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Chapter 072 – The Gourmet Majin’s Wrath [A]
At the outer perimeter of the kalar’s settlement:
Among the simple rescue tents that had been hastily set up to treat injured warriors, there was a commander’s tent.
Inside that tent was the timid chief who had just returned — Pale Kalar. She explained the situation to several messenger kalar and the captain of the defense corps. As they listened to the explanation, the other kalar’s eyes opened wide and they raised their voices in disbelief.
“—Wha-what does that mean, Pale-sama?!”
They were so horrified by her explanation that they could only scream out this question. In response, Pale clearly said again,
“Please support the majin in attacking the humans!”
It wasn’t just the captain of the defense corps who reacted so strongly to the phrase of “support the majin.”
The other kalar around were also surprised by that suggestion and became noisy.
“T-to think there’s not just humans in this battle! Those majin also came…!”
“It’s over! The existence of the kalar is doomed…!”
“B-but, they seem to only be attacking humans, so maybe they will chase the humans away and ignore us…?”
“They might be fighting against humans right now, but they might attack us later. After all, they’re bloodthirsty maniacs…”
Some muttered in quiet voices to each other, while others openly despaired, but most of them were suspicious about the majin’s intentions. Fortunately, the majin showed no sign of attacking kalar, according to the messenger’s report.
However, kalar were filled with doubt whether they could trust those majin.
However, Pale reminded them with calm words.
“…It seems those majin came to the forest to play. They aren’t here to fight.”
“To play…? Now that I think about it, did Pale-sama talk to those majin? Err, during the time you were taken away.”
The one who said that was the captain of the defense corps. Pale nodded in response.
“Yes. It seems like they came to sightsee at Rising Dragon Mountain. The first one came alone to see if he could find a convenient guide, and then the rest of them joined him after. But since the humans disturbed their vacation, the majin are obviously going to retaliate. We haven’t done anything like that, so it’ll be okay for us.”
Pale’s explanation made the kalar noisy again. They could understand what Pale said, and the logic did make sense, but they were still suspicious of it. Pale understood that it couldn’t be helped for them to have such feelings.
…I’m telling the truth…well, I’m being truthful about the important parts but… I guess they can’t help but worry anyway…
It was unavoidable to only experience fear and doubt when hearing about majin. Since Pale herself was a timid person, she could understand such feelings very well. She was well aware of how infamous majin were, after all. Even the kalar, who spent their lives in complete isolation from the outside world, knew that the majin were synonymous with fear to the world. Although majin never attacked the forest before, they couldn’t help but be afraid of them anyways because of their sheer power.
But in fact, as Pale got to know a majin — Leonhart — as a person, her feelings changed. She was less afraid of majin, and towards Leonhart in particular, she only had goodwill towards him. But this was something that took time, and the kalar before her had never met Leonhart, so of course they couldn’t calm down.
…I guess it’s only me, among the people here, who are aware that Leonhart-san is a good person.
Pale felt a funny little sense of superiority. Now that she thought about it, other kalar in this place were something similar to a virgin regarding experiences with majin, so it was natural for them to be unable to win against Pale, who was very experienced with majin.
…I-it feels like I’ve won for the first time…!
The Pale who returned was just like all those other kalar that had ventured outside the settlement and returned, completely changed. Having gained her heart’s desire and still greedy for more, Pale shamelessly used her experience as the main reason to convince others to trust the majin.
Pale spoke with the self-satisfied generosity of a pioneer guiding inexperienced people.
“…Those majin only intend to harm humans and are very gentle people! Isn’t the fact I managed to return here unharmed the proof of that?!”
She put her hand on her chest as she smiled. It was the self-assured attitude of a ruler. She looked at the reactions of other kalar, expecting them to start nodding and believing her words.
All of the kalar stared at her, dumbfounded and frozen with their jaws hanging open.
When Pale saw that, she realized her failure.
…U-uwaaaaahhhh?! I ended up becoming a person who can’t read the room?!
Now she looked back, there were times when she thought acted very well, yet the others gave similar reactions like just now. It kept happening, and became a source of trauma, which led Pale to become the shut-in she was now. Pale was so sure she’d changed and become a proper ruler, but to face this kind of reception again…
“…N-now I think about it, Pale-sama’s forehead is…”
Someone muttered that. And every kalar began to look at Pale’s forehead.
“I-it became blue…”
Every kalar had a look of understanding creep onto their faces. The kalar with red crystals peeked at Pale flushed cheeks, while the kalar with blue crystals calmed down and looked at Pale approvingly. Pale, who received their gazes, felt her cheeks flush.
“Tha-that’s right! One of those majin is actually my-my boyfriend! So I begged them to help to protect the settlement!”
“Is, is-is, is that so?!”
The captain of the defense corps was so flustered she could barely put the words together to form a sentence. Ah, so this is the reaction that virgins would have, Pale immediately thought to herself, smugly. That captain’s crystal was red, after all.
After hearing this new development, most of the kalar no longer questioned Pale’s words, but most of those with red crystals seemed upset. I guess it is a kalar’s weak point to have such an apparent mark of status, thought Pale.
Anyways, Pale grasped the momentum. She decided to add more fuel to the fire and proudly responded to the question of the defense corps’ captain:
“Yes, my boyfriend is the handsome blond guy in the group. I can trust him, and he told me the others that accompanied him are also good people… by the way, Kesselring-sama also trusts and loves that person, so you can rest assured.”
The reaction they gave upon hearing Kesselring’s name was much greater compared to hearing Pale’s. She felt a bit disappointed, but this was just the difference of their influence. The kalar began whispering to each other again.
“Now that I think about it, there are reports that said they saw Kesselring-sama with a blue crystal on her forehead…”
“There’s also a report that they saw her walking together with the majin…”
“So she was working together with those majin… so that was her plan…”
Favorable reactions began to spread from one kalar to another.
Their doubt was practically gone by now. Feeling their renewed faith, Pale ordered her subordinates again.
“You should understand now. Now, quickly tell the people on the frontline — that the majin are our allies.”
The messenger who received the command immediately turned and ran to the frontline.
Pale exhaled in relief and satisfaction.
This should make their battle easier, and this would also repay her debt for being late to return as their chief.
But there should still be something she could do to help. Now she was done sending commands, Pale thought to go to the frontline herself. Just as she resolved to do that, she heard a voice squeak out from her side.
“T-that’s… um, Pale-sama.”
“Is something wrong?”
When Pale looked in that direction, she saw a girl whose cheeks were dyed red. It was the kalar girl who had a duty as messenger. Her crystal was red.
Pale felt that sense of superiority again as she responded like a chief should. However, the kalar girl didn’t have any issues to report.
“I-I… when I ran around the frontline, err, I managed to see the group of majin…”
“Ah, I see. Thank you for your hard work.”
Pale acknowledged her effort. Perhaps the girl wanted to tell everyone the information regarding the majin. Pale appreciated the girl’s effort to properly fulfill her duty.
“No, that’s not a big deal… it’s just, I have a request.”
“? What is it?”
The girl seemed to come to a decision,
“Regarding that group— especially the men, do you mind telling us their names…?!”
“…Yes…” answered the girl in embarrassment, her voice very small and meek.
The atmosphere grew silent as everyone present stopped moving to listen to their conversation. Pale understood the moment she noticed that.
…Hahaah, I see, I see, I see…! 1
As Pale desperately tried to prevent her grin from stretching into something undignified, she nodded and told them the majin’s names.
“…Let’s see. First of all, the handsome blonde’s name is—”
Just as Leonhart finished cutting down enemies to some extent, he heard a woman’s voice calling for him from behind. 2
The only person who would call him that way was Carol, but when Leonhart looked in Carol’s direction, he saw that Carol was busy stripping soldiers of their equipment, and wasn’t looking at him at all.
Just as he wondered who called him, he happened to look at a specific spot inside the forest by chance, and he saw a group of kalar from afar.
Looking at how they wielded bows and how they seemed used to the battlefield, they were probably one of the many warrior kalar corps. Now I think about it, they were fighting with humans around here, thought Leonhart. The humans who lay defeated by arrows and magic must be a result of their handiwork.
I guess it wouldn’t be weird for them to aim their weapon at me, Leonhart thought, but contrary to his expectations, he couldn’t sense any hostility from them.
The reason for that was something else that Leonhart understood as he saw them.
What he observed from kalar girls watching him was,
“Kyaa, kyaa… I met eyes with him…!”
“He’s a good man…!”
“Should I wave at him…?”
They seemed to only be focused on admiring him. Leonhart rolled his eyes as he saw that, and deliberately turned his gaze away from them.
…They’re way too relaxed on the battlefield…
Although they were separated by some distance, Leonhart could still feel their gaze. The sensation was similar to what his fan club gave to him, so he didn’t mind that, but it wasn’t something that should be done on the battlefield.
And the reason for that was probably because of Pale, who had immediately returned to the settlement to notify the kalar warriors about the majin. It was just Leonhart’s guess, but looking at how they lacked tension and were acting airheaded like Pale, he shouldn’t be too far off the mark.
Rather, were the kalar actually such a race when it came down to it? Even that Kesselring gave a completely different impression when they first met compared to how she was right now. Perhaps being befuddled like that was characteristic of the kalar. Perhaps it was some sort of ironic characteristic? mused Leonhart.
But considering how Carol sometimes acts the same way, almost falling over herself to show how impressed or fascinated she is, I can’t say for sure if it’s characteristic kalar behavior, or just something that a lot of women do… thought Leonhart as he exhaled and focused again on the battle at hand.
He looked around and searched for any strong presence in the area. He didn’t sense any abnormalities.
…I guess most humans around have already been cut down by now.
Considering the first impression he had about doing this was “how troublesome”, perhaps Leonhart was currently lacking a sense of pride in his work?
He struck down many humans to fulfill his side of the deal, but he didn’t feel fulfilled after all. There were no strongly positive or negative emotions, only a vague sense of boredom.
Perhaps it would hurt his conscience if the people he cut down were civilians who had nothing to do with the battlefield, like women or children, and perhaps he would get heated up if there were strong people who could fight to some extent on the battlefield.
However, when it came to cutting down soldiers whose resolve was barely enough to pick up a weapon, it was no different from a chore to Leonhart.
Since he led many wars, and he always had to command efficiently, to minimize the number of casualties on both sides, Leonhart sometimes felt such tiresome feelings.
Ssulal didn’t like to cause casualties more than necessary, but since she didn’t say anything right now, it meant she deemed that whatever they did right now was necessary— such was how Leonhart rationalized his careless killing spree.
…Actually, I should face them more seriously… but I guess that’s impossible.
If they at least had the intention to fight him, he would give them the respect they deserved as warriors, even if they were small fry. Disappointingly, in the end, they were merely looters and cowards.
Once they encountered an enemy they couldn’t defeat, they wouldn’t care about their goal or comrades anymore. They were willing to sacrifice anything to escape with their lives. This cowardly behavior made them unworthy of being referred to as warriors. While such actions weren’t a wrong choice for survival…
…Really, the quality of these human beings is only deteriorating.
Perhaps it was because of the haze of nostalgia, but he was pretty sure that the warriors he once led during his days as a human were nowhere near as terrible as these people. He knew that as a majin, he was considered an unstoppable force, but seeing how they tried to escape in such an unorganized manner, by pushing their allies down and running around like headless chickens, just because a majin appeared… wasn’t that a little too much? He felt miserable just watching them.
…Or am I just that scary?
Leonhart didn’t think he was scarier compared to other majin, since his appearance was completely human, but it seemed his initial intimidation tactic was way too effective. Maybe because of his human appearance, he actually came across as even scarier, because he didn’t look like a monster on the outside.
He suddenly felt curious and asked. The person he asked was his apostle Carol, who kept looting corpses even though her arms were already full of ornaments.
“…Carol, am I scary?”
“Scary, you say?”
Carol tilted her head as she heard the question. After thinking with her hand on her chin,
“Leonhart-sama’s strength and coolness is the best among the majin! That’s why it can’t be helped for humans and demons to feel awe when seeing you! They’re probably running away because they’re not worthy to be in your presence! As expected of Leonhart-sama, who excels in everything, is supported by his apostles—”
“…I guess that’s a stupid question. Okay, let’s stop there.”
“Yes! That’s an undeniable fact!”
Leonhart felt a little headache after hearing Carol shamelessly praise him. He thought it was stupid of him for asking Carol that question. He couldn’t expect anything other than praise from her if he was the subject of the conversation.
Then, as he was taking a short break under the shade of a nearby tree while waiting for Carol to finish looting the corpses, Carol suddenly turned around and called out to him,
“By the way, Leonhart-sama! I have something to ask!”
“…Fine, tell me.”
Since she raised her hand and asked for permission, he allowed her.
“Thank you very much!” said Carol, cheerfully expressing her gratitude. She continued in a more subdued tone,
“Although I’m happy about it… what was your reason to split the group like this?”
“Aah, you mean that?”
Leonhart answered that question. “It’s simple,” said Leonhart, as he stretched his shoulders and leaned back against the tree trunk.
“It’s to make sure the force is divided as evenly as possible — and then rest is due to the elimination method.”
“Elimination method, is it?”
Leonhart nodded. He continued his explanation.
“First of all, Ssulal won’t fight. So she has to be paired with a majin.”
Although Ssulal was the maou, she didn’t like to fight to begin with, and would avoid it at all costs. Leonhart was already aware of that, so he didn’t count her as a fighting force to begin with. Therefore, it was decided that she would have to go together with a strong majin.
“Then, Ssulal, who uses perception magic, and Galtia, who possesses a radar-like ability through his mushis, are not to be paired together. It’s redundant to have them in a pair since their abilities are so similar, and it’ll also make it difficult for everyone to regroup afterwards.”
“Ah-, I see.”
Carol nodded as she was convinced.
But a little later, she raised a critical question.
“But then, isn’t it okay for her to be paired with Leonhart-sama?”
Leonhart immediately denied her question.
“No, actually, I had a reason for not doing that.”
After all… Leonhart was about to continue, but stopped himself in time.
Now he thought about it, there was no way he could be 100% honest about the final deciding factor. Since the reason was,
…If Carol got paired with the other two… it’s a bit…
It would make him very anxious.
If Leonhart paired himself with Ssulal, the remaining pairs would be Galtia and Kesselring, followed by Carol and Hunty.
Galtia and Hunty raised no particular problems. Rather, Hunty was not a concern regardless of who she paired with. Since she was a person with common sense, she would adapt well to the other party, and was also easy to get along with. She would work well with Kesselring as fellow kalar, too.
But the problem is Carol, he thought.
It hadn’t been long since Carol met Kesselring, so he didn’t want to risk it, and as for Carol and Galtia… it was nothing but worry. They might really go on a picnic in the midst of the battlefield if left to their own devices.
Therefore, Leonhart had to take her along for the peace of his mind. And since Galtia couldn’t be paired with Ssulal due to the aforementioned reason, this was the only pairing that could be made.
I wonder how Kesselring and Ssulal are faring, thought Leonhart for a moment. Although their first meeting was quite peculiar, Ssulal did turn Kesselring into a majin, which meant she wanted to get along with Kesselring. And if Kesselring agreed to such a thing, that meant she didn’t hate Ssulal, either. No matter the reason, as long as they were able to properly get to know each other thanks to this opportunity, he would suffer less stress—
…Hey, this really feels like a picnic then…like those company events to get employees to get to know each other…
His thoughts started to drift too far into leisure, and he quickly felt ashamed, since he had been mentally scolding other people just earlier for being too relaxed.
He dragged his thoughts back to reality. But what should I do about this? He thought. He was reluctant to tell this to Carol. Then what excuse would be good—
“! Yes, the reason was—”
He instantly said the idea that came to his mind. And that was,
“—I think Carol… would be able to exert more power if I was watching.”
Carol’s eyes opened wide. Then her expression gradually turned into joy.
“…I understand. So you have high expectations for me, Leonhart-sama…!”
She clenched her fist as if she was moved and trembled with joy.
…Well, that’s not a lie anyway. It should be fine. I was able to confirm her power too…
I guess I shouldn’t mind since Carol is happy, thought Leonhart. For the sake of his own sanity, he decided to stop thinking any more. Carol was embracing herself as she trembled in happiness in front of him,
“Aah… I received direct expectations from Leonhart-sama…! I’m really happy-…!”
It seemed the contents of her head became like a flower field. Carol laughed as she stepped lightly around the battlefield. It would be a beautiful sight, were it not for the corpses around. This makes her feel like a serial killer instead, thought Leonhart. Should I stop her? If she keeps walking around like that, her uniform will be completely dirty. But in the end, Leonhart only exhaled, then called out:
“…We should be going. There’s no more soldiers around, so let’s look for some.”
“—Roger that!! I will answer your expectations!!”
Following Carol, who seemed to be filled with power and immediately ran off, Leonhart also left the place. If he had any final thoughts,
…In the end, that huge dude isn’t here. Did he go to one of the others’ place?
In that case, he might fight against Kesselring, Galtia, or Hunty. Leonhart also wanted to fight him, though.
Either way, he will be dead by the time I reach him. Such was what Leonhart expected, as he lost interest in that human.
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