This is Yukkuri demasu...
DISCLAIMER: I don’t guarantee that I translate 100% correct....
Also WARNING: Author opinion below. You may or may not agree with the author’s opinion, but just leave the discussion on the forum, alright? (Since I know talking about nature conservation could incite flame war)
Also WARNING: If you had experience with natural disaster before, reading this chapter might cause you inconvenience or unpleasant reminder. So please take note before reading.
National Enrichment Arc
Chapter 5: Rome was Born through the Sounds of a Hammer E
The rescue operation was a total war.
Everyone was united in what they could do. Calling out the missing person’s name, listening carefully for the answer, and if they heard even a faint sound, then they would dig out the sand and dirt. No matter if they were villagers or Royal Army soldiers, they would cooperate in moving the soil, cutting the fallen trees, and rescuing the people trapped below. Kaede-chan moved a large boulder with her magic and Aisha, who returned after escorting the women and children to safety, stood watch for the mountain’s condition from atop a tree. She was in charge of giving the signal to evacuate if she saw the soil collapse.
Hal and I were conducting a search together.
「Hal, under that large tree! There is someone that is still alive!」(Souma)
「Haa!? But I didn’t hear any voice?」(Hulbert)
「There is! So dig quickly!」(Souma)
Hal looked at me with a dubious look, however when he was digging just like I told him, a girl’s hand jutted out from the ground.
「Are you serious?!…… Wait a moment, we will rescue you soon!」(Hulbert)
Hal moved the wreckage, and pulled out the dark elf girl. Although it was hard to tell because of the brown skin, she seemed quite pale. Of course, maybe it was because she had been soaked in the wet soil for quite some time. It was good that this was still in the summer’s heat season. I returned with a blanket; Hal was hugging the girl and rubbed her back.
「You’ve done good. You are already safe now.」(Hulbert)
「It’s okay, since you are already safe now!」(Hulbert)
Hal was frantically trying to soothe the girl that broke into tears.
I believe that in times like this, a guy is useless. Hal and I could only nervously say 「it’s alright」 repeatedly. The girl was wrapped in the blanket and after she calmed down, I called out to one of the nearby Royal Army soldiers.
「Take this girl to a safe place.」(Souma)
「Yes, Your Majesty! As you wish!」(Soldier)
I saw the soldier carry the girl away and then Hal began to question me.
「How did you find that child? Even I didn’t hear anything back then.」(Hulbert)
「Because I am always searching at various places.」(Souma)
「You can use a Searching Magic?」(Hulbert)
「It’s kinda different…… I am using this.」(Souma)
I presented my palm to Hal, and a small thing jumped demurely from the ground and landed on it. When Hal saw it, his eyes blinked in surprise.
「Is that…… a mouse?」(Hulbert)
「It’s a wood carving.」(Souma)
It was a 10 cm sized wooden carving of a mouse. I manipulated it using my ability 【Living Poltergeist】, to search for the people trapped under the debris. If my ability is used on things that imitate living organisms, then I can make them delicately move even to long distances. In this way, I moved 4 wooden mice just like real mice and searched for people that needed to be saved.
Hal spoke out his admiration.
「It is great that you happened to be carrying these puppets.」(Hulbert)
「When I was in the middle of my date with Liecia, I discovered these in a street stall. Thinking that I could maybe use them for something, I put them inside the carry bag I wore for self protection.」(Souma)
By the way, inside the carry bag there were also 2 pieces of 『Mushashi Boy-Kun Doll (Small)』, currently they were doing surveillance inside the forest. Even though the mountain had collapsed and the road conditions were even worse, since the doll’s weight was light, they could just lightly jump over obstacle.
「Your power is unexpectedly amazing.」(Hulbert)
「Ah, this is the first time it can be useful for things other than for domestic affa-……Ugh」(Souma)
「Hey, what’s wrong!?」(Hulbert)
At that time, I crouched down and vomited. Seeing me vomiting like that, Hal looked at me in worry.
「A-are you okay? Why did you throw up suddenly?」(Hulbert)
「……*cough*……So-sorry. One of the mice that was in the middle of searching…… suddenly discovered a badly damaged corpse……」(Souma)
「No, that’s enough! I don’t wanna hear anymore!」(Hulbert)
Hal turned away and put his hands on his ears…… I understood how he felt.
I looked at the sand and soil in front of my eyes. When reporters are talking about the disaster location on the television news program, they only do close-up shots of the disaster victims and the miraculous survivors. However, after personally seeing the actual disaster location, it actually seemed like a scene from hell. As a former commoner, the bleak reality is intensely harsh. It could break someone’s heart.
However, those kinds of things are better left without being said for now.
「Hal! Left side, 50 meters front, there are two people who need help under the rocks!」(Souma)
……Currently; I just need to; suppress my heart……
◇ ◇ ◇
The all-out rescue operation continued.
Since then, we had dug out a large number of dark elves from the debris that was covered by soil. Everyone had some kind of injury, some had serious injury with poor chance of survival even though they had been saved, and there were large numbers of those who were already dead. The ratio of the survivors and the deceased was about half and half, leaning a bit more to the deceased side. When I first arrived at this village and heard Boden-san say 「the casualties is close to 100」, I thought that the dead-to-alive ratio would only about 20%, but I understood that as time progressed, the situation would only continue to steadily deteriorate.
The searching party had been encroached by fatigue. Even though they took turns to rest, it had been three days since the disaster first struck. The dark elves of course were tired, and so were the soldiers who not only had to search but also had marched a long distance earlier today. There were also a considerable number of people who had been rescued (there are discrepancies with the survivor toll and the death toll). I asked Boden-san to reconfirm whether there were any people still missing. If we crossed out the names of the survivors, then I think we could divide personnel to do a focused search for the missing people.
When I was thinking this,
「Oh Divine Beast! Oh Kamui-Sama! Why?!」(Young Elf)
I heard a sorrowful scream. What I saw was a young(?) male dark elf that somehow resembled Boden-san. He was banging his head and arms on the ground while wailing. I inquired of Aisha who had returned from taking women and children to a safe place and was now currently participating in the search.
「Aisha, who is that person?」(Souma)
「That person is…… My uncle, Robthor Udgard. He is my father's younger brother.」(Aisha)
「And the reason his wailing is of course……」(Souma)
「Yes. His wife and daughter, in other word, my aunt and my cousin are still missing.」(Aisha)
「That is…… really tragic. Are you okay with it, Aisha?」(Souma)
「About that…… If father is the leader of the open culture faction, then uncle is the leader of the conservatives, our family didn’t really get along…… His daughter is still young and cute, this is really heartbreaking……」(Aisha)
The deadline of 72 hours had already been crossed. If they were found now, then they would already……
Suddenly, Robthor-san looked towards my direction.
Noticing my presence, he staggeringly approached me.
Robthor-san extended his hands towards my neck, Aisha-san immediately emitted her anger, but I raised my hand to stop her. After all, those hands weren’t aiming to strangle my neck but only to cling on it. If I shook my body of even a little stir, then he would surely fall down.
「Oh king…… I had protected the forest until now. So why, why the forest, my family……」(Robthor)
Aisha shot him a gaze.
「It’s because Uncle opposed to periodically thinning the forest. What was it that you said? “It is preposterous for dark elves that protect the forest to perform unnecessary lumbering”. The location where the landslide happened was the place where we couldn’t perform periodical thinning because Uncle opposed it.」(Aisha)
She informed us so. So, that happened……
「Oh King! Why! Why was my family destroyed by the forest that I protected?! If I cut trees like Boden and the rest said, then could my family have been saved!?」(Robthor)
「That……I don’t know.」(Souma)
「I am certain that by doing moderate periodical thinning, then it could promote the growth of the forest’s undergrowth, which will increasing the soil’s water retention capacity. Then, it will create an environment where it would be difficult for landslides to occur. However, it will only be “difficult to occur”. In case rain that last for long periods of time like right now, then…… it wouldn’t be strange for it to be able to occur no matter where the place is.」(Souma)
「But that…But that only means that we were just unlucky…..」(Robthor)
「It is bad luck that played for when the landslide occurred. However, if we do periodic thinning, then it means that we will always be working inside the forest. Certainly, this will make it easier to notice the signs of impending landslides such as hearing weird sounds or seeing the forest shifting. If we can notice it, then we can also establish some countermeasures for it or evacuate ahead of time.」(Souma)
This is what had been said as one of the advantages of building terraced rice-fields on a mountain-slope.
Although, by cutting the trees and turned the land into terraced rice fields could be thought as causing it easier to experience landslides, but when a landslide does actually occur, it rarely causes any human casualties or injuries. The reason is since people were always working in the fields, they will notice immediately if there are signs of an impending landslide, so it makes it easier for them to set up a countermeasure for it. The most important countermeasure for a landslide is to just keep observing the forest. Since this world didn’t have any landslide sensors like modern Japan, that’s why having a large number of eyes is important.
「Was protecting the forest…… a wrong decision?」(Robthor)
「The notion of protecting itself is a mistake. As you can see, nature isn’t that weak to need a human to protect it.」(Souma)
「If it is a human’s egoism to destroy nature, then trying to protect it is also an egoism. Actually, a cycle of destruction and regeneration could be expected to happen naturally, since it doesn’t happen for the sake of a human’s convenience. What a human can do is just some course of action such as periodical thinning, to create a situation where it is possible to coexist with the forest. Just as you should not disturb calm water, di-」(Souma)
At that time, one of the woodcraft mice that was in the middle of searching had found something.
「There it is! A mother and a child!」(Souma)
「Wh-Where are they!?」(Robthor)
「Wait……The location is 2 meters at front and diagonally to the left from the collapsing private house on the ridge!」(Souma)
The soil and sand at that location were removed in a hurry. There, in a gap between collapsed timbers, we found a girl and a woman that looked like her mother. I believed the mother tried to protect the girl by hugging her tightly with her arms. When Robthor-san saw both of them, he tried to shout something but his voice didn’t come out. I believed this girl and woman were his wife and daughter.
When we had pulled out the woman and examined her, she was already dead.
Were we too late…… When I was thinking this, Aisha shouted.
「Your Majesty! The girl is still breathing!」(Aisha)
「Bring her to the rescue party quickly! Don’t let her die no matter what!」(Souma)
「Understood, Your Majesty」(Aisha)
After I saw off Aisha who departed while carrying the girl wrapped in blanket, I looked at Robthor who had broken down crying in front of his wife’s lifeless body. Although, I had thought maybe it was better to leave him alone, this person still had someone to protect. It would be a problem if he just stood still in this place. I put my hand on his shoulder and gently spoke to him.
「Your wife; has protected your daughter to the end.」(Souma)
「……Yes. I, she…… a wife better than I deserved……」(Robthor)
「Pull yourself together! She has entrusted the daughter to you. Now it is your part to do something.」(Souma)
Robthor-san nodded repeatedly while his voice shook with sobbing.
After a while, I received a report that the second relief party, the one that Liecia, whom returned back to capital, organized had arrived.
◇ ◇ ◇
After all missing persons had been accounted for, the advance rescue unit was relieved from their duty.
After this, the second party that had both equipment and personnel would take over the repair work.
In the end, the advance rescue party lifted up a silent prayer for the victims and then would return to the capital. Everyone from the advance rescue party was completely exhausted as they packed themselves into the container like tuna being transported in a freezer truck. Hal was currently resting in Kaede-chan’s lap pillow (thanks to magic, she didn’t have any physical fatigue), while being dead tired.
I was also in the same condition, but as expected since it won’t do for a king to be packed inside a container, I boarded the prepared carriage with Liecia. Aisha stayed behind. As expected, with her hometown in such conditions, she wouldn’t be able to concentrate on her duty. That’s why I told her to remain in the God-Protected Forest for a while.
While I leaned against the carriage window and fell into a doze,
「This time, I couldn’t do anything.」(Liecia)
I heard Liecia’s sad sounding words.
「You called a relief party, right? Everyone has done their best.」(Souma)
「Or rather it was me…… who feels powerless this time.」(Souma)
「That’s not possible. I heard that you played a big part at the disaster site.」(Liecia)
At Liecia’s follow up comment, I shook my head.
「My position is that of a king. In the case of an emergency, giving directions at a disaster site is not the duty of a king. The duty of a king is to put preparations in advance before the emergency “occurrs”. I had been negligent in this part……」(Souma)
「Although I believed that the Royal Army had succeeded in their role as relief party, however there still many inadequate points remaining. The means of communication, the means for long distance transportation, emergency storage of relief supplies at each region, medical team attachments in relief parties, training psychiatrists to give counseling for PTSD patients…… Everything was insufficient. This situation developed because of my negligence in only focusing my eyes on the food shortage and problem of the Three Dukes.」(Souma)
I looked at my weary laden countenance reflected at the window.
(Hey “You”. Aren’t you king? Aren’t you bearing a lot on your shoulders?)
Maybe, if every problem had been settled, afterwards……
I saw the reflection of Liecia looking at me with a worried expression in the window, however I pretended not to notice it.
With renewed conviction in his heart. Souma returned to the capital.
Next Chapter is the last chapter of this arc…
 Actually the ojiisan use nanodesu to end several of his sentence. I don’t know if it was a verbal tic like Kaede or not. Even so, I won’t render an ojiisan’s tic… (ED: What, not enough moe? Lol. https://youtu.be/FNTNeodLUuQ?t=29s)
 ロブトール＝ウドガルド Robutooru Udogarudo
 Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental disorder that can develop after a person is exposed to a traumatic event, such as sexual assault, warfare, traffic collisions, or other threats on a person's life. Symptoms may include disturbing thoughts, feelings, or dreams related to the events, mental or physical distress to trauma-related cues, attempts to avoid trauma-related cues, alterations in how a person thinks and feels, and increased arousal. These symptoms last for more than a month after the event. Young children are less likely to show distress but instead may express their memories through play. Those with PTSD are at a higher risk of suicide.
If you suspect yourself or someone close to you exhibit this symptoms, please bring them to psychiatrist.