Originally translated by Bakahou. Fully translation checked and edited by Nockgeneer
You’ll want to read this again since there are a lot of things that have been clarified. It was indeed a tough chapter, and not one you can really do with just MT. Certain portions have therefore simply been re-translated. Enjoy.
The day after.
Returning to the hotel yesterday, I entered the hot spring and took a rest.
Entering the Japanese-style hot spring that Shadow talked about, little by little, I feel the tension in my body seeping out.
Well, the Japanese and Chinese styles have kind of been mixed together…
Among other things, there’s a Kaminarimon1 with paper umbrellas… Various things like the paper sliding doors have a kind of Chinese look to them. It feels like a foreigner’s attempt at imitating a Japanese bath.2
I have no complaints though, I’m just anxious to find out what kind of country the East is. That goes regardless of whether they are nice or not.
Naofumi: “Well then, I’m off.”
Raphtalia: “Please take care of yourself.”
Naofumi: “I think it was Ren today… Make sure the plan doesn’t turn into a repeat of Motoyasu’s.”
After all, I cannot deny the possibility of him being a closet lecher.
There are cases where those who act cool will turn around and chase after girls.
A bastard that won’t help, but will if it’s a woman.
How should I put it, I really don’t know anything about that guy. Just that… when he was responsible for someone else getting hurt, he obediently listened to the story.
All I can say is, Ren seems like a cool adolescent male who styles himself as an ally of justice.
Firo: “Have a nice day~”
On the way to the room where Ren’s companions are.
Naofumi: “…this is so unproductive.”
I voice my dissatisfaction about the staff exchange to Shadow.
I understand the queen’s idea behind it, but the stress isn’t diminishing.
Shadow: “I see degojaruna. You’re wondering why the queen suggested the staff exchange degojaruka. Because there have been no problems in the past, I was fine with this too degojaruga.”
Naofumi: “You… having following the queen’s orders for so long don’t understand. Ah well, I’ve also thought about the various things that led to this agreement.”
Shadow: “What things degojaru?”
Naofumi: “Aren’t you guys covering for contingencies instead of the information you collect behind the scenes?”
Shadow: “Well grasped degojaruna.”
Naofumi: “Because it’s that queen behind it, it’s a natural thought.”
There is a limit to observations from outside sources.
Naofumi: “I’m sure you received information about the actions taken by the other heroes. But you wouldn’t be able to come up with an explanation for Raphtalia’s physical changes.”
It’s difficult to sort out what’s real from the huge pile of miscellaneous information.
Naofumi: “Let’s assume you manage to collect information on the heroes. You guys are still forgetting something very important. How are you supposed to understand the secret to a hero’s strength?”
These weapons can absorb any materials from anywhere!
I mean, is it possible to understand the difference between mine and the other’s strength?
There are multiple shadows I assume, so it won’t necessarily always be the same one watching. The result is that intelligence gathering becomes messy.
If the contents of the investigation are written down in a letter, the meaning conveyed in a voice would also be lost.
It’s something that cannot be understood by someone who doesn’t hold a hero’s weapon. Hearing about it during the information exchange would be useless too. Considering those guys’ habit of hiding themselves, it is also likely they would hold back and tell lies.
I can’t help it, it’s special! They might hide it with that kind of reasoning.
As it is, they will not talk easily, so it’s only possible to examine closely for ourselves.
Shadow: “It can’t be helped degojaru. This was done exclusively for Hero of the Shield-dono, I also haven’t worked very long together with Hero of the Shield-dono degojaruyue.”
Naofumi: “Ah, it can’t be helped. If this could be finished in a day, it wouldn’t be so difficult.”
Besides… and this is important, the companions of each hero will be easily dyed with that one’s standard of values.
In reality, Raphtalia objects against Motoyasu’s policies. If I’m right, Motoyasu’s companions too feel the same way about me.
However, if a personnel exchange is carried out, then our perspectives should broaden a little.
It also provides a chance for those used to the princess treatment to experience battles with the other heroes.
Bitch’s situation is not worth mentioning, but Woman 1 managed to broaden her view by staying cool and resolving herself, and Woman 2 just looks at me like I’m an abnormal hero. However, when they fight together with Ren and Itsuki, they should more or less understand.
It seems that for those fighting alongside Bitch as a companion… it’s a situation of divide and conquer.
With that, I’ll stop complaining.
Naofumi: “If only I could watch what the other heroes pull out when their companions fall into a crisis.”
Shadow: “A crisis degojaruka? Being together with a Hero-dono, I would think means always being side-by-side with danger degojaruga.”
Naofumi: “It’s the opposite. The whole world knows heroes are at the top. In short, do not approach enemies stronger than yourself.”
Shadow: “I see… there’s that kind of thinking too degojaruka.”
Their levels are usually rising steadily, so it’s most likely their crisis opportunities are lacking.
They’re following heroes who feel like they’re in a game. When you only fight enemies that you can beat, your sense of urgency goes away.
It would be easy to fall under the illusion that they themselves are part of the privileged class.
Just by announcing that they are a hero’s companion, they will receive preferential treatment.
Of course, a hero is not perfect either, so there will be at least once or twice when it becomes truly dangerous.
Even if they survive by luck, I imagine they would still feel a release afterward together with the hero.
Because all three heroes have great confidence in themselves.
In the first place, when Motoyasu’s party ended up in a crisis like that, some companions involved fell out because of it.
Naofumi: “At the end, the companions might barely be able to understand how a hero is different having watched them every day. I imagine the difference would seem small. Besides, there is also cultivating friendships to be considered.”
Shadow: “I understand degojaru. If anything riotous happens I’ll let you know degojaru.”
Looking at Melromarc and the rest of the world’s standpoint, it’s normal they would try to make the heroes get along with each other.
Not mentioning the internal discord that led to the loss during the wave, they’re on bad terms even at the best of times.
I don’t really want to make friends, but I understand that co-operating is necessary.
If it was just us, we couldn’t have beat the pope.
From now on co-operation will be important. After this island event is over and we get dispatched to some foreign country, us acting together during the waves won’t change.
However, the opportunity to talk at that time is gone at once.
That’s fine by me, but… to fight against Glass and them, I can’t just say I’ll go do my own thing.
Even though I hate those guys, we belong to the same side so cooperation is necessary.
Come to think of it… how do we participate in the waves around the world?
Do the waves gather around Melromarc’s vicinity since that is where the heroes were summoned?
That’s something else I’ll have to discuss with the queen.
Perhaps, after the personnel exchange, I wonder if Shadow’s findings are going to be reported.
Or is the plan to stick to their habit of hiding things from the heroes?
If I have to say regarding the goal this time, the purpose is to develop mutual understanding with the companions of the other heroes.
The heroes are introduced to skillful people. And so, if they feel they’re lacking something, they’ll ask a trustworthy companion and so forth… right?
Those guys, they won’t ask because they think so highly of themselves. They’re too quick to think they got it.
Well, it could simply be about recruitment.
The bastard Motoyasu tried to solicit my companions using his own special way.
The possibility of Ren and Itsuki also soliciting is not zero. It’s actually rather high.
In their case though, they’d think about raising them from the bottom themselves…
Do demi-humans and demons get that strong? Well, that’s also the sense I have.
However, there is a big contradiction when it comes to this theory.
They are not expected to get strong. That means, the games those fellows played did not have any demi-humans or demons who become that strong… is what I imagine.
That or it was never tried.
Is this strength from improving themselves?
I don’t know.
How should I put it, I feel like the queen’s goal is to raise the standard of all the heroes.
There seems to be some intention to treat me favourably, but it will be awkward from the world-wide standpoint if the other heroes are seen as weak.
That it’s a planned compromise goes without saying.
Rather than only letting the shadows investigate, it’s more reliable if we check things out for ourselves.
Though neither one should be left out.
Looking at it, while this personnel exchange certainly seems useless, it might be a decoy in order to make collecting information easier.
Gathering the heroes in the pretext of the island being active.
…I’ve probably read too much into things already.
Even if I am over-interpreting though, I’m thinking about how Ren and Itsuki’s parties will act.
It won’t be troublesome if nothing happens, but there’ll be a big loss if anything does happens.
Shadow: “This is the room where the Hero of the Sword’s companions are staying degojaru.”
While deep in thought, I finally arrived in front of the room where Ren’s companions are.
I nod and knock on the door.
NPC: “Go ahead.”
This time a proper reply comes. It’s a big difference from Motoyasu’s place.
I open the door and step inside.
NPC: “Welcome and thanks for coming. Hero of the Shield-sama.”
Naofumi: “Oh, yeah…”
Because of my experience last time, it is somewhat anticlimactic.
Well then… Ren’s companions number four people.
That’s one more than Motoyasu. There were five in the beginning though, so it’s gone down by one.
It’s also reasonable to assume that some members were replaced.
Naofumi: “Though I’m sure you already know, you’ll be working together with me, the Hero of the Shield, for the staff exchange today and tomorrow. The name is Iwatanai Naofumi.”
I recognize three people from when we started, and the last one was added I guess?
NPC: “I look forward to working with you, Hero of the Shield-sama.”
All the members are polite.
But these guys… at that time, they showed me distain and hid behind Ren.3
I won’t forget that.
I can’t be careless and let my guard down.
Representative: “Apologies for back then.”
A man who looks the representative… a warrior I guess? He bows to me.4
Representative: “Please understand, because of the situation with the King of Melromark, we knew that anyone siding with the Hero of the Shield would be put down a lot.”
The others lowered their head to match the representative.
Representative: “Though you might feel those words mean little, for the next two days we ask you to please instruct us well.”
Somehow… when the other person is strangely polite, it’s unnerving.
My experiences until now make me suspicious that something may be going on behind the scenes.
Representative: “Shall we leave immediately?”
Naofumi: “Yeah, lets.”
It’s still too early to say one way or the other.
What happened was with Motoyasu’s party after all. A voice then quickly cuts into my thoughts.
Magician: “So, where would be a good place for us to go raise our levels?”
A magician-like fellow at the back asks me in a natural manner.