|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2859 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1160 words|
I woke up in a foreign room. There was no furniture here, not even a bed, and I was lying on the floor, but I felt like I had been placed there to rest. I felt light headed and my body ached. I shook my head as I stood up, trying to remember what had happened to me. Together with a sharp pain, my memories came back.
I desperately looked around near me, but I could not find my weapons. Then I looked at myself and noticed my armor was gone too, replaced by what looked like cheap white work clothes. All our weapons and armor had been piled up in a corner of the room, making it look like a pile of rubbish.
“Ciel! Luvias! Diaria! Wake up!”
“My head hurts…”
“Are you awake now?”
While I shaked everyone awake, the door opened and Selene appeared behind it, she had been the one who knocked us out. She was holding a tray in her hands, wearing something similar to a maid uniform. Were it not for the two horns on her forehead, I would have thought she was a regular maid. The tray held cups with a liquid of suspicious scent, and exactly one for each of us.
“Where are…wait, where’s Lapis?!”
“Calm down. Knowing her, I’m sure she’s still fighting with Lord Tiamat. You should focus on recovering from your wounds.”
Selene spoke with a powerful voice, not allowing interruptions. We all would prefer to rush out and look for Lapis, but we knew she would never allow that to happen, not to mention she had already defeated all four of us instantly before. It was frustrating…but we had no option but to wait for an opportunity.
“Anyway, now that you’re all awake, let’s get everything straight. You’ve all come here to Dragon’s Nest to train and get stronger, is that correct?”
Everyone nodded silently. Taking that as everyone’s agreement, Selene continued.
“While you were all sleeping I took the liberty to investigate some things on my own, including your position, as well as why Brave turned into a girl.”
“But how…and in such a short time…”
“Just like how you humans have spies, we also have eyes in many places.”
Hearing Luvias’ mutter, Selene answered with a composed voice. Eyes…considering how powerful their magic was, that was likely done with a method I could not even begin to comprehend.
“Regardless, Brave, or Lapis like she’s called now, brought you all here so you may become stronger.”
That was true, we were here because we had wanted to become stronger. We had never imagined that would lead to Lapis’ identity being revealed.
“Now, I’ll be supervising your stay in Dragon’s Nest for as long as needed, and you shall only move where I allow it. Unless I’m satisfied, you won’t be allowed to leave either, I don’t care if it takes a year or many decades. So unless you want to stay here for the rest of your lives, you better focus on getting stronger.”
Decades…or the rest of our lives? At first I thought she might be joking, but when I looked at her face she was completely serious. She was really determined to not let us leave unless we got much stronger. Usually I would protest, but something else was more urgent. Lapis, we had hurt her a lot, and I was worried about her.
“Are we clear on your situation then? Do you have any questions?”
“I want to know about Lapis!”
I instinctively raised my hand and said that. Hearing me, Selene looked slightly confused, and after thinking about it for a bit she looked at me.
“About…Lapis? That’s rather vague, can you specify exactly what you want to know?”
“Her past. I want to know what happened to her, and why she looks like this now.”
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As I stammered, Luvias took over from me. She was right, her past, Brave’s past, was littered with mysteries, her current appearance being the issue. Sorciere had told us what Brave’s life had been like, but she never mentioned why he decided to change into a girl. That was something Lapis had wanted to keep secret. We had never asked much about it, but now we needed to know more if we wanted to be considered her true friends.
“I see… Sorciere has told me about that, and she didn’t tell me to keep it secret, so I assume I can tell you.”
Everyone gulped in anticipation. Meanwhile I had been more stressed than I had noticed, only now noticing my fists were clenched tight.
“After she…Brave, saved the world – though it was only the human realm – there was a period of peace. Just like your legends say, Brave and his friends were welcomed back as their world was reborn.”
They had defeated the Demon King and saved the world from the depths of despair, I could hardly imagine how happily they were received. Everyone must have been praising Brave for his great feat, regardless of their race. I had seen how she was received after defeating a Lich, now imagine if she had saved the entire world instead.
“But that was only in the beginning. With time, people began despising Brave, and trying to get rid of him. He was a thorn in the side of those in power, and considered unfairly privileged for the common folk.”
“So…was Lapis always in the palace then? Couldn’t they have given her a piece of land for her to live on her own..?”
Before Selene could answer Diaria’s question, Luvias was already shaking her head.
“I know how royalty deals with things, and that would be too complicated. First, considering her position as a hero, she would deserve a rather large territory. If the granted land was too small, the hero would be dissatisfied, but if it’s too big, then other nobles would complain. On top of that, the hero is a very powerful person, so there’s a danger that a smaller country gets founded inside a larger one. Even if Brave vows loyalty to the king, it’s hard to imagine it would be allowed.”
“Is that why they kept him in the palace even if they disliked his presence?”
“Possibly, at least that’s what I expect happened.”
“Your conjecture is correct.”
Selene looked impressed with Luvias’ knowledge as she said that, but Luvias did not look happy in the slightest being praised for that. It was easy to figure out why she did not like being correct about that.
“Eventually the king and nobles that detested his presence began hiring assassins trying to rid themselves of him. Brave was obviously way more powerful than dozens of assassins together, so they never had any success, but it still had a strong effect on his mental health.”