|Author: Hayaken||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3161 characters|
|Translator: Mab||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1531 words|
|Editor(s): Hydra, Liomad|
「Calm down! Your lives are too precious for me to order you to charge into those beasts without any Artifacts! All troops halt! Move out of the wind and snow and prepare to camp in the woods!」
Weinsel pointed to the woods before the bridge and gave his order. With that, the troops and the huge magic stone beasts were facing each other across the bridge.
「And there are three of those things! God damn it, Lahti. When you said that the Highlanders tricked us with the increase of magic stone beasts, you really are just trying to fool me?」
Alucard had always been a land with minimal Prism Flow and consequently relatively little damage from magic stone beasts. However, when the city of Lekrea was destroyed by a magic stone beast… The reigning king, Weinsel’s foster father, switched policy in order to increase the defenses against magic stone beasts.
However, with how little power Alucard had as a nation, trying to plead for significant additions to the gifts from Highland was difficult.
Thus, what they offered was human resources—labor. Alucard was to direct their army towards Charalia and invade it in conjunction with the Venefian army, a pretty powerful move. There were those who agreed and those who went against these conditions, but in the end, the country decided to accept them.
However, taking on the brunt of the battle and opening the war by themselves would be a bad idea. So, they waited until the Venefiques, who always had strong territorial wants over Charalia’s lands and were aggressive in their invasion, and gained the upper hand in the war so that Alucard could enter Charalia’s territory with relative ease, but…
The Highlanders took this as an attitude of disrespect and disobedience, and thus, through giving out an advance loan, they sent down Tiffany the Hyrule Menace.
Now, if only Hyrule Menaces like her had lived up to their reputation as guardian deities who protected the Midlanders against all evil, as what Charalia had always boasted…
That had been the farthest from the truth. Tiffany had gone her way out to corrupt faithful subjects of Alucard and turn them into Highlanders, then she committed the full extent of her tyranny, ripping off the lives and the property of the poor.
What was most upsetting and lamentable to Weinsel was… the fact that Hallim, with whom he had been close since childhood and had pledged to work together for the good of the country, had been bewitched by Tiffany and became her right-hand man.
Weinsel simply couldn’t forgive him! He had wanted to launch an attack on Lekrea, where Tiffany had taken up residence, but the Charalian army had appeared in front of his troops positioned on the border.
Their movement was much quicker than expected, and that made him unable to call up arms against Tiffany, as he couldn’t abandon the preparations for the eventual war against Charalia.
If he and his troops retreated and accidentally provoked the Charalian army, they could very well be the ones to be invaded instead. His country would be destroyed then. A slight mistake on his part could lead to more lives and property lost because of him compared to Tiffany’s tyranny.
The only reason he could send troops to Lekrea was that Charalia had called off their troops and thus retreated from the standoff. They even foolishly informed him of the reason for their retreat.
According to them, the Prisma in their country had resurrected and was advancing in the direction of their royal capital Charalia. The forces of Charalia were retreating in order to deal with the situation. Prisma was a threat to humanity regardless of nations, so if Alucard had a heart at all—they kindly asked them to refrain from pursuit—so it was written.
That being said, Weinsel wouldn’t order his troops to jump on the retreating army. Besides, their retreat was convenient as that facilitated Weinsel to head for Lekrea. If it was possible to invade Charalia after he finished the matter on Lekrea, then Weinsel could have time to think about the next steps.
After all, Weinsel couldn’t predict what kind of decisions Charalia would make under the threat of Prisma.
The notice from Lekrea spoke of how Tiffany had been repulsed, but it was doubtful at best. Alucard never had anyone with enough power to repel a Hyrule Menace, to begin with. No one outside of Weinsel himself, that is.
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And, even if they did somehow manage to drive a Hyrule Menace away, that in itself was a huge problem to be addressed. There was simply no way that Lahti, a Runeless with no power to speak of, could do it himself.
Pullum, Hallim’s sister who was always glued to Lahti, was indeed quite the capable Knight with a High-Grade Rune, but if Weinsel was to be asked if she could fight off a Hyrule Menace by herself or not, Weinsel had to lean on the latter.
There must be some other powerful third party involved. And that would be, without doubt, Charalia’s agents, where Lahti studied abroad.
The letter that explained the situation also mentioned Charalia’s involvement, but then… What would be the difference then, between getting help and surrendering to Charalia? While he still had the capability to make a move, Weinsel took it to himself that he must cut off the rot before the infection festered.
And he would not let Lahti step on the soil of this country again. Being a Runeless, his stepbrother wouldn’t be able to keep up with the chaos this country was about to plunge into.
Actually, regardless of his lack of Rune, Weinsel simply couldn’t entrust this country to someone who wasn’t prepared to bear the burden of an entire country and ran off to other countries over some inferiority nonsense.
The reigning king would probably abdicate in the near future. His health was already falling, and his dethronement was necessary should he wish to make amends with Charalia. After all, Alucard had sent a group of assassins for the King of Charalia himself.
Rather than letting the commotion stir and causing an uproar later, making things straight when the iron was still hot was better. Weinsel simply didn’t want to upset his adoptive father, to whom he owed so much.
If Tiffany was still nestled in Lekrea and manipulating Lahti at her will, then Weinsel should rescue his brother from her corrupting hands and keep him away from the country.
But if Lekrea really had been liberated with the help of Charalia agents, Weinsel would have to admonish his brother for the folly of being subservient to the Charalian army and throw him away out of the country.
Of course, he would see his brother with enough money so he could live well even outside of the borders of Alucard. And that money had been prepared as well.
Weinsel himself didn’t really have that much grudge against Lahti. However, it was undeniable that many young Knights and officials who were supposed to carry the future of this country, including Hallim, were bewitched and taken in by Tiffany because of Lahti’s problematic attitude.
For them, the next-in-line for the throne was no one else but Lahti. They were in close proximity to the king and had been in touch with His Majesty’s intentions daily. And yet, Lahti never really took this country seriously, causing turmoil to start brewing inside and outside the government.
Hallim and many others began to worry about where the country would be heading. The reigning king was old and was even risking his own sovereignty to take part in a plot by the Highlanders against Charalia.
And yet his successor, the Crown Prince himself, was too unreliable!
In the end, they thought that they might as well become hands and feet for the Highlanders first. It seemed that Tiffany, as she ensnared them, had turned Hallim and his peers into Highlanders, and treated anyone who served under her generously.
Weinsel understood why there were so many of them converted. What they did was by no means excusable, but neither was Lahti for basically forcing them to take the hand of the devil.
If Alucard had been and continued to be a peaceful country, then perhaps Weinsel wouldn’t blame Lahti so hard for being tormented by his inferiority complex and thus going on a journey of self-discovery.
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He understood that it must be hard to be compared with Weinsel, who with him said to be the best Knight Alucard had ever seen, and in fact was an owner of a High-Grade Rune.
However, being corrupted and neglecting any effort at all because of it was just wrong. It is wrong to run away. What even Lahti got out of running away, anyway! Weinsel, for one, never saw himself slacking and sitting on his hands, not once since he was marked a High-Grade Rune, and he continued to work hard still.
And by doing so, he gained a lot of things…
「…I’ll make you take responsibility for all you’ve caused, Lahti!」
That would be the last thing he could do as his older brother.