「…That came from nowhere. I’m really sorry, both of you.」
Shortly after Armia left, Zieg-san apologized to us.
However, he couldn’t hide the bewilderment on his face as he apologized, it seemed Zieg-san also surprised by Armia’s action.
「Armia hasn’t recovered from the shock yet.」
……After the apology, Zieg-san muttered that. He stared at the direction Armia ran away with worry on his face.
With that expression, I understood that Zieg-san was seriously concerned about Armia.
It was painful to see Armia’s current state even for an outsider like me.
I couldn’t imagine how it felt for Zieg-san who was in the same party as Armia currently.
When I looked next to me, even Narsena who harbored animosity the most toward Armia here, looked a little bit guilty for feeling that way.
「Can I ask you a little favor?」
After saying that, Zieg-san made his request.
「I know about your discord with Sword of Lightning, but, for the sake of Armia, I hope you can lend me a hand.」
Narsena reacted to Zieg-san’s request.
Her attitude said clearly that she wouldn’t allow the acceptance of that request.
「Thank you Narsena, but I’m fine.」
Before I took any action, I threw words of restraint toward Narsena.
It was Zieg-san who requested that, moreover, I didn’t feel any discomforting feeling.
It’s for her sake, was the feeling I had.
Also, after seeing Armia’s tragic look and now, Zieg-san who helped us before asking us for a favor, I wasn’t heartless enough to refuse.
——Besides, I’m now happy, isn’t it fine to share it with others if only just a bit?
「……If you say so, Onii-san.」
I smiled despite myself when I saw Narsena closed her mouth, albeit reluctantly because of my words.
Narsena was angry for me.
Narsena, currently putting discouraged expression, didn’t know how much happiness and thankful feeling I have for her doing that.
That reminds me once again how precious Narsena is to me.
After thinking that, I reached out for Narsena’s head.
Triggered by my sudden action, Narsena raised a weird squeal, her face dyed in red.
While seeing her current state, I remembered the uneasiness I caused to her, even so, I still said my gratitude to her.
「Seriously, thank you so much, Narsena.」
「Huh!? N-No! W-We’re fellow party member after all!」
Narsena answered me in a fluster.
However, she never rejected my hand.
Seeing her appearance, love and happiness overflowed from my chest and my face relaxed despite myself.
「I don’t know if we can cooperate, but can you tell us the full story first?」
Still with the same expression, I talked to Zieg-san.
Up until now, Zieg-san’s looked uneasy, but after hearing my answer, he looked relieved.
「This will be a bit long……」
With that as a preface, Zieg-san started recounting the story.
◇ ◆ ◇
「That kind of thing……」
A few minutes later, that was all I could say after I heard the event that led Armia to her current condition.
……As for Narsena, she was completely speechless.
One part of the story Zieg-san told us about Armia and Sword of Lightning was completely shocking.
Regretting what she did in the past, Armia tried to start over.
…But her determination was betrayed by Margulus and Sarveria who desperately trying to prop themselves back up.
For the people in this Labyrinth city, this story wasn’t a tragedy, but a comedy.
This city was full of people like Margulus.
Under such circumstances, Armia who was deceived for fun because she was unable to see through other’s true nature was simply laughable.
However, I knew her innocence, so I couldn’t do that.
As mentioned, I didn’t have a very good feeling for her.
Because of her innocence, I couldn’t accept her blind faith toward Margulus and Sarveria.
That was precisely why, I couldn’t hide my surprise when I heard Armia was thinking for herself and trying to start over.
I never thought she was someone who would reflect in a situation like that.
Hence why I was surprised, and also impressed.
Armia carried a longing and gratitude toward Margulus and Sarveria who changed her from an orphan to a first-class adventurer.
But Armia decision to cut off her blind faith and then support Margulus and Sarveria must be what troubled her.
Worry, regret, and other feelings too, as a member of the same party for some time, I could somewhat understand them.
Hence why, Armia whose feeling was betrayed, couldn’t recover.
Narsena muttered that word.
In her eyes were the feeling of revulsion toward Margulus and Sarveria who were no longer here.
I also shared her sentiment.
「I have a request I want to ask you about Armia.」
While our expression still cloudy, Zieg-san opened his mouth.
「I know it’s unreasonable to ask both of you this, but, we can’t leave her like this for longer, that’s why, I beg you, can you please talk to her? 」
He looked pained as he said that.
His expression showed how worried he was having to say that.
Being the third party who didn’t know the full picture, Zieg-san would want to avoid stepping into my relationship with Armia.
「I’m not asking you to unconditionally forgive Armia. But, I hope you can talk if over with Armia, Armia had been tormenting herself over her connection with you.」
And yet, he committed the taboo.
From that, it was apparent how much Zieg-san worried about Armia.
「……I’m sorry, I can’t answer that request.」
……But even knowing that, this wasn’t a request I could accept.
In response to my reply, anxiety floated on Zieg-san’s face for a moment.
「My bad. I forgot to say the important thing, about the reward.」
However, Zieg-san’s immediately regained his composure and kept talking.
「In terms of rewards, I will give you all the rewards from the phoenix subjugation. Of course, this is the conclusion of my party’s discussion.」
I couldn’t hide my agitation hearing Zieg-san’s words.
Giving us all the reward from phoenix subjugation was an exceptional reward.
Moreover, doing that meant Zieg-san’s party would be in the red.
Even so, there was no hesitation in his words.
I was touched by his appearance who cared for his comrades so much.
「……I’m sorry, it’s not the issue with reward. There is no point even if I forgive her.」
…But I couldn’t accept Mr. Sieg’s request.
「Wait! In her current condition, she wouldn’t be able to take part in the phoenix subjugation. If Armia returns to normal, the subjugation would surely be easier!」
Responding to my words, Zieg-san kept talking as if he was impatient.
In order to somehow convinced me.
…Alas, I didn’t accept his request not because I couldn’t forgive Armia.
It was just, no matter what I do, I wouldn’t be able to save her.
「I don’t think she will be back to normal even if I forgive her.」
Seemingly not understanding what I meant, Zieg-san was at lost for words.
「I think Armia is only trying to erase the feeling of emptiness from being betrayed by Sword of Lightning by obsessing over her atonement for me. Whether I forgive her or not, the void in her heart would still remain… No, forgiving her may even have a greater impact on her.」
However, after hearing my explanation which ignored his reaction, Zieg-san looked shaken for a moment, then he opened his mouth.
「…Is that so?」
From his murmur, it seemed he was deeply convinced.
That was when I knew Zieg-san finally realized there was nothing he could do about this.
The reason for her current condition was not her guilt toward me.
The matter with Margulus and Sarveria still occupied her heart, trying to atone to me was just her trying to turn her head away from the matter.
So, I couldn’t possibly cheer Armia up no matter what I do.
…… Understanding that, Zieg-san, unable to hide his discouragement, left the cafe to talk with his party members about the phoenix subjugation tomorrow.
「……Is this alright?」
All I could do as I watched Zieg-san’s went away with drooped shoulder was muttering that.
But when I realized I couldn’t get involved in this, I let out a sigh.
While praying that Armia will recover somehow, I got up to leave the cafe.
It was at that moment Narsena called out to me timidly.
This took longer than I expected, both the gathering motivation part and the translating part, pretty sure I get some part wrong too, might need to come back later if it’s actually important in the future
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