100% of the main plot is the same as the book. I copied 80% of the text straight from the Skythewood website. Enjoy
War Part 1
Translators: Skythewood group, Frostfire10
The mountain range separating the Baharuth Empire and the Kingdom of Re-Estize, the Azellerisia Mountains,
The Great Forest of Tove covered the mountain range’s southern foothills.
Entering the forest, one would walk for about 30 kilometres in a straight line towards the mountains. There, was a giant lake that flowed from the mountains that no human had named.
This enormous lake had a radius of approximately twenty kilometers, and was shaped like an inverted calabash, divided into the upper lake and the lower lake. The upper lake was relatively deep, hence large creatures gathered there while the lower lake was inhabited by smaller creatures.
At the southern part of the lake.
At the southern end of the lower lake was a large region where the lake and the wetlands blended into each other, was where lizardmen dotted the lake.
Lizardmen were beings which shared human and reptilian characteristics.
They were regarded as demi-humans along with goblins and orcs, and were not as civilised as humans, with a lifestyle considered barbaric to others. However, it also could not be denied that they have a culture of their own.
Adult male lizardmen had an average height of about 190 centimeters and were proud of their strong muscles, weighing over 110 kg with little body fat.Their bodies were rife with muscles, and if compared to the average of humans, it would be about 1.4 times as much.
A crocodile’s tail extended from their waist. It was used to maintain balance, but in battle it was a 1.4 meter long weapon.
Since they were called lizardmen, they might but thought of as lizards, and their heads were similar.
Evolution caused them to have webbed feet for ease of movement on the wetlands. It was also because of this that land activities were slightly inconvenient, but this posed no problem for their general lifestyle.
Their dark green and charcoal grey scales were similar to those of a crocodile instead of a lizard’s, and they were harder than the low-end defensive equipment used by humans. If this skin was turned into armour, it would not lose out to even plate armour.
Their hands had five fingers just like humans, but with short claws growing at their tips.
The weapons wielded by both hands were basically very primitive items. Since it was impossible for them to discover ore in the wetlands, their weapons were mainly spears crafted from magical beasts’ claws, or akin to blunt weapons with stone bound to them.
Lizardmen had a strict class society, with the tribal chief as the leader of the tribe. This position was not determined by blood, but elected by the tribe for being the strongest individual. This election for tribal chief took place once every year.
Assisting the chief was the council of elders made up of elected elderly lizardmen. Below them were the warrior class, followed by general male lizardmen, general female lizardmen, and lizardmen youths. Their society was structured this way.
Of course, there also existed those who did not belong to any of these categories.The priests that acted as druids, the rangers that made up the hunters. Of course, they could not make actions by themselves, but they listened to the words of the chief.
First were the druids, who were led by the elder druid. They aided tribal life through the use of magical cures and weather forecasts to predict dangers.Rather than a special god, lizardmen worshipped their ancestors, and the druids used magic to preserve their living environment.
Next were the hunters, whose ranks consisted of rangers, responsible for fishing and hunting, but since ordinary lizardmen would also assist in this aspect, their most important job were forest activities.
Lizardmen were omnivores, but their staple food was a species of fish around fifty centimeters long, and they did not consume many plants or fruits.
The hunters entered the forest and sometimes brought back meat, but this was a rarity. The reason why they entered the forest was to collect wood. Since the land was not a safe environment for lizardmen, members with specific skill sets had to be chosen to chop and collect the wood.
Lizardmen therefore had an explicitly paternalistic society with division of labour done according to jobs.
However, there were also those outside the jurisdiction of the tribal chief.
Those were travellers.
Hearing about travellers would evoke the impression of foreigners, but this was impossible in lizardmen society. Lizardmen had a closed society, and a situation where an outsider was accepted into the tribe was exceedingly rare.
So, who were these travellers?
They were lizardmen who wished to see the outside world.
Basically, unless something drastic like a shortage of food occurred, lizardmen would not leave their hometown. However, there was a small chance that a lizardman who wanted to see the outside world would appear. Those were travellers
When travellers decided to leave the tribe, they would have a special insignia engraved on their chests. This was proof that they had left the jurisdiction of the tribe’s control upon leaving the tribe.
They then travelled the outside world.
However, most of those who left the tribe never came back, died during their travels, found a new place to call home, or encountered a different fate.
But on rare occasions, they would return to their hometown after having seen the world. Travellers who returned were evaluated highly because of the level of knowledge they had gathered. Although they were individuals detached from the power hierarchy, they were still prominent within the tribe.
Within the range of the southern part of the lake.
Should it be called this area. There, countless buildings were built on the wetlands. The floor of the houses was the wetlands, and from there legs were extended to support the house. It was like a scene from a riverbed.
It was the residence of the lizardmen.
Lizardmen were not warm blooded animals. By dipping in the water they could maintain their body temperature, but staying in there for a long time would cause it to drop. So, it was normal to prepare a location on land. Basically, the lizardman residences were to stretch their legs while they were on land.
The figure of Zaryusu Shasha appeared from one of the buildings.
The sky was a clear blue, the sun had already risen to mid-air, and a small amount of thin white clouds were in a combed pattern in the sky. It was a good weather, with the distant mountain range clearly visible.
The lizardmen’s field of vision was wide, and the sun’s blinding glare could be seen even without moving the head. Zaryusu squinted and walked down the stairs rhythmically.
While doing so, Zaryusu scratched the burnt mark on his chest with his claws. It was not irritating but it had no meaning to it. It was a habit that he had developed after it was branded on his chest.
When descending from the lowest stair to the wetlands’ surface, his favourite weapon holstered on his waist collided with his scales, creating a clicking sound.
It was a blue and white blade with a dim glow. The shape was a bit peculiar.The wide part of the blade curved sharply at the end, and became something like a scimitar. In addition, the blade and the grip were one piece, without a guard. So, it was like a weapon that was naturally formed by the ice that froze on the lake.
There were no lizardmen who did not know of this weapon. All the surrounding lizardmen tribes referred to it as one of the four treasured magic items: Frost Pain.
Walking around with such a weapon was not something unusual. For example in a village, it was common for monsters to attack and so it was natural for lizardmen who lived in such a dangerous area to equip weapons.
Zaryusu started to move.
He had two different destinations. The gift which he intended to bring to one of those destinations was currently carried on his back.
It was a one meter long fish. It was one of the large fish which served as the staple food of lizardmen. Walking as he carried four of these fishes on his back, the stench which entered his nose did not cause any discomfort to Zaryusu. On the contrary, it was a smell which made him feel very hungry to the point that if he did not pay attention he would eat it.
After puffing out wind several times out from his nose, he expelled this desire. Like this, Zaryusu pattered as he walked without stopping through the Green Claw tribe village.
The tall reeds were nicely cleared with the countless residences in the centre of the open space. It demarcated the area of the Green Claw tribe.
Children, who still had their bright green scales, ran around and let out ‘sha sha’ sounding laughter, but stopped as they noticed the objects on Zaryusu’s back. Healthy growing children peered towards Zaryusu from under the shadows of houses—— no, it was because of the fish that they gathered together. Their mouths were slightly parted, even drooling. They stayed a slight distance away, but their eyesight was still locked on, with gazes like children who craved snacks.
Zaryusu smiled wryly and pretended to not notice as he continued walking. He had already decided who to give them to. It was regretful, but they weren’t meant for the children.Zaryusu felt happiness from the fact that the children could make such expressions.
It was a scene that could not have happened five years ago—
While feeling unwavering gazes, Zaryusu enjoyed them but continued one without turning back.
He passed through the residential area and arrived at the hut that was his destination.
This area was not connected to the village. Going a bit further, and it became dissimilar to the wetlands which were the general depth of the lake. This hut, which was sturdier than it looked, was built on this subtle border and was larger in size than Zaryusu’s home.
The strangest feature was that it was tilted. Because of this reason, approximately half of the house was submerged in the water.
With the splashing of water Zaryusu closed in on the hut. Water was already encroaching on it. He soaked the fish in the water for that purpose, but there was no need to further mind it.
However, while he walked, he did not drop his guard. It would not be weird if monsters or aquatic beasts appeared. Well, if the owner of the hut ignored them that is.
Zaryusu got closer to the house
The sound of a snake could be heard from the house as if it had smelled Zaryusu. There was a bit of sweetness in the sound.
With a squeak, the head of a snake with deep brown scales and amber eye-pupils appeared from the window. after confirming that it was Zaryusu, the neck extended and coquettishly twisted around him.
With a habitual hand movement, Zaryusu stroked the snake’s body. The snake comfortably squinted using the eye protection membrane. Zaryusu also thought that the scaly snakeskin felt fine.
This creature was Zaryusu’s pet, called Rororo. Since Rororo was raised from young, it was as if it could actually understand language.
“Rororo, I’ve bought food. Be good and eat it okay?”
Zaryusu chucked the brought fish through the window. ‘Dang’ and ‘Pluck’ sounds came from the inside.
“I really want to stay and play, but right now I really need to attend to the fish . See you in a bit.”
It probably understood the contents of the speech, and let out a reluctant noise and slowly released Zaryusu before returning inside the house. Afterwards, a chewing sound could be heard from inside.
It was eating healthily.
Having confirmed that Rororo was in good health, judging by the spirited manner of eating, Zaryusu left the hut.
After Zaryusu left the hut, he was heading towards a location slightly further from the village. He was solid ground, and would be suitable to be called a shore.
Zaryusu silently pattered along the forest. Swimming in the water should be much faster, but his concerns of ‘whether any problems would occur on land’ had fostered his habit of monitoring the land path. It was just that the trees would obstruct his line of sight while walking, therefore to Zaryusu it could also be considered a matter which consumed his concentration quite a bit.
Finally he could see his destination from a gap in the trees. Zaryusu let out a sigh of relief since no obstacles had arisen along the way. With only a short distance left to travel through the forest, Zaryusu quickened his pace.
As Zaryusu pushed apart the branches, he opened his eyes in shock. There was someone there he did not expect to see.
A lizardman with black scales.
“…Oh, it’s you.”
The lizardman with black scales turned his head around and looked welcomingly at Zaryusu. This lizardman was the current tribe chief of the ‘Green Claw’ tribe; Zaryusu’s elder brother Shasuryu Shasha.
He won the competition to be a chief twice in a row, and retained his position without needing to fight this year. His body was amazingly huge. When he stood next to Zaryusu, who was of an average build, he made him look small in comparison.
There were legends that if lizardmen grew up they would become dragons, but Shasuryu made it seem possible.
There was a single long, white and old scar on his black scales. It looked like lightning piercing through dark clouds.
This fellow who carried an enormous sword on his back, was close two meters in height and was huge and plain. The steel sword—proof of being tribe chief—had magic which increased its sharpness and prevented rusting.
Zaryusu and his older brother stood next to each other on the lakeside.
“What are you doing here?”
“…Older brother, that should not be your line, but mine. This is not the kind of place the tribe chief would need to visit personally.”
Lost for words, Shasuryu muttered his catch phrase, then turned to look at the lake in front of them.
This was a strange place. Sticks stretched out from inside the lake, surrounding the area. Being carefully placed, there were very fine mesh nets between the sticks.
Their purpose was obvious with a single glance.
It was a fish farm.
“Could it be… stealing a meal?”
Hearing Zaryusu’s words, Shasuryu’s tail jumped and flapped against the ground with a flopping sound.
“Muu, there is no way that could happen. I am only here to check up on the breeding conditions.”
“Younger brother, do you see your older brother in that kind of light?!”
Finishing his statement with a strong intonation, Shasuryu slid one foot forwards. The pressure he gave off felt like a wall pressing down on Zaryusu. Even Zaryusu, who was an experienced traveller and veteran of many battles, felt the urge to take a couple of steps backwards.
However, he had the perfect retort.
“If it’s only to inspect the breeding conditions, then it also means that you don’t want them. Such a shame, elder brother. If they were raised well, I was thinking about giving some of them to you.”
The flopping sound stopped, and the tail appeared dejected.
“So very aromatic too. They have become nicely fattened because of the nutrients diligently fed to them, even more plump than hunted fish.”
“If you keep them in your mouth, some really good tasting juice will flow out. Biting down with a crunch will also make it seemingly melt in your mouth.”
Once again the cocked tail gave off a flopping sound, and it was even more intense than before.
Half of Zaryusu’s attention was transfixed on that tail, the other half was directed to addressing his elder brother in an almost teasing manner.
“Sister-in-law has also mentioned this before. Elder brother’s tail is just too honest.”
“What? That horrible person, making fun of her husband. Say again, which part is honest?”
At the figure of his older brother replying while looking at his tail, Zaryusu wondered what reaction would be good, and replied with a dry answer. Thinking about his younger brother, Shasuryu made an excuse-like reply.
“Huh. That horrible person… If you have a woman… then you will understand how I feel right now.”
“I won’t be able to marry.”
“Hmm. No. Is it due to that mark? If the elders say anything just ignore it. Besides, there are no women in this village that hate you….But marriage would be a different thing.”
In a joking manner, he continued despite his brother not saying anything.
“Of course it is fine for someone with your personality… except, don’t you dare mess around. I do not want to butcher anyone over some silly matters. Speaking of which, you also ought to realise the pain of being married. It’s just not fair that I am the only one.”
“Hey, hey, elder brother… I’ll tell sister-in-law.”
“Ugh… this is one of the pains of being married. Even me, your elder brother and tribe chief, can be threatened.”
Boisterous laughter sounded out by the peaceful lakeside.
After the laughter stopped, Shasuryu looked at the fish lake as he voiced out some words of frustration.
“But honestly? It’s just too great. Your…”
Zaryusu came to the rescue of his elder brother who fell silent.
“Do you mean the breeding farm?”
“Right, right, that’s the one. In our tribe’s past we have never had an individual who would do such a thing. Furthermore. many people already know of its success. In the future, more and more people will feel envy at the sight of your fish and copy your ways.”
“It’s all thanks to elder brother. I know elder brother has said all kinds of things about me to everybody.”
“Younger brother, talking to many people about reality does not count for much. That kind of stuff is merely recounting anecdotes. If it weren’t for your hard work in nurturing such delicious fish from this breeding farm, those words would have been meaningless.”
The initial breeding farms were constantly failing. This was expected, since they were built solely based on the impressions from talks during his travels. Just the construction of the fence was met with constant setbacks. After a year of trial and error, although the fish lake was created, there was still more work to be done.
Fish could not be left alone without being looked after. It was necessary to obtain fish feed.
The fish in the fish lake had died out many times by experimenting with a wide variety of food for the sake of finding out what kind of feed was best. There were also instances of the surrounding nets being broken by monsters, freeing all of the fish.
There were some who criticised him behind his back for ‘treating fish captured for food as toys’. There were also those who said that he was nothing but a fool.
However, the results of his efforts finally bore fruit.
The shadows of enormous, swimming fish were reflected on the lake’s surface. Comparing its size to hunted fish, it would be in the very large category, and no lizardmen would believe that these were fish that had been completely reared from birth, apart from Zaryusu’s elder brother and sister-in-law.
“…Simply amazing, younger brother.”
Seeing the same sight, Zaryusu’s elder brother said this in a low voice at the same time. His words were filled with emotion.
“This is also thanks to elder brother.”
The younger brother who replied also conveyed such emotions in his tone.
“Huh, what have I done?”
Truthfully, elder brother—Shasuryu did not do anything. However, that was just the official stance.
During times when the fish health deteriorated, druidss would suddenly show up here. When collecting materials to build a fence, there would be many individuals who came to help. When captured fish were separated and allocated, there would be live fish. In addition, there were also fruits brought back by the hunters to be used as fish feed.
Those fellows who came over to assist all refused to reveal who they were doing this favour for.
However, even the dumbest person would realise who was pulling the strings, even if the person was adamant on not disclosing the name.
Because it was not appropriate for the tribe chief to look after travellers, who had seceded from the tribe hierarchy. So, he knew that this was all he could do for Zaryusu.
“Elder brother, wait for them to grow a little more larger, then I shall take some to your place first.”
“Hum. Then I’ll look forward to it.”
Turning around, Shasuryu took a step away from the place, then said in a low voice.
“…What are you saying, elder brother. Elder brother has not committed any wrong.”
These words may or may not have been heard. Zaryusu merely looked silently at the back figure of Shasuryu moving away from the lake shore.
After checking the farm, Zaryusu returned to the village and felt a weird feeling, and looked at the sky. It was empty. It was a blue sky, and the north had clouds over the mountain range.
When he thought that it was nothing, he noticed a weird cloud in the sky.
At the same time, the air in the village centre wavered, as a black cloud blocked the sunlight.
Everyone was surprised, and looked at the sky.
This was as the druids had forecasted that today would be a sunny day. The druids were supported by the use of magic and years of experience and had an extremely high accuracy rate. Everyone felt that this was the first time it failed. By the surprised would start from after that.
But, the strange thing was that the size of the black cloud was not large, and that there were no clouds except from the one in the village. It was like someone summoned it on the village.
Something even stranger happened as everyone was thinking.
Whilst the clouds swirled with the village as the epicentre, they also expanded in range at a constant rate. It was as if the sandwiched sky was being invaded by the terrible momentum of the ominous dark clouds.
A strange situation.
No one had seen anything like this before.
Warriors all around scrambled to be on alert. Children escaped by rushing back into their homes. Zaryusu bent down, observing the surrounding while reaching towards his scimitar.
The dark clouds completely covered the sky, and blue sky could still be seen in the far distance. It was as if the dark clouds were targeting this village.
From there, a clamour arose in the village centre. The wind carried over a high-pitched sound produced by lizardmen’s vocal chords.
That sound was an alarm, one which signaled that there were formidable enemies and advised others to evacuate according to the situation.
Zaryusu who heard this sound bolted along the wetlands at a speed which was fast for lizardmen.
Run. Run. Keep on running.
Moving in the wetlands was extremely difficult, requiring use of the tail to act as counterbalance. At a speed unattainable by humans—although lizardmen feet were more suited for this environment—Zaryusu reached the source of the alarm.
At that place, Shasuryu and the tribe’s warriors had formed a circular formation, staring at the village centre. Following the object in their line of sight, Zaryusu also glared at the same place.
For there, was a monster.
Everyone’s eyes were focused on a monster which looked as if it were created from dark mist.
Within the dark mist, numerous terrified faces would appear then quickly vanish. Although faces of various races appeared, the one thing they had in common were expressions of agony.
Carried by the wind were sounds of sobbing, resentment, painful lament, and dying gasps melding together to form a chorus.
Zaryusu felt a chilling hatred emanating from the monster. If Zaryusu felt unnerved at it, the others would be trembling.
Diverting his attention slightly, he noticed that the majority of the lizardmen present were all taking short and sharp breaths, as if they were scared like little children — despite all of them being of the warrior class
The monster stood at the village centre and made no movement.
After some time had passed, whilst maintaining a tense atmosphere and aware that only a tiny disturbance would trigger off the escalation into a fierce battle, the warriors slowly narrowed the distance. They resisted the mental stress and moved into action.Using his peripheral vision to confirm that Shasuryu had drawn his weapon, Zaryusu also swiftly and silently took up his sword.
If it became a fight, he intended to launch a surprise attack faster than anyone else.
The tension in the atmosphere thickened.
Suddenly, the sounds of resentment stopped. The warriors stopped their movements as if their shoulders had holes in them.
The noises emitted from the monster mixed together, forming one sound different to the intelligible cursing earlier. It had a definite meaning now.
[Listen well. I serve as the messenger of the Great Being and I came here to announce his decree.]
Everyone looked at each other. Only Zaryusu and Shasuryu did not break eyesight.
[Proclaiming your death sentence, the Great One has sent his army to exterminate you. In his leniency, he has granted you mortals time to put up a meaningless resistance. Eight days from now, the lizardmen tribe of this lake shall become the second sacrifice.]
Zaryusu grimaced, revealing sharp teeth and issuing an intimidating sound.
[Resist stubbornly, mortals. Allow the Great One to relish in your demise.]
Like smoke which constantly changed shape, the monster also gradually deformed and floated into the sky.
[Do not forget. Eight days—]
As if there were no obstruction, it flew in the sky towards the forest, with its departing back figure watched by many lizardmen. Zaryusu and Shasuryu were silently looking at the distant sky.
The biggest hut in the village — the assembly hall — was rarely ever used. Clan leaders had absolute authority on all matters and assembly only happened once in a blue moon. There was no real value to having the hut.
But on this day the inside of the hut was filled with strained clamor.
Many lizardmen had gathered, causing the spacious hut to feel narrow and stifling: the warriors, the druids, the hunters, the elder council and Zaryusu, who was a traveler. Everyone sat cross legged, facing Shasuryu.
This was the format of the meeting.
Basically it was the respected chief Shasuryu borrowing the knowledge of various people. There was no one here who did not understand the strangeness of the situation.
Acting in his capacity as clan chief, declared the start of the meeting.
The first to speak was the elder druid.
She was an aged female lizardman with strange white symbols written on her body. These probably held meaning, but Zaryusu did not know them. Probably only those who were married, specialised in magic or were aged would know. He did not know much about the other stuff, like attending rituals or locations.
“You all remember the black cloud that covered the sky?” She then stopped and looked around, allowing everyone to recall.“That was magic. It is called <Control Weather>, a 6th tier magic. This is also a spell that only a powerful magic caster can cast. We would be fools to stand against such a foe.”
Behind the Elder Druid, the similarly garbed druids nodded their heads in agreement. Although Zaryusu understood how powerful 6th tier magic was, the other Lizardmen did not and their voices of doubt filled the surroundings.
Not sure of how to explain, the Elder Druid showed a perplexed expression before pointing at a Lizardman. The one being pointed at showed a confused expression, pointing at himself as well.
“Yes, you. Can you defeat me?”
The Lizardman slowly shook his head.
He might stand a chance if both sides were using weapons, but if you included magic, the odds of winning were really low. Or rather, it was nearly impossible for a mere warrior to win. It was through the magic of the Elder Druid that they had repelled various monsters.
“Well, I do not know how strong you are. But, I cannot win against that creature and I can only use up to the 2nd tier.”
“So to say, he should be thrice as strong as you?”
While sighing at the person’s question, the Elder druid shook her head slightly.
“It’s not that simple. Faced with magic of the 4th tier, even our Clan Leader would be easily killed.” She ignored the surprised and continued. If someone can use 5th tier, then they could win against all of the warriors. Then do you understand the level of the 6th tier?”
“Although it’s not absolute” added the Elder Druid speculatively then closed his mouth.
Finally understanding the terror of 6th tier magic, the room became silent. At this moment, Shasuryu started talking.
“In the end, what the Elder Druid means to say is…”
“Fleeing would be the best course of action. Even if we fought, there would be no way to win.”
“What are you saying!”
With a loud and deep roar, a large lizardman stood up. Just by his body he could match up with Shasuryu. His body was dotted with thin scars, and was filled with muscles.
It was the head warrior.
“To flee without even putting up a fight! Running away when facing just that level of danger is intolerable!”
Several people raised voices of agreement. They were the voices of hot blooded young warriors.
“Are you intending on fleeing from that level of provocation!”
“— What is in your head!? It would be too late if we are to start fighting!”
Glaring at the head warrior, the elder druid stood up. The two were agitated, and each were exerting a pressure. As everyone thought that this was an explosive situation, a cold voice reverberated.
With faces like being woken with cold water, the two of them turned to Shasuryu and seated themselves as if in apology.
“Head Hunter, let us hear your point of view.”
“……Elder Druid and Head Warrior’s opinions are both understandable, they both make sense.”
To answer Shasuryu’s question the skinny Lizardman opened his mouth. Although he seemed small in size, it was not for a lack of muscle, but rather that his muscles were densely packed.
“That is why since there is still time. We should examine the situation. Supposedly, they are sending an army. There ought to be signs of construction for a forward base and such, therefore we should observe first and decide afterward.”
Without any information, saying this or that would be completely useless. A number of people expressed their agreement.
“There’s not much to say, all of the opinions are correct. All that’s left is to leave the decision up to the Clan Head.”
Letting his gaze wander, Shasuryu met Zaryusu’s eyes, who was sitting among the crowd, and gave him a nod.. Zaryusu felt as if he’d gotten a gentle push on the back — whether the road ahead was dangerous was unknown — still, he raised his hand to show he had an idea.
“Clan Head, please allow me to speak.”
Someone raised his hand.
At this time, the focus of all the Lizardmen gathered on Zaryusu. Most of them wore expectant expressions, but others showed discontent.
“This isn’t the place for a ‘Traveler’ to be speaking. You should be grateful we’re already allowing you to attend!”
An elder raised his voice. Along with it, several voices of agreement followed. However, it was a small number amongst those gathered. In fact, they were looked at with glances of depression.
“Step down right—”
A tail hit the floor with a bang. It cut through the words of the elder like a sword. The elder looked towards the source and swung his tail weakly. Who made it? Everyone knew and kept silent.
Giving off a dangerous vibe, Shasuryu’s voice carried the guttural sound that Lizardman made when riled up, the tension in the room increased sharply as the heated atmosphere from earlier cooled down.
In this atmosphere, an Elder opened his mouth without paying attention to the gazes around him who were warning him “Don’t do anything unnecessary.”
“But Clan Head, to receive special allowance just because he’s your younger brother is not good. Besides, Travelers are—”
“I said to be silent. Didn’t you hear me?”
“Presently, all who are seated here possess wisdom. Why not hear the idea of the Traveler.”
“—The Clan Head has spoken and you still refuse to comply?”
When those words were spoken, the elders were confused as to how to respond. The reason why they obstructed the words of the traveller, Zaryusu, was as it did not match the societal customs. But if they ignored the chief, it would also go against customs.
Moving his sight from the silenced Elder, Zaryusu looked at the other Heads.
“Elder Druid, Head Warrior, Head Hunter, do you also think there’s no value in listening?”
“Zaryusu’s words are worth listening.” The Head Warrior spoke first. “What kind of warrior would disregard the words of Frost Pain’s wielder.”
“I agree, there’s definite value to listening.”
Then the Head Hunter spoke followed by the Elder Druid who shrugged.
“Of course we have to hear. Refusing to listen to a wise man is something that’s only done by fools.”
Receiving the intense mocking, some of the elder council’s members pursed their eyebrows. Shasuryu nodded to the three Heads and let Zaryusu continue his speech. Zaryusu sat still and opened his mouth.
“To flee or to fight, if we had to decide we must choose the latter.”
“What is the reason?”
“Because it is the only choice.”
Normally, if the Clan Head asked for the reason one must explain clearly. But Zaryusu didn’t continue and closed his mouth as if he was finished.
Shasuryu cupped his chin and sunk deep into thought.
“Is it possible to win?”
“Of course we can win!”
Head Warrior shouted as if to disperse the feeling of unease, but the Elder Druid only narrowed his eyes. It was obvious that he was not thinking so.
“…No, in the current situation the odds of success are very low.”
Zaryusu directly opposed the head warrior. Everyone was confused by the contradiction of having to fight despite losing.
“…What exactly are you trying to say?”
“Head Warrior, the opponent should already know about our side’s fighting force, otherwise they wouldn’t approach us with such a belittling attitude. If that is the case, then it is impossible to obtain victory with our current fighting power.”
It was a thought everyone could understand.
According to what the monster said, it probably included what Zaryusu’s idea was. Then, what to do. Everyone was trying to ask. At that moment, Zaryusu opened his mouth.
“That’s why we need to disrupt the plans of our enemy”
Shasuryu voiced his agreement. He had read his brother’s intentions. However, he was perplexed as to why it was spoken in front of everyone. Zaryusu just watched as the lizardmen in the hut digested his speech.
“… Does everyone here still recall the previous war?”
Even those with dementia would be unable to forget the last war which took place several years ago.
In the past these wetlands had been inhabited by seven lizardmen tribes: Green Claw, Small Fang, Razor Tail, Dragon Tusk, Yellow Speckle, Sharp Edge and Red Eye.
However, now only five remained.
It was a war which claimed the lives of many, and wiped out two tribes.
The reason for this conflict was the bad harvest of the staple food, fish.
There was a change in the water that year, and the fish caught were low in number. And so the hunters spread their hunting range. Of course, the other tribes did the same.
And then conflicts over hunting and fishing spots amongst the hunter classes arose. Since it concerned food resources necessary for the survival of the tribes, it was impossible to make concessions.
Quarrels soon turned into fights, and it was only a matter of time until these fights escalated into carnage.
Next, in order to support the hunter class, the warrior class also took action. A fierce battle was sparked because of the food shortage.
Five of the seven existing tribes were embroiled in the fighting and ended up in a three vs. two situation: Green Claw, Small Fang and Razor Tail against Yellow Speckle and Sharp Edge. Apart from the warrior class, other male lizardmen and even female lizardmen were mobilized to fight for their tribes.
After several large battles, the side with the three tribes that included the Green Claws emerged victorious, leaving the defeated two tribes so destitute they became unable to sustain themselves and were forced to scatter. These remnants were then absorbed by the Dragon Tusk tribe who didn’t participate in the war.
Ironically, since the number of lizardmen had been greatly reduced, the food shortage which had originally sparked the conflict had been solved as well. The staple diet of fish could now be distributed to everybody.
“What of it?”
“Think about the words which that person left behind. He said that this village was the second, which also means that he has left a similar message at the other villages.”
Numerous voices that agreed with Zaryusu’s words arose.
A portion of the lizardmen expressed their gratitude towards Zaryusu for saying what they wanted to say. But they did not. Even if they were warriors, their position was the lowest.
“It means we need to form another alliance!”
“Could it be that…”
“Yes, we should form an alliance.”
“Just like in the previous war.”
“In that case, perhaps we may yet win?”
The small mutterings between the Lizardmen soon evolved into a big commotion. The entire hut was discussing Zaryusu’s opinion, yet Clan Head Shasuryu maintained his silence. The chief’s eyes looked as if he was gazing into the depths of his heart, rendering Zaryusu unable to turn his face to him.
After allowing ample time for discussion, Zaryusu spoke again.
“Don’t be mistaken. The alliance I spoke of includes all of the tribes.”
At that suggestion, the second person to understand its meaning was the Head Hunter, who let out an astounded sound. Zaryusu’s eyes locked onto Shasuryu and Lizardmen in his line of sight subconsciously parted to either side.
“Clan Head, I also suggest forming an alliance with Dragon Tusk and Red Eye.”
A large uproar occured.
It was a thought that no one thought of. It was like a bomb was dropped in the meeting.
The surrounding erupted in an enormous commotion, as if a grenade went off in the room. They had no communications with Dragon Tooth and Red Eye who did not take part in the war. Furthermore, Dragon Tooth took in the remnants of Yellow Speckle and Sharp Edge, the refugees of their enemy tribes.
To form an alliance with those two tribes.
If that were possible then it might be possible to win. Everyone held this faint hope.
While an unconcealable enjoyment leaked out, Shasuryu opened his mouth.
“Who shall be the representative?”
“I will go.”
Shasuryu was not surprised by Zaryusu’s immediate answer. The surrounding lizardmen reckoned that it was because he understood his younger brother’s character and had anticipated this response. Letting out sounds of empathy, they also thought that there was no candidate more suitable to be selected. However there was one who was of an opposing opinion.
“—Sending a traveler?”
It was Shasuryu. His ice-like gaze pierced directly through Zaryusu.
Being pressured, the surrounding people could not bring themselves to speak. However, they prayed that that gaze would not fall on them.
However, those that knew Shasuryu’s intentions were different. Those that knew the true feelings in that gaze.
“—That is true, Clan Head. However we are at trying times. If the other side is unwilling to listen to my words merely because I am a traveler, then they have no worth as an ally.”
Zaryusu easily repelled the cold stare. After the two glared at one another for a brief moment, Shasuryu let out a lonely smile. It was either because he gave up, or because of his helplessness in stopping his brother, or perhaps internally ridiculing himself for agreeing. It was a smile without gloom.
“Bring along the seal of the Clan Head.”
That had the meaning of being the Clan Head’s representative. Several elders which wished to express the view that ‘this is not something a traveler should possess’ were silenced under Shasuryu’s powerful glare.
“My extreme gratitude.”
“…I shall select the representatives who will head to the other tribes. First is—”
Cold wind blew at night. Because it was the wetlands, high humidity and the summery heat combined together to give people excruciating pain, however at night this heat mellowed and the gusts of wind would even be considered freezing. Of course for the lizardmen with sturdy skin, this hardly registered as a significant change.
Zaryusu stamped along the wetlands, his target being his pet Rororo’s hut.
Although there was still some time, it could not be said for certain that nothing unexpected would suddenly happen, and more so it was not known if the enemy would abide by their declared schedule, or perhaps hinder Zaryusu’s movements. With all these considerations, riding through the wetlands on Rororo was still the most appropriate.
The stamping footsteps slowed down and stopped. The bag on his back which was filled with various items also shook. The reason for stopping was because the moonlight illuminated the sight of a familiar lizardman leaving Rororo’s hut.
And his gaze mixed with someone else’s
It was not a large distance between them, about 10 metres. As Zaryusu tilted his head, the black scaled lizardman closed the distance.
“—I reckon that you are the one more suitable to take the mantle of Clan Head.”
Those were the only words of Shasuryu who had approached to within two meters.
“…What are you saying older brother.”
“Still remember the previous large war?”
Since Zaryusu had raised this question during the meeting, there was no way he would not remember. Of course this was not the main point of Shasuryu’s question.
“…After the war you became a traveler. At that time when you had the insignia burned upon your chest, you have no idea how much I regretted it. Even if I had to use my fists, I should have stopped you.”
Zaryusu fiercely shook his head. His brother’s expression at that time still remained a thorn in his heart.
“…It is all thanks to older brother’s permission that I was able to learn the ability to raise fish.”
“If it were you, even if you remained in the village you would be able to come up with that method. Such an intelligent man as you should be able to be the supporting pillar of this village.”
The past was the past, therefore any hypothetical discussions starting with ‘what if…’ were pointless. The past was already set in stone, but to ponder over such events were these two men’s weakness.
No, not exactly that either.
“…Not as Clan Head, but as your older brother, I cannot tell you that things will go smoothly if you go alone. Come back safely, don’t try to be brave.”
In response to this remark, Zaryusu replied with a haughty smile.
“Of course I will complete this mission with perfection for you to see. This task is nothing to me.”
“Huh.” Shasuryu’s face broke out into a wry smile.“Then if your mission were to be a failure, the fattest fish that you have raised shall be mine.”
“Older brother, that kind of thing is nothing amazing, and not something you ought to be saying at this moment.”
Both men silently laughed.
And then exchanged serious looks.
“So is your objective really just that?”
“…What are you saying? What do you mean?”
Zaryusu’s eyes narrowed slightly. Although he was planning on keeping it a secret, from the strength of his older brother’s gaze, his actions were bad.
“….I heard you in the hut. Why did you not explain it simply from the start. It was like you were drawing out their opinions and hatred.”
“…The cause of the previous war was not solely due to the dispute between tribes. A substantial increase in the population of lizardmen was also one of the reasons.”
“Older brother… Let’s not talk about this any further.”
Zaryusu’s grim tone seemingly confirmed Shasuryu’s statement.
“So… it was that.”
“…It can only be that, in order to prevent a recurrence of the previous war.”
These words that Zaryusu spat out implicitly contained his own detestable thoughts and plans. It was simply too foul, and if possible he did not wish for his older brother to know about them.
“So then if the other tribes refuse to form an alliance, what then? Because those who are only willing to provide support and those who wish to flee from the outset would surely refuse.”
“In that case then… The only option is to exterminate them.”
“Starting with wiping out your own tribe?”
Hearing the tone of persuasion in Zaryusu’s voice, Shasuryu smiled almost inappropriately.
“I understand that your concern is correct, and I also agree. As the guiding figure for the tribe, since it concerns the survival of our tribe, of course I would have to consider this. That is why you need not be reserved, younger brother.”
“I appreciate those words. Then shall they be brought to this village?”
“The main battlefield will be the first village. We will go ahead as much as possible and prepare our defenses. I might not be around, and will inform the remaining ones.”
“Please, older brother. Then what about the first village I go to is number 1?”
“Then the warriors will assemble there. Depending on your return, we will depart.”
“Then I assume that there will be no problem if we draw out rations for the soldiers from your farm?”
“Of course, but spare the juveniles. It was not easy to get them where they are now, and even if we were to abandon the village it would eventually come in handy.”
“If you say so then it is. Got it. I will take it. Then how much is it?”
“…If we are talking about dried consumables, around one thousand tonnes should not be a problem.”
“If it is that… then in the short term there will be no problems.”
“Ah, I leave it in your hands then. So, older brother, let me go ahead… Rororo.”
As if responding to Zaryusu’s voice, a snake head peered from the window. Its scales reflected the moonlight, and beautifully sparkled.
“We have to depart. Can you come over here?”
Rororo seemed to stare at Zaryusu and Shasuryu, but ducked its heads. The sound of something heavy walking in water could be heard.
Suddenly, Shasuryu talked as if he had just remembered something. It was like he was speaking about the point he was suppose to be talking about.
“….I said to the chief hunter to find a place to take refuge.”
“Please, brother. Then what about the numbers, did you make any predictions?”
Shasuryu seemed to hesitate, but replied instantly. Although it was an expectation, it seemed to pain his heart to say.
“…Ten warriors, twenty hunters, three druids, seventy females, a hundred males, children… that’s about it.”
“….Are you not leaving the children? Will they not burden us?”
“There is a stronger opposition and we cannot decide. To quell the dissatisfaction we should bring the,.”
“But will there not be arguments over which to choose?”
“There won’t. It would be fine to pick the children of those chosen.”
“But not just that right?”
Shasuryu gave a tired smile and Zaryusu remained silent. A sudden loud water noise broke the silence. Both men observed the direction where the water noise came from, and smiled out of nostalgia.
“Hmm….It began bigger. I was surprised when it entered the house you know?”
“Ah, older brother, me too. I did not expect it to grow so big. When I picked it up, it was so small.”
“I also find it hard to believe, it was already quite large when you brought it back.”
The two men reminisced about the past Rororo. Then four snake heads surfaced on the water a short distance from the hut, all four using the same action in splitting the water and heading towards Zaryusu.
Suddenly the snake raised its heads and the figure of an enormous body could be seen inside the water. The beast had four reptilian heads connected through long necks to the enormous four-legged body.
It was the name of Rororo’s species.
With an unexpectedly fast movement unbefitting of its large body that spanned five meters in length, it arrived beside Zaryusu.
Zaryusu climbed onto Rororo’s back as nimbly as a monkey.
“You have to return safely. In addition, it’s more your style not to use your brain like you did in the past when you shouted “not even one person shall be sacrificed”.”
“….I have also matured, that is what happened.”
To Zaryusu’s words, Shasuryu snorted.
“The kid has grown into a man now… Well, alright. Don’t get into trouble. If you do not come back, the first target to be attacked will be determined.”
“I will return safely. Just wait for me, older brother.”
After some time passed, they exchanged gazes filled with emotion and without warning, the two drew apart.