Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 36: Written Pardon
Since Vernell’s group had decided to confirm the situation directly with the headmaster, they headed towards the headmaster’s office.
Normally, students were forbidden to enter the headmaster’s office unless they had some good reason to do so, and doing so without an appropriate reason would usually give a bad impression to the headmaster himself.
Even if a student had good grades, if they did not act in an appropriate manner, they would leave an impression that “they were not worthy to remain by the Saint’s side” and would be unable to qualify as a knight.
At the very least, if the student entered the headmaster’s office without any prior appointments, it could be said that the said student’s future as a knight would be closed off.
It was not considered as an exaggeration or a cruelty.
People who would enter their superior’s room without permission… if such a person would stay by the Saint’s side, they might end up entering the Saint’s room without permission. Such a person would no longer be considered a knight, but a ruffian.
As such normally, Vernell’s group was well aware that it was not a place to enter without permission.
But just this once, they had no hesitation in doing so.
“Otou-sama, we have something to ask!”
As soon as the door opened, Aina spoke with a loud voice.
As for the Headmaster— Fox’s reaction was unexpectedly calm despite being accosted in such a way.
It was as if he already expected that such a thing might happen. He continued to sit silently on his chair, as he raised his face toward Vernell’s group.
“Fumu, very well. But close the door before that.”
“Eh? Ah, yes…”
Even though Aina entered with such momentum, after hearing this strangely normal response caused her stride to falter.
After they closed the door as instructed, Fox let out a small sigh and opened his mouth to speak.
“It seems… the seven of you are the ones in the academy who are closest to becoming knights now.”
As he said that, Fox let out a rueful laugh.
There was no anger toward the rude students who suddenly entered his room; rather, he acknowledged them.
Vernell’s group were stunned by the unexpected response.
“There’s nothing to be surprised about. Indeed, those who aspire to become Knights need to care about courtesy. Normally, we would penalize people who act thoughtlessly and enter without permission… it would be unacceptable if such a thing is done toward the Saint, after all. But if something unexpected happens to the Saint, it’s even more unacceptable if they did nothing at all. Otherwise, It would make the existence of the Knights meaningless.”
As Fox talked, he propped his elbows on the table, and tented his fingers in front of his face in a pensive manner1.
Suddenly, he directed a sharp glare, reminiscent of his Prime Guard Knight days, toward these seven people.
“Well then… while I think I understand why you are here, I will ask nonetheless. What did you want to ask me about?”
“Why has Elrise-sama not returned …? What is the current situation? We came seeking answers about that.”
Vernell answered Fox’s question without any hesitation.
Fox noticed his demeanor and narrowed his eyes as if was seeing something dazzling.
Something he no longer had: such pure dedication.
While he was still inexperienced… being able to care for the Saint above anything else was a fine quality for a knight.
That was why Fox wished to test them.
What kind of answer would this young generation show him?
“Elrise-sama is fine. She is currently staying at the Saint’s Castle. However… she is forbidden to leave.”
“Doesn’t that mean …?”
“Well, it is house arrest… nay, it’s imprisonment, I guess. But it is something that each of the Kings have agreed with. Rather than losing Saint Elrise in the fight against the Witch, they chose to keep her alive and safe instead.”
It was the development that Vernell’s group had surmised.
And, it wasn’t like they could say the Kings’ decision was “evil.”
Because everyone here had also held such thought, however faint, in their heart.
After they heard the fate of the Saint from Diaz, the previous headmaster… rather than let the Saint become the Witch, it might be better not fight at all and to keep Elrise alive to leave the fight against Witch to the next generation… though such a thing would only delay the problem.
“I was unable to refute such a decision. It was the same case for the other Guard Knights. Rather than losing Elrise-sama, they chose to betray her…”
Fox had a tired expression as mockingly smiled at himself.
Elrise’s life in the castle would be full of inconveniences.
But it wasn’t like the kings wished to treat her unkindly.
They would likely provide her with as much comfort as possible within such an inconvenient situation. Surely they would give as much support and help as they could to allow her to live a comfortable life.
Perhaps Elrise might be happier that way… the kings might have concluded such a thing.
“I don’t know if it’s the right thing to do to confine someone for the rest of their life without their consent. But… they will be protected and treated preciously within this cage. While they won’t be free, would it be so bad for such a bird to be guaranteed its peace inside a cage? While they were free, this wild bird led a life that could easily lead to their death; would anyone really be happy about such a thing? I don’t know which one is right.”
As he said that, Fox shook his head.
Then he faced Vernell, John, Fiora, Supple, and Eterna with some envy.
“No… I guess that’s just an excuse. Actually, it’s not that no one resisted, but rather that they were actually unable to resist. You people who hail from commoner families may not understand but… before I am a knight, I am a noble with territory to maintain, vassals, a family, and servants to care about. Everyone else is in the same boat. You guys may be exempt from this, but most knights hail from nobility.”
That was something that needed no confirmation at this point.
While Vernell and Eterna managed to enter the narrow gate of the academy purely through their capabilities, this academy was originally designed to cater to the children of nobility.
Between nobles who lived in a good environment and had trained since childhood and commoners who merely struggled to live everyday… The difference was clear.
As such, everyone who currently held the seat of a knight were all nobles, or those with similar connections.
That was why they could do nothing to resist the kings.
“Nominally, the Saint possesses political power superior to the kings. However… I think you already understand, but actually…”
“Those who actually hold the bulk of political power are the kings, while the Saint is just an idol… something like that?”
“That’s right, John-kun. You do understand.”
The Saint held the greatest political power only on the surface, but everyone knew that was not actually the case.
If that really was the case, the previous Saint wouldn’t have ended up spending her life on the run. Elrise also wouldn’t have been imprisoned like this.
Simply put, the Saint was just a symbol, an idol… they just stood on the top, but were not expected to actually rule.
As such, their political power when placed in an emergency situation was lacking compared to that of the Kings.
That was an obvious conclusion. It wasn’t like the Saint possessed any territory or vassals.
The one who could truly move those nations were the Kings and the Nobles.
While the Saint stood higher than them on the surface, it was only to avoid criticism.
In that sense, we could say the current generation’s Saint, Elrise, had too much influence.
At the very least, her treatment compared to other Saints of other generations, who were merely treated as consumable weapons against the Witch, was way too different.
“I… was called the former Prime knight, but in actuality I’m just the viscount of a small territory. If the King feels like it, he could destroy such a noble house anytime. If that really happened, then the future of my people, my servants… of my own family will be put at risk… I… I ended up putting my own interests above Elrise-sama’s…”
Fox squeezed his hands so hard that his nails dug into his own skin.
He regretted his choice. He also felt guilty about it.
If the Kings’ decision really was plain villainy and placed suffering on both the people as well as Elrise, he would’ve put his own sense of justice above their decision and gone against them; his family might’ve really ended up getting destroyed as a result.
But, as if the Kings had already expected such a thing, they gave Fox and the other Knights written pardons.
“This was for the sake of the Saint,” they said. “Because if this continued the Saint would die; so we should do what we could to protect her.”
At these words, Fox and others had no choice but to relent.
The knights knew that the written pardons conveniently prepared by the kings were just an excuse to lessen their guilt for betraying the Saint.
But the truth was, the Kings’ words also echoed a wish that they had carried within their own hearts.
They didn’t want Elrise to die. For her, who worked so hard, to possibly end up dying in the battle against the Witch… or worse, to become a Witch herself and to end up destroying the very things she had protected with her own hands was too pitiful.
They carried the guilt for this choice. But on the other hand, they also thought it was better this way.
That thought was what disgusted them the most.
Their own feelings on the matter had become so complicated that they were unable to put it into words.
“…Leila-san, what was her choice?”
Vernell asked this question with a tone filled with certainty.
He actually already knew the answer.
Due to the state of Leila’s uneasiness that he had witnessed during the fight against Diaz after learning the truth, he already knew the answer.
Fox answered, confirming his thoughts.
“…I’ve already told you. It was the same for the other Guard Knights… Leila’s role is to be a hostage. Even if she was put under house arrest, Elrise-sama could easily escape with her own power after all… that’s why, they needed a pawn to help restrict her movements…”
Using her own life as a weapon to threaten her own master who worried about her.
That was the worst betrayal a knight could do.
Leila should already be well aware of that.
Even so, her wish for Elrise to keep on living was just that strong.
She was probably unable to stay calm.
Her loyalty to Elrise, the anxiety and fear of losing her… she was crushed by these things, and as such, she was led astray and ended up caught by the words of King Aiz.
“…What do you think is the right choice here?”
Fox looked back at Vernell’s group.
He himself had thought that detaining Elrise was the correct thing to do, and he acted upon this choice.
Even if she wouldn’t be free, Elrise could still lead a bountiful life inside the castle.
In that case, rather than forcefully fighting the Witch and losing her, it was better to do this for her and the world’s sake; this reasoning was how he tried to fool himself into accepting this choice.
The one who answered first was Supple, who had become pale due the lack of Elrise-ium.
“Styil live in the wild for 5 years, but could live as long as 20 years if under human care. That is the Styil’s natural lifespan; these birds would live longer under our care than in the wild. I agree with your opinion, Headmaster. It is unreasonable to lose such an outstanding Saint. To keep her safe and admire her… it is good in its own way. I don’t think there is any worth for the world if the world lost her. The choice of ensuring her life… I agree with it.”
There was no hesitation in the voice of Supple, the Elrise Fanatic.
He likely had already thought about locking Elrise even from way back.
Rather than a world without Elrise, he saw Elrise herself as worth more.
So it was a natural answer for him.
To put it in extreme terms, Supple didn’t care even if the result of Elrise being detained allowed the Witch to become free and several thousands, or even tens of thousands of people met their death.
In the first place, they were lives who kept on living only by stepping on the Saint. Even if you gathered the whole of humanity, it was still speck of dust compared to Elrise; these were his serious beliefs.
“I think… that is an absurd thing to do. You guys are just ignoring the opinion of the person herself. Isn’t it normal to ask for Elrise-sama’s opinion first!?”
The next one to answer was Eterna, who fully rejected the notion.
Her opinion was natural.
Even if that may be the right choice, in the end, they ignored the opinion of said person herself.
Vernell nodded his head at this and stepped forward.
“I will go to save Elrise-sama. But this time the opponents are kings. Forget being written off as a knight, you might even end up as a criminal by doing so. That’s why for those who don’t wish for such a thing, you don’t have to come along.”
This time he couldn’t easily say, “Please help me out.”
Not only physical punishment, but also a life as a criminal was what they could end up sentenced with.
Even so, there was no need to hesitate for Vernell.
He was determined to repay his debt from being saved back then. He had already resolved to go on regardless who he had to face.
“…I… sorry. I don’t know what to do…”
Mary was unable to chase after that back and stopped on spot. Aina was also unable to step forward.
John and Fiora were also the same. They wished to move, yet they couldn’t.
It was not something unreasonable… while they were prepared to fight against the Witch and demons, they had no resolve to go against the nations of this world.
This was especially true for Mary and Aina, who were Nobles. Even if they themselves could take the risk, they couldn’t risk having their punishment extend to their families and vassals As such, they were unable to move.
In the end only two people stepped forward… Eterna and Vernell.
“I will go too. I’ll worry if you go alone.”
Eterna was more worried for Vernell’s sake rather than Elrises’s, so she decided to join him.
She felt someone had to come along with this friend who only kept running forward without looking at his surroundings.
Even though the reason he ran forward was another woman, and the fact that he didn’t even look at her was a little frustrating… Even so, she tried to encourage him.
Because she had always been attracted to his optimism.
“In the end, we are enemies this time. I will go to the Saint’s Castle and offer my cooperation to the kings.”
Supple did not hesitate to go against Vernell.
In his opinion, the Saint has to live on. He would do everything for that.
As such, he was not an ally this time.
Understanding that, Vernell silently nodded.
And then Vernell and Eterna avoided looking at Supple’s face and left the Academy.
I’d been thinking about it since I started staying here but… wasn’t this the very lifestyle I sought?
One week has passed since my house arrest.
As I went lazed on the bed, I pondered on this.
You see, in this situation I was totally being cared for without having to do any work.
While the Kings did put me under house arrest and basically imprisoned me because they wished for me to keep on as Saint, they were quite considerate in every other regard.
It wasn’t like I had anything else to do, so I spent my days lazily in my room,
It was a NEET lifestyle with backing from the Kings.
On top of that I had justification (excuse). I was currently imprisoned, after all!
It wasn’t like I locked myself in, it was the Kings who locked me up!
Kah, I had no choice! Since I got detained, I had no choice!
I actually wanted to do something Saint-like, but since I couldn’t get any permission, I had no choice but to be lazy like this! Kah, it was hard.
I actually wanted to work hard like a corporate slave for everyone, but I had no permission to do so!
Wow, it sure was hard!
…Well, something like that.
There was no reminder to “DO WORK”, which was a unique condition that applied to common NEETs… especially since I was told not to work and was locked up here.
Ah, but at the very least, I put an act of showing that being imprisoned was hard on me.
I stood in front of the window, placed my hand on the bars and gazed faraway with a depressed expression.
Well, while doing that, what I was actually thinking about was the meal for the day though.
I also asked the watchman, Traitor Knight A, if the world was still at peace that day, or if there was anyone who was suffering due to the Witch and the demons.
But strangely, it sure felt great.
It wasn’t that bad, playing a kidnapped princess.
More like, wasn’t this the best situation?
Since I was locked in, I got a written pardon to laze around as much as I liked.
Weren’t there princesses in games who were actually strong enough to escape by themselves, but still waited for the protagonist to help them?
On top of that, it wasn’t like they were imprisoned in jail or something. It wasn’t like they put a collar and chain on them and were allowed no freedom, they just spent time beside the boss room and waited until the protagonist arrived.
There is no such game? No, they exist.
For example, the popular national action game whose princess kept being kidnapped, she could use magic normally, and her frying pan could kill the enemy.
She also had healing magic, so her solo spec was above the protagonist’s.
On top of that, depending which version of the game it was, she would be promoted into a playable character and could take action; there would also be a plot line where the protagonist was the one who got kidnapped instead, so the princess had to rescue him.
If you were that strong, just deal with Bowser yourself and escape. You were actually capable enough to win already.
Moreover, the turtle Bowser, who kept kidnapping her, was an idiot since he kept standing on top of a bridge that was directly above magma and even prepared an axe for the hero to cut off the bridge. Did he set it up for suicide?
Hey princess-sama2, wouldn’t it be faster for you to push the axe from behind? It would instantly fix the problem.
I guess there would be other players besides me who had the same thoughts.
But I understood it now. Now that I was in the same situation, I completely understood.
Being the kidnapped princess was easy, especially since I got a written pardon to laze around.
It was totally NEET heaven.
Since it was too comfortable, I ended up wasting a week.
There was no major event until after winter break ended anyway, so it wasn’t too late to escape then.
And so, I will be lazy some more~
It was the long awaited NEET Time after all, so I wanted to enjoy it to the fullest.
Ah, but since I had to act like it was against my own will, I guess I will please them by posing like I’m praying.
God and Buddha, I want chicken for dinner …there.
Ok, prayer done. Ok, time to laze around. I will enjoy this life for another week.
…Eh? Someone came to save me?
That’s a lie, right. Read the room here.
Want to read advance chapters of Fake Saint? We’ll be posting advance chapters through Ko-Fi!