The zoan were busily working in the Fang Clan’s village, having just moved from the refuge after they cleaned up the human corpses and the remaining buildings that had mostly burned down.
They were preparing to welcome the emissaries of the other clans that would arrive here in a few days, but now that the arrival of the emissaries was imminent, several problems managed to crop up. For that reason, the entire clan was running about from early morning onwards to deal with them.
Just like that, the warriors arrive at the location of Garam, who was relieved that they were able to somehow get the village’s appearance to a state where they wouldn’t feel embarrassed over it.
“The gentlemen and ladies of the Eye Clan and Mane Clan have arrived!”
Once Garam proceeded to the village’s entrance, he saw the Eye Clan and Mane Clan, who had each brought along 50 clanmates.
First of all, the ones who stood out is a group completely composed of women, wearing totally white attires.
They wore simple white clothing and had a horizontal cloth wrapped around their waists. On their head they had a hood with a cloth attached that covered their mouths. Their appearance is conspicuous for zoan, who prefer to wear light clothes that allow them easy movement as a race based on hunting.
They are the shrine maidens of the Eye Clan.
The authority of the shrine maidens is stronger than that of the warriors in the Eye Clan, which is also the Ritual Clan. Things like negotiations with other clans are the duty of the shrine maidens.
Of course, it’s not just the shrine maidens. Warriors that are protecting them have joined their group as well, but Garam can’t get rid of a somewhat weak impression.
Garam called out to the middle-aged zoan, who emits a composed dignity while standing at the head of the shrine maidens.
“By no means did I expect you, the younger sister of the Head Shrine Maiden, to honour us by attending personally. I humbly welcome you, milady Wai Zanuka Shunpa.” (Garam)
“It’s been a while, Garam-boy.” (Shunpa)
The zoan called Shunpa said in a calm tone while looking fondly at him.
“Lady Shunpa, please stop with the boy.” (Garam)
“Pardon me for this. You are now the clan chief of the Fang Clan, aren’t you? It’s belated, but let me express my condolences for your honorable father.” (Shunpa)
Garam quietly received the condolences of Shunpa, who bows as she says that.
At that moment, the Elder turns up while propping herself up with a cane.
“Oh, Lady Shunpa, it’s been a while.”
“Oh my, hello there, elder sister.” (Shunpa)
“Lady Shunpa, you are the younger sister of the Head Shrine Maiden at present. Although I’m happy to be called elder sister by you, it’s still unseemly.”
“No, elder sister. Even now, I haven’t forgotten that I learned various things from you when I was little. For me elder sister will always be elder sister.” (Shunpa)
When the Elder trained at the place of the Eye Clan in the past, she mingled with a very young Shunpa.
While Shunpa and the Elder were renewing their old friendship, Garam greeted the representative of the Mane Clan.
“Assuming from your appearance, you are the representative of the Mane Clan. I’m the clan chief of the Fang Clan, 《Ferocious Fang》 Fagul Garguss Garam.”
“I’m the son of the Mane Clan’s clan chief Manuyn Gujatara Bararak, Banuka. I accepted your invitation instead of my father, Chief Garam. I have often heard of your fame, Chief Garam.” (Banuka)
Giving a formal greeting where one can’t deny the somewhat too eager emotions, Banuka is a young zoan who just turned from a boy into a young man. Even though armour decorated with feathers has been attached to the front of his neck in an attempt to imitate a mane, which is a peculiarity of the Mane Clan, it seems that he’s still not adjusted to wearing it.
At his back he’s accompanied by warriors who similarly clad their bodies with a chest armour, which had decorations at the collar attached to it and which also serves as proof of the Mane Clan.
Banuka did his greetings in a hurry and restlessly surveyed the vicinity.
“Ch-Chief Garam. Umm… where is the divine daughter?” (Banuka)
“Mmh? You mean Shyemul? My younger sister is currently occupied with a task which she can’t leave. I will let her greet you later on as well though.” (Garam)
Because it’s still too early to introduce Souma, he has been asked to hide himself, but for some reason Shyemul ended up joining him.
It’s not like Garam didn’t feel uneasy about his younger sister recently concerning herself with Souma by sticking close to him to a frightful degree, but as not all clan members have yet let their guard down towards Souma, he tolerated it as it was necessary for him to have a guard.
“Is that so…?” (Banuka)
Learning of Shyemul not being present, it was obvious from him dropping his shoulders that Banuka was disappointed.
“Now then, although we can’t welcome you sufficiently due to just having finished a battle, we will strive to do our utmost to entertain you and all of members of your delegation. Please, come this way.” (Garam)
Garam guides the two parties into the village.
At first they had planned to hold the discussions between the clans at the refuge inside the mountain, but him purposely guiding the emissaries into the village they had just recaptured had the intention of letting them see the traces of the battle that occurred the other day with their own eyes.
Because it’s fortunately possible to simply carry a zoan tent once it has been disassembled, the moving of their residences from the refuge to the village didn’t require overly much effort. But as there’s still scorched smell remaining in the village, they have no other choice but to endure it.
However, the effect of that was outstanding.
To convey the truth, simply seeing it with one’s own eyes outweighs any words by far.
The clan members of both clans, including Shunpa and Banuka, look at the traces of the battle remaining in the village with shocked gazes.
The biggest issue of this time’s meeting between clans is how to make them approve of Souma.
Hence Garam’s and the other’s idea is to thrust the existence of Souma at them at the moment when they were thrown into turmoil, due to receiving a strong shock just like it happened to the Fang Clan before.
Going by their looks, Garam felt that they had a satisfactory reaction.
At that moment a single warrior came running to him in a hurry.
“What is it! You are in front of guests!” (Garam)
“Clan chief! The party of the Claw Clan has arrived!”
Before that warrior could finish his words or not, Zurgu showed up while bringing along a tumult.
“Hey, Garam! Been a while, hasn’t it!?” (Zurgu)
Garam’s expression warps due to Zurgu pushing his way into the village as if he owned the place, without even asking for a proper guide.
The ones following behind him are at a glance strong warriors. Furthermore, their numbers exceed 100 even with a rough estimate. All of them have brazen expressions and wear an atmosphere as if they are going to start a battle at any time.
“Zurgu, you bastard! Do you intend pick a fight with us!?” (Garam)
“Don’t get angry, Garam. Aren’t the two of us buddies?” (Zurgu)
As he says so, he puts his arm on Garam’s shoulder in an overly familiar manner. Garam flings off that arm.
“With what right are you saying such things!?” (Garam)
“Oh? Why are you so angry? In that case, it must be over the matter of the previous proposal?” (Zurgu)
Zurgu sighed in an exaggerated manner.
“Guess it can’t be helped. I’m the clan chief of the Claw Clan. No matter how much I myself wanted to help you, I can’t send my clanmates carelessly into battle. However, I had prepared myself with the intention to send our warriors right away once I had received a single word from your mouth.” (Zurgu)
Zurgu pointed at the warriors he brought along.
“Look! That’s why I was able to immediately bring along strong warriors like this. Moreover, there’s booze and food! Please accept it in celebration of your victory!” (Zurgu)
The warriors pile up the food and alcohol they carried on their backs on the ground.
However, that’s not something done out of goodwill.
Different from the Fang Clan that has a critical food situation, the Claw Clan has this many reserves; it’s obvious that they are doing such thing in order to display their power as clan.
“To do such a threadbare thing…” (Garam)
After cheerfully looking at the irritated Garam, Zurgu shifts his eyes to Shunpa who is next to him.
“Oh! It’s an honour, Lady Shunpa. We haven’t seen each other since the time when my father died, right?” (Zurgu)
“Even Zurgu-boy is still a rascal, eh?” (Shunpa)
“Fuhahaha! Even this Zurgu loses face in front of the esteemed Shunpa(sama)!” (Zurgu)
And next he turns his gaze towards Banuka.
Banuka became stiff exposing his vigilance while wondering what he will be told, but Zurgu’s gaze passed above him without stopping.
After that Zurgu made an eyeshade with his hand and surveyed the surroundings unnaturally.
“What! The divine child isn’t here?” (Zurgu)
Blood rushes into the head of the young Banuka due to Zurgu’s remarks that lack even the slightest splinter of appreciation towards the divine child, which Banuka respects and loves, as well as Zurgu’s attitude that tells Banuka that Zurgu hasn’t taken any notice of him.
“Damned Zurgu! There’s a limit to being rude!” (Banuka)
Acting as if he had noticed Banuka for the first time due to that, Zurgu grinned broadly at him after that.
“Oh ho, aren’t you quite the lively brat!?” (Zurgu)
“I’m no brat! I’m the son of the Mane Clan’s clan chief, Manuyn Bararak Banuka!”
Zurgu comes forth right in front of him without any hesitation.
Being affected by just the pressure emitted by Zurgu’s uncommonly large build, Banuka’s face becomes stiff and he ends up stepping back.
Zurgu placed a hand on his shoulder. Even though it doesn’t look like Zurgu is putting any strength into it, Banuka groaned due to the strong pressure, as if a huge rock had been put on his shoulder. He looks as if he would go down to his knees if he doesn’t resist it with the power of his entire body.
Zurgu brought his face close to Banuka, who desperately endures it while gritting his teeth, and bared his fangs.
“Don’t put on airs, brat. I’m the clan chief of the Claw Clan, 《Mad Claw》 Kraga Bigana Zurgu. Don’t believe that someone who’s only the son of a clan chief can talk to me as an equal!” (Zurgu)
Due to Banuka leaking a small scream of pain through his gritted teeth, the warriors of the Mane Clan unsheathed their machetes all at once. Following that, the warriors of the Claw Clan and furthermore those of the Fang Clan and Eye Clan also draw their machetes one after the other.
What forced its way through in this explosive situation was the voice of Shyemul.
“Just when I thought it got noisy; what on earth is going on here?” (Shyemul)
Coming out of a tent, she proudly throws out her chest and glares and the warriors that had unsheathed their machetes.
“Oh! It’s the divine daughter…”
“It’s divine child Shyemul.”
Due to the appearance of the divine child they can see only seldomly, the gazes of the other clan’s members gather on Shyemul.
“Are you bastards planning to exhibit a group sword dance here to return the favour for our hospitality?”
Due to Shyemul’s sharp manner of speaking, the warriors present turn their faces away while looking awkward. Something like fighting with a different clan in the territory of another clan is the epitome of impoliteness.
Zurgu, who judged it to be the time to pull back here, lifts his hand from Banuka’s shoulder and urges his warriors to put away the machetes with his hand. In concert with the warriors of the Claw Clan sheathing their machetes, the warriors of the other clans also put away theirs.
“My, my, esteemed divine child, I’m extremely delighted to to be allowed to see your adorable countenance.” (Zurgu)
“Your insincere flattery and your imprudent remarks are unneeded. Chief 《Mad Claw》 Kraga Bigana Zurgu, did you come here to start a fight?” (Shyemul)
“Absolutely not! This is, hmm…a trifling difference of opinions.” (Zurgu)
“Oh ho, so this is trifling, eh?” (Shyemul)
“Indeed! It seems like even the Fang Clan is harbouring bad feeling towards us, but even so, the petty difference in opinions has gone over the top.” (Zurgu)
As expected, even Shyemul and the other’s couldn’t help but being disgusted at Zurgu, who declared that shamelessly as he plays innocent in regards to the matter of demanding the divine child by taking advantage of the Fang Clan’s predicament.
“Oh, esteemed divine child! It has been quite a long time. Do you still remember me? I’m Manuyn Bararak Banuk, the son of the Mane Clan’s clan chief!”
“… Indeed, if I remember correctly, Clan chief Bararak visited to extend his greetings when I became a divine child.” (Shyemul)
“You remember that!?” (Banuka)
An excited feeling of delight travels through the entire body of Banuka due to Shyemul remembering him, even though they didn’t exchange more than one or two words.
“Esteemed divine daughter, you are as beautiful as usual. No! You are more beautiful than before…!” (Banuka)
If Banuka had been a human, his face would have lilekly turned bright red. His voice had accordingly become shrill and joyful. And his body was as tense as if he had been frozen in place.
A warrior of the Claw Clan who saw his state, whispers into Zurgu’s ear,
“Clan chief, it seems that the little brat from the Mane Clan is burning with passion for the divine child.”
“Humph, even an idiot would realize that after looking at his sorry state.” (Zurgu)
“Well, it’s not like I don’t understand either. I guess it’s only natural, as she’s called a beauty that overshadows the moon and shames the sun.”
“I won’t deny that, but she’s not to my liking.” (Zurgu)
Even Zurgu recognises Shyemul’s beauty, but unfortunately his taste in women tends towards the frail ones, going as far as them being on the verge of feebleness. The manly Shyemul is located on the extreme opposite of Zurgu’s preferences.
“However, if you look at the little bastard’s state, it’s not just that, I think…”
“And with that you mean?”
“He has probably been given clear instructions by his father. That spineless Banuka. His ulterior motive is likely to make the divine child one of the Mane Clan if possible, by instigating his son to go after her.” (Zurgu)
In the case zoan tied by marriage are from different clans, the wife belongs to the clan of the husband. At the time when they would try to make the divine child belong to their own clan, the method that will cause the least strife is to have a man of their clan become the husband of Shyemul.
“I see… What will you do about it?”
Due to the warrior implicitly hinting at hindering Banuka, Zurgu waves his palm to the side.
“It would be unnecessary meddling. That divine child is a female wildcat. There’s no way to know what will happen if you draw close to that kitten. For now, I have no intention to make a move on the divine child.” (Zurgu)
What bothered Zurgu far more than that is the person who taught the plan of a fire ambush to the Fang Clan. Even though he caused an uproar by acting like this, a person appearing to be that schemer hasn’t shown up.
“Well, well, let’s see… are they putting on airs or is there another reason for it…?” (Zurgu)
Although he had heard about it before; when he looked at the traces of battle left in the village, he is made to realize that what he had imagined couldn’t even reach the sole of the actual scene in front of him.
‘I think it’s definitely fine to even call it the deed of a god or monster.
However, Zurgu isn’t just simply frightened.
“If the Fang Clan was able to do it, our Claw Clan should be, too. I think we have to make this guy, who gave Garam this plan, into one of the Claw Clan no matter what it takes.” (Zurgu)
“What’s that godzilla?” (Souma)
“”Godzilla”, what is that…?” (Shahata)
Due to the monologue of Souma who secretly checked the situation outside through a gap in the tent, Shahata, who had joined him as bodyguard, tilts his head in confusion.
“Nothing. That red zoan, is that possibly…” (Souma)
“Yes. That’s the clan chief of the Claw Clan, Kraga Bigana Zurgu.” (Shahata)
Souma seems to ponder deeply for an instant.
From now on I have to persuade them to follow my plan with that godzilla as a negotiation partner.
Imagining himself being eaten whole starting from the head at the instant when he harmed Zurgu’s mood, all blood drained from Souma’s face.
“I-I wonder whether I will be able to persuade them…?” (Souma)
At that moment the sleeve of Souma was pulled repeatedly.
Once he shifted his sight, he found Geeta and Shyepoma who had secretly come to meet with Souma, as they didn’t know what to do with their free time since their parents were busy with the preparations for welcoming the emissaries and couldn’t keep them company.
“Big bro, do your best~”
Souma’s path of retreat was completely shut off due to the children’s innocent looks that were filled with expectations.
“Y… Yea. I will hang on.” (Souma)
Souma showed a cramped smile.
Seeing Shyemul —-
Garam “Even while being my younger sister, she’s a beauty.”
Zurgu “Though she’s not to my liking, she’s a beauty.”
Banuka “All the compliments about beauty in this world are for the sake of this lady (rest omitted).”
Seeing a normal village girl —-
Garam “Her disposition looks nice.”
Zurgu “Okay, I guess.”
Banuka “There’s no point in even comparing her to the divine child (rest omitted)”
Souma “I-I don’t get the difference…. orz.”