Lancel City was situated at the mouth of the Schweiz River, forming a harbor city with walls on three sides, and the fourth side facing the river. The Schweiz River mouth was wide, and as the river flows into the western sea straits, ships on long voyages frequent this harbor.
Naga and company stood beside the harbor and watched the large ships enter and exit the harbor.
Naga was the head of the traveling troupe, Raibach performed miscellaneous duties and escorts, and the dancers were Vita, Ais, Kay, and Lela. Linne and Linna were responsible for collecting intelligence from the streets, and will work separately from the rest.
Twelve of the group of fourteen were girls, giving it an air of splendor.
But to avoid attracting too much attention, the witches covered the clothes they were wearing or put on cloaks.
The crews on the ships unloaded large amounts of cargo from the massive sail ships and emptied them out, and then loaded the cargo piled up at the harbor into the ships.
The angry yells and shouts of the crew resonated in the vicinity.
Cargo filled wagons bustled in the harbor.
The bell rang, notifying the arrival or departure of ships.
Seagulls congregated and leered at the fishes caught by the fishermen.
The smell of the sea wafted in with the warm sea breeze.
The bustling scene of the harbor stimulated Naga’s senses.
“I think I saw a scene like this somewhere before.”
Lela’s sharp ears heard what he muttered, and pressed him with sparkling eyes:
“Is that place the world you were, from?”
Lela showed her strong sense of curiosity, and wished to further understand the world Naga was from. Seeing Lela acting this way, Naga smiled wryly.
“Should be. I have a sense of Déjà vu, maybe I saw a harbor like this before.”
“Did you remember, something?”
“Nothing, I just felt nostalgic, like I’ve seen this scene before. I don’t remember the details though.”
After Lela, who was leaning close to Naga, heard that, her shoulders drooped regrettably.
“Hahaha, don’t be so depressed. I’m not bothered by something like this.”
“I don’t care about you, I just want to understand the world you are, from.”
“Oh, is that so.”
Naga shrugged. He was wearing a loose attire that seemed foreign in origin. They weren’t his clothes or those given to him by Harrigan and the others. They were clothes from the central world prepared just for this investigative trip. The witches around him didn’t wear their usual skin revealing clothes, and put on clothes from the central world too. Many of the witches even dyed their hair or applied coloring to their faces and skin to disguise themselves.
Not only did Raibach dye his hair, he even cut it short and put on a hooded cloak and shades. His outfit made it certain that he won’t be recognized even if he met someone who knew him. Raibach wore a sword as his setting was the escort of the group.
Naga changed his hairstyle too, and swapped his katana for a sword that was commonly seen in this world. The guards saw his face when he took the fort, so he had to take additional care. It was very unlikely they would run into soldiers who defended Fort Ein in Lancel City, but this would likely happen if they enter the Kasandora Kingdom, so this was also, in a way, practice.
“Alright, we will head for the antique shops and sell the weapons and jewelry. We will then buy two carriages, tents and things like musical instruments. I’m counting on you, Rai… No, Hoodins.”
“Yes, head Najunkray, I will try my best to get a good price.”
The two addressed each other by their alias, Raibach did so as he might run into people who had seen him before, while Naga’s name had the connotation of ‘Dragon King’, which will attract suspicious eyes…. No, in this case, it will attract suspicious ears, so it was decided that they will call each other by aliases as they investigated while undercover.
As no humans know the names of the witches, they used their original names.
The weapons and jewelries sold for an unexpectedly high price, it wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say this was a sizeable piece of wealth. Raibach was skilled in negotiations, but it was mostly the merit of the highly valuable merchandise.
Vita looked at the bag of gold coins — not silver, but gold coins, signifying the high selling price— and looked very impressed.
“Oh, so these pieces of junk can sell for such a good price. I guess we should inspect the things in our warehouse again, right, Dona?”
“Yes, dear mother.”
“Even if we sell them for a good price, there isn’t any place to spend it.”
“That’s a good point, shall we stop the investigation?”
“No, do it anyway. Even if we don’t sell them, there’s no harm in knowing the value of the things we have. After we go back, do a spring cleaning of our warehouse immediately, and pick out the valuable items.”
Me?— Dona pointed to herself, trying to confirm if Vita meant her.
“You and Elly will take care of it.”
Once she thought about the pile of items in the warehouse, with no telling if there was anything valuable in there, Dona couldn’t help but smile stiffly.
“Just thinking about inspecting them one at a time gives me a headache.”
“I don’t mean just the two of you, but for you two to take charge and get the other girls to help.”
“If that is the case, I will get it done.”
Lily scowled her face at Dona, who sighed in relief.
“Alright, we’ll go shopping later. Before that, we have to find a place to spend the night.”
On Naga’s command, the group left the streets filled with shops, and they moved en masse to the place where the inns were.
Because their wares sold better than expected, Naga and company found a higher class hotel and decided to stay there. As they were a large group, they asked for a big room and two small rooms, then retired to their accommodations. Naga and Raibach, and Vita, Lily, and Dona moved into the two small rooms, respectively, and the Heindler witches brought their luggage into the big room.
After a short rest in the rooms, Naga said that he wanted to buy the necessary goods.
“Raibach and I will go, and in case anything happens, Lela will follow.”
If the talisman falls off or the effect fades, Naga won’t be able to talk to people. To avoid that, Naga requested Lela to accompany him.
“Who else wants to go?”
He asked the small room next door. The three girls resting inside stood up at the same time.
“Of course we want to go.”
Vita replied, Dona and Lily nodded repeatedly.
“There isn’t anything interesting about this trip though.”
“Just walking along the streets of the humans is an interesting experience, I haven’t had any chance to leave the forest recently, and this is the first time the girls are visiting a human city.”
“So you want to go sightseeing too. It’s the same for me, everything I see looks interesting.”
Naga then asked the witches in the big room, and all of them stood up excitedly.
“Do we need someone to guard the place?”
Naga looked troubled. Ais smiled and said:
“There isn’t any important luggage here, just bringing our valuables and the money we have gotten would be enough.”
“To be safe, I will prepare the guards.”
“Hmm? Harlequin wants to stay behind?”
When Naga asked, Harlequin muttered: “Tsk tsk tsk.” And shook her right index finger.
“That’s not what I meant, I will ask the wandering dogs in the area to look after the place.”
“Wandering dogs? Oh, you mean those stray dogs?”
“That’s right. Since this is a harbor city, there are many stray dogs. I just need to call a few over, and they will help us guard the place. If anyone tries to move our stuff sneakily, they can help to chase them away.”
“Would there be any problem doing that?”
“I just need to feed them something after it’s done.”
“Alright, I will leave this to you.”
By the way, the magic to communicate with animals is amazing. No, she is not the only amazing one.
If he had to say it, all the witches possess powerful spells, Naga found it hard to believe that they kept on losing to the human armies.
But they don’t know about tactics and strategy, so that isn’t strange.
When they left the inn, Harlequin whistled in a frequency inaudible to humans and summoned a few strays.
She spoke something to the strays, which Naga couldn’t understand. He asked Ais and Lela, who didn’t know either, so the other witches couldn’t decipher the conversation Harlequin had with the animals.
“Alright, that will do, we just need to buy some meat from the market to feed them later.”
After Harlequin finished, Vita raised her right hand up high before Naga could reply:
“Good, then let’s go!”
“Vita is really energetic.”
“Ah~ she has not visited a human city for a very long time, so bear with her over enthusiasm.”
Dona whispered in explanation to Naga, who smiled wryly and waved his right hand a little, gesturing to her not to mind. The group led by Naga and Raibach returned to the district filled with shops once again.
In the end, they bought two carriages, the horses to pull the carriages and horses to ride. They also purchased kitchen knives, pots, kettles, and other dinnerware. Extra sets of clothes, lutes, drums, and tents for camping outdoors were also procured.
The group carried the items onto the carriage, then those who can ride on horses did so, while those who can’t (or didn’t want to) got onto the carriages along with the cargo.
Vita complained that it was cramped inside the carriage, but since Dona, who was much bigger than her, squeezed between the cargo without a word, she couldn’t say too much.
Under Naga’s influence, the Heindler witches more or less had some training in riding horses, so aside from Harlequin, Linne, and Linna, all of them rode on the horses. Even though Ais, Kay, Cu, and Nonoel were really scared.
Naga called out to her as she was about to board the carriage.
“What is it?”
“You can talk to animals right?”
“Not really converse with them, we can just communicate with each other.”
“If that is so, why don’t you ride a horse?”
“Fufufu.” Harlequin showed a scornful smile, puff out her chest and said: ”How foolish of you Naga. Communicating with animals and actually riding a horse are two different matters!”
“Do you need to get angry? And I don’t get what you mean.”
“If I ask the horse to run faster, I will fall off from it.”
“If I ask the horse to walk steadily and don’t let me fall off, the horse will walk very slowly.”
“I am not riding a horse in order to not trouble everyone!”
“Ah~~ I mean—”
At this moment, Ixine, who was in the driver’s seat of the carriage, said:
“What she means is that her horsemanship is terrible, so stop asking her about it.”
Harlequin twitched her hair that looked like beast ears, and turned towards Ixine resentfully.
“What nonsense is that, Ixine. There’s nothing wrong with my horsemanship. It isn’t that my skill is bad, it’s just that the horse can’t keep up with my skill.”
“Yes yes, I know. Let’s just accept this reason. It’s my fault Harlequin.”
“It makes me feel even more terrible when you apologize like that, Naga.”
Harlequin’s hair that looked like beast ears sagged down depressingly.
“Basically, the horse will move by itself. If you are too tense, the horse would be influenced by you and become harder to control.”
Naga, who was excellent in horsemanship advised, but to the people unaccustomed to riding horses, things were not as simple as he said.
“You will get used to it, you can ride it naturally after gaining some experience.”
Raibach had great horsemanship too, so he was in charge of driving a carriage, while Ixine who was the most eager to learn horse riding drove the other.
Naga led the way on his horse, followed by the witches— who were dressed like dancers — riding their horses, with the carriages driven by Ixine and Raibach at the very back. The group returned to the inn just like this, housed the horses in the stables behind the inn, and fed them. Harlequin used this chance to summon the guard dogs and gave them some of the meat she’d bought.
Naga stood before the horses that had been separated from the carriage and fell into deep thought.
“Alright, we have to carry the small items to the rooms, and leave the large cargo on the carriages. Raibach, sorry about this, but I need you to keep watch here.”
“Understood. Don’t worry about me, I can sleep on the floor.”
“As for the other carriage…”
Naga was troubled over this when Harlequin returned after feeding the dogs and raised her hand.
“Ah, we don’t need to place a sentry, I asked those strays to help again. They are full of life after eating the meat, so we can leave it safely in their paws.”
“I see, let’s leave it to them then.”
Harlequin whistled silently again, and the strays gathered.
“Don’t let them get too close to the stables. It would be troublesome if the horses got spooked and makes a racket.”
Harlequin squatted down before the strays and gave them the task. Even though Naga had the talisman given by Lela, he couldn’t understand what she was saying.
She is probably relaying my instructions, amazing.
“Let’s prepare dinner.” Ais said to the other witches.
Although they checked into an inn that was slightly higher class, only the very top class hotels in this era will provide meals for their guests. So they went to the market to buy ingredients.
“Dona, you girls help too.”
“Yes, dear mother.”
“Naga and Chief Vita, please rest in your rooms.”
“Is that alright? Thank you very much.”
“You are welcome.”
Ais answered with a smile, and added a line in her heart:
It’s the duty of the young ones to take care of the elderly.
“I will retire to my room then.”
“Yes, please have a good rest.”
After returning to his room, Naga laid on his bed and watched the ceiling.
Arara, unexpected things kept happening one after another. But the most unexpected thing of all is that I came to an alternate world.
He thought about the things that happened after he arrived and what the future held, and fell asleep gradually.
Naga woke when he heard someone calling out to him.
“Dinner is ready, please come to our room to eat.”
Naga sat up slowly and raised a hand at Ais.
“I will be right there.”
Naga still couldn’t get used to bread.
What I ate in the past should have been easier to bite, soft and sweet… but what is it? But this isn’t too bad.
Naga sent the sliced bread to his mouth, and thought about this as he chewed.
Aside from the bread, the other dishes taste great.
Pickles, vegetables, stewed duck, smoked bacon, and freshly grilled fish from the sea were laid out on the table, satisfying in both taste and portion.
If only there was rice…
“That’s right, rice!”
Recalling the deliciousness of freshly cooked rice, Naga couldn’t help shouting. The witches looked surprised and looked at Naga.
“But… there is no rice in this world.”
Naga drooped his shoulders sadly.
“What is this rice thing?” Ais asked.
“In the place I came from, rice was the main staple food. Rice is complemented by the other dishes. I just remembered that.”
“Rice… Rice… What is that, food?”
Lela’s eyes were glowing as she leaned forward. Naga smiled wryly.
“How should I put this. It is the grain of a crop known as paddy. After harvesting it, milling it and washing it, it will be placed in a pot to simmer. After it is cooked, just steam it for a while and it will be ready to eat.”
Lela had a confused expression and looked baffled; the other witches and Raibach were just like Lela and looked surprised.
“If you don’t see the real thing, you won’t understand. I don’t know how to explain it too.”
Naga scratched his head and smiled bitterly.
“But if you can recall one specific thing, you can remember others, right?” Lela said.
“I hope so. I will tell you if I remember anything, don’t worry.”
“I am looking forward to, it.”
“Forget the rice, let’s eat. We need to discuss about tomorrow after finishing.”
“That’s true, let’s eat and tidy up the room.”
After Ais said that, the witches stopped their chatter and finished their dinner early, then stood up to clean the place.
After cleaning up, the witches returned to the large room and began their discussion with Naga in the center.
“As planned, we will find a place to hold our performance tomorrow. All of you have prepared your dancing costumes already anyway.”
If they all wore different costumes, they wouldn’t look like dancers from the same troupe. Using the witches’ normal attires directly wasn’t suitable too, so Ais and the other dancers prepared a set of costumes.
As the purpose was to garner more audience, their attire was revealing and thin like their usual clothes. As they didn’t need to be concerned about using spells in battles, they added frilly accessories on their clothes to attract the audience’s attention through their dance.
“What about the venue?” Vita asked.
“If we perform near the harbor, we should be able to attract plenty of sailors, right?”
“That’s true, but they seem really busy. It would be better to perform in the streets in the morning, we can catch the morning crowd visiting the morning market.”
Naga nodded in agreement with Vita’s suggestion.
“Good point, let’s perform in the streets first. Linne and Linna will use the chance to move around, and listen to what the audience is saying.”
“Yes, understood.” x2
“Oh right. Naga, when I was walking in the streets just now, it doesn’t seem very peaceful.”
“Not peaceful? As in full of life?”
Vita thought about it and her face turned serious.
“… Not that way.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ugh, there isn’t anything in particular that makes me feel uneasy, just that it didn’t seem peaceful and people are panicky— That’s the impression I have. But I haven’t been to a human city for a long time, maybe it’s just my imagination.”
There must be a reason why Vita is saying this.
“I see. If Vita’s instincts are correct, there might be some incident that happened somewhere. Linne and Linna might be able to sniff something out in regards to this. I am bothered by something too. There were some young men and women tied up with ropes near the harbor, are they criminals?”
“No, they are slaves.” Vita said with disdain.
“Those are people bought by slave peddlers, and will be sold in a slave market somewhere.”
“Humans can be traded?”
“This isn’t such a rare sight. It’s common for humans.”
Naga crossed his arms and the corners of his lips drooped.
“I see, so this is normal in this world.”
“Isn’t there something like this in your world?”
“No… I am not sure too, but I don’t think the trading of humans was so open.”
“Oh, seems like your world is better in this aspect.”
As Naga and Vita chatted about this, Lela stared at Naga intriguingly.
“Alright, after I conquer the world, I will ban the trading of humans.”
What… What a confident guy. In his mind, is world conquest the default objective? Just who is this guy?
Vita appraised Naga closely.
“Hmm? What’s the matter?”
“No… it’s nothing.”
His grandiose words make me question if there is something wrong with his head… It is doubtful, but he should be serious. And there is something about this man that makes me believe he can make this future a reality. If not, I wouldn’t have placed my bet on him.
“Fu, I will look forward to it.”
“Alright, back to the topic at hand. We will decide on the venue after we reach the streets tomorrow, let’s sleep early everyone. Oh right…”
Naga turned and asked Harlequin.
“Can you ask the dogs to keep watch the entire night?”
“It shouldn’t be a problem, but to be safe, I will check on them later.”
“I see, I will go with you too.”
“You don’t need to come though.”
“I am the head of the troupe after all, checking on the carriages is part of my job. The inn staff is here too, and I need to be aware of how the other customers see us. I need to perform my duties too.”
“Oh.” Harlequin said, and it was obvious she didn’t understand and seemed baffled.
“Is that so? I’m not opposed to you coming if you insist.”
“I will go check on the horses then.” Ixine raised her hand and said.
“Okay, I will leave the horses to you.”
Naga turned back and faced everyone.
“Everyone, please have a good rest.”
At this moment, Ais raised a question.
“Naga, aren’t you tired?”
“This isn’t much.”
“But when we were running in the Black Forest, you were the first one to tire.”
“Ughh.” Naga sighed, lowered his head and said: “Back then, I had just came to this world.”
“Hmmm!?” Kay exclaimed in surprise, then retorted: “What has your lack of stamina got to do with getting used to this world?”
“Kay is right! That’s why I need to ride a horse!”
“You actually admitted it!”
The witches laughed out loudly.
Naga shook his head in resignation, pulled himself together and instructed the witches:
“Anyway, let’s end the discussion for the night, we will need to move at day break.”
After concluding the meeting, Naga exited the inn, accompanied by Harlequin and Ixine.
Naga, Ixine, and Harlequin walked towards the stables behind the inn. Since no one else was around, they wore their usual attire. Once they put on the revealing clothes of the witches, the tattoos on Ixine’s skin was eye catching even in the middle of the night.
Speaking of which, I heard that Ixine could manipulate the tattoos on her skin, what does that mean?
Naga was thinking about that when Ixine suddenly said:
“What is it?”
“We don’t know each other, why are you doing so much for us?”
“We are not strangers anymore.”
“Eh~~ I will put this another way. Back then, we didn’t know each other, why did you do so much for us?”
“Because I owed you all the debt of one meal and a night’s lodging.”
“This is too much for just a meal and a night’s lodging. No matter how I see it, the burden on your shoulders is heavy—— Or rather, too heavy.”
Naga didn’t answer Ixine’s question, but looked up into the night sky; Darkness had shrouded the surroundings. Witches had excellent eyesight, so they didn’t need torches. Ixine held a torch for Naga to light the ground. Thousands of stars twinkled in the clear night sky. Compared to the vague memory Naga had of the stars, the starlight was brighter here and more numerous.
“Now that you asked… I don’t know why I am going so far for you all too. Just that after listening to Yuuki and Raibach’s story, I had an idea—”
Naga continued looking at the sky and said calmly:
“— If I can conquer the world, maybe I can reduce the number of families with terrible deaths like Yuuki’s and Raibach’s…. If there are less people who are like this, there will be less people who will live sad lives, right? So I want to build a peaceful world, and reduce the number of such people. I think this is my responsibility and duty…. Maybe this is the reason.”
Ixine opened her eyes wide and observed Naga’s profile.
It wasn’t clear if Harlequin heard what the two of them were saying, she squatted down not too far ahead, and patted the heads of the stray dogs that came near.
“What a grand ambition, I can’t keep up.”
“Is that so? I don’t think it is too great.”
“How should I say this, maybe our perspectives are different, or maybe our vision is different, or the way we see things is different.”
Naga laughed and turned his head back.
“It doesn’t matter what it is, I am doing this to help voluntarily. Although my actions caused you to shoulder a heavy burden.”
“Oh, don’t worry, we don’t mind. The burden might be heavy, but we look forward to living in a different world… probably. It feels like if we follow Naga, we will see a scene and world we have never experienced before.”
“A world you have never seen before.”
Naga smiled deviously.
“Even if that place is hell?”
“If we are hunted into extinction by humans, it will also be hell.”
Ixine had a refreshing smile, as if she was opposing Naga.
“Either way leads to hell, it will be more interesting to visit a new hell.”
“You have an interesting way of saying this.”
“Is it? I don’t think so. Harrigan-Nee, Ais, and the others have a similar way of thinking, or they wouldn’t be fighting the humans alongside Naga.”
“It’s true, it’s true. So you don’t need to worry. If anyone of us dies in battle, you don’t need to push the blame on yourself.”
Naga looked at Ixine in surprise.
“You are really considerate, Ixine.”
“Huh? R-Really? People always say that.”
Ixine smiled shyly as she scratched her head.
“Oh, a lot of people told you that?”
“Although I’m usually the one who is saying it.”
“So you are saying that yourself!”
“Because no one else is saying it, so I have to say it myself.”
Heehee, Ixine had an embarrassed smile.
“I will say it again, you are really considerate, Ixine.”
Ixine lowered her gaze and smiled with her face flushed.
“Eh, what are you two doing? Let’s go.”
Tch, Harlequin really spoiled the mood, the atmosphere between Naga and me was so good.
Ixine swore in secret, then raised her hand and replied: “We will be right there~”
“Let’s go, Naga.”
“Okay. Oh yah, Ixine, I heard you can manipulate the tattoos on your skin, what does that mean?”
“Ah, speaking of which, you haven’t seen my magic.”
Ixine turned her body towards Naga and pointed at a tattoo.
“Simply said, this is like Cu’s belts. Look, it can move like this.”
Ixine extended her right arm.
“Summon imperial souls, dancing gleefully, no obstruction, rewards, boundary, righting all wrongs.”
The tattoos on Ixine’s arm started to squirm.
They gathered at the front of her arm, and then disappeared.
With a wave, the tattoos that had gathered on her palm seemed to have a life of their own when it fell to the ground, and then bound Naga’s legs.
Naga attempted to shake away the tattoos, but they entangled his pants and were climbing up slowly.
“W-What is going on!?”
“Alright, come back.”
Ixine commanded, and the tattoos slid down and left the pants, and came back to Ixine’s legs and climbed up. Ixine placed her right hand on her thigh, and the tattoos moved onto her arm, back to their original position.
“Something like this. I can use it to entangle the opponent’s body with the tattoos and stop their movement. I can also strangle their neck.”
“T-This is amazing.”
“This is strong in single combat, but not very useful in fighting the humans.”
“That’s not true.”
“Hey! What are the two of you doing!?”
“Ahh, sorry, we will be right over.”
Ixine waved at Harlequin and started running.
All of them possess amazing skills, if their talents are utilized well, I believe we can form a powerful army. It’s a pity that we lack numbers, if we have the forces… Seems like we have to increase the number of human soldiers.
Naga thought as he jogged after Ixine.
After checking that the carriages were fine, the three of them left the guard duty to the strays and returned to the inn.
The next morning—
The witches and Naga prepared breakfast in a hurry and ate quickly, then started preparations to set off. As it is a street performance, there wasn’t much to prepare. Everyone just needed to wear their costumes and take the flutes, drums, and string instruments, which didn’t take much time.
Naga and Raibach waited in the room for them to change, and Ais came to their room to call for them.
Wahh! Ais’ clothing!
Naga was shocked by Ais’ attire the moment he left the room.
Her bountiful breasts were covered by a small piece of cloth, just barely. Frilly accessories were placed on her arms and waist, and a thin rope was wrapped around her hips; it wasn’t clear if she really wanted to cover up. The exposed skin and face were painted with beautiful patterns and she wore a beautiful hair accessory on her head. On her hands were sparkling gems and glittering silver bangles, displaying the elegance, beauty, and exposure of a dancer.
“Erm… What’s the matter?”
Ais asked, and Naga finally came to his senses.
“Nothing… Really… What an amazing dancer.”
“What? What do you mean?”
Ais appeared confused, and Naga explained to her with a smile:
“I mean your beauty is astonishing.”
“Huhhh, a-a-are you serious?”
“Am I right, Raibach?”
“Y-Yes. We will definitely make money; you are sexier than a real dancer~”
“You jest, Raibach!”
The embarrassed Ais patted Raibach’s shoulder hard, making him fall onto the floor screaming.
“Everyone is waiting for you in the room, come over quickly.”
Ais ran out of the corridor after saying that.
She looked naked from the back. No, she is as good as naked from the front too.
Naga thought as he watched Ais’ shaking hips.
Raibach nursed his shoulder and stood up with a painful groan.
“Ais’ brute force is dangerous, if she doesn’t learn to control her strength, she might just break my bones.”
“Alright, let’s go. I wonder how the other witches are dressed, how exciting.”
“You will lose your life if you are not subtle about it.”
“That’s true, let’s observe discreetly.”
“Eh, peeking at them sneakily is dangerous too.”
Naga walked towards the large room where the witches were gathered, and Raibach said quietly with a face of resignation behind him:
“… Although I can empathize with you.”
After Naga and Raibach entered the large room, they realized it was heaven. Angels gathered within, and all of them were nearly naked.
Just like Ais, they wore thin and small pieces of clothes, and put on elegant accessories. Patterns were drawn on their bodies with dyes and smeared on their faces. They also dyed their hair and had arm and leg bangles. Some of the witches didn’t cover their chest, only concealing their nipples with paint. Naga and Raibach forgot all about discreet observation and stared at the bold appearance of the witches with eyes wide open. At this moment, Kay, who only had a thin piece of rope on her chest and waist approached them.
“How is it? Does it suit us? Pretty enough?”
Seeing Kay striking poses, Naga looked at her from head to toe.
It’s a pity, more accurately speaking, it’s regrettable, especially the chest area.
But he can’t vocalize his true thoughts, and only gave a vague answer:
“Ah~ yes, very sexy!”
“Naga, why do you sound so insincere!?”
“No, no such thing. Ais, Lela, Cu, Nonoel, and Ixine are all so charming that it makes my head spin.”
“Why did you only leave me out!?”
“Don’t be depressed, Kay.”
“Ais is consoling so arrogantly!”
Kay lowered her head dejectedly.
“Don’t mind it, Kay.”
When she heard Linne and Linna’s consolations, Kay showed a dissatisfied look.
“Linne and Linna don’t need to be dancers, that’s why you aren’t concerned~ Both of you don’t need to reveal your child like bodies to everyone.”
“You can show off your pitifully flat chest then, Kay” x2
The twins retorted as one.
As Naga was laughing heartily, Vita walked over. Her body didn’t have any contours, and didn’t look sexy in her revealing attire, but had a unique air about her. The tall Dona beside her had bountiful breasts, making the two of them look like parent and child.
“Naga, how do we look?”
“Raibach and I were just talking about this, all of you are sexier than real dancers.”
“That’s right, huh.”
Except for some of the witches.
“Hmm? You want to say something?”
“No, I have nothing to say. Right, let’s find a place to perform.”
“True. Hey, Dona, Lily, time to go.”
“Yes dear mother.”
“We are ready, Ais.”
“Let’s be off.”
“Good, the Najunkray troupe is going to have its first performance.”
After linking the horse to the carriage, Naga jumped onto the driver’s seat. Linne and Linna came to him to report:
“We are going to the streets.”
“I’m counting on you.”
The twins left the inn quietly.
“I will drive.”
Raibach said and sat down besides Naga, taking the reins.
“Everyone try to look lively on the way there.”
Ais, who was standing beside the carriage, said to everyone.
“I will work, hard.”
“Leave it to me.”
The witches responded and acknowledged by raising their hand.
“Alright, let’s go Raibach.”
On Naga’s instruction, Raibach tugged the reins lightly, urging the horses forward. The wheels of the carriage rattled as they turned.
As the carriage advanced, all around the carriage, half naked— more accurately speaking almost entirely naked— dancers followed.
“We are the Najunkray troupe—”
“The performance is about to begin—”
“Please watch our performance if you have time—”
“We will perform a dance— a lively dance show—”
“P-Please watch, our show.”
The dancers advertised the performance and called out to the pedestrians, telling them about the show the troupe would be putting up.
All the dancers were beauties, and they wore thin, short, revealing clothes, which drew the attention of the crowd. A few onlookers were already following behind them. Ais chatted with the curious audience, asking them about a suitable venue to perform. She then reported her findings to Naga:
“Alright, let’s head over there.”
Naga replied, and looked towards the back of Ais who returned to the crowd — her almost bare ass— and felt impressed.
She takes great care of people and treats others kindly, just like a big sister in the neighborhood kind of feeling. She can talk normally with humans, and is dependable in such situations. A pity that her character changes once she has a drink. But…
There were witches like Yuuki, who extremely hate men, but there were also witches like Ais, who could interact normally with humans. Most witches were not good at interacting with humans, but the lack of experience plays a large part.
If they come into contact with me and Raibach frequently, they will get used to humans one day. Harrigan’s witches are much more used to it now, and they will have even more chances to do so in the future. The witches aren’t much of an issue, the problem lies with… the humans.
Raibach accepted the existence of the witches rather swiftly, but that’s because he wasn’t a stanch believer in religion. People like him were in the minority, and most humans were devout believers who wouldn’t acknowledge the existence of witches easily, or accept coexistence with witches.
This can’t be done overnight, seems like I have to force them to accept it. But that’s something for the future.
The pressing matter was to resolve the issue at hand— the war with the Kasandora Kingdom. It was hard to tell from the current situation how long the war would last. Normal people wouldn’t have the leisure to think about the future once they’d committed all their efforts to the obstacle before them. But Naga could set his sights on the long term while facing the difficulties right in front of him.
In other words, his tactical and strategic abilities were better than others.
Naga’s next move was made to set up for a situation that would occur dozens of moves later.
In Naga’s eyes, the situation a dozen steps later would be the founding of the nation of witches.
In order to do this, I need to find a way to take care of the war with the Kasandora Kingdom, and destroying that Kingdom isn’t necessary. Okay, is there any way to break through the current stalemate?
Naga fell into deep thought as the carriage swayed.
Naga still had no idea about Granvista mustering an army to campaign against the witches. But he would find out about it in the near future
Under the lead of Ais, the group came to the plaza; Naga ordered for the carriage to stop.
After alighting from the carriage, he checked the surroundings and found a large group had gathered. He then ordered Ais:
“Okay, we will perform here. Start the preparations.”
The preparations were finished after taking the instruments out and the dancers taking their positions.
The ones playing the instruments were Lela, Nonoel, Lily, Vita, and Harlequin. The ones dancing were Ais, Cu, Ixine, Kay, and Dona. The witches decided to group themselves this way after discussing it the night before.
“It’s a pity that I can’t see Lela dance.”
Naga said so to Lela, who was holding a flute. She answered with a sour face:
“I don’t really want to dance with those people, so it’s, fine.”
When he heard that, Naga looked at the dancers in the center of the open space.
Ais, Cu, Ixine, Kay, and Dona.
He then turned to the musicians.
Lela, Nonoel, Lily, Vita, and Harlequin.
“I get it, you are separated by size, except for Kay.” Naga muttered.
He didn’t mention what the size was referring to, but it’s obvious with a glance.
“I have a rough idea about why you don’t want to join them.”
Lela drooped her shoulders and nodded weakly in response.
Is this the reason why Vita, who wanted to dance, is now playing an instrument?
At this moment, Vita glared at Naga fiercely.
“I don’t know what you are thinking about, but that’s not the real reason, definitely not.”
You let it slip!
Naga wanted to retort, but managed to endure it.
By the way, Kay is brave as usual, almost to the point of foolhardiness.
The exposed twin peaks were shaking everywhere, only, Kay had nothing to shake. But she still puffed her chest out without minding it at all, standing tall in her corner.
Well, it’s fine if she doesn’t mind.
The dancers lined up in the open space, Ais, who was in the middle, raised her hand.
“Alright— Let’s begin—”
When they heard the cue, the witches started playing their instruments. The dancers started to move their bodies elegantly when the music started.
The audience clapped and cheered loudly.
The dancers started slow, and as the beat got faster, their movements became more vigorous.
All the dancers have large breasts (except Kay).
And their clothes barely covered their bodies.
The more intense their dance, the larger the movement of their upper bodies.
Their upper bodies shook (except Kay).
Wobbling intensely (except Kay).
Jiggling violently (except Kay).
The small pieces of cloth covering their chest — which did a poor job of concealing their bodies —seem to be on the verge of flying off.
Their lower bodies were moving vividly, the string like costumes might fall off at any instance.
The eyes of the audience followed every move of the dancers, they were definitely urging with their mind, saying— Fall off! Slip off now!
Naga wasn’t an exception.
Damn, why aren’t they falling off? Why won’t it slip? Did they stick it on with glue? Or is this magic?
Naga thought the same way as most of the audience.
The eyes of the audience were intense, focusing on the bodies that were more revealing than half naked, but not to the extent of being totally nude. They were absorbed in the intense dance. The atmosphere was heated, and spurred by the excitement, some members of the audience stood up and cheered.
The tune changed again and the dancers’ movements shifted, slow at times, fast in others, and exotic music was played every now and then. No matter what type of music it was, the dancers performed splendidly.
Amazing, this isn’t like the performance of amateurs. As expected of people that will strip and dance in every celebration party, it’s out of this world.
Naga felt impressed with devious intentions.
Claps, cheers and people beating a beat with their hands brought the atmosphere to the boiling point.
The tune intensified and the fast and frantic actions of the dancers dazzled the eyes of the audience below the stage— It was unfathomable why their clothes didn’t fall off.
Then the music ended abruptly, the dancers also stopped moving.
The dancers maintained their positions before the music stopped, then slowly relaxed their bodies and bowed to the audience in appreciation.
The audience finally came to their senses and applauded thunderously, even Naga couldn’t help clapping his hands.
The dancers were covered in sweat, waving, and bowing to the audience with all smiles in return.
Yes, amazing, this standard is worthy of making the audience cough up their money.
While Naga was feeling impressed, he felt his flank being poked. Naga turned and found Lela looking up at him.
“What are you looking, at?”
“Hmm? Nothing, I’m not looking at anything.”
Lela looked at Naga with eyes of disdain.
“Speaking of which, you didn’t dance in the end.”
Lela glanced at Ais and the other dancers, then averted her eyes.
“I am not brave enough to join, them.”
“Because she has no sense of, shame.”
Naga agreed with this in his heart.
She is someone who will do warm ups naked before swimming.
“Forget about Kay, I really want to see you dancing with them.”
Naga said as he scrutinized Lela’s outfit. Lela, who played music, was dressed like the dancers, more revealing than being half naked, but not totally nude. She showed a lot of skin, but it wasn’t that much compared to her usual clothes. But Lela couldn’t help feeling bashful with Naga staring at her like that.
Lela’s face turned red as she lowered her head.
“I will… work hard next, time.”
“I’m looking forward to it.”
Lela felt her body burning up and didn’t raise her head.
The dancers moved between the crowd with woven bamboo baskets in hand. The audience gave their copper coins freely. The dancers picked up the copper coins on the ground amidst the loud applause, but one of the witches was moving really clumsily.
“What is Cu doing… She dropped the basket and spilled the coins again! Why is she so uncoordinated?”
Having no choice, Naga got down from the stage to help, and approached Cu.
“Eh, you seem to be having a hard time.”
Cu, who was leaning forward and reaching out with her hands to pick up the coins, lifted her head.
“Ah, Naga… this is hard.”
“What? What is hard?”
If you always speak only a few words, it will be hard to know what you are saying.
Naga thought as he bent his knees and reached for the coins on the ground.
“Is picking up coins hard?”
Cu shook her head with a sad expression.
When she shakes her head, her body will move. Seeing it up close, her body is a dangerous weapon. The costumes of dancers are already fierce, this further enhances her destructive power.
Naga fell into a dilemma, wondering if he should avert his eyes. In the end, his eyes were focused on only one spot.
“It’s hard to hold the heavy basket.”
“What? What do you mean?”
Naga shifted his eyes from Cu’s bountiful peaks and valley in a hurry.
“I-Is it that heavy? There’s only a few coins in there, right?”
“I will usually carry things with my belts.”
“Ahh! So that’s why.”
In other words, because Cu had always used magic to manipulate her belts, she didn’t have many chances to carry things with her own hands.
“I have never carried anything heavier than a plate.”
“Are you a princess from somewhere?”
“Oh, I see.”
“But carrying heavy things is difficult.”
“That’s not heavy…”
“It will be easy if I use my belts, I can carry a dozen or two no problem.”
Naga watched Cu placed the basket with coins onto her knees as she picked up the coins, and couldn’t help but lament:
I don’t understand how these witches think.
“It’s hard to perform too.”
“Is that so? You danced quite well.”
“Not the dance, but the clothes.”
I don’t get it, what does she mean?
Naga had a confused look on his face. Noticing his baffled gaze, Cu explained:
“I usually have belts around my body. Without the belts, it is hard to balance my body.”
“Having belts on my body is as good as having magic around me. Without the belts, I feel naked, that’s why this costume feels embarrassing.”
“I see, but to me, there isn’t much difference for you to wear belts or dress like this.”
“Totally different, even if I have just one belt on me, I will feel more at ease.”
Just one belt will put you at ease… Then just wear one belt in the future then, Cu.
Naga decided to hide this suggestion in the bottom of his heart.
“Everyone is done picking up the money, let’s hurry.”
Naga picked up the coins swiftly and placed them in Cu’s basket.
“You are welcome, let’s go.”
“I’m not done yet.”
“It’s just a little, so leave it. Our objective is not to earn money through dancing, but collecting intelligence.”
Cu nodded, and stood up unsteadily with the bamboo basket in her arms.
She is stumbling around. Her body movements are really unsteady without her belts.
Naga was impressed and dumbfounded.
The audience dispersed, and as Naga and company were preparing to return to the inn, Linne and Linna, who wore cloaks, walked over.
“Heard any noteworthy news?” Naga asked quietly.
The two of them were on the other side of the open space, and won’t be able to hear Naga’s voice normally. The two of them kept a close watch on the crowd and approached Naga nonchalantly. When they passed by Naga, they answered his question.
“I heard that there is going to be a huge battle with the witches soon.”
A battle involving the witches!?
He only said that much before remembering that they were still in the plaza.
There is still an audience here, this place isn’t suitable for talks. We should head back to the inn first.
Naga adopted the demeanor of a troupe leader, gathered all the dancers, and announced to them in a low voice.
“Linne and Linna seemed to have heard something, let’s head back to the inn for now.”
The dancers kept the instruments and coins they picked up hurriedly, placed them inside the carriage, and returned to the inn.
Everyone gathered in the large room where Ais and the others were staying in. Naga asked the twins: “What did you hear?”
“Not just the conversations of the audience, we also heard what the crews at the harbor were talking about.”
After saying that, Linne and Linna told everyone the intelligence they found out.
After hearing their report, Naga crossed his arms with a heavy expression.
The other witches seemed to be pondering about the news.
“There’s an army gathering at Granvista …?”
“They number about three to four thousand, a grand scale.”
Ais said with furrowed brows:
“The question is, why are they gathering an army? Are they launching a campaign against us just like the rumors said…? That should be the reason right, Naga?” Vita asked.
“Yes, I think you are right.”
“Hmm, since they made a move, what should we do?”
“… We will need to hurry up.”
“Hurry what up?”
“We need to hurry and head for the capital of the Kasandora Kingdom, and find out the relationship between the Kasandora Kingdom and the army sent to subjugate the witches.”
When Naga said that, Lela expressed her doubt with a “Hmm?”
“Normally speaking, the army would head south towards Kasandora kingdom to link up. But maybe Kasandora kingdom didn’t have anything to do with this army either, right?”
As expected of Lela, a detailed observation.
“That might be possible, but if the Kasandora Kingdom knew a large army would be coming to reinforce them, they wouldn’t have sent a thousand soldiers to attack the fort.”
“Oh, that’s true.”
The actual fact was a bit different. Kasandora Kingdom already knew a subjugation army would be heading for them. At the same time, they were coerced by Cardinal Aiba to dispatch troops to attack alone. The facts were slightly off, but Naga had analyzed the subtle relationship between Kasandora Kingdom and the subjugation army correctly.
“It is suspicious for Kasandora to seal the city (capital), maybe they overestimated the prowess of the witches and fear your attacks. But there wasn’t a need to seal the city with such a large army coming to support them.”
“Eh… Maybe the Kasandora Kingdom is levying taxes and provisions for the army, but the travelers and merchants misunderstood it as preparations to seal the city… Is that, possible?”
Lela picked up the main issue and has a keen sense of observation.
Naga nodded in agreement.
“We can’t dismiss this possibility, providing provisions is the responsibility of the host nation… Am I right, Raibach?”
“Yes, that’s basically true. But if the church grants their support, they will also provide provisions for the participating forces. They can’t feed the troops with just God’s blessings alone.”
At this point, Vita leaned forth.
“The intentions of the Kasandora Kingdom are a concern, but something bothers me, Naga.”
Naga looked at Vita and saw her exceptionally serious face.
“What is it? Your face is really grim. Something bothering you?”
“The news mentioned that the army mustering in Granvista is the elites of the church… right?”
“They did mention that. They are not the forces of another nation, but serve the church directly right? What about them?”
“That would be terrible, the units serving under the church are known as the ‘Army of God’ or ‘Holy Crusaders’, they are trained to fight heretics and the enemies of the church, and to subjugate the witches. If they send out this unit, it would be a tough battle.”
As he listened to the frowning Vita’s response, Naga clicked his tongue.
“Tch, just like the warrior monks.”
<TL: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C5%8Dhei >
“Warriors monks? What are warrior monks?”
“Ah? Did I say something?”
“Huh? Didn’t you just say it? You didn’t realize?”
“S-Sorry, I don’t remember.”
Naga scratched his head with a troubled look. Ais spoke up to smoothen the awkward situation.
“Sometimes, Naga will speak about strange things. It’s actually not that weird, probably things related to his old world.”
“Hmm, so he said that because of a memory or experience he had forgotten?”
“That’s it, so don’t mind me.”
Naga said nonchalantly, while Vita made a suspicious expression.
“You should be more concerned about this right?”
“Well, no matter how concerned I am, I can’t remember the things that I can’t remember. I have already given up.”
“Instead of myself, the most important thing right now is the affairs of you witches.”
“What should we do, Naga? Shall we change our plans in accordance to the news Linne and Linna heard?”
Ais asked, and Naga moaned.
“I said earlier that we need to hasten our pace. Anyway, our debut performance is over. After the city gates open at daybreak tomorrow, we will leave this place and head for the Kasandora Kingdom. Since Fort Ein is along the way, we will stop by there and discuss this with Harrigan, maybe she heard some news there.”
“So we were supposedly chased out of the Fort that’s held by the witches, right?”
“That’s right, the setting will be that after being chased out by the witches, we hurried on towards the capital of Kasandora.”
“Guess we can’t buy more resources or practice our performance.” Ais said.
“That can’t be helped, after all… Though we have heard of stupid haste in war.”
“Oh, is there such an idiom?”
“There is, I remember this is by… Sunko?”
“Who knows, don’t ask me.”
Vita retorted, which made Naga scratch his head.
My knowledge… specifically speaking, my memories are just fragmented pieces, it can’t be helped that I can’t build it into a complete picture. It’s the same for this incident too, I can’t see the entire picture. If going to the Kasandora Kingdom fills in the missing pieces, I can recreate the silhouette of the entire war and see the big picture clearly. Maybe I can find a way to handle it then.
Naga pulled himself together and announced to the witches and Raibach:
“In order to save our energy for tomorrow, it’s regrettable, but we have to stop the sightseeing and shopping for today.”
The next morning—
Before the break of dawn, everyone was ready and headed towards the city gates.
After the city gates opened, the group left Lancel city and headed along the path besides the Schweiz River. Few people took this route in recent times, and it appears abandoned. Fortunately, it was just wide enough for carriages to pass through, and the group hurried along.
They camped outdoors along the way, and passed by the place of the previous battle the next afternoon.
The Heindler witches and Naga fought the Kasandora army here. Raibach wasn’t present during that battle, but he still felt nostalgic as he took part in the campaign.
Watching the barren surroundings, Raibach was reminded of his recent experience.
In the beginning, I was unhappy about being demoted to the supply unit, but if I was leading the company during that battle, I would probably have died here. In hindsight, I am alive because of that, a blessing in disguise. In the end, General Geobalk took responsibility for the loss and resigned, and General Guiscard took over. He re-appointed me as a company captain, and ordered me to keep watch over the Schweiz River.
When his train of thought reached this point, Raibach looked cautiously at Naga and the witches.
I thought I was down on my luck back then and cursed my experience, in the end, I met Naga and the witches, and came to this place. What a strange fate, I thought I was unlucky, but I wasn’t that unlucky after all. I thought I was lucky, but I wasn’t that lucky too. Life is full of twists and turns.
Raibach sat on the carriage looking over at the river some distance away and felt melancholic.
After leaving the Schweiz River, Naga and the group followed the road up north to Fort Ein.
By dusk, they met two witches, who were patrolling outside the Fort, and returned to Fort Ein before dark.
Naga immediately sought out Harrigan and began a discussion.
“… So Linne and Linna found out about this in Lancel City. Any news from your side?”
“The news that Kasandora is sealing the city (capital) should be true.”
After hearing the news from Naga, that was the first thing Harrigan said.
“So you heard something that confirms this information?”
“That’s right, I’d sent Yuuki to scout the vicinity of Kasandora’s capital, and she saw them stockpiling provisions and reinforcing the walls, and strengthening the forts in the surroundings. We didn’t know why they are doing this, but after you brought back this news, everything makes sense.”
“So that’s why they are not only stockpiling provisions, but also reinforcing the city walls and forts. From the looks of it, it is true that they are preparing to seal the city.”
“But Naga, are they doing this as a precaution against us? Or are they defending against…”
Naga nodded deeply when Vita pointed this out.
“The army that is gathering in Granvista … Kasandora is probably doing this in defense against that army.”
“From the intelligence we’ve gathered so far, that should be the case. But how did this come to be?”
Vita was baffled, and it wasn’t a surprise that she reacted that way.
“I don’t get it either, seems like we need to infiltrate the Kasandora Kingdom.”
“In that case— Harrigan looked at Naga and Vita with expectant eyes: “I have no choice but to go right?”
“You need to stay here and supervise.”
“Vita is right, Harrigan. Only you can watch this place. If you leave, who can cover for you?”
“Eh, A-Ais can…”
“Ais is capable, but she lacks the experience to command a fort.”
“That’s right, I’m just an insignificant person who doesn’t have the experience.”
Ais, who was present for the meeting, said so with a smile, and Harrigan glared at her immediately.
“This girl will only say she lacks experience when the situation benefits her.”
Harrigan turned her head back immediately with a serious expression.
“But I haven’t visited a human city for so long, it’s too sly that only you all can go.”
“You finally said what you were really thinking.”
“Shut up. Vita went to Lancel, now it’s my turn.”
“Even if you say that, most of the witches here are from your clan. Normally speaking, the commander with the most troops will take command right?”
“W-What about Naga staying behind?”
“Ehh? Don’t be ridiculous, Harrigan.”
“That’s right, if Naga is here, how can we carry out the gathering of intelligence?”
“… I get it. I’m just throwing out ideas.”
Harrigan replied unhappily.
“Just bear with it a little bit longer, Harrigan. In the future, you can visit a human city whenever you want.”
“What do you mean, Naga?”
“We will rule a human nation one day; you can go wherever you wish then.”
“Huh… I-Is that so?”
“In order to achieve this goal, we have to collect more intelligence. The accuracy and amount of data will decide a battle sometimes. No, it will definitely affect the entire battle. So if we want to win the next battle, we have to collect intelligence thoroughly. But if we lose this fort, it would be a huge blow, so please stay and watch the fort.”
Naga said these words sincerely with a serious expression. Harrigan sighed softly and muttered: “Alright.”
“I’m just saying it, don’t worry. I will perform my duties, so you have to complete your tasks too.”
Naga relaxed the expression on his face and replied: “Yes, we will.”
“How about buying a present for you, the weapons and jewelries sold for an unexpectedly high price after all. What do you want? A comb? A mirror? Or both?”
“What do you mean it’s fine to buy both, Vita, this money was made by selling the Heindler clan’s goods in the first place!”
“Hmm… That’s true.”
“I can’t let my guard down when dealing with you.”
“Don’t be mad, we will hold back when buying gifts for ourselves.”
“You want to buy a present for yourself!?”
Harrigan retorted, then turned to face Ais.
“Ais, keep a close eye on the money we got from selling the items.”
“Yes Onee-san, I will watch it.”
“This fort is probably being watched. We can’t stay long, so let’s set off soon.”
“That’s true. They’re a bit far, but there’s a scouting unit somewhere around here.”
“After we leave the fort, throw some rocks at us.”
“We don’t need to go that far right?”
“This is to be safe. We won’t lose anything if you do it, so put up an act.”
“As you wish.”
Harrigan nodded, and Vita reminded her:
“Don’t throw too hard.”
“You don’t need to tell me that… No, Vita, I do want to throw rocks at you really hard.”
“How long are you going to be such a pain?”
“I’m half joking, don’t take it too seriously.”
“So you are half serious, of course I will be concerned!”
“Alright, let’s go, Vita, Ais, Lela.”
On the urging by Naga, the three of them acknowledge and stood up.
The traveling troupe that visited the fort was chased out by the witches mercilessly…. Under such a setting, Naga’s group left the forest and followed the road heading north.
When they reached a fortress near the capital of Kasandora, they were stopped by the guards.
“Where did you come from, and where are you going?”
Naga answered the soldier’s question without reservation, but to them, his words sounded fuddled.
“We came from Lancel, heading to capital, to perform.”
Seeing the performers lined up in a row, the soldiers narrowed their eyes and some of them showed lusty gazes. As they were close to the capital of the Kasandora Kingdom, all the witches put on their dancing costumes, which were small and thin pieces of clothing.
“I am leader, they troupe dance girls. May we have honor to perform for you?”
Before they reached the fort, Naga asked Lela if she could lower the effectiveness of the talisman used for communication. Because he believed that if he couldn’t communicate well, it would give the impression of being a foreigner. Lela said she could do so and weakened the talisman’s effect. That’s why he didn’t sound fluent to other people.
“I see, it would be great to watch a performance.”
One soldier said with a laugh, but the others gave a warning.
“Eh, now is not the time to watch a show, the captain will lecture us!”
“Oh, t-that’s true.”
The soldier coughed and faced Naga again.
“It is regrettable, but even though you have travelled all the way here, it is probably not possible to hold a performance even if you enter the capital.”
“Huh? Not possible?”
“War is going to break out, the citizens in the capital are probably not in the mood to enjoy a performance.”
Naga made a show of being surprised. He then lowered his voice, leaned in and asked the soldier:
“Could it be… your country is going to war with the witches? I heard about that in Lancel.”
“No, that’s not it.”
Naga faked his surprise and looked confused.
“If not, who else would you be fighting a war against?”
The soldier lowered his voice and replied.
“The enemies are forces attempting to invade our nation. So it’s fine if you want to head to the capital, but there’s no guarantee you can perform.”
Naga made a show of being depressed and drooped his shoulders. Naga was surprisingly good at acting, and was actually gleeful in his heart.
Now we can confirm that the Kasandora Kingdom won’t work together with the witch subjugation army!
“Don’t be so depressed, there is no telling when they will hit, so you might have the chance to perform for a few days.”
“Then, we hurry and go, okay?”
“Go on then.”
The soldier nodded, but a voice stopped them.
The captain of the unit heard a traveling troupe was here, and rushed over with a few underlings.
“Good day, captain.”
The soldier conversing with Naga saluted the Captain.
“You said you came from Lancel, so you walked along the Schweiz River, turned midway and headed here?”
“Did you passed by a fort along the way? Anything happened when you went to it?”
“We wanted to perform since it’s on the way, but witches take fort, chase us out.”
After Naga replied, the Captain and the others changed their expressions.
“Hurry and tell us the details!”
“But I want reach capital soon, or else cannot perform.”
“Just a few questions, won’t take too long.”
“Oh, then fine.”
“What are the witches in the fort doing?”
Naga already expected them to ask this, so he gave his prepared answer.
“I see them fix wall, fix tower. Not too sure, never go in.”
“Okay, how many witches are there?”
“Eh…” Naga pretended to think. “Five or six came out for us, and some fix wall, but I already said I never go in, don’t know how many…”
“Did you see any men?”
“Well, I didn’t.”
Naga answered as he worked hard to suppress his laughter. The ‘man’ they were asking about was him.
“I didn’t see.”
The Captain conversed quietly with his subordinates.
“Alright, I will send soldiers to escort you to the capital.”
Naga was surprised by the Captain’s suggestion.
“I feel safe if soldier escort, but fine?”
“I want you to meet the commander in the capital, and tell him what you just said.”
“Ahh, I see.”
I see, he wants to get information about the witches from us directly. Instead of sending a messenger, this would be a better way. We saw Fort Ein under the control of the witches with our own eyes, and are valuable eyewitnesses to them.
Naga lowered his head in acknowledgement, but in his heart, he was sticking his tongue out happily.
“I will get some escorts over immediately, please wait here for a moment.”
“Yes, we will.”
We can get into Kasandora Kingdom more smoothly than expected, a good sign.
And like this, the Najunkray traveling troupe headed for the capital, led by the Kasandora soldiers.