I was in the courtroom with all the knights lined up in a row.
Behind the knights, the nobles were lined up in formal attire. In the midst of them all stood Count Roane.
On the throne in the background sits the king of the nation of Armand.
I felt like I was being suffocated by the whole atmosphere.
I was born in a small country-town, and raised by ordinary parents in an ordinary way, so I am not familiar with this kind of situation at all. I don't know what I should do, either.
Kaede, who is standing next to me, has a proud expression on her face for some reason. It's like she's saying; "that's right, he's my master!"
"Toru Eiban. Kaede Tamamo. Both of you, step forward."
I followed the instructions and knelt before His Majesty the King. According to the instructions I received beforehand, we are not supposed to raise our heads until we hear the voice of the king.
According to Jonathan, today is an official hearing.
If we are rude, we will be thrown in jail immediately.
Even the hero who saved the country would be beheaded on the spot.
Countless eyes in our surroundings are looking at us.
"Why do they allow a slave to be in a place like this?"
"She's very beautiful."
"His majesty has allowed her to be present in this place. Watch what you say."
I could hear what some of the nobles were saying.
Most things are about Kaede.
I'm the star of this place and no one is talking about me.
Well, I guess it's okay. I didn't do this for attention.
Finally, the king breaks his silence.
"The defeat of the Queen of the Death Ants has been successful. Although our army had already defeated most of them, it had become very complicated to finish them off due to them hiding in their burrow."
"Certainly... It was very problematic."
"I cannot deny that fact. Our troops are very powerful, but this time, the enemy was more cunning. What would have become of our royal capital without you? On behalf of all our people, I thank you for all your efforts."
"I appreciate your words."
I'm so nervous that my stomach churns. I'm not used to using honorifics, so I'm not very good at it.
We were allowed to stand up, and suddenly a carriage was brought to us.
There was a pile of white gold coins glittering inside the carriage.
"There are seven hundred million there."
I looked directly at the king with surprise.
Our agreement was for 300 million. Why 400 million more?
"This extra money is a gift from me. I don't want you to hesitate to accept it."
"Thank you very much."
"Also, there's one more thing."
Hey, we agreed it would just be money. You're not going to tell me I'm going to be a hero now, are you?
If that happens, I will be stuck in this country.
"I am considering awarding the title of hero to the 'Manyu Brigade', of which you are the leader."
The royal audience hall went into awe.
I had never heard of giving a hero title to a party.
Normally it is awarded to an individual, so what this king just said sounds a little crazy.
The king opened his mouth again and continued talking, as if he didn't care about the agreement we had reached.
"I have always wondered why it is always one person who gets the title. The hero is a person who travels all over the country together with his party, it means that he is not the only strong one, but all those who make up the party. What about the rest of the people, don't they deserve to be heroes too?"
I'm sure they do. Should the party change all its core members, then clearly the difference in ability will significantly change. It is not necessarily that they have been strong in the past, but that they will also continue to be strong in the future.
The king crosses his legs and smiles even more.
"The title of hero can be revoked, and when you are no longer useful, you can be discarded, and in case you no longer want to be one, there is always the option of training a successor, Toru."
The king's words seem to have convinced the nobles.
It is as if they had been convinced by force. Including me.
He found a hole in our agreement, I said I didn't want a title. But giving it to the party is crazy.
What should I look like when I go to the guild?
"After all, Master is Master!"
"What does that mean?"
Kaede quoted such words with a big smile.
Slaves rejoice when their master becomes a hero. From my point of view, this is an extremely problematic situation.
In this way, the king gave me a bracelet called "Title of Hero".
"You can use this place as much as you want."
"Thank you very much."
Thanks to Jonathan's contacts, we were able to rent a house in the royal capital.
It is a small and cozy house. However, the exterior and interior look quite elegant.
We're going to leave sooner or later anyway, so there's no need to force us to buy one.
Kaede pulled a teapot and two cups from her luggage and headed for the kitchen.
However, she quickly turned around and said;
"Would you like some tea, Master?"
"Sure thing. How about you, Jonathan?"
"I'll have to decline the invitation, I have to go home."
He took his hand off the front doorknob and turned, saying;
"That letter contained a request from Roane to His Majesty. He wants you to be the hero of this country."
"Is that why they made me take care of the ants?"
"Yes. A hero has to have achievements that make him worthy of the title. No matter how close you are to me and His Majesty, it is something that is not easily bestowed."
Finally it was clear to me. In the end, nothing was as complicated as I thought it would be.
Jonathan and the king were working with the premise of making me a hero from the beginning.
And it was Count Roane who made the plan.
It looks like he was manipulating me, all along, like I was in the palm of his hand.
I look at the gold bracelet on my arm and suddenly a question comes to me.
"The king has granted the title to the 'Manyu Brigade', is it still wrong for us to leave the country?"
He walked out the front door as if he had said all he had to say. It was a little annoying, but I guess it doesn't matter as long as I can keep traveling.
Anyway, I need a place to settle down, so it's not a bad idea to stay in this country after the trip is over.
"Master, I brought you some tea."
I sit in a chair and take a sip.
The backpack was moving from side to side. Suddenly, Panda emerges from a gap.
It floated in the air and landed on the table.
"Why do you always look like a cushion?"
Indignantly, he flew off to the kitchen where Kaede is.
I was surprised that he was angry about it.
I guess I should apologize later.
Someone knocks on the front door.
"One moment please."
Kaede runs to the door and opens it.
It was Count Roane who was there.
"I heard you were here. I thought I'd stop by and say hello."
"Please go ahead."
The Count sat across from me and smiled.
"Well, I've become the hero, just like you wanted."
"Hahaha, I can't claim that it was something I wished for. But I did it with the thought of thanking you while granting you the best reward for saving my daughter."
"I suppose it's all right. Did you come alone?"
I thought Marianne was coming with him too since we were here, or is he going somewhere else later?
This guy looks quiet, but he's actually a womanizer. No wonder he's wandering around somewhere.
"She stayed at the mansion. However, she was very insistent on coming, since she wanted to see you."
Marianne is currently in the midst of training to be a wife.
Urara is the one who is training her, and apparently she is a very tough teacher.
So Marinane has found a good future husband.
"Toru, did you know that even a commoner can marry a noblewoman if he becomes a hero?"
"I heard it somewhere, but what's that got to do with anything?"
"Nothing now, but in the future maybe..."
He twisted his neck as he muttered something.
I still can't understand the nobles.
The count rose from his seat.
"You're going to the auction, right? I hear it's being held tomorrow night, so you should go. You might find a lot of interesting things."
"Anything out of the ordinary?"
"You'll find out when you visit the place. Now I have to go, if you'll excuse me."
The front door closed silently.