|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3381 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1483 words|
“…I’m sorry, ambassador, I didn’t quite catch that. Could you repeat what you said?”
“Yes, your Majesty, as many times as you want. The Hero Brave’s disguised as Lapis and his friends have destroyed our imperial palace, attacked a city near the country border multiple times, and now are controlling monsters to attack nearby countries. There’s a lot of damage spreading into Zelvis, just like in our empire. We can’t allow that scoundrel to remain at large, so we ask for your cooperation in fighting back.”
An ambassador arrived from Leble, the country we suspected was behind Stied’s insurrection. He started telling me some quite hard to believe stories, which was starting to give me an unavoidable headache. Lapis, the girl helping our country…or mostly my sister Luvias, was supposedly the legendary hero Brave. That much was hard to believe, but on top of that he claimed that she had snuck into Leble and destroyed the emperor’s palace.
I had inadvertently crossed my arms, and now they were tensing up, as my frown became even more marked. I didn’t even know where to start believing that story. First of all it was hard to believe that Lapis and Brave were the same person. Just hiding his age would be extremely hard, not to mention that a spell to change someone’s sex was unheard of.
Then…I could not understand how and why she and her friends, my sister included, would destroy the emperor’s palace. Just what could have pushed them to attack Leble’s capital like that? If they were here I would question them for hours to get to the bottom of this, but that was impossible at the moment.
“I’m sorry ambassador, I just have no way of knowing how much I can trust you. You haven’t presented a single piece of evidence. Even if Leble had been attacked, how do you know for certain that my sister and Lapis were the perpetrators?”
“Evidence?! When the palace was attacked the emperor himself engaged Lapis in combat! Is any other witness necessary? Or does Bordaule doubt the emperor’s word?”
The ambassador made no effort to hide his displeasure, quickly becoming exasperated. That was quite an attitude to have in front of a ruler. It was nothing to praise, and not a reaction one would normally show. That also put his veracity into question. It just made me wonder even more just what Leble the Fifth’s aim was with this.
“But how do I know Leble the Fifth’s account is true? I’m just asking for objective and irrefutable proof of what you’re saying.”
“It’s the emperor’s account, his word is absolute, that’s your proof!”
“…You don’t get it, do you?”
Just what was Leble the Fifth thinking by sending such an incompetent ambassador? This man is just making him look worse. I finally got to sit on the throne, but problems kept coming one after another, maybe I never had any good luck.
“Listen ambassador, I’ll listen to you as much as you want when you present concrete evidence. Only then will my country-”
“So you’re declaring war on Leble then!”
Everyone present there stared open-mouthed at the ambassador that interrupted me to shout that. Things were getting tense in the room. Did this moron even listen to anything I said? A declaration of war? Exactly what made him come to that conclusion? But I could not afford to lose my cool. I could not afford any careless actions until I knew exactly what Leble’s goal was.
“Calm down, ambassador. You’re-”
“Leble was mistaken to even consider receiving support from a country like yours, that covers for an imperdonable bunch of scoundrels that are attacking their neighbors! Bordaule has become the world’s enemy! Leble will upkeep the world’s order, we won’t bow down to evil!”
“How dare you disrespect our king!”
My personal knights unsheathed their swords and glared at the ambassador, about to charge at him. I raised my hand to stop them while restraining the indignation welling up inside me, and spoke to the ambassador as calmly as I could.
“…I can’t ignore what you just said. What did you mean saying Bordaule is the world’s enemy? And what is Leble planning on doing to supposedly upkeep order? Do you mind explaining?”
He seemed excited after all his shouting, his face flushed red. Meanwhile the guards and officials that came with him seemed perfectly calm. Their reaction seemed extremely out of place. I almost wondered if they were sane.
“It should be obvious! Leble will eliminate all those enemies threatening the world’s order!”
He shouted again, then reached inside his clothes and pulled out a dagger. Brandishing a weapon during an audience with a foreign ruler was a reckless act that anyone would designate as an assassination attempt. Many knights gathered around me to protect me, while others jumped out to restrain the ambassador. But he moved faster than they could.
The dagger was swung faster than the knights could jump at him. Fresh blood sprayed onto the floor from a torn throat…from the ambassador. Shockingly enough, he had cut his own throat, taking his own life in the audience hall. The knights had been too slow to stop him.
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“Put pressure on the wound! Someone get a medic!”
“No…it’s already too late.”
All color had already drained from his face. Anyone could tell he was about to die, and he would not last until a medic arrived.
“Your majesty, hurry please.”
The knights surrounded me and escorted me to my quarters. The audience was interrupted due to that act of violence. The men that came with the ambassador were held, and after a careful search for weapons or poison, they were restrained.
“What a messy situation.”
I heavily sat down on a couch, pondering why the ambassador would take his life like that. If they wanted to assassinate me, they would have brought a different type of person. While it would be impossible to find someone as strong as Lapis, if they gathered a few people with Luvias’ skill, they could easily kill me during such an audience. So their goal was not my life, but something else.
“So…they’re not targeting me personally, but all of Bordaule?”
No matter the details, if an ambassador died during a meeting with a foreign ruler it would easily lead to an international feud. And this was Leble. They would definitely claim I killed the ambassador, and attempt to start a war.
Not much time passed since Stied’s insurrection too. The country’s forces had taken a hit, and it would take some time until the economy recovered. That presented the best time for Leble to attack and get rid of us, since we were always the main deterrent stopping their expansion. So…
“No matter how much we deny it, they’ll be set on attacking. We have to get ready.”
Maybe, just maybe, offering my sister and her friends as scapegoats could avoid a war. But many of the people of Bordaule held them dear, owing them their lives. If I were to offer them on a plate like that, everyone would turn on me, calling me a second Stied. That would be a foolish thing to even consider.
“I’m calling an emergency meeting. Gather the prime minister and the army generals. Hurry.”
I ordered one of the knights standing in front of my room, then held the dagger I carried for self defense and slowly unsheathed it. I did not know what was going through that man’s mind when he sliced his throat. Whether it was fanatical devotion to his country, or if he was being brainwashed by some drug, I did not know, and had no way of knowing anymore. I just felt a cold chill whenever I replayed those moments in my mind.
“Fanatics like that are the kind of people I avoid the most. They are never in their sane mind, so it’s impossible to reason with them. They don’t even realize their own mistake, and the only way to deal with them is to kill all of them, or be killed.”
I wanted to avoid such a situation as much as possible, but going to war with Leble would be a far harsher conflict than Stied’s insurrection. My sister would be a valuable asset, but no one knew where she had gone to, and there was no way of contacting her either. It was even hard to say whether she was still alive or not. I reclined back on my couch, trying my best not to jinx anything.
“Fighting will lead to victory. But if…”
I looked down at my dagger. If my head could spare the people of Bordaule, I would use this dagger to cut it myself without hesitation. The resolve to do that was the minimum requirement of a ruler.
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