Chapter 164 – A Remarkable Person!
“Please accept my apology! It was not my intention for you to be insulted like that!”
Princess Alyssa of the Arancia Kingdom bowed deeply in front of us.
“No, please don’t be worried about that. Most of the royals and nobles that I know…are just the same. But more importantly, I now understand the situation that this country is in.”
Rienna nodded in agreement.
“Yes. A small group of people that include royals and nobles have taken exclusive possession of the remaining nature and food…”
“And they also have better quality weapons and armor than the soldiers protecting the walls. This holy place is prioritized when it comes to the use of many things. Just so they can maintain their luxurious lifestyle.”
Alyssa had said that the population of this city was thirty thousand. However, she had also muttered something about three thousand people. That must be the population that lived in the holy place.
Alyssa bit her lip upon hearing my words.
“It’s most shameful…but it’s the truth. That is the current situation of the holy country of Arancia.”
And even if you wanted to change things, what could you do when the walls were so difficult to defend?
The people had no choice but to accept their fate.
I had seen many nobles like Rulat.
However, what about the king who ruled the country…
“Alyssa. Does your father know about this situation?”
“He is old. And so for these past few years, it is Rulat’s father, Grand Duke Bilene, that has been in charge. In fact, I haven’t seen my father in over two years.”
“So…this Grand Duke Bilene…?”
“He knows… That being said, while we may be living in the same country, the outside and inside of the holy place are entirely different worlds. The people have no money to pay taxes. And so the royals and nobles feel that there is no need to help them.”
Alyssa looked towards the holy place and continued.
“The holy place is our ancient inheritance. This land belonged to the Arancia royal family. No matter what disaster befell the world, it is supposed to be safe. As long as the population doesn’t rise, they can live there for eternity.”
In fact, I was able to detect the magic energy in the fences. Perhaps there was some kind of defense mechanism inside.
And so I asked Alyssa.
“In other words, the defensive walls outside of the city are just for decoration?”
“I see… So Rulat wasn’t exaggerating when he said that they lived in a different world.”
That being said, could they really keep living in this holy place forever?
Something about that made me think of Sheorl in the future.
According to the prophecy, Sheorl would also be saved, even when the world was ending.
And we now believed that this prophecy could be true, and were trying to increase the mass of ‘Sheorl.’ Perhaps we could connect it to the Elto continent.
But then again, if the prophecy was true, there was no guarantee that the people of Sheorl would also be saved.
If the disasters hit the sea as well, we wouldn’t be able to catch any fish. If the sky became dark, the plants would die. We might run out of food.
We might have to do much more to survive the days ahead… Perhaps there were things we could learn from them.
“…Still, what made you leave that place, Alyssa? If you stayed there, you would…”
Alyssa looked towards the city with a serious expression.
“I couldn’t just stand there and do nothing… I could hear people crying on the other side of the fence. When I was inside and eating cake, outside, they were sharing tasteless mushrooms. And even if we couldn’t share food, we had well-crafted swords…”
“…That was very honorable, Miss Alyssa.”
Rienna said. Alyssa shook her head with an embarrassed expression.
“No. I’m a completely useless wretch who was raised in an environment that indulged me. Besides…when I left the holy place, the people of the city accepted me warmly…and yet I’ve not been able to live up to their expectations.”
I looked at Rienna.
There was no point in expecting anything from the people of the holy place now. They didn’t need our help, and I didn’t want to help them.
However, we did want to help Alyssa.
“…Alyssa. Those others can do as they please. Who needs a king that won’t protect his own people? If the holy place won’t help you, we will.”
Alyssa looked at us with an apologetic expression.
“Re-really? But we don’t have anything to offer you in return…outside of mushrooms.”
“Actually, we don’t have mushrooms on our island. Isn’t that right, Rienna?”
“Yes! Many of the residents on Sheorl came from the forest. And they will be delighted to be able to eat mushrooms again.”
“Both of you…thank you!”
“In any case, you must come and see the island. And then we can discuss what must be done.”
And so we decided to take Alyssa with us and return to Sheorl for now.
We separated from Taran at the gate, so she could go and meet up with Fule, who was still searching for Mappa.
In the meantime, Alyssa told the tower guards about us, and that they shouldn’t be scared.
However, once we left Arancia and returned to Sheorl, a scream suddenly rose into the air.
“AHHHHHH!!? …Huh? Chief?”
Erevan was standing there with a confused expression. He was with a group of armed monsters. The Kobolds, Ashton and Haines were also with him.
It seemed that Number 15 had called them.
“Everyone. I’m sorry to have alarmed you… Thank you, Number 15.”
“Chief! What is this ridiculously large gate… And who is this lady?”
Erevan said as he turned to her. And so Alyssa explained.
“My name is Alyssa. I was invited here by Lord Heal.”
“I-I see. So there are people living on the other side then?”
I nodded at Erevan’s words.
“Yes. But don’t worry. They won’t attack you just because you are monsters.”
“I told the others about you, so please do not worry.”
Alyssa assured them. And so Erevan and the others put away their weapons.
“I understand. Well, I think I would still like to keep guards here.”
“Yes, you should do that. We don’t want children from both sides going through and getting lost. Speaking of children… Ashton, Haines. I have a request to make.”
The two rushed forward at this.
“What is it, Lord Heal?”
“You look very anxious.”
“We can’t find Mappa… He followed after us, but then disappeared while we were fighting on the wall.”
Ashton tilted his head to the side.
“Hmm… But this is Mappa. Surely he’ll reappear somewhere?”
“It was like that the last time, in the underground city. He always appears and disappears like that. I bet he’s just fine.”
As Haines said, maybe we didn’t need to worry about him…
“But a lot of time has already passed. And Mappa is still a child… In spite of that beard. And he’s in a foreign land.”
I said worriedly. And then Ashton nodded.
“I understand. Mappa is like the symbol of Sheorl Island. And so we will go and find him.”
“Brother, you didn’t just say that with a serious face, did you? Well, nevermind. I am curious to see what is on the other side of this gate.”
And so they both agreed to go.
“Thank you, both of you. Fule is currently searching for him. And Taran should be helping as well.”
“Understood. We will go and meet Fule and Taran first.”
“Leave it to us. My brother and I will find him!”
They said. And then they jumped through the gate like wolves.
“Alright, we should head for the surface then. Erevan. While we’re away, you might be visited by guardians of the gate. Could you tell them that Alyssa and I have headed for Sheorl?”
“Understood. I myself will go and take a look at what’s on the other side.”
Then Rienna added, ‘We’ll be counting on you.’
And like that, the rest of us headed up for the surface.