While enjoying the scent of the tea leaves that tickled my nostrils, I give a quick glance at the room.
It is pretty ordered, but the many farming tools occupying a part of the room had caught my eyes.
“Oya, does Makoto-dono also do farming?”
Maybe because he noticed that gaze of mine, the old man asks me this.
“No, I haven’t done that before.” (Makoto)
“I see. I at first made a lot of mistakes, but now, it is fun, ya see.”
The Jii-san <old man> laughs with a ‘hoho’ and then takes a sip of his tea.
This place is a room in the former inner palace. It is currently being used as the room of the former inner palace’s manager, Jii-san —the previous king, Amadiya Sid Motoyasu.
“…So, why have I been brought here?” (Makoto)
“Even if ya ask me why…I simply wanted to have a talk with ya.” (Amadiya)
Jii-san relaxes his face and says…
“An ‘ordinary citizen’ caught up in the hero summoning, ya said.” (Amadiya)
But he turned it into a bold smile and looks straight at me.
“…You have a lot of free time, huh.” (Makoto)
“Can’t be helped. I don’t have anyone here to talk with after all.” (Amadiya)
“Well, true that.” (Makoto)
The impression he gives me is that of an old man in solitude that has a lot to talk about. Just thinking that this is the previous king makes me…wait, previous king?
“Ah, right!” (Makoto)
This is something I would have noticed if I had thought for a bit.
And since I was overlooking it, I am quite the idiot.
“W-Why did you suddenly shout? …I thought my heart would stop.” (Amadiya)
“Sorry about that. Or more like, you don’t have such a delicate heart. More importantly, Jii-san, can you please tell me about the hero summoning?” (Makoto)
“Hm? Ah, I see. There’s no one who can explain it to you currently, right.” (Amadiya)
Jii-san mutters something and then bends his back to take a sip of his tea.
“Ye heard from the Queen, right?” (Amadiya)
“…I would like you to tell me how you know that.” (Makoto)
“Even if I am this old, I still have someone that does its best for me, ya see.” (Amadiya)
Meaning that, even if he has retired, his authority is still present.
“So you have heard about me too.” (Makoto)
“I don’t know the details though. I did hear that you are a monster beyond imagination though.” (Amadiya)
I would like it if he were to tell me properly. I think half-assed kindness with your words only brings harm.
“About yer question before…it would be more accurate to say that…I knew about it.” (Amadiya)
“…Did you go senile?” (Makoto)
I thought he was forgetful because of his age, but Jii-san immediately denies it.
“You heard about the inheritance of memories, right?” (Amadiya)
“When a new king does the memory inheriting, the previous king will have all of his memories of the hero summoning…erased.”(Amadiya)
“As serious as I can be.” (Amadiya)
First time I have heard about it.
Is this what the Queen wanted to say? It is true that if it has been forgotten, it would be impossible to ask about it, and I could understand why the Queen didn’t bring it up in the conversation.
“I don’t remember anything about the techniques regarding the hero summoning. But the memories connected to it remain… Of course, I also have memories of passing on the hero summoning techniques.” (Amadiya)
“Meaning only the techniques related to the hero summoning were erased.” (Makoto)
How careful of them, or more like, how incredibly secretive.
“Then, what’s this ‘key’?” (Makoto)
“So Caril told you that much? Good grief, what a hopeless girl.” (Amadiya)
“Is it a troubling thing to disclose?” (Makoto)
“It can’t be helped now that you know. But this is something that I myself can’t say. If ya want to know, please ask him directly.” (Amadiya)
So I have learned of a national secret.
I wondered if it is really okay to have told me, but it just means they trust me huh.
“So in the end, I have to cure the king in order to know.” (Makoto)
“…Right. If he recovers, we won’t let Erac do as he wishes.” (Amadiya)
So this Jii-san also knows about the enemy.
Ah, right. This Jii-san might know something.
The secret regarding the Queen.
I hesitated on asking the person herself, and Niva-san is way too close to the Queen. Even if she were to know, I feel like she would get emotional.
“Jii-san, I want to ask you something.” (Makoto)
“What is this secret regarding the Queen’s birth?” (Makoto)
I ask straight towards Jii-san who is making a wondering expression.
“…Youngster, where did you hear that from?” (Amadiya)
In an instant, he changed his expression, and threatens me with a sharp gleen like that of an ogre. But this much is nothing. I have fought with monsters a lot bigger than this one. Don’t underestimate me who was called a monster by those monsters.
“Erac. The way I got that information is a secret though.” (Makoto)
“…I see. As I thought, Erac did know.” (Amadiya)
Letting out a deep sigh, Jii-san bends his back and groans.
“It is not as if I am forcing you to tell me. But if it is a ‘bomb’ for this country, be prepared for it to explode.” (Makoto)
“What do you mean by that?” (Amadiya)
“Erac plans on publicizing this secret, moreover, in a near future.” (Makoto)
Jii-san lifts his face in surprise and his eyes were wide open. The teacup fell from his hand.
From the surprise of the old man, I can tell that the birth of the Queen is quite the secret.
“No, if he does know the secret, it is natural to think that this is the best time to utilize it… Hey, youngster.” (Amadiya)
“In exchange for telling you the secret, can you accept my request?” (Amadiya)
“Depends on what it is. Tell me your request first, Jii-san.” (Makoto)
I nod to the old man that was muttering weakly and urge him to continue.
“My request is…I want ya to protect her.” (Amadiya)
The Queen, huh. Well, with how the conversation had flowed, that was the logical request to come out.
“You say protect, but what exactly should I do? Protect her life? Or protect her from the slandering of the public?” (Makoto)
“You are wiser than your looks tell.” (Amadiya)
“I have been living in a ruthless world after all.” (Makoto)
The internet society is a scary place.
Rumors can easily turn into truths as they spread like wildfire after all.
“I see… Then, I will tell you. That girl…” (Amadiya)
Letting out a slow breath, Jii-san lifts his head and speaks in a low tone.
“Caril is a girl that comes from the lineage of the Morota Duke household.” (Amadiya)
“Morota household?” (Makoto)
“In the past, there were these so called four great nobles. They were loyal retainers that pledged loyalty to the royal family, and they held trust from the nation and the nobles, but…in the present, they have the bad reputation of being the greatest criminals -fallen nobles.” (Amadiya)
This is heavy talk right from the very beginning.
“That’s quite the turn… But there’s a reason for that, right?” (Makoto)
“Yeah. All this is the punishment that was brought by my foolishness-ja yo.” (Amadiya)
Jii-san says heavily, and slowly closes his eyes as if looking back at the past.
“Three years ago…” (Amadiya)
Furrowing his brows and biting his lips, he in time opened his mouth and spoke.
The Morota household served the Motoyasu royal family as the center, but 35 years ago, they were taken down for the sin of treason.
In this incident, the assistant cabinet minister of the financial affairs division, Erac, was involved.
At those days, Erac looked after the national treasury, but he embezzled money from it, and the nobles were drinking that sweet syrup and were fertilizing their happiness. But when this embezzlement was about to be detected, all the sin of it was pushed to the cabinet minister of financial affairs, Duke Morota.
“At that time, I was in the frontlines because of a national borders conflict between the Garusha Empire… And I left all the government to the prime minister.” (Amadiya)
“The king going to the frontlines himself… Just how much of a battle junkie are you?” (Makoto)
“…I have no words to refute that. My nation also called me ‘war idiot’ after all.” (Amadiya)
“Or more like, what about the Demon Lord? It shouldn’t have been the time for humans to be fighting each other, right?” (Makoto)
“By the time I had become the king, the new Demon Lord had just been decided, so the demons were still not unified properly. They didn’t have the time to wage war against the humans.” (Amadiya)
The king at that time -this old man- was renowned as a brave general that excelled in armed might, but the government was left in the hands of the prime minister which didn’t make him a wise ruler.
“The national borders conflict with the empire was something that had been going on since my previous generation after all. The war against the empire that gave out unreasonable demands had led to many lives being lost…and to get revenge for those lives, there was the need to win at all costs.” (Amadiya)
“In other words, taking over the will of your predecessor, you got desperate in the war against the empire, huh. To the point of casting aside politics.” (Makoto)
“It hurts to hear it, but it is the truth. I have done the worst thing possible as a king.” (Amadiya)
The national border conflict between the Motoyasu Kingdom and the Garusha Empire goes way back to 50 years ago.
The Demon Lord of that time had died from a natural cause, and the demons that aimed to become the new Demon Lord were at a warring era.
That’s why the human nations were keeping each other in check, and in the surface, peace was maintained. However, the demands of the empire to the Motoyasu Kingdom had worsened the relationship between the two nations.
The reason was that the Empire demanded the disclosure of the hero summoning technique.
Of course, the king of that time firmly refused. The hero summoning technique is something that shouldn’t be spread outside, and cannot be told so readily. But the Empire took a firm stand stating that the Motoyasu Kingdom is obtaining unfair profits by monopolizing the hero summoning which created a dangerous air between the two nations.
As a result, a war against the Empire broke out.
The war that occurred at the vicinity of the national borders had turned the places into burned fields, and many lives were lost.
20 years after that…
Even when the next king came, the national borders conflict continued, but the Demon Lord was invading the beastkin country of Ushtolma which led to a temporary truce, and at present, the glaring towards the Empire still continues in the national border.
“I was desperate in encouraging the knights that were being drained by the battles against the Empire that were piling up, and wiping away the worries of the nation…but by the time the report about the duke Morota had reached my ears, it was already in an irreparable state.” (Amadiya)
“Irreparable state?” (Makoto)
“The nation was slandering the duke Morota, and the nobles were demanding the take down of the duke’s household… By the time I learned that all this was the plan of Erac, everything was too late.” (Amadiya)
“…Manipulation of information, huh. Or more like, old man, you are also quite the special one for not noticing such a big thing happening.” (Makoto)
“True… I was always being bantered as a ‘War idiot that has muscles for brain’ after all. I also began thinking that really was the case.” (Amadiya)
Due to the manipulation of information by Erac, the discontent towards the Morota household increased, and the demands of the nobles about taking them down was growing heated. By the time the previous king noticed the gravity of the situation and tried to do something about it, it was already too late.
To calm the anger of the people and repeal the demands of the nobles, there would be the need for solid evidence and testimonies from many, and so, the take down of the Morota household had been decided by the hands of the prime minister.
Of course, the previous king tried to protest to this, but because he hadn’t been involved with the politics of the country, even when he was the king, the weight of his words were way too low, and if he were to invoke his authority as the king, it would damage the trust to the royal family, so even when the decision was a bitter one, he had no choice but to accept taking down the Morota household.
“But I couldn’t allow the Morota lineage to be cut… The very least I could do to atone for this was to secretly let Caril, who had just been recently born, escape.” (Amadiya)
“And so, the ones who adopted her were the Kashnars household.” (Makoto)
“That’s right. At that time, the Kashnars baron household were having their share of issues too, ya see…” (Amadiya)
The wife of Morota and the wife of Kashnars were pregnant at around the same time.
But Kashnar’s wife, who heard about the matter of duke Morota, had ended up delivering a stillbirth due to the shock. After that, by the proposal of the king, Morota’s wife managed to escape with great difficulty by using a secret passage, and the baby that she had given birth to -in other words, the Queen Caril that had just been born- had been raised as the actual daughter of duke Kashnars, and the baby that was born as a stillbirth was recorded as it being the baby of Morota’s wife.
The Morota couple that were made to bear an unjustified sin had been given the capital punishment, and were buried along with their child, and the relatives of the duke were all exiled from the royal capital.
“…In the end, I couldn’t do anything. Nothing at all.” (Amadiya)
Muttering this lowly, Jii-san heaves a sigh.
“Why did the Kashnars household accept her? It would be hell if it were to get discovered, right?” (Makoto)
“The Kashnars household had been serving under the Morota household for many generations since before they were given their peerage.” (Amadiya)
“…So they were loyal retainers. That Duke Morota must have been quite a great man.” (Makoto)
“He indeed was… Because, even now, they are still loyal to the Duke Morota after all.” (Amadiya)
Quite the loyalty.
“Does the Queen know?” (Makoto)
“Of course. That girl has the right to know… I thought she wouldn’t be able to get true happiness with the truth being hidden.” (Amadiya)
“I told her everything when she was going to marry my my son…” (Amadiya)
Right. From what I have heard till this point, this Jii-san -the previous king- was basically a begrudged existence that cornered her parents to death. But even when knowing all that, she accepted it and chose the path of being the Queen.
She truly loves the king. Even when learning the truth, she still chose to marry the man she loved.
(“Makoto…I love you.”)
I envy the Queen. I wanted to be together with Esthella too…
“But this truly is a bomb… Moreover, an extra big one.” (Makoto)
“For now, let’s leave aside how Erac learned of this. Right now that’s not the major issue after all.” (Amadiya)
Right. The problem is that Erac is thinking of publicizing it.
If the reality comes to light that the daughter of the Morota household, that was a central figure of the Motoyasu Kingdom and also big criminals, is the current Queen, it will definitely shock the whole nation.
“With what you have told me in consideration, now that the hero summoning was performed, the empire won’t stay silent either.” (Makoto)
“Right… In order to avoid unnecessary pressure, I told Caril that it is still not time to speak of their existence, but it seems like she couldn’t stop it.” (Amadiya)
“Can’t you act as a substitute king?” (Makoto)
“If I come on the stage, that in itself will make the empire move, and it will only make things more unnecessarily complicated.” (Amadiya)
“True. It might even look as if you poisoned your son to return to power.” (Makoto)
“Poisoned? He didn’t contract the Tesranga disease?” (Amadiya)
Looks like Jii-san wasn’t notified about the condition of the king, he is incredibly surprised. When I told him the correct disease of the king, his surprise leapt up even more.
“The Loroad Virus, ya say? What a thing to do…” (Amadiya)
“There shouldn’t be many who can poison the king.” (Makoto)
“…Must be Erac, right?” (Amadiya)
With the king in sickbed, there’s practically no backing for the Queen.
In the current state, if Erac manages to get rid of the Queen, Erac would become the top of this country.
“That guy, since young, has had more wits and excelled over others, but…he was also a cruel man that didn’t care about kicking others down for his own sake.” (Amadiya)
“I see… So he is a damn old geezer that doesn’t know when to put on the brakes.” (Makoto)
I did know most of that, but he really does have quite the nice unscrupulous nature there.
He will probably make other moves, but the bomb called the Queen’s secret, I must stop it at all costs. It would be troublesome to clean up that mess.
I would like to erase that memory of his, but sadly, I have no convenient ability that can erase a specific memory like the Queen’s secret.
Also, if there’s others that know of her secret, I would have to deal with them as well. But it is most likely that only Erac knows.
“Is there a chance that anyone aside from Erac knows this secret?” (Makoto)
“Only a few including Erac are still alive to this day after all. On top of that, the people that were involved in that incident have already departed from the living.” (Amadiya)
“I see… And has there been anyone that has died by an unforeseen accident?” (Makoto)
“An unforeseen accident… Now that you mention it, there was indeed one. Don’t tell me, Erac…!” (Amadiya)
It was 35 years ago. In a world where there hasn’t been much medical improvement, the average lifespan of humans isn’t as long. Also, I don’t think Erac would allow the existence of someone who poses a threat to him.
In the first place, this bomb can’t be so easily spoken about to others. On top of that, if there’s multiple bombs, there’s the fear of a chain explosion. In that case, it would be easier to manage if there’s only one bomb.
“Hmm… What to do…” (Makoto)
I can’t think of a good idea.
I do have forceful methods, but I will leave that as a last resort. I would probably end up crippling him after all.
I would like to resolve this as peacefully as possible so it doesn’t affect the future as much.
The peace of this country pretty much correlates to my own peace after all.
“It is a matter that can’t be postponed, but brooding too much over it won’t do much good, right? We should gather people first.” (Amadiya)
“I do have ta tell Caril to make some countermeasures after all.” (Amadiya)
It is indeed as he says.
Brooding over it alone won’t do much good. It is by bringing out the ideas of many that great things can be formed.
“But if we tell Caril, she might make a poor move without thinking. That may be a slightly dangerous thing.” (Amadiya)
“Well, with her position and everything…” (Makoto)
“No, that’s not it…ah, you don’t know? What she was called when she was young.” (Amadiya)
“Are you talking about the Crimson Lily Demoness thing?” (Makoto)
“What, so you did know.” (Amadiya)
Her personal maid was the one who spilled the beans though. But is that Queen considered a danger even by the previous king that was called a war idiot?
“Before she married my son, she was a member of the magic division, but she was a bit of a wild one, ya see… She would ignore the orders of her superior and rush into a group of enemies, and she would provoke the empire; a really bold girl.” (Amadiya)
“…Seriously? Can’t imagine that from the current Queen though.” (Makoto)
“She was whipp– adminished by my son and has gotten more docile.” (Amadiya)
He was about to say whipped, right? So the ‘lecturing is reward for her’ that Niva-san said really did imply that.
“Her passion for the country is higher than others, and that back of hers resembles that of Duke Morota.” (Amadiya)
Jii-san narrows his eyes and smiles as if reminiscing, but that smile was heavy in regret.
“I will leave the matter of the Queen in your hands. I will…for now, think about reinforcing the defenses around Almina.” (Makoto)
“Hm? Is something the matter with that apprentice priestess?” (Amadiya)
I explained the things that Niva-san told me.
“An intruder at the dead of the night huh… I was also asleep at that time, so I didn’t notice.” (Amadiya)
“I feel like you should be able to notice their presence though.” (Makoto)
“I am already old. My body can’t move as I wish it to anymore. It takes me my all with just working on the fields.” (Amadiya)
Jii-san laughs with a ‘hohoho’, but the aura he has on him is not one of an old person.
I think he still has the strength to be on the battlefield, but Jii-san himself must feel that he is already deteriorated compared to his young days.
“…Niva, huh.” (Amadiya)
“I was simply thinking I have done something regrettable to her.” (Amadiya)
I was wondering what he was saying so suddenly, but Jii-san simply furrowed his brows and shakes his head.
“I messed up her life.” (Amadiya)
“Caril and Niva, there’s no doubt I was the one that threw theirs lives into disorder.” (Amadiya)
I thought the talk about the Queen was over, but to think Niva-san would come to play now.
“Is Niva-san related to the Queen?” (Makoto)
“That girl is the child of duke Kashnars.” (Amadiya)
Jii-san nods heavily and continues speaking.
Duke Kashnars that had taken Caril as his own child, in order to rear a capable person to guide Caril as her personal maid, he made Niva the feather of the arrow.
At that time, Niva was only 2 years old, but duke Kashnars faked her death by reporting that she had died in an accident in the house and had her taken in by an orphanage…and this baby was raised by them.
“That’s messed up…” (Makoto)
“That’s how much loyalty the Kashnars household has. Abandoning her house, abandoning her name…and even with that, she is still happy.” (Amadiya)
“Her name?” (Makoto)
That loyalty is borderline madness.
“That’s right… Niva —the real name of that girl is…” (Amadiya)
“My name is Niva, Amadiya-sama.”
Looks like we were so concentrated in the talk that I was late in noticing the presence that approached us.
“My name is Niva… There’s no other name aside from that.” (Niva)
The maid that was standing with upright posture and clear voice had her gaze directed straight at us.