Act 2-2.2 : Lord Rember’s Melancholy
Rember shook his head.
It would have been better if the ones coming were foreign royals, thought Rember.
「Not, they’re not royals, but they are equal in status.」
「Fu~hn. So, who are they then? 」
Asked Gallios with a curious look on his face.
「The truth is, the people coming tomorrow are the Hero and his wive-… Eh, what’s the matter, Kuro-dono?! 」
Hearing that shocking revelation, Kuro suddenly spurted the tea in his mouth, spraying it all over Gallios’s face.
「I-I’m sorry… Gallios-dono…」
Kuro kept apologizing to Gallios.
「Don’t worry about it, but… Is there anything wrong, Kuro-dono?」
Both Rember and Gallios were perplexed by Kuro’s reaction, it wasn’t normal at all.
「It’s nothing, my apologies… My throat is just, you see… Please forget about it and continue on about the escorting matter.」
Kuro apologized to them and cleared his throat, trying to convince them that it was only a minor incident.
「Well… okay. Then let’s get back to business. Why is the Hero coming here again? Is it just to visit tomorrow’s festival? 」
Asked Gallios as he wiped his face with a piece of cloth.
「That’s… possible, but… Gallios-senpai, are you aware of the Hero Reiji-sama’s defeat and subsequent injuries? 」
「Yeah, of course I am. He was beaten black and blue by an extremely powerful dark knight. I thought that no one but God could wound the Hero, but the world is vast, huh. There’s always someone stronger.」
「Yeah, I used to feel the same way. However, this is the main reason why Reiji-sama is coming to Rox. He’s coming here to use our hot springs to heal the wounds he received from that dark knight.」
Rox Kingdom was famous for its hot springs. The water was known for its healing properties and its ability to relieve stress and tension in muscles. It was a popular spot for people from all corners of this world, especially warriors who always suffered from body aches or injuries. Thus, the hot springs had become the main source of income for this country; people would come visit the Kingdom solely for this prime location.
「So, I want to ask the two of you to become the Hero’s bodyguards.」
Rember looked at the two’s expressions as he finished his request. It was obvious that they were reluctant to accept such a mission.
「Uhm, Rember-dono, why do we need to protect them？Rei… I mean, I heard that Hero-sama and his comrades are extremely powerful.」
Hearing his question, Rember could guess that Kuro had heard about Hero-sama and his immense power before. In the first place, it was impossible for anyone in this world to not know about the Hero and his companions. One would have to be living under a rock to not know about such famous and prominent individuals. Their feats were stuff of legends.
「Yes, I can understand where your concern comes from, Kuro-dono… There might be no one else who can defeat Hero-sama and his comrades except for the Gods and the infamous Dark Knight.」
「Then why does such a task even exist? 」
「We are just acting as their bodyguards in name. Our real job is to stop anyone who tries to do something… to Hero-sama’s wives.」
The women who came with hero Reiji, everyone of them were country toppling beauty. For that reason, there might be some fool who tried to do something to them.
Rember recalled the event that happened during the previous visit of the hero when someone tried to do something to the hero’s wives.
Reiji’s women were all country toppling beauties as such they had garnered both envious and, even worse, "loving" or lustful eyes. There were many fools who would try to do something to them.
Rember recalled what had happened during the Hero’s previous visit. Some foolish man had tried to do something to one of the Hero’s wives. The result had ended with a catastrophe.
「We really cannot afford to offend Hero-sama and his comrades yet again or we’ll lose their trust. Moreover… we really cannot afford to get our rampart destroyed even further…」
「Well, somehow I can understand your concerns…」
Seeing Gallios and Kuro nod their heads in understanding, Rember was convinced that they knew about the past event. Even Kuro, who was not a resident of this kingdom could guess what had happened due to the obvious destruction of the west side of the rampart. Half of it was just a pile of rubble that anyone could clearly see when passing through Rox Kingdom’s western territory, and the root cause of this wreck was none other than a woman’s powerful magic.
This was the Hero’s party’s second visit to the kingdom, but their return was not due to a pleasant previous experience; rather, it could be said that if it weren’t for the existence of healing hot springs in Rox Kingdom, the Hero’s part would never step foot in this place again.
In their previous visit, a certain fool had tried to get involved with one of the Hero’s women. His sleazy approaches had angered the woman and, in a fit of rage, she had destroyed half of the west side of the rampart.
Rember had heard that this was not a one time occurrence, he had come to know that the Hero’s party had caused similar incidents in the Holy Republic of Lenaria’s capital. As such, the Alrena Temple would always assign a knight troupe to accompany the Hero and his companions whenever they strolled in the city.
Learning from their comrades in plight, Rox Kingdom had decided to follow suit and assign escorts to the Hero and his companions while they visited. They wanted to prevent the previous incident from happening a second time, and the person in charge of arranging and managing such a difficult task was none other than Rember.
Unlike a massive country like the Holy Republic of Lenaria, which had thousands of knights and could give up a few for escorting duties, Rox Kingdom had a lot less resources to offer, in fact, they had no more than twenty knights available for assignments.
Taking into consideration the upcoming festival, the knights were definitely needed for such an event. They needed to maintain the festival’s public order and safety. Moreover, along with this task, they had to maintain the highway’s usual defense. It could be seen that these twenty mere knights were already spread too thin; it was impossible to add another assignment on their shoulders.
Although it would have been a great achievement for these knights if they had taken on this duty, aside from not having enough time to do it they were also not skilled enough to carry such a heavy burden. It would just add unnecessary pressure on them. Thus, Rember had decided that it would be better to hire more skilled and level headed personnels, which lead him to the idea of hiring Freedom Fighters for this escorting duty.
The criteria for his selection was quite simple, he only required two things: for them to not have any intention of trying to molest the Hero’s women even after seeing them, and for them to not have any hostility towards the Hero.
Gallios was someone he could trust due to their long years of association. As for Kuro, even if he only knew him for a short while, he was aware of his amazing skills. Moreover, he had a calm character and didn’t seem like someone who would be hostile towards the Hero at all. Also, with his harmless appearance, Rember couldn’t see him as someone who would try to molest the Hero’s women, of any women in this world. [TL: He basically did all of those.]
That was why he wanted to employ them for this mission no matter what.
Rember bowed his head to them as he explained the situation that led to the present.
「That’s why, please, will you lend me a hand in this matter? 」
Gallios frowned in hearing that request.
「I don’t mind lending you a hand, but… I don’t think I’m the right person to escort nobles.」
Gallios had the same attitude regardless of who was in front of him. He would speak to them with the same tone regardless of their status, be it Rember or royals of another country. Though Rox Kingdom’s King didn’t mind his attitude, it was still quite rude to act like that with envoys from another country—one wrong move and he might be charged for lese majeste against the Hero and his women.
「No need to worry since the princess herself will be the one to attend to the Hero and his wives. We’ll be only escorting them from a distance and looking out for any suspicious people trying to approach them.」
Rember further explained their plan to ease Gallios’s worries.
「Princess? Do you mean Almina? 」
Rember nodded in response. Almina, who will turn 17 years old this year, is the youngest princess of Rox Kingdom.
After hearing rumors about the Hero’s sweetness towards girls, and since his wives would not be harassed if a woman accompanied them, the King had decided to assign the perfectly mannered princess for this job.
「I see. So the future married couple will accompany the hero together, huh.」
Said Gallios with a meaningful smile.
「You jest, senpai.」
It was well known that Princess Almina was Rember’s childhood friend and fiancée.
Rember’s face flushed red when Gallios teased him.
「That’s nice, it’s for you and Almina’s sake after all. You’re still indirectly helping the Hero in this way.」
Said Gallios with a wry smile on his face. He then looked at Kuro.
「Kuro, what about you? 」
They could both see from his expression that he was reluctant to take this job. But, it was a fact that Kuro, with his magic, was needed for this job.
「Please, Kuro-dono!! 」
「Well… I guess it’s okay as long as I’m not helping the Hero directly.」
Kuro reluctantly agreed to take the job when Rember bowed to him.
「Thank you very much! Kuro-dono! 」
After securing their cooperation, Rember could finally relax. He sighed in relief.
（With this the escorting matter has been resolved.）
Since knowing about it, Rember could only feel an unpleasant premonition with the Hero’s sudden visit.