The elven hero, Grün Pas Tifalet, initiated his visit to Klinge a few days after Renya had sent the elven emperor’s handwritten letter to Trident Principality’s capital.
Previously a directive written by the archduchess with a heart mark attached, stating that he should suitably deal with the elven hero’s party that would soon come to his place, had been delivered.
Renya ended up thinking, Consider your age when you are writing something, but since it had been more or less arranged in the proper, official format for directives, he couldn’t complain about it either.
Moreover, there was no mention of a specified date and time when the elven hero was going to arrive in the archduchess’ directive.
“Say what you like, that’s too unclear!” Renya was slightly peeved, but Croire soothed Renya, telling him that this all has a reason.
Probably because of their very long lifespans, elves apparently aren’t fixated on dates and time so much.
Once they decide on a rough time span, they seem to not mind an approximate range of several days as measurement error.
Renya, who was informed about those circumstances by Croire, admired that they were able to properly keep the country and other organizations running with such an attitude, but it’s apparently not an issue as the elves are precise with their deadlines and dates when they have to be.
Once he takes that information into consideration, it appeared that the elven hero’s visit to a human country had been classified as a comparatively inconsequential event.
“You don’t have to think about it too obstinately. Likely no one will get angry even if our reception is somewhat noncommittal.” (Croire)
Croire says while scanning through the directive from the archduchess, but Renya wonders whether it’ll actually be fine to handle it like that.
However, Renya’s thoughts were immediately brushed aside when he saw Croire’s serious expression as she caught sight of a sentence in the directive.
“What’s wrong?” (Renya)
Basically the women around Renya never show overly troubled expressions.
It was needless to speak about Shion, but Frau and Emil smile a lot while their thoughts are unclear. And Renya hardly meets Croire in situations that would force her to change her expression since her position is practically that of a freeloader.
Mayria was swamped with work due to having to process a mountain of documents in the beginning when they started Klinge and thus looked daggers at him, but now that they started to sporadically gather a few civil officials, it became rare for her to have a scary face as she apparently learned to delegate work to her subordinates.
The sole exception is Rona who has been involved with both, military and administrative affairs. Even now she’s grappling with documents and concerns while furrowing her brows in her own allocated room.
Frau, who had become worried about her condition, visited her quite often and brought medicine and food, which she claims to be good for her health and beauty, to Rona.
But then again, the food and medicine had colors and smells that made Renya doubt whether those things are really good for one’s health and beauty.
Even when asked by Renya, Frau stubbornly withheld the ingredients of those things, but Rona, who uses the items diligently, apparently experienced substantial results as far as the gloss of her hair and skin are concerned.
Renya ponders whether he should soon try selling it to noble ladies in the capital.
Back to the topic; Croire, who showed a troubled expression after being asked by Renya, lifted her eyes from the directive, looked at Renya and said,
“This person called Grün is…” (Croire)
“Yeah? Going by his name, it’s obvious that he’s someone related to His Majesty the Elven Emperor like you, Croire, but what about it?” (Renya)
Pas Tifalet is the same family name as Croire’s. It’s immediately clear that he has a blood relation with the emperor.
But, the other party is that emperor.
Although you might call it a blood relationship, I can’t imagine at all how much of a connection he has with the emperor and how he obtained it.
I mean, after all there also are 35 people that might be considered legitimate if only going by lineage.
“Grün-niisama is the 17th child of His Majesty going from the top.” (Croire)
“He’s not an adult? As in elven terms.” (Renya)
“He’s a minor. Though you can’t call him a child.” (Croire)
He seems to have passed the age of 100, but using the elven accepted practice, he’s not seen as adult.
However, if asked whether that defaults him into being called a child as that’s what it would actually mean, things apparently become slightly different.
“He’s simply not an adult. That much is fine, but…” (Croire)
“I…don’t know this person.” (Croire)
Renya was about to say that it’s probably not weird if there’s one or two people she doesn’t know given that there are 35 brothers and sisters, but he’s interrupted by Croire’s next words.
“I have 34 siblings above me in rank, but I only know the faces and names of 33 people.” (Croire)
Should I retort here that she can’t remember a single person? Or should I retort to her having memorized 33 people? Renya wavers.
“However just this Grün-niisama alone; I know his name but I can’t remember his face.” (Croire)
Renya thinks about Croire’s words for a bit and then tries telling her what came into his mind.
“You simply didn’t meet him often or something like that?” (Renya)
“That much is the same with the other siblings as well. Generally I see them around once or twice a year.” (Croire)
“You are on very bad terms with him or he gave you such a traumatic experience that you forgot his face?” (Renya)
Croire quickly denied Renya who asked while thinking, Though it will be a problem if she actually confirmed one of these.
“Given that I’m the youngest child, I was mostly treated with love.” (Croire)
“So what exactly does that mean?” (Renya)
“I don’t know.” (Croire)
Receiving an immediate reply, Renya’s shoulders slump down.
However, Croire said with a thoroughly serious face,
“It’s weird that I don’t remember. Since he’s at the very least a person with a standing that would allow him to be chosen as the hero, it shouldn’t be strange for him to leave behind some kind of impression when meeting him, but…” (Croire)
If he didn’t give Croire any kind of impression, not even a redeeming feature as that of being incompetent, that’s not something that can be disregarded with information that only states that such an air pocket-like person just doesn’t exist or is missing.
“However, such a person will likely not be chosen as hero” is what Croire says.
Different from the summoned human hero, the heroes of the other races are expected to be selected from among those who have reasonable ability, going by past precedents.
If he was incompetent, he shouldn’t have even qualified as a candidate.
“Sorry, Renya. Since I can’t abandon the possibility that his face has simply slipped my mind either, it doesn’t seem as if I’m going to be of much help regarding this matter.” (Croire)
It would be a big help if he could obtain information about the other party in advance, but Croire apologetically bows her head towards Renya.
“Don’t mind it. As it’s just a story that would simply be helpful by giving us some information in advance, it also won’t become a problem for me for not knowing. It will become clear once I meet him, right?” (Renya)
Saying so, Renya had Croire lift her head in a slight fluster.
It’s was the next day when the elven hero’s party passed through Klinge’s transfer gate.
A messenger announced the arrival of the hero party in advance and then, afterwards, elves appeared from the transfer gate in succession.
As it’s a group that brought a priestess along like the beastmen had, they don’t give off a feeling like the dragonoids, whose hero came by himself, did. However, it’s a party full of soldiers that were completely armed with leather armors, longswords and bows.
Murmurs rise up among the soldiers who guarded the transfer gate.
Even if it’s inevitable to be armed to some extent if using a transfer gate, passing through the gate while armed to the teeth is rare.
And it’s even rarer if the transfer gate’s destination is a foreign country.
Of course, since it’s not possible to transfer a large number of soldiers all at once, it would be fine to crush every last one of them as they appear if they acted odd in any way, but even so, tension swelled among the soldiers on Klinge’s side.
“Sorry, human soldiers. There’s a reason for us being armed, but that doesn’t mean that we plan to do something nefarious.”
A female elf with shortcut blond hair and blue eyes said.
As expected, seemingly not wanting to escalate the situation any further by talking in elvish, she uses the human language.
“My name is Skuld Solweiss. I have been entrusted with the duty of escorting the hero on this occasion. The armament is something used for accomplishing that duty. In the name of His Majesty the Emperor, I swear that we will absolutely not turn our weapons towards you.” (Skuld)
Hearing her distinctive and well-carrying voice, the soldiers of Klinge look at each other.
It was no mistake to say that the elven country is related to Renya as an individual rather than the Trident Principality, but to the soldiers it was recognized as a friendly nation.
That’s why there was merit in believing the words of the woman called Skuld, but if they place their trust in those words, there’s still one issue left unsolved.
That is, why is she talking about escorting the hero?
At the very least he should boast of a strength that cannot be compared to common soldiers since he has been chosen as hero.
So the question is: just what is the reason that makes it indispensable for that hero to be escorted by common soldiers that should be inferior in combat power?
In front of the soldiers of Klinge, who harbored such a doubt, something that made them fall even further into confusion appears through the transfer gate.
It was a cage made out of thick iron poles.
Having a size of around one meter in all three directions, the cage has been placed on a wooden wagon which is pulled by four elves.
A thin figure sat inside that cage while embracing his knees.
Pointed ears are visible through the gaps in his smooth blonde hair.
For some reason a fiery light was dwelling in his blue eyes which were looking up from his downcast face.
His mouth has been covered by a mask made out of some kind of hide which was tightly affixed to his face, making it impossible for him to speak.
The clothes he wore, or rather than clothes, it’s just a plain cloth that had been tightened around his neck and has holes at its sides allowing the arms to pass through. An unrefined collar has been attached to his neck and four chains connected that collar with the cage.
Manacles have been put on his arms and just as with the collar, four chains connected the manacles with the cage. Also, shackles with weights have been firmly affixed to his feet.
No matter how you look at it, the whole procession simply looks like the escort of some prisoner, and on top of that of a very atrocious prisoner.
“What the hell is this…?”
Skuld responds to the words muttered by one of the transfer gate guards, lacking any more appropriate words to use.
“He is Grün Pas Tifalet, the one who was selected to be the elven hero. I’d like to request someone to announce our arrival to Margrave Kunugi. However…we would like to refuse a formal audience. If possible, we want him to check the hero’s face in this place as we wish to bring him back to the elven country right away.” (Skuld)
“Y-You are saying that t-this is your hero?”
Due to Skuld’s speech a single soldier ran off in order to inform Renya for the time being, but the soldiers, who stayed back at the transfer gate, dumbfoundedly stared at the person inside the cage as if having heard something unbelievable.
Upon the question of one of those soldiers, Skuld nodded solemnly.
“I know what you want to say, but it’s the truth…definitely not a lie.” (Skuld)
At the same moment, Renya, who looked through the letter sent by the elven country the other day, toppled over from the chair in his office.
The following text had been written in the letter which Renya had tossed on the desk:
“Grün Pas Tifalet is the 17th ranked prince, possessing a legitimate blood relation with His Majesty the currently reigning Emperor. At the same time he’s a major offender under imprisonment for the proven murder of 30 people in 8 cases and furthermore for suspicion of involvement with the murder of 87 people in 29 cases.”