Chapter 3 – Second Contact

 

 


<– Previous Chapter | Glossary | ToC | Next Chapter –> | Jump to Volume 19 –>>


 

 

“Noble sir, today we’ve got ‘nother big haul.”

“I see. Be careful of accidents, okay?”

“Please leave it to us.”

 

For some reason, negotiations between the Kingdom and the demons haven’t started yet. The demon’s air fleet has landed on the Terra Harrez Archipalego and started to build a base, but they’re so slow at it that many consider this to be some sort of plot.

All of the demons should be magicians, making this turtle-paced building speed more than unusual. Some among the nobles in the government regard this as the demon’s message to us that they don’t really plan to build a base and only want to use this as a card in the negotiations. Other nobles claim that the demons are deliberately provoking us.

At any rate, speculations about it remain meaningless as long as no negotiations have started, but so far no one can tell when that’s going to happen.

Even so, the Kingdom, and especially the west, is running through huge amounts of provisions as many troops have been assembled. Especially food and water are of crucial importance, and thus we’ve been working on securing some of that.

I’ve been renting out boats with a magic propulsion to the fishermen, who had their fishing boats confiscated by the navy for the surveillance of the archipelago, to allow them to go on with their fishing, and that led to the number of boats available greatly increasing. Thanks to that, the fish price in Sirius stabilized. As such we not only greatly contributed to the supply of the army, but also gave the residents some reprieve.

As usual, Margrave Holmia didn’t say anything, but maybe he’s just too busy to bother with us.

“Although you call it contribution, you could also describe it as plain ole’ fishing.”

“You say so, but haven’t you simply been drinking booze while eating your own processed fish as snacks, Burkhart-san…?”

Today was yet another day of Burkhart-san getting Elise and my other wives to prepare his catch for him as he planned to enjoy it together with his evening drink. He was certainly not qualified to quibble about other people on this matter.

“Can’t help it, can I? We’re at a standstill right now.”

Having said that, it’s only been around two weeks so far. We’re already used to this sort of long war campaign, and since I can use Teleport, I’ve been going back home once every two days to continue my public works. Given that Katharina, Lisa, and Therese are doing the work with me as they can use magic similar to mine, the development of my earldom is proceeding as planned in spite of the semi-war state.

Meanwhile Malie-san and Elise have been focusing on taking care of the babies while my other wives placed their priority on getting some fishing done. It sounds like they even learned how to span fishing nets from the fishermen in their free time.

“I’m starting to worry that we might spend the rest of our days fishing at this rate.”

It was worrying indeed, but it didn’t seem like the others hated angling or fishing. From Burkhart-san’s point of view, fish that were perfect for creating a great menu of side dishes for his drinks were magnificent.

“Hm───m.”

“Is something the matter, Doushi?”

“I cannot catch them!”

“Wait, you have been catching fish all the while, haven’t you?”

After the disastrous catches from the first day, Doushi had been catching fish at a good pace. Today was no exception to that.

“No, I meant tuna or sea beasts!”

“Doushi, you can’t catch those in waters so close at port…,” Erw shot down Doushi’s willful whining with a fed-up voice, and he had a point as it’d definitely be difficult to catch such game in an area that’s only one kilometer off the port.

I think we won’t have any chance to catch those unless we head out a bit further.

“Tuna? Sea Beasts? You won’t get to see those unless you head out at least ten kilometers off the coast,” answered a fisherman when we asked him while processing our catch. “Well, if it’s sea beasts, you can spot them not that far out in the sea every once in a while. But, you won’t be able to catch them easily since they’re big.”

Sea beasts over here indicate whales and dolphins. This world also treats them as mammals since they give birth to children instead of laying eggs. That’s why they’ve apparently been called boars of the sea in the past.

This world has no animal welfare groups complaining about it being disquieting to kill whales and dolphins since they’re intelligent, so you could occasionally buy their materials on the market. The occasional stems from them being difficult to catch because of their size.

“Earl Baumeister, how about we aim for a bigger game for a change?”

“Big noble sir, you can’t catch sea beasts so easily,” a certain fisherman explained to Doushi, whom the fishermen had started to cozily call “big noble sir.”

This world had no guns for whale-hunting and since you couldn’t store the body, even if you caught one, unless you got a big ship, making it a fishing with fairly big hurdles.

“We are magicians! You can leave it to me if we catch a sea beast!”

“So you say, but…”

Even though he’s never actually caught one…Doushi is being quite reckless once again…

“Is it not fine to have a little adventure every once in a while? We will depart tomorrow!”

For some reason Doushi forced the decision, resulting in us getting stuck accompanying him on his sea beast hunt.

 

*   *   *

 

“Pardon? What did the young civilian contractors say again?”

“Some of them mentioned they’d like to go angling since they’re bored.”

“Are those guys morons?”

 

Even though the construction of the base hasn’t been finished yet, I, the commandant of this fleet, had to face yet another ordeal.

Some of the young civilian contractors did not have an ounce of motivation, let alone capability, and yet they started to talk about wanting to head out on the ocean to enjoy a holiday.

“Are these people actually understanding our current situation?”

“Most likely not… Or maybe they do, but don’t care?”

“I suppose either would result in the same outcome anyway.”

“Indeed.”

They had been recruited by the Civil Rights Party under the pretext of supporting their youths, who couldn’t, or rather, didn’t bother to find employment, but after being sent here, their motivation was basically non-existent, as might be expected from their background. After all, their contract stated that they’d be paid a preset amount of money if they worked as civilian contractors for a certain amount of time. However, that contract didn’t mention anything about their abilities or their work completion degree. Therefore, they had no need to show any motivation, and if you took it to the extreme, it’d be unnecessary for them to finish the base, too.

Hence their behavior was just logical since they’d get paid for just being present here. Besides, since they weren’t employed as regulars here, they’d be discharged once their contract period came to an end. As such it was beyond pointless to order them to take their work seriously.

The folks of the Civil Rights Party only needed the fact of the youths having been employed for their political agenda, so if you took this into account as well, you might even call the young people victims here.

But, personally I believed that the biggest victims here would likely be the defense forces.

“I guess it’s pointless to get upset at this point. Anyway, when is the government going to start its negotiations with the Helmut Kingdom?”

“Wouldn’t that be anyone’s call?”

“Ah, yeah. The people in the government are just as bad as those young civilian contractors.”

“No kidding. But, seeing how the politicians aren’t young anymore, you can’t hope for any improvement anymore.”

“You got a point there.”

This much cynicism is to be expected at this point, I think. At any rate, some among the young civilian contractors have apparently started to feel bored with staying on the island during their days off.

In compliance with the politicians of the ruling party, we’ve allotted plenty of leave days to them. According to those idiots, they’re allies of laborers, so it’s only natural for them to comply with labor laws.

I mean, even the defense forces are well aware that excessive exhaustion can lead to unforeseen accidents or troubles on top of work-efficiency dropping, and so our organization has been managing its labor properly. Those people’s problem is their steady bickering despite not doing any work, which only causes us trouble instead.

“The area around this archipelago is being monitored by various bigger and smaller ships…”

“I doubt they’d lose if it came to a fight, but we’re surrounded by enemies here…”

“3rd Grade Assistant Bermel, they haven’t been designated as enemies yet, so watch your words.”

“Excuse me, Sir.”

If the Helmut Kingdom is designated as an enemy, the probability of us starting a war will rise exponentially. Thus, it’s better to watch what you say right now. Besides, our defense forces are under civil control. So the defense force mustn’t judge the humans to be enemies without any orders by the government.

And even before that, telling the Helmut Kingdom that they’re our enemies after selfishly building a base on their territory is a case that would affect our dignity as demons. Ultimately, this is but my personal opinion, and it’s not like I can read the minds of the government members.

After a deep sigh, “…But, if we don’t phrase it out like that, those young folks will head out to play for real, I think…”

“What a nightmare…”

If we allow those civilians to go on holidays in the surrounding waters, the other side will definitely make some sort of hostile assumption based on that, no matter how much we claim otherwise. I believe it’s pretty much set that it’ll lead to battle.

“Have them spend their time on the islands!”

“We will be strengthening the guard protocol right away.”

The troublesome part about the young contractor is their ability to use magic, which is something all demons can use naturally. Even demons with small mana capacity still register as intermediate level compared to human magicians.

Many demons know about that from the ancient records we still have left, and thus I can’t deny the possibility of them getting carried away and simply letting their magic loose at the humans.

“This is the very reason why I said that we didn’t need any young civilian contractors over here…”

All demons are strong as magicians. And using that fact as an argument, some of them have been insisting on invading the continent. However, the defense forces don’t have enough personnel to successfully launch such an invasion. True to its name, the defense forces lost their capabilities as a true army in the distant past.

In addition, the demons themselves are waning in population. Even if we won, any casualty would cause the public to lash out at the government and the defense forces. War and war casualties are words that have long vanished from our country. If things go really badly, even just a few casualties would have the potential for several members of the cabinet to resign.

Besides, the majority of the populace is against a war or an invasion. There’s no need to invade another country if your own country has an ever growing space for living because of a dwindling population.

Even in regards to our current mission here, some people and intellectuals have been kicking up a fuss over it being problematic on a legal basis.

“3rd Grade Assistant Bermel, I sometimes wonder about this, but why have I been assigned as the commandant of this fleet?”

“……”

Bermel remained silent as he appeared hard pressed to find an answer. But that’s okay since I didn’t expect him to give me a satisfying answer anyway.

To be honest here, I didn’t want to participate in an operation like this.

If I get through this without any grave errors, my retirement payment and pension… Most recently, people have started to debate a raise of the retirement age and a cut of the pension, but…well, I should be able to live normally on what I’ll receive.

“The young contractors are strangely skilled at magic.”

“Well, they had plenty of time on their hands, so it makes sense…”

The demons of several ten thousand years ago had formed a savage society that used power (magic) to subdue others. Nowadays, magic technology has advanced and the ruling system of society has been refined, which led to magic maniacs being shunned among demons. Rather than focusing on magic, it’s more beneficial for finding employment to study properly, enter good schools, get good grades and certificates, and hone your social skills with friends and the people around you.

Of course mana is necessary to maintain the social system and infrastructure, but the amount of mana required has been decreasing with each year thanks to progress in magic engineering. Given that demons, unlike humans, possess a certain amount of mana once they obtain the ability to understand what is going on around them in early childhood, they don’t really need to train magic.

Rather, if they don’t focus on learning some skills or studying knowledge, they won’t be able to find any jobs. And even if they obtain all these, half of the young demons transform into social problems because they can’t find jobs.

Some among those unemployed youths devote all their effort and time in practicing magic. Occasionally, “crazed youths” will also go ballistic in urban areas because they want to vent their dissatisfaction on society, but such demons are quickly arrested.

The policing unit within the defense forces has been doing proper combat training while employing a certain number of serious, diligent youths into their ranks.

But, since it’s not like you won’t starve just because you can’t work in our society, the number of folks going ballistic is low. The media uses those few youths for criticizing the government by calling them “Victims of Society,” so the problem looks bigger than it actually is.

“As a matter of fact, my younger brother remains unemployed as well… He has been training his magic since he got tired counting the leaves falling from trees. And even while doing that, he can’t find a job… Our parents have been asking me whether I couldn’t help him out in some way, but I don’t have any connections…”

It sounds like Bermel’s family has its own share of issues.

“Does that change once you become a general?” He asked.

“No, at least not for me. Our son has found a job with a civilian company.”

Fortunately, our son is somehow managing to stay afloat as a salaryman, but he’s looking quite exhausted every day and the pay is quite bad. There’s few jobs for youths and many companies pay so badly and have so nasty work hours that they’re called 『Black Companies』.

Because many youths got cornered by such circumstances, falling into depression or killing themselves, some of them started to think that it’s just as fine to not take jobs at all costs. The elderly complain, 『Back in my younger days, we’ve been worked a lot harder for much less pay! Young people nowadays are so spoiled rotten!』, causing the youths in question to ridicule them with, 『Geezer, you and your dreamy nostalgia of better times lol』.

Well, in reality, many companies paid and treated their employees better in the past…

Of course there also existed many companies that worked their employees like horses, but in exchange, their pay was higher, according to my deceased grandfather.

Such being the case, our country has been continuing this unproductive quarrel for the last few hundred years. I guess you could summarize this whole argument under the category of generation gap.

Telling all of this to Bermel, he commented, “Okay, but even if you invade the continent for the sake of covering that contradiction, it’ll just make things worse.”

“Yes, it’d likely aggravate the demon’s decline…”

If we can’t govern the occupied territory decently, it’s quite possible that the few demons would have their heads cut off during their sleep or die on battlefields. And since they’re aware of this, the uniformed personnel are probably flabbergasted by the retarded arguments of the politicians.

“It’s good that I’m no uniformed personnel, really…”

As I thought that, suddenly, a 2nd Grade Assistant in charge of security rushed into the room, shouting, “It’s an emergency! Three of them escaped!”

Apparently three of the young contractors slipped through our surveillance net and left the archipelago.

“But, how?”

“…Underwater.”

If they had left the islands with 『Flight』, we’d have immediately spotted and retrieved them. Accordingly three of them cast 『Underwater Breathing』 on themselves and dove away.

“Shall we give chase?”

“That sounds like it’ll be difficult…”

If we move our ship, it could provoke the ships watching this island, if we’re unlucky. Having said that, it’d be dangerous for me to send out my precious personnel while only relying on their magic.

“If we treat those three as ship-wrecked, it’ll also turn us into targets for blame and persecution, though.”

“Those fucking morons!”

I felt dizziness assailing me while believing that no other commandant could be as unfortunate as I am.

 

*   *   *

 

“Hahahaha! Found you! Time for you to get caught and eaten by us!”

 

On the next day we headed out to catch sea beasts aka whales and dolphins off the coast thanks to Doushi. Since I had ordered the other fishing boats to keep fishing as usual, we left the coastal area with just one boat.

“Wend, we’ve gotten pretty close to the archipelago, don’t you think?”

“Do not worry! It is still a long way off!” Doushi denied Erw’s worries with a booming voice.

Usually in situations like this, it would be the young ones trying to pull something reckless, just for the older ones to stop them, but here it was the other way around.

“Sea beasts, huh…?”

For me that equates to whales, I guess. During my time as salaryman, I was taken along to special restaurants where they also handled such ingredients. I think the meat tastes great, but unfortunately many people considered eating whales as taboo, so it was an ingredient hard to come by. Given that there exists a lot of other meat as well, it didn’t sell that much anyway, and it wasn’t as profitable as many people might think.

Just as some among the elderly liked it for 『nostalgic reasons』, others claimed, 『There’s so many delicious food nowadays, so it’s unnecessary to insist on eating that』. Whale dishes might be a part of Japanese culture, but it’s a fact that it lost much of its prestige compared to the past because the diversification of food has advanced quite a bit.

On the other hand, in this world whales might make for a good business, if you can catch them reliably at low risk.

“Wend-sama, sea boars are very cost-efficient since you can use a lot of their parts,” Wilma explained.

“I see.”

According to Wilma, whale oil was apparently used to light lamps in this world. And given that many other parts of sea beasts were used as base material for all kinds of products, all of a whale’s materials would be immediately sold as soon as the ship unloaded.

“Did people not catch sea beasts at your place, Therese?”

“The Mizuho people caught them with the help of harpoons. It was a dangerous endeavor and since you couldn’t catch many of them with this method either, the people of the Philip Dukedom didn’t eat sea beasts often. Mizuho has many people who like catching sea beasts, but I heard most of their catches are consumed inside Mizuho.”

The Mizuho people resemble Japanese people. That’s probably why they like to eat whales and dolphins.

“Now then, let us do our best to make Doushi happy.”

“Noble sirs, we will start the search at once.”

Logically, it’d be pointless if we couldn’t actually find any whales. As such, the fisherman, who acted as captain, moved the ship around to look for a swarm of whales.

“Noble sirs, over there!”

I thought that he might not discover any, but because the whales of this world haven’t been hunted by humans much, they should inhabit the oceans in a considerable number. Even us amateurs could soon spot a swarm of around a dozen whales leisurely advancing through the sea.

“So, you take those down with harpoons, right?”

“That’s correct, but…”

Of course, our boat didn’t have a harpoon thrower installed at its bow, and because it looked like Doushi would pulverize the whales by unleashing mighty magic at them, if we left it to him, I had Ina throw a spear with a rope attached to it.

“They’re quite a distance away…”

Although she bickered like that, Ina skilfully used her mana to strengthen her throw, succeeding in hitting a whale. The whale thrashed around after having its body penetrated by a spear, but Doushi and Wilma used their prized superhuman strength to reel in the rope connected to the spear.

“Treat, not getting away.”

“Ooohh!! That is a great tug!”

I think any ordinary person would have been pulled into the sea, but that would be an unnecessary worry with Doushi and Wilma.

“Wilma, let me help you as well.”

“Me too. Though I don’t know how useful I’m going to be.”

Luise and Katia joined in as well after boosting their strength through mana.

The whale kept resisting, but it was gradually drawn closer to the boat, and just when it was around a hundred meters away, I made it faint by casting Lightning at it – an improved version of Area Stun.

After finishing off the unconscious whale, I stored it in my magic bag. Naturally, it’d be tomfoolery to dismantle it here and now, so I decided to do it on land.

“Next, I will catch one!”

We started to catch whales with the same method as before. Doushi participated in throwing spears at whales or finishing them off with magic, enjoying himself very much.

“It is a huge haul!”

“I suppose we’ll have the fishermen dismantle them after taking the haul back, and then sell off some of it.”

“It’s rare for so many sea beasts to raise to the surface all at once.”

 

 

For half a day afterwards, we continued to catch whales at a good pace. We actually had too much firepower for this task when it came to our line-up, so we managed to catch so much that we might have been able to take on a veteran fishermen association.

“However, I think it’d be difficult to handle this without a magic bag after all…”

“Yes, otherwise there is simply not enough room to store the sea beasts.”

As she didn’t have anything particular to do, Elise started to cook on-board, using whale meat and fat as a test.

“A general-purpose magic bag is quite expensive…”

“Indeed.”

You need a big ship to store the caught whales. But, normal fishermen are hard-pressed to arrange such big ships. And if it’s a small ship, they have no choice but to return to port while pulling the caught whales via rope, but as sharks will immediately pounce on the catch if they’re negligent in their watch, it often leads to a drop in value of the materials.

Moreover, with sharks it’s limited to them simply taking bites out of the pulled whales, but if the blood lures serpents over, even the fishermen are in danger. Because whales are big, you can make a lot of cash by selling their materials, but they lose in size when compared to serpents or similarly big monsters.

The whales themselves aren’t so powerful, but since they’re more ferocious than the whales on Earth, some of them will ram themselves against boats if they feel their life is in danger.

So there exist all sorts of reasons why the amount of caught whales remains low despite existing demand.

“If you secure edible meat through safe whale fishing, it’ll also help with general livelihood. Maybe I should have this option investigated in the Baumeister Earldom, too.”

“Earl-sama, just in case you forgot, we came here to go to war.”

“So you say, but Margrave Holmia hasn’t said a word, has he?”

For some reason even negotiations with the demons haven’t started yet, so we’ve been fishing under the pretext of procuring provisions as we don’t have anything else to do.

“We’ve already got plenty, I’d say.”

“Noble sir, I see some drifters over there.”

Just as we were about to head back, the fisherman at the wheel spotted something like a raft in the distance. I checked it with the binoculars I took out of my magic bag. It allowed me to immediately spot three guys sitting on a small raft.

“Why in such a place?”

“I haven’t heard any news of any ships having had any accidents.”

All the fishermen belong to the guild, so the guild would always inform them before their departure, if any ship encountered an accident. After all, the fishermen would be able to keep an eye open for the wreck or its sailors while fishing, if they’re told about this in advance.

“Maybe one of the smaller surveillance boats around the archipelago had a disaster? Either way, we’ve got to rescue them.”

Saving shipwrecked people is a duty of anyone boarding a ship on the ocean. Being told so by Therese, the fisherman brought our boat close to the raft.

But, when we drew closer, all of us noticed that they possessed long ears.

“Demons!? But, why didn’t I notice them from their mana?”

“Burkhart-dono, it looks like these men have run out of mana!”

As might be expected, even Burkhart-san with his fine mana detection skill wouldn’t noticed them if they’re out of mana. Doushi was also looking terribly embarrassed over having missed them.

“Demons? Noble sir…”

We were somewhat used to demons since we got Arnest with us, but the same couldn’t be said about the fishermen. Seeing demons for the first time after having only heard about them in gossip, they started to become so scared that it was actually pitiable.

“Now, now, calm down.”

If the fishermen get oddly nervous here, it’ll only trigger the other party to become wary. Besides, there’s no need to be so vigilant about them right now, if they’ve run out of mana anyway.

I addressed the three guys normally, “Did your ship sink?”

“Hmm? Humans? First time for me to see live ones.”

“You’re right. They have short ears, too.”

“Or rather, they’re no different from us other than that, are they?”

The three, young demons wore work clothes resembling that of tradies. Even after spotting us, they seemed genuinely curious about humans without showing any wariness. Going by their appearance, they didn’t appear to be soldiers at all.

“Are you out of mana?”

“Yeah. We tried to leave the island since we were bored during our day off. Since we’d run into human ships if we flew, we chose to go by boat, but probably also because it was our first time doing this, the mana consumption was much higher than we had anticipated. And thus we’re currently taking a break.”

 

 

“How about you take a break with us then? We’ve just finished catching sea beasts, so we’re also making some trial dishes.

“Sounds good. Since we’re here anyway, we’ll take you up on the offer.”

The demons accepted my invitation all too easily. After guiding them into the boat’s interior, I had Elise serve them mate tea.

“This ship has a high female ratio!”

“How enviable. Our youth forces have been forcibly separated into male and female departments. If I had known that it’d turn out like that, I’d have preferred staying at home to read my books. I thought it’d be more like a school trip!”

“Hey, are you possibly popular?”

The tall lanky guy among the three was called Mall Clint. The short but stout one was Ramul Arton. And the youth with the bald head was Silas Hector.

“I’m Wendelin von Benno Baumeister.”

“Err, you’re nobility?”

“I’m a landed earl. I’ve come to this region as reinforcements for the current strife.”

“Eh? Despite fishing?” Mall looked at us suspiciously as we had been fishing whales while having come here as reinforcements.

“It can’t be helped, can it? Both sides haven’t started their negotiations. And since the food is being consumed with just military forces having been mobilized, we’re working at procuring provisions locally.”

“Military forces sure sound like a high-cost, low-return endeavor. Our defense forces also seem like they’re in dire problems when it comes to funds and supply.”

“Even just the costs for the base’s building materials are nothing to sneeze at, you know?”

“Looks like it. After all, it sounds like they’re even now struggling, claiming that they got no budget to spare.”

“The citizen’s group and others have been naggy about abolishing the defense forces for a long while now, haven’t they?”

I wonder why, but somehow I’m being reminded of my time before coming to this world when listening to Mall and the other two.

“Budget tightness looks to be the same with demons and humans alike.”

“It simply means both suffer the same hardships.”

As I thought, these guys are total amateurs when it comes to military matters.

 

 

*   *   *

 

They readily answered my leading questions.

“We’ll treat you to some food. It’s sea beast cooking, though.”

“Sounds great.”

“We’d get flak by pro-environmental groups, if we actually caught a whale.”

“Everyone once in a while, they’ve got some meaningless clashes with fishermen, don’t they? I saw it in the newspaper.”

So demons call them whales, huh? Still, listening to these three makes me feel as if I’ve come back to Earth. It looks like the demon country uses a social system that’s fairly close to something you could also find on Earth back in my previous life.

In that case, it’ll be dangerous if things head towards war, as expected. I doubt we’d be able to win, if we fought them fair and square. I guess it’s already plenty of harvest to just have learned this.

“(Say, Earl-sama)”

“(Let’s gather some information by cleverly talking about various things)”

“(These guys do not look like they would become malicious either. I agree with your plan, Earl Baumeister)”

“(You got a point there. But we should stay vigilant, just in case)”

Seeing how negotiations haven’t started at all yet, I think we should gather information so as to somehow push things in that direction. Doushi and Burkhart-san agreed with my thoughts on this, too.

“(I’ll stay cautious so far as it goes, but these guys are complete amateurs, aren’t they…?)”

In the eyes of Ina who had stopped being an amateur herself after surviving the Empire’s civil war, it didn’t look like Mall and his two friends followed some secret agenda or special attack plan. Even so, I warned Elise and the others to avoid making contact with the demons while being alone.

 

 

“All of them are his wives!”

“Everyone has given birth to his children!”

“Not going to stay alone with unmarried guys!? Such modest women have long gone extinct in our country!”

When Elise and my wives told them that they wouldn’t be able to interact with them privately as they were already married to me, so as to not hurt the feelings of the demons, Mall and his two friends raised their voices in surprise.

 

 

“How nice…Earl Baumeister, aren’t you the ultimate winner in life?”

“It comes with a fair amount of hardship, you know?”

“Okay, I suppose it’s the same for humans and demons then.”

At that point, Elise’s group showed up, carrying the food. They had experimentally created all sorts of dishes based on sea beasts, and the three demons wolfed everything down with great relish.

“The handmade food of a girl rocks!”

“Many of the women in our country can’t cook.”

“It’s said cooking is a matter of skill, but in the end, things taste different if girls make them.”

The three happily continued eating the sea beast dishes.

“Say, didn’t you bring any food with you?”

“We prepared some for the worst-case-situation.” Ramul, the one carrying their luggage, retrieved a sealed plastic pouch and canned goods from his rucksack, and showed them to Luise.

Okay, just as I thought, the demon country resembles Earth quite a lot.

“You can eat this? It looks silver, no?”

Luise apparently didn’t understand how to eat the canned food and retort. She was tilting her head in confusion while holding them in her hands.

“You can open them up, Luise-chan.”

“Wow…for food to be stored inside a metal container…”

Ramul opened several of the cans with a can opener so that we could test it. He had cans with beef stew, gratin, pickles, and even bread.

“Bread can be preserved without a magic bag, too. But, why don’t you use a magic bag?”

“Adult reasons, to summarize it.”

According to Lamru’s explanation, the demon country had an excess of food.

“If we stored food in magic bags, even more food would be left over, right? It’s forbidden to use them for farmers, animal husbandries, fishermen, food companies, and restaurants. The defense forces employ cooks full-time, so these here are emergency rations.”

“They can actually enforce a ban on magic bags?”

“We’ve got devices that can detect magic tools, so officials of the responsible ministry are doing regular inspections. It’s at the level of them occasionally catching restaurants where they used magic bags because of the management being too greedy, I’d say?”

“Having too much food sure sounds like a dream.”

“You think so? But because of that, food-related businesses can go bankrupt quickly, even if they can be started easily, so people regard working there as insecure or basically unemployed… In the end, you have to be a fairly big company to make a living from it.”

The state is compensating for the falling food prices through subsidiary aid, and that aid is apparently being paid from taxpayer money. As such, it wouldn’t be a solution for such companies to simply produce masses of food either, explained Ramul.

“It was my first time eating whale, but it’s quite delicious, I have to admit.”

“The cooking was wonderful.”

“Thank you very much,” Elise answered Ramul after getting praised for her cooking.

“Earl Baumeister, I’m quite jealous of you since all your wives are pretty girls!”

 

 

After lunch, we kept chatting while enjoying tea and desserts. In the end, even idle gossip could become important information for us.

According to the three guys, the demon country has been a peaceful country without any conflicts for many years, but because of a decreasing birth rate, the country’s population was gradually declining. Their political system was a democracy where the politicians would be decided by vote. They had two bigger parties called the National Sovereignty Party and the Civil Rights Party, as well as several smaller parties.

Their magic engineering outclassed the Kingdom and Empire, but probably because of the long period of peace, their military technology has stalled a lot more than I expected. However, magic guns and cannons have been deployed as common weapons. Their magic airships overpowered the human ones in defense capabilities, mobility, and firepower. Even the Lingaia wouldn’t be able to compete here.

I also understood that it’d be possible for them to conquer the continent if they felt like it, because all demons were magicians. In short, they were complacent about peace because they didn’t experience a war for a long time, but they were quite capable of devastating human countries if they got pissed off.

“It would have been better to not have asked.”

“Indeed.”

Everyone silently agreed with Wilma and Katharina’s honest impression. We had heard something similar from Arnest, and this just confirmed his information.

“But, I think the majority of the demons are against war.”

“Really?”

“No matter how much large companies and politicians might use the media to clamor about the possibility of increasing the work for young people, when looking at us young civilians in military employment, we’ll still be no more than disposable, non-permanent employees, right? And it’s not like we haven’t been able to make a living so far either.”

“Regardless of whether it’s the National Sovereignty Party or the Civil Rights Party, neither can resolve the unemployment issue so easily. Everyone has become quite disillusioned about that.”

“How to describe it. Thou people lack ambition.”

“You may say so, but would you prefer demons who love war, regard the humans in their occupied territories as exploitable livestock, and slaughter all those going against them?”

“We stopped doing that sort of stuff tens of thousands of years ago.”

“Yeah, true. The demons as they’re recorded in old documents were crazy.”

Therese seemed to harbor various misgivings about those three demons, but personally, I had a good impression of them. If the demons were to aim for conquering the world, I’d lose my calm──well, let’s just pretend it’s calm──life then and there. Also, I can easily associate with their mindset as it resembles that of many Earthlings.

“We now understand things about the demon country a bit better. But, why haven’t negotiations started yet?”

“There has been a change in political power just recently- That’s why.”

“What? Why wouldn’t negotiation start just because the administration got changed?”

Burkhart-san was apparently unable to comprehend what Silas was saying.

“Our country has no department that’s in charge of foreign affairs to begin with. The Civil Rights Party came to power for the first time in a very long time, but their members lack the abilities to get things done.”

“Why would such people win in the election…?”

From Burkhart-san’s point of view as someone not understanding democracy, he probably couldn’t understand a system completely based on popular election. And its impact…

“The elections are held every four years, so incompetent people will get voted out during the next elections. It might be rude to say it like this, but how many dozens of years do you have to curse your own fate, if the successor of a noble or royal family proves to be an incompetent dunce?”

“Well, if they suck too much, it does happen that their retainers get rid of them, too.”

It’s common sense that listing the merits and demerits of political systems results in an endless endeavor. Both systems won’t work if the ones at the top aren’t good enough to run an administration.

“What do you think, Earl-sama?”

“Eh? Both depend on what people make out of it, no? I think both systems have their advantages and disadvantages, though.”

I don’t really mind either political system, but I think it’ll be a problem if you nitpick or intervene in the political system of another country. And if this resulted in war and many deaths because you poked your nose where it doesn’t belong, it would make no sense either.

“Earl-sama, aren’t you unexpectedly well-suited to be a politician?”

“No way that could be true.”

I just have an extent of such understanding because of my previous life. But, if I got involved in politics while having such an incomplete understanding of things, it wouldn’t lead to anything decent. That in itself would be just like the members of the Civil Rights Party.

“It’s wonderful that we could talk about so many interesting things. Those will be a big help.”

I don’t plan to deliberately get invested in the negotiations, but it’s always better to possess information.

Since I’d draw criticism on myself if I butted in while disregarding the royal family and Margrave Holmia, I’ll ultimately just use it as a reference though.

“Okay, then please be careful on your way back.”

“Huh? I’m not going back.”

“Me neither.”

“It’s just going to be boring if we go back anyway.”

“Pardon?”

We were thrown for a loop when the three started to talk about not returning to the archipelago.

“No, no, wait. What’s the plan when you’re not going back?”

“Earl Baumeister, you seem like some sort of VIP, so I think I’ll rely on your hospitality while also using it as an opportunity to sightsee.”

“You won’t be paid your wages if you don’t go back, will you?”

“We’re not that hard pressed on money anyway. As long as you provide us with daily allowances and commonplace entertainment expenses, we won’t mind moving to the Lingaia Continent at all.”

“I joined the military as a civilian employee because my parents told me to, but that place is no good at all.”

“We’ll provide you with more information, if you want, so take us in for a while, will you? We’ll head back at a suitable time.”

“……”

Even Doushi was speechless while looking at those three who didn’t possess a shred of loyalty towards their country and comrades. I could understand their way of thinking, however.

“Oh right, did you know, Earl Baumeister? The daily pay of young civilians in military employment amounts to 6400 En. Taxes, health insurance, and pension are deducted from that.”

“That’s the pay of working poor.”

Given that their job was nothing more than a measure to lower the unemployment rate of young people, its pay wasn’t good either. But, assuming the currency of En has a similar value as Yen, it’s not that bad a deal, if you include that the necessities of life are provided for free, is it? But, even then it’s a non-permanent employment.

Even I, as someone entering the category of former corporate slave, had permanent employment…so my job might have actually been better than theirs.

“Once the troop dispatch ends, we’ll be unemployed once again. We’re nothing but disposable pawns in this.”

“I see…”

I ended up simultaneously feeling an emptiness and nostalgia as if having returned to the world of my previous life. Which reminds me, I went to a reunion meeting of my junior high school class before I was transferred to this world here, but many of my former classmates were scraping by with temporary jobs or part-time work.

No matter the world, young people got it tough anywhere, I suppose.

“I don’t know how much 6400 En is worth, but can you convert gold or silver coins?”

“That’s no problem. Gold can be converted at recycle shops.”

This reality caused me to ponder for a bit.

 

 

In the end, Mall and his friends followed us back. Because we couldn’t announce their arrival publicly, I had them hide their ears and decided that they’d live inside a small magic airship. Moreover, I told them that one of their brethren was freeloading at my place and brought Arnest over with Teleport.

Unexpectedly, those three appeared to be acquaintances of Arnest.

“Oh, you’re here as well, sensei?”

“So you were still alive, sensei. The media mentioned that you had likely died during the exploration of a remote ancient ruin.”

“Sensei, we couldn’t get a job in the end.”

The world appears to be a surprisingly small place.

“You’re acquainted?”

“That is correct. I have been teaching as a professor at a certain university before moving to this continent. Back then, those three took part in my seminar.”

“They are unemployed despite having received such a high education?”

“Madam, sometimes having too much education can have an adverse effect. The posts available for humans with high educational levels are limited, and people, who had been aiming for those kinds of positions will refuse doing regular jobs. This is described as an employment mismatch in our country.”

“It sounds like the demon country has its own share of problems.”

Speaking of universities in the Kingdom and Empire, each has just one academy. The enrollment exams are pretty harsh, but if you graduate from either of those places, you won’t have any trouble finding a job. As such, Elise can’t believe that those three are unemployed despite having graduated university.

“Still, are all the students of my seminar unemployed?”

“No. Demitorr passed the exam for governmental officials. Horst joined a company that has absolutely nothing to do with archeology. Mian is living in the countryside, providing for himself.”

“All of those have nothing to do with archeology…”

Arnest’s field of expertise is archeology. And yet, none of his students is working in that field. That would be very unlikely in the Kingdom, so even Erw cannot hide his surprise at hearing that.

“That is truly saddening to hear. Archeology is the best field of study as you learn about the knowledge of ancient times, and yet…”

“Archeology doesn’t put any food on the table.”

“In the first place, sensei, you had absolutely no connections to any companies.”

“Even becoming a university professor is quite a challenge. It was nothing we could have accomplished.”

Arnest was an outstanding archeologist. But, he couldn’t selfishly increase the number of lecturers and assistant professors, and archeology is a bad starting point for finding a job, too. Even if you do research, you’re basically dependent on funding by the state, or so they said.

Most recently they haven’t been able to do any decent excavations either because of budget cuts.

“That is the reason why I came to this continent in search of new ruins and a sponsor.”

And seeing how he cooperated with Duke Nürnberg, he is truly a researcher at heart. He puts his research in front of all, even if it’s justice or morals.

“Sensei, you did well to get out of our country.”

“It was quite an ordeal, but I possess a lot of mana.”

He apparently stayed out of coastal and air patrols by traveling underwater, and then he aimed for the continent by using Flight. Of course, he had to stay in the sea for several days as it was a journey that couldn’t be covered in a day. As he didn’t use a magic airship either, it was equal to crossing the Atlantic by yourself, when put in Earthen terms. A feat that should only be possible for demons with huge mana pools.

“Did something change back home during the many years of my absence?”

“Nothing major. If anything, it’d be the loss of the National Sovereignty Party in the election?”

“If it is only that much, that country is an utter incarnation of boredom.”

“You could argue that this was the reason why we were able to apply as civilian employees for the military and reunite with you like this, though.”

“The Civil Rights Party, huh? The guys who made a ruckus as an autonomous organization at the university, right? Those people were nothing but trouble since they did not study at all.”

As Arnest didn’t care much about politics, he didn’t seem overly interested in what his students told him. Moreover, he didn’t have the highest attitude of the new party in power either.

“Having said that, it might have a negative impact on my excavations if both countries go to war. Earl Baumeister, I hope you are going to handle this matter carefully.”

“Why me?”

“Because you are an earl, it is your duty to take the initiative in the name of noblesse oblige.”

“The heck…”

“Even if you do not do anything, Earl Baumeister, my report is going to catch the attention of His Majesty the King.”

“……”

Okay, it’d have been better to have left that guy back in my mansion after all.

 

*   *   *

 

Support us!

This translation lives from your support! Become a Patron and allow this series to keep going!

(By the way, this is no joke or dumb scheme to extort your money. No support -> no free translation)

 

『Milord, you must stand firm here, if you dislike war』

“I’m working quite hard, okay? Mostly at fishing, though.”

『You are out on a military campaign either way. How about trying to leaking the information to the royal court, seeing how that would be still better than getting dragged into a war against the demons?』

“Yeah, that’d be a major pain…” I sighed at Roderich through the MHCD.

The number of demons freeloading at my place had grown to four, and thanks to that, I could obtain a certain extent of overview about the general situation. But, there’s a truckload of problems to be dealt with.

First, the demon country has apparently been arguing over the composition of their diplomatic corps for the negotiations. Moreover, some demons were domestically hawking an invasion of the Lingaia Continent in order to somehow alleviate the demon country’s stagnation. In addition, the 『Lingaia』 had fired its magic at a vessel of the defense force when the demons were advising the sailors to leave their territorial airspace.

『So who made them fire the magic, seeing how the captain wouldn’t be able to escape responsibility?』

“According to their information, it was an inexperienced noble heir who served as vice-captain on the ship.”

『Ah, so it was the son of that awfully deplorable man…』

“I see you’re quite well-informed, Roderich.”

『I would rather say you set a thief to a catch a thief…』

Without me being aware of it, Roderich had apparently opened up some new routes to obtain information from the palace. He immediately realized that I was talking about the heir of the Earl Platte House.

Is he getting his intelligence through Minister Rückner?

“Somehow it sounds like it came out as a big story in the newspapers over there.”

However, the spell used lacked power and thus didn’t have any effect on the thick hull of the demon country’s ship, but that doesn’t change the fact of it having been an attack. It looks like the demons immediately counterattacked and seized the Lingaia.

All of this was information I received from Mall and his friends.

According to a newspaper article, the son of the Platte House haughtily clamored that he should be treated appropriately as he was the next Earl Platte during his interrogation, putting the one in charge of the questioning in a bind.

“It sounds like that guy was heavily criticized in the demon country’s newspapers as 『selfish man playing with fire after becoming a noble just because of his lineage』.”

『That is a reasonable assessment, I would argue』

We were nobles of the same kingdom, but neither Roderich nor I saw any groundings in defending that guy. I never met the son, but since I hate his father, I don’t feel a shred of desire to rescue that spoiled brat.

Well, I think the newspapers on Earth would write around the same, if something like that happened over there. In the eyes of the media, a selfish, arrogant noble, who believes himself to be special, would register as the perfect target for criticism.

“But, even if I inform His Majesty about this, it’s meaningless, isn’t it?”

『Indeed…』

I don’t have any conclusive proof that it’s the truth. If people said that this was a trap planted by the demons to trick the Helmut Kingdom, I’d have no counterarguments.

And in reality, some nobles are already saying such things. Especially the hawks around Earl Platte. For sure he’s not going to honestly admit that it’s been his son’s fault at this point in time.

Not few among the Kingdom’s nobles wonder whether we can’t somehow invade the continent inhabited by the demons. In the worst case, it’s also possible that I’ll be doubted and attacked as a demon collaborator.

『Under these circumstances, it is a big help for us that the demon country has not decided on the diplomatic corps yet』

“So, how do you wish for things to develop, Earl Baumeister?”

“I’d prefer to maintain the status quo,” I answered Arnest’s question.

It’d be great if the demons could withdraw their airfleet from the Terra Harrez Archipelago. Then the Kingdom could officially apologize if the retard of the Platte House had been the ringleader behind the 『Lingaia』 incident, and sign a fair trade agreement afterwards.

However, that’s easier said than done.

“Earl Baumeister, what are you going to do?”

“As I thought, it is way too troublesome, so let us inform His Majesty about everything!”

Once Doushi declared so, we quickly headed over to the palace through Teleport. Arnest and Mall’s group accompanied us while hiding their ears, but since Doushi had contacted His Majesty in advance, the soldiers didn’t ask anything as we passed through the palace.

“Earl Baumeister, as always, I cannot quite decide…whether you’re a very lucky or unlucky man.”

This time we had an audience with His Majesty while even the ministers were absent. This was a rare occurrence, but it was approved of as Doushi would be present as His Majesty’s guard.

“It’s not like we have been playing around without doing anything.”

His Majesty explained that the Kingdom sent forth a diplomatic corps under the lead of the Minister of Foreign Affairs, but the negotiations didn’t proceed in any way. The diplomatic corps had been detained on the demon air fleet’s flagship, and although they could contact the Kingdom, they were apparently told to wait a bit longer every day.

“Just what is going on with the demon country?”

Arnest’s information has been regularly delivered to His Majesty, but no matter how different their political system might be, not even starting to negotiate posed a problem to them, said His Majesty.

“About that…”

After listening to Mall and his friends, His Majesty sighed. He didn’t have much interest in the four demons who had hidden their ears. After all, this was not a situation to bother with such things and neither of the four was a politician. Only Arnest drew His Majesty’s interest somewhat since he had been providing the palace with information about the demons so far. Though it was also possible that he was deliberately pretending to be disinterested because it’d otherwise draw the attention of the other nobles, if he kicked up too much of a fuss.

“Chaos due to this immediately happening after a change in political power? Well, it’s not like this has never happened in the Kingdom either.”

According to him, at some point in the past, the change of the king and ministers overlapped, and since the Kingdom was at war with the Empire back then, it delayed the beginning of ceasefire negotiations.

“Still, that’s a problem.”

The west had mobilized all the troops it could scrape together and the royal army had sent forth its air-force and a part of its soldiers, too. Moreover, some nobles like us had also sent their magicians and magic airships. This whole machinery was tearing through funds and goods even while standing still.

And all of this happened just as the Kingdom tried to build up power by developing various areas while the Empire’s national power had declined due to the damages caused by the civil war. In the eyes of His Majesty, it had to seem as if a nightmare had befallen the Kingdom.

“Having said that, it’d be pointless even if I sent you out to negotiate, Earl Baumeister.”

I’d likely end up being forced to wait just like the diplomatic corps, and the diplomats wouldn’t be overly happy to see me either. Given that I didn’t belong to the foreign affairs faction, it’d be a clear-cut transgression into their authority.

“I’m grateful for the new information, but things sure look bleak…”

 

 

On the next day after discussing the situation lengthily, it seemed like there was finally some sort of movement on the diplomatic front. A new airship from the demon country had apparently arrived at the archipelago, carrying a diplomatic corps of their government.

The Kingdom’s diplomats informed the palace that they’d start the negotiations quickly.

“Somehow, I got a bad feeling about this…”

“Usually you’re spot on, whenever you get those feelings of yours, Wend. Are they going to argue during the negotiations?” Ina asked while looking worried, but right now we couldn’t do anything.

We got up early, did all sorts of training sessions, and while keeping an eye on the babies, we went sightseeing in Sirius.

“This place sure is overflowing with an exotic flair…”

“Since it’s such a rare opportunity, we should eat some local dishes.”

“I wonder what kind of souvenirs I should get for my parents?”

Our sightseeing had also been for the sake of our four demon guests, and it looked like they were enjoying the overseas trip from the bottom of their hearts.

“My dear, former students, did you consider what you are going to eat for lunch?”

“We’re in a port city, so it’s got to be seafood!”

“Maybe there are some other good dishes.”

“And, it’s going to be sensei’s treat, too!”

“Well, I do not particularly mind, but…”

Arnest usually appeared to be an aloof genius, but it seemed like he was rather pleased about the reunion with his former students. He readily paid for their food and souvenirs.

“Sensei, you are quite a rich man.”

“I have been getting paid by Earl Baumeister because I brought decent results.”

At this point, he had already discovered many underground ruins and obtained all sorts of excavated items for us, so I’ve been paying him a corresponding reward. Arnest is a research nut, but he never forgets to properly provide benefits to his own sponsor.

Seeing how he was able to get along with Duke Nürnberg, he’s a man who’s capable of at least that much consideration.

Usually he doesn’t use much of his money since he spends a lot of time locked up in his own room, but he appears to be flexible enough to splurge during occasions like this.

“If only we had some girls with us here…”

“We do, don’t we? Moreover, all of them are cute.”

“Even if they’re cute, the part about all of them being married… nowadays, adultery is being looked down upon by society.”

“You got a point there, I guess.”

“Then again, we haven’t been able to marry to talk about adultery.”

“……”

Haruka is Erw’s wife, and the rest of the women are all my wives. Given that there’s not much of a difference between demons and humans, they might harbor various thoughts about the difference to us.

However, demons get publicly flamed if they do adultery? I feel like their place sounds increasingly familiar to me…

“It is not like it poses a particular problem to stay single.”

“Well, sensei, you treat your research like a lover, so…”

“We’d like to have at least a lover, too.”

“Marriage…is impossible because of a lack of funds.”

Monogamy is the norm in the demon country, but marriages among the young people have been gradually decreasing. As the number of youths unable to marry has grown, Mall and the others wanted to at least find a girlfriend. They frequently looked at the young women walking through the city.

“Considering it properly, I guess it’s impossible to land a girlfriend while being jobless.”

“It might be possible if you’re a very handsome hunk or something like that. You could also become a pimp?”

“Where do you see any handsomeness among us? Also, I hear that pimps have it surprisingly hard.”

“”””””””””……””””””””””

Elise and the others couldn’t say anything as the content of the demons’ conversation was too far out.

“Are all of you single?”

“More than 90% of our generation are singles.”

“How old are you?”

“I’m 54 years old. Lamru and Silas are 53.”

Mall answered Haruka’s questions.

Because demons lived almost three times as long as humans, you could regard them as approx. 18 years old, if converted into human age. It looks like we aren’t that far apart in age.

“You are still students after having lived for more than 50 years?”

“Indeed. Demons have a long life, you see? Also, it’s because we have no job.”

According to them, compulsory education takes 27 years. On top of that, higher education requires another nine years, and university another twelve years. Apparently there also exists a graduate school after university that lasts between six and twelve years, but they didn’t go there.

“Is there so much to learn?”

“No, it’s just because you can cover up your unemployment by being a student.”

Even demons had no need to go to school for such a long period of time. However, if they went out into society after just the time required to learn the necessary stuff, the number of unemployed people would keep growing, so they were simply allowed to stay students for many, many years.

“So, a very long moratorium, huh?”

“Earl Baumeister, you sure know some complicated words.”

“You’re right. However, we go twice or thrice per week to school.”

“Everyonce in a while, we simply forget to attend or some such.”

“Even so, it’s easy to advance through the grades, and it’s also alright for us to waste some time on part-time jobs.”

Mall and his friends laughed, but it sounds like long-living demons have their own share of troubles, too.

“Even though you’re magicians…”

“Wilma-san, magicians might be rare among humans, but all demons are magicians.”

“In short, there’s simply too many of them.”

It made me think that it’d be possible for them to enter governmental service in no time, if they weren’t demons.

“Let’s forget all about harsh reality and enjoy the sightseeing for now!”

We had a blast with everyone on this day, but I wonder how long such days would continue? Given that further developments depended on the other side’s response, it might be fine for us to keep going like this for the present. After all, we might become very busy very quickly.

 

 


<– Previous Chapter | Glossary | ToC | Next Chapter –> | Jump to Volume 19 –>>



Translation Notes:

4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 19 – Chapter 3: Second Contact – Part 1 » Infinite Novel Translations

  2. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 19 – Chapter 3: Second Contact – Part 2 » Infinite Novel Translations

  3. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 19 – Chapter 3: Second Contact – Part 3 » Infinite Novel Translations

  4. Pingback: Hachinan tte, sore wa nai deshou! – Volume 19 – Chapter 3: Second Contact – Part 4 » Infinite Novel Translations

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.