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  1. “Your Majesty, the Council Chamber is in sight.”
  2.  
  3. As he turned to look in the direction where the commander-in-chief was pointing, a large building — certainly big for a Dwarf, but sizable even by Ainz’s standards — came into view.
  4.  
  5. The commander spoke briefly with the guards at the door, and they let Ainz and the others pass without inspection.
  6.  
  7. The reason why they waived the inspection for Ainz and company while still staring unabashedly at the undead Ainz was surely because the commander had exercised his authority.
  8.  
  9. “Then, Your Majesty, I shall make a full report to the Council. May I trouble you to wait here for a while?”
  10.  
  11. There was no reason to object. More to the point, it might be troublesome if he did not explain Ainz’s contribution to this nation.
  12.  
  13. “Where shall we wait, then?”
  14.  
  15. The commander-in-chief glanced to one of the Dwarf guards, and the man stepped forward.
  16.  
  17. “The, the waiting room is that way. Permit me to escort you there.”
  18.  
  19. “Really now. I’ll leave that to you, then.”
  20.  
  21. The Dwarf — who trembled in both body and voice — brought them to a somewhat cramped room. Then again, it would probably not have been cramped for a Dwarf. It was just the right size for Aura and Shalltear. However, they had Zenberu there, who was a big guy. Just waiting in the room felt very claustrophobic for him.
  22.  
  23. Given that the soldier had taken a look at Zenberu before bringing him here, this must have been the largest and the most luxurious VIP room in this building. Sure enough, the ornaments around them were all exquisitely crafted and looked as though they might actually move.
  24.  
  25. Ainz had once made Avatara of his past companions, and he deeply appreciated the difficulty of making such intricate statuary. It was possible for something to look beautiful in profile but ugly when viewed head-on.
  26.  
  27. Ainz picked up a statuette — a Dwarf riding on the back of a lizard.
  28.  
  29. It’s plainly obvious that the Dwarves have outstanding craftsmanship. Mm, I’d like to have such skills… I wonder if I could remake the Avataras? If I could, would I be able to make something better after practicing? — alright.
  30.  
  31. Ainz decided to address Zenberu, who seemed distinctly out of place here.
  32.  
  33. “Zenberu, continue with us for a bit longer.”
  34.  
  35. “Ah, Your Majesty, I’d like to stay here instead, if it pleases you. Frankly speaking, it gives me a headache to talk with those great people.”
  36.  
  37. A strange turn of phrase. It was different from how he had been during the trip here. Perhaps he had changed the way he spoke because he had come to the Dwarven Kingdom.
  38.  
  39. “...You are the overseer of a tribe, am I correct?”
  40.  
  41. “Shalltear-sama, one can be good or bad at various things. Also, I would feel bad if I inconvenienced His Majesty.”
  42.  
  43. Ainz understood Zenberu’s meaning, but he shook his head nonetheless.
  44.  
  45. “No, I will take you along. If something happens, I won’t be able to protect you if you’re too far away. I don’t think there’ll actually be any danger, but carelessness is for fools. For all we know, we might be within the palm of the enemy. Remember that at all times.”
  46.  
  47. “Yes! I have seared it into my heart!”
  48.  
  49. Even though Ainz did not feel that the Dwarves would harm someone who had saved their country, it bore repeating for safety’s sake.
  50.  
  51. What’s this? Shalltear’s responding pretty well today. Did something happen?
  52. (怎么了?感觉夏提雅的回应气势很足啊。发生什么了么?)
  53.  
  54. “Ah, then, Your Majesty… What should I do?”
  55.  
  56. “Hm? Frankly speaking, just listen to us, Zenberu. No matter what happens, do not take part in any fighting.”
  57.  
  58. Ainz nodded as Zenberu indicated his understanding.
  59.  
  60. “Very good. Now then — Aura, Shalltear, can you inspect my clothes and see if they’re messed up?”
  61.  
  62. The Dwarven soldier sent to show them the way arrived just after the two of them inspected their attire and his.
  63.  
  64. ***
  65.  
  66. Ainz was led to a room where the Dwarves waited.
  67.  
  68. Resplendent in his full panoply, Ainz strode forth with chest upthrust. His back was ramrod straight, his head was held high, and his bearing was that of a king. The obsidian radiance from the aura behind him glowed softly, as a substitute for cologne. Surely nobody would look down on him after all these preparations.
  69.  
  70. He kept the wand -- which substituted for a royal scepter -- at his waist. It was infused with a 1st-tier spell, but since he had no intention of activating it, it should not pose any problems.
  71.  
  72. After looking himself up and down, he felt that this getup was somewhat at odds with the objective of seeking friendly relations, but Aura and Shalltear strongly approved of it.
  73.  
  74. The problem was that both of them thought too highly of Ainz, so he felt uneasy about relying on their opinions.
  75.  
  76. Thus, he asked Zenberu for his views on the matter.
  77.  
  78. After some fidgeting — from being asked about something which lay outside his field of expertise — Zenberu finally said something along the lines of “Your attire would surely inspire awe in everyone who saw it”. Ainz took his word for it, and came here.
  79.  
  80. However, the Dwarves he encountered turned pale, their postures shot through with nervousness. Of course, that too was an appropriate reaction to a king.
  81.  
  82. “Announcing the arrival of His Majesty, the Sorcerer King!”
  83.  
  84. He could hear the Dwarf announcer from the other side of the door.
  85.  
  86. When the door opened, Ainz entered the chamber.
  87.  
  88. It looked like a meeting room, and there were eight Dwarves there.
  89.  
  90. Incidentally, he had learned their names, their posts, their looks and features from the commander-in-chief.
  91. 姑且是从总司令官那里听说了他们的外貌特征和职务,以及名字。
  92.  
  93. There was the High Priest of Earth, who governed everything to do with magic, be they divine magic casters or even arcane magic casters.
  94.  
  95. There was the Forgemaster, who controlled all production which derived from the forges.
  96.  
  97. There was the commander-in-chief who had brought them here. He was responsible for all security and military matters. Once, he commanded many Dwarven soldiers, but the fact that he only had less than a hundred men made the title a joke.
  98.  
  99. There was the Director of Food Production, who managed food production and other industries which did not concern the forges.
  100. 管理食材之类,与锻造出的产品无关的一切物品的食材产业长。
  101.  
  102. There was the Cabinet Secretary, who was in charge of everything which fell outside the jurisdiction of the other leaders here.
  103. 管理在这都市里的,各长管理之外的一切内务的事务总长。
  104.  
  105. There was the Brewmaster, who was on this Council because there had to be a leadership position for the Dwarven peoples’ favorite pastime of alcohol.
  106. 仅是酿酒就要安排一位领导的、诠释了矮人的嗜酒的酿酒长。
  107.  
  108. There was the Master of Caves and Mines, who had a lot of power in this city due to his influence over the sphere of mining and resource extraction.
  109. 主要进行矿山的挖掘,即使在这都市里也有着相当权力的洞窟矿山长。
  110.  
  111. Once, there had been an organization called the Merchant’s Guild, but due to the lack of traders and trade in general, the title of Merchant’s Guildmaster was now a hollow position in charge of foreign affairs.
  112. 曾经有着名为商人会议的集会,但因为现在商人的数量变少,贸易不再繁荣,变得有名无实担当外务工作的商人会议长。
  113.  
  114. Those were the eight of them.
  115. 就是以上的八人。
  116.  
  117. Ainz slowly swept his gaze across everyone. Seven of them stared at him. The last one -- the commander-in-chief -- had a look of fatigue on his face instead, and his eyes met Ainz’s.
  118. 安兹慢慢扫视全员。目瞪口呆的七人。最后那位表情有些疲惫的矮人——总司令官——的视线和安兹交错了。
  119.  
  120. Ainz was pretending to be the picture of calm, but his inner heart was in chaos.
  121. 安兹虽然表面上装的很平静,可他的内心却已经完全混乱了。
  122.  
  123. Oi! I can’t even tell them apart! Maybe some of them have shorter beards than the others, but aren’t they all pretty much the same length? Was he lying to me? No, that must have been how he saw it. What should I do?
  124. (喂!好几个人根本分不出来哦?即使说胡子比较短,大致上不都是同样的长度吗?是在说谎么?不,大概在那家伙眼中就是那么一回事吧。怎么办?)
  125.  
  126. Zenberu’s memories had depicted them all with identical faces, and at first Ainz had thought it was simply because the Lizardman saw all Dwarves as the same. He had even felt that Zenberu’s ability to recognize faces needed improvement. However, that was not the case.
  127. 虽说泽贝尔的记忆中也都是堆同样的脸,还以为只不过是在蜥蜴人看来矮人都是一样的外表而已。甚至还觉得泽贝尔个人认脸的能力需要提高了。然而事实却并不是那样的啊。
  128.  
  129. I’m sorry I doubted you, Zenberu . You were telling me the truth all along.
  130. (泽贝尔,怀疑你真是抱歉。你的确是把事实告诉了我啊)
  131.  
  132. In this world, there was no practice of exchanging namecards upon a meeting, a fact which he had long lamented. Ainz felt the same way today, and then he gathered his strength into his belly.
  133. 已经不知多少次的,为这个世界初次见面没有交换名片的习惯感到遗憾了啊。安兹今天也怀揣着同样的想法,向腹部注入了力气。
  134.  
  135. Next would come a presentation which he had already made several times. Of note was the fact that he had two Guardians behind him and the subordinate of his subordinate. He could not allow them to see him disgrace himself.
  136. 接下来就是最近做过好几次的陈述的开始了。特别这次身后有着两位守护者,还有部下的部下。这里绝对不能让他们看到自己丢人的模样。
  137.  
  138. ...If only I hadn’t brought the three of them...
  139. (……要是不带三人过来就好了啊)
  140.  
  141. However, his regrets were immaterial. The die had been cast, after all.
  142. (TL Note: Alea iacta est)
  143. 现在后悔也无济于事。骰子已被掷下。
  144. 【译注:骰子已被掷下,凯撒大帝渡过卢比孔河时引用的名言】
  145.  
  146. Still -- while he had psyched himself for it, there had not been a single trace of a dialogue. The silence had remained unbroken for a full minute after his arrival.
  147. 然而——明明已经做好了觉悟,谈话却完全没有开始的迹象。抵达之后的一分钟里谁也没有打破沉默。
  148.  
  149. What’s going on?  Standard practice for a company would be to start by introducing oneself to an outside, right? Should I have asked the commander-in-chief to introduce me? ...Or should I begin the dialogue? I’m not too well-versed in courtly etiquette and I don’t want to appear boorish.
  150. (这是怎么一回事?公司的工作汇报的话,是先从自己人开始,对着外人介绍才对吧?在这场合的话不应该由总司令官开始相互介绍么?……要由我开始对话吗。对宫廷礼节了解的不是那么详细,不想露出破绽啊)
  151.  
  152. According to courtly etiquette, inferiors could not address the king directly. Direct interaction required permission of some sort. In other words, the king was an untouchable being. Therefore, if Ainz began the dialogue, would the Dwarves look down upon him?
  153. 就宫廷礼节来讲,下等的人不能直接与王对话,直接对话的场合好像要给予许可才行。也就是说王就是那样不容侵犯的存在。那么现在这个场合,从安兹开始对话,是不是会成为被对方小看的要因呢。
  154.  
  155. After looking at the Dwarves, was the answer yes or no?
  156. 对面看来到底是YES还是NO呢。
  157.  
  158. That said, I doubt anyone will slight me, given the country’s situation and the actions I took. If that really happened, then I might as well say that I won’t negotiate with a pack of buffoons like them.
  159. (话虽如此,这个国家的状况,以及我的所作所为,考虑到以上的因素,想来是不会有瞧不起我的人吧。如果真的变成那样,反过来说可能还是不和这样一群白痴交涉比较好吧)
  160.  
  161. Having made up his mind, Ainz decided to make his pitch.
  162. 下定决心的的安兹从这边开始了投球。
  163.  
  164. “I am the ruler of the Sorcerous Kingdom, the Sorcerer King Ainz Ooal Gown.”
  165. 「我乃魔导国之王,安兹·乌尔·恭魔导王」
  166.  
  167. As though hooked up to a power supply, the Dwarves sprang into motion.
  168. 仿佛是重新连上了电源似得,矮人们开始了有了动作。
  169.  
  170. “We, we bid you welcome, sovereign of the Sorcerous Kingdom, Your Majesty Ainz Ooal Gown. May we offer you a seat? There are seats for your esteemed followers over there.”
  171. 「欢、欢迎拜访,魔导国之王,安兹·乌尔·恭陛下。请先入座可否?随从的各位还请坐到那边的席位上」
  172.  
  173. Ainz nodded, and then he was ushered to what he called the birthday boy’s place. He sat down with regal aplomb, using movements he had practiced over and over. Shalltear, Aura and Zenberu sat behind Ainz.
  174. 安兹点头后在被称作生日席的座位上,用反复练习累积出的、与王相应的堂堂正正的态度坐了下来。夏提雅、亚乌菈、泽贝尔则是坐在安兹后面的席位上。
  175.  
  176. “Then, we shall introduce ourselves. Firstly, I am this country’s--”
  177. 「那么为陛下介绍一下我们这些人。首先我是这个国家的——」
  178.  
  179. And so, the Dwarves gave their names.
  180. 由此矮人们依次报上了名字。
  181.  
  182. The opening seemed to have gone without a hitch, but Ainz could not contain his worries.
  183. 看来开场的方式似乎并没有问题的样子,但安兹却还是无法抑制住自己的焦虑。
  184.  
  185. Just keeping their eight names in mind was already difficult. Having to associate each of those names and titles with faces was proving quite the challenge.
  186. 即使只是一次报上了八个人的名字,光是要记在脑袋里就已经很不容易了。还要把头衔和名字,以及外表一一对应起来可就有点难了啊。
  187.  
  188. Names were easy enough to remember, but adding a title onto that made him uneasy. Things like whether it was Master of Caves and Mines or Master of Mines and Caves only made things worse.
  189. 名字不管怎样记起来还是挺容易的,但在这里加上职位什么的就让人不安了。洞窟矿山长和矿山洞窟长,哪个才是正确的啊,会像这样变得混乱。
  190.  
  191. That said, Ainz managed to remember them. He would not have been able to do it had he not inquired about them with. the commander-in-chief
  192. 即便如此安兹也总算是记住了。要不是来这的途中问过总司令官的话,是绝对做不到的吧。
  193.  
  194. “Please allow us to thank you on behalf of this country. Without Your Majesty, this country would have been destroyed.”
  195. 「代表这个国家予以感谢。要是没有陛下,这个国家恐怕就会灭亡了吧」
  196.  
  197. Those words were spoken by the Master of Caves and Mines. All the Dwarves present nodded in response.
  198. 发言的是洞窟矿山长。随着他的话在场的矮人全体低下了头。
  199.  
  200. The members of the Council apparently took turns leading it, so the leader this time round must be the Master of Caves and Mines.
  201. 这个摄政会似乎是由成员轮流来担当议长的,这回的议长便是洞窟矿山长了吧。
  202.  
  203. “Pay it no heed. Saving someone in trouble is common sense.”
  204. 「无需介意。有难的时候就该互相帮助」
  205.  
  206. “Your Majesty is a truly magnanimous person. We will surely aid you to the best of our ability if any troubles beset you. That said, I fear we cannot do much to aid your august person, who commands the troops that saved our nation from extinction with but two of their number.”
  207. 「陛下真是位宽容大量的大人。若是陛下有什么困扰的时候,我等也一定尽力相助。话虽如此,对于有着仅考两位就能拯救我国灭亡危机的士兵的大人您,我等能做的事怕是一件也没有了吧」
  208.  
  209. “It’s nothing like that. My country is indeed powerful in a military sense. However, there are some inadequacies when it comes to other fields. I would be very grateful if you could provide help to me in those aspects.”
  210. 「没有那样的事。我国在军事上确实足够强大。可那以外的方面,就有一点点靠不住了。要是能在那些地方提供帮助的话,那可真是帮大忙啊」
  211.  
  212. “I see. We would be glad to be of service to Your Majesty -- to the Sorcerous Kingdom. However, before that, we pray Your Majesty will tell us the reason for your visit to our country, if it is convenient. The commander-in-chief has already told us, but we would like to hear it from your own mouth.”
  213. 「原来如此。要是能成为陛下的——魔导国的力量的话那可真是令人高兴啊。可是、在那之前。若是方便的话,能请陛下先告诉我等、到底是什么样目的才使得您屈尊大驾我国的呢。姑且是从总司令官听说了,能再一次的,从陛下口中告知我等吗?」
  214.  
  215. The Master of Caves and Mines narrowed his eyes slightly.
  216. 洞窟矿山长的眼睛微微眯了起来。
  217.  
  218. We’ll see through any lies. His unyielding determination was palpable.
  219. 说谎的话会看破的哦,能感受到这样绝不后退的决心。
  220.  
  221. I can’t expect them all to feel goodwill towards me… well, given the difference between the power of our nation’s anyone would be cautious.
  222. (不太能感觉到好意啊。……不,国力有着此等差距的话,任谁都会有所警戒的吧)
  223.  
  224. The same applied to Ainz. If the top-ranked guild in YGGDRASIL -- Seraphim -- offered a World-Class Item and asked to negotiate, Ainz would also suspect some kind of trap.
  225. 安兹也是。如果曾经YGGDRASIL公会中排名第一的炽天使[seraphim],以将世界级道具提供给自己这边、来要求交涉的话,安兹也肯定会警戒有什么陷阱的。
  226.  
  227. Therefore, he was not displeased by the Dwarves’ reaction.
  228. 所以没有对矮人的那种反应感到不快。
  229.  
  230. “Firstly, I would like to initiate friendly relations between our nations. Then, I would like to engage in trade.”
  231. 「首先是开展友好的国交。接着希望能开始进行贸易」
  232.  
  233. “--Is that so.”
  234. 「——这样啊」
  235.  
  236. “I have heard from one of your countrymen that your staple foods are mushrooms and meat, am I wrong? I recall something about farms at the feet of the mountain which raise fresh Roberdycks, but apparently the quantity and variety are quite small. My nation can supply fresh vegetables and -- do the alcoholic spirits of human kingdoms and the Sorcerous Kingdom hold any interest for you?”
  237. 「虽然有从这个国家的人那里听过,你们的食物是以蘑菇和肉类为主吧?虽然好像有在山脚开垦田地,栽培新鲜的蔬菜,但听说在那能取得的蔬菜的数量和种类很少。我国能够提供新鲜的蔬菜之类的食材,还有——对于人类国家和魔导国的酒之类的有没有兴趣呢?」
  238.  
  239. The topic of alcohol made the Dwarves’ eyes light up. That was a very frank reaction.
  240. 听到酒这个词,矮人们的眼睛都变得闪闪发光。还真是非常坦率的反应呢。
  241.  
  242. “I also hear that this country trades with the human nation to the east, but not to any great degree.”
  243. 「这个国家好像是与东边的人类国家有所交易的样子,但听说规模不是很大」
  244.  
  245. “Indeed. Our traffic is merely twenty dwarves’ worth of merchandise. Currently, we are developing magic items which can hold an unlimited supply of goods.”
  246. 「正是这样。不过只是由二十名矮人来搬运的量而已。为此,现在正在开发能无限装载物品的袋子之类的魔法道具的途中」
  247.  
  248. The Merchant’s Guildmaster gave that reply.
  249. 回答的是商人会议长。
  250.  
  251. “I see. Is it true that there are few Dwarven trade caravans due to the dangerous mountain roads?”
  252. 「原来如此。没有让更多的矮人商贩组队前往,听说是因为山路险峻的缘故,这是真实的吗?」
  253.  
  254. “That is indeed the case.”
  255. 「确实是那样」
  256.  
  257. Another Dwarf supplied that answer.
  258. 出声的是另一个矮人。
  259.  
  260. “We cannot carry too many goods due to the steepness and danger of the mountain paths. In addition, moving in groups draws monstrous attention. There are many monsters who will attack regardless of the numbers of their prey. In particular, aerial ambushes are hard to deal with.”
  261. 「因为走的是相当险峻的山路,没办法携带太多的货物。而且成群的行动容易引起怪物的注意。即使这边数量更多也会毫无畏惧地袭击的怪物有很多。特别是被从空中袭击尤其棘手」
  262.  
  263. It was true that conventional trading methods would require great effort. The Empire only engaged in limited trade with the Dwarves to the lack of profit in doing so. However, it was for precisely that reason that the Sorcerous Kingdom was a very lucrative trading partner.
  264. 确实用正常的方式过来的话需要相当的努力。正是因为斟酌损益时发现并无回报,帝国才只与矮人进行了这种程度的交易吧。然而正因如此,对魔导国来说才是个有利的交易对象。
  265.  
  266. Unfortunately, the only notable export which the Sorcerous Kingdom could boast was their undead. However, to the Dwarven nation, even regular food would sell well.
  267. 遗憾的是魔导国能与其他国家比起来占据优势的特产品,现在就只有不死者而已。然而,对这个矮人国来说,即使是一般的食材却也能够大卖。
  268.  
  269. What a marvellous trading partner.
  270. (真是最棒的交易对象啊)
  271.  
  272. Ainz smiled evilly in his heart as he asked his question.
  273. 安兹一边在心中坏笑一边提出问题。
  274.  
  275. “If that is the case, then I must further recommend national relations with me -- with the Sorcerous Kingdom, so we can export foodstuffs.”
  276. 「若是这样,那就更加得推荐与我——魔导国开展国交,输入食材一事了」
  277.  
  278. “...We have not yet inquired of the precise location of the Sorcerous Kingdom. Can we transport our trade goods there by ourselves?”
  279. 「……还没有问过魔导国的详细位置啊,是能让我们仅靠自己就运送货物到这的吗?」
  280.  
  281. “Having your country’s people move cargo by themselves would still be quite dangerous. I feel that my nation should take the lead in establishing a proper trade route so your nation’s people can safely transport their wars. When that happens, wagons and carriages will be able to move smoothly. Of course, they will not be pulled by anything as fragile as horses, but by other beasts of burden.”
  282. 「仅由贵国的子民来搬运的话,就现在而言还是很危险啊。我认为最初应该由我国主导,将来再制作规整的交易路线,让贵国的子民能够安全地进行运输。到那时马车也会畅通无阻。当然并非马那样的脆弱的东西,而是会用其他的什么来做为动力」
  283.  
  284. “Could those be… the undead?”
  285. 「莫非……是不死者吗?」
  286.  
  287. One of the Dwarves, his face filled with disgust, asked that question.
  288. 满脸厌恶的一位矮人发出了疑问。
  289.  
  290. Ainz recalled that he was apparently the Forgemaster.
  291. 在安兹的记忆里他应该是锻造工房长。
  292.  
  293. “Precisely. I propose the use of undead-pulled cargo wagons, which possess the power to defend themselves and who will never tire. They will surely make for excellent transportation tools. In truth, our nation has made use of them, and the response from the citizens is very good. In addition, there are other advantages to using the undead--”
  294. 「正是如此。有着自卫能力、与疲劳无缘的不死者的运货马车,可以成为非常优秀的交通机构。实际上,已经在我国投入了使用,国民的反应也非常好。而使用不死者的好处可不仅仅只有这些——」
  295.  
  296. Just as Ainz was about to launch into an enthusiastic presentation, the Forgemaster interrupted him.
  297. 正当安兹打算兴致勃勃地叙述下去的时候,锻造工房长插嘴道。
  298.  
  299. “--Is it not true that the undead attack the living?”
  300. 「——我听说不死者会袭击生者啊?」
  301.  
  302. Ainz pouted internally, but he responded with supreme confidence.
  303. 心中不满地撅起了嘴,安兹自信十足地回答。
  304.  
  305. “It is true that many people would think that way about the average undead being. And to be fair, it is true. The undead are beings which hate and attack the living. However!”
  306.  
  307. Ainz placed particular emphasis on that word.
  308.  
  309. “Under my absolute authority, the undead of the Sorcerous Kingdom will not pose any problems. You may rest at ease knowing that.”
  310. 「确实对一般的不死者会这么想的人有很多。实际上,也是这样。不死者是憎恶生者的袭击者。然而!」安兹以强硬的口调断言。「在绝对者的我的支配下,魔导国使役着的不死者没有任何的问题。就当做乘上了大船一样放心好了」
  311.  
  312. The Forgemaster’s mouth pursed into a へ shape. He did not seem to believe Ainz at all.
  313. 锻造工房长把嘴撅成へ字,似乎没怎么相信安兹的话。
  314.  
  315. He must have had a bad experience where the undead slew his family, or something. As Ainz contemplated that possibility, he played one of his trump cards.
  316. 是有着被不死者袭击夺去了家族之类的不好的经历吧。安兹在考虑着这些东西的同时,打出了底牌。
  317.  
  318. “In addition, my nation can supply labor.”
  319. 「而且——我国存在着可以提供的劳动力」
  320.  
  321. “Labor?”
  322. 「劳动力?」
  323.  
  324. “During my journey, I spoke with one of your countrymen whom I saved from the Quagoa--”
  325.  
  326. Ainz had not done so on purpose, but it was not a complete accident, so he decided to phrase it as doing them a favor.
  327.  
  328. “--And I heard of the work that goes on in your country’s mines. While it is work for Dwarven miners, the undead can handle it for you.”
  329. 「旅行的途中,我从在掘土兽人手中救下的矮人那里——」虽不是特意从掘土兽人那里救出来的,但也并非完全的误会,这里就当做是卖人情吧「——听说了贵国矿山的劳动。虽是矮人矿工的工作,那些劳动就让不死者们来做吧」
  330.  
  331. “What? Can they really do that?”
  332. 「什么?能做到那样的事吗?」
  333.  
  334. The eyes of the Master of Mines and Caves went wide, having taken the bait.
  335. 睁大眼睛的洞窟矿山长咬上了钩。
  336.  
  337. “Of course. I have conducted this experiment in human nations, and it was successful. In fact, the owner of the mines who rented them even requested additional undead miners.
  338. 「当然。这已经在人类的国家经过了实验,并取得了成功。租借方的矿山主甚至还做出了想要追加更多的不死者的请求呢」
  339.  
  340. He had heard about this from Albedo when he had sent her a worried [Message], so it was not a lie.
  341. 这是在有些担心而发出<讯息>时,从雅儿贝德那里听来的所以并非谎言。
  342.  
  343. “So you’ve done that sort of thing in human nations…”
  344. 「在人类的国家做了那样的事啊」
  345.  
  346. The Master of Mines and Caves muttered as though in awe.
  347. 洞窟矿山长像是佩服一样地呻吟道。
  348.  
  349. “It would seem your country knows of some of the special characteristics of the undead…”
  350. 「对于不死者的特性,贵国好像是有所了解的样子啊……」
  351.  
  352. “Mm, well, we know their more common traits...”
  353. 「嗯,嘛,最普遍的东西还是知道的」
  354.  
  355. Ainz raised his voice to address the High Priest of Earth.
  356. 安兹提高音量问向大地神殿长。
  357.  
  358. “Then, I trust I need not elaborate on how undead make for excellent laborers?
  359. 「那么,不死者是多么优秀的劳动力这点应该无需我多言了吧?」
  360.  
  361. The Dwarves exchanged looks, and then began speaking one after the other.
  362. 矮人们互相对望,一个个说了起来。
  363.  
  364. “Your Majesty’s words are understandable. If we could safely control the undead…”
  365. 「确实能理解魔导王陛下所说之事。要是能安全地支配不死者的话……」
  366.  
  367. “Being able to reallocate the manpower assigned to mining is a very attractive proposal.”
  368. 「能把挖掘矿山的人力分配到其他地方是非常有魅力的提案」
  369.  
  370. “However…”
  371. 「可是……」
  372.  
  373. That “however” would probably be followed by doubts about whether they could really trust the undead. It was natural they would feel conflicted about a method that was different from how they had done things until now.
  374. 可是后面接着的应该是真的能相信不死者吗,这么一句吧。而且与至今为止不同的做法,当然是会觉得有抵触情绪。
  375.  
  376. Ultimately, this was merely publicity for his firm’s products, and not a serious attempt to close a sale. Of course, if they could accept undead labor, it would certainly delight him.
  377. 说到底也只是稍稍为自社商品做下宣传,并非是认真在进行推销。不,当然了,要是能接受不死者劳动者的话,这边也会更高兴就是了。
  378.  
  379. “Well, I merely meant to say that I could provide such laborers. I understand your unease towards the undead--”
  380. 「嘛,只不过是说能够提供这样的劳动力而已。诸位对不死者的不安——」
  381.  
  382. “--Your Majesty, I would like to ask a question about the undead before that. Could we purchase them as a defensive force?”
  383. 「——魔导王陛下,在那之前我想要问问有关不死者的事情,能够将那些不死者作为防御战力购入吗?」
  384.  
  385. The commander-in-chief’s question sent ructions through the Dwarves.
  386. 总司令官的话在矮人间引起了轩然大波。
  387.  
  388. “Commander-in-chief, it is too risky to rely on the military power of other nations to keep the peace!”
  389. 「总司令官。靠其他国家的兵力来维持自国和平的风险太大了哦!」
  390.  
  391. “I know that. However, the undead of the Sorcerous Kingdom are extremely powerful. With them, around, we have no need to fear any Quagoa attack. There are many benefits to purchasing them as a final defensive line. The most important thing, the thing we must all consider, is the safety of our nation. Now that we have lost our fortress, we need power, more than anything else.”
  392. 「那种事情我懂。然而,魔导王陛下的不死者十分强大。靠它们的话哪怕掘土兽人再一次攻过来也能迎击的吧。作为最终防御战力购入有很大的好处。最重要的,我们不得不考虑的,是国民的安全。堡垒陷落了的现在其他的什么——力量是必要的」
  393.  
  394. “Even so, don’t you think it’s more dangerous to have the hands of another nation around our throats?!”
  395. 「即便如此不觉得被其他国家掐住了脖子才是更危险的么?」
  396.  
  397. “I told you, now isn’t the time to talk about that sort of thing!”
  398. 「我都说了现在已经不是能谈论那些的状况了啊!」
  399.  
  400. The Forgemaster and the commander in chief glared at each other.
  401. 锻造工房长和总司令官互相针对了起来。
  402.  
  403. “...We’ll leave it as that. Those words will be saved for when it’s only us. This is not something we should be saying in front of His Majesty, who came all the way here from his kingdom. Forgive this gaffe, Your Majesty. This conflict was caused by the attractive nature of Your Majesty’s proposals, and we would be very grateful if you could permit it to pass unnoticed. --Then, may I know what Your Majesty desires from the country? I feel that we have practically nothing to offer.”
  404. 「……到此为止吧。那些话等到只有我们的时候再说。那不是在从他国前来的陛下面前该说的话。让您见笑了陛下。这冲突是陛下的提案太过有魅力的缘故,要是您能这么想着一笑而过的话就万幸了。——那么,魔导王陛下想要从这个国家得到些什么呢?我觉得这边能提供的东西基本是寥寥无几的啊」
  405.  
  406. “Certainly not. Firstly, I desire ores. My country’s stockpiles are limited.”
  407. 「没有那样的事。首先想要的是矿石。在我的国家,贮藏量并不多啊」
  408.  
  409. “--I see,” the Merchant’s Guildmaster smiled. “So that’s why you suggested undead labor. If we could excavate minerals in large quantities, then there would be an ample surplus. In other words, you want to keep the price of ores low. Is that it?”
  410. 「——原来如此」商人会议长咧嘴笑道。「所以才先提出不死者劳动者的话来的啊,要是能大量的采掘,就会产生剩余的份量。也就是说想要压低矿石的价格,是这么回事吧?」
  411.  
  412. Ainz had not thought that far ahead, but Ainz nodded and pretended that it was the case.
  413. 虽然没考虑那么多,但安兹还是详装会意地点了点头。
  414.  
  415. “Indeed it is so. You have seen through me.”
  416. 「正是如此。被识破了啊」
  417.  
  418. No wonder, the Dwarves thought as understanding dawned on them.
  419. 原来如此,矮人们纷纷露出了理解的神色。
  420.  
  421. “Also, I would like the weapons and armor crafted by the forges of your nation. I hear that Dwarven battle equipment is of very high quality.
  422. 「还有就是想要贵国工房制作的武具。记得听说过矮人的武具非常优秀」
  423.  
  424. All the people Ainz had asked about this topic agreed that this was an unassailable fact.
  425. 这在安兹问到的几人那里都是不争的事实。
  426.  
  427. However, processed weapons and armor were more expensive. If they bought from the Dwarves, then there would be fewer armorsmiths and weaponsmiths in the Sorcerous Kingdom. If there was a clear technological difference between the two countries, it would be better to improve the technology of one’s own nation rather than take the foolish action of buying large quantities of superior arms and armor.
  428. 只不过,加工过的武具价格会更高。从矮人国购入武具的话,魔导国内的武具锻造师就会减少吧。要是两国的技术力有着明显的差距,为了磨炼本国的技术,还是不想要做出大量购入优秀武具这种愚蠢的行为。
  429.  
  430. However, if there was no competition, the smiths within the Sorcerous Kingdom would not hone their skills. The weapons and armor purchased from the Dwarves might serve as a positive stimulus to that/
  431. 然而,没有竞争对手的话,魔导国内的锻造师也不会磨练自己技术的吧。从矮人国购入的武具能不能成为一种良性刺激呢。
  432.  
  433. Of course, there were many ways to handle this, such as by collecting tariffs and the like. One had to ensure that the Dwarves could make money and not constantly import from them, among other headaches.
  434. 当然,像是收取关税之类的,处理方法有很多吧。考虑到不能只是让这边购买商品,也必须从矮人国那里赚取金钱的话,真是各种麻烦。
  435.  
  436. The simple answer would be to hand all this to Albedo and Demiurge. However, Ainz had his own considerations as well.
  437. 简单点的话这件事就交给雅儿贝德、迪米乌哥斯好了。但是,安兹也有自己的考虑。
  438.  
  439. His plan was to limit sales to the newly-founded Adventurer’s Guild, or rent them to adventurers.
  440. 那就是对新成立的冒险者工会限定的贩售或是对冒险者的武具出租。
  441.  
  442. Low prices would be very attractive to adventurers, and keeping them alive would also benefit the Sorcerous Kingdom. If they could sell old goods at low price, they might be able to increase the survival rates of adventurers at the same time.
  443. 低阶的冒险者眼中应该会很有魅力,而且保命概率的上升也联系着魔导国的利益。要是把陈旧的物品低价售出的话,还能进一步提升冒险者的生存率吧。
  444.  
  445. “While we have not thanked Your Majesty for sharing all this with us, these are questions which cannot be answered immediately, in particular the matter of wargear. Could you give us some time to discuss this?”
  446. 「虽然还没有对魔导王对这一系列事情表示感谢,但这毕竟不是能立刻答复的问题。特别是武具的问题。因为想要讨论一下,能不能给我们一些时间呢?」
  447.  
  448. “Of course. Discuss until you reach a conclusion. I will not be upset even if we cannot begin trade immediately. My own subordinates are already equipped with high-end gear. I merely wish to acquire arms and armor for my people.
  449. 「当然。讨论到得出结论为止吧。即使眼下不能马上交易,我也不会因而感到困扰。我的部下们已经用顶级的武具彻底装备过了。想要的不过是些供民众使用的武具而已」
  450.  
  451. All right, Ainz thought.
  452. 好了,安兹这么想到。
  453.  
  454. This was the crucial moment. It was time to complete his objective for coming to this city.
  455. 从现在开始才是关键。到了完成来这座都市的目的之时了。
  456.  
  457. “Shall we discuss the matter of the Quagoa?”
  458. 「那么不来聊聊掘土兽人们的事吗?」
  459.  
  460. Tension immediately filled the air.
  461. 一触即发的紧张感笼罩了场内。
  462.  
  463. “The response to the Quagoa invasion was merely a personal decision. Is that correct, commander-in-chief?”
  464. 「掘土兽人们的进攻不过是我擅自做出的对应。是这样吧,总司令官殿下」
  465.  
  466. “Indeed.”
  467. 「正是如此」
  468.  
  469. “However, what would have happened if I was not around?”
  470. 「可若我不在的话,又会变成怎样呢?」
  471.  
  472. “If Your Majesty had not been around, we would have had to rely on a single gate to block the enemy advance. Once the gate was brought down, we would have needed to mobilize the citizens to engage in a decisive battle within the city in order to buy time for the children to flee. I imagine that would have been the case.”
  473. 「若是陛下不在场的话,因为是仅靠着一扇门来抵挡敌人进攻的状况,门被攻破以后就会动员市民进行都市决战吧。在这么拖延时间的时候寻找避难所,让孩子们逃进去,我想大概会是这样」
  474.  
  475. The Dwarves all had bitter expressions on their faces.
  476. 矮人们的表情十分苦涩。
  477.  
  478. Perhaps it was due to the commander-in-chief’s earlier report, but the utter absence of objections or counter-arguments spoke of the excellence of everyone here.
  479. 是多亏了总司令官事先的报告么,完全没有异议和反论似乎说明了在场者们的优秀。
  480.  
  481. There was nobody here who was driven by idealism, emotion or personal gain. If there was anyone like that here, particularly if they possessed authority or influence, they would waste time pointlessly before even the basics were completed, chattering away until the meeting was concluded. The fact that there was nobody like that here was worthy of praise.
  482. 在这里无论是说出理想论的家伙、只为了自己的私欲而行的家伙、还是满口感情论的家伙一个也没有。要是有那样的家伙在,特别是持有权力的情况下,就只会连基础的事还没做好就在无用的地方浪费时间,叽叽喳喳的直接吵到会议结束。没变成那样真是值得赞赏啊。
  483.  
  484. “Then, please explain to me in more detail. What would this decisive battle entail?”
  485. 「那就让我听听更进一步的事情吧。要进行决战的话,会变成怎样?」
  486.  
  487. “It is difficult to answer because we do not know the enemy’s full battle strength. However -- assuming there were 1’000 Quagoa -- we would be in dire straits. Repulsing them would be very difficult, and all we would accomplish would be to weaken our nation due to the loss of resources and manpower.”
  488. 「因为不知道敌军的总兵力,所以想要正确地回答有些困难。但假如——假设有一千只掘土兽人的话,便会陷入相当危险的状况吧。击退会变很得严峻,即使能做到也会因为资源和人员的被害而使得国力大幅衰弱吧」
  489.  
  490. Why did it end up this way, the commander-in-chief muttered.
  491. 到底为什么会变成这样啊,总司令官不禁这么嘀咕道。
  492.  
  493. It was probably because the fortress at the Great Rift was too strong. The Dwarves had grown arrogant, believing “it’ll be okay as long as we have it”.
  494.  
  495. Ainz felt this way as well.
  496. 是大裂缝的堡垒太过强固的原因吧。那有了它就能应对的历史让矮人们产生了骄傲自满。这对安兹来说也不是别人的事。
  497.  
  498. He had tasted the bitter fruits of carelessness in the form of Shalltear.
  499. 大意的话就会变成这样,这种苦涩在夏提雅的时候已经尝过了。
  500.  
  501. “If we have only one ace in the hole, when it is defeated, then we are undone. Thus, I feel we need another trump card, in the form of Your Majesty’s power.”
  502. 「要是底牌只有一张的话,要是它被击破那就万事休矣了。所以我才认为应该再备一张底牌。哪怕是借用陛下的力量」
  503.  
  504. Ainz raised his hand to silence the Dwarves, who seemed about to speak. The commander-in-chief might have seized the reins of the conversation, but Ainz was not done speaking yet.
  505. 对着好像要说些什么的矮人,安兹抬起手制止了他们。尽管中途被总司令官夺去了话题的流向,但安兹的话还没有结束。
  506.  
  507. “The Quagoa have been repulsed for the time being, but Feoh Gēr is not yet at peace. That is my opinion.”
  508. 「虽然暂时的击退了掘土兽人们,但这个菲欧·玖拉还并没有得到彻底的和平。这是我专断的想法」
  509.  
  510. The expressions on the Dwarves’ faces were universally sour.
  511. 矮人们的表情十分苦涩。
  512.  
  513. After making sure that everyone was fully aware of his prior point, Ainz decided to seize the moment and speak/
  514. 再次确认全员都已经认识到了这一点,安兹瞄准这个时机开口了。
  515.  
  516. “Without me, it will be very difficult to repulse the next Quagoa invasion. Even for someone like me, the destruction of a nation with whom I am about to begin trade would be quite troublesome. What do you think? Will you not make use of my strength? Given the power of my nation, I can guarantee that your nation will not be attacked for a time. ...Yes. For instance I could help in taking back that nest of Quagoa, the former Dwarven capital, I believe.”
  517. 「要是没有我的话,掘土兽人们下次的进攻会很难阻止吧。即使是对我来说,马上就要开始交易的国家,要是就这么灭亡了也是挺困扰的。怎么样?不使用我的力量吗?就我国的国力来讲,想来至少是能制作出让贵国一时半载不被进攻的状况的。……没错。比如说,夺还被那群家伙占为巢穴的、矮人曾经的王都什么的」
  518.  
  519. The air seemed to shudder.
  520. 众人间的氛围一下子动摇了。
  521.  
  522. This was an entirely new reaction.
  523. 这是至今没有过的反应。
  524.  
  525. The Master of Caves and Mines licked his lips.
  526. 洞窟矿山长舔了舔嘴唇。
  527.  
  528. “Your Majesty, do you mean that such a thing would be possible?”
  529. 「陛下,您的意思是说那是有可能的吗?」
  530.  
  531. “If I prepare for it, of course.”
  532. 「如果全力地来准备的话」
  533.  
  534. The Forgemaster folded his arms before him and glared at Ainz.
  535. 把双臂抱在胸前,默不作声的锻造工房长眯起眼睛蹬向安兹。
  536.  
  537. “...That seems far too idealistic. Why are you helping us to that extent? What do you want from us?”
  538. 「……这话说的未免也太理想了吧。为什么,要帮我们到如此地步?有什么想要的么」
  539.  
  540. “Oi, you’ve said too much.”
  541. 「喂,你说太过了」
  542.  
  543. The Forgemaster snorted at his colleague’s words.
  544. 锻造工房长对同伴的话用鼻子哼了回去。
  545.  
  546. “It’s like waving a bottle of fine wine in front of a stranger. Do you really think there are no strings attached?”
  547. 「简直就像陌生人摆出的美酒一样,你觉得背后会什么都没有吗?」
  548.  
  549. “Ngg!”
  550. 「呜!」
  551.  
  552. “A reasonable question. Then let me be frank with you. One of the reasons is because I believe it is better to establish diplomatic relations with your country than the Quagoa. I believe that you gentlemen of this fine country understand the concepts of common sense and indebtedness, and that you do owe me a certain debt of gratitude. Now -- consider a side which is about to win, and a side which is about to lose. Who will be more grateful if I lend them my strength?”
  553. 「理所当然的疑问。那么就敞开天窗说亮话吧。理由之一是我认为与掘土兽人比起来和贵国开展外交要更合适。我想对贵国的诸位来讲,常识和所谓的交易应该都是行得通的,也会对我抱有感谢之情吧?最重要的是在即将获得胜利的对象,和马上快要战败的对象之间。借给哪一方力量所得到的感谢会更大呢?」
  554.  
  555. “Mm. That is the case.”
  556. 「嗯。确实是这么回事啊」
  557.  
  558. “After that, I would like this debt to be paid not in words, but in a material fashion. This leads to another reason.”
  559. 「然后我希望那份感谢不是用言语,而是以物品的方式来支付给我。这便是第二个理由」
  560.  
  561. “I see, so it’s about payment. Then, do you want gold, or rare metals, or exotic ores? Or do you want mining rights as well?”
  562. 「原来如此,是所谓报酬么。那是想要黄金之类的贵金属,还是稀有的矿石呢?或者说连采掘权也包含在内么?」
  563.  
  564. Of course. Ainz wanted to say that, but he swallowed those words and resisted the urge to speak them..
  565. 想要,虽然想这么说,但安兹咕地忍住了。
  566.  
  567. “No, I want something different. I want to recruit the runesmiths of this country to my nation.”
  568. 「不,我想要的是更不同的东西。我希望能把这个国家的符文工匠招至我国」
  569.  
  570. The Dwarves blinked as one.
  571. 矮人们一起眨了眨眼睛。
  572.  
  573. “What? Is that so hard to understand?”
  574. 「为啥?这话又有些难以理解了哦?」
  575.  
  576. The Forgemaster frowned more deeply than the others.
  577. 众人之中锻造工房长眉头皱的要比别人深很多。
  578.  
  579. “...It is because runic arms and armor are very rare in the nations surrounding the Sorcerous Kingdom. I find them very valuable articles. In other words, they are very valuable. Therefore, I thought of recruiting runesmiths and having them produce runecrafted wargear in my nation.”
  580. 「……因为由符文制作的魔法武具在魔导国周边的国家不是很常见。我认为那是非常贵重的物品。也就是说,其附加价值很高。所以考虑要招来符文工匠,想让他们在我国制作刻有符文的武具」
  581.  
  582. “Will you take them as slaves?”
  583. 「是想作为奴隶带走吗?」
  584.  
  585. Ainz sighed with exaggerated loudness at the Forgemaster.
  586. 安兹刻意装出一副叹气的模样给锻造工房长看。
  587.  
  588. “I will do nothing of the sort. Did you not hear me speak? I said I wanted to open international ties and begin trade, did I not? Do you actually think I would take the people of such a partner nation as slaves? ...Frankly speaking, I’m a little disappointed. All I had in mind was recruiting runesmiths and having them make runic equipment in my country.”
  589. 「我可不会做那样的事。没有听到我说的话吗?我说了要开展国交、进行贸易的吧?要把这样的对象的国民作为奴隶?……这可让我有点失望了哦?我所考虑只是将符文工匠招来,让他们在我国制作刻有符文的武具而已」
  590.  
  591. “In that case, what if we gave you top priority on the sales of runecrafted gear?”
  592. 「那样的话把刻有符文的武具最优先卖给你们怎么样?」
  593.  
  594. “...No. It would not be worth the investment. If you wish to use my strength, then you must let the runesmiths work in the Sorcerous Kingdom and allow us to form a monopoly on the sale of their produce. That is what my nation wants and the price of taking back your former capital. When can you give me an answer?”
  595. 「……不行。回报太少了。想要借用我的力量的话,就得让符文工匠在魔导国工作,由我们垄断销售。以上就是作为夺还贵国曾经王都的代价的,我国想要的东西。那么回复什么时候能给我?」
  596.  
  597. The Dwarves looked at each other.
  598. 矮人们互相看了看。
  599.  
  600. “I see. Perhaps tomorrow--”
  601. 「这样啊。那等明天——」
  602.  
  603. “That might be a little troublesome,” interjected the commander-in-chief. “Don’t forget this city is still in danger of being attacked by the Quagoa. Even if His Majesty accepts the task of defeating the Quagoa, it will take time for him to gather his troops. With that point in mind, we cannot wait until tomorrow. We should give him an answer right away.”
  604. 「那可有些麻烦啊」插口的是总司令官。「别忘记这座都市还处于被掘土兽人进攻着的状况。即使陛下真的接下了击败掘土兽人的案件,那也需要调集军队的时间吧。考虑到这点的话就不能将回复拖到明天,而是应该现在立刻得出结论才对」
  605.  
  606. Ainz looked over the Dwarves.
  607. 安兹扫视在场的矮人们。
  608.  
  609. “It is not my place to speak here. However, if you are truly in such dire straits, then having me fulfil my earlier promises will also be quite troublesome. If the situation becomes very bad, then I shall have to add several more conditions. After all, one must expect to pay more for last-minute work.”
  610. 「这些不是我该发言的部分呢。不过,要是已经处在了绝望的状况下,还要我实现刚才说的话也确实是很困扰啊。状况要是变得非常糟的话,就让我再追加几个条件好了。毕竟紧急工作的报酬高些也是理所当然的吗」
  611.  
  612. “Mm. The commander-in-chief is right, and Your Majesty’s words are also very sensible. Then, Your Majesty, while we apologize for the imposition, can you wait for us in the room from just now? We would like to reach a conclusion as quickly as possible.”
  613. 「嗯。总司令官说的确实没错,陛下您说的也是理所当然至极的事情。那么陛下,非常抱歉,能在之前的等候室稍作等待吗?我们想要尽早得出结论」
  614.  
  615. “I have no objections to that. I shall wait there, then.”
  616. 「我没有异议。那我就在那里等着好了」
  617.  
  618. With that, Ainz rose, and left the room in the company of his subordinates.
  619. 这么说着安兹站起身来,在部下的伴随下转身离开了房间。
  620.  
  621. ***
  622.  
  623. The room was still veiled in silence even after the departure of the Sorcerer King. Shortly after, somebody exhaled, and that dispersed the tension that hung in the air.
  624. 即使魔导王已经离开了,室内仍被沉默支配着。不久后有谁深深吐出了一口气,这才使一触即发的紧张感得到了缓解。
  625.  
  626. “What, what the hell was that?!”
  627. 「啥、啥呀那玩意儿!」
  628.  
  629. “That was an unbelievable monster! Commander-in-chief, that monster made my hair stand on end. There’s no doubt about the fear he commands.”
  630. 「那不是个了不得的怪物嘛!总司令官。多么令人毛骨悚然的怪物啊。毫无疑问的出奇的可怕啊」
  631.  
  632. “I almost thought I was going to piss myself!”
  633. 「老夫、还以为要尿出来了啊!」
  634.  
  635. The Dwarves all began shouting. They poured out all the things their strained nerves had been holding in check.
  636. 矮人们一起叫了起来。紧绷着的神经所承受着的东西,一口气的决堤倾倒了下来。
  637.  
  638. “What should we do? He’s evil incarnate. If even a single thing of what he said is true, it would scare the hell out of me.”
  639. 「怎么办?那家伙绝对是邪恶的啊。说的话哪怕有一件是真的都能吓到老夫哦」
  640.  
  641. “How could anyone radiating such an evil light be good? Look at him, how many of the living do you think he’s murdered up till now?”
  642. 「能把邪恶的光环释放到那种地步的家伙怎么会是善——好人啊。看那样子、天知道到至今为止杀害了多少生者啊」
  643.  
  644. “Mmm. He must have taken so much life he can’t even remember it all. And to think that spine-chilling face could actually utter such normal-sounding words.”
  645. 「嗯。根本记不得夺去了多少生命啊。那张令人毛骨悚然的脸,真的就像会平静地说出那样的话来啊」
  646.  
  647. “He must be gathering equipment for some great invasion. For his army of darkness!”
  648. 「绝对是为了侵略战争才聚集武具的没有错。暗之军势哇」
  649.  
  650. “Also, I hate how he’s so easy to understand and agree with. He feels just like those devils who steal souls with agreements.”
  651. 「而且说的话非常易懂,很能认同啥的好讨厌哪。用契约来夺走灵魂的恶魔肯定就是那种感觉地没错」
  652.  
  653. They were unanimous in rejecting the Sorcerer King’s proposal. Many of them agreed that the words of the undead could not be trusted.
  654. 有关魔导王的提案,坚决地拒绝这一意见达成了统一。不死者说的话不可信是大多数的意见。
  655.  
  656. “However, His Majesty’s proposal is very attractive to our country. In the first place, our country will be destroyed if we don’t do something about the Quagoa. In addition, the Sorcerer King is the only person who can save us.”
  657. 「可是,魔导王陛下的提案对我国来说是非常有魅力的。首先不对掘土兽人做些什么国家就会灭亡。而现在,能拯救老夫们的就只有魔导王陛下」
  658.  
  659. The commander in chief was the sole voice of opposition.
  660. 而唯一不同的是总司令官。
  661.  
  662. His words made the other Dwarves look like they had chewed into a bitter worm.
  663. 他的发言让矮人们的脸像是嚼碎了苦虫般苦涩。
  664.  
  665. “Let  me make sure again. Is there no way we can deal with the Quagoa with our strength alone?”
  666. 「再次确认一下。以老夫们的力量无论如何都无法应对掘土兽人吗?」
  667.  
  668. “There’s no way. With the help of the Sorcerer King we might be able to take the fortress back, but there are far too many things we need to do. Right now, all we can hope for is to take the fortress back. Had His Majesty not come here, the Quagoa might be flooding into the city by now.
  669. 「没办法啊。要是有魔导王陛下相助说不定能将堡垒夺还,但要做的事情太多难以对应。现在能做的就只有夺还堡垒而已。要是魔导王陛下没有来到这里,搞不好的话,现在掘土兽人们说不定已经涌入城里了吧」
  670.  
  671. “If the Sorcerer King spoke the truth, then there were sightings of Quagoa in Feoh Raiđō as well.”
  672. 「魔导王所说要是真实的话,连南边的菲欧·莱佐都有掘土兽人出没的样子啊」
  673.  
  674. The Dwarves clutched their heads.
  675. 矮人们抱住了头。
  676.  
  677. “...What if we just borrowed the Sorcerer King’s power and then pretended we knew nothing about it?”
  678. 「……只是借用魔导国的兵力,接着装作毫不知情的样子如何」
  679.  
  680. “That would only aggravate that monster. Even I would be unhappy in his position. After all, we’d be the people who only cared about borrowing military power for their own gain and whatnot.”
  681. 「那么做的话,可是会惹怒那个怪物的哦。要是老夫的话也会不满的啊。只顾自己方便地借用兵力的家伙什么的」
  682.  
  683. “Still, the timing for this was just too much of a coincidence. Could the Sorcerer King be pulling the strings behind the scenes?”
  684. 「可是,这时机也太过巧合了。难道是魔导王在背后操控着吗?」
  685.  
  686. “It’s quite likely, but we have no proof. All we can do is guess.”
  687. 「就可能性来说的话确实很高吧。然而却没有证据。只能算是猜疑罢了」
  688.  
  689. “The important thing here is that the Sorcerer King chose us and not the Quagoa. If we displease him, we’ll be putting a noose around our own necks. Trying to investigate him would also be very dangerous.”
  690. 「这里要明确的是魔导王选择的不是掘土兽人,而是老夫们。让对方不悦的行为会勒紧自己的脖子哦。调查也是危险的行为啊」
  691.  
  692. “...Does the Sorcerer King drink?”
  693. 「……魔导王喝酒吗?」
  694.  
  695. “Do you think he can? ...I guess you can’t trust a guy who doesn’t drink, after all.”
  696. 「做不到吧?……果然不喝酒的家伙怎么也信赖不了」
  697.  
  698. “Still…”
  699.  
  700. Here the hitherto silent Merchant’s Guildmaster spoke up.
  701.  
  702.  
  703. “I believe we can all accept what the Sorcerer King is saying. It makes perfect sense. I’d do the same in his position, picking the Dwarves over the Quagoa.”
  704. 「不过……」至今为止默不作声的商人会议长开口了。「魔导王所说的内容,确实全都是些能叫人认同的东西。顺理成章。立场相反的话老夫也一样,比起掘土兽人们会选择矮人做交易对象」
  705.  
  706. If he commanded an army which could easily annihilate the Quagoa, then helping the Quagoa kill the Dwarves would not offer him a lot of benefits.
  707. 要是率领有着能够将掘土兽人们轻松扫除力量的军队的话,和掘土兽人们一起屠杀矮人能带来的利益确实不会很大吧。
  708.  
  709. “He said he wanted to lend undead workers to us. Wouldn’t taking the mines for his own be more profitable?”
  710. 「不是说要借给老夫们不死者的人手吗。那样的话独占矿山利益不是更大些吗?」
  711.  
  712. “Well, there would be no point in taking us as slaves. ...Besides, we know the mountain, don’t we?”
  713. 「即使是想要将老夫们作为奴隶劳动也没有意义。……再来就是老夫们持有的这座山脉的知识吗?」
  714.  
  715. “I see. That’s very likely. He feels that exploring the mines by himself is very troublesome, so he’ll let us excavate the ores. So he’ll give us a pretty necklace to please us, then?
  716. 「原来如此。这种可能性很高。因为自己探索矿山会很麻烦,才让我们来挖掘矿石。为此要给我们戴上漂亮的项圈来让我们感到高兴吗?」
  717.  
  718. “...Still, after talking to the Sorcerer King, I get the feeling that everything will be alright as long as we trade with him. In other words, he doesn’t intend to exploit us with uneven trade deals?”
  719. 「……可听了魔导王的话,感觉那是只要与自己的国家做交易就好的氛围啊。也就是说没有进行不平等交易来取得巨大利益的打算吗?」
  720.  
  721. “In that case, I can understand why he’s offering such generous terms. Still, wouldn’t it be alright to agree to his proposal?”
  722. 「那么魔导王给出如此亲切的提案就也能理解了。既然如此,同意魔导王的提案不是也没有问题吗?」
  723.  
  724. “Why do you say that?”
  725. 「为什么?」
  726.  
  727. “Because we can help each other. As long as the Sorcerer King wants ores, he will protect us. We can think of the Sorcerer King as a mercenary with a huge appetite for beer, in that sense.”
  728. 「因为能够共存啊。只要魔导王还想要矿石,我们就会被魔导王保护下去。只要这么想就好,魔导王是位胃口大酒量大的佣兵,什么的」
  729.  
  730. The general opinion had shifted from “dealing with him is dangerous” to “we’ll be safe as long as we have value”. However, during the course of this change, one Dwarf spoke coldly.
  731. 从交易是危险的种种意见,到只要这边还有价值就很安全。在话题流向改变的过程中,有一名矮人发出了冷淡的声音。
  732.  
  733. “...Do you really intend to be the minions of that undead creature?”
  734. 「……你们是想做那种不死者的部下吗?」
  735.  
  736. All eyes turned to the man who had been staunchly opposed since the beginning -- the Forgemaster.
  737. 全员的视线向着从刚才开始就坚持反对意见的矮人——锻造工房长集中了过来。
  738.  
  739. “It’s not a question of good or evil. Right now, our country is in a crisis of survival. If we don’t do something about the Quagoa, we’ll be destroyed for sure.”
  740. 「不是好恶的问题。现在,这个国家可是面临着关乎存亡的危机哦。至少不对掘土兽人做些什么的话,老夫就会灭亡啊」
  741.  
  742. “...And our strength alone cannot defeat the Quagoa.”
  743. 「……然而只靠我们的自己力量没办法对付掘土兽人」
  744.  
  745. “Then, how about asking the Empire for help? We’ve had dealings with them for many years. Wouldn’t that be safer? We don’t know anything about the Sorcerous Kingdom, you know.”
  746. 「那么,借助帝国的力量怎么样。有着长久以来交往的国家不是更安全吗?老夫们对魔导国可是一无所知啊?」
  747.  
  748. “Even if we ask the Empire for help, they have no chance against the Quagoa. They’re very tough foes for anyone who uses a weapon. The most important thing is that humans can’t see in the dark and they’re not suitable for underground combat. While they might have a chance if we could lure them to the surface, we have no way of doing so.”
  749. 「即使向帝国寻求合作,与掘土兽人的战斗也是没有胜算的。那些家伙对用武器战斗的人来说是麻烦的敌人。最重要的是,无法看穿黑暗的人类不适合在地下战斗。虽然要是能引出地表战斗的话就不一样了,但没有诱导它们的手段啊」
  750.  
  751. “Then it seems dealing with the Sorcerous Kingdom is our only option. In any case, we’ll start by asking for help, and leave the trade deals for after we’ve seen the Sorcerous Kingdom. What do you think?”
  752. 「那么果然只有与魔导国交易一个选择了啊。总之先是要求协助,开始交易就等到看过魔导国以后再说怎么样?」
  753.  
  754. “That might be the safest way of doing it. Still, we’re doing business with them to defeat the Quagoa, right? Then, if we don’t make a deal with them, we’ll need to pay for services rendered, won’t we? ...I don’t even want to think about what kind of price one can put on saving a country.”
  755. 「那说不定是最安全的做法了啊。可老夫们是因为击退掘土兽人的恩情才开展国交,进行贸易的吧?那要是最后不开展交易的话,老夫们不就有支付相应报酬的必要了吗?……与拯救一个国家相应的代价会是怎样一个金额,真的是想都不愿去想啊」
  756.  
  757.  
  758. The Dwarves were all sour-faced.
  759. 矮人们的表情十分苦涩。
  760.  
  761. “I guess the only way to save the country is to accept his proposal. That means we’ll have to rely on the Sorcerer King’s strength for the next few decades.”
  762. 「果然想要拯救国家就只能接受提议了啊。在将来数十年的漫长时间里,都只能依仗魔导王的力量吧」
  763.  
  764. Amidst the murmurs of agreement, the Master of Caves and Mines muttered something along the lines of, “Using undead labor means that they can keep going for all those decades,” but nobody paid too much attention to him. That was because there was another pronouncement which seized their ears.
  765. 在几人的同意中,只有洞窟矿山长口中「要是采用了不死者矿工什么的话,即使数十年以后也会一直依存下去的吧」这样嘀咕着,但没有人予对其以关心。因为还有在那之上的、更加刺激众人双耳的发言。
  766.  
  767. “You seem to have forgotten something important. I oppose this. I will never let our people go and be his slaves!”
  768. 「汝们忘记了一件重要的事情。老夫是坚决反对的。送同族去做奴隶什么的绝对不行」
  769.  
  770. “Slaves?”
  771. 「奴隶?」
  772.  
  773. “The runesmiths!”
  774. 「符文工匠的事情啊!」
  775.  
  776. “The Sorcerer King already said they would not be slaves, no?”
  777. 「魔导王不是断言说并非奴隶了吗」
  778.  
  779. “Really?! Do you really believe what he says?!”
  780. 「当真吗!?汝真的相信那个所说的吗!?」
  781.  
  782. Thus rebuked, the Dwarf who asked lowered his head.
  783. 唔嗯,被反问的矮人这么低下了头。
  784.  
  785. “Oi, look. We can’t rule that out.”
  786. 「喂,看吧。不是不能断言吗」
  787.  
  788. Even if everything the Sorcerer King stated was fact, anyone who knew the undead hated the living would not be able to believe it.
  789. 即使魔导王说的都是事实,在知道不死者憎恶生者这一基本常识的众人看来也是无法相信的话。
  790.  
  791. “Hostages, then?”
  792. 「是不是人质呢?」
  793.  
  794. “No. There’d be no need for him to specify runesmiths, in that case. He could just as easily have stated demands for our family members instead.”
  795. 「不会的。没必要特意选符文工匠。真是那样的话会叫出我们的家人的名字吧」
  796.  
  797. “Then, can we refuse the matter of the runesmiths but ask if anything else would serve as payment?”
  798. 「那么拒绝符文工匠这件事,问问看能不能换成其他的报酬。这样交涉怎么样?」
  799.  
  800. “...Are there any treasures which might change his mind?”
  801. 「……有能让魔导王改变想法的宝物吗?」
  802.  
  803. “No. Although, if we take back the capital and the treasury is intact, we might be able to pay him with its contents.”
  804. 「没有吧。夺还王都之后,若是宝物库要是没出事的话,把里面的宝物提供出去倒是可以」
  805.  
  806. “No, he won’t accept that. We’ll need his strength to take back the Royal Capital, right? If we give it to him under that, what will we say when he asks us, ‘Did you take these treasures from the vaults of the city I took back for you?’ Do you think it would be a good deal if you were in his shoes?”
  807. 「不,那样对面是不会认同的吧。王都的夺还也还是要借用魔导王的力量吧?若是在那之后交给他,你是从夺还的都市里的宝物库中拿出的这件宝物吗,要是被这么问的话该怎么办啊……要是立场相反汝会觉得这是场好交易么?」
  808.  
  809. “...Frankly speaking, I think it would be fine if we just accepted all his terms.”
  810. 「……说实话,老夫觉得即使全面接受魔导王的提议也没有问题」
  811.  
  812. The Forgemaster glared at the Merchant’s Guildmaster.
  813. 锻造工房长用锐利的目光瞪向商人会议长。
  814.  
  815. “--Slaves!!”
  816. 「——奴隶!!」
  817.  
  818. “That’s just your opinion! The Sorcerer King has already said he won’t take them as slaves! All we need to do is send people over to make sure of that, right? And most importantly… While this might seem a bit much… Runecraft is an outdated technology. Considering it might vanish at any moment, I don’t think it’ll be a problem to hand it over. Pretty cheap for what we’re getting, right?”
  819. 「那是你自己专断的想法吧!魔导王说过不会把他们当做奴隶。只要以后,送去视察的人确认事实不就好了?而且最重要的……虽然这么说有些过分……可符文已经是过去的技术了啊。考虑到那是随时都可能消失的技术,我觉得即使交出去也不要紧。作为代价的话难道不是很廉价吗?」
  820.  
  821. “But we’ll lose that entire branch of our craft, don’t you think?”
  822. 「老夫们可是会彻底失去一种技术哦?」
  823.  
  824. “Still, now’s the best time to sell it, right?”
  825. 「可是,趁现在是卖出去,大概才是最划算的时候吧?」
  826.  
  827. “I oppose it!!”
  828. 「老夫反对!!」
  829.  
  830. Bubbles formed at the edge of the Forgemaster’s mouth as he shouted.
  831. 锻造工房长嘴角起泡地怒吼了起来。
  832.  
  833. “Is that the result of logic, and not emotions? Doesn’t look that way to me.”
  834. 「那不是用感情,而是靠理性判断的结果吗?老夫可不那么想哦?」
  835.  
  836. “I have no idea why you all have so much trust in the Sorcerer King!!”
  837. 「要老夫说的话,真是不知道汝们为什么能信任魔导王到那种程度!!」
  838.  
  839. At this point, the commander-in-chief spoke in cold tones. Having faced the Quagoa in battle, he knew the situation of this city better than anyone else. Therefore, he did not wish to waste words in useless conversation and had stood aside as an observer, but he had finally reached his limit.
  840. 这时总司令官总算是冷淡地开口了。与掘土兽人们直接战斗过的他,比在场的任何人都更能把握这座城市现在所处的状况。所以在不想进行无用的交谈的同时,至今为止一直处在旁观的立场,但到底还是达到了忍耐的界限。
  841.  
  842. “Trust aside, this city will assuredly be destroyed if we do not borrow the strength of the Sorcerer King. What you’re doing is casting aside the single lifeline that we have.”
  843. 「比起所谓信任,这座都市已经是处在不借用魔导王陛下的力量就会毁灭的情况了。你们的行动只能算是在甩开唯一一条救命绳索而已」
  844.  
  845. “What did you say, you whippersnapper?!”
  846. 「汝说什么,毛小子!」
  847.  
  848. “I’m in charge of this city’s military. And I say that the only way we can protect the city is with His Majesty’s power! Do you want to destroy this city? Otherwise, give me a way to beat the Quagoa without using his strength! You old relic!”
  849. 「这座都市的军事的责任者是我!而我是在说为了守护这座都市就只能借用魔导王陛下的力量了!你是想要毁灭这座都市吗!不然就给我个不借用力量就能击退掘土兽人们的办法啊!你这老东西!」
  850.  
  851. “You! You’ve been calling that monster His Majesty ever since just now! Have you betrayed this country?!”
  852. 「汝!刚才开始就对那个怪物陛下陛下的叫个不停,是不是已经背叛了国家啊!」
  853.  
  854. The Forgemaster grabbed the commander-in-chief by the lapels.
  855. 锻造工房长站了起来,抓住了总司令官的胸口。
  856.  
  857. “What bullshit is that, you addled old fool? You want a fight?! It’s only natural to refer to someone with such power with terms of respect! You’re the ones who can’t be trusted! He could easily annihilate this country, you know! If you say I betrayed this nation, then you lot are jeopardizing the safety of the people!”
  858. 「放什么狗屁,你这老害!想和我干一架么!对着持有那么强大力量的人使用敬称是理所当然的事情!要我说你们这群家伙才无法信任!对方可是能轻松地毁灭掉这个国家哦!要是说我背叛了国家的话,你们就是在践踏民众的安全!」
  859.  
  860. The commander in chief seized the Forgemaster by the collar as well, and their foreheads collided.
  861. 总司令官也抓住了对方的胸口,两人额头撞在了一起。
  862.  
  863. “Oi! It’s one thing to disagree, but don’t fight!”
  864. 「喂—!汝们意见不合没有问题,但不要吵架啊!」
  865.  
  866. The other Dwarves hurriedly rose to separate the pair.
  867. 其他矮人也慌忙站了起来,拉开了两人。
  868.  
  869. However, the two of them still glared at each other, as though they were getting ready for round two.
  870. 然而两人依旧紧盯着对方,现在也漂浮着要再次打起来的氛围。
  871.  
  872. “In any case, let’s take a vote. If anyone disagrees, we’ll discuss it later. It’ll be more constructive than a fistfight.”
  873. 「总之先作出表决吧。对此无法认同的话,再稍微谈谈就好。要比互殴更有建设性吧」
  874.  
  875. “What’s the vote about?”
  876. 「那么表决的内容是什么?」
  877.  
  878. “First, whether we will let the runesmiths go to the Sorcerous Kingdom in order to make use of the Sorcerer King’s power. All in favor, raise their hands.”
  879. 「首先是,为了借用魔导王的力量,是否要允许符文工匠过去,这件事。那么赞成的人,将手举起吧」
  880.  
  881. Everyone except the Forgemaster raised their hands.
  882. 举手的,是除了锻造工房长以外的所有人。
  883.  
  884. “Mm. Then, the next item. Do we want to forge relations with the Sorcerous Kingdom and begin trade? All in favor, raise their hands.”
  885. 「嗯。那么是下一项。是否要与魔导国开展国交,进行贸易。赞成的人将手举起吧」
  886.  
  887. The outcome was the same as before.
  888. 这次的结果也与之前一样。
  889.  
  890. “I see. Then, the vote concerning the Sorcerer King -- His Majesty is decided. Forgive us, commander-in-chief, but you can call His Majesty back now.”
  891. 「这样啊。那么鉴于以上表决对魔导王——陛下的议题就到此为止吧。抱歉、可以把陛下叫来吗,总司令官」
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