Chapter 11: In the Hands of Those Who Should Have It
Nobles are basically busy with political affairs in the morning. Therefore, the audience was held around 3:00 p.m. after the Count finished his political duties, had lunch, and took a short rest.
The report of the successful defeat of the monster was already delivered by fast horse days ago, so there was no need to rush.
There was a young man walking down a large hallway as if he were in a stranger’s house. A guide was leading the way, but both parties felt that it would be the same whether he was there or not.
The young man’s name is Ricardo, an adventurer who has returned after exterminating the Wyvern.
On the way to the audience room, I saw a familiar knight, Jocel. He nods lightly and approaches. He seems to have something to say.
“Yo, Hero. It seems that you were active this time as well.”
“Please stop calling me that hero.”
Ricardo replied in a tone that was half lighthearted and half annoyed.
”Hero” is not an official title. It is just something that the count says on his own, and those around him follow his lead.
As an Earl, he probably wanted to impress his adventurers, but to Ricardo, he didn’t like it because he felt like he was being ridiculed.
Jocel looked around, then lowered his voice.
“Ricardo, once again you will be given a magic sword as a reward. ……”
“Well, I’m happy. That’s what I came here to enjoy.”
Ricardo was a commoner, not in a social position where he could talk casually with Jocel, a high-ranking knight.
At the same time, he is a guest of the count and a hero who has defeated many monsters in his territory. Jocel is not a person to be treated with careless disregard.
I didn’t know what kind of stance we should take when talking to each other, and as a result we continued to grope around, and as a result, we ended up with the relationship we have today, in which we speak respectfully, but in an easygoing manner.
“You can take it easy, but this one is really bad, it’s no joke.”
Jocel thought he was threatening him, but Ricardo’s eyes sparkled with curiosity. Resenting his poor vocabulary, Jocel decided to humiliate himself.
Ricardo understood that this was no ordinary event when I told him that I had a hallucination and almost harmed myself.
A man with status and honor came to persuade me regardless of appearance.
“You won’t listen to me when I tell you to turn down your reward.”
“I would appreciate any advice to be careful, but I cannot decline it.”
If he said he did not need weapons now, it would ruin the reputation of the Count and the spellcaster, and above all, his soul as a weapons enthusiast would not allow it.
He expected such a response. Jocel wrinkled his brow and pulled from his pocket an ominous bracelet with ancient inscriptions.
“Keep it. It’s a bracelet with mental resistance.”
Ricardo had a slightly annoyed look on his face. Ricardo, who had fought various monsters, prided himself on having the mental strength to withstand any kind of hallucination. He was uncomfortable with the kindness of someone who ignored his abilities and achievements.
Still, the reason he accepted the bracelet was to make Jocel look good.
There is no point in trying to be stubborn and throwing back the present. Ricardo knew how to handle the world.
Count Maximilian Zander received the hero in the audience hall in a good mood. He was weak by nature, and had no martial arts training. Perhaps as a reaction to this, he liked to listen to the stories of adventurers and encouraged the production of armors.
Ricardo’s tale of adventure was not as sophisticated as the bard’s, but it had a certain reality.
“Well, you have done well. After all, you are the protector of the count’s territory, a hero, a brave man!”
Too much praise. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it offensive, but it is a little uncomfortable. I don’t know what kind of face I should make after being told such a thing.
“Let’s get a reward. Gerhard, you’re ready.”
“Yes, your Excellency.”
Ricardo reverently accepted the sword offered by Gerhard. Is it my imagination that Gerhard’s eyes seemed to glow with a bewitching challenge?
Whether it’s Jocel or Gerhard, something’s wrong with his attitude from a while ago. Ricardo began to feel uneasy as to whether this sword really possessed a terrifying power.
……This is ridiculous. A sword is a sword no matter what kind of magical power it contains. It is nothing more or less than a tool for killing each other. I like weapons, I like collecting weapons. But I’ve never once misjudged the essence of weapons.
“Your Excellency, is it okay if I try to pull it out here?”
“Umu, it’s good, it’s good”
If you suddenly pull out the white blade at the audience, it will be a treason immediately. Ricardo asked for permission, and the count nodded readily.
This was also the usual process. Ricardo would be fine with taking it home and looking at it carefully, but the Count wants to see the person he has rewarded happy.
The Count had a certain innocence or childishness about him. However, this does not mean that he is a tyrant. In fact, he is a very good worker who responds immediately to the appearance of monsters in his territory.
In other territories, it would have been natural to leave the peasants outside the city walls alone, not caring what happened to them, and assuming that once their bellies were full, the demons would go somewhere else. It was cruel and irresponsible, but that is how nobles are. In the first place, they do not treat the peasants as human beings, so they do not even feel that they have done anything wrong by abandoning them.
The reason why Ricardo is based in the Zander territory is because he collects good weapons, and because he doesn’t dislike this good-natured Count.
You get a reward, and you can at least show a bit of joy. Last time, the sword was so ordinary, or rather so predictable, that I had a hard time reacting to it.
Let’s see how you do this time. It was in this mood that he pulled out his sword. The reason he didn’t pull it out all at once but stopped at about 10 cm was because he was worried about Jocel’s advice and Gerhard’s smile, which turned out to be a good thing for Ricardo as well.
It smells sweet. I wondered if someone had put on too much perfume, but it was odd that it wafted over the moment I drew my sword.
I felt a presence behind me. She put her hand on Ricardo’s shoulder and muttered something. A word of love, or a curse, or both.
I had an urge to turn around and a premonition that if I did, I would be killed.
I thought I was going to scream, but it was as if my voice didn’t come out.
I felt an itch on my left wrist. It was the part where I wore the bracelet that Jocel had given me. The left arm seems to be working somehow.
As he shoved the sword back into its scabbard, the smell and the horrible presence disappeared.
Ricardo was terribly pale and trembling slightly. The Count and his entourage looked anxiously into his face.
“What’s the matter Ricardo, didn’t you like your reward?”
“It’s a mess!”
I shouted out unexpectedly. I had just experienced the horror of death, and I couldn’t bear to be told that the sword was defective. And it would be terrible if anyone suggested replacing the sword with another one because they didn’t like it. This count was likely to do such a thing with good intentions.
The Count rolled his eyes. The atmosphere in the room had become somewhat empty. Ricardo bowed his head in a panic, feeling that he had done something outrageously impolite.
“In all my travels, I have never seen a sword quite like it. I was so moved that I just screamed. Please forgive me.”
“Yes, yes, it can’t be helped if you’re impressed.I will not criticize you for such a thing.”
The aides were not happy, but since the count was in a good mood and said he would forgive him, they could not pursue the matter any further. If they tried to force him to condemn it, it would be to dispute the Count’s decision.
“Please continue to help us protect our territory.”
Thus, the audience ceremony ended without incident. At least there was no blood.
When I looked up, my eyes met Gerhard’s. He had a proud look on his face that made me feel really angry.
Ricardo swore to himself that he would only have to take this old son of a bitch down.