Happy New Year! 🎉🎆🎆🎇🎇🚒🚒🧯🧯
Chapter 99: The royal capital revelries part 2
As we were sitting on the moving carriage, we saw an incredibly large castle wall.
I think it’s clearly several times taller and thicker than the one in Aegirine. If this is how it looks from a distance, I wonder how it would be once we get closer.
「It’s big, isn’t it?」
「Yes. It’s the royal capital after all」
「How are we getting in? Don’t tell me I have to get in this barrel」
I snickered while saying that as a joke.
「Yes. Please get in the barrel」
Turns out, it wasn’t a joke. Am I an esper today……?
「I’m just kidding. It’s the royal capital so they’re really thorough in checking the luggage. There’s a small window on the walls that they use to throw away food scraps. Ugajin-san will come and get us there in the middle of the night」
Didn’t think Kaneda-san was capable of telling jokes. We’ve been together on this carriage this whole time and he hasn’t shown that side even once. You really never know with people huh?
「Please wear your gear and cover yourself with this hooded robe. The area around the walls are the slums where a lot of displaced people live so let’s try not to stand out. The nearby guards would immediately come out if someone screams from seeing a demonkin after all」
As I was told, I put on my equipment and covered it with a slightly dirty hooded robe. After that, we went along the route that leads to the outer walls. The coachman stayed behind and entered the capital normally. Seems like they have an easy way to get in contact whenever they need to.
「The slums are horrible, aren’t they? It’s like a garbage dump siteー」
「There’s no helping it. They had nothing to eat because of heavy taxation so they came to the capital thinking they’d be given some aid」
「There’s something like that here?」
「The church gathers them to give out some thin porridge so they’ll feel indebted to them. That originally came from the farmers they taxed though」
「Ironic, isn’t it?」
「That’s right. Ah, over there. That’s where the soldiers dump the food scraps. Since that’s the case, there will be a crowd gathered around that area so just ignore them and stay on alert. Please make sure you never speak or show your face to anyone」
「We’ll be waiting among the refugees until night time」
Kaneda-san and I huddled inconspicuously underneath a tree amidst the smell of kitchen waste as we waited for the night to arrive.
During that time, fights and small arguments were happening nearby. Seems like the humans’ state of mind is in pretty bad shape.
Some of them were even captured by the soldiers to be sent to the frontlines. According to Kaneda-san, they would rather get executed than get sent to the frontlines because they at least die a quicker death.
Even if the prisoners survive a battle, they just get sent to another one. Seems like they aren’t given enough food as well. Knowing that, I can’t deny that getting executed would be better. Even the demonkin treat their prisoner soldiers better.
Eventually, evening came and then by the time the date had passed, the window where the garbage was dropped from started rattling in a pattern I didn’t understand.
「That’s the signal. Let’s go」
With that said, we silently walked closer to the window. Once we were close enough, Kaneda-san threw a pebble then a rope ladder came down.
He climbed the ladder and then gave a signal to me. This means I should follow him right? I’ve never climbed up a rope ladder before but I was somehow able to slip through the darkness and get in without making a sound.
When I got to the top, Ugajin-san put his index finger against his lips to signal to me to keep quiet so I just silently followed him.
There were patrolling guards as well as drunkards who were walking unsteadily, but just like a sneaking mission, we were able to enter the royal capital from the walls without being discovered. The soldiers who were supposed to guard the small room were unconscious though…… This was probably Ugajin-san’s handiwork.
While I was thinking that, Ugajin-san spoke to me.
「It’s been a while, Caam-san」
「Yeah. It’s been a while」
We were finally able to exchange our greetings.
「Let’s talk about further details at Kaneda-san’s place」
With that said, the three of us walked quickly along a dimly lit alleyway until we arrived at our destination.
After Ugajin-san knocked in a 3-3-7 beat, the lock opened and then the two of them slipped inside. I also followed suit.
The two of them breathed a sigh of relief as they took off their hoods. Taking that as a sign that we’re safe, I also took mine off. There were around ten people inside who I hadn’t seen before.
「Hey, it’s been a while Caam-kun」
Aida-san said that in Japanese so I also replied in that language.
「It’s been a while. I was a little worried about what happened to you after that time you know?」
「Just a bit? How heartless……」
A short laughter resounded in the room.
「Well then, a brief explanation of the current situation. We have gathered more than a hundred heroes. Almost a hundred of them are combat type and there are only ten days left until day of the operation」
「Can we win with such a small group?」
「It’s not about winning or losing, we just need to abduct the royalty and then have them ensure our safety after the interrogation. What we need is not victory but a guarantee of our safety and confirmation of the existence of a spell that could send us back to Japan」
「I see…… So, what should I do?」
「You’ll move with the attack groupー」
「Okay stop right there. You’ll have to keep me safe as I do nothing right?」
「Yes. However, please come with us in case we need to show proof that you’re a Demon Lord」
「I’d prefer not to though……」
「Oi, full body school swimsuit guy. It’s a rare opportunity so just join in」1
A young man who looked like he was around twenty years old made that remark which turned the atmosphere in the room cold.
「Full body school swimsuit? Are you referring to me?」
It sure didn’t take long for me to get a terrible nickname.
「Who else is there? You’re the only demonkin here」
「Oi oi, stop it okay?」
「I’m not doing anything…… I just have something to say school swimsuit」
「……it’s fine. Let me hear it」
I tried to intimidate him a bit.
「Why aren’t you a woman with skin like that!? Why didn’t you get reincarnated as a cute girl!? A monster girl would have been so good! Why don’t you have bat wings!? Why do you not have horns like a sheeeeeeeep!?」
After saying that, the man had both his hands by his head and wailed in despair.
Everyone who was there started shaking their heads. Understandable because they came here after hearing about a Demon Lord collaborator but it’s now come to this.
「Well, he has quite extreme quirks but he’s got the skills」
「Is that so……?」
I went towards the man, tapped his shoulders, and tried to encourage him.
「I know a brothel run by succubi. I’ll introduce you to them later. They also have dark blue-skinned girls there as well as ones with sheep horns, bat wings, and so forth」
「Really? You’re not lying, are you!?」
「Yeah. My neighbor in the apartment I lived in a few years ago worked there. I’ve also visited the place a few times to socialize so I’m sure of it. You can find a girl you like there」
After I said that, this sad hero stood up, took my hand, then vigorously shook it up and down.
「It’s true huh!? You’re not lying right!? Take me with you when this is all over!」
It’s hard to believe he’s the same guy who made a fuss earlier with how docile he is now.
Seems like I’ll be tired even before the mission starts.
「Can we go back on topic now? This is the assault team’s leader and I asked him to gather here today to meet you. A squad will be composed of five members and ten of those squads will be infiltrating the castle. The rest will stay outside of the castle and wait. These ten troops will be named from Alpha to Juliet and each unit will have specific roles. Alpha unit will be composed of five people with high combat ability and they’ll be tasked to capture the King and Queen. The rest will provide support and secure the first princess and her husband as well as the third princess. This is the floor plan Ugajin wrote up. Each group leader should memorize this map to ensure that there are no problems. Caam-kun, you will really just be coming along. I’ll leave it to your discretion when a Demon Lord should make his appearance in the royal capital but only when a problem occurs」
「I see…… How wide is the pathway of the escape route from the destination? Any obstacles? Are there any blind spots? What about the patrol patterns of the soldiers?」
I disregarded what he said for now and began asking questions.
「Two people can use the escape route at the same time while three people lined up in parallel can fit inside the castle. As for obstacles, there are some here and there, like pots or and pieces of armor lying around. Apart from some of the street corners and behind obstacles, there aren’t really any blindspots so I’ll just say none for the most part. The lamps are placed in regular intervals as well so it’s well lit. The soldiers don’t have any patterns of when the soldiers do their patrols. They just go in pairs and roam around aimlessly. They’re just doing it randomly」
「That’s not good, is it? Are there any soldiers stationed in front of the targets’ rooms?」
「Two guards take turns guarding every room. There are also around 15 guards in a room nearby on standby so they’ll be able to come quickly if something happens. Since there are six rooms, the corridors are quite wide and there are also good sightlines so you need to be prepared for that」
「Hmm…… If each room will take one squad to clear out, will the remaining four squads be mobile units and provide support?」
「That’s right? There’s no magic that resembles a transceiver so we need to give everyone their roles from the start」
While there may be wind magic that can unilaterally transmit a voice, it’s not as convenient and easy to use as a communication device.
「Come to think of it, when you gathered people here, you had to explain the situation to them right? Did nobody try to report you guys?」
「There were some of course」
Aida-san replied to me like it was just a trivial matter.
「……then why does this place still exist? The royal capital’s soldiers aren’t that stupid right?」
「We had Ugajin do some dirty work to deal with that. When one of the heroes tried to snitch on us, Ugajin got rid of them in the audience room using a poisoned needle. After they heard the story from me, if they immediately ask for an audience and say something like, “I have a report. The other heroes are…”, you can guess what they’ll say next right? Before that happens, they get injected with a needle covered in hallucinogenic, excitotoxic, and cognitive impairing poison. They would start panicking because of the pain and before they could say any more the poison would take effect then they either get kicked out of the castle or sent to the infirmary」
As expected of a ninja.
「You can easily tell what the next words would have been. There are only about three options after all」
At any rate, I wonder how they got a poison like that.
Looking around, it seems like everyone was nodding in agreement. Seems like everyone is on the same page.
「Well then, let’s just assume that they don’t know a thing and the leak of information was prevented. Wouldn’t there be an uproar when people find out the royals are missing in the morning?」
「We’ll send them back after interrogating them and having them sign a contract, you know? Of course, we’ll blindfold them before we let them ride the carriage. Then after a few days, we’ll show them that document to prove that the royalty is under our control and we’ll be able to interfere like some kind of puppet government. It’s fine. There’s a lot of holes in the plan and it’s not that well thought out but we’ll have to make it work.3 At the very least, we need to make sure to secure the third princess who’s the one doing the summoning for the king. If abduction proves difficult then we’ll have to get rid of her right there and then though」
Don’t say something that terrifying so nonchalantly.
「For the interrogation, the plan is to conduct it in the basement of a rundown apartment building that we’ll get to using a hidden pathway. Obviously, the caretaker of that apartment will be the first to go after the operation」4
I saw him smile a bit after saying that. Don’t act like you just did some kind of famous speech.
「Does everyone agree with the plan?」
Looking around, it seems like everyone agrees.
「Wait, wouldn’t it be better if I just stayed in that basement?」
「I’m sorry but I’ve heard from Iwamoto-kun about your fighting capabilities. It’s fine if nothing happens and you’ll still get protected when you get attacked but if a battle happens, I’d like to ask you to join in on protecting yourself」
「……I don’t like where this is going」
「Hmmー, why don’t we decide on code names? I recommend school swimsuit」
「Huh!? What are you talking about? Are you running a fever?」
「No, I think that’s good」
「I couldn’t have picked a better codename」
「Well, most of us here don’t know each other’s names and just say “hey” when calling each other」
「It comes at the cost of me losing my name though……」
「It’s fine. Ugajin and I are on the same boat after all」
Aida-san smiled at me as he said that. Will this strategy really be alright?
「Well then, you’ll be monster girl lover」5
That’s the codename the guy who named me school swimsuit got. Judging from how he reacted, it doesn’t seem like he disliked it. What the heck’s wrong with this guy?
「How are the heroes we have in terms of fighting strength?」
「If it’s around the level of this country’s knight captains then we can beat them with just one hand. If it’s the king’s personal guards then we can beat even ten of them barehanded without a scratch. Don’t know how we’ll fare if faced against a battalion though」
「All of that alone?」
「I was underestimating the heroes. Thank god Takeru-kun was the one who came to my place. I definitely would have died if any of you came instead」
「Even Takeru-kun couldn’t have handled your predecessor alone so you’ll definitely be able to handle ten imperial guards」
「Huh? Am I really that strong?」
「Are you an idiot? You were already strong the moment it was decided that you were going to be a demon lord! Is the inside of your head a school swimsuit as well!?」
「I guess I’m not taking you to that brothel……」
「I’m sorry. Please forgive me. I won’t mess with you anymore」
「Your codename’s still school swimsuit though」
I despaired hearing Aida-san snicker while saying that.
Since I couldn’t go out until the day of the mission, I passed the time talking about all sorts of things with the other heroes in a rundown house they led me to.
「It’s interesting how different human magic is from the demonkin. I wonder if I would also need to chant if I couldn’t use my imagination. There are a lot of things I want to try」
「It certainly is convenientー. I’d love to have the flexibility of using magic with everything」
「But it’s really finicky you know? If you try to imagine a metal, the ore of that metal would come out instead so it’s not really user-friendly. You can make a sword but it’ll disappear when your mana runs out so it’s risky and you can’t use it in prolonged fights」
「Despite that, school swimsuit-san’s obsidian throwing weapons seem to be top-notch」
「He’d definitely be able to make a gun or something like that if that’s the case」
「That’s true. He’s just being stingy…… Even I would have preferred to be able to use the demonkin’s magic myself」
I’d appreciate it if you don’t have this passive-aggressive conversation in my face. You keep glancing my way after all.
Do they want me to teach them some kind of trump card? Although it might be best to up our fighting capabilities while we’re still discussing strategies, I’d rather not go through such trouble.
As I was thinking that, I remembered something so I spoke and brought it up.
「Ah, based on the castle’s blueprints, using long weapons won’t really work so I want a shield. Could anyone buy one for me? I can’t go out after all. Something like a small round shield made entirely of iron with a belt that goes on your forearm for stopping attacks would be good」
「Ah, like this?」
One of the heroes showed me his shield.
「That’s right. Like that. I don’t know the price but even a cheap one would be good so could you buy me one?」
「It’s pretty cheap as long as it’s not made from mythril. How about this? I’ll just give this one to you. There are a few dents so I was planning to buy a new one」
「Is it really okay? Thank you. I’ll probably be able to protect myself now even if it’s an indoor battle」
With that, I managed to get myself a shield.
「To be honest, I would have preferred a tower shield but you’ll have a visibility problem on narrow corridors so this one is more appropriate」
「Would you have liked a riot shield if there was one?」
「That’s right. Like those bulletproof ones. I was a tank when I played games you know?」
「Ahー. Has this become like an fps where the tanks oddly respect each other?」
As we had that conversation, someone from behind us spoke up.
「I’m going on the attack!」
「「Got it!」」「Got it!」」
「Leave the defense to me!」
「Enemy submarine spotted!」
I tried saying that to see how they’d react.
That’s what they replied, then one of them started jumping while spinning around in that small room so I stood up and also started doing it. The other shield guy started crawling on the ground as we continued to do these dumb things.9
While we were doing that, another hero who was carrying the food provisions opened the door, was stunned at the scene that was happening then immediately closed it.
「Wait a minute! This is just some kind of moral-boosting activity!」
After saying that, he held the doorknob while the person on the other side resisted. Everyone else in the room, including me, joined in to persuade him.
We would look nothing but weird if a stranger saw this situation. I’m not sure how far the gaming industry has progressed since I died but it seems like they still do similar things from my time.10