Chapter 126 – We Reunited!
Little by little, the sight of Sheorl became clearer to Balpas and the others.
It was something that none of them had ever seen before, and all of the crew were astonished.
“That tree…it’s amazing. It’s like a mountain…”
“Aye. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
The giant tree was the first thing that caught their eye. It was impossible to miss.
It was taller and wider than any castle in Sanfaris.
And the next thing they saw after that, was the broad statue of a bearded man.
The statue was wielding an axe, and he was looking down at the ship with an eerie expression on his face.
“This place is insane… Aside from the walls and towers, I can see buildings that appear to be houses as well. There are even humans.”
Balpas felt a cold sweat drip from his body as he looked at Sheorl.
According to the report by the captain who had brought Heal here, Sheorl Reef really had been a pile of rocks. And it had not yet been a full three months since then.
People had been talking about it at the palace. If there really were humans here, then it must mean that the captain had conspired with Heal and written a false report. Of course, until he came here, Balpas had believed this to be very likely.
However, the sight before him now required a better explanation than that. That giant tree had to have been planted before Heal’s arrival. No, it would have had to be planted hundreds of years ago.
However, there had never been such a report…not once. How was this possible?
No, there was no time to think about that now. Balpas shook his head.
The reality was that such a scene was right in front of his eyes. Instead of thinking about how it was possible, he should prioritize finding out what the current situation on the island was like.
Still, how should he do that?
Finding out the secrets of the island through force would be very difficult. Their ship was in bad condition. They could not fight in their state.
That being said, it would have been difficult to attack this island even if the ship had been in perfect condition.
He could see ballistas and trebuchets on the walls and towers, and they were all directed at them. There were also armed soldiers who wielded bows and crossbows. Their defenses were strong.
The only one I can rely on is myself… Balpas thought.
And then one of the crew shouted.
“Prince Balpas! A single boat is headed our way!”
“I guess they mean to inspect us… All of you, pretend to be as wounded and hurt as possible.”
They wanted it to look like they had come near to this island by accident.
If they went as tax collectors or investigators, Heal may not invite them in.
However, that’s when it happened.
Suddenly, the crew towards the back of the ship began to scream.
Balpas turned around and saw someone fall as they bled.
There were others whose arms and legs had been severed.
One by one, the members of the crew began to fall.
It was so sudden that Balpas cried out.
“What!? What happened!? …Could it be?”
Balpas could hear the sharp noise of the wind, and his eyes settled on one man.
He saw that Oren’s hand seemed to wave over the ship’s crew.
“Oren! Stop this! Have you gone mad!?”
“Why are you so angry, Balpas? Isn’t this what we need to do to gain Heal’s sympathy?”
“Why do you have to hurt them!? And to cut off their arms and legs…!?”
Balpas moved his head to the side then.
The wind made a slight cut into his cheek and blood ran down his face. Had he not moved, his head would have been cut in half.
Oren replied with a cool expression.
“The people must give their lives for their king. It is just a small sacrifice. Has a war ever been won without bloodshed?”
Had the situation not been what it was, Balpas would have used his skills to fight Oren.
However, if they fought now, and Balpas was defeated, then there would be no one left to stop Oren. The crew would all be discarded as pawns if that happened.
And so he held back his anger and replied.
“…Indeed, except you forget one thing. We didn’t come here to start a war.”
“It’s amazing you can still say such things. This ship is finished. Unless we take over that island, we may never be able to return. We have no choice but to fight.”
“That’s a last resort… Oren, I’m going to say this one more time. Obey me.”
“Yes, yes. Well, I will observe your methods for a while. Father told me, after all.”
Balpas clicked his tongue and then shouted to the crew.
“…Treat the wounded immediately! And prepare to receive the boat!”
The men looked worried, but obeyed his order.
Then Oren looked at the island and began to chuckle to himself.
“Oh, Heal. This is some impressive work. To think you’ve made so many friends… I wonder how many there are. How many…”
As he muttered to himself, Oren realized something.
He was now looking at the man in the boat that was moving towards their battleship.
Balpas turned to look as well.
The battleship was in such a terrible state. It was already sinking. It would probably be completely submerged in just another hour.
“Hmm. Lord Heal. It is a rather impressive ship.”
Aries’s voice echoed from next to me.
I had decided to head to the battleship with just two other people.
One was Aries. Currently, she looked like a human that was about the same age as me.
While I didn’t want to use it too much, Aries had poison that had the power to make others obey her. It would be a way to take over the ship without bloodshed.
The other person was Fule. I wanted another magic user nearby in case something happened.
Rienna and Baris could have come as well, but with consideration to their position, Fule had volunteered to come.
And then there were the rowers. While some looked like humans, others were goblins, orcs and kobolds.
I wanted to show that all monsters lived together on this island.
Of course, Shiel was also with us.
And I decided against arming myself. And I also kept my magic energy low, so it would be harder to detect. This was so they wouldn’t think we were dangerous, and suddenly attack us.
I replied to Aries.
“It’s the biggest ship in Sanfaris. But…it’s strange.”
“Indeed. While the ship is damaged, I see no arrows.”
“Yes. Could it have been attacked by magic then…? Hmm?”
From the battleship, a single boat was now headed our way. A white flag and a Sanfaris flag were being waved above it. They were showing that they were not hostile.
As for the man who stood in the front, he was quite familiar to me.
He was my older brother, and the eleventh prince of Sanfaris.
He had always mocked me as a child, but it had never turned into violence. It seemed that he only ever thought of women and wine. He clung to gold and loved to gossip and make fools of others in the palace.
After a while, Balpas noticed me as well, and he waved both arms.
His face expressed both surprise and delight.
“Ahh, Heal! So you were alive, my little brother!? And in a place like this! Can it be!”