The beginning was sudden, and the end was inevitable.
Even if we were to part, even if we would never see each other again, we were connected.
A world without you.
A world without me.
What kind of daily life am I sending you to, I wonder.
Will those days be joyous, I wonder.
Will those days be bitter, I wonder.
If possible, I hope for you to live out your days fulfilled and unceasingly smiling.
If you’re also thinking the same thing,
–I have this to say to you.
Please be at ease.
Please do not concern yourself.
I’m living joyously–.
Shouts of joy enveloped the young boy.
Any and all voices were overflowing with joy as words of blessings were exchanged.
The faces of the people that flooded the Palace Plaza held large grins, completely free of unfounded anxiety.
What monopolized the populace’s gazes was a boy, standing on the balcony.
The once cornered country that was on the verge of extinction, now rose to being called the champion of the central continent.
Standing beside the king and supporting them, overcoming situations of despair and difficulty, and leading the victory of many wars. All of these achievements could be said to belong to this young boy.
Even when the boy departed, the cheers directed towards the deserted balcony never ceased.
In this state, the city would be unable to sleep for a while.
Even if the repairs of the ramparts collapsed by war were delayed, even if there were destroyed houses, it would seem that the tireless festival would still continue.
The undertaking of the boy was just that grand–.
To the sides were unstained white walls. On the floor was a crimson carpet, boasting elasticity.
Between the balcony and the throne was a long, connecting passage.
Before the young boy that walked there, a single adolescent appeared, as if to intercept him.
「……are you really going back?」
Towards the adolescent who displayed a melancholic voice, the boy nodded after a moment of hesitation.
「……yup. I’m a little reluctant, but I’ve gotta go back.」
To use such a manner of speech with the adolescent–this country’s king, from meeting till parting, this boy was the only one.
If others were to talk to the king in such a manner, they would surely receive capital punishment on the grounds of blasphemy. Or, at the very least, they would undoubtedly receive a similar charge.
However, the king did not fault the young boy.
「I thought that you would want to stay here forever……you are this country’s hero, after all. I was even prepared to bestow upon you appropriate status. From here on, this country will most likely head towards an era of peace and stability. There is no reason for us to fall into ruin……even so, are you going back?」
「In that case, it would be better for me to leave. This country needs to focus on internal affairs, right? Then from here on, it is no longer the era of military officers like me. Talented Civil servants will become a necessity. It’s better if good for nothings were quickly thrown out.」
The boy shrugged his shoulders as he declined.
「No matter what, huh?」
The two of them had even drunk from the same pool of filth. The humiliation that they endured was not something commonly received.
Even so, he was the obstinate one that followed him.
He was the one who followed the country that was on the brink of destruction to its end.
He was a comrade-in-arms, a close friend, and family.
It was precisely because of this that they were very familiar each other’s’ personalities.
No matter what happened, it was unlikely to change.
Realizing this, the king faintly shook his head from side-to-side and-
「Then take this with you.」
What the king had casually thrown was a single, plain, thick card.
Towards the boy who gazed at the gift with a dubious expression, the king spoke.
「If you say you don’t want it, you can just leave it here.」
「Haha-……I’ll take it graciously, but what is it? I’ve never seen this before……」
「You’ll find out one day. Well, as long as they listen to your story, I don’t think you’ll be needing it in that world.」
Finishing his spiel, the king’s back turned before he departed.
「This is farewell. You already know that I dislike depressing things, right? I won’t be seeing you off. Take care.」
「Sure. You too. Goodbye……it was fun.」
It was there that the story of the hero met its end–.
XCrossJ: Translator & Editor
Kiriko: Moral Support and Assistant