Book 4: Chapter 2 (4)

Faced with the other party's request to help the Princess of Maryam, Kubard was not quick to agree.

"Hmm, not only is there a Prince of Pars who wants to restore the country, but there is also a princess who wants to rebuild Maryam."

Kubard thought in his mind with slight mockery.

"There seems to be a whole lot of princes and princesses who want to rebuild their country these days! If Lusitania falls, then there will be princes who want to rebuild Lusitania."

Kubard thought it was kind of funny. In the grand scheme of things, it seemed that Pars and Maryam had also destroyed other people's countries and killed other people's kings before. This was just the cycle of cause and effect.

Nonetheless, it was not fun to watch the ruthless Lusitanians run around. If they wanted to commit heinous acts in Lusitania, it would be fine, but this was Pars. Even if Pars had its flaws, they should be reformed by Parsians, not by Lusitanians.

In any case, Maryam’s demand could not be rejected on this account now. The people of Daylam also needed external help to defeat the enemies in their city.

Although Kubard had no intention of blatantly refusing, he was not obligated to grant the other side's request without a second thought.

"What does Her Highness, the Princess of Maryam think? I would like to hear from Her Highness's mouth that she has issued a decree to defeat the Lusitanians."

Kubard's one eye was cast towards the military ship, and the head maid and knight could not help but look at each other at these words.

As a curtain was drawn aside, light came into the ship's cabin. Prince Irina was sitting on a luxurious velvet-covered seat to greet the two Parsians.

A dark veil covered the princess’s face, and the scent of spices filled the air.

"Can no royals show their true face?"

Kubard thought of Prince Hilmes, who he had met and parted ways with some days before, always wearing a silver mask. At that moment, a clear voice came from behind the veil. It spoke perfect Parsian with no Maryami accent at all.

"I have heard that generals of Pars are very brave, and the soldiers are strong. Won’t you lend me your strength?"

"Strength alone does not help much."

Kubard's reply was only half-heartedly polite. Confidence in one's own strength was not always enough, you also had to put in other kinds of work. The defeat at Atropatene six months ago taught Kubard this, and brought the whole Parsian army face to face with this harsh fact.

The battle between Pars and Lusitania was certainly the fault of the invading Lusitanians, but Pars’s carelessness was also an indisputable fact. When the neighboring state of Maryam was invaded without reason, Pars should have been alert and prepared early.

"Ah, well it’s in the past now."

Kubard changed the subject. Although he liked to fight, it was still a job where one's life was at stake, and he would be justified in asking for a reward.

"Ah, I don't know how the situation will look in the future, but I’ll help you put out the fire in front of you. However, the water isn’t free."

"Are you asking for payment?!"

Kubard smiled as he met the Maryami knight's reproachful gaze.

"I’ll take only kindness as thanks when helping the poor, but it feels rather disrespectful not to receive payment from the rich, right?"

"Why do you assume we’re rich?"

"I’ve never seen a poor person in such fine silks!"

Merlane suddenly interjected. After looking around for just a moment, one could tell that the interior of the ship was extremely luxuriously decorated, despite being a military ship.

"There are many women in this world who sell their bodies to feed their children, or to buy medicine for their sick parents. If I saw such a woman, I would help her even if she didn’t ask me. However, I am not obliged to help someone who is obviously rich, but stingy with their money."

Having heard such sharp words from Merlane through the veil, the princess was left speechless.

"This is why I don’t like nobles. They always expect others to serve them. They need soldiers to die in battle, for peasants to pay taxes, and for themselves to enjoy luxury."

Merlane kicked the floor with the soles of his boots.

"They turn a blind eye while slaves and free people suffer, but it’s awful when kings and nobles suffer. The people who watched indifferently as the slaves starved to death gave food only to the royalty who had lost their countries. Why should I help those who abandoned their people to flee with their own riches?"

"Have you said enough?"

Kubard asked quietly, and Merlane paused. The momentary silence was broken by Jovanna, the head maid. She offered a proposal for payment and they agreed with it.

"All right! The pact is established. In the name of Mithra, god of covenants."

"In the divine name of Yaldabaoth."

    The knight of Pars and the matron of Maryam confirmed the pact properly, although each had doubts as to how much they could trust the other. 

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