Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? 286

Goodbye 2016. Hello 2017!

286 – Boldly marching through enemy territory

After the disturbance in the Kingdom, what followed was the large scale task to enable the Demon King’s Army to march towards the elf village. Since the elf village is in the human territories, to march there basically means for the Demon King’s Army to pass through the human territories. Normally it wouldn’t be possible to get that far. After all, for a long time the demons had been prevented from crossing the border to Empire. Well, there’s a reason for the demons deliberately stopping there as well though.

However, this time is different. Many of the forts protecting the Empire’s border have fallen for a start, making it practical to pass through. Even without that, by using Natsume-kun and vampire girl to seize hold of the inner workings of the Empire, there’ll be no problems so long as we can adequately fool the citizens.

By borrowing in advance things like Imperial Army uniforms and banners, the Demon King’s Army could be disguised as the Imperial Army. Well, we don’t have enough to equip the entire army with that though, so by having some conspicuous officers and so on be like that, at a glance nobody would realise that it was the Demon King’s Army. Even though they’re called “demons”, their appearance isn’t any different to humans after all. Just changing their clothing is enough to avoid suspicion.

Normally, members of the Divine Word Religion’s inquisition that have the Appraisal skill would be keeping watch everywhere, with the duty of discovering any demons who were trying to sneak in, but even they are acting more like collaborators this time. Even though they know who we are they’re just letting us through. Likewise with the Empire’s intelligence units.

Consequently, despite us being the Demon King’s Army, we were able to boldly walk through the human territories with complete success. The ones we’ve taken with us this time, are the 3rd Army lead by Mera, the 8th Army lead by oni-kun and the 10th Army lead by me. Just those three armies. Even the Imperial Guardsmen under direct control of the Demon King have been left in the demon territories along with Balto. That being said, even with just the soldiers from the three armies, we probably have more than enough forces. Just one army has enough strength to completely trample over a small human country. And we have three.

With such armies, attempting to secretly travel through would be fundamentally impossible. In which case it’s better to just go boldly instead. By coming through so boldly, even if anyone thought something was a bit off they would just consider it to be how things are instead. All the more so since the two great powers of the Divine Word Religion and the Empire are declaring us to be an allied army. Well, I’ve left making the necessary arrangements of all that to the pope so there shouldn’t be any problems.

I dunno what kind of negotiations the pope carried out to do it, but our army that entered the Empire’s territory is being allowed to transfer to a small country close to the elf village, by using a huge teleportation ring that the armies within the Empire use to allow them to teleport around. Even though it called a huge teleportation ring, it’s not able to teleport such large numbers of people at once. Thus, it means moving by splitting into smaller groups to teleport repetitively. That takes quite a lot of time as well. The fastest way would be if I teleported everyone together in one go, but if I did that my energy would be drastically reduced so I don’t want to. Besides, there’s no problem if it takes time either.

Since the situation has come this far already, it’s like water flowing from a high place to a lower place. It’s not something that can be stopped. At least, not unless it was by an existence like D who is able to re-write the scene from scratch. The only ones capable of doing that in this world are Kuro and I alone. Since the two of us are leading the strategy for this, there’s no way to re-write it. Therefore there’s no particular problem if it takes time. The only difference is whether the result comes sooner or later.

I gaze at the queue of people teleporting in groups. Because there’s too many people considering the width of the road, the length of the queue has become tremendous. The head of the queue is clearly too far to be visible with normal eyesight. At the head is the 4th Army lead by Mera. As might be expected from them being a regular army that was commanded by Balto originally, their appearance is very normal. Following on behind them is the 8th Army lead by oni-kun. Since they were a mish-mashed group originally, there are lots of irregularities in their equipment. They have a strong impression of being unorganised compared to the uniformness of the other armies, perhaps looking like a gathering of mercenaries. Finally, at the end of the queue is the 10th Army lead by me. Though we have the least members, we stand out the most. After all, every last one of the soldiers are wearing white clothing. To put it in a word – bizarre. Well, it’s my fault though!

Even with such a bizarre group, by flying the Empire’s flag, even though they get some suspicious looks they won’t be attacked. Since the locals were informed about the army coming through beforehand, they’re understanding. There’s children waving at the soldiers marching through and so on.

In the end, saying whether someone is a demon or is a human only amounts to this. If people didn’t know who was who, then they wouldn’t be conflicts. Even though they have historical reasons for their conflict and even though they have an obligation to fight, it’s still the case that if they didn’t know that they wouldn’t have any reasons to have a conflict. In a sense, if they didn’t know they might be happier. Someone might say that ignorance is a sin though.

「Shiro-chan, are you okay?」

A certain person who would be at the top of the list to say such a thing is worried about me. Currently the Demon King and I, and incidentally vampire girl too, are riding in an elegant carriage. However, I feel absolutely terrible. Do I look okay? Are we merely on a trip to discover the truth behind the conflict?

It’s wrong to throw natural loners like me into a crowd of people. It’s nauseating. Waves of people are nauseating. Ugh, I feel bad. Even within this carriage I can feel the presence of great numbers of people. Why are there so many people? Maybe I should decrease them a bit? Better to decrease them sooner rather than later, right? Shall I do it?

「Hey, you’re not thinking of something bad are you? Don’t do it, okay?」

Ughhh. At least once the battle starts I’ll be able to switch over and endure it, but like now where I have to just sit quietly while moving it’s painful. It’s not good for people to gather like this. Why do people form groups like this? Being alone is fine. Rather, seriously please let me be alone.

Ah! I sense from one of my clones that Yamada-kun has taken the bait! Now’s not the time to be like this! I gotta leave so that I can observe! This has nothing to do with this crowd of people being painful and wanting to get away from them! This is for a perfectly valid job okay!

「Consequently, I’m going out.」
「Shiro-chan, only an esper would be able to make sense of so few words you know? Consequently from what?」

I ignore the strangely frustrated Demon King and teleport. Phew. Finally I can breathe again.

Author’s note: This is the last update of the year. Everyone, have a good New Year.


Translation notes:

“re-write the scene from scratch” – this is a fairly literal translation. Shiro is describing the situation as if it was a setting in a play/story. Perhaps it’s like saying “a character within the story cannot undo the situation – only someone who can fundamentally change the story itself could do that”.

Regarding the word “demon” used in this series – 魔族 (mazoku). Here, it’s more of a label than a technical description. In other series, it might be used to accurately refer to demonic beings (inhabitants of hell) or magical beings (inhabitants of the spirit world). Currently, there doesn’t seem to be any particular justification for those being accurate translations of the word, so it would be interesting to know the origins of the word within this world. In general, you could say that it’s a word without a clear meaning, which allows authors to play with it a bit. For reference, in the Kono Suba series, the word used for the crimson magic clan (紅魔族) is “crimson + mazoku”, which is why they’ve sometimes been translated as “crimson demons”.

“top of the list to say such a thing” – top of the list to say that “ignorance is a sin”.

Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? 285
Kumo desu ga, Nani ka? SS – New Year’s Eve Soba