Scenario:Percival and Heles - For Her Homeland's Sake
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For Her Homeland's Sake
Heles wishes to return to Alster Island upon learning of a trade dispute there, but she decides not to after Percival argues the importance of teaching the people self-sufficiency. Some time later she learns that conflict has been avoided, thanks in part to an unknown red-haired knight.
It's vacation time for (Captain) and the crew, who have decided to spend it on a peaceful island.
The central marketplace hums with activity; merchants and shoppers rush to and fro with giddy excitement.
Lyria: Heles? Why the long face?
Heles: Sorry. Watching this lively marketplace brings back memories of how Irestill used to be...
Vyrn: Yeah, it'd be great if Irestill quickly returned to the way it was before.
Heles: Yes. And with that in mind, I want to exert even more effort to achieve that goal—to go beyond the level of my current endeavors.
Heles: (Yet what more can I do for my kingdom? That's something for me to think about further.)
Meanwhile another individual with a great burden on their shoulder, Percival, contemplates the ideal way to rebuild his own homeland.
Percival: (The citizens of this town go about their lives with a skip in their step. This is how a country should be.)
Percival: Hm? What are you staring at so intently, Heles? Is there something stuck to my face?
Heles: I see this town's grabbed your attention as well.
Percival: Indeed it has. These people prove that it is the citizens who form the foundation of a nation.
Heles: Yes. But unlike the common people, you and I are not the type of individuals who can easily lie back and relax on our days off.
Percival: I'd say that's a fair assessment. Then as you have pointed out, I believe wandering about town and making observations is the best course of action for us.
Percival: Hm... However, this day off is long overdue, and my vassals deserve to let off some steam.
Lyria: Um, where are you going, Percival?
Percival: I'm heading to the port to examine how this island conducts its trade.
Heles: I see... Then please allow me to join you.
Percival: Mm, as you wish.
Percival and Heles split off from the crew and head for the port.
A great many airships are flitting through the air when the pair arrives at the port.
Hundreds of cargoes line the docks, either ready to be exported or waiting to be unpacked.
Percival: Superb! What a smooth-running system...
Heles: Goodness... I could learn so much from this place. Let's go converse with the merchants!
Percival and Heles go around speaking to everyone they see, gleaning what they can to help rebuild their respective homelands.
Just then one particular airship docks rather abruptly.
Percival: Ah, that airship bears the flag of—
Heles: Huh? Irestill? It's an airship from my kingdom!
The two dash over to the airship that had just landed.
A messenger from Alster Island disembarks to greet them.
Messenger: Lady Heles! I wasn't expecting to find you so quickly!
Heles: What is the matter? And how did you know where I was?
Messenger: Well, the skyfarers you travel with are quite famous. We followed the rumors to track you down.
Messenger: Um... So I hate to be the one to tell you this, but...
The messenger explains that the people of Alster are nervous about the possibility of a violent clash breaking out.
It all started with a dispute between established local vendors and newly arrived traders from outside the island.
Up until now the Great Court and security forces had managed to keep the peace.
But the mafia had kept a sharp eye on the situation and then made their move when they saw an opening, exacerbating the conflict.
With no other recourse left, the Great Court wants Heles to return to set things straight.
Messenger: Sigh... Like I said before, I really didn't want to break this news to you, Lady Heles, but—
Heles: Let's make for Alster. We'll block the mafia and put an end to this trade dispute once and for all.
Heles begins to board the airship, but Percival clamps his hand on her shoulder.
Percival: Tell me, messenger... This trade dispute stems from an argument over vested rights, yes?
Percival: I'll put this simply. Upholding vested rights of the locals creates a closed, protectionist market.
Percival: Now, if you really want the kingdom to prosper, you should lower taxes and abolish the idea of vested rights.
Percival: Yes... If you do that, I think a free-market economy will be established that is as dynamic as the one found in this town.
Messenger: But what about the local vendors who have been around for generations?
Percival glances quickly at the messenger before turning his gaze back to Heles.
Percival: If Heles is the one to proceed with this course of action, then the matter will probably resolve rather quickly. But the people would soon grow overly dependent on her.
Percival: Imagine if that dependence lead to citizens standing in the way of their leader despite her guiding them toward prosperity. You wouldn't want that, would you?
Heles: (Hmm... Percival makes a sound argument, but...)
Heles: You're exactly right, Percival, but my first priority is to stop tensions from boiling over!
Percival: Humph. Do you place such little value on the wardens you cultivated by your own hand?
Percival: Well? If you were unable to return home, are you saying they couldn't even stop a fight?
Heles: That's not...
Imperial Guard 1: We'll protect the people in Lady Heles's absence!
Imperial Guard 2: Hah hah hah! Have no fear. We've been run through the gauntlet by Her Highness herself!
Heles: No. They're not weak in the slightest. They're my proud wardens who don't need me to babysit them!
Percival: Aha! Then believe in them. Let them sort things out with the people. That's part of what makes a kingdom grow.
Heles lets out a soft breath, then takes the messenger's hand in both of hers.
Heles: I will remain here. So please... Give my message to our vendors and everyone else.
Heles: Let them know that I understand how they all feel. But I also want us to welcome newcomers and follow a path of renewed growth.
Messenger: Very well. I will relay your message to everyone in full.
The messenger takes to heart Heles's conflicted decision and boards the airship to return to Alster Island without her.
A few weeks later, that same messenger from Alster arrives on the Grandcypher to speak with Heles once more.
Heles: Heh. I can already tell what you're about to say from the look on your face.
Messenger: I'm just relieved to be able to deliver some good news this time.
The security forces had completely routed the mafia before their plans could go into full swing.
As for the local vendors, they agreed to adopt a free-market approach upon hearing Heles's words.
Heles: (Hehe... I have Percival to thank for all of this.)
Heles: Speaking of which... (Captain), have you by any chance seen Percival?
Vyrn: Oh, yeah. So this actually happened a little earlier...
Vyrn: Huh? You headin' out at this time of night, Sir Burnsalot?
Percival: Humph. I'll just be gone for a little while. Watch over things here, my vassals.
Vyrn: H-hey! Geez, slipping into the night so suddenly... What's up with that?
Vyrn: But I haven't seen him come back yet. I wonder what happened...
Messenger: That sounds like... Well, it's possible that... Um, there was a report from the guards...
Heles: Does it pertain to Percival?
The guards reported that a knight with red hair appeared out of nowhere and helped them destroy the mafia in a matter of days.
Vyrn: Whoa... That's gotta be him...
Lyria: Hmm... It sure sounds like Percival...
Just then the thud of clanking armor gets louder and louder as someone approaches the deck of the airship.
Lyria: Oh! It's Percival!
Percival: What's this? You all look depressed for some reason. Did something happen?
Seeing Percival safe and sound brings relief to (Captain) and the others.
Vyrn: Hey, you could've just told us you had to go to Alster, ya know!
Percival: Hm? Now why would I have any reason to go to Alster?
Vyrn: Look at this guy, playing dumb when we already know the truth.
Percival: Hahaha! A red-headed knight, was it? He must be quite a fanciful fellow.
Percival: Ahem. I'm a little tired now. I shall retire to my room. Wake me up if anything happens.
With dirt and soot raining from his cloak, the knight with hair as red as flames strides gallantly to his room, an innocent smirk gracing his face.
Heles: Heehee... That Percival is a perfect gentleman...
Heles smiles and bows her head to Percival as he enters the bowels of the Grandcypher.