I place my hand near the sword I had thankfully not yet put down. It seems like it would have been better to spring the trap on me while I was sleeping or something, doesn’t it? I suppose my questioning must have forced her hand.
“Mano-san? What are you doing?” The princess asks while tilting her head
“What is it? Do you see a bug?! Get it off! Get it off!” She begins to yell as she bring her arms in close and stiffens her body
Did I just misunderstand her? I don’t trust her yet, but I don’t want to attack until I know for sure. I’ll play along, but I will make sure to keep my sword nearby for the rest of the night.
I go behind her and brush a random place on her back. I stamp on the ground twice to make it seem like I killed the fake insect before I continue.
“Okay, I got it.” I say as I walk back to the bed
“Oh, thank you! To go for your sword at the sight of a bug, you truly must be an amazing swordsman. I was right to try to ask you after all!” The princess says happily relaxing
I do enjoy her company at least, simply because I don’t have to make up complex excuses for my behavior. She is quite good at doing it for me.
“Ask me what?” I ask with a bit of confusion
“Well, to be totally honest, I didn’t really call you up here just to save on room cost. I have a favor to ask of you, and I was kind of hoping to talk to you in private about it.” The princess confesses with a guilty look
“What?” I let out in my surprise
That’s all? This entire setup was to ask me a favor?
“Don’t get me wrong! I really liked the idea of us having a sleep over! This is really important though, and we don’t have time to find anybody else…I hope you’re not angry.” The princess elaborates with a continued look of guilt
“Pfft! Seriously?” I say letting out a chuckle
Looking at her mixture of guilt, embarrassment, and desperate eyes I can’t help but feel silly for being so on guard this whole time. My chuckle evolves into low laughter as my shoulders relax.
“Wha? Hey, why are you laughing?! I was really worried you know!” She says throwing her arms down to pout
“Sorry, sorry, what did you need to ask me?” I say still trying to stifle more laughter
“Somehow I can’t help but feel like I’m being made fun of but… It’s about the tournament.”The princess says with a worried look
The tournament? Do they plan to get involved? A chance to see the Yuusha in action would certainly be helpful.
“You see, Hark needs someone to teach him swordsmanship. He is facing a rather powerful opponent that is proficient with a spear in the 3rd round. Hark is going to need a teacher if he is to have any chance of winning.” The princess continues
Teach him how to wield a sword? I wouldn’t even do that if I could. The absolute last thing that I want to do is make the Yuusha more powerful than he already is. I’m not nearly as good with a sword as they think I am either.
“I’m sorry, but I think I will need to decline.” I attempt to say politely
“Please, nobody else will do it! Hark is too proud and keeps turning down everybody that I ask!” The princess practically begs
She grabs my hand and presses forward as her eyes plead me.
She really put her all into helping the Yuusha doesn’t she?
“Please, surely there must be something that I can convince you with. The kingdom will reimburse most teaching expenses for the Yuusha. Father seems especially adamant about Hark winning the tournament.” She pleaded
Wait… the king wants Hark to win? Wasn’t the deal between him and Juire that he would get a large sum of money if his champion won? Does that mean that the person the king has decided to sponsor is the Yuusha? No wonder he seems so confident.
“I think I can kind of understand why your father wants him to win, but why do you two care so much about it? Wouldn’t training or taking care of catastrophes be a better use of your time?” I ask trying to dig further
There is more here than I am being told. That bugs me.
“Well… It’s Hark that wants to win so badly really. It all started with something my dad told him. My grandfather was obsessed with having the next Yuusha be part of our country as well, so he left a secret with my dad to try and convince the Yuusha if he was summoned in another country. ‘Azrael’ the demons sword.” The princess says with a worried look
Somehow the room becomes more chilled when she says the name “Azrael”. A moment of silence follows
“Why in the world would he be interested in a demon sword?” I ask trying to break the silence
“Because the demon sword is said to be the legacy of ‘Azrael’. Legend states that the sword will bring about the first calamity of the new Maou. Father says that grandfather wanted him to use it as a threat. A true Yuusha would sacrifice anything to prevent such a calamity.” She continues
“but what does all this have to do with the tournament?” I ask confused at the weird conversation tangent
“The grand prize this year for the tournament is the location of Azrael’s castle that has been a well kept secret of our family since grandfather defeated him.”
Who is this Azrael person supposed to be? Her grandfather seems like he was probably someone important, so it would seem to follow that Azrael is important as well, right?
“I can kind of see why the Yuusha would want to know the location of such a place, but why would all the other participants?” I ask trying to mask my ignorance of the subject
“It’s not been looted yet. Maou tend to gather extremely valuable treasures in their castles. Most consider it the easiest way to get a magical item. Most of the treasures seem to disappear along with the death of the Maou, and what’s left often doesn’t last long against common looters.” She answers
The Maou?! Azrael was a predecessor of mine? Does that mean that her grandfather was the previous Yuusha?
“I have no clue why father refuses to simply tell us the location of the castle so Hark can do something about the demon sword, but if we win he has no choice but to give us the location. Hark might even be able to get some gear that can actually be useful for our fight against the Maou! That’s why we have to make sure that Hark wins. Please won’t you help us?” She pleads again as she finishes her explanation
“You misunderstand me princess. I can’t help you win the tournament, because I’m going to win.” I say decisively