Her voice was beautiful, it was the first time Ria heard Carla’s voice.
Since the voice was too beautiful, Ria missed hearing the contents.
“Firstly, there’s no reason to fight with you.”
Although Carla’s voice was dignified, it was gentle at the same time. Her voice gave one a sense of security just by hearing it.
She looked around her surroundings. The crowd of people were puzzled at the sudden situation.
“I cannot fight you in this area.”
Of course, she agreed.
If Ria went all out here, unexpected things might happen.
Carla continued to speak.
“If you give a reason, as well as prepare a place to fight, I will be your opponent.”
Without neither malice nor fighting spirit, she agreed to fight.
Spontaneously agreeing to take on Ria, she said she would fight.
This was the first time she’d had an opponent like that.
Ria, who put her mask back on, went back into the crowd of people.
She rejoined with her comrades and resumed heading to the bath, as though nothing happened.
Seeing what happened, the bodyguards resumed moving before long together with making some noise.
“Carla-sama, is that really alright?”
Her female aide asked her. Carla continued looking forward.
“If you want, I could arrest her now—”
“That is impossible.”
Carla’s words were frank.
“She didn’t do that because she resented me.”
She was simply speaking the truth.
“Moreover, I have a hunch.”
Carla didn’t usually use such vague words.
“Yes, a hunch.”
Carla spoke with steady eyes, not wavering in the least.
“I think that person is the one I’ve waited for for a long time.”
Inside the crowd, there was a girl.
Amongst her noisy surroundings, she was dressed as a man nodding her head.
She was Ferna, part of the leadership of [Black Cat], the self-styled secret society that everyone knew of. Her curiosity was aroused by the situation.
“This has become a bit interesting.”
Turning around in a panic, she saw a face that she recognized.
“Long time no see, Ferna-san.”
Introducing himself as a peddler, this man with black hair and eyes was Halt. Even though Ferna had met him many times over the course of working with the company, she hadn’t been able to grasp his true colors.
However, he wasn’t a bad man. His eyes were calm and he gave off a dignified air that exceeded a common merchant’s.
“Carla the Dragonslayer and Princess Ryuke Riana, the one who defeated the labyrinth huh?”
She knew about the former. However, she only knew of the latter’s name. Identify didn’t work, so she had thought they weren’t an ordinary person though.
“There’s no mistaking it. She perfectly matches to the description given by my subordinates.”
This young man said something that even Black Cat’s leadership didn’t know about. For things concerning this continent, he might have an information network that exceeds Black Cat’s.
He says that he’s just a peddler that travels alone by wagon, but he just said that he had subordinates.
(Hasn’t he done business with Black Cat too?)
Though Ferna thought that, she didn’t voice it out loud. That man had the elegance of some country’s leader.
“Then, if those two really do fight…”
“I wouldn’t miss it!”
Ferna strongly agreed with Halt’s statement.
“If you’re also going, how about going together with me?”
“Yeah, if it’s Ferna-san, you could protect me from thing with your fire magic right?”
It wasn’t that Halt wasn’t confident in his physical strength, it was more that Ferna was known for repeatedly using her large-scale magic.
He wanted to have a bodyguard to join spectators.
“That’s fine. I’ve received help from Halt-san before.”
“Well then, let me know where you’re staying.”
The two exchanged contact information and separated. Ferna continued to think about Halt.
She thought about Halt, the peddler.
She thought about Ars Gahalt, the demon king.
She thought about Arisugawa Halt, the ex-hero.
The meeting of those two people, and what brought them to this continent.
The demon king that didn’t have any confidence in his own strength, she could only rack her brains.
Being able to protect yourself was the most important thing.
Moonlight faintly lit the dark night.
Ria sat at the window frame of her room, wearing a single layer of thin silk. Even so, her katana was still within arm’s reach.
“Hey… you not going to sleep?”
Shizuna whispered from within the bed.
“Yeah, go ahead and sleep first.”
Ria answered flatly. It wasn’t her intention to invite her over, but Shizuna felt sad for some reason.
After that, Ria went to the bathroom. She was thinking about something while submersing herself in the bath.
When they returned to the inn, Carlos brought back the queen’s reply saying that they would have an audience the next day.
Although they sent a message beforehand when they were still in the ogre village, she didn’t expect that they would have an audience so soon. That woman seemed to be quite nimble.
Ria didn’t hate people that worked so quickly. Carlos made another trip, deciding on the time.
Ria prepared her clothes, as well as remaking the group’s clothing.
When Ria asked Shizuna’s impressions of her outfit, she thought that it was like a beautiful woman dressing herself in black themed male clothing.
The next day, when she left for the audience, she was limited in which comrades she could bring with her.
As a matter of course, Ria brought Carlos the knight.
Gig came as the ogre representative, with Maal as the beastkin representative.
She also brought Irina, who was a dragon, for five people in all.
Serge, Lulu, and Shizuna were completely commoners and would have to wait in the anteroom.
Like this, Shizuna felt the difference between her world and Ria’s.
“What are you thinking about?”
This wasn’t the first time Shizuna asked that, but she didn’t anticipate her response.
“Yeah, I’ve been wondering what I should do to beat that woman.”
Shizuna doubted her ears.
When she talked to the person she fell in love with, that person talked about fighting.
A woman that didn’t understand a woman’s heart.
Shizuna put her back to her, sulking.
The royal palace was simple and sturdy. In truth, the interior was rebuilt after having been destroyed by the dragon’s raid and the queen just hadn’t put much effort into it.
The door to the audience room opened as the five walked up to it. Far ahead of them on the throne sat a woman with black hair.
A beauty. She really did look like Ria. No, maybe like Valis? She didn’t have Ria’s martial atmosphere.
Her golden eyes were using intimidation, but their owner wasn’t using them to the point that it would cause them to submit.
And behind the queen stood a beautiful knight.
Carla Raparb Uslan.
She stared at her.
And she stared back.
It felt like she was being seen through.
The group stopped several steps away from the stairs leading to the throne. The three other than Ria and Irina took a knee.
Guinevere stood up from the throne, walking down the stairs to stand before Ria.
“This is the first time we’ve met. I am Guinevere, duke of Manesh.”
Guinevere lowered her head, while Ria on the other hand returned with a knight’s bow.
“Thank you for your polite greetings, your excellency. I am Ryuke Riana Crystal Casalia. And this is—”
She indicated Irina with her outstretched hand.
“Daughter of Golden Dragon Clarice-sama and Dark Dragon Valis-sama, Irina-sama.”
The courtiers acting as their audience started whispering to one another. However, it didn’t affect either of those two at all.
Guinevere and Carla.
“For the daughter of god dragons, this is a laughable place to speak. Shall we change locations?”
Guinevere proposed such a thing. She wanted to stop with such formal talk and have a more frank discussion. Ria felt the same and agreed.
“Please step this way. I’ve prepared a much more relaxed area.”
Ria nodded, the queen guided them personally. The coutiers behind them, Carla followed.
“If possible I would like to bring my comrades that came with me. There are various things that need to be said.”
Signalling with just her eyes, a lady of the court dashed away.
“Ah, it’s fine if it waits until after our talk is over, but—”
Of course, Ria was about to touch on the main subject.
“I would like to have a one on one match against the Dragonslayer Carla-dono.”
Carla seemed to be glad at hearing that.
“Carla, what do you think?”
“If Hime-sama wills it.”
The pretty-faced knight answered coolly. However, her eyes spoke for her.
She also desired it.
(But still, calling her Hime-sama despite her being a queen? She does look like a child, though…)
Ria thought about something as inconsequential as that.
“Well, let’s leave that talk for later. Some minimal preparations are necessary.”
With another signal from Guinevere, another court lady was sent running. She didn’t understand what preparations were necessary, but Ria felt she had good control over her subordinates.
The group went to the queen’s private room. The three they were separated from came as well.
“Ah, make yourselves comfortable. I’d like to as well, after all.”
The queen, who changed her tone, said so as she heavily sat down on the sofa while taking her shoes off.
“I’m like this, but that’s fine right? You’re also an explorer despite being an Ojou-sama, so you hate the formal stuff right?”
Although that was true, this was the first time she saw her being so direct.
Ria sank deeply into the sofa and nodded. The other members sat down lightly on small sofas that were prepared.
“I’ll introduce everyone. From the right is the prime minister, the minister of state, the foreign minister, the minister of military affairs, and the intelligence chief. We’ll speak in more details when the chance comes. Also, Carla is my head bodyguard. Though it seems like you already know her well.”
Her cabinet of ministers left the room while waving. The only ones that stayed were Carla and her ladies-in-waiting.
Ria introduced her comrades as well. Among them, the queen seemed interested in Irina, as well as Serge.
Irina she could understand. Even though she looked like a human, she’s a dragon. But even though Serge was a reincarnated person he was an ordinary child.
“This is the first time I’ve seen a human with even more pure magical power than me.”
So that was the cause.
Serge’s magical power certainly was high. It was very abnormal, especially when considering his age.
Since he was usually near the exceptional existences known as Ria and Irina, he didn’t tend to stand out though.
“He has various mysterious skills… Dark Dragon Valis-sama’s power? If that’s so I’d like to see you explore with Carla at some point. If I have the time, I’d also like to go though.”
She saw straight through his power. Even though Serge practiced magic that strongly obstructed people from being able to see through his power, it looks like that didn’t stop her.
Moreover, this queen was very quick witted.
This was the first time that Ria had seen a person with such a high wisdom attribute. At any rate, it was even higher than Rufus’. It was obviously higher than Ria’s, too.
As for who interrupted the conversation, it was a small child.
Waited on by a maid serving under Guinevere, he was this country’s prince, her only son.
His father is unknown. It’s thought that the queen had a consort, but no one stood up.
The prince was lifted by his mother and was shown off to Ria.
“I’ll introduce him to you. This is my son, Shinji.”
Geho—. Serge started to choke on the tea he was drinking.
“Oh my, what’s wrong? His name is a bit unusual, but he’s a lovely child.”
With black eyes and hair, he was a charming child. However, the reason Serge choked was due to his name.
“Your majesty, would it be alright if I asked your something frankly?”
Although Serge was talking with a frantically polite tone, he simply had to confirm something.
“It’s fine. Speak freely.”
Ria also turned towards Serge. Though she knew him, she also didn’t know what Serge was going to ask.
“His highness the prince’s name, did his father decide it? And perhaps, would it have been Rei if Shinji was a girl…?”
With a bang, the queen stood up quickly. The composure she’d had up to this point all but disappeared from her face.
“You! Do you know where he is right now!?”
If he didn’t say that he didn’t know, the queen could have Carla detain him with nothing but a look.
However, Carla’s blue eyes did nothing but stare at Serge.
“I don’t know where he is. However, I do know a person who might know…”
“Hime-sama, any further would be…”
Since Carla was paying attention to the surrounding stares, Guinevere seemed to have also recovered control of herself. She gave her child who had stiffened in her arms to a maid, sitting back down with a plop.
“I have quite a few things I want to ask you.”
Then the queen changed subjects once again.
“So, why do you want to fight against Carla?”
Looking at her with eyes full of childish curiosity, Guinevere asked Ria.
Ria’s answer was blunt.
“When there’s a mountain, you climb it.”
Guinevere laughed heartily.