I just want to summarise all the normal stuff and skip right to the interesting parts of the story…
Now some of you may be wondering “Wat da FAACK is the Kingdom of Lezaad? You’ve been bloody writing “Renard” all of this time!”
Well, yes. Yes, BUT! BUT! I’ve actually been diagnosed with a severe disorder where when I misread a sequence of katakana for the first time, I will continue interpreting it wrong in my head for every time thereafter.
A good example of this is when I continually read the protagonist’s name as ‘Lurusliana’.
I won’t apologise. It’s the disorder’s fault. Blame the disorder.
Chapter 21 – Sightseeing
Fortress City Finale.
Historically it began as the royal capital’s first line of defence against the powerful monsters that descended from the mountain range to the north, but it seems that by now it was nothing more than an unimportant frontier city.
For a while after the founding of the Kingdom of Lezaad, large numbers of monsters on the Logsera Mountain Ranges were running rampant, but that situation had immediately changed when a few hundred years ago, an Ancient Dragon had settled down on the mountain.
Perhaps because the powerful monster had become a powerful source of leadership for the lower class monsters, or perhaps because they had become the prey of the Ancient Dragon and no longer had the leisure to move south, the numbers of monsters from the mountain ranges that headed southwards towards Finale dropped sharply.
Presently it was an extremely peaceful city, and although it wasn’t as though there weren’t any monster attacks at all, even so almost none of the powerful monsters that dwelt in the mountain ranges had been seen around Finale.
Right now it was known as a trade city that was right between the capital and a number of rural towns and villages, and there were more merchants than soldiers.
It’s title as a fortress city was a leftover from the past, along with the surrounding tall stone walls that gave the city its fortress designation.
He had brought Iris along, and talking a stroll through the city and finding everything extremely curious, he was enjoying himself.
Being known as a trade city, there seemed to be goods from various places, north, west, east and south, and it was enough that he wanted to spend a whole day killing time there.
“Ojisama… Please look at this!”
Being told that by Iris, he looked at where she was pointing and found that there were magic tools, ornaments, and even food.
Because she seemed to be having a lot of fun, he was glad that they came here.
Moreover, he found not a few magus machines being sold there, and went over with Iris to window shop, but contrary to his expectations there were a number of interesting things, so after careful selection he bought one.
The magus machine that he bought was not large; it was small and seemed to be handheld, something like a primitive magus gun (Magia Pistola).
Having said that though, it was different not only to the one that Yuumis brought, but to the one that Luru made as well, and you could actually say that it was almost a magic tool.
The different between a magic tool and a magus machine was whether or not you needed to insert magic, and whether or not it would run only with the insertion of mana. These were the two large differences, but there were also some differences in construction, and you couldn’t explain it simply. Moreover, there were also magic tools where you inserted mana, and there were also magus machines where you inserted magic. It was an issue of magnitude.
In the end, differentiating them was quite vague, but explaining it simply, their effectiveness was simply different. This wasn’t exactly correct, but with this way of thinking you could correctly distinguish most of them.
However, the thing that Luru had bought was something in-between a magic tool and a magus machine, not using that erroneous criteria of effectiveness, but in a true sense where it was in a transitional period in magical technology. Because of this, Luru found it interesting.
A magus machine was something that created phenomena different from the fundamental principles and ideas of mana and magic.
It relied not only on mana and magic, but used the understanding of natural laws and the construction of the tool itself.
Things built in such a manner were magus machines.
Incidentally, what Luru purchased was shaped like a staff, and on the end of the staff there was a large crystal attached. A shot of low class magic could be inserted, and that way you could fire a pre-prepared magic without any time required. An extremely questionable effiency.
It might be better to call it a magic staff rather than a magic pistola, but the concept behind it was the same as a magia pistola.
The difference in form was but a slight issue.
Being able to chantlessly use a single spell gave you quite an advantage, so you probably couldn’t call it useless. Moreover, because you’d have already inserted the magic, even if you didn’t have mana you could use it which was another advantage.
Only, in a battle between magicians, it was probably useless.
If it was just low class magic, it would probably be enough just to have chanted some of it in advance.
At Luru and Iris’ level, they could use it without chanting, so you could even say this staff had no use to them at all.
However, it seemed like it would be good use as an excuse for when they had to actually use chantless magic, and there was also the reason that using a staff seemed more magician-ey, so he bought one.
As for the problems in efficiency, he could just remodel it one of these days.
While they were wandering about the marketplace, they bumped into people a numer of times.
Luru did, Iris did, sometimes the two of them together.
Most of the time they bumped into raggedy children so their goal was apparent, and in fact, they slapped away the slippery hands that entered the crevices of their clothing a number of times.
“Wealth disparity is something that won’t disappear no matter the era, isn’t it?”
Each time, Iris would say that with a sad expression.
Both in the distant past and in the present, this was something that hadn’t changed. On the contrary, because in the past the world was embroiled in war, poor people and orphans just increased.
She was probably speaking with that memory in mind.
Luru felt the same on this point, and in the past he had tried his best to give them protection, but even so he had seen not a few children with blacked faces, wandering the battlefields looking for food.
“…That it can’t be helped, is something I don’t want to say, but… Speaking of which, the Church was zealous in giving shelter to orphans too, weren’t they?”
Luru suddenly recalled them.
The organisation they had continued to war with held extremely cruel and harsh ideas regarding the demon race, but they seemed extremely warm to humans, busying themselves extending the scale of their philanthropic activities.
One of the things they did was shelter orphans, but the orphans they sheltered often ended up as believers of the church or soldiers who fought on the frontlines, so their goal was clear.
It was much better than simply dying a dog’s death but… It was hard to put it into words.
Luru felt it a difficult topic.
“The Church, was it? It’s a nostalgic organisation but… why don’t they exist in this era? Even though the ones who won the war were undoubtedly the humans. Could it be that the Hero really did destroy them?”
Iris raised a doubt.
In the seven years that he had been investigating, there was nothing like the Church from those days.
They didn’t appear in the annals of history, and seemed to have been consigned to oblivion.
There were religious organisations that called themselves “the chuch” in this era as well, but they had no relation to the Church of that era, and Luru knew that they were different organisations.
From religions that worshipped extremely simple nature gods, to religions that worshipped a number of gods that were more like people, all the way to religions that prayed to rocks and mountains, there were a great variety of religions, building temples here and there. However, that Church from those days that worshipped a single deity, that talked of being saved by a Hero, and carried a slogan of completely eradicating the demons, there was no sign or trace of them to be found.
Just where on earth had they gone?
Had they disappeared in the waves of history along with the Ancient Demons?
Luru had no idea how he would investigate this though…
“…I’ll look into it one day. Fortunately, it seems that in the capital there’s a library with books from all around the world, huh.”
Besides that, they had no other leads.
It would be good if they could find out what happened to the Ancient Demons by searching the library as well, but his hopes were slim.
However, hearing Luru’s words,
“The past… It would be nice if we could find out what happened, wouldn’t it?”
Wondering is there were any tourist attractions besides the marketplace, the two of them walked about.
He had wanted to see how developed a normal Lezaadian city was, so just walking about was plenty meaningful, but he also had the spirit of a tourist, wanting to see something interesting.
When he said this to Iris,
“I heard from Yuumis that there was an lake-floor city someplace. In a place like that there might be a lot of places to see, but if I had to say it, I think that Finale is more a place you would come for shopping.”
Luru had also heard of a ‘lake-floor city’.
Having said that though, it wasn’t located in the Kingdom of Lezaad, and moreover it wasn’t a place that humans actually lived in, and was treated more like a den of monsters.
You could perhaps call it a historical relic.
Having said that though, it was apparently not Ancient Demon in origin.
At any rate, Luru had no memory of such a city, and Iris was the same.
“Since there’s a city at the bottom of a lake, it seems like there should be a city in the sky as well, huh.”
When Luru said this, Iris replied,
“It would be interesting if there was one, but… I don’t think there would be one on this continent. If there was a city on the Sky Continent that existed in the past, then perhaps you could call that a Sky City, but… in the end nobody could set foot there, so…”
What Iris spoke of was a continent that was discovered floating in the sky, in the past.
“The Sky Continent, huh… How nostalgic. I had wanted to try going there, but…”
That continent was once called the Sky Continent, and the continent beneath it that served as a base was called the Dark Continent, and nobody knew by what principle it floated above it. It was a mysterious land.
There existed magus machines for flying which people had tried to use to get there, but once you got close the operation of the machine would worsen, and you’d crash.
They challenged themselves to improve the magus machine a number of times, but in the end their wish to reach it went ungranted, and it was left in history as a mysterious continent.
Incidentally, in those days the humans, and in particular, the Church, had claimed that it was where angels lived, but however you looked at it, that was all talk.
Because at any rate, they hadn’t been able to go there themselves either.
There was also the problem of flying up there, but more importantly, between the Sky Continent and the Crescent Moon Continent that held the human headquarters was the home of the demon race, the True Demon Continent, blocking them off like a wall. Even when they tried to avoid the True Demon Continent by travelling by sea, they would be swept away by currents, and as for travelling through the air, the demons naturally had flying machines, so that was impossible. All this meant was that it was only something they knew about from afar, unable to do a thing besides sucking on their thumbs.
Had they just stopped the war and asked to be allowed pass to the Sky Continent that would have bene fine, but they wouldn’t stop so the Church in those days were probably all hardcore in their beliefs.
If possible, Luru wished for that kind of group to never be born again, but…
“I wonder if the Sky Continent is floating even now… I had tried to find out what kind of place it was, but… If it still exists, I’ll try researching it again.”
When Luru said this, Iris placed her index finger to her mouth and said,
“Ojisama, you tried going there once in a flying machine, but failed, didn’t you? …Speaking of which, is that when it first started? Your acrophobia, I mean.”
She casually mentioned Luru’s weakness.
“Acrophobia… I’m, bad with high places.”
What came to mind was the blue sky he had seen from the window of the flying machine, that time he had flown it through the sky.
And then flying from the True Demon Continent for half a day, and then the sudden appearance of the continent that treated the skies as its ocean.
The spectacle that was the highlight of the trip.
And, the moment it had come into sight, the sound of the alarms in the flying machine.
The altitude he was losing, and the mana that served as fuel disappearing for some reason…
“…That was, scary.”
“If I remember correctly, father had gone as a crew member as well, hadn’t he? Just hearing the circumstances is enough to make my blood run cold. No matter how much stronger than humans we demons are, dropping from such high altitudes is not something you’d escape from unharmed… Although, even if I can’t say you and father would escape unscathed, you would certainly survive.”
Although that was true, the chance of being grievously injured was not little.
In particular, the flying machine they had been riding on was a large model with stupidly powerful output, and if you made a mistake in controlling it, it was possible that it would cause harm equivalent to a number of large scale spells.
Even if they were the demon king and his close aide, it wasn’t thinkable that they wanted to sit in the middle of a large scale magic.
“I would think that battling with the Heroes would have been much scarier but…”
Iris tilted her head in wonder, and Luru replied.
“That kind of thing has its own terror…”
However, in the end Iris couldn’t understand.
When Luru asked her about it, it turned out that Iris liked flying machines, and was apparently fine even at high altitudes.
Luru felt somehow scared from the beginning, so he probably had the fear of heights in him to begin with.
There was certainly fears like ‘I’ll die so it’s scary’ and ‘I’ll get injured so it’s scary’ but… How should one say this? Perhaps you could call it a physiological fear.
Finding it difficult to find the best way to explain it, in the end Luru gave up on explaining it.
/Chapter 21 END
Chapter 22 – A Church and Priest (33%)
Chapter 22 – Church and Priest
While walking around, before they knew it the sky was dyed madder red.
In this orange world, the inhabitants of Finale’s marketplace were beginning to pack up, and one by one they walked home with happy expressions, probably to their awaiting families.
Luru and Iris were thinking to head back too, but along the way a church suddenly caught their attention.
So muttered Luru, before the entrance, filled to the brim with empty darkness, of a church that seemed uninhabited.
He hadn’t really had a chance to see a church institute up until now, and hadn’t gone into what you’d call a proper church until now.
In the days as a demon king he’d searched through the interiors of destroyed churches before, but both the construction style and exterior of the churchs in this era were different.
To begin with it was a different religion so that much was obvious, but that was exactly why he wanted to have a look at least once.
“If we do not stay for too long, we should be able to make dinner. Please do as you wish, Ojisama. I shall accompany you.”
So replied Iris.
Taking her up on her words, Luru slowly entered the church.
Probably not barring people from coming and going, the door was fixed open.
After taking a step inside, the lively bustle they could outside became distant, and Luru who wasn’t particularly religious towards the church, felt for some reason that he was getting in the mood to be so.
It seems that the inside of the church was extremely bare, and only had the bare minimum.
A number of tough looking benches were lined up, and further in the church was a podium that was higher than the rest of the floor.
Essentially this was all.
However, after having almost looked through the entire place, something surprisingly suddenly came to Luru’s attention, and his mouth opened in astonishment.
It seems that Iris was feeling the same way, because she raised her voice as she stared at the one point.
It was further in than the podium.
She was looking where the light was seeping in through the colourful stained glass, and normally you wouldn’t find anything strange.
There, was a figure.
In contrast to the inside of this church that was dominated by grey, there stood a richly coloured, or rather properly coloured, statue.
It was the figure of a standing person.
His hair that should have been silver was by the protection of the flame spirits, dyed an exceptional burning red. And he wore a masculine expression, that seemed to symbolise his personality. From his slightly revealing outer clothing you could tell that his arms were, though thin, well built.
From a glance he seemed to be a youth, but those shining red eyes of his housed a calm and knowing expression, and had a gaze that seemed to look into the believers that came to the church.
That face, and that expression. And the colour of that hair.
Luru clearly remembered them.
Why, was in a place like this?
Why, was he standing like that in a place like this?
Luru wanted unbearably to ask.
But he knew that even if he did, there would be no reply.
For the man was not actually standing there.
It was nothing more than a statue.
And like that, Luru squeezed out a voice and called the name of the statue.
Indeed, the statue in the church was Luru’s friend long ago, the man who was not only the trusted confidant of the Demon King, but Iris’ real father.