V2 Chapter 99: Misunderstanding

To conclude, King Azuma of Nakayama had misunderstood.

It seemed that he believed I held a significant enough position or authority within the Mitsurugi family to oppose the head’s intentions. In other words, he saw me as the leader of the opposition within the family.

How could he mistakenly think a young man like me held such a position? Upon pondering, I realized the reason stemmed from a bracelet I received from Suzume in the past.

It was a bracelet that the Kijin tribe believes protects from illness and disaster. Upon seeing it, something that had attracted the attention of Kagari and Doga, Azuma concluded I had forged a bond with the Kijin living outside the demonic gate.

That wasn’t entirely wrong. Indeed, I believe I’ve built a friendly relationship with Suzume, a Kijin. However, this relationship is personal, and it doesn’t mean the Mitsurugi family has changed its stance towards the Kijin.

Azuma misunderstood this point. He thought his proposal to ally with me was a gesture to befriend the opposition within the Mitsurugi family.

Well, he doesn’t know I’ve been banished from the Mitsurugi family. Given that I came through the demonic gate, it’s understandable why he’d be mistaken. Claira and Ursula might also seem like my subordinates to some.

Having realized his misconception, I promptly clarified. I hold no position in the Mitsurugi family, so an alliance with me is meaningless.

Upon hearing this, Azuma widened his eyes in surprise. Doga, too, looked equally shocked. It seems Doga, like Azuma, had believed I was an influential figure within the Mitsurugi family.

“I can’t believe they’d leave someone like you out in the wild,” Doga muttered in astonishment.

I thought our discussion might turn heated since I revealed I had no significant standing. Honestly, it would’ve been easier to keep his misunderstanding. It would’ve been simpler to gain cooperation to find Klimt.

However, lying to someone who treated the matter of Klimt sincerely felt impolite. Plus, attempting to deceive royalty skilled in negotiation would just expose my deceit.

So, what was the outcome? Our stay in Nakayama was allowed without issue. We were granted two rooms, one for males and the other for females. While we would have an escort when venturing out, which essentially meant surveillance, it was understandable.

The important thing was securing a base to search for Klimt. They may have their intentions, but for now, I’ve decided to operate primarily in the west capital. I breathed a sigh of relief with this decision.

“We’ve reached a point of pause,” Ursula exhaled, moving to the women’s room with Claira. She wasn’t as exhausted as Sora, who had been battling Doga for nearly four days, but she was indeed worn out.

From passing through the demonic gate – or even before that, from reuniting with Sora – it had only been six days. Ursula, six days ago, couldn’t even imagine stepping into the Kijin capital.

These past six days felt like navigating through rapid currents. Even so, they’re close to their goal of finding Klimt. They were indeed lucky, but seizing that luck was thanks to Sora’s proactive nature. His true worth might not lie in his swordsmanship but in this trait.

Thinking about this, Ursula glanced over to the adjacent bed. There, her silver-haired friend was sound asleep.

Considering that both Sora and Ursula were exhausted, it was only natural that Claira would be as well. With the added concern about Klimt, her fatigue would arguably be even greater than Ursula’s. As soon as she lay down on the bed, Claira immediately fell into a deep sleep.

Ursula wanted to lie down just like Claira, but deemed it too reckless to sleep without setting a watch, especially in the stronghold of the Kijin tribe. Hence, she took it upon herself to keep watch.

It wasn’t that she suspected Azuma and Doga would renege on their word and attack. If the Kijin had murderous intentions, they had countless opportunities before they reached this point. Ursula judged that the two were genuine in their words.

However, that didn’t mean they could let their guard down. If they showed any vulnerability, while Azuma and his group might remain trustworthy, their subordinates might be tempted to strike. Circumstances can change, and loyalties can shift quickly.

Deep down, Ursula didn’t trust the Kijin, stemming from her past experiences with them being responsible for her father’s death. She was aware of this bias, which is why she never voiced it. She had no intention of disrupting the search for Klimt with her own grudges.

“Still, I can’t simply set my past aside when making decisions,” Ursula mused with a wry smile. She took a deep breath to shift her mood and slapped her cheek to wake herself up.

The action helped clear her mind. Instead of the four-eyed Kijin that haunted her thoughts, she remembered the recent conversation between Sora and Azuma.

Sora mentioned that King Azuma was mistaken. But Ursula thought, “Sora too seems to be misunderstanding something.”

Indeed, at this moment, Sora doesn’t hold any official position within the Mitsurugi family. He is the disowned former heir – that’s all.

In that regard, Azuma was certainly mistaken. However, if asked whether Sora has no influence within the Mitsurugi family, the answer is no.

Ever since the Demon God’s subjugation, Sora’s reputation within the family has only grown. Some, like the Steward Gilmore, are even fearful of Sora reclaiming his position and have been making various moves against him. This means even a member of the Four Lords like Gilmore cannot ignore Sora’s presence.

This is where Sora’s misunderstanding lies. Not having an official position doesn’t mean one lacks influence.

In this aspect, Azuma, who perceived Sora as a potential ally of the opposition and sought an alliance, might be more perceptive than given credit for. Ursula thought as much.

Moreover, Sora’s influence in the Mitsurugi family is likely to grow even further.

Ursula’s gaze shifted to her friend sleeping beside her.

It would be difficult for Claira, who had left the island, to return to the Mitsurugi family. Claira herself probably has no intention of going back to a family that treated her brother like a mere pawn.

Then, it was inevitable that Claira would follow Sora. Observing their actions and words up to this point, it’s evident that both Claira and Sora harbor this intention.

With Claira, a notable figure from the “Golden Generation,” defecting from both the Mitsurugi and Berch families to align with Sora, it’s a given that Gilmore would take actions against Sora. Moreover, if Gilmore acts, families in conflict with the Berch house, like the Skyship and Sima families, would also inevitably make their move.

Ursula isn’t the only one to distrust the Berch house following Claira’s defection. Several families are wary of the Berch house’s maneuvers to monopolize the Four Lords. There’s a considerable possibility of anti-Berch factions forming within the Mitsurugi household.

The Berch family is backing Ragna as the rightful heir. So, it’s likely the anti-Berch factions would champion Sora as a counter to Ragna. If Sora wishes, gaining the status Azuma mistakenly believed he had—being an influential figure within the Mitsurugi house and the head of the opposition—isn’t that far-fetched.

This situation could have easily snowballed into chaos within the Mitsurugi house.

Reflecting on this, Ursula crossed her arms and tilted her head.

“The problem is,” Ursula mused, “The Flag Bearers and the Lord of the Mansion surely understand these implications just as I do.”

Why did the Minister allow Sora to cross the demonic gate, fully aware that his actions could disrupt the equilibrium within the Mitsurugi house? Even if they had the Emperor’s permission, there must be some ulterior motive for permitting such a move.

Additionally, the reasons for Dialt appointing Ursula as a companion were concerning. He should have known about Ursula’s mistrust of the Berch house due to Claira’s situation. There were many other warriors who would align better with the Berch family’s interests, so why specifically choose Ursula?

It wasn’t likely that he secretly worried about his sister, Claira, and thus handpicked his friend, Ursula… was it?

Ursula continued to ponder these complexities, but despite her best efforts, no clear answers emerged.

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