Chapter 22:

Human Rights Before Heroes

The Consequence of Saving the World

“Hey, your majesty!”Bookmark here

Hey? Did Remus really just interject King Graven’s words with a ‘hey’? I was just a villager, but even I knew what insolence was. Bookmark here

Remus lazily lifted his hand up. He was leaning back into his seat, balancing the chair with its two rear legs. Bookmark here

“I know we all want to get this damn meeting done and go home for a beer, but don’t cha think my pal Evan over here should tell everyone why he came late?”Bookmark here

This little piece of—Bookmark here

Relax Evan. No bloodlust. This was merely a test. Relax.Bookmark here

“It’s fine, isn’t it? Hero Evansmith is present with us now, that’s all that matters—”Bookmark here

“I’m afraid I have to agree with the drunkard, your majesty.”Bookmark here

E-Eh? Even Azelia? Well, to be precise, her familiar. The sharp, hawk-like eyes of the familiar turned to face me before continuing:Bookmark here

“It’s not that I don’t trust you or anything, it’s just that earlier, Sereya over here said that you were occupied and couldn’t make it, which I find highly suspicious.Bookmark here

Were you trying to sabotage the summit or something, Ms. Merciful Blade?”Bookmark here

Crap! Why is she dragging Sereya into this?Bookmark here

Sereya’s expression remained unmoved, cool as ice in the face of the question from the burning bird. Even then, I could tell that she had no way out of this one.Bookmark here

“Your majesty,” I wanted to bail her out, but my body accidentally stood up from my seat.Bookmark here

Damn it Evan calm down!Bookmark here

If I did something by accident, I needed to make it look deliberate. Since I was up from my seat, I decided to purposely and slowly turn around as I scanned the audience.Bookmark here

Good, everyone’s sights were on me, their gaze burning with anticipation.Bookmark here

“Everyone, friends from all nations, I was indeed occupied, as mentioned by Sereya. For that, I apologise.”Bookmark here

I bowed my head down to appear sincere when in actuality, I was using that time to think of what to say next.Bookmark here

“What could be more pressing than the Seven Heroes Summit? This assembly pertains to the fate of the world!”Bookmark here

A disgruntled emissary behind me threw that heated question.Bookmark here

“I arrived at the palace at the same time with Sereya, but I had to meet with the Legendary Sage Ordis beforehand. I made a discovery, an invention that could potentially change the lives of all peoples. I was so excited, I had to share it with Ordis first.”Bookmark here

I could hear some of the emissaries going “wooh”, excited by the prospect of a life-changing invention. Sorry Ordis for throwing you under the bus, but like you said, the fate of the world was at hand here!Bookmark here

“What invention could this be?”Bookmark here

Another voice from amongst the crowd, this time from a man at the corner of my eyes.Bookmark here

“I’m already pretty drained from explaining to Ordis, so just stay tuned to the Sage for more news.”Bookmark here

“Sorry Evan.” Bookmark here

Wait what? Sereya got up and also started speaking?Bookmark here

“I thought that Ordis would kidnap you for the whole day! My bad, hehe~”Bookmark here

Whew, she scared me there. Good one, Sereya! And sorry that you had to join me in my lying!Bookmark here

“Well, in the future, inform the palace in advance then, Hero Evansmith.”Bookmark here

I nodded my head and bowed to King Graven. He was a pretty chill king, I thought he would be a lot scarier and unreasonable, but he was nice. Maybe a bit too nice, though—you shouldn’t let a lowlife like Remus cut you off.Bookmark here

His Majesty continued, “I take it we have no further queries then?”Bookmark here

Silence travelled across the hall, until I heard a small creaking noise from my right.Bookmark here

This bastard Remus was placing his feet on the table! Did his vulgarity know no bounds? Those filthy boots of his smelt even worse than his stench of alcohol!Bookmark here

I looked around, praying for someone to admonish him. Oh come on! The other heroes didn’t even bat an eye! Did they not have a sense of smell or something?Bookmark here

And you too, Your Majesty! Can you not see this swine putting his legs on this table? Say something!Bookmark here

“Alright then, we shall proceed. I formally call this meeting to order. Lord Eustace, if you may.” Bookmark here

I nearly let out a sigh of annoyance due to the lack of action towards Remus, but I was more curious about this Eustace fellow. He was seated way behind at the back, somewhere at the top tier of this hall. The man was overweight, his clothes extravagant—exactly what I imagined of a noble.Bookmark here

Lord Eustace hobbled down the steps towards our table, but he did not join us. Instead, he stood by the edge and announced with his breathy voice:Bookmark here

“I, Eustace McBrian, Lord of Conningway, on behalf of the lords and wise men gathered with us here today, am continuing my role as presiding officer. With the attendance of Hero Evansmith Mattheld, the motion of ‘Human Rights Before Heroes’ shall resume debate.” Bookmark here

Motion? Presiding officer? What?Bookmark here

“May we ha—”Bookmark here

“—Thanks Lord Eustace, but you don’t need to tell us whose turn it is to speak anymore.”Bookmark here

Just like that, Azelia’s familiar cut off the presiding officer and took control of the discussion. Why was I not surprised that Lord Eustace or anyone else opposed her? The whole structure of this meeting was weird—these emissaries were trying to get us to do something, but the Seven Heroes had too much power. Nobody was brave enough to address any misbehaviour from us.Bookmark here

The fiery bird proceeded:Bookmark here

“We just needed to hear Evan’s thoughts on the matter.”Bookmark here

Once more, she was passing the ball to me. I barely had a clue what this human rights thingy was about. Was it alright if I asked?Bookmark here

“Before Evan gives his opinion, I think it is only right that he knows where each of us stands,” Sereya explained. Nice backup!Bookmark here

“Hmm, for once, I agree with you, Sereya,” Azelia’s familiar responded. Its beak continued to mouth out human words with great confidence and clarity:Bookmark here

“All of this started due to a well-mannered gentleman called Remus Whiteaxe. If he didn’t go off sacking the town of Ostura, murdering innocent lives, we wouldn’t need to waste our time in the first place.”Bookmark here

Ah, so Remus was being Remus. We were finally doing something about his behaviour, yes? You can have my support!Bookmark here

Remus, however, looked upset. He placed his feet down on the ground and glared at the familiar.Bookmark here

“I’ll say this one last time, ya roast turkey. And listen damn well, Evan. This was a trick. Ostura attacked me first! What was I supposed to do, let my boys get killed as I stand there and watch?!”Bookmark here

“Master Remus, we are not interested in the details of the rescue of your mercenaries. The fact was that you stained your hands with the lives of the innocent! The only reason why you escaped punishment was due to your status as a Hero, which is unjust!”Bookmark here

Uriah shared my sentiments exactly.Bookmark here

“You shut yer flap, pretty boy! You’re not even one of the Seven Heroes, and I never agreed to ya being here in the first place! Call yer daddy over here, and then we can have a talk.”Bookmark here

“Mock me as you may, but don’t you dare mock my father! He made the decision to send me here, and I will prove to all of you here today that he made the right decision!”Bookmark here

Nerves were popping out of Uriah’s face. He gradually stood up from his seat.Bookmark here

“I am in full favour of Human Rights Before Heroes! It is always wrong, under any circumstances, for those who wield power as great as the Seven Heroes to take the lives of unarmed civilians without consequence! If any of the Seven Heroes did that, then the rest of the Heroes—nay, the entire world is duty-bound to strike him down!”Bookmark here

So that was what this discussion was about. Heroes cannot kill innocent lives and go away scot-free. That made sense.Bookmark here

“People like you with yer heads in the clouds don’t know crap! This human rights thing is a scam! I never asked to be a Hero in the first place, and I was only doing what was right!”Bookmark here

Fat words coming from Remus.Bookmark here

“Actually, I couldn’t care less. If we didn’t do anything wrong, why feel the need to be afraid of the motion in the first place? Honestly, I do not really have a stand, but I’m in favour of this motion just because I dislike you, Remus.”Bookmark here

“You watch yer back, bird! I’ll stuff you and hang you on a wall!”Bookmark here

Wait a second.Bookmark here

Uriah and Azelia were in favour of the motion. Remus was obviously against. If they needed my vote here, didn’t that mean—Bookmark here

“Evan, everyone, listen. Remus is right, it isn’t as simple as you think. I agree we shouldn’t take innocent lives at a whim, but this motion restricts us in such a way that we become nothing more than puppets. For that, I am against this motion.”Bookmark here

Sereya what?!Bookmark here

The situation became a lot more complicated. Crap, I wasn't expecting it to be like this!Bookmark here

“So Evan, let’s hear it from you,” said Azelia.Bookmark here

“What does the one who slew the Demon Lord think about this?”Bookmark here

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