Chapter 40 – Prince and an order
“Your royal highness, we will make sure to capture the beast people that escaped.”
“…Yes, I am leaving that to you.”
A knight politely bows to me, and leaves after hearing my response.
I am Hicked Migha, the seventh prince of the kingdom of Migha.
I am in a position where my title is my only worth, but at twelve years old, knights over twice my age bow to me.
Since I am a prince, that is all people see when they look at me.
It feels very stiff and constrictive, but I accept it as a part of my life.
My father, the king of Migha, is currently in a state of panic because he heard the news that the kingdom of Fairytrof has gotten a hold of the miko.
Surely I would not be in a place like this right now if the miko did not appear in the kingdom of Fairytrof.
I am in a town on the border with the kingdom of Fairytrof.
To the south there is a forest where beast people live, and my father has tasked me with securing them.
To be completely honest, I do not feel good about enslaving beast people, or rather, non-humans in general.
There are several beast people slaves in the royal palace, but to me, they do not look so different from humans.
Having that said, there is no way the seventh prince can say such a thing to the king.
All I can do is make sure the slaves close to me are not treated badly.
…Still, we are attacking a village and taking their inhabitants as slaves, so there is no doubt that I am the aggressor.
As far as the beast people are concerned, I am nothing more than an enemy.
I have no power, so even though I have my doubts, I cannot do anything to oppose my father.
I am twelve, not even an adult, and so I do as my father says.
Myself and the other people that were sent with me just attacked a village of cat beast people, and took many of its inhabitants as slaves.
We put collars on them, and took away their will to resist.
Children cried and screamed their parent’s names.
When enslaving beast people, some die, and that is a fact I cannot ignore.
I am not attacking them directly, but the people doing it are under my command, and I am following my father’s orders.
I have to take those screams and hateful eyes.
The knights and the mercenaries give chase to the ones that escaped.
I hope the ones that were lucky enough to escape are not found.
That way they do not have to be slaves.
I feel like a fool for feeling this way even though I am indirectly responsible for their misfortune.
Still, I wish they are never found.
Perhaps some strange force heard my wish, because I hear a report that beast people who shouldn’t have gone very far have vanished.
The knights found their footprints, but they stopped all of a sudden.
I do not understand, but I also have no complaints.
If they were made into slaves, they would be forced to do hard labor or become pawns in a war against Fairytrof.
I could make sure they were not treated too badly while they were with me, but eventually they would be sent away to lead a very unhappy life, and the one condemning them to such a life would be none other than me.
“I apologize your highness.
I thought we were close but, as strange as it may seem, we could not find them.”
“Something strange happened then.
If we cannot find them before the date dictated by my father, we will present him with the ones we have.”
I assure you we will find them.”
I nod to the knight while wishing for them to not be found.
I cannot say such things to the people around me, and I watch the knights leave, completely set on finding and enslaving the beast people.
But just before our time is up, we capture one more beast person.
This is very exciting news for everyone participating in this expedition, except for myself.
The beast person that was captured was not one of the cat beast people they were looking for, but a man with wolf ears and tail.
Wolf beast people have high combat abilities, so my father would be pleased if we could take wolf beast people with us.
Five knights died while fighting to capture him, and many more were wounded.
Are these sacrifices really worth it I think this, but cannot say it.
I do not even know what would happen to me if I spoke against my father’s wishes.
The knights are set on dragging the location of his village out of him, most likely via torture.
By the time the beast person is gagged and restrained, he is in tatters.
I go check out the situation and he glares at me.
I am one of the people responsible for what happened to him, and even after all that has happened already, he is going to be tortured.
I want it to stop, but in the end, I cannot go against my father’s orders.
The next day, I receive word that the captured beast person has passed away.
No matter how much they hurt him, he would not reveal the location of his village, even after he was told his life would be spared if he did so.
He wanted to protect the village he loved from harm.
My heart hurts.
All I can do is hope that the village he wanted to protect so badly is never found.
—Prince and an order
(The prince doubts his father’s orders and the enslavement of beast people, but cannot go against his father.)