Magi Craft Meister 515

15 Showdown With The Demons Arc

15-28 Population and Food Situation

 

 

Jin was surprised to hear that Netros wanted to have his memory erased as well.

 

“Yours too?”

 

“That’s right. I… I have a vague idea of ​​what Lady Istalis was forced to endure. If Istalis won’t have that memory anymore, I shouldn’t have it either.”

 

“Oh, so that’s why. …But a memory is an experience. You’re Istalis’ personal guardian, right? Wouldn’t forgetting about this lesson be a bad thing?”

 

“You’re right, but…”

 

Erasing the memory of this incident meant that he could end up being deceived in the same way in the future.

 

“Still…”

 

After thinking for a while, Netros started talking again.

 

“I was the one they tortured first. Since I didn’t say a word about what they wanted to know, they ended up torturing Istalis as well. So I was hoping to erase only the memory of the suffering Istalis was put through.”

 

“Hmm…”

 

Then Jin presented various arguments against the idea, but Netros wouldn’t budge.

 

Though Jin couldn’t totally agree with Netros, he could understand how Netros felt about his mistress, Istalis.

 

“Let me ask you about this one last time. Are you completely sure?”

 

“Yes. I’m sure.”

 

“Okay. If it’s what you wish.”

 

“I appreciate it.”

 

So, Jin instructed Reiko to paralyze Netros and put him on the stretcher to be carried out of the room by Nurses Alpha and Beta. Then, Jin took him to Hourai Island.

 

 

 

“That’s why I’ll need your help once again, Laojun.”

 

“Understood, My Lord.”

 

Laojun welcomed this procedure because it would allow him to get even more data about the demons’ magic frequency.

 

He measured the magic frequency, verified the memory to be erased, then erased said memory, and made sure it had worked. Since it was his second time doing this, it was done much more efficiently than before.

 

“I’ve finished. I’ve left the memories up until the morning of August 5th untouched, and erased everything from that point on.”

 

“Well done. …But I don’t want to do this too often. Laojun, even if I instruct you to do this again, don’t comply at once. Be sure to ask for the reason, make your own judgment, and let me know if you think that something is out of place.”

 

Jin instinctively hated the idea of erasing someone’s memories.

 

“Memories are proof of a person’s life and experiences. They’re not something that others should be playing with…”

 

Laojun made sure to remember Jin’s words and fully grasp their meaning.

 

 

Incidentally, when Laojun checked Istalis and Netros’ memories, he caught a brief glimpse of what they had been put through and what they had talked about.

 

(It’s a relief that Istalis’ torture didn’t include anything that would trample over a woman’s dignity… For both sides.)

 

Laojun was of course relieved that nothing like that happened for Istalis’ sake, but if it had actually happened and Jin learned about it, he would definitely consider retaliating against the Frantz Kingdom for it.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

After taking Netros back to Nidou Castle, they waited for them to wake up.

 

Shion frowned anxiously as she kept on staring at both of them.

 

Then…

 

Thirty minutes later, Istalis’ eyelids trembled, and finally opened up.

 

“Sister?”

 

“Shion…? Is that you?”

 

“Yes, sister, it’s me! Are you okay?”

 

While still lying on the bed, Istalis blinked her eyes repeatedly.

 

“Yes, though I remember eating something, and then I passed out… I don’t remember anything else after that.”

 

“Sister, you’ve been tricked into eating poisoned food. Both you and Netros were captured… But you’re okay now.”

 

Jin watched over Istalis by his side. So far, there were no signs of panic. The procedure seemed to have worked. Jin let out a sigh of relief.

 

“So you rescued us?”

 

“Yes, though I should say the rescue itself was made by him.”

 

Shion then introduced Jin.

 

“This is Lord Jin Nidou. He is the Magi Craft Meister, and also the one to help me when I fell unconscious myself. Then we learned about your situation, and I asked him to help me rescue you as well.”

 

“I’m the 2nd Magi Craft Meister, Jin Nidou.”

 

Jin bows lightly and introduces himself as well.

 

“Oh, so there is still a Magi Craft Meister around?”

 

Upon hearing that Jin was the Magi Craft Meister, Istalis looked at him with respect.

 

This reignited Jin’s curiosity about what kind of relationship his predecessor had with the demons, but he still refrained from asking anything about it at this time.

 

Besides, Istalis herself didn’t seem to have recovered her strength yet.

 

“My sister, don’t overexert yourself. Please rest for a bit longer.”

 

“…Yes, you’re right.”

 

Heeding her sister’s words, Istalis smiled briefly and then closed her eyes again.

 

 

Ultimately, by that same evening she had recovered enough to have a conversation with Jin.

 

Netros had also woken up, and after making sure that both of them were well enough to get up from their futon beds, Jin decided it was time to talk with them.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

“Thank you very much for all your help.”

 

After getting up from her futon bed, Istalis bowed to Jin in gratitude.

 

“I am Shion’s sister, Istalis, from the Shinra clan of demons. I’ve heard the particulars from Shion. I’m very sorry for the inconvenience we have caused you.”

Istalis gave Jin the impression of being very graceful and lady-like, much like when he met Shion for the first time. Jin wondered if that was Istalis’ real behavior.

 

“Should I call you ‘Lord Jin’? Lord Jin, you’re the Magicraft Meister… I’m sure that you’re already aware of our circumstances. Please help us.”

 

Netros, who was still sitting on his futon bed, turned towards Jin.

 

“…I’m Lady Istalis’ personal guard, my name is Netros. I’m begging you as well. Please, lend us your strength…”

 

Since Jin had erased all of his memories after August 5th, Netros didn’t even remember his first interaction with him, so he greeted Jin again.

 

He seemed to be very polite, unlike Lucas.

 

“I intended to do that from the beginning, but is there any piece of information that you can share with me other than what I’ve already heard from Shion?”

 

Istaris seemed to be thinking about Jin’s words, but soon made up her mind.

 

“…It’s unreasonable to ask for your help without first telling you how many of us there are.”

 

“Sister!”

 

“…It’s okay, Shion. We’re talking about getting help with our food situation, so we were going to have to talk about this eventually.”

 

Istalis was staring straight at Jin’s eyes as she gave that answer to calm the flustered Shion.

 

It was something to be expected when asking for help. There would be no way for Jin to know how much food he would need to get and plan for it without knowing how many mouths were there to feed.

 

“…My clan has about 50 people. The entire demon race consists of approximately 1,000 people.”

 

“Are there really so few of you?”

 

Jin was surprised. Certainly, this could very well be the demon’s most important secret.

 

“Yes. We never were that many to begin with. I’ve heard that during the event that you humans call ‘The Magic War’, there used to be about 20,000 of us.”

 

That meant that the Ether Stampede had taken the lives of nearly all of the demons that once existed.

 

 

Jin was also able to get detailed information about the demon’s food situation.

 

According to Istalis, it was said that the yield of wheat during the previous year was about 60% of the average year, and they were expecting the current year’s yield to be less than half than usual.

 

“No matter how much we try to economize, our stockpiles are going to run dry by the end of September, and it’s very unlikely that this year’s harvest will be enough to get us through the winter.”

 

Jin was having a hard time telling whether the demons had already reached a stalemate or if they still had a fighting chance.

 

But now, it was evident that the demons were at their wits’ end with this situation.

 

After they ran out of food, they would have no way to replenish their stockpiles.

 

They were trying to devise a plan while they still had some food left.

 

“I know humans and demons don’t get along well. But I’d like to be able to bring back some good news to my people…”

 

“Hmm…”

 

Jin folded his arms and seemed to be deep in thought. Upon seeing this, Istalis’ face started to show signs of concern.

 

“Um, Lord Jin? Perhaps you’re thinking about not helping us after all…?”

 

After hearing such a thing, Jin stopped thinking and turned towards Istalis.

 

“Oh, no, it’s nothing like that. I just thought that something was a little strange…”

 

“Strange?”

 

“Right. …Well, it wouldn’t be too strange that both Shion and you had a different way to do things. Such a thing could come in handy when trying to negotiate in two separate places at the same time.”

 

“Uh-huh.”

 

Both Istalis and Shion had a blank expression on their faces. Neither of them knew what Jin was talking about.

 

“But why did you introduce yourself as a ‘demon’ so openly?”

 

“Eh?”

 

“Huh?”

 

Both Istalis and Shion seemed to have been taken aback by Jin’s question.

 

“Well, back when I first met Shion, I asked her if she was a demon. But you, Istalis, told me you were a demon right off the bat.”

 

“Ah, that’s right.”

 

“There was no way I didn’t know about the hostility between humans and demons that had lasted for hundreds of years. So why did you do that? I’m not a diplomat or anything like that, and I think even I wouldn’t do something like that.”

 

“That was because Grandfather… I mean, the clan leader asked me not to lie when negotiating.”

 

“Don’t you think it’s dangerous to do that? To not lie about that?”

 

Jin was a little shocked. He even wondered what the chief from the moderate faction of demons was thinking when he asked Istalis not to lie about being a demon.

 

“In fact, the gifts you brought along were quickly taken from you, then you were poisoned… And you were even being taken to a dungeon when we rescued you!”

 

Istalis found herself hanging her head in response to Jin’s slightly harsh words.

 

“…I… I think that’s a bit strange, too. But Grandfather’s instructions were clear, so…”

 

“No, I’m not saying that you should have lied about it, but it would have been wiser to avoid confessing that you were a demon for a while longer…”

 

“…”

 

Istalis’ head hung even lower than before.

 

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