Another chapter thanks to the Patrons, enjoy~
Chapter 18 – Complete Capture
As the maid prepared the tea and left, Lucia-sama started to cry in large drops. Her eyes widened a bit at that, and I hurriedly asked her if she was okay.
“Could it be that you have some dust in your eyes? Or is there something wrong with you…?”
“No, I’m fine. I’m just relieved to hear that Sakurai-sama has returned safely…”
Apparently, it was tears of relief. She’s such a sweet girl, I think, that she cares so much for me, who has only known her for a short time. I held out a handkerchief to her, and she wiped her eyes with it.
“…Sigh. I didn’t expect you to come back so soon. Lucia, you understand now, don’t you? That’s the kind of person Sakurai is.”
“Kind of person…”
Is that a compliment or a put-down…
I sighed and told them that I was planning to head to the king now.
“There was a soldier on guard at the entrance of the dungeon. That man has told the king that I’ve returned. So if Watanabe’s schedule is okay, I’d like to go right away…”
“Thanks, my schedule will be fine. I’d also like to report back on how well Sakurai is doing, and let’s get going right away!”
“W-we’ll go with you, too.”
As soon as Ren agreed, Lucia-sama also raised her hand.
“I’ll have the carriage ready in a moment, let’s go to the royal castle with it.”
“I’m sorry, and thank you.”
“No. Since you saved my life, you should at least let me do this.”
With that, Lucia-sama rang the bell and ordered the maid to arrange a carriage.
◆ ◆ ◆
They asked me in the carriage about the bottom lake dungeon, and we arrived at the royal castle faster than I could finish telling them everything.
“I didn’t expect you to have time to spare even with the lake Kraken attacking… A healer conquered a dungeon that even a knight can’t conquer…”
Ishmer is looking a little distant, but well, let’s pretend I didn’t see him. When we got to the royal castle entrance, the maids were waiting to guide us, so we followed them. Ren and I walk to the front, followed by Ruri and Lusha. Lastly, Ishmael and Lucia-sama.
I want to go quickly and have them cancel Ren’s contract as soon as possible. When I think of that, my legs naturally become faster. When we reach the audience room’s door, I notice a person standing in front of it.
He has blonde hair that is almost white and emerald green eyes. He is tall and slender but appears to be moderately muscular. The sword he carries at his waist is lavishly decorated, and one can tell at a glance that he is a person of high status.
“Hey Ren, do you know that guy?”
“He’s the first prince of this country.”
I asked Ren in a whisper, and he immediately gave me a ridiculous answer. The first prince doesn’t look at all like the king; he’s a ridiculously handsome man. The very phrase “the prince of the story” is firmly applied.
When the first prince saw us coming, he grinned and smiled.
“I couldn’t help but come when I heard that you had successfully completed the impossible task my father gave you. It’s a pleasure to meet you, a fellow countryman and friend of Watanabe’s. My name is Serfiore Piznutt. Nice to meet you.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet the First Prince. I’m Sakurai, nice to meet you.”
He holds out his hand to me, and we exchange greetings, but I’m confused as to what is going on. Because, you know, that king’s son? Why bother with me… I thought so, but the prince is also talking to Ren and the others and greeting Lusha as well.
His atmosphere is not stiff, so maybe he’s not a person like the king. The prince looked at me and gave me a wry smile.
“I’m sorry my father has caused you so much trouble. Lucia was acting weird, so I got the whole story.”
“Yeah. She’s my fiancé, so we get to spend a lot of time together on a lot of things.”
“Ah, I see.”
After hearing this story, I understood. What exactly is the connection when Ruri chose Lucia-sama to get information about the king? That’s what I thought. But if Lucia-sama herself is engaged to the prince… then it’s certainly no wonder that Ruri chose Lucia-sama. Related to that, there must be many opportunities to get along with the prince.
“Excuse me; Your Majesty is waiting for you inside.”
The maid, who feared that our conversation might not end, offered with her head down. Indeed, I feel it’s not a good idea to keep that king waiting for a long time. The prince must have thought so too, and while he seemed to be short of conversation, he mouthed, ”That’s right”.
“I’m sorry I held you back, Sakurai. Good luck with your audience with my father.”
“No, sir, thank you for your concern.”
When I saw Serfiore-sama walk away, my shoulders suddenly relaxed. It seemed that he was having a more nerve-wracking conversation than I had expected. It seems that it was the same with Lusha, who I had only seen since the greeting, coming up next to me and breathing deeply.
“I was in a hurry because I didn’t think I’d ever have a chance to talk to the prince. What can I say, as expected Hiroki is amazing…”
“No, in this case, the amazing one is Ren. He seemed to be friendly with Serfiore-sama…
“Oh, I thought so, too. Ren has a way with people, doesn’t he?”
When I agreed with Lusha, we were granted permission to enter the room by the king inside.
◆ ◆ ◆
The red carpet is still the same, and sitting at its end is a fat king. He wore a number of glittering rings on his fingers as if to show off his power. His body, however, was shaking with a shudder. Was it a surprise that I was really back?
I slowly get down on one knee and look at the king. Then I take out what I got from the treasure chest in the dungeon and show it to the king.
“I have brought you the lake drop you requested, as I promised. Here it is.”
“I’ll take it.”
I put the lake drop into a small box brought by a servant and reverently took it to the king. The king roughly took the lake drop in his hand and began to look at it carefully. Perhaps he suspected that it was a fake.
“…It’s the real thing, huh?”
“Of course. I won’t lie to you or make you get a fake one. Your Majesty, I’ve brought you the item you specified this time. Please, please, terminate the contract.”
At the same time, as my words, Ren takes a step forward. The king looks as if he has bitten down on a bitter worm at that action. I guess he can’t accept that he has to let go of a hero who will do what he wants.
“But do you really mean to say that Sakurai has conquered it all by himself? Who else did he ask for to help him? Otherwise, it wouldn’t be right.”
“That was our stand over here. There was a soldier at the ferry to the dungeon, and he was keeping a good lookout. Are you going to deny him his job, too?”
It was the king who prepared the soldiers, so I’ll make good use of them there. A soldier in a long way from his place, can’t he do the job? That being said, there was no way the vain king would affirm it.
Probably, that soldier would have given him a proper report. The king sighed for a long, long time.
“I didn’t expect you to really capture it all by yourself…”
“…I’m sorry, O king. That’s what happens when you underestimate evasion.”
When I said that, his eyes widened. Evasion, which he’d said was incompetent until now, was what I needed to clear.
“Hmm. That doesn’t change the fact that a healer without recovery power is incompetent. The essence of a healer is only in recovery.”
“No, it’s not.”
“I’m not going to argue with you!”
――That’s what he said.
I shake my head for the moment since getting too angry might hinder the termination of the contract. Even if there were consequences, the king doesn’t seem to have changed his mind about healers only needing to heal.
He’s probably too stone-faced to think about anything else anymore.
“I beg your pardon. So much for the nonsense, but let’s terminate the contract.”
The king got up from his chair and looked right beside him.
“…Hmm. Court magician, step forward.”
The man who was called in is wearing a monocle with a long hem robe. Based on his position, I would guess that he is the most skilled in magic here. I take a good look at him to see what on earth he’s going to do.
“Then, Watanabe-sama, please offer me your arm with a contract bracelet on it.”
Ren’s voice wagged a little, probably due to his nervousness. That relieves some of my tension. I notice that my back is drenched in sweat, and I realize that I was in a very tense situation.
The magician chants the name of some skill on Ren’s bracelet, and this time he goes to the king. Then he repeated the same action again.
“His Majesty Joseph and Watanabe-sama. We have forced the contract bracelet of both parties to activate. If His Majesty declares the contract’s termination in this state, the bracelet will be removed.”
I was looking to see if that magician would cancel the contract, but it seems that wasn’t the case. After all, it’s impossible to take off the bracelet unless the person in question says the contract’s cancellation.
Now, let’s terminate the contract. Slowly, the king opens his mouth.
“…I have a conditional agreement to terminate this contract.”
――I mean, hey!