Chapter 24 Ruined Capital
After the battle had ended, shadows of people could be seen leaving the area.
They were adventurers who had come to destroy the last remaining pillar, but had instead become an audience.
Of course their job to rid the city of monsters was important, but their pride as fellow adventurers came first. They wouldn’t allow themselves to steal someone else’s prey out of respect. So they waited, and watched as the battle unfolded, and ended.
Atop a building towering over the battlefield, a young man along with two women discuss the battle they had just witnessed.
A slightly older woman with short straight hair and long parted bangs talks to the young man with long black hair.
“Incredible, I take back my words. I thought you were bluffing when you said his true ability wasn’t with rapiers or daggers. The change in his demeanor and skill with a proper weapon was like night and day. However, are you sure you’re fine without meeting him?”
“I don’t mind at all, Karen. We’ll meet again in the future”
The young man’s gaze stares into the distance as he answers the slightly older woman named Karen.
“What’s wrong Iris? You seem surprised as well. What do you think?”
“There were no wasted movements with his sword technique… everything was calculated thoroughly, and perfectly executed… I….. I wish to have a bout with that man at least once……”
The young woman, Iris, with dark reddish brown hair wore a serious expression on her face as she watched Tetsu from afar.
“Well then, let’s do one last sweep through the city before heading back and meeting with everyone else. Shien, Iris, let’s go. I want to finish before it gets any darker”
The three who quietly observed everything from above leapt down, and went on their way.
Moments after the battle ended, both Reinsfield and Kain took Misha and Tetsu towards the Mage’s Association. Although the summoning circle in the sky was now destroyed, monsters that had already been summoned still roamed the city. As the day came to close, the city was thoroughly cleaned of all the monsters.
Morning, the day after.
Inside the Mage’s Association, five important figures of the Kingdom had gathered to discuss yesterday’s events, and what the future holds for them.
The Minister of Commerce and Trade, the Guild Head Leader and his right hand man, the Mage Association’s Leader, and the Archbishop.
The six of them sat a wide oval table with plenty of open seats.
“Good morning. This meeting’s topic is about the aftermath of yesterday’s events”
“We’re starting already? Where is the King? We’re also missing the representatives of the upper and lower ranked nobles. Were they not notified? What kind of farce are you playing at, Cray?”
The Minister of Commerce and Trade looked around the table with an agitated expression. It was the first time such an important meeting was being held without the main people who governed over the civilians.
“The king is dead, and the other representatives will be here later”
“Surely you jest! Such a joke is out of my taste. Even as a joke, something like that should never be said”
“Unfortunately it’s no joke, Vincent. I saw it yesterday. Cray led us directly to the King’s audience room. There upon his seat, he sat unmoving, and a single dagger pierced through his chest. I’ve since confiscated his body so that we may perform the rite of sending him off”
The minister of commerce, Vincent, sat wide eyed at what the Archbishop had confirmed.
“I-Impossible! The palace is guarded with over one-hundred of the kingdoms finest soldiers! Unless… he was assassinated?… And… you said Cray led you al—”
“Do not finish those words Minister. Such accusations will deem you as a traitor”
“But how can you be so sure that he isn’t responsible Kain?!!”
“Because the palace that we once knew was no longer the same”
Interrupting the billowing Vincent, the Archbishop spoke clearly and concisely.
“Even the wound on his chest, only traces of dried blood remained. He had been dead for a long time now”
“!!!… Impossible… I had seen the King alive and merry just the other day! If that is indeed the truth… this must be a dream… Yes… that’s right! All of this, All of this, All of this! It’s all a dream!”
“Minister, I advise you to calm down first. There is a good reason for why the others will be here later”
Cray chimed in as he looked at Vincent with a stern look.
“ha ha ha! And what could that reason be, Cray!? Perhaps that the nobles had schemed the murder of the King?!”
Vincent continued to reject the idea that the King was dead, sarcastically, with an almost equally farfetched idea that came to mind. The thought that the lively king whom he had met just days earlier, had actually been dead long before, was impossible to believe. From his perspective, it all seemed like a bad joke that had been played out too far.
“That’s precisely it. Although, saying they schemed it would be giving them too much credit”
“This is madness! Even if what you say has any merit, what is the purpose in telling me all of this?”
“It’s not only just the King that’s been dead inside the castle. The prince along with the queen, were also found lying lifelessly on the ground.”
“What does that have to do with me?”
“Tell me, what do you know of Davory’s execution?”
“Davory? I had heard he was accused of attempting to usurp the throne, along with various other crimes”
“Don’t you at all find it strange, that a proud retainer of his majesty for over thirty years was found suspicious of overthrowing the Kingdom?”
At Cray’s words, Vincent immediately became wide eyed. When he thought about it, there was absolutely no reason for that kind of betrayal. Although he married the King’s younger sister, even if the King was murdered, Davory wouldn’t be the next in line to become King.
“Then tell me, what proof do you have that would say otherwise?”
“Take a look at this”
Cray immediately produced a small book in his hands. After opening the book, he slid it towards Vincent.
Vincent quickly recognized the hand writing. It was a diary. The King’s personal diary. The page entry was dated back to almost four years ago, and written there was;
“Today, a man with silver hair approached me and my entourage. Along with the man, was a young profit in a black robe. Her hood concealed her face. She said to me, ‘A great disaster will befall your kingdom in years to come. The precursor to fate, is death’. Perhaps, where they threatening my life?”
Looking at the next page, the next entry was dated months after.
“I am a fool. Today I have outlived my last remaining sibling. On the streets of my City, my youngest sister was struck by a thief. She had bleed out before any kind of medical attention was possible. I can’t help but to think, was it just coincidence? My grief is shared with another, my closest friend mourns at the loss of his wife. To him, the loss is just as great, if not greater than my own. Will he be fine? I’ve already arranged to have my youngest sister’s daughter to be properly taken care of. It’s the least I can do.”
Turning the page once more, the next entry had been dated just a few months ago, with many missing pages between the previous one.
“Today, I’ve once again met that profit while on the busy streets of my city. Is it really just coincidence? All of her predictions have come true. In any case, I’ve arranged for her to meet with me privately inside my audience chamber. I wish to speak with her alone regarding the future of my kingdom”
Turning the page a few more times, Vincent noticed there weren’t any more entries. It was the last entry recorded in the diary.
“Are you implying the profit has something to do with this?”
“Yes. However, rather than asking about the profit, I’d like to ask about the man with white or silver hair that likely masqueraded himself as a business man”
“A business man with silver hair… The debt collector?”
Cray and the others looked at each other as if they had found the missing information they needed.
“If you will, please explain to us what he did”
Cray urged Vincent to continue on and explain this new found information as he crossed his arms.
“He went around lending and collecting money from everyone. Recently he had been really successful, and was hired by the King as the manager of the treasury.”
“Thank you, that much is good enough”
Satisfied with the answer, Cray immediately stood up.
“You still have yet to answer what this has to do with me”
“At this moment in time, with the King and his successor dead, a struggle over becoming the next ruler will happen. Factions likely will collide against each other. As a result, civil unrest will greet this already unstable kingdom. As someone with enough wealth to back the kingdom in this crisis, who you decide to support will ultimately become the next ruler”
“Then… are you trying to garner my support? If so, what is the point in telling me all of this?”
“You’re a smart man Vincent, I’m sure you’ve already connected the dots between Davory’s death, the man with silver hair, and the noble factions”
“Could it be… is Davory’s daughter still alive?”
“Let’s go, the battle to decide the Kingdom’s future will start soon”
At Vincent’s question, Cray simply revealed a smirk on his face, and walked towards the door. Everyone else also stood up and they all left the room shortly after.
The real meeting would take place in a different location. For the purpose of not leaking any information, the Magician’s Society had allowed the use of their facilities.
In a different place, a different kind of battle was taking place inside a young maiden’s heart.
“I’m sorry for keeping everything from you…”
“Ah, it’s not really anything to be worried about you know. I’ve never mentioned anything about myself either until now, so it’s not as if you were obligated to tell me”
On a hilltop with flowers and green grass swaying in the wind, two people were engaged in a long conversation.
“he he~, but to think you were someone who was actually from another world. Say… if we are to part ways, what would you do from now on? And would you… miss having me around…?”
“Hmm, well… my objective, it won’t change. I just want to survive. I have no intentions of becoming some kind of grand hero. And well, I also don’t mind having you around Misha. Any extra company would be nice. After all, I don’t know if I could find someone to replace you right away”
With a happy gaze, Misha continued staring into Tetsu’s eyes after hearing his answer.
“Hey… there’s no need to stare at me like that you know”
“I want to make this as clear as possible”
Misha inched closer towards Tetsu who had a stiff expression.
“I love you”
“I’m sorry, I didn’t catch that…”
“I love you”
“I must be hearing things… I keep hearing an odd word that sounds almost li—“
“I LOVE YOU!”
Misha leapt on top of Tetsu, and kissed his cheek.
“I love you”
Tightly holding onto Tetsu, she repeated herself once more. In a dazed state of mind, Tetsu remained silent
“I want to be together with you, always. Will you accept me?”
“ahh… umm.. well…”
Stumbling with his words, he quickly tried to regain his composure.
“Misha, you’re a very cute girl, but uhh… we’re almost ten years apart…”
“Love has no bounds! And there aren’t any restrictions in age when it comes to marriage!”
“I’m sure you can find someone better than me…”
“I don’t want anyone else! I love you!”
“Then… uhh… if you still feel the same way about me in five years, ask me again. I might consider it…”
As if her prayers were answered, she immediately pressed her lips onto Tetsu’s. She had stolen a kiss! Tetsu who was unable to move, could only wait until she was finished. After a few seconds had passed, she lifted her flushed red face away from his as a strand of saliva still connected the two of them together.
“Misha, it’s time”
Appearing in front of them, familiar faces had appeared.
“It’s a promise, okay?”
Slowly getting up, Misha walked towards the party of five. After a short greeting with Tetsu, the now six people went on their way, parting with him.
Tetsu, who was now alone, looked into the distant sky. Watching as the clouds slowly passed him by. Many things had happened thus far in his journey. His first party member, Misha, had been thrown to a long drawn out plot to send the kingdom into turmoil. It was highly likely that they wouldn’t meet again. And if they did, it wouldn’t be for a long time.
Finding out that the King was dead, along with his son and wife, and the kingdom’s army sacrificed for the construction of the large scale summoning magic, insecurity would quickly spread among the civilians. They would quickly be in need of a new ruler. Through the King’s sister, Misha was the last remaining person who was of royal blood. She held the right to seize the throne, not only through her bloodline, but through ones who backed her.
Watching as the clouds took on different shapes, Tetsu recalled the lyrics of the song Misha had recently told him.
It was a story. It was a story about a hero who able to briefly manipulate space and time, and cleave a godly demonic entity in half, but the lyrics abruptly ended after saving the world. It seemed as if there were more lyrics in the song, but even Misha herself was unsure. Did the hero of that story have a happy ending?
He thought to himself, there was absolutely no way he was as righteous as the hero in that story. All he wanted to do was to keep living. He was simply another human. He wanted nothing more, and nothing less.