“Magic Arrow, Magic Arrow, Magic Arrow.”
“Albert, that’s enough already!”
Laura shook my body, and I came to my senses. It felt like I wasn’t myself—like I became a cannon that existed only to single-mindedly fire Magic Arrows.
“A-Aah… How long have I been shooting for?”
“For around an hour.”
A gigantic tunnel was bored into the steep, vertical rock cliff in the place where I had been continuously firing Magic Arrows. My Magic Arrow probably shaved away the rock.
…I made my Magic Arrows bounce when I shot the goblin cavern, but I can choose whether or not to do that.
“What about the Crest Master…?”
All I could see was a hole; The Crest Master’s corpse was nowhere to be seen.
Laura shook her head with a troubled look.
“He’s probably dead… If we think about it logically.”
Firvus answered in her place.
“If the Crest Master’s 99% defense won, then he’d be there. Him not being there means he’s dead. He was exposed to that much firepower; It wouldn’t be strange if all that remained of his corpse were ashes.”
“Is that so?”
“The surrounding lizardmen scurried away somewhere too. They probably sensed their master’s death and withdrew.”
“…Maan…As expected… of Albert…”
Lihilt called out to me while his subordinates lent him a shoulder.
“Seriously…To think you even ended up defeating the Crest Master.”
“Is your body alright?”
“My sturdiness is my saving grace.”
Lihilt gave a broad grin, but it looked somewhat forced.
“Well, now that the commanders of each side are dead, the war is over. Get some rest, Lihilt.”
Then, Firvus faced me and spoke.
“…Are you gonna take that back?”
That—The broken sword that the Crest Master brought.
The sword that Alencia most likely possessed.
After speaking, I picked up the sword on the ground. The crest engraved onto it was undoubtedly the Luminous household’s.
I felt a jumble of various emotions in my chest.
They were a huge mix of complicated feelings, and by no means could I express them in a few words.
I closed my eyes.
Then, I took slow, deep breaths. With every breath I let out, I stored those emotions into my heart with difficulty.
Then, I let out my last breath—
and I finished storing everything away.
I turned around.
I met Laura’s gaze, who watched me with worry in her eyes. I gave her a smile and spoke.
“Let’s go back.”
With that, the battle in Glicia Marsh came to an end.
A little while after that—
An award ceremony was held in the audience of the royal castle.
“We have triumphed! By jointly working with the gallant commander Alencia Luminous, we have completely eradicated all traces of the lizardmen in Glicia Marsh! However, as a result, we have lost the life of the brilliant and young commander Alencia Luminous, whose future held great promise! We hereby express our condolences for his sacrifice and would like to honor him in this ceremony!
A middle-aged man—the king—sat on the royal throne while a high official read a paper out loud by his side.
The audience consisted of the kingdom’s personage, who were lined up in a row. Lihilt and I stood at the row furthest away from the front and listened to the speech.
“Marquis Luminous, to the front!”
Together with the high official’s words, a middle-aged male stepped forward from the line.
It was Father.
Father kneeled in front of the king, and the king spoke.
“What occurred was truly unfortunate, Marquis Luminous.”
“…He was able to contribute to the kingdom’s victory. It was indeed unfortunate, but I take pride in what he’s done.”
“I was considering having Alencia play a part within the country. I think very sorrowfully of the huge talent we lost here.”
“I am grateful for your words… I’m sure my son would be just as delighted to hear.”
“Marquis Luminous. The result of this war is attributed to the Supreme Commander. The honor of this triumph accordingly lies within Alencia Luminous. Won’t you accept it on his behalf?”
“On behalf of Alencia, I gratefully receive this honor.”
The high official read the award out loud line by line.
Marquis Luminous nodded in response to each line, remaining dead silent.
After the high official finished reading, the king stood from his throne and put his hand on the shoulder of the kneeling Marquis Luminous.
“Marquis Luminous. It’s become a little lonely for you, but it’s too early to retire. Support me from here on out as well.”
“Of course, my King.”
After bowing, Father left the royal castle after citing his poor physical health.
After waiting for the audience to settle down, the high official raised his voice once more.
“Next, the foremost contributors to this battle shall be rewarded!”
Then, the ones who were called were—
“Baron Lihilt Strahm and squad member Albert! To the front!”
Lihilt turned his neck towards me like a rusty cog and gave a stiff smile.
“I-I-I-I… I-I-I-It’s our turn, huh, Albert! Please don’t be w-worri-worried! Aha, ahaha! Smile, smile!”
“…At the very least, I’m not as nervous as you… Come on, let’s go.”
After I gave his back a push, Lihilt walked down the deep red carpet with stiff, tense movements. I leisurely followed behind him.
Lihilt was chosen as the foremost contributor to this war.
As part of the detached squad, he was recognized for the strenuous efforts he made during the first and second battles, defeating a massive amount of lizardmen in the third battle, and crushing the Crest Master in the fourth, as well as reporting the death of Alencia, the Supreme Commander.
He made plentiful accomplishments on the battlefield.
However—There was more than met the eye to everything.
Before this ceremony was held, Lihilt spoke to me.
“I heard this from my noble friends, but it seems like I, a baron, was chosen from process of elimination.”
“Process of elimination?”
“I mean, a baron wouldn’t usually be chosen as the foremost contributor, you know?
That was common sense for nobility.
“Parentage” was always taken into account when someone was being awarded for their honorable war services.
“But this time seemed to be a special case. There weren’t any prominent kingdom people that accomplished anything, and picking somebody else would only cause offense to everyone else. I’m a baron separated from noble politics, and picking me wouldn’t cause any bitterness. Also, my court rank is low, so they don’t have to pay me much in compensation.”
“…This all leaves a bad taste in my mouth…”
“No, no! It’s more than enough for me! A chance is a chance, after all! The fact that I was chosen doesn’t change! I believe things are changing for me. I did say I was gonna be a duke in the end, no matter what!”
After laughing, Lihilt bowed his head to me and spoke.
“I’m really sorry, though. I was acknowledged just because I’m the squad captain, even though practically everything was all because of Albert.”
I shook my head.
“Don’t worry about it. This was a team effort; It’s fine if the team captain gets the credit.”
“If you reveal you’re from the Luminous family, then wouldn’t you get acknowledged, regardless if I’m captain or not? You aren’t gonna do that?”
“I’m the one who asked you not to reveal it.”
I requested that Lihilt keep my lineage a secret. The reason was obvious—I was banished from the Luminous household.
I’m just Albert.
That’s all I needed to be.
I didn’t want to participate in this ceremony either, but Lihilt said I was a huge contributor and strongly recommended me, so it was decided that I’d be awarded and I was forced to attend against my will.
The reason I didn’t want to participate was because there were nobles around.
The nobles intently stared at us as we walked down the red carpet.
“…Who is that man? A commoner?”
“He has a refined way of walking for a commoner…”
I heard people whisper this and that.
Nobles were quick on the uptake when it came to information about the royal court. There might be someone who was interested in me—There might be someone who remembered my past self.
In other words, there was a high chance that my true identity could be discovered.
If possible, I didn’t want to get involved with any of them… I looked at the carpet while walking, praying that no one would realize.
Lihilt and I kneeled before the king.
The high official raised his voice.
“Baron Lihilt Strahm! Your achievements during this war are hereby recognized. The Gambrus Zone, which is a territory under the direct control of the king, shall be lent to you as your territory. In addition to that, you shall be promoted from baron to viscount!”
“Thank you very much!”
Lihilt really seemed happy when he said that.
He went from a baron without a territory to a viscount with one—a massive promotion. I was glad that Lihilt, who did his best and had a good personality, was acknowledged.
“Next, squad member Albert! You shall be awarded a medal for your achievements on the battlefield!”
“Thank you very much.”
After I responded, a female official fastened a medal onto my chest.
Now then, all that’s next is to go back to the line and disappear. Rumors come and go like the wind. Eventually, people would probably forget about someone like me.
The king spoke.
“…Albert. Could you show me your face?”
I didn’t really understand his intentions, but it was an order from the king—there was no way I could disobey.
I turned my face to the king.
The king stared at me intently, and he muttered to himself.
“…You really do look alike…”
At that moment, I felt a freezing chill go down my spine.
Then, I remembered—
I remembered the fact that Alencia was favored by the king.
The king had spent a considerable amount of time with Alencia, and his death weighed on his mind.
Then that meant—
The king spoke.
“Albert. I apologize if this is a misunderstanding, but—are you someone related to Marquis Luminous?”
Today’s first chapter. Sorry for being late on the upload, this one was really long and I was playing civ 5 with my friends. I’ll upload the second chapter later today. Also, I’ll be gone all day tomorrow, so I won’t be able to upload anything then, sorry. See you guys later.