SETP Vol. 1 Chapter 23
Chapter 23 – Found out
Right after leaving the hall.
I found Grerial, leaning against a wall, muttering curses under his breath.
In the guest waiting room a bit further ahead, Feli and the knights were waiting, but he probably waited here for me to come out.
“Sorry for the wait.”
“Did Welles say anything?”
Grerial stormed out of the room in a rage, but he was still worried about him.
Just like Welles, I too had concluded that Grerial was really kind.
“No, nothing in particular.”
We didn’t talk about Grerial.
“I wonder why he told us about the war he plans to wage, though?”
“…probably for his just cause.”
“His just cause?”
“When starting a war, having “just cause” is the most important element. If a king wages war just to expand his kingdom’s territories, the neighboring countries will naturally oppose it. Any country that wages war without a proper reason is destined to be ganged up on and beaten to the brink of destruction. From the other countries’ standpoint, if they don’t take such actions their own futures will be in danger.”
“Rinchelle and Diestburg share a border. He wanted to tell me, in person, that in case they wage war they have a just cause to do so, I think.”
Grerial added that if they were attacked from the back they would crumble easily, after all.
I was used to fighting, but was much less proficient in political matters.
If I could hear a detailed explanation like this I would be able to understand, but perceiving the hidden meanings behind words was beyond me.
I pictured Welles’ face in my mind. To me it looked like he was desperately asking for help.
“I wonder if that’s all he wanted to say.”
Grerial probably calmed down, as his expression was no longer tense and had returned to his usual gentle one.
“Even if there was something else, like you say, there isn’t anything I can do for Welles…*for now*.”
“You’re friends, aren’t you? You and Prince Welles.”
“Precisely because we are friends. If Welles asked for my help, as a friend I would help him. But if that’s not the case, I have no intention of getting involved. That is my stance as prince and my belief as Grerial Hanse Diestberg.”
Grerial then continued.
“This can be said about you too, Fay.”
“About me too…?”
“I’m talking about what happened in Afillis.”
Grerial spoke with a smile, as if appeasing an unruly little brother.
What happened in Afillis…only one thing came to my mind.
“I don’t think you know, but a lot of things happened.”
“Are you talking about the rumors?”
The rumors Ratifah mentioned to me. I thought Grerial was talking about them, but —
“The reinforcements we sent to Afillis were not large by any means. Do you know why?”
“Because the chances of victory were slim?”
I replied without hesitation.
After actually going to Afillis and witnessing the difference in forces, I could tell.
“Correct. Of course, we didn’t mean to look down on Afillis. The reinforcements’ primary objective was to show that we respected the pact, but…”
Grerial’s lips formed a wry smile.
At the beginning, I planned to escape too.
But for some reason, I ended up wielding my sword.
Things happened, and I ended up cutting down a “Hero” too.
I also interacted with Afillis’ knights and soldiers.
“For whatever reason, you ended up becoming the cornerstone of Afillis’ victory. King Afillis’ letter only hints at who did what, so I don’t know anything in detail. Just that your presence was rather big.”
I kept quiet, simply listening.
“On top of that, there were quite a few seasoned knights among the ranks of those reinforcements. Because many thought that Afillis was going to be their last battlefield, many older soldiers applied to go, rather than risking young lives.”
Thinking about it, I did recall seeing many veterans among our troops.
The soldiers and knights that spoke to me were all young, however, so it didn’t register at the time.
“Those veterans have served Diestburg since the previous king. Many of them are stubborn and set in their ways.”
But despite all that…
Grerial continues in a somewhat excited tone.
“They said that they want to serve you, or asked if it was possible to assign their children to be your personal guards. They didn’t tell me the reason, though.”
“is that so…”
“Wait, I’m not finished! Some even asked if their nieces could become your fiancee. They all said that it was because Diestburg can’t afford to lose you.”
Grerial flashed a devilish grin.
He probably managed to guess what happened. Even so, as I myself ordered everyone to keep silent, I wasn’t going to be the one to talk.
“What are the vassals expecting of a ‘Trash Prince’…?”
I sighed loudly, on purpose.
“I thought that you changed a little, but that side of you is still rooted deep, huh. Stop putting yourself down, Fay.”
Grerial and I started walking down the corridor, side by side.
I peeked at his expression and saw a happy smile.
“No matter what the reason was, I’m happy. Because they evaluated your worth correctly. The little brother I’m so proud of is praised by the vassals. How could I not be happy?”
Grerial followed with a clarification.
“But one day, please tell me what actually happened. I’ll wait as long as it takes, so when your emotions have settled down please talk to me about it.”
I felt a sharp pain in my chest.
I knew that Grerial was talking with utter honesty, without any hidden motive, so I found it painful to hear. I felt apologetic.
“Please, don’t look so sad. You have a proper reason for keeping quiet, right? So I will respect it.”
“You’re as kind as always, brother.”
“If you think so, then don’t hide things from me. You and Welles too. I feel like I’m not trusted, and that makes me sad.”
Grerial laughed, saying I’m a really hopeless guy, then looked at the door we came out of.
“He’s so stubborn too. Why does he act like that, I wonder.”
“Maybe it’s because he’s a man?”
“Haha, what’s that supposed to mean?”
Grerial laughed, saying he had no idea what I was saying.
I did not understand it very well either.
Those words weren’t mine, after all.
<<A man’s worth is measured in their pride! If you have no pride, then you aren’t a man! Especially if there’s a woman around!>>
The one-armed man rambling about such incomprehensible theories was called Lantis.
<<Men can’t survive without pride, I tell ya. Showing your weakness to others? It’s enough if women do that!>>
“Men have to defend their pride. They can’t show weakness. Or at least that’s what they think.”
I retraced Lantis’ words.
<<But even if you keep defending your pride, you’ll hit a wall one day.>>
Drinking as usual, Lantis continued talking to the young me.
<<Someone that stays at your side at a time like that is more important than any treasure, booze or anything else. So this is my pride, proof I could protect that.>>
Lantis then placed a hand on his missing arm.
Even now, I couldn’t fully understand it.
I couldn’t understand why missing an arm would be a sign of pride.
Even so, I could tell he was saying something important.
<<You have to protect what’s important for you with your life. If you don’t I’m coming to kill ya, ***. One day you too will think that losing an arm ain’t nothing.>>
“But you can’t defend your pride forever. When that time comes, you just need to extend a hand.”
“This isn’t like you, Fay. Who said that?”
“One of my few acquaintances.”
Grerial then looked at me with surprise.
“It really is as your acquaintance said.”
He then returned to his usual smile.
“Welles and you too…I guess I will take my time and wait.”
With a satisfied expression, Grerial headed towards the room where Feli and the others were waiting.
“I have some research to do tomorrow. What about you, Fay? Are you interested in the library?”
Grerial looked over his shoulder towards me.
“I don’t have anything else to do, after all. I will gladly accompany you if that’s fine with you.”
“It’s settled then.”
Grerial stretched, tilted his head left and right, cracking his joints. A clear signal that the time of serious conversations was over.
“I know a pretty good restaurant here. Let’s go eat there tomorrow.”
Grerial laughed playfully, and from the bottom of my heart I thought I was really glad he was my brother.