Hi, this chapter is not edited yet and I’ll replace it with the edited one later on. Btw, this chapter quite long too.
After that, we got on Karen’s carriage and headed for Rayford territory and after accepting that request, it seems that we to be allowed to stay in the mansion of Karen’s until we completed our tasks.
The carriage wheel turns around creating the *KaraKara* rattling sounds while the passes through scenery could be seen from the window. We were fortunate to be able to get on the carriage because I was going to walk to the labyrinth of death swamp by foot.
「Come to think of it, Iori-san has told me that you were was going to met my dear father and what kind of relationship that you have with him?」(Karen)
「……Long time ago, my life has been saved by Gouache-san」(Iori)
While answering Karen’s question, I remember the time when that I met him before.
Gouache was a magician with a kind character.
The gentle-hearted and a cowardly man who trembles just by looking at the blood.
And at the same time, he’s a mixed one……the “half demon”.
A man who was able to communicate with both Mazoku’s and humans.
Gouache was an aristocrat, but it seems that he was severely slandered because he was a mixed one.
But a Gouache didn’t break as he overcame the discrimination by deciding to do what he must that resulting him to be recognised by a lot of people around him. I still remembered seeing him being loved by the population of his fief.
Moreover, Gouache was better at protecting more than fighting. By using magic item known as the “Essential Stone” which being hand down to the Rayford house from generation after generation and that magic item will enhance the effectiveness of the barrier magic. He has protected his people from the invading Maou forces.
『I can not fight like Amatsu-san because I’m only a coward who shaking by just looking at blood……』(Gouache)
『But even so, such I also have a merit called as the barrier magic』(Gouache)
『Even I can’t fight, I will protect my family, my friends and the people who live in my territory――important people with it』(Gouache)
『Because of such reason, I will fight with everything I have Amatsu-san』(Gouache)
Gouache was saying such a thing when I talked with him back then. I remember the feeling like my breath has been taken away after having heard those unexpected words from him who always have that gentle look.
A short time after that, I fell into a predicament as I and my party fell into the scheme of “Thousand Transformations” one of the Four Heavenly Kings. In the situation where we have worn out by a series of battles, “Thousand Transformations” and a lot of demonic beings flocked toward us. No ones were able to do something regarding the demonic beings that were sent by the “Thousand Transformations”.
At that time, it was Gouache who have come to the rescue. Though he shouldn’t like fighting, he rushed up to the rescue.
With the barrier that he has spread, we able to rearranged our formations.
At that time, I would lose my life if gouache did not come that time.
Somehow, that make me wondering did Lucifina and Dionis had some countermeasures to handle those situations?
By the story of Karen, her mother……Gouache wife seems to have died while Gouache himself is also missing, too.
I wonder if he is still alright.
I thought at that time.
He who have more “courage” is more suitable to be “brave” than I am. If it were a guy like Gouache Rayford who has a firm belief, he surely won’t be swayed by anyone.
And several hours later.
When the sun was about to go down, we finally arrived at Rayford territory.
The Rayford territory that I saw for the first time in a while was less lively than before. I can not explain it well, but when I saw it before, I remembered the impression that the whole area was quite lively. Either if it was cause being coupled together with sight during the sunset, it seems to have been deserted now.
The territory is being damaged by the demonic beings and it is said that some peoples have been missing, too.
Gouache which is a feudal lord is one among them. In such a situation, it would be strange if one could be lively after such a thing had happened.
We were shown and came to a residence of Rayford family.
The exterior has changed a lot probably because thirty years has passed since then.
We get off the carriage and enter the mansion.
After being guided to the guest’s room where we stay overnight. Albeit it was slightly early but had supper at dinner in a dining room. There does not seem to be so much number of servants as there several people are lining up a dish diligently.
There, Karen who has changed her clothes from a dress to relaxed clothes came along with Jean.
While in a hand of Karen there’s a piece of a letter was grasped.
「Karen, that is……」(Jean)
「……It is from His Majesty the Emperor」(Karen)
In the letter, it seems to have been written addressing toward Karen to send her a notice to come over to the Imperial Palace as the representative of Rayford House. It may be something regarding the matter of the labyrinth seal. Judging from Karen’s complexion, she unlikely to hear a very good report.
「……For the labyrinth seals, we have to use the magic item known as the “Essential Stone” that being handed down to the Rayford House. As the name implies, it is the stone that becomes the vital point of the barrier itself」(Karen)
「Is there something happens to it?」(Iori)
「It have been taken away by Olivia when she occupied the labyrinth.『This is a tool to build the barrier. Therefore, use your own effort to create the barrier own your own from now on』, is what she said」(Karen)
Karen has repeatedly demanded the return of essential stone and the occupation right of the labyrinth from Olivia. However, Olivia ignores it completely while she continues to create the barrier on her own accords.
「The labyrinth seal, it is the life of the Rayford House.
Since my father and mother are gone, I have to defend my territory……!」(Karen)
The disheartening suppose to be Karen has said those words firmly.
……She exactly like Gouache.
Resemble him, those words that transmitted by Karen is shown that she strongly thinking about the people of her fief.
「But……I wonder why that woman Olivia has done such irresponsible things」(Iori)
「Actually, I happening to know something regarding that」(Karen)
Karen closed her eyes to suppress her emotions and said.
「I think Iori has already noticed it……that I’m a “Mixed”」(Karen)
「……Well, I realised that you not just a mere human from the quality of your magical power」(Iori)
「Olivia herself seems to hate the races others than humans…So, no wonder she had fixed her eyes on me after all」(Karen)
In addition, both Gouache and Karen has Mazoku blood flowing in them. Furthermore, there are several demi-humans and half-Mazoku that live in the Rayford territory. It is said that Gouache accepted those who lost their place to live that cause by the Maou forces.
In the past, Olivia had said the demi-humans and half-Mazoku are no more than a “Dirty livestock”. It is not an unthinkable story because she probably doesn’t like both Gouache and Karen very much. There may be something else regarding the matter about those sealing, but it won’t matter to me because I will get that information out of her while torturing her thoroughly.
「Gezz……as for our next target, it seems that she was a quite worthless one, too-na」(Elfi)
「That fellow was never a decent one in the first place-na」(Iori)
We had dinner while having a conversation and if it’s the aristocrat of the Kingdom, “How about the eating manners?”, “Can you eat together with a commoner?”, but Karen does not say anything to break the ice. Meanwhile, the attendant who waiting behind her were scowling at us silently.
「I have to head to the Imperial capital tomorrow, I am sorry though I just made my request」(Karen)
An Imperial capital, huh?
「Would you bring us along to the Imperial capital?」(Elfi)
Elfi suggested such thing.
By the story so far, Olivia seems to be targeting Karen too.
By moving together with Karen, I might be able to grasp the movement of that woman, too.
「Of course, I don’t mind」(Karen)
Although it was an impudent favour, Karen acknowledged it with a smile. To just accept just “bring us along” as the reason is. By the way, I propose that we would tag along as an escort.
Karen nodded with “By all means, please do so!”.
Thus, we’re going to go to the Imperial capital, too.
After dinner, we borrowing the bathhouse to wash away our harsh sweat before we went to our respective rooms.
It is a story that I heard before entering the room that Olivia has rise becoming an aristocrat after she exterminated the demonic beings that attacked the Empire.
The empire is a country that emphasis on ability. Originally the demi-human and half-Mazoku would be suffered social ostracism, but when the emperor caught an illness and was close to his death bed, it was either the demi-human or half-Mazoku who have cured the imperial majesty from that illness. That was the starting point where the demi-humans and the half-Mazoku have been recognised. Whether you are humans, a demi-human or half-Mazoku, you will be recognised if you leave a result.
The reason why Olivia becomes a noble will be that her achievement of demon extermination was accepted by the emperor.
Now after being omitted from the army, she seems to shut herself off in the Eliesteel territory as an aristocrat.
「……That woman, how’s you going to retaliate against her? Do you think about that right now?」(Elfi)
I might find something useful to be used at the Imperial City tomorrow.
Thus, I fell asleep while thinking about such a thing.
The next day, we rode in a carriage and left for a capital first thing in the morning. Karen, her attendant and us to get into the carriage while we were being responsible for the guarding albeit we didn’t encounter any demonic beings in our way.
「We have arrived!」(Elfi)
Grandsilk Empire, Imperial capital Van Del.
The Imperial capital is covered by a hard walled wall and it is also called a castle town. Even in the battle thirty years ago, the existence of this castle wall was great.
The large castle gate which is the entrance to the Imperial capital is protected by a gatekeeper and thanks to Karen, we managed to get inside easily.
The Imperial capital scenery which after we pass through the large castle gate was flourishing beyond the hot spring town. Just as magical research is flourishing, the magic items that light up the light and the barrier are being installed everywhere.
It would take a considerable cost just to maintained it.
Elfi seemed impressed as she spilt a sigh when saw the scene unfold in front of her eyes.
「Iori,Iori! There are some appetising pastries is being sold there-zo. They seem to have sandwiched fish eggs, too!」(Elfi)
「Yeah, You’re right」(Iori)
Yes, I knew it.
From the start that is what you looking at, huh.
「For the time being we will head to the Imperial Palace」(Karen)
It seems that both I and Elfi will enter the Imperial palace as an attendant albeit Jean was opposed to it. This is the first time that I go as an attendant although I have experienced a lot of audiences with either king or the emperor during my journey back then. Elfi immediately bought some seasoned cod roe French bread-like thing and *BakuBaku* gobbles it up. I quickly dust off the spilt breadcrumbs because it has scattered all over her clothes.
「Iori-san and Elfi-san is really looking like an elder brother and her little sister」(Karen)
Looking at we are, Karen let out a smile.
「Well, anyhow it the opposite, and did you said that I’m the little sister!?」(Elfi)
「Hehe, it is. Actually both of you is not a brother-sister, aren’t you?」(Karen)
「Yes, This fellow and I only have a relation as a traveling companion and there is no blood connection between us.
We started to travel together was only recently, too」(Iori)
「Well, is that so? I saw that both of you got a very close relationship and because of that, I thought that both of you have been acquaintance for along time」(Karen)
Elfi spilt breadcrumbs while saying that I am not a sister or the like.
I guess probably her real age is older than me though……
Anyway, why did she disappointing?
「Karen-sama, we have arrived at the Imperial Palace」(Jean)
Meanwhile, we have arrived at the Imperial Palace. It is a platinum castle made from a strong magical material.
It won’t budge even if it being hit by an advanced magic because it already being engraved by the defence magic similar as the castle wall itself. The impressiveness of the Imperial castle it is by no means inferior to the castle wall.
「Hmph……It is nothing compared to my castle though」(Elfi)
I take up bread from the hand of triumphing Elfi and put it away in the pouch after keeping it in the bag. Because it won’t be a good thing if the breadcrumbs are going to be spill all over the castle, won’t it.
I think I might exaggerate it, but it just for in case.
Karen introduced herself to the guarding soldier before entering a castle. When she show the crest of the house of Rayford and the letter which she received from the emperor, her entry was approval smoothly.
「Who are them?」
「They are my attendants and can you give them an entry permission, too?」(Karen)
「Yes, it is all right. However, I will keep all the weapons」
I undergo a physical exam from a soldier and handed down all weapons and everything that give off the magical reactions to the soldier. Because I am afraid that there any problems might occur, I’ve stored the valuable items in the pouch beforehand.
Elfi is also put on the ring to hides her real nature, too. It seems that it is becoming difficult to distinguish it unless it is checked by using the observation of the demon eye class. She was able to enter the castle as they do not perceive the ring.
Receiving guidance, we will move through the castle.
When we reach near the audiences chamber, Jean and we are being forbidden to move further in because from here onwards you can not enter without the emperor’s permission.
「Well then, I should get going. Jean and Iori-san, please wait there for a moment」(Karen)
「Yes, I understand」(Iori)
「Please take care, Karen-sama」(Jean)
In that way, Karen walked toward the audience chamber.
We who stayed will be on standby in the waiting room. Because there is a guard outside of the room so we cannot walk about freely.
Jean remains silent after we enter the room.
As usual, he seems to be displeased.
I tried speaking to him, but he did not reply.
「What the hell with that man……」(Elfi)
Elfi is looking at Jean with a disgusting face.
I was leaning against on a tender sofa and I thought about a certain thing while looking at the chandelier on the ceiling.
The contents are about this case.
Even if I say so, there is already rough expectation concerning this case. In the end, this was something around my expectation because if it were something such this degree it would be her doing by considering what that woman capable off.
I just need to obtain that conclusive evidence afterwards.
「Hey, they were selling “that” particular potion on our way we coming here, wasn’t it?」(Iori)
「Yes, the one that has a lasting healing effect, wasn’t it? What’s wrong with that?」(Elfi)
「No, I’m just thinking of buying some on our way back」(Iori)
It should genuinely serve it purpose. However, I came up with a certain use of it, too. By properly make use of it, I should be able to do some interesting things with it.
Afterwhile, Karen has returned.
The complexion of Karen who has returned was bad. She looks pale as if she have received a considerable shock.
「Karen-sama, how have you done !?」(Jean)
「……Rayford……been forfeit the rights over the labyrinth seal」(Karen)
In a trembling voice, Karen told what happen during the audience.
It seems that she was told directly by the emperor that she being dismissed regarding the matter of the labyrinth seal.
Instead of the Rayford family, Olivia was granted right to create the labyrinth seal.
「……『Essential stone』was also to be transferred to Olivia-san」(Karen)
Having lost her mother and that was followed by the disappearance of her father, the sole remaining Karen have been stouthearted and acting diligently in order to protect the fief. However, it seems that this time it was harsher for her dealt with.
Her face is pale and her body is trembling.
「Karen-san are you alright……?」
「Y-yes, I’m f-fine. Leaving that aside, let’s get out of Imperial palace because I have already finished my business here……」(Karen)
Karen leaves the room with her unsteady steps. While we could not find any words to console her feeling, we just followed after her silently. Meanwhile, Jean who is a bit behind Karen has a difficult face.
「Oh my, is it not Karen-san?」
It is when we left and walk away from the room. From our behind, there was a voice calling out Karen name and that voice has a familiar feeling to it, too.
「……I guess you did come over, didn’t you」
What stood there is a woman with a hair of the long madder red with a vertical winding roll. While wearing a red dress reminiscent of a rose. It’s the figure to the extent that one would chase it with their eyes unintentionally if they pass each other in streets.
With her an appearance in her mid-twenty that would have one’s breath taken away just by looking at her.
The appearance of a betrayer who I saw for the first time in these thirty years that did not change at all from those days.
「Nice to meet you, and how about you feeling after being released from labyrinth seal decree?」(Olivia)
「With this, both in name and reality the right over the labyrinth seals have become my task, aren’t they? Well, as expected from his Majesty, right」(Olivia)
「To leave the seal to the mixers like you, it would just increase the damages to the citizens of my territory」(Olivia)
Karen trembles shudderingly to the words of Olivia who triumphant.
「Well, as for the feudal lord that have irresponsibly disappeared, it’s a natural result, aren’t they? But where on earth your father went to?」(Olivia)
Olivia laughs as she exposing her malice while she did so.
She seems like a different person from the time when I spoke with her as Amatsu.
It made me wondering that if this was her true character after all.
「It may have been the punishment for not having to seal the labyrinth properly, aren’t it! The mixed is irresponsible and isn’t worthy to be entrusted with the most important role, right! Do not you think it is a natural result, Karen Rayford-san?」(Olivia)
Turning her back to Olivia after being mock by such words, Karen has run away from this place. While Jean who was watching Olivia in silence is running after Karen.
「Oh dear, were she running away because what I’ve said was hitting the mark?」(Olivia)
Olivia laughs at the back of such Karen.
「Oh my, who might you be?」(Olivia)
For the first time, Olivia finally turned her eyes this way.
「Are you an adventurer? To walk along with such crude stranger, probably she doesn’t have any decent attendants either, aren’t she? Oh my, anyway it suitable for that dirty “mixed” after all」(Olivia)
While didn’t notice my real identity, Olivia abuse us with such remark.
「Let’s go, Iori」(Elfi)
「Oh my, are you ignoring me?」(Olivia)
It is not worth listening to.
What should go out from that mouth is words of apologies and regrets while warped in pain on your last moments.
Thus, we turned our back and chased after Karen.