40-40 Throne Room

 How long had I been unconscious?

 As long as I didn't look down, I'd be fine... My naive idea of flying was soon shattered.

 It shook more than I expected.
 It was much, much scarier than I had expected.

 As long as I kept my eyes shut and only looked upward, I could at least manage to keep my eyes off the ground.

 Still, I held on.
 I could hear people talking around me, but my heart was beating so fast that I couldn't understand what they were saying.
 But I managed to hold it together until the middle.

 But then something happened.

 The dragon suddenly began to plummet.
 I was so scared I can't remember what happened next.

 When I came to, there was a bright light in front of me.


 I knew immediately that it was dangerous.
 It was more than just the light the dragon had spat out.
 The red light that burned the dragon...
 It was much more powerful.
 Why was it like that?

 It was as bright as the sun.
 If it swallowed us all...
 We'll all be burned like that dragon.


 Lean was saying something to me.
 But there's no time to answer.
 I shut my eyes and took up my sword...
 I kicked the dragon in the back with all my might and jumped into the light.

 Just by getting close to the light, my skin is quickly burned.
 He couldn't even keep his eyes open.



 I forcibly pushed the light up with my black sword.

 Then I felt a strange response in the handle of the black sword, and even with my eyes closed, I could feel the light recede into the distance.

 I fearfully opened my eyes in midair to check, and saw a thick pillar of light climbing up to the sky.

 Thank goodness.
 It seems the dragon was spared a direct hit.

 As it ascended through the sky, the huge light scattered in various directions and fell to the ground in a tail like a swarm of meteors.

 It was an eye-opening and fantastic sight...

 But before I could take my eyes off the scene, I remembered that I was high in the sky.
 Immediately, my body stiffened.
 And so, with all the momentum of my leap, I approached the tallest building in front of me...

 I plunge headfirst into it.

 I was barely able to use the sword I was holding as a shield, which was a good thing, but a tremendous shock hit me.
 But it didn't stop.
 Wall after wall of massive construction came at me, each time forcing me to defend myself with my black sword.
 I kept doing this, smashing through several walls, rolling across the floor, and before I knew it, I was in a large room.

 Thank God. I stopped.

 Somehow he managed not to fall to the ground.
 We're lucky.

 But where am I? ......?

 As I look around, I see a familiar golden old man.

 He was seated in a fancy chair with the same shiny finish, surrounded by soldiers in dark purple armor.
 The armor was similar to the armor worn by the soldiers he had just seen, although there were some differences in appearance.
 That means that the group must be soldiers of the Imperial Kingdom.
 If that's the case, we may have come to a bad place.

 But there's something wrong.
 The soldiers didn't pay attention to my presence, but surrounded the old man and drew their swords while shouting something.
 It seemed as if they were about to slash at him.
 I thought I heard that the old man was the emperor of the empire,......, but maybe he's not?

Prepare yourself, ......! For the sake of the survival of the empire you will die here.

Don't... don't... save... me!

Your Majesty. We, the Ten Guardians, will take over your duties. Please rest in peace.
And now... I'm sorry.

 One of the soldiers in armor swung a large curved sword at the old man.

 That's dangerous...
 I stepped in front of the old man and...


 I reamed out my sword and flicked the swords of everyone in the room.

"What? What?

 The swords, large and small, left the hands of the soldiers and pierced the walls, floor and ceiling.


 The old man cowered at the sight of me.
 The old man cowered at the sight of me. One of the soldiers, perhaps startled by my sudden interruption, shouted out.

Who are you, you...! You're trying to protect him! Because of this stupid emperor! Because of this foolish emperor, our country...!

I don't know what's going on, but calm down.

 I don't know what's going on, but calm down.

 They also took out black cylindrical objects of various sizes and pointed them at us.
 These are also weapons I've seen before.

 Magic bullets flying at us all at once.


 I swung my sword wide and repelled all of the magic bullets.
 This is nothing to worry about.
 But there's too many of them.
 They don't seem to be listening to me.
 I may not be able to protect the old man at this rate.

"Old man. Get down.

 I thought it would be best to stay as low as possible for now, so I quickly grabbed the old man's head and pushed him down to the floor.
 But I was a little too strong.
 The old man's head plunged deeply into the floor.

 Oh, shit. Will he be okay?

Oh my god...

 ...... Thank God. ...... He's still breathing.
 Apparently he's still breathing thanks to his sturdy helmet.

"You... .......
 I don't know who you are, but you're not doing yourself any favors by pledging your allegiance to this man at this time.
"Yes... this man has irreparably damaged our country.
 He needs to pay for it with his life.
 Get out of there.

I don't understand. Can't we just talk about it?

You know what I'm talking about!
 If I did, I'd have done it a long time ago!


 The soldiers surrounding us didn't want to listen to us, but still attacked us at once.
 They had daggers, whips, double swords, claws, shiny sticks that I couldn't understand... they had all kinds of weapons in their hands and they were swinging them at the old man.


 I flicked their weapons again.
 Fortunately, they weren't moving too fast.
 Fortunately, they weren't moving too fast, since they were trying to attack an old man. ...... I guess they weren't too confident in their skills.
 They seemed to be able to handle it on their own.

Who are you? .......
 You're not from the Empire, are you? From the looks of you, you're an adventurer for hire.
 If you have that much power, why are you working for such a man? You can't expect to get paid for what you've done. ......?

Wait a minute.

 What are you talking about?
 I'm sure you've made some kind of mistake...

Shut up! That man will pay for this with his death...!

 A slender soldier threw something at me, screaming.
 A flash of light...
 It's a bomb.

 Oh no.
 The blast can't be covered by [Palii].

 I quickly kicked the old man in the side of his head, which was still stuck in the floor.


 The old man was kicked away by me, and with too much momentum, he was thrust headfirst into the wall, with only his lower body hanging down.

 Oh, no. Did I kick him a little too hard?

 No, it's probably not a problem.
 I was more careful than I was when I sunk him into the floor, and that shiny gold armor is very sturdy.
 I'm sure he's not dead.

 But still...

 Why are you doing this?
 You're dealing with an old man.
 And isn't that your emperor?

That was... a man.
 But that's over now.
 Stay out of this.
 That man... must die.
 If we don't kill him now with our own hands, he'll never show it.

 As he finished, the tallest man in the group hurled several bombs at the old man.


 There's no way I'm going to make it in time.
 I quickly grabbed the old man's legs to get him out of the blast, pulled him out of the wall and rolled him to the floor.
 With a mighty yank, the old man rolled wildly across the floor, hitting the first fancy chair he was sitting in... and shattering it.

Ahey ......!

 Apparently, he was safe thanks to his sturdy armor.
 However, the golden helmet the old man was wearing cracked and one of the antlers fell off.
 It may have been a little rough this time, but it was better than being killed.

 But the problem was these men.
 Why are they so relentless in their pursuit of the old man?

Wouldn't it be better to talk to them calmly?
 The old man is not capable of fighting, is he?
 I mean, even if we don't kill him, he's old enough to be coming home soon...

"We don't have time for this!
 There's not a moment to lose!
 The enemy is invading our country!
 They're bringing that [Demon Dragon of Misfortune] with them!
 If I don't show them right now that I don't have the will to fight anymore, there will be no way to get back!
 If we don't hurry up and give them this man's head, our country will...!

 At that moment, a quiet, clear voice echoed through the large room.

Wait! You mustn't kill him. You don't have to... dead men can't atone for their sins.

 Everyone turned around to see four figures.
 As soon as they saw them, the soldiers' hands stopped, strangely enough.

 It was...

"So... you're here, good.

 The [Monk] instructor and the [Thief] instructor.
 Behind them are Lean and Lean's brother.

Good luck, sir.

Where are Inez and Rollo? I don't see them.

Rollo's on the dragon's back right now. Inez is guarding Rollo and the dragon. We followed the doctor down here.

I see.

 I looked out the big window of the room and saw a dragon flying around the building.
 When I looked at its back, I saw Rollo waving at me.

"Lord Noor. I'm sure you'll be able to figure it out. The ...... 'discussion (・・・・)' is our domain.

 Lean's brother said as he looked at the old man.

Oh, please.
 The more we can talk about it, the better.
 Apparently, you're not listening to me.

Thank you.
 Lean, take Noor to the dragon and heal him.
 From what I can see, he's been overworked.

All right, brother. Let's go, doctor.

Yes, sir. You take care of him, okay?

 I'm really glad they're here.
 Those soldiers didn't listen to me at all, and I was in trouble.
 It seems that they are willing to talk to me now, and I'm sure they'll take care of it.

 I'm not sure what to say, but I'm going to say it.

 I'll be back.

"It's been a long time since I've seen you all.
 Please put down your swords.
 We have business with the man.
 We have business with the man. If possible, we would appreciate it if you could deliver him alive.

 The prince's quiet call was answered by a man who was the largest of the ten soldiers present.
 This was the man who had just thrown a bomb at the Emperor.

"Prince Rain.
 We have no intention of engaging in war with your country anymore.
 We're only doing this as a souvenir to ask for your forgiveness.
 We have no objection to handing this man over.
 I'd like to offer your country our full surrender.
 If that's not enough of an apology, I'll offer you the heads of our ten warriors.
 It is also our fault that we could not stop this war.

"I appreciate your concern.
 But it's not enough.
 My country doesn't need any more corpses.
 We just want to talk to the man first.
 Take your time...
 Then we'll talk to your country.

 The prince stared at the old man sitting on the floor with an expressionless face, and the old man cowered.

"Hee...! Forgive me, forgive me...

 A pathetic voice escaped from the old man's mouth.

"Forgive you? Did you just say that you want me to forgive you?

 The prince stared at the old man's face with cold eyes, the edges of his mouth gradually twisting.

"Oh, ......, yes.
 Of course I'm going to forgive you.
 Of course I'm going to forgive you. That's what (・・・・) we're here for.

"Oh, really... then...
"There have been twenty-three unnatural disappearances in my country to date...


"And twelve who have been gutted by demons.
 Nine people trapped under collapsed buildings.
 Thirteen people were burned to death after failing to escape the fire.
 Eight people had their arms broken by flying debris.
 Sixteen people were crushed in the chest or spine.
 Six people had their legs, arms and wrists cut off.
 Those whose skulls were crushed by various causes - seven in total.

 In addition...
 One hundred and twenty-seven people (・・・・) who were torn, crushed, and turned into miserable pieces of flesh.
 That's the total number of people who were directly affected in our country.
 This is a rough estimate of the number of victims as far as I can tell.

...... So, what's the problem with that, ......?

You just said 'forgive', right?
 If you accept "as much (・・・・) suffering" as all of those I just mentioned, then I'm willing to absolve you of your crimes.
 Then we can move on to a fair 'discussion' to end the war and make reparations, but this proposal - does anyone here have any objections?

「「「「「 No objections: 」」」」」

 Most of the people in the room spoke up.
 The old man's face twitched.

It's a good idea to have a good idea of what you're looking for.

 A person approached him from behind and spoke to him in a gentle voice.

Don't worry. Don't worry, it's the same, but it won't kill you. You'll be fine.

 The man in the white robe smiled good-naturedly.

I'll never kill you.
 Dead men can't reflect or change their ways.
 I will never let you die, no matter what.
 No matter how many times you die, I'll bring you back.
 Again and again and again. So there's nothing to worry about.
 I suggest you just accept your sins. In the end, I will restore you to a state where we can have a proper discussion.

 The man in the white robe smiled at the old man and said plainly, as if it were some kind of incantation.
 The man in the black mask continued.

The black masked man continues, "Are you worried that you will not be able to take that much pain? But there's nothing wrong with that.
 Because you will never lose consciousness during this time. You may writhe in agony, your mind may fray but you will never lose your senses. You'll never go mad.
 I will do everything in my power to support you so that you can fully experience the pain of those who have regretfully perished.

 In front of the old man who was about to collapse in fear, the prince also repeated his words.

"Of course, you don't have to worry about exposing your disgusting behavior to the people. We don't like that either. We'll make sure you're soundproofed. Your shrill screams will never reach the outside.
 So feel free to cry out as loud as you like.
 No one will ever be able to hear you.


 The old man was so terrified that he lost his voice.
 But he tried to squeeze out the best he could and begged....

"Forgive me...

I'm telling you, I'm going to forgive you.
 I'm going to forgive you for everything.
 If you're willing to make amends.

 The man in the white robe slowly stepped forward again and whispered in the old man's ear.

"I heard that you were all in a lot of pain.
 Some of you were lucky enough to receive treatment in time, but ...... many of you died.
 It is impossible even for me to revive people who have already lost their lives completely.
 In that regard, you are very lucky.
 You are very lucky to have such a good healer here. I can grow you an arm, a leg, or any number of other things. ...... You are very, very lucky.

 When he heard the man's words, the blood drained from the old man's face as if he were dead, and the stinking liquid spread across the floor.


"...... Don't get me wrong.
 We're not doing this because we want to.
 What we want now is for you to be aware of the pain that our people have suffered - that's all.
 I've reduced the number of people who have lost their homes, their jobs.
 Those who have lost their homes, their jobs, their families...the list goes on and on.
 And you're going to do it all with just "pain.
 I'm going to forgive you for what you've done to my country.
 Without taking your life, which cost so many others theirs.

 The prince laughed icily at the old man's frightened eyes with an expression of utter coldness.

"Well, my country is merciful, isn't it?