Chapter 4 – Audience with the King
“Is there no other way, Fay, my boy?”
“Your kingdom of Afillis would be in trouble if I died. Is the situation so bad that you wish for me to stay all the same…?”
The king of the Afillis kingdom. Leric Zwai Afillis. Due to certain circumstances, we had met several times before, so our conversation was more like an uncle and his nephew, but we both chose words to show respect for the other.
“It’s bad indeed. In the battle more than one month ago, most of our troops were lost at the hands of the “Hero”, so we need as many troops as possible ….”
“Please stop, Uncle Leric. That is not what you should say to a prince from another kingdom. You’re going to be looked down on…”
“Even then…even in that case, something must be done. That is how desperate our situation is…”
“….in that case, the best option would be for me to return and petition father to reorganize our reinforcements, I—”
I believe…so I was going to say, but uncle Leric stopped me.
“There is not enough time for that.”
“A general from our kingdom would be infinitely more useful than someone like me.”
“Normally, that line of thinking would be correct, but I cannot agree this time.”
Uncle Leric let out a troubled laugh, then looked down.
“Our troops at the frontline ravaged by the enemy were commanded by our most skilled strategist. Someone with plenty of experience. But this situation is the result.”
I couldn’t find the words to reply. The Afillis kingdom was a large and powerful country. Its general couldn’t be an incompetent fool. Uncle Leric, though, said that the troops led by such a general were powerless against the enemy.
“Fay, my boy, I…not even once have I thought of you as a “Trash Prince”.”
I knew that.
Sir Leric is the only person that ever showed any concern for me, outside family and vassals.
“I know you have a sharp mind, my boy. And you know your worth more than anyone else. What would happen if you died in the Afillis kingdom? Indeed, I could not oppose king Diestburg anymore. Even so, I want to bet on you.”
“….can you give me about five days?”
“I heard you would stay for one day only, though?”
Uncle Leric laughs apologetically. Yes, at first I said I would stay for only one day, as I told Princess Mephia too. But…
“It’s a request from you, uncle Leric…I am not such a “Trash Prince” as to turn down one of my few acquaintances.”
I couldn’t ignore a request from uncle Leric.
In all the parties I participated in, I did all I could not to be involved with anyone.
Uncle Leric was the only one who bothered to speak to me in those situations. At first I found him annoying, but soon enough he became an irreplaceable person to me. Despite what I said to princess Mephia, I honored my debts of gratitude. It’s one of the Diestburg royal family’s precepts.
“I’m really glad I talked to you at that time.”
“You’re the only person strange enough to be happy to have a connection with the “Trash Prince”, uncle Leric.”
“You put yourself down too much. At your age, it wouldn’t hurt to have some more confidence.”
“In this world, having confidence means eventually slipping up and being killed. It’s definitely better to not have anything like that.”
“Your way of thinking is as strange as always, my boy.”
“They don’t call me “Trash Prince” for nothing, after all.”
The heavy mood shifted completely. Laughter filled the air and the atmosphere turned light. Feli too, who knew the kind of relationship I had with uncle Leric, chuckled and continued to listen.
“May I go outside for a walk? For a change of pace.”
“Do you need an escort?”
“No, it’s just a little walk, there is no need for guards. I’ll be back before sunset, so please rest easy.”
Uncle Leric continued.
“…to not do anything rash.”
A warning only someone who knew my personality well would give. I scratched my head: I just couldn’t win against uncle Leric.
“I’ll be careful.”
“Very well then.”
Uncle Leric saw through my intentions of using the five days I requested to grasp the situation of the other battlefields, but did not try to stop me.
In the end, all my actions were all for the goal of preserving my peaceful lifestyle. In order to do that, I would choose the best course of action. If possible, something that could be useful to uncle Leric. To do that, I had to look at things with my own eyes.
“Feli, I’m going on a walk. Can you come with me?”
“As you wish, Your Highness.”
Probably Feli already knows what I have in mind. So I added the following words.
“Sorry for the trouble.”
“Oh, I’m used to it.”
“….that’s true too.”
I’ve been causing trouble on a regular basis, after all, I chuckle to myself.
“I’m still green, I guess.”
There was no need for me to consider the Afillis kingdom’s circumstances. There was no need for me to get so involved. But maybe because I had never had many people I could call acquaintances, even in my past life, I found myself unable to refuse their pleas and sighed.
“Your Highness, having a noble character is very important.”
“In the right circumstances, sure.”
In order to enjoy a peaceful lifestyle, being noble and upright was a requirement. In a world ruled by the sword, however, turning into a demon of carnage was the only way to survive. The only path of life was the path of the beast.
I considered the possibility that not wielding a sword let my thinking become naive and accuse myself.
“Once this is over and done with, I’ll have to take a long vacation. I have to make sure I return alive, in order to enjoy the sweet hours of good sleep that await in my room.”
“What ridiculous motivation…”
“Say what you will.”
Feli glared at me like she would at trash infested with bugs, but I didn’t pay her any mind. I’m used to being treated like such bugs daily, so such an attack had no effect.
“I will take my leave now, uncle Leric.”
“I look forward to a positive reply from you, from the bottom of my heart.”
After talking for about one hour with uncle Leric, I leave with Feli.