Chapter 150: Ominous presentiment

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Author: Kobayashi Homare Original Source: Syosetu Word Count: 3235 characters
Translator: Nomad English Source: Re:Library Word Count: 1454 words
Editor(s): Deximus_Maximus

–––Diaria’s viewpoint

There were reports about monsters all over Zelvis, so there was no real source point for them, at least according to the military officer in charge of watching over the border with Leble. He had a rather burly body for an elf, and his body was covered in many scars, showing he was a seasoned warrior.

“It would be easier to determine if we could watch over the entire border, but we can’t afford to dispatch the entire army to guard it.”

The burly old…the officer said that, sounding somewhat apologetic. Zelvis was also a republic, with no king or nobles that could force the population to serve the military, so that was not an option either. We always had a lack of military power because of that, and now that was really hurting us.

“Have you tried looking for volunteers?”
“We tried recruiting more people, but the number of people who actually showed up was so insignificant there would be no point in sending them.”

There was no positive response to Lapis’ question. Basically the military was severely limited, and had its hands full protecting cities and cleaning up after incidents, with no resources left to investigate the origin of the monsters. We all looked a bit downcast, realizing we would need to conduct the entire investigation on our own, without being able to count on a large number of supporters.

“We’ll let you know the instant we figure something out.”

We said that before leaving the office, and we headed to the inn we were staying at. We were in Baradero, a city near the western border of Zelvis. The city was mainly used to trade, considering how close to Leble it was. Many merchants passed through it as well, either on their way to Leble to the west, Bordaule to the south, or further into Zelvis to the east. Because of the number of travelers, there were people from all sorts of races in the streets, making it hard to believe this was a city in Zelvis, where most of the inhabitants were elves.

We walked through the streets as various shopkeepers called out to us.

“Hey girls! Do you want to check out our selection of necklaces? I assure you they’ll highlight your beauty even more!”
“We have Comer beef skewers! I’ll give you the deal of your lifetime! One skewer for one copper coin!”
“Please come into our inn if you don’t have a place to stay! Five copper coins a night per person!”

We could hear the voices of customers and sellers haggling all around us as well. Ciel looked impressed watching that happen.

“I heard many people were being attacked by monsters in the outskirts of the city, but it almost feels like they don’t care here.”
“I guess it’s better to worry about one’s profits rather than the suffering of others? At least I think merchants are better off thinking that way.”
“Hmmm…I can’t say I understand that sentiment…”

Karin had grown up downtown, so she admired their positivity, but Luvias, who grew up in the palace, could not understand that way of thinking, shaking her head slightly. But it was not that she was disgusted or disagreed with it, she was simply confused by that lifestyle.

We picked an inn randomly, which looked just about average, the first floor being exclusively to eat. Most of the seats were taken up by travelers and merchants, so we had to line up on the counter instead. But soon after eating we all tilted our heads.

“Is it just me, or does the bread feel stiff?”
“It does, and it’s really dry too.”
“It’s probably some type of additive. Maybe they’re running low on wheat?”
“Oh I’m sorry, did it stand out that much? I’ve really been doing my best to make it taste okay…”

The shopowner’s daughter joined our conversation from across the counter. She seemed to be around our age, but as an elf, it was hard to tell what her real age was. Her face had a certain charm to it, and she apologized by bowing to us.

“Lately there’s less supply of wheat to go around, so I’ve had to mix it with other stuff just to have enough bread, but we’ve lowered the prices accordingly so please forgive us.”
“That’s alright, don’t worry. Why is there less wheat though?”
“Well…apparently merchants from Leble have been buying up all our stock at really high prices. They’ve been taking the wheat from all over Zelvis, so the amount that makes it to the local markets has decreased considerably.”

Leble again? Still, I wonder why they would hoard so much wheat?

“Maybe…”
“Luvias, do you have any ideas?”
“It’s just a possibility, I’ll tell you later.”

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Luvias sounded like she noticed something, but she quickly left it for later. Was it something she could not say in public? Ciel and Lapis seemed to understand what she meant, so Karin and I had to just go with the flow.

“So, what did you think about earlier?”

Once we were in the room we rented, I made sure there was no one listening nearby before asking Luvias. She nodded in response, and prefaced her speech saying it was just a possibility, and that she had no proof yet.

“I’m sure you’re all aware that wheat is a core ingredient to sustain our lives, it’s used to make bread, and even cakes and cookies, making it very important.”
“Yeah, we might not eat meat everyday, but bread is usually cheap enough. I guess wheat is pretty important in most countries.”

That was essentially common sense. Was there a reason why she had to remind us of that?

“Now, just theoretically…what would happen if wheat vanished from the market?”
“Well…no one would be able to eat..!”

I gasped when I started to reply, noticing what she meant.

“So Leble is buying all of it, as a way to attack Zelvis?”
“It’s very likely, I think. Though well, even if Leble is a large country, I doubt they have the resources to squeeze out every grain of wheat from a smaller country, but they can lower the stock considerably.”
“So they’re trying to starve us?”
“As a side effect maybe, I think their true objective is something else though.”
“Meaning what?”

Luvias paused for a bit, frowning before she continued.

“…It might pave the way for a military invasion.”
“!”

Leble was thinking of attacking? At first I was doubtful, but I quickly realized the chances were high. The strongest country in this continent was probably Bordaule. From Leble’s point of view, Bordaule was simply a roadblock in their plans of conquest. They were probably evenly matched in military power, and if war broke out the surrounding countries would probably aid Bordaule and defeat Leble. But Bordaule had gotten weak now. Many soldiers had been lost during their internal conflict, and the country was overrun with monsters. They could not afford to aid other countries.

“So you think they’re trying to take advantage of Bordaule’s weak situation to invade Zelvis?”
“Hopefully just Zelvis… I only spoke with him once, but their emperor is just a big lump of greed. I wouldn’t put it past him to have a ridiculous goal like controlling the entire continent. Mobilizing a large army requires large resources though. Having their merchants take care of the first steps would explain the current situation.”
“…”

Compared to Leble, Zelvis’ military forces were minuscule. We had always maintained friendly relationships with our neighboring countries, so we had never been at war. Now we were being overrun by monsters, and if there were demons plotting something we would be unable to deal with it alone. I felt the blood drain from my face as I realized just how easy it would be to trample over Zelvis.

“We don’t know that for sure yet though.”
“Lapis…”

She placed her hand on my shoulder, trying to comfort me.

“Luckily Zelvis has us now. Even if they tried to invade, we can easily take care of any regular army.”

She was right, if we pooled our strength together, we could easily repel thousands of soldiers.

“I think it’s safe to assume that Leble is working with demons. The recently sighted monsters might be theirs as well. That means there’s only one thing left for us to do.”
“…Exterminating the monsters?”
“Yes. If they’re trying to bolster their forces with monsters, we just have to overpower them first.”
“Master, what do you mean?!”

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Luvias was shocked while Lapis smiled creepily.

“It’s annoying to sit still doing nothing, right? So how about we run wild in Leble for a change?”



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