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Chapter 49: To the Prophet
It was time for winter vacation in the academy, and it was so silent you would be hard-pressed to recall its usual noisiness.
There were students working hard on self-training and sparring at the athletic field, but it was still more quiet than usual.
At such a subdued academy, I was currently welcoming a person as a guest.
Well… just “a person” might have been the wrong way to put it.
Said person had brought a large group of people as escorts, so there were dozens of people to be exact.
It was on the academy’s 5th floor guest area, which had been subsequently assigned as my personal room. This supposed guest and I faced each other there.
“I appreciate this, King Aiz. But you didn’t have to come here yourself. I could have gone to you instead.”
“No. If you say you need me, I will come running, regardless of where it may be. Although I don’t think that is enough repayment for my sin…”
The one who sat in front of me was the main instigator responsible for the kidnapping incident from before, Billberry’s King Aiz.
Ever since the events that happened previously, this old man has become somewhat cooperative toward me.
…Well, he did put a cooperative front before as well though.
Anyway, I didn’t scold him whatsoever after the previous kidnapping incident and released him unscathed.
Well, since this old man also declared that Vernell’s group was not guilty, if I declared him as “GUILTY!” it would make me look like someone who was unable to read the room.
Also, Old man Aiz seemed very worried that I’d turn into the Witch after defeating her current host, so I could only tell him that such a thing was impossible.
If I told this old man everything, the danger may transfer to Eterna instead. As such, I didn’t give him a clear explanation, though for some reason, he seemed to believe in me.
Is that really okay? You didn’t believe in such uncertain things before; you were not that kind of character, right?
What the heck happened to you?
This time too, I had sent a letter saying I wish to meet directly to talk about something, yet instead of just replying to it first, the person himself came.
Aren’t you moving too freely despite being the king?
“Well then… you said you needed this old person’s knowledge. What do you wish to know?”
“I wish to know about person who called the ‘Prophet.’“
As I said this, Aiz cocked an eyebrow.
From the way he reacted, it was clear he knew something.
“For generations, there was a Prophet who prophesied about the birth of the Saints and divulged their birthplace to the King… Yet mysteriously, who this person is or where this person lives… I have no idea about it. In the first place, I don’t really understand how this prophecy works. I’m aware that to some extent I have some capabilities in using magic, but to see the future… There is no magic capable of that. That’s why I don’t know. What is the Prophet, really?”
“Fuh… if you are merely considered capable to some extent, then everyone else could only be seen as novices in magic.”
Aiz treated my words like a joke and laughed.
Ah, as expected? Well~, I was too much of a genius, after all. Though to be exact, I wasn’t referring to myself, but this body.
But then, wasn’t it a Japanese virtue to be humble?
I was well aware that I belonged to the top tier level of power when it comes to magic, but it was appropriate to give such lip service.
“To be exact, they’re not a Prophet, but rather, an Oracle… It has nothing to do with predicting the future. What we call the Prophet had simply heard the will of God and put it into words. If the Saint is the Representative of God, then the Prophet is the Spokesperson of God. Their existence is only revealed to kings of that generation, and their location is considered classified information.”
I nodded at the old man’s explanation.
I see, so there was a difference in nuance1.
They didn’t predict the future, but rather, they heard from God… Though since it was most likely what also brought the Saints into existence, it was likely the World instead.
They heard its will, and prophesied on the Saint’s birth.
If this was the case, it made more sense than just “reading the future.”
Because it’s source was the same as the Saint’s, it made sense that they would know.
The problem then was why such an important person has been hidden all this time.
“Why was such a person hidden away? If they are such an important person, I would think that the royal family would surely go and ensure their safety.”
“As for why, you will understand if you meet them directly. When I first encountered them, I was stunned.”
You will understand if you meet them, huh.
If that’s really what you think, then let’s try to meet them.
Though of course, that’s only if such an action would be permitted.
“Will you really tell me about them?”
“Yes. But, only you may come along. No other person may accompany you… To be honest, I’m almost breaching the contract already just by bringing you along.”
So it would just be me. Well, it was no problem.
In the first place, I didn’t need a guard.
But for such a person to be capable of making a contract with this king and compelling him to protect them… perhaps this Prophet actually had higher political power, even more than the Saint.
On the surface, it seemed like the Saint held the highest political power in this world, but they were actually just sacrifices in the end.
“Please wait a moment. It’s very unsettling that only the two of you will go to this destination… At the very least, let me come along as a guard…”
Leila, who had been standing beside me, said this.
Oi, Stocco. Were you listening at all to what we had talked about?
Old Man Aiz glanced coldly toward Leila, and sternly replied.
“That can’t be allowed. Only those who succeed the King may know the location of the Prophet. It’s actually a location that not even Elrise-sama would normally be allowed to go to. I will not make any further exceptions.”
Even as the old man had rebuked her, Leila still insisted on going, so I cut in.
There was nothing to gain even if we complained here; and if Leila kept insisting, the Old man may end up thinking “whatever” and change his mind about letting me go to the Prophet’s place. That would be troublesome for me.
So I decided to make Leila shut up here.
“I will be alright. Please believe in me, and wait for me to come back.”
Certain kill: “Believe in me” Attack.
By saying those words, Leila had no choice then but to shut up.
Because I already declared that as her master, if she still insisted, then it would be no different from saying she “didn’t believe in me.”
But Leila, who served as my Prime Knight, couldn’t afford to blatantly voice any doubts toward me.
“… I understand. Since Elrise-sama said so…”
It looked like Leila still wanted to say more, but she stayed silent.
This was okay.
Well then, let’s immediately have the King escort me to the place where the Prophet resided.
Fortunately, it was winter vacation at this time. There were no major events that would occur.
There might be a Heroine personal event for Vernell to take but, there was nothing that would involve killing, so I didn’t need to pay attention to it.
The method we used to go to the Prophet’s location…! Surprisingly, it was a “steam train!”
I knew that there were steam trains in this World, but it was my first time actually riding one.
Most of the time, I’d fly by myself or ride a horse carriage, so it was a new experience.
I was sitting on the seat that faced Old Man Aiz. Since there was nothing to do, I just looked outside the window.
But since just doing that wasn’t enough to pass my free time, I also talked to him.
“Even though the location is classified, tracks have been laid down to go there…”
“Yes. Although, the steam train that goes there is exclusively for the royalty’s personal train. Common people definitely won’t be able to go there.”
I see… so it was the steam train…
When I thought about it, it was the obvious thing to do.
Only those who succeeded the King could go to the location of the Prophet.
So obviously, there wouldn’t be a way for horse carriages to go there, since a driver would be necessary… But at the same time, you couldn’t expect a King to walk to that location alone.
The World was currently peaceful so the possibility of being attacked by demons on road has already been reduced to below a thousandth of what it once was, but that meant encountering demons on the road was over a thousand times more likely back then.
There was no way a King could walk alone with such a risk.
But even a steam train could still be seen as dangerous.
The possibility of a demon getting inside the train was not 0.
In the first place, it was also likely that the demons could destroy the tracks.
“But even with a steam train, for the king to travel alone was surely a dangerous thing to do.”
“One is not worthy of being a king if he is unable to travel alone… that is a saying that has been passed down for generations. To meet the Prophet alone was a trial for the king to receive the oracle, as well as a ritual. There was a time when I, too… dreamed of becoming a king who could save Lilia, and was given this trial. My son also rode this steam train a long time ago.”
I couldn’t say anything to this old man who said such lonely words.
This feels heavy… Why would you bring up such a heavy topic here, old man?
It was that, right? He worked hard to become a king. But in the end, he was unable to save Lilia, the Saint who came before Alexia.
If I remembered correctly, that person was informed by the king of the truth about the Witch and the Saint. She recklessly fought against demons, and then ended up getting eaten and killed, right?
And also, your son rode this, you say… but, you are the current king, aren’t you?
If your son did the trial to become a king, yet you continued to be the one on the throne, it meant… that son of yours died, right?
I didn’t know if he either failed the trial, or if he died after successfully completing the trial.
Since this made the atmosphere heavy, I would have preferred it if you didn’t bring up this topic…
“…By the way, it had been said that only the king was allowed to know the location of the Prophet, but what about the people who drive the steam train?”
“That’s not a problem. The people who control this steam train are all people who have been chosen from the servants of the Prophet. We call them ‘Guardians.’“
According to the old man, the one who drove the steam train were not citizens of the Kingdom.
Guardians, huh… maybe it was my own imagination, but I imagined them as people who were half nude, wearing clothing only from the waist below, and who carried spears, while having weird patterns drawn on their face and speaking an unknown language.
Well, they wouldn’t be able to drive a steam train if that really was the case, so I concluded that they couldn’t be like that.
“Guardians… is it? I wonder what kind of people they are., I look forward to meeting them.”
Well, there was no way they could actually be like the undeveloped people I had imagined earlier.
They might look wiser and surprisingly similar to humans.
Or maybe, their civilization could unexpectedly be more advanced than ours was and they could be wearing futuristic looking clothes.
As I was thinking that, the door suddenly opened, and something came out.
“NOMED A SAW TI! YKS EHT MORF GNIKCATTA NOMED A2!”
“AMAS-TNIAS DNA AMAS-GINK! UOY TCETORP LLIW EW!”
The people who appeared after the door opened were… what were they… something?
They were similar to something like a monkey that wore clothes made from animal fur.
Well, they weren’t monkeys, they looked closer to humans than monkeys, but… Nah, they were monkeys, after all.
On top of that, I had no idea what they were talking about.
As I looked to the old man for confirmation, he silently nodded his head.
“They’re the guardians.”
Don’t screw with me! They’re totally primitive people, no matter how you look at it!
My observation was indeed correct, but I really wished it wasn’t!
Why, they looked even stupider than what I had imagined! These were not merely undeveloped people, but totally primitive people!
And the weapon they brought with them, it was totally just a cudgel with stone on the other end!?
“Err… what are they talking about?”
“I don’t know. It’s just, they seem to be panicking about something.”
It seemed that even the old man didn’t know what they were talking about.
But these guardians then stood and surrounded us in a protective circle. They took defensive stances and wielded their weapons.
At least… I think they were trying to protect us?
“WODNIW EHT RAEN SUOREGNAD SI TI! YAWA EVOM!”
They seemed to be telling us about something, but as expected, I didn’t understand what they were talking about.
Then, for some reason, they tried to make me move away from the window.
What? What do you mean?
But right as I was thinking that, the person who had tried to make me move away from the window got grabbed by a big birdlike claw and was taken away.
Ah — … I see. He was trying to tell me that it was dangerous near the window.
“It seems we are being attacked by a demon.”
The creature that was flying outside there was a big bird, with a wingspan of around 3 meters.
Its wings were black, while the rest of it was white.
It has a cute and seemingly likeable face.
The bird looked toward this direction and then let out a cry.
They sure cried in an annoying way.
Ah, I remembered. They were that STUPID-bird.
They were small fry that appeared in the game.
“EM DNIM T’NOD! MEHT FO HTOB TCETORP!”
The guardian who got caught seemed to be saying something, but as usual, I didn’t understand what they were talking about.
Perhaps he said something like, “Hurry up and help! I got caught because of you guys!” Maybe it was something like that?
I don’t have a hobby of helping monkeys, but… if I left this situation alone, it would bother me.
I will go for a bit.
I stepped out from the window and flew, instantly reaching the space above the STUPID-bird.
I immediately cut it down with a sword of light, then grabbed the guardian and brought him back to the steam train.
“GNIZAMA! GNORTS S’EHS!”
“AMAS-TNIAS! EDARMOC RUO DEUCSER EHS!”
When I returned to the steam train, the guardians started getting noisy.
Perhaps they were happy.
Then the guardian I saved grabbed my hand, and started saying something while crying.
“UOY KNAHT! UOY KNAHT! UOY YB DEVAS SAW EFIL YM!”
I didn’t know what they were talking about, but I guess he was thanking me… I think.
I don’t care about being thanked by a monkey though…
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