First chapter of the week.
Arc 26: What can be done for tomorrow
Chapter 270: The Takeover, and Suffering the Consequences
※Depiction of cruelty. Reader’s discretion is advised.
The no-attribute magic [Cracking] is a magic which completely overwrites options and invocation conditions, cutting itself into the startup formulas of artifacts.
For example, suppose a person has a faucet-like artifact wherein water will come out by twisting the knob. It’ll be difficult to overwrite its function to have juice or something else come out of the faucet instead of water when someone twists the knob, but it’ll be easy to overwrite its operational parameters wherein the knob can’t be turned, only a little water comes out, or make the water gush forth as if there’s a fountain.
It’s a magic which I discovered in [Library], and it’s unexpectedly very convenient. If I combine it with [Analysis], I’ll be able to understand how to handle everything from the streams of magic power up to their invocations.
However, there are also artifacts wherein I won’t be able to comprehend those due to my current knowledge, so caution is required due to the possibility that this magic may cause unexpected effects if the following procedures are overly complex.
Even the [Subordination Collar], it was a bit intense for me to nullify it’s [Effects] like [Compulsory movement] or [Absolute obedience to the owner].
Still, I managed quite simply to overwrite the wavelength of the magic power registered to the highest authority with mine and erase any other. I’ve already experimented with the chokers obtained from the slave traders.
And just right now, I’ve rewritten the registered master of all of the [Subordination Collars] in this city to just me. In other words———
「What’s with you! Finish him!」(Abdul)
The combat slaves turn their swords against me by order of the King of Sandora. However, they exchanged glances between themselves, seemingly puzzled by something.
I guess they would be. That’s because they’re not being made to move by force. Their current actions are just them obeying their orders by reflex and not due to the effect of the [Collar].
「Start cutting them! Kill this guy!」(Abdul)
The King of Sandora continues to shout even now, but the slaves show no reaction. Some of them even touch their necks as if to check whether the collar is there or not, but the collars are still on their necks.
「Wha~, what the heck is this…」
「Why the hell are you standing?! Why aren’t the slaves obeying me?! 」(Abdul)
The surrounding retainers begin to flinch at the strangeness of the scenario as well.
「It’s no use, no use I say. The slave with [Subordination Collars] won’t accept orders from anyone but the owner. And I’m the only one who became their owner since a while ago」(Touya)
「Wha~, what did you say?!」(Abdul)
「It’s said that ⅔ of the people living in Sandora are slaves, isn’t it? In other words, this majority is absolutely obedient to me right now. Should I explain it to you in a manner that’s easy to understand? This country ——— has been captured by me」(Touya)
「What… did you… say…?!」(Abdul)
The king of Sandora was dumbfounded for a moment there, but then he immediately applies his magic power into a golden bracelet attached to his arm, trying to [Re-register]. This is just a guess, but that thing on his arm is probably a [Registration] artifact.
Nevertheless, it’s still too bad for him. The authority of the [Subordination Collar] has already been overwritten in such a way that re-registering a new master is no longer possible. As a matter of fact, the king’s orders will still reach the slaves on other towns, but I‘m not obliged to tell him that.
「Such foolishness…! This [Bracelet of the Slave King] should be able to access the owner’s registration of the [Subordination Collars] and there’s no one outside of our royal lineage who either exists or can access this [Bracelet of the Slave King]… ! Haa! Don’t tell me that you bastard is part of our royal family’s bloodline…!」(Abdul)
「Don’t say something as disgusting as that, you fool」(Touya)
The thought of me being your relative disgusts me to no end! No way I would be a part of an orc’s bloodline.
The combat slaves glance back and forth between me and the King of Sandora, seemingly not being able to follow the sudden turn of events.
「Now then, ladies and gentlemen of the combat slaves, I won’t give you any sort of orders. I promise you all to release you from your slavery, provided that you aren’t crime slaves. You are also free to return to your hometowns if you claim that you’ve been brought here from some country outside here 」(Touya)
Standing up from the chair, I then address the soldiers around me. They’ve already lowered their swords, and some of them have even burst into tears.
「Really… will we really be released…?」
「I promise you. I’ll set you free. You will no longer be slaves of this country」(Touya)
I say that to one of the combat slaves who talked to me. After that, the other slaves started talking with a weeping voice.
「No longer a slave…」
「We will no longer be slaves…」
「… We will be, living, normally…」
「Return to the hometown…. Take back our lives…」
These shaken men shed tears with trembling voices. It’s probably mixed with various emotions like delight, chagrin, anger, and void.
「No way… the slaves are, the slaves…」(Abdul)
The bracelet vanished from the King of Sandora’s right hand, who’s sitting on the throne as if he collapsed on it, and appears in my hand. So this is the [Bracelet of the Slave King], huh?
「No-no, it’s no longer necessary, you see」(Touya)
Smiling sweetly, I drop down the bracelet to the floor and slice at it with Brynhildr in blade mode. The fallen bracelet is cut right in half. Now the slaves won’t have to abide by any order of anyone who owns that bracelet. There are still slaves on other streets who still have to obey their owners, but I plan on releasing them one by one.
「Bastard! What have you done!? You bastard! What right you have to take away our country’s slaves!」(Abdul)
「It’s funny you say that. Then, right back at you. Who the heck are you to take these peoples’ freedom away from them?」(Touya)
The combat slaves surrounding me turn the eyes filled with furious anger toward the king. Their lives have been unjustly taken away from them, their dignity as a person was smeared. It’s natural for them to answer back with anger.
At that moment then, a lot of screams can be heard erupting from outside along with the neighing of beasts. A loud shock resounds as if something crashes into another object at the same time. So it‘s finally starting, huh?
「Wha~, what’s that?! What is happening?!」
The retainers begin to panic, not understanding what’s going on. The man, who’s wearing a robe and who guided us here, storms into this audience from the hall, clearly in a state of panic.
「It-it’s terrible! The magic beasts under the control of the order of magic beast warriors are acting violently! They aren’t listening to what they are being told to do!」(Robe Man)
「Wha-what did you say?!」(Abdul)
Well, I guess those magic beasts going wild is how it should be. Enslaved individuals will still have their reasoning within them, the collars stuck on their necks will prevent them from acting carelessly unless something big happens. However, magic beasts are different — they will likely move according to their instincts if they’re released. I wonder, can they really be controlled because of that characteristic of theirs?
「I told you, didn’t I? The [Subordination Collars] are already under my control. They won’t accept anyone’s orders except mine, you know?」(Touya)
By the way, I’ve given the magic beasts an order not to kill people as much as possible and to get out of this city. As such, the city must be in panic right now.
「Bastard…! How dare you, how dare you, how dare you…!」(Abdul)
「Time and time again I’ve asked you this question: “Do you want war?”. I’m generally a pacifist, but I’m not a non–resistive ideologist. I will strike back if someone deliberately hits me. It was you who declared war on us. Don’t you go tell me that you have no resolution to be hit at this late hour! 」(Touya)
「Shut up, shut up, shut up!」(Abdul)
The King of Sandora glares at me with eyes full of anger. Now then, I guess all that’s left to do is to tie those guys up, make them spill out where the [Subordination Collars] are being produced, and make sure to destroy it.
The moment I think of that and take a step forward.
The slave woman standing beside the King of Sandora extracts the sword made of jewels and strikes the king horizontally with all her might. Since when did she take that sword out?
After that, I think I heard a stupid sounding voice. A human head resembling the orc’s flies splendidly into the air.
As expected, even I was unable to move much when that was happening. Well, it might’ve been possible to intervene, but I suppose my body didn’t move. Or perhaps I should say that I couldn’t find the will inside me to help that orc king. In the end, I might have just let the King of Sandora die.
While I consider this matter in a daze, the decapitated king’s head flew all the way toward here.
I’ve ended up kicking the head that rolled to my feet on reflex. Ah, no! It’s not that I’m being sacrilegious toward a dead person or something, it really was just reflex from being surprised! If a freshly severed head rolls toward someone, of course, that person would be surprised, you know?!
The flying head magnificently hops toward the bald prime minister and stops rolling at his location.
The prime minister is paralyzed with terror and collapses. As if trying to continue this scene, the king’s body gushes out blood with a pretty strong force from the neck and crumbles in front of the throne.
The gushing blood slowly runs down the stage with a rhythmic sound of flowing.
Speaking of myself, I was teary-eyed at the sticky blood that attached to my feet I used to kick the head away.
Ooraaa—… [Slip] didn’t have its turn today… The actor has left the stage on its own accord without me having the time to do anything. I was made fun of in a lot of ways, so I wanted to hit him at least once. But… Say, I did kick him a while ago, I guess.
「Aah—… For the time being, Paralyze」(Touya)
I invoke paralysis magic on the retainers here, preventing them from moving. Then I ask the combat slaves to lend me a hand and tie up all of them.
The slave woman, who collapsed in her place as if she had lost the strength in amazement, turns to me and lowers her head.
「… Thanks to you, I’ve managed to defeat my sisters’ enemy… Thank you very much, thank you very much…」(Woman)
When I asked her why she thanked me, she then recounts to me her story. Apparently, this person was originally an adventurer together with her sisters. They were attacked by thieves in Regulus and sold to slave traders.
All of her sisters were beautiful, so they were presented to the king. During their time being treated as his playthings, her younger and older sister earned the king’s ire, so they were tormented and then killed. She explained that she continued to live only for the sake of clearing that grudge one day.
So he was a trash to the bitter end, huh? It’s just him paying for his mistakes. That’s all there is to it.
Now then, what should I do with this person? If I merely look at the situation at hand, she’s a criminal who killed the king of a country. An enemy nation… Though if she hailed from our country, she might’ve been called a hero. There should be a way to have her immigrate to our country, right?
A war broke out between Brunhild and Sandora. The slave war potential of Sandora was disempowered in just under 15 minutes, and the king of Sandora was killed in action(?). The war finished. I feel like that is how it should have happened it this visit really did become a declaration of war...
It was the other side who started the fight. I’ll explain it to Kousaka-san… somehow.
Let’s not think about that for the time being. Yup. Lets do that..
I have the terrified bald prime minister stand up after removing his paralysis and have him guide me to the factory where the [Subordination Collars] are being produced.
Surprisingly, the place is located underneath a tower on the western side of the castle. This country produces those collars and sells them to slave traders; the thieves kidnap people, and the slave traders buy them. The enslaved people with chokers are then furthermore sold to the citizens of Sandora… So this is their modus operandi, huh?
There are a lot of slaves being made to work at the factory, but all the work has been stopped.
It seems that an artifact that looks like a microwave oven with a shape of a box and installed in the basement is the artifact which turns regular collars into [Subordination Collars].
There are three of them. One looks like an antique that’s hundreds of years old. That one is the original created by a great magician while the other two are just copies that have just been completed recently. Those two replicas are the assembled articles which have been put together and is being analyzed by magicians for more than several tens of years.
By the way, those magicians were said to be kidnapped magicraft engineers who were proclaimed as superior by Ferzen and then enslaved.
However, it seems that those magicraft engineers have all died recently, likely because of an unreasonable treatment. That’s why there’s no one who can make a copy of the device. I’m told that Sandora planned to kidnap superior magicraft engineers once more in order to build more copies, but…
「They say that the source of calamity should be cut down from its root, right?」(Touya)
I cast [Gravity] on both the original artifact and its two copies, crushing them until it’s impossible to restore them.
There is no way for the [Subordination Collars] to be created again. …Well, truthfully speaking, me and the professor possess [Analysis] so it’s not like we cannot build it anew though.
Now then, the last thing is to free the slaves, but…
I suppose they will likely raise a rebellion once I free all of them. It wouldn’t be strange for people who have been oppressed until now to scheme a revenge. However, they may fall down to being slaves again if they commit a crime, so I want to think that there won’t be fools who will go this far.
I don’t feel like freeing the crime slaves, but it should be better to set an example and liberate those who have a place or people to return to. The question is their numbers though.
The majority of Sandora Kingdom is a desert, so I think the population is fewer than the area of its dominion….
I wonder, for how many days will I continue using [Recall] and [Gate] daily…?
「That reminds me, I may have no other choice but to ask for cooperation for the East-West Alliance… 」(Touya)
I also don’t feel like doing anything in particular to Sandora, but a war is a war even if it’s a small scale war. I’ll make them pay the amount they have to properly pay-up. They will have to compensate the slaves as a minimum.
It’s not my concern even if the country sinks because of that. They can do as they please to restore Sandora once they are made to return the slaves.
Still, there won’t be anymore more slaves so they will end up doing everything by themselves. Nevertheless, the crime slaves won’t’ be released so they will remain in this country. They will likely be used at toward the coal mines or other mines excavating precious metals.
Finally, they will have to build an environment where they can make the criminals work even without the [Subordination Collars]. I don’t feel like leaving behind a negative legacy.
The kingdom may have self-proclaimed kings turn up, like in Yuuron, after it has been reduced to all of this. Will it consist of city-states in the end or will they compete with each other for hegemony?
… Well, they are cowards who made slaves fight for them until now, so I don’t think they can do something like wars by themselves. Either way, Sandora will likely go down the path of decline. Which reminds me, does this orc king have children?
Oh well, I guess it has nothing to do with me. This country has lost its power to rule over slaves. Then I wonder, just how many of their allies are there be who would obey the royal family even if there is a successor?
In the end, I’ve ended up doing exactly what the other rulers told me to do. Although I had no intention of crushing Sandora, I had no idea that king would be foolish by this much. Really… A far more sincere negotiation could be done with a simple chimpanzee, probably.
Haa…. War is always so futile.