「Can I assume that you came to Bakkudo with a hidden motive since the beginning?」
「Yes, 8 years ago the village of Serino was in a skirmish and using that as a distraction, I had plans to enter the Ron Belt Kingdom, in the end I managed to infiltrate Bakkudo successfully. Do you know about the battle at Serino village?」
「I’ve heard of it. Father also participated in this battle. Aside from that though, I don’t have much information in the matter」
In reality I knew more information. I knew that Myun had come to our house at the request of Dangle so it was natural to investigate it. Well when I asked Hegard about this matter, I tried to make it low-key by asking about the circumstances of how he had to depart to the front lines for battle. Naturally the war that Hegard participated in was the “The Battle of Serino village”, therefore he would inadvertently talk about Myun and also about his older battles that he participated in, nevertheless I didn’t have all the full details.
What I did know was that Serino Village was a highly sought after territory by both the Debasu kingdom and the Ron Belt Kingdom, 8 years ago this particular village had plenty of skirmishes. Debasu Kingdom existed in the southern borders of the Ron Belt Kingdom and since a long time ago, the border zone was in heavy dispute. It can even be said that there is a skirmish that occurs every single year at the southern border of the Ron Belt Kingdom. Of course, it wasn’t really a large-scale battle, the skirmish consisted of around 2000 people after including both countries and their reserve corps.
It was probably like one of those back and forth battles whereby they used spears in order to ward each other off and they would repeatedly gain and loses inches of territory. In terms of the two countries colliding in a total war possessing an army in the tens of thousands, according to what is recorded in history, this occurred about 120 years ago. And since that battle, the countries have both tried to recuperate their forces and temporally retreated to the edge of their borders in which every year they would repeat these types of small scale skirmishes. By the way, the large scale battle was named “The battle of the dirt prairie”. The Dirt Prairie is a fertile plot of land that exists in the boundary of the Ron Belt Kingdom and the Debasu Kingdom. It had a pleasant river and minimal forestation, moreover the land didn’t have many up and downs or hills which made it an optimal plot of land to cultivate and develop.
Originally, in the middle of this Dirt Prairie field, a green dragon existed and this dragon was actually acting as the perfect wall for the two kingdoms. Therefore, only small disputes would occur and they would occur away from the middle of the field and the dangerous green dragon. However, there was this one time that a group of strong adventurers came in order to subdue the green dragon. At the time, the party of adventurers who subjugated the dragon were actually made up of people from both the countries, therefore, both kingdoms sought to claim that this Dirt Prairie was theirs. This is how the current problem came to be.
Naturally both countries would want this plain plot of land. In this world because earth magic exists, as long as there is fertile block of land, it will be relatively easy to commence development and relocate those people from urban areas. However, if the plot of land was filled with hilly uneven grounds and completely covered in a thicket of forest, then it would be unrealistic to use earth magic to cultivate the land. Sharl has an above average amount of MP in comparison to most magicians, and even if she were to use earth magic to cultivate the land, with the amount of MP in her possession, even if she were to go full out every single day for a whole month, I doubt she would even be able to develop 1 acre of land. (TL: this is about 4046.86 square metres) Not only would you need to level the earth to make it even, you also need to use the earth magic to clear any large rocks or obstructions. Unless you dug around 1 meter deep to make sure no large rocks were in the way, the farmers wouldn’t be able to cultivate crops properly.
To begin with, although a magician may be good at using a particular element of magic, if there is already an abundance of say earth or forest, if you wanted to remove the earth or transport it from one location to another, you would need to combine your elemental magic with void magic. Well I may be a special existence in this world as I have a huge amount of MP, but at least for the people of this world, it would be impractical to clear and clean a rampant area filled with hills and forests. In addition to this, the efficiency of magic changes quite drastically depending on the level of your magic. Anyways I feel like I’m going to rant on too much about magic, so let’s go back to our main point.
In conclusion, just let me summarize that cultivating lands in this type of Prairie Field which was not only fertile but didn’t have many hills or rocky areas was a superb location for development, and possessing such a plot of land could easily expand the territory of a nation. It is only natural for these countries to want such a thing. As a matter of course, this Dirt Plain was also ideal in terms of how close it was to the countries, so if they succeeded in claiming the territory, it would be easy to build a city and increase the strength of their nation. In an ideal scenario, the city that they developed could be used as a fortification point whereby it restricted the neighbouring countries from entering the border and this would be an overwhelming advantage that would give one party a huge boost in comparison to the other.
I probably don’t need to say this, but obviously both countries have tried to send people in order to set up a village. However, even if they wanted to do this kind of sneaky base set up, it is necessary to hide the village secretly until military forces could be sent to reinforce the small village. In terms of this kind of small base set ups, there has been several attempts. However, none of these kingdoms were dumb so they would periodically send a small unit of scouters to scan for the area and check to make sure that no secret bases were being set up, by sending these scouting parties, each country would be able to gain an accurate whereabouts of the village and its scale of operations.
Moreover, just before it could grow into a threatening village the countries would most definitely send a force big enough to crush the developing base. This would be repeated over and over. And, one of the more famous battles was precisely the battle that occurred in the “Village of Serino”.
Serino village was just a little to the west of the central portion of the Dirt Prairie, and it was one of the first villages that Debasu kingdom tried to secretly develop. Soon afterwards Ron belt kingdom took possession of the village, and immediately following that, the Debasu Kingdom launched a counter attack to reclaim the village. After it being retaken by the Debasu Kingdom, the Debasu Kingdom were really cautious and they diligently worked to cover up any information leakage, they even managed to wipe out a scouting party from the Ron Belt Kingdom before they could get any essential information about the scale of development within the village. Feeling the pressure and sensing a crisis approach if they were to let Debasu Kingdom freely develop Serino Village, the Ron Belt Kingdom formed an army big enough to trample down Serino Village with brute force this is precisely the battle that happened 8 years ago, which was named “The Battle of Serino Village”
And at that particular time, Bakkudo village was drafted to become one of the forces that was required to attend the war, and it was also at this time that Hegard who was the current Lord of the village at the time organized a force filled and marched to battle. Amongst those people that participated in the war was Dangle Tobasu, who is the current foster father of Myun. They were able to successfully take the Serino Village by storm and occupy it, but they would soon receive the retaliation attack from the rallied forces of the Debasu Kingdom. Although they managed to hold the forces off, they also received heavy casualties and had no choice but to withdraw. Before they withdrew from the village, they burnt it to the ground.
When Dangle was confirming the military gains from the temporary occupation of the Serino Village he discovered and picked up the stray Myun, from there Myun came to live as the daughter of Dangle possessing the family name Tobasu, and the rest of the story including how she came to Bakkudo village was already explained previously so in order to avoid mentioning the trifling details once again, I will move on.
「Debasu Kingdom who obtained information that Ron Belt Kingdom was going to send an army to Serino Village looked for a resolution to win the war. Yes, Ron Belt kingdom was probably trying to figure something out as well. However Debasu Kingdom was ardently going through everything they could in order to have an advantage in these small skirmishes. Being able to obtain information about the nobles being drafted and who was participating in the war was also one of the hard work of the Debasu Kingdom. For such a reason, I have sneaked into Marquis Webdosu’s territory」
「As expected, you are a spy aren’t you?」
「It has the meaning of a secret agent」
「Yes, that’s right. If you have already understood this much, then there is probably no need to hide it any longer….. The information that Marquis Webdosu’s forces was planning a full out military attack on Serino Village arrived to my house several days before the attack on the village began. My house, the Saguaru family is a family of spies, our strong point is infiltrating various countries here and there, and we are directly serving the Debasu Royal family as it’s retainers. Since I was around Al-sama’s age, I have been given training for this sort of mission. All for the objective of infiltrating the enemy side one day, and obtaining information. The power to hide and camouflage our status is a trademark bloodline of those born under the Saguaru family. Those of us born with this ability are able to replace our current status with any person’s status that we imagine within our minds」
Yeah, when I reached Max Level on my Appraisal ability, I had already looked into her sub window and confirmed the abilities of her skill. In order to use her skill, it required a consumption of 1 MP, but the duration of the skill is dependent on the level of her camouflage ability. In actuality it’s a really special skill, because you can only obtain the skill from your parents at a certain probability, it is not possible for people to acquire this skill after birth, and it is very similar to the inherent skills in my possession. Although it’s a fixed probability, the chances of acquiring the ability seems to be considerably high, I’m not really sure how the blood relationship of the Saguaru family is inherited but it seems to be a famous ability for those that knew the Saguaru family.
「Is that so, and?」
「Our family had yet to implement a spy within Marquis Webdosu’s territory so it was one of our aims. The original objective was to gain entrance as one of Marquis Webdosu’s knights or one of the retainers, but I was taken in by my foster father」
「Are you unsatisfied?」
「No. Whilst it was true that at the beginning I was a little unsatisfied at being unable to accomplish my purpose, but being taken in by my foster father and serving master all this time, I haven’t felt any dissatisfaction. Comparing to my life in the Saguaru household, everyone here has treated me really well, and I’ve felt like I’ve been living in a dream. In the first place, for a spy being able to slip past this deep is quite rare. Normally being able to conceal your existence as a spy is very difficult. Because of this, even though I wasn’t able to slip into my desired position within Marquis Webdosu’s territory, being able to sneak in at all can be considered a success even if it isn’t a perfect score」
「Is that how it is? So you’ve been leaking out information like this thus far?」
「No. At first the secret agent from my side came in order to confirm that my infiltration had been successful and they were people that pretended to be part of the merchant group. However, Bakkudo village even amongst Marquis Webdosu’s territory is quite the remote region, therefore, there has not been any significant information that needed to be reported. As Al-sama would already know, Master has not departed to battle for quite a long time now, therefore, I haven’t had the need to send out any information either」
「Then, you are saying that you’ve basically been skipping your work? However why did you suddenly get so motivated to go out and inform them today?」
「I think that you have already predicted this but, it’s because of rubber. Those slingshots and sandals are very convenient objects for spies like us」
「I understand. Is that all there is to it? And that Korisaru Pellet is the signal for contact?」
「Yes, if the Korisaru Pellet is allowed to drift down this stream, there will be a place that it will stop at. The contact liaison from the Saguaru Family makes their rounds at least once every three months in order to check for any news, at the worst case scenario, after three months of continuously sending out these pellets, they will be able to know of my desire to come into contact with them」
As I expected… I didn’t really know that the pellet would stop at a precise location, but well I pretty much predicted the same thing.
「So, you wanted to get into contact so that you could tell them information about the slingshot and the sandals?」
「Yes, that’s right. I will only speak up to here. Because I don’t really understand the precise details of how the process of contacting works. Thus, I don’t really have anything left to hide. Is it about time to put an end to this? If it’s come to this can you please leave a message to my foster father for me?」
「Eh? Why? Myun, do you want to die?」
This was unexpected. My perception of a spy is like a ninja from Japan. It was the type of ninja that appeared in manga and comics. After all I wouldn’t have a clue about what a real life ninja is like. The ninja that I read about in my childhood days all had a high sense of purpose and would never willingly give up on their duties. Well if they were cornered they would rather suicide in order to secure the information, but unless they were driven into an extremely desperate situation, they wouldn’t choose death. Their loyalty to their organisations would take the highest priority and they would be absolutely obedient to their superior’s orders, and trying to leave from the organisation itself would be considered a serious crime. To be frank, I got all this from Sanpei Shirato’s Manga’s.
If I understood what just occurred with Myun right now properly, then it was the fact that she didn’t try to formulate an escape plan, nor did she try to beg for her life or win me over, she merely started speaking all the information she knew. To be honest with you, for someone like me with a Japanese background, I don’t really understand what’s going on at all.
「I don’t really want to die, but I have been detected as a spy. I didn’t want my foster father to be blamed for any of it, so I spoke about everything. So as to make an example for any more potential spies, it would be wise to kill me, right?」
Ah, I thought about this occasionally but… The people in this world are basically, ‘that’ aren’t they? Their method of dealing with problems are really direct, or they give the kind of feel that they follow a straight path to their goals. Well I’ve only every lived in Bakkudo village so I don’t really know about the rest of the world but… At the very least my father and mother are truly honest and upright people. In this world that was based on hierarchical societies such as these types of feudal societies, there is only a limited amount of information available and most of the people are brought up with decency and upright morals, I’ve read about this in a book before but I didn’t think it was true. Ahh, I remember it was one of the Defense Academy books I read before. I think it’s similar to the teachings of the Soviet Union and or China back in the day.
After all I guess for someone to have the mentally of “I won’t ever give up, I must accomplish my duties” this kind of mentality is a really taxing thing and requires a considerable amount of mental fortitude. When I was just born into this world, I also gave up on things many times, to a certain extent, it was really easy for me to think pessimistically. Most likely, this is because of a problem in MP. Myun’s greatest amount of MP is at 10. Because she was capable of using magic, she actually has a bigger MP than Hegard, but if she used magic it would obviously reduce. Just a while ago, she poured quite a bit of her magical energy into the Korisaru Pellet, right now she should be at around 1 MP. If her MP goes below the value of 6 she needs to sleep in order for her MP to start recovering.
The fact that her MP is at 1 right now means that Myun’s mentality and willpower is akin to a five-year old child. Right now it wouldn’t be strange if she was filled with pessimism. However, it’s not like I want to kill Myun or anything, naturally the fact that I’ve been in her care and have been living with her all this time has built a certain amount of affection between us. Moreover, I can already tell that Myun is really sincere and holds a deep gratitude for her foster father Dangle. The information only supports this fact even more. This may just be ‘that’ kind of thing, right?
「Umm, you know Myun? You haven’t really said anything I still have a lot of things that I want to know, and I haven’t really ascertained that Myun has revealed everything she knows. I will have you accompany me for a little while longer」
「……? I understand. Please ask me anything」
The mentality of a 5 year old child is so simple isn’t it?
「First of all, it’s about Saguaru. How many spies do they have across Ron Belt Kingdom?」
「I don’t really know but, at the time that I came here, there should have been four people. Although they went to a different nobles territory.」
「Ahh, it’s fine as long as it’s what you know. …….Four people is it? From what Myun knows, can you tell me how long ago these four have infiltrated and the extent of the information they have passed on?」
「The oldest person should have already sneaked in 50 years ago. And from what I have heard, the spy that provided the most distinguished services was the one who passed on the information regarding the dispatch army」
Buh, What the? that’s not really that impressive…
「Is that so…….? Then apart from Myun, has there been any other spies that were discovered?」
「From what I know, these has been no such thing. Therefore, I must be the most useless spy」
I don’t really think so. Considering her camouflage skill is so perfect, unless you were very doubtful of the person’s movements or you were an experienced investigator, it is unlikely for anyone to see through you as a spy. Another thing is that the information that Myun would have passed on to the Saguaru family was indeed a very important piece of information. Although it wasn’t game changing in the sense that I was going to market these products to more places in due time, but if you compared it to the information of that other spy, which revealed the particular details of nobles who were going to participate in the next war, the information in regards to my rubber technology is much more useful, at least in my opinion.
「Well don’t worry about it. Then I’ll ask the next question. If the secret agent Myun was supposed to come into contact with got killed, what would happen?」
「Eh? the agent who is supposed to come into contact with us, are normally at a mid-level adventurer skill level. I think that it would be quite difficult if you want to kill them」
「It’s fine, this is just for speculation purposes」
「I see. Well in the case that the agent loses contact or disappears then, there would be suspicions. Naturally the contact liaison would report to the upper branch who they were going to come into contact with, so the first person they would doubt would probably be me. And I think that they will send a replacement person in order to investigate what happened」
「Well that seems about right. However, what if they got killed as they were doing the periodic checks for the signal?」
「I don’t know. After all, they probably can’t distinguish between the agent getting killed by some sort of demon or beast, or whether it was because they got caught as a spy and got killed by humans. However, no matter the case, I believe that sooner or later they will send a replacement investigator」
「I see. I guess that about sums that up. Then the next question. You have been going out during night time, am I right? If you say that this is the first time you’ve tried to get into contact in order to leak information, then where have you been going at night before this?」
Finally, I am able to ask her the question in regards to the mysterious way in which she is able to gain Experience Points. If she hasn’t been all that active in being a spy, then this matter of the EXP becomes more urgent to know about. In fact, I am personally more interested in this piece of information.
「……As expected, you’ve even known about this. So that I would not become obsolete I went training and tried to hunt demons. Although the places vary in location…….It has been mainly around the outskirts of Bakkudo village, near the forest」
「Heeh, So you’ve been hunting demons? You know about the fact that in these past several years, both my father and I have been patrolling around our territory, right? How come we’ve never seen the corpses of the dead monsters you’ve hunted? And what of the magical stones?」
Well since the start, one of my suspicions in how she managed to gain the EXP points is by hunting the monsters. However, I’ve never even seen the signs of a struggle or the corpses of the monsters she’s killed when I was patrolling the area, so I denied this possibility in my own mind.
「The moment a spy from the Saguaru family succeeds in infiltrating the desired area, the contact liaison would provide us with a single magical tool at our very first meeting. As for me, the magical item I received is this bracelet that is always on me. This tool is able to change the corpse of a dead being into water at a fixed rate. Using this bracelet, I managed to dispose of the monster’s corpses」
「Fuuh, I’m going to have a look」
I never realized she had such a thing… I immediately made a hole in the earth prison, and used Appraisal on her bracelet.
【Manufactured date: 17/6/7417】
【Durability level: 29】
【This is a bracelet that is imbued with the properties of both Water Magic and Void Magic】
【You can only use the Water Conversion magic once every 10 days. The requirement is that the body must be a dead body of a creature. Although there is no limitation on the number of things converted into water at the same time, the maximum limitation is 10m^3. The way the object is made is a combination of using the bone of someone from the lineage of Saguaru being applied into the Brass, additionally, it also requires the blood of the user to be mixed in. Only the blood of the user which was bound to the object will be able to use the item】
Somehow this seems amazing. The only other magical tool I’ve ever seen before is a simple magical clock. Because clocks were used pretty often, I didn’t find them that impressive. However, the bracelet she had was precisely one of those impressive magical tools. But I see, only Myun is able to use this object…
「Well then, that’s all for now. It’s about time to head back」
「Eh?……….. Ahh, is that so…….?」
Myun had a look of slight confusion as I used my Wind Magic and Void Magic to blow away the earth locking her in place. Well she’s still covered in dirt, but I suppose she needs to be able to endure this much.