|Author: Kisasaki Suzume||Original Source: Syosetu|
|Translator: Mui||English Source: Re:Library|
Fruitless Flower: Fruitless Flower: This is a Japanese expression that refers to something that only appears nice but has no other value/substance. It is most likely figuratively referring to Monica, who is like an empty shell.
Royal Capital of Setulev – Alhurra…
True to its standing as the royal capital of the kingdom of water, Setulev lived up to its reputation, resembling a colossal fountain when viewed from above. It could even be likened to a magnificent cake constructed from stones and water.
Nestled at the center of the city, the royal castle occupied a slightly elevated position, with water cascading from beneath it, forming a circular waterfall. This spectacle represented the might of the Regalia—the Wisdom Eye Vortex, a force that governed the land and was safeguarded within the castle during times of peace.
Water flowed through the city’s intricate network of waterways, eventually spilling out from the wall’s drainage pipes into the surrounding canal. The city exuded a vibrant and lively atmosphere, mirroring the resplendent beauty of the waterways.
The roads and waterway banks in Setulev were notable for their radiant stone paving, while the majority of the buildings were actually constructed from wood. This choice was attributed to the kingdom’s affinity with water, as wood was abundant and its natural ability to regulate humidity made it well-suited for a region characterized by frequent rain and high humidity.
Lucella strolled along the inner perimeter of the city wall, following a 45-degree angle, until she stumbled upon a gathering of people near the northern gate where she was expected to rendezvous with the others.
Intrigued, she approached the crowd to get a better view, only to discover that it was merely a minor congestion caused by weary travelers taking a brief respite in that area.
Amidst the bustling crowd, a familiar voice called out, “Lucella!”
To her surprise, Kafal seamlessly blended in with the group, as if it were the most natural thing in the world.
Although Tim’s armor resembled a range of mountains, he didn’t attract too much attention on the bustling main street of the capital, as armed adventurers were a common sight in the city.
On the other hand, Kafal stood out even more, her radiant appearance resembling flickering flames.
Her real body was far away on Mount Kuguse while this here was just a clone, but she still shone with extraordinary aura and brilliance like a ruby mixed among the riverbed stones.
Positioned on the outskirts of the gate, Kafal eagerly awaited Lucella’s arrival. As soon as she caught sight of Lucella, her face lit up like the sun, and she hurried over with an infectious smile. Spontaneously, the human bystanders parted to make way for her.
Approaching from the front, Kafal embraced Lucella, lifting her up, and playfully rubbed her cheeks against hers.
“…Hey Mom, what’s this about?”
“This is… to make up… for the time you were away.”
“The warm gazes from people around are stabbing into me…”
Kafal was already gathering attention as is, but now everyone was focusing on them. Everyone was watching over them warmly.
Some of them seemed to be making up wild guesses about it and had tears in their eyes. Perhaps they thought it was a moving reunion between parent and child that had been separated.
It wasn’t a mistake, per se. But they were separated by less than a half day.
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“What about Wein and Viola?”
“They went to handle some procedures. I’m about to go to the Adventurer’s Guild though.”
Tim answered Lucella who was still in Kafal’s embrace.
“That’s perfect then. I got into some trouble on my way here and wanted to head to the Adventurer’s Guild regarding it.”
“Oh, what happened?”
The Adventurer’s Guild in the royal capital served as the central hub that connected all branches and adventurers across the kingdom.
Despite being labeled as a small kingdom, the guild building itself was of considerable size, resembling a fortress or stronghold rather than a mere administrative office. Within its walls, a large number of personnel tirelessly carried out extensive clerical work.
The fundamental principle of the Adventurer’s Guild was “political noninvolvement.” However, this principle primarily meant that the guild should refrain from engaging in direct political conflicts. Nonetheless, they still received numerous quests from the royalty, titled nobility, and administrative bodies. In fact, they maintained close ties with the authorities, particularly in matters concerning monster countermeasures, occasionally even acting as an extension of the government. Sadly, such collaborations often led to compromising their principle of political noninvolvement, as collusive relationships emerged.
For these reasons, the guild’s headquarters were strategically located in the heart of the royal capital, not far from the royal castle. The expansive lobby, where both clients and adventurers congregated, offered ample space for interactions. Adventurers clad in various attires mingled within, some even approaching clients who arrived to issue quests directly, engaging in business discussions to secure quests tailored to their unique skills and abilities.
As the three entered the guild, a somewhat large armored man came running over with a pale face.
“Tim! You b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲, when did you get married and get a daughter…!”
“You’re wrong, you dumbass! How could I have a big daughter like that all of a sudden!”
He had a hairstyle similar to a chicken’s comb, and appeared to be Tim’s acquaintance.
“Sorry, Lucella. This dumbass is Martin from Night-Crying Drizzle. He’s an adventurer active in the royal capital, and while he’s dumb he’s skilled.”
“Shut up, I’m smarter than you!”
“Martin, this is Lucella, our new member.”
“Nice to meet you. I’m working as a manager for Golden Helmet.”
“Manager? What’s that?”
“Oh, uhh, I’m supporting them with office work…”
“…Also, this is Kafal. She’s Lucella’s mother and she came with us to the capital because she has some business here.”
When Martin looked at Kafal he felt something was amiss and looked puzzled for a moment, but he then did a quick bow without delving into it.
Perhaps he had sensed Kafal’s non-human aura, but he probably figured that if she was with Tim she wouldn’t be anyone suspicious.
“Hey, Martin. Looks like Lucella here saw something a bit suspicious…”
Lucella conveyed the events that transpired on the highway before she reached this place. Tim told it as is to Martin, and he nodded once he heard it all.
“Yeah, people have been talking about it. Apparently, Her Highness Monica encountered some scary monster.”
Upon hearing this, Tim’s expression grew even more grave.
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“…I see, so it was Lady Monica that Lucella encountered…”
“Who’s that? Someone famous? I didn’t know…”
Martin and Tim seemed to understand everything with her name alone, while Lucella was lost.
Tim hesitated for a moment whether to say it or not.
“I suppose it’s natural you don’t know if you’ve only been in Setulev for two or three years. But it’s quite a famous story inside the kingdom. Some ten-odd years ago, the queen who was the legal wife had an affair and was confined.”
“…I thought it was common for aristocrats who married for political reasons to surround themselves with lovers…”
“But there was a problem this time. The queen had inherited the royal blood and held a high affinity with the Regalia.”
“Oof… now that’s bad.”
Yikes, Lucella covered her face.
Human kingdoms maintained their lands with the powers of the Regalia, and those Regalia also held a power that could be called a trump card in cases of emergency during wars.
However, not everyone could control them. In most kingdoms, the Regalia could only be used by the royal family’s lineage. This wasn’t because their blood held some special power.
It was simply because, for some reason, when making Regalia, it was necessary to designate who was allowed to use it using blood, and it was normally the royal family serving that purpose.
It was practically impossible to overwrite this, and every kingdom’s royal family was careful so that the blood compatible with their regalia wouldn’t die out while also making sure it wouldn’t chaotically spread.
Every kingdom controls the bloodlines of those that can use it very strictly. And the queen was one of those.
…And yet… she found herself entangled in a complicated situation when she had a child with a married man.
The other party involved did not belong to the royal bloodline, but the child inherited the mother’s exceptional talent. And that caused drama. The kingdom would be troubled if there were too few individuals capable of wielding the Regalia. However, if those individuals emerged from external sources, it could undermine the legitimacy of the reigning monarchy.
As a result, the queen was confined, and her child was kept in close proximity, subject to strict limitations. The queen had an older daughter, born legitimately from her union with the king. However, even the legitimacy of this child’s birth came into question, leading to a series of restrictions that eventually prompted her departure from the royal palace.
Upon comprehending the entire story, Lucella couldn’t help but comment, “It truly evolved into an ugly and complicated situation, didn’t it?”
“Should I add something even more depressing? The queen was childhood friends with that married man in question, and her marriage with the king was purely circumstantial for keeping her bloodline in check.”
“That’s really messed up!”
Humans had a tendency to complicate their relationships when they had an abundance of food, clothing, and leisure time. The situation became even more distressing when the foundation was already marred.
Lucella firmly believed that infidelity was not morally acceptable. However, she couldn’t ignore the fact that, at this point, everyone involved had become victims of the circumstances.
“Afterward, the concubine gave birth to a prince, effectively fulfilling the queen’s purpose. So yeah, I think you’ve already caught on, but the child born between the queen and her lover is Lady Monica.”
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Everything finally connected. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to say that the girl named Monica had been carrying a curse from the moment she was born.
Even referring to her as “Her Highness” felt laden with sarcasm. The title seemed less of an honorific and more of a biting irony.
“Her existence is like an open secret… She is treated with caution, and everyone pretends she isn’t there wherever she goes. But deep down, everyone knows about her and the circumstances surrounding her birth. It must be incredibly tough for her… I think I would have lost my sanity by now.” Tim said bitterly.
Lucella felt a bit apologetic toward Monica.
They said that if you suddenly fed a starving person, it would only kill them. Unknowingly, she had offered encouragement without fully understanding the situation, and now she realized her words may have been poison to the girl.
Simultaneously, a new thought emerged in Lucella’s mind. Who would target Monica, whose very existence was viewed as a disaster? Lucella had some theories and possible explanations, but the central question remained: Why was all of this happening