“Well then, let’s eat!”
Arnold shouted and everyone said, “Bon appetite” at the same time.
Many dishes were laid out on leaves in front of them. Although Hiiro couldn’t say the food was luxurious, the fragrant still tickled his nose.
The thing that Hiiro grabbed first was bone-in meat. Something that looked like thick sauce was spread on top of the meat.
“Ah, that’s 《Grey Pork Cuts drenched in Lemon Sauce》.”
The bone-in meat had a soft texture and the delicious grilled smell drifted in the air. Hiiro, who couldn’t bear it anymore, bit into the meat.
The meat was as soft as it looked and it melted in his mouth. The meat’s juices overflowed in his mouth.
(This is delicious and this sauce is superb!)
There was a hint of the lemon’s acidity and a subtle sweetness. It was incredibly delicious, the sauce matched well with the meat’s fat.
Arnold laughed guessing what Hiiro had thought.
“Muir made that sauce, you know”
“The Chibi did?”
She shyly looked downwards when Hiiro looked at her.
“Not bad, Chibi. Good job.”
Hiiro praised her.
“Th-thank you. I’m… Happy. Ehehe.”
Muir smiled cutely as blood rushed to her head. Winka and Winger were both wholeheartedly chewing on the meat. That was proof that the meat was delicious.
Next, Hiiro put the fish that Winka had caught into his mouth. It was also delicious.
(It tastes like grilled fish and the lumpy thing in the middle… Is it egg? I can get addicted to this texture.)
The fish was simply grilled with salt and the small burnt part of the fish stimulated his appetite.
“That’s 《Grilled Big Egg Salmon》. I didn’t think we’d find them in this river. Listen carefully, the special thing about this fish is that there are eggs in a female’s stomach. As the name suggests, the eggs are very large. That’s why you can briefly enjoy that texture. It’s quite popular.”
Arnold began boasting about the ingredients and Hiiro knew it was as popular as he had said. The salmon itself was tender and delicious. Hiiro couldn’t get tired of the lumpy texture.
Everyone had a pleasant meal together.
When they finished eating and everyone had rested enough, Winka who was holding Winger headed towards Hiiro.
“What do you want?”
Suddenly Winka slowly lowered her head and said, “Thank you”.
“… I told you that you didn’t need to thank me, didn’t I?”
“Yeah, but Wi should thank you for saving Wi and Winger after all.”
Winger leapt from her arms, walked towards the rock where Hiiro was sitting, and rubbed his face against Hiiro like a cat.
Hiiro stared at Winger then stretched out his hand to pet Winger’s head. Winger barked pleasantly, “Ar~f” because it felt good.
Then Winka came closer to Hiiro for some reason and stuck out her small head.
“… What’re you doing?”
“… I want you to stroke my head.”
“I told you before that I won’t do it.”
“But it’s unfair for you to only be petting Winger.”
“It’s thanks to him that we were able to escape and in the first place he’s like a pet, right?”
Petting the head of a small animal was different from stroking the head of a person. Winka, however, did not give up and turned her teary eyes up at Hiiro.
“I’ve said it before right? If you want me to stroke your head then do something…”
Hiiro said but then remembered that she had saved him and because of that she got wounded.
Hiiro had already healed her wounds but she certainly did something good. Hiiro stared into her eyes and her beautiful clear pupils stared right back at him. Her eyes were mixed with the same purity as a small animal like Winger.
Hiiro exhaled deeply in resignation. He stretched out his hand and placed it on top of Winka’s head and slowly moved it.
Winka slightly twitched her body and closed her eyes. Her expression was one of satisfaction.
A sound similar to a sigh escaped from Winka’s mouth.
(Well, she’s like a small animal.)
Her body was small, her behavior and speech was also like a small animal’s. Her existence made people want to protect her.
“Listen carefully, we’re even now.”
“… Yup… That’s fine but just a little… More.”
Winka asked him to continue stoking her head. Hiiro thought that if she was satisfied with this then he would continue even though it was troublesome. Winger was also feeling satisfied and climbed onto Hiiro’s lap.
Hiiro had the rare experience of petting two things at the same time.
“Ehehe, it feels good…”
“Is that so?”
Hiiro continued stroking their heads while remembering the time he spent at the orphanage.
When he was there he also stroked the children’s heads like this and they told him to continue doing so because it felt good.
It gradually escalated and then he was stuck with stroking their heads everyday. Finally it got so troublesome that he declared to the children that he would no longer be doing it anymore.
The children were unhappy and their words were harsh but Hiiro couldn’t understand why he was stroking their heads in the first place.
Being treated like a child was unpleasant for Hiiro, even when he was a child so he didn’t understand the meaning of being stroked on the head.
Muir who was cleaning up with Arnold was shocked when Hiiro began stroking Winka’s head.
(E-e-eh!? Wh-why is Wi-san being stroked on the head!?”
Hiiro surely turned her down once before.
Even so Muir didn’t know what had changed and was looking at Winka enviously.
“Eh, Wi looks happy.”
Arnold said next to Muir without knowing how she felt.
“She didn’t have any parents to stroke her head like that.”
Muir who had heard that gasped and remembered Winka’s past.
She had been travelling since she was little in search of her father and since she was a human and beastman half breed she probably didn’t have anyone to stroke her head like that.
When she had met them, Arnold and Hiiro had stroked her head and it was apparent that she felt a sense of security for the first time in a while.
“I see, Wi-san… She’s always been alone.”
Arnold who had heard Muir’s mutter, shrugged his shoulders and continued cleaning up.
(B-but that looks nice… Being stoked on the head…)
Muir imagined that she was also being stroked on the head by Hiiro and felt her face heating up.
“Uoh… It’s somewhat embarrassing.”
She wanted him to stroke her head too but it was embarrassing. In her dilemma Muir answered.
(Yup! I’ll get him to stroke my head someday!)
She made it her goal to be stroked on the head by Hiiro in the near future.
“Hey ~, help me out Muir ~.”
Muir turned back in response to Arnold’s voice but then stopped and stared at Winka.
(Wi-san! I won’t lose to you!)
With that determination in mind, the delusional girl moved.
Several days after Hiiro and co had escaped from 【Buscador】.
The four heroes who had returned from completing a subjugation quest were checking their 《Status》. They told Lilith and Vale about their growth.
“No matter how many times I hear it, it’s amazing!”
Vale’s eyes widened as he said in admiration. He was the heroes’ instructor and also the captain of the second division army that the 【Human Country・Victorias】boasted about.
The person next to him who had the same delightful look was Princess Lilith.
Taishi Aoyama asked representing everyone, he was the only male in the hero group. He had his head tilted like the other heroes.
“May I? People can only have one magic attribute. Of course there are exceptions to this. There are certainly people who have multiple attributes depending on how talented they are. However I have never heard of someone having three or even four attributes like you all do. Moreover light attribute magic is something only the『Spirit Race』can handle. As expected of heroes, you all have light magic.”
Everyone laughed awkwardly at Vale’s praises. They were happy that they were all cheats.
“Moreover Vale-san was surprised at how fast you all are levelling and learning magic.”
Vale nodded in agreement with Lilith’s words.
“Also if we look at your magic and physical abilities, Taishi-sama and Chika-sama are the vanguard-types while Shuri-sama and Shinobu-sama are the rear guard-types. Your status is also specialised in that way.”
Taishi and Chika’s 《Status》certainly stressed on attack power while Shinobu and Shuri’s emphasized defence and support. Their magic was also the same.
“This is a very well-balanced team, is it not?”
Lilith said happily while putting her hands together and laughing.
“Hahaha, it was the same when we played online games!”
“Seems like it!”
Chika Shizumiya, a hero like Taishi, looked at him and laughed. They made a team of four when they played online RPGs.
On those occasions, Taishi and Chika would be the offensive players while Shuri Minamoto and Shinobu Akamori were the support players. Their roles of those times reflected magnificently in this world.
“If we level up then our 《Status》will also increase accordingly, right?”
“Heh, it’s exactly like an RPG. By the way, what level are you Vale?”
“Me? I am level 58.”
“Woah ~, as expected of a captain. Did you level up by defeating monsters?”
“Yes. You can also get EXP from completing quests.”
“Come to think of it, we’ve done quite a lot of quests since we’ve been summoned, huh ~. Guilds are the best!”
“Yes. Guilds are the best part of the game ~.”
The one who agreed with Taishi was Shinobu.
“Moreover, I feel safe with everyone.”
Shuri smiled softly as she said that and a gentle fluffy feeling floated about her.
“But I was surprised at the beginning. Being an adventurer is such a dangerous job but when we talked about quests and guilds you all became very happy and immediately wanted to register.”
“Because it’s a guild, you know! Adventures and quests! It’s exciting for gamers, right everyone?”
“Yes, you’d normally itch to put your skills to use.”
It wasn’t just Chika, the other two were also nodding. Taishi looked satisfied.
“You are promising.”
Vale misunderstood their optimistic thoughts and smiled remembering their brave and promising words.
Lilith interrupted then and opened a wrapping paper in front of Taishi.
“Mhm, Taishi-sama. If you do not mind, please have some of this.”
“Eh? What’s this Lilith?”
“It is a cookie that I made with the maids today.”
“Eh ~, then I’ll have one.”
Taishi put a star-shaped cookie into his mouth and ate it.
“Oh! It’s delicious, Lilith!”
“I-is that so!? Ah, I am glad.”
Lilith blushed and looked downwards as if she was embarrassed but she looked quite happy. Chika who saw that, was sullen and stabbed her elbow into Taishi’s arm.
“That hurts! Wh-what’re you doing Chika!?”
“Hpmh, your nose was stretching you, Womanising Demon!”
Taishi was shocked by those words and dropped his shoulders, crestfallen.
“Ev-everyone please eat it as well.”
Lilith intervened while flustered, covering for Taishi. He looked at her gratefully and Chika was once again displeased.
Taishi thought that it was bad and tried desperately to change the topic.
“Mh-mhm, th-that! Hey Vale.”
“Ah, yes. What is it?”
“N-no, I was wondering if there were any problems in nearby cities recently.”
Vale asked, thought for a while and said, “Now that I think about it.”
“Yes well, it’s not directly connected to this country but a facility called【Buscador】had mysteriously collapsed recently.”
“Eh, what kind of a facility is it?”
“It seems that they research monster ecology but I do not know the details. Sorry.”
Vale said apologetically. Lilith also didn’t know and tilted her head.
“But there is something that concerns us…”
“Something that concerns you?”
“Yes, according to the researchers that escaped from there, it was done by a group of bandits.”
“Yes and one of the bandits resembled the person who wears that red robe.”
The Red Robe was the man who saved a certain village from notorious Adventures. He also helped beastman who were unreasonably captured by 《Beast Cage》.
This time, however, he was treated as a bandit who may have destroyed a research facility.
“Isn’t it a different person?”
“But he had black hair and glasses. His characteristics are similar to that person we discussed before.”
“Hmph, well if he really did something bad then wouldn’t they catch him eventually?”
Chika said, she wasn’t really interested in talking about this kind of stuff.
“Ah, speaking about glasses that reminds me, I wonder how that guy is?”
Taishi said remembering the person who had been summoned with them. Chika reacted to that.
“… What are you saying all of a sudden…? That guy?”
“You know, Okamura. Okamura.”
Chika replied coldly as if she wasn’t interested.
“Wasn’t he dragged into this because of us? I actually feel pretty bad about it.”
“What are you saying now? Okamura said he didn’t blame us for anything. There’s no need for you to worry about it. He left on his own.”
“Mhm ~ but…”
“First, I don’t like guys like him.”
“Yes. He’s always alone. He’s doesn’t feel lonely because he can do everything by himself. I don’t feel good when I see people like that.”
The three listened quietly to Chika’s angry words.
Hiiro was their classmate but they’ve never talked to him before. They had never seen him talk to anyone before either.
He was like air, they didn’t notice him. He always skipped class and when he didn’t, he would sleep at his desk or read books.
“Even if he’s a loner, he should tone it down!”
“Hey Chika. Why’re you so upset?”
“Isn’t he just so irritating?! He rarely comes to class yet he does better than me in all the tests. What’s with that!?”
“N-no, why’re you asking me…? Isn’t it because you’re just not very…”
Hiiro rarely came to class at all.
Even if he came, he was always sleeping so he never heard the teacher’s lectures but for some reason his grades were good and that’s why Chika was so angry.
“N-now, now. What if Okamura-kun was studying and reviewing work at home?”
Shuri defended Hiiro by proposing a possibility.
“Certainly ~, there’s the possibility of him having a tutor or going to cram school ~.”
“How would I know?!”
Chika puffed out her cheeks and turned away from them. Taishi sighed in relief.
“Is Okamura-dono your friend1)Nakama – friend, comrade, associate etc. Hard to translate into English.?”
Vale said. He valued Hiiro differently since he attached –dono to Hiiro’s name instead of –sama.
“He’s not our friend!”
“Well, he’s our classmate… We studied in the same place together.”
“Oh, is that so? Is it really alright for him to be alone?”
“This world is full of dangers. Of course this includes the 『Demon-kin』, but there are also disputes between people of the same race. There is a high possibility that he became an adventurer since he is on his own. However it does not seem like he has any prominent combat skills like you, Hero-sama… Recently we have information that things are getting lively in the 『Beastman』country, 【Beast Kingdom・Pasion】. Perhaps, war is near…”
If Hiiro was caught up in it then he could die. Everyone could predict what Vale was trying to say.
A heavy silence filled the area. Even if they weren’t friends it was unpleasant for a classmate to die.
“It is all because I summoned that person…”
Gentle Lilith said that she was the person most responsible for this and was depressed. Silence filled the area again since no one knew what to say. Then Chika broke the silence.
“Argh, enough! It doesn’t matter how much you worry about that egotistic guy! All you have to think about right now is to become stronger!”
“Chika’s so strong.”
“Got a problem with that? If we defeat the『Demon-kin』and it becomes peaceful wouldn’t he be able to live peacefully too?!”
Everyone opened their mouths, flabbergasted at those words. They had never thought that such words would come out of Chika, since she was so angry earlier.
“Chika-chan… You’re so nice.”
Shuri said happily while smiling. Chika blushed and yelled.
“Yo-you’re mistaken! I was only simply… Ah, whatever! This conversation is over! It’s over, you hear me?! Okay!”
The three said, “Yes, yes” while looking amused.
“It is as Chika-sama said. Please just think about getting stronger for now.”
Vale said and everyone nodded.
【Demon Country・Xaos】located far north of the 【Human Country・Victorias】.
In a room at the castle of the Demon King, located within Xaos, sitting around a long table staring at each other were the 『Demon-kin』warriors.
Three chairs were arranged on each side of the long table like in a meeting room. Five of the chairs were occupied while one person sat in a position that overlooked them. There was an attendant standing next to them.
There were a total of seven people in this room. The only person standing had snow white hair and a serious look on her face. Her name was Kiria and she spoke.
“Well then, I would like to begin the Demon Country conference. First allow me to take attendance, like always we will begin with the lowest ranking member.”
Then Kiria shifted her gaze to the person sitting farthest away from her.
“《Rank 6》, Grayald-sama.”
A darkish young man in his 20s who had his elbows on the desk and an expression that said he couldn’t be bothered, answered. His trademark was his pointed head that looked like a sea urchin.
“《Rank 5》, Shublars-sama.”
“Here ~, Ufufu.”
A sociable, voluptuous woman answered while moving her purple lips upwards in a smile. She had an outstanding figure and was dressed provocatively, exposing her breasts.
“《Rank 4》, Ornoth-sama.”
A man covered in blue hair with a face like a wolf, nodded.
“《Rank 3》Teckil-sama is absent due to other commitments.”
A small click of the tongue could be heard. It came from,
It was a man with a stern face, he was obviously in the military. He was frowning with displeasure. He had a moustache that people would want to touch above his mouth.
Kiria continued without paying him any heed.
“《Rank 1》, Aquinas-sama.”
A man with red hair muttered quietly. He had a dignified atmosphere about him. Like a woman, his tensed face attracted both men and woman.
“Now onto today’s agenda. I now present, Her Majesty Eveam.”
Kiria prompted the blonde girl sitting next to her, Eveam, to speak.
Eveam was a young girl of about sixteen or seventeen years of age. She had beautiful blonde hair which was the envy of many. Her face looked a little childish but she was still a beautiful girl.
She opened her eyes and revealing her clear bright blue eyes. When she tried to open her red lips to speak, 《Rank 2》Marione promptly raised his hands.
“… What’s wrong, Marione?”
“It is not what is wrong, Your Majesty. Why is there someone absent from the conference?”
“Because I gave him a job to do.”
“A job? Hoh, is that job more important than the conference?”
“Yes. Besides, it’s not like it doesn’t have anything to do with this conference. Hear me out first.”
“… Is that so?”
He didn’t look satisfied but backed down for now.
“Okay, I’m going to be frank: the 『Human Race』has succeeded in summoning the heroes.”
Those who were obviously displeased, those who were interested, and even those who were indifferent: everyone reacted to what Eveam said.
“Is that true, Your Majesty?”
Shublars asked and she nodded.
“Yes, Teckil reported it. There’s no doubt.”
“I see. You sent him into the human world.”
Marione nodded in understanding.
“Yes, but I’m thinking of having a look into the beast kingdom now.”
“That’s right, we have to be more wary of the 『Beastman』more so than the 『Human Race』right now anyway.”
“Indeed. I received a delayed report that some of my subordinates were attacked. Of course they retaliated but it took some time.”
Grayald said casually but his words were mixed with anger.
“Yes. The heroes are certainly a threat but we can ignore them for now. We must focus on the『Beastman』. Their physical abilities are far above ours and they’ve invented a strange ability which is quite troublesome. Moreover they’re belligerent.”
“They have that strange ability to compensate for their lack of magic. However, it’s still in the middle of development so now’s the time to strike.”
Marione said and Eveam shook her head.
“No, as I’ve previously said, we will not engage in war!”
Marione suddenly slammed the table attracting everyone’s attention.
“Are you out of your mind?! Our brethren are being killed! We have to crush them before they become a bigger threat!”
“No, if we do so, we would merely be following in the footsteps of the late king! We are pursuing a world where all races can live in peace!”
“Then we just need to eliminate all hindrances!”
“No! Doing so would only bring about hatred! Conflict calls for more conflict, it instigates the flames of war and ultimately it will destroy our 【Edea】!”
“Then what should we do?! Are you telling us to sit back and accept their actions?!”
He didn’t expect her to confirm his words and froze.
“The late king… My brother took power by killing our father and tried to create a world for only us, the『Demon-kin』. This is the result. Is this what you want? Do you call a world where each race glares at, fights and hurt each other, a righteous one?”
Everyone remained silent while listening to her words.
“My brother was too radical and he was assassinated because of it. The 『Beastman』were probably responsible for it but that doesn’t matter now. Anyway, excessive control would only result in straining relations. Those strained relationships would increase and would eventually lead to conflict. Isn’t that sad…? All living beings in this world have the right to live in it. Why do we have to fight over it…?”
She said sadly while casting her eyes down. Kiria noticed that her shoulders were slightly trembling and gently placed her hands on Eveam’s shoulders.
“I’m fine, Kiria. Thanks.”
She raised her face and looked at everyone.
“The ideal result would be for us to cooperate with the other races or at the very least, there must be a method where no one needs to get hurt!”
“Yes, it’s idealistic. But with the way things are now, blood will just continue to spill.”
“We are the 『Demon-kin』. Why must we honour the other races?”
“Life in itself, is a wonderful thing.”
Eveam had the appearance of a sixteen or seventeen year old girl. In Marione’s eyes, she was nothing but a brat. But the power in the gaze of that brat took his breath away for a moment.
“That’s why we won’t fight with our full power. Waging war is just absurd!”
“Mhm ~, but Your Majesty, all the other races ignored your letters for a peace treaty.”
Shublars was right. Eveam had repeatedly sent out letters to reconcile but there were no reply. They didn’t respond at all.
“Well it’s not unreasonable. During the late king’s reign, the killing was endless and even if there was a peace treaty he’d stab them in the back. It’s not strange that we are bound together with them through hatred. It’s no wonder that they’d consider a treaty of peace from the『Demon-kin』as some kind of prank.”
Grayald sighed as if speaking to himself.
“I understand that neither the 『Human Race』nor the『Beastman』would forgive the atrocities committed by my brother. However unless someone severs the chain of hatred, the sorrow will only increase.”
“Are you suggesting that we are the ones to sever that chain?”
Marione said with a mocking smile.
“That’s impossible. Are you not aware that they are killing『Demon-kin』? I’m sure that our brethren also cannot accept this. Are you saying that we should lay low until peace is achieved? When will that be? Will it be when we have perished?”
“No! I will protect the 『Demon-kin』!”
“Don’t make me laugh. Everything you’ve said so far only endangers the 『Demon-kin』.”
Hearing Marione’s aspirations made Eveam look like she was at a loss for words.
“Even so… I…”
“The 『Human Race』will train their heroes and attack us before long. No even before that the 『Beastman』are waiting for their chance to attack as well. There has been signs of that. Either way, we’re out of time. We can only kill each other until one side perishes. Please withdraw the ceasefire!”
The reason why the 『Demon-kin』were not attacking the other races was because Eveam had used her authority as Demon King to enforce a ceasefire. The Demon King’s orders were absolute. Since olden days, capital punishment awaited those who went against those orders.
“Now, let us remove all the hindrances with all our might before it’s too late! Your Majesty!”
Hearing those words Eveam remained silent for a while then she raised her head and looked at Marione. Her expression showed that she had no intention of yielding to him and he frowned.
“I won’t withdraw the ceasefire!”
“Why don’t you calm down for a bit, Marione-dono?”
“Shut up you beastman defect!”
Marione glared at Ornoth, who had interrupted him, ready to kill him.
“To begin with what is a 《Taboo》like you doing here!? You’re just ———.”
Eveam suddenly bellowed, the atmosphere around them froze and then she glared at Marione.
“Are you defying the Demon King’s orders?!”
He left the room with a snort.
“Is it alright to not to stop him, Your Majesty?”
She faintly smiled at Shublar’s question.
“N-no… My belief will not be shaken.”
“He has a short temper but he’s worrying about the 『Demon-kin』’s future in his own way.”
Aquinas, who had remained silent until now, spoke.
Of course he was talking about Marione.
“His wife and child were killed by the beastman.”
Ornoth quietly shut his eyes. Eveam clenched her fist in frustration while looking at him.
She understood the grudge Marione held because of that incident but still she believed that it was wrong to be dominated by hatred.
“You are… Dismissed for today.”
Looking completely different from before, she left the place with Kiria looking feeble and bitter. The others left one by one and only Aquinas and Ornoth remained behind.
“Don’t take it to heart. I said it before, Marione just has a short temper.”
Ornoth inadvertently smiled at Aquinas’s sudden words.
“No, I’m more worried about Her Majesty.”
“What are your thoughts on Her Majesty’s idealistic path?”
“… Naïve. Too Naïve.”
“If there truly is a world where there is no pain then I would love to see it.”
“… You’re right.”
“But as long as we’re the only ones striving for it, we’ll only be confronted by nothing more than cruel reality.”
“If there was someone who was unbiased about race. Someone who could act as a mediator and build connections with other races…”
“Is that impossible for Her Majesty?”
“It’s impossible for the Princess… No, for Her Majesty alone. Besides she’s the 『Demon-kin』’s representative.”
“Right. We need someone who is neither affiliated with the『Human Race』, the『Beastman』, the『Demon-kin』nor the 『Spirit Race』. If it’s someone like that then they could act as mediator.”
“Now that’s idealistic.”
“Despite that are you still going to support Her Majesty?”
“And I also swore to support you back then.”
“… How loyal of you.”
They gave each other a faint smile and stood up from their seats. Aquinas thought,
(A mediator… That’s really idealistic.)
References [ + ]
|1.||↑||Nakama – friend, comrade, associate etc. Hard to translate into English.|