|Original Source: Syosetu
|Word Count: 3042 characters
|English Source: Re:Library
|Word Count: 1284 words
|Editor(s): Hydra, Liomad
A few hours after engaging with the first batch of Knights… Another platoon came flying on flygears once again from the woods on the other side of the bridge. Lahti, peering at the person leading the platoon through the disguise, shouted to Leone and Liselotte.
「…There he is! The guy on the front flygear! That’s my brother Weinsel!」
「——! I see… All right, we fished out our target early!」
「It’s hard to think that Miss Inglis’ predictions keep hitting the bull’s eyes!」
「Let’s hope she’s right all the way ‘till the end… It’s up to us next!」
The both of them looked at Weinsel with bated breath. The older prince jumped down from his flygear and came to them. What bravery. Since the Knights he sent ahead of time never returned, did he judge that he, as the largest force his army held, should dispatch and prevent further casualties?
Leone, personally, found that attitude admirable, but… in this particular situation, that would backfire! Leone signaled to the people near her to stay alert. Just a few more steps away and she would activate it! And Weinsel needed to be much closer so that she could drag in Weinsel alone, excluding him from his Knights.
「Gift—! Bring us to the subspace!」
She thrust the tip of her black greatsword Artifact into the ground. For a moment, her vision was distorted, before it was enveloped in nothing but the blackness of the space.
Prince Weinsel was in front of her, alone, as if he was expunged. Her aim struck true, she managed to draw only him as he walked ahead of his platoon.
If so, then strike the iron when it’s hot!
「Liselotte! Let’s go!」
Leone dashed while Liselotte flew overhead. And yet, Prince Weinsel was unperturbed and only commented calmly.
「Huh… The work of a Gift, is it… I see now. If the road is blocked by Magic Stone Beasts, I’ll be forced to send out a few Knights armed with Artifacts first, which you will ambush; Divide and Conquer, huh? …An excellent strategy to make up for the numerical disadvantage!」
「If you’re that impressed, then we welcome your surrender!」
「Pardon the bluntness, but you are alone, perfectly isolated!」
「Hmm, two young girls… and those High Grade Runes… The two of you aren’t people of this country, are you? Neither are you Highlanders, agents of Tiffany… Which means that it’s true that you’ve driven that vixen out of Lekrea… and for that, you have my gratitude. I’m indebted to you.」
When Weinsel bowed his head, Leone and Liselotte both found themselves puzzled.
「I-, it’s nothing!」
「S-, somehow, this played differently than expected…」
Leone had to agree to Liselotte there. Talk and we’ll understand each other… deep down, she understood that, she just didn’t expect it to come off so casually.
「I can say the same. The two of you look innocent and well-meaning, but… do you even understand what you are doing? As the protector of Alucard, be it Tiffany or Knights of Charalia, I see you both as oppressors who occupy Lekrea. Regardless of your nature, I must resist invasion.」
「Y-, you’ve got it wrong!」
「That is never our intention!」
「What is your intention, then?」
Being pointedly asked, they turned their heads away. The reason they had come to Alucard was to stop Alucard’s invading forces from within the borders so that Charalia wouldn’t be sandwiched between Venefic from the east and Alucard from the north.
Their mission was either to cause a political upheaval or to draw the invading army further into Alucardian borders by attacking it directly. They never had a clear-cut directive, only an objective to achieve…
But, that was, ostensibly, only half of the reason why Inglis made the proposal to infiltrate Alucard in the first place, as the other half was her hoping to find a strong enemy to fight. That other half was mostly fulfilled, and Leone and Liselotte both also benefited a lot from it, but they couldn’t possibly reveal that.
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Besides, that was Inglis’ thoughts, not Leone’s and Liselotte’s. So, they would just expose their true feelings…
「We, we came here to help our friends Lahti and Pullum!」
「Indeed, we never intended any invasion of any sort! The moment we are done, we will leave these lands!」
「They’re telling the truth, brother Weinsel! They came here to lend me their strength!」
Lahti followed their argument. He left his post and came up to the front. To be fair, it was surely better for Lahti to speak up if he wanted to discuss things with Weinsel.
「So just stop this nonsense! We already kicked out those Highlanders! They were the ones who pretended to be a Magic Stone Beast to destroy Lekrea! We were dancing in their palms from the start! There was never any reason for us to fight Charalia! Come on!」
Lahti desperately pleaded, trying to convince Weinsel, but Weinsel’s expression didn’t change.
「…I’ll tell you one thing. Invaders and their bootlickers, all speak the same words. They do things for the good of our country, they lend their strengths to help our country, yadda yadda— the same songs, the same dances. Aren’t you ashamed that you’re just a textbook example of that?」
Leone and Liselotte gritted their teeth, while Lahti hung his head.
「No, that’s not it. What do you even know about shame?」
「A question: Why do they always say the same thing? It is not because they lack wisdom; they said it because it is not incorrect. Saying that is politically safe! Being able to say it without feeling ashamed means that you are here mostly because of someone else’s idea! You are just ignorant children being tricked by bad adults.」
Indeed, it was Inglis who led everyone in the rough measures and methods. After Luwin was rescued from his captivity in Lekrea, he and Inglis made this plan together. But really, it was Lahti who decided to go to Lekrea first, and Inglis was being supportive of him and made plans for the rest of the mission.
So, it wasn’t that Inglis was manipulating Lahti, but rather Inglis was encouraging Lahti’s will. That was absolutely certain.
「That’s not true! I came here because I couldn’t stand what Tiffany and Halim were doing! I am here because I have to protect Pullum from suffering because of their atrocity!」
「—You’re also part of the reason why it happened at all…」
Weinsel’s gaze grew stern.
「WHAT?! I didn’t do anything?!」
「Exactly because you’ve been doing nothing!」
「That Hyrule Menace, Tiffany, is a real piece of human garbage, and it’s not your fault that she is… but, what do you think was brewing in the hearts of Hallim and the others when that vixen enticed them? Fear! Anxiety! For the future of this country! Our father is old……and yet you, his successor, are wandering to god knows where over your inferiority and whatnot. Your cowardly attitude in the face of the country created doubts in their mind, doubts that Tiffany took advantage of! Have you no remorse for that?!」
Weinsel pointed sharply at Lahti. And on the back of his hand was a…
「…Special Grade Rune?!」
「I thought Prince Weinsel was an owner of a High-Grade Rune?!」
「Brother?! That wasn’t the case when I left Alucard!」
「Nobody said that the Rune we received could never advance. Although, the ‘Baptismal Box’ had to carve a new one!!」
Weinsel clenched his fist tightly.