It was such a brief question that did not even include subject, yet what a loaded question it was.
The air, that had loosened, tightened once again, and while no anger could be seen on the boy’s face, no gentleness could be seen on it either.
That was the face of a judge, calmly awaiting the girls’ answer.
By this point, there was not one among them who did not understand what the boy was referring to.
How were they going to deal with all the problems related to the murder of the Tenkorius?
In a sense, this was a conversation they were having before the lich appeared, and now, they were merely continuing it.
As the people responsible for the Tenkorius’ death, they could not escape blame, and neither did they intend to; however, they were powerless before the magnitude of the problem, so… The question begged itself, now, what?
Within Lilisha’s mind surfaced many solutions, only for her to reject them all, then she thought of the things she’s heard and experienced here.
───What kind of person is he?
Someone called out to her, but she ignored her and stepped forward.
She was so fearful earlier, but there was no other answer.
It wasn’t the perfect answer, or the best answer. It wasn’t even the next best answer; but, it was all that they could do.
To be more precise, this whole time the boy had basically been telling them that he himself was their answer.
The princess almost laughed at that realization, for what a sweet yet harsh judge this boy was; however, she made sure that none of that showed on her face. Instead she adopted a serious expression as she got on both of her knees.
She ignored the cries all around as she resolutely prostrated herself before the boy low enough that her head rubbed against the ground.
As the boy said, she could not take responsibility for this mess, and indeed, someone who could not even ask for help from someone who could was no different from a bug that ought to be crushed; therefore, Lilisha prostrated herself before the one person who could solve this problem.
“Everything I have, everything I can have, everything I can offer, I will offer to you, so please lend us your power and wisdom!”
Then with a powerful voice, she begged him for help.
Everyone was speechless. Time seemed to pause for all the maids as they looked at the princess in disbelief.
Of course, they knew that the boy was someone worth kneeling to.
But no matter what fault the princess may have had, she was still royalty, someone whose head shouldn’t bow to anyone no matter what.
Already, this has gone past an apology that merely conformed to etiquette. Already, this was a complete surrender.
An action forbidden to the royalty, who had to keep their authority and face at all cost.
But at the same time, it also showed how dire the situation was.
“I understand how shameless this request is, but we have neither the wit nor the power to solve this predicament! Left unsolved, innocent men and women are sure to suffer! I want to avoid that at all costs! So please lend us your strength!!”
The princess seemed oblivious of the people around her as she continued to petition the boy.
Only the young Tenkorius, who did not understand human affairs, and the boy, to whom the princess was begging to, remained unaffected.
“So you would use everything you have as compensation, huh. I don’t know if I should say that that’s big or small.”
“My apologies. As the second princess, whose authority exists only in name, and whose skill in magic could not measure to your greatness, I cannot even imagine what use I could be to you. However, with the knowledge and skill you showed in driving that lich lord into despair, I believe you have plenty of ways to use me.”
Lilisha adopted a humble, even servile, attitude to the very end, but behind her words was a belief that he would be able to use her no matter what.
The boy smiled at that but didn’t offer a clear response.
Perhaps that’s why the rest of the princess’ entourage lined up beside her and prostrated themselves as well.
“I’m begging you as well! Everything was my fault in the first place! I know I don’t even have the right to say this, but please lend us your strength! I’m even more worthless than the princess and can only do physical work, but I’ll offer everything I have!”
“We feel the same. As maids of Earthgant, we have received instruction in many fields. I’m sure we can be of service in many ways. You can use us however you please, so please help us solve this problem!”
Without caring about their appearance or reputation, the princess of a great power, the hero, and the servants all performed a dogeza.
Some dozen seconds passed, and the boy remained quiet, yet they remained prostrated, while the boy continued to look down at them.
“…I put it off for later, but in the end, fate still got me involved. Every time it’s so hard to tell if I’m lucky or unlucky.”
The boy muttered to himself in dismay, but it was too quiet to pick out. Regardless, he soon told them to raise their heads, and they obeyed.
For a moment ,they considered keeping their heads bowed until he agreed, but it didn’t seem as though they could get him to agree like that, so instead they looked straight into the boy’s eyes to convince him of their sincerity.
It was curious how the boy took that, but he sighed.
“Sigh… You should have just done that from the start,” the boy said.
“My apologies,” the princess said.
“Why would you attack without even checking your opponent’s strength?”
“Everything was because of my lack of foresight.”
“Had you checked first, everything would have gone much smoother.”
“My apologies for making you needlessly work.”
“Blaming me for everything wasn’t a bad line too.”
Perhaps because they wanted to avoid angering him, the girls just nodded to everything he said, but then he mentioned something strange, and they found themselves doubting their ears.
In a casual voice, the boy suggested something unbelievable.
“Since killing me was impossible, then you could have just asked nicely. Something like, ‘please make it out as though you were the one who killed the Tenkorius and take the blame for us.’ Something like that.”
Everyone was in disbelief. Was he really suggesting that?
Even the Tenkorius on his shoulder was shocked.
Amidst everyone’s shock, Lilisha came out to represent everyone and spoke.
“I-I beg your pardon, but that’s a bit problematic…”
“Don’t worry, I understand. The problem is that there aren’t any witnesses, so why don’t you use illusion magic to make it look like they’re alive and put on a show of me murdering the Tenkorius in a huge fight in Lilisto. You might not know it, but I’m pretty good at acting out horrific spectacles.”
“I-It’s not a problem of if you’re good at it or not…”
It didn’t make sense. It was just such a stupid proposal. But the person proposing it was both indifferent and so full of confidence, so really, the girls couldn’t be blamed for being confused.
But the boy seemed to be unable to understand that, and he just tilted his head.
“I see this gentleman has a penchant for the unpleasant,” Stella said.
It was curious if he was just airheaded, or if he was just someone who didn’t care about his reputation.
Regardless, the more Stella got to know the boy, the worse her head ached.