By Hyougetsu and Nishi(E)da. Released in Japan by Earth Star Novels. Released in North America by J-Novel Club. Translated by Ningen.
The last couple of books have been trying to explain why Veight is as successful and beloved as he is, and that it’s not simply “he is an incredibly strong and powerful werewolf”. As Veight notes in this volume, he could immediately solve the problem in the kingdom of Kuwol if he simply killed Zagar. He’d be justified in doing so. Zagar killed the king and framed Veight for it. But doing that would plunge the country into chaos, which is absolutely not what Veight wants. Zagar is certainly strong, and can kill anyone who is suddenly no longer useful to him. But all he wants is combat, which means he’ll never be satisfied. Veight, on the other hand, has spent the last ten books making the kingdom safe for both humans and other races, and all he wants to do is settle down with his wife and child. He investigates thoroughly. He takes the opinions of commoners into advisement, but also thinks of the nobles and their pride. He’s just really good at this.
No, don’t worry, that’s not Veight’s unborn child on the cover, but the late king’s, who it turned out had a favorite consort. This volume picks up where the last left off, as Veight tries to figure out how best to unite the nobles, stop Zagar, and not have everything explore into war. He’s helped by the return of Parker, who may have gone missing but was never really in danger, and who is perhaps at his least silly in this book. With the help of a mountain tribe and a cleverly placed fake… as well as, admittedly, the power of modern laser guns… Veight is able to win the day. This allows him to hurry home, as he’s gotten an unfortunate prophecy about Airia, who it turns out needs to have a cesarean section (completely unknown in this world) or else the touch of death may strike her and their child. Can Veight and company save the day? And will the prophecy come true anyway?
This is not the final book in the series – J-Novel Club has licensed at least through Vol. 13, and the rights to the novels were just sold to Square Enix, who will be releasing more. But it’s the end of the “main story”, and the author says that the rest of the books are essentially going to be side stories. (They’re even changing the illustrator to reflect the books “lighter feel” starting next time.) Certainly this seems like the “end of one age, stat of a new one” sort of book, especially with the last few pages of the main story showing off Veight and Airia’s child as well as the return (sort of) of a very old friend. This is why Veight is not Zagar. Zagar cannot be satisfied unless he’s fighting an enemy. Veight, though, once he’s managed to protect what he wants to, and helped others to thrive as a nation… he’s ready to relax and be a husband and father. In fact, he looks forward to it. Well, and a simple vice-commander, of course. He’ll always be that.
I have perhaps enjoyed this series a bit more than it really deserves (it might be the medium – J-NC has licensed the manga and I find it near unreadable), but I do think it rewards readers who like this kind of thing. I look forward to a more relaxed tale going forward.