The Summit of Three Kings and The Intruder
That day, in one among the〈Three Kingdoms〉, located to the south of Lemuse――〈Kingdom of Zuria〉, there was a gathering of three young kings who were widely known as the 「The Three Kings」.
There is no need to point it out but they were, in fact, the kings of the three kingdoms.
King of Kushana〈Muran〉.
King of Filarfia〈Fasalis〉.
Also, Queen of Zuria〈Crisca〉.
Those three people, who had once seen the same scenery at the Aios Academy, were now sitting in one of the rooms of the Royal Palace of Zuria in their respective solemn clothing.
It was a hall.
The ceiling was hemispherical and the surface of that wall had a magnificent angel drawn on it.
There were nude statues around as well, the entire room caused an artistic emotion to bubble up in the person looking at it, it also had a strange sense of pride in it.
「The ceiling is gaudy as ever huh. I feel like my eyes would get irritated if I keep looking at it」
A man with delicate features, with a lean body and his hair tied up in a knot looked up at the ceiling and spoke with a forced wry smile.
――It was Muran.
「Shut up. If you have a problem, go say that to the idiot who painted this. It seems like he wanted to seduce me by painting this but I really don’t understand what’s so good about this painting. It’s to a point where I seriously want to tell him to go find out what I like before trying to seduce me…」
「Hahaha, paintings definitely don’t suit Crisca」
「That, in itself, is really annoying, Muran」
「if you had just shown this famous person, who had drawn this painting, your gradebook from Aios Academy, he would have immediately given up. ――『This woman is unlikely to have feminine cultural emotions』, right?」
「Your grades in art were pretty abysmal as well. Don’t try to play innocent」
Muran waved his hand and spoke up again in a different tone.
「Anyway, getting the conversation back on topic…, are you guys of the opinion that we should bow down to Mūzeg?」
The other voice that was having a conversation with Muran, it had a determined tone of voice that contained slight thorns.
It was the voice of a woman.
「Even though I finally managed to talk to the King of Mūzeg going as far as using flattery」
Queen of Zuria〈Crisca〉.
She was the master of the royal palace of Zuria where the three kings have gathered.
「I heard you were decked up for a change? I wonder how many men fell for you in just the time of you taking three steps. Though, you dressing yourself up, in a sense, is basically like a weapon…」
「――Even though you say that, you guys don’t even seem to be bothered」
「Regrettably I already have two pretty flowers that I’m interested in and Fasalis already has a fiancée as well.
Not to mention, by now we are all extremely close to each other. I really can’t see you as an object of romance」
「I’m not sure if I should be happy or not. ――Well, I guess I should be happy that I haven’t been caught up with a womanizer like you」
She was wearing plain clothes at this moment.
The body parts that she was born with, seemed to have a lot of dark blue colours.
Dark blue long hair and similarly dark blue pupils.
Her skin was a clear white but, the clothes that covered that skin were, once again, dark blue.
If everything was dark blue then it would, invariably, bring out a plain look but in Crisca’s case, her beauty managed to negate that plainness completely.
――She was a ravishingly beautiful woman.
In fact, in Crisca’s case, it felt like she was purposefully wearing plain clothes so that she could keep her own luxuriousness that would come out naturally in check.
「So, what is it? Answer my question」
Crisca looked over at Muran with her dark blue eyes.
There was a sharp will in it.
「Hmm…, well, if it was possible then even I would like to yell, 『Down with Mūzeg!』 as well you know」
「Then why did you suggest 『surrender』 as one of the options?」
When Crisca said that, Muran brought his legs, that had been on the table till then, down and answered with a rather serious expression.
「In reality, it’s going to get rather hard from now on. Even I’m not saying this just to mess with you. It’s fine to clash with Mūzeg but using the lives of the citizens and over and above that only managing something like a draw, that kind of result would be horrendous, was what I implicitly meant. ――Though I ended up saying it out loud now」
「What’s with that, it’s not like you Muran. The number one sword dancer of the Kingdom of Kushana, are you scared now with a war in front of you?」
「You’re quite harsh as always huh」
Muran laughed foolishly for a moment but then he immediately retracted it.
「Oh just let me be, Crisca. I’m not a combatant or an acrobat anymore. Even like this, I’m still a 『King』. If I start counting the number of lives on my shoulders then even I would want to come up with a rational argument」
After saying that, Muran went back to his easygoing air and once again kept his feet back on the table.
His face had a slight wry smile but the look in his eyes were still sharp.
Crisca who was facing him, drew back a little after hearing his reply and then heaved a sigh and asked Fasalis who was sitting next to him.
「Even you, Fasalis? What is that huge body for?」
「It’s for protecting the people」
「…Haa. So it ends up like this huh」
Crisca heaved another sigh and her shoulders drooped.
Her dark blue bangs hung over as if to hide her face.
「…Even with the alliance of three kings, I don’t know if we could go against them. Having brought us to such a state, we have been strategically defeated by them huh」
「That would be the case」
At Crisca’s words, Muran waved his hands and spoke up.
「Actually, did you have any harvest Crisca? Did you have a battle of sarcasm with the King of Mūzeg?」
「――Nope, though I did plan on doing that, the King of Mūzeg managed to avoid to completely.
He implicitly recommended, 『become my follower』 and that was the end」
「Were his words really that gentle?」
「…『You people are next』」
「Perfect perfect, I’m really happy that he spoke exactly as I had expected him to. ――God damn it」
Muran cursed in the end and threw his hand in the air as if he were giving up.
At that point, Fasalis, with his huge figure, who had been sitting with an upright posture watching the conversation between the two, opened his mouth.
「If Muran’s〈Magic Cannon〉were to be completed and you managed to get enough fuel for it, then what do you think our chances of success would be? ――This would be the final divide. Even though it’s a prediction, it would be better to come up with accurate numbers right?
Since this might in fact…be the end」
Fasalis clasped his hands on the the round table, both his hands formed a fist.
Muran immediately answered Fasalis’ question.
「My prediction is about 40」
「Out of 50?」
Crisca asked while she stayed with her shoulders slumped.
「Out of 100, 40%」
「Ha? You’ve spent that much money building something as grand as a magic cannon and it only ends up with 40%?」
「Oh shut up Crisca. The other side has〈Serius〉after all. He even has the〈Demonic Spear Kurtad〉of the 〈Seven Imperials〉that could interfere with physical phenomenon with a single, not to mention the mountain load of other techniques he has that could blow a mountain away.
The〈Seven Imperials〉especially are extremely potent against practitioners which in turn makes them potent against the magic cannons. If this had been an era where science took precedence then I would be the conqueror of this age though」
「If we look at the fact that, that is actually not the case then this could be called the biggest mistake of the age」
「…It’s just as you say」
At Crisca’s sarcasm, Muran very fixedly retorted.
He himself already knew that to be true.
「In any case, the trends of battles in the past may have perfused in this way」
Fasalis spoke up in between.
「However, I think that the〈Seven Imperials〉are an exception. Well, exceptions are everywhere in history but, in the current age where the principle for the effect is not clearly understood, the seven imperials are special. ――Anyone would want them. Since you can essentially do against techniques what that〈Technique God〉of old did, without needing to be a complete monster to accomplish」
「In that case, let me ask you, why did you say 40%?」
Crisca spoke up as if to being the conversation back on track.
「You asked that too quickly, seriously, what an impatient princess」, said Muran but he immediately answered her.
「It’s because we could make it through as long as Serius isn’t there. I’m certain that we can pierce through the defense barrier of the practitioners corps of Mūzeg. I’ve bet my money on that and have at least that much pride in it.
Over and above everything else, this was created by concentrating the technique industry developed by Kushana. Which is why, as long as we can keep Serius away, I could create a hole」
「If you create a hole then Zuria’s Azure Spearmen and Filarfia’s Steel Cavalry could go in for the kill huh」
「I’ll be leaving the frontlines to the two of you over there. I, personally, don’t want to be out on the frontlines anymore. I’ll continue to fire the magic cannon from the back. ――Well, this is all a talk for if everything 『goes well』」
Muran was, as expected, quite pessimistic about that plan.
Crisca slumped her shoulders once again but this time, she had a slightly worried look in her eyes as she asked Muran.
「Are you really that scared of Serius?」
「Yeah, I’m a man who’s honest with his feelings so I’ll say it out loud, I’m scared. The feeling that I can’t compete with that Serius is something that I feel somewhere deep in my heart」
「Well, you two had consecutive complete defeats against that 『Brad』 after all」
At Crisca’s words, both Muran and Fasalis had a bad reaction.
「However, if we take him by surprise, even Serius would have some openings wouldn’t he?」
「That’s what you would think huh. Even I thought that. Everytime I had a match with Serius I would think that, even now I thought that. However――」
「You haven’t managed to take him by surprise even once, is it?」
The one who added on to the end was Fasalis.
With a low growl like that of a beast coming out of his huge body, he nodded with a gesture like he was thinking deeply.
As if to reply to Fasalis’ words, Muran continued speaking.
「『Brad』 is smart, he has an eye for tactics, an eye for strategy and he responds easily to standard moves. ――That is something that anyone knows. If it’s people who have seen the on board games or strategy games between Serius and I would know at least this much. However, that is not what I mean.
It’s something you notice when you first compare hands with him. He is――」
「His 『intuition』 is insanely sharp」
As if to succeed Muran’s words, Fasalis spoke while groaning.
Muran nodded at his words.
「Yup, that. It’s to the point where you even end up thinking that he is loved by god.
For example, if there were three choices. I, myself, would end up hesitating till the last moment and finally make a choice. Serius on the other hand, would see through the choice I made in that last moment and in the next moment he would already have a strategy to respond to my choice.
――There’s no doubt about it. I’m sure that he can see into people’s minds and the future of the battlefield」
At some point, Muran had floated a serious expression and spoke.
「Those are some scary eyes he has. When you meet him, it feels like he can see to the very depths of your soul. Since I have sat in front of him many times, I’m seriously scared of those eyes」
「That’s why, 40 huh. Even though you have that much confidence in your magic cannon and still 40 huh」
「It was a plan I had come up with to at least give one back to Mūzeg though. Even as I am, I was known as a child prodigy you know? ――The broken husk of the former child prodigy who’s scared out of his wits now though」
A probability of 40% was definitely too low to be going to war on.
If they lose their countries may die, with that kind of a risk, 40% was too low a chance to bet everything on.
Not to mention that the acquisition of the magic stones for the magic cannons wasn’t really progressing well.
If they thought about it more realistically, then the numbers would probably only decrease.
Muran tilted his chair backwards and heaved a sigh at the ceiling.
As he was, he continued to speak in a dull tone, as if he was cursing at god.
「At that academy, the one person who managed to fling mud into Serius’ face was only 『Kudo』. I have no idea where that blockhead was from but, if he was a noble from my land then even if my eyes become bloodshot I would search for him. And then, if I find him, I’m fine with bowing my head even a hundred times. …Just this once, somehow come out onto the battlefield to fling mud onto Serius’ face, I’d beg」
Those were meant by Muran as a joke.
That joke, while slightly tilting the three kings towards bowing down to Mūzeg, was supposed to disappear.
It was supposed to disappear into the bosom of the angel on the ceiling, meant completely as an irony with a paradoxical brilliant thought hidden in it.
However there was one man who was ready to pull that joke to himself, even rather violently at that.
「Very well, shall we have you bow your head to me a hundred times? It’s one of the best ideas I could hope for, Muran」
The gazes of the three kings, for but a moment, went towards the entrance of the hall.
Until there was permission otherwise, no one was allowed to enter. That was the order that had been passed onto the imperial guards outside.
However, 『that man』 indifferently walked into the hall, with the hem of his clothes dragging on the floor.
Next to him was a woman wrapped in black clothes, as if he were a spy.
With his eyes wide, almost popping out of its sockets, Fasalis spoke as if the representative of the three people.
「――『Kudo』! Why are you here?!」
Crisca asked the one doubt that could solve all their questions to that man―― to〈Hasim Kudo Lemuse〉.