The Hero of Sherwood Forest
The Carbuncle was running like a rabbit, and it was all I could do to keep up with her. But when she finally stopped, it was in front of the exact person I had expected to see.
He had evaded the guards and infiltrated the mansion from the opposite side. There was no bow or arrow in his hands. It appeared that he had given up trying to kill me from a distance. He had a short sword on his belt.
He looked a little surprised to see me come towards him, but didn’t try and make any excuses.
“Well, it’s no wonder they call you the god of strategy. It took you no time at all to know who the assassin was. You saw right through my plan.”
“You exaggerate. It was all because of her.”
I pointed at the Carbuncle.
Robin looked at her and nodded.
“I see. So I was betrayed by one of my only friends.”
“Betrayal, or perhaps it was to save you. You were going to return to Dagon, weren’t you? She stopped that.”
“I have my reasons. Reasons that I must kill you. And though I failed this time, the next time will be on the battlefield with soldiers.”
“It would be an honor to face a Hero like you on the battlefield. But it’s also something to fear. In fact, I would like to deal with things here and now.”
“That won’t do.”
“And why is that?”
I snapped my fingers. At the same time, my maid jumped out behind Robin.
She was carrying a vase with both hands. Something she had borrowed from the hallway.
It was so expensive that it could buy a small mansion. And Eve smashed it against the back of Robin’s head. This hadn’t happened by mere accident.
I had asked Eve to keep an eye out for Robin. I had known from the beginning that he would try and do something.
After finishing this job, Eve turned to me.
“I’ve lost count of the times that I’ve been surprised by your foresight, Master. But how did you know that Robin would betray you?”
“I just considered every possibility. You know, it’s quite unnatural for so many Heroes to join me one after another.”
“That is true.”
Eve then asked me what she should do with the traitor.
“He isn’t a traitor.”
“But, he tried to assassinate you.”
“Robin said that there was a reason.”
“Should you really believe his words?”
“Not so much his words, but his conviction.”
“Is it because he killed Francis Rosnay? He must have done that in order to fool you, Master.”
“But he killed the captain of the guard before that. And there was sorrow in his eyes. He was moved by Georg’s courage. Robin’s arrow was unleashed as a show of mercy and not hatred. Someone like that could not be a villain. I want to find out what is happening, so that he can truly join our camp.”
Upon hearing this, Eve said, ‘you truly are a compassionate king.’ And then she called her demon guards.
I ordered that he should be bound, but carried carefully to a room.
It was there that the interrogation began.
Well, I would only ask questions. And if Robin refused, that would be fine.
“You are too soft, Master. However, that in itself may attract some Heroes.”
“It’s not done in a calculating way.”
I said, and then used medicine to awaken Robin.
It could not have been very pleasant to be knocked out with a vase and come back like this, but Robin’s face remained neutral. He did not panic or become wild. That was impressive.
And so I treated him with respect while questioning him.
“So, why did you try to kill me?”
It was a simple question, and Robin answered me. He had no intention of hiding it at this point.
“Because Demon King Dagon told me to.”
“I take it’s not exactly an order that you agree with.”
“Aye. I’m an archer, not an assassin. I would rather fight boldly on the battlefield. Especially if my opponent is a Demon King that will be remembered by history.”
“Well, let’s not get carried away. So, Dagon wants to kill me. And who did he take hostage?”
“…So you can tell.”
“Aye. A proud man like you accepted this task. It was surely not for yourself.”
“…My lover has been taken hostage. Her name is Fianna.”
“It’s a pretty name.”
“And she is a pretty woman. Both inside and out. She helped me when I was summoned to this world and lost my master. I had no reason to live in this world until I met her.”
“So you owe her a debt.”
“Yes. She is more important to me than my heart.”
“Then I will help you get her back from Dagon.”
“Fianna is being imprisoned deep underground, below Dagon’s castle. It’s impossible.”
“Not impossible. I’m the king of strategy, after all.”
And so I explained my plan to Robin.
“I have a shinobi named Fuma Kotaro among my men. I will send him to go and rescue Fianna.”
“But the castle is tightly protected.”
“Dagon is currently focused on the southern fortress. He has set out for it himself. There will be fewer guarding the castle than usual.”
“Besides, I intend to put on an act to lower his guard even further.”
“Yes. I will die once in battle. By your arrow. And if he thinks that I died in battle, you will know if he really intends to return Fianna to you. If he does, that is good. If not, Kotaro will rescue her, and then he can regret his decision as I kill him.”
“…I see. That makes sense. Your reputation is well earned.”
“I’m happy that you think so.”
“However, there’s one thing that bothers me. This plan about me shooting you, and faking the assaination.”
“What would happen if I really killed you? Your plan would be for nothing then.”
Robin said the most morbid things as if they were nothing. And so I answered him calmly.
“It would only mean the complete collapse of the Ashtaroth army. Eve knows that if I ever die, she is not to resist, and allow the strongest to take my lands. I don’t know if that will be Dagon or some other Demon King.”
“…You do take a long view of things. Very well. I will gamble everything on your magnanimity.”
“The chances aren’t high, but the rewards are great.”
“In that case, we should increase the chances, as well as the reward.”
Robin said as he offered his right hand. He wanted to shake on it. And so I did. Like that, I formed a friendship with the Hero of Sherwood forest.