Maid Ane’s speech leads to the Winter King abolishing serfdom in a bid to attract people to settle in the Southern Nations, enlisting bards to spread word of the advantages while also spreading literature made on the printing press. Word of a new church rising and other happenings in the South intrigues the merchant, who decides to involve the Central aristocracy in a price war, starting with wheat. The South responds with tariffs, and war becomes imminent, though Yuusha insists on a fight without casualties.
CMaou and Yuusha are playing the long game, but their efforts are starting to show, as the serfs of a good chunk of the continent have now been freed, and the war between men and demons is about to be usurped by civil struggle brought on by a shortage of resources. Or, in this case, the illusion of a shortage. The merchant, playing his own game (or “waltz”, as he calls it), is inspired to cause a huge stink. He thinks on the words Yuusha said to him about the thing that exists beyond profit and loss, and he knows coexistence with demons is a part of that.
His scheme causes the Central Powers to lash out, and in turn forces the Southern Powers to defend themselves from being raided of all their food. Meanwhile, somewhere in the demon world, Maou is still undergoing evaluation as the Head Maid stands guard and recollects her master dreaming up this whole game more than fifteen years ago, before she was the king. It’s nice to see Maou’s lost none of her determination and hope since then, and indeed passed it onto her would-be enemy.
Rating: 7 (Very Good)
Maid Ane prepares to act the part of the Crimson Scholar. The plan is for the Winter King to deliver her into the custody of the messenger sent by the Central church who claim Maou to be a heretic. As she is paraded out, placed in stocks, and whipped, Yuusha is poised to save her, but she deviates from the set plan and delivers a speech to the masses assembled before her, drawing from what she’s learned from the Head Maid, about not being an insect. She moves the crowd to turn against the messenger, and even inspires the Winter King to place her under his protection, and orders the Centrals to skedaddle.
What we thought would be an action-packed rescue mission in which the hero saves Ane from a public stoning in the knick of time, turned out to be something more akin of a one woman play – and that’s totally okay with us. As Ane was shoved around in stocks and whipped until her back is raw and bleeding, something awakensin her, and she decides to improvise a passionate, rousing, incredibly powerful speech to the people the church want to stone her, and it’s the church officials who end up getting stoned. So Yuusha doesn’t have to lift a finger (though it was nice to have him there just in case things went sour.)
When the head maid called Ane and her sister insects, it was cruel, but it was also true. Though they were serfs – two of seven siblings, the rest of whom were raped or killed or died of disease – they were also humans, and had the ability to choose their fate. They could choose to fall in line and obey whatever master or noble or priest came along, or they could choose to become better than they were. Ane and her sister gained the awareness of that choice and made themselves better. And now the serf, who was so close to death when she first met Maou, has found her voice, and as Yuusha puts it, her words have the power to cause entire armies to withdraw.
Rating: 9 (Superior)