Chapter 24 - Yesterday's Enemy (3)
In his past life, the hero had been born within the Diaz Kingdom. When the hero turned 12 years old, she was dragged straight into the palace. This was the biggest mistake that had occurred in the past hero’s life.
The palace followed a Hero Support Manual that was created several hundred years ago. While she was reared with the utmost care, the hero’s first party member was added during this time. He was none other than this country’s crown prince Silpennon Le Diaz. He was a thief.
‘Of course, it isn’t my business as to why Silpennon had turned down his seat as the crown prince to join the hero’s party….. No, I get it now.’
It was true that Silpennon was directing his words towards Artpe, but his eyes remained planted on Maetel. His cheeks were red. It seemed he had fallen for her on first sight.
It was understandable. In her past life, Maetel could have easily ruined couple kingdoms with her beauty. She was only thirteen years old right now, but her budding beauty could be seen even now. This was why it wasn’t far-fetched to think that the crown prince had fallen for her.
Still, Silpennon had witnessed Maetel shed blood with his two eyes. It was a bit baffling that he was able to show such pure ardor towards her.
“I don't want your answer. I want to hear it from the girl!”
Silpennon browbeat Artpe as he turned his intense gaze towards Maetel. Artpe shrugged his shoulders, and he lightly tapped Maetel’s shoulder.
“....if you put it that way, I have no choice. You do whatever you want, Maetel.”
Maetel’s tears hadn’t stopped yet, but she was released from Artpe’s embrace. She faced the crown prince. The crown prince looked on with pity when he saw her puffy eyes.
“You poor thing….. You are a child with a very tender heart. However, you don’t have to be worried. The people you killed right now are rebels. They are traitors to this country, so you don’t have to be wounded by their deaths…..”
“I hate the palace! I’m not going!”
Silpennon’s attempt at consoling her failed miserably. Maetel cut him off as she rejected him. She returned to the arms of Artpe. She was as resolute as Artpe.
Silpennon was turned down in no uncertain term, so he froze in place. One of the knights protecting Silpennon inadvertently started breaking out in laughter. The other knights reigned him in.
Silpennon came to his senses under the impetus of the laughter. He had never been turned down so firmly in his life. His pride took a big hit, and he started talking incoherently.
“W...why not…. I promise to give you a lot of things! If you help me, I… Y...yes. What is your name? Which family are you from? If you have to travel around with such a terrible servant, it seems to indicates that you are unfortunately not from a suitable family. However, when we return to the palace, I’ll use all the power at my disposal to elevate you to a suitable position….”
“....did you just insult Artpe right now?”
She didn’t like something Silpennon had said. Maetel remained in Artpe’s embrace, but she extracted her face to glare at Silpennon. Silpennon realized he had stepped on a mine, so his face turned pale.
“Ah. I...I didn’t mean it like that….”
“I just told you! Artpe isn’t terrible, and he isn’t my servant!”
“H...he isn’t your servant!?”
“You are really terrible!”
It really was a sight that couldn’t be seen without shedding some tears. It seemed Artpe wasn’t the only one having such thoughts. The female knight, who had initiated a conversation with Artpe, carefully spoke to Silpennon.
“Your highness. Unfortunately, we might have to give up on the idea of them helping us. They have already saved your highness’ life once. You should be thankful, yet you are trying to detain them against their will. This isn’t unbefitting of your station, your highness. You possess the great bloodline of Diaz.”
“Koo-oohk…. So I have no choice, but to let the girl go!”
They were playing their parts well. They continued to act as if they were still in charge of a kingdom. If so, they could do as they wished by themselves.
“She doesn’t want to do it. Are we done here? We’re going.”
Artpe let out a sigh as he turned away from them. As if she was worried about being left behind, she matched his footsteps. At that moment, she was very cute.
Silpennon called after them again. His voice drooped like a wet rag. Artpe didn’t hide his annoyance as he turned around. However, his eyes opened slightly wider when he saw what was in Silpennon’s hand.
“Please take this.”
It was Artpe’s turn to be surprised like an idiot.
Silpennon had held up a large jewel that was emitting a purple light from all its surface. Anyone, who knew the identity of the precious gemstone, would have reacted in a similar fashion. Artpe’s Read All Creation ability didn’t let him down. It immediately displayed the item’s info.
[It is part of the Limite group, which is considered to be the one of the highest ranked ingredients for magic items. It is incredibly high in purity, and as time passed, it gained a Class of its own. It is a legendary gem that only appears a handful of times in either the human world or the demon world.
It hadn’t been refined yet, so the gemstone’s enormous power is still hidden. However, once it is refined, it will increase one’s Mana by a vast amount, and it would also develop random additional abilities. It will also develop a will of its own, so it will have the ability to help the owner finish one’s spell. However, it is so hard that it is almost impossible to refine it. This is the only flaw to the item.]
‘This is probably worth more than his entire kingdom!?’
He had run across an unexpected item at a place where he had never expected to find it. This was why Artpe almost became lost in himself. Silpennon spoke calmly in front of Artpe.
“Since I’ve incurred a debt to you, it is up to me to express my thanks. I am being chased, but I cannot neglect my duty. Take this, youth. I don’t know what it is, but it has been kept in our kingdom’s treasury for a very long time. I’m sure it is a precious gemstone. You should sell this, so your master… No. I want you to use it to help the girl acquire equipment that would be of help to her.”
“Do you really know what this is….”
No, if he knew, he wouldn’t have given it to Artpe no matter how great of a help they were to him. Artpe cleanly swallowed the shout of joy that was about to exit his mouth. He took the purple colored gemstone. In such a situation, it was one’s duty to be quiet, and just take the item!
“Hmm. As expected of the crown prince, you’ve received a fantastic upbringing. Thank you.”
“Is that perhaps a compliment, Artpe!?”
The other knights were taken aback when they saw Silpennon hand over the Demite Gemstone. It seemed all the other knights weren’t like the female knight, who convinced Silpennon to do the right thing. It seemed they didn’t put much importance in duty and honor.
“Your highness, we took that before we ran away from the palace. I don’t think you should give away such a precious treasure…..”
“It is too excessive. I can tell at a glance that they aren’t highborn. We can’t give our treasure just because they aided us with the sword once….”
“His highness has made his decision, so you should all shut up.”
Everyone shut their mouth when the female knight gave a fiery order. She was level 118. Since she had the highest level amongst the knights, he had wondered if she was the leader. He had guessed right.
Well, even if she was the leader, they were…. Artpe shrugged his shoulders, and he put away the Demite’s Gemstone into the Dimensional Pouch.
The knights kept looking back at Artpe as if Silpennon’s actions had left much to be desired. The female knight spoke in praise about the crown prince’s upbringing. Silpennon tried to act cool on the outside, but the crown prince couldn’t let go of the lingering attachment he had towards Maetel.
Artpe hesitated as he looked at them.
He didn’t like Silpennon, but this sentiment came from the fact that Silpennon had delivered the killing blow in his past life. However, the one in front of him showed some promise.
No, if he thought about it, Silpennon had carried out the dirty deed instead of the hero. He wasn’t really that bad of a guy.
Every time he saw Silpennon he remembered the calm face of the bastard, who stuck a dagger into his heart in his past life. It annoyed him, but when he saw the Demite’s Gemstone in his hand, any trauma he would have felt evaporated in moments.
‘All right. It feel like a waste to just send them off like this.’
This was why he decided to give Silpennon a bonus.
“Could you wait a little bit?”
“What? Are you perhaps going to help us.....”
“Do you have any paper?”
The female knight tilted her head in confusion. She took out a piece of parchment from within her clothes. She handed it over to Artpe.
He opened up the parchment, and he emitted a very small amount of Mana at the tip of his finger. Small smoke started to rise up as he wrote his letter. It was a trick that can be performed only by those adept at controlling Mana. Everyone except Maetel flinched when they saw this.
“As expected, this youth isn’t normal either, your highness...”
“If he is her assistant…. At the very least, he should have that much skill if he wants to travel with her. He’s a magician.”
“Well, I'm done writing. Also….”
Artpe took out an envelope from his Dimensional Pouch. It contained a strange green powder. He folded the note, and he handed it to the female knight with the envelope containing the green powder. He gave her a light wink.
“It is only for your eyes.”
The female knight’s face turned red. Silpennon and the knights focused their gazes on her. The female knight was flustered, but she quickly hid the items.
“A...are you trying to make fun of an adult!”
“I was sincere. It is only for your eyes.”
Artpe was well aware of the fact that his appearance was quite pleasing. If not, a big fish like the leader of the thieves’ army Etna Carlyfate Mirecard wouldn’t have clung to him.
Of course, love didn’t develop just based on a person’s appearance. However, one’s appearance was the first impression one could give, and it was undeniable that it had an immense effect on various parts of the love that develops.
Silpennon was stunned as he looked up at her face.
“Ah. No way, your highness! He’s just a young lad!”
“However, your face turned red.”
“It isn’t like that! Anyways, I have to check if the note and the powder is safe. I’ll keep it in my possession until then!”
“We’ll be leaving now. I hope you live long enough for us to meet again.”
Artpe chortled as he turned away. He had done all he could for them, so it was up to them now. The night was getting deep, so they should return to their own campfire to get ready for camping outside...
Maetel’s eyes were murky like the eyes of a dead fish. She asked a question with a voice that was colder than winds blowing within the icy depths of hell.
“Does Artpe perhaps like old women….?”
“No. Nope. I promise you that isn’t the case.”
She had also fallen for the ruse!
Artpe let out a sigh as he flicked her forehead. He dragged her towards the campfire.
On the other side, the crown prince’s party stood in place for a moment. Everyone was looking towards one person. When the female knight became the focus of their attention, Leseti was flustered. She kept waving her arms.
“I...it isn’t like that! It isn’t, your highness! Anyways, we should ready our camp. Since we don’t know how long our pursuers will follow us, we can’t rest long…..”
“Yes, we should rest, and you should read the letter.”
“It is probably nothing!”
Leseti erased the traces of battle, and she led the crown prince’s party towards a suitable campsite. She ordered the knights to make a shelter, so Silpennon could rest first. When no one was looking, she secretly took out Artpe’s letter.
“That impertinent brat…..”
It seemed he had good eyes to be able to recognize a beauty like her. Leseti let out a self-satisfied smile as she lit a candle. His penmanship was so elegant that it was hard to believe a young man had written it. However, the letter was stuck to her eyes starting from the first word.
[All the other knights are traitors. It is up to you to protect the crown prince before he gets killed or kidnapped by them. They were probably waiting the right time to steal the jewel from the crown prince, but he gave it to me. They won’t hesitate anymore. Ah. I've enclosed a poison within the folded envelope. You should use it. This makes us even.]
…..the content of the letter had gone in a completely different direction than what Leseti had expected. The letter still made her heart pound.