Chapter 05 – First Steps
Translator’s Corner (Cast: an English Clown and a French Pierrot)
Pierrot: *Sobs and Tears*
Clown: I know, I know… the way Rimuru and Veldora parted brought tears to my eyes.
Pierrot: It’s not about that.
Clown: Then, what? Did you read a heartwarming story of love and separation?
Pierrot: The readers don’t know our faces!
Clown: Oh… that… I’m working on that.
Pierrot: Then work faster!
Clown: You know what they say, it’s not our face, it’s what we do that defines us.
Pierrot: Easy for you to say! Most people don’t know the difference between a pierrot and a clown!
Clown: There’s a difference?!
Pierrot: I give up. Just tell them a joke.
Clown: Where should a monkey go if he looses his tail? … to a retailer!
Chapter 05 – First Steps
On that day, an earthquake rippled across the world.
The calamity class monster Storm Dragon Veldora has disappeared.
The one sealed for 300 years, the living calamity.
His disappearance signifies his return somewhere in this world.
And yet, twenty days after the disappearance, the Western Saints Church declared his presence to have completely vanished.
Count Nidole Maigam remained indignant.
He cursed while remembering the Cardinal’s words.
Cardinal Nicholas Shpertas.
Even the mention of his name evoked the Count’s anger.
『The threat known as the Storm Dragon Veldora has disappeared. Therefore, the provisions and monetary support from the Saints Church shall be immediately halted.』
And having unilaterally so exclaimed, the cardinal ended the dicussion.
And more than ignoring anything they had to say, he even made them wait for three hours.
Though it is true that the emergency funds have been given to combat emergency…
But the lands bordering the Great Jura Forest – the Count’s property – is the primary defense line of the entire Pharmas Kingdom.
That is, although Storm Dragon Veldora had been sealed, he was, nonetheless, a potent threat.
And even for monsters that was no exception.
No, actually, he was especially a threat for the monsters.
The fact that this threat has disappeared can only be attributed to monsters’ movements.
Although Pharmas should be improving their defenses, they are cutting them instead.
This was the cause of Count Nidole Maigam’s indignation.
And though the Western Saint’s Church had valid reasons, none of them mattered to Nidole.
How should he protect his lands now?
He has the money for mercenaries.
Not the right time to be hiring adventurers.
As a last resort, he could appeal to the king… but just remembering the king’s face induces despair.
It would be difficult to explain how the support funds received until now were used.
Without a threat, it is natural for defense spending to be cut.
And if this were handled poorly, he’d have to raise taxes.
Just the thought of caused Nidole to gramce.
On the way back to his domain in a carriage, his thoughts were filled with devising countermeasures.
Focusing only on monsters, Nidole could not have thought of anyone else to make use of.
Yet Nidole was not the only one troubled by the situation.
Pharmus Kingdom is a country of moderate strength. And thus, they have abstained from expanding the fontier.
And thus, there is little posing danger to them.
As Nidole expected, many cabinet ministers are planning to reduce defense spending.
However, other countries surronding the Jura forest may not do the same.
To not regret it later, each must come up with some countermeasures.
The kings and ministers of those are now hastily hosting emergency council to devise strategy.
One such troubled individual is the Baron Belouard, minister of the tiny country call Brumund.
「There could only be one reason for me to call you. You have heard about the Storm Dragon Veldora, I take it?」
With an overwhelming attitude, the Baron directed his question to the man who had entered the room.
Of short stature yet of serious appearance, the man never failed to maintain eye contact.
「Of course, Milord.」
Was the simple reply.
His voice was deep and corase.
「 Ay. As expected of a guild master! … is that what I should say?」
Baron Belouard snorted and continued as if spitting out every word.
「So, what is the guild planning on doing?」
「 Nothing in particular. No plans I am aware of.」
「 What? I didn’t really get that… are you saying there are no countermeasures at all?」
「 Yes, we see no need for any.」
The guild master responded apathetically.
With an appearance that asked: Why would Baron Belouard be mad?
And although the Baron saw that attitude, he continued while ignoring it.
In the first place, whether his efforts would be answered…
「 What is necessary depends on the person, I imagine. The disappearance of the Storm Dragon is surely a plot by the monsters! Would we not need countermeasures against that?!」
「That’s a funny thing you have said. Countermeasures are planned by a country. We are a Free Guild, not a group of volunteers, you know?」
It was so.
Their freedom lay in the fact that they were outside of the country’s system.
Compared to the normal laborer, their lifestyle was not guaranteed.
However, basic social status was; moreover, they were granted appropriate land. Thus, they at least had the duty of paying taxes.
To explain, let’s consider the example of a cook,
The cook who belongs to the country pays the social status tax along with a one appropriate for his income. For this, the country protects his life and property.
On the other hand, the guild cook pays significantly less in taxes. For the fee that he pays to the guild, he receives the guild protection of his persona.
However, protecting his property becomes his problem.
Also, a country cook can one day open a store in the castle, and have his children inherit it.
A guild one has no such privilege, and thus sets his store in the caste vicinity.
Moreover, should he even establish a successful store, his children cannot inherit it.
It from this fact, that citizens have acquired a deep-rooted prejudice and hatred for the Free Guilders.
Nor is this system unique only to Brumund. In fact, basically every country around follows the same rules.
On the other hand, the Free Guild has surpassed every regime in existence, and they possess the greatest organizational power…
Whether by coincidence or intention, they operate right under the country’s nose while maintaining an underground society appearance.
「Protecting the citizens’ property is the basic duty of a country, isn’t it? Similarly, we have to protect our associates. Don’t we both have it tough…」
Hearing these impudent words, Baron Belouard could no longer conceal his anger.
Since the morning, nothing has been going his way.
「Enough of this pointless chatter!!! From the Free Guild, how many soldiers can you send? How many adventurers excel at combat? How many can be used to protect this city?」
The Guild Master could only sigh.
「Make no mistake, we are not a volunteer group. If mobilized together with the country’s forces, I could perhaps gather 10% of our associates, if you require any more, there has to be proper remunerations.」
There are ten million people living in Brumund.
Of the, seven thousand are guild members–their families not included in the count.
In the case of a joint exercise, the Free guild can provide 10% of its members (about 700 people in this case) who would serve the country.
As a side note, the guild members of this country cannot apply for membership in another country’s guild. Thus, although they are free, there is clear allegiance.
Additionally, it will take time to make the joint mobilization official, and in the meantime the tax has to be agreed upon to be set at 20%.|
Force can be used, but that will definitely hurt the revenue.
And in the first place, it’s not like the guild can immediately come up with appropriate tax levels for its members.
Moreover, implementing the tax and communication with the guild is nearly impossible.
Since half of its members are non-combatants.
Even a king understands this much.
For that reason, extortion is normally avoided… but this is no longer a normal situation.
The monsters are moving.
That, in itself, is a big reason.
But, it is not the main one…
「Enough. Hey, Hughes. What’s on your mind?」
The Guild Master, no, Hughes was surprised at being suddenly called by his name.
And for the first time, he looked Baron Belouard right in the face.
「We had a non-aggression pact on the land where the Storm Dragon was sealed. Now, the Empire may choose to claim that root.」
「Exactly! Whether they were holding back around Veldora or afraid of damaging the seal… I don’t know. However, they have begun to move!!!
Do you understand? If they claim that forest, all the surrounding countries will be swallowed up. To say the least of the Eastern Saint’s Church abilities!
Those countries surrounding the Jura forest that fail to prepare properly will end up under the Empire in a blink of an eye!」
「The church… will not move. They care little for the mundane things. For them, it is defeating the demons that is their holy duty.」
「As you say. But if one knight were to decide to move, and unless the empire does something stupid… when not fighting monsters, they have to earn their keep, don’t you think?」
「Impossible… for the church, the whole country can go under and it won’t be any skin off their backs. Not like the church can strive to save every believer.」
Looking at the Baron’s face, this is what Hughes thought.
He looks so exhausted.
It’s not impossible, but he probably had been aging a year a day here.
The truth is, these two are childhood friends.
For the Baron, having intimacies and friendships be revealed public can become rather inconvenient.
And so, the two have made it seem like they were using each other, and acted as to display their hatred for each other.
This small country would be unable to weather the coming storms alone.
But, perhaps this is all just empty panic.
Yes, the Empire had begun to move, but it is not as if they had already invaded.
Just for the monsters, there are plenty of countermeasures.
「The Empire hadn’t revealed its intentions yet, did it? Anyways, I’ll go check it out by myself.
Don’t expect much, but I’ll try to see what is going on in Jura Forest and with the Empire’s movements.」
「Sorry… and thanks.」
Right, what the empire will do is yet undecided.
And even if they move… rather, their attack will become a large scale war. Even they would not fare well against constant ambushes and skirmishes.
With a hundred thousand soldiers, they could surely crush every surrounding country.
But to that end, extensive preparation are needed.
At least… 3 years.
Can’t say that is much time, but enough to carefully plan ahead.
「Anyways, I’m off to collect data. Early bird catches the worm, right?」
And with a nod, the two parted.
On their shoulders, a burden as heavy as a mountain.
Cardinal Nicholas Shpertas was welcoming Count Nidole Maigam’s departure with a thin smile.
He exclaimed with a benevolent smile and sighed.
Doesn’t believe in god but just crowds around the Church’s money and power.
Nicholas was testing Count Nidole Maigam.
And not just him.
All those in the church were thinking the same thing
「Those who believe in god should swear allegiance to the Holy Empire Ruberios!」
The Eastern Saint’s Church took the Empire’s faith and merely elected the Pope as their ruler.
As far as they are concerned, the Holy Empire is essentially the main temple, and their citizens are the Empire’s believers.
Further, those living in other countries yet professing to believe must remember that deceit is punished.
As god comes before all.
Therefore, all those idiots making excuses against becoming the Empire’s citizens do not deserve any mercy.
That is the opinion of every man serving under Nicholas regarding the Eastern Saint’s Church.
Nicholas himself was of the opinion that heretics that do not believe in god should all be killed.
But there was a person who offered a scornful smile to those words.
World Traveler Sakadachi Hinata.
She said this,
『Waste of effort. It takes tremendous force to change the hearts of those who believe in other gods. Rather than that, lend them your hand, and accept theirs. That is the most proven method.』
『Save the people from monsters, and convince them that you represent justice. And, since wars aren’t going to just up and disappear, in times of trouble offer support! Monsters are humanity’s common enemy, but the same is not true for humanity, is it?』
『No need to pointlessly provoke aggression. Normal people are idiots, if you save them when they are in trouble, they’ll quickly believe. Isn’t that the entire raison d’etre of the church?』
The girl was pragmatic.
Neither promoting atheism, nor rejecting religion.
Just thoroughly use both.
For Nicholas, that seemed like a cool-headed approach.
Nicholas was watched with a sight so cold, it could kill
『All we need is to wait! Let the earthly countries’ strength fall! And then, demand you dues!』
Those words caused him to shudder.
Was that excitement or fear?
Yet Nicholas obeyed.
And as a result, the church has changed greatly during these 10 years.
Their influence speaking for itself, in just 7 years they became a topic discussed in every nation.
Having achieved these things, Nicholas was promoted from a bishop to a cardinal.
And it was all thanks to that girl.
「Well, just as the girl said, there is a way to use even a leech…」
Nicholas was considering the current situation.
The Empire’s movements are unclear, and the monsters are becoming increasingly active.
I’ll definitely become busy from now on.
How will that girl move?
Might be a good idea to try contacting her.
Right now she would be..
To Imperial Guard directly under the Pope, Holy Knights Division Sakadachi