“…I think it is the Barleon Principality flag.”
The gold tree on a red field… It was the flag of a country once called the Barleon Empire. They had fought to dominate the continent for many years.
The principality was west of Sanfaris, and on the west side of the continent.
Baris listened to me and muttered.
“Aye. Then that would mean that it’s a ship from the old Barleon Empire. I thought they were already part of the kingdom. But they still exist.”
“Yes… Well, I think they still obey the king.”
It had been a very long time since they dominated the continent.
Now, they had to look up to Sanfaris, and their lands and strength had decreased greatly. They were not allowed to call themselves an empire, and they were called a principality instead.
There wasn’t even a shadow of their former glory remaining now. It was just a small country with one city by the sea and a little land around that. But they shared borders with Sanfaris, and had to consult with the king in matters of government, finance and diplomacy.
In other words, they were a vassal state… But why were they here?
They didn’t have the strength to go to war against Sanfaris. So perhaps they had given up on expansion and decided to explore the seas instead.
Maybe they had come here to find new trading partners…or to find land they could acquire.
Just then, Baris opened his mouth.
“I thought I knew all of the flags of the countries that are currently part of the continent. That’s very impressive.”
“Huh? Uh…I don’t think many people would actually recognize it.”
After all, everyone thought of the empire as having fallen.
So maybe it was just one in ten that would recognize that old flag.
I think it had been during a discussion of an engagement that I heard that the principality was what was left of an old empire.
“Hoho. I see that you were very serious about your studies, Lord Heal. However, it seems like they aren’t going to attack us.”
“Aye. And they don’t seem to be heavily armed from what I can see… Well, they shouldn’t even have any warships.”
Sanfaris had restrictions for what kind of ships they could own.
Erevan looked like the tenseness had suddenly left him.
“So, in other words, they aren’t even worth talking about… Ahh, and I was so much looking forward to a fight.”
“General… We have not yet decided that there won’t be a fight.”
“…Eh? What do you mean?”
“The fact remains that this ship is a threat… Isn’t that right, Lord Heal?”
Baris asked me with a serious expression.
“You are saying that we should sink it…”
“Yes. If it’s true that they are ruled by Sanfaris, word of this island’s development may reach your father. And then…”
“He will send his men here…”
What would my father do if he knew what was happening here…? Even if I didn’t care about what happened to me, there was a high likelihood that he would banish or even execute the others.
I had been fearing this, but knew it would happen sooner or later.
The island had become so much larger, and the World Tree reached towards the sky… There was no way that it wouldn’t attract attention.
What was surprising was that it had been this ship, instead of the royal navy.
If they took this information back with them, how would their government react?
They would have to decide how much they wanted their people to know.
Because they would fear that this precious information would get leaked to other countries…
I thought that it was likely that they would want to keep this information from Sanfaris.
However, that was just wishful thinking.
Besides, even if their government did remain silent about this island, there were sure to be some nobles who were friends with Sanfaris nobles who had loose lips. The outcome was obvious.
In that case, it would be best to sink the ship and prevent this information from leaving….
We could avoid a fight as well. This is what Baris was suggesting.
However, even if we did sink this one, another would come and take its place.
We would have to sink that one as well…
If so many ships vanished in this area, then it would draw even more interest.
Besides, I wanted to avoid war with them. And I didn’t want to kill either.
“…This might be naive of me, but I am not going to sink them.”
“…Are you certain?”
“If my father sends his men, perhaps I can persuade them to leave us alone by paying taxes. But if that doesn’t work… Well, that’s when I will resist.”
I said. And Baris sighed with relief.
“…You really never change, Lord Heal.”
“Yes, that is what I expect from you. The Lord Heal that I know would not fight unless it was absolutely necessary.”
“Huh? Uh, well…I suppose so.”
It wasn’t anything great or commendable.
If anything, it was part of the reason that I was belittled and seen as weak in the palace.
“We will obey you, Lord Heal… Ah, they have raised their sails again.”
As Baris talked, the white sails of the ship began to spread open.
And then they raised their anchor and sailed to the north.
“They are leaving…”
How would Sanfaris deal with the information that the ship carried?
And when it reached my father’s ears…
How would I be able to persuade my father…
The man’s severe expression hung in my mind.