“It’s a lie! There’s no way Zeshald could’ve betrayed us!”
“It’s the truth. I understand your feelings but try to calm down”
In a room at the top of the Volace palace Violet’s close aide, speaking with a steady voice, tried to calm the angry princess down. Violet, having no one else to vent her anger, anxiety, and uneasiness on, glared at her aide who was picking up a chair she had kicked down before.
“You are the ones that shunned Zeshald! Aren’t you silently laughing at him?!”
“Not at all”
Although the angry princess kept herself from spontaneous bursts of divine arts, she scattered the fruit and flowers, served on the table, onto the floor. The curtains were already torn down and a part of the wall was stained with pieces of broken tableware and wine. The room was in a complete chaos.
“Damn it!… Why?!”
“Princess, please mind your language”
“Shut up! Get out of my face!”
Violet, with her back turned towards her aide, pointed towards the door. Kreivol bowed politely, as usual, and silently left the room. He fully understood Violet’s outburst. He was also troubled, thinking that the event, which happened the other day, might have been a cause for this.
[“Still, the disturbance is spreading in the palace… His defection to the opposing side might urge others to follow as well”]
[“From now on even more attention will have to be focused on the actions of the palace staff”]
Kreivol thought as he wondered about means to tighten his grip of the fire god corps that he personally commanded.
Violet, having kicked the luxurious chair down again, was panting while gripping her shaking shoulders with both hands. Father Esvobus simply turned her away saying [“We will not talk about Zeshald”] without mentioning anything regarding the announcement from Blue Garden.
Their accidental meeting in the lower town the other day was not enough of a pretense for him to leave. The thoughts, that her actions could have triggered this, were tearing her aching heart apart with thorns of uneasiness and regret.
[“Zeshald could not have betrayed them. There had to be some sort of explanation”] Violet thought while lowering her head to fight off the blurring vision in her eyes. Suddenly an image of a black haired man appeared in her mind. [“That rude and ignorant man, called Yuusuke, what has become of him?”]
“Did he leave as well? Or could he …”
Princess raised her head up and looked outside the window. A small forest could be dimly seen before the endless plains, stretching into the horizon.
[“Maybe I will be able to find some sort of clue if I visit the village of the powerless where Zeshald used to live”]
Violet’s eyes beamed with the usual self-confidence as she decided on her next objective.
While palace officials were shocked by Zeshald’s defection to Blue garden, common folk accepted it without much shock disregarding it to [“this is what palace got by alienating its officials”]. To people, better informed about the event inside the palace, it was a topic for discussions.
A man with a cheerful face walked through the back alley of the never changing main street of the never changing city.
“Hehehe…. With the rulers of the city shaken I can finally walk the streets”
He has spent last several years hiding himself in the Sanc Adiet slums. Although he has considered fleeing to Blue Garden, manual labor in a country where one’s standing in society was decided by his skills would not allow him to live an easy life, he desired.
Compared to living in such a strict environment, living a free life of a social outcast here seemed more preferable to him.
Previously he always had to worry about encountering Zeshald while walking on the main street, but now that Zeshald has abandoned Fonkrank kingdom for the neighboring country of Blue Garden so there was no reason left for him to fear for.
“I feel like I can do anything! Hahah I feel that I could destroy a HUGE mountain in a single hit”
Feeling like that he approached the main plaza of the lower district. He could see a crowd around the gate to the middle district. Interested in what kind of spectacle has gathered people here he approached the crowd.
“EEEEK, LET GO OF ME KREIVOL!”
“I can’t do that, Princess. Even if it is within the kingdom, going outside the city is just too dangerous”
Having heard about a village of the powerless where Zeshald lived, Violet attempted to go towards Rufk village. She managed to travel as far as the gate to the lower district before Kreivol caught up to her. Violet, intending to leave the city, continued to fight with her aide who was determined to bring her back to the palace.
As Kreivol thought to avoid involving the palace guard, he mobilized every soldier of the god soldier corps and had them come down into the city under the pretense of patrol. Palace bureaucrats, knowing the whimsical nature of their princess, unanimously agreed with this.
“I am only going to that powerless village for a little check! How can that be dangerous?”
“If the king said so, then it is dangerous. Also, there is no reason for you to visit a village where he lived”
Although Kreivol attempted to subtly persuade the princess as not to let the masses hear about delicate subjects, princess Violet, in the midst of her tantrum, was completely ignorant about the prestige of the royal family as she talked about her objective.
“I might be able to find some clues as to what happened to Zeshald”
“… … this is not a good reason”
Kreivol, starting to feel a headache from all the worrying and fighting with the princess of the flames, urged Violet to behave more prudently. In the midst of this small racket one of the guards approached them and discretely called out to the commander.
“… Sir, there’s a person, who says he has something to say about the village, the princess is speaking of…”
Kreivol turned his head towards the soldier and saw a shabby looking wind arts user waiting behind the guard while lowering his head. Noticing Kreivol’s gaze, the wind user smiled a forced smile. Kreivol scowled, feeling that this man is dangerous.
“What is it? Speak up”
“H-hey, the thing is, there are villagers in that village that are in contact with Blue Garden”
Hearing this Kreivol and Violet instantly looked at each other.
Sun was watering a small field, which was a short distance away from Zeshald’s house. In the meantime Yuusuke was fishing at a nearby river.
Humming a song, she was looking out for early sprouts while sprinkling water left and right with a convenient sprinkler that was produced by Yuusuke. Sun really liked this convenient tool that produced a small rain. In the morning she also chatted about Yuusuke with Bahana, who was cooking some sort of meal.
It was the 7th day since Yuusuke started living in Zeshald’s house and Sun was starting to be able to act more naturally around him. Sun was optimistic with her progress, thinking that she might even be able to deal with her trauma as well.
After putting the water sprinkler to the tool shed, Sun was walking the village street to draw some water for dinner as she turned her head towards the road to Sanc Adiet, where a cloud of dust in the distance caught her attention. This cloud of dust was getting closer at a slow pace.
“?… … Who could it be…?”
Four carriages, full of city guards from Sanc Adiet, were rushing towards the village, surrounded by the cloud of dust.
“I can see it! That is Rufk, right?”
“Princess, please sit down. It is dangerous to move about in a running vehicle”
Soldiers in the carriages were well-trained individuals skilled in either attack, defense, healing, or communications. The carriages, supported by water and wind arts users, were going at a speed of a single person riding on a horseback.
Kreivol, warning Violet, who was hanging over the window at her seat, checked out the surroundings to confirm that there was no danger. There was no way he could bring princess Violet to the village, but he knew that if he took her back to the palace she would immediately sneak out and follow him.
He decided it would be easier to protect the princess if he could watch over her. Thus, usually stubborn Kreivol permitted Violet to join the trip this time. Instead, the trip made the common guards really nervous.
“Are we clear, princess? No matter what happens you must not get separated from me”
“Got it, got it. You are such a worrywart”
Violet was cheerful. Since the guards were going along with her, she believed there would be no trouble even if there were spies in the Rufk village. However she did feel some regret over the circumstances that brought her here – the complaint of the man that approached Kreivol some time ago.
—There was a spy collaborator of Blue Garden in the Rufk village—
He has seen a place where powerless were working with a spy from Blue Garden when he had visited the woods, surrounding the village, few years ago along with a superior earth arts user.
They were attacked by the spy in an attempt to silence them. Earth arts user was killed while the witness somehow managed to escape alive. He knew that the royal head divine arts instructor Zeshald was the main person, supporting the spy, but, thinking it was some sort of mistake, he stayed silent until now.
[“There’s no doubt that the period of time matches…. But that man has something abnormal in his eyes”]
There was nothing strange in having a strange atmosphere around oneself after spending a long period of time alone and worrying about something. Even thou Kreivol understood that, he already had a bad prejudice about the man that approached him.
While having such thoughts the party in the carriage was approaching Rufk village.
Yuusuke was fishing in a small river that ran through the nearby forest. He was using a fishing pole, some fishing line, and fur bait, which he obtained through customization. A bigger river with big fish was farther away from the village and took a day just to walk back and forth, thus Yuusuke was aiming for small fish, living in the smaller river.
This was a suggestion from Bahana as it would allow Yuusuke to gain some stamina as, coming from a modern world, he was pretty weak for a man in this world.
“If I had to say… it became that much easier just by modifying it this little”
Yuusuke thought he would be easily able to catch the game in the forest by tweaking the traps a little bit. He was satisfied by a full fishing basket, which he managed to fill just by using a strong and transparent fishing line and highly customized fur bait.
“This should be enough”
Having caught ten fish, Yuusuke was packing his tools and preparing to leave the fishing spot as he suddenly felt human presence and turned his head towards the newcomer.
“Hmm, you really look like a novice”
“Ah, IT’S YOU!!”
Before he could notice, a green haired man stood behind him. It was the same man that called out to Zeshald a few days ago. He called himself Reifold and was probably a spy from the Blue Garden. He suggested Yuusuke to quickly return back to the village.
“It looks like something terrible is about to happen”
“What is it? What did YOU do?”
“Me? Oh I didn’t do anything?”
Reifold spread his arms while making a faint smile in response to Yuusuke’s allegations.
He couldn’t exactly put it into words, but this man carried a different kind of atmosphere than Zeshald. Even thou he felt that the man could not be trusted, warned about a terrible event, about to happen at the village, Yuusuke became worried and hurried to return to the village.
“Hey, you … are not here anymore!”
By the time he finished packing the fishing tools and the catch, Reifold’s figure was nowhere to be seen.
It was early afternoon. Having left half of the city guard at the village, a carriage was rushing back towards Sanc Adiet. Violet and Kreivol were sitting against each other. A suspect for treason – young powerless girl – was with them, her hands restricted with shackles. As expected, she was shaking while cowering her body.
“You’ve been shaking the whole time. Are ability users that scary?”
As they arrested this girl for being a long time servant in Zeshald’s house, a young woman from the village tried her best to resist them and get them to stop treating this girl with violence. She reasoned that this girl was almost killed by the young ability users some time ago and was terrified of anyone, wielding divine arts, since then.
Divine soldier corps guards paid no heed to these protests and stopped their violent use of divine arts only by Violet’s orders. She had been listening to Zeshald’s stories about the lives of the powerless people so she felt sick watching that. (NOTE: 衛士隊 is used 2 paragraphs earlier while神民衛士 is used here. From what I understand, Kreivol took a detachment of city guard as the main force as well as several god corps soldiers as princess’ personal guard)
After all Violet’s original goal was to visit this village to learn about Zeshald’s life and needlessly injuring the villagers would not help her cause.
Violet also could not ignore the fact that, as the resisting villager said, the girl was so terrified that she could not even walk or enter the carriage by herself. Also, wanting to learn more about Zeshald, she suggested to escort the girl to the capital herself. Of course Kreivol opposed that saying —
[“A member of royalty riding in the same carriage as powerless… and one suspected of treason at that!”]
[“You are coming with me so it’s all right”]
Kreivol could only hopelessly surrender to Violets carefree, confident smile. Having sworn allegiance to king Esvobus and having had the princess put under his care, this was his usual reaction to the cold treatment he had received from the princess.
“You have lived together with Zeshald, right? Have you seen any suspicious people around him?”
“… … Do you … know teacher? … …”
“Zeshald has often played with me in the palace when I was a child”
Violet looked at Sun, who raised her head with [“Eh?“] expression showing on her face, with her red eyes beaming with confidence and determination.
“Please tell me everything you know about Zeshald”