Chapter 98: The Royal Capital Revelries – Part 1
I’m currently on a carriage while having dead, fish-like eyes as I have both my hands and feet bound with bulky wooden shackles attached to an iron ball. Of course, it wasn’t actually locked and can immediately be removed.
The reason for that is simple. The heroes are about to launch their coup so I’m just being transported like this so I can sneak into the royal capital.
Even the dead eyes are just an act. I just have my eyes unfocused as I look into the distance.
It was my first time outside of Corundum so we went around several towns and villages but all of them were in terrible condition.
If I had to describe it, it was worse than the slums. The small one in Aegirine was in a better state than the villages we visited. Even though their houses could protect them from the rain, it didn’t do anything against the cold air. Their fields were barren and their livestock was thin. The populace looked like they lost all hope. Rather, they seemed lifeless. The children seemed relatively normal but the adults looked dead inside. It felt like they were just living to breathe.
「It’s terrible, isn’t it? Most of the villages that are far from the royal capital or any of the larger towns are like this, you know? They are heavily taxed so the ones in power can fill their pockets, only leaving barely enough so they can get food to live. To conscript the men to fight the war with the demonkin on top of that…… It’s too much. At least there are still parents who think about their children’s well-being 」
The stern old man in front of me who looked like he was in his forties said that to me.
「Villages on the demonkin side are much better. I was born in a poor village but we didn’t starve, we went to school, and everyone was lively even though we didn’t have a lot. For tax, only less than a quarter of our wheat was taken. A fifth when the harvest was poor. There were even some bigshots who spent money from their own pockets to build a fortress on the frontlines for everyone’s sake. Knowing that makes me think that the higher-ups on the human’s side are trash」
「The superiors of those top brass are also trash after all. And the ones who get the short end of the stick are the villagers who are at the bottom. Moreover, the church’s teachings make sure that no unnecessary thoughts rise up. And since the blame is put on the demonkin, we rarely see their kind on the human side of the continent. The only ones who come are war slaves they bring over so they can let off some steam」
「I really hope this succeeds」
Going back a little…
Beryl village’s harvest festival had safely ended. I was held hostage by my wives for a few days but when I finally was able to go back to the island, it was time for the island’s harvest festival.
We don’t have a lot of people and only a few fields so I had to cut the harvest with 【Wind Cutter】 by myself while everyone else gathered them. Even with that setup, we managed to finish within a day.
After that, we stored the wheat, served the liquor I asked Nils-san to bring, and let the sailors and the couple taking care of the shop in Corundum have a few days off. We also invited the harpies and the aquatic demonkin to make sure that we had enough people to make it a grand event.
The pigs’ offspring had already grown up so Enomoto-san asked if we could slaughter one. I approved of it so the men happily butchered the poor thing. The meat was served along with deer and bear meat which overjoyed our carnivorous demonkin neighbors.
The mermaids got drunk and sang their hearts out with their beautiful voices while the harpies and sahagin danced. The humans also joined them and the entire event was more lively than I thought it would be.
The human and demonkin children were also having fun together with the wolves. I’d like to think that the barrier between the races lessened after this event. It’s turning out to be a really nice island.
Around the time when we started making preparations for the new year festival, I went to the shop at Corundum in the evening to deliver coffee beans.
「Caam-san. The usual letter came to the shop the other day」
It was a letter that was inserted through the gap of the door that was labeled 【To Caam】 was handed to me by the manager.
The label was written in the common language but the contents were written in Japanese. All it said was to meet up at an inn near the gates.
「Caam-san, do you understand what that says?」
The manager couldn’t overcome his curiosity and took a peak as I read through the contents of the letter. You shouldn’t peek at a letter that’s not addressed to you, you know…?
「It’s a letter with a location of where to meet up. I’ll be going there for a bit」
After saying that, I went straight to the inn. There was a black-haired human sitting alone at a table near the entrance so I approached him.
The black-haired man stood up as I got closer and said.
「My name’s Kaneda. You’re Caam-san, right? I’ve heard about you from Aida-san」
A stiff-looking man who was almost in his forties named Kaneda introduced himself then offered me a seat.
「The preparations for the festival are ready. I think we’ll be able to hold the festival at any moment by the time we arrive」
So they’re calling it a festival huh? I guess they can’t just call it an insurrection or a coup.
「Haaー. I’ll go with you as I promised but I need to prepare. I also need to inform my family that I’m going to attend the festival so please give me some time」
I could only sigh as I asked for some time.
「Then let’s leave in three days. Let’s meet up early in the morning around the time the coffee shop opens」
「You’re really in a hurry, aren’t you?」
「If we don’t go back soon, the food would spoil and be dangerous for consumption」
He’s being vague about everything but is he talking about information when he says food? Well, whatever. I only promised to be present after all.
「That should be it for now. Please make sure you’ve completed your preparations by the time we meet up. I’ll be here waiting」
I guess the time has finally come. Ah-ah, I really don’t want to do this.
I went straight back to my hometown and entered the house thinking of what to say to Suzuran and the others.
「Ah, welcome back~」
「You returned earlier this time. Did something happen~?」
「Well, I’ll tell you about it when we’re all gathered. Where are the kids?」
「They’re bathing with Suzuran-chan. Caam-kun should get in too~」
She grinned while saying that but I had a lot of things to do so I gently declined.
「I should start packing」
I have no idea what was going to happen so I took out the clothes I wore at the frontline base that I didn’t bring with me to the island. Then, I retrieved my modified rucksack from the back of our storage and removed all the pouches attached to it to check what was inside.
While I was doing that, Suzuran and the children came out of the bath so I started telling them what was about to happen.
「First of all, I’m back. I have something to say to everyone」
I had a serious expression and my voice was slightly lower than usual so they earnestly listened.
「Your father, due to various circumstances, has become friends with some heroes. There are even some heroes living on the island together with the other humans. Well, let’s just put that aside for now and get to the point. Your father has agreed to cooperate with the heroes in their rebellion against the human royalty. As for why they’re rebelling, the summoned heroes were apparently just being treated as convenient sacrificial pawns so the surviving heroes are planning to take over the royal capital. That’s what they want my help with」
「Wait! Why does it have to be Caam-kun? Isn’t there anyone else?」
「That’s included in the various circumstances I mentioned earlier. I cannot share this, even with you guys. Of course, the three idiots and my parents aren’t aware of this as well. I am cooperating with them for that reason」
「Why!? Why does it have to be you!?」
「Because of how I am despite being a demonkin and a Demon Lord. I am a Demon Lord but my territory has both demonkin and humans living in harmony. Of course, the certain circumstance is a part of it too so that’s why I’m here to tell you that I’ll be away for a while and I hope that you’ll understand」
「Caam. I’m sure you’ll be fine. But even so, I can’t agree. Should I punch you so you’ll listen? I’ll hit you as hard as I can if that’ll stop you」
Suzuran gave me the sharpest of glares but I won’t back down.
The children got scared and started crying.
「……if I tell you the truth, would you agree? Would you allow me to go?」
I said that as gently as I could, making sure I didn’t sound angry.
「Your explanation wasn’t enough. Why are you helping the heroes……? I don’t understand. If I could know that, I would even be able to send you off with a smile」
Her killing intent grew even stronger. The intimidation I felt was like it was piercing my skin.
「Latte. I’m sorry but could you bring the children who are stuck here feeling this bloodlust to another room? I also need to prepare myself. I don’t want to hurt Suzuran if I can help it」
「I got it. You’re going to let me hear it too, right?」
「Yeah. You also have the right to know. You can come back after bringing the children to another room」
After saying that, Latte led the children to their rooms then came back.
「Phew…… It’s up to you if you’ll believe me or not but you have to promise that you won’t mention this to anyone. If you break that promise, I am prepared to abandon this village, you four, and the island and live in a remote village pretending to be someone else. Either that or I’ll have to kill the two of you and then I’ll kill myself. There’s no going back after this. Are you sure?」1
I glared at the two of them while I waited for their answers. Suzuran immediately agreed but Latte was reluctant to respond.
「Latte, if you don’t want to hear it, you can go to where the children are. It’ll be serious from here on out. You shouldn’t think I’ll be my usual self. This is how much resolution I have」
「……I understand. I’m ready. Go aheadー」
I slowly breathed out to calm myself then began talking.
「The certain circumstance that I talked about was that I am someone who died in the same land as the heroes」
The two of them looked surprised but they were waiting for me to continue.
「I died in that land but when I came to, I was in this village for some reason…… I was born as father and mother’s child and I used the knowledge from that land to make the village better. Then, after I became a demon Lord and got an uninhabited island, a hero suddenly arrived to subjugate me one day. However, since they looked like a person who came from the land I used to live in, I tried speaking to them in the language of that land to make sure. It turned out I was right. He was from the land I lived in before I was born here. Then lots of things happened and they asked me if I could help prove that there are good guys among the demonkin and Demon Lords」
「……what kind of land did those heroes come from?」
「Sorry but I can’t tell you that. I do have something to prove it though」
They tilted their heads in confusion so I took out a letter from my pocket to show them.
「This is how my name is written in the common language right? However, the rest of the letter is written in that land’s language」
There were katakana and kanji in the letter which was completely different from the characters used in this world. The two of them were looking over the letter trying to understand what it says but they probably won’t be able to.
「I can’t explain what each character means but it says to meet at an inn near the gates. I went there and met up with another hero. Three days later, he’ll come again and we’ll leave. That’s why I’m here preparing for the trip」
「……I understand now why Caam always acted a bit weird. The way you think is different since you were raised in that land. Is that right?」
「Yeah. That’s right」
「That’s why you didn’t act like a child. Father said it before. That he thought you were more reliable than him」
「Is that the reason why you rejected my advances?」
「That’s right. That country didn’t allow polygamy. That’s why I wasn’t comfortable being married to Latte」2
「Were you good with magic because there was magic in that country?」
「Magic didn’t exist at all. But even so, we had a lot of convenient tools. I was just imitating how they worked」
They continued asking me questions for about ten minutes after that. I made it clear to them what questions I couldn’t answer but I did answer the ones I could.
We called the children after that. They apologized to them then all five of us peacefully slept together on the same bed. Apart from me being in an uncomfortable sleeping position since I was in the middle where two beds were joined, it was an enjoyable family bonding time.
The next day, I was peacefully spending time with my entire family until noon then I went back to the island to inform the islanders why I’ll be away for a while.
Oda-san asked if the coffee supply will be alright while I’m gone. I told him that based on the amount I delivered yesterday, we should have enough stock for around three months. I’d appreciate it if you worried more about me than the coffee though.
I went and packed as many supplies as I could in my modified rucksack after that then sharpened my shovel, knife, and machete. Once that was done, my preparations were complete.
Even if I wasn’t participating in battle, I thought it was just right for me to go there fully prepared.
Then, on the agreed-upon date, I met up with Kaneda-san who was waiting for me outside of the shop, then we left for the human royal capital.
Once we left the gates, there was a carriage waiting for us. Kaneda-san greeted the coachman in Japanese so I felt relieved. I put my luggage in the carriage and as we went along, Kaneda-san sat next to me and handed me a letter.
「It’s from Aida-san」
Reading the letter, it said that I don’t have to worry since the two people he sent to Corundum were trustworthy. You know, it would have been great if you gave this to me a bit earlier.
While I was thinking that, Kaneda placed two pairs of bulky wooden shackles and an iron ball by my feet with a huge smile on his face.
「From here, we’re going to transport Caam-san as a slave. Please sit while acting as apathetic and hopeless as you can. If someone talks to you, just shake your head as if you can’t understand the common language. Your luggage will be hidden in this barrel and your shovel will just be resting against it」
What the heck is this guy suddenly saying?
「Can’t we wait until we’re a bit closer to the capital?」
「No. It has to be now」
Like a pro salesman, he immediately replied with a smile.
「I’m sorry but please just endure it for around ten days so we can avoid unnecessary conflict」
Wait, so it’ll still be ten days till we reach the capital? This is the worst. The situation was made even more ridiculous by the sight of me putting on shackles on myself.
Once I got it on, I acted apathetic with dead fish-like eyes.
「Excellent. It’s like you’re able to completely encapsulate the feeling of despair」
It’s none of your business. I had a lot of hardship when I was a child okay? Most of it is about Suzuran though.
Three days after leaving Corundum, we came across a slightly larger town so I resumed my acting. Our food supplies were running low so our coachman went out to replenish them.
Meanwhile, Kaneda-san was sitting in front of me on the lookout.
After a while, the gatekeepers came over to check things out.
「Oi, it’s a demonkin. Let’s beat him up to pass some time」
「Let’s do it. The first to make him bleed loses」
They were saying horrible things but I just did as I was told and sat there with dead eyes.
「Could you please drop it? This one’s reserved by my employer. Only my employer is allowed to injure him. If you have complaints, you’ll have to go through me. How about it」
He glared at the gatekeepers while sending out killing intent which was a complete shift in attitude from how he was with me. Seeing that, the gatekeepers went back to their posts while cursing him.
Once the coachman came back, we resumed our journey then Kaneda-san came to me to apologize.
「I’m sorry. As you saw earlier, humans act like that when seeing demonkin so I shall make sure to properly escort you」
「I’ll leave it to you. They might find out my shackles are loose after all」
「That’s true. We’ll really be in trouble if that happens so I ask you to bear with it. Please」
Kaneda-san gave me a deep bow after saying that.
「Alright, I’ll endure but I’m just sad that even children from the village we were at yesterday were throwing stones at me」
「I’m sorry about that」
He seemed to be really apologetic so I followed it up to be considerate.
「Don’t worry, it’s not your fault. This is because of the church’s bad teachings」
With that said, we headed to the royal capital with even more resolve.