|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2604 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1210 words|
Around a week passed since the incident with Brows, the details were already turning hazy when I was summoned by Grom. I never had good memories of being summoned by nobles, so I was planning on ignoring it claiming to have a stomach ache, but Krieck, the guild master, saw through my plan and took me to the castle himself. I really did not like the way he looked at me in disbelief.
“Are you some child? Trying to take a long rest only because of a small stomach pain?”
“Please spare me…I’m sure it’s going to be something annoying.”
“Even then, or you think ignoring the call will make everything go away? If you don’t like it, you’ll feel much better if you do everything to get it over with quickly.”
His reasoning was sound, so I could only hold my head down without a comeback. As we walked like that, heading to a room I had been in before, I looked almost like a criminal that was going to be punished. Things looked exactly the same as last time, a table with tea and sweets laid on the balcony. Sitting there was Grom, his face as mysterious as ever, as well as Luvias for some reason.
“Master! I ended up getting involved in this matter as well…it is something related to me after all.”
“Thank you for coming, Lapis and Krieck. Take a seat.”
I sat down as told. Krieck hesitated for a bit, trying to figure out how to act in front of Luvias, but eventually he decided that keeping formal mannerisms to the minimum was best and made a quick bow to her before sitting. After the maids served each of us some tea, Grom spoke again.
“Let’s get straight to the point. The reason I called for all of you is that we received a formal invitation from Leble.”
Leble… I was already starting to forget about Brows, but that brought it all back to my mind. I had so little interest in him that I had almost completely erased him from my memory.
“Exactly what kind of invitation?”
“Well, they’re planning a diplomatic meeting where Luvias is invited as a hero candidate, and you Lapis as her mentor. Given the nature of the meeting, all other heroes and hero candidates have also been invited.”
I raised a weird grunt without noticing. Leble was going to organize a diplomatic meeting? I could only imagine they would do something like that to demonstrate to the public how influential their government was by assembling all heroes. But then why did I have to go as well? I really wanted to just ignore them.
“I understand your feelings, Lapis. Normally you would have no reason or right to attend a meeting like that, so refusing to go would be the obvious thing to do. But in this case, there’s a reason why you have to go.”
“What are you trying to say?”
“I’ll explain, Master.”
From what Luvias told me, there were a multitude of countries taking part in that meeting. It was hard to know what each of their plans was for the meeting, but they probably wanted to flaunt the might of their hero, measure the strength of the other heroes, or other reasons altogether. Whatever their reasons to attend might be, all heroes were invited as state guests of Leble, so it was hard to reject the invitation without causing problems.
“Not only that, but if the country with the most influence on the continent, Bordaule, doesn’t present a hero, the neighboring countries might belittle us. Saying things like we’re a hero-less country filled with cowards.”
Hearing all of that, I could see how it would be a bad idea to refuse. Luvias was still not the official hero of Bordaule, but she still had to attend as one of the candidates. But… I also had a hunch that this was all a ploy to lure me out. Grom crossed his arms with a complex expression, he also had a similar thought.
“They said you were invited as well because you’re training our hero candidate Luvias, though I can’t help but think they have a different goal in mind.”
“Master, I also heard you were attacked by some of Leble’s nobles a few days ago, and they also wanted to take you to Leble. I feel like they know how strong you are, and want to take your power for themselves.”
“Lapis has strength and leadership without equal, so I also agree that Leble might be trying to capture her.”
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Everyone seemed to think similarly. That reminded me about the men that attacked me, they were supposed to be locked in the castle’s dungeon, but I did not know if they were still there.
“Grom, what happened to the men that assaulted me? Are they still locked up? Or were they granted diplomatic immunity and sent back to their country?”
Hearing that, Grom scowled as if remembering something nasty. Has something happened to them?
“…Those men are dead, they died while serving their times.”
Even though they were so confident they could take me down? Had they contracted some serious illness maybe? That… could not be it. If they were so sickish, they would have never been ordered to kidnap someone from another country. Not only that, but he… Brows said that Leble’s influence would get him out no matter what happened, which meant he had no idea he could die so soon. Which meant…
“You’re sharp. Though the evidence points to suicide, I wouldn’t say they wished for their death from their dead faces. It probably was some form of magic or drug, like a curse that activates the moment they’re taken captive.”
“So he doesn’t only throw away assassins like sacrificial pawns, but even his nobles… Leble’s emperor is truly a wicked man.”
Luvias’ face was clouded over. She just learned what a frightful man she was about to meet, and there was no way for her to pull out from the invitation. Which meant that I, as her master, had to look out for her. That was the least I could do.
“Luvias, Grom, if that’s the situation I’ll go. I’ll never leave Luvias’ side and make sure she stays safe.”
“I would appreciate that. I don’t have to worry for Luvias’ safety if she’s with you. Though try to take care of yourself as well. No matter how strong you are, they might still attempt to get you unconscious through magic or drugs. There’s no such thing as being too careful after all.”
“I know. I won’t let anyone get hurt, and I promise we’ll come back in one piece. So with that being said, Krieck, if you could take care of-”
“Of course. I’ll adjust the schedule while you’re away. Don’t worry about that.”
“Thank you very much.”
Even though I promised to protect her, it would be impossible for me to look out for her all 24 hours without rest, at least if I was alone. Which meant I needed some helpers…so I had to ask those two for help.
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