Oracle], being the problem seems to be right after all.
In a world where gods exist, is it alright for her to call them [Filthy Peepers], I'm slightly worried while thinking that it's none of my business.

For now I understand that this girl is in danger as long as she has the [Oracle] skill.

Lady Liedill fixes her posture, readying her dual swords.
Her appearance makes me want to take a picture of her.

"--Karina, Kiiiiiiiiick!"

A blue meteor coming down from an apartment rooftop created a crater in front of Lady Liedill.

"You, from that time--Tigerkin?! What does this mean."

Blue luminous points reflected on my Radar are lined up on top of an apartment.
Apparently, everyone besides Lady Karina has gathered.

Everyone is shining blue light and with [Coercion] skill in full throttle.

"I-impossible.... Such masters in such a countryside.... So the crown prince is really making use of the hero in Dejima Labyrinth to mass produce strong warriors!"

--Mumu.

I'm bothered by "Making use of the hero."
Rather than asking her the details, meeting the hero directly in Dejima Island seems faster.

From our correspondence last time, it looks like he doesn't want Nanashi to visit them, so I probably should go as Satou.

Leaving that aside, I have to close the curtain here soon--.

"Withdraw from here."

I urge Lady Liedill who's shaking in fear to escape.

"A Te-Temple Knight does not reteat."
"Then, it can't be helped."

I take out a magic sword clad with evil aura from my Storage and execute [Coercion] skill in full throttle.
Next, I turn on the [Grim Look] preset of the animal costume, transforming into something that will appear in your nightmare if you see it once while you're in [Fear] state.

Lady Liedill screamed briefly, drew back several steps, tangled her legs and fell on her back.
Scary thing is scary even if you're level 57.

Since the attack is worse than Wraith's and Lich's fear assaults, I guess it can't be helped.

>[Bloodthirst Projection] Skill Acquired.
>Title [One who is Feared] Acquired.
>Title [The Great King of Dread] Acquired.

For some reason, I got some strange skill and titles.
The Nostradamus great prophecy-like title slightly bothers me, but since it's not like anyone will see it anyway, it's all good.

"Kuh, so this is it...."

Arisa who heard Lady Liedill's muttering of resignation shouted, "If you're saying, 『Kuh』, the next line should've been 『Kill me!』, don't you understand!", but let's just ignore her.

"Well then, farewell. I'll take responsibility of this girl and take her out of the empire."

After telling that to Lady Liedill who was crying bitter tears, I moved to a safe house at a rural town in Oyugock Dukedom using Unit Arrangement.
Of course, I went with all of my companions, not just with the girl.





"U-um.... are you going to kill me?"

That was the girl's first utterance once she had calmed down after I gave her a hot milk.
Since I've healed her bruises and traces of abuse, and let her take a bath, she looks refreshed compared to when she was in Mogeiba slum.

"I will not. I will give you three options."
"Oftion?"

Oops, I forgot that she's a child who doesn't understand difficult words.

"Choose one among three, I mean."
"Un."

Once I corrected myself to make it easier to understand, it seemed the girl comprehended too.

"First, live in a temple as an oracle miko in Shiga Kingdom."
"Miko?"
"They're the people who are tasked to convey the words of gods to the populace, like this person here."

I explained while showing the vision of the former head miko of Tenion Temple, currently a maid apprentice, Lily to her.

"Prettyy."

The girl stares at Lily's image with glittering eyes.

"The second choice, concede the power of oracle to someone else and go back to your hometown."

It's normally impossible, but if we use the Unique Skill of demon lord Shizuka, it's possible to transfer this girl's [Oracle] skill to someone else.

"Consid?"
"I mean, giving up the oracle power."
"Un?"

The girl tilts her head in puzzlement with complicated look.

She doesn't seem to understand well.

"The third choice, live in an orphanage in Shiga Kingdom, and once you've grown big enough, you either discard the oracle power and go back to your home town, or live as an oracle miko."
"I don't really understand."

It's hard to explain things to a child.

"Geez, this is hard to watch. Leave this to Arisa-chan."

Arisa who appeared proudly with an jerked chin sits on my lap.
I tried to put her down since there was plenty of space left on the sofa, but she resisted more intensely than I thought.

"You shouldn't fight okay?"
"It's not a fight. It's just a kind of endearment."

Arisa replied back to the girl with a triumphant smile.

"Now then, continuing from before. Going back home or having lots of meals, which one you want?"
"Meals!"

The girl answered without any hesitation.
On the corner of my vision, I saw the beastkin girls nodded with serious expressions on their faces.

"You can play with other children but you can only eat a little, or you can eat a lot of meals but you have to work, which one you want?"
"Meals, a lot!"

It's an immediate answer too this time.

"You heard that. It seems this child wants to become an apprentice at Lily's place in Duchy Capital."

I felt awkward since it somehow felt like we deceived an innocent child, but we ended up entrusting the girl to Tenion Temple in the Duchy Capital.
Of course, they wholeheartedly welcomed an addition to the valuable [Oracle Miko].

Just in case, Household of Duke Mitsukuni will be her guardian.

She's wearing the translation ring from the elf village, so she can talk in Shiga Language without problem.
She's probably going to learn Shiga Language naturally during the course of her training.





"I-it's about time to rest desuwa."
"You can't, Karina-sama. There's still five magic power potion left."

When I indifferently told the complaining Lady Karina about the remaining potion, her expression became miserable and then she shifts her imploring glance at Raka that's emitting light on my forehead.

『Do your best, Karina-dono.』

Raka encouraged her with a subdued voice.

"E-even Raka-san...."
"Now, Karina-sama. I'll add more magic power potion if you don't continue."
"....S-so cruel desuwa~"

We restart the magic power operation training while Lady Karina looks like she's about to cry.
It's just a simple training where she has to cut an adamantite pillar with a magic wooden sword filled with magic power.

Tama and Pochi who peeked from behind a nearby tree like a totem pole are secretly cheering for Lady Karina.
Looking closer, it seems the other girls are also watching over the special training.

Further, she had drank 27 more magic power potions by the time she learned magic power operation.


























Previous Chapter

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku 15-5


15-5. An Ordinary Town (2)

 

Satou's here. When someone is insisting that they're extremely normal, it makes me doubt that they're hiding something abnormal. Even though I know that I'm only jumping at shadows, I still end up looking for it.





"Fatty mouse~?"
"Wonder what's that? It looks like a capybara."

In a room we found in the middle of the way as we chased the officials who went to the basement, we saw babies of capybara-like animals with plasters and people in white robes.
I think they're beastkin but since they're wearing big masks and visor-like sunglasses, I'm not really sure.
When I look closer, I see that there are red crystals which look similar to fragments of magic cores on the plasters.

The capybaras that have been plastered are sent to the next room through a slippery slope.

"Confiscateed?"
"Looks like it's a bit different."

I carry Tama under my arm and peek at the next room.
There's a bath tub filled with entrails and pieces of meat in the room, and the plastered capybara-like animals from earlier are greedily munching on them.

Are they some kind of lab animals?

Men wearing the same clothes as the men from the next room are sprinkling white powder using ladles on the entrails.
They're doing it roughly, yet the capybara-like animals are not minding it as they're busy with the entrails.

"Tch, ran out of powder."
"We're out of stock too, make more of them."
"What a bother."

A man carrying a ladle goes to one part of the room while cursing.

--That's?!

The pill the man took out from a bottle are shown as [Reborn Seeds] on the AR.
It's the same medicine which transformed the creatures in Shiga Kingdom's Royal Capital's sewer into red-rope monsters.

Perhaps, this is the secret factory which produces the red-rope monsters?

"Master, here too~?"

Tama who had slipped out of my binding before I knew it is beckoning me in front of a room next to this.

"Those peculiar vines, are they Hopping Potatoes?"
"Of cour~se."

Tama nods.

Those are monsters that are hunted by rookie explorers and baggage carriers in the Labyrinth City Selbira to raise money.
They're one of the pillars supporting the low earners' food bill in the Labyrinth City.

Perhaps this place is....

Supporting my guess, the next room have [<<Walking Beans>>] and [Dancing Corns] being raised.

The true nature of the cheap military provisions I saw in the village--or rather, these must be the raw materials.
That means the capybara-like animals earlier are the origin of the dried meat huh....





"Welcome back, civil official Hokku."
"We've returned. Head Researcher-dono."

We almost forgot about our purpose, but we arrived at the place right on time using Ground Shrink.
The official from before gave the emperor statue and the litmus paper thing to a weaselkin wearing showy clothes in the innermost room.
There are also several other male and female researchers here.

"The miasma is less than ideal but the magic power is slightly over capacity is it...."
"With this we don't need additional supply of magic power from the city even if the Consul complains."

By city magic power, he must mean the magic power from the Source that can be gotten through the City Core.

"Didn't you say that the you were low on miasma before?"
"Not anymore, thanks to the rookie from Hokku-dono division."
"The one from the imperial university?"

The official frowns, not understanding the researchers' explanation.

"He seems to be upset for getting demoted from the imperial university to here, he's been spewing venom in many places."
"Entrusting that kind of guy to distribute food, I pity the slum people."
"The miasma collected in the emperor statue installed in the slum is three times the last month's amount."

The researchers told the reason while laughing unpleasantly.
When the official told them, "Correct the rookie's attitude", they laughed again.

"We originally take care of them by giving them food so they won't die of starvation in order to collect the miasma from their fatigue and envy anyway, isn't it fine."
"Tha-that's true but...."

They're probably using the miasma to produce the pill and raise the monsters.

Still, even if it's efficient, it's terrible for the slum people who have to endure getting abused unilaterally. I can't help but sympathize.

"It's not like there's a rebellion or rise in crime rate, so it should be fine as is."
"The production amount is increasing and the knights-sama who have come from the central in an official trip are also leveling up smoothly, all is good."

Don't tell me they're power leveling by defeating the monsters they're cultivating themselves?
I don't have the right to fault them since I'm doing the same thing in the labyrinth's underground, but unless this city is a special case, the whole Weasel Empire must be raising high level people systematically as such.
No wonder that they're able to rear more than 100 level 50-class Temple Knights.





"Here we go, Knight-sama."
"Umu, I'll be trying my new sword."

A cage in the inner part of the room is opened, and then five Log Rats as big as wild boars jump out of it.
A weaselkin knight produces magic edge on the great sword he's holding, waiting in the center of the room.

Even though the magic power is leaking, the magic edge itself is stable, he's excellent for a level 30 knight.

However, it's clearly too excessive against level 7 rats, he cuts three rats in one swing of the great sword.
The remaining two rats were going to escape from the room, but the knight rushed at blinking speed and skewered them.

"Fumu, thanks to the magic edge device, there's not even a nick on the blade even after cutting the fat bones of the Log Rats."

Hohouo, so that great sword is a magic sword equipped with a device to generate magic edge huh.
I think there are more efficient magic circuits if you're going to put that magic device into it, but I'm not going to criticize someone else's plan.

"Then, should we take out the next rats?"
"Umu, let them come!"

We've seen enough, so I leave that place with Tama.
There should be nothing else to be seen here.





"Master, scream~?"

Tama muttered while pointing at a vent.
According to the map there's another floor below and the vent is connected to there.

--There's a prison below huh.

According to the map, there are numerous isolation cells with people with serious crime inside, there are also a lot of people with mental disorder and zero HP and stamina.

I have a bad feeling about this somehow.
I'd like to return without seeing it if possible, but I'd hate it if I felt hazy once I did that.

"Private Tama, go back to the surface first and secure the route."
"Aye!"

Tama followed my order with a shupin pose, and so I went to the cellar alone.





"Help me help me help me help me help me--"
"Don't eat me, no don't! Stop it stop stop it--"

Among the scratching and grinding sounds, screams and shouts like they're from madmen are reverberating in the cellar.
It seems this dungeon has been sound proofed with magic.

--Rather than prison, I guess this is more like a torture chamber?

I go to the room in the back where some people who seem to be the guards are.

A man suspended in the air hanging from the ceiling and two jailers are there, there's a transparent wall between the two parties.
There's the usual emperor statue put inside the room where the man is.

"--St-stop it already."
"Of course I won't rite'? Did you stop when the 29 women you killed asked you to stop? You didn't rite'?"

The jailer who cut off the criminal's appeal lowers a lever on the wall.
The man who's suspended in the air hanging from the ceiling gets lowered and then the capybara-like animals below start munching on his feet.
Screams are echoing in the dungeon, the other criminals locked in their isolation cells begin to voice their resentments.

Apparently, they're using this place to carry out punishments and collect miasma.

"Geez, this is disgusting."
"Don't say that, the emperor decreed to instill 『Don't want to go into prison ever again』 and 『Not worth the crimes』 into the prisoners rite'?"
"Even if it's a national law, disgusting thing is disgusting."

I totally agree.

"Wish my transfer request gets accepted quickly."
"Thatsso? Executing justice on the bad guys, this is the best workplace for me though~"

Unlike the man who looks like he's going to get sick from the stress, the jailer who's been rhythmically operating the lever looks cheerful without a hint of stress.

It feels like I'll get mentally ill if I remain here any longer, so I teleport back to the top of the spire where Tama is waiting.





"The way they're doing things is similar to Master if we exclude the science and humanity parts isn't it."

Once we got back to the solitary island palace, I told everyone the things we saw in the Weasel Empire's city, and then Arisa said that.

"Arisa, what do you think you're doing likening the weasels to Master! We're talking about weasels here, they must be plotting something."

Liza who hates weasels openly shows her discontent.

"However, their rationality is very like the weasels. You'd normally hesitate to do many things even if you knew they were efficient."

Hikaru seemed like she agreed with several things about the weasels even though she sounded disgusted with them.
As a former king, perhaps she thinks that the way they're preventing the people from starvation is acceptable.

"Creating monsters by their own hands.... Such an immoral act as if they've sided with the Demon God."
"Maybe there's a demon lord lurking in the shadow of Weasel Empire?"

Sera and Zena find the fact that they're creating monsters deplorable.

"Satou, perhaps that emperor statue can be used to control monster outbreak if we put it in a monster dominion?"
"Master, I support the princess's suggestion, so I inform."
"Nn, possible."

Nana and Mia agreed with the princess.
It's certainly possible.

The problems are the way to replace the emperor statue and to purify the accumulated miasma.
I'll investigate the manufacturing process of the emperor statue when I visit the imperial capital.

Also, Tama and Pochi who had been quiet were embarking in the journey to the dreamland with Lady Karina in the sunny living room.





"Amazing desuwa!"
"Fast nodesu! Truly really torebiaan nanodesu."
"Of cour~se?"

Behind Lady Karina and Pochi who are sticking their faces on the Smoke Car's window, Tama is nodding while looking slightly triumphant.

The next day after the meeting, we're enjoying the train trip from Magyuba City to Mogeiba City.
Hikaru and the princess are staying in the solitary island palace to accompany Sera who has expressed her non-participation since she was feeling hurt from to the persecution of the temples and the matter with monster creation.
Zena-san was also going to stay but Pochi and Tama pulled her hands, and she ended up coming.

I'm planning to enjoy things later with the three who stayed.

Further, since Liza didn't like the weasel costume, everyone is wearing ratkin character costumes.

"""Ensha~, ensha~""?"
"""Kyupopo, kyupopo, kyupopo"", nanodesu!"
"""Ensha, ensha, fast~"""

Matching the [March of Smoke Car] music which Mia made impromptu, the youth troupe and the children riding on the Smoke Car are singing in a chorus happily.
It seems the children like it since the song only has simple lyric that's easy to remember and match with the rhythm along with the repeating simple melody.

They'd be told off, "Shut up" if this were in Japan, but since there are minstrels going around asking money in every train here, there's no problem.

"Station~?"
"It's a small station nanodesu."

The Smoke Car lowers its speed and then stops at a small station in a village along the way.

"Something smells good."
"It smells like a stew perhaps?"
"Vendor."

Lulu reacted to Liza's remark, Mia pointed at the vendors rushing from the crowd.
Looks like they're selling boxed lunch.

"It's tasty and cheap, a set of provisional soup and stick roll, only for five swe~n."
"How 'bout a bento of boar meat and roasted pork? Only for 20 swen!"
"Would you like fatty bear stew~ It's 30 swen!"

They're quite expensive if we consider the ticket's price, but it seems the people riding on the Smoke Car are relatively well off, they're selling like hot cakes.

The stick roll in the provisional bento is a dish similar to the stick roll I ate in Kansai.
It's a dish where thin okonomiyaki made from corn instead of wheat is wrapped on a stick.

"Liza, purchase slightly more than for our shares."
"Understood. Tama, Pochi, let's go."
"Knowledged~?"
"Understood nanodesu."

Liza who consented with a sharp face goes to the bento sellers followed by Tama and Pochi.
The bento sellers who lose to Liza's intensity look slightly timid.

"Boar meat~?"
"Hard to leave the fatty bear meat behind too nodesu."
"You two, there's no time to be indecisive. Just like the stations we came across before, we should be only stopping for a short while here."
"Oh no~"
"Hurry nodesu!"

Looks like the beastkin girls have quickly gotten used to the Smoke Car trip.





We enjoyed the Smoke Car trip as such and arrived at Mogeiba City.
Further, since the lunch boxes besides the cheap provisional bento were all delicious, I'm thinking of recreating them with Lulu once we get back to the solitary island palace.

"It's strangely crowded isn't it."
"Master, it's like the marketplace in the Duchy Capital downtown."

Arisa and Lulu are surprised with the crowd in the station building.
It's understandable. The crowd is at least three times bigger than the one in Magyuba City when we departed.

"It's somehow like Haneda aand Kansai airports before a superstar arrive isn't it."

Arisa expressed her impression.
Shouldn't it be Narita for international airlines?

The part where the crowd paid attention to the noble car and  showed disappointment as they checked the last person who got off is also similar.

"It's not this Smoke Car huh...."
"Like I said. The one Temple Knight-sama is riding on should be coming from the direction of the Imperial Capital Tegaeba."

Judging from the conversation I heard from the crowd, it appears some Temple Knights will be coming from the Imperial Capital.

"They exterminated a Hydra when they came before, I wonder what are they hunting this time?"
"There's no news about strong monster recently, maybe the mayor invited them to make a triumphal return to their homeland?"

For the time being, all is good as long as they're not coming to fight us.

"Satou-san, looks like we should get off soon."
"Thank you, Zena-san."

Since they've announced the permission to disembark, we also get down along with the other passengers.

"Here it comes! It's the Smoke Car from Tegaeba city!"

The crowd who heard the whistle sound shook off the station attendants and rushed to the platform.
Since it's dangerous, we wait a bit until the panic settles down a bit.

After a while, a Smoke Car joined with a luxurious noble car arrived at the next platform.

"""WELCOME BACK! STAR OF MOGEIBA!"""
"""LONG LIVE LIEDILL-SAMA"""

The crowd are cheering while waving.
They somehow look similar to the people from the first half of Showa era.

"Thank you for welcoming us!"

A weaselkin knight carrying a great sword shouted so at the crowd and stepped aside.

"I am not really fond of such a welcome...."
"Liedill-sama, please understand that this is also a job for the Temple Knights."

I heard such conversations with Attentive Ears skill.

The one who appeared was not a weaselkin.
It's a young longear (Booch) kin woman with emerald eyes and straight blond hair befitting of the expression "white peach".
She's a level 57 knight, and possesses Flickering Movement, Dual Wielding and similar skills, she also has Wind Magic skill.

"....She's like someone's imitation huh."

Arisa muttered alone. Just like me, it seems she reminds Arisa of a heroine of a famous fantasy work where the setting is on a cursed island.
It's probably due to the long ears peculiar to the longear (Booch)kin she has and her straight blond hair.

The guards who entered the station creates a passage in the crowd, and then Lady Liedill walks in it with a sharp face while leading the weasel knights escort and echoing the clink-clank sounds of her armor.

"She might be more suited to fantasy than the forest girl."

I drop a fist on Arisa who naturally dissed the female knight and wait the line to pass with the girls.
Just as the she passed on the passage in front of us, her equipment showed up on my AR reading.
As I was reading it, my eyes met Lady Liedill's.

"Li-Liedill-sama."

Lady Liedill walks toward here with her line of sight fixed at here.
She's not minding her escort knights' bewilderment.

"--You, you're not an ordinary person right?"

Contrary to her cool voice, Lady Liedill's eyes are lit with dangerous light.























Previous Chapter

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku 15-4

15-4. An Ordinary Town

 

Satou's here. I like train in itself, but I only have bad memories of commuter trains. Having yourself jam-packed in it everyday, it feels like it even wears my mind. Surely, were crowded trains ceased to exist, wouldn't office workers' stress level decrease to 30%?





"Revolution, nanodesu!"
"UGGYAAAAAAA"

Arisa is scrambling her purple hair while Pochi sharply points at her in front of her.

"This is the cicada sound huge harvest nanodesu!" <TLN: She said ミンミンの五穀豊穣 read "Mimmin no Gokokuhoujou".>

Pochi who's holding cards in one hand takes the shupin pose, but I don't know where to even begin to retort her mistakes.
Looks like Arisa is not good at playing Daifugou card game.

"That should be 『Social upheaval of the poors』 so I correct." <TLN: This is the correct term, 貧民の下克上 read "Hinmin no Gekokujou".>
"As expected of Nana nanodesu! Pochi was also going to say that--it's true nanodesuyo?"

Pochi commends on Nana's correction.
The last of her words had some hesitation in it so it must not be the truth.

"Satou, are you going already?"
"Yeah, it looks like there's some movement at the emperor statue, I'll be going for a bit."

Hikaru who noticed me carrying a weasel costume on my arm called out.
Apparently, Hikaru and the others are playing Concentration card game.

"Her Highness is really strong."
"Since this game is just about memorizing things, it's simple."
"Oh Tina you cleaned the house."
"Yes, I might be stronger in card games, but I cannot win against Her Highness in Concentration."

Hikaru is calling the princess using nickname. Zena-san is muttering alone, looks like she's trying to memorize the card positions.
Even Sera who's unparalleled in poker is weak in memorizing game like Concentration.

"Tama, take care okay."
"Works hard for Pochi's share too nodesu."
"Aye aye sir~?"

Once the beastkin girls finished their talk, I teleported to near the village from yesterday using Unit Arrangement, taking Tama along.





"Fumwu, so the letter was telling the truth.... Gathering impurity this fast, aren't there too many hot-blooded people in this village?"

A weaselkin wearing official-like clothing who's watching over the exchange of the emperor statue mutters with his hand on his chin.
The ones who are doing the actual work are a man and a woman wearing magician-like clothes using force magic.

"Hokku-sama, we've finished the fixture."
"The miasma rate of the emperor statue is normal for the period of its installation. It seems only the magic power that has been accumulated."

It's probably because of the magic power leaked from our magic tools.
Those male and female magicians seem to be quite an analyst.

"Fumu, Maiazuma paper is blue, and the Mana paper is purple, the maximum huh.... It's just as you guys' analysis. However, we've already come out of our way here. Let's take this back."
"You're right. I'd hate to end this in vain, and the military bunch would call the researchers salary thieves if they don't get to work once in a while."

The magicians gave a tanzaku-sized litmus paper-like thing to the official.
Apparently, that's a tool to measure magic power and miasma levels.

Putting the magic power aside, I'd like to know the way to measure miasma.

I'll look for some researchers they mentioned and see if any of them is selling the thing in the back channel.
It looks like an expendable after all, I think I can buy it normally from a merchant if that's being produced outside the research institute.





"Ticket for Magyuba is 30 swen for one, 20 swen for a child."
"Tickets for two please."

I purchase the smoke car tickets from the conductor of a temporary station.
Swen is the currency used in Weasel Empire, one blue copper coin is one swen.

Come to think of it, this might be the first country that has a name for its currency.
It might be translated to like '●● copper coins' by language skill because it's called the same.
I don't mind this since memorizing them would be a pain, but it does make the sense of exoticness decrease.

"Yes, thank you. If you're going from Magyuba city to your next destination, please buy the ticket from the ticket box or the conductor of the next train there."

The weaselkin conductor told me so while giving the tickets.
It seems to be a fairly placid system.

I thank the conductor and then go toward the smoke car with Tama.

"Second class citizens can only ride on the general car, so don't make a mistake and enter the noble car that's immediately behind the smoke car."
"Yea, understood."

Assenting the conductor's warning, we board the general car.
Looks like this one is of unreserved seats. Villagers from the nearby villages heading to Magyuba town to peddle things are carrying huge luggages on their backs.

"There~"
"Quietly."
"Aye."

The officials carrying the emperor statue had finally arrived, we got here first since we used teleport magic.
The whistle signaling departure echoed the moment they got on board, apparently it was waiting for them.

It might be more efficient to just track them, wait for them to arrive at Magyuba City and then teleport there afterward, but for the sake of later on, I confirmed whether the forged citizenship ID could be used to buy tickets here.

There was not even a simple ID check at this station, so I'm planning to confirm it once we arrive at Magyuba city.

"Gatan goton~, gatan goton~"

Children really are fascinated by the unique rhythm of a train and the flowing scenery on the window.
Tama is rooted on the window since awhile ago.

"We will be entering a tunnel soon. Everyone, please close your window."

The conductor showed himself from the window in car ahead and shouted.
The other passengers begin to close their windows.

Window?--Is it because the vibrating sound is noisy?

"You folks, it's tunnel soon, close yer' windows."

When I was racking my brain to think of the reason, the ratkin aunty who was sitting next to us bent her body and closed our window.
All the windows here are fitted with glass.

"Yer faces would become pitch black from the soot if you don't close the window in a tunnel."
"Is that so, thank you very much."
"It's alriight, if one's open, everyone's face will become pitch black y'see."

The aunty's anger dissipated once she knew that I was a beginner of smoke car.
Apparently, everyone does the same at first.

"Mountain~? There's a hole on it~"
"That's called a tunnel."

Tama who's sticking her cheeks on the closed window says so while desperately looking at the front.
Don't put too much strength into it since the glass will break okay?

I secretly put force magic [Enchant Physical Protection] on the window.

"Pitch black~"

Looks like there's no illumination inside the tunnel.
The car in the front probably has headlights.

The wall of the tunnel isn't made of stone from earth magic's petrification, but from concrete-like thing.

"Did ya know? This tunnel is--"

According to the knowledgeable aunty, the tunnel itself was made by 100 earth magicians of the empire in one go.
Looks like they don't overemphasize the use of science, they do use magic when it's convenient, kind of hybrid.

To capitalize on the unexpected source of information, I offered some baked sweets made by Lulu to stimulate the aunty, thus I got to hear various things about the remote regions of the Weasel Empire.





"We will be arriving~ at Magyuba City Station~ We will be arriving at~ Magyuba City Station. We will be arriving at Platform 3 of Magyuba City Station. As Platform 2 is for train arriving from Gajuma City, please be careful not to mistake the platform."

The conductor who appeared from the car ahead informed the train arrival at the city with a peculiar tone.
After passing through two unmanned stations along the way, we arrived at the city after an hour.
Distribution of goods should be considerably quick with this.

"Town~?"
"It's in sight huh."

After passing through a forest, we could see Magyuba City surrounded by a tall white wall.
The smoke car sounds its steam whistle twice to announce its arrival to the city.

"""KYUPOO"""

Tama and the surrounding children imitated the sound of the steam whistle.
Due to the noisy sound of the smoke car, there doesn't seem to be any adult who's annoyed by the children.

The smoke car heads toward Magyuba City while slowly turning to the left.
Thanks to that, I can see the state of the city.

Looks like there's an exclusive gate for smoke cars.

"Gaate Oopen~?"

The metal lattice rolls up, and then the massive door inside it opens to the side.
There's a lot of beastkin children watching the smoke car from atop the gate even while getting their fur black.

The smoke car is advancing slowly in the city and then it enters a traditional station.

The station looks like a downscaled version of the old tokyo station, it's more magnificent than I thought.





"Crowd crowd~?"
"It's somewhat crowded isn't it."

We were met with crowds after getting through the ticket gate.
The crowds reminds me of the nostalgic rush hour.

We walk in the crowd while hearing voice of boys and girls selling their goods.

Among them is--.

"Newspaper~ This week's newspaper~"

--Someone selling newspapers.

I think 5 swen for a thin four page newspaper is a bit too expensive, but it doesn't seem like he's overcharging.

"....It really uses printing."

You're challenging them too much, Weasel Emperor.
Good grief, just how is all this not violating the God's taboo.

The content of the newspaper is mostly about the troop deployment at Makiwa Kingdom.
There's even an article of an interview with the special inspector Usan of Scientific Vehicle unit.

According to the articles, Makiwa Kingdom invaded Weasel Empire's remote region without warning, so this was a retribution war against Makiwa Kingdom that had done all kinds of atrocities.

These are fabricated news without a doubt.
Makiwa Kingdom has no national nor military power to cross through the monster dominion overflowed with many high level monsters.
It's impossible even for the four lords with the special elemental wands unless they resort to terrorism.

We have reduced the monsters in that dominion quite a bit, but we didn't completely wipe them out as there are those that act as deterrent on the circumference.
In one or two years, they should increase enough to stop military campaigns from happening.
Preparing for war should take time, and since they're aware that their army have been defeated by the dragon knights in one-sided battles, they will probably hesitate to march.

"Found it~"

Tama pulled my sleeve, I raise my face from the newspaper.
The officials came out of the station on a state car. The state car is a convertible type with thin wheels like the one you see in a film about the dawn of car.

Pursuing them by running would attract attention, so we went ahead of them by teleporting to their destination that I guessed, the government office at the center of the city.
I can just move to the right place if I got it wrong.

"Good view~"
"It is."

The center of this city is on a slightly elevated ground, so you can see the city well from here.
Searching the map for a bit, there are seven temples in the back street, and there are only priests who can't use holy magic in the temples.

There's no priest who can use holy magic in the territory, not even one.
Of course, there's also no ordinary people with holy magic gift and skill. They were probably forcefully deported to the parishes.

Instead, there are several hospitals in the main street, they're packed with magicians who can use healing magic from earth magic, water magic and such.
Unlike in other places where orphanages are often found besides temples, there are only public orphanages here.

It seems that the emperor intends to make the citizens perceive that temples are unnecessary over time.

"Unifoorm~?"

Tama curiously moves her sight at a street while her ears are twitching.
There are children wearing school uniform-like uniforms roaming that street.
According to AR reading, it appears they're students of empire state childhood schools.

Looking at the map, this city has more school buildings than Shiga Kingdom's Capital.
Since the number is still too few compared to the population, it doesn't seem to be a compulsory education, but it feels like they're increasing the foundation little by little in order to support science and technology.

"Here come~"

Tama pulls my sleeve.
Looks like the car the officials ride on has arrived at the government building.

"Now then, let's go."
"Aye!"

Tama transforms into her pink ninja costume with a white smoke.
Un, she looks like quite a ninja.
























Previous Chapter

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku 15-3


15-3. An Ordinary Village

 

Satou's here. There was a time when the words [Assault Reconnaissance] became popular due to some anime or manga when I was a child. Going to an unknown nearby city with a train, and prowling the streets like a spy was also a good memory of mine. I mistook the meaning of the words cause I was a child though.





"Master, found a village ahead. Advising to scout ahead with an artificial spirit."
"Nn, shadow."

Nana and Mia who are wearing weasel costume are in unusually high tension.
Sorry, but there's no need to do that.

"It's alright. It seems they're all just your friendly villagers."

I pull the hands of Nana and Mia who look slightly disappointed to go toward the village.
Even if the villagers point their blades at us, they can't possibly damage these costumes anyway.

"Yoo, traveleers."
"Heya, villager. We've come to sightsee the construction of the smoke car, is it close by?"

I talk to an old weaselkin man who's speaking slowly at the entrance of the village.
The reason why I choose this village is because, as I've said earlier, this place is the closest to the railroad construction site.

There are more ratkin and rabbitkin people than weaselkin in this village.

The surprising thing is the fact that there's no noble or slave not only in the parishes but also in the Weasel Empire territory.
However, it appears the citizens are divided into three classes. Whether the third class citizens are actually treated like slaves, we will see it ourselves as we tour the country.

I've infiltrated this area dressing as a typical liquor peddler to see the situation.

"That the souund you can heaaard? That one's over that hiiill."
"Thank you, villager. This is what I'm selling, have a cup."
"Aww, thank yaa."

I pour sake into a bisque cup and offer it to the kind old man.

"Kaah, this stuff's goood."
"That good?"
"Lemme taste too."

I sold the sake to the two other villagers not for free, but for blue copper coins that's generally used in the Weasel Empire.
While selling the sake, I gather information by pretending to chat with the elderly.
I let Nana and Mia to take care of the selling along the way.

"Sake seller, want to taste this?"
"Ah, thank you."

I take the dried meat the old man recommended while matching his tone.
It's a salted dried meat just like the one I saw in the [Parish].

"Did the village make this?"
"--Hm? Which village ya came from?"
"From beyond that mountain."

The elderly looked like they were in doubt when I replied.
Oops, it seems I said something wrong. I invoke the [Foolish Field] usually used for interrogation to befuddle them.

"Can't be helped theen."
"Ya can't buy cheap provisions from the military if there's no smoke car."

According to the elderly, it seems the stinky fermented calorie bar from back then will become tasty if you make it into a rice gruel and put some herbs to delete the scent.

"It be niiice since the construction done and the smoke car came."
"Riight. The growing children can now eat their belly full cause we can sell the crops and buy the military provisions."
"Gracious Emperor ee."

Unlike in the parish, it seems the Emperor is well liked in these remote agricultural villages.
Further, it seems merchants who come riding the smoke car are buying their crops.

"What're you doing, what's with the liquor smell in the middle of the day even though the young ones are working away in the construction site of the smoke car road."
"Aah, village elder. Have a drink."
"Hou, sake huh.... How much?"

The village elder shouted, "Cheap!" when I told him the price, and then he bought all the sake jugs I brought with me.
That's fine and all, but for some reason the villagers gather and it's become a feast.

I was a bit surprised to see them spending that much even though it wasn't the time for harvest.
The people enjoying the sake are wearing rural-like clothes with a lot of patches, but every one of them is smiling and looking healthy.

"This village sure is prosperous."

I returned to my usual tone but there wasn't already any villager who minded it.

"Yeah, since the current emperor took the reign, the tax changed from 7:3 to 4:6 you see. So even such a remote village like this can be relatively prosperous."

From the government taking 70% and villagers 30% to them taking 40% and villagers 60% huh?
I thought the tax would be high since this was a military nation that developed the high-cost low-return scientific weapons.... Apparently, that's not the case.

"Long live the Emperor!"
"""Long live the Emperor!"""

With one leading, the villagers held a cup in one hand and shout together, then they laughed 'Gahaha'.

Mia who was free after selling all the sake plopped down on my lap as I was sitting on the ground and then she abruptly played her lute.
It's a fun melody with "I hate drunkards" tones sometimes mixed in.

Next to Mia, there's Nana carrying some children who have come to pick up the dishes.

"Master, secured the young organisms so I report."

The children carried under Nana's arms don't look like they dislike it as they're absorbed in gnawing rice crackers.

"You've a beautiful wife and a cute daughter."
"Nn, happy marriage."
"I see, the daughter must be happy too."

Mia looks satisfied hearing the old weaselkin.
She must have thought that she is the wife, but unfortunately I think she's mistaken.

However, there's no need to point that out and displease Mia.

While patting Mia's head as the lute's tone changed to [Fun Feast], I mix in with the villagers' chat.

"So I've come here to sell my sake, but is it alright for you to take a break from the field work?"
"Yea it's fine. Emperor-sama has distributed pesticides you see."
"Thanks to that, we got rid of the troublesome pest."

Mumumu, pesticides huh... I'm a bit worried as to whether they get the dose right.

"We also got the mowing rabbits."

Mia who heard rabbit mentioned moved her line of sight at us.
She must be interested in it.

"What kind of rabbits are they?"
"It's a kind of rabbit that only eats weed without caring the crops."

One of the elderly points at the field.
It's a small rat-sized rabbit.

"If ya don't put them in the hut during the planting and budding seasons, they'll eat them all with the weed like what happened at Gozan's place ya see."
"I've failed as rep of the village."

I see, it has a habit of eating the plants that have just grown huh.

"Thanks to them, farmwork's easier now."
"During the free time, the young 'uns often went outside the village to make more fields."
"Ain't it fiine, something or otheer, the new fields will be theirs, young 'uns must pull themselves together."

Are they developing new private fields in long term?

Hearing that, Nana tilted her head and entered the conversation while still carrying the children.

"Monsters outside the village are dangerous so I warn."
"It's alright. The empire force comes and defeats monsters and bandits y'see."
"Not bandits, they're tigerkin liberation army right?"
"People who're brandishing weapons and steal food from villages are bandits enough."

I tried searching the map around here and just as the villagers said, there was no monster around here, even on the mountain foot, there were only weak monsters whose levels are in single digit.

"The knights come patrolling here once a month even now."
"They went sword hunting and took the village's swords and spears away, the peeps were maad, but--"
"We got farming tools instead."
"After getting something this good, we'll get punished if we complain ya see."

An old man carrying a sturdy looking farming tool made from iron is showing it off.

"They also made the well with clickety-click."
"Not clickety-click, it's water pump!"
"Oh ain't it fine. Yer' the only one who calls it water pump to look smart."

Apparently, they even have a hand water pump.
The government here seems to be doing quite good.

I might have come to respect the emperor unconditionally if I hadn't saw the parish.

"What'd you say!"
"Try saying that again!"

The two old weaselkins who have been quarrellings since earlier catch each other's collar and glare un-befitting of their ages.

"Good grief, weasels are easy to pick a fight."
"Don't say that, our blood boil fast since the time of ancestor-sama."

The old weaselkin that I met first covered for his race hearing an old rabbitkin's grumble.
As it looks like it's going to devolve into a fist fight, the village elder finally stands up, unable to remain indifferent.

"You fools! If ya want to fight, do it in front of His Majesty the Emperor!"

The village elder shouted while carrying a sake bottle in one hand.
He looks like he's ready to enter the fight.
I feel that there was a lot of intellectual and rational ones among the weaselkins I met outside the Weasel Empire, but looking at the villagers here, I end up thinking those people must have been an exception.

Still--Emperor?

No way there's a teleport gate in such a remote village, is it some kind of term?

My doubt quickly clears up.





"Here I go, Gozan!"
"Come, Banga!"

The old weaselkin men who have taken off their coats are exchanging blows with magnificent telephone punches.
As the two made a clean hit at each other, they staggered and fell backward.

Old Gozan stood up while wobbling, but old Banga seems to have gotten a cerebral concussion, he's not getting up.

"What's wrong, Banga!"
"Stand up, Banga!"
"His Majesty the Emperor is laughing at ya!"
"That's right that's right! Look sharp before the Emperor!"

The surrounding villagers are cheering, or rather, jeering at old Bangan.
The 'Emperor' that they're referring to is a statue of weaselkin made from obsidian-like thing put in the center of the village's square.
Its left eye is a red stone, its right eyes is a blue stone, suspicious light coming from the statue gets stronger every time the villagers roar.

....It's a statue of evil god no matter how you look at it.

In fact, there's a magic square embedded in the square though the villagers don't seem to notice it, every time the villagers enthusiastically shout out, their magic power and stamina get drained.

We resisted the drain aimed at us, but the magic power leaking from our equipment couldn't seem to, thus quite a lot of magic power got absorbed into the emperor statue.

I don't know if that's the reason, but I feel that the statue has begun to emit red aura-like light.

"Wooooo!"
"Duryaaaaa!"

Old Banga was able to stand up somehow while shouting, old Gozan replied back with a shout too.
The telephone punch earlier was bad enough, but now the two are swinging their arms around to exchange baby punches.

It must be some kind of weaselkin sense of beauty that I do not understand.

The two's fists sunk onto each other's cheeks, and then they fainted, a double knock out.
Geez, it's not a fight between elderly.

"They've been fighting for idiotic reasons since they were kids."
"Unlike that time, now we have His Majesty the Emperor's statue, ain't it fine."
"Yer' right, that times one of the sides would die after several matches in a fight like this."
"Weasels can't hit the brake once they see blood, it's scary."

--Huh?

Perhaps the emperor statue is for the sake of the villagers so they won't die needlessly from a fight by exhausting their strength?

Nevertheless, preparing such expensive magic tools that can drain magic power in many villages should have cost them enormously.
The rational and selfish weaselkins I know can't be that generous out of only goodwill.

"Village eldeer, the emperor's statue is shining reeed."
"Fumu, the impurity gathered fast this time. Usually it takes a year.... Well fine. Let the young ones going to the smoke car site tomorrow carry a letter to the city."
"Would be niice if the official-sama that bring the replacement statue is Moton-sama. That persoon would be willing to repair the bank with earth magic."
"Oy oy, ya shouldn't think of first-class citizen-sama as a substitute of oxes and horses."

Fumu, judging from their conversation, it seems that even though the first-class citizens are treated like their superiors, they don't seem to be a privileged class like noble.

We bid our farewell to the village elder and went toward the smoke car construction site.





"Master, it's full of muscle men so I tell."
"Mwu, clank clank."

Mia quickly gave up from the noise in the construction site, Nana lost her interest since there were no children in the site, so the members changed.
The backup are Arisa and Hikaru.

"The smoke car is a train alright."
"Yeah.... The smoke car road also looks like railway track complete with railroad ties."

It seems the smoke car's carrying power also plays a big role in laying the new rail track.

The construction site not only has beastkin and scalekin men, there's also manned normal golems and ones that look like bulldozers and excavators.
The latter are not using internal combustion engines, they seem to be types of golem.
Looks like the science is not that all-encompassing.

"I've seen it earlier, I think the emperor statue is suspicious after all."
"Right right, it's not often there's an item that much suspicious."

Arisa, Hikaru and I are of the same opinion in this matter.

"Then, next we should follow where the emperor statue is getting transported to."

Speaking of chasing, it's ninja.
I should ask Tama to track the transport route of the emperor statue from the village earlier.

Now then, will an ogre or a snake come out of it....
<TLN: Idiom meaning you never know what will happen.>

Ideally, I'd love it if it was [The mountains have brought forth a mouse]. <TLN: Much ado about nothing.>
I think world peace is the best after all.

















Previous Chapter

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku 15-2


15-2. Parish

 

Satou's here. When we're talking about city, the stereotype would be concrete jungle, but recently I feel that there has been more greening in city center than the rural area. There are spots of gray and navy blue in half-baked rural areas.





"Tenion Holy Emblem huh, very well, go on in."
"May the blessing of God be upon you, gatekeeper-sama."
"Yes, blessing."

The unmotivated gray-clothed gatekeeper made some prayer gestures and allowed us to pass the city gate.
He's still one of the better gatekeepers, the other ones are playing with dices.

"They were quite insincere guards weren't they."
"You're right--Liza, you don't have to be that tense."

While answering Sera, I warned Liza who was looking around with coercive sharp glances.
The three of us are wearing disguises masks, so no one can see through the disguises unless they have original Yamato Stone or Arisa's level of appraisal skill.

There's only a few people in the city, everyone is wearing gray clothes and walking with hunched back.
There are some stores here and there but not many items on the shelves so the customers are also sparse. Judging from the transactions between the shopkeepers and the customers, it seems this city also uses notes as payment.

Looking briefly at the map, there are seven huge temples worshiping the god pantheon except the Demon God and the Dragon God. When I checked them with Clairvoyance magic, they were all under construction.

"I wonder if those are altars?"
"That's right Liza. It seems the seven altars are carved with each holy emblem of the Gods."

I moved my line of sight at the seven altars that Sera and Liza mentioned.
There's a small altar on every intersection like a Jizo statue. Instead of statues, there are holy stones carved with holy emblems on the altars.

The order of the altars seem to be fixed, it starts from God Heraruon whom I'm not too familiar with and ends with God Parion.
According to the documents I read in the Duchy Capital's Parion Temple--.
God Heraruon the [Top Seat of the Pantheon].
God Garleon of [Strife and Victory].
God Urion of [Trial and Judgment].
God Karion of [Wisdom].
God Zaikuon of [Passion and Change].
God Tenion of [Solace and Love].
God Parion of [Infant and Righteousness].
--Such were written.
Though it's not that the gods declared themselves, "I am god of~", but it came about from records of the circumstances of things in the era each god governed.

Now then, leaving that aside, we heard some troubling voices coming from a small temple when we were in the middle of the way to the big temples in the city's center--.

"I beg of you, Priest-sama! Please give your mercy on the 『Healing Garden』!"
"Didn't I tell you before. We can only pray to the gods. We have no mean to heal epidemic."

Such conversations happen often in Shiga Kingdom, but looking at the map, it seems the situation is a bit different here.
The priests in this city are low leveled in contrast to their number. Everyone is lower than level 10 except the the few in the central temple.
Thus they probably can't use the mid class holy magic [Remove Disease] and advanced class holy magic [Purification Virus].

"Satou-san."
"Please wait a moment."

I stop Sera who were suggesting to help them, and check the situation on the map once again.
It seems infectious disease has spread inside the city but the statesmen appear to know the importance of isolating the carriers, most of the patients beside very few minority are gathered in a plot of land.

After investigating the book about diseases in my storage, the disease name written on the map is a lethal one, but since the incubation period is short, it should be hard for it to become a pandemic.

"I've confirmed it. It's a kind of epidemic that can be healed by Sera-san's holy magic."

After telling that, I put [Astro Suit] magic on my companions to prevent infection.

"Well then, shall we go?"
"Yes, Satou-san!"

We went to the small temple with Sera in the lead.





"Priestess-sama has come!"

The [Healing Garden] that the man who was making the appeal earlier took us to seemed to be a sanitary building.

"Priestess-sama, please change to purification clothes in this changing room. We've prepared new clothing to prevent the epidemic, so please don't worry."

A staff member handed surgical robe-like clothes and new masks and guided us to the changing room.
When I nod at Sera and Liza who looked doubtful, the two head to the changing room with relived looks. Unlike me, the two must have not understood the concept of sanitary clothing.

The man earlier was waiting when I came out of the changing room, so I chatted with him until Sera and Liza are done.
It seems he's the director of this facility, he's previously worked in the hospital in the capital of the empire.

"I couldn't use magic so I worked as a nurse instead of doctor. If only this place had the medicines and equipment of the central hospitals, I wouldn't stand idly while the patients were dying...."

There's an organization under the direct control of the emperor called [Breinz] in the empire's central, apparently medical institutions in the imperial capital have been rapidly progressing thanks to the knowledges brought from that organization.

"What kind of equipment are they?"
"Umm--Huh? I'm sorry, I couldn't recall the term. It's hard as you get older isn't it."

He beats his head while smiling wryly.

"Coming from such a convenient capital, there was a time when I was depressed to be dispatched to an antiquated parish, but in the end I couldn't leave the suffering patients alone."

He couldn't abide the emperor's [Renunciation] policy, so he was sent to this [Parish].

"I was told to 『Abandon the irrational god and revere the emperor who has bestowed prosperity and well-being upon his subjects』.... But I couldn't abandon my faith to Tenion-sama."

Does the emperor want to become a god?
Or perhaps he wants to weaken the gods who flourish from [People's Faith]?

Either way, I think he's picking a fight with the gods.

This, paired with the scientific weapons and the rumored train, it's strange how the Divine Punishment hasn't befallen them yet.
I'm intrigued at just how does the Weasel Empire's emperor manage to evade gods' wrath.

I really want to hear it once I meet him in person with the weasel merchant's mediation.





"Over here, priestess-sama."

We enter the isolation ward as guided by the director.
Looks like they've put dual layer doors properly here.

There seem to be some ventilation and air cleaning magic used in the sickroom, the air isn't muddy.

The staff here are good, I sure want to head-hunt them to Shiga Kingdom.
Or maybe I can send some Echigoya personnels to train here.

"Let's heal the patients who can't move first. Please gather them as close as possible, since I'll be using ranged magic."
"Eeh, expanding the range of 『Remove Disease』 magic which consumes a lot of magic power is too reckless!"

A priest who belongs to the hospital ward expressed his surprise hearing Sera.

"Don't worry about it. Liza, help me carry the patients along with their beds."
"Understood. Master."

I can't rely on [Magic Hand] magic here, so I carry the beds together with Liza.
We haven't done physical labors in a while, but since I and Liza each have enough strength to carry the whole ward, it's easy.

"■■...."

And then, Sera begins her chant with a long wand.

The accessories for magic boost that Sera wears are glittering, bringing about sublime atmosphere on her.
The enormous magic power that she's gathering begin to sway people's clothes and hair.

I stand behind Sera, secretly fully opening the Spirit Light to make it easier for Sera to gather magic power.

".... ■■■■■■■ Purification Virus."

The moment the chant is completed, pure warm light that overflow from Sera wrap the patients.
I pick forest magic [Stamina Charge] and water magic [Calorie Charge] from the Magic Column the moment Sera invoked her magic and invoke them to ease the patients.

"Aah, what a comfortable light."
"Feels like my body is filled with power."
"Our gratitude to Tenion-sama who has led priestess-sama to us."

The patients who have been healed are muttering incoherently while shedding tears.

At first we planned to cure the patients who weren't in immediate danger after this was done, but since it was troublesome, I secretly used water magic [Cure Disease] at the same time Sera healed the patients who were seriously ill.
Right now they probably think of it as Sera's, or rather, a [Miracle caused by Goddess Tenion's servant-sama.]





"Satou-san, I'm sorry for poking my nose into unnecessary things."
"No, don't worry about it. I would have gone myself if Sera-san didn't."

After the treatment, the patients almost made Sera into a saintess and the ward's priest almost became Sera's apprentice, but we were able to somehow escape from the [Healing Garden].

"Next, shall we see how to use the ration coupons?"
"It's the notes we got as thanks from earlier right."

Sera took the coupons and looked at it curiously.
We originally got a bundle of coupons for the ration as thanks, but since we wouldn't have no use of it, we only took three pieces.
I thought it was the normal currency at first, but apparently it can only be used inside the parish.

There are two kinds of ration coupons; food coupons and necessity coupons, you can exchange them with the goods at the distribution center which gets the items transported from outside the parish.
It seems there's also service coupon which you can exchange for luxury and medicines.

"Master--"

Liza unusually puts her face close to my ears and whispers.

"--It's a flock of flying magic beasts. Please look to the east."

I looked up as urged by Liza and saw around eight Rocs flying toward the city.
The city's alarm bell resounds.

"It's the imperial mail!"
"The rationed goods are coming!"
"It's our chance to get the service coupon, hurry up!"

The men pull the carts and trolleys left in an open space toward the city's gate.
Apparently, it's not an attack but an air transport.

"Let's go see it."

I called the two and went to see the situation.


"--T-that was a rough unloading wasn't it."
"Yes, I wonder if the goods inside aren't broken?"

Sera's and Liza's surprises aren't surprising.
The Roc birds dropped the baggage without even landing in an open space slightly farther away from the city's gate.
There are screw-shaped magic devices on the Roc birds' heads, similar to the one on the Black Panther's from yesterday.

"Carry them to the central warehouse!"

A female weaselkin who looks to be high-ranked appeared riding a horse from the gate and ordered the men pulling carts.

"Matriarch-sama! There are 40 food goods and two daily necessities. There's a list of goods in the daily necessity bundles."
"Give it to me--no luxury goods huh. Only the reported medicines and nutritional supplements.... So the Emperor wants us to die from epidemic disease."

Apparently, the news about Sera curing the epidemic hasn't reached her ears.

"There's a lot of cloths. They're not dyed as expected. We don't have any choice but to collaborate with the black market guys to get the dye used in the ritual."
"Can't be helped. I resent working with a bunch who don't even a fragment of faith, but we can't disregard the color written in the holy book for the ritual magic."

I thought of getting in contact with the top people of the city with some dye as a present, but I decided not to for now since we were still gathering information.





"It seems the staple food here is boiled sweet potato and beans that are crushed and hardened into bamboo shaped. It smells bad but it doesn't taste awful enough to not be edible. The bundle beside it is a lump of dried meat made for long preservation. It's moderately hard."

I receive the food bundle from the distribution center while Liza is explaining.
The calorie is questionable and the smell of fermented plants assails my nose, it makes me hesitate to try it. It's salty on top of getting praised by Liza for being too hard, so normal people probably eat it by chipping the meat with a knife or dip it into water.

Judging from the surrounding people, it seems they get one bundle for a day.

Since we didn't dare to eat bad things, we re-wrapped the food, and then we went to the mentioned black market after seeing the big temples that were under construction.

Due to the shops and people gathering in the narrow back lane, the crowded black market looks like the one I saw in a movie about Pacific War.
The people walking at quick pace in the hustle bustle look contrasting with the languid people walking in the main street.

"They're open in daytime even though it's called black market."
"The black part doesn't mean dark at night but something that isn't formally recognized, you see."

I answer Sera who's watching the surrounding restlessly.

"There doesn't seem to be anything unusual. Master, please look over there."

There's a yakitori stall at the place Liza's eyes are glistening at.

"Fumu, we need to investigate it."
"Yes, then I shall scout ahead."

I told Liza to be careful in order for me to not laugh at Liza who was devoted to her appetite, she ran toward the stall with a smile.
Making use of Flickering Movement, Liza moves between the crowds while leaving afterimages.

....You don't have to be serious at a place like this okay?

"--10 ration coupons for one yakitori skewer? Isn't that too excessive?"
"Go somewhere else if you don't like it. That's the market price here."

The shopkeeper blew Liza's complaint.
Other customers who bought a yakitori skewer for 10 ration coupons were the proof that he wasn't ripping her off.

It's not like we have to buy it, but thanks to the smell of the burning fat of the bird meat, my mouth has turned into yakitori mode.
I'll negotiate with the shopkeeper in Liza's place.

"How much is it with normal money?"
"Money from central are just junk here."

I was going to pay with the weasel money I got at Silga Kingdom but he refused.

Then let's barter.

"How about this kitchen knife?"

It's an item that I acquired from a local noble from one of the various small kingdoms we visited.
It's just made from normal iron, but it's a relatively good knife.

"Hmph, how many yakitori do you want for this kind of high quality good?"
"Just give us 10. Kitchen knife should be used by a cook after all."

The shopkeeper timidly receives the knife.
I genuinely think that it's better for someone who can use it to have it rather than leaving it to become a fertilizer of my Storage.

I give the bundle of yakitori I got from the shopkeeper to Liza, and then have one for me and Sera each.
It seems to be of chicken skin and thigh sprinkled with salt.
The flavor from the charcoal fire tastes good. I'd like a bit more flavor from the thigh, but I won't ask for the impossible.

"Pal, you've just arrived at this parish right. Do you have any liquor?"

A man with stubbly beard talked to me when I was wiping the fat on my hand with a handkerchief.

"It can be distilled liquor or ale. I'll give you this gem for one bottle."
"Isn't that spinel? You can buy a barrel of high-quality liquor with that kind of gem you know?"

He rolled a beautiful red gem that can be mistaken with a ruby the 'Pigeon Blood' on his palm, and then he let the sunlight shine through it.

"That's if you're in Central right? We rarely get liquor here."

Is it prohibited by law?

Looking at the map, I see that liquor is really rare.
They're being made locally at the wayside villages, but there's barely any inside the city.

I take out a small bottle of distilled liquor from my cuff and press it on the man.
It's just something cheap sold at the Duchy Capital, but I think this goes well with the salty dried meat as a side dish.

"Ooh, haven't smelt this fragrance for a long time."

The man pushed the gem on me and disappeared into the back alley as if running.
I was intending to give it for free, but I guess it's fine. It's a bare gem after all, he probably didn't steal it from his wife's jewel box or something.

"D-do you have liquor? T-trade with this holy emblem."
"You sinner! Don't deal with that sinner. Trade with the gold coin I have."
"No, mine."
"You fools, step back--"

The magical power of liquor is amazing. The heavy drinkers in the black market gathered in an instant and it became an uproar.

"Oy, you guys! What is this uproar!"

Since some men riding horses who looked like the guards came, I teleported back to the Solitary Island Palacen with the two.
Looks like I can get quite a few collaborators here if I offer them liquor.





"Wlcome~?"
"Welcome back, nanodesu!"
"Welcome back, how was the parish?"

While changing clothes, I went to the living room with the children who welcomed me.
After sipping the tea Lulu served, I spoke about the situation of the city.

"Hm~m, rationed food, what's more, supply from outside the city huh...."
"It sounds like an open prison."
"Rather than prison, it's more like a monastery for nobles who have committed a crime."

Hikaru gave her opinion to Arisa's mutter, and then Sera told her impression.

"Still, what does the Weasel Empire's Emperor intend to achieve by making such a troublesome place."

Lastly, it seems Princess Shistina has the same question as me.
I wrote a report about Weasel Empire's [Parish] with Kuro's handwriting, gave it to Echigoya Firm's Manager, and asked her to give it to the king.

"Master! The costumes for undercover operation are ready so I tell."
"Nn, spy."

When I returned to the Solitary Island Palace, Nana and Mia were waiting in sexy spy-like costumes.
Arisa must have implanted the wrong idea of spy into them.

Those flashy clothes are bad if we're investigating the territory outside the parish.

"I've prepared the costumes here for you. Change into them."
"Master, don't you think they don't have enough charm value, so is my humble opinion."
"Mwu, character costumes?"

The two people frown at the weasel costumes.

"It's alright Nana. You'll be popular with the children with this costume."
"That's! Wonderful, so I praise Master."

Hearing my words, Nana took the costume in high spirit, but Mia dragged hers to the changing room.

Now then, while waiting for Nana and Mia, I'll gather prior information using [Clairvoyance] on the map I got.

Using advanced space magic spell [Teleport], I moved to the eastern end of the sixth parish of the Weasel Empire.
























Previous Chapter

Death March kara Hajimaru Isekai Kyousoukyoku 15-1

15-1. To the Weasel Empire

 

Satou's here. In my primary school days, I remember asking my parents and teachers what kind of plant is [wayside grass] from the catchwords [do not eat wayside grass]. I remember their troubled faces, but I don't have any memory of their answers.
<TLN: It's an expression that means 'don't loiter on the way'.>





"....■■ Laser."

Sera's mid level light magic shot through the swarm of Soldier Ogre Ants and got repelled by the barrier of General Ogre Ant on the back.

We're currently inside a huge nest of the master of a monster dominion located between Makiwa Kingdom and Weasel Empire, the Huge Queen Ant.
We found the dominion was saturated to the point of verging into a stampede when we on the way to the Weasel Empire, so we went here to prune it while also leveling up my companions.
Currently the late-start troupe is fighting on the front, while the regular members are watching on the back.

It should be about time for the [Weasel Merchant] to fulfill his promise, but the merchant hasn't come to the promised Dejima Island even now.
Thus we were going to tour the remote regions of the Weasel Empire until the merchant went to Dejima Island, but due to the reason earlier, we ended up loitering in this underground nest.

"....■■■■ Air Hammer."

Zena-san's magic pushed back the giant ants that were approaching them.

"As expected, mid class magic are resisted by higher ranked enemies aren't they. ■...."
"That seems to be the case--"
"....■■■ <<Wind Protection>>"

Zena finished her second spell while Sera began her next spell.
Invoking magic at such speed, even though they're lower class spells, is not normal, it's thanks to the [Chant Shortening] skill Zena-san learned from Sera-san recently.

The wind wall repelled the crystal arrows shot by the enemies' rear guard, Zena-san shot down the fireballs fired by the Magic Ogre Ant with the Anti Magic Rifle installed on the other end of her long wand.
In the meantime, Zena-san already started to chant her third spell.

It seems Zena-san has established her specific position by relying on the lower magic [Magic Shield].
Its guard is paper thin compared to Nana's standard [Physical Shield] and Ninja Tama's [Evasion Shield], so looking at her makes me feel anxious.

"....■ Photon Laser"

Sera's advanced light magic mows down the Soldier Ogre Ant swamps, and tears the General Ogre Ant's barrier that was giving orders on the back.
The glittering spectrum on the wall of the barrier inside the dark tunnel is quite beautiful.

"Now's our chance desuwa!"
『Karina-dono, it's still too early!』

Lady Karina activated Flickering Movement, rushing toward the ant swarm.
Raka the [<<Intelligent Item>>] tried to stop her in a hurry, but Lady Karina had already jumped before the enemies.

Two Knight Armored Ogre Ants that are protecting the General Ogre Ant push their shields toward Lady Karina.

"How impudent, desuwa!"

She kicks the upper part of the shield with her beautiful leg, and then she makes a lovely jump by using the enemy that has broken their posture as a stool.

Arisa who was acting as the peanut gallery shouted, "She used the ant as a stoooool!" out loud, but nobody reacted since Arisa raising odd voice was just the usual.
She looked a bit lonely, I'll care for her a bit later on.

".... ■■■■ Air Hammer"

Zena-san's wind magic blew away the Claymore Ogre Ant that was going to attack Lady Karina as she landed.
Unfortunately, the Heavy Soldier Ogre Ant that was on the opposite side resisted the storm created by Zena-san.

"Raka-san!"
『Acknowledged.』

A whirlpool of spiral light appears on Lady Karina's hand with the magic tool Raka controlling it.

"Karinaaaaaa, break!"

While shouting out loud, Lady Karina's fist clad with light infringes upon the Heavy Soldier Ogre Ant.
The Magic Ogre Ants and Archer Ogre Ants at the deepest part took attacking positions while making screeching noises.

『Karina-dono!』
"Yes, Raka-san--"

Lady Karina rotates once while leaving a spinning top-like afterimage clad in light.
The dance of her ringlet hair clad in light is quite beautiful to look at.

"--Breakeeeer, shoooooot!"

Shot with the centrifugal force, the spiral bullet pierced through the Heavy Soldier Ogre Ant and crushed the Magic Ogre Ant with a flash.

"Karina, it's dangewrous~?"
"You'll get surrounded nodesu!"

Tama and Pochi who are being carried under Liza's arms are flailing around trying to go help Lady Karina.

"It's alright you two."

The two look up at Liza with blank expressions as Liza guides their line of sight toward the group who has appeared behind the enemy line.

"Everyone, I'm sorry for being late. Golem Shield Unit, forward!"

--MVA!

Responding to Princess Shistina's order, the golems equipped with great shields close their distance with the ants.
Hikaru and Nana who were with the princess are standing behind her.

The ants that were trying to encircle Lady Karina went into disarray with the appearance of the new opponents.

『Now's the time! Karina-dono.』
"Yes, Raka-san!"

Lady Karina kicked one Heavy Soldier Ogre Ant with a roundhouse kick and jumped back here with hassou tobi knack.
<TLN: From Minamoto Yoshitsune's legend. Literally means "Eight boat jump".>

"Karina-sama, your assault was too early. Even if you have solid Raka's protection, it's by no mean perfect. What would you do if you got seriously injured and left with scars?"

Sera scolded Lady Karina's recklessness.

『Sera-dono, I apologize on behalf of my master.』
"Since Raka-dono is Karina-sama's supervisor, you have to restrain her well or else--"
"Sera-sama, please leave the scolding after the battle. Her highness is on her wit's end."

Zena-san who was diverting the ants with lower class wind magic told Sera-san and started her next magic chant.

"I'm sorry Zena. You're not injured anywhere right Karina-sama?"
"I-I'm sorry...."
"As long as you're not injured, please don't worry. It'll be bad if you're scarred before you can become Satou-san's bride right."
"....B-bride."

Lady Karina's face reddened to hear Sera.
I don't have any such plan right now.

"Mwu, Satou."

Mia who's beside me rubs her head on me.
Seeing that, Arisa tried to rub her head too, but since she was aiming at a delicate place, I lightly guarded her and continued looking at the battle.





"What's wrong, Satou."
"Ah, there's a bit--"

Just when the mid-boss battle ended to an extent, I found some luminous points with strange movements.
I ask Hikaru to take care of Lady Karina and the others as I check the details of the luminous points.

The luminous points are the spy group from Makiwa Kingdom that I had found earlier before we came here.
Apparently they tried to infiltrate into the Weasel Empire and failed.

I invoke space magic [Clairvoyance] to look at the spy group's state.

--Gegeh, grotesque.

It's truly as the saying goes, "A beast never miss a corpse."

It seems Makiwa spy group and the guard unit of Weasel Empire match each other, bodies from both parties are lying on the national border.
Looks like the last two of them are facing off right now.
The Weasel Empire's black panther rider seems to have the slight upper hand.

Even though I said black panther, it's not a normal animal, it's a monster called Shadow Ripping Panther which has screw like magic tool installed on its head, it's moving very shrewdly.

I cancel [Clairvoyance] since I'm not into watching people fight to death.
I'm not going to interfere spies killing each other.





"Nyu~?"
"Tama, what's wrong nodesu?"

Tama and Pochi who were giving some drinking supplement and towel to Lady Karina during the umpteenth break time were conversing as such.

"W-wait, is some greater demon going to appear?"

Tama shakes her head to deny Arisa's question which somehow coaxed with anticipation.

"Feel that someone is calling me~"

It appears Tama doesn't really understand it herself, she tilts her head and her whole body while thinking hard.
I tried to listen carefully, but I couldn't hear anything even with the reinforcement from [Attentive Ear] skill.

"Then, why don't we go see it. Hikaru, please take care of things here."
"Un, leave it to me."

I entrusted everything here to Hikaru and teleported away to the entrance of the nesting hole.

"Do you know what it is?"
"Nyu~"

Tama who's riding on my shoulder folds her arms and frowns.
It shouldn't have been the ant's scream.

We wait for a while as is.

"This way~"

Tama whose ears twitched suddenly jumped, pointed at somewhere and ran.
She's changed her clothing to ninja costume before I knew it.

Since she's moving like a ninja by jumping from branch to branch, I carry Pochi on my shoulder and follow her with Sky Drive.
Unlike Liza who has learned Sky Drive recently, it seems Pochi who has just been able to do Sky Steps can't keep up with Tama when she's serious.

"Something was there just now nodesu."

Pochi mutters so and looks behind.

I felt sensing-type barrier when we passed through the Weasel Empire's border.
The Makiwa spy group from earlier was probably caught in this barrier and got intercepted.

I use [All Map Exploration] while following Tama.
This place seems to be a territory called [Weasel Empire, Sixth Parish]. There's one city and two mine towns, among the numerous highways that connect them to the city, there's a main one that link the north and south of the territory, there are only a few villages that are situated along the road to those towns.
No matter how you look at it, there's too few farm villages needed to supply food to the urban areas.

Next, I look at the other group of luminous points on the map.

It seems a group riding demonic wolves has departed from the nearby fort.
They're quite fast--some additional Elder Parakeet Riders have also departed to act as scouts.
I take out a small blimp for decoy from my storage and make it fly toward the territory's capital. Since it's used as a decoy and disturbance, I've filled it with hydrogen instead of helium.

Tama is heading toward one of the relay villages along the road that I found earlier.
The movement of the luminous point on the map look strange--.

"Master, there's smell of blood at the front nodesu."

When Pochi is still talking, I teleport ahead of Tama to the destination.

There's a black panther from earlier in the center of the village enveloped with bloody smell.
It seems the one who was riding it had died together with Makiwa Kingdom's spy, there's no one that fits the rider around on the map.

I quickly use magic for disguising, transforming myself into blond haired Makiwa Kingdom man and Pochi to tigerkin girl.

"Pochi, you can use magic potions. Save the injured people."
"Yes nanodesu!"

I stitch the black panther, whose claws are painted red, in the air with the space magic [Binding Entangle].

"To the village elder! Gather the injured at the center of the village!"

I shout out loud using weasel language with the help of [Loud Voice] skill.
I use healing magic while walking, prioritizing the ones who are badly injured.

There are a lot of villagers who are so injured they can't walk, but since the attacks were aiming at their legs, there's no casualty. It seems the black panther has received combat training to incapacitate its enemies.
30% of the population are weaselkin, the other 30% are lizardkin, the rest are all various beastkin.

I heal the frightened villagers while thinking so.

"Master~?"

Tama approaches while carrying a catkin child on her back.
The child's clothes are dirty with blood, her back is badly torn. It seems her injury has been healed with the magic potion Tama gave her.

"This child was crying."
"I see, you did great Tama."

I pat Tama's head as she puts the child on the ground.
She shouldn't have been able to hear it judging from the distance--Or so I thought, when I checked Tama's skills, her Gift column had been added with [Insect Notification].

Obtaining congenital skill (Gift), just how....
Well, guess it's fine since it seems useful.

"Myu."
"Mom!"

A catkin aunty rushed out of the villagers, hugged the child and thanked us while bowing her head.
Then an elderly weaselkin carrying a wand appeared from behind them and urged them to go back to the villagers.

"We wish to express our gratitude for saving our village from predicament."

The elderly weaselkin said it haughtily, or rather, with full of suspicion.

"You are not someone from the fort. Just who are you people."
"I'm just a meddlesome retired crêpe merchant from Echigo."
<TLN: Reference to Mito Komon.>

It'd be problematic if I revealed our identities since we were illegal trespassers, so I spoofed some random ones.

"Crêpe merchant? Never heard of such products... Don't tell me you're not from the central, are you foreigners?"
"That's right--"

The elderly weaselkin makes a sour face when I nod.

"Don't you know that this country has been closed off? You'd be massacred by the people of the fort if they found you even with children along. If you need anything, no, we can't offer you everything, but for our benefactors we can at least prepare something you require."
"Then, tell me about this country."

I asked for information instead since asking goods from a poor village would be too much.

"I cannot answer something so vague. This place is the 17th relay village of the sixth parish of Weasel Empire, do you seek that kind of information?"

I assent the weaselkin elder who asked for confirmation.

"The nine parishes on the outer edge of the Weasel Empire, including this, are territories that have been discarded by the emperor. To the emperor who has abandoned his faith, we who cannot abandon ours must be useless."

I can't swallow his story whole, but I'll add it on the memo pad for Weasel Empire.

"Are you prohibited from going outside the territory?"
"No, we are not. It is simply impossible in practice."
"Impossible? Can't you just go on the highway while avoiding monster dominions to escape to other territory?"
"The highways are only connected to other 『Parish』, the same as here. We the castoffs have talked and come to a consent, but there is no highway that leads to any territory besides the 『Parish』. And if you fly in the sky--"

Explosion sound reverberated from the northwest direction of the village in the middle of the elderly weaselkin's talk.
The surprised villagers crouch down and look at the direction of the sound.

The blimp I released earlier probably exploded.

"It seems there were some people who have infiltrated. There are several small forts inside and on the border of the parish. The imperial army from these forts have screw-tamed flying monsters and cannon trees, they shoot down anyone flying like such."

I see, this [Parish] is like a country inside a country, or rather it's treated like a penal colony huh.
I asked the elderly weaselkin the way to enter the [Parish] city and its custom without him getting suspicious.
And then a panicked catkin man rushed in.

"Elder--It's the imperial army from the fort."
"Umu."

My radar also shows the imperial army soldiers coming here.

"You heard him benefactor-dono. You should escape while we buy you time."
"There's no need of that. And also, I do not mind if you talk about us to the soldiers. Tell them that a man in black clothes followed by a black panther came, snatched your food and water, and then he ran away."

I raised my hand to signal Tama and Pochi, and then they went to the black panther and threw it, "eiya~" toward the village's entrance.
I canceled the binding magic when it was still in the air, then it landed like a cat and ran toward the soldiers.
It was not because of my [Coercion] skill, it must be scared of Tama and Pochi who were muttering, "Steak~?" and "Hamburg is better nodesu!" full of appetite.

Leaving the surprised voices of the villagers and the black panther that started attacking the soldiers behind, we teleported back into the ant nest were our companions were waiting.
The soldiers will probably get hurt, but looking at their levels, there should be no one dying.





"Satou! I've finally reached level 50!"

When we came back, Lady Karina jumped while shouting so.
She's smiling with her whole face, which is rare for her.

I was going to evade reflexively, but I receive her lightly and put her down.
There was plenty of distance between us, yet the wonderful soft sensation still reached my chest.

Demonic breasts are frightening--.

"Congrats~"
"Congratulations, nanodesu!"

Once the chorus of the congratulations song from the girls ended, I talked about the things at the village.

"Parish is it.... It's worrying."
"Then since we have some ample time, let's go investigate it."

Thus, I, Sera and a guard are going to the parish city for reconnaissance.
The guard was Liza, selected with the fair [Ladder Lottery] method.

However, I have to prune the monsters here a bit more before that.
























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