The on board party was partially noisy but progressed peacefully on the whole……and before long, the music that was being performed changed to something calm.
The party approached its end, and Torcresta and Rokuna brought their amicable chat-style haggling to a complete stop.
「……Fumu. Today was a good time spent.」
「Same here. It truly has been meaningful.」
They exchanged smiling faces with each other……and it was there that Torcresta suddenly erased his smile.
「By the way, Rokuna-dono. Could it be that people of our country are being safeguarded in your country?」
「I don’t understand the aim the question. If you’re seeking a clear answer, please give a clear question.」
In response to Rokuna’s reply, Torcresta whispered while looking like he was choosing his words.
「That is, true……Someone called Borkio who was in the middle of returning to our country, there was an incident where he went missing along with his ship. It was a situation where even the safety of the ship was still unknown……And after seeing Margaret-dono, I thought that perhaps there was also the possibility that he arrived there as well.」
Thinking “so he’s starting it here huh”, Rokuna clicked her tongue in her mind.
However, it wasn’t a problem. Her reply was already prepared.
「Borkio, is it. I don’t know if he is the same as that person but……something that appeared to be like a ragged large type ship had reached our shores.」
Hearing Rokuna’s words, Torcresta’s brow moved with a twitch.
However, she couldn’t see any tone of agitation more than that.
「Hou. A large type ship you say.」
「Yes, I do recall that there was a total of thirty people including a person calling himself Borkio though.」
Torcresta cautiously scritinized those words. If he remembered correctly, there should have definitely been thirty names in the report.
「……I see. Most likely, that should be the Borkio that we are searching for. Where is Borkio’s group now?」
「We don’t know.」
Rokuna answered like that and shrugged her shoulders.
「One day, they just suddenly left our country. We don’t know as far as their life or death after that.」
She didn’t lie. It was a fact that they suddenly left the Zadark Kingdom.
She had heard that a Voltenix struck them and their ship was broken into small fragments, but since they hadn’t confirmed their life or death, it was unknown. Well, she didn’t think that they were alive though.
「……Is that, so.」
「Yes. Since there were also some injured people that seemed like they had received an attack, we thought that we would at least let them heal from that though.」
Torcresta quietly gazed at Rokuna who made a pained-looking face.
「An attack, is it. Did they say who the attack was by?」
「They were attacked by Alva. That is what he said.」
Before they knew it, others were all also listening to Rokuna and Torcresta’s conversation and were steadily watching them.
However, the people themselves continued the conversation looking like they didn’t mind it at all.
「When it comes to Alva, they are recognized as Mazoku though. Your citizens are running wildly……is that what this means?」
「No, the Alva are not Mazoku that are under the Zadark Kingdom’s command.」
「And where is the proof of that?」
「Supposing that the Alva were our comrades, they would have made it look like the incident with Borkio’s group was the work of the Demi-Human hating St. Altlis Kingdom. Wouldn’t doing it that way be easier?」
After Torcresta nodded several times looking like he understood, he held a hand out to Rokuna.
「Please forgive me for saying it in a way that sounded like I was suspecting you. However, it was something that I needed to ask.」
「There is nothing better than having worries be taken away.」
Rokuna said that, and grasped Torcresta’s hand back.
Rokuna didn’t speak out a single lie. It’s just that she simply didn’t say anything that would inconvenience them.
「Now then, shall we bring a close to this party with this?」
「That’s right. An on-site dispersal……may I take it as that?」
「Yes, I don’t mind. Since we will also be setting sail just like this.」
Rokuna nodded at Torcresta, and then called out to the members of the Zadark Kingdom delegation.
「Everyone withdraw! Do your own respective Transfer!」
Answering those words, Altejio carried Margaret in his arms.
Lumon, Arum……they Transferred one after another.
「Well then, I will excuse myself as well. Do take care until the next time we meet.」
「I am sure, that time will come soon.」
「I will be anticipating it.」
Leaving behind those words, Rokuna also Transferred and vanished.
And then, the only ones left on the deck of the Gresleta were only the Metalio group.
「……The Alva, huh.」
「Can we trust them?」
Hearing Baltroy’s question, Torcresta went silent.
「There were no inconsistencies, in her answer just now. That is all I can say for now.」
「However! For them to say that the Alva are not their comrades is……!」
「Baltroy-dono. It is not good to be so suspicious.」
Melmeris interrupted Baltroy’s words that had become strong in tone.
「Kuh, however……If we accept those words of theirs, that would be the same as giving them permission to feign ignorance! Even if those Alva try to make some sort of mess in our country, making them take responsibility would……」
「……Baltroy, just shut up already.」
It was there that Torcresta changed into the original Metalio way of speaking.
Hearing that voice that included coercion that was completely different from the gentle one that was used up until now, Baltroy sank into silence.
「At the present point in time, there’s no proof nor reason to suspect the Zadark Kingdom’s participation in the incident. On the contrary, if the talk about Borkio’s group is the truth, they’re in a position where they should be thanked. Don’t forget that.」
「Then that’s fine. In any case, we’re bringing back the results of today’s conference.」
When Torcresta raised one arm, the Gresleta’s departure preparations started with that as the signal.
While making a yawn, Azorto followed Torcresta as he returned to his room.
Coming to a stop about halfway into a corridor within the ship, Torcresta opened his mouth without turning around.
「Azorto-dono, how did you judge it?」
「There’s nothing to it. With the current material, I can’t make a judgement. That is probably everything.」
「……Is that so.」
Facing the lamenting Torcresta’s back, Azorto spoke to him as if she were just chatting with him.
「……But still, I think that we should continue negotiations with them like this.」
「May I hear your reasons for that?」
「Even though it’ll have the same conclusion anyways, is there a need to even hear ‘em?」
Shrugging her shoulders at Torcresta who had started walking while keeping silent, Azorto answered him.
「There being no reason to stop the negotiations is one reason. Next is……Let’s see. No matter how the situation moves from now on, the Zadark Kingdom will definitely become the key. That’s why.」
「……That’s true. That’s exactly it.」
There is no reason to stop the negotiations. It was because if the current situation were to be taken into account, forming a friendship with them just like this would produce almost no inconvenience to the Cylas Empire.
It’s just that the Hero Legend had also strongly taken root within the Cylas Empire as well.
In the Shutaia Continent, the Alva and the Goblins were rampaging about, and the feelings of recusation towards the Mazoku haven’t changed from the past.
If they were to say 「form a friendship with the Mazoku」 in that sort of situation, there would naturally be those who can’t agree to it.
Furthermore, with this timing, it overlapped the situation where fragments of the Kurioel that had traces of an attack left on them were discovered.
Rumors that it was something done by a Mazoku attack had already started floating about within their nation.
If anything, there was even a rumor floating around in a portion of them that said that the Kurioel was sunk because they had touched upon the Mazoku’s wrath, and out of fear of them, the 「Silvers」 recommended the Emperor that they become subordinates to the Mazoku.
However, the merchants didn’t have much of a feeling of recusation towards the Mazoku of the Zadark Kingdom.
Seeing that they were instead in a position where there were even opinions stating that the Cylas Empire should also perform direct transactions, if they were to actually form a friendship with them, there was also the possibility that the negative rumors could be dispelled.
If this era’s Demon King was truly virtuous, forming a friendly relationship with him would also prove useful in preserving the Empire’s influence from now on. At the same time, it would probably connect with the true peace that everyone continued to desire.
But, if──if everything was a lie, and this era’s Demon King was evil.
「……Azorto-dono. If it’s you, could you win against the Demon King?」
「There ain’t anyone that fights with the intent of losing.」
While saying that, Azorto boldly smiled.
「But still……It probably won’t be so easy that I could win by myself. If the Demon King this time is evil, assembling together as nations will be much more troublesome than last time. If there’s anyone that can tear that down, it’s……」
「……The Hero huh.」
Torcresta muttered that sounding like he found that unpleasant.
Torcresta had never seen the Hero directly.
However, according to the legends, the Hero was said to make the impossible possible, and was a being that would guide the righteous to victory.
Exaggerations made by the St. Altlis Kingdom were probably greatly included, but he had actually defeated the Demon King Shuklous and the Great Demon King Gramfia with a small number of people.
And then, currently, the only one able to summon the Hero was the St. Altlis Kingdom.
「……Honestly. This is a headache-inducing story.」
「It must be terrible for Politician-san, huh.」
「I could quickly retire though if you were to join the Silver, Azorto-san.」
「You tellin’ me to succeed the Second Seat? Don’t joke around like that.」
In response to Azorto going “keh” and saying that as if spitting it out, Torcresta turned around and grinned.
「No……At that time, drag Shaiarondo down from the First Seat. Kuku, that sounds interesting, doesn’t it. Nn?」
「Seriously, pardon me from that…… I have no intention of getting involved with politics.」
「I think you have the aptitude for it though. If we’re talking about aptitude for the sword, look……Little sister-dono’s daughter has more than enough for it. Why don’t you just place her as the Blademaster successor?」
「……Like I said before. It’s impossible for that naive girl.」
The Gresleta, which had those two who transitioned into that sort of conversation that was mixed with jokes on board, continued towards the Royal Capital Dorkdorn.
Like this, the first conference between the Zadark Kingdom and the Cylas Empire that was kept secret came to a close.