Perhaps he was disturbed by how it didn’t seem to be worth the cost.
And so I made a suggestion.
“Berfalt. You’re a merchant, right?”
“Ye-yes! Though, I only just started… This was my very first voyage after becoming independent. I still haven’t made any profit yet. So maybe I wouldn’t even qualify…”
Berfalt’s shoulders slumped. I continued.
“In that case, why don’t you work for me?”
“For you, Lord Heal? I don’t mind, but…”
“I want you to send these dragonfolk back to their country. Along with a letter.”
“You’re letting them go!?”
“Aye. They would never be accepted by the others if they stayed on this island.”
Well, for my sake, I’m sure the others would have tried.
However, these dragonfolk showed no signs of wanting to change.
Even now, they continued to insult and mock us with loud voices.
These were people that enslaved the other races. Their pride would not allow them to see us as equals.
Arder was clearly in pain, and yet he continued to glare at us with hatred.
But when Erevan glared back at him, he quickly lowered his head.
Indeed, even I did not want to welcome them to this island.
“Of course. They returned your kindness with violence. I was just surprised that you’re letting them go free. Um… I am personally against slavery, but it is true that even without their ears, they would fetch a high price. And of course, you could use them as laborers here…”
“There are no slaves on this island. And there never will be.”
“I see… Please excuse me. It was a stupid question, given that you freed us all.”
Berfalt looked quite happy when he heard that I was against it.
“Of course, I will accept this task. They hid their flags when they attacked us. However, at least on the surface, the Amolis Republic and the Vadar Dragon Kingdom are not at war. There was even a ceasefire agreement. So I should be able to send them there safely. However, if they are not slaves, what will they be?”
“Prisoners of war. They have declared war, have they not? We fought and captured them, after all.”
“I see… It was like a declaration. Uh, is this a country…”
There would likely be a problem…with saying that this was part of Sanfaris.
After all, since we were sending these prisoners back, they would have to react in the appropriate way.
If it were just a tribal society, they might get enraged but do little else. However, this was a country that made treaties. They would be aware of how it would look on the outside. In other words, they cared about diplomacy.
Arder would surely be punished, at least, publicly.
To attack other ships without a flag was a flagrant act of piracy. If word got to Berfalt’s country, the Amolis Republic, then Arder would have to be punished and a formal apology made.
Furthermore, they had antagonised us, who they had no political relationship with, and forced us to fight. And so they would have to apologize to us as well.
However, this ‘us’ was also a problem.
Officially, how many of us should there be?
Monsters weren’t citizens, but I was considered a lord of the kingdom… That meant that this was Sanfaris territory, and I was a citizen of the country.
However, if I said this, then the Dragon Kingdom would send envoys to the royal capital instead of here.
Which of course, meant that the entire matter would come before my father. And he would know that I was living here with monsters.
But then again, given that Berfalt and the other former slaves would be returning home, there was no keeping this island a secret anymore.
They had all been brought here by force, and I could not force them to stay. They would have family and people waiting for their return.
Besides, we had already been seen by that other ship… At this point, it seemed that keeping our existence hidden was impossible.
Furthermore, it wasn’t as if we ourselves wanted to avoid having any connection to the outside world. If it was possible for us to be on friendly terms with other countries, we would welcome it. Of course, the knowledge of our wealth would likely bring in unwanted visitors as well. We would have to know when to hide what needed to be hidden.
In any case, the day would come sooner or later, when this island would become known.
And so I decided to build diplomatic relationships as a country separate from Sanfaris.
…A free country where race did not matter. A country that was unrelated to all the chaos on the continent.
“This country shall be called Sheorl… And I, Heal, will be its representative.”
And so on that day, I would declare Sheorl an independent country.