Second chapter of the last week.
Arc 26: What can be done for tomorrow
Chapter 269: The King of Slaves, and the Overwrite
The coach rattles through the streets of Kyurei, the capital city of Sandora. I can’t say that the hardened road is first-class even if that comment is just flattery, but it seems that the suspension of the coach, which was specifically made by Rosetta, absorbs a nice amount of shock.
Looking at the streets visible from the window, I then notice how they look old-fashioned. There are worn-off walls and collapsed roofs here and there. Wooden houses that look like huts are mixed-in among houses made of reddish-brown bricks.
It looks this place is the residential district for the lower classes, the area where people called “second-class citizens” are living, or so it seems.
「People here doesn’t seem to be very happy」(Lance)
「Well, it’s not a surprise given the life these people have…」(Touya)
Lance, the novice knight sitting opposite of me, states his impression while looking out of the window same as me.
When I told Prime Minister Kousaka-san about my plan on going to Sandora as an envoy, he said to take this person along as my chaperone. He doesn’t believe me… despite the fact that I don’t really behave that violently if the other side doesn’t try to pick a fight against me.
Truth be told, it looks like he just really wanted someone similar to vice-commander Nicola-san to tag along with me, but it would’ve been unreasonable for a person with a rank higher than an envoy to come as a guard. Therefore, I’ve ended up with this guy.
There are also four more people with us other than Lance, but all of them are riding in the other coach that’s following after us.
I really want to immediately travel to Sandora using [Fly] or a spell similar to it, but I am tentatively acting as [an envoy of Brunhild who was entrusted with the written protest of the Tribe of the Tree King]. As such, I’ve traveled to this place using an ordinary means of transportation
Although, we’ve arrived at the outskirts of the royal capital using [Gate].
When Pam entrusted us with the written protest, she had a terribly menacing look as if saying “we don’t care whatever happens, so go and punch the face of the Sandora King”, but doing that will unmistakably lead to war against Sandora with the other tribes following suit. Pam might’ve wanted to come along with us bringing just herself, but she can’t do so due to her position as a matriarch
「The number of slaves are just as many as I thought it would be, and I see that a lot of them are malnourished — is it because they are not being fed properly just as His Majesty said? combat-slaves appear to be given proper meals though 」(Lance)
「Well, that’s because they are slaves used for battles. They’ll be useless if they can’t fight when the time comes due to hunger. Instead, they’ll only just be used as a shield and nothing else」(Touya)
I could confirm their appearance here and there in the whole city, meaning that even a second-class citizen can own slaves. The robust-looking slaves guarding the stores are probably combat-slaves.
There are also demihumans such as beastkins among the slaves. They might have been brought here from somewhere else. All of them are wearing crude torn clothes, and their exposed arms and legs are thin and worn-out.
「That reminds me, don’t address me with “Your Majesty”, Lance. We don’t know when someone might hear you say that from whatever places we are planning on going to」(Touya)
「I-I am extremely sorry. How should I call you then…?」(Lance)
When a terrified Lance asks me that, I notice that I haven’t decided on what name to use. Hmmm.
「Should I introduce myself as Doran? It’s the name of Mika-san’s father though」(Touya)
「Hey, Your Majesty?! Mika-san and I aren’t like that!」(Lance)
Lance raises his reddened face. Fu-fu-fu. I’ve already seen through that you pal are dutifully visiting the [Silver Moon] all the time! Mainly through Karen-nee-san.
Well, I think I should stop teasing him right here. Nevertheless, that gave me an idea…
「… Shall I introduce myself as [Robin Hood]… no, as [Robin Locksley?」(Touya)
「Robin Locksley? Then, will I have to call you “Ambassador Locksley”?」(Lance)
「Guess so. I’m weak with bows though」(Touya)
This name somehow came out of my mouth due to the light green clothes that I’m wearing.
I’m not covering my whole body with a phantom image using [Mirage]. I’ve just changed a little my hairstyle and the color of my hair and my eyes. These alone will already give quite a different impression to the other party. Well, I think there won’t be a lot of people around this area who knows me.
The coach moves through the second-class district and arrives at the gate leading to the first-class district.
Soldiers wearing superior leather armor stand in our way and stop the coach.
「Entrance is allowed only to people with authorization from beyond this point! Where are you from!? Name yourselves!」(Guard)
「My, oh my. We’ve arrived here from the Brunhild Dukedom. A notice should’ve come to your honorable country in advance about our arrival」(Touya)
「Brunhild…? Chi~, wait over here. I’ll just confirm this to the higher ups」(Guard)
Having peeked inside the coach through the window, the soldier calls out to us in a high-handed manner and then disappears to the interior of the gate while clicking his tongue.
「Such an attitude toward an envoy of a foreign country… I wonder what kind of training did they have」(Lance)
「Sandora has almost no relations with foreign countries. These manners may just be the result of their inexperience…」(Touya)
Even so, I still get offended even for a bit if someone shows an insolent attitude simply because his or her work increased despite the said work being part of his or her job.
We’ve finally been allowed to enter after they kept us waiting for a while.
「You may go, but don’t cause any ruckus」(Guard)
He’s still showing us that attitude of his even though he already knows that I’m an official envoy, huh? He’s totally making light of me. Sandora is a geographically isolated dominion, and it hasn’t been invaded by foreign countries thus far. That attitude of his will disappear if I say that it’s due to Sandora’s isolationism for a long time, but it might also be possible that he’s just not thinking about the impression that attitude will show to the envoys of other countries.
When the coach starts to move again, I then become surprised due to how the streets here look different from the ones before. The change, in comparison to the second-class district from before, is sudden — the road is paved with stones being properly maintained, and a row of houses is built with dazzlingly white walls. The inhabitants here have good-looking appearances since they are wearing luxurious ornaments. They are also walking through the streets while being accompanied by their slaves.
The slaves themselves are different from those I saw in the second-class district before — they aren’t wearing worn-out clothes — but they don’t look like they happy, just as I’ve thought.
「I’ve heard that the disparity between the two districts is severe, but for it to be this much…」(Lance)
Lance mutters while looking through the window. There’s certainly a world of difference between the first-class district and the second-class district.
At the end of the road, a magnificent castle, built with solid stones, is erected on a gently elevated slope. Having a square form, this castle has cylindrical towers rising up in every direction of the ramparts, bringing about an atmosphere of majesty.
Even this castle was probably built by slaves.
When we arrive at the castle gates, we are let through without a stitch. Did the notice already reach this place? The gatekeepers still glared at us with a scowl though.
Having gotten off the coach, we are then guided by a displeased-looking man in a robe who came from the castle through the corridor of the royal palace. I, Lance and the four knights following us from behind have our weapons, except daggers, taken away from us right before the audience hall.
They’re being careful. Well, we will be meeting their king from this point onwards, so it’s not like I don’t understand their caution.
Being led into the audience hall, we are then made to kneel. Those in the vicinity are most likely chief retainers and generals of Sandora with the combat-slaves guarding the royal palace lined up in a row. Since there are so many of them here, they probably won’t go down with just one or two swords. Well, I guess the confiscation of our weapons from before is just them making sure.
「So, is this person an envoy which is said to have been sent by Brunhild? I hear that he has arrived carrying a demand from the citizens of the forest sea. What troubles they have gone through」(Prime Minister)
A bald man, who seems to be a prime minister and who’s wearing a red and black robe, opens his mouth. His tone seems sarcastic.
The one sitting on a gaudily shining throne in the inner part of the room is a bulging plump man who’s smoking a pipe with sleepy eyes. For a moment there, I thought he was an orc…
Standing beside the throne is a slave woman with a [Subordination Collar] wearing clothes so thin that she looks almost half-naked. This woman is kneeling while holding an ashtray.
A pure golden crown is placed on top of that orc’s light hair. So this guy is Abdul Jafar Sandora the 3rd, the king of the Sandora kingdom, huh? He doesn’t look like a wise ruler no matter how I look at him. Though I think that it’s not good to judge a person by his appearance.
The throne is once again being decorated by a flashy armor with a helmet on one side and a sword on the other. The sword is too inlaid with jewels, but that sword looks like it can be used in battle. Say, won’t that orc be absolutely unable to wear that armor? I mean the size in particular.
Without accidentally voicing my impolite thoughts, I then start talking while facing the king of Sandora.
「My name is Robin Locksley. I’m sorry to get straight to the point, but it’s about the demand made by the citizens of the forest sea. A request for you to immediately release the tribe folks captured by the order of magic beast warriors from your country has been… 」(Touya)
Interrupting me who is stating my business, the king slaps the pipe on the ashtray held by the slave woman. He then makes the woman refill the tobacco leaves, receives a pre-lighted pipe, and starts to breathe out its fumes.
After he rubs the face of this young slave woman in a repulsive way, he expresses a faint grinning smile and says something without looking our way.
「The number of our slaves is insufficient. We won’t return them」(Abdul)
「… Are you implying that you’ve attacked the tribes of the forest sea with the intention of capturing them as slaves?」(Touya)
「And what’s wrong with that? There’s no reason for us to be ordered by other countries. You can say that it’s not something a small country that has just been created can butt in 」(Abdul)
The King of Sandora spats those words at us while showing a grin.
So it’s a premeditated crime, huh? As I thought, the invasion of the forest sea was deliberately done by the order of this country.
「… are you wishing for a war with the tribes of the forest sea?」(Touya)
「War? There is no way it will turn into a war. After all, those guys are only a gathering of small tribes. Will they really be a match to our order of magic beast warriors?」(Abdul)
「The Tribe of the Tree King has friendly relations with our Brunhild. Do you intend to take an aggressive stance toward us as well?」(Touya)
King’s brow jumped up with a twitch, as he inclines forward while still sitting on his chair.
「You’re getting carried away, you know? Your king seems to have some sort misunderstanding, but it has nothing to do with how many of those giant soldiers you possess. If you say that you’re going to oppose Sandora, then you will first of all need to be careful not to scratch the head of a sleeping dragon. We’re also keeping every single proficient assassin as our subordinate. We can kill your bastard king at any time」(Abdul)
The people in the surrounding area chuckle due to the words of the King of Sandora. Those guys are hopeless. Both them and their king have only nothing but foolishness. It looks like they’re filled with hostility from the start. I can’t stop wondering where their self-confidence comes from — it just looks like they really have no idea as to what has been happening in the world.
The king of Sandora cracks his fingers, and all the combat-slaves in the vicinity pull out their swords.
We also stand up, and the guard knights unsheathe their daggers, which are the only weapons they have left.
「What sort of pretense is this?」(Touya)
「What? We’ll just say that no envoys came to this country. After all, the current number of slaves is insufficient after Astal city was destroyed. We have been gathering them from other countries, but all of you will be born anew as docile slaves if we work you for about a month. We have every superior trainer at our country’s disposal, you see」(Abdul)
I’m still too dumbfounded and don’t say anything towards the laugh the king is showing. As I thought. It seems that those guys have been kidnapping people even from other countries. Just as what the other rulers have said. This country is not decent, and I’m the foolish one because I at least expected a little something from them… however small it may be.
It’s not like I’ve lost my temper, but I’m getting reluctant to keep kneeling quietly after being made fun of by this much. I suppose there’s no need to restrain myself because of how rudely the other side behaves.
I planned on probing the real intention of the other side for some more, but they turned up to be a bigger fool than I had thought.
「… How ridiculous」(Touya)
Breathing out a sigh, I then take out a splendid couch from [Storage] which doesn’t lose to the throne the King of Sandora is sitting on.
After I sit down on it and stretch my legs while looking at the king, I then cross my legs and rest my arms on the armrests.
「It’s getting absurd for us to treat you as an opponent because of just how foolish you are. Ah! Everyone, it’s already okay. Let’s wrap up the play — it looks like the other side wants to have a war with us 」(Touya)
「Bastard… don’t you understand the state you are in?」(Abdul)
The king stands up and glares at us. O-o-o-o, I wonder if perhaps he’s getting angry. His face has already become red.
「I’ve already understood the situation and everything else. You may say that it’s good that I’ve understood the true nature of this country. An extremely foolish king accompanied with his idiotic retainers. Say, do you know the proverb “the frog in a well knows nothing of the real world”? It means that an aforementioned frog from a well doesn’t know the vast ocean, but… 」(Touya)
「Kill those guys!」(Abdul)
「You can listen to me, you know?」(Touya)
The combat-slaves coming to cut us down are stopped by an invisible barrier in about two meters around us. That’s obvious. I’ve placed a magic similar to [Shield] around us.
「Wha~?! Bastard! You, the one called Robin or something! Who are you?!」(Abdul)
「Ah, that’s an alias. My real name is Mochizuki Touya, the sovereign King of Brunhild and the one that you’ve said you can kill anytime. I’m glad to meet you, Your Majesty The King of Sandora」(Touya)
I cancel [Mirage], reverting the color of my hair and pupils back its original color. There’s no need to hide any longer if they’re showing this level of open hostility.
「The Sovereign King of Brunhild?! No way! Why did a king of a country come this far…?!」(Abdul)
「I originally was an adventurer, so I’m quick on my feet. I think it’s better if you moved around a bit more, you know? You’re obviously too fat」(Touya)
Seeing the orc king grinding his teeth as he tightly grasps the pipe, the combat-slaves show an expression of dread while backing away.
「What are you doing?! If this guy is the real sovereign king of Brunhild, then it will be convenient! Go kill him! 」(Prime Minister)
The combat-slaves and the generals come at us once again, having received the orders of the bald prime minister, but [Shield] repels all of their half-baked physical attacks.
「Oh Fire, come forth, crimson flying bullet, Fire arrow!」(Magician)
A magician fires a flame arrow after reciting a fire-based spell, seeing that physical attacks are ineffective.
I politely return that attack to him with reflection magic. Three rebounded flame arrows hit the magician and the retainers on both of his sides, blowing them off.
「You attack me after knowing that I’m a king? May I presume that you have definitely provoked a war to start?」(Touya)
「This fool. We will do whatever we want once we kill all of you here and cover this mess up. There is no way anyone would guess that the Sovereign King of Brunhild is in this place, right?」(Abdul)
The King of Sandora declares so with a cramped smile. Is he an idiot? Does he have no idea that I can use [Gate], and that it’s easy for us to escape in a place like this? Well, I won’t escape though.
「I’m asking you once more. Do you want a war?」(Touya)
「Our country has the order of magic beast warriors and combat-slaves. They are soldiers who will continue fighting to the death. Do you think that you can come out unscathed after you make our Sandora your enemy?」(Abdul)
Oh my, oh my. It looks like he is a real idiot.
「I’m sorry, but Brunhild has no intention to make Sandora its enemy. No, I suppose it has no need to make you an enemy, accurately speaking」(Touya)
「What did you say?」(Abdul)
The puzzled king glares at me.
While sitting on the coach, I raise my hand toward the King of Sandora and invoke a no-attribute magic.
A [Subordination Collar] appears in my hand. The slave woman, who was making sure to hide behind the gaudy armor slightly further away from the King of Sandora was surprised at the feeling of a necklace suddenly disappearing. Seeing this, the king looks very surprised, doubting his eyes.
「It’s a [Subordination Collar], but… in reality, I’ve understood that those collars are made to memorize the wavelengths of magic power that are said to belong to the highest standing master aside from the direct owner. In other words, it’s the wavelength which belongs to you, the King of Sandora」(Touya)
I explain it mainly to the combat-slaves who are surrounding us while spinning the collar on my finger.
It’s obvious if you think about it. The slaves are absolutely obedient to their masters. Those who obtain a large number of those slaves may start a revolution against the king, which in turn will become a grave situation.
As the person whose orders stand way above those of the owners themselves, he enchanted a special wavelength of magic power in all of the [Subordination Collars].
This wavelength is probably something that’s inherited by the Kings of Sandora for generations by means of some artifact.
If the set-up doesn’t work that way, then a new king won’t be able to rule over the slaves when it’s time succeed a previous king. If the succession is only memorized by blood, it’ll be possible to control them even if that is just a descendant of the royal family.
An ability which can be said to be the secret art of the royal family of Sandora, which in turn has been existing since the foundation of the country, encompasses two things: an artifact which can bestow orders onto the slaves and the wavelength of the magic power of the royal family.
「In other words, you are the [Slave Master] who can order all of the slaves in this country」(Touya)
「… That’s right. By my order, all slaves will bear their fangs to you bastard. You better give up 」(Abdul)
It’s certainly a dreadful ability. Although it’s a good thing the [Subordination Collars] have not been mass-produced until now. Once it’s mass-produced, it will inevitably be scattered into other countries.
People will enslave other people according to their desires. It will bring forth nothing but new slaves for the King of Sandora, and it will be the birth of a global kingdom of slaves.
However, I won’t allow that to happen.
「Then, I wonder what will happen once this authority of a master is taken over?」(Touya)
I have been targeting all of the slaves in the capital of Sandora with [Multiple] from my smartphone for a while now. There are so many of them that it took me some time to finish. Alright! preparations are complete. Time to invoke it.