The carriage that carried Seira advanced through the forest.
It was a maintained highway, but right now, the relationship between the St. Altlis Kingdom and the Jiol Forest Kingdom was extremely bad, so that had naturally influenced the highway’s environmental maintenance.
That did not mean that the highway was neglected, but that it tended to be dismissed more when compared to the other important locations.
On the other hand, the security around the national border and the inspections made when passing through the national border had become much stricter.
WIth it like this, civilian interaction would naturally lessen.
As a result, this road where only people related to the army would pass through had no reason to be maintained, so it became rough.
「But still, it’s much more pleasant than I predicted. I imagined that the road would be worse than this.」
「……That is true.」
Certainly, although the highway was a bit rough, putting it another way, it wasn’t in a state that could be said to be that terrible.
If it were completely abandoned, it wouldn’t end with this level of a rough state.
In other words, it displayed that it was managed even if only a little.
「To the very end, this is a story about our country, but it seems that the Adventurer’s Guild and the Commerce Guild are independently servicing the highway. There might be similar actions going on in the Jiol Forest Kingdom as well.」
Seira consented to Ietta’s explanation.
However, that was half right and half wrong.
Certainly, in the St. Altlis Kingdom, highway maintenance was continued through the hard work of the civilians with the various guilds at their center.
However, in the Jiol Forest Kingdom, the country shouldered the duty of its maintenance.
This highway had a faint hope and wish for mutual peace between the two coutries packed into it, but those feelings were in vain, as day by day, the relationship between the two countries did nothing but deteriorate.
「But still, for there to be this little people.」
「It cannot be helped. It is because the interactions on the civilian level just keep on decreasing after all.」
「……Why did things turn out like this. Even though there’s nothing interesting in fighting like this.」
In the interactions between the Jiol Forest Kingdom and the St. Altlis Kingdom, the connection in the commerce side was much bigger than the cultural aspect.
To the Jiol Forest Kingdom, the St. Altlis Kingdom, which bought large quantities of their agricultural produce, was a good customer, but currently, there was a new customer called the Zadark Kingdom, and their national economy was able to be maintained well enough even without trade with the St. Altis Kingdom.
Even for the St. Altlis Kingdom, it wasn’t like the country was unable to keep going unless they bought the Jiol Forest Kingdom’s agricultural produce, which were treated like high quality, high-class items.
In fact, they were able to smoothly switch over from imported goods that came from other nations to their preserved domestic goods.
Of course, there was dissatisfaction that came out from a portion of the citizens and merchants, and small transactions between the two countries continued through those sorts of people even now, but only talking about the effects of it, it was only of that level.
And then, seeing that there were no effects even when diplomatic relations with the Jiol Forest Kingdom had ceased, the advocators of the Demi-Human Rejection Argument in the St. Altlis Kingdom had an even further increase in power.
Saying “did you see that, we can do just fine regardless of them being around”.
Now, there were even some people stating that they should stop dealings with the Jiol Forest Kingdom even on the civilian level.
There were objections to that sort of opinion, but it was mostly the Moderate Faction’s Duke Albania and Seira’s father, Duke Necros.
Rather, as long as they were a noble familiar with diplomacy, they knew more than well enough about how foolish quarrelling between the four major nations would be.
How it had turned into this sort of diplomatic situation despite that was because the influential voices of the people of the Temple had grown too strong within the St. Altlis Kingdom, and the nobles were unable to ignore their influence.
That being said, the Temple was something that they were unable to do anything about.
After all, the Grand Altlis Temple had an achievement that was way too big, which was called the Hero Summoning.
At the time of the fight against the Demon King in the past, the royal family was mostly unable to do anything.
The ones who save mankind’s territory, which was only being trampled down on, was unmistakably the Hero Ryuuya and his companions, and in addition to that, the Grand Altlis Temple was the one that succeeded in the Hero Summoning.
The populace would grandly oppose if there was anyone that would try to place any sort of restrictions on the Temple, and conversely, there was even the possibility that the royal family would be criticized.
Like this, the thing that had transformed into inviolable territory was the current Grand Altlis Kingdom.
Well then, as for whether or not the cause of the current situation was all on the Grand Altlis Temple, that wasn’t the case at all.
The Grand Altlis Temple had a way of thinking that said that all of mankind was equal under the God of Life Philia to begin with.
As proof of that, the Head Priest during the time that Hero Ryuuya was summoned had strongly supported the Sylphid Luuty who was Hero Ryuuya’s first companion. It was said that it was also this person who recommended that Luuty be the board chairman of the Edius Adventurer School at the time of its establishment.
Also, before the Demi-Human Argument came to be, instead, it was the Grand Altlis Temple that had even accomplished the role of connecting the fellow countries.
Well then, are the advocates of the Demi-Human Argument the ones who are in the wrong?
The Demi-Human arguers made the Grand Altlis Temple’s dogma of placing the God of Life Philia as the supreme God as one of their foundations, and made it sound as if Humans, who were the ones that received Philia’s divine protection, were the most excellent race.
However, making Philia the supreme God, to the very end, that was just people arbitrarily arguing the ranks of the Gods.
Furthermore, the 「all of」 that was in the Temple’s dogma was written down as being within the flow that the God of Life Philia managed.
Thinking about it, there shouldn’t be anything like superiority or inferiority among mankind, and being recognized as equal by the God of Life Philia is what the existence known as mankind is, that is what they would notice.
However, it was here were there were two races that became the causes that complicated things.
One of them was the Mazoku.
Being life that was disconnected from the flow that the God of Life Philia managed, their existence made a portion of Humans think 「aren’t Demi-Humans the same way」.
And then, the other one was the Beastmen, who should have been in the same framework as mankind.
They did not possess their own specific country, and they were also a vagrant race that didn’t stay in one place for long.
Since they had appearances that looked like they were Humans with animal features, such as animal ears and maybe even tails, attached to them, they were hit with malicious gossip wondering if they were actually of mixed blood with the animal-type Mazoku, the Beastia, and they ended up becoming a suitable target for the believers of the Demi-Human Argument.
Even when Ietta explained the course of it all like that, Seira tilted her head.
「Nnー……But. The Temple confirmed the Demi-Human Argument, right? In that case, doesn’t that ultimately mean that the Temple is to blame?」
「I wouldn’t exactly say that. To begin with, this part will be about the main cause of the complication of the situation but……Although the Demi-Human Argument and the Demi-Human Rejection Argument have the same origin, they slightly differ.」
To begin with, there was the thing called the Demi-Human Rejection Argument.
This had its origins in the dispute called the Demi-Human Controversy……and what was born from that was the Demi-Human Argument.
「And how are they different.」
「Let’s see……If I were to put it roughly, the Demi-Human Argument is a mild representation.」
If the Demi-Human Argument were to be summarized simply, it would be 「Even though the God of Life Philia had no intention to create anyone but Humans to begin with, the other Gods did unnecessary things and Demi-Humans were created as a result.」.
In other words, publicly, it was not something where they persecuted or rejected the Demi-Humans themselves.
Although this was a broad interpretation of the Grand Altlis Temple’s dogma, by no means was it inconsistent.
Therefore, even the Grand Altlis Temple had no choice but to confirm it.
As a result, the advocators of the Demi-Human Argument, which was previously the Demi-Human Rejection Argument, argued like this.
Just as the Grand Temple had admitted, the Demi-Humans do not align with the God of Life Philia’s intentions.
Are they people that we as believers of the God of Life should love as neighbors?
Like this, the Demi-Human arguers dragged in various Humans to their side.
「But, they still would have noticed if it went as far as something as rejection, thinking that something was wrong.」
「That is not necessarily the case. The thing called a strange sense of values, its newness exterminates that out of place feeling.」
Presently, the supporters of the Demi-Human Argument were continuing to increase throughout the country. It was already to a point where no one knew where and how they should go back to how they were before. That was the current situation.
That is why they had no other choice but to somehow break through the current situation from a different direction.
「……This is just a guess, but. Is that the true aim this time? Although it’s a royal decree, thinking about how Otou-sama had yielded strangely obediently……the objective isn’t to win Nefas over, but to skillfully have Nefas be an intermediary?」
「Who knows. Since I didn’t ask about anything but the orders, I am not too clear on the personal interpretations……」
After making a wry smile at Ietta’s answer, Seira leaned her back on the carriage wall.
However, it was there that Seira suddenly got a feeling that something was out of place and her nose twitched.
「Yes. It does smell.」
That was, the smell of blood.
A faint smell of blood rode the wind and flowed in.
After opening the window that was installed on the coachman side of the carriage, Ietta peeked out at the front from there.
「Wh, what is the matter?」
「There might be something about to happen. Advance cautiously.」
It seemed that the Heavy Equipment Chivalric Order and the escort knights had already noticed as they were looking around at the area as if being vigilant of their surroundings.
「……Ietta, where is my spear?」
「In the carriage behind us. However, please refrain from exposing yourself to danger.」
Even during the time that they had that sort of conversation, the carriage advanced little by little, and the smell of blood became stronger.
Before long, Ietta raised a small surprised voice.
「That is……If I’m not mistaken, Luuty-dono……?」
When Seira also peeked out of the window, Luuty’s figure was certainly there.
There was a man that she didn’t recognize, but the corpses of Goblins were scattered around the two of them.
Putting that together with the large traces of destruction and thinking about it, it was clear that there was a battle here.
「She came to greet us, but Goblins attacked them, I guess.」
「Still, even if that was the case……」
While peeking over at the bewildered looks on the faces of the Heavy Equipment Chivalric Order, Ietta stared at the scene before her eyes so as to not lose focus.