The man with no plan.
The Last Two Options ⑤
Author’s comments: Balto’s point of view
「Just what the heck is happening…」
I was hanging my head in the conference room. At a time when the Demon King is off on an expedition, an unprecedented situation has occurred. It’s enough to make you hang your head.
「No point in asking us that though?」
Sanatoria might seem fed up with my attitude, yet she leaks out a sigh expressing an underlying bewilderment, and shrugs her shoulders. There are commanders other than Sanatoria gathered here. That being said, there are also many commanders who died in the previous great war or are accompanying the Demon King on the expedition. Including me, there are just four people here. Sanatoria, the commander of the 2nd Demon King Army. Kogou, the commander of the 3rd Demon King Army. Darado, the commander of the 5th Demon King Army. And I am the fourth person.
The topic for discussion is naturally the words we suddenly heard referring to a World Quest. Either attack or cooperate with the Evil God – what does that mean? In the first place, what is a World Quest? I don’t believe such a thing has ever happened during the long history of the demon race.
「…I’d like to hear everyone’s opinion.」
Even while hanging my head, I somehow managed to wring that out.
「Our opinions on what though? There’s way too little information. It feels like we won’t be able to make heads or tails of it anyway, and even if we do discuss it we probably won’t get any answers.」
Sanatoria states a quite natural opinion. She’s exactly right.
『A World Quest is issued: Will you obstruct or will you support the plan of the Evil God who is scheming to sacrifice humanity in order to avert the destruction of the world?』
We suddenly heard a voice saying that, but to be honest I don’t know what any of it means. As best we can determine, it seems that all of the demons heard this. Of course we haven’t been able to get testimonies from all demons, so it’s possible that this phenomenon was limited to those in the Demon King’s Castle. While the demons have heard it, it’s also plausible that the humans have not. However, that is not something that can be investigated right now. Even if that had been investigated, I don’t get the feeling that we would have been able to make any progress though.
More importantly, just who is this Evil God? Even if we wanted to obstruct or support this being, how would we achieve that? From those words alone there’s absolutely no way to tell. Since nothing makes any sense I don’t have the faintest idea how to determine the right approach. Perhaps the Demon King might know, but…. For such an event to occur while the Demon King is absent, it’s the worst possible timing.
「Even if we don’t understand, we still must do something anyway. The people are confused.」
Even for me it’s incomprehensible. It’s also incomprehensible to the general population, so they’re bewildered. No small number of them are fearful. That’s because the contents of this World Quest thing are nothing but disturbing. Just when the great war was finally over, this happened. In the worst case, if their fear causes their everyday pent-up anger to explode, it could cause a riot. There was already a strong backlash against the government due to the forced conscription and subsequent war. That could be contained only due to the absolute terror that the Demon King held over them. With the Demon King now absent, they’re capable of exploding at any provocation. In order to prevent that, one way or another we the government must make some kind of announcement regarding this World Quest.
「Saying that though, even we don’t understand anything, right? We can’t just say something perfunctory either, surely. But the last thing we should do is be honest to a fault and say “We don’t have a clue”, right?」
That could be the very trigger for the explosion. It’s practically saying that the government is incompetent. However, since we don’t understand this in practice, that might actually be correct.
「……Kogou, do you have anything to add?」
「Eh!? Umm… sorry. This is too difficult for me……」
I didn’t expect otherwise, but it’s unsurprising that it seems that Kogou doesn’t have any bright ideas.
「What about you Darado?」
「Hmm. During normal times one would turn to the Demon King for guidance, but that’s not an option I guess.」
Darado ponders with his arms crossed. Dorado might be a Demon King supremacist, but putting that to the side he is excellent in both literary and military arts. It seems even Darado can’t come up with anything immediately. The same could be said about me though……
「However, as you have said, Balto-dono, to do nothing is unacceptable. For the time being, the only choice is to make an official proclamation that it is currently under investigation, using clear and unambiguous words that will not cause any panic.」
「……I guess that’s the most realistic option.」
It’s merely a stalling tactic, but it does allow us to show that we are doing an investigation. I doubt that will shut down all the discontent, but it should be effective to a certain extent I’m sure.
「How about increasing the number patrols in the city, as well as going on a state of high alert?」
「But, if you increase the number of soldiers and patrols by too much, wouldn’t that itself become a provocation?」
「That’s true as well…. Well, let’s have soldiers visit every household under the pretext of a fact-finding mission. We must at least confirm that everybody has heard those words.」
「For sure. That way we can also naturally spread soldiers across the city.」
「Yeah. While they’re at it they can also report that an investigation is underway.」
Thanks to the proposal given by Darado, we’re able come up with a plan of action for now. It won’t be a fundamental solution, but it should be enough to restrain the chaos in the city for now.
「For carrying it out, can the 2nd Army handle it?」
「That should be enough for this region, but what about the other cities?」
「I would like to deal with that as soon as possible, but right now we are lacking in manpower. I guess all we can do is send a fast messenger by horse to each city.」
「I see. Then leave that undertaking to the 5th Army.」
In quick succession the decisions are made. Before the meeting started I didn’t have the slightest idea about what to do, but I guess a preliminary path has been chosen. Though… there’s approximately one person who has been reduced to a figurehead who just sits around.
「The problem is, we fundamentally don’t understand anything about this World Quest thing.」
Possibly, that was a divine revelation. In which case, the importance would be immeasurable. We can’t just neglect it because we don’t understand anything, surely.
「Sigh. What is to be done…?」
I unintentionally sighed while grumbling out loud. That’s when it happened.
『World Quest, sequence 1. Triggering the installation of Taboo on all of humanity.』
「……What!? Ahh! GAAAHHH!?」
Once again, those words could suddenly be heard. Before I could understand their meaning, I was assailed by a headache, falling prostrate on the desk. Immediately after, being unable to withstand the awful sensation that boiling water was pouring into my head, I lost consciousness.
The benevolent god who kindly imparts the truth to those who know nothing.