|Author: Kobayashi Homare||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2530 characters|
|Translator: Nomad||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1234 words|
“Lady Lapis, please don’t wander off on your own. We are trying to work on a tight schedule here.”
“I’m sorry, I’ll be more careful from now on.”
As he reprimanded me for leaving the room, Suplehawk’s already frowning brow turned more wrinkly. I felt bad for making his job harder, but I still believed ensuring me and my friend’s safety was more important. He took me back to our room, but quickly after we were on our way to the audience. Apparently, while I was gone the time for it had come. Since keeping the emperor in a good mood was important, Suplehawk had us running to get there on time. The third floor I had caught a glimpse of earlier was only for the imperial family’s private use, so all audiences were carried out on the second floor.
“The audience hall is past this door. It’ll open when your name gets called, and please have Luvias in front. This is as far as I’ll accompany you.”
I turned to see how they were doing, Karin and Ciel looked rather nervous, their faces tense. This was their first time meeting an emperor, or the leader of a country for that matter, so it was impossible to expect them to be calm. Luvias was a princess, so she looked unfazed. Since we still had a bit of time before we had to enter, I decided to massage their backs in an attempt to relax them.
“Hero Luvias of the Kingdom of Bordaule and her followers, please enter.”
A voice spoke out from the other side of the door. It sounded more like an announcement than a call, but I decided not to think too much about it. The way the double doors opened without raising a sound reminded me of my time in Bordaule’s royal palace, but there was no glamour to it at all here. There was a heavy thud when they opened entirely, and past it we could see two walls made of many people, who were curious to see in person what kind of person Bordaule’s hero was.
With everyone’s eyes on her, Luvias stuck her chest out and pridefully stepped forward. Karin followed her, as if reeled in by her, then Ciel and I walked behind them. This was another type of war, one that did not involve the clashing of swords. I could understand why Luvias looked so confident, she had just stepped into a diplomatic warzone. She looked straight at the emperor, walking forward until we were almost in front of the throne and she knelt down there, the rest of us following her lead.
“Welcome, Lady Luvias and party. I’m Leble the Fifth, emperor of this land.”
The man who introduced himself as the emperor still looked rather young, like he had just turned twenty. He wore black formal clothing, had flaming red hair, and a sharp gaze that seemed to penetrate deep into anyone he looked at. Even though he had obtained the throne thanks to his heritage, he still looked rather ambitious.
“I’m extremely humbled to be in your presence, sire. I’m Luvias, the third princess of Bordaule as well as the hero of my country. These are my followers, Karin, Ciel and Lapis.”
Just as we had rehearsed before, she introduced us as her followers. It did not matter if we treated each other on a different basis normally, if she was not firm in official meetings, her dubious stance would be rendered onto Bordaule’s image, which we had to avoid at all costs. Only she had to speak throughout this meeting, and us three would remain kneeling with our heads down in silence. The emperor looked carefully at each one of us, first at Luvias, then to Karin, Ciel, and when he finally turned to me, he smiled slightly.
“…Yes, you all look like well-trained and powerful warriors. But I’m intrigued, I had heard Lady Lapis was as skilled with the sword as with magic, but her main role is being a priest?”
“She’s well versed in the art of the sword, as well as knowledgeable of many spells, but yes, she’s mainly a priest.”
“Hmm…a priest…I see.”
It was clear he was still doubtful about it, but he seemed to realize any further questions would be uncalled for, given this was mainly a meeting to greet each other. The conversation after that was mostly filled with vague questions about unrelated things and the audience came to an end. When we returned to the guest room, Ciel and Karin had to do some stretches to get rid of the built-up tension. I also heaved a deep sigh of relief, since I was worried to death wondering how I should reply if he pried more into me.
“But still…he called Lapis out for being a priest.”
“We should have expected that much.”
“She’s the strongest in the party but we have her in the rear after all.”
The three laughed at how ridiculous the whole premise was. I had enough things to worry about so I only grimaced hearing them.
“Anyway, what are we scheduled to do now again?”
Ciel was sitting on her bed and taking her shoes off when I asked her. She looked through the itinerary lying on the table before replying.
“Apparently…we have a big dinner tonight, titled ‘welcome party’. We aren’t allowed to go out to the city, and tomorrow we have a public introduction, the day after that a mock battle. We only have free time the next day.”
“I understand the public introduction and free time, but what is that mock battle? Are we supposed to fight?”
“No, that’s not quite right. The ones fighting will be this country’s knights and soldiers, everyone invited from the other countries will only watch. I feel like it’ll be boring, but at least I’m glad we don’t have to do anything.”
The last bit made me feel very relieved. I did not like the idea of being treated as a public attraction after being invited to a foreign country like this. I still felt a bit let down hearing I would not see how strong the other heroes are, but ideally I would never have to fight them so it did not matter too much, so it was best if I stayed back and watched in case something interesting happened.
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“But anyway, they’re doing this welcome party the same day we arrived, do you think they’ll do one for every country?”
Karin tilted her head puzzled as she asked that, and Luvias replied to her question.
“That’s not it. Festivities like that are only rarely done, so just one party would be it. This is only my guess, but maybe all the other countries’ delegations arrived before us? And now that we arrived as well, they can throw the party tonight.”
“Do you think so? Then hopefully we can meet the other heroes. Though I’ll be happy as long as I don’t see Leble’s heroes.”
Karin had a bout with Leble’s heroes in the past, so I could understand why she would not want to meet them again. Though on the other hand, I was looking forward to seeing them just a bit, I was curious to see how someone who went through such a brutal punishment looked now.