|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2584 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1202 words|
“That event in Leble was so long ago. Have ya been alright since then? And don’t tell me y’all forgot my name already.”
“I remember, Sir Bandit. And your sisters are ladies Avenis and Epsilon, correct?”
“Well, yeah…but why’dya have to be so stiff and formal? I can understand addressing the queen like that, but we’re both heroes so there’s ain’t no reason to be so formal here.”
“…Alright, I’ll speak normally then.”
The three came smiling widely and sat at the table as well, without a word from Titis. And rather than finding that disrespectful, she was smiling calmly. I could not tell if she simply did not mind rude actions too much, or if she preferred acting more casually around people. Something like that would never pass in Bordaule, which left Luvias wide-eyed. Probably because I tended to be more laid back, Bandit acted like I was the leader of the party and spoke directly to me instead of Luvias.
“So, how’re ya liking my country?”
“It’s a really nice place. The cities are lively, and I can tell business is booming with how many ships come and go. Everyone seems happy, and the streets look really safe as well.”
“For real? If that’s how ya see it, I bet everyone will be happy then.”
When I voiced my opinion, Bandit and his sisters smiled happily. That was the normal reaction for anyone hearing their own country being praised. But their smiles did not last long, clouding over a few moments later. Bandit was usually a very cheerful person, so seeing him like that was rare, and he appeared hesitant to say what was in his mind, and when he finally began moving his mouth, Titis interrupted and spoke for him.
“The truth is, that peace you saw is just a momentary thing.”
“Momentary..? What do you mean by that..?”
“Well, let me explain. This is also the reason why I asked Bandit to invite you here under his name. Also, once you’ve heard everything, I hope you can lend us your strength.”
If they wanted our strength, and they had brought us all the way over here, I could only assume there would be some form of conflict soon. I tensed up a bit without really thinking about it, but Titis seemed to feel a similar way as she continued her story.
As we had seen on our way here, Barius is a thriving land without much crime or monsters, an extremely peaceful country. But apparently, there is a time limit to that. More than a hundred years ago when it was first founded, this area was occupied by many small warring countries, but the founding king crushed them all with the help of a certain entity. That entity is currently sleeping deep beneath the palace, Behemoth. One of the Four Great Spirits, had immense strength, which none of the other smaller countries could measure up to and eventually succumbed to. Once all the rival countries were gone, the founding king named the land Barius, and built the maritime powerhouse it stayed as until now. If the story ended there, everyone would be happy for the rest of time, but the world was not such a nice place.
Normally when using any form of magic, one had to serve their innate magic power, or mana, in exchange. That also applied when using spiritual magic, the spirits would consume one’s mana in exchange for their assistance. But the founding king was different. He was an excellent swordsman, and more of a meathead who could not use any form of magic. Then how did he manage to get Behemoth’s assistance? The answer was simple, placing the burden on future generations.
“Behemoth demanded compensation from our Founding King, who was neither a magician nor a spiritual magic user. If mana was not an option…then souls had to make do.”
Everyone went pale hearing that. That was almost the same as demanding live sacrifices…
“According to the priests in the streets, once any living being, human or otherwise, dies and their soul is reclaimed, that soul returns to this world once again. The circle of reincarnation, souls never truly leaving this realm. If we consider the entire world as a singular body, those souls could be thought of as lumps of mana circulating around it. Apparently, spirits can manage to live for centuries by tapping into the lumps of mana that are human souls. But the more a spirit uses its powers, the more those lumps are depleted, reaching a point where the beings who are tied to that mana lose the power to continue existing..”
Most of us had little knowledge about spirits, so we all turned to look at Diaria. Mere magicians would be unable to tell if what the queen said was true. But Diaria was in constant contact with spirits, so she should be able to verify that story. At first, she looked slightly uncomfortable, but eventually, she nodded.
“The spirits I use are rather minor and don’t need so much magic power, they can materialize without any mana from me. But one of the Four Great Spirits like Behemoth is different. Those are known as the rulers of all elements, and even to materialize they require enormous amounts of mana.”
“So how did the Founding King satisfy that requirement?”
Hearing my question, Titis faced down and smiled despite herself.
“He didn’t like the idea of giving his life to found a country, so instead of offering his own life, he gave the life of his offspring. He told Behemoth the life of his descendants five generations laters was his. And as it just so happens, that’s me.”
Everyone’s breath caught. Did the founding king have no regard for the lives of his descendants?
“He probably thought his lineage would be spread out enough five generations later. If there were a lot of members in the royal family, the least needed one could be sacrificed. But regrettably, I’m the only one left in the family. It seems my family isn’t the best at birthing many children.”
She still had a self-deprecating smile. But it was too much to handle for everyone else. Having one’s life thrown away by a great grandfather one had not even met was a situation beyond pitiful. If I was in her place, I would hurl abuse and insults at my ancestor every day without ever getting tired. Bandit continued the conversation after Titis went silent.
“As you can see, our country has achieved peace under our dear queen’s reign. We quickly punish anyone who tries to go against the law, and we have soldiers positioned everywhere to keep the entire country safer than it ever was before. The palace also subsidizes ship prices so that they’re affordable for anyone out there now, which helps build our maritime force. If our dear queen Titis stays on the throne, our country will become more successful than ever. But if we lose her, then we’ll quickly devolve back into the barren land we used to be. That’s why we have to do something about Behemoth before that happens.”
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