"We would like to inquire what is it that compels you to return to our kingdom so soon after your previous departure."
The guide seemed to have been told not to be roundabout and asked me straight.
I gave a concise answer that kept confidential stuff off limits.
"We're only staying overnight in this kingdom. Just a temporary stop. I know someone in the commercial city, y'see. I plan to drop by their place and say hello."
Asking the kingdom to put the ladies under their protection is an option.
However, I put a brake on that idea. Since there's the fact that the federation had just made an attempt to invade this country the other day.
If I let the kingdom's side take over the ladies, they'd likely use them as bargaining chips.
I personally don't care as long as I can get this headache off my hands.
But that'd make me no better than a hostage taker, and I don't want that.
I haven't been reduced into such a lowlife.
The kingdom may treat them cordially despite their status as hostages. But that's not the issue here.
It's more about how the belligerent federation are gonna gauge the ladies' values.
They would likely see no worth in them and refuse to formally apologize to the kingdom, in fact, I can imagine them doing exactly that.
That fact would likely deal a huge mental blow to the hostages, aka the ladies.
I believe the federation is pretty much under this Kanedor guy's thumb.
The same guy who's been trying to kill Linda and the other two. A scumbag who resorted to abduction and threats in order to harass his oppositions. He definitely sees no values in the ladies' lives, in fact he'd likely use the chance to vote out the chairman instead.
(No clue if they've got that kinda system though... Gone off track.)
The guide looked relieved when he found out about us going to leave right away before resuming his talk.
"His majesty the king has been asking for your presence in the royal castle if you are to visit this kingdom. We would like to extend you an invitation if your time permits. Would that be possible?"
Underling had a shocked look on his face at this. Surely he can't process how someone of unknown background like me is getting invited by the king of a country.
This 'King' must be referring to that princess, I just know it.
She's the only royalty who'd even have the idea of inviting me.
<TLN: Catch the latest updates and edits at Sousetsuka .com >
"I will have to decline. I'm gonna be straight with you. I don't wanna get involved with you lot. We should not 'interfere' with one another anymore."
I just spoke my true feelings on the matter.
I was none the wiser at this point, but there exist documents, history, and suspicious books that details the existence of 'Black Clad'. All of which warn their readers not to get involved with 'Black Clad' under a scheming mind.
Me refusing here may very well avoid 'the worst of fate' befalling this kingdom.
The princess's reason of inviting me is very likely a desire to have a 'force beyond measures' under her control.
Nobody can predict what will become of this kingdom if this force ends up erupting one way or another.
Few people in this world are aware of such however. Those are facts carved in the annals of history.
This kingdom has just narrowly escaped its end.
Being unaware of that myself as well, I sent a glance at the guide, signaling him not to pursue the matter any further.
"That is quite a shame, but if that is your answer, we shall honor it. I shall report as is. Well then, allow me to excuse myself. We thank you for your time."
Despite his words, the guide looked visibly relieved like he just let out the biggest sigh of relief in his life.