17-14. Changing World (3)
"Food aid from Shiga Kingdom?"
The newly inaugurated empress of Saga Empire, Morienus knitted her brows when she heard the prime minister's report.
"Yes, around 10 million preserved foodstuffs have been delivered to us."
"It wasn't just a posturing, they've actually delivered?"
The prime minister gave an affirmation, "Yes", to the surprised empress.
"And their demands? What does Shiga Kingdom want from us."
The empress urged the hesitating prime minister, "I give you the permission to read what's written on the letter."
"It's, 『In accordance to Shiga Kingdom's doctrine, we hereby provide foods to the people of your country. In exchange for our aid, we request that you do not let any of your people die from hunger.』"
"What sophistries. Who cares about these hypocritical prefaces. Get on to the subject written afterward. I'm sure they must be demanding Blood Orbs or Blood Spheres from the Bloodsucking Labyrinth anyway."
The empress opened her folding fan with a displeased look on her face and urged the prime minister to continue.
"What? Are their demands so hard to utter? Are they shamelessly asking for holy relics of our past heroes?"
The empress urged the prime minister while swinging her fan.
"Well err, that was everything. I suppose what was stated earlier 『do not let any of your people die from hunger』 could be considered a demand."
"Fools. A king responsible for his people sending an aid without demanding anything back? That cannot be true."
The empress snatched the letter from prime minister's hand and read it from end to end.
She couldn't find anything resembling a demand despite reading the letter many times over.
Even the best practice of putting it out as a loan that will be collected later was clearly denied in the letter.
"We have a report about revival of Shiga Kingdom's founder king, Hero King Yamato from the mausoleum."
"Are you saying that this is a charity instigated by Hero King?"
That's not it, the empress declared in her head.
It was not written in history, but the empress knew that Hero King Yamato bore a grudge toward Saga Empire.
Because on top of taking away Hero Yamato's holy sword when they knew her unique skill was unfit for battle despite summoning her, she was made to work as a luggage carrier on the front lines and got taken captive by Orc Empire led by a demon lord.
"Shall we decline the food aid?"
Asked the prime minister.
Formerly, Saga Empire would have no problem at all turning down addended demands, but it's a tough undertaking in the current situation when scars from demon lords disaster still remain afresh.
"Fumu, I suppose there is no--"
"P-please wait, your majesty!"
Agricultural minister was desperate to stop the empress's words.
"At the rate it's going, we will have a food shortage in less than half a year, and those with low incomes could risk dying from starvation. By that time, a riot could--"
"Then we simply need to release emergency provisions, no?"
"What are you saying! Haven't we just done that right after several subsequent disasters!"
The agricultural minister raised his voice at the military affair minister.
"However, if we owe Shiga Kingdom a debt here, our diplomacy afterward will--"
"Dealing with exactly that is your job as a Foreign Affair Minister!"
"How about taking it in place of Her Majesty Maryest's betrothal money?"
"Saga Empire would lose face if we dared to propose that."
"However, Liturgical Secretary-dono, that's better than cession of--"
"I shall not abide hearing her highness treated as a pawn! And you call yourself noblemen of empire?!"
The empress was watching over the selfish ministers with a troubled look.
Due to the loss of people in the central government during the Demon Lord Disaster, the people here including the empress herself have been gathered from rural areas of the empire. It's a gathering of people distinguished for their ability in those areas, however, they severely lack experience in administrating a whole nation.
At the end of a long winded council, it was decided that they would accept the food aid with the empress's final word.
Were they go defiant here and rejected the offer, it could lead to a revolt by starving people, decreasing Saga Empire's national power even further, that'd be like putting the cart before the horse.
Similar exchanges occurred in many nations who received food aid from Shiga Kingdom.
Afterwards, none of those countries received additional demands by Shiga Kingdom.
"Your majesty! Earl Jizaros troops have broken through Robson Valley's barrier."
A report brought by a messenger into Makiwa Kingdom's audience room stirred up the king and the authorities there.
"What! How could they broke through this quick? What's General Popon in charge of the barrier doing!"
"General Popon along with 3000 soldiers have aligned themselves with Earl Jizaros to invade the capital."
There's nothing but a wide open plain between the barrier and the capital.
That report means that the capital will soon turn into a battlefield.
"What are you being weak willed for! Jizaros troops are numbering in 8000, while we have 6000, we may be inferior in number but we will definitely manage if we fortify our rampart defense. Then we simply need to wait for reinforcements from the three lords to destroy these traitors."
"No, what are you saying."
Another minister put a damper on the fiery old minister.
Normally, the old minister would have been right.
"Our opponent is Earl Jizaros of the north who possesses the Roaring Quake Wand. A swing of Roaring Quake wand will breach our rampart easy, and that giant golem controlled by the earl could easily cross over the rampart and get to this castle!"
Only the other three lords are capable of opposing that.
"What do you suppose we should do? Earl Mizaras with his water ruling Surging Sea wand can't move due to an insurrection caused by explorers. Earl Muzaris with his wind ruling Tornado wand is playing his forte, wait-and-see how the wind blows."
"Don't we have Marquis Dazles with us!"
"What could one chick possibly hope to accomplish."
That one word froze the cheerful faces of people who had found hope.
"The kingdom's guardian, Dwogh Dazles said to be capable of driving away dragons has gone missing in a distant land. Crimson Wand that had found its way back to our kingdom was taken away by some fishy individual called Outis or something."
Most importantly, Dazles Marquisdom that's currently undergoing reconstructions cannot afford to send soldiers here.
"Then what should we do?!"
"We have no choice but to cling to his majesty's power..."
The king who were looked at with hopeful eyes could only smile bitterly.
The power of City Core is mighty and unparalleled precisely because it requires an enormous amount of mana. That power has been greatly reduced to restore farmlands which were ruined in the war against Weasel Empire.
Several days have elapsed without a plan to break through the situation enacted, Jizaros troops have taken position not far off the capital.
A giant golem controlled by Earl Jizaros is enshrined in the center of their formation.
By the time that golem moved, Makiwa Kingdom would meet its end, and it would be the birth of Jizaros Kingdom.
"This is it huh..."
"It is not over yet."
A clear sounding voice of a woman resounded in audience room which had fallen silent.
"Why's Marquis Dazles here?"
"What a curious thing to say. It is my duty as a member of Dazles Household to eradicate invading enemy of nation."
Shelmina Dazles declared so to the ministers.
"What can a chick without Crimson Wand--"
Roaring sounds and flashes of lights interrupted the minister's words.
A thunderous blazing wall of flames could be seen alight beyond the balcony.
Standing between the capital and Jizaros troops, as if dividing them.
"Is that, the Crimson Wand?"
"To think such power dwelt within..."
Lady Shelmina proudly points at a speck in the sky
There, a knight riding a Mythical Beast, Griffin, was.
The glittering red wand the knight--Outis held up was undoubtedly this kingdom's artifact, the Crimson Wand of flame.
These authorities including the king have a misunderstanding, even the Crimson Wand that rules over flames is incapable of producing such flames. That's a wall of flame created by Outis--Satou's alias.
"Outis-sama has come to stop fights between men."
'I'm here as his messenger', spoke Lady Shelmina to the king.
Flashes of lights and thunderous roars shook the royal castle once again.
The moving golem got broken into pieces in one blow, swords and spears Jizaros troops were carrying melted.
Even generals who have fought alongside the kingdom's strongest, Earl Dwogh Dazles, never saw flames of this degree, they testified later.
"Jizaros forces have retreated!"
The troops who had lost their willpower turned tail to whence they came from.
"Go after them! It's time to show them the might of kingdom knights!"
"You will not."
Lady Shelmina stood in the knight commander's way.
"Move aside! It'd be too late if they cooped themselves up inside the barrier! This is our chance to cut down the enemy."
"And then the lot of you would be the ones getting burned by Outis-sama's flames next?"
The knight commander had a cramp to hear Lady Shelmina's cold words.
"Isn't that guy our ally?"
"Outis-sama is an arbitrator. He wishes only for peace between men."
"Arbitrator? Does that Outis guy think he's a god or something?"
'Such impudence', spat out the knight leader.
Satou would have looked vexed were he heard this, however, what the knight commander said had identified things that Satou himself didn't notice.
Afterward, Earl Jizaros went back to his territory and shut himself in.
Additionally, General Popon and his subordinates who came back to the barrier received a counterattack by the moderate faction who had refused to participate in the rebellion and gotten locked up in jail, and lost their power overnight.
Although it wasn't written in the official records, many soldiers went on in taverns about how a mysterious pink being having a hand on the moderate faction's jailbreak and General Popon's faction arrest.
However, none of the soldier is aware of this mysterious being's identity.
That is because the identity of cat ninja is forever a mystery. Nin nin.
<TLN: If you're reading this novel at any other site than Sousetsuka .com you might be reading an unedited, uncorrected version of the novel.>
"Your excellency! Yowolk Kingdom forces have marched onto Barus town!"
"What? To that town with nothing at all? You sure it's not a false report?"
"I'm very sure, there is no mistake about it. We have received an urgent SOS call from the town's administrator himself."
"What's Yowolk Kingdom thinking? Marching through monster domains just to invade that town... Fools the lot of them."
The general wore his coat, left his garrison and headed toward the royal castle in order to have an audience with the king.
He had no idea that [Flame Stones] are regular drops in the [Tower] located near Barus town.
Flame Stones are used for heating in snowy countries, but in many more countries, those stones are military goods used to create Flame Wands and Magic Bombs.
For some reason, towers that drop goods useful for military such as Flame Stones, Lightning Stones, and Ice Stones are mostly found on border areas in many countries such as this one, and the majority have become seeds of troubles.
That's not limited to between nations--.
"Rebellion? Not a riot?"
"Insurgents who plundered a warehouse where Lightning Stones where stored also stole Lightning Wands there, afterward they raided the administrator's fort."
A similar incident has occurred at Bishtal Dukedom located in the northeastern part of Shiga Kingdom.
"The rebel army forces are extremely powerful, the town administrator has sent us a request for help."
"Pushover--but we cannot let it slide either. Send reinforcement from a neighboring city."
"Your excellency, with all due respect, ordinary reinforcement may not be sufficient."
Urged for an explanation, the consul explained that the ringleaders of rebel army are consisted of mainly level 40 explorers who got their names known in [Towers]. No one in the administrator's army could stand up to them, and the city is as good as lost by the time the fort is overrun.
"I would prefer not to dispatch them to the border..."
However losing a new source of income is even worse, thus Duke Bishtal concluded.
"We'll dispatch our elites to the administrator's castle. Call Gouen."
Duke Bishtal would send an elite of his elites to suppress the rebellion.
Baron Gouen Loitar, whom he called, was a martial art mentor of Toriel, eldest son of the family who caused a revolt back then, but he was out on a trip to test his skills in Saga Empire's Bloodsucking Labyrinth when it happened, thus he escaped the repercussions and was hired to manage Duke Bishtal army.
Before long, a giant man shouldering a huge axe showed up in the duke's office.
"Gouen, go quell the rebellion. Show them your power that rivals that of Shiga Eight Swords."
"By your will."
Accepting Duke Bishtal's order, the giant man confidently bowed like a knight.
Using the power of City Core to teleport within its territory, Gouen and his subordinates were sent to the border city and stopped the rebels from coming into the administrator's castle near the wateredge.
"You must be this rebellion mastermind!"
"Indeed, this great me is known by the name Yagou! First rate explorer Lightning Monument--no, Lightning King Yagou-sama!"
"A mere outlaw calling himself a king huh."
Gouen snorted at Yagou's introduction.
"Shut up! Do you duke's lapdogs can't even give their names to the one challenging them to a fight?!"
Yagou who's had several Lightning Stones slotted on his armor takes a stance with his magic sword while scattering sparks around.
"Very well. I'll take you on. I'm a retainer of Duke Bishtal, Gouen Loitar."
Gouen who shouldered his giant axe circulated mana in his entire body.
Dark red lights overflowed out of the giant axe clad in magic edge.
"Here I go, Fastest Blade--Lightning Stratos."
The magic axe that drew a red arc in the air hit the lightning-clad Yagou faster than he could thrust his sword.
Both the magic that protected Yagou's body and the mithril alloy armor he obtained in the tower were smashed into pieces by a single blow of the axe, cutting Yagou in half clean meat and bones.
Yagou's body who was cut right in half from head falls down while spilling blood everywhere.
The rebel party had their mind broken to see such an overwhelming spectacle, they surrendered, quickly ending the rebellion in Bishtal Dukedom.
A certain cat ninja who was secretly watching the scene said this.
Looks like there are also times when she doesn't get her time to shine.
"Pochi-neesan, the quest board is over here."
"So many paper patches nanodesu."
Led by a Pendora boy, Pochi went to check the quest board located in a corner of Explorer Guild.
This board is made by the influence of Echigoya Firm to display quests posted by the firm.
Today, the first term graduates which consist mostly of beastkin led by Usasa are training in the tower located near labyrinth city, hence today the second term graduates consisting mostly of humans are acting as a guide for Pochi.
"You accept quests that fit your ability from these paper patches. A quest gets harder the more this mark is drawn, if one of your party member's level is lower than the number of this mark, taking the quest is still okay if the total levels of your party members are higher than five times the mark number."
There's a simplified chart put next to the quest board for those who can't do calculations.
Pochi looks over the quest board while listening to the boy like, "Hm hm."
"Pochi is not sure which one to take when there's so many nodesu."
"Pochi neesan will be okay taking on any of these quests."
The quests posted are mostly about hunting edible monsters, bodies of these monsters are then processed, starting from extracting their miasma out, in chop shops located inside the Labyrinth City.
"Which one would you recommend to Pochi nanodesu?"
"How about this one, Dungeon Buffaloes?"
"Dungeon beef nanodesu! Pochi will hunt a lot and then ask Lulu to make her beef jerky nodesuyo!"
"Oh that's nice. Please make a lot and share it with us next time."
"Of course nanodesu. Tasty stuff get even tastier when you're eating together with everyone nodesuyo."
After accepting the quest, Pochi and the Pendora boys head to the labyrinth.
"Geato Oupen, nanodesu!"
They went inside a two-way teleportation gate placed inside the labyrinth--Portal Doors to get to the plain area where Dungeon Buffaloes were.
These Portal Doors are rumored to be developed by Kuro, hero's attendant who's also Echigoya Firm's president, they've been installed as shortcuts that connect to several areas where you can collect meat.
Thanks to Portal Doors and Quest Boards, the amount of explorers going to the labyrinth have gone up to a certain level compared to half a year ago.
"So many cow-san nanodesu."
Pochi's eyes gleamed when she found a herd of buffaloes.
"We've got bad luck. The 『Area Boss』 is coming this way."
The Pendora boy frowned when he saw a gigantic cow many times bigger than other cows beyond the herd.
"That's not true nodesu. We're super lucky nanodesu."
Pochi took out her trusty magic sword from her magic bag while literally pronouncing, "Kiraan."
It's a long-bladed magic sword used mainly for hunting.
"Pochi will go ahead and hunt the big one nodesuyo."
After saying that a moment before she disappeared, the faraway giant cow began to act violently.
Immediately right after that, its head fell off, blood gushed out of its giant body.
"Neesan, too cool."
"She's really one of the Demon Lord Slayers."
The Pendora guys could only laugh dryly to see Pochi's extraordinary strength.
"Okay then, let's go hunt Dungeon Cows at our own pace."
Even after graduating, the first teaching of Explorer School, "Treasure your life", is still their guidelines in life.
Thus, thanks to the efforts of [Pendora], Dozon party and other explorers, food situation in Shiga Kingdom as well as labyrinth monster culling is gradually improving.
Many problems sprout up all over the world, but thanks to Satou and the girls' efforts, those problems were curbed before they went past a point of no return, gradually showing symptoms of betterment.
『It's not going as well as planned eh.』
A man sitting in a throne muttered while watching several pictures floating in the air.
Multiple young-sounding voices asked the young man.
『Naw, that's no fun. It's a bit premature, but let's get on to the next stage.』
『『『...Got it. Preparing.』』』
Little girls with pink colored hair and similarly colored eyes ran around on jet black floor.
『Well now, will they overcome the next one too I wonder?』
The young man whispered while swaying a glass filled with purple liquid.
※ Next update is planned for 5/12
※2019/5/6 Regarding Makiwa Kingdom besides Crimson Wand
I was planning to write a restoration episode for an intermission in chapter 15 but I forgot about it. I will put an addendum about this later.
<TLN: Reminder that the above are the author's notes.>