To Hell With Being a Hero! - BestLightNovel.com
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Chapter 129. Theory of Relativity
—[Salem Ophecialis’ Diary] King Seong 2nd year (385) May 17th
The king opened an inquiry. “It has been 400 years since our first king founded Salem. Not a decade or a century, but 400 years. But if we compare that period to now, not much has changed. We still only watch our opponents’ every move warily while sitting between our giant neighboring nations,” The king grieved. “Does our diplomacy laws state that we must only bend before our neighbors? How long are we going to be satisfied with faring well only for our size and relying on a hero every time a crisis arises?”
Hearing this, General Duke Nacaste Arrogil answered, “Although we are placing Salem’s defense as our top priority, there exists a clear difference in strengths between our nation and other ones. Even if we pour our entire year’s worth of taxes into our military, it would fall short of even half the amount our neighboring country can invest.”
The king responded, “You are not wrong, general. But shouldn’t we then find a new method to approach the situation rather than conducting business as usual? It’s not too late even right now. Instead of meaninglessly expanding our military forces that can’t match up to our neighbors, we should learn how to use them more efficiently and harness as much fighting prowess as possible. For nothing if not this nation’s future.”
And thus, the king declared his firm will to establish the Salem Academy.
—[Salem Ophecialis’ Diary] King Seong 5th year (388) August 29th
At sunset, the king returned to his palace. Chancellor La Tart quickly followed him from behind. The king glanced over his shoulder and asked what business had brought the chancellor here.
“It seems there’s a problem at the Salem Academy. They have been sending us rescue signals consecutively since two days ago.”
In great surprise upon hearing this, the king asked, “Could you explain what happened exactly?”
La Tart answered, “The guard soldiers on stand-by went to the academy as soon as they received the signal, but they still haven’t come back. Furthermore, although several people have gone inside the academy, not a single one of them has re-emerged. Thus, we have to quickly dispatch an official rescue team to investigate the cause and rescue the missing persons as soon as possible.”
The king heartily agreed with the chancellor’s suggestion.
—[Salem Ophecialis’ Diary] King Seong 5th year (388) September 11th
The king was concerned to hear that they had lost contact with the second group of dispatched knights.
“Those knights are strong, but even they… What in the world is happening inside? What are we supposed to do in this situation?” The king lamented. None of his trustees could raise their heads, and thus, the king spoke again, “Spare nothing to find a solution. Should you fail to do so, you shall be the next to head to the academy.”
—[Salem Ophecialis’ Diary] King Seong 5th year (388) September 12th
The chancellor requested a private audience with the king, and the king granted the request.
La Tart began, “I apologize for being the harbinger of bad news, but circ.u.mstances suggest that we wouldn’t be able to solve this case with Salem’s power alone. There’s apparently a sage respected by all nations wandering around the border’s fortress and helping common people. I suggest you invite this sage to the palace and hear his advice about the matter.”
The king responded, “Seeing how urgent our situation is, we can’t delay this matter one bit. Quickly run to the sage and bring him here.”
—[Salem Ophecialis’ Diary] King Seong 5th year (388) September 17th
The sage came. When he saw the academy’s silent and chilling atmosphere, the sage shook his head and said, “It’s too late.”
Shocked, the king asked the sage, “What do you mean it’s too late?”
“The academy has been polluted by something outside of Liber’s World—from a planet that we don’t know. Salem Academy no longer abides by the logic and laws of the Liber we live in.”
In shock, the king became speechless for a while. And when he spoke again, he asked, “Is there…really no way?”
“Even the empire, which is most advanced in magic engineering, can’t exert influence over the universe. Perhaps it would be possible for them later on, but not with their current level of technology.”
The present was their obstacle.
“We have to erase the academy from this World now. Like cutting off a rotting part of a body, the only thing we can do now is separate that place from Liber. I think I can do at least that much.”
“Then, those inside…”
The sage closed his eyes and didn’t say more.
After completing a large-scale barrier, the sage said, “This is only a temporary measure. Hundred years from now, the problem will arise anew. I have set a few devices in place to help, so descendants of Salem’s royal blood must not forget this fact.
—[Salem Ophecialis’ Diary] King Ye 1st year (400) March 19
To celebrate the 400th anniversary of the founding of the country, the king held a banquet. While everyone was in the midst of enjoying themselves, Chancellor La Tart came forward. The king glanced at him, and so, the chancellor spoke, “It’s a year since King Ye pa.s.sed over to the next world, and 12 years since that incident.”
The king scowled and said, “Are you bringing that up again? You are going too far, chancellor, especially on a celebratory day like this. How come you always bring up that story every time you meet me?”
La Tart answered, “But you must not forget the sage’s words. It’s a problem that will arise again in the future. Even if it’s difficult for us to solve it now, we have to continue to rigorously search for a solution—”
The king cut off La Tart, “Am I the one who said we should build that academy? Am I the one who caused the problem? If not, why must you push a problem onto me that had been solved twelve years ago and hadn’t arisen since?”
“But Your Majesty, as a descendent of the Salem’s royal bloodline—”
“Stop! I don’t want to hear it. Leave now.”
La Tart requested a private audience with the king again, but the king didn’t grant the request. The officers argued. Twelve years pa.s.sed since that day, and signals were still coming from the place where the academy used to be(Deleted).
* * *
Midnight. Chi-Woo led Nangnang, Roar from Quiet Snowy Mountains, Shadia, and Hawa to the palace. Eshnunna was waiting for them there, and she soon took them to an empty place where there was nothing.
“Hm…I can’t smell anything.” Nangnang stuck his nose right onto the floor and sniffed, tilting his head. “A barrier? I did think it was strange that a vast s.p.a.ce such as this was left empty in a royal estate.”
Shadia turned left and right anxiously, and Chi-Woo glanced at her.
“Were you here before?”
“Uh, well…I thought I could gain something here, so…” Shadia struggled to finish her sentence. She seemed to find it embarra.s.sing to admit that she had tried to steal things in front of the princess. Snowy Mountain didn’t say anything, either, but he was fidgeting with his hands. Chi-Woo turned back to Eshnunna. Unlike her usual self, Eshnunna looked extremely tired. Her eyes were bloodshot, and her hair was tangled up in a mess.
“Have you slept?”
“…Sorry? Ah, no. Why?”
“I was wondering if you were worried about something…ah.” Then, Chi-Woo glanced at her from up and down and asked mischievously, “Were you worried about me..?”
“…Haaaa.” Eshnunna sighed very deeply and shook her head while mumbling incomprehensibly, “If you were my brother…I would’ve hit…” Then, she told Chi-Woo, “It wasn’t there.”
“Because you suddenly changed your decision, I went and hurriedly searched through the old records and found that there had been attempts to solve this problem since King Seong times.”
“Oh, is that so?”
“But that was all. There was no pa.s.sage that really caught my eye… What’s the real reason you changed your mind?” Eshnunna suddenly asked. “You acted like you weren’t going to help the whole time, but now you’re saying that you must go… Did something dangerous happen again?”
It wasn’t the first time Chi-Woo had thought this about her. Eshnunna truly was a sharp princess. She had good intuition. In response, Chi-Woo looked at her like he was touched, “So in short, you really were unable to sleep because of me?”
“Sigh.” Eshnunna looked at Chi-Woo with aggravation. As sharp as she was, Chi-Woo wasn’t able to hide his worries from her; Eshnunna could tell that Chi-Woo was in a slightly nervous state, and that Chi-Woo was joking around to relieve his nerves. She supposed that Chi-Woo had his own reasons, and he was now going to solve a problem that only he could solve again. With this in mind, Eshnunna considered offering a few words of encouragement.
“Is there really a barrier here? I’m an alchemist and also a mage, but I can’t sense it at all, “ Shadia asked while looking around. “There are only two possible explanations: The barrier is fake and doesn’t exist. Or it’s so ma.s.sive that we can’t even sense it properly. Why it would be just like an ant meeting an elephant.” After all, if an ant saw an elephant’s leg, it would think the leg was a pillar instead of belonging to an animal.
“Well, let’s say there really is a barrier… Can we even open it?”
“Yes, there really is one, and we can open it,” Eshnunna said. The sage from long ago had told the Salem royals multiple times that the fundamental problem at the academy wasn’t solved and would rear its ugly head again someday; for such a day, he had prepared several devices so that future generations could try to solve the problem after developing greater technology. One of the devices limited the authority to open and close the barrier to someone of Salem’s royal blood.
Eshnunna turned back to Chi-Woo, silently asking Chi-Woo if he was really going with her gaze. There was no humor left in Chi-Woo’s expression now. He looked serious as he quietly nodded.
“…Then.” Eshnunna slowly walked up to exactly where the front gate used to be. Then, slid!
“Prepare.” Eshnunna breathed in deeply and unsheathed a sharp dagger. Staring up at the night sky tensely, she said, “I’m opening the gate now.” She pierced the tip of one of her fingers with her dagger.
Drip. Drops of blood trickled down between her fingers, and after shaking her blood off her hand, she reached forward and simultaneously said, “Mam sanguinis…” Incomprehensible words came out of her mouth. “Imperatibi Obice…”
Seeing that their devices didn’t automatically translate the language, it appeared to be a spell from a very old and unknown ancient language. “…ostendas.”
Eshnunna stopped. The world was quiet as usual, and the s.p.a.ce was projecting only the night sky. Nothing happened…or at least that was how it appeared.
“Hm?” The first one to notice a change was Nangnang with his keen eyes. “What, nyang?” Having focused on Eshnunna’s finger, Nangnang’s tail flicked upward. Everyone’s gaze followed suit, and Chi-Woo strained his eyes to look more closely. The trickling blood had stopped. Before it even dropped to the floor, it hovered still in the air like it was embedded into s.p.a.ce. It was as if time had stopped. Moreover…
There were ripples all around them. The air swayed like a flag fluttering in the wind. The phenomenon gradually expanded its sphere of influence, and transparent waves began to circulate across the entire area. Finally, an enormous, fluctuating figure began to take form and reveal itself.
“Wow…” It was a foreign experience for even heroes who had gone through all sorts of difficulties and hards.h.i.+ps, and Shadia let out a small gasp. Chi-Woo also lowered his head. The thing that had been hidden for centuries was coming into view bit by bit.
When he looked up again, his eyes were filled with thoughts.