C236: A Compassionate Feudal Lord

My name is Dalkish.
Though young, I am a feudal lord of Wallachia, one of the territories that make up the Human Kingdom. I’ve been in charge for a year or two since succeeding my father.

However, before I had time to get used to my job, my motherland was destroyed by our archnemesis of over a thousand years—the Demon King’s Army.
Their invasion was so sudden that we feudal lords couldn’t take immediate action, and so we just watched the royal capital be seized before our very eyes.

We were forced to choose between a do-or-die resistance or complete surrender.
I chose the path of renunciation.

Now that our king is held captive and the Human Kingdom is beyond recovery, I feel prolonging the war would only make my people suffer, and I do not wish for that.
With that as my only condition, I officially decided to submit to the Demon King’s army.
Naturally, I was also prepared to be executed, but I surprisingly received no such punishment.

Rather than being imprisoned, I was allowed to continue with my duties as a feudal lord—a treatment so generous, it’s perplexing.
The Demon King’s Army showed its mettle as an invader and succeeded in diminishing the rebellious spirit of their enemy.

I can’t keep being defiant if I’m treated with such compassion, so I administered my territory in a way that would allow the demons’ governance and the security of my people to coexist.

Surprisingly, most of the feudal lords also took the same path.
This may also seem surprising, but as feudal lords, we are remarkably more capable than royalty and the Religious Order.
Otherwise, the Human Kingdom would’ve vanished long ago if we were in the same league as the dimwitted royalty and the corrupt Order!

Thus, we lords have been working hard to support our nation and people.

I received a rigorous education both in academics and in the military from a tender age to become a worthy feudal lord, so strict it was enough to make the typical person vomit blood.
Because of that, I was able to fight on the front lines of the Human-Demon War without showing disgraceful behavior and managed to keep up with some of the more difficult tasks like taxation.

In fact, since the Human Kingdom was destroyed and the demons took over, we are no longer being driven into national wars, and taxes have drastically reduced.
Frankly, it’s easier to manage our territories now.
If I knew this would happen, the Human Kingdom should’ve been overthrown sooner. It’s incredible how we’ve been able to support such a ridiculous nation for generations.

Well, we’re still under military occupation, so it’s not entirely free of inconveniences.
My retired father, urging me to get married and give him grandchildren, is one example.
I’ve been avoiding the topic on the pretext of being busy, but there’s no way I can continue doing so forever.
Finally, having made enough free time to worry about my troubles, I began wondering what to do.

But then, an emergency occurred that disturbed my fleeting peace.


“Monsters have appeared?”

Such was my retainer’s report, interrupting my not-so-important paperwork.

“How many and what kind are they? Can we outsource it to the Adventurer’s Guild?”
“Orcs, at least thirty of them, sire. The scale is too large for a single adventurer to handle them!”

I bite my nails at the unimaginable severity of the situation.
Thirty!
A group of that size is unbelievably large for wild orcs.
Monsters spawning from the dungeon wander as strays, attacking people and villages they come across.

“A man from a village near the orcs’ location has come to inform you. It appears he’s been traveling for a month to get the word to you, sire.”

A month?!

What kind of remote area did he come from to travel for that long?!
Nonetheless, he has done well. He deserves a reward from me later.

“Anyway, monsters that many are too much for the adventurers to handle. Gather the troops.”
“Are we going to dispatch them, sire?!”
“We’ll go with an estimate of five men per orc. Since there are at least thirty orcs, get one hundred fifty… No, make that 200. I leave the transportation to you.”
“Are you going to lead them yourself, sire?”
“Our people are in danger. What will they do if I, the feudal lord, don’t act?”

If a villager has come to inform me, it probably means that his village is nearby.
We can’t just take things leisurely when there is imminent danger to my people.

“Your concern for your people is admirable, sir. However…” calls out a voice from behind me.

It’s a woman.

“As the supervisor, I have the right to interfere in this matter.”
“Lady Varlina…”

The young woman who appeared had skin darker than a human, proof that she was a demon.

She is one of those inconveniences I mentioned earlier; one of the many guards sent by the Demon King’s Army to watch over the human feudal lords.
They monitor our movements every step of the way to see if we are plotting a mutiny or taking advantage of our position to fill our pockets.
There’s nothing we can do about it, but it’s still a bit annoying.

“You’re now under the occupation of us demons. Don’t you think you should be cautious about mobilizing your troops?”
“You think we’re going to wage war against your army on the pretext of dispatching troops and subjugating monsters? How ludicrous. Are supervisors like you only meant to express this unwanted concern?”
“Why don’t you learn to take into account trivial concerns and remember who is the winner and loser of the Human-Demon War?”
“You wench!!!”

What a gaudy way of talking.
Are all demoness like her?!
If so, I genuinely pity the demon men who have to take these women as wives!

“But the fact that monsters have appeared in my territory is absolute. If I’m not pardoned the discretion to solve it, there’s no meaning in me being a feudal lord. Just behead me if so.”
“I’m not saying you can’t dispatch your troops. I will inform the occupation headquarters in the old capital and ask for permission first.”
“It will be too late by then! Will you take responsibility for my people if they get attacked by monsters while we idly wait?!”

Even ex-post-facto approval is acceptable.
We’ve received many unreasonable demands from royalty and the Order before their downfall, but we’ve always turned down anything that would make our people unhappy.
Otherwise, how can I be a feudal lord of the Human Kingdom without that kind of grit?

“And besides, for what purpose are you here, Miss Supervisor? Aren’t you supposed to facilitate smooth communication between us feudal lords and the demon occupation forces during immediate times?”
“…”
“What’s the point of assigning people like you here if you still have to negotiate directly with the headquarters?”
“You’re a glib lord, aren’t you? Fine, it’s an emergency, so I’ll allow you to raise the troops on my judgment. I’ll inform the capital afterward.”
“Hmph, you should’ve said so from the start.”
“However, I will accompany you.”

What?

“Because I decided to permit you, it is necessary for me to monitor you from the closest distance. Are you fine with these terms?”
“Cease the thought. The battlefield isn’t so soft as to spare a woman like you.”
“I appreciate the concern, but I am a Demon King’s Army soldier who’s been in battle multiple times.”

Well, of course, I knew that.
We were able to compromise on something, so I guess I have to give in, too.

“…Hmph. If that’s the case, then maybe we’ve fought on the same battlefield before.”
“Maybe so. If I had battled with you, you wouldn’t be here right now.”

What a detestable woman!
Forget it. I’m going to go out to save my people!


And then, we arrived after five days.

What was the meaning of the information the villager who took one month to inform me?
His village is relatively close.

“The orcs are camped on top of that hill!”

The soldiers who went out to scout brought back information in succession.

“Big trouble, sire! The orcs are building a castle on the hill!”
“A castle?!”
“That’s why we can’t grasp the enemy’s status since they’re hidden behind the castle walls. It’s cleverly built to take advantage of its position, making it difficult to infiltrate unaided!”

I ask the demoness beside me.

“Lady Varlina, demons can use anthropomorphic monsters such as orcs and goblins, can’t they?”

I’m sure she knows more about them than I do.

“Can orcs build castles?”
“The only orders we demons can give to the orcs are straightforward, like rushing into enemy territory or killing everyone in sight. They can construct a building by carrying simple cargo, but it is challenging to assemble or build something that requires precise calculations…”

Then, how will you explain this?
Is there someone who used orcs to build a castle?
Or did the orcs themselves evolve to the point where they could build a castle?

Both are unlikely… What exactly is going on?

“Sire, look in front!” shouts one soldier.

When I turned in the direction he mentioned, I saw an apparent anomaly.
An orc.

And it wasn’t just any orc. Even from a distance, a powerful aura emanated from its entire body.
Not even the bravest of the brave humans have this intense of a spirit.
What is up with this orc?!

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