Chapter 14 – Gossip 2

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Joshua is an intelligence officer from the Dragon Kingdom.
Upon hearing some disquieting rumor from Nadarsia, he started his investigation of the country. His first thought was ‘Are the people in this country alright in their head?’.

And after they’ve summoned the so-called ‘Shrine Maiden’, his thought evolved to ‘This country is so gone…”.

Nadarsia was already hanging by the thread long before this. It wouldn’t be weird for them to just cease being a country.
Not realizing the difference in military strength, they had waged countless wars against the Dragon Kingdom. And every time without fail, they get beaten into oblivion by the Dragon Kingdom. No matter how many generations of kings took the throne, they just never learn their lessons.

The citizen of Nadarsia was the unwilling victim in this constant repetition of utterly pointless war.
Absurdly high tax rate and mandatory military service.
They could’ve utilized the land around their country for agriculture. However, those are useless if nobody is available to work on it.
The raging poverty problem in the country further worsen as the recruitment of the citizen into the army takes priority.

Ignoring the problems in his country, the King just continues to offer tributes of high-value items to the summoned Shrine Maiden.

Then, the incident that solidifies the destruction of this country took place right in front of Joshua.

“Oi oi, you got the wrong person.” -Joshua

Joshua, who was looking through the window from on top a tree outside of the room, can’t help but monologued verbally his thought on the absurdity of the situation.

What he saw was a teenage girl being forced to go down on all fours, being surrounded by soldiers and the king. She was being judged for attempted murder against the Shrine Maiden.

Unlike demi-humans, humans with their low magical aptitude are not able to see what Joshua was seeing.

Countless amount of fairies gathered around the harshly treated girl.
The fairies were all in an angered state that even Joshua could feel their magic power from outside the window.

“Are those people idiots? What are they thinking, treating the Cherished One like that? ……ah, that soldier just kicked her. This country just signed its own death warrant.” -Joshua

Even though he knew those people were not able to see the fairies, Joshua can’t help but voice his inner thought.

The moment the soldier kicked the girl, the fairies all looked at the soldier with pure hatred.
Joshua can’t understand why the humans couldn’t sense the overwhelming magic power being emitted by the angry fairies. On the other hand, they do say that ignorance is bliss.

“What should I do?…” -Joshua

Joshua can’t ignore the situation with the Cherished One. That said, if he were to do something about it, he would blow his cover.
There was something else that was bothering Joshua as well.

While Joshua was pondering about, the girl was forced into a horse carriage and sent out of the country.
Guessing from the direction where the horse carriage was heading to, she was probably being sent to the ‘Devil Forest’, which was the name of the nearby forest coined by the citizen of Nadarsia.
Just as luck have it, it is the forest where Joshua’s grandmother currently reside.

“I suppose I could count on grandma’s assistance in this.”

Joshua calls out for the fairies that were chasing after the girl.

“My grandmother is staying in the forest. Please lead the girl there. My grandmother should take good care of her.” -Joshua

『She won’t hurt Ruri?』

“Yeah. We Dragon Race won’t so anything foolish like harm the Cherished One. In return, could you guys not destroy this country?” -Joshua

Joshua said that in a light manner. But deep inside, he doesn’t really care whether Nadarsia gets destroy or not. For the fairies, something like wiping a country out from the world map is an easy task.
There have been multiple past incidents where countries were annihilated by fairies after all.
However, the Cherished One this time is being protected by quite the amount of fairies.

『Ehh~, since they bullied Ruri, we don’t wanna~』

Joshua could only scratch his head in response when he heard the fairies complain. A lightbulb moment came to him.

“Don’t say that. There were some other people that were summoned here together with the Cherished One, right?
If you destroy the country where her friends are at, I’m sure the Cherished One will be sad.” -Joshua

『Ruri will be sad?』

“Yup” -Joshua

It was a totally made up impromptu excuse, but he managed to give the fairies something to think about. Just like that, the fairies left Nadarsia alone and went after Ruri.

Before Joshua was even able to take a breather, a new development had taken place. This time, the so-called ‘Shrine Maiden’ was making a huge fuss about the disappearance of the Cherished One.
In order to hide the truth from the Shrine Maiden, the King made up a fake excuse that the Cherished One had been kidnapped by the Dragon King.

Understandably, Joshua was angry and regretted stopping the fairies from destroying this country.

The next day, Nadarsia’s high priests were no longer able to use magic.
The reason for that was because the fairies went on a labor strike.

It seems that because the fairies heard the Cherished One complaining about the wrongdoing of Nadarsia, they acted in response to it.
Joshua’s opinion was split between ‘Good job fairies! Punish them more!’ and ‘Please get to the Cherished One soon, grandmother.’.

A few days later, Joshua received a letter through the aqua mirror. Chelsea had safely taken the Cherished One under her care and is requesting information about the current situation of Nadarsia.
She also wrote that she haven’t informed the Dragon Kingdom of the Cherished One’s existence.
If she did, Agete might go over to her place under the pretense of ‘protection of the Cherished One’. For the moment, she will be keeping the Cherished One at her place until she is used to this world.

As Joshua has no qualms with that decision, he just wrote down everything he knows about the current Nadarsia in his reply letter and sends it to Chelsea. A while after that, magic was once again usable in Nadarsia.

Because human race generally has low magic power, they are not able to use strong magic like those used by demi-humans.
Not to mention, in this country where magic wasn’t an important part of their daily life, not being able to use magic wasn’t that big of a problem.
However, the matter of the influence the priests has in the country and the trust people have for the Shrine Maiden received a huge blow.

Nadarsia’s priests were given the authority to do anything they like in this country because they were able to use magic. With their magic power taken away, the citizens found out that the priests were actually even weaker than those who never relied on magic before.
They too started to resist against the war propaganda being forced down their throat by the king.
To make matters even worse, the number of people who think the Shrine Maiden is a fake was increasing. The trigger for that was due to the fact that despite having the Shrine maiden that was said to bring prosperity to their country here, people were suddenly not able to use magic.

While the King and the priests were desperately trying their best to fix the problem, the Shrine Maiden was acting carefree as ever.

At first, she made a huge fuss about wanting to look for her friend. After having failed to produce any good results, she was fed with the lie that the Dragon Kingdom had kidnapped her.
Joshua was amused when she accepted that lie as the truth without even hesitating. She doesn’t even notice that she is being used by others.

And to the prince who catered to the every whim of the Shrine Maiden due to the influence of a weak charm spell, Joshua could only look at him in contempt.

In Joshua’s mind, Nadarsia should get assimilated by the Dragon Kingdom for Nadarsia’s Citizen’s sake, which was easy said than done.
It was decided by the first Dragon King, who had formed the four major country alliance, that attacks against other countries with the intention of territorial expansion were strictly forbidden.
However, it would be okay if Nadarsia voluntarily suggests the merging of both countries.
In fact, other countries around the Dragon Kingdom has done exactly that in order to gain the protection of the Dragon King.

… who are we joking here? The stubborn king and priests of Nadarsia would never consider that.
The best thing the Dragon Kingdom can do is to defend themselves against Nadarsia’s attack.

Joshua pondered a while on the subject.

There must be nobility or aristocracy in the country that is worried about the instability of their own country.
There should also be people around the king that are highly against the idea of war and are pushing a peace agenda.

The person who is being the largest obstacle for those people is the Shrine Maiden.
In order to get her best friend back, she was set on waging a war with the Dragon Kingdom.

‘With the Shrine Maiden, who was prophesized to bring our country to prosperity leading in the frontline, we could actually win, right?’
When such thinking started spreading, former non-believers started to convert into blind believers.

And then, magic just stopped working. Because of that, the discord within the country just further worsens at a worrying pace.

If so, with the removal of the trigger for war, that is the Shrine Maiden, the war would effectively end before even starting.

That was what Joshua had in mind.

Without resorting to killing her, there might be a way to get the Shrine Princess to leave the country.
That’s right, just as the Shrine Maiden is able to use ‘charm magic’, so does Joshua. In fact, It’s one of his specialty.
A person of the Dragon Race with strong magic power such as himself can easily control a human with weak magic power.

The task of eliminating the person leading an army is absurdly simple for Joshua, but another thing was bothering him.

Holding that thought in his mind, Joshua infiltrated the temple in the middle of the night.
His target? The book of prophecy that has information concerning the Shrine Maiden.
According to his investigation, the book of prophecy is being kept in the room of the chief priest.
Hiding in the shadows, slipping through the guards in patrol, Joshua makes his way into the chief priest’s room. He then spread sleeping powder all around the room with wind magic. This is so that loud noises won’t awaken the chief priest.

Expecting a hard time in finding the book, Joshua was surprised when his search took no time at all as the book was easily found stacked in the bookshelf.
After reading the book of prophecy, Joshua gave a heavy sigh.

“I knew it…” -Joshua

All this while, Joshua didn’t understand something.
‘Golden hair and blue eyes.’ The Shrine Maiden that was chosen based on those traits, turns out to not actually possess those traits.

In reality, her stocks of colored contact lenses ran out and she had started to grow out of the dyed hair. People that called out on her lie, was instantly shot down by the king. The king gave out a statement that ‘black colored eyes and hair is a rare trait as well’.

There is truth in that statement. However, the Shrine Maiden is an important figure in Nadarsia.
The King probably couldn’t think of any other excuse to cover the sudden change in looks of the Shrine Maiden.
Not to mention, there was another person with the same traits amongst the other who were summoned.
If that other person has the same color traits, she could also be the Shrine Maiden. Hoping that people do not notice this glaring contradiction of information, the King insisted that the Shrine Maiden is the real Shrine Maiden no matter what her current appearance was.

Why……? The answer for that was written in the book of prophecy that Joshua was holding. (T/N: Because the author didn’t actually specify the content, feel free to imagine whatever it is that Joshua read in the book.)

“Just how rotten is this country? I can’t just bring this fake Shrine Maiden out of this country now. I wonder if the Cherished One would be furious if she knew about this farce?” -Joshua

Imagining the chaos that would result from that, sent chills down his spine.

“This is bad, really bad. I need to discuss this with grandma.” -Joshua

After leaving the temple, Joshua continued to collect information on Nadarsia day after day. After some time, he received a return order and a new task.

“Huh?! Look for the whereabout of the King’s future bride?! She is a human with platinum blonde hair and lapis lazuli colored eyes…” -Joshua

That specific color combination is similar to the Shrine Maiden in Nadarsia, but she never left Nadarsia. Joshua knows that for a fact.

“Collecting intelligence is my job for god sake. I really don’t want to have anything to do with this whole bride searching business…” -Joshua

That said, he can’t really refuse the order.
Besides, someone with those traits would easily get discovered, so thought Joshua.

“I hope this person isn’t someone who is able to change color like the Shrine Maiden.” -Joshua

Jokes on him, forget about color, she changed her damn race. It was much later only did he found out about that…

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