Chapter 83: The Beginning of a Temporary Master-Servant Relationship
「Everything went exactly as you said. I carried it out, as I should have. But, I truly disliked it.」
Eldith spoke while her cheeks quivered. Her lips were sharp today. She was apparently moody. No wonder, really. It was rather commendable from her part considering this whole situation.
From the outside, the sun was already shining. How many days have I been here? The soldiers of the Gharast Kingdom must be arriving soon enough at this point. Therefore, we must carry out everything as quickly as possible.
From the back of my abdomen, I felt a trembling impulse that drove up to my throat. Was it good? For real? Was the situation was really improving for us? With so many cons, was it possible for our improvised script to work so well?
Yes, the unknown anxiety was trying to overpower my brain.
「Hey, Princess. Isn’t the time for that supposed to be at noon? How is it going?」
「I already told you. Everything was carried exactly as I described. Why can’t you trust me?」
I knew it. The princess was really in a bad mood. Her words had thorns. Every time I uttered a word, my whole body got covered with her thorns.
She stroke under the nose with her finger. She squeezed her words as if she tried to avoid the entire topic. Perhaps, she didn’t want to share the details with me.
If so, then I could only assume that everything was ready and in motion.
To be honest, this was a very dangerous path. It felt as if I was walking on a tightrope. I didn’t know how deeply we could get the people’s heart. Actually, I couldn’t really understand the emotions of different races. Including the elves.
「Okay. Let’s think that everything is in place for now. After that, all that we need is an eye to look over everything with precision.」
“After that” meant a game of information. In other words, how to determine the battle situation and/or build up the groundwork. Unfortunately, I couldn’t do that right now.
I couldn’t do anything while I was stuck in the Tower.
Moreover, no one was able to figure the actions from the Royal Palace side. Summing up, Lagias’ actions. What kind of character was he? What criteria did he select? What instructions would he give? To be honest, this was a real problem. How could we move chess pieces without knowing our opponent?
I felt as if something like a boulder was rolling around in my chest.
「So, what should I do next? 」
After thinking for a moment, Eldith, whose lips were sharp, suddenly uttered a word.
For an instant, I couldn’t grasp the sense of her words. I wrinkled between my eyebrows upon realizing what she meant. What? Was she asking for my instructions? This Elf Princess astounded me.
The big blue eyes stared at me attentively without moving. It was as if she was waiting for my mouth to open.
When I leaned my head lightly, she spilled some words that make me feel as if her bad mood infected me as well.
「…You see. I already told you this before. I won’t let you escape because you got caught in the same stream as me. So, you must cooperate with me.」
Before I opened my mouth, Eldith tried to find a reason to get me to help her. To give her instructions. This felt extremely odd to me.
I didn’t remember when she implied that to me. Did she really say that she wouldn’t let me escape? Why did she say that so suddenly? Was she that desperate in seeking my help? I unintentionally distorted my eyes and opened my eyelids wide.
Ah no, but I understood. I suddenly remembered it. Even in the old days, Eldith often looked for the advice of the hero. At least, her behavior back then gave me that impression. It seemed that it made more sense to her to listen to him than to be independent.
After all, this could be a great opportunity for me to give her instructions. I could find a way to leave this Tower for good.
「Okay then. I cannot ask too much of you Princess, but I want you to look around. You’ll be able to do it if you use your illusion skill. I want you to know the state inside of the Royal Palace, the forest, and the movement of the beasts. You must find crucial information as soon as possible.」
I was wondering if I should avoid asking her to do this kind of scouting work, but Eldith agreed with a prompt reply. It seemed that she really wanted to hear my instructions.
Was I taking advantage of the situation? Or was I taking advantage of her in particular? For her retainers, this would be disrespectful…
Besides, even though her bloodline belonged to the royal family, Eldith was rather an emotional person. That could mean undecidedness and doubts. It was unbelievable that I was going to turn this country upside down from now on, but I had to help her somehow, or I’ll just stay locked in here until the soldiers come and get me.
I owned my heart and my free will. There was no way that I’d let that happen. I would do whatever it takes to free myself even if I had to take part in this rebellion.
「All right. Let’s do it then. I’ll pretend to be asleep in my bed, so tell that to anyone that comes here.」
「Yeah, I understand…No, wait. I’ve heard that you can’t make an illusion unless you are held by someone.」
Until a while ago, I kept my shoulder down to protect the princess’ body. I did it even though my shoulder ached so much. Then, why was this woman trying to pretend to be asleep right now?
Eldith blinked her eyes, and suddenly, she moved her lips to respond to my uncertainties.
「That was a lie. Of course it doesn’t work like that. You’re actually an idiot, aren’t you.」
Is that so? I see. I really thought that she had to have someone to help her while doing that illusionary skill. But, it seems that I was wrong about that. What did that mean?
When I came back in time, I saw a great deal of variation in personality in Caria and Filaret. However, their essence remained the same. Both of them had noble spirits and were people who never forgot to search for cleverness.
However, Eldith was different from them. I couldn’t read Eldith’s nature at all. She may have been subjected to a great deal of mental damage before I met her, but right now she had a very different personality than the one I had imagined her to have. Did her words mean that she was joking?
「That was a play-act. I just wanted to know your true colors. I wanted to see if you would do something to me while I was defenseless. Well, if you had bad intentions, you would try to stab me in the throat.」
Eldith then headed to the bedroom while rubbing her eyes slightly.
I see. That was convincing. Well, if that was really the case.
Rather, I was wondering what to do back then. Did I think of doing anything violent against her? Possibly. However, killing her would be pointless. I wouldn’t be able to escape even if I killed her. Yet, this conversation made me think deeply. Around that time, did elves and we humans have so different values?
I didn’t know the answer. Still, I had question marks hanging over Eldith.
On the verge of going to the bedroom, Eldith turned around as if something important crossed on her mind, and said the following words.
「…Speaking of which. Why do you cooperate with me? I think there are many other ways for you to plead to Lagias. If you report to him about my deeds, he’ll probably favor you and spare you of your imminent execution. If you make Lagias your ally, you’ll be able to get out of here, don’t you know that?」
Her words weren’t mistaken.
Certainly, if Eldith’s rebellion were successful, the government of Lagias would be overturned. That meant that our cooperation would be established again, and the power of the Heraldic Order would be expanded. In that respect, it made sense from the Heraldic point of view.
But, personally, I felt differently about that. Not in regards to her question, since I didn’t want to side with someone who took sides with the Gharast Kingdom. For me, it was clear that her side was the once I must cooperate with. However, I was about to take part in a rebellion where the transition of power would be difficult to achieve. It was no easy task, for sure. But, to tell the truth, this rebellion implied something bigger and far serious.
To weaken its powers in order to overthrow the current Fin means that this country would be in conflict with the Great Holy Church. Meaning difficult times ahead. This rebellion would certainly weaken the Elf Kingdom’s defense and power, since this conflict was about to weaken the internal structure and foundation of thousands of years. Whatever the result, there was no doubt that this country would become frail from within. That meant that it would be too weak to confront the Great Holy Church if it tried to retaliate. Therefore, there was no point in wishing her success.
Seeing that I couldn’t answer her, Eldith smiled with a sarcastic expression on her face.
「Or are you using me for your own purpose? Are you deceiving me? Well, that doesn’t matter much really. Actually, I don’t care which side you are on.」
If I could freely say a word to describe this, then I would. Yes, I would blow it out immediately.
Use? Was I using the Princess of the Elves? Or was the Princess using me? Just give me a break already. It would be pointless if she was using me. I was nobody. She had other people to use rather than a lowly and insignificant man like me. So, let’s say that I was the one using her.
「Of course I have my own purpose. I don’t deny that.」
For a moment, I felt that the gloomy atmosphere surrounding Eldith had disappeared. To be honest, despite her differences in the past, she was an easy-to-understand woman. At least, right now. I took a deep breath through my lungs. In fact, I missed my chewing tobacco on situations like this. I continued to speak.
「But, I have different reasons. I am sure that you appeared on the forest back then to warn us indirectly about what was going on inside your kingdom. I felt that you wanted to help us in your own way. So, I’m showing you respect to pay for the respect you showed me before.」
I didn’t like to describe it in that way, but I felt that I had to pay her with respect. After saying those words, I noticed that Eldith moved her shoulders and blinked her eyes. Then, she sort of spit while rounding her eyeballs. She was really a rude brat after all.
「What are you saying? Does that mean that you were deeply touched by my action? You really are an idiot, you know…」
「…That’s not what I meant. 」
That’s right, it wasn’t like that.
How many times people shown me respect? Rather, how many times did humans treat me as a human being in the old days? How many times did people looked down on me and underestimated my abilities?
Indeed, I didn’t like Eldith. She “killed” my humanity many times over during the Journey of Salvation.
But, at least, she was talking to me here and now. She spoke with me as if I was someone and not just a thing. She showed me respect as well. How happy it felt. Truly. I wouldn’t say that I was touched by her actions. Still, I felt that my broken heart was comforted by her gesture. A sense of accomplishment.
There was nothing else one could ask for.
「…Is that so. You are like a knight of a story. Well, I shall thank you, too.」
Eldith replied to me with her shining blue eyes. Her expression was fixedly absorbed on mine.
「I don’t know whether god or the spirits will help me from now on. Even so…I thank you, my knight Lugis. I wouldn’t have been able to move forward without you. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.」
She spoke to me with a not so light tone as she used to speak. Actually, it felt as if she spoke seriously to me. Eldith’s words as a princess felt quite solemn. At the same time, she held out her hand.
What terrible words to my heart. These words were too good to be true. Not destined to someone else, but destined to me. However, I was afraid to have these feelings. Whether way, I tried to restrain my shaking emotions. Therefore, I took her hand and opened my mouth as if I recreated a knight’s courtesy.
「…Glad to have been of help, my Princess.」
It looks like Lugis accepts Eldith way more than he did with Caria and Filaret…Quite interesting though…He often says that humans despised him, but Eldith is an elf, maybe that’s why he doesn’t hold many “grudges” against her?
Thank you to the Patrons for the continued support!