Chapter 80: Meeting the Emperor
「Welcome, Cultivation Hero, War Hero and Gourmet Hero Fitis. Nice to meet you, my name is Rostam. I am the monarch of this country and I have the title of “Emperor Hero”.」
I saw a man with the style of a king.
He had brown skin, a jet-black hair, and a smile on his mouth that showed absolute confidence in his existence.
As soon as we arrived at the castle, we were guided to the meeting place.
The Emperor Hero, who was sitting on a throne that had already been prepared for him in a seat that was different from the round table in the Demon King Castle, greeted us as soon as he saw us.
「It’s been a long time, Rostam. Let me say that you did a good job in invading my country.」
「Such a skirmish would be the usual thing. More than anything, there’s information that all the problems started with the Demon King’s army. I just tried to recapture it before the War Hero’s country fell to the Demon King side.」
「Hmm I see. If you say so. But this time, I want to speak about other things. 」
With that said, Amines sat in her seat without hesitation, followed by me, Fitis and Hell.
「First, there is a story about the hostage you have in prison. 」
The Emperor Hero couldn’t help but wonder what Amines’ first topic was going to be.
This guy, no matter how much he was an Emperor, I felt a little off with his attitude.
「Don’t be silly! You have Lily as a hostage! 」
Before I noticed, I was involuntarily leaning against the Emperor standing in front of me.
The Emperor just quietly glanced at my angry eyes.
When I noticed how cold-looking his eyes were, I felt that my anger froze instantly. The Emperor laughed a little as if he saw through me.
「Ah, the Beast Hero? You’ve misunderstood the hostage situation. She is our Heroes’ compatriot. She is not a prisoner. If you want, I’ll take you to her right away.」
On the contrary, I felt like I was overwhelmed by the overly simple declaration of liberation from the Emperor Hero.
「What are the conditions? I don’t think you’re going to release her for free. 」
「This is also something that is to be expected. But, I don’t want to make a deal with you. I just want to have a dialogue. 」
「A dialogue, you say? 」
「Let me say it in a straightforward way. You guys, be my subordinates. 」
「I refuse! 」
「I refuse to be your subordinate. 」
「I refuse it too. 」
All of us refused the proposal from the Emperor Hero without hesitation.
On the other hand, the Emperor Hero, however, did not seem to be particularly offended by our refusal, and instead laughed with pleasure.
「Ah, I see, I see. Well, if you meet someone for the first time and they say to be under that person it would sound a bit too much. Of course, I understand. Let’s add some conditions.」
With that said, Rostam, the Emperor Hero, looked at me again. There was something amusing glittering in his eyes.
「Cultivation Hero, if you come to me, I’ll give you all the seeds I have, which are three, from the World Tree.」
It was literally an exceptional condition that meant achieving my goals.
Moreover, it was also his trump card. He showed it so boldly. This man really had the temperament of an Emperor.
「That’s a nice condition, but how come you want me to work under you…? Besides, didn’t you call me here because you wanted the seeds of the World Tree? 」
At least, that letter was written in a way that he showed interest in the three species we had.
However, Rostam had a strange smile on his face.
「Well, it’s certainly easy to manage if you have them already at your hands, but it doesn’t matter where they are. Because in the end it will be the way I want it to be.」
Huh? What did he mean?
「Then, let’s put your reply on hold and I shall give your country an asylum if you cooperate with me. You can use our army without reserve in the battle with the Demon King’s army. Of course, you can leave the territory as it is. Do you think it is an exceptional condition?」
「I refuse. I don’t feel like working under someone. Even if my territory remains as it is, I will never be like the insects that you are in control of. In addition, I signed a ceasefire with the Demon King’s army for a while. There is no merit in dealing with the other side now.」
「I see. That’s a shame. 」
Rostam’s expression seemed to be distorted, not about being rejected, but about the ceasefire with the Demon King’s army.
「Well then, Fitis. I have to mention you at the end. 」
When the Emperor Hero called out to Fitis, something subtle in the air flew.
Perhaps, were these two acquaintances? The moment I thought so, he professed some shocking words and proved my suspicions.
「You are my fiancée. 」
Did he really say fiancée, right!? Did I hear it correctly!?
While I was so confused along with the party, Fitis gave a clear response.
「As I said before, I do not feel the same way. I have no intention of joining anyone other than the one I have accepted.」
Fitis entwined in my arm to show that attitude outright.
Seeing her gesture, the gaze of the Emperor Hero moved from Fitis to me again.
「I see. I don’t think you, who have a high pride, would serve someone. It’s surprising, but it seems that person has that much value, something that attracts others.」
With that said, the Emperor Hero observed me seriously.
His line of sight didn’t look down on me, but it showed simply an interest and observation of my existence. In other words, a line of sight that seemed to find something behind it.
「However, it is interesting to meet in person. I didn’t intend to do that yet, but when someone as you is standing in despair, I became interested in how to stand up from there.」
I didn’t know what it was, but it was not pleased with this person’s attitude.
Because he was definitely the one who gave that test of despair as joy by saying, “I like you, but I’ll kill you at the end.”
「The negotiations broke down, so what are you going to do next?」
Amines asked the Emperor Hero after refusing all of his invitations to us, but Rostam happily left his throne.
「Well, originally, I was not going to speak of a declaration of war here, and at a later date, I was going to start the war right there again…But I changed my mind.」
The Emperor Hero’s mood changed.
The atmosphere of the Emperor who was sitting meaningfully on the throne changed to that of an Emperor who swallowed everything.
「Now, let’s start the war from this moment on. I want all of you. Therefore, I will do my best to take it away with all my might. That’s it.」
It was a signal of the start of the war at the same time as he professed the sudden declaration of war.
However, among the people present in the throne room, there was a person who took action before the Emperor Hero did and chanted the signal of the start of war.
「Then let me defeat you here now. 」
The “War Hero” Amines.
The preemptive action, which could be called at a lightning speed, created a myriad of weapons from around her the moment she immediately felt the threat.
A number of high-quality weapons made from the marble of this place headed towards the Emperor Hero without hesitation.
It was a very quick response. Without even giving him time to deal with it, the Emperor Hero was supposed to be swallowed by the weapons released by Amines…Or so I thought.
「Oh, that’s right. 」
At that moment, a breeze flown in and a thunder shot down all of Amines’ fearsome weapons.
A person knocked down all of the weapons and smashed them with a sword as if they were glass work. Both Amines and I were both stunned and disappointed.
The moment I saw that “person”, my, no, our hearts seemed to freeze instantly.
「As for the POW* you were talking about earlier, as I said, there are no POWs here. I said I’d let you meet her as soon as you want. However… 」
I should have noticed.
No, I was aware of it somewhere in my heart. I must have known.
There was this possibility.
「Whether she will return to you is another story. 」
Standing next to the Emperor Hero was the girl reminiscent of a golden beast.
She was in the form of our companion…the “Beast Hero” Lily.
*Abbreviation for “Prisoner of War”.