17 – Past and Present
I knew pretty quickly that this was a dream.
It was a memory of a conversation I had with the Saviors in the past after all.
One day, in a moving horse carriage.
「…How long will this go on?」
I think this was about a year ago.
At first, I just followed them around the world, not caring about anything, but as I came to know various things, and observed the lifestyle of soldiers and normal folk without getting too close, I became more and more interested in all sorts of things.
Things that may be seen as childish by ordinary people, but special things that I have experienced to my heart’s content since coming to the Demon King Castle.
Well, having ice cream or sherbet all the time is a luxury, but let’s ignore that part.
「Conversely, what do you think it would take for this to end?」
Only the War God would twist someone’s words around like that.
A tall, bespectacled man with blue hair.
Always expressionless, talking in a flat tone.
「…Getting rid of all the bad demons?」
「Hah HA, bold words, boy.
I like it.
Have the War God make up a plan and we’ll bust into Makai.」
The Swordmaster looks like a slovenly dressed mercenary with a personality to match.
I don’t know if it was for the mission, but he wields a cursed sword and was cursed to lose his vision.
That’s a pretty harsh trade.
Getting a powerful sword but losing your ability to see.
Even so, I couldn’t imagine going up against him with a sword.
He hides his eyes with a cloth as he scritch-scratches his red hair.
「That would be impossible, right? Isn’t Makai filled with dense miasma? It’s hard to operate on top of miasma-soaked soil.」
At first glance, the Saint looks like a mature and sensible beauty with a soft smile that suits her well.
No matter how long the journey is, her long, fluffy yellow hair remains undamaged and her almost translucent white skin stays clean.
Any man she passes by will involuntarily turn to look at her, either due to her beautiful face, or ample bosom.
Maybe even both.
Anyway, what she said is correct.
We don’t know the miasma that well, but its effects are known.
First off, anyone who breathes it in for several hours will die.
So, if you aren’t someone like the Hero, Saint, or Sage who can use mana to ward off the miasma, you’re not suited to operate on it for long hours.
Even for the demons, breathing in the miasma for many years will deform them.
This is thought to be the cause of the insane variety of demon types.
It’s possible that those who stayed looking like a person lived in places thin in miasma or within a barrier, or maybe there are other reasons.
「The difference in numbers is too big, to begin with.
We still don’t know how many are on the other side.
No matter how many big-name strong guys we slaughter, their will to invade never wavers.
But since there are few who can fight properly on miasma soil, all we can do is defend ourselves.
It’s impossible to bring an end to it all, right?」
I don’t know if the Magic Archer is a man or a woman.
What with their androgynous figure and voice, and their head covered by a hood.
It seems they don’t want people to see their pointy ears.
I can see hair as green as fresh leaves peeking out of their green hood.
What the Magic Archer is saying is certainly reasonable.
Once a land has been stolen by demons, it is contaminated and cannot be reclaimed.
Even if we do, only an extreme few can even operate there, so it’s meaningless.
The only defense is to protect the uncontaminated land.
That’s why we deploy ourselves at the border between miasma soil and uncontaminated land.
Or, like when exterminating Orcs, an area that is not too far from the border into Demon Territory.
If a human is kidnapped by demons, they could die from the miasma even if they themselves are unhurt, so they need to be rescued quickly.
「…Then I guess we’re doing this till we die.」
That’s what I thought at the time.
「…If we could purify the lands contaminated by the miasma, it is possible to regain territory, even if it’s one inch at a time.
Currently, removing the miasma is extremely difficult.
I can see the possibility only with the supply of the Saint and Hero’s power…」
The Sage is a woman the size of a child.
She hasn’t changed since the first time we met.
At first, I thought she was a child in the same situation as me, but I was wrong.
She is many times older than me.
She twirls her pink hair around her finger as she mutters on.
「While we’re busy doing that, another area will be taken.」
The War God continues off of what the Sage said.
「Humanity is being forced into a harsh defensive battle.
That is why our power as Saviors is needed.」
「Naw, ain’t it more of a war of attrition? Little by the little, the battlefields that we are not on are slowly being taken.」
「Only two of us are able to teleport, so mobility issues will constantly haunt us.
Having those two bring us along every time is unrealistic in terms of mana conservation.」
「…The consumption of mana via Teleportation depends entirely on the ability of the subject and the distance traveled.
For us, who are referred to as history’s strongest, jumping across several battlefields around the world is not possible.
To be more precise, the world cannot be protected by us pushing ourselves to the limit.
It is feasible if Rain or I were to teleport into battle alone but…the burden that would place on us is too much.」
In order, that was the Saint, the Swordmaster, Magic Archer, followed by the Sage.
「Those savage, battle-hungry demons will not lay down their arms by witnessing our strength.
If you still wish to put an end to the fighting…」
Huh, it’s rare for the War God to hesitate.
「…Create a world where Rifts cannot be opened.
Then all that remains is to wipe out the remainders.
Having done that, our mission would shift to aiding the restoration of the world.」
While there are rituals that forcibly open a Rift, they were originally natural occurrences.
Hmph, so it’s impossible in the end, huh?
Ultimately, I will continue to do battle without ever becoming normal.
I remember feeling so disappointed at that moment.
A small foot kicked me in the face.
Well, that sure woke me up this morning.
I grab the foot and push it aside, and I soon found the culprit.
「Good kick, Carro…」
「Where did that voice come from?」
A sad voice could be heard coming from the rabbit-eared Carro, and she moved even closer to me.
「That’s all fine and good, but why did she kick me?」
Still, that was a quick kick.
She’d make a pretty good soldier when trained.
If that happens, I hope she lives in peace.
「Talking in your sleep? Are you fighting me in your dreams?」
While handling her kicks with one hand, I check the bed.
There were so many little ones sleeping near me that I struggled to sit up.
Every one of them was sleeping soundly, so I hesitated to wake them.
「…Given the choice, I would’ve liked a dream about eating pancakes.」
『Good morning, Rain.』
My partner noticed I was awake from her position stabbed into her pedestal.
「Good morning, Mika.」
『What a nice morning.
What’re we doing today?』
Anything is fine.
I can do any normal thing I want.
Until recently, I never would have thought I could experience a lifestyle like this.
While yawning and grinning naturally, I think to myself.
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