Chapter 45 – Audience with King Melvin
“Did you finish your conversation?”
After I returned to the second floor balcony of the reception hall, the two girls welcomed me back with smiles.
“Yeah, I’m not really interested in staying at the Palace anymore, and we agreed to not interfere with each other.”
In reality, regardless of whether I won or lost on that agreement, I had already had such feelings.
“By the way, what are they doing now?”
When I looked down at the square, an armful of steles standing tall were being carried in from somewhere. There was one armored Knight keeping a short distance away and facing them. He was wielding a Buster Sword.
“The Knight Commander seems to be training the men.”
Training, huh. So he would probably try to cut those steles up. After taking a good look at them, he jumped with his Buster Sword held high above his head. An aura wrapped around the blade of the Buster Sword and he slashed down vertically, leaving the rest to the force of the fall.
The sound of stone being destroyed resounded in the arena. The force of the fall didn’t drop at all, and after the blade of his Buster Sword reached the ground, a stele was cleanly split into two pieces and collapsed to opposite sides, as if he had chopped firewood.
Applause and cheers rose from the seated guests after a brief delay.
It was the Great Sword martial arts skill, Thunder Rend.
The jump from earlier was also a martial arts skill. The Knight Commander placed his hands on his waist, before looking at the King and the audience and bowing.
“That was quite flashy.”
“It’s as clear as day, after all. The person himself enjoys simple battles.”
So said Oswald. It wasn’t like Oswald didn’t have any support, and it looked like he thought it was better and more interesting if they were stronger.
“Everyone, that was splendid. I was able to clearly show the results of my hard training today.”
The showcase appeared to have ended with the Knight Commander, and King Melvin nodded in satisfaction.
“We will call the names of those who were remarkable and displayed great effort. As a reward, please state something you desire.”
As the King’s speech continued, his attendants called out the names of Knights, one by one. Although he said to speak of their desire…the Knights who were called only replied with “We will do as our King wills”. They were leaving the reward to the King’s discretion.
Although Chester had returned and was present amongst the Knights, he was absent-minded, as he didn’t react immediately when his name was called.
“Y-Yes! Please forgive me.”
“It is fine. State something you desire.”
“…We will do as our King wills.”
Chester, who dropped to one knee and gave a retainer’s bow, answered, but his words slurred slightly. Although Melvin seemed suspicious, that was just for a moment.
“Umu. The Knights should go wait for further notice. And now–”
After Melvin nodded, he looked towards me.
…The time had arrived, huh? Considering the fact that I defeated a Demon, I had suspected that the Royal Family would have something to say about it.
“The person who fought for our Kingdom ought to become our Little Hero. Because of that, We shall let you receive a suitable reward for your achievements. However, you are different from the knights employed under Us, so We thought that there was a need to have a small chat with you.”
After Melvin told me to come to the King’s Tower later, he turned around and laughed in satisfaction. Cheers praising the King filled the square.
The contents of the reward would be settled later.
I wondered if the reward would lead to me being suddenly employed or something like that…and in my case, it probably couldn’t be revealed in public. I was different from the Knights who were clapping, and it would be hard to follow-up if I said something foolish about it.
“I’ve received an order to guide you, from His Majesty.”
The person who came and said that wore a white cloak. It was a female Knight who was wearing the magnificent armor of the Imperial Knights.
“In that case, I shall return ahead of you.”
Although Grace said this as if she were going to decline following, the Knight smiled and answered.
“Your friend may also listen. Taking you to the King’s Castle was by all means the announcement from His Majesty.”
“…I’ve received his invitation, but is it fine if I’m accompanied by someone? I–”
“I will say this to everyone. Foreign races such as Elves, Dwarves, and the like are free to work and move about in the Castle. However, will she be fine with just that ring? There won’t be a way to fix its seal inside the Castle if something goes wrong with it.”
They knew quite a bit about Grace, huh?
Was the source of that information from the Guild, or was it from the School? Or perhaps it was from Dad? It was possible that information was being relayed from him since the beginning.
I had not lied about my position in society, and I wasn’t hiding the fact that I was an illegitimate child of the Gartner House. If I considered Dad settling down as Byron’s guardian, then it wouldn’t be strange for him to do things behind the scenes regarding Grace and me.
We followed the Imperial Knight and headed towards the Knight’s Tower, the central area of Theorem Palace.
A giant pillar appeared, passing through the center of the wide hall after we climbed the large stairs and entered the white castle.
The surface of the tower and its interior had a cavity carved into it, which allowed one to enter. The Imperial Knight continued to walk towards the small room located inside the cavity.
“Get on near the center, please.”
Umm, get on near the center meant…?
I looked up at the ceiling and saw a shaft. The wall’s surface, which had patterns activated, shone with a considerable amount of white light… but it appeared we could continue to climb higher. At that moment, I understood what the structure was used for.
After doing as the Imperial Knight said, the other two also entered the small room inside the pillar. The Imperial Knight confirmed this, held up her hand to the jewel on the wall, and muttered something.
Mana transmitted into its Magic Circuit and a line of green light rushed towards the floor.
At the same time, the entrance from which we entered became a wall and the platform we were on gradually rose.
“Eh…? What exactly is going on here?”
Grace looked around the inside of the pillar with a bewildered look. It was the feeling of being pressed down by one’s own gravity. People who hadn’t ridden elevators before probably wouldn’t be used to that feeling.
“We can go further up with this, right?”
“You understand it well, don’t you?”
After I confirmed it, the Imperial Knight explained the present situation to us and the two seemed satisfied.
“…It is quite the amazing device.”
“I’m rather surprised at everyone. I thought you would get anxious, but I’m relieved to see that the situation isn’t one where loose stones break.”
The Imperial Knight gave the wide-eyed Ashley a smile.
…It was said that Theorem was originally part of the Labyrinth. It wouldn’t have been strange for this world to have one or two extraordinary devices like this one.
It’s not just that it was still functioning. Rather than calling it maintenance-free, it was more along the lines of the Labyrinth repairing itself. There might have been more devices like these if we headed into the depths of the Labyrinth.
“It certainly is quicker going up and down with this… are the other routes this convenient?”
“Of course there are other ways to enter, like using a flying dragon or using Transfer Magic Circles to transfer in. However, we use the main entrance and the loose stone pillar when we have an audience. The Soldiers and the Knights from the guardroom lead the guests in, and they must use the stairs.”
This “Loose Stone Pillar” probably acted as a countermeasure for invaders. It also served the role of showing the Kingdom’s authority to guests from foreign nations.
The castle was the residence of the Royal Family, but it also fulfilled the role of a fortress. If the Loose Stone ever stopped moving, a corner of the wall would vanish into thin air, as though it had dissolved, and one could head outside the pillar.
“His Majesty has been waiting for you.”
After we exited the elevator room, a long carpet was spread out on the floor.
The small patterns, which the pillar activated, became a corridor that lined up with the pillar.
I wouldn’t hesitate to call the corridor itself a work of art.
We passed through the corridor that had panels of artwork, and finally arrived in front of a large door.
“You will have an audience with the King past this door. Allow me to at least do a body inspection.”
“By all means.”
Hmm, so that was why he prepared a female Imperial Knight? I felt that he had taken various things into consideration for me. Would a King like this be interesting?
While I received a body check from the Imperial Knight, I looked at the ornaments in the waiting room, and clearly saw different patterns engraved on the wall and the floor.
It appeared there was a barrier spread out in the waiting room which was connected to the area where the audience would be held. It was a rather strong anti-magic barrier. This was probably their countermeasure for assassination attempts that relied on Magicians.
The Royal Family waited for human contact from the outside, so it was natural to make preparations.
“You appear to be fine.”
After the Imperial Knight finished the body check, she finally opened the door and proceeded along to the audience chamber.
The Court Nobles, who were supporting Imperial Knights and Court Magicians, and the throne of the King and Queen above the stairs appeared in my view.
“Thank you for coming, Little Hero. As We’ll allow you to directly answer Us, raise your head. You are, without a doubt, Theodore Gartner, the son of Count Henry and Saint Risa, correct?”
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
After answering him, Melvin put on another smile.
“Being the son of a Saint, you are a genius Magician who is unparalleled, eh? It’s appropriate for you to be a Demon Killer, and your looks are fine. We think We enjoy child prodigies like you.”
I thought he had no subjects who were similar to me, and apart from the problem of the previous interest he had in me, I felt he was amused, almost as if I were a rare animal. Being unable to ask about this and that regarding Magic… might have been thanks to Mother.
“Well then, the business We have with you is the same as it was relayed earlier. We have thought about giving a reward… and besides coming to Termuilles, We have thought of wanting to speak with you, too, since you have your own thoughts. You may speak freely of the things you are thinking about.”
“If it pleases Your Majesty, then. I’m currently thinking about continuing my job as an Adventurer for a while.”
“Hou, and your reason is?”
“I want to strengthen my abilities. There is also the matter concerning my Mother..”
If he knew about Grace’s matter, then he would have understood the details of the Kings who were dead. I wouldn’t explain it too much.
Speaking of going into the Labyrinth, the Kingdom also encouraged people to do it, and since Demons were involved with the Moon Shrine, even King Melvin probably hoped and wished for me to go into the Labyrinth.
Besides, as long as the Royal Family didn’t know my personality well, I thought being welcomed by him was better than suddenly seeking a title, territory, social status, and officers.
“You are already a Demon Killer, yet you say you want to strengthen your abilities?”
Seemingly pleased, King Melvin laughed open-mindedly.
“That was a promising answer. Speaking of for a while… you also have other thoughts regarding your future… Fumu.”
King Melvin looked towards Grace and Ashley, who were behind me, and nodded.
“Very well. With that included, let me bless your fortune in battle and the road ahead.”
In other words… us going into the Labyrinth would officially be recognized by the Kingdom.
Ashley was the head of Baron Shirn, after all. If I, who was a Demon Killer, would be prevented from leaving the country, then engagements with Nobles would be welcomed by the Kingdom from the beginning, huh?
He might have forced other marriage proposals onto me if Ashley wasn’t here.
“However, this will be an item you had personally obtained, so We won’t call it a reward. We’ve investigated your matters a little. You are looking for Staves, right?”
“Then it will be better to grant you a Magic Staff instead of money. There are many in the treasure room, so please go ahead and choose one that you like.
“I’m very grateful for the trouble Your Majesty has taken for me.”
“Umu. We’re expecting a lot from your activities.”
From Theorem’s treasure room, huh? Needless to say, it would be a valuable item. It was not something you could buy with money.
To support my current situation and preserve my current relationships, he would grant me a treasure.
To be honest, it was something to be grateful for. Perhaps me being treated well was something the King expected.
Matters regarding Demons were looming, so, without a doubt, he saw me as a valuable asset for battle.
I wished to fight with Demons sooner than later anyways.
Maybe he granted me the Magic Staff because my relationship with his Court had thinned.
Even if I was received warmly in accordance with my intentions, I would never get involved with authority. There probably wasn’t as much opposition from nobles or any difficulties that involved environmental changes, and I thought the one who was most happy about this might have been the King. This was the correct way to use an unnecessary treasure.
“We’ll call out to you given there is another opportunity, so be aware of that. Next is… that’s right, We invite you to the Dinner.”
If there was something next, then maybe they had detected or progressed in the matters about the Moon Shrine or the Demons?
Well, at any rate, there was the Dinner. I was kind of interested in it.
Although, this was similar to the saying: if you must rely on someone, then rely on someone powerful. Being the case that King Melvin, who was at a close distance with me, was of old age, it would be troublesome if he got any backlash in the future.
…It couldn’t be helped to be interested in my future, huh? There was Prince Albert as well, so I wondered how things would turn out?
After that, I wondered what kinds of Magic Staves were resting inside the treasure room.