Shinji and the others were escorted to the castle in Soukai Country. Since they were guests of Iwao, the king of the country, the castle workers treated them with respect even though they were dressed in unfamiliar clothes.
If there was one thing that bothered Shinji and the others, it was the fact that they took off their shoes when they entered the castle. In Shinji's world, when entering a building, people either clean their shoes with magic or change into indoor shoes. So, this is the first time for them to take off their shoes and walk around without any shoes.
Now, they are led to the middle of the castle. This is the guest room where the lord of the castle meets with his guests. Shinji and the others are greeted by Iwao, the lord of the castle, as they enter the hallway with wooden floors and a tatami mat room made of woven grass. Shinji, the first to be invited, steps forward and bows his head, and Lila and the others follow his lead.
「It's pleased to meet you and thank you for inviting me. I am Shinji, and I am speaking on behalf of this group.」
「I'm Iwao, the ruler of Soukai Country. Kurou is my confidant. He is absent because I let him do his work. But Kurou told me about you. You're looking for someone.」
「Yes. It's a personal matter. I was looking for a demon who might be in this country and I met Kuroumaru-san.」
「I see... please sit down first. It will be easier than talking standing up.」
「Thank you for your consideration.」
Shinji and the others follow Iwao's lead and sit on the cushions at his feet. Shinji and the others, who are not accustomed to sitting directly on the floor, sit in different ways, but Iwao does not take this as a sign of rudeness.
（After all, they must be from a very distant land... I heard that they did not even take off their shoes when they entered the castle. He might be from the country beyond the sea as I have heard...）
Although it was difficult to judge from Kuroumaru's story alone, the meeting with Shinji and the others confirmed his suspicions. But in fact, the correct answer is not the sea but another world. However, there is no way that he can predict that. Still, Shinji is hoping that Iwao will understand that he is from another country, and even if he does realize his mistake, he will not try to correct it.
「Now, the reason why I visited the capital is because Kuroumaru-san told me to ask for help if I need it. If I want to look for people, I should start from a town with many people. That's also why I was planning to visit the capital once.」
「Hmm. Indeed. My people are not only human but also other races. But there should be no demons.」
「I thought I'd look around just to be sure. I originally wanted to go to Getsuya Country where the demon tribe is the lord... but after hearing Kuroumaru-san's story... I decided to temporarily stop traveling in Tenshou Country...」
Why are there no demon tribe people in Soukai Country?
It is because the territories of Soukai Country and Getsuya Country used to be adjacent to each other, and the people of the demon tribe moved to Getsuya Country where the demon tribe is the head of state. However, they are no longer adjacent to each other.
This is because Soukai Country was defeated in the war that took place half a year ago, and its territory was taken away from it. As a result of the loss of the territory taken by Tenshou Country, the road to Getsuya Country was cut off. This is the second most painful blow after the loss of his son and heir. Although they had considered forming an alliance if the time came, it was no longer possible under the current circumstances.
Unaware of such a situation, Shinji makes a comment that steps on Iwao's landmine by all means. After all, Shinji's map of the continent was drawn only after the war, and he had no idea that the battle was lost only six months before.
He meant to thank Kuroumaru for making him aware of the danger, but it sounded to Iwao like he was blaming him for his inadequacy.
The mild-mannered face of Iwao turned into a devilish expression as he revealed his anger. At the same time, the presence of many soldiers appeared beyond the sliding doors on either side that divided the room.
While Shinji, who did not know what had touched his heart, opened his mouth, Lila and the others stood by him, ready to move at any moment. Emily stands there to protect him, and Shinji's attitude of not paying attention to them as if it were a matter, of course, annoys Iwao, who thinks that women are supposed to be protected, and makes him even angrier.
「I have no idea what you mean when you say I'm disrespectful. Please tell me the reason.」
「You bastard say you don't know! There's no way! Don't stay behind a woman, get in front of me!」
（It's no good... I don't think I can understand him. I was going to look around Soukai Country just in case, but I might as well give up.）
The fact that he had guessed that Shinji and the others were from a distant land before he became angry has been completely blown out of Iwao's mind. The death of his son and heir had left such a deep scar on his heart that Shinji was beginning to think that he would have to give up the dialogue with him since he did not know about it and it seemed as if he could not communicate with them at all.
Shinji had only visited because he thought it would be the quickest and most accurate to hear from Iwao, and there was no need for him to be concerned about the capital city. Behind the sliding doors, the atmosphere is becoming grim. For the safety of not only himself but also his friends, Shinji decides to retreat immediately.
「I'm sorry, but it looks like we can't have a conversation, so I'm going to leave now. Goodbye.」
「What are you talking...!?」
Without waiting for Iwao's reaction, Shinji's request is answered by Freri's teleport magic, and Shinji and the others disappear. Iwao's words were cut off in surprise, and he was so shocked that his thoughts, which had been tinged with anger, suddenly returned to normal. The soldiers, who had rushed out through the sliding doors, could not help but be puzzled as they lost sight of the rioters.
「What am I doing... I'm afraid I've done something terrible...」
Iwao, who does not know the existence of the teleport magic, feels a strong regret to have made an enemy of someone who can suddenly disappear, but it is already too late. The shock of the situation hits him even harder than he thought.
Suddenly, flames burst forth with a loud boom from the direction of the castle town. The screams of the townspeople reached the castle, and in their panic, Iwao and his soldiers looked out the window to see a fire breaking out in the part of the castle town they loved.
「No way, they...!」
The image of the missing Shinji and others comes to Iwao and his men's minds. They might have set the town on fire in retaliation. Just as they think so, another boom echoes through the castle.
The source of the sound is the entrance to the castle. The person who was thrown out of the castle, along with the wreckage of what was once the entrance door, was someone who should not be in Soukai Country. He rolls on the ground and leaps to his feet, wearing a white cloak, the crest of an unforgettable foe painted on his back.
「Tenshou Country...!? Why...!?」
The Tenshou Country soldier's face is hidden by a mask, and Iwao, looking down from above, cannot see much more than that. All he knows is that the enemy's blade is at his throat. He can do nothing but be horrified by the sudden attack, and then a cheerful, unnerving voice reaches him.
「Shinji, we can't teleport?」
Following the Tenshou Country soldier was Emily, who had just stood in front of Shinji in the Shinji group that had been right in front of Iwao's eyes. She was holding a huge club in one hand, which even a grown-up could not carry, and was looking at the Tenshou Countrymen as she continued to talk.
「I asked Freri about it, but I guess it's still not working. This is a very bad day. I guess nothing but unexpected things are happening.」
「It's interesting, desu. I'm very curious to know what kind of theory they are using to block the teleport, desu」
Through the window of the castle, Iwao sees Shinji and Iris, the two people with whom he is talking, appear.
The conversation was a rare failure.
He should have gathered information about the other party beforehand. So, we have to be careful about sensitive stories such as the misfortunes of their relatives.
The adventure part continues. Now it's time to set the stage...!
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