SETP Vol. 1 Chapter 26
Chapter 26 – The Real Objective
“I heard everything.”
Grerial almost barged in Welles’ room and uttered such words.
“You’re planning to start a war to save your family.”
“The Truth behind the Rainbow Flower”
The book had a continuation.
The miraculously recovered princess eventually fell in love with a prince from Rinchelle and, after a passionate love story, married him. And they happily lived ever after.
However— her illness was said to be hereditary.
The princess’ illness was indeed healed thanks to the rainbow flower, but its genes had not completely disappeared from her body.
No matter how many generations passed, the illness’ genes were inherited by her descendants.
Rinchelle’s first prince. Then the third prince, who collapsed one month prior.
The illness they were stricken with was the same incurable one of the princess of old.
“…I have no idea what you’re on about.”
Welles played dumb.
Because there was the chance that he was being baited into admitting it.
“I heard everything from Clive. Give it up, Welles.”
“…that damn idiot.”
Clive was the name of the librarian.
He was a childhood friend of Welles’, someone the prince often confided in. So Grerial thought of meeting him first.
If Welles didn’t rely on him, he couldn’t extend his assistance.
Despite having said this, Grerial moved on his own. After all, Welles was a friend. The biggest reason, however, was that he knew what it meant to wage war against Saldance.
“If it’s like Clive said, then it’s not necessary to start a war, is it?”
“There’s one in Rinchelle too, right?”
Until ten or so years ago, the only ones to ever set foot in that inhabited island and come back to tell the tale were the five people of 200 years ago.
Yes…until ten or so years ago.
“A ‘hero’ who went to that island and came back unscathed!”
His heart could be crushed, his head smashed, his limbs torn off— his unique acquired physical constitution allowed him to recover instantly.
And the name given to him was…
“The ‘immortal’, Rowle Zwelg.”
He used to be just a chemist.
His skill in his craft was also simply average. That did not change even now.
The only thing that differentiated Rowle from the rest was that he relentlessly continued experimenting on himself.
Rowle, who was not attached to life, tried all sorts of healing procedures on his own body.
As a result, the various medicines he tried interacted with his original physical composition and changed it into a unique one.
An incredibly unique physical composition, that guaranteed his body was “immortal” under certain conditions.
In addition, he had also stopped aging.
Those who knew him said that while he looked about 30 years old, he was actually well over 50.
A chemist that, thanks to his incredibly unique physical composition, managed to kill “Heroes” and achieved the rank of “Hero” himself.
That’s who Rowle Zwelg was.
“He’s still in the country, isn’t he?”
“…yes, he is. And of course, I already tried talking to him about it.”
“What did he say?”
“That with three heroes, Rowle included, and about 30 trained soldiers, the chances of finding the rainbow flower and coming back alive would be about 50%. Of course, more than half of them would die in the process, though.”
“But he also added that *Lychaine* has to go too.”
Lychaine May Rinchelle.
The Rinchelle kingdom’s second princess, notoriously shy of appearing in public.
Rowle clearly stated that the success of the mission hinged on the presence of the mysterious princess.
“He said that if Lychaine doesn’t join the mission, they would need six heroes or more instead. If we want to obtain the desired amount of flowers, we will need that many people to be able to contain the monsters.”
“Your little sister has the *sight*, if I recall.”
As the words imply, the young girl called Lychaine could *see everything*.
Memories, emotions, inner thoughts, experience…
Welles once said that she could even see bits and pieces of the future.
However, because of this special ability, she couldn’t trust people and started hating them, eventually disappearing from the public eye.
“The flowers can’t be found so easily, can they.”
Since someone with the sight was necessary for the mission, that had to be the issue.
At the very least, the flowers surely didn’t grow just anywhere.
“According to Rowle, those flowers grow in isolation. Look for the flowers while keeping the monsters at bay… that’s the most effective method and the one that would produce fewer casualties.”
Grerial fell silent.
The enemy were monsters so powerful that even the “Hero” carrying the “Immortal” title gave up and fled.
Judging from what Welles said, he didn’t have the slightest intention of even trying to defeat the monsters.
To bring back as many rainbow flowers as possible while distracting such fearsome enemies.
The time limit was the lives of those who were tasked with distracting the monsters.
It was true that unless Welles’ little sister joined the expedition, even bringing back one flower would be an impressive feat.
“I don’t care even if I end up dead. But I can’t involve Lychaine in my problems. Especially because I can’t guarantee she would come back safe.”
“So you decided to start a war.”
“I don’t have any other options. Please understand me, Grerial.”
The kingdom of Saldance was a small one.
A rumor about the kingdom, however, grew in credibility in recent years.
That kingdom asked the empire for protection. The rumor said that it feared destruction by Rinchelle.
If Rinchelle actually destroyed Saldance, a war with the empire was very likely to follow.
In such a case, Diestburg would be surely affected too.
There were many kingdoms scattered over the land, but the empire boasted power that towered over all of them.
The empire, the other countries, and the *others*.
These three factions operated on a miraculous balance and maintained a minimal amount of peace.
A balance which Welles was trying to destroy.
Even if he said that his family was in danger, Grerial couldn’t allow it.
Grerial called his friend’s name.
“If I remember correctly, Saldance can allow, as an exception to the rule, up to 50 foreign knights or soldiers to enter the country, yes?”
“You aren’t thinking of…”
“Bring me too, Welles. In the past, people claimed I was close to reaching the level of a ‘Hero’, after all. I’m sure I can be of help.”
Grerial Hanse Diestburg.
He was a good guy, through and through.
Because of this, he would hesitate whenever killing was involved, but he still belonged to the genealogy of men who founded a kingdom.
His talent was not to be underestimated.
“….consider your position before you speak, Grerial.”
Welles, his friend, knew well how talented he was.
He was still, however, the first prince.
He was next in line to the throne. His position was different from Welles’.
But Grerial’s opinion did not change.
“I am fully aware of the implications. As the first prince of Diestburg, I cannot allow the risk of a war against the empire.”
“But…!! I have a ‘just cause’ to do so!!”
“As soon as Saldance falls, the empire will say that they have a ‘just cause’ too. When that happens, then no one can stop it anymore.”
Welles clenched his teeth and bit his upper lip.
Blood started trickling from the side of his mouth.
“Don’t speak as if we are going to die, anyway.”
Welles didn’t speak.
“We just have to come back alive.”
Grerial’s usually prideful friend was, unusually, only thinking of what could be lost.
“Get a hold of yourself!! Welles May Rinchelle!!”
Grerial formed his hand into a fist and punched Welles’ chest.
“Maevia is my fiancee. Do future brothers-in-law need a reason to help each other!?”
“But still, you….!!”
You’re the first prince!!
Welles really wanted to shout it.
Yet, in his mind he thought that, together with Grerial, they might actually pull it off.
He believed so.
He hoped so.
“I’m not the only prince in Diestburg anyway. There’s one with an amazing head on his shoulders too. A prince much more fit to be a king than me.”
Welles didn’t ask who that was.
Because he knew that the prince Grerial talked about was Fay Hanse Diestburg.
It was clear to see that Grerial was very fond of him.
“He’s a bit dangerous, though.”
Grerial looked down, a sad tone in his voice.
“I don’t know what burdens him, but sometimes he looks so terribly sad. I can’t help but feel that one day he could disappear somewhere. In one word…fleeting. Fleeting, that’s what he is.”
“That’s why I want him to find a reason to live. Until then, I need to keep him tied down somehow. So I can’t die. I won’t die. Don’t go killing me like that, you moron.”
Grerial blew air from his nose and laughed defiantly at Welles.
“I can’t win against you, Grerial, can I?”
“You’re just too much of a moron sometimes, my friend.”
Welles laughed wryly, implying he was well aware of that himself.
“…tomorrow I’ll call Rowle and set up a meeting to discuss it.”
It was already late at night.
The princes being awake would also cause unnecessary burdens to the knights assigned to their escort.
“Come here again tomorrow at 11.”
Grerial’s sudden visit was then concluded.
Outside, a man was eavesdropping.
He exhaled and the light filtering through the window illuminated his breath white.
“A reason to live…”
The darkness of the night hid the man’s presence.
Even so, his voice echoed faintly.
He closed his eyes.
What was his reason to live, in the first place?
He wielded the sword to live.
He did so because he was told he would find something if he kept living.
During the process, the feeling of wanting to protect someone sprouted within him.
All the targets of such feelings, however, died before him.
In this life too, there are people he wanted to protect.
Even so, that could not become a reason to live.
Because the man wished to meet those who had gone before him. Because he admired them forever.
Those people who died with a smile on their faces.
“I wonder what it is…”
The man left, faint footsteps trailing behind him.
He experienced much happiness during his lifetime.
Days he remembered vividly. Those memories were a treasure for him.
Then, because of them, he thought that he wanted to die a more proper way. Die in a way that he could repay those who allowed him to live.
He could come up with multiple reasons to die.
He could not think of any reasons why he absolutely had to live, however.
“I really wonder what it is…”