WM – Chapter 162: Takatsuki Makoto is invited by the General

“Over here, Hero-dono.” 

I was guided by the Guardian Knight Old Man and arrived at a big residence.

It is close to the Great Keith Palace, and there’s a lot of big houses in this extravagant residential district, but the one we are in front of is a residence that surpasses those in its surroundings and it is like a palace.

I could see a vast garden and a water fountain beyond the giant gate.

(There’s Water Spirits.) (Makoto)

Even if something happens, I could at least protect myself.

“I am glad to see you have come.  My master is waiting. Allow me to guide you.” 

A man that seems to be a butler came out from inside.

“Well then, Hero-dono.” 

“Thank you, Old Man.” (Makoto)

I thank the Old Man and cross the gate alone.

Looks like the General wants to talk to me only. 

(…I’m not feeling it.) (Makoto)

When talking with big shots, I would mostly be together with Fuji-yan, Sa-san, or Lucy. 

I left most of the talking to the people who were used to it, and I didn’t have many instances where I would have to do so alone.

Princess Noel was easy to talk to, but that was most likely because of Sakurai-kun.

I put Clear Mind to max output, and follow the guide into the residence while feeling nervous.

There were a variety of sculptures and paintings decorating the place. I don’t know their worth, but I could tell that the owner of this house is quite wealthy. 

The butler guided me, not to a room, but to the garden.

There’s a small stage in the garden, and a thinly dressed dancer was there elegantly dancing under the tune of the instruments. 

There were torches set around the stage, and turned it into a magical space.

“Over here.” 

At the place the butler was pointing at, there was General Tariska who had less formal clothing than the time I met him before, on a seat at a platform that is three steps higher than the ones of the surroundings as he looked down over here.

There’s extravagant dishes and a mountain of fruits around the General, and at both of his sides, there’s two beautiful women serving him.

(THE Big Shot!) (Makoto)

Like right out of a book.

General Gearhart Tariska.

The father of the Fire Hero Olga Sol Tariska, and the top of the armed forces of Great Keith.

The one with the most influential power in Great Keith right after the king.

It seems he is close to the king too.

He is a person you must not go against when in this country. 

“…Thanks for the invitation in this—” (Makoto)

I was about to kneel in front of the platform and greet him just like Princess Sofia taught me…

“Hero-dono, that’s not it.” (Tariska)

The General suddenly stood up and pulled my hand, bringing me all the way to the top of the platform.

And then, I was urged to take a seat by the side of the General.

“Tonight, Hero Makoto-dono is the main guest. I had a seat of honor open waiting for you.” (Tariska)

He was talking with a friendlier tone than the other day.

However, his eyes were not smiling, and he was observing me with eyes like those of an eagle.

“Thank you very much…” (Makoto)

I nervously sat by his side as suggested.

“Bring drinks and food to the Hero-dono. Make this place lively with music and dancing.” (Tariska)

When the General ordered this, the music’s tempo increased, and the dancers turned it up as well to match it. 

Women with a lot of exposed skin showed up at both of my sides, pouring drinks to me, and bringing food all the way to my mouth.

T-This is so nerve-wracking! 

I told them I would be eating myself, and I had them pour me a fruit drink that had a low percentage of alcohol.

He spoke to me about the food and the dancing for a while, so I just randomly gave out praises and showed surprise every now and then.

◇◇

“Hero Makoto-dono, I would like to express my gratitude for subjugating the Sand Dragon nest.” (Tariska)

A while after, General Tariska brought out the topic of the Sand Dragons.

This is most likely the main topic. 

“No, it was just a happenstance…” (Makoto)

I was simply a witness of Sa-san defeating the Sand Dragon nest.

“By the way, I heard that Hero Makoto-dono is a mage, but it seems that you are also a first rate warrior as well. The subjugated Sand Dragons were not defeated by magic but by physical attacks after all.” (Tariska)

“…”

That’s cause Sa-san punched them barehanded.

I can’t say that.

“It seems like you normally walk around with only a dagger, but your actual weapon is something else, right?” (Tariska)

The General asks as if he were convinced by this.

“Who knows…” (Makoto)

I can’t hold a weapon heavier than a dagger.

I can’t tell him that.

I am kinda just staying silent here.

General Tariska seems to not be bothered by the fact that I am not responding.

He must be thinking I am hiding something.

It would be faster to just tell him everything was done by Sa-san though.

“Hero-sama, to be able to defeat such fearsome monsters… What a reliable personage.” 

“I have feared the Sand Dragons since my childhood. And yet, you managed to defeat them…can you allow me to thank you in some way?” 

The women on both sides suddenly leaned onto me. 

They are showing a lot of skin, so it naturally came to skin contact.

This is really stressful, so I wanted to get away from them, but they were pushing me from both sides, so I couldn’t escape.

“Oh? Looks like those two have taken a liking to you. If you so wish, I can have them accompany you till morning.” (Tariska)

The General proposed this as if he were recommending me some desserts. 

“I will listen to anything the Hero-sama wants.” 

“Oh my, I would do that too. Hey, Makoto-sama, what kind of play do you like?” 

Hm? Did she just say anything—wait, that’s not it! 

(Makoto~, are you okay?) (Noah)

Noah-sama retorted with an amazed tone.

I know, I know.

[Will you fall into the honey trap of General Tariska?]

Yes

No ←

Even RPG Player is warning me it is a honey trap! 

“I appreciate the sentiment, General Tariska, but I have to return for today.” (Makoto)

Was it okay to put it like that?

“They weren’t to your liking, huh. Those two are said to be competing for the first and second place of the most beautiful in the capital though. If aggressive women are more to your liking, then how about that dancer over there?” (Tariska)

No, that’s not the issue here! 

While I was thinking that, I followed the eyes of the General and the dancer was directing me an enticing smile.

She must have been ordered to seduce the Water Country’s Hero.

I once again look at the women at both of my sides and, yeah, they are quite the beauties indeed.

(Just that…) (Makoto)

I have been weak to beautiful women since the beginning of times.

When I told this to Fuji-yan and Sakurai-kun a long time ago, they went ‘eh?!’.

No, I am straight. 

I fixed the misunderstanding.

Wait, that’s not it. I am not good around strangers, so I can’t handle strangers as a whole, but beauties make me even more nervous. 

It is just that Sa-san, who has been a long friend of mine, and Lucy, who is adventuring together with me, are exceptions.

I have been getting used to Princess Sofia lately. 

Furiae-san?

It is on a level where I can’t even look her in the eyes without my Skill.

And right now I have Clear Mind at 99%.

I used RPG Player’s perspective change to check the surroundings.

The many beauties that General Tariska prepared. 

They are beauties, but it is exactly because they are beauties that it mentally wears me out just talking to them.

Also, I feel bad for doing this, but when I think about the number one beauty of the Divine Realm, Noah-sama…

(They look plain…) (Makoto)

I thought something rude.

He must have thought this was bad after seeing my cold face…

“Hero-dono, your drink hasn’t gone down. Bring out the 30 year grape wine.” (Tariska)

It looks like the General has decided to change the bait to drinks and food.

That 30 year grape wine was crazy good. 

◇◇

“Can I accompany you, Tariska-ojisama, Water Country’s Hero-sama?” 

At the time the party was going full swing, a woman approached us. 

At a glance, she looked like a beauty wearing those thin clothes just like the rest, but her poise and the extravagance of her ornaments was clearly different from the other women.

And I remember seeing her somewhere before. 

“Dahlia-dono, is your official business settled?” (Tariska)

I remembered with the words of the General.

The Fire Oracle, Dahlia Sol Great Keith.

The Fire Country’s Oracle that was talking with Princess Sofia the other day.

“I am here due to work. I had an oracle from the Fire Goddess-sama.” (Dahlia)

Her face had a smile as usual but her eyes were not smiling as she plainly announced this.

“You girls, leave.” (Tariska)

The General orders the women serving closeby to depart. 

There’s only the Fire Oracle, General Tariska, and me in the vicinity now.

The music and dancing continues, so it certainly would be hard to hear our conversation with all the noise. 

“What did the Fire Goddess-sama say?” (Tariska)

“The Snake Church hiding in Gamuran is apparently scheming something malicious.” (Dahlia)

“I am aware of this as well. However, even if we know the ones doing it, no one knows the full portrait of the plan. The main perpetrator is most likely the only one who knows about it, but we still haven’t found the head of the snake.” (Tariska)

The General responds to the Fire Oracle in a low voice. 

The atmosphere of the party just before had disappeared, and a dangerous air was ruling the place now.

“It is true…that we don’t know where this main culprit is. However, we managed to learn what they are planning.” (Dahlia)

The Fire Oracle smiled with her first genuine smile. 

“The higher their rank in the Snake Church they are, the tighter their lips are. The ones at the edge don’t know anything, or are given fake information. Is it trustworthy information?” (Tariska)

“I have had templars infiltrate the Snake Church several years ago. There’s a good amount who have been caught and have lost their lives, but…this time around, it has served its purpose.” (Dahlia)

Infiltrating the enemy organization?! 

The things this Oracle does are really dirty. 

The Fire Oracle must have noticed my gaze, she looked over here and smiled.

“Everything is for the sake of the Fire Country’s peace.” (Dahlia)

“Is that so…” (Makoto)

What Rozes may be lacking is this kind of cold-heartedness.

I can’t really see Princess Sofia doing this kind of tactic.

“And so, what is this plan?” (Tariska)

The General pushes the Fire Oracle to continue.

“In three days, in the underground cemetery at the edge of the capital, the deep part of it has become the hidden gathering location of the church. It normally isn’t used at all, but the spies infiltrating their organization should be gathering on the day as well. We will wipe them out at that time…slaughter them all.” (Dahlia)

“Got it. I will make the preparations in a way that they don’t notice.” (Tariska)

The General easily nods at the words of the Fire Oracle.

His indifferent tone is scary. 

“Sorry for the interruption, Water Country’s Hero-sama.” (Dahlia)

“Don’t worry…” (Makoto)

Honestly I am wondering here if I should have even been listening to this talk.

Isn’t this a national secret level of talk here?

I should just bid my farewells and leave.

While I was thinking that, the General looked over here with a serious expression.

“Hero-dono, if possible, in the subjugation of the Snake Church 3 days from now, I would like you to lend us your help.” (Tariska)

“Oh my, that’s a great idea, General!” (Dahlia)

“?!” 

That caught me off guard.

But General Tariska seemed to want to know how I defeated the Sand Dragons, and the Fire Oracle seems to be trying to appraise me. 

It is an expected scenario.

General Tariska and the Fire Oracle direct their eyes at me as if observing my next action.

[Will you participate in the subjugation of the Snake Church?

Yes

No

RPG Player shows the choices.

(Hmm, what to do?) (Makoto)

If I want to stop the capital destruction future Furiae-san saw, I should join it. 

But the Fire Country has done their information collecting themselves, moreover, they are going to be acting fully prepared.

Will anything change with just me participating at this point in time? 

But I am the Country Designated Hero of the Water Country. 

Because the Water Country and the Fire Country are neighboring countries, there’s a lot of exchanges between them.

Refusing the request of that neighboring country would be a No Good in political terms. 

But is this something that’s okay for me to be deciding alone…?

Hero Makoto, if General Tariska demands anything of you, I don’t mind leaving the decision to you’, before coming here, Sofia told me that. 

‘Is that okay?’ (Makoto)

I am a beginner at politics and negotiations.

‘It is okay. I believe in the choices you take.’ (Sofia)

‘Is that so. Why, Princess Sofia? There’s a lot of times when Makoto would move without thinking, you know?’ (Lucy)

‘Sofi-chan, Takatsuki-kun sometimes does weird actions. It is dangerous to believe in him too much~.’ (Aya)

Compared to Princess Sofia who said she believed in me, the trust of my two comrades was hot (in the bad direction).

They are right though.

At that time, Princess Sofia laughed.

‘It is because I have decided to believe in Hero Makoto.’ (Sofia)

The words of Princess Sofia resurfaced in my mind.

If I were to choose as I always do…

“Understood. I will participate too.” (Makoto)

I chose Yes. 

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