C208: The Land of Failures

And so, Aeshma, a new member of the Heavenly Four, will be living with us for a while.
Aeshma is Mrs. Astres’ former aide and is a female just like the others.
She’s also closer in age to her than to Batemy and Belena.

Even the impression she gives off is similar in a way that she looks like a mature, evil executive who would make the opponents she defeated lick her high-heeled shoes.

“Hello, I’m the owner of the farm.”

I greet the still-puzzled Aeshma.

“…Is this really the Saint’s Farm?”

She looks like a wreck after being beaten up by one of Orkubo’s men.

“…Do you want to join the Demon King’s dominion?”

Swat!

Batemy and Belena each hit her on the head with a farm-made harisen.

“Ow! Hey! You’re Batemy and Belena! What are you two doing here?!”
“Long time no see. Too bad we can’t congratulate you upfront on your promotion.”

The three of them were all Mrs. Astres’ aides, so it’s only natural that they know each other.

“What happened to you guys? You didn’t come back with Astres after you fled the capital, so we kind of stopped bothering about your whereabouts!”
“You should.”
“At least tell us you were worried even if it’s a lie.”

They must be close if they can exchange jabs like this.

“I’m glad to see my fellow comrades again, but our conversation will have to wait. I’m in the middle of an important negotiation right now,” she says as she pushes them aside and faces me. “If you present your treasures to us, not only will you avoid being the Demon Kingdom’s enemy, but you’ll also be under our protection. I’m not asking you to give it all, though. How about sixty percent of it?”

Swat! Swat!

Harisens struck Aeshma’s head again.

“Ow! What is wrong with you two?! How could you hit your former comrade?!”
“It’s exactly because you’re our former comrade that we’re doing this. Please don’t ruin our position here.”
“What?”
“We live here now.”
“Huh?!”

All of Aeshma’s attention is now focused on Batemy and Belena.

“What do you mean? What the hell have you been doing during your absence?”
“Remember the mission that led to Miss Astres’ downfall during her time as a Heavenly One?”
“Of course, Astres told me about it. You were supposed to capture the princess of the Mermaid Kingdom who insulted the demons, right?”

Hearing this feels nostalgic now.
During that time, Aeshma was in charge of Mrs. Atres’ commanding troops.

“I didn’t hear who the merprincess married.”
“…”

Aeshma closes her eyes as if she’s trying to recall something from her muddled memory, then suddenly opens them wide.

“…’Saint’?”
“The woman over there scolding the princess of the Human Kingdom is the merprincess you’re talking about,” says one as she points to Platy lecturing Letasreit.
“Huh? Merprincess? Princess of the Human Kingdom?”
“You’ve heard how we came back from that mission, haven’t you?”
“Of course, I remember! It was an unforgettable incident how you and Astres were brought into the battlefield by the dragon!”
“Then that dragon said something. Do you also remember that part?”

I only heard what the dragon, Veil, said through hearsay.
It went something like this:

“I’m a servant of the Saint. You shall face my wrath if you ever trouble him.”

And so on.

“Hm? Aeshmaaa?”
“Does the word ‘Saint’ ring any bells to you?”

Perhaps it’s because they’re familiar with each other that they keep teasing her.

“I-I get what you mean, but… Saint is a rather common title. I’m sure there are many others… It never crossed my mind that they’d be the same person!”

At that moment, Aeshma quickly looks at me then back at Batemy and Belena.
Batemy and Belena nod silently.
Then, Aeshma looks at me again.

“So, this and that Saint are the same?!”
“Uh-huh.”
“By the way, this is also where Miss Astres sought refuge after being ousted from her position in the Heavenly Four.”

Aeshma opens her eyes so wide they look like they’ll pop out at any time.

“Lord Saint is an incredibly forgiving person. We used to be his enemies but he still welcomed us with open arms.”
“It was also because of his support that Miss Astres was able to return as the Demon Queen. We’re indebted to him in ways more than one.”
“And when we say ‘we,’ we mean the entire demon race!”

Batemy and Belena continue cornering Aeshma with their argument.

“It was through his help that we were able to completely overthrow the Human Kingdom. The debt of gratitude that we, the demon race, have received from him is immeasurable.”
“Even Lord Zedan respects him as an irreplaceable close friend. Therefore, hostility towards Lord Saint is equal to…”
“REBELLION AGAINST THE DEMON KING.”

Don’t just inadvertently say the same thing in unison like that.
However, their words seem to have reverberated through Aeshma, as her face visibly turns pale.

“P-”
“‘P’?”
“Please pardon my rude behaviorrr!!!”

Ultimately, the situation was settled with Aeshma kneeling down for forgiveness.


“Astres! Why didn’t you tell me anything? You knew everything, didn’t you?!”
“Well, it’s not like I can openly talk about it…”

Astres joined us after lulling Goetia to sleep in the house.

“Besides, Belena and Batemy helped you piece the story together. It’s unbecoming of a Heavenly One who leads an army to lack such wit.”
“Oof…”

Aeshma only keeps on getting talked down today.

“It’d be better for Aeshma to undergo a Heavenly One induction course here… Lord Saint.”
“Yes?”

I have a bad feeling about this.

“I’d like to let Aeshma stay here for a while. You’re free to use her in any way you desire as our apology.”
“Huh? …Oh, okay.”
“During that time, I’m going to lecture her hard on what it really means to be part of the Heavenly Four and teach her their vast difference in mindset from a mere aide!”

Is she perhaps making an excuse to visit the farm by leaving Aeshma here?
Well, even without one, she drops by almost every three days.

“Batemy and Belena have already settled here, working hard day and night to repay our piled-up debt. You’ll be joining them to make up for the trouble you have caused today!!!”
“Y-Yes, ma’am!”
“Huh? Aeshma is also going to work here?”
“But we’ve been living a carefree life all this time…”

Her former comrades don’t seem too happy.

Nonetheless, Aeshma clearly looks more superior in terms of competency and trust from her boss, so she must be difficult for Batemy and Belena to deal with, despite being in the same rank until recently.

“What about my job back at the capitol? I was recently promoted to the post, too.”
“I told you this will be an induction course for you. You will make amends for your rash behavior and once you have developed the mindset of a Heavenly One, I will summon you back to the capitol. Deal?”

Sounds good to me.

Aeshma greets Belena and Batemy beside her once again.

“It’s a pleasure to be working with you again, Batemy and Belena. So, what exactly do you do? I should just do what you guys do, right?”
“No, it’s not that simple…”

Batemy starts explaining everyone’s work on the farm and laid special emphasis on her job that no one else can do.

“Making clothes? Come to think of it, you used to tell me something like that back in the army.”
“I’m surprised you remember!”
“But can you really make decent clothes without receiving specialized training? Are you sure you’re not adversely causing more problems?”

Her concern is understandable but needless.

“What kind of clothes I make, huh? I’ll give you the simplest and most straightforward explanation.”
“Yeah?”
“Your clothes right now.”
“You’re kidding!”

It seems Aeshma’s clothes are one of Batemy’s creations.

It’s probably one of the articles sold in the market through Mr. Shax’s intermediation.

“What are you talking about? This is the most popular clothing brand in the capital right now! I splurged on this after Astres told me that we’re going to a special place today!”
“Uh-huh, I own that very brand. Also, if a Heavenly One like you is going to splurge, please have it custom-made instead.”

Thus, it was decided that Aeshma will have her own ceremonial dress once she returns to the Demon Kingdom.

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