On the day Souma would depart Jeboa, Princess Admetey, as representative of Tethys, and Olga expressly came to the suburbs to see him off. In the current era, Souma registered as the boss of revolting slaves, or, even if you looked at him very favorably, as nothing more than a provincial lord. For a marman princess to go as far as seeing him off on land was an extraordinary honor. Just this alone let others know how grateful the marmen felt towards Souma.
“But, was it really okay to do this?” Olga’s apologetic question referred to the splitting of the merchant guild’s reparations.
All of Juda’s assets had been confiscated and given to Souma and the marmen as reparations, but Souma had yielded most of them to the marmen. This was based on his hope that the marmen would be able to use the money to buy back as many of the enslaved children as possible.
At first, Olga and the others had firmly refused, but once they understood that Souma wouldn’t budge on this, they accepted his kindness while thanking him profusely, but as might be expected, Olga felt uneasy about this nonetheless.
Souma answered, “I’m fine with it since you handed over the slaves to me instead,” while laughing, ovbiously telling her to not mind.
Souma had the marmen yield many of the slaves owned by Juda to him. Of course he did so for the sake of releasing them from slavery. However, contrary to Souma’s expectations, the majority of Juda’s former slaves wished to remain in Jeboa as slaves.
Juda had caused such a terrible damage and grief for the marmen, but he apparently was a deeply compassionate master when it came to the employees of his store and his slaves. They didn’t harbor any discontent about their own circumstances whatsoever, and preferred staying in Jeboa as slaves over feeling anxious about starting a new life in a land unknown to them.
Souma arranged the Shapiro Company to look up new masters for those slaves. As for the few slaves who asked to be freed from slavery, Souma intended to take them to Bolnis for the moment and help them find new employment over there.
As he looked over the gathering of those few slaves, he spotted a single, huge dinosaurian among the human slaves. Souma recalled his first encounter with that dinosaurian.
“Whoaaa…” Souma looked up to a huge dinosaurian in front of him, his mouth agape.
Even for Souma, who should be familiar with dinosaurians, it was his first time to encounter such a tall individual. After all, that particular dinosaurian was easily a head taller than Jahangil. The dinosaurian standing in front of him gave Souma the impression of having a cliff in front of his nose.
However, the dinosaurian’s eyes were gentle, somewhat similar to those of a cow that was carefreely chewing on grass. His face was clearly not sharp like those of carnivore dinosaurs such as Jahangil and his warriors, but rather had a round, plump touch.
This dinosaurian explained to Souma that he had been taken over by Juda as slave to transport the marmen by using the road located south of Bolnis. Originally, he had been used as oarsman on a galley, and his physical strength seemed to be outstanding even among dinosaurians.
Souma could immediately agree since it was visible at a glance that he possessed ridiculous strength. His arms were as thick as Souma’s torso, making it evident that they’d allow him to easily lift even big barrels.
“What’s your name?”
“…Morad,” the dinosaurian answered in a whisper. “Morad Kavela…”
That was all he said before he shut his mouth again.
Souma tilted his head at that. As far as Souma knew, dinosaurian names consisted of three parts: personal name + species name + area of birth. However, Morad didn’t mention his area of birth.
When Souma pointed that part out, Morad whispered once more, “I’m a simple Stone Eater.”
That was an expression Souma had never heard of. And yet Morad kept his mouth shut as if declaring that he had explained everything that needed to be said.
Unable to listen to their conversation any longer, Palsharl, the youngest son of Jahangil, cut in, “Sir Soma, this guy is a Camara ― a species born as slaves.”
Dinosaurians was a general term describing different species with different shapes such as a species equivalent to nobility, who were commonly referred to as warriors with Jahangil’s Tyranno species as its representative, priest species, commoner species, and so on. And Morad belonged to a dinosaurian species called Camara, a slave species with the lowest standing among dinosaurians. The “Stone Eater” mentioned by Morad was a derogatory term towards the slave species deriving from the legend that their ancestors swallowed stones to help with the digestion of the grasses they were eating habitually. Moreover, in the case of the slave species, their master’s name was used instead of the area of birth, but now that Morad’s master Juda had gone bankrupt, Morad had lost his third name, Palsharl explained to Souma.
“That’s why this guy’s last name will become Somi, if you accept him as your slave, Sir Soma.”
“But, I don’t need any slaves.” Souma objected, feeling somewhat displeased about Palsharl believing that he’d actually take any slaves.
“In that case, I think it’d be a good idea if you were to release him after temporarily accepting this guy as a slave. Then he’d obtain the name 『Javad』, meaning freed slave.”
Once Palsharl directed his eyes towards Morad as if to ask for his confirmation, Morad nodded.
“I understand. My name is Morad Javad Somi.”
It looked like Morad, who was currently carrying luggage in silence, had agreed with this arrangement, but Souma felt slightly unhappy with it. Somehow he couldn’t sense a shred of independence from this dinosaurian. He believed that it was possibly inevitable since Morad had been a slave for his entire life, but Souma felt like Morad had wished for his release from slavery because Souma had encouraged him to do so.
Moreover, there was one more thing bothering him: Jahangil. Seemingly reflecting on his impertinent behavior during the time when they found the marman children on Juda’s caravan, he had been acting awfully obedient most recently. When they had stormed Jeboa’s merchant guild, Jahangil personally carried the cask with Princess Admetey which was usually unthinkable for a proud warrior like him.
However, for some reason, Jahangil displayed an open dislike of Morad. Even though it was difficult to tell a dinosaurian’s emotions from their expression, Jahangil’s face was so blatantly obvious that Souma, who had initially planned to entrust Morad to Jahangil since they were both dinosaurians, understood right away that it’d just piss him off even more if he did so.
Since the other dinosaurians such as Meflazard, Jahangil’s eldest son, snarled while baring their fangs as soon as Morad tried to approach them, Souma knew that he hadn’t misunderstood Jahangil’s expression. He decided that it might be best to ask Palsharl for the reason later on.
“Okay, we shall excuse ourselves then.”
Souma was reluctant to part, but at this rate they’d never be able to depart. He made up his mind, straddled his horse, and placed his feet in the stirrup.
At that moment, Olga called out to him, “Lord Soma, please take this from Her Majesty…”
With those words, Olga held out a letter with a wax seal to Souma. Souma tore the seal open and unfolded the letter, but of course he couldn’t read it, and thus passed it to Shyemul.
“It says that you’ve been formally approved as a true friend of the marmen. Moreover, you’re free to visit at any time you like, in which case you’ll be granted an audience with the queen, even without prior appointment.”
Souma was surprised by what Shyemul read to him. This went beyond a simple friendship, and instead recognized Souma as an individual to be an important person for the marmen.
“Her Majesty asked me to further tell you: Make use of this as you see fit.”
The position of being an important person for the marmen would doubtlessly turn into a trump card against Jeboa. And this letter was written in full acceptance of that very fact.
Souma closed his eyes for a short moment and thanked Tethys’ consideration she hadn’t expressed in her writing. Seeing Souma like that, Shyemul roughly snorted once while looking satisfied.
“Even though that damned Committee of Ten tried their utmost to get in the way of you becoming friends with Soma, it was futile in the end.”
Shyemul proudly threw out her chest with an attitude as if saying, “Trying to get in the way of my Navel Master is bound to fail anyway.”
In response, Olga knitted her eyebrows, and said, “Excuse me, but it looks you are misunderstanding something,” to Souma and Shyemul who looked at her, not understanding what she meant. “It wasn’t Jeboa’s merchant guild that sent us a letter, telling us to refrain from forming a friendship with you people. Far from it, I’m sure the Jeboan merchant guild received a similar letter.”
Souma and Shyemul widened their eyes slightly. However, Souma immediately remembered, ‘Come to think of it, Yoash and Menahem seemed like they knew that a treaty of friendship would be turned down even after we exterminated the mountain bandits. Isn’t that because the merchant guild had received a letter just like the marmen? However, just who could have sent such a letter?
Being asked by Souma about this, Olga pulled a slightly troubled face. However, it lasted only a very short moment.
“Usually, I wouldn’t be able to tell you about something as embarrassing as a single letter influencing our clan’s course of action, but we owe you a huge favor.” With that preface, Olga mentioned a single name.
At that very moment, a shock like a lightning strike ran through Souma’s group. However, without noticing that, Olga made up excuses, telling them that this person had lost their standing right now, but could rise to power again at any time with the intensifying conflict with the neighboring country, making it impossible for the marmen to ignore their letter.
However, most of her words didn’t reach Souma any longer. With his eyes slightly widened, he muttered with trembling lips and partly dumbfounded, “No way, that person is still…!”
Two elderly men were drinking tea in a huge mansion, situated in Holmea’s capital Holmeania. One had a small build. Anyone versed in Holmea’s royal court to some extent would recognize him to be Prime Minister Ponpius who had advised King Warius to subjugate the Divine Son of Destruction and got the king to approve of it.
And the one sitting opposite of Ponpius was an old man with a huge build as if to contradict Ponpius.
As this unbalanced duo enjoyed their tea in silence, the mansion’s butler entered the room. The butler whispered something into the giant’s ear, and handed him a letter.
“What’s wrong? Is it some kind of bad news?” Ponpius asked due to the other man’s face screwing up as he read the letter.
“Yeah, it’s bad news. ――That cursed monster has torn off the chains I attached to its hind legs…” Having finished reading, he handed the letter to Ponpius.
“I had expected him to do something about Jeboa in the near future, but for him to even get the marmen involved and win them over… ――As always, he’s one step ahead of my expectations.”
In front of Ponpius, who leaked a grunt of surprise after scanning the letter, the other man sighed deeply and entrusted his body to his chair’s backrest. The woeful creaking of the backrest’s wood filled the room awfully loudly.
Those two words were all that left the old man’s mouth. But, they were heavier than a million words.
“――It took five years to make His Majesty and the other lords regard him as enemy after they had looked down on it all as a mere revolt of some subhuman slaves.”
‘Just how many times might he have ground his teeth in pitiful frustration, and just how many tears of bitter regret might he have spilled?
“However, at long last, all your efforts will be rewarded. Now our Holmea is moving after recognizing the Divine Son of Destruction as prey to be devoured, as enemy to be defeated. All of this is thanks to you. You have my gratitude.”
Ponpius lightly shook his head as if it was nothing worth of mention, “What, it was the request of an old friend. Besides, I also thought that it had to be done. Now then, what are you going to do next――” Ponpius called out the name of his old friend, “――Darius?”
Asked by Ponpius, Darius revealed a ferocious smile. The old general Darius Brutus, the man once hailed as Holmea’s strongest general. Although he had become an old, wounded lion, his fangs were still as sharp as ever.
T/N: I don’t think I need to explicitly spell it out, but we’re now heading into the Holmea War arc.
For the sake of getting a better idea on how to proceed with this novel henceforth, and as acknowledgement of the stable fanbase for this series, I’m willing to give Hakai no Miko the same chance as I did a year back for Madan no Ou to Vanadis, the other series released on Wednesday.
But since this would mean extra work for me, who is already swamped with the regular translation of 11 series, I’d like to get an idea on your opinion.
If you can spare some time, please fill out the survey below. Please notice, the survey is going to end on the 4th January.