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Magi Craft Meister 495

15 Showdown With The Demons Arc

15-08 The Demons’ Circumstances

 

 

“Well, what should I start with…?”

 

Shion slightly tilted her head to the side as she began to think. Eventually, she seemed to have collected her thoughts, and started talking again.

 

“The Gondoa continent where we live is much colder than this region. As a result, we aren’t able to harvest as many crops.”

 

“Yeah, I see.”

 

“Our population is… Well… I’m sorry, but I can’t say. It’s a secret of our tribe.”

 

“Ah, I can understand that. Don’t worry about it.”

 

Information such as the population of the race to which you belong is one of the things that should be kept secret in case a war breaks out, even if you don’t know the exact number.

 

“However… Since the population has dropped sharply as a result of the anti-human military campaign, the amount of farmland has increased relative to the population, so it seemed that there wouldn’t be any problems with that for a while…”

 

The demons also seem to have been greatly affected by a drastic decline in their population.

 

“For the last 10 years or so, the temperature has dropped considerably and we haven’t been able to harvest sufficient crops to feed our people.”

 

“So, cold damage?”

 

“Cold damage? … Ah, I see, that’s what you call it here. Yes, it was cold damage. That’s why we started to run out of food in general.”

 

Jin remembered the tales he had heard from Vivian, where she had spoken of demons hailing from the north, seemingly wanting to get their hands into the humans’ agricultural produce.

 

If someone were to ask him, he’d say that such a reason was a rather disappointing one, but at the same time, it was also easy to understand.

 

“The heads of the clans got together and debated about what our options were. And we were divided into two different opinions.”

 

“I can somehow see where this is going.”

 

“Um, yeah… One faction thought about trading with the humans for food. The other one, however, spoke of threatening humans into giving us their food.”

 

“…I understand.”

Jin prompted her to continue.

 

“Of course, Lucas and I are part of a moderate faction. But the radicals are different. They might not be thinking about a full-scale war, but they seem to be planning to conquer and colonize human villages.”

 

Shion seemed terribly vexed.

 

“As a means to prepare themselves, the radicals have people scattered in various countries gathering all sorts of information on the humans’ current situation. The five demons you mentioned are probably some of them. I have also heard about Alciel before.”

 

Jin now had a rough idea about the demons’ background. It was time to get to the point.

 

“So, what exactly is it that you need me to help you with?”

 

“The first thing we need is a steady supply of food. I believe we can provide for a good amount of materials from magical beasts, and I was thinking those would make for a fair trade.”

 

The thought that such trades could have been made in the olden days crossed Jin’s mind.

 

“I see. And what else? You said ‘the first thing’, so there must be at least something else you need help with, right?”

 

“Yes. Please, stop the radicals!”

 

“Huh?”

 

Was that something to be asked to a single individual? Though, Shion had been like that about her trade offer. The request had simply been too abrupt, and Jin couldn’t help but be surprised by it.

 

“B-But you, you are the Magi Craft Meister, are you not? Legend has it that a Magi Craft Meister created a certain magic tool, something unlike anything we have ever dreamed of, and it changed our lives!”

 

“What did you say?”

 

There were no records of the previous Magi Craft Meister, Adriana Balbora Ceci, having done such a thing.

 

Even Reiko had no recollection of that… or rather, she probably didn’t even know about it to begin with.

 

“Mother was already quite old when she made me.”

 

Realizing the meaning behind Jin’s gaze at her, Reiko replied to his unspoken question.

 

However, it was certainly possible that his predecessor had done such a thing.

 

“…I see. Okay. Please tell me more about that request later. Depending on what you tell me, I may offer to do as much as I can to help you. But please tell me one more thing before that.”

 

“Yes, what is it?”

 

“Is there anything among your legends that explains why the demons ended up living in such a cold region?”

 

At that moment, Shion’s face stiffened for a second. Her reaction made Jin regret his question, wondering if it had been rude of him to ask such a thing.

 

“…I’ve been told that it was the humans who chased us off.”

 

Shion’s voice was deeper than ever.

 

“…There is a legend that says that our ancestors moved to the north after being chased off by humans more than 3000 years ago.”

 

Rather than her usual soft, tender voice, she was speaking in a much gloomier and disheartened tone of voice.

 

“…I’m sorry. Looks like it was a bad thing to ask you about.”

 

Jin quickly apologized. Shion sighed deeply and returned to her usual aura.

 

“No, don’t worry. It’s just a legend… Though it has given us demons a reason to despise humans.”

 

“…Okay. Thank you for answering my questions. Your bodies haven’t recovered yet, so maybe you should rest for a while. Would you like me to bring you some of that juice again? Or perhaps you’d like something to eat?”

 

“Ah, well… Um, we’d like some food…”

 

Feeling as if she was demanding to be served something to eat, Shion’s cheeks turned deeply red. Jin nodded heartily.

 

“Got it. I’ll get something ready for you right away. Please wait a moment.”

 

After saying that, Jin left the room, followed by Reiko. Shion and Lucas were the only ones to remain in the room.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“…Was that really okay, young lady?”

 

“Yes, it’s alright. That person named Jin is, without a shade of a doubt, the Magi Craft Meister.”

 

“…To think that that guy…”

 

“Don’t underestimate him. Humans, unlike us, have improved their magical skills instead of the technology to strengthen their bodies with magical powers.”

 

“But we’re the ones with the better technology!”

 

“Yes, that’s right. But we have merely inherited our ancestors’ legacy. But the Magi Craft Meister is different. He can create new things, things that have never existed before. And that’s the kind of help that we need.”

 

“…Understood.”

 

“Did you see that automata, the one he called Reiko? Her hair was long and black, just as it’s told in our legends. That Jin was just like her, too.”

 

“Yes, certainly…”

 

“Right. So we should wait and see for now. And we should focus on recovering.”

 

“Yes, young lady.”

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

It goes without saying that Laojun listened to the entire conversation between master and servant.

 

Jin was talking to Laojun in the living room on the 5th floor of Nidou Castle.

 

“What do you think, Laojun?”

 

“What they said was almost entirely true. There seems to be no contradiction between what they said and the information I have accumulated so far.”

 

“Hmm, so even that part about demons being chased off by humans over 3000 years ago was true as well?”

 

“Yes, that is very likely. That’s why they have no reason to lie. According to Vivian, mankind had their sights set on the northern lands in the past, but that begs the question whether things happened exactly as the demons claim they have.”

 

“Hmm, so we’re not sure how much truth there is to the ‘chased off’ part of their story, huh?”

 

“Correct. It is possible that what happened was a matter of demons and humans taking separate paths after some sort of dispute rather than humans chasing demons off.”

 

“Right, and that eventually turned into ‘humans chased us off’ as time went by and the story turned into legend.”

 

“This is all mere speculation, however.”

 

“Then, this may… This may support my theory that humans and demons share the same origin.”

 

“Your theory, My Lord?”

 

This theory was born as a result of Elsa’s medical examination of Shion and Lucas, which showed that they were essentially no different from humans.

 

“Yeah. Though we call them ‘demons’, as if they were inherently evil, they seem to be more like magical beings. After all, at least in my world, concepts such as ‘magic’ and ‘demons’ are closely related.”

 

“So rather than a race of demons, they’re more of a race of magic users, correct?”

 

“That’s what I think.”

 

“That theory brings the question of what caused this difference between humans and these magic users?”

 

“I’d like to start researching that from now on.”

 

“Very well. …By the way, My Lord, we have discovered two Hecatoncheires in the mountains 50 kilometers north of Kaina Village, and exterminated them shortly thereafter.”

 

“Hecatoncheires, you said? Like the giant Reiko defeated in the northern mountains some time ago?”

 

“Correct. Since they were heading south, there was a good chance that they would eventually reach Kaina Village, and they could have eaten up the local mountain deer and wood bears in their wake.”

 

“But why were they…?”

 

“It is possible that they were chasing after Shion and Lucas.”

 

Rather than being associated with Shion and Lucas, it was more likely that the Hecatoncheires were trying to catch and kill them.

 

“What has made you reach that conclusion?”

 

“Had they been their underlings, they would not have been so exhausted and in distress. The Hecatoncheires weren’t bothered at all by the snowfall around the area where we found them.”

 

Even if the fields were buried in snow 5 meters deep, Being well over 30 meters tall, Hecatoncheires would have little trouble moving about them.

 

“It seems that radicals and moderate factions are at odds with each other, and some demons with the ability to control monsters might have unleashed them upon Shion and Lucas.”

 

“Like ‘Alciel the Puppeteer’, huh…?”

 

Jin wondered if the Hecatoncheires that Reiko had defeated before had also been a monster sent by the demons.

 

“We might need to tighten the security in the northern areas closer to the mountains.”

 

“Yes, I’ll have the Air Force watch over the area for the time being.”

 

“Okay, thanks, Laojun.”

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

Jin ate lunch in the 1st floor’s dining room. He had rice balls put together with nori and salt.

 

The miso brought from Coupu was being analyzed by the Peridots. Since it was a fermented food, the earliest they could start getting a mass-produced amount of it was a year later…

 

However, a bowl of wakame miso soup was placed in front of him.

 

“What’s this?”

 

“This is the miso soup I learned how to make only this morning.”

 

The answer to Jin’s question came from Belle.

 

“Oh, a soup made from dried sardines. Yum!”

 

Jin was pleased that it was quite delicious for something Belle had just learned how to prepare.

 

Though in fact he was glad that this miso soup tasted better than the one he had at Mr. Techres’ house.

 

However, Jin was also puzzled. He was sure about getting only a handful of miso from Mr Techres.

 

Later, he learned that this miso, also named Bin Pei, was being made in small quantities in the southern part of the Shouro Empire.

 

In other words, it had been brought by the Quinta that had been dispatched to the Shouro Empire.

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