Waiting for the coronation ceremony the next day, hurried preparations are advancing in a room, reserved for the sake of the conference, in a corner of the castle.
In a plain room, that is generally used for stuff like normal conventions etc., a luxurious chair for Princess Imeraria to sit in has been brought in and opposite of it 3 chairs have been lined up.
Providing a small table besides each of the chairs, it was planned to place things like black tea and water jugs there at the time of the conference.
The maids, who had been entrusted with the location of the conference, waited uprightly for the Princess’ group to arrive in the corners of the room with tense expressions. But there was someone else there waiting for the Princess’ group except the girls. Checking the room’s inside from gaps in hung up pictures, they are members of the Royal Knight Order.
As only Sabnak, among the Royal Knight Order, would carry out his guard duty standing next to the princess, it had been decided to use this opportunity to test the monitoring from hidden pathways. Three adult knights were holding their breaths while huddling together shoulder-by-shoulder and holding spears in their hands.
The plan is for them to jump out through the thin wall in order to assist Sabnak in case something happens, but it doesn’t even seem like it will turn into such a situation in the first place.
“Please excuse me.” (Roshi)
“We awaited your arrival. Please come this way and sit down.”
The first, who made an appearance, was the envoy dispatched by Vichy’s central committee, Roshi. Without a single attendant, he entered the room by himself and sat down on the chair he was guided to by a maid.
With little to no waiting, a single maid enters the room and announces 「Her Highness, the Princess, is entering the room」.
Roshi stood up and bowed his head to Imeraria walking in while being slowly led by Sabnak.
“Your Majesty, the Queen, I’m extremely delighted for you to give me a chance for discussions in spite my sudden request.” (Roshi)
Though he expressed his gratitude with exaggerating gestures, he gives me a bad feeling with his expression and its fake smile stuck on it, Imeraria honestly thought deep inside.
“Officially I still haven’t inherited the throne. Currently my social standing is nothing more than that of a princess.” (Imeraria)
“This is, I was gravely impolite, Your Highness, the Princess. Then, given that I don’t want to annoy Her Highness with wasting her precious time on someone as insignificant as me, though it is immediate, the request from my country is…” (Roshi)
“Wait. There are other participants joining us on this conference.” (Imeraria)
Flatly stopping Roshi, who tried to advance the talks at his own leisure, Imeraria quietly tasted the prepared black tea.
Once she looks at the maid, who poured the tea, which gave off a nice fragrance, she saw the maid, who possessed deep blue hair and pupils, facing in the direction of Sabnak nonchalantly and without any expression.
That’s the prime minister’s daughter? Even if Imeraria’s curiosity was apparently piqued towards that girl of marriageable age, the arrival of new conference participants was announced.
“Earl Hifumi Tohno-sama and the king of Horant, Suprangel-sama, are entering.”
Although Imeraria questioned why the names were read out aloud although they aren’t at the audience hall, seeing Roshi’s shocked face and him forgetting to stand up in front of them, she watched Hifumi and an old man entering while smiling broadly. She knew they were acting.
Imeraria, standing up from her chair, lightly pinched her skirt while doing her greetings. Even for this way of greeting it will be the last time today, she thinks deeply moved.
“Nice to meet you, Your Majesty, King of Horant. I’m Orsongrande’s princess, called Imeraria Torie Orsongrande. … Thank you for your quick attendance.” (Imeraria)
“Oh, you are the holy woman I heard stories of. I’m the king of Horant, Suprangel Gengh Horant. I’m representing the country, which was utterly defeated by this man the other day.” (Suprangel)
Observing Suprangel, who laughed loudly pointing at Hifumi, Imeraria lowered her eyebrows. Going by the stories she heard before, the man Suprangel of Horant should be a calm person notorious for being always hard to please.
“At any rate, that vehicle called platform wagon is fun. Though I came here hitching a ride from Alyssa-dono, there was no need for breaks unlike with horses. Fodder isn’t needed either.” (Suprangel)
“What foolish thing are you saying. Thanks to that several of Horant’s soldier had to go to the medical office with muscular pains.” (Hifumi)
“Humph. Seems that they have to be trained in this way of transportation. Though they were trained by Alyssa-dono after getting healed, there is still a long way to go, huh?” (Suprangel)
As if they didn’t fight a war just a few days ago, Hifumi and Suprangel harmoniously talked with each other, sat next to each other with a flump and tasted the black tea.
As Hifumi, who should be the enemy, sat next to the ruler of the country, which should be fighting against Orsongrande, to which Hifumi belonged, Roshi’s mouth flapped open and closed.
“Ho, it’s a delicious black tea. I want to buy this before I return home.” (Suprangel)
“We will prepare it at the time of your return then. Well then, let’s start this conference. Incidentally, the representatives of all three human countries have gathered.” (Imeraria)
“T-That is…” (Roshi)
Suprangel made the panicked Roshi shut up with a single glare.
“Be quiet and listen. And it’s best to desperately think how to capitalise on such good fortune that you were able to be one of the first countries to realise how the world is changing.” (Suprangel)
Hifumi, who tossed around 4 pieces of the baked sweets, similar to biscuits, placed in front of him into his mouth in sequence, listened to their conversation while drinking the black tea in one go.
“Give me more sweets. Well, shall I report to Her Highness, the Princess, first then?” (Hifumi)
Imeraria got sullen at Hifumi for forcibly using honorific language, but immediately relaxed.
On the other hand, Roshi trembled all over in fear.
With the conference up until this point, Vichy has been left at the side with Orsongrande and Horant already having the confrontation between each other concluded. On the contrary, even a friendly atmosphere had developed between them.
Roshi had intended to finish the war with the minimal compensation of circulating the magic tools from Horant as shield and to have only the country managed by the central committee to be recognised as official state of Vichy’s territory. That plan was cut without him uttering a single word.
Even my dream of becoming a member of the committee has fallen apart with this, he thought. There was nothing Roshi could do but quiver in anger.
“Then, let’s hear your report, Earl Tohno.” (Imeraria)
Like this Orsongrande started the meeting of the three countries.
Each member of the emissaries from Vichy was provided a room for lodging purposes and all of them had a room for things like meetings etc.
During the time they expected Roshi, who is their representative, to be at the conference, all of the 10 attendants decided to gather here and be on standby. As they shouldn’t freely walk around within the castle of a foreign nation and without eating the prepared light meal either, the attendants talked with each other in lowered voices.
“… Before entering the castle, I tried to have a look at the situation in the city, but no matter how you look at it, it hasn’t an air of being in war.”
A single of them mutters a few words. Although he has a trained body, it has been arranged that he is officially following as civil official of records keeping.
“It’s not like the circulation of good and money has been stopped either. There was the gossip of refugees coming and going from the direction of Horant, but that hasn’t caused the city to fall into chaos either. It was really “only coming and going.””
“There was a rumour that generally the destination of those refugees was the Fokalore territory…”
The “refugees”, appearing in their procured gossips, are the former soldiers of Horant, who have already arrived in Fokalore, and those escaping after the defeat of Horant. The real meaning of the information about the refugees has been mixed up.
“Won’t our country end up being completely shaved off by Fokalore, if it stays like this? Didn’t a new defecting city appear just a few days ago? Not only Pursang, it won’t be even strange for someone else to double-cross the central committee once again.”
“Don’t say anything careless.”
However, since all of them are thinking about the same thing with a difference in seriousness, no further words of remonstration are spoken.
“Captain, shouldn’t we return to our own country to relay the state of affairs either way? It won’t solve anything even if we stay here as is. Roshi, that guy, won’t be even able to directly talk with the prime minister, not to mention the princess, will he?”
“Don’t call me captain. You don’t know who might be listening in.”
“You worry too much.”
Although he was warned by the oldest man, the young man ended up laughing.
However, there’s definitely someone here eavesdropping on their talks and observing them.
(They aren’t simple attendants after all, huh… ?) (Vaiya)
Similar to the location of the conference, a unit, led by Vaiya, was monitoring them from a hidden pathway. As there’s also a chance of the other side possessing weapons this time, they are monitoring with the same number as there are attendants, 10, split up in 3 places.
“… Depending on the situation, we will kill Roshi.”
Everyone gulped due to the words spoken by the man called captain.
“If we are able to cleverly pin the crime on Earl Tohno once it becomes a diplomatic issue, our country’s position will become slightly better. … I have obtained the permission from central to go as far as making such judgement.”
“However, will it go that smoothly? Our opponent is that Earl Tohno.”
“Although he might be called powerful, if he causes a diplomatic issue, he won’t be able to avoid getting criticized. At the very least his influence within this country will fall. He should loose the leeway to pay attention to betraying cities and to support Pursang.”
“Since his name as hero has been spreading, it will be easy to propagate this kind of scandal”, the captain explained. Though he smiled wryly as that was the explanation he had been provided by the central committee.
Under the preamble that Vichy’s position likely won’t improve, if the conference finishes in disagreement, they began to discuss in order to create a situation of “if Roshi is killed, Hifumi would fall into disgrace.”
Vaiya, who heard that from his hiding place, made a complicated face.
The knight next to him addressed him in a low voice.
“Vice-captain, they are trying to cause some incident within the castle…”
“Yea, seems so, but… do you think their hands will reach with Earl Tohno as opponent?”
“That’s likely futile. If the envoy was hostile, it won’t end with the attendants being sorry either. Beside, he probably doesn’t care about the evaluation from others.”
Due to the knight answering immediately and resolutely, Vaiya nodded while smiling bitterly.
“I think so, too. … While you continue monitoring them, I will go and report about this to Earl Tohno and the captain for the time being.”
“As you’ve ordered.”
It doesn’t look like this will have its turn this time, Vaiya touched the shuriken in his pocket with a slightly regretful feeling.
In a yet different room within the castle, the nobles, who ended up being left outside the main faction of Orsongrande, were talking together face-to-face with glum expressions.
“At last, it’s the birth of a queen, huh… ?”
Though it should be an auspicious event, their tones and expressions were depressed.
No wonder, they were the nobles of the former prince faction, who barely preserved their roles within the castle. Due to the matter of the attempted assassination of the princes which should also be called the rampaging of the queen, all of their movements resulted in backfiring on them. They already ended up being weakened as far as to the degree of being ignored in regards to their influence.
Also, the prince faction, which previously commanded the majority of the nobles in the castle, has been decreased to the point of no more than the 5 in this room. Furthermore, combined with their low-ranking, with a Viscount being the most prominent, they are in a state, where you can even say that they have no influence at all.
The people, who after having lost their power, were dismissed from their duties and returned to their territory, were still well off. Those found to be corrupt after an investigation by the knight order, which had been completely reorganized as organization under the direct control of the princess, have been secretly “disposed off” behind the scenes or boldly in front of everyone as warning.
“I heard the envoy from the central committee of Vichy is currently carrying out a conference with the princess.”
“Originally, the nature of invading our country was an unnecessary act for Vichy and Horant. As result of Vichy currying favours with and tricking the nobles nobles of our country, including even us in this situation, this probably became a too big problem for the situation to be fairly beneficial. As for Horant, it was used as cause for destroying our knight orders, which were our combat potential.”
As a matter of fact the knights on duty were secretly listening to this conversation, however the knights, who were in three man cells, endured by rubbing their eyebrows with turning movements to lower their headaches as they exchanged looks at each other’s faces.
Making plans to get the aqua sapphire, which is a precious gem of this country, past the national border by conspiring with Vichy and winning over Horant’s magicians to this country are undoubtedly the responsibilities of nobles.
The fact, that the talks don’t mention Hifumi here, is likely owed to their complete state of terror, the knights observed. They are able to agree with that.
“… In that case, since the envoy from Vichy is just right now in this castle, won’t it also be fine to get them to cooperate one way or the other?”
The middle-aged noble, as the eldest and with the highest peerage, bent himself forward listening as the young noble began his proposal while smiling broadly.
“We have to coordinate in order to obtain the duty of mediating the strengthening of relations with Vichy. Since we are in a situation of buying magic tools from Horant through Vichy, it means we will be able to make contact with those related to restoration in Vichy. The princess has to keep her appearance as the representative of the victorious nation, however if we can establish negotiations to guarantee the trade behind the scenes, we will be free from obstacles, including even the princess.”
That suggestion was welcomed by everyone at this place as excellent plan by clapping on their knees.
“Though Earl Tohno is powerful, he is a rising noble. They won’t be able to refuse us this part as we are nobles, who have full knowledge of diplomacy through our successive generations.”
“Well, let’s settle the details of the proposal right away. If it turns out well, there’s also the possibility of us rising in peerage.”
The knights softly sighed while looking at the nobles, who have smiling faces due to the cheerful topic, making plans carelessly. The knights understood well how the nobles selfishly didn’t grasp reality.