Section 3: Prime Minister and Marchioness
*Cough, Cough Cough Cough……..*
[Toslin]: “Our deepest apologies Olivar-sama. I’m afraid Iris became a bit careless because of the warm spring breeze in the capital and caught a small cold.”
Toslin stepped forward, rubbing my back as I broke out into a violent coughing fit.
[Iris]: “S-Sorry, Toslin…..”
[Toslin]: “It’s okay. Leave the rest to us.”
Come on Lapris!? is what I was thinking, but when I shot a glare towards her on my shoulder, she was giving me a incredulous, “What the hell are you doing?” look.
[Lapris]: “What the hell are you doing?”
And then she whispered to me the exact question her expression was suggesting.
[Olivar]: “Oh, just as the rumors said, a fairy friend of the hero. I heard the fairy carries a message straight from the Goddess Illya herself.”
[Lapris]: “Yes. I was summoned to the church in Soletta Ritta during Iris’s baptism where she was awarded the red rank, and I delivered onto her an oracle.”
[Olivar]: “I see. The story goes that my ancestor Ranroot had a fairy companion at his side as well.”
The king turned the same blue eyes as Ashel-sama my way.
[Olivar]: “So you were chosen by the Goddess. You might just be the Hero responsible for the next generation……”
Thanks to Toslin rubbing my back, I somehow managed to control my breathing.
But I was still a long ways away from being able to say anything.
I could hear some laughter coming from the group of nobles standing in the room once my coughing had died down to the point where I could think about anything other than that.
[Saluena]: “…..Your Majesty. Before anything else, allow us to introduce ourselves.”
Thereupon Saluena took a step forward. She set one hand upon her chest and offered a small bow.
She was the most beautiful person in the room, yet she still carries such a dominating presence over those around her.
Even Olivar-sama, the king who had reached the blue rank before being enthroned, was reduced to silence.
Saluena raised her head amidst that silence, turning towards the direction where that laughter had come from, and opened her mouth.
[Saluena]: “I…..am Hadion.”
In an instant, the relaxed air that had filled the room after my little disruption was swept away, and the audience returned to the tense state at which it had begun.
[Saluena]: “I was once known as the Dark Violet Knight. I was defeated by the Goddess Illya and sealed away in a prison of darkness……a thousand years ago. Now under compact with the Goddess, I have dedicated my sword to Iris Calvafon here.”
Whispers began to leak from our surroundings, but a single glance from Saluena was all it took to silence the lot of them once again.
[Saluena]: “And this is my younger sister. The priestess with whom I have exchanged the Mira Antulla, the sisterly pledge, with. Rosalith Cuulbacall.”
With her vow of chastity preventing her from saying anything on her own, Rose-san made due with a silent bow of her own.
[Saluena]: “Your Majesty has already exchanged words with this one…..”
[Toslin]: “My apologies for the late introductions. I am Tosrillon F. Iriburgh. The third daughter of a viscount family from the holy forest nation of Laforia.”
Carol started to introduce herself as well, but Rose-san wrapped her hands around Carol’s mouth to keep her quiet without Toslin having to do anything herself. Toslin went on to finish Carol’s introduction while I was impressed with how harmonious these two’s coordination is.
[Toslin]: “The werewolf lacks a family name, but her given name is Carotayle. It is an honor for her to be here.”
[Saluena]: “And then……the red-haired maiden, is Iris Calvafon……”
Saluena turned towards me and extended out her hand.
Since it’s something I’ve already done many times before, I reached out my hand, letting her take mine into hers without pause.
She pulled on my hand, bringing me a few steps closer to the king.
And I silently let her, like a puppy on a leash.
[Saluena]: “A millennia has passed, and a grimoire master has appeared in the world once again. And she has me, Rosalith, Tosrillon, Carotayle, and 50 strong knights blessed by the Goddess behind her.”
Her voice was quiet, but it carried a sense of intimidation that refused to allow you to breathe.
It spread and settled throughout the room for a while.
[Ashel]: “As well as……”
Ashel-sama walked down from the raised platform away from the throne, wearing a bright, beaming smile in stark contrast to Saluena.
He……no, she stood next to me, sandwiching me between her and Saluena.
[Ashel]: “my friend, Father.”
[Olivar]: “Hoh……is that so? You’re already that close.”
[Yuhanna]: “Iris-dono and Carotayle-dono also rescued a caravan of merchants who were traveling down the road to the capital a few kilometres ahead of my knights from a vicious monster assault. Casualties could have been significant.”
Yuhanna-sama spoke up as well following Ashel-sama’s remarks. The king listened to her with an admiring look.
[Olivar]: “Hoh, I see. Then thanks is owed beyond just the dragon subjugation.”
[Marie]: “Your Majesty. We of the church witnessed Calvafon-sama receive the Goddess’s blessing and power. It is why after a thousand years, we allowed the knight company dedicated to her to become only the second in history to bear the Goddess’s name. It is why I recommend taking a special level of discretion when dealing with her, like one would do with foreign royalty.”
Marie-sama then stepped forward and put out that suggestion. But the reception I’ve received until now has been more than warm enough. Honestly I’d only feel troubled if they tried treating me even more courteously than they already have.
[Olivar]: “Very well then. If she is one chosen by the Goddess, we must receive her with the utmost respect possible. The hero is of common birth, but she shall make a special exception and have her treated as an earl. Everyone, do not forget to show her your sincere gratitude…….”
[???]: “P-Please wait Your Royal Majesty!!”
After Ashel-sama, Yuhanna-sama, and Marie-sama had managed to calm the mood in the room, an older, middle-aged man who had been standing near Marie-sama until now stepped forward and addressed the king.
[Olivar]: “What, Prime Minister? You were here?”
[Minister]: “I am!! I have been standing here since the beginning! Rather, I have serious concerns as to why you would think the prime minister wouldn’t be here in the first place!!”
The elderly man is apparently the prime minister. In simple terms, the most powerful man in the country outside of the royal family.
He looks a bit similar to my dad with his glasses and the swept back hair, but beyond that……his body does lean more on the thicker side. I would say about the same weight as three Dads put together.
[Minister]: “Your Royal Highness, as I was saying……I believe you are handling the situation with this hero much too lightly!!”
[Olivar]: “You’re really noisy. Don’t mind each and everything I say.”
[Minister]: “It is the Prime Minister’s duty to correct the king’s mistakes!! S-So I would have you reconsider!! It is the duty of the king to deliver a level of hospitality fitting of an individual’s accomplishments! Failure of such is an irrevocable stain on a nation’s reputation!!”
[Olivar]: “And a bestowal of the rank of earl is sufficient enough. And before you say anything else, I shall be sure to bestow an additional reward to the hero fitting of her achievements at a later date. Honestly, you worry too much. This is why you went bald.”
[Minister]: “I am not bald!!”
[Olivar]: “You’ve also grown quite fat.”
[Minister]: “I’m not fat!!”
[Olivar]: “…….have you not seen yourself?”
I’m sure the Prime Minister would think me extremely rude if I were to say this aloud, but……he seems like a very amusing person.
[???]: “I’m afred I must object as well.”
It was while I was absentmindedly staring at the Prime Minister’s belly.
A woman came from the same direction as the prime minister, that is to say from where the nobles had been standing, and said that. Her stomach swaying as she walked the same way as the Prime Minister’s…….
(Afred? Um, does she mean afraid…….?)
She spoke so fast I had trouble understanding what she was saying. It took me a moment to break down what I’d heard and reconstrue it into something I could comprehend.
[Olivar]: “You too Marchioness Maculis?”
[Maculis]: “Yes yes, naturally it is. Calvafon-sama is a precious lady hand-picked by the Goddess Illya. Even if she is of commoner blood, she is deserving of respect wouldn’t you not disagree with…….”
Marchioness Maculis looked right at me. A gaudy fan completely covered in glittering gems hid the lower half of her face. But her eyes were clearly trying to appraise me.
[Maculis]: “……me! Too great, is the gap between achievements and the treatment she is to be receiving. Forget about being an earl, it is only right we treat her with the same reverence as one would treat a marquis”
(A-A marquis is……)
The marchioness loudly closed her fan and swung back around to the king. Her presence was a thing to behold, and I’m sure it’d be a terrible thing to be dissected by her gaze. The king certainly looked troubled enough.
[Olivar]: “Who was it that invited the madam here?”
[Maculis]: “I come even without being called!! Someone as important as I would never miss out!”
[Olivar]: “You two are so stuffy together. Fine, I understand. Then the hero shall be received as an honored state guest and as a marquis. Will you be satisfied with that?”
[Minister]: “Haha! That will do!! That will do nicely!! Yes, yes!!”
[Maculis]: “I too have no~ objections.”
Both the Prime Minister and the marchioness were satisfied with the arrangement while my opinion was left completely at the wayside.
(Eh……they’re kidding right……..? I’m a marquis…….I have to be dreaming right?)
I can’t keep up with what’s going on, and my mind refuses to process the words. Meanwhile Saluena, who had been silently watching as things unfolded, had her hand covering her mouth as she desperately tried to hold in her laughter. Haa, I’m sure this is a load of fun for her. Watching me struggle from outside the lion’s den.
[Olivar]: “Then, let us wrap up the audience here for now. A more concrete reward for slaying the dragon shall be decided upon at a later date. And Ashel. Take great care in your friendship with Calvafon-dono.”
[Ashel]: “Yes Father”
[Olivar]: “Hero, I wish to expressly thank you for coming all this way. I shall have a luncheon prepared so that we might converse more intimately. I would love to hear the story of how you subjugated that dragon when that time comes.”
[Iris]: “Y-Yes! It would be my pleasure.”
And so, my audience with His Majesty came to a peaceful(?) conclusion.
Marchioness Maculis looked like she was about to leave as well, but she stopped just before turning to me and smiling.
W-What is it? Should I smile back at her?
But, I had accrued so much mental fatigue up until now that I couldn’t manage to return the smile. It took everything I had just to give her a small bow.
We’ve passed the climax. Now we just need to meet the king for that luncheon, and we’ll be home free.
Soon, soon, I will be able to go back to my room. And then, I have a nagging question in the back of my head that needs to be answered.
[Lapris]: “So when are we going to get something to eat?”
――This girl needs to answer for her mutterings.