“What a nice bath.”
“Yeah, big baths are nice.”
Fuji-yan and I had come to the grand bath-house of the inn.
Of course, men and women are separated, so Lucy and Sa-san are not here.
“So there’s shared baths in the Sun Country too, huh.” (Makoto)
“No, the culture of entering the bath together isn’t a culture of the Sun Country. From what I know, this is the only inn with a big bath-house.” (Fuji)
As expected of Fuji-yan.
He knows a good place.
“Wow, this is amazing! So the people of other worlds all enter a big bath, huh!”
And then, Prince Leonard, who was supposed to have gone to the First District, was for some reason here.
It seems like Princess Sofia went to the Highland Castle as soon as she arrived.
What a hard-working Princess-sama.
And so, since he didn’t have anything to do in that period of time, he came here to play with us, huh.
By the way, we also invited the guards to come in too, but they said: ‘Entering the bath together with the Prince?! Preposterous!’, and refused.
“Makoto-san, Fujiwara-san, let’s go to the Highland Castle together tomorrow. It would be the first time for the two, right?” (Leonard)
Prince Leonard skids his way to us inside the water.
The steam and water is covering everything below the shoulders, and due to his face and his voice, he looks totally like a girl.
He tilts his head and peeks at me…s-so close!
Wait! Prince Leonard is a man!
I avert my gaze and look at Fuji-yan by my side.
He was looking hella intently.
Oi oi, you are going to get two wives real soon, right?
“Oi, Fuji-yan, Fuji-yan.” (Makoto)
“Wa?! What was I doing?” (Fuji)
He is making a similar reaction to me.
(Makoto…aren’t you getting seduced more with a boy than with me?) (Noah)
Noah-sama, you are having an outrageous misunderstanding here.
“Prince Leonard, I am counting on you tomorrow, okay? By the way, different from Horun, the capital of the Sun Country has the temple and castle separated, right?” (Makoto)
“Yes, different from Rozes, Highland is a country where religion and politics are separated.” (Leonard)
“Nice thing to notice! That’s related to how this country came about-desu zo!” (Fuji)
Fuji-yan began speaking.
“Takki-dono, do you know about the person that created the Sun Country?” (Fuji)
“Woah, don’t make fun of me, Fuji-yan.” (Makoto)
I have heard that story so many times already in the Water Temple my ears could fall off.
“The Savior Abel, right?” (Makoto)
“Of course! But the Highland royal family isn’t the bloodline of Savior Abel. Did you know that?” (Fuji)
What’s that? A mystery case?
“After founding the Sun Country, the Savior Abel-sama left somewhere. Because of that, the first ruler of Highland was the Holy Maiden, Anna-sama.” (Leonard)
Prince Leonard answered.
“Holy Maiden, Anna… The Sun Oracle, Anna, that was said to be one of the comrades of Savior Abel?” (Makoto)
“Yes. Also, Holy Maiden Anna-sama was the first generation Pope of the Sun Goddess Church.” (Leonard)
It has somewhat become complicated.
“The Highland royal family are the descendants of the Holy Maiden Anna-sama. The Sun Goddess Church has inherited the post of the Holy Maiden Anna-sama for generations.” (Leonard)
“So that’s the reason why there are two tops of the country, huh.” (Makoto)
“The Highland King is the country’s top, but the King cannot order the Pope of the Goddess Church. It is a completely separated existence.” (Leonard)
“It is said that the territory inside of the Holy Maiden Anna’s temple has a different legal power after all. Takki-dono, when you get close to it with curiosity, please be careful.” (Fuji)
No, I wouldn’t get close.
Even though I am a believer of an Old Goddess (Evil God), why would I head to the holy grounds of the strongest religion of the continent? That’s way too scary.
“Well, that’s how it is. The Highland royalty’s wish is to obtain the lineage of the Savior Abel.” (Leonard)
“No…that’s impossible.” (Makoto)
That’s a person from 1,000 years ago.
“That’s right. But a person that’s said to be the reincarnation of Savior Abel has appeared.” (Fuji)
“Could that be…” (Makoto)
“The Light Hero, Sakurai-dono-desu zo.” (Fuji)
Even though he came from a parallel world, isn’t it strange to say he is the reincarnation of a hero of this world?
“When the talk about a Light Hero appearing after 1,000 years spread around, the whole country stirred.” (Leonard)
Prince Leonard seemed to be remembering about that time, his eyes were looking at the distance.
Sakurai-kun…what a big deal it has turned into.
I pity you a bit.
He has a strong sense of responsibility since way before after all.
He probably is trying to answer their expectations.
“The moment the Light Hero-sama appeared, the number one spot for the throne succession of Highland changed from the first prince to the second daughter, Princess Noel.” (Leonard)
“…Second daughter?” (Makoto)
“The first daughter of the Highland King is already married after all. Also, Sakurai-sama, who is said to be the reincarnation of the Light Hero, together with Noel-sama who is said to be the reincarnation of the Sun Oracle; these two being bonded is something that the people of the Sun Country wish for.” (Leonard)
To imitate the legend of 1,000 years ago, huh.
That’s quite the heavy responsibilities you’ve got there, Sakurai-kun.
“He’s got it rough too, huh.” (Makoto)
A person who was in the same class as us, and has lined up seats with us, has now gone far above.
“I am beginning to get dizzy. Let’s get out now.” (Makoto)
“Want to have an evening drink today?” (Fuji)
“Sounds nice.” (Makoto)
“Can I accompany you?” (Leonard)
“Of course. But no alcohol.” (Makoto)
“Eeh, a bit should be fine.” (Leonard)
I would get killed by Princess Sofia.
After that, we had a banquet with Sa-san, Lucy, Nina-san, and Chris-san, and Princess Sofia came late into the night with an exhausted expression.
I invited her to a cup of tea, but she told me: ‘I have work to do early morning too’, and left.
Being a princess is truly a hellish work environment.
The next day.
We were guided by Prince Leonard, and we arrived at the Highland Castle.
Fuji-yan apparently had merchant work, so it is only Lucy and Sa-san.
Princess Sofia seems to have come to the castle too, but she is in the middle of work somewhere else.
The Highland Castle that looked majestic from afar was even more overwhelming from up-close.
It is a rustic masonry building, but it is probably not possible to maintain a building of this size with just stone, so they must have used the power of magic to make it.
There’s many knights walking around the castle.
The crests on their armor are varied.
“There’s a lot of knights.” (Makoto)
“The Light Hero-sama’s inauguration ceremony to become a Sun Knight Captain will happen soon after all. The knights of the Five Sacred Nobles are going to be gathering.” (Leonard)
Five Sacred Nobles.
The Highland Royalty, Rowland Household, White Household, Belize Household, Valentine Household; the big nobles that control the Sun Country.
“Sakurai-kun wasn’t a knight captain since before?” (Makoto)
When I left from the Water Temple, they spoke as if he was already promised to be a knight captain though.
“He is the Skill Owner of the same Light Hero Skill as the legendary Savior-sama after all. There were many who said that it is natural for him to have the same treatment as a knight captain, but there were apparently those who were adamant in their objections.” (Leonard)
Is what Prince Leonard taught me.
“To be more specific, the Rowland Household that was supporting the First Prince, and the White Household that supported the Second Prince.” (Lucy)
Lucy tells me.
So it is common knowledge, huh.
“About the knight captain agent that was Hero Sakurai-sama, after accomplishing a great feat like defeating three Taboo Dragons, he safely officially became the captain of the 7th division of the Sun Knights.” (Leonard)
“I see.” (Makoto)
“You were also involved in that Taboo Dragon subjugation, right, Takatsuki-kun?!”, says Sa-san.
When I said it as if it had nothing to do with me, she retorted.
“Yeah, but a lot happened after, so it feels as if it was a long time ago.” (Makoto)
Hearing out the request of the Evil God-sama, being assigned as a Hero; it feels like it happened in a far past.
“Pushing away a past about Taboo Monsters so easily…” (Lucy)
“Makoto-san, they are monsters that are considered the natural enemies of humanity, you know…” (Leonard)
Prince Leonard and Lucy said as if in disbelief.
“Ah, about that, I have one favour to ask of you, Prince Leonard.” (Makoto)
“Yes, what is it?” (Leonard)
“Can you have all knights of the Water Country learn the Calm Skill? The Taboo Monsters are always using status effects like Fear and Charm, so that would be problematic. I think that as long as they don’t have that advantage, maybe they wouldn’t be as strong, you know.” (Makoto)
I have only fought them twice in the past, but I don’t think that’s a bad move.
“The opinion on the latter half aside, countermeasures for the abnormal status effects is important indeed! I will bring that out as soon as possible.” (Leonard)
Prince Leonard is a good and honest boy.
After a while…
We explored the Highland Castle a good deal.
“Takatsuki-kun, even if you are a Hero now, you must not open chest drawers arbitrarily, okay?” (Aya)
I know that, Sa-san.
I won’t be searching for hidden passages.
After a while had passed exploring more of the castle.
“Sasaki-san?! Could that be you, Sasaki-san? It is me, Takeda. It has been a while!”
A young man in a knight outfit suddenly spoke to us in a corridor of the castle.
Not to me, but to Sa-san.
“Uhm, Takeda-kun? It has been a while.” (Aya)
The person was a former classmate, Takeda-kun.
We haven’t spoken to each other practically ever.
I see, so he was in the Sun Country.
Was he friends with Sa-san?
“You weren’t in the Water Temple, right? Were you transported to a different place? Man, this is such a coincidence. I am currently a high knight of the Highland Castle. I also have my own room. Want to have a meal with me later?”
“…No, I am currently exploring the castle together with Takatsuki-kun.” (Aya)
Sa-san refuses softly.
“Takatsuki? Ah, you were here? It has been a while.”
“Yeah, long time.” (Makoto)
He looks at me, and directs a clear spiteful look.
Aah, this brings me back to the times at the Water Temple.
“Sasaki-san, did you come to Symphonia recently? I know good stores around here. When do you have the time?”
“No…I have plans for the whole day already.” (Aya)
Takeda-kun invites her persistently. Sa-san looks at me.
In this scenario, I should be saying something, huh…
Maybe he noticed that we were conversing with our eyes, he made a displeased expression.
“Hey, you get along well with Takatsuki, right?”
“Uhm…I reunited with Takatsuki-kun at Laberintos where he saved me.” (Aya)
Sa-san says with a troubled expression.
At the next instant, Takeda-kun made a bad natured expression.
“Hey, Sasaki-san. You know, Takatsuki’s Status was so low that no one wanted to scout him in the temple and ended up left out till the very end. Did you know that?”
He explains with a grin.
I don’t feel like being amiable anymore.
Or more like, why do you know that? Is that widely known?
“What with you, it is the truth, isn’t it, Takatsuki? Don’t make that face. My bad for saying that in front of Sasaki-san.”
He didn’t look like he felt bad at all as he slapped my shoulders.
Sa-san’s expression stiffens slightly.
And then, her complexion changed as if she had thought of something.
“Hey, Takeda-kun, you are a knight, right? Does that mean you are the same as Sakurai-kun?” (Aya)
Sa-san suddenly speaks friendly.
“No no no, Sakurai is seriously a bundle of cheats. He is special.”
Takeda answers with a bitter smile.
“I see. By the way, Takatsuki-kun is currently the Water Country’s Hero. Did you know that?” (Aya)
Takeda opened his mouth wide, and after that, he began to laugh out loudly.
“Hahahahahahaha! Sasaki-san, he is lying to you! There’s no way Takatsuki is a Hero!”
“Makoto-san is a Hero of our country! In the name of Leonard Eir Rozes, I assure you this!” (Leonard)
“…Eh? Prince Leonard…?”
Looks like he knows the face of Prince Leonard.
The face of Takeda pales.
Well, if you are working in the castle, you should have a grasp of the faces of royalty after all.
“Please let me withdraw my rude statements from before!”
“Uhm, Prince Leonard, I don’t really mind—” (Makoto)
“I am sorry! I withdraw my previous statements!”
He withdrew them.
What do you do when they withdraw?
“Aah, m-my bad, Takatsuki. See you later! Yeah, bye!”
Takeda moved flusteredly while leaving somewhere.
Spoke with us arbitrarily, and left arbitrarily.
What a busybody.
I heard the cold mutter of Sa-san.
“The person just now was an otherworlder like you, right, Makoto? He was kinda displeasing…” (Lucy)
Lucy says low.
“Well, isn’t it fine to just ignore it?” (Makoto)
That path is a path that I passed through 1 year ago.
I have already grown out of it.
That kind of people are of no importance.
It is of no importance, but…
“By the way, Sa-san. You got along with that guy?” (Makoto)
He spoke to her in a pretty friendly manner.
Maybe they got along well in the past?
“…He invited me to the karaoke and stuff like that several times in the past, but I can’t stand him that much, so I didn’t accept any of his invitations, you know?” (Aya)
“I see.” (Makoto)
“Eh? Are you jealous?” (Aya)
Aya’s mouth went up into a grin.
Oops, this is her teasing stance.
“No, I am not.” (Makoto)
“I see.” (Aya)
“Yeah yeah. And the truth is…?” (Aya)
I was a bit jealous.
“Wait, you are close, way too close.” (Makoto)
There’s no need to have your face so close to mine, Sa-san.
You have crazy good eyes (being a monster and all).
“Here! Let’s go to the next one! Don’t flirt in the castle!” (Lucy)
Lucy pulls my arm.
“Eeh, a bit more~.” (Aya)
Sa-san pulls me the opposite side.
I-Is this the Isekai harem?!
Anyways, to think I would meet a classmate at a place like this.
But the Sun Country is the strongest country of the continent, so if you are taking the safe side, this country would be the best one.
As long as you close your eyes at the fact that the price of the commodities is the highest from the six countries.
There might be other classmates…
It would be troublesome if we were to get caught up in something with them.
It feels heavier for me to meet classmates I don’t get along with than meeting monsters… I do think that’s pretty weird.
The Highland Castle is gigantic, and it is a scale that we can’t explore in one day.
“Let’s rest for a bit before moving on.” (Leonard)
Prince Leonard guided us to the back of the castle.
It was a vast vast site that was as big as 4 soccer courts.
At that place, there’s many knights, mages, priests, and archers training in battle.
At the side of this place, there’s stores that seemed to be for food lined up.
“This is the training field of the knight corps, but as long as you are from the military, even people of other countries can utilize it. Let’s have something to eat over there at that store.” (Leonard)
“Eh? I am from the military?” (Makoto)
A shocking revelation!
“The Country Designated Hero is on the same standing as a General of the Water Country. But well, it is not like you are strictly tied to military affairs. It is just in structure.” (Leonard)
“There was an explanation about that in the authorization ceremony, you know…? Did you not listen?” (Lucy)
Lucy retorts amazed.
“Takatsuki-kun was in cloud nine after all.” (Aya)
Sa-san, don’t say it!
Honestly, my excitement of becoming a Hero made me not hear it.
We walked through the noisy training field’s sideroad, and headed to the area where the food stores are lined up.
When we looked around, there were a lot of people doing mock battles with wooden swords and training in offensive magic.
And what interested me the most was…
(There’s a decent amount of Water Spirits around.) (Makoto)
The Rozes Castle had a despairingly low amount of Spirits.
Is it because the Highland Castle doesn’t function as a church?
Or is it because there’s a sea nearby?
In any case, there’s no demerits in having as many Spirits which are my lifeline.
While I was thinking that.
“Oi oi oi! And here I was wondering who it is. Isn’t that the Trash Hero of the Water Country?! What are you doing in the Highland Castle?!”
An ear-ringing voice resonated.