|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 3599 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1463 words|
Lapis was Brave?! I could not believe that at first, but then I recalled just how overwhelming her power was. She was clearly more powerful than me, Bandit, or Freya. It was not that hard to believe that she was the same hero that saved the world once in the past.
But there was something else I needed to ask first.
“Defeat Bordaule…? W-what was your reply?”
“I haven’t given an answer… yet. I don’t know how much of Leble’s claims are true, but the fact remains that Bordaule concealed the existence of Brave. It’s not that hard to believe they were gathering forces that way to expand their territory. Not to mention that Brave… or Lapis, insisted on the creation of training schools in Bordaule, making all their soldiers stronger.”
I had met Lapis, and spoken with her. I knew she was not the kind of person to aid such an evil plan. All her friends were also friendly and good people. The king was mistaken. I was never good at talking, but if I remained silent, an irreparable trench would appear between the two countries. I had to convince the king somehow…! I turned my eyes at the king, knowing what I had to do.
“Your Majesty, the training schools were established to make adventurers in general stronger. Their only objective is to defeat monsters and demons. Those facilities weren’t created with the intent to invade other countries. I’ve personally met Lapis, she’s not someone who would scheme such evil plans to harm other countries. Don’t you remember she was the first to take action in Strom? Successfully thwarting the demon’s attack?”
“…So what if that was all part of her act?”
I turn around, hearing someone interject like that. A reptid with silver scales was standing behind me.
“It’s been a while, Annero.”
Sherpa slowly walked into the audience hall, stopping next to me and bowing to the king. Sherpa…when Versis was selecting its hero, the choices were brought down to me and him. In the end we had a match one on one, I won, so I became Versis’ hero, and he held a grudge against me ever since. Just the fact that he would hold a grudge against me for something like that gave me the worst impression about him.
“What do you mean, all part of her act?”
I realized my voice was getting stiffer. Meanwhile he smiled derisively, talking with confidence.
“It means exactly what it sounds like. She led the demons to Strom, pretended to drive them away, and left the country weak and up for grabs. I’m sure she’ll get rid of their king soon enough, or maybe she wants to use them as a puppet?”
“Don’t be ridiculous! Bordaule was not the only country that was there helping Strom. Not to mention that the neighboring countries would never allow that to happen.”
“Exactly, they won’t allow it to happen. That’s why Leble is rising against Bordaule, to stop that.”
Hearing him talk like Leble was the pinnacle of justice filled me with rage. If he ever visited Leble he would never even suggest that. The people are exploited like slaves, without being allowed to enjoy their life. The streets are filled with soldiers keeping everyone in check, it was almost like everyone’s lives existed solely for the emperor’s sake. Essentially everything worked on the emperor’s whims. Such a country is far from righteous.
“Sherpa, why are you siding with Leble like that? Do you truly believe that Leble’s emperor is a righteous man with no ambitions?”
“I’m the one who should be asking that, Annero. Why do you side with Bordaule? You’ve never been interested in anything but making your sword blades sharper. Were you really so easily deceived?”
“What did you say?!”
“Enough! Stop it, both of you.”
Only when I stood up and reached for my weapon did the king stop us. I had gotten carried away, so I quickly knelt and apologized.
“I’m truly sorry, Your Majesty.”
“Annero, I understand you’re on good terms with Lapis and her friends. But that’s not enough to run a country. One day your neighbor might appear like your friend, but the next day they turn on you.”
Who is he talking about? Does he really think of Bordaule that way, just like Sherpa… I could not shake off a bad feeling from my chest.
“Your Majesty, are you considering siding with Leble?”
“…Listen Annero, our country is small, we don’t export anything of significance, and we don’t have much cultivated land. If by doing this we can grow even if just a little, then my people won’t have to starve and-”
“Please reconsider, Your Majesty! Don’t be too hasty!”
I interrupted the king as he hesitantly tried to come up with reasons. Everything he said was true, our country had constant shortages of supplies, and had a weak economy. But we could always buy what we lacked from other countries, we just needed to work properly. There was poverty even in large countries like Bordaule too, so using that as an excuse to start a war was too risky. Even if Bordaule had been weakened, their forces still outnumbered ours, not to mention I doubted Leble would really treat us as allies. I could easily imagine them stabbing us from the back without remorse. I had to stop this before anything happened.
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“Your Majesty! Please don’t let Leble deceive you! Don’t let the years of alliance we had with Bordaule go to waste, we should be all joining forces to face the demons now. If instead we give in to ambition, then Versis…no, all reptids will be known as greedy cowards in the future!”
“You’re the coward here Annero!”
Sherpa raised his voice again. Even though we were in the presence of the king, he walked around the audience hall like it belonged to him, getting close to my face.
“You were named our country’s hero, but what have you been doing all this time? All you’ve done is wander in foreign countries without anything to show for it. Or are you so scared of demons that you just went to hide abroad?”
That was too much, I felt blood rushing to my head hearing him belittle all my efforts and stressful fights, I almost wanted to kill him.
“What are you saying! I worked with the other heroes in Strom, and I’ve been fighting in the Haunted Lands until now! I don’t want to hear that from a coward who never leaves his country and just insults others!”
The king’s voice thundered through the audience hall and everyone fell silent. He looked at me with a complicated face before speaking again.
“Annero, no matter what you say, I’ve already decided to become Leble’s ally. I want you on the vanguard fighting against Bordaule.”
I could not read any emotion in the king’s eyes, his decision could not be changed. That was the look of a politician that had made up his mind. No matter what I said, I would not be able to get through to him. So…
“…I can’t do that, Your Majesty.”
I clench my fist firmly. The faces of the other heroes flashed in my mind, and how we joined forces and fought together. I looked at the king, my decision already made.
“I can’t do that, Your Majesty. A hero’s strength shouldn’t be used to harm other countries. A hero is a righteous warrior that gives people hope. I won’t be involved in such a war.”
“…Are you serious, Annero?”
“Yes, Your Majesty. I can’t go against my values and identity.”
The king looked away for a bit, and Sherpa was the one to move.
“Guards! Guards! Annero has lost his mind! Restrain him!”
The moment Sherpa raised his voice, guards and soldiers rushed into the audience hall. Such numbers…I see…
“…I see, so you were planning on doing this from the start. You filled the king’s mind with ideas while planning revenge on me. Only a coward like you would plan that.”
“I don’t know what you’re talking about. Discard your weapon, or are you planning on turning on your brethren so soon after your speech about justice?”
The moment I threw my weapon away, the guards that filled the audience hall seized me.
“I’m sorry I dragged you into this.”
“Don’t worry. We feel the same way as you.”
I apologized to the rest of my party, who were restrained just like me, even though they had not said a word. Then I glared at Sherpa, who watched everything with a grin, and the guards dragged us to the prison.
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