Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Searching for a Compromise
After their conversation, the king and the old man left the chambers. A maid came in and started cleaning. The bed, in particular, was a mess. When Hikaru sneaked in around three in the morning, he found the king sleeping with a few women. He was fortunate he didn’t witness them doing the act.
Hikaru slipped out from behind the curtain where he was hiding and went out the window to the courtyard, pondering things over along the way. The king mentioned he could sense someone even while asleep. However, Hikaru actually got closer than they expected, but his Stealth was too high-leveled for Gerhardt to notice him.
Hikaru’s Instincts, however, did whisper to him not to get too close. How close, he didn’t know. He assumed that if he got close enough to pull out a dagger and stab Gerhardt, the king would have woken up. He wasn’t absolutely sure, though.
Instinct sure is handy. Maybe I should put more points on it. But I might end up in a situation where I need more Strength or Stamina…
A good-old typical grinding was necessary to gain more skill points—killing monsters and earning money, just like an actual adventurer. Unfortunately, war had been keeping Hikaru busy. Unless he stopped the war, he wouldn’t be able to grind in peace.
Hikaru threatened Gerhardt directly to see how the man would react. He even stole the military-use daggers to show that he had the upper hand. But it only served to fuel Gerhardt more. From this, he arrived at a conclusion.
Gerhardt has a lot of confidence in himself. He’s driven by a strong conviction and decided to invade Ponsonia.
Hikaru stifled a yawn. He made his way back to the inn to get some sleep.
Later that evening, when the sun was about set, Hikaru returned to the palace. Preparations for the war were going smoothly. Numerous carts—most likely carrying provisions—were leaving Hopestadt, manned by soldiers holding the national flag.
I could delay things by burning their supplies… Then again, whoever’s in charge of it will have their heads cut off for sure.
Lavia and Paula gathered information during the day about Gerhardt’s nature. He was stern, yet warm-hearted. While he appeared to have a one-track mind, he would look at things in the long-term. Many called him a wise king.
There were also many who incurred the wrath of the king and got executed. This resulted in Gerhardt having plenty of enemies as well. Using these enemies, however, would only bring about another civil war. Hikaru wanted to avoid causing further trouble.
To stop the war without any casualties, Gerhardt himself had to declare that the war be stopped. In that respect, directly threatening him was not entirely wrong.
If I recall correctly, the tournament to select the next king starts next spring. That’s also when Gerhardt’s term ends. He wants to crush Ponsonia, a kingdom that Einbeast had despised for a long time, before then.
Einbeast had developed greatly under the rule of Gerhardt. They now had the power to fight Ponsonia. The kingdom, on the other hand, was weak from the civil war. There couldn’t be any better opportunity than this.
Einbeast despises Ponsonia for its supremacist views, discriminating against Beastmen. But there are humans in this country too, and they’re not really being discriminated against.
Hikaru felt that the country’s official stance and the citizens’ opinions differed. The citizens didn’t like Ponsonia, of course. But surely, they cared about that no more than their daily income. Who cares about issues of a foreign country?
First, I need to gather data.
Hikaru infiltrated the palace once more.
「Five more days till New Years.」a beastman patrol said.
「Yup. You got plans?」his partner, a dwarf, asked.
「My wife’s parents’ home is in this city, so we’re spending the eve there.」
「I see. Oh, you just got a kid, right?」
The soldier scratched his cheeks bashfully. He took a key from a bunch dangling by his waist and inserted it into a keyhole. After muttering something under his breath, he twisted the key. The lock shone blue, and not long after, the soldier felt a response through his fingertips. The door had been unlocked.
The patrols stood before a small U-shaped building. Everyone who worked in the palace knew what the place was—the treasure house.
The beastman entered first, followed by the dwarf. They held up the magic lamps they were carrying, illuminating the whole building. Red carpet lay on the floor. Treasures were displayed on the side, and thick stone pillars with elaborate designs lined the walls.
「Hey, did you lock the door? Rules say we have to lock it even when patrolling.」
「Reciting the words every single time is annoying.」
Nevertheless, he muttered the words anyway.
This time, the whole door shone blue, a sign that it was now locked. In the meantime, the dwarf turned on the lights for the whole building. Faint and warm, orange light filled the interior of the treasure house.
Different things were on display—a huge sword, a huge spear, a helmet, old grimoires, among others. There were even jewelries embedded with fist-sized gems. Only a few people were allowed in here, but everyday cleaning made the place spotless.
The displays stopped midway, even though they hadn’t gone the full length of the treasure house yet. What’s more, there was one pedestal with no item on it.
「I wonder what the king will donate.」
「We’re talking about King Gerhardt. It’s gotta be a huge sword.」
This building housed the treasures that a king donated once his term ended. In other words, Gerhardt would have to present one such item soon. It made sense that the whole place wasn’t filled yet.
The ruler’s name and the name of the item were carved into the pedestal.
「A sword, huh…」the dwarf muttered, downhearted.
「The weapon that the dragon king left from twelve generations ago was a sword too, right? You know, the one that got stolen. I just thought His Majesty would choose to leave something else because of that.」
「This one here, huh.」the beastman said, referring to the empty pedestal.「If I recall correctly, even with the dwarves’ technology, they couldn’t analyze the weapon.」
The two approached the pedestal.
『64th King, Representative of the Dragon Clan, Michael Vatex Holger』
『Holy Mana Arms: Blade of Severance.』
It was none other than the holy mana item that Hikaru found underneath the Tower in Agiapole.