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Chapter 35: Imprisoned (Fake) Saint
Now then, what should I do in this situation?
As I was surrounded, I pondered on my predicament while drinking some black tea.
…Don’t tell me this black tea has sleeping medicine mixed in?
Well I had a countermeasure against poison… or rather, a countermeasure against bad status effects, so these kinds of things were useless against me though.
Using water magic, any poison that entered my body would be automatically disintegrated instantly, removing the poison from inside.
Dark magic also has the effect of dispelling things that were harmful from my body, so poisons or viruses wouldn’t work on me.
Obviously, I never tested it against empowered viruses like those in Science Fiction. Though maybe it would still be effective, regardless of my protection magic.
“…What do you mean by this?”
I pretended to be calm and surreptitiously checked my surroundings.
The ones who surrounded me were the soldiers of every nation… and somehow there were knights mixed in, and also the Guard Knights on top of that.
What, everyone betrayed me? Did I lack charisma that much?
For all the Guard Knights except Leila and Fox to betray me, as expected even I couldn’t laugh it off so easily.
“Our deepest apologies, Elrise-sama! But we…”
“We won’t ask you to forgive us… but, even so… even so, we don’t want to lose you!”
I lightly glared at the Guard Knights as they apprehensively stammered their excuses.
They said they didn’t want me to die, but… weren’t they aware (despite not knowing the full truth) that the Saints who defeated the Witch would end up dying anyway. However, they still chose to become a knight despite that in first place?
Oh well. I could leave the sermon for later. What I needed to do now was figure out how to solve this situation.
There were 10 Guard Knights and around 20 knights. There were also a bunch of soldiers.
…Well, I estimated that it would take less than 10 seconds to knock them all unconscious without killing them.
If I go for kill, it wouldn’t even take a second, but I didn’t think I needed to go that far.
“King Aiz. You mentioned earlier that as long as I exist, peace will be maintained. Then I’d like to ask… against a person who is capable of that, do you really think this number is enough to suppress such a person?”
Just this amount, I could easily clean up with light magic and have it go BOOM. Seriously.
I already constantly applied reinforcement magic on myself. Whatever they tried here wouldn’t be enough to hurt me.
In the first place, they thought of me as the real Saint, so they didn’t think they could deal damage to me in the first place.
Yet while King Aiz was also slightly apprehensive himself, the smile never left his face.
“Obviously, I don’t think such a thing. But it seems this is not the case for your companion.”
As he said that, I looked toward Leila.
For some reason, Leila was just standing there submissively while a sword was being held over her neck.
What are you doing, letting yourself get caught that easily?!
“May I ask you to go through with this peacefully? …We also don’t wish to make an enemy of you. We just wish for a little… yes, we simply wish for you to care about your own safety just a little bit more.”
While his tone was quite cordial, the way he spoke didn’t permit any refusal.
He said that he didn’t want to make an enemy out of me, but this very action was no different from declaring one’s self as my enemy, you see…
“I don’t think it’s that bad a deal for you. We’re just asking you to stay on your post for the rest of your life… It’ll surely be more profitable for you than dying while fighting the Witch. You will gain respect, be worshipped, and hold political power. And you don’t have to die fighting Witch. With this situation, it can only be advantageous for you. Don’t you think so?”
Advantages, huh… well, you could say that I’d only profit from such a circumstance personally.
However, that was really no different from saying that you’re pushing the problem on to the next generation.
Because if the Witch remained undefeated and I passed away, the duty would only be pushed on the next generation’s Saint.
Nothing would be solved, only delayed with a superficially maintained peace.
In that case, it would be better for me to break the cycle, and ensure no more Witch will be born ever again.
Also … I think what they seek from me was the Saint as a Symbol.
In other words, if I agreed to it, what awaited me was a future of imprisonment within this castle.
Although, they didn’t really seem to care about my opinion in the first place.
“Well… just think it over. Hey, you. Lead Saint-sama to her room. Respectfully.”
“Yes. …Elrise-sama, I shall lead you. Please come this way.”
By the order of King Aiz, I was led away by the Guard Knights.
I could just knock them down and escape but… Stocco was currently taken as a hostage. It would be more prudent to avoid doing anything reckless.
I could easily get rid of everyone here, including Stocco. And once they were all KO’d, I could just pick Stocco up and run away, but…
Well, it wasn’t not like they intended to do anything bad to me anyway. I decided to just sit down patiently. Surely, a chance would appear soon enough.
No choice. I will keep quiet for now.
“There is no need. I know where my own room is located.”
I stood up, and entered my so-called room turned prison.
Then I heard the sound of my room being locked from the outside.
Well, I knew it would turn out like this.
Not only was the door barred, the window was also covered by a sturdy lattice.
As I scanned the outside, I saw soldiers patrolling at ground level and surveilling this room.
If I were to escape by destroying the lattice, I would be noticed immediately, huh.
I walked away from the window, and inspected the room.
The room was maintained well and was comfortable and clean.
The sheets of the canopied bed were also made properly and the tea time furniture also looked expensive.
I knew this castle was a prison to lock in a Saint, but I never imagined it would be used while I was still an active Saint.
Since the door and the window were no good… then, the typical escape route would be the fireplace.
Though obviously, this room’s fireplace was designed so that an adult human couldn’t fit in, so I didn’t bother checking it.
However, a small person might be able to fit, so it wasn’t like nothing could go through.
I gathered some of my magic power, and shot out a fairy type magic bullet.
It went through the fireplace, up the chimney, and reached the outside.
Anyway, what I needed to do was save Stocco. As long as I could secure her, the rest of it would be easy enough.
Sorry, but unfortunately, I had no intention of quietly playing the role of a kidnapped princess.
Even so, my opponents also knew that I could simply escape anytime as soon as I secured Stocco, so it wouldn’t be that easy.
Well, it would be a long battle.
Fortunately, there were no big events or anyone in danger of dying in the academy at the moment, so it should be no problem even if I wasn’t at the academy.
I should just stay put for now.
It has been a week since Elrise left the academy.
It was announced that she was invited to the Kings’ Exchange Party, yet quite some time has already passed since then, even with the travel time back taken into account.
The location was supposed to be the Saint’s castle, but the distance between the Academy and the Saint’s Castle was close enough that it only took 3 hours of travel by carriage.
This short distance made sense since the Alfrea Magic Knight Training Institution was where the Saint’s Knights were educated.
Capable graduates would eventually end up working at the Saint’s Castle.
Therefore, the academy was built close to the Saint’s Castle, and was situated in an area that barely touched any national territory.
That was why, it was quite strange that she had yet to return after a week.
Did she decide to stop attending the academy and to permanently stay in her castle?
It was not an impossible turn of events.
In the first place, it was weird for the Saint to enroll herself in the academy.
So it could be said that she had simply returned to where she was supposed to be.
But Vernell knew better. Before she left, Elrise clearly said, “I will come back soon.”
Even if it was true that she decided to stay permanently in her castle, would she really just leave like this without saying anything to anyone about it?
“It’s really weird.”
It was currently evening and their lessons had just ended.
Vernell had gathered with the usual crew, and they were talking about it.
Vernell, Eterna, John, Fiora, Mary, Aina, and also Supple, who was shaking from withdrawal symptoms caused by not seeing Elrise for a week.
They were gathered in an empty classroom, and speculated about why Elrise had not yet returned.
“Perhaps they were attacked by demons or bandits…?”
“Even if that happened, Elrise-sama could easily deal with it. Leila-san is also by her side… also, if that happened, there would be reports about it too.”
Eterna voiced out one possibility, but John quickly refuted it.
If the Saint really disappeared because of such a reason, there would be quite a fuss about it everywhere.
Nations would’ve given a search order, and soldiers would’ve been deployed to search for her.
Yet currently, no such actions had been taken. It was so peaceful that it was maddening.
At the very least, no nation was putting up any such fuss.
More concerning though, was that the Saint had disappeared for a week, yet there was neither action done about it on the academy’s side, nor any explanation given to students.
There had been worried discourse amongst the students about why Elrise had suddenly disappeared.
Yet there was no response at all. This was clearly abnormal.
“Sensei, how about the headmaster…”
“He just keeps on repeating “no problem” like an idiot. He hasn’t even given any details to the teachers. It seems it was simply announced after by the nations at the party that the Saint left the academy.”
“By the Nations?”
“Yes. The Saint went to the Dinner Party of kings, and the Nations suddenly announced that the Saint won’t be coming back. In other words, this current situation is likely due to the scheming of a nation… or possibly by the Kings of every nation.”
The nations trying to harm the Saint… if such words were uttered a few days ago, they would’ve laughed it off as impossible.
But that was not the case now.
During the fight against Diaz, Vernell’s group came to learn the truth about the relationship between the Saint and the Witch.
The fact that the Saint’s Castle was actually designed as a prison to detain the Saint… and that the nations had attempted to eliminate the Previous Saint, Alexia, were things that they had come to learn about.
Due to such knowledge, they all reached a certain “conclusion.”
“The Kings imprisoned Elrise-sama …? But why would they do that? It’s not like she defeated the Witch already and is about to become the next Witch; why would they imprison Elrise-sama now?”
“… More like, it’s exactly because of that reason … that they did it…?”
Fiora posed those questions perturbedly, to which Mary responded in a convinced manner.
Mary calmly continued.
“Even without defeating the Witch… the World is already at peace… the Witch… is so scared by the Saint and that she isn’t able to make any moves… rather than forcefully defeating her… isn’t it better… to have everything stay this way?”
“Isn’t that cruel… rather than having Elrise-sama become a Witch, they think it’s preferable to maintain the current situation, so the Kings decided to imprison her?”
“…Perhaps that is the case.”
No one was able to refute Mary’s speculation.
Indeed, rather than letting Elrise become a Witch, it would be more preferable to maintain the current status quo.
Because the Witch still existed, it couldn’t be called a perfect peace.
But even with that, the “peace without the Witch” would only last a few years at most.
Meanwhile, “peace with Elrise” would last for as long as she lived on.
There was no logical reason to throw that peace away just to defeat the Witch.
“…Even so, that’s not an acceptable reason to imprison a person without her consent. I don’t think that’s a righteous thing to do. That means Elrise-sama will only be used.”
Perhaps, it really would be better if Elrise stayed imprisoned in the castle like this.
However, that might also be the wrong thing to do.
Vernell didn’t really know which decision was correct.
But Vernell didn’t think he could leave this situation alone either.
“Right now, all of this is still merely speculation. Let’s ask the person who would know the details… Otou-sama, directly.”
As she said that, Aina stood up.
Viscount Fox, who had replaced Diaz as headmaster, is her father.
If it was his daughter, Aina, who asked, perhaps the Headmaster would honestly tell her about it.
Vernell thought so and he agreed with Aina’s suggestion.
“You’re right. Let’s ask him about it. There’s no meaning in just discussing this here. We shall find the truth.”
If all our speculations are just misunderstandings, then it’s fine.
That was the best case scenario.
But if the Kings are truly robbing Elrise of her freedom, and trying to use her for themselves…
At very least, I will fight, even if the opponents are kings.
Vernell silently strengthened his resolve.
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