SETP Vol. 1 Chapter 22
Chapter 22 – Welles May Rinchelle
“Welcome to Rinchelle.”
Three days had passed.
Grerial and I were led to a large hall.
The gorgeous decorations expressed the hall’s majesty.
However, upon entering the room, I immediately felt that something was off.
I realized it before anyone else.
And the reason was…
“I hope you will find your stay in Rinchelle as comfortable as if you were in Diestburg. You have my gratitude for coming all the way to our kingdom.”
The reason was that sitting on the throne was a young man about as old as Grerial.
“You see, many of our family members suffer from poor health. Thus I am the only one present to welcome you, but please do not think there is any other meaning to it. I hope you will forgive us.”
The young man’s hair was bright red, like fire.
His fearless smile barely hid the flame of ambition I sensed burning inside him.
“When our poor bedridden folks will hear that our guests from Diestburg have arrived, they will surely be overjoyed.”
The young man gave a small laugh, then looked towards Grerial.
“I met Grerial before, but you are his younger brother, yes?”
“My name is Fay Hanse Diestburg.”
“Fay…so you are the youngest brother. Rumors about you reached as far as our Rinchelle. Some of them made me hope to have a chance to talk with you in person.”
Rumors about me…until now, there could only be one kind.
The young man, however, seemed to be interested in other kinds of rumors.
The rumors about the war that had recently ended.
“The valiant man who led Afillis to victory? Or the ‘Trash Prince’ enamored to a life of sloth. I wonder which one is true?”
The young man looked at me as if to gauge my worth.
A pressure I had little experience of.
Even so, my answer was already decided.
“I wonder indeed.”
The silence did not last long as the young man surrendered.
“Not a change in his expression. Your little brother is something else.”
“Don’t just test him out of the blue like that, Welles.”
Welles May Rinchelle.
Second in line to the throne of the Rinchelle kingdom.
That was the young man’s identity.
“Sorry, sorry, it’s a bad habit of mine, please forget it. Let me properly introduce myself. I am Welles May Rinchelle. Pleased to meet you.”
Welles now showed me a warm smile.
His expressions were really varied, I thought.
“Please do not worry, I do not mind at all.”
“I see. That’s great then.”
I looked around.
Presently there were no guards in the hall.
Welles had requested for us three to speak in private.
The knights who accompanied us opposed it, naturally, but Grerial said it would not be a problem and Feli agreed too, so it ultimately became possible.
Feli probably allowed it because of my presence.
“Anyway, it was brave of you to agree to come, Grerial.”
“….what do you mean by that?”
“Father has been confined to his bed since last year. The doctor said that he hasn’t much time left. Even if it was for Maevia’s sake, no one would have blamed you for deciding not to come.”
Maevia May Rinchelle.
That was the name of Grerial’s fiancee.
Because of the circumstances, Welles’ words suggested that the throne inheritance issue was looming.
“…how about your older brother’s condition?”
“No good at all. He vomited blood again yesterday. The doctor won’t talk, but we took it to mean that he isn’t long for this world either.”
“Maevia is at his side then?”
“Yeah, she said I didn’t need to go. Forgive her for not being here to welcome you.”
Grerial and Welles had probably known each other for long, as they both spoke frankly to each other.
“You’re going to inherit the throne?”
“That’s the plan…at least *for now*. But I want you to rest easy. All information about Rinchelle’s internal affairs leaking abroad is false. The inheritance problem has already been resolved. It’s true that until a few years ago I was prepared for the possibility of a bloody conflict, but now we’re just trying to smoke out the fools that are trying to turn the conflict into profit for them.”
Grerial turned quiet.
What was the reason to “smoke them out”? The available options were limited.
“You’re wondering what I’m thinking, right?”
“That’s fine, you’ll know soon enough. Hey, Grerial.”
Welles calls my brother’s name.
“I…Rinchelle plans to start a war soon.”
Welles doesn’t say against who.
It was clear enough, however, that it wouldn’t be Diestburg.
“Are you out of your mind, Prince Welles?”
I finally interjected.
For me, someone who despised wielding a sword more than anything else, it was unfathomable why anyone would want to start a war.
“I am not. It’s something I resolved to do many years ago. You know what I mean, don’t you Grerial?”
“You….you’re still carrying that……?”
Grerial’s expression was twisted.
I had too little information and could not keep up with the conversation.
“Just because of my title of prince, my actions have always been limited. Like a bird in a cage.”
Welles’ tone was fiercer with emotion. His sullen gaze pierced Grerial.
Looking at him, I could more or less tell what kind of reasons he had.
“Even if the person who gave birth to me was killed, I was always told to keep quiet, because I was the prince, because it was not only my problem.”
So you would start a war once you become king? You would finally start the revenge you were always denied?
I focused on each of Welles’ words and gestures.
Welles calls Grerial’s name, who had a look as stern as mine in his eyes.
“I know what you want to say. Even so, this is my deepest desire. I confessed it to you because I trust you. Don’t get in my way, please.”
“….I only came here because I was invited to your little brother’s birthday party.”
Grerial’s words continued.
“What would revenge lead you to? What can you achieve? A king does not burden or kill his own people. That is what I think.”
Hate does not breed anything.
Achieving revenge would not bring any result.
“…yes, that’s right. What you said is correct. Even so, I will not change my mind.”
“…this is pointless. I’m going to pretend I have heard nothing.”
Infuriated, Grerial left the room.
The door was slammed shut behind him.
“…that guy’s just too kind.”
How foolish would it be to involve your country in war because of personal revenge?
Grerial knew it well, thus he could not keep himself from losing his cool.
Welles looked at him and called him “kind”.
Welles looked at Grerial bolt and then stared off into space, when I called his name.
“Do you really wish to exact your revenge?”
I couldn’t shake the feeling that it wasn’t exactly like that.
In my previous life, I saw many people possessed by the lust for revenge.
That’s why I could say that.
In my eyes, Welles looked like he had already come to terms with the past.
“Your words to my brother…to me, they sounded like you were asking him to stop you.”
Welles’ eyes opened wide, in surprise.
“….it turns out Grerial’s younger brother must be a bit touched in the head.”
Welles was burdened by something. I didn’t know what it was, nor did I want to.
Even if I knew, I had no duty or reason to extend a hand to him.
The only thing I could warn him of was—
“I think that as long as you still have people you can rely on, you should do just that.”
It would be different if everyone was gone.
The kind Grerial would surely agree to listen, if Welles asked him to.
Their conversation clearly showed that there was a deep bond between them.
“No matter what happens, you’ll have regrets anyway.”
That time, if I didn’t wield the sword…
That time, if I did that instead…
That time, if I had noticed…
My life was filled with regrets.
“So you should pick the path that would lead to *regrets you won’t regret*.”
So rely on someone you can trust, I said.
I headed towards the door, to follow Grerial.
“If you don’t…”
I slowly pushed the door open, then whispered faintly enough that Welles would not hear.
“You’ll end up like me, with regrets even after dying…”