My name is Hendra.
I venture to say that I’m born into one of the most prominent families in the Mermaid Kingdom, serving the Mermaid King for generations by producing a number of great generals and officials.
I was born as the second son of four siblings.
However, I did not follow my family’s tradition and left the political field, neither becoming a soldier nor a government official, but making a living by compiling books and reviewing the general drift of affairs.
They call me a scholar, but in essence, I am a wandering, rootless person.
Lately, however, the world is becoming more and more disturbing, even affecting my surroundings.
The biggest problem for the Mermaid Kingdom right now is not the sea we live in, but the land.
It’s the state of affairs of a terrestrial race—the annihilation of the Human Kingdom.
When we heard the news, the Mermaid Kingdom was shaken to its core.
The war on land which everyone believed had been and would be going on for thousands of years suddenly ended.
We merfolk were most interested in what would happen in the future.
As in, what would the victorious race do now that they’ve won the war?
The human race lost.
The demon race won.
What will be the demons’ next move?
Will they relieve themselves of the position they’ve earned and live in peace from now on, or will they not approve of terminating their military rule and seek a new battle?
If it’s the former, so be it.
The Mermaid Kingdom will continue to enjoy the harmony we’ve always had.
But what if it’s the latter?
If the demon race is still looking for a fight after crushing the human race, it’s most likely that their next enemy will be us, the mermaid race, one of the three major races.
This is why the Mermaid Kingdom has been tumultuous, what with controversialists and critics bickering over a single topic, not calming down even for a moment.
Will the demon race invade our kingdom? That was the question.
However, there is a recent incident that I must also mention in light of this topic.
It’s about our beloved king, His Majesty Nagus’ first daughter, Princess Platy, and her marriage controversy.
Princess Platy is a woman of royal blood. In addition, she is one of the most skilled mages in the kingdom, so many wanted to marry her.
Even people from other races, such as the humans and demons, wanted her hand in marriage.
This meant that a military alliance would automatically be established with either race, which was a matter of serious discussion in various places at the time.
‘Should Princess Platy marry someone from the demon or the human race?’
Heated debates on how Princess Platy’s choice would affect our kingdom arose, but ultimately, Her Highness didn’t marry into either race.
Rumors say that she married a saint or something who belonged to neither race to avoid being involved in the war.
When I got to know of this, I believed Her Highness made the right call.
In fact, as a controversialist, I kept arguing that we shouldn’t choose between the two before the controversy was settled. I even went as far as using my family’s influence to have an audience with His Majesty.
Thinking about it now, I’m abashed at how imprudent I was.
But that’s not the point here, because the situation changed in less than a year.
The demon race destroyed the human race and became the supreme ruler on land.
This rekindled the debate about the marriage controversy.
The faction that insisted that Princess Platy should marry into the demon race back then is now boasting triumphantly.
“If only we had married Princess Platy to a demon back then, our kingdom would have been safe!” they say.
If Princess Platy had married a demon, the demons and mermaids would’ve been allied by marriage.
Even if the demon race has conquered the land, there would be no hostile relations between us.
On the contrary, it would have been the most unbearable choice if she had married a human.
But at the very least, we have avoided these two extremities in reality.
Still, careful political decisions are required, for the fate of the Mermaid Kingdom depends on it.
Meanwhile, the pro-demon race faction has become experts at raising hell…
“It’s not too late! If Princess Platy isn’t here, then we can make her younger sister, Princess Angel, the Demon King’s concubine to strengthen our relationship with the Demon Kingdom!!!”
However, I don’t agree with their idea.
The situation has drastically changed from the time of Princess Platy’s marriage controversy.
The demon race has maintained a delicate power balance in a standoff with the human race, but now that they have conquered the land, they might take it as a sign of vassalage if we were to ask them to marry someone from our race.
We’d be defeated without a fight.
Even the governing body of the Mermaid Kingdom is worried about this, so they can’t carelessly dispatch messengers to gather information on the land as they wish.
With irresponsible gossip about the demon army possibly invading the seas, the merfolks’ anxiety was at an all-time high.
If this keeps up, the Mermaid Kingdom will self-destruct before it gets attacked by the demons.
Something must be done about this!
…And so, I rushed to Prince Arowana, the son of the Mermaid King, who is, in other words, the successor to the throne.
I feel deeply ashamed of myself for relying on my family’s influence yet again, but I, the second son of a powerful nobleman in the Mermaid Kingdom, have known Prince Arowana since we were little.
I tried to talk with him and find a way for the Mermaid Kingdom to maintain its independence, but…
“Oh, hey, Hendra. I’m going on a pilgrimage,” were his very first words to me.
And a “huh?!” was all that I could say in reply.
The next king, who is responsible for the Mermaid Kingdom’s future, is going on a pilgrimage without a care in the world at a time when his nation is about to face its greatest crisis in history?!
“You shouldn’t worry yourself about word on the streets. That aside, you’ve come at the right time. I have a favor to ask you.”
“A favor, you say?”
“Yeah. I bet you’re not employed by anyone, so you’re free, right? I want you to deliver something to my sister while I’m away.”
Thus, I had accepted Prince Arowana’s favor to deliver something to Princess Platy who began her married life on land.
The prince had been making regular deliveries of herbs and equipment not available on land to help the princess create magic potions, but now that he went on a pilgrimage, he wanted me to deliver them in his place.
In other words, it was an opportunity to see Princess Platy, who had never shown herself in public since the marriage scandal.
I didn’t expect to be granted an audience with her like this.
Princess Platy was able to avoid complications of being affiliated in any way with the other two races by marrying the Saint.
This is just mere speculation on my part, but I think this Saint person doesn’t exist.
Princess Platy is a wise and brilliant woman who is even nicknamed “The Crowned Witch” by the populace.
I’m sure she understands the foolishness of supporting just one of the two opposing forces.
By making up an imaginary character called Saint, she can settle things in a way that both the demon and human races can excuse, while at the same time isolating herself from the mundane world.
That’s what I think.
If it’s a free and uncontrolled person like her, she can do anything.
But now that Prince Arowana has nonchalantly gone on his journey, this is my chance to bring Princess Platy back and approach King Nagus to reestablish negotiations with the demon race.
It’s my once-in-a-lifetime chance to make a direct appeal!
I may be an unaffiliated recluse, but I’m ready to lay down my life for my nation.
I almost died the last time I made a direct appeal to His Majesty, anyway.
I’ll try to persuade Her Royal Highness for the sake of the Mermaid Kingdom, regardless of my manners.
That’s how a controversialist lays down his life!