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~3rd Person Perspective~
Rikuya, who had been imprisoned for several days, couldn’t decide what to do.
The bandits were always watching the prison, and there were fewer openings than he had expected.
In a whisper, he also discussed the matter with Maika. Maika did not seem to have any good ideas either, saying that they would have to remain quiet for now.
However, if nothing was done, all three would be sold off to different places. Rikuya really wanted to avoid that.
(I don’t want to lose my family again…) (Rikuya)
He remembered what happened in the country of Yo.
The Fujimiya family had slowly begun to lose power since Rikuya’s grandfather had been king.
His grandfather was not a bad man, but as a king, he was clearly incompetent.
He was indecisive and had no authority. He was not cruel, but he could not punish his subjects harshly for causing problems.
In the country of Ye, which was ruled by his grandfather, the nobles who ruled the provinces gradually built-up power.
By the time his grandfather died and Rikuya’s father became king, the Fujimiya family had been looked down on by the nobles.
Rikuya’s father was the complete opposite of his grandfather.
He was hot-blooded, decisive, and took immediate action.
He made various policies to slow down the momentum of the aristocrats who were on the rise, which led to a rebellion.
Thus, the Yo Kingdom plunged into a period of civil war.
Rikuya was born in such an era.
Being royalty, he had many brothers and sisters, and as a child, he was not educated at all that he was going to be a king.
He was educated that his role was to support his brothers, and he never doubted that he would eventually do so.
However, as the war intensified, human resources became scarce, and his older brothers, who had excelled, began to lead their troops into battle.
One after another, they were killed in battle.
No matter how much time passed, the sadness of his dearly departed brothers remained in Rikuya’s heart.
Gradually, the battle became less and less favorable.
Finally, the castle, their family stronghold, was besieged by the enemy.
There was an escape route for royalty, but Rikuya’s father, the king, did not approve of using it to escape and decided to die in the castle.
Rikuya, Takao, and Maika were to take the sword and use the escape route to escape, “and then take a ship to escape from Yo Kingdom,” Rikuya’s father ordered Rikuya and his siblings.
At that point, some of his sisters remained behind, but too many would increase the chances of being found along the way, so the three of them, the youngest three, had to be the ones to escape.
Rikuya, who felt guilty about surviving on his own, protested vehemently at the time but was persuaded and eventually escaped by using the secret passage.
After escaping through the secret passage, they managed to evade the enemy soldiers who were desperately trying to capture Rikuya and his siblings, they reached the sea and succeeded in getting on a ship to the Somerforce Empire.
He survived but ended up losing his brother, his sisters, and his parents.
Thus, Maika and Takao must be protected at all costs.
Rikuya strongly thought so.
Even if it means sacrificing himself.
Thinking of this, he came up with a plan.
He might not be able to save himself, but he could save the two of them.
“Don’t think of anything stupid, brother.” (Maika)
Maika looked at Rikuya’s expression and seemed to see through what he was thinking.
“I don’t care… you said it would be more reasonable for one of us to be sacrificed than for all three of us to be captured and die together.” (Rikuya)
“I just said that was the best choice at that time. Actually, we can’t sacrifice big brother, we can’t. You are the one who will become king.” (Maika)
“Then you should be the king.” (Rikuya)
“I can’t be the king because I’m a woman.” (Maika)
“Even if you can’t be king, there’s Takao.” (Rikuya)
“Do you think Takao can become king?” (Maika)
At Maika’s request, Rikuya looked at Takao. He was receiving food from the bandits and looked happy and carefree.
“It has to be you, Brother. To succeed the Fujimiya family and become king, it is impossible for me and Takao to become king.” (Maika)
“…even I can’t become king.” (Rikuya)
Rikuya muttered under his breath.
“Brother… you know that…” (Maika)
“You should know, right? I’m not qualified. Well, even if I had the talent to become a king, it’s not realistic to attack the Yo and become king. You know that too. It’s alright.” (Rikuya)
Maika didn’t argue.
As a member of the Fujimiya family, she didn’t want to end their life in the Somerforce Empire, so she had planned a strategy to raise their brother as king, but there was no doubt that the hurdles to accomplishing that would be quite high.
“As an older brother, at the end of the day, I will save the lives of my younger sister and younger brother even at the very last.” (Rikuya)
“The very last…? How can I accept it when you say something like that?” (Maika)
Maika said so while glaring at Rikuya.
“We are not going to change the situation even by sacrificing one of my brothers. You will only die in vain.” (Maika)
“It depends on how I do it.” (Rikuya)
Rikuya explained the strategy he had come up with.
“Hmph, I don’t even want to hear about such a strategy.” (Maika)
Maika who received the explanation replied in anger.
“But it might work, right? I might die, but you two will survive.” (Rikuya)
“If. That happens, it will be a resounding success. However, the most likely scenario is that all three of us will die.” (Maika)
“ Well, that may be true, but if we do nothing, all three of us will become slaves.” (Rikuya)
“We will be slaves, but not die. It’s better than dying.” (Maika)
“Being a slave means being deprived of human dignity. How can you call that living?” (Rikuya)
“…dignity? There is nothing more important than life.” (Maika)
Maika said this, but she did not seem confident in her opinion. She was aware of the harshness of slavery, and she knew how hard it could be, based on her knowledge.
“Aside from me, if Maika and Takao become slaves, you might end up in a terrible situation. As your brother, I will never let that happen.” (Rikuya)
“Takao would become a fighter. It’s true that if he keeps fighting all the time if he is not in good condition, he might die in less than a year. …When they were talking about me, what are they going to make me do?” (Maika)
“That… it’s better for you to not know… No, you won’t be in that kind of situation, so there’s no need to know in the first place.” (Rikuya)
“W-what are you not saying…! Now, I’m more curious!” (Maika)
Seeing Rikuya say that with a serious expression, Maika became uneasy.
“Anyway, no matter what happens, a strategy that sacrifices our brother is not acceptable.” (Maika)
Takao, who had been eating carefree until a few minutes ago, opened his mouth.
“What is it, Takao? I don’t have any food.” (Maika)
“That’s not true. We decided that before we left the country, right? We decided before you left Yo that we would follow our brother’s words as much as possible.” (Takao)
Maika and Rikuya were taken aback by the seriousness of what they thought was an appeal for food.
“That’s right. That’s what we talked about. Keep your word.” (Rikuya)
“N-No. I also said that the promise was not accepted in cases where our brother’s words were clearly wrong!” (Maika)
“Are my words completely wrong?” (Rikuya)
Maika is at a loss for words.
The reason is that she could not say for sure that what Rikuya was going to do was a mistake.
“Are you sure, Takao? Aren’t you sad that our brother will die?” (Maika)
“It’s sad, but that’s what my brother decided. I’ll accept it. I’m an idiot so I don’t know, but maybe that’s the right thing to do, right?” (Takao)
Takao looked sad but said his words with a resolute face. He seemed to have full confidence in Rikuya.
“…Brother, you’re unfair. You said you didn’t want me to be sacrificed to help you, but now you are saying you are going to be the sacrifice. Don’t you see how contradictory that is?” (Maika)
“If you say that, you’re contradicting yourself, aren’t you? Isn’t it you who said we should make rational decisions?” (Rikuya)
“Gouu… even if you say…” (Maika)
“I didn’t expect Maika to say that.” (Rikuya)
Rikuya with his plain words was usually overpowered by Maika’s words, but this time he had the upper hand.
“Even if I sacrifice myself, I don’t think it’s right. But right now, I will do it because I want to.” (Rikuya)
“What’s that? That’s not a good reason.” (Maika)
“It can’t be helped. Human emotions work like that.” (Rikuya)
When Maika found out that Rikuya’s feelings were firm, she did not argue any further.
“The two of you, Maika and Takao, are a good duo that makes up for each other’s shortcomings. You can manage without me. One of you can even be crowned king again. Well, I honestly can’t imagine Takao as king, so why don’t you become the first queen in history, Maika? You’re the kind of person who does things that no one else can do, and you can do that, too.” (Rikuya)
“Don’t say it like it’s your last words.” (Maika)
Rikuya then explained the plan in detail to Takao and waited for the time to execute it.
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