WM – Chapter 298: Takatsuki Makoto participates in the strategy meeting

“Now then, we will begin our discussion about the 3rd Northern Expedition.” 

The voice of the 5th Division Captain of the Sun Knights resonates.

This is the conference room of the Highland Castle. 

A gigantic room that can accomodate more than 100 people in it. 

The important people of each country were lined up tightly packed here.

A lot of familiar faces and a lot of unfamiliar faces.

There’s also Momo within those.

It seems like she has her head on the armrest of the biggest chair and is sleeping.

Is no one going to reprimand her?

There’s several magic projections floating in the air. 

They are broadcasting devices from magic tools called the satellite system that are connected to all the military bases in the whole continent. 

Thanks to that, the number of participants here has gone up to several hundreds. 

I am sitting at a seat in the corner of this meeting. 

Princess Sofia is sitting by my side. 

“In the first place, the reason why we failed to slay the Ancient Dragon King was because of the blunder of Highland. Then, they would wash away that dishonour.” 

“That’s right. That’s why I am saying the 7 countries should join arms.” 

“We have just been founded. We have no leeway to provide the help.” 

“A great deal of devilkin have gathered there, and I have heard that they have been training their army day and night.”

“Oh? Where did you hear such rumors? Could it be that you have sent spies into our country -an ally country? That’s problematic.” 

“Prime Minister-dono of Laphroaig, don’t antagonize Highland too much…” 

“General Tariska of the Fire Country has become gutless.” 

“That statement is a grave insult to the General of our country. Take it back.” 

“My apologies, Fire Oracle, Dalia-sama.” 

The atmosphere in the meeting isn’t that good. 

The reason is clear.

That’s because the Moon Country people go against all the opinions of the Sun Country. 

“The representatives of Spring Log and Kaliran, do you have anything you want to say?” (Esther)

The one who said that in order to change the topic was the Destiny Oracle, Esther-san.

“Nothing from us.” 

“Nothing really from us either…” 

But it ended up as a blank shot.

They probably don’t want to speak in this atmosphere. 

{It is so thorny…} (Makoto)

 I whispered to Princess Sofia at my side. 

{That’s how it has been the whole time lately…} (Sofia)

Princess Sofia’s voice was gloomy. 

The composition of the meeting is like this.

The ones leading this meeting are Highland.

Laphroaig is opposing them. 

The Sun Country is a hierarchical country that believes in human supremacy. 

The devilkin were oppressed for a great many years within that. 

The Moon Country is a country of gathered devilkin.

Of course they have years of grudges. 

Great Keith and Camelon are trying to arbitrate the confrontation of these two countries.

The representatives of Spring Log, the Earth Country, and Rozes that have low military strength are barely speaking.

If it had been 1 year ago, the Sun Country would be above them all.

However, because of the defeat against the Ancient Dragon King, their standing has weakened greatly. 

On top of that, the factions of the young Queen Noel and her brother -the first prince- are making the internal affairs of the country into a mess.

I think Queen Noel should drive out the opposing faction as the ruler, but it looks like she can’t.

Princess Sofia said: ‘Queen Noel is kind after all…’, but the reality is that other countries are looking down on her and calling her ‘Naive’.

I am a bit surprised that the number one strongest country in the continent would change this much in the short time I was away. 

Compared to that, the Moon Country is united under the same banner and rule of the new Queen Furiae-san.

Furiae-san is a Holy Maiden as well, and she is being worshipped like a goddess by the people of the Moon Country. 

From children to the elderly; every single one obeys the words of the Queen.

“If you are going to go against everything said, then make proposals yourselves!” 

“Just observe the situation for a while.” 

“How irresponsible and negligent!” 

The crevice between the Sun Country and the Moon Country is deep. 

Queen Noel was listening to this and wasn’t speaking. 

But I could see fatigue behind that serious expression of hers. 

I look at Furiae-san.

She doesn’t seem to be interested in the meeting, she has been brushing the back of the black cat the whole time. 

She yawned lightly. 

By the way, Momo is fast asleep.

I am impressed that she can sleep in such a noisy place.

Looks like both of them don’t notice that I am in the meeting.

The discussion was not progressing at all.

There probably wasn’t much meaning in me participating. 

{Even so, why are the people of the Moon Country acting so high and mighty?} (Makoto)

I had nothing to do, so I spoke to Princess Sofia. 

Is this really a country that came back from ruin just recently? 

{It can’t be helped. The ones who contributed the most in the recent subjugation of a Demon Lord -the Sea Monster King Forneus- were the mages of the Moon Country.} (Sofia)

Princess Sofia answered my question.

{But the one who defeated Forneus was the Light Hero Sakurai-kun, right?} (Makoto)

That’s what I heard.

It is not like it was solely the achievement of the Moon Country. 

{Forneus is normally hidden deep in the ocean. The ones who stopped the retreat of Forneus were the mages of the Moon Country. On top of that, the ones who cleared up the Pitch Black Clouds were the mages of the Moon Country too.} (Sofia)

{I see.} (Makoto)

Sakurai-kun’s Light Hero Skill is an invincible power, but he weakens drastically without the light of the sun. 

The Pitch Black Clouds are a powerful spell the demon lord army possesses. 

Apparently the only ones who can break through that are the mages of the Moon Country. 

I do understand the importance of the Moon Country with that. 

The heated discussion continued even now. 

“If all the Heroes aside from the Light Hero fight the Ancient Dragon King, they should be able to buy time at the very least. We of the Moon Country and the Light Hero-dono will subjugate the Great Demon Lord.” 

“What nonsense are you speaking!” 

“But the only ones who can clear the Pitch Black Clouds are the mages of the Moon Country. Also, our Holy Maiden Furiae-sama can see the future. With the Light Hero and the Holy Maiden Furiae-sama, the Great Demon Lord should be nothing to fear.” 

“Noel-sama also holds the title of Holy Maiden. Don’t forget that…” 

“There’s whispers from the people that Furiae-sama is the true Holy Maiden.” 

“Rumors with no substance.” 

“I wonder about that. If the world is saved by the clairvoyance of Furiae-sama, the Holy Maiden who will mark their name in the annals of history will be Furiae-sama.” 

“So foolish! Such a future won’t come!” 

“Can you say the same thing once the Great Demon Lord is defeated? The Light Hero-sama will be creating a history of glory for 1,000 years with the Holy Maiden Furiae-sama!” 

“Nonsense!” 

The topic is derailing.

{What are we talking about here now…?} (Makoto)

Where did the Northern Expedition go?

I poked the shoulder of Princess Sofia and asked for an explanation.

{Since defeating the Sea Monster King, there have been more people who want the Light Hero and the Queen to be together. Of course, the Light Hero-sama is the fiance of Noel-sama, so that’s not possible though…} (Sofia)

The pairing of the reincarnation of the Savior and the Holy Maiden is apparently a story that normally pops up.

However, isn’t this way too rude to bring up in the presence of Queen Noel? 

I glanced at Queen Noel, and her face was stiff.

I feel like it is fine for her to say something, but is there a reason why she can’t?

At that moment, Sakurai-kun -who is the very topic of the moment- walked up to Queen Noel and whispered to her in the ear. 

Looks like he followed up on her. 

Nice, Sakurai-kun.

Now then, as Furiae-san who is the other topic target, I direct my gaze thinking she was still brushing the back of the black cat, but…

…Uwaah…

She is staring hard here.

Looks like she has just now noticed that I am participating in this meeting. 

Her eyes were wide open and she glared at me.

(Why are you here?!) (Furiae)

I can’t hear her, but I could read that from the movements of her mouth.

(Spectator.) (Makoto)

I said straight. 

(…Really?) (Furiae)

Furiae-san glared at me with doubtful eyes.

Looks like she thinks I will be saying something weird. 

In the first place, I don’t have any speaking power here. 

I am a former Hero after all.

I am simply listening. 

I have been warned that if I want to give my opinion, I should pass it through a Sun Knight Captain first beforehand. 

“What did you say?!! Watch what you are saying! Lowly devilkin!” 

“So you have shown your true colors, you hierarchical leech!” 

They are finally heating up.

This has already devolved into a fight.

(This is…no good anymore…) (Makoto)

This isn’t a conversation between allied countries.

If they didn’t have a common enemy that is the Great Demon Lord, I feel like the Sun Country and the Moon Country would have begun a war.

Why did it end up like this…?

What is Ira-sama doing?

Could it be that Ira-sama is listening?

The national relations in the West Continent are a mess, you know?

I asked Ira-sama who should be in the Divine Realm, but there was no answer.

I haven’t been able to speak to her for the past few days.

Is she busy? 

That Goddess always seems to be busy after all.

(Hey, why are you speaking to Ira instead of me? Have you forgotten whose Apostle you are?) (Noah)

Noah-sama answered instead. 

She seems to be sulking a bit. 

(Of course, I am the Apostle of Noah-sama. But if it is talk about history, wouldn’t it be faster to ask Ira-sama?) (Makoto)

(You don’t need to ask Ira if it is just that much. I can tell you. Listen here, you know that it is prohibited by the Divine Realm Regulations to directly interfere with history, right? You are a resident of the Mortal Realm, so it is allowed, but it is unforgivable for the Destiny Goddess to bend history in a convenient direction for them. That’s why, even if they know things will end up like this, they can’t do anything to stop it.) (Noah)

(…I see. But what about Naia-sama? Can’t she help?) (Makoto)

I haven’t met her, but she is the 7th Goddess of the Goddess Church. 

If it is now that the Moon Country is back, can’t she help out?

(Naia, huh… I wonder.) (Noah)

I could feel from the words of Noah-sama that we can’t rely on her. 

In the end, the conflict between humans has to be resolved by humans. 

“How long are you going to continue this pointless discussion?” 

“The Sun Country just has to defeat the Ancient Dragon King. That was the plan to begin with.” 

“It is because they can’t that we are gathered here! Why can’t you understand that?!” 

“That goes the same for us. Don’t coerce other countries when you yourself can’t do it.” 

“This isn’t coercion! It is a request for reinforcements!” 

“Then we refuse.” 

“If the Great Demon Lord gets their strength back, the world is going to end, you know?!” 

“It is different from 1,000 years ago. There’s only 1 Demon Lord remaining. They won’t be attacking.” 

The meeting was running on parallels here. 

The Sun Country wants to defeat the Ancient Dragon King and the Great Demon Lord fast.

On top of that, they want to regain their standing that has weakened in the West Continent. 

That’s why they are hurrying to the conclusion.

The Moon Country hates the Sun Country. 

That’s why they don’t want them to become the leaders of the continent. 

But they don’t have the national power to become the top of the West Continent. 

That’s why they want to buy time and increase their military strength. 

On top of that, the only ones who can go against the Pitch Black Clouds of the demon lord army are the mages of the Moon Country. 

In other words, the words of the Moon Country carry heavy weight here.

They want to maintain the status quo. 

That’s why this discussion has no end. 

There’s none, but…what comes every now and then and is the center of the topic was bothering me. 

—Ancient Dragon King, Astaroth.

The biggest reason here is this Demon Lord. 

As long as the Ancient Dragon King stays in the North Continent, they can’t put a hand on the Great Demon Lord. 

My memories of 1,000 years ago are brought back. 

The Demon Lord that even the God Rank Spell, Cocytus, couldn’t defeat. 

The strongest Ancient Dragon that has inherited the blood of a Dragon God, and the last Demon Lord.

And also the father of the White Dragon-san. 

I have gone to the castle of the Ancient Dragon King with Mel-san.

I was really nervous then. 

What he told me then…

— “Have a match with me. If you win, I will grant you the emblem of the Dragon King.” 

If I remember correctly, he told me that. 

What did I answer to that?

— “Got it. I promise. Let’s have a match one day.” 

Right. 

At that time, RPG Player activated, and it was shown [Will you promise to fight the Ancient Dragon King?].

I chose Yes.

Wonder if the Ancient Dragon King remembers our promise. 

It was 1,000 years ago.

There’s a high chance he has forgotten. 

In the end, I couldn’t meet the Ancient Dragon King 1,000 years ago. 

There wasn’t a chance for us who were going around the South and West Continent to meet the Ancient Dragon King again since he stayed the whole time in the North Continent. 

Anna-san and I didn’t get too deeply involved with the North Continent of the demons after all.

And so, I fell into a sleep of 1,000 years. 

I haven’t kept my promise.

But there’s no need to force myself to.

It might be okay to ignore it. 

However…

(A match with the strongest Demon Lord… The emblem of the Dragon King…) (Makoto)

…Shall I try?

If I were a Country Designated Hero, I wouldn’t be able to fight freely. 

The Heroes are the core of the Northern Expedition. 

They definitely will be added to the plan. 

But I am currently a former Hero. 

There’s no need to hold back for anyone. 

As an adventurer, I can go to the North Continent straight away. 

(Oh my, Makoto. Are you going to pick a fight with Astaroth?) (Noah)

The voice of Noah-sama, who sounded as if she didn’t expect this, resonated in my head. 

(I can’t, Noah-sama?) (Makoto)

I ask my Goddess.

Is she against it? 

If it were Ira-sama, she definitely would be against it.

‘Are you stupid?! Cooperate with everyone!’, is what she definitely would say.

But…

(Hmm~, not really. Take care.) (Noah)

Noah-sama wasn’t against it. 

This Goddess lets me do as I please. 

With this, I have gotten the agreement of my Goddess.

I will of course explain this to Lucy, Sa-san, and Princess Sofia.

I feel like it would be better to tell someone from the Sun Country. 

The one I am the closest with in the Sun Country is Momo.

But she is unfortunately fast asleep. 

The next one would be Sakurai-kun, but he is currently by the side of Queen Noel.

In other words, practically at the center of the conference room.

It stands out too much, so that’s a no. 

The next one that’s easy to talk to would be…that person, huh.

“Where are you going?” (Sofia)

Princess Sofia stopped me when I was trying to stealthily leave my seat. 

“I am going to talk to Captain Ortho for a bit.” (Makoto)

The Captain of the 1st Division who was together with me in the Moon Country expedition before. 

An understanding person. 

Most of all, he was in the Great Church at the time when I travelled to the past, so he knows about the circumstances to a certain degree. 

“…I will ask in detail later.” (Sofia)

Princess Sofia must have perceived something, she didn’t ask for the details. 

“…Looks like the objective wasn’t decided today either, huh.” 

“It is time. Let’s wrap this up for today.” 

Looks like the strategy meeting is about to end. 

I approach the seat of Captain Ortho. 

And then, I whisper into his ear.

“…Captain Ortho, there’s something I want to talk with you about.” (Makoto)

“Makoto-dono…? Understood. The meeting will be over soon, so I will make some time later and—” (Ortho)

“No, I will just tell you what I have come to say. Actually, I am thinking about heading to the North Continent.” (Makoto)

“…Hm?” (Ortho)

Captain Ortho furrows his brows at my words.

“Makoto-dono, such whimsical actions from a Hero is…no…” (Ortho)

Looks like Captain Ortho noticed in the middle of his words.

“I am currently not a Hero. And so, I am thinking about heading there as an adventurer.” (Makoto)

“Right. But if that’s the case, us Sun Knights can’t cooperate, you know?” (Ortho)

“It is okay. No need to worry.” (Makoto)

“No, even if you tell me not to worry…” (Ortho)

The Captain seems to want to say something.

At that moment, Momo, who was sleeping on the big seat, approached me all of a sudden.

She heard me? 

“The Spirit User-kun is saying something interesting!” (Momo)

Momo shouts in a loud voice. 

The gazes of everyone in the meeting were directed at me in an instant. 

Wait, stop.

“Oi, Momo…” (Makoto)

“You weren’t coming to see me at all, so this is payback.” (Momo)

She stuck her tongue out on me. 

“Oh? Isn’t that the former Hero-dono of the Water Country?” 

“I heard that he retired because of an injury though.” 

“The Water Country is lacking in talents as always. To think they would even drag a retired Hero here.” 

“It is not your place to be speaking here!” 

For some reason, the Sun Country and the Moon Country directed ill intended words at me. 

Looks like the people from the faction of Queen Noel, and the people that are worshipping Furiae-san like a Goddess hate me. 

“I would like you to stop the insults towards Takatsuki-dono!” (Tariska)

“I won’t allow such words to be uttered towards the benefactor of our country!” (Flona)

The ones who took my side were General Tariska and the Wood Oracle Flona-san. 

I am grateful for that, but the atmosphere in the conference room is even thornier now.

What are we gonna do with this atmosphere? 

But the Great Sage-sama isn’t bothered by this.

She has gotten really stout.

“Here, say it in a way that everyone can hear.” (Momo)

“Haah…” (Makoto)

I hesitantly said it.

“I am going to go see the Ancient Dragon King.” (Makoto)

“Are you saying the Water Country will be serving as the vanguard and challenging the Ancient Dragon King?” 

Someone asked.

“No, me alone…” (Makoto)

“““““HUUUUH?!”””””

Those words turned the room into a ruckus. 

“That’s suicidal!” 

“Is this guy an idiot?!” 

“The Water Country’s Hero really is crazy!” 

“In the first place, he isn’t a Hero!” 

I heard those shouts. 

That’s why I was thinking of going there secretly. 

“Takatsuki-dono, is that true?!” (Tariska)

“Makoto-kun! You should go to the hospital at once!” (Flona)

General Tariska and Flona-san, who covered for me, were now doubting my sanity. 

The one who put the place in order was the one who caused this, Momo. 

“Spirit User-kun has fought with the Ancient Dragon King before in a mission of absolute secrecy. At that moment, if I remember correctly…it was a draw.” (Momo)

The place went silent at the words of the Great Sage-sama.

“I-I have heard of no such thing…” 

I heard the mutter of someone. 

That’s because it was 1,000 years ago after all.

The only one there was the Great Sage-sama. 

“It is true. I have heard it from Ira-sama. In the name of the Destiny Goddess, I vow that this is the truth.” (Esther)

The Destiny Oracle-san immediately followed, and no one could refute it anymore. 

That was thanks to the Divinity of Ira-sama though. 

Can we call that a draw? 

Even so, it has completely turned into a serious deal. 

“I won’t let you go stealthily.” (Momo)

Momo whispers into my ear.

“Shouldn’t it be fine?” (Makoto)

“No! You always act in secret in the blink of an eye, Makoto-sama!” (Momo)

She has completely read me.

“T-Takatsuki-kun…” (Sakurai)

“A-Are you serious…?” (Noel)

Sakurai-kun and Queen Noel who refrained from speaking until now had unknowingly stood up. 

I nodded with a smile. 

I glanced at Furiae-san, and she was glaring here with an angered face.

(What part of this is spectating?!) (Furiae)

Is what she was saying with her mouth. 

It really might be a bit different from spectating. 

I responded with a smile here too, and her glare grew sharper. 

“Takatsuki-dono, in that case, the Sun Country will make an official request…” 

The top of the Sun Knights, General Yuwein, said this seriously.

I intended to head there as an adventurer, but it looks like there’s the need to go through that procedure. 

Anyways, it has been decided that I will be heading to the North Continent in the present. 

■Comments Response:

There were a lot of comments saying: “Furiae-san is cute” “The love of Furiae-san is heavy”. 

Yeah, it is cute and heavy. 

■Author’s Comment: 

The 8th volume’s manuscript is hell! It doesn’t end!!

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