Chapter 197 – I Went to Negotiate!
“While the sun hasn’t come out, it’s nice to see all the green.”
I was eating lunch in the Alanberc dining hall.
As it was very close to the World Tree, I had a good view of the newly made fields and orchards.
While all of it was just green now, flowers and fruits would eventually grow, and I was looking forward to seeing it become colorful.
These past few days, I had been spending my time digging in the Alanberc underground.
But I only found rocks and ore, which were very common in Sheorl.
There had been sap near the World Tree, but aside from that, we didn’t find anything special.
…Well, it was rock and iron that they needed the most, and we mined plenty of it.
So it was fine if we didn’t get anything rare.
Still, I hoped that one day, I would be able to dig in Mappa’s homeland. As I thought of such things, Alyssa approached me.
“Ah, Lord Heal.”
“Alyssa. You seem to be training hard again today.”
“Aye. After all, my crest is ‘Sword God.’ And so I must fight in the frontlines.”
The day after the World Tree was revived, the Arancian people learned crest appraisal from Baris.
Alyssa had hers appraised immediately, and discovered that she had the ‘Sword God’ crest.
It was a crest that made you incredibly skilled with the sword.
In fact, it was well known in my home country, and was a rare crest that any noble would be jealous of.
Aside from her, the other Guardians also had good crests.
I was especially surprised that Ogus had ‘Great Warrior,’ just like Erevan.
However, I also had some concerns.
“So, Alyssa. Has there been any confusion at all?”
“None. Just because that is someone’s crest, it doesn’t mean they have to quit their job and are forced to do something else. I just told them that it is a kind of charm.”
I did not want it to become a society like Sanfaris, where a person’s crest could determine their whole life.
I had told this to Alyssa, and she understood me.
She sat down facing me and began to sip some tea that was made from the leaves of the World Tree.
“It’s delicious… I would never have dreamed that such a thing could be drunk in Arancia. Everything you work on goes so smoothly, Lord Heal.”
But then she paused and placed her cup back on the saucer.
“However, there is one obstacle left.”
“The holy place?”
“Aye. I thought they would have compromised by now.”
“Perhaps their pride does not allow it…”
“Still, surely they would at least want to negotiate Rulat’s release…”
Rulat was the son of Grand Duke Bilene, who was the one with real authority in the holy place.
We had captured him during the previous attack on Alanberc. Currently, he was being made to work at the mushroom farm.
It seemed very odd that they would be silent after we took the son of their leader.
Or perhaps they had abandoned him… Rulat was not very wise, after all.
“Indeed. But what about asking them to negotiate?”
“Ah. Being the ones to ask them? The people of Alanberc would not allow that.”
As Alyssa said, the grudge they held against the holy place ran deep.
Still, Alanberc was on the verge of restoration. It was not a good thing for the relationship between the two places to stay like this.
“Alyssa…let’s solve this issue all at once, here and now. I will take Rulat and go to the holy place. He will be Sheorl’s prisoner, not Arancia’s.”
“Are you certain?”
“Aye. At the very least, I don’t want both sides to be enemies. Let me negotiate for you.”
“Thank you, Lord Heal… I feel bad that we keep on relying on you. However, they are much more…”
“I have seen my share of arrogant nobles. It will be fine.”
And like that, it was decided that I would head to the holy place with Rulat.
Shiel, Taran, and Fule came with me.
On top of the nearby walls, Ashton and Haines stood and seemed to glare at the holy place. They would watch from there in case anything unexpected happened.
Rulat had both of his hands tied with rope as he walked in front of me.
“Ah…ahhh…! Do-don’t eat me!”
“Taran wouldn’t eat you…you probably don’t even taste good.”
Fule said. Taran nodded as if to say that she was offended by the notion.
Rulat’s voice shook as he said,
“Wh-who are you people? The overwhelming military power, resources and technology… Not only that, but you humans and monsters work together.”
“That’s normal in Sheorl. What is so strange about that?”
“…Well, nevermind. In the end, you will all return to nothing once the day of the prophecy arrives.”
Rulat talked about the prophecy.
Fule seemed curious about it, and asked him,
“Once the darkness covers the world, the world will be destroyed. However, those who gather around the king of the underground will survive…”
It was very similar to the prophecy that my father had spoken of.
The world was going to end, with the exception of the island ruled by the Cave King, who was me.
“Hmmm. I don’t think Miss Alyssa or the Arancian people are aware of this prophecy.”
“It is something that was supposed to be passed down through the royal Arancian line. But I…”
Fule tilted her head, but I understood.
It was Rulat’s father, the grand duke, who held actual authority.
And so he would know all kinds of things about the holy country of Arancia.
I said to Fule,
“It means that they know the king’s secret.”
“That’s right! In any case, you people won’t be able to act so important for long! You treated me like an insect, and so the darkness will swallow you up like insects!”
“Wouldn’t all of you be swallowed up as well?”
“We will not be swallowed by the darkness… We are holy beings. We are the people who gather around the king of the underground!”
After saying this, Rulat smiled wickedly.
He believed that they would live a long time at the side of the underground king.
“Now that I think about it, didn’t Elto claim to be the king of the underground?”
“Ahh… I think that you’re right.”
As Fule said, Elto, who had been imprisoned under Sheorl, had claimed to be the underground king.
“Maybe it used to be a popular thing to do? Calling yourself the underground king? Like, I am the king who will outlive the prophecy!”
“It’s possible… Maybe it was to intimidate others.”
I answered Fule. And then Rulat began to mutter anxiously about how they would have the real king.
Eventually, we reached the gate of the holy place.
However, the holy place was eerily quiet.
You used to be able to see soldiers on the other side of the wall, but they seemed to be gone.
“Someone! Is anyone there!?”
I called out. But there was no answer.
Rulat also looked puzzled.
“…Why? Why is no one there?”
“Is there any other way to open the gate?”
“…Tsk. Fine then.”
And then Rulat started to chant some kind of spell.
However, the gate remained closed.
Rulat muttered with a pale face.
I pointed my hand at it and said,
“Then we’ll try opening it by force.”
“St-stop! You’ll just anger the underground king! These walls have the power to absorb magical energy. It will retaliate.”
I was already aware of that. There were several defense mechanisms throughout the holy place.
If you tried to go over the wall and enter the holy place, you would likely be attacked by some light beam.
I turned to Rulat.
“So we can’t open the gate. We can’t destroy it or enter from the sky… So we have no choice but to wait?”
“Something is clearly wrong, isn’t it? Then we have to find a way to get in.”
I could break it with magic.
But I had a better idea.
I took out my pickaxe.
“We can dig underground to get in.”
Upon hearing me say this, Fule and the others took out their pickaxes as well.
Thanks for the donations. They really help keep me afloat.