Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
Chapter 13 – An Audience with the King
After dinner and discussion, Lusha and I returned to the inn. But we’re not done talking yet, so we gather in my room.
“I’ll definitely go with you!”
Lusha, seated in a chair, declared that while puffing out her cheeks. As for tomorrow’s audience with the King, the only question left was whether or not Lusha would go with us… It’s confirmed that Ruri, Ren and I are going.
Then what about Lusha?
“I don’t agree. As expected, I can’t take you in front of the King. If something happens, they’re going to come after you! So stay here.”
“Then you can’t go there either. Ruri also said that Hiroki is the one who could be targeted by the King.”
This is a very parallel conversation. Indeed, Ruri was told that I was in danger of being targeted. The King thinks that I’m just a hindrance to him and that Ruri and Ren are the two people he needs.
Ruri considered my intentions and also told me that I would not be late to meet with the King. Well, she also said that if anything happened, she would use magic… but I decided not to ask her about that.
Lusha stared at me, and it was written on her face that she wouldn’t give up until I said yes.
What to do, what should I do? Lusha is a good partner, and I hope to continue to get along with her.
…but she’s a person from this world. It isn’t easy to draw the line between how far she can get involved in our situation. I’ve explained that the King was targeting me from the beginning, but it’s another to meet him in person.
When I was troubled, Lusha yelled at me. As expected of a tomboy. I’m not sure if it’s possible to continue dodging in front of Lusha, who has already made up her mind…
“Okay, Lusha can come with me. But the King isn’t a nice guy, you know? Do not ever say anything unnecessary, okay?”
“Yeah. I’ll keep quiet and let Hiroki and the others do the talking. I don’t want to act on my own and cause you any trouble.”
I nodded as I heard Lusha tell it clearly.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry for getting you into our mess…”
“Umm. Don’t mind me, because we’re partners, and I consider Ren and Ruri to be my friends. I want to help them, too.”
I felt like Lusha’s words had suddenly loosened me.
I see… It’s not just me and Ruri who want to help Ren, after all. I’m glad that Lusha is also joining us there. If she says that much, how can I say no?
◆ ◆ ◆
Our audience with the King was in the hall where we were summoned. As before, we followed the red carpet and found a fat man―King Joseph Roa Piznutt―sitting on it.
Beside the King stood the slender man who had been giving the initial briefing, and next to the carpet were soldiers in armor. Perhaps it’s because of my presence, but I can feel an air of caution buzzing through the room.
When I looked at the King, he made an apparent disgusted face. Haha, so obvious. It’s easy to understand. I’m sure he doesn’t like me because I’m just a hindrance, and he wants to get rid of me. The slender man beside the King has also attacked me by deceiving me with the name of Ren. I’m sure he did it on the King’s orders.
Of course, I returned the attack with Lusha.
“Thank you for that time; you are very helpful to me.”
So I greet him for a moment.
“Good gracious, I don’t know what you mean… But you look good, that’s good to see.”
I guess he can’t say that he attacked me in front of Ren and Ruri. The King smiled on the surface and gave me a word of appreciation. He looked at me, Ren, Ruri, and Lusha, who are lined up, and got a quizzical expression.
“…Then what do you want? I heard from Takanashi that you wanted to talk to me, but I didn’t expect Sakurai to be with you. There’s another elf I don’t know, too, isn’t there?”
It is Ren, the hero, who responds to the King, who started speaking in a high-pressure tone.
“Sakurai is my dear friend and companion with whom I have shared a party. And she is a member of Sakurai’s party.”
He introduced Lusha while keeping her name hidden just in case, and now here’s the main point. It’s going to be a negotiation, in order to have Ren’s contract bracelet terminated. We haven’t told the King what we’re going to talk about yet, so now is the time to step up.
I take a step forward and make a smile.
“What I’m here today is in regards to the contract on the bracelet between Your Majesty and the hero, Watanabe.”
The King, who had been smiling falsely just a moment ago, narrowed his eyes.
―As I expected, he doesn’t have any intention to cancel the contract…huh?
Well, I suppose that’s true. I’m not sure he’d ever think of cutting the contract that connects him and the hero. If the contract expires, the hero will leave from under him―that’s what he must have concluded.
But we can’t back down from this one.
“The condition of the contract is that the three of us must be able to move freely. The restriction is that Watanabe cannot go to another country without His Majesty’s permission…”
This is like being a slave.
“Watanabe will continue to be a hero. In such a situation, it will be difficult to respond to emergencies if there are restrictions on his actions. Perhaps… there may be something that will be a loss for this country. After all, Watanabe is a hero.”
I guess he thinks what I say has a point; the King listens in silence.
“―But simply canceling the contract will only serve Your Majesty’s interests. Therefore, I have brought you a rare flower.”
The King’s eyes twitched and reacted. He probably thought of the Chloria he wanted. I gave Ruri a look, and she stepped forward with the Chloria on a tray.
“Here, Your Majesty Joseph.”
“O-oh… this is, a Chloria?”
Yes, bingo! The King’s eyes widened, and his glittering gaze was glued to Ruri’s Chloria.
“If I give you this flower, will you terminate your contract with Watanabe?”
“So that’s the exchange…”
“It is presumptuous of you.”
The King’s open mouth closed and twisted as he replied with a grave smile on his lips. He wants it, but he doesn’t want to accept my terms. After a few minutes of glaring at me, Ren spoke up from the side.
“Your Majesty Joseph, please. I would like to act more freely and exert this power…”
“Hero… If you’re going to go that far, I’d be willing to accept your terms, but as expected―.”
Ren bowed his head, but the King remained unwilling to accept. But the difference came from somewhere else. If you listen carefully, you can hear it.
“It is okay to at least listen to a request from hero-sama, isn’t it?”
“Watanabe-sama has been good to us and…”
“It’s awful to be bound by a contract.”
It seemed to have reached the King’s ears. He looked around at the soldiers who were red-faced and whispered to each other. However, it appears that he couldn’t identify the exact culprit, as all of them held their mouths in an instant.
Even in the midst of all this, Ren remained looking straight at the King. It’s as if the soldiers’ voices hadn’t reached his ears.
“Please, Your Majesty!”
It was a mistake for the King to deploy so many soldiers, wasn’t it? I knew from Ruri that Ren is well-liked by the soldiers, but I didn’t expect them to go this far.
As expected, in this situation, the King wouldn’t be able to reject Ren easily.
“Damn…! But I don’t need flowers, even though they are rare! A different set of conditions would be fine!”
No way, it’s a bad idea to come in here and put up a fight. He didn’t want to break the contract, but he couldn’t tell that in front of the soldiers, so he took a different approach. What kind of conditions will be imposed on us?
But as long as the conditions are cleared, this will be our win.
“Sakurai will go to the “Bottom of the lake Dungeon” alone and get the “Lake Drop”. You alone are weak; you’ll never be able to do that on your own!”
“An item? …Okay, I’ll go get it.”
“Huh, you’re not allowed to bring your friends with you.”
The King tells me in a pompous manner as I turn around. Considering the name of the dungeon and the item, it might be something that can only be obtained in that dungeon.
When I thought that I would start by gathering information, the slender man gave me the details.
“The Lake Drop is a fixed item that is always included in the dungeon’s treasure chest. It’s an extraordinary and mysterious gem that allows you to see inside the lake.”
“Thank you for your explanation. I will get it and deliver it to His Majesty’s hands as soon as possible.”
And so we finished our audience with the King.