The Melancholy of the Demon Army Officer

Translator: Tsukii

Editor: Lilia

R

Chapter 049 – Kalar’s Settlement [B]

“…Fuh, seriously, you’re so… for now, let’s sit now and discuss this properly. ”1 

“Yes, I’ll sit down! I’m sorry for being so unreliable!” 

Kesselring closed her eyes and put her hand on her forehead. The girl in front of her sat down so fast that the chair wobbled dangerously. She grabbed a few documents, as if ready to write down whatever Kesselring was going to lecture her on, but her hands were gripping the documents so tightly that the papers looked like they were about to tear. She kept bowing her head in apology, and her entire body shook so intensely that Kesselring could hear the chair rattle against the ground. Perhaps the girl thought Kesselring was angry at her. Although Kesselring wasn’t particularly angry, there were things that had to be said, so, 

“You don’t have to apologize. I merely thought to clarify our standing—” 

“I’m sorry for not realizing that sooner!” 

“…” 

Before Kesselring could explain herself, Pale immediately took on the blame and apologized. The words that came after would be the suggestion that she always made. And, as expected, she spoke those words. 

“Uhm…after all, isn’t it better for Kesselring-sama to stay as the chief instead…?”  

“…I’m already retired.” 

“Bu, but, there’s the matter of battle against humans…if Kesselring-sama stayed as the chief, I think the citizens would feel more reassured…and besides…I’m no good at it…” 

“…” 

The words that leaked out of Pale’s mouth were a weak attempt to convince Kesselring to stay as the chief. However, her feelings weren’t misplaced. That was why those words bothered Kesselring. 

Although she seemed to be a weak minded girl, she was indeed the head of Kalar’s Settlement. Her opinions were shaky, but they reflected the general mindset of the population.

Therefore, Kesselring opened her mouth again to clarify her position and persuade her.

“…That might be the case.” 

Kesselring nodded once. In fact, that was indeed the case. 

Currently, the Kalar’s Settlement was in a state of war, as the land they had occupied for centuries was being invaded by a human nation that sought the abundant, untouched resources in this vast forest.

The seemingly endless corps of human soldiers advancing through the forest were barely repelled by the corps of kalar’s warriors. Battles could rage for multiple days and nights, and although the kalar had the terrain advantage, the human soldiers refused to give up. The current situation was that kalar barely managed to afford the current stalemate, and they had to be alert at all times.

In such situations, the previous chief of the settlement, Kesselring herself, would lead the charge. Not only was she the strongest warrior among the kalar race, but she also had a track record of fighting against human invaders in the past, and was experienced with their battle techniques. 

Kesselring didn’t mind the fact she often had to fight on her own. Although she retired from the position of chief kalar, she was still a kalar. She considered it her duty as a member of the community to do her best to ensure its safety. Besides, if the current chief were to command it, every person affiliated to the settlement had to fight.

She was also fine that the morale rose immensely when she led her people into battle. If it were only for the sake of the settlement, she could even accept becoming chief again.

Although there was a personal reason why she didn’t do so, she could bear with that if she had to. It wasn’t that big of a deal.

The problem lay elsewhere. Kesselring had tried to address it subtly and without explicit words before, but it seemed like that strategy wasn’t working. Before she could open her mouth to speak again, Pale raised her voice and brought up the idea again. 

“Then, isn’t it better for Kesselring-sama to be the chief instead…” 

The words that came out were the same as earlier, which was to return the title of the chief to Kesselring. It was such an unreliable statement.  

Therefore, Kesselring spoke, as if trying to block her request,

“—That’s no good.” 

“Gh…” 

At the sharp voice of refusal, Pale’s entire body recoiled, and she sat, cowed into silence. Kesselring took this opportunity to clarify her words, trying to not be too strict yet also not too kind. 

“Indeed, if I became the chief again, our morale and overall power will certainly immediately increase. To want to depend on those who are more powerful…that thought itself is not something to be ashamed of, as a chief. However—” 

You know the reality of the situation already. Just by looking at the girl’s face, Kesselring could tell that Pale knew what she was going to say. 

Kesselring had already told the girl over and over before about this critical fact, and once again emphasized it with a quiet tone:

“—I don’t have much longer.” 

“! Tha-that’s…” 

Pale’s face twisted into a complicated expression. She looked like she wanted to cry, get angry, and give up, all at the same time.  

However, it was a fact. Therefore, Kesselring didn’t stop talking.

“I’ve lived over a hundred years. My ‘time of change’ will come soon.” 

Time of change. It was well known among the kalar race. 

The kalar race won’t grow old, and they have no lifespan.

The kalar race grew faster than humans, but once they reached their ideal state as a living being, they wouldn’t grow older anymore, and would keep that appearance for decades. They spent most of their life in that so-called matured state.

However, the kalar race did have something that was similar to the end of a human’s lifespan. That was the time of change.

The kalar in question would be weighed by their karma, then reincarnated into either an angel or a devil. This characteristic of the kalar race was known as the time of change, and it was something comparable to a human’s death.

Although the moment when time of change came to a kalar varied, most kalar wouldn’t reach their time of change until well beyond the age of 90. 

Most of those who lived until 100 would reach their time of change by then, and they would be reincarnated as an angel if their good karma was greater, or a devil if their evil karma was greater.

And Kesselring was already more than 100 years old.

She definitely didn’t have much time left in her. Therefore, Kesselring conveyed her thoughts with a serious voice.

“I don’t mind using up the rest of my life here to keep on fighting.  However—” 

Her time of change might come to her at any moment without notice. It wouldn’t be impossible for it to come during the midst of combat. Therefore, Kesselring had always warned Pale that it would be dangerous to keep depending so heavily on an existence that could disappear at any moment. 

“The human soldiers won’t stop just because they see me vanish. If anything, they would be even more determined to fight. What will you and the others do once that happens? Just sit and wait for your death?” 

“Tha, that’s—!” 

“Then, be more self-aware. And be more confident about yourself. I chose you so it wouldn’t come to that—” 

Also, 

“And I—won’t help those who are not willing to struggle.” 

“…!” 

“If things were different – if I could still continue being chief, then I may never have said those words. If times were more peaceful, then maybe I would never need to say those words, and it would be okay if I handled everything on my own. I could take my time, and wait for you to slowly grow. But I’ve given up the title of chief, with no intention to take it back up again, and so I’ve given up those responsibilities as well.” 

Kesselring’s words showed how seriously she took her responsibilities as chief. Pale felt the pride in Kesselring’s voice as she spoke about her position, but as she listened to Kesselring once again reject the idea of becoming chief, her expression darkened.  

…I wished for you to overcome the crisis quickly, so I could just wait for my time of change without worrying, but…

Her timid attitude would take a long time to be fixed. But if it was her, then surely… such was the strength of Kesselring’s belief in her.

Kesselring chose the next chief when she was in her 90s. It was considered very late compared to others in the past.

And the person she personally chose was the kalar girl in front of her, Pale Kalar.

Kesselring chose her out of the consideration that it would be better for the next chief to be a more thoughtful and broadminded person.

It was just that it was very difficult for a chief to properly grow, given the current situation. With constant crises happening every day, there was no time for Kesselring to properly teach and practice with Pale. There was also the fact she kept insisting on depending on Kesselring, and had zero initiative to voice her own opinions.

Kesselring thought that life was hard for the kalar race, and would only become harder.

The world was mostly filled with demons and humans, and the kalar race, because of their status as demi-humans, were not welcomed by either side. Their special ecology made it difficult for them to receive human protection, despite looking very human.

Therefore, the kalar race had to keep fighting independently to protect their living sphere. They couldn’t rely on the Demon Army or the human nations.

Fortunately, the kalar race was born with innate magic power and talent that was much greater than that of humans. Furthermore, since they stopped aging once they reached adulthood, they would always be at their peak, and could keep fighting in their best condition until the time of change came.

However, they couldn’t win against human quantity. As for the Demon Army, they would lose in both quantity and quality. Despite their differences, both demons and humans were incarnations of desire, and they always tried to oppress the kalar race, regardless of the era.

In particular, the human men were extremely barbaric, and the majority of them thought of women as mere tools for their lust.

In order to fight against those factions that were generally better than they were, the kalar race needed something appropriately powerful, to put an end to the fighting.

Kesselring couldn’t find such a way when she was the chief. But she couldn’t bear to submit, either, so she could only continue to fight.

Fortunately, Kesselring herself possessed enough power to counter these factions largely on her own. However, the same couldn’t be said for the future. Her time of change could come any moment now, and there was nobody else in the kalar community who had the same raw fighting power that she did.

The girl she chose as her successor was knowledgeable and had a wide field of vision among the kalar race. She would have enough intelligence to handle such complicated situations in the future.

All that she needed was a little courage and self-confidence. At first, Kesselring thought that if she stayed by her side, then Pale could slowly mature. However, it seemed that Kesselring’s very existence became an obstacle to her growth.

…Perhaps this is a good opportunity.

Kesselring decided to make her final choice. From the beginning, she had already thought it was about time to leave.

Kesselring took a breath and took one last careful look at Pale, who still stared at the floor and was trembling like she was trying to hold back tears. After apologizing to her inside her heart, Kesselring spoke out her thoughts.

“…Let’s end the era of relying on me.” 

“Ke-Kesselring-sama…?” 

Kesselring stood up. Pale looked up at her, but Kesselring refused to look at her and instead turned away to the window, as if she was pushing away Pale.  

“Now, after today — I won’t enter the battlefield anymore.” 

“—?!” 

Pale’s expression was dyed in surprise. Of course, if the situation was really dangerous, Kesselring would still fight. However, for that to happen, things would have to be really bad, like if the enemy was close to breaching the gates of the settlement itself. Of course, this was only if she was still in this world when that happened, though.  

However, Kesselring wouldn’t go out of her way to tell Pale that. If she did, then nothing would change. They would end up believing that she would still come save them, and never learn to desperately fight on their own, or to find other solutions. 

There was the slightest shadow of guilt on Kesselring’s face, but she continued on, 

“You can hate me for this. I didn’t want to do this, and a part of me still thinks it’s too cruel…this might sound severe, but… it seems like everyone in this settlement, including you, can’t grow if I stay here.” 

That’s why, 

“I will quit the front stage. From now on, it will depend on the power of you, Pale, the chief of kalar, and everyone else, to keep this community safe.”

With that said, Kesselring turned around and walked towards the door without a single glance back at Pale. 

However, as she expected, from behind,

“Tha-that’s—! Ple, please wait! Please don’t go away, Kesselring-sama!!” 

She heard a desperate voice begging her to stay. She even heard a thump as Pale dropped to her knees and pleaded, crying. Kesselring kept moving forward. 

“Tha-that’s impossible for me…! P-please, I’m sorry, I’ll do better, so, just give me one more chance–” 

“…” 

Perhaps, Pale was truly trembling as she said that. 

Kesselring opened the door and paused in the entryway. 

I should give her some final words. That’s the least thing I could give her, as the former chief and the person who’s entrusting this heavy responsibility to her, thought Kesselring.

With that in mind, Kesselring decided to encourage Pale one last time. She turned to face Pale, and looked into her teary eyes.

“You should be able to do it. No, you will be able to do it.” 

“—” 

“I will tell you once again— I chose you myself. I know I did not choose wrongly, and I have never regretted my choice. Be confident in yourself.” 

With such words of encouragement and a gentle smile on her face, Kesselring left the building forever, leaving behind the girl who was her successor. 

Pale sat, collapsed on her knees, her head bowed.. 

“I-I…” 

Nobody could see her current expression. 


Author Note:

Ssulal: “…You seem to feel like saying a good thing, but your face will have a female face later anyway, right…?”2

Kesselring: “…” (Looks away.)


T/N:

Well then, something different for once

It is mentioned above that Kesselring was both over 100 years old and chose her successor in her 90s. Meaning, the successor is definitely younger, let say, 30s-40s at most, when chosen. That would make Kesselring age at most at her 100-120. In that case, who was the “King of the Nights” coined during SS 100 since she wasn’t born by then? Well, perhaps there was some existence similar to her during that age, and seeing the captain on several chapter prior forgot of the saying that “Never attack Kalar Settlement at night” perhaps there was period where such existence absent, and Kesselring just happen to be to have similar ability thus the legend mixed in between two or more existences.


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