Develop 127

Chapter 127 Each Person’s Choice

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 On the night I spoke with Ronim-san, I was lost in thought while gazing at the night sky from the bedroom window on the second floor of the mansion.

 The Empire had numerous forbidden items, and naturally, the severity of the punishment and the conditions for being charged with a crime varied depending on the item.

 Originally, the Hanahaku knife was not a forbidden item; it was a tool used by people called “corpse carriers.”

 Its purpose was to quickly drain bodily fluids to prevent the decay of corpses and the spread of infections, and it was never intended to be a tool for assassins.

 However, as people began to use the Hanahaku knife as a tool for assassination, regulations became stricter, and now mere possession without permission is punishable by death.

 Now, the trio did not have any permits for their belongings, and even if they did, they would be charged with a crime the moment they took the Hanahaku knife outside the body disposal facility, except for a few exceptions such as when the knife is necessary for its original purpose, such as on the battlefield.

 In other words, no matter how much I pondered, their death penalty was unavoidable.

 To be honest, I didn’t particularly sympathize with them. I understand that I am a naive person, but I don’t sympathize with those who are hostile towards us to the extent of sympathy.

 So, what was I hesitating about? It was because I would have to sentence them to death and have someone else carry out the execution.

 While they may be criminals, there is an aversion to killing someone, and if possible, I would like to avoid having someone else do it.

 I have been delaying the execution by saying that we need to gather information about their employer, but I can’t postpone it indefinitely.

 We have slaves constantly watching over them for surveillance, and we have them restrained as well. However, it was a significant blow to our already limited manpower to have guards assigned to them in groups of three, taking turns.

 Moreover, considering that we have been keeping watch over the person who possessed the Hanahaku knife for hours, it is easy to imagine the stress on the slaves.

 Today, I asked Ronim-san for a favor and had the Sincere Dwarves help with the harvest, unloading the required amount of crops onto the Harvest Hoe. However, we couldn’t continue this situation indefinitely.

 The thought crossed my mind that it would be easier if they were to escape, but such a thing would never be allowed.

 ”Sigh… What should I do?”

 ”Master Neil?”

 As I let out a heavy sigh and muttered to myself, as if my words were heard, a voice called my name from below the window, and I turned my gaze away from the night sky to look in the direction of the voice.

 Diana and the others were probably still working on the first floor because the light from the lamps leaked out from the downstairs window, illuminating the figure of the person below.


 ”What’s wrong? You have such a troubled expression on your face.”

 The person below was Niya-san, looking a bit worried as they looked up at me.

 ”I was just lost in thought. And why are you in a place like this, Niya-san?”

 ”I feel the same way. I wanted some time alone to think, away from the others.”

 When Niya-san mentions being lost in thought, is it about the incident we discussed? I wonder if the five of them were able to reach some conclusion through their discussion.

 ”Master Neil, would you mind talking for a bit?”

 ”Huh? But I thought you wanted to be alone with your thoughts.”

 ”I wanted to be away from the four of them. Besides, I’ve already sorted out my thoughts to some extent, so I thought it would be good to have a third party listen.”

 ”…If that’s the case, please wait a moment.”

 Saying that, I closed the window and left the bedroom, going down to the first floor and heading towards Niya-san.

 ”Sorry to keep you waiting.”

 ”I invited you over, so if you wanted to talk nearby, I could have come to you… Were you about to go to bed?”

 Looking at me who had come down in my sleepwear, Niya-san furrowed her eyebrows slightly as she spoke.

 ”No, I just made sure I could sleep anytime. I don’t feel like sleeping yet, so don’t worry about it.”

 ”Well, if that’s the case, but as a noble, I think it’s better to refrain from going to the commoners’ place by yourself.”

 ”Hahaha… You’re saying something just like Diana.”

 ”I’m just stating a general opinion.”

 It’s true that normally I should call her to me, but I lean against the wall of the house and look up at the night sky as I open my mouth.

 ”I wanted to get some night air, too. I felt suffocated inside the room.”

 ”…I see.”

 Niya-san replied apathetically to my words, and both of us remained silent, gazing at the stars in the night sky.

 It wouldn’t be a bad idea to quietly observe the night sky like this, but in order to make progress in the conversation, I decided to bring up a topic.

 ”So, how did the discussion go? If you were thinking alone, does that mean it’s been difficult?”

 ”No, the discussion went smoothly. Momoka and Moona decided to stay at the settlement, while Iko and Mio decided to continue their journey.”

 ”Huh? So everyone is going their separate ways?”

 I asked, surprised by the unexpected answer.

 Niya-san and the others had been living together as a group of five for a long time, so whether they stayed at the settlement or left, I had assumed they would decide together.

 ”Why is that? I mean, why?”

 ”It’s a simple story. We have reached a point where each of us can live on our own strength, regardless of being together as a group of five. Master Neil’s words made us realize that fact. It’s quite a ridiculous story, really.”

 ”That means…”

 I said, directing the conversation toward what I had told Niya-san before, about how it seemed like she was unconsciously restricting the freedom of others.

 I had hoped they would make decisions together through discussion, so I expressed those thoughts.

 And yet, if the result of that decision was to divide Niya-san and the others―

 ”Master Neil, don’t look so sad. We are grateful to you, because thanks to you we are free in the true sense of the word, and I don’t think it’s sad.”

 I guess my thoughts were reflected in my face.

 Niya-san spoke to reassure me.

 ”I do have feelings of anxiety and loneliness about being separated, that’s true. But more than that, I am happy that everyone chose their own paths. It may be presumptuous of me, as someone who led everyone, to have such thoughts, but is this what it feels like for a parent to see their children leave the nest?”

 I couldn’t say anything in the face of Niya-san’s bright expression.

 At least Niya-san was taking it positively, but I wondered how the other four felt about being separated.

 It was pointless to think about it now, but as a timid person, I couldn’t help but wonder.

 ”Are the other four of you okay? Especially Mio-san.”

 ”There’s no problem. Mio seems surprisingly positive about this matter, even more than I expected.”

 ”Is that so?”

 That’s surprising. Honestly, based on my impression, I thought Mio-san would be the one who resisted being separated the most. It seems that everyone is thinking more positively than I thought.

 This brings up a question in my mind.

 ”What about you, Niya-san? Will you stay in the settlement or will you go on a journey?”

 I realized that I had asked about the choices of the other four but nothing had been said about Niya-san’s own decision. So I threw the question at Niya-san.

 ”What I have been contemplating all alone is precisely that. It’s a ridiculous story, but while I told Momoka to forget her role and live freely, I myself was bound by that role and restricted everyone’s freedom. It’s good that I became aware of that, but now that I want to forget my role and live freely, I have no idea how to do it.”

 ”Because you have lived clinging to the role of leading everyone, as soon as you try to abandon that role, you don’t know what to do next, is that it?”

 ”Yes… I was so frivolous in telling Momoka to live freely, I never imagined that living freely could be this difficult.”

 ”Well, I don’t think being free means you have to do something specific. I think it’s also good to just take it easy and do nothing.”

 ”I can’t do that. I was created as the one who leads the four of them. Maybe that’s why, even though I want to forget my role, I feel like I’m about to intervene.”

 For Niya-san, who was created with the role of leading the four of them, leading them has become synonymous with living.

 She was caught in a vicious cycle where she didn’t know how to live once she stopped leading, and even though she wanted to forget her role, she felt compelled to intervene.

 ”So I distanced myself from the four of them and thought alone,” Niya-san explained.

 ”I see, but didn’t you say something like ‘I’ve gathered my thoughts to some extent’?”

 I recall when Niya-san first approached me, she mentioned that she wanted to talk because her thoughts had somewhat come together

 It seemed that she had already come up with a solution judging from her tone.

 ”Well, actually, I have a favor to ask of you, Master Neil. Would you consider hiring me?”

 ”Hiring…? Um, as a security guard, you mean?”

 Considering Niya-san’s aptitude as an escort in the brothel, I thought being a security guard in the settlement would be the best option, but Niya-san shook her head.

 ”Not just an ordinary security guard. Of course, if that’s what Master Neil desires, I won’t hesitate to dedicate myself solely to security. However, I believe I can be of broader assistance. As I mentioned before, I was designed with a focus on information processing capabilities for that role. So, I think I can provide solutions not only as an active member but also as a consultant, offering guidance on issues the settlement faces and even personal concerns you may have, Master Neil.”

 ”A consultant, you say…”

 As I pondered the sudden proposal, Niya-san continued speaking.

 ”I understand that it’s difficult to consider hiring someone with no track record out of the blue. That’s why I would like you to share the ‘matter you’ve been contemplating’ that you mentioned earlier with me.”

 ”Even if you ask me to share it, it’s something that can’t be resolved anymore. It’s a matter of my resolve, not something that can be solved through discussion.”

 ”Don’t say that. Please try talking about it. Sometimes, a problem that can’t be solved alone might find a good solution when two people discuss it.”

 ”…If you put it that way.”

 And so I began to talk.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.

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