3-7. Past, Failure and Withered Labyrinth
Satou's here. There are many tragedies where the hero doesn't come to save the day.
In fantasy world, I would have liked if it's a happily ever after end.
"I failed to make my hometown prosperous using the knowledge from my previous life."
"Even if I'm like this, I was a princess you know." said Arisa ironically.
"In the beginning it was working well, but then it began to be failing unnaturally and the kingdom became ruined, plunged into civil war, and occupied by the neighboring kingdom in the end."
"What did you do?"
"Just normal agricultural reforms. Like making fertilizers from leaves and manures, four-wheeled farming tools, some basic administration cheats."
I've never heard 'Administrative Cheats' lingo, but I put the pieces together from the administrative and reform parts.
"Even if you fail, could that even ruin the whole kingdom?"
"That's why I said 『Unnatural』. The mountain where we collected leaves for fertilizer died off. A massive insect monsters outbreak came out of fertilizer which was fermenting, planted clovers and turnip which should had restored the land, withered it instead."
Indeed, those were some fantasy-like phenomenons, but if we add 『Unnatural』 to this, that means....
"Someone was interfering, was it?"
"Yes, but I only knew long after the fact. At that time, I thought it was because of the difference between the earth and this world, I was really depressed. I even got called [Witch of the Lost Kingdom], or [Mad Princess]."
So those titles were because of this.
It wasn't because she used mind magic to manipulate the king to create a harem of pretty boys for her or something huh.
"Still, if the intention was to occupy your kingdom, if the neighbor kingdom didn't gain any profit, there was no meaning to it, isn't it? Laying waste to the other kingdom to get it, didn't they get their priority backward?"
"They didn't care at all for territories of a poor country. They probably just wanted the [Withered Labyrinth] below the castle."
"After our country was occupied, they made a public execution of the king and the crown prince for the sake of calming down the populace."
Tears are falling out of her frustrated face.
"Then the remaining princes and princesses were gathered, and they said this."
『This country was destroyed because of your foolishness. You people are not qualified to be royal families.』
"They made the court magicians to put coercion(geass) on the princes and princesses, starting from me."
『Live as a slave until you die』
"I was blaming myself for the destruction of the country, so I willingly received that geass and became a slave."
I take out a handkerchief from the storage using under-bed as a cover, and wipe her tears.
"Why was it had to become slaves..."
"It was for the sake of reviving the 『Withered Labyrinth』 I told you earlier. We couldn't escape if we became slaves, since it was geass and not contract, only a country is able to cancel that..."
She grasps the handkerchief along with both of my hands, and continues.
"Every month, when it was full moon, they sacrificed one person in a suspicious ceremony inside the labyrinth's interior."
"One year later, the labyrinth was resurrected. When the ceremonies were over, only me who had the taboo hair and Lulu, who was an illegitimate child remained. Our confinement was moved from tower to the royal villa near it. I don't know why they didn't dispose of us right away. But we were probably spares if the labyrinth ever to wither again."
Her grips are loosing its strength.
"And then, another tragedy struck when the next full moon happened. A demon appeared, the castle and the town surrounding it were destroyed. The royal villa where we were, was burned down too, I and Lulu ran took refuge to the mountain."
Arisa was forbidden to go out by Order, but when the castle was destroyed, their master seemed to have died in it, thanks to that they were able to escape from the villa.
"I thought that we have no choice but to be burnt to dead but Lulu's indication became 『Master: None』, thanks to that. If I was alone, then I'd have died just like that."
Arisa puts my arms to embrace her and sits on my lap. Since she's trembling a bit in my arms, I let her off.
"Then we just wandered around in the mountain, and just as we were about to die, we got picked up by the wandering slave trader, Nidoren-shi. Since slaves who don't have master can't enter into towns. So I wouldn't be sold to some perverted nobles, I used Hide Skill to hide my skills and Lulu also pretended to have loss of speeches."
She lean her small head to my arm, her expression isn't visible.
"Wouldn't it better if you used mind magic to make Nidoren-shi to treats you two like daughters?"
"That's right. I was too desperate to hide my skills, when I realized that, I was already under the Contract to be Nidoren-shi's slave."
"You could just use the magic after that."
"I could have died if I was careless trying to do that and violated the contract."
Hmm? Wait a minute.
I make Arisa to face me.
"Didn't you just abuse your magic to push me down earlier? Why was the contract not violated?"
She looks up to me and smiles wryly.
"Because that's a service from a slave. I properly made the oath during the contract, right?"
『I will vigorously attend to master without rest, day and night』
"That's why I use every ounce of myself, including magic, to service you!"
She puts her hands on my side while looking like expecting something, "So embrace me~, indulge yourself on my unripe body~", while trying to hug me, I shoot her down with a chop.
"By the way, who was that demon?"
"I don't know. I didn't directly see the demon. Only heard it from Nidoren-shi's talk with other merchants. I only knew that the town around the castle was burned down and it went somewhere after. Maybe it came to steal the revived labyrinth."
Is it like the arm demon, gathering power in the labyrinth?
I talk about it to Arisa.
"So the uproar that Nidoren got involved into, was about labyrinth?!"
Her face is close.
Bracing myself, I push back the oncoming Arisa, while talking about the demon raid's disturbance, the arm demon's making of the labyrinth, summarizing them all. The silver masked hero was omitted.
"You mean a new labyrinth was made?"
"Seems like it."
Is it a point to be surprised about?
"There are only 6 living labyrinths in this continent. The last labyrinth which appeared, did so 100 years ago. A labyrinth will appear in the place where the corpse of demon lord is, that's what written in books."
"That arm demon said that it was created for the sake of the complete resurrection, so I thought that it was just a recovery type shelter item."
"It's not such a cheap thing. That's a Legend class artifact item. I wonder what's the objective..."
"To produce demons to fight the hero maybe?"
Ignoring my nonchalant answer, Arisa ponders with serious face.
I'm alright with you hanging your hands on my shoulders, but please stop circling my waist tightly with your legs.
"Are there earth veins around this area?"
"It seems there's one called Dragon's Valley."
She says that with serious face while looking up... Fine, but why are you pressing your thin breast?
"If the arm demon's goal was to recover one arm, then probably it should have been over. I think full recovery would take many months. It could probably move around in its former form in short period."
"And that thing is underneath our feet, chilling~", she's shaking.
I don't know how long is short period, but Zena-san et al who are on the labyrinth's entrance are in danger.
"You're awfully knowledgeable."
Almost like Nadi-san.
"I've read most of the books in the castle's library."
"The letter printing in this world is really small you know~", Arisa outraging.
"Do you know? When you read books and gain new knowledges, you accumulate experience points~ Thanks to that, my level went up even while secluding myself in castle."
I see, this isn't a game after all, you can gain level even without going in battles.
"Tell me if you know this."
"Of course~ Master~."
While rubbing your face against my chest, don't grope it with your fingers.
"In this world, to fight against a level 62 demon, how much force would you need?"
"What are the level of the best pieces you can prepare?"
"Then if you equip them with 6 holy attribute weapons and the party balance is good, you can win~"
"There aren't 6 of them. Level 48 magician is one person, upper 40 are 3 people, and lower 40 are 2."
"It will be harsh, but if there are 10 level 30 people as back ups in turns, then I think, they could somehow do it. Although there probably would be many sacrifices."
She stops playing with her fingers and looks over here.
"Master, you sure know a lot about this town's forces. Aren't you a merchant?"
"I know an acquaintance in military. Also, although I call myself a merchant, I've never done any commercial business."
"Master can afford 5 slaves regardless."
"Well yeah, I got a lot of magic cores from the labyrinth after all, I won't have money trouble for a while."
The moneys are actually things I pillaged from the dragons, but it seems it'd be troublesome so I just mislead her here.
I grab her hands which were playing around on my chest above, seemingly misunderstanding something, she closes her lips shut and attempts to kiss me.
I push her back, peel her body off me, and lay her beside Lulu.
I put on cheap robe and cloak, and going out of the room.
"Where are you going~", hearing that, "Sleep until morning", I 『Ordered』 Arisa that and got out of the room.