TL Notes: Thanks to Madospicy for proofing this TL. This chapter has some dodgy stuff happening. The title reminds me of Kumoko from Kumo Desuga.
Episode 14 The Hidden* Strategy
*Also known as the Inner Sleeve Strategy, like how rogues hide weapons in their sleeves.
The capital of Cress Centluna Federation, Fabula, is located roughly in the center of Centluna nation. It functioned as the center of the federation’s politics and culture.
The reason Fabula is located on the Centluna Kingdom is that this one pair of the fragment that builds up the foundation of the federation, Cress Kingdom, is 100% composed of beastman race which is originally nomadic people. Basically, the main reason is that the nature of beastman led to not having a permanent town (here and there are towns with only up to hundreds of people) and no interest in politics and diplomacy.
Compared to that, the Centluna Kingdom which declared equality for humans, beast tribes and demihumans, regard themselves as a human country, taking the form of government of other countries, and proactively developing domestic and diplomatic ties.
For that sake, in spite the fact that Centluna doesn’t even have a mid-sized population and national strength, an enormous city and central government was created to establish authority and formal standing as the capital of The Federation Cres Centluna.
In the capital Fabula exists the head of the federation’s residence.
Officially, it’s the residence of federation representative. But in reality, the palace is the real center of the federation.
The current president of the federation, Baldem is the sovereign of Centluna and Youth Grand Duchy, which is closely related to Centluna. Although you can’t say he’s handsome, and his body grew fatter along with his middle age. Far from daring, he had a child-like charm in some aspects, making him seem good natured to anyone who met him – that was the kind of human he is.
In the lounge where the discussion over an hour between the Cress Kingdom representatives ended without reaching any agreements, he sat in an armchair, drinking tea that’s been stippled many times, moistening his throat.
With that done, he mustered his will and called for the secretary in the other room to receive the guests, tidy up the tea which was left by the guests and prepare fresh high-quality tea.
Without a moment to wait, the figure of a gorgeous blonde (man) dressed in dazzling armour with a mantle lined in red that did not show any country’s affiliations appeared.
He already expected this person, but as for the small one standing next to the blond man, entirely covered by robes, Baldem was secretly flustered.
-A child? Judging from the figure it could be an elf… no, could it be?
Thinking of the identity of the armoured man, due to the impossibility of it, he (mentally) shook his head in denial.
While the Baldem that was making allowances for his doubt, that armoured man immediately sat down on the sofa which the Cless Kingdom representative had vacated earlier.
With a natural expression, the hooded figure followed suit and sat beside him, a gentle gesture thinly entered Baldem’s line of sight.
“How was the result of the discussion? – seems there’s no need to hear it, judging from your expression. After all, they are beasts. Just a bunch of brutes that can’t do much, other than seeing the spoils in front of their eyes and swooping down to claim it. There’s no way for them to see the general situation of this country.”
The armoured man smiled, ridiculing the beast tribes that were here a moment ago.
“…That may be true. No matter what you said to them, they would reply with [we obey the will of the Beast King]. It’s impossible to talk with them.” Baldem spits out hatefully.
There has been a trend to backbite him, for example, ‘he votes for himself’, ‘he’s an ambitious one’, or that ‘he’s an apostate who had forgotten the ideals of the federation’. However, from what he’d seen, those guys who worship shady things like gods and divine beasts will only cripple their brains, and those that did nothing but give excuses are both despicable weaklings.
For the him who is an advocate of being a realist, no matter how small the decision is, it would be his choice, and he will execute it.
As a matter of course, there was always hesitation and pain, but he would defeat his indecision and bear the pain. He wasn’t embarrassed by the path he chose, nor did he regret it. That’s his way of living.
If he were to compare it to himself, those who had relied on their faith in others, obeying the Beast King repeatedly, are really naive.
To begin with, these guys don’t understand the requirements of those who stand on top. To have righteous strength, skill, and heart is the [king]? What foolishness. In reality, such unselfish(pure) people are powerless. The leader only has to look good, whether or not he is, does not actually matter. What’s important is that they manage to show results.
Speaking of which, the influence and the strength of the Beast Tribe in the Federation is nothing but a menace, and even though the federation seem like they’re walking hand in hands, for now, Baldem secretly planned for (re)invasion strategies – if he forced the recovery of the territory, the country would literally divide into two.
To fail to evaluate the importance of a situation is something he would like to avoid at all costs.
Thinking of that, the man in front of him could possibly hold the key to the situation*.
“Really? Eon isn’t butting into this case?”
Baldem’s attempt at confirmation was answered aloofly by the man who had introduced himself as the Holy Kingdom of Eon’s secret messenger, a man who is presently carrying a secret message signed and stamped by pope.
“Naturally, our country is usually neutral. We would never support one side. Should the war be prolonged and exhausting… ah, right, when the territory is liberated, we will act as mediator. However, in accordance to Holy Kingdom of Eon belief, the state religion cannot recognize the settlement of beastman and demihumans are the minimum requirement (for our help).” (armored man)
“Fn. That sort of condition is easy enough. Are there any other conditions?”
Something as tempting like that sure has a backstory* to it. For Baldem who does not have a shred to trust in human decency, there’s an inner glow in his eyes.
“That would have made this short. I would’ve liked the problems in the federation to be solved as soon as possible.”
There exist a hidden side to these cheerful words- in short, suppression through military force — understanding this, Baldem grimaced.
“What would you do if before I could take over the federation and make a swift result so that the federation does not break, the federal had already been drowned in internal conflict. That would be putting the cart before the horse.”
He looked at the Baldem opposite him.
“To start with, is it because there are two heads that it’s a problem? If there’s only one body, surely it wouldn’t have been as difficult to choose where to go. In actuality, the rights to rule this federation is already in your hands, fundamentally, to split the body equally in half was your own choice. isn’t it?” (Armored Man)
“That’s true, however…” (Baldem)
“Then isn’t it better to strike while the iron is still hot?”
For the Baldem who is hesitating, his words were reaching out like the whispers of the devil.
“No, as I thought, it’s impossible. Overlook these bunch and join up with Imperial Crimson Kingdom. We don’t know the might of Imperial Crimson’s army. If I played the wrong hand I might end up suffering from the backlash.” he managed to keep himself in check with his ideal as a realist.
“I see, that’s certainly true.”
The man who claims to be the secret messenger from Holy Kingdom of Eon leaned forward, while the other one sofa surrendered her weight to the sofa while grinning broadly with a childlike smile as if she’s ready to play a prank on someone.
“If that problem was taken care of… what would you say?”
“What?” Baldem answered with a voice filled with doubt, to hear from the third person who had kept quiet since the discussion began. The hood covering her was lifted.
“It- it can’t be!?”
Underneath the hood was as he predicted, a woman – or rather, it was a girl in brilliant red and jet black.
Around the age of 12 to 13 years old, with long flowy black hair held together by something that seems like silk. Her pupils are like brilliant red jewels, her nose and eyes arranged in a perfect balance, she was beautiful to the point of raising goosebumps on your skin.
Not only were her features gorgeous, she unmistakably has the elegance of a goddess and mystery, a peerless beauty.
Baldem was frightened not because of her beautiful appearance, but because those characteristics of appearance were mentioned in a report which was the symbols of that certain person. That is Imperial Crimson’s sovereign, Hiyuki.
“How could it be…is the demonic kingdom Imperial Crimson working together with Eon?!”
Seeing his condition, the man smiled at the success of his prank.
Even if we are posing with swords for the rest to see, we’re often cooperating under the table and more. The teachings of God is important, but without bread and water, men can’t survive.”
“I see.” That way of thinking was very convincing to Baldem.
He peered at Hiyuki who shrugged her shoulders lightly in agreement.
“Well, well, even if we were to cooperate, we’d still like to cooperate with the winners.” Deeper than what he imagined, Hiyuki responded with the voice of a matured woman.
“Thereupon you have no intentions to support Cress Kingdom, is that what you mean, your highness?”
“I don’t have the intention now. I just thought that the selection of the Beast King was interesting so I went to inspect it, other than that there’s no meaning behind it.”
“What do you think? Is there still no problem?” The smiling man who summed it up with those words pushed for a decision.
◆ ◇ ◆ ◇
The two small and big shadows returned to the parlour and walked in the hallways of the official residence of the president.
The large one in the gorgeous armour spoke to the little girl walking beside him.
“That was scary. Somehow we managed to finish it up before the mimicry card’s time limit end.”
“Well, as long as it was ended before anything happens isn’t it fine? Besides, how was I? I look just like Hiyuki-chan, don’t I? I initially wanted speak more politely, though.”
Unlike earlier, speaking with a familiar manner with her right hand around the nape, was a flirtatious girl.
“No, it’s not the situation where you need to speaking as if you’re with close friends. …the contents of that talk, was spoken as it should be.”
“Is that so? Then I’ve succeeded.” Smiling, she nodded.
With that sort of appearance, she begins to ask the man with a somewhat complex expression.
“So, how was it? Hiyuki’s appearance. Did it not change? In between the time where we did not meet…”
“Hn? I wonder. I only looked from a distance and remembered her form for the mimicry card, so for the rest (of the details) it’s not as if I observed right beside her. Un, she’s cuter than I thought. He seems resigned to being a girl.”
It’s foul play isn’t it, to act as a girl.
“Ha… is that so?”
“Hn? It’s not as if it was unexpected, before this she was already like that, could it be?”
“Nah, to begin with (he or she) was a person who didn’t really feel the differences between genders that much, it was the case that it only brought out an attractiveness… at least this was what that’s been recorded in the chat between guild members. That is possible too.”
“Hee~” said the girl who tilted her head, an obscene smile appeared on her face in the next moment.
“In that case would you like to embrace this body?”
Gazing at that sort of face on the other person, the man changed to a cold expression.
“I’m haven’t been looking at her like that, and please don’t use her form to say such insulting statements of Hiyuki-san.”
Hearing the penetratingly cold tone, the girl shrugged her shoulders as if she isn’t shy.
“Why, my apologies. – the boss had happily hugged, though.”
-And then, after finishing, she clicked her tongue in a bored manner.
Even though she did not continue to speak without a shred of self-respect, but with those words earlier, the man’s expression twisted, as if he had to hold onto something with all his strength.
◆ ◇ ◆ ◇
“-Kchshu!” I worried Asmina the next morning since I started sneezing suddenly as I felt violent chills.
“Is it a cold, Hiyuki-sama?”
“No, I just suddenly felt like there’s an itch in my nose, it’s settled so it’s fine.”
We’re the same venue yesterday where the prelims occurred, [Demonic Wolf’s Feeding Grounds]. With a fog in front of us, the first match in the second round of the tournament Revan Vs. [Giant Rock] of the Bearman tribe, Eugene is about to begin.
“Well, the opponent’s a 700kg giant, but the match is about to begin.”
“It’s fine, for Revan-niisama, a 1000kg monster can be defeated with his bare hands,” Asmina answered, full of confidence.
As expected, the difference in weight is unrelated – or rather, normally the weight of mobs in a game are 1 tonne and above. Now that I mentioned it, that sort of handicap is normal for the previous world.
On the signal of the referee, both sides advanced to the center of the match.
“…what bear is that?” in spite of myself, I said it with a silly voice.
“What do you mean, that’s a Bearman. Ah, a Bearman can completely seem like a monster. Most people are used to it so it’s rare to see those who aren’t.”
“No, that may be one thing, but-”
Certainly, the name huge rock is suitable for such a large man.
As Asmina said, a bear is completely standing in sight, covered from head to toe by tough, oily fur.
Ears pointed upwards, sharp eyes, a large mouth with rows of teeth peeped out, claws sprung from two rough hands capable of tearing steel.
However, even with an appearance of a beast, it wore something similar to a karate gi, with a padded undergarment, closed with a leather belt from the front. The bottoms were a pair of pants in the same color and material and you while you can sense it has intelligence, a pressure you can’t deny is similar to a wild beast as he faced his opponent.
And then most of all, the characteristics of it, the fur color all over it is white, yet around the ears and the eyes both hands, both feet are completely black.
“Isn’t that a panda?!” Unintentionally I let out a shout.
“Huh? But it’s a bear right?” Bewildered by my vigour, Asmina cocked her head in puzzlement.
-Eh, what is it, could it be my surprise is the one that’s odd, and that’s just common sense?”
“Yeah, you may be right! But even at the first match! The beast race members can’t live without making jokes.” Towards my honest thoughts, Asmina tilted her head in contemplation.
- What’s a federation? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federation
- Something as tempting like that sure has a backstory* to it. There’s more to it than what meets the eye.
- A question to readers/mado-senpai on naming: Baldem of Valdem? Valdem sounds more handsome. Baldem is turkish I think. Valdem is more Italian.
- The key to the situation refers to the fact he could control the outcome.
Facts & Figures
- Baldem, The sovereign of Centluna and Youth Grand Duchy.
- T/N: This is just note to myself, not readers haha. Holy Kingdom of Eon.
- That mimicry card thing can manipulate appearances. (I want one too!)
- Hiyuki, Imperial Crimson’s sovereign.