“…This has become something troubling.”
The guild leader of Arra, Collard, who I just met a week ago was furrowing his brow and said that while heaving deep—very deep sighs.
“Well, I feel you're always troubled every time we meet though?”
Guild Leader Collard looked at me with a reproachful gaze as I unconsciously let my true thoughts leak out.
“I think it’s because in 8 out of 10 cases, your majesty is the cause.”
At some point he had changed the way he addressed me to ‘your majesty’.
When I entered this room the first time and undid my disguise, he prostrated himself and started saying “For Your Majesty to grace this one with your presence is—“. I successfully stopped him with “It’s fine already, just talk normally!” but it seems he doesn’t have any intention to change the ‘Your Majesty’ part.
Even so, 8 out of 10 cases? Did I really make a lot of trouble for him?
Errm… the first time I met him, he was troubled because there was an incident with the Joey reward.
The next time he was troubled because of the private talks.
The third time he was troubled because of the monster stampede.
Then, he got troubled after I refused his plea in negotiations.
Thoroughly getting beaten in battle against monsters is no longer in the realm of ‘troubled’.
And the last one is being troubled when I descended to the battle ground.
That means around 4 out of 6, errmm…
“The cases where I was the cause is around 67%. If we rounded it then that's around 7 out of 10.”
“Whether it’s 7 or 8 is not the issue! …*cough*, my apologies.”
Noticing that he had become flustered, he cleared his throat and fixed his posture.
As one would expect even though he was completely exhausted in the battle field, after one week passed his vitality was back. Despite him saying that he’s troubled, his countenance looks pretty healthy to me…
“—Perhaps you got new girlfriend?”
Hearing my direct question, the black tea he’s drinking entered the wrong pipe and made him choke.
“Cough…cough cough…why are you asking something like that?!”
“Well, somehow. I feel there’s something different from before, something like…happiness errm.. riajuu aura floating around from your entire body, you see.”
Guild Leader Collard seems to be trying to fix his dignity, but in the next moment his expressions crumbled.
“Well..you can tell? Ehehe, you see… it's our guild counter personnel, a girl named Mona.”
Ah, I think she’s the unrequited love of the guild leader, the red haired girl who was doing sexual things with around 3 men. Though I have completely erased that shocking memory from guild leader's head with my ‘evil eyes’.
Also, not that I care but hearing a man who has crossed certain age laughing with an ‘ehehe’ sound is gross, I hope he knocks it off.
“I received an intense attack from her, and now we formally became a couple.”
“So you’ve become the fourth prey…”
“Well, nothing really.”
Since the person himself is happy, I will say no more.
“Wait, I come here since I heard you wanted to talk me, so you called me here to brag about that?”
Even I didn’t have a girlfriend in my previous life. …tch go die!
“Of course not!”
Guild leader expression turns discouraged.
“There is the compensation of human casualty and material damage caused by the monster stampede, and the reduction of the amount of merchants who come and go because of rumour—well, for both cases it’ll be resolved in a matter of time. The problem is your majesty’s influence!”
Even if I’m being told I was the cause, for this one week I’ve been secluding myself in the castle and have been busy dealing with my subordinates’ questions like ‘Princess why didn’t you summon this one?’ or ‘When was this one’s turn!?’.
Then as I look at the network for a change of mood, bypassing with evil eyes, when I look at the state of the guild leader Collard, he seems to want to contact me, so I used that as an excuse and headed to the lower world.
“…Did I do something?”
“Your majesty didn’t do anything directly. However, there are monsters that appeared and are doing territory declarations using your majesty’s name in the Great Forest, dungeon, and White Dragon Mountain Range, saying something like ‘This is the territory of the great Hiyuki-sama!’ ‘Die for Hiyuki-sama!’ ‘Hiyuki-sama hah hah *ragged breath*’--“
I think the last one is an illness.
“In the end, what was that?! The day before yesterday a part of the Dragon Mountain Range was blown apart and created a large crater, what’s with that!? From what I heard your majesty also had a hand in that?!”
“Ah, there’s a group of Youma (lit. ghost, apparition) who didn’t want to cooperate with my Kingdom, so Iki, Soujuu, and Gaijin—well, my subordinates who volunteered to do some negotiations, went there and tried to persuade them. However it seems they put too much power into their persuasions and ended up with that.”
“Are persuasions in your majesty’s country always accompanied with destructive actions!?”
“Well… if I can I actually want to deny that.”
There are many cases I knew of that made me unable to deny that.
“Moreover who gave you permission to declare it’s your territory or to destroy it?!”
Why is he so agitated? I tilted my head in puzzlement and answered.
“Of course from the masters of those places. They said ‘by all means’ and allowed it though? Or rather, they all had become the citizens of my country. So whether I want to boil or bake them, I can do as I please right?”
“I can’t understand your theory! All those places are part of my country!”
Well, even though you said that, isn’t it just something that humans one sided-ly decided? It’s not like they talked to the monsters.
As I said that his answer is ‘Monsters shouldn’t have the same rights as humans’.
“….hmmm…, then isn’t it fine? My country only has monsters, and the human side takes a stance of not recognizing their existence. Wouldn’t that mean they can just ignore whatever the monsters said?”
“Normally you can think like that…”
There Collard made a face as if he was chewing 10 bugs.
“Your majesty’s influence is way overwhelming. That giant dragon can be seen even from the rural area, much less the adventurers who saw the strength of your majesty and your subordinates in close proximity, among them appeared some who adore your majesty. From the citizens or even member of the Diet, there are some who have views that we should join together with ‘Imperial Crimson’ because of this. Managing and extinguishing it are strenuous feats. The reason is Gald not here is also because he’s dealing with that.”
Ah, so this is the reason I felt something was missing. The sultry figure of Gald wasn’t here.
Even if you throw those complains at me, it’s somebody else’s problem so other than giving vague encouragement there’s nothing else I can do.
“Well…you had it rough. Originally you’re not suited for this, so how about giving up your position as guild leader?”
Yeah, unconsciously I said my true thought.
“Everyone shrinks back, and none are willing to succeed it.”
“Even the words from top brass in the country or church, ‘The free city of Arra on the surface is obeying the country, but do you think they also have back connections with the monsters?’ doesn’t feel painful anymore--”
Glancing at me he corrected himself.
“—my stomach ache I mean.”
Well, actually conversing with me right now can also be considered as having connections to monsters.
“Well… certainly. If you’re able to do back dealing while pretending to obey you might be able to conduct yourself better.”
“Yeah, it’s as you said.”
Collard disappointed but agrees.
“…Then? What I should I do? Should we appeal them with showing some farce, fake fight between us in middle of town to prove that we aren’t working together?”
“Who would want that! Or rather, because how large your majesty’s influence is, I might be stabbed from behind! Actually, in training school, Joey spilled the fact that he talked intimately with your majesty and had his training time increased from eight hours to twenty! He looks more worn out day by day…”
No matter where he goes he is a stupid…err, unfortunate child.
“That’s why, my request is, for a while I hope your majesty and your subordinates won’t cause a public disturbance in the outskirts of Arra. That’s the first one.”
“Well, originally I wanted to leave Arra for a while. I think the disturbances in the Great Forest and the surrounding areas will return to how it was before.”
Well I won’t demand them to not attack or eat those who invade their territory, but I think aimless attacks like stampedes won’t happen again, I added.
“Hearing that, I think this talk already worth it. By the way there’s one more thing I want to confirm—“
“What is it?”
“I heard from Mia that your majesty is going to the royal capital of Caldia?”
Ah, I think I said it before the disturbance.
“That’s the plan.”
“…Actually I wouldn’t recommend it.”
He looks distressed.
It’s not like I’m going there to pick a fight.
As if he anticipated that question, he silently takes two envelopes from the drawer of his working desk, then placed it in front of me.
Both of the envelopes are cold white and were sealed with beeswax but things like an address or seal which can locate where it comes from aren’t there.
“—What is this?”
“Both of them are informal letters, but one of it is from the Noble houses Diet and the other is from his highness, the third prince Ashil Cloud. I think they gave it to me so that it would somehow reach your majesty... as I though the country really does doubt our relationship.”
First I need to open it and confirm the contents, but when I summoned my sword “Sinner of Rose (Gilles de Reis)” Collard became upset.
“—Don’t use such a dangerous thing! I’ll lend you paper knife!”
Then, I borrowed the paper knife to open it and read the contents, but…
“Hmm… from house of nobles it is “Throw down your weapons rebels of the country and come to our custody.” They said”
“Well, as expected. Their aim most likely is your wealth. There’s also a case with the currency of the Lost Era. To present it to the country, that’s actually quite an unreasonable demand. –Well, let’s pretend we don’t know anything.”
Though he had expected it to some extent, Collard still nodded with an expression on his face as if he had received bad marks on a test.
“Well that’s true. By the way, how many troops does this country have?”
“Standing armies and mercenaries, added with retainer groups from each noble all in all number around fifty or seventy thousand. –What about it?”
“That’s surprisingly few. With only that much if I mobilize the round table members, even if we hold back.. how many minutes can they hold I wonder…”
“What are you trying to imply?!”
Collard asked me in a panic, as if trying to jump out from the couch. But, this letter’s content is more or less ‘that’ right?
“Well, since this seems like a declaration of war, I want to crush them?”
Collard was only flapping his mouth, so I can’t make out what he wants to say.
“Then, the other letter is from the prince: “To my lovely princess. I wouldn’t mind reaching the afterlife as long this sloppy hand writing remains. I wrote this for my dear rose so I can let this passionate feeling in my heart—“ wait, what is this?”
“…A love letter, I think.”
Hearing the words of the now calmed down guild leader, Collard, I tilted my head.
“One is a declaration of war, while the other one is a love letter, is the top brass in this country in disorder?”
“No…as I said, it’s not a declaration of war, please don’t readily think it as one. … And also even though the third prince is also a ruler, he doesn’t have any connections with the house noble diet. Or rather, he thinks the nobles are a nuisance, so please think of them separately.”
“The prince thinks the nobles are a nuisance?”
Perhaps he’s an idiot or perhaps he’s someone extremely capable and can see the violation of vested rights by the nobles—though looking at how he sent a love letter to a princess of a demon country who he has never met before points to the former.
“At any rate, he’s a hero. When he was 11 years old, eight assassins aimed to kill him and his 6 year old sister when they were at a summer resort. In order to protect his little sister he killed them all. Not only that, at the yearly martial arts tournament in the capital of Caldia, he has gotten five successive wins in the sword divisions since he was 12 years old.
Also, to accumulate combat experience he volunteered to join the guild in the capital when he was 14 years old. When he became 16 years old, he earned S rank title.
Just saying, but his victory at martial arts tournaments is not connected with the fact that he is a prince, he earned that achievement through pure ability.
I don’t really understand much about swordsmanship, and while this might be impolite to Gald, even Gald won’t be able to win against his highness with pure sword technique.”
I silently shrugged my shoulders. Well, after all I’m just self taught.
Even so, I want to test how long I can last against those who accumulate skill through genuine training. Moreover apparently he’s S rank.
“That’s why his skill is genuine. Plus because he is young and handsome, he’s popular regardless of gender. That’s why for houses of nobles who want to make royalty only a figurehead, he is a pain.”
If you only go by looks, Collard is also like a prince though.
“What a pain. …That said, he arranged a date and place to meet, so I guess it’s fine to meet him once. Even if it’s a trap I can just break free with force.”
As I said that, Collard looks resigned and asked,
“Uhh… I actually didn’t want to ask, but, can you tell me the specific date and place?”
“Next week the 3. At the masquerade ball to be held in the capital. Time-wise it’s excellent.”
I show him—waving the written invitation that was enclosed in the letter.
“…I see, it’s a common place for clandestine meetings between men and women.”
“Well, under any circumstances I think it won’t turn into a love affair.”
While saying that, judging that the talk is over, I rose from my seat.
As I was retreating Collard appealed fervently to my back,
“Your majesty, if by some chance the nobles or his highness Ashil does something impolite, please I beg you that you remember that it’s not under the consensus of all nobles nor the royalty.”
--Oh? I thought for a sec then ask again.
“Then how do I distinguish them? If they keep silent then they affirm it anyway. I don’t know how I should distinguish them. For example, if a bee stings you and flies away, will you check all the bees one by one? Isn’t it more effective to just squish them all?”
I kind of expected that answer, Collard closing his eyes without saying anything.
Then I continue while swinging the letter from the nobles with my two fingers.
“Stealing from others while not wanting their own things stolen, isn’t that just selfishness? What I will do is similar with their own ideals, so won’t that make it fair?”
In the end I wanted to say something like please take care of your lover, but I stopped myself.
Before meeting with the rumoured prince, I plan to make her meet another important person first.