Maybe someone can teach the pope the dogeza…?
Informal Conference ⑥
Author’s note: The pope’s point of view.
If you are going to treat my kindness with disdain then I have no obligation to cooperate. At hearing that undertone in her words, I realise my own mistake. I said it myself did I not? To speak frankly. Those words themselves are an insult, and that resulted in Shiro-sama’s response expressing her distrust. If that’s the case, then it means that we have led her to this judgement. That we are not worth cooperating with.
That must be avoided at all costs. Since Black Dragon-sama’s name was used, that means that Shiro-sama is acquainted with that great personage at the very least. Whether Shiro-sama herself is an Administrator or not is still unclear, but just with her being connected to a genuine Administrator it means that it cannot be flatly rejected.
In addition, the world is in a far more serious condition than we had estimated. As to what kind of phenomenon this “abrasion of the soul” is, I can only guess since I have not had a detailed explanation, but I can estimate to a certain degree. Since it is the case that Black Dragon-sama is participating, the importance must be high. Dangerously high. Enough that Shiro-sama implied that she was annoyed why us residents of this world had not even noticed.
It is no longer appropriate to sound out her true intentions. The request this time was for cooperation in countermeasures against the elves. We were not requested for cooperation relating to the world crisis. To Shiro-sama in other words, that’s probably all that the Divine Word Religion amounted to. That as for the world salvation actions that Shiro-sama mentioned taking herself, she sees no need for the cooperation of the Divine Word Religion. That was the case from the start. To misunderstand that, was our own failure in overestimating the position of the Divine Word Religion. I cannot allow for trust in the Divine Word Religion to fall any further. With barely any left, we would risk losing clues to the salvation of the world.
「That’s an unbridled tongue you have there.」
The one who opened his mouth, was the general who supervises the Divine Word Religion’s armies. Before he can open his mouth again, I interject.
「Restrain yourself, general.」
At the words “restrain yourself” the expression on the proud face of the general, and also the words the general were going to say next, suddenly change.
「I am telling you to restrain yourself. If the negotiations with these people fail, then understand that it will not be settled with just your own head.」
With the exception of the general, I check everywhere for those showing offense at Shiro-sama’s statement. While at it, I appeal to them that I value these negotiations with Shiro-sama with that much seriousness. To be honest, what the general has done might be too deep to recover from. At the general’s words, Shiro-sama might turn her back on us. If that’s really what happened, then not just the general’s head, I might have to offer the heads of his entire family to determine if Shiro-sama’s mood can be appeased. While the general has a short temper, he is a comrade who has fought beside me continuously until now. I cannot afford to lose him here.
「My colleague has been rude. If you have been offended I shall eject him from the room.」
At my humble actions, it appears that the other members finally appreciate that the person that they are facing off against is far superior to themselves. Even though I had given such detailed instructions in advance, they had never confronted an existence above my own in importance before, so perhaps it did not feel real.
「It is tolerable.」
A short phrase. It makes no difference if he’s there or not. That’s what her words seemingly ensued.
Shiro-sama shows no indication of leaving her seat. It seems she has judged us to be just about still worth exchanging words with. In that case, there still remains a chance to recover. From here no failures can be excused. I must pay meticulous attention to my remarks.
「By Shiro-sama’s words I have come to realise my own worthlessness. Therefore, in our worthlessness, we wish to receive assistance from Shiro-sama. I am fully aware of the presumptuousness of this request, but may we please implore this for your consideration?」
Even if it is small cooperative relationship at first, it can be built up from there. If the negotiations break down here, the Divine Word Religion will be left one or two steps behind in the state of the world’s affairs. If we are able to build up a cooperative relationship, then there will be the opportunity to gain trust. In that case, it will become possible to learn about more profound subjects.
Beginning with cooperation intended to defeat the elves. To be honest, if it is possible to defeat the elves who are protected by a barrier that we can’t even touch, then that would be a most ideal proposal. Defeating the elves would be positive for both the Divine Word Religion and for the world and nothing negative. That being so, I would unconditionally approve of cooperating towards that.
Apart from that, I can only search for ways in which to earn Shiro-sama’s trust. Whether or not we can earn her trust, will depend on our performance from now on.
「For today I am content to hear that alone. For the time being, showing efforts to move in step, that is acceptable for you, correct?」
「Yes. We shall definitely be of use to you.」
I answered instantly. From Shiro-sama’s words, it can be inferred that there will be no further discussion today. There are many things that I would like to discuss further, but there’s no help for it. Before this conference began, there was no option for us remaining other than to answer “yes”. So long as the answer is “yes”, there is nothing else to say to Shiro-sama. It may have been possible to discuss things in further detail, but there’s no point dwelling upon that. Though the negotiations did not break down, it’s hard to call them a success. Rather, it is better to consider them as being one step short of failure. We only just managed to avoid being abandoned. I cannot shake that impression.
「Then, let’s prepare for an occasion soon to compare and adjust our future plans.」
Summing up like that, Shiro-sama prepares to leave her seat.
That was stopped by Sophia-jou.
「My side isn’t done yet though?」
It seems that this seat will continue. And also, in an unfavourable direction.
The pope starts using very humble speech about half-way through. Something like an underling in a period drama talking to a feudal lord or the shogun or the emperor.