Chapter 8 – A Place to Die
The moon was still shining when I woke up in the single room Afillis’ King Leric had assigned to me, and looked out of the window.
“I live in a different age, a different space, with a different body, but the sky remains the same.”
I had never before awoken during the night, so I found the night sky a novel sight. I laughed wryly at myself: ever since I had come to the Afillis kingdom, I found myself feeling sentimental pretty often.
As soon as I returned to the castle with Feli, I asked to speak to uncle Leric privately and announced the “Conditions for the case where the Diestburg kingdom troops stay in the Afillis kingdom”. I thought about it again.
<<The conditions are three. One, the magic tool necklace princess Mephia is wearing. As long as we stay in the Afillis kingdom, that pendant magic tool must be lent to Fay Hanse Diestburg.>>
I did request to speak in private with uncle Leric, but because of the current situation my request wasn’t accepted: in fact, there were three guards present to ensure the king’s safety. Those three opened their eyes wide at my first condition.
Princess Mephia’s accessory was what people call a magic tool. It was a pretty expensive accessory, normally used by minors, which granted them the same physical abilities of an adult. For them, lending something like that shouldn’t be a big minus. It was a magic tool, yes, but just one of many such devices: it wasn’t worth much on its own.
If the request came from the “Trash Prince”, however, things were very different.
What’s the point of someone like you wearing it?
I could tell what they were thinking.
<<Next, as long as we remain in Afillis, no one is to enter the room assigned to me. If anyone does, I cannot guarantee they will leave alive. Even if someone dies because they entered my room, I am not to be accused. That’s my second condition.>>
Uncle Leric and his guards probably expected my conditions to be financial or political, so they frowned because of the strangeness of my requests.
The second condition was basically not to enter my room. That was nothing, they said, and accepted my first two conditions without a second thought.
<<The third and final condition: no matter how this war ends, no one is to give any praise to Fay Hanse Diestburg. If you must, praise anyone except me. Any political action involving Fay Hanse Diestburg is also prohibited. You just need to treat me as a “Trash Prince”, as before. What do you say? If you can accept my conditions, I will do my utmost for the sake of the Afillis kingdom.>>
If I could live in peace, then I didn’t need anything else. If I could protect those important to me, it was more than enough. So I wouldn’t wield a sword to live. Not anymore.
I was confident about my skill with the sword: it was the fruit of my mentor’s teachings after all. My mentor was the only one I could lose against. I had no intention of losing to the rest of the rabble.
As Uncle Leric was about to bow his head to me, to accept my conditions, I stopped him.
<<There is no need to bow your head to a “Trash Prince” like me. If you truly wish to, please do it in front of the grave of the knight who moved me, Logsaria Bornest.>>
<<But all of this is just the “Trash Prince” grandstanding. Do not expect too much.>>
On this battlefield, the only unnecessary element was the “Hero”’s presence. I didn’t know how strong they actually were, but they were said to be able to face a ten thousand strong army by themselves.
My “Spada” is especially deadly when witnessed for the first time. As soon as the battle starts, it should be easy to slice off an arm or two. If that isn’t possible, I could buy time to exhaust them. I had such thoughts as I left the audience room.
“I believed that when I died, I could see my mentor and the others again.”
I honestly thought so. In my previous life, I couldn’t stand the solitude and took my own life to go meet those who left before me.
“However, this is the result. As if I was punished for taking my own life, I am forced to walk the path of another.”
A new life. If I really had to live a new one, I wished they at least would have erased the memories of the previous one. I could have had fun living, in that case. I could have wielded the sword without thinking much about it.
Despite the fact that I clearly remember what wielding a sword leads to, here I was, taking up arms again.
It was the same in my past life.
They all picked up and went, leaving the rest to me…though they should have known how the ones who remained must have felt. Nevertheless, they entrusted things to me and left, with a smile too.
In the end, “I’m glad”, they all said. “I can go without regrets”.
“I wanted to die like my mentor too. I wanted to die while protecting someone, with fulfillment in my chest.”
That was the whole point.
I sought to live in peace, but also to be freed from this new life. In the end, I just wanted to die as I smiled. If I had a sword in my hands, I would start seeking a place to die.
My other wish was to live in peace, but if that couldn’t be granted, I wanted to die like those I had admired. My wish to find an end while protecting someone else was stronger.
“Will you be able to kill me, O ‘Hero’?”
I asked a question into the night, with no one to answer.