We made our way back to the inn after the small party we had. I was so tired by the time that we had arrived that I had hardly managed to explain to Kurobe that he needed to stand guard before I stumbled into the room and flopped onto the bed. I suppose that if this is meant to be some form of trap, then it was done wisely. If I were to have to fight right now, I certainly wouldn’t be able to put up a ton of resistance. If I were to fall asleep before they decide to strike, then I might not even wake up in the morning
“A bed again, at last!” I say as I sprawl out and stretch
Somehow aware of the possibility of a trap, I still can’t help but feel relaxed on a good bed. It might be because I am losing confidence in my suspicion that the princess is actually trying to set up a trap. I mean, both of them seemed ready—if not eager—to eat the food that I had prepared, though the Yuusha did joke about needing “poison resistance” to be able to come out unscathed. Is that the kind of thing people who believe you’re going to “destroy the world with clever schemes and ultimate power” would do?
“I agree. Me and Hark have been camping for quite some time now. After sleeping on the high quality mattress provided for me all this time, it almost brings me to tears when I have to sleep on those ragged sleeping bags.” the princess says with a wholeheartedly happy face
“That reminds me, I’ve been meaning to ask you something. I apologize if this is rude, but… You are royalty, and he is the person meant to save the world, so why are you living the lives of common vagabonds? I figured, at the very least, that the kingdom would give you enough funds to be on level terms with established adventurers.” I ask, trying not to hit on touchy subjects
There is obviously more to this than what I’ve been told, and that fact alone means that it might not be the kind of thing that she wants others to learn about.
“Well, as the Yuusha, Hark did receive a large sum of cash meant to serve both as an incentive to stay within the kingdom and to gear up with. It’s a tradition in our country to allow the Yuusha to follow the ‘Hero’s path of inauguration’ to allow him to grow into a capable Yuusha.” the princess explains with a solemn look
“What do you mean by ‘stay within the kingdom’? Does he have the option to reside in any country he wants to?” I ask
If the Yuusha decides to stay in Teslagr, than it would be the perfect incentive for me to leave the country myself. I’ve already run into the Yuusha twice within the first week since my arrival. Putting some distance between us might make our encounters significantly less frequent.
“Your country must be quite disconnected from the rest of the world for you to not know that much, or are you just a bit of a airhead, Mano-san?” the princess asks with a giggle
Somehow, I can feel my cheeks becoming warmer at her question. That’s about the nicest way to call me stupid, right? She can say some rather sharp statements without reserve, it seems. If you were to not pay attention, they would slip right by you as well.
“Indeed, we have a policy of isolation. Usually, we keep ourselves hidden and have no contact with the outside world… but certain things have happened.” I say, trying to look troubled
This is the cover story that I’m going to be going with for a while, I’ve decided. It draws some attention to me, but it helps to explain my cultural differences as well as some other factors about me that are far out of the ordinary. Still, if I were to blow up a city or summon a tower of fire, I doubt I would be able to stand by that same excuse.
“Well, basically, the Yuusha can become royalty of any country he pleases to. The fact that he could easily conquer or create a nation by himself later in life has ensured that freedom. I don’t know about our neighbors, but our country basically wants the Yuusha to become royalty here…” the princess continues
She seems a bit distant as she explains, for some reason. Is this a sensitive subject for her? More importantly, how is it that the Yuusha is still looked upon fondly? It sounds like the Yuusha have had their own share of world conquest under their belts.
“From what I’ve heard, Teslagr’s ruler is the noble with the most pure Yuusha bloodline. Does it have something to do with that?” I ask, attempting to dig a bit deeper
If that sword-obsessed idiot actually makes a claim to royalty in this country, it seems that they will really just hand it over to him. Fleeing the country might be all but imperative if he becomes the new monarch of this country. The current royalties’ scheming could have some serious consequences for me if I don’t keep my eye on them.
“Not exactly. My father says that having a Yuusha as a noble is like a double-edged sword. In the event that we go to war, he would be incredibly useful, but the country would have to bend to the Yuusha’s whim… Isn’t that horrible? They treat Hark like he’s some kind of power-hungry monster. They would throw him away if he were to stop being useful…” she answers sorrowfully
Huh? Is that really how it is? I suppose there isn’t such a thing as a noble who doesn’t try and retain his own status, but to treat the Yuusha as a weapon, of all things? What if he were to perish? How would you handle the Maou?
“Wait, there is something I don’t understand. If having the Yuusha as a part of your royalty is such a militaristic boon for a country, then other countries probably want to gain the Yuusha’s favor as well. In that case, wouldn’t being the country that summons him in the first place be favorable? What determines who gets to summon him?” I ask
If countries had used him as a tool for military strength, then there would have been no way for them to reach they have reached any kind of agreement. Even if a country broke to break the agreement, nothing could be done about it as long as it could succeed in summoning the Yuusha. They could have simply had the Yuusha fight the consequent war for them. It’s rather easy to lie to someone who knows nothing of the world and simply tell them that the nation attacking is evil in some fashion. There is no way that they would actually fight back and kill the Yuusha, because, then, they would have to find some way of taking down the Maou themselves.
“It’s random, I guess? Every nation capable simply tries to summon him continuously until one succeeds. Many nations have tried to cheat by attempting to summon him early, but they always fails. Legend has it that the Yuusha cannot be summoned until there is an evil for him to fight.” the princess returned in an unsure manner.
The degree of accuracy of that rumor scared me.
“I guess you got lucky then. Well… not you personally, I suppose. I mean, you are the one forced to travel with that idiot.” I sneer
Was it not a coincidence that we were summoned in the same country? Gero seemed to be pretty sure of where I was going to pop up, so I don’t think my showing up here was random. It also seems oddly coincidental that he was summoned “by random” so close to me. Since my being here is a result of the spell used to summon him, maybe I had always been bound to be close to him at the beginning.
“I think I’m fortunate, but I worry for Hark. He is too innocent for this world ruled by those who can lie the best… I’m sorry it seems I went off-topic. Hark did receive a large contribution, but he blew it all right away on a jewel-encrusted ‘holy sword’ and some basic armor. He claimed that it would pay for itself in no time, but the first time we went out to fight monsters, he broke the sword.” the princess says with a scary look on her face
I can’t quite tell if she looks like she feels sick, or if she is ready to commit a murder. Either way, for her face to turn that shade of blue, it must have upset her a fair amount.
“Couldn’t you just remove the jewels and sell them to a blacksmith for scrap metal?” I ask, trying to calm her down
“Hehe, the blade was made of an alloy consisting of worthless metals. Even the jewels were just colored glass.” she continues with a chuckle that seems to have given up on life
Just how worthless can her companion be?
“That explains the Yuusha, but there is one last thing that doesn’t add up.” I say
“Hmm? What’s that?” The princess asks with a now confused look
“You’re royalty; even if you’re not the first daughter, I’m sure you must be quite wealthy. You seem to be at least smart enough to not to blow your cash the same way he did, so… how did you end up with nothing?” I ask
A look of worry flushes across her face.
“Mano-san… I must apologize. I’ve not been totally honest with you.” she says, sending a chill down my spine