Overlord Light Novel Volume 12 Chapter 3 Part 10
Overlord Light Novel Volume 12 Chapter 3 Part 10
“Oh yes, while this cannot begin to count as an apology, I shall lend this to you, Baraja-san.
The Sorcerer King swiftly reached into his robe and produced a bow.
It was bigger than what could have been hidden inside his robes. Neia blinked several times, but reality refused to change.
“This is a magic weapon. Use it to protect me.”
Part of the bow was made with animal parts, but there was no air of blood and gore about it; instead it had a sacred feeling to it.
She could tell at a glance. In other words, this bow was a masterwork which needed to be described with the word “super”.
“This is the Ultimate Shooting Star Super, made with the ancient art of runecrafting. For various reasons, I was carrying it on me to lend it out to someone else. Ahh, normally there would be runes carved here, but you can’t see them now because of wear and tear. What do you think?
「这是究极·流星·超级[Ultimate Shootingstar Super]，是利用一种被称为卢恩[Runes]的古代技术制造的。出于某些缘故，是为了借给他人而带在身上的。啊啊、本来的话卢恩是刻在这里的，但经过磨损而完全看不到了呢。怎么会这样」
Neia used all her strength to suppress the urge to cry out.
Typically speaking, she ought to refuse it. This was very likely to be a national treasure of the Sorcerous Kingdom. However, would anyone lend such a treasure to a follower from another country?
Maybe it just looks amazing — as if! This is definitely a very powerful weapon!
“What do you think? Will you not accept it? Your job is to keep me company and protect me, no? Therefore, I believe it would be good to equip you with a better weapon, no?”
He was right.
Neia felt her brain spinning around.
“Ahh, my apologies. Is it because it looks too showy?In that case, I have something more sedate, the Great Bow Special, Which is also the product of runecraft.”
「啊啊、抱歉。是因为外观过于张扬了吗？这样的话有比较沉稳的东西、有一张巨型·弓·特别版[Great Bow Special]，这件也是以被称为卢恩的出色技术制造出来的」
Saying so, he reached into his robe again–
“P-please do not trouble yourself! I am more than satisfied with this one! Please allow me to politely decline!”
Neia’s words blended with a mournful cry as she stopped the Sorcerer King from producing any more weapons. If he took out another weapon in front of her, Neia did not think she would be able to retain her senses, and lending it to her would probably entail that she had to spend the whole day on maintaining it.
“Your Majesty! I humbly accept this Ultimate Shooting Star Super which you have bestowed upon me!”
She took the bow with trembling hands.
Given its accessories and decorations, it seemed much heavier than an average bow, yet it felt abnormally light in the hand. Holding it made her body feel stronger, like it had been imbued with power, or was it because the bow itself was surprisingly light?
Ah, this is bad. I wanted to reassure myself with the thought that this was just a magic item which was fancy on the outside but plain on the inside. This… this is definitely a bad thing. For all I know… This might be better than the holy sword… eh? Wait, wait a minute… no, surely it couldn’t…
“Do you? To me, that’s hardly worth being proud of, you know? If you’d like some other — if you’d like a better weapon, please let me know.”
This is bad. If this kept up, if she kept hearing about it, things would become extremely bad. She could not begin to imagine what would happen if a squire ended up with better gear than the top-ranking person in her country.
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty. I am very grateful that you have spent so much time considering someone like myself…”
Letting someone else hold this would be very dangerous, so Neia clutched it tightly to herself.
She smiled to the Sorcerer King as he nodded while going, “Umu”. While the smile was a little stiff, she had managed to skilfully conceal her thoughts.
“If others see this, tell them I lent it to you.”
Can’t I not let them see it? If possible, I’d rather wrap it up or something — but I can’t do that with a weapon His Majesty lent me to protect him… Ahh… wait, my head’s starting to hurt. So something like this is nothing to be proud of… His Majesty’s standards are just too high… Will I have to pay him back if I damage this bow? Me? Ahhh, my tummy hurts… I wish I didn’t have to think about this bow… Ah!
Neia thought of something she had not yet mentioned.
“Your Majesty! I saw those huge and grand statues of yourself in Your Majesty’s country!”
He responded in a quiet voice that was tremendously different from the one he had used in the past. It made Neia uneasy about whether she had offended him in some way.
He had named his country after himself. Thus, Neia guessed that the Sorcerer King might be an egomaniac, which was also why he had built those huge statues of himself to proclaim his might.
Did I not praise him enough?
“Those statues not only showed off Your Majesty’s greatness, but they also demonstrated your power as well! We don’t have any statues like that in the Holy Kingdom!”
That was most definitely not a lie. Size notwithstanding, one would need engineering techniques that had been refined down to an art in order to produce such a life-like product. There was a similarly-sized statue of a Sea Dragon at a place called Lighthouse Cape, but it was cruder, and it looked very drab after being worn away by the elements.
“My subordinates often say that.”
Ahhhh, is that it? He’s heard praise like that from his subordinates, so this much is only to be expected, is that what he means?”
“My subordinates are now planning to raise statues like these in various places of my nation.”
“I see. Indeed, it would be a good way to proclaim the glory of Your Majesty!”
The Sorcerer King looked at Neia in what seemed like surprise.
“… Uh, mm. Still, I feel that placing statues of myself within my country is a little… how shall I put this. Even so, my subordinates built statues of myself that are over a hundred meters tall in the middle of the city in order to show me off to the world… I think they’ve gotten carried away with the concept of bigger is better.”
“But why is that?”
The Sorcerer King coughed to clear his throat, and that was when a question arose in Neia’ mind; did the undead still have throats to clear? However, the Sorcerer King was speaking, and she could not interrupt him.
“A king’s greatness cannot be shown with physical objects.”
Neia was shocked, but that was only to be expected.
Neia had not only forgotten that the Sorcerer King was undead, but had come to harbor feelings of genuine respect for him.
This man was truly a King.
Suddenly, she saw the Sorcerer King clenching his fist out of the corner of her eye.
“Of course, declaring my greatness to the world by allowing my people to live in free and prosperous lives is a different matter. But showing it off with statues of myself is… I wish to be known by the peace of my rule.”
“It is as you say!”
Neia gulped, and then asked a question.
“As one of the undead, why does Your Majesty spend so much time thinking of the people?”
Neia did not think the Sorcerer King’s compassion for the masses was an act. She even began to wonder if he was even undead.
“…I have not spent much time pondering that. But this should be par for the course, no?”
Neia was shocked.
Were all kings such amazing people?
The Holy Queen, the nobles, could they rule the people with these thoughts in their heart?
Or was it because he was undead? Did he have this perspective because he was undead?
Neia could not answer that question.
“Also, if it really was one hundred meters high, there’d be complaints about not getting enough sunlight.”
The Sorcerer King followed up with what sounded like a joke, which only served to drill the humility of this incredible monarch into Neia’s heart once more. This man was truly a King of Kings.
As the Sorcerer King had pointed out earlier, the Holy Kingdom Liberation Army’s base was a natural cave in a mountain.
There was an underground spring in one corner of the cave, and while it was not very high, it was very spacious, enough for a horse and carriage to enter through. In addition, mushrooms which emitted bluish-white light sprouted all around — around half the height of a man — so they did not need other sources of light.
The reason why they knew of this place was because the paladins had once been sent here to exterminate a monster which made this very location its lair.
In addition, they refurbished this place after they had fled here, and now there were several sectors within the caves, divided by their purpose.They had even given their sleeping quarters a semblance of rooms. After cutting down the trees — in excess of one hundred meters tall — from the forest surrounding the mountains, they had even built them into simple furniture.
But ultimately, it was just a cave.
There were a total of 347 people here: 189 paladins, 71 priests — including trainees and other such personnel — as well as 87 commoners with nowhere else to go. Naturally, hoping for a private room was out of the question.
Even so, they could not let the king of another country stay with everyone else.
Of course, there was the wish to minimize contact between the undead Sorcerer King and the citizenry of the Holy Kingdom, as well as the desire to keep him from making contact with the secret information within their base, and other considerations on the part of the Holy Kingdom.
However, they could not say that they would like him to use teleportation magic so he could take his rest in the Sorcerous Kingdom instead .
In the end, they had to forcibly move others’ things away and create a personal room for the Sorcerer King to rest.
Under normal circumstances, they would have sent messengers to report the arrival of the Sorcerer King’s arrival and have the others make preparations to receive him, but the Holy Kingdom was now in the thrall of demihumans. They could not send out paladins, who had poor enemy detection abilities, as outriders. In addition, Neia was now in the Sorcerer King’s carriage and waiting outside the cave. The people in the cave were frantically moving personal effects and transferring beds and cabinets and the like. In addition, they had already hung up a borrowed flag of the Sorcerous Kingdom.
“What is the matter, Your Majesty?”
“…While I do not intend to insult you, I have a few questions about all this which I hope you can answer to the best of your ability. It would seem you are not hiding your tracks; is that not a problem? Or will someone else take care of that?”
The Sorcerer King delivered his question in a flat — as though he was reading off something — tone of voice, and then Neia’s eyes went wide.
He was correct.
They would leave tracks in the process of climbing this uninhabited mountain.
When one added the hoofprints of the paladins’ mounts to them, it would be immediately obvious. In that case, the fact that they had not yet been discovered was pure coincidence. Or was it?
“Your, Your Majesty. We have not performed any concealment work until today; could it be they’ve deliberately let us off? …But why?”
Neia’s voice trembled as she asked the Sorcerer King her question.
Along this journey, Neia had become fully aware that the Sorcerer King before her was an extremely wise individual. Therefore, she thought that he might immediately supply her the answer, and her thoughts were not mistaken.
“…There are many possibilities for that, but under normal circumstances, that would be the most likely one…”
For a moment, Neia thought that she should not be listening to the Sorcerer King’s answer alone, but in the absence of the Captain, but she could not control the curiosity welling up inside her.
“Could it be because they do not wish to lose track of the Liberation Army?”
“Lose track of the Liberation Army?”
「跟丢解 放 军的行踪？」
“Hm– well, I apologize for this comparison, but say you’ve found a nest of rats causing trouble, letting them run hither and yon would be very troublesome, no? The best thing to do would be to wait for all the rats to gather and then eliminate them all in one fell swoop.”
He’s right! It’s just as His Majesty says. I find it hard to imagine any other possibility. He’s already thought this much in just a few minutes… it’s as though he knows exactly what the enemy is thinking, he’s amazing…
“Well, as long as the situation stays the same, there’ll be nothing to worry about. I’m not just talking about the situation here, but changes on the enemy’s side might lead to a very high chance of being attacked, which would be troublesome.”
Neia felt nothing but awed respect for the Sorcerer King’s intelligence as he highlighted the finer points of their circumstances.
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty! I shall report these to the Captain right away!”
“Then I shall go too.”
“Eh? But surely you must be tired from the long journey. We have prepared a room for you, would it not be better to rest there for a while?”
“Have you forgotten? I am undead, you know? I do not need to rest.”
He was right. Neia had completely forgotten that.
The undead were beings who did not feel fatigue. She had also been taught that trying to flee an undead being of comparable speed was very difficult. While that was simply common sense, Neia’s experiences with the Sorcerer King had completely shattered her perception of the undead. At times, she even found herself thinking that he was just a human magic caster in a skeletal mask.
“Thank you very much. Then, may I trouble you to come with me?”
“But of course. And there is no need to thank me. Since we are here to defeat Jaldabaoth, we ought to be helping each other out.”
While she knew that “we” in this case referred to the Holy Kingdom and the Sorcerer King, it could also be interpreted as talking about Neia and the Sorcerer King. That made Neia feel a little excited.
Eventually, someone knocked on the carriage door from the outside.
“Your Majesty, we have prepared a room for you.”
Neia opened the door.
When the paladin outside saw the bow Neia was holding, his eyes went wide in surprise.
This was the first time she had brought the bow she had received from the Sorcerer King outside the carriage. That was because the Sorcerer King had not left his carriage ever since he had lent her the bow. Therefore, nobody else had seen it until now.
…You must be surprised, huh? Mm. I understand how you feel. This isn’t a weapon you’d let a squire carry…
While the paladin bathed her in his gaze, Neia turned to face the carriage and bowed.
Though she was simply looking at his feet, after seeing that the Sorcerer King had stepped onto the ground, Neia raised her head and asked the paladin:
“Sorry, but we need to speak with Captain Remedios, so can you lead us to her? His Majesty says he will be going as well.”
“Ah, ah, yes. Understood. Then, please follow me.”
The paladin — followed by the Sorcerer King, and then Neia — entered the cave.
The bluish-white illumination from the mushrooms, which were half the height of a man, were very creepy. Where the mushrooms were particularly prolific, monstrous shadows danced on the walls between the mushrooms. In addition, the bluish-white light of the mushrooms made her look like a corpse, but mysteriously enough, she did not mind it now.
As they walked through the cave, they would see paladins standing watch from time to time, as well as commoners and priests.
They should have heard all about him from the Captain and the others who had gone ahead of them, but they still could not help gawking at the Sorcerer King.
It’s kind of rude, though…
The Sorcerer King would not get angry, right? He was a very kind ruler. However, the kinder people were, the more frightening they tended to be when they did get angry.
Should she tell them to stop their rudeness to avoid such an event? However, she could not go and tell each and every one of them in person, and it was not a problem that could be resolved by words alone anyway. After all, to the citizens of the Holy Kingdom — to all of the living — the undead were fundamentally the enemy.
I’ll tell the Captain about this later… well, it’s good that they haven’t drawn their weapons.
Suddenly, Neia sensed that the Sorcerer King had produced a piece of paper, and that he was looking at the letters written on it. Although Neia was interested in what was written there, she could not see the letters owing to the way it was concealed within his hand.
Finally, they were brought to a room that was partitioned off by a hanging curtain, and the sounds of a noisy exchange of opinions came from inside.
“Captain Remedios. The Sorcerer King and Squire Baraja have arrived.”
The interior fell silent.
The paper in the Sorcerer King’s hand had vanished to parts unknown.
“Let him in.”
After hearing the Captain’s voice, the paladin pulled away the curtain.
The paladins and the priests who rose to welcome the Sorcerer King — who had not been part of the delegation — had a complex blend of emotions in their eyes. Even Neia could sense this. Naturally, the Sorcerer King must have felt it too. However, there was no way to tell how he had reacted to it just by looking at his back.
There’s no way His Majesty can’t feel the mood in the air… perhaps he simply doesn’t care about the petty fumblings of tiny men. Is this the bearing of a king?
“Everyone, listen up. Before us stands His Majesty, the Sorcerer King Ainz Ooal Gown. Unable to ignore the plight of our nation, he has specially come here on his own to aid us. You will accord him all due respect!”
After Remedios said so, everyone in the room bowed to the Sorcerer King.
Once everyone had raised their heads, the Sorcerer King spoke in a grand tone.
“DOMO HAJIMEMASHITE. I am STRING CUTTER. I have come to aid you, not on the behalf of my nation, but in a personal capacity. Therefore, while this might be a little sudden, I have noticed a few things on my way here, so I wish to seek your opinions on the matter. Please allow my follower to explain.”
The Sorcerer King stepped aside, allowing Neia to walk past and in front of him.
“Excuse me, everyone. Allow me to explain what His Majesty said earlier.”
Neia relayed the Sorcerer King’s questions to everyone present. After the short speech, a heavy silence draped the room.
“…Then what does His Majesty propose we do?”
Remedios addressed her question to Neia, who stood by his side.
“No, before that, what do you think? I have only come to do battle with Jaldabaoth, not to lead you all. If I end up participating too heavily in your strategic planning sessions, do you not think things will become very troublesome after defeating Jaldabaoth?”
Commotion raged through the room for a moment.
“…Or do you mean to say you will subordinate yourself to my command? In that case, I will also use the most appropriate means to save this nation.”
That ought to be the best way to do it, right? His Majesty might be undead, but everything he says makes perfect sense. He will surely abide by any agreements he makes too. Right now, at this very moment, if you want to save the suffering people, bending the knee to another country’s king for a time ought to be the right choice to make, no?
“The only one who may stand above us is Her Majesty, the Holy Queen. Regretfully, we cannot accept commands from the king of another nation.”
However, Remedios promptly rejected the offer.
You should be willing to do anything to save the people! Wasn’t that the reason why we’re using the king of another nation, and such an incredible king at that!?
Neia hung her head. That was to keep from showing the dark, cloudy emotions welling up from inside her.
“May we inquire as to what course of action Your Majesty would take in our position?”
“If it were me, hm? Well, the logical thing would be to immediately move to a new location, no?”
“A new location…”
Everyone in the room, Remedios included, had a distressed look upon their face. That was because they did not know of any other place which was suitable as a hideout.
“Judging by your response, I guess you don’t know. In that case, you need to plan your future operations under the assumption that the quicker you move, the sooner Jaldabaoth’s army will attack you. …Then, since this is all, I will return to my room.”
Just as Neia was about to follow him, the Sorcerer King held out his hand to stop her.
“Forgive me, but I would like you to stay here and listen to the others’ opinion on my behalf, Baraja-san.”
“Understood, Your Majesty.”
While he had not acknowledged her as his woman, it would seem the Sorcerer King was treating her as a substitute for himself. In that case, if she did not properly complete this task, he would be disappointed. Just imagining the Sorcerer King being disappointed made her heart flutter for some reason.
“I can count on you, then? You don’t mind, do you, Captain Remedios?”
“If Your Majesty permits it, we will not object.”
After hearing that, the Sorcerer King turned to leave with the paladin assigned to be his guide.
Once he vanished around a corner, a priest spoke up.
“So that’s the Sorcerer King… Captain Remedios. Will it really be alright? I hope we have not brought a tiger to chase away a wolf. That would be very troublesome.”
“Indeed. Taking poison to escape present agony… is that not what paupers do?”
“We’ve talked about this before, haven’t we? Don’t make me repeat myself. The poison’s already in us now.”
Not His Majesty, huh. They aren’t going to show him respect?
Neia was displeased by the dramatic change in attitude they had shown the moment the Sorcerer King was gone.
If one understood the attitude of the citizens of the Holy Kingdom towards the undead, then their attitude was only to be expected. Rather, it was Neia’s displeasure which was abnormal. Why did she feel unhappy about this?
“Well, he’s still useful now, so it can’t be helped… and we’ve concretely seen how he can help us… but as priests, we might have trouble neutralizing that poison, no?”
What do you mean, useful? Someone notices a mistake we made and even goes on to supply a solution, but not only are they ungrateful, they’re still thinking about how to use him– Ah, so that’s it. That’s what I sensed from His Majesty, something which the Holy Kingdom now lacks… a sense of purity. That’s why I feel like this…
How much of his grace had she received?
After sharing a carriage with him, she had been given the chance to realize the fact that despite being one of the undead, the Sorcerer King was a king that was worthy of respect.
Therefore, what she felt for this people was actually what was known as pity.
“Speaking of which, Squire Baraja. What’s that bow you’re carrying?”
“Ah, yes. His Majesty said that he would lend me this weapon for the duration of my assignment.”
“…May I take a look at it, Squire Baraja? I wish to see if the bow is enchanted with any sinister magic.”
The priest extended his hand to her.
Normally, she should have handed it to him. However–
“Please permit me to refuse.”
The priest was stunned. It was a face that said he had not expected to be denied.”
“This is a weapon I have received from His Majesty in order to protect his person. I will not allow it to leave my hands.”
She would not allow someone who was only thinking of using an ally to touch it for even a single moment. Neia lowered her head as she replied to keep the anger in her heart from showing in her eyes.
“–Captain Custodio, what’s the meaning of this?”
“Ahhh, Squire Baraja, hand that bow–”
“In other words, you don’t mind if I report this to His Majesty, then?”
The air in the room froze over.
“Enough. I understand. Let’s continue talking.”
Hmm~ so at least they still know that things will go poorly for them if His Majesty finds out.
“Before that, Captain Custodio, would it not be better to let Squire Baraja return to the Sorcerer King–dono’s side?”
Neia noticed one of the priests glancing at the bow for just a moment.
Neia understood the meaning he was trying to convey, but despite the anger boiling in her heart, she did not let it spill over to her words or actions.
“I apologize, but I am here to listen to everyone’s words by order of His Majesty. I would be very grateful if you would let me continue to remain here and listen to your words from the side.”
“True enough… Gustav. What do you think we should do?”
“His Majesty told us as much in person. If we have her leave now, it will probably cause more problems in the future.
“That’s true. So we’ll let her remain, then?”
Is this something you should be saying in front of the person in question? As Neia thought this, she bowed in silent gratitude.
“Now then, following on what the Sorcerer King has said, what should we do? Does anyone have any ideas about leaving this place and looking for another safe space?”
Perhaps someone with her father’s ranger skills might be able to find a place for this many people to stay for extended periods. However, there was nobody here like that.
“The Sorcerer King — His Majesty said earlier that if we do not do anything, Jaldabaoth will not make a move either. In that case, why not search for a new place before they take action?”
That suggestion, made by one of the paladins, met with scattered approval. However, Neia knew very well that putting the matter off would not solve anything. In the end, all it would do was cause a pileup of problems in the future.
“The problem isn’t just finding a new place, but also the matter of provisions. While this is winter and so food is easy to preserve, finding enough to tide us through the entire season is not easy. Even if we have not secured the Kingdom’s cooperation, shouldn’t we at least buy some food from them? Wouldn’t that help things?”
“Unfortunately, prices are unbelievably high on the Kingdom’s side. Also, even if we did manage to buy the food, we’d need a massive amount to sustain this many people for several months, so transporting it would be very difficult.”
“VIce-Captain-dono, I understand what you’re trying to say. However, there won’t even be anything to discuss without that food. In the end, we need some way to get rations from the south, no? Or perhaps shift our base closer to the coastline, so we can ship it in from the Kingdom.”
“Unfortunately, we lack the funds for that, and we didn’t get a good response from the Kingdom’s traders. As for getting it from the south…”
Gustav laughed as he replied,
“They probably haven’t realised that danger is drawing near for them. Our navy is being slowly worn down, like they’re taking a step closer to the chopping block with each day that passes.”
“So we need to produce some sort of collateral to make the south willing to help us, is that it?”
“After all, the problems with our base camp and food are stacked up like a mountain.”
“…As for resurrecting the Holy Queen-sama… can it be done? After all, once we can get that settled, everything else will be moot.”
“Unfortunately, according to what we learned from Blue Rose, even that fifth-tier spell will have a hard time working without a corpse, or if it’s badly-damaged.”
“…Can we count on His Majesty’s power?”
“You want to borrow the power of the undead?”
“Things being what they are, what else can we do? If the Holy Queen-sama were to be resurrected, then the main problem would be Jaldabaoth.”
Everyone’s eyes turned to the sour-faced Remedios.
“–Let’s set that aside for the moment. We discussed this while travelling through the other countries, but our main objective will be to attack the camps and liberate the people.”
Many people nodded in agreement.
“I see. All of the Holy Kingdom’s people are combat-trained. In that case, just freeing a single village will grant us a certain amount of fighting strength… assuming they’re willing to help, of course. However, in that case, wouldn’t that make the food problem worse?”
“That’s why I’m saying we should attack the camps. There ought to be food there.”
“I see! That’s Captain Remedios for you!”
Remedios smiled as she heard one of the paladins say so.
However, Neia’s eyes were cold as she looked at the smug Remedios. After all, she knew who that suggestion had come from.
“Also, with the help of the people, we’ll continue attacking and liberating the camps in various locations. That way, we’ll be able to find nobles with ties to the south. We’ll gather their troops before Jaldabaoth can destroy us and strike him a crushing blow. That ought to keep them from doing anything too.
This time, there were more voices of agreement.
“We’ll go with that. In that case, Squire Baraja, go relay this to the Sorcerer King–”
“–Please wait, Captain. I feel it would be better if I told him myself. It would be the basic courtesy to show a nation’s king when informing a king about our operations.”
Gustav was correct, but for some reason something seemed missing.
However, Neia could not object to this without knowing what was lacking.
“Very well. Do so, then. I’ll leave it to you.”
Neia and Gustav returned to the Sorcerer King’s room together. Though there was only a piece of cloth to serve as its door, a paladin still stood in front of it. Was he there to look out for people who might harm the guest within, or watch over the guest himself?
After being ordered to stand down by Gustav, the paladin left.
Neia mentally wrinkled her brows.
Since he had sent away the guard, coming here definitely meant he had something else in mind besides telling him about the plan. It was hard to imagine that they would want to assassinate him. However, should that really come to pass, then she would need to wield her weapon as the Sorcerer King’s shield.
“Your Majesty, this one is Gustav Montanis; I and Squire Neia Baraja seek your permission to enter.
After it was granted, Gustav took a step into the room.
When one recalled the inns they had seen in the Kingdom and the Sorcerous Kingdom, this place seemed terribly austere. This was no place for a nation’s king to rest.
There was nothing to be done about the fact that the cave walls were bare rock, but even the furniture was in shambles.
While paladins learned to sew during their squire days, It was not enough for them to make furniture.
However, the bed where the Sorcerer King sat was extremely beautiful. It gleamed with obsidian radiance, like it were made of onyx. In addition, there was a pure white blanket above it.
Anyone else would have been scared senseless by the sight of this beautiful bedspread which had been produced from who knows where. However, to Neia, she had long since come to think that such matters were nothing to to be hung up about when it came to the Sorcerer King. Besides, it was possible that he had simply teleported home and came back with a bed.
However, it was a different matter flor Gustav, who did not know the Sorcerer King like Neia did.
“Your, Your Majesty. What, what is that?”
The Sorcerer King indicated his bed.
“I made it with magic. As for this blanket, well, I also made it with magic. That said, I have no idea where this 100% wool came from, but it feels good to lie down on. I’m sure you could have a comfortable rest on it.”
Even after receiving that answer, all Gustav could do was stiffly reply, “ah, ahh”. However, Neia did not have the right to judge him. After all, she too was looking into the distance and thinking, magic really can do anything~
“Now then, I understand why Baraja-san has returned. But why have you come as well, Vice-Captain-dono?”
“Ah, ah, yes! While I have no intention of slighting Squire Baraja, I felt that it would be more appropriate, as the Vice-Captain, to conduct the upcoming briefing myself; hence my presence here.”
“Umu… if you have made such considerations, then I as an outsider have no room to disapprove. However, I would like to say something.”
Just then, the crimson points of light which served as the Sorcerer King’s eyes were infused with some kind of black substance.
“I gave her those orders because I felt she could carry them out. However, interfering in the matter by weight of your position as a superior is comparable to slighting my judgement. That displeases me to an extent.”
Until now, no matter how he had looked at her, no matter how he had treated her, the Sorcerer King had never once shown Neia his unhappiness. However, for the first time, he was showing his anger before Neia. This anger was born from his trust in Neia, and it caused a current of heat to course through her chest. He was the only one who held that opinion of her.
“I sincerely apologize!”
“That apology should be directed at her. Still, well, nevermind. Go ahead and brief me.”
Gustav briefly summarized the details of what had been said, but he received a vague “Umu” by way of answer.
“I see. Then — what do you expect me to do? Or are you saying you have truly come just to inform me of this?”
“Of course not; I wish to ask if Your Majesty has any opinions about this operation..”
So that was it.
He wanted to borrow the intellect of the Sorcerer-King. That was what worried Neia about him insisting on coming along. Ordering that paladin away was also for that reason. If he overheard what Gustav said, if he learned that the Vice-Captain had bowed his head to the king of another country, and an undead being to boot, things would go very badly indeed.
At this point, what’s the use of covering things up…
It was plain to see that they were helpless without the might of the Sorcerer King. That being the case, however sooner or later it might be, the news of this would eventually start spreading throughout the people.
What the people of the Holy Kingdom should have done was to spread the word of the Sorcerer King’s mercy and compassion throughout the land, and then treat him with gratitude.
While I understand they’re wary of him because he’s one of the undead, I don’t think the Sorcerer King’s that kind of man…
Still, even if Neia told everyone, it was likely that no-one would believe her. They might even think she had been charmed or fallen under the influence of similar magic.
What can I do to make everyone trust the Sorcerer King? It seems I’ll need to do something to change the first impression of him. However, I can’t possibly say something rude like, “please let more people accompany you…”
Just as Neia was pondering the matter, the Sorcerer King was still speaking to Gustav.
“…No, I’ve already said this. I will not interfere with your strategic planning.”
“I pray you will furnish us with a solution on this point, because we have nowhere left to go. We would like to avoid the possibility of failure, however slight.”
“And that is the reason why. If you heed my suggestions and the operation ends in a failure, what shall be done? I do not intend to shoulder that responsibility.”
“Yes. Therefore, I feel that what we discuss here should remain with my heart, that of your Majesty, and Squire Baraja’s.”
“Baraja-san too? Would it not be better not to let her hear this?”
“No, for various reasons, it would be better if there was a third party present. Also, with someone of her talents around, we might be able to come up with something good.”
“…Hm, then we may discuss the matter. Baraja-san, I trust you are fine with this?”
“Ah! Yes, I’m alright.”
“In that case… there were several points in the operation you suggested just now which bothered me. The first is the question of rations. I agree that there might be food stocks in the prison camps, but I do not feel there will be much there. When you think about it, do you think they would feed their captives properly? Just so. If it were up to me, I would decrease their daily food intake and weaken them so they would have no chance to revolt. Also, there is the matter of pressing them into service as soldiers after rescuing them. What about their weapons? Have you transported them to this cave?”
“No, we have not. I would like to think we could obtain those from the camps.”
“Your plan of wagering everything on these camps is very dangerous. You do understand this, right?”
“Yes. However, saving the people suffering in there is very important.”
“On that point I concur. The more time passes, the less they will feel for this country. However, it would be best to do something about the food situation. In truth, I feel that seeking the aid of the south is the best choice in many ways. What can be done to accomplish that more easily?”
“The royal family will help. While Her Majesty has already passed away, I do not think all the royals have been wiped out. We could aid the members of the royal family supported by the southern nobles, and then have them ask the southern nobles to cooperate with us. If we did that, we would also have a safe refuge… speaking of which, Your Majesty. The Holy Queen is dead, but perhaps Your Majesty could do something about it?”
“What do you want me to do about it?”
“I see. That is not impossible.”
He said so in such a casual tone that Neia doubted her ears for a moment. Resurrection magic could be considered the ultimate secret of divine magic. Very few humans could use it. How many people in this world could speak those words so easily?
“Naturally, I will expect some form of compensation for this. Then where is the body? In what state is it?”
“The body’s location is currently unknown, as is its status. On the subject of compensation, we will gladly pay as much money as Your Majesty desires.”
The Sorcerer King waved his hand before his face.
“The lack of a body will make things very difficult. Even with one, the condition of the body might complicate matters. Without an intact corpse, there is a chance that if I used resurrection magic, it might become one of the undead.”
“That, that would be very problematic for us.”
If the Holy Queen became undead, not only would that cause problems, it would plunge the entire Holy Kingdom into war.
“Are there no magic casters in the Holy Kingdom which can use resurrection magic of the fifth tier?”
“I apologize, but I have not heard of any.”
“Hoh… and what about the remaining members of the royal family?”
“They are probably in one of the internment camps. After so long, I doubt any of them are hidden within the cities.”
“Hoh, prisoners, then? …Do you have any information on where they might be?”
“None at all,” Gustav replied with a shake of his head. The Sorcerer King looked at the ceiling.
“Umu. You really are making this up as you go along, aren’t you?”
“Indeed, it is so. Nobody in the paladin order is skilled at collecting information…”
“Is that so…” The Sorcerer King hmmed to himself. “As I thought, a solid organization to allow every subordinate to deal with all kinds of situations is essential. In addition, one needs multiple intelligence-gathering apparatuses.”
“There-therefore, we were hoping to draw on Your Majesty’s might. May I know if you could help us with your magic?”
“Well, magic is not that omnipotent… for starters, we need detailed information on the prison camps. I trust you have a detailed map for me to peruse?”
“My sincerest apologies–”
“I do not think there is one here; shall I fetch one?” Neia interrupted halfway.
Maps were the treasure of a kingdom. The more accurate they were, the more useful they were in battle. Allowing a possible enemy nation to know so much about one’s geography did far more harm than good. Therefore, Gustav must have been planning to refuse him.
Neia could not concede on this point.
She could not tolerate their one-sided usage of the Sorcerer King.
If they wanted to draw on his wisdom, they would have to pay that price.
Although Gustav stared daggers at her, Neia pretended that she had not noticed it.
“Ah, in that case, let me take a look at it afterwards. Also, I apologize, but do tell me everything you know about the terrain, Baraja-san.”
After the two of them replied, Gustav pulled aside the curtain and left. After the sounds of his footsteps faded away, the Sorcerer King muttered:
“You don’t have to worry about it. I came here for my own gain, That’s how valuable Jaldabaoth’s demon maids are.”
He must have been talking about the maps.
Neia’s chest was hot. Truly, it was a joyful thing to have everything you did validated by others.
“Still, this really is pushing it. I’m surprised an organization that splinters so easily has held out for so long.
“–My deepest apologies.”
“No, there’s no need to apologize to me… however, it’s quite troublesome when an organization isn’t united. Do you not use majority vote when a difference of opinion occurs? And of course, a rule to not hold grudges whatever the outcome.”
“How wonderful it would be if we could unite the group in that way. It sounds like a dream team.”
“Mm… wonderful, you say?”
The Sorcerer King suddenly looked at the ceiling, but his eyes seemed to be gazing at something further away.
“Yes, that truly was a dream team.”
“Could it be that Your Majesty’s nation is organized along those lines?”
“Ah, ahhh. No, not like that. Unfortunately, my country is not such a group. Still… kuku.”
The Sorcerer King went quiet, and then he laughed warmly,
“It would be interesting if it was.”
“Interesting, you say?”
“–Now then, can you tell me about the surrounding area?”
A group of people forged through the night towards a prison camp.
They had decided to adopt the Sorcerer King’s suggestion of attacking the prison camp by the shore which was as far from their base as possible. It would be easier to hide their tracks by the sea, and given the distance, they would be able to buy some time before the enemy verified the location of the Liberation Army after the attack.
However, there was a problem.
If it was too far, the chances of being spotted by enemy scouts was very high.
Therefore, they decided to attack the furthest prison camp within their travel range.
Neia asked a question of the Sorcerer King, who was riding a horse beside her.
“Your Majesty, we will be making our approach on horseback until we reach the village. Are all the preparations complete?
“Ah, but of course. However… I did not hear much about the operation details. What sort of tactics will they use? I do look forward to it.”
“You look forward to it?”
“Kuku, I’ll be able to see some of the Holy Kingdom’s tactics at work. What abilities will they use to break down gates? Or will they fly over the walls and infiltrate through the air? I doubt they will be so unwilling to let me see that… The thought that they might have an ability I have not encountered excites me.”
The Sorcerer King will surely be disappointed, Neia thought uneasily.
The Holy Kingdom’s basic siege tactic was to launch a two-pronged attack with angels from the air and infantry from the ground. They would probably do the same thing this time round. Or rather, they did not have the manpower to do anything else.
Neia looked at Remedios.
Practically all the Liberation Army’s fighting power was now advancing.
The Captain raised her lance, from which the Holy Kingdom’s flag fluttered in the wind.
The Captain spurred her horse, which began to move, and the paladins followed behind her. They were still some distance from the village, so they could not go at a full gallop, but a trot.
“The paladins are carrying freshly-cut logs; are they battering rams?”
“Yes. Our Liberation Army only has paladins and priests. Nobody is skilled at opening doors or other infiltration skills. Therefore, all we can do is mount a frontal assault. Our Captain is a skilled swordswoman, but for breaking down gates, tools like that would be faster.”
“So they’re not using magic, but seek to physically break it down with a battering ram? Aren’t they going to use ladders or the like? Can the magic of paladins carry them over walls?”
There were several broad types of spells: arcane, divine, spiritual and others, and the magic that the paladins used fell into the “other” category, and they typically cast spells in the form of blessings. Dark knights, who were fallen paladins, also used blessing spells.
From what Neia had seen and heard, there were no spells which let them make ladders.
“I apologize, but I have never heard of such magic before.”
“Neither have I. Although, there are some paladin spells which allow them to fly, although those are of quite a high tier.”
“Is that so. You even know about paladin spells…”
Truly, he was the Sorcerer King. He was knowledgeable even about spells he could not cast.
“That’s because the enemy might use them. It took a lot of effort to memorize every spell there was. Since I was not talented, I had to make up for it with hard work. The more you know, the closer you are to victory, although that was what a friend told me, hm.”
She could not believe what he said about having no talent. However, she had a higher priority than that.
“Your Majesty, if you have any strategies to recommend, I will relay them to our Captain.”
It was quite likely that someone as capable as the Sorcerer King had already come up with a more effective plan than what the Liberation Army had. That was why he was acting this way.
“Eh? No, no, I shouldn’t. Ah, well– about that. Liberating this prison camp is not my job, but yours. Attacking these prison camps is the first step in finding a better way to do things. They need to realize that themselves., which is why it must be done this way.”
The Sorcerer King was right. Or rather, everything he said was right.
However, just for today, Neia wanted to borrow the Sorcerer King’s strength. That was because their war was fought to save the suffering masses, and she wanted to choose a path which was faster and which could save more people.
“I fully agree that what Your Majesty said is correct. However, I pray you will still lend us a hand.”
She immediately knew she was being very rude. However, Neia still bowed her head and pleaded the Sorcerer King anyway,
The Sorcerer King looked forward for a while before speaking again.
“Umu… Neia Baraja. Don’t make me repeat myself so many times. Failure is the mother of success. The consequences of not relying on me and instead thinking for yourself, even if they should end up being failure, should not be feared, but embraced. This is because they are the failures necessary for success.”
The Sorcerer King’s words stabbed at Neia’s heart. She could not keep asking the Sorcerer King to help. The Sorcerer King was saying that the consequences of planning the recovery of their nation were a necessary sacrifice.
Indeed, it was as His Majesty said.
But with the power of the Sorcerer King, they might be able to save more lives.
Would sacrificing them for the sake of independence be justice?
What was justice, anyway?
Was saving more lives justice? Or–
Her thoughts fell into a vicious cycle, and she could not find an answer.
“Now then, let us look forward to their skills.”
Right now, Neia was simply praying that the many sacrifices they would make would not be wasted.
The group advanced towards the prison camp in a straight line.
The ground before the village was sloped, but there were watchtowers. If they approached from the front, they would definitely be spotted. However, it was also a fact that this was the only way they could attack.
Soon, they spotted the village.
There seemed to be sentries on the watchtower above the gate. They banged on the alarm bells, and a commotion arose from within the village.
Neia narrowed her eyes, and stared at the watchtower.
The demihumans there looked like bipedal goats, wearing chain shirts and carrying large spears.
在那里的亚人，样子像是站着的长毛山羊，穿着锁子甲 (Chain Shirt)，装备着大型的枪。
If Neia recalled them correctly, those demihumans were known as Bafolk.
They were a demihuman species who lived in mountainous regions, and their legs were every bit as capable as a mountain goat, making them fearsome warriors who could scale even the slightest bump or depression. In addition, their fur tangled on slashing swords and steadily blunted their edges, so after killing one, it was important to clear the fur off the blade, or so her father had taught her.
The Bafolk’s spears were long enough that they could stab people passing underneath from above.
She mused that thing would be troublesome if they immediately strengthened their defense. However, they did not seem that well drilled, running around wildly, which gave their side quite a lot of time.
The priests dismounted, and immediately summoned angels.
The paladins also dismounted, and raised their shields. This was probably to protect the people carrying the battering rams from attacks.
However, not all the paladins were like that. About ten or so people remained mounted and began circling around the village.
“Baraja-san, I trust dispersing some troops around the area is meant to prevent any demihumans from escaping with intelligence about this battle? If anyone gets away, then even if you win the battle, it will be a loss in the long run.”
“That, that’s it! It’s just as you say!”
He had seen through the paladins’ tactics with such ease. The only thing Neia could say about him was that he was amazing.