|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2416 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1159 words|
My duties in the capital were done, and we were about to leave the palace to return to Surfour when something stopped us. Though to be precise, rather than ‘us’ it stopped Ciel and Karin.
“We’ve received a legal complaint against you from a noble. We can’t allow you to leave the palace until all suspicion is cleared…”
“Complaint? What are you talking about?!”
The two were obviously outraged, being accused out of the blue like that. They were known members of the hero’s party and had recently gained the title of dragon slayers, so the servant’s voice was clearly shaky as he approached. I was also angered hearing that, but I already had an idea who had done this so I was calmer. The two were about to pile up on the poor servant, so I tried my best to separate them and explain things.
“Calm down you two. I think this is a ploy from my brother, a scummy idea to annoy me. He lacks the spine to do anything directly, so he’s doing this just to get in our way.”
The complete opposite of righteous was the word to describe my brother, and he had probably spent the entire night restlessly trying to come up with this plan after our altercation yesterday. I could only sigh at how low he could go.
“Though knowing he’s just trying to be a nuisance, we can’t just ignore this accusation. That could lead to you becoming fugitive criminals, so as annoying as this is, try to cooperate. I’ll see what I can do to help, so don’t cause any trouble until then.”
“Well, if that’s what you think…”
“I guess that’s it then. I’d hate to be thought of as a fugitive after all. I’ll just think of this as a break and rest easy.”
“Sorry for everything.”
I bowed to the two, being treated as criminals even though they did nothing wrong, and turned around to see how to help them as soon as possible.
§ § §
I began working as soon as I could, looking for the easiest way to prove their innocence. My first thought was the Sword of Truth which my Master had used to prove the information obtained from Sorciere was true. With that method I could very easily prove their innocence, but…
“What do you mean, I can’t use the sword?!”
“Well, the thing is…a neighboring city is overloaded with cases so we transferred the sword to them to speed things up…”
“Are you serious?! That’s a royal treasure! It’s not some item you can just randomly hand out when someone requests it!”
While small offenses could be dealt with without the need for the sword, it was basically indispensable for crimes like homicide. There were only a few of them in the entire country, yet they had handed out the one in the capital…that alone could easily cripple the functionality of the supreme court. Was my brother really so stupid to go to this length just to annoy me? I really wanted to believe otherwise…
“…Just to be sure, who gave that order?”
My knees felt weak. I had seen my brother as a shallow and pitiful person whose only interest was political power, but I had never thought he was such a moron. Was he unaware of the ripple effect that a single day with no trials could cause? It could easily cause innocent people to be imprisoned, or delay the assignment of sentences, or forced labor to criminals.
Compared to other cities, the capital had exponentially more inhabitants as well, which only increased the number of people detained every day. Now all of those people who could not receive a trial yet had to stay retained in special facilities, which were not designed to be overcrowded so this situation would lead to increased maintenance costs. And somehow the person most oblivious to all that was next in line to govern the entire country…
This was too much. I was always under the impression that if the king of a country was incompetent, there would be other nobles close by who could take some of the load and keep the country running. But if Stied becomes king, his usual followers will surely take those high authority spots. If everyone up there is just as incapable, then no matter how hard everyone else works, the country will collapse.
It did not feel right to give such a person the throne, though even if I tried to point that out, no one would stand with me, so I had to find someone else who could safeguard the country’s future. Trying to sort my thoughts, I walked through the palace heading to a certain room. I started with slow regular steps, but all the emotions circling in my head made me accelerate my gait gradually.
When I arrived there, two knights keeping guard looked at each other quizzically, given that I had never been there before. Ideally, I would just walk past them and storm into the room, but that was a bit too excessive even for me, so I took a deep breath to calm myself.
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“Tell my brother I need to talk with him.”
“…Understood. Wait a moment.”
I had gone to the room of my brother Magnas, the second prince. Usually, he was in constant rivalry with Stied, so I did not like either of them very much, but I could not think of anyone else who would be of more help than him. Getting rid of the Sword of Truth was unheard of, so it was the perfect political ammo for him to wage war against Stied. My father…would be a bad idea. He always promised much, but ended up pampering his sons too much, so even if I complained he would not be of much help.
“He says he’ll meet you. Please come in.”
This was my first time in his room. The furnishings looked rather modest and sparse, unlike most nobles. There was a shelf with a varied assortment of drinks as well, but none seemed to have been opened yet. He probably only had them to hand out as gifts, or to entertain guests as they waited for him.
There were two maids standing in one corner of the room, and two knights on the sides of his office desk, which had an orderly pile of documents on it. Just looking at the room I felt like I understood his personality more, keeping everything in perfect order and keeping even the smallest details in mind, completely opposite to the rash and irresponsible Stied. It was hard to judge if he was a good candidate to be a king from this, but at least he was better than Stied who would do anything to gain just a speck more of power.