237-236   Conscience Lord

 My name is Dalkish.

 I am the lord in charge of the Valkyria Frontier Territory, one of the territories that make up the human nation.
 Although I am a young lord who has been the successor to my father who retired for only a year or two.

 However, before I could get used to the work of a lord, the motherland, the Human Nation, fell to ruin.
 It was invaded by the Demon King's Army, an enemy of mine for thousands of years.

 The invasion of the Demon King's army was so blistering that our lords were unable to react quickly enough, and the city was seized by them.

 The lords of each area were faced with two choices: to fight back thoroughly or to surrender.
 I chose to surrender.

 Now that the king was in captivity and the human nation was beyond recovery, wouldn't it be an embarrassment to the people if I dragged out the battle?

 No harm will come to my people.

 On this condition alone, I have formally decided to submit to the Demon King's army.
 Of course, I myself had prepared myself to be executed for accepting the surrender, but surprisingly, I didn't receive any news.

 Rather than being tied up in prison, even the duties of a lord were allowed to continue as before.

 A treatment that was too generous and confusing.
 With this, the Demon King's army showed its mettle as an invader and succeeded in dampening the rebels' enthusiasm more and more.

 After being treated with so much compassion, I couldn't continue to be a rebel either.
 I had to try to manage my territory to ensure both the dominance of the Demon King's army and the stability of my fellow countrymen.

 Surprisingly, many lords made the same choice as I did, and most of the lords in the human country took that path.

 This may also seem surprising, but the lords of the former human kingdom are surprisingly competent compared to the royalty and the Order.

 Because if they were as incompetent as the bonkers royalty and the corrupt Order, the Human Nation would collapse!

 That's why our lords have been working so hard to support the country and its people.

 I myself received a strict education from a young age in order to become a noble lord, and I was forced to vomit blood in order to be as strong as other people, not to mention knowledgeable and educated.

 As a result of this, I was able to fight without exposing my abomination when I was ordered to go to the front lines of the war against humans and demons, and even now that I've become a lord, I've managed to keep up with my taxation and other difficult tasks.

 Since the Human Nation was destroyed and the Demon King's Army took over, they weren't sent to war on a national basis, and they didn't have to pay as much tax as they should have.

 Frankly speaking, it's easier to manage a fiefdom than when the human nation was still alive and well.

 If this was the case, the human nation should have been destroyed earlier.
 It's disgusting why we've been desperately supporting a shitty nation like that for generations.

 Well, it's true that we are under occupation, so we are not completely free of inconvenience.

 My father, who retired from the occupation, said "It's about time you got married and showed your grandchildren's faces".
 I've been running away from it all my life because of my busy schedule, but I can't keep avoiding it, so what should I do...?
 But I can't keep avoiding him all my life, so what should I do?

 The emergency that pierced my relaxed mind occurred.

    * * * *

The monsters are there?

 The butler reports back to me and interrupts the paperwork, which is not that important.

'How big is it?' What kind? Is this the sort of thing that could be outsourced to the Adventurer's Guild?
Orcs, and I hear there are at least 30 of them.... It's on a scale that a lone adventurer can't handle.......

 I bite my nails at the unimaginable seriousness of the situation.

 Thirty orcs........!

 A herd of that size is uncommonly large for a stray.

 The monsters that pour out of the dungeon are strays, wandering around and attacking the people and villages they encounter...!

One of the people in the village closest to you has come to tell you. They said he's been running for a month and they have to tell him.

 A month?

 What kind of frontier are you from that you've been running for that long!
 No, I'm more concerned with how hard you've been running. You'll be rewarded later.

"Anyway, a monster of that size is beyond the reach of any adventurer. Gather an army.
You're sending out an army of...?
I'll give you an estimate of five orcs per orc. If you say 30 orcs at least, you'll need 150 and 200. Transportation is provided by you.
Do you intend to lead them yourself?
'It's a crisis for my people. What are you going to do without me, my lord, moving?

 The fact that the villagers came to inform him must mean that there is a village nearby.
 How can they take it easy when the danger is right around the corner from their fiefdoms?

''Your concern for the fiefdoms is admirable, but...''

 A voice called from behind.
 It's a woman's voice.

"As an inspector, you can't help but interfere.
Lord Varlina.

 The young woman who appeared had darker brown skin than the human race.
 That's a sign of the demon race.

 I said earlier, 'Since we are under occupation, it doesn't mean that we're not free from inconveniences,' but this is exactly the inconvenience itself, and this is the guard that the Demon King's Army had sent to the human lords.

 The Inspector of Demon Lords is monitoring our lord's movements every step of the way, checking in detail if he is not planning to revolt against the Demon King's army or taking advantage of his position to enrich his own pocket.

 Even though it can't be helped, it's still depressing.

''You guys are now under the occupation of our Demon King's army. I think you should be more careful about moving your troops around...?
"You think I'm going to give you the troops to attack the Demon King's army in the name of defeating monsters? Ridiculous, is there such a thing as an Inspector General to announce such an old woman?
"You must take into account the smallest concerns. Always remember which side is the winner and which side is the loser in this war between man and demon, which is now over.
"You b*tc*!

 How can you talk to me like that?
 Is this what all women of the demon tribe are like?
 If that's the case, I feel for all the men of the demon tribe who have to marry such women!

''Even so, it's true that a monster has appeared within my territory. If you're not allowed the discretion to resolve it, there's no point in staying as a lord. Let's just have this head cut off immediately.
"No one has asked you not to go to war. I'll notify the occupation headquarters in the old royal capital and get their permission...!
'That's too late! What if my people get attacked by a monster while we're waiting around!

 I don't mind if it's a post hoc agreement.
 Our lord has received many unreasonable demands from the human royalty and the Order before their demise, but he has refused to do anything that would make his people unhappy.
 Without that level of backbone, how can you be the lord of a human kingdom!

"And you, Inspector, what are you doing here? Isn't it your role to facilitate the relationship between our lord and the demon occupying army in times of emergency?
'What's the point of having people here if we have to go to all this trouble to negotiate directly with the center?
Quite a mouthful, isn't it? Well, I'm sure it's an emergency, and I'll use my own judgment and authorize you to raise your troops. I'll talk to the central government myself.
'Humph, you should have said that from the beginning.
But I'll be coming with you.

 What did you say?

'It is precisely because I allow it at my discretion that I need to monitor it with my own eyes from the closest point of view. Is that alright?
Don't do it. Isn't the battlefield wetter than a woman can get?
''Don't worry about it. I'm a Demon soldier in the Demon King's army. I have more than one experience in battle.

 Well, I knew it would be.
 I was able to extract so much concession from the first interjection. We will have to compromise from here too.

''........Hmph. If that's the case, then maybe we've fought on the same battlefield. As an ally and an enemy.
'Maybe so. If it had hit you directly, you wouldn't be alive.

 You really are a disgusting woman!
 Enough of that, I'm going to go out to save my people!

    * * * *

 And I arrived.
 In just five days.

 What was the news that the villagers who had come to report it had spent a month running through?
 They were relatively close.

"On top of that hill the orcs are camped!

 The soldiers on the scouting mission are bringing back information one by one.

'Oh my God! The orcs are building their castles on the hill!
The castle?
That's why we can't see the enemy, because the walls hide them. It's so cleverly constructed that it would be difficult to infiltrate it alone, taking advantage of natural hazards...!

 I asked the demon woman beside me.

'Lord Varina. The demon race could use orcs, goblins and other humanoid monsters, right?

 She knows more about them than I do.

Are you sure the orcs can't build a castle?
''The only orders we demons can give the orcs are really simple. They want us to rush into the enemy's camp and kill everyone in front of us. Construction is also possible if it's just a matter of carrying a simple load, but assembling and laying a foundation that requires precise calculations is very...?

 So, what do you mean by that?
 Who would have had a castle built with orcs?
 Did the orcs themselves evolve their intelligence to the point of building a castle?

 Neither of which is unlikely, but what the hell?

'My lord! The front!

 A soldier began to fuss.
 He turned in the direction indicated by the attention, and there was a clear anomaly present.


 And not just any orc. From a distance, he still exudes the aura of a strong man.
 Even in the brave men and women of the human nation, there has never been anyone with this kind of supremacy.

 What is this Orc?