~ Chapter 109: How she was viewed by others (Part 3) ~
“Are you alright?” I asked him.
The boy looked towards the drunkard that was scampering off in the distance with a long-lost gaze. That man's words must have touched the boy's heart. Those were some rather horrible words to tell a child, but allowing them to affect you or not was his choice.
“Alkelios...” Amadeus said and then looked up at me.
“Yes?” I asked.
“What do you think of the Akutan Empire?”
“What part of it?”
The boy looked down for a moment as he thought about how to answer me and then replied “The people... from the commoners and Human Heroes to the nobles and... the way they treat those around them?”
“Hm. That's a difficult question to answer.” I said and then looked back at Ildea and Coshun, who were also interested in my words. After all, they were all royal in one way or another. They too wanted to know what my opinion was. “I know far too little about the Akutan Empire to declare anything with absolute certainty, but from what I heard and what I know, neither that place nor this Ten Sword Kingdom seem to be a good place to live in. The Albeyater Kingdom, by comparison is far more comfortable to live in. There a lot of people there and the cities aren't that smelly. I can spread my wings without needing to worry about standing out or being looked at with a hateful gaze. I can also say that the idea of slavery isn't one that I personally approve of.” I looked down at Tamara, who was looking at me with perked up ears “Those like me, Human Heroes, were born and raised in a world where such things were seen as a drawback on society. The world we live in, however, can be seen by us a mere fragment of our world's past.” I explained.
“I feel like you told me something really important, but you still didn't tell me how you see the citizens of Akutan Empire. Are they an enemy to you or a friend?” Amadeus asked.
“Neither. They are mere citizens of a distant country I have no connection with. I can't hate someone I never met just because they belong to a different country. If that was true, because of the past between the country I was born in and that of Kalderan, I should have hated him and think as though he was the most vile and hateful man on the planet.” I replied.
“True...” Kalderan nodded.
“You don't want to uphold the honor of your ancestors?” Coshun asked.
“Our Ancestors don't live for us. They had their own lives during which they followed their own choices and desires just like we do in the present. If we choose to hate someone because of what their parents or grandparents did, then we are no better than them at that time. The sins of the father are the child's to bare, this... this is a foolish saying that destroyed families, caused wars, and led only to the death of innocents.” I answered.
“Wise words you speak, but reality isn't as gentle as that. To forget about your hate isn't something so easy to do.” said Ildea.
Looking right into her eyes, I told her “Whether you hate someone or love them is as easy as flipping a switch, or in your words, it's as easy as taking out your sword from its scabbard. If you end up using it to attack or to protect is a choice you alone can make and no one else. Ildea, right now, I have the power to conquer this country and more. I also have the power to bring it to ruin and kill everyone here, but that is my choice to make. I choose how to wield my power not my parents or my grandparents. Even if my wife was here and begged me to do it, in the end, it would still be my choice.”
My words may have been a bit too deep or maybe too harsh, but it was something a lot of people I knew back on Earth were aware of. True, acting upon it sometimes wasn't that easy because humans tended to get overwhelmed quite easily by their emotions. Hate, fear, desperation, these were all vital emotions that could force anyone to pull the trigger of their gun. But even then, the finger that pressed on that piece of metal was his, not mine or anyone else.
When I was in the Seculiar Forest, I had a lot of time to think about what I wanted to do when I returned to the capital. Because of the danger of the [Itsy Bitsy BOOM!] spell, I had to be extra careful on where I was going to use it and how. In a moment of anger, I could easily ruin the lives of thousands and scar the world in ways unimaginable. The amount of power that this one spell held was not something to be toyed with it. Every time I used it, I always thought well and hard if it was worth it or not.
Back then, when I destroyed the insect army, I was well aware that there was no other way of stopping it before reaching the Seculiar Forest, where I could lose track of its many soldiers. If that place was a lush plain, I may have hesitated up to the last moment, and maybe only after careful consideration fired it. Since the desert was wide and mostly barren, I felt more at ease with setting off such an attack.
When I was at the capital and threatened everyone with it, it was a show for the most part, but even then... to ignite this attack, to kill so many draconians, I couldn't do it unless I relieved myself of the act of living as well...
It was a good thing it never came to that.
That was why I believed that my words were not simple philosophy. I was put through the test during those moments, when I chose to pull the trigger and when I chose not to pull it. My hands may have been stained with the blood of countless souls, but at the very least, for the most part, I wanted to be certain that what I did was of my own choice.
Once the deed was done, blaming it on someone else or on the situation itself was no less than running away from one's own guilt and responsibility.
“I see... I don't know what to say...” Ildea said as she looked away.
“Just hope that you won't ever be placed in a situation where you will be forced to give the order to kill countless people among which there could be as many innocents as criminals. Such decisions are never easy... and they tend to haunt you for the rest of your life.” Coshun told her as he placed his hand on her shoulder.
Seeing the two of them like that felt... natural, in a way?
We walked away from the store with the intent of looking around the city for another hour or two until it got dark outside. With days and nights being a lot longer in this world, it always felt rather weird for me. Earth's puny 24 hours felt incredibly insufficient right now, and it made me wonder how anyone could achieve anything in so little time? Unless you were well organized and had your objectives for the day set, you didn't really have any time to spare.
A little while before we reached the inn, we saw four of the Kingdom's Knight walking towards us in their shiny armors wearing a smug look on their faces. Since we didn't want any altercation with them, we stopped in our tracks and moved out of their path. They would need only the smallest of reasons to start a fight with us.
Their armors reminded me a lot of the old Templar armors I saw in games, but the weapons they wielded were roman short swords. They had no enchant on them, but they appeared to be quite well made.
When I looked back, I saw that Ildea wasn't feeling too comfortable with them walking up towards us like this.
I hoped that they didn't intent on messing with us, but in any case, they definitely didn't pose a threat to any of us. How should I say this... they were weak, very weak.
But alas, my hope didn't come true, maybe because, secretly, I did want to get to know their opinion on the current situation at the palace. Thus, the group of knights stopped right in the middle of the street while one of them took out a scroll and began to read from it.
“A royal decree has been given that the tax for Imported Goods will rise by one copper coin and that of the annual harvest by one silver coin. Those who fail to meet their quota shall be put under a slave contract with their master being this very Kingdom until they can pay back their due.” the knight spoke in a clear and loud voice.
Once he was done talking, the people around us began to whisper and murmur, but then one of the knights said something strange.
“You know, I really wish the princess didn't run off... It's so annoying to look for that kid. Why even mobilize the army when we all know that she just got lost and killed somewhere in the woods?”
“It's still the Royal Princess, Sir.” his fellow knight reminded him.
“Who do you think cares? Not even the King bothered to find out of if she's alive or not. Besides, right now, there's no one left at the Kor Palace who is loyal to either her or the Queen. His Majesty will certainly sell out our Kingdom to Akutan or maybe one of those new nations in the North. With a bit of luck, maybe we won't be forced to fight against the dragons across the ocean. I still get chills just thinking about my grandfather's stories about the last war.” he said as he spat on the ground.
When he turned around, our eyes met, but he just tossed us a glare.
“What are you looking at?” he asked as he placed his hand on the hilt of his sword.
“Me?” I pointed at myself.
His eyes then moved from me to Ildea, who was hiding behind Coshun.
“Are you a bunch of Queen Sympathizers?” he asked us.
Tilting my head to the left, I asked “Is it wrong in this Kingdom to follow the Queen and King?” I asked.
“The King yes, but we have orders to treat as hostile any Sympathizer of the Queen. There are rumors that they are hiding the Princess. You wouldn't happen to know anything about it, do you?” he asked with a smirk.
“Oh, I just heard from a little birdie that the ones harboring her are powerful enough to give Brekkar Draketerus, the Breakthrough-er general of the dragons from the last war, a hard time. I wonder, can you four handle someone like that? But, do take this just as a mere curiosity of a wary traveler who is just a bit worried for his own safety.” I told him with a smile.
The man looked at me and then at my group. When his eyes fell on our armors and weapons, he realized that we were all powerful adventurers who weren't to be messed with.
The knight knew that he couldn't take us all on, so with a gulp, he asked “Are you the one the birdie was talking about?”
“No, Sir.” I shook my head “We are, as I said, a bunch of tired travelers who were just looking around the town for a decent place to stay. Might you know of such an establishment?” I asked him with a smile.
“Huh? Why would I? Look for it yourself!” he growled at me, but he moved his hand away from the hilt of his sword.
“Sir, what should we do?” one of the other knights asked.
The knight looked straight at me for a long moment, while I continued to smile without releasing any killing intent, but I didn't try to hide the pressure of my strength. My body showed no openings, and he could see that, or rather... he felt it.
A weak animal always felt in danger when faced with a dangerous predator.
“Let's go. There's nothing to see here.” he muttered and then walked passed us.
Once they were gone, I let out a sigh and turned to look back at my companions. Everyone was looking worriedly at Ildea. She was holding her right shoulder with her left hand and looking down at the ground with a pained expression on her face. Her body was trembling a little, and her right hand was clenched in a fist.
“Are you alright?” Coshun asked her in a gentle tone of voice.
Ildea didn't answer.
“You shouldn't worry about what they said.” Kalderan scoffed.
“He's right... They are a bunch of weaklings.” Coshun added.
“But... I'm weak too...” she looked up at him and there were a pair of tears in her eyes.
The dragon gulped and didn't know what to say at first, but then, with a slow and careful movement, he wiped off her tears.
Furrowing his brow, he then spoke in a soft tone of voice “No... you are strong. If physical strength is what you desire, I have plenty.”
“Why do you say that? Mother is in danger, I have no more subjects, and no one even dares to swear fealty to me... I'm a princess without a crown, a Queen without a Kingdom.” she said and looked down.
“You know, Ildea?” he told her “In Albeyater and most of the dragon kingdoms, the Queen is the one who holds the reins of the Kingdom. Meanwhile, the King gives the orders to the army, but without his Queen's approval, he cannot march towards new battles and is forced to stay on the defensive. Ildea, you are strong. You survived an assassination attempt and still wish to head back to the capital to save your mother. If you were weak, you would have fled the country by now.”
There was nothing else I could add to these words. I completely agreed with him, and the others did as well. All that was left to do was to wait for Ildea to either reject them or accept them as the truth and allow herself to wield that inner strength she always possessed. How she wielded it, though, that remained to be seen.
Ildea didn't reply, but we could see that Coshun words got to her.
It felt a bit awkward to just stand there in the middle of the street and do nothing, so we decided to return to the inn for the time being. Ildea needed to sort out her feelings, and the children needed a break from all this walking. Dromura did recover quite fast, but this was no reason to drag her around window shopping all day long.
Once we got back to the inn, we reserved a table at the tavern at the first floor and then spent most of our time there until we were tired enough to head off to sleep. The following day, we would wake up early in the morning and then set off for Ten Swords Capital. Our journey there was going to take maybe a week at most, but I had the feeling that a wind of change was blowing through this country. If the King of Ten Swords Kingdom proved to be a nasty fellow, maybe by disposing of him and earning the Queen's favor, we could also gain an ally for Albeyater Kingdom? That would definitely be solving two problems in one go.
Note from the author: Thank you for reading this chapter, I hope you enjoyed it! Oh, and be sure to check out my other stories too!
This is the first chapter after my break! 😀
Well, this is it! The new Volume of the 100 Luck series! This one will be entitled: Do Dragons go on Adventures?
I hope you will enjoy it and aren't too upset with the delay. This is a very troublesome volume, as I had stated before, and there's a chance I'll be posting slower because of this. I don't want to make a mess of the timeline and plotline. 🙂
Author needs help!
You probably noticed the links to My Books and topwebfiction website. Well, I wish for more people to know about my work, and this way help me reach my dream of becoming a full-time writer. If you want to help me and my work, please give these stories their weekly vote and write a Review if you can on their info page (no one-liners please).
Thank you! 🙂
Check out my published books!
Read the first chapters!
An innocent project
Fan Fiction Stories inspired from various games or stories.
I am grateful for any and all of your support! Thank you!