Tuesday, August 16, 2022 @

Chapter 56 Hero (Yuusha) Vs Dragon, Part Three, No Apologies Needed

 Zect's POV
 After my knuckles were broken and blood was everywhere... Maria finally returned to normal.
 I don't want to talk to her...
 But I can't tell her that...
 "Let's go..."
 "Ah, um..."
 "Don't talk... let's go."
 They could tell I was in a bad mood... and they followed me without saying a word.
 Now my life is... over.
 I don't know how many people died, but it must have been thousands.
 I'm sure the Pope, the Church, and the King would be angry.
* * *
 After a while, we arrived in a small town.
 We take two rooms in an inn and squeeze ourselves into one room.
 We have no choice... And even though we don't want to contact the church so badly... we must use our communication crystals.
 And what came up was... Pope Romalis.
 Of all people... the Pope...
 I didn't know what to say.
 So I just kept my mouth shut.
 "Thank you for your help... That's all."
 That's all he said... and then the connection was about to go dead.
 "Umm... Pope... You don't blame me...?"
 "I don't blame you..."
 "Why...? Probably thousands of people died this time..."
 "They died of their own causes, so there's no need for Zect-dono to be concerned."
 "Why would that be...? After all, I..."
 "I made a promise to Ceres-dono, and I will not blame you... even if it kills a billion people."
 "What does that mean?"
 "Well... didn't Ceres-dono tell you? Before, when you failed in your mission, about 30 people died."
 That time...
* * *
 " How will you take responsibility for the terrible blunder!?"
 "Are you a bishop? Why should we take the blame? It's the villagers' fault for their deaths!"
 "Ceres-dono... How can you say that for the deaths of 30 people?"
 "They died because of their own cause... That's all! After all, Zect and the others did their best, and they still died... nothing less, nothing more."
 "Ceres-dono... I don't think that's true even for me."
 "You know... Hero (Yuusha) is like a roulette... they gamble the number Zect with the chip 'world'... like in a casino. And no one is stupid enough to tell the dealer to take responsibility... if they don't like it, they don't have to gamble... that's all."
 "Ceres-dono... how can you be so impolite?"
 "Well, convey this to the Pope... Zect and his parents were also villagers and paid heavy taxes... Moreover, they were religious and prayed a lot."
 "What do you mean by that?"
 "But one day, an ogre attacked and killed five of the villagers."
 "What are you trying to tell me?"
 "But the Lord wasn't punished, and it was all for the best."
 "I don't understand..."
 "The villagers pay a lot of taxes... and when they die, everyone just accepts that it can't be helped... The King and the Pope are the same... no matter how many people die anywhere, they don't take any responsibility, do they? So, why should Zect and the others take responsibility?"
 "Don't change the responsibility!"
 "You know, no one in our group wants to fight the Demon King! If you force us to risk our lives for a job we don't want to do... and take responsibility if we fail, we'll quit being a hero! Let the others fight... And remember! Don't complain about Zect... At least the dead villagers had families... They must have had a good life too..."
 "Ceres-dono... What are you trying to say... I understand that the Hero (Yuusha) are unfortunate... but that doesn't mean..."
 "You know... if I were the Pope, I'd end this war in a month. I could kill the Demon King easily... but you're making many mistakes."
 "Ceres-dono would finish it in a month? If that's true, we can go ahead with the plan... and the church will be responsible for it... and we'll give you full authority."
 "Okay, let's see if you can do it. Let's call it 'Operation 100 Million Fireball.'"
 "What's... that?"
 "It's simple... just make everyone fight, that's all... Let the villagers, merchants, prostitutes, nuns, etc., drop their jobs and whatever else they want to do and march on the Demon King's castle. Those who don't join the fight and those who flee are excommunicated and put to death."
 "Are you crazy...?"
 "You think so? But this is an easy way to win. Do any of you think we can't win with this strategy? At least we can beat them better than a party of 4 people... And all the demons will be wiped out... no one will be unhappy anymore... and we don't need all the humans... because, at worst... we can beat them with all the church members. Let's do it... all humans vs all demons... we can win for sure."
 "It's not possible..."
 "Why, Pope? It's a certain victory."
 "If we do that... everyone will lose their lives, get hurt, die."
 "Don't you understand it...? In the end, you just don't want to do it, so force it on the hero, isn't that right? You don't want to fight, you don't want to lose money... you just want to live happily... and for that, 'Zect and the others are sacrificing themselves,' right? Don't you think it's the hero who 'will not be able to make a living, will be injured, and may die'? That's the kind of life that Zect and the others will lead... But if all human lives the same way for just one month... the demon tribe will be wiped out... Also, you said you would give me a full authority, right? So, now..."
 "Wait! I take it back!"
 "'The church will be responsible for it... and we'll give you full authority'. Archbishop, you must send word to the kingdom now, all mankind..."
 "Wait, we can't do that."
 "'If I can do it, I'll do it.' Isn't that what you said? I don't think this operation can be a failure..."
 "I'm sorry... my fault."
 "If you're sorry... don't do this."
 "Yes, please let me take it back... Please... If we do this... the world will..."
 "I'm sorry I was mean... and I really don't mean to..., but it is what it is... Everyone is forcing the four of us to do what we should be doing... So don't complain about it... And 1,000? 100,000? 100 million people... half of all mankind, no matter how many die, no one is qualified to take responsibility, after all, they live happily and 'bet on' with people they don't want to do it... isn't that it?"
* * *
 "That's what Ceres..."
 "Well... when you return from battle and rest at the inn, you look at the town and think... why are the adventurers at the tavern laughing? Why do the merchants do their business as usual? Why do the nobles live in wealth? If there was a real war, the whole kingdom would be fighting, so they can't live such happy lives..."
 I'm such an idiot...
 "So I decided... Even though some of the archbishops were against it... but we couldn't argue with Ceres-dono... so I decided not to let the hero's party take any responsibility."
 "Well then... thank you for your hard work."
 With that, the crystal went dead.
 I was such an idiot...
 I've expelled the one person who understands us the best.
 I don't know what to do anymore.

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