On that day, Hasim managed to sneak into the meeting hall in Zuria's castle without any issue at all. The path they took till they reached that hall was filled with tension.
While being concealed by the members of Aisha's exclusive spy organization, Hasim managed to sneak into the Kingdom of Zuria.
That in itself wasn't really that difficult. Even among the princes of Lemuse, Hasim's existence itself was not very widely known.
It doesn't even need to be mentioned that, that was simply the result of the King of Lemuse refusing to let Hasim have any limelight because of his own jealousy. Although it couldn't be called a lucky break but in the current situation, that had actually worked in their favor.
However, in the recent days, he had been the topic of gossip amongst the citizens of Lemuse as the one who would save the kingdom so he did take the basic precaution of disguising himself.
The problematic part was what came after they snuck into the country. In what way should they intrude into Zuria's castle where the Summit of Three Kings was taking place.
They definitely wouldn't be able to pass through the castle gates with their disguise as travellers.
If they had prepared their hand in advance then they might have been able to prepare the appropriate position in Zuria to make it through the gates but, from the time they found out about the Summit of Three Kings and made their way to the three kingdoms, they had already used up all the time they had left. In the first place, they didn't have much time on their hands to begin with.
Since that is the case, then they have no other choice but to 『invade』 as fast as possible. Oddly, Hasim felt an odd sense of camaraderie with that word, so much so that he ended up quietly laughing to himself.
When he remembered the time when he invaded into the academy of the academic state of Aios. he realised that he had a past unlike what you would expect a prince to have. He remembered all of that with mixed feelings of self-torment and pride.
They were feelings similar to what a mischievous boy would feel after having successfully fooled adults.
On the contrary, the one in charge of escorting Hasim to the Summit of Three Kings, Aisha, had a rather sharp expression on her face. There were a lot of guards on lookout in Zuria's castle. The job she had been entrusted involved in her having to successfully evade the guard's surveillance net and manage to get Hasim to the meeting without any mishaps.
Hasim was definitely not the type who moved without thinking but in that sense, Aisha was several steps ahead of him. Which is why, Hasim, to the best of his abilities, didn't interfere with her.
He instead decided just to watch over Aisha as she very seriously studied the floor plan of Zuria's castle, which he had no idea how she had gotten her hands on.
As a result he succeeded in trespassing into the hall where the Summit of Three Kings was taking place but the path to it was rather troublesome.
The measures that Aisha took, while they were rather plain and had a high success rate but they were also the kind of strategy that would be considered rather unsightly.
「Crisca, I told you this at Aios Academy as well but your defenses are too weak. The area under the floor is completely deserted. It's fine that you have more ambition than others but if you keep looking up then you'll have the rug pulled from under your feet」
While sweeping the hem of his clothes, Hasim spoke to Crisca. On the other hand, Crisca, who even forgot to move the bangs covering her eyes, kept staring into Hasim's eyes with a dazed look.
「Well, I managed to reach this place because of that though――Though let me tell you, there are tons of blind spots in the other passageways as well. The one who built this castle was probably the previous king so I don't want to nitpick but you could at least fill those blind spots in couldn't you?」
Hasim continued to admonish Crisca but she suddenly opened her mouth.
「...Ku, Kudo, you, did you seriously crawl your way under the floor...?」
「That's right. ...Seriously though, my clothes are completely filthy now. I've been trying to dust them for a while but they refuses to become clean」
Hasim continued to dust the hem of his clothes.
The hem of his clothes had multiple spots of dust on it and was clearly dirty. The woman in black clothes next to Hasim――Aisha, pulled out a handkerchief and wiped Hasim's face. His face had traces of dust as well.
「In recent times, even robbers won't go that far you know...」
「I'm not a robber though」
「In that case――, what are you?」
At that point, another person butt into the conversation between the two. The one who butt into the conversation between Crisca and Hasim, with his huge bear like body was the 『King of Filarfia』 ――Fasalis.
「Let's hear your name from you, yourself」
While speaking, Fasalis also took a step towards Hasim. He seemed to be on guard against Hasim.
Hasim on the other hand, just let that caution slide with an easygoing air.
「〈Hasim Kudo Lemuse〉. So that there is no misunderstanding I'll say it outright, I'm the one who attended Aios Academy with you people. I'm not some fake okay?」
「...Yeah, we wouldn't doubt something like that now. ――No, more like I'm convinced right now」
At Hasim's answer, Fasalis felt as if his strength had faded away. Watching him speak that calmly, his figure seemed rather similar to his memories of 『Kudo』.
In that moment, Fasalis was, without a shadow of a doubt, sure that the man in front of him was 『Kudo』.
「...Seriously? You just said Lemuse didn't you?」
「Ah, that's right Muran. Even like this I'm still a prince of Lemuse」
Hasim laughed in a rather self-mocking way while answering Muran.
「――Haha..., seriously, Kudo. Are you really Kudo?」
「What else did you expect? Well, I agree that my appearance wasn't very cool though. By the way, I had the guards standing outside sleep a little. I'll apologize to them later. ――If the guards were too intimidating it would, in turn, be more suspicious but, those numbers are too few. You people are unnecessarily strong so instead you're rather negligent in that aspect」
「Oi, it's definitely Kudo. This irritating but accurate sermon is without a doubt from Kudo」
「That's the reason you realised that I am who I say I am?」 said Hasim with a wry smile.
「――I missed you Kudo!」
Suddenly Muran jumped up from his seat and briskly walked towards Hasim and hugged him. Hasim's expression didn't change from his wry smile.
「Oi, how old do you think we are? How many years has it been since that time. This would be rather bad to show in front of the public wouldn't it?」
「I don't care! It's a fateful reunion!」
Muran's expression changed from the cynical smile he had until then and changed to a genuine smile from the bottom of his heart that was purely enjoying the current situation.
――― ―― ―
「――What? The third prince? I heard that Lemuse only had two princes?」
After having enjoyed their reunion for a while, they realised that they didn't have much time left and returned to the table and started sharing information. When they heard the commotion inside, the guards rushed into the room but each king restrained their guards and they were left tilting their heads in confusion.
「Well, I have a bad relationship with my father」
「It's a little odd saying this in front of you, who's that father's son but, the current king of Lemuse is horrendous. Can't something be done about that?」
「Something can. I'm going to do something from now on」
Hasim was rather relieved at the fact that he had been accepted by them much more smoothly than he had thought would happen.
At the same time, as he had expected, the Three Kingdoms had also noticed the terrible state that Lemuse was currently in and that fact made Hasim feel a mixed sense of relief and lamentation.
Thanks to that consolidation of information was much easier but he still couldn't help feeling embarrassed about the shortcomings of his own family.
「――Do you plan on killing him?」
Crisca asked him with a meek expression.
At those words, Muran and Fasalis looked like they finally thought of that but they immediately looked convinced.
「I don't plan on narrating the details of the majority of my life but...well, that's how it is. Having Lemuse crushed as it is, is something that I could never agree with. Which is why, I'll become the king. ――I'll kill him. After I die, I'll probably end up in hell but, in the current situation, stuff about what might happen after I die really makes no difference. I'll be living in the 『present』」
Hasim's determination could be seen, brilliantly shining in those aqua blue eyes of his, the Three Kings were able to clearly see that determination.
「...well, we can't really reproach you when it comes to such dark things. Before becoming the king and even after becoming one, we have done some rather horrible things after all」
At Hasim's determination, Muran gave a slight nod and then started talking about himself.
「――I won't ask you to forgive us. However, it's true that we ended up causing the death of a hero」
Hasim immediately understood what Muran was talking about.
He was referring to the deed that the Three Kingdoms had their hand in, in the past they had done something that was rather 『similar』 to demon lord hunting.
「There's no way back from that situation. Not ot mention, no matter how the situation changes, I don't think I would have chosen a different route. That was how cornered we were. That's why, as the King of Kushana, I don't plan on apologizing for anything other than that hero. He, who was called a demon lord by someone, was without a doubt a 『Hero』 in my eyes」
Becoming a demon lord from a hero. That sort of a situation was quite widespread during the turn of the era.
However, as far as Muran was concerned, the man he had let die in the past had gone from being a demon lord to a hero.
A reversible change.
In the end, it was a label that could be changed as and when it was convenient.
While people may think that they won't be judged just because of some words but the term hero, no matter the era, is considered in a good light.
Which was why Muran decided to call that man a hero. As the hero who saved them all.
「The mood turned rather gloomy huh. ――So, why did you come here now, 『Hasim』?」
That was a question from Muran as the King of Kushana. He didn't call him 『Kudo』 as he would an old friend who studied together with him but instead 『Hasim』 who is a prince of Lemuse.
Hasim as well noticed what Muran was trying to say and straightened his posture.
From that point forward, it would be diplomacy.
「In order to save Lemuse and in order to scare the hell out of Mūzeg, I want you to lend me your power. Of course, I have something to offer from my side as well」
In Hasim's eyes, a burning light could be seen.
「Something to offer, huh? Does Lemuse even have something like that? ――Ah, if I hurt your feelings then I apologize. However, this is diplomacy. We have the lives of our citizens on the line. So I hope you'll forgive a certain amount of strict speech」, said Fasalis.
With a large yet dignified figure, he sat upright in his chair with a posture that looked like not even a gale could move him.
「No, I get what Fasalis is trying to say. If you're a king then that much is to be expected」
「Then I'll ask, what can you get from the current Lemuse that would be equivalent to our assistance?」
Hasim nodded to Fasalis' words. With a serious expression, he raised one hand in front of him and raised his index finger.
With that as the precursor, Hasim started to speak.
「Under Lemuse, there is a vein」
「――Hou, a vein」
The one who calmly spoke up to that was Muran. He had an easy-going air around him but his eyes showed a sharp glint.
「That's right. Not to mention, it's a vein of magic stones」
Muran spoke up once more. This time however, he had none of his easy-going air and looked rather astonished.
Matching with Muran's casual speech, Hasim replied with a plain answer as well.
「Is it different from the one that the current king offered to help us consider a non-aggression treaty?」
「Ah, that one is something that we showed off to father in order to keep him away from the actual magic stone vein. I had already found the vein long before my father thought of it and I've so far managed to keep it away from him, which was rather hard though. He's unnecessarily sensitive when it comes to money after all. ――Just shows all the experience he has in receiving bribes every day. Anyway, this is a vein that I have concealed for quite a while now. Even though I knew that there was a vein there, I purposefully decided not to dig it up」
「The reason for that was?」
Fasalis took the lead and questioned him.
「Just what I had said earlier. If I were to dig it up, it would smell of money. There may be others, other than father, who would be pulled in by that smell」
「Who knows. The current Mūzeg could take over one or two veins from other countries quite easily. Especially, in the north of Mūzeg, where it's hard for us to reach, I've heard that there are quite a few veins of precious resources」
「Mūzeg's speed is quite frightening. As expected of the king who managed to set up such a humongous country. He's really fast and knows where to concentrate his resources」
「This isn't the first time that Mūzeg's king showed that he was blessed in political tactics」
There were groans in response to that. It basically showed that they were in agreement when it came to their opinions of Mūzeg.
At that point, Crisca, who had been quietly listening till then, floated a grimace while joining in on the conversation.
In a rather sensational fashion, she tucked her long blue hair behind her ear and opened her slender lips.
「However, thanks to that we, to the south, somehow managed to survive. Because of the Alliance of Three Kings and ―― Mūzeg’s whim」
「I don’t think it’s something like a whim which relies on luck. Simply because Mūzeg’s king made a rational decision, the three kingdoms together managed to survive this long. Add the fact that the Alliance of Three Kings managed to steadily accumulate your strength, I think in this situation you guys have done a really good job」
At Crisca’s bitter words, Hasim straightforwardly praised them. After that, he returned the conversation back to the original topic.
「――And, so. I’ve managed to dig up some of the magic stones from that mine. Those magic stones...I’ll give them to you」
「What do you mean give? Even if we are handed magic stones, if we don’t have a way to use them then it’s rather pointless don’t you think? Not to mention that having the stones could lead to the enemy setting its sights on us as well」
Like an actor, Muran spoke so with a lot of hand and body gestures while laughing.
「The Kingdom of Kushana has built a new strategic weapon haven’t they?」
「――so you found out huh」
That acting was immediately found out by Hasim. Muran stuck his tongue out very deliberately and floated a smile.
「I’d just heard 『rumours』 that Kushana really lived up to its title of the foremost in industry」
「At least hide the fact that you sent in spies, oi!」
「It seems that you didn’t notice so, I’m just teaching you a good lesson」
At Muran's reproach, Hasim laughed scornfully in a very forced manner It was an exchange between close friends and it definitely did not devolve into a stern atmosphere.
「Even we managed to catch a few spies you know」
「Our Aisha is really skilled. I’ll be very troubled if you lump her in with your run-of-the-mill spies」
「I get that. Just the fact that you sneaked into this room alone goes to show that. ――Well whatever. So, what is the scale of that magic ore vein?」
「Compared to the exhausted magic ore vein of the Kingdom of Kushana, it’s definitely much bigger」
「Haa...you even know that far huh… Fine, it’s enough」
Muran laughed with an intermingled wry smile while waving his hand.
「If Lemuse is going to provide us with enough magic stones then I’m fine with the alliance. Though, at the end of the day, it’s still only me who is fine with it」
「Just handing over magic stones is enough to set up an alliance with you huh」
「The development of our industry has been the long cherished wish of Kushana after all」
At the sarcastic words of Crisca, Muran bowed gracefully and spoke in an elegant tone.
「Alright, with this I have Moran's agreement huh. ――What about you other two, Fasalis and Crisca?」
At Hasim’s words, both of them fell silent at the same time. It vividly portrayed that they had yet to make up their minds on the matter.
「With just that much, agreeing is a little difficult. At least for my kingdom, Zuria」
「Let’s hear your reason」
The first one to speak up was the queen of Zuria, Crisca.
「The other side still has Serius Brad Mūzeg, not to mention many other exceptional individuals. Even if we managed to create a satisfactory number of magic cannons, even then we can’t said to be equal. We need more power. ――Can Lemuse offer such power?」
Crisca’s demand was very straightforward. Hasim, as well, had expected that demand of hers. Which is why he was able to answer smoothly.
――Lies, that is.
「Are you seriously saying that?」
「Yeah. Lemuse has power」
「It’s really hard to believe that something like that exists」
Compared to Crisca, who could not even conceal her expression that clearly said that she didn’t believe him, Hasim on the other hand put on an air of importance and very slowly and clearly spoke up.
「Let me rent out the power of over 20 『Demon Lords』 to you」
After that it was Hasim’s match. A once in a lifetime match that had lives on the line.