[“God of calamity?”]
[“That’s right, it’s an incarnation of Calamity that is not a man neither an evil beast”]
Violet was lying in the middle of a huge room, that had the entirety of its floor covered in carpet. She asked this while pointing at a picture of a black evil god in a big picture book that was opened before her. Zeshald answered her question with a smile.
[“Will daddy and uncle defeat him?”]
[“Only the goodness in the people hearts is able to stand against the god of calamity. “]
[“Then I will become a good girl so I could help daddy and uncle”]
[“Hohoho, you are a good child, princess”]
“… … It was like that”
“So you had a relationship like that?”
“As a child, princess was an obedient and good” Zeshald told Yuusuke as he was looking at him with a stern face. “The person standing before us now is but a shadow of what she was then”. Rather than being composed, the princess simply looked defiant.
The time was just before sunset when the merchants of the main street of the lower district were closing off their stalls for the night. Meanwhile those, working during the night (nightsingers), have started their trade and were mixing with the crowd, looking for their clients. It was a curiously unique time of the day, but today an unusually heavy atmosphere descended on the certain corner of the street.
The onlookers have abruptly stopped their work and gathered around to watch an arrest by the fire god corps. By the way, [nightsingers] was this world’s name for prostitutes.
Some of the soldiers of the fire god corps who were pointing their spears at Yuusuke and Zeshald after surrounding them also showed a look of confusion on their faces.
Several years ago during the [festival of creation], which was celebrated on the New Year, king Esvobus has issued an imperial edict to the soldiers of all god corps, saying “Zeshald is not to be concerned with”. The nuance of “Don’t touch him” was also included in that edict.
Since that day Zeshald has not been to the palace and was living outside of the city in a village of the powerless. Unknown circumstances between the king and Zeshald was the cause of the notion that the king had some sort of weakness in Zeshald.
“What are you doing? Hurry and apprehend these people!”
“B-but, wouldn’t that mean disobeying kings orders…?”
“Besides, I believe we do not have a valid reason to apprehend them this time”
The soldiers, anxious from the order of Kreivol, their commanding officer, that contradicted the imperial decree of the king, were questioning the credibility of this order. This was possible because, unlike the lower rank soldiers, those that were employed by the palace corps had a certain amount of freedom (of thought).
“Don’t be concerned by this, I will personally explain (tell) this to my father”
Violet, being in a good mood after having her boredom dispelled by the unexpected meeting, declared an interesting proposal. If the two were caught, they could be brought to the palace. Princess already had her eyes on Zeshald, yet her curiosity was greatly increased by a rude man with black hair that gave off a strange, never before felt aura.
“If her majesty says it like that, the suspicious man said to be a god of calamity… was indeed called to this city to take the life of his highness… … ..”
“Hoho.. you guys are only listening to the princess when it is convenient for you”
“Wh.. What did you say?!”
Zeshald, hitting quite close to the target (of raising doubts between soldiers), cmade Kreivol raise his voice. Noticing that Zeshald attempted to take even greater control of this situation and prepared to deal the final blow as he thought of how to explain Yuusuke’s existence and power.
“Oh, you are the overly loyal type that causes his lord to die early”
“Wh … wha…?”
“I am saying that I am related to Esvobus… … Would it not be better for you to abide to the Kings orders?”
“What… what is the meaning of this!”
With his attitude having taken a complete turnaround Zeshald spoke to Kreivol in a threatening voice, looking looking him down with a death stare. This in turn made the fire god corps become wary. Zeshald’s change of face also made Violet, who was enjoying the event, shudder.
[“Teacher, teacher, why are you agitating them?”]
[“It’s all right, please trust me this time”]
After exchanging a short conversation in secret, Zeshald returned to his serious persona, spread his hands outwards, and spoke to Kreivol, who was unable to hide his irritation and annoyance.
“Esvobus wanted me to stay away from him and you have not heard the reason? Despite that you are inviting me to the palace”
“This is no invitation! There is no way criminals like you would ever get a chance to meet the king!”
“… What about my students? Do you know how many of them work in the palace?”
There were a lot of people in the palace that were taught by Zeshald before. Almost every healing type water arts user, belonging to the elite water god corps, looked up to Zeshald as their teacher. If Zeshald were to be caught and brought to the palace, these retainers would doubtlessly protest and appeal against this decision.
Therefore, could a faithful retainer ignore king’s intention of breaking the relationship and distancing Zeshald from himself? Torn between his loyalty and suspicions Kreivol was at loss for words.
“Th… then how will you explain this black haired man?”
“Yuusuke? I wonder …?”
Yuusuke shrugged his head at the sudden change of topic. Violet murmured “So his name is Yuusuke” as to remember the name.
“Don’t play dumb! Why did you bring a man, thought to be evil god of calamity, into the city?!”
“Really? I believe that [“evil god of calamity is just the name of the plague”] there is no way the guy over there really is the god of calamity”
After hearing this retort soldiers started looking at each other, “Evil god is just a myth, right?” being bewildered by the unvoiced question. Originally this whole arrest was orchestrated by Violet, who called the black haired Yuusuke a god of calamity.
Kreivol also froze for a moment as he did not believe that the evil god actually existed. The princess has called that man the evil god only as a pretext to apprehend Zeshald.
Having taken control of the place and silenced everyone in confusion, Zeshald started his final push.
“Do you know that if you mix all the colors you obtain black?”
Most of the divine art users could use only single type divine arts. In the very rare cases a divine art user, capable of using two types of divine arts, could be born.
“I think that his hair looks like that because of the effects of the blessing of the four great gods”
“Parents, blessed with such a child, probably also believed him to be the evil god” – continued Zeshald, introducing Yuusuke as a child, abandoned at a shrine of the powerless in a far off land. Until recently he was raised in secret by the villagers of the nearby powerless village and has only recently wandered into the outside world.
Truthfully, Zeshald’s flowing speech also persuaded the curious onlookers. “Oh so that’s how it is” look could be seen on everyone’s faces as they affirmed to old man’s finishing remark. Straightening his back and coughing delicately, Zeshald then spoke of the folklore, related to the god of calamity in a majestic tone.
“Why are the evil god statues in the temples of the powerless black? That is the color you get after mixing every other color. It was simply wrongly assumed that the power of all four gods, imperfectly united in one body, is the symbol of the god of calamity who brings misfortune. This was the conclusion that the powerless came up with after centuries of living without education. In my opinion dyes, affected by dirt and mold, passage of time, and deterioration is the result……“
“Wa – Wait a moment Zeshald. I understand, it was my bad”
Violet was extremely weak to Zeshald’s scholar mode. Thus, attempting to stop the migraine inducing flow of words, she hastily accepted her fault. While watching it with widely opened eyes Yuusuke thought that “Violet also has an unexpectedly cute side to her”.
In the midst of the confusion an order of the king arrived from the palace, ordering to break up this gathering. Message only said that “any unnecessary actions will be followed up with strict consequences”.
“What is this, I was just getting to the good part”
Zeshald said this as he was stroking his chest while thinking “It went well”.
“Don’t worry about my father. Come to the palace some other time!”
“I will be waiting” – Violet finished while waving her hand as she was returning to the highborn district accompanied by the palace guards and Kreivol.
As it was well past sunset now, onlookers also scattered and started hurriedly tidying up their stalls. A yellow haired man in his prime, who seemed to be interested in Zeshald’s lecture, said that the lecture was interesting and that he will eventually write a thesis about it before leaving.
“Pheeew, that was close. We should head back towards our wagon as well”
“Thank you, but boy you sure are something”
Yuusuke commented on Zeshald’s quick wits with both respect and sarcasm, to which Zeshald answered with a laugh.
After returning to the cart the two made a bed in the back of the wagon and started to sort aside wares to be sold at the stall tomorrow. At the same time the two were eating rara fruits and dried meat. During the preparation Yuusuke and Zeshald discussed about the incidental meeting with the princess, who was the instigator of the earlier uproar, and about the relationship between Zeshald and the king.
“I used to travel together with Esvobus. Don’t you think the taste would be better with a little bit more salt?”
“Hoooo, so you used to be close with the king”
While customizing Zeshald’s dried meat Yuusuke was listening to the old man’s tale. The tale was from more than 20 years ago when Esvobus has not yet been crowned.
Esvobus, who was to become the ruler of the nation, made his country flourish in all aspects but military prowess (military invasion). He used to travel around the world to deepen his knowledge in order to be able to become a respectable king.
“Being a good ruler aside, what this man lacked was ambition”
Being at the top of the fire arts users, renowned for their military prowess, he preferred a peaceful resolution of all things. As he was a good ruler, the masses also supported him. Thus he had a good reputation but was criticized for the military skirmishes by the armed forces and political pressure from the other countries.
“Harassment from the neighboring countries suddenly peaked during the recent years”
A mountain range of over kilometer high divides the land into three parts, two of which belong to the neighboring country of Blue Garden. Blue Garden’s social system is based on the principle that divine arts of the Four do not grant superiority. It is an emerging nation that opposes the social norms of the world.
A fortress city Paula, built at the foot of the mountain range, was the second largest city to the capital. It was constructed to watch over the border with Fonkrank. Incidentally, Paula was closer to Sanc Adiet than the Rufk village.
“Fonkrank is often marauded by what is believed to be civilian militants from the Blue Garden”
“Hey, isn’t that dangerous?”
“Well, usually that would spark a war”
While king Esvobus ordered to strengthen the border security and sent out a messenger with an official protest, Blue Garden side ignored it completely, demanding abolition of the caste system.
Not only that, a lot of spies from Blue Garden started appearing in Sanc Adiet. Some people, related to the palace, were also confirmed to have defected to the Blue Garden. As the information about strengthening the border security was also leaked out, this measure also does not seem likely to produce any result in solving this matter.
“This sounds exhausting…”
“Well, no matter how pacifistic the other side is, judging from the tactics it is going to take a while until the decisive strike“
“Will this country be alright?”
To Yuusuke’s question Zeshald answered: “For now” with a grim perspective.
“After discussing it with Esvobus, I plan to get inside Blue Garden”
“What does that mean… ?”
“I will be a spy. I also got invited by another defector of Blue Garden”
That was the reason of his “worsening” relationship with the king.
“W-wait! Isn’t this some highly classified information?”
“Yeah, it is most highly classified information”
“!! Is it okay for me to hear about this?”
Yuusuke, nervous from the light tone, that Zeshald told him this information in, asked him that question. Zeshald’s face got serious as he gave his answer:
“I am worried about what will become of you after being called into this world as a god of calamity”
Amongst the many opinions of what the god of calamity will truly bring about, different interpretations on what is being considered a calamity in the stories and texts, what will the calamity be? Will it be a calamity for those, ruling the world, or a calamity for the common people? In what way could the calamity be averted?
Finally, “Who will experience the calamity?”
“Perhaps I have stepped on the road of destruction, still…”
Unable to comprehend the intentions of the existence, who gave Yuusuke this power and called him to this world, knowing only that in the legends of the ancient times arrival of the evil god was known as a turning point in the history of Kaltcio, Zeshald has decided Yuusuke to be a transcendent existence that will judge this world.
He believed that Yuusuke would surely base his decision on the information he has obtained.
“I want you to know about many things about this world”