First chapter. Next one is tomorrow.
Arc 26: What can be done for tomorrow
Chapter 264: The Kingdom of Slaves, and the Strangeness of the Desert
「That reminds me, Touya-dono. You’ve been investigating the Sandora Kingdom lately, haven’t you?」(Trystwin)
「Aah! I myself thought of asking about that matter as well.」(Zephir)
「You guys have sharp ears, don’t you?…」(Touya)
I cry out without thinking to what the Belfast King and the Regulus Emperor have said.
The representatives of the nations that belong to the East-West Alliance wanted to relax after the regular meeting, as such, I let them into the gameroom until evening.
The King of Belfast, the Emperor of Regulus, the Beast King of Misumido and I are around the mahjong board while the Knight King of Restia and the King of Rynie, both being young rulers, are playing billiards.
Inside the soundproof area at a corner of the game room, the piano performance of Kousuke-nii-san and Clair-san’s cooking fascinate the Statewide Governor of Rodomea and the Monarch of Referees. Meanwhile, Karen-nee-san, Moroha-nee-san, Sousuke-oji-san and Karina-nee-san are lecturing the Ramisshu Pope on matters about Gods at the opposite corner of the room. Suika is, by the way, lying on the floor with a bottle of sake in her arms.
「Well, it’s not like Touya-dono is the only one investigating the matters regarding Sandora. O~to, Beast King, this is Pon.」(Trystwin)
「There are a lot of issues in that country that make us worried, you see… ~t-to.」(Zephir)
I pick up a tile from the pile in front as I listen to the discussion. I don’t need it, so I’ll just throw it away.
「I’ve heard that more and more slave traders started gathering there after Yuuron had vanished, and I’ve also received several reports of what appears to be Regulus citizens being kidnapped by slave traders.」(Zephir)
「Same for us. There were cases where groups of bandits attacked villages and carried off young men, women and children. There’s no doubt that the slave traders are secretly behind those attacks mainly because beastkins are considered to be expensive combat slaves, and the one getting along with those slave traders is Sandora.」(Jamca)
In Misumido’s case, it’s an easy country to invade since it borders the Great Forest Sea. Also, every beastkin has a special ability depending on their tribe, and it’s this trait that makes business lucrative for the slave traders.
「We would prefer it if you crushed that country sooner, Touya-dono. 」(Trystwin)
「Ha-ha-ha, that’s a good idea. Touya-dono should be able to do it in a single blow. If you want to, we’ll even help you out on that endeavor, right?」(Jamca)
「We can probably gain total control of their royal capital within less than a day if we send out several Frame Gears.」(Zephir)
「…… You guys are letting this talk pass as a joke, yet you’re being half serious here, aren’t you? 」(Touya)
All three of them turn their faces away. Hey, you three! Look at me!
「The talk about destroying Sandora is really a joke, but we’ll nonetheless be truly grateful if you can do something about the slave trading business.」(Trystwin)
From their words alone, I feel that slave traders who are attempting to enslave people from other countries are more of a problem than the Sandora Kingdom itself. Though those slavers may have no other choice but to follow the orders of that country.
It even looks like Sandora has no diplomatic relations with any other country aside from Yuuron. There are no countries who’ll be troubled even if we crush Sandora, but… No, I guess they’ll be troubled once refugees and the like start coming — those people may possibly go toward Lail Kingdom which is the nearest.
「As I thought. The problem lies in the “Subordination Collar”…」(Touya)
How in the world is that “Subordination Collar” being mass produced in the first place? Is there some kind of enchanter who can use magic that belongs in the enchantment system like me?
However, no-attribute magic is not hereditary. Assuming this magic was limited by one generation, how could “Subordination Collars” be that widespread in the Sandora Kingdom for such a long time?
Of course, it’s a fact that the choker is still there even if the slave dies, so the slave masters should be able to reuse the collars though.
The most important thing is, who’s the one gathering the slave traders? Is it the king? Or possibly…
「O~to, this is Ron, Touya-dono. Chinitsu. Haneman, 12000」(Jamca)
His Majesty The Beast King drops a hand with circle tiles of the same color down with a flop. Damn it! I’ve been careless! And to think that it’s against such an obvious hand…
I pay up the scoring sticks, and we start over again. My tiles this time are worrisome as well…
「… If I remember correctly, wasn’t this Sandora Kingdom originally founded by someone called a “Slave King”? 」(Touya)
「That’s right. It seems a large number of tribes had squabbled over there during that period. Still, it’s said that a man, along with the people from the Frau tribe, suddenly showed up and brought the other tribes all together in a flash, then they established the kingdom of Sandora.」
「They also say that this man had shackles on his feet, and that he was a slave from some unknown country and was a gladiator.」
So he was called the “Slave King” because of that, huh? Did this gladiator desert his own country back then and turned up at the place that would be the future Sandora? How should I say this? I suppose there were slaves during that period as well.
「Still, it’s one theory. There were also stories that he made the chief of the tribe who was accompanying him into a slave」(Jamca)
「Umu, there’s also a story that the one who had created the original version of the “Subordination Collar” was the “Slave King” himself even if it was a certain great magician who mass produced it after the country had been founded」(Zephir)
I tilt my head to the words of the Beast King and the Emperor. Mu-mu-u. Did he really gather all the tribes with the help of those chokers by force, rose up, and then created a country? But can a mere gladiator really do something like that? It seems like there’s an underside to all of this.
Releasing the Sandora slaves looks easy to do as it is, but what will they do once they’ve been released? Will they rebel?… Will they run away?
They probably wouldn’t forgive the nobles.
Even if that noble lot are nothing but those who don’t think of them as people, it probably can’t be helped, given the environment in which they’ve been brought up. But even so, there’s no way the slaves will recognize that.
Mu-mu-mu… or shall we go and say to that king “Release the slaves who have been illegally brought from other countries”?
However, will they obey if we tell them that? I suppose they have no reason to do so. Economic sanctions will normally be implemented — but then again, that country itself has no diplomatic relations whatsoever.
With regards to food, slaves aren’t allowed to eat anything satisfactory, given that ⅔ of the kingdom’s land are deserts while only the remaining area is the fertile lands.
They don’t have any form of exchange with other countries. Aside from the merchants who come and go, Sandora seems to be in a state of isolation.
Should I build black ships and aim their cannons to that country?
(TL: probably reference to http://afe.easia.columbia.edu/special/japan_1750_perry.htm)
Muu. It’s really troublesome.
Rather than throwing down a country, thoroughly crushing the operations of the slave traders is more…
「O~to, this is Ron, Touya-dono. Chinitsu. Haneman, 12000」(Jamca)
Not good! I shouldn’t be thinking very deeply right now! I have to concentrate more on the game or else I’ll be completely defeated if it goes… No-no-no, it’s different. Different, I say.
Let’s wait for the reports of the three kunoichi for the time being.
=== === === === === ===
Starting the next day, rain falls gently onto Brunhild. Rainy season, huh?
It looks like the knights of the knight order are taking a rest from training and are in their own rooms doing either some studying, reading or maintaining their weapons.
As for myself, I’m currently sitting on a chair and reading a book under the eaves of the balcony roof, but I then hear music coming from a distance. It’s Sousuke-nii-san, huh?
This is… it certainly is a melody for a rainy day, but there’s probably no one who will dance under an umbrella and be festive in this rain.
Still, the rain is pouring down for quite a bit… Though I wonder, how long will this rain continue? I hope the river won’t overflow. Even so, it will be helpful if a weather forecast of some sort exists in this world.
No, wait a minute.
An idea suddenly enters my mind. I then try enchanting the weather forecast app of my smartphone with [Search].
A weather report for one week together with umbrella and rain marks and the current atmospheric temperature appears in the air with a *poof* sound. … I’ve done it.
Uh-huh. Looks like the rainy weather will clear up the day after tomorrow. Guess we’ll have to be patient for a little bit more.
In any case, one more month and it will already be summer. Brunhild doesn’t have a natural beach, but it has one in the dungeon archipelago. Everyone might go there with pleasure if I liberate it from danger and create a beach. Although there are a lot of magic beasts in the surrounding seas, they‘ll stay away if I summon and place there a Leviathan as a guardian. Jellyfish and others of that sort will still turn up there though.
It sounds fun, with beach houses and food stalls and all. It’ll look like a festival or a fair… Hmm?
Come to think of it, this country doesn’t have festive-like occasions. Not even a year has passed since it was founded, so we haven’t done anything resembling an anniversary for its foundation. Yet New Year has already passed.
There are no Shinto shrines here as well… Oh well. It’s fine not to make a Japanese-style festival specifically. However, an enshrined deity is necessary when one speaks about a Shinto shrine. Though if I’m to say which God I worship myself, there’s no one else besides that person.
「Making him an enshrined deity on my own accord is kinda~」(Touya)
He probably won’t’ get angry, but I guess I still have to ask for his permission just in case if I’m really going to do it.
If it’s simple Gods, they’re just lurking around right? How should I say this? They’re really only idling about, right?! Like the Alcohol God!
The moment I start feeling a headache after remembering Suika who’s sleeping like a log with a bottle of sake in her arms, my smartphone rings due to an incoming call.
The screen says “Sarutobi(着信) Homura”. Oh, the Sarutobi(猿飛) girl, huh? Have they already arrived at Sandora?
『Ah~, Ano~, Is it really you, Your Majesty?! P~, people, people in town are, they are!』(Homura)
「Calm down. I don’t understand what you’re saying」(Touya)
What’s this? It looks like she’s in a terrible panic. Has something happened?
『People, they sparkle, and die! The sparkling, it comes from their bodies… Ah……… Excuse me, Your Majesty. This is Shizuku. I’ve taken up the phone』(Homura/Shizuku)
I hear the voice of a composed Shizuku who has taken the phone from the panicking Homura. That’s good. I won’t understand a single word and will be confused if Homura is the one speaking.
「Where are you right now?」(Touya)
『We’re in the city called Astal to the east of the royal capital of Sandora, Kyurei. We’ve stopped in this city to book an inn before embarking toward Kyurei, but… we’ve encountered a strange situation 』(Shizuku)
She said “Astal city”, but isn’t that the second largest city in Sandora? What the heck is happening there?
『The citizens of the city are dead. Every one of them』(Shizuku)
I end up rising from the chair instinctively. Everyone? Astal should be quite a large city. Is she saying that it has been completely annihilated?
『A type of crystal similar to a crystal rock sprouts from their whole bodies and they die. It’s like it has taken all the moisture in their bodies, making them completely parched and dried up…』(Shizuku)
Crystal rock? I suddenly recall the crystal bodies of the frazes. However, I’ve never heard of such symptoms before.
I can also assume that it’s some sort of virus. If that’s the case, those three are in danger.
「Is there anything wrong with your bodies?」(Touya)
『No, we’re still fine as of the moment. Nagi has just ended up not feeling good for a little bit…』(Shizuku)
「Get away from that city at once! Anywhere is fine as long as you three move far away from there and stay put once you find a new location. I’ll come to you within an hour」(Touya)
After hanging up the call, I then open the map of Astal city, project it in the air and look for survivors. There are three dots moving toward the edge of the city. Those must be the kunoichi trio, but…
There’s no one else being indicated aside from them. Is everyone really dead? What the heck happened over there?
「There’s no use thinking about it. Let’s go meet those three for now」(Touya)
It’ll be bad if this is really a pandemic due to an infectious disease, so I first call Flora from the “Alchemy Building” and ask her to prepare a quarantine room and examination tools in her medical office. Should I request the lolico… no, Atlantica from “Laboratory” to go there as well?
After explaining the circumstances to the trio’s superior, Tsubaki-san, I open a [Gate] at once. I then transfer to the place where we’ve discovered the Babylon ruins in Sandora and move out from there.
Having passed through the [Gate], I notice that there’s a lot more sunshine here, different from the rainy weather of Brunhild, and that the desert sky is clear. As usual, it’s very hot in this place…
I then open the map of Sandora and soar with [Fly] toward the location of the three kunoichis.
Everyone in the city are dead. What the hell is happening here?
I speed up my flying even more than usual, as if trying to wipe off this ominous feeling.
ED: Blackswordsman, Empress