Since I’m busy with tests and a project I need to do, next chapter will only be in 3 weeks from now.
Enjoy the chapter!
I wonder what is going to happen next ~.^
Chapter 2, Episode 7: Noble’s Wife
On the other side of the window, the evening sun was hidden behind clouds while preparing to set.
The red sunlight dyes the inside of the room where a young boy and girl were sitting facing each other.
「… Have you experienced something like this before?」
A young girl with lead-colored eyes— Aura was shooting her gaze towards Hiro as if probing for something.
Sitting across from her, Hiro strokes the eyepatch covering half his face and smiles stiffly.
「Eh, what do you mean?」
Hiro was so confident in the throne room, but now, his eyes were darting about and he was acting suspiciously.
It’s understandable that Aura would stare at him with an exasperated look on her face.
「… I don’t know where you spent your days or what you did until now. However, I think anyone would have been nervous walking in that tense of an atmosphere while exposed to the gazes of influential nobles of the Grantz Grand Empire. But the way you were walking… it was as if you had the same experience in the past— as if you were accustomed to it.」
「No… I was pretty nervous. M-Maybe it’s because of my eyepatch that it was hard to read my expression.」
The way HIro didn’t show a single sign of nerves in the throne room, he wasn’t fooling anyone.
「If you insist, I won’t press you any further…」
It was the same at Fort Belk. Maybe this is just what you’d expect from this wise young girl. It seems she’s caught on to Hiro’s true identity.
Hiro let out a small exhale, and opened his mouth slightly.
「If… and this is only if, someone from the past suddenly appeared in the future, what do you think would happen?」
If… He could have exposed everything to her, but this is a haunt of wicked men where various desires swirl about.
Even if it’s only those two in the nobles’ room, he can’t let his guard down here.
He can’t say for sure that someone might be listening in on them, but just in case, it would probably be best to tread carefully.
Aura narrows her eyes, takes a beat, then opens her mouth to speak in a way to imply she was choosing her words carefully.
「… Is it all right if I speak hypothetically?」
「Yeah. Hypothetically, what do you think, Aura?」
「If… by chance, the “hero” from “a 1,000 years ago” appeared in the present time, there’s no doubt that many people would see his existence as a nuisance.」
Her hypothetical pierced deep into Hiro’s chest.
「… They would, huh.」
Aura continues to speaks monotonously in a detached manner towards Hiro who wore a bitter smile.
「Of course. The people would likely rejoice, but for those with power, he would be nothing but a nuisance. They would likely join together to crush such a dangerous existence. If he were to avoid that, either hiding his powers— or claiming to be his descendent would probably be appropriate. With that, people would still “understand”.」
「But having said that, even if he told people he was a “god”, hardly anyone would believe him.」
「That is true.」
「It’s nothing to fret much about really. You’ve already been accepted as a “descendant”, so if anyone tried to make a racket about you being a “god”, people would probably think them crazy and not take them seriously.」
Aura grabbed a cup from the table and wet her mouth with some black tea.
「However, we don’t know what will happen from here on. It would likely be wise to prepare yourself as if your true identity may be discovered at any moment.」
「Yeah. You’re right.」
As Hiro hangs his head, Aura’s eyes turn into those of a prankster.
「This is a hypothetical, yes? Is there a need to look so serious?」
「… R-Right? Haha…」
Aura smiles at Hiro who scratches his head and tries to play it cool.
Hiro decided to change the topic so as not to make any more slip ups.
「B-By the way, there were so many nobles, but no one’s coming to the nobles’ room.」
「That’s because this is a place where nobles without a residence within the grounds of the Imperial Palace come. However, the middle and lower class nobles refrain from using this room and return to their mansions in town or to an inn, so this room is hardly used.」
「You don’t have a residence here, Aura?」
「I do have one on the grounds. Though, I stay at the guard house lately when I come to the Imperial capital so I don’t use it.」
Aura offered to give it to him if he wanted it.
As Hiro politely declines, there’s a knock at the door.
A maid appeared from the shadow of the now open door.
「The preparations for the banquet have been completed. Everyone has already gathered. Your Highness Hiro… are you ready?」
The maid said to Hiro. But there is no reply from his blank face.
For a short while, it was silent in the nobles’ room… Then, Hiro finally realizes.
「Ahh— You’re talking to me!」
The maid nods with a gentle smile.
「Are you ready?」
This is the reason Hiro and Aura have stayed at the Imperial Palace until now.
It was decided to hold a banquet in order to celebrate the birth of a new Imperial prince and the victory of the battle from the other day.
After Hiro nods, the maid turns her body to the side.
「Then, I shall show you the way.」
Hiro and Aura pass in front of the maid, then stop in the hallway.
The maid quietly closes the door. She says, 「this way,」 after bowing, then begins to walk ahead of them.
(… For now, I have to memorize faces and names. I have to figure out who’s trustworthy and who’s not.)
Considering the future as well, it would probably be a good idea to come in contact with the Krone house.
(But still, I have to wait for them to come to me.)
If he approached them, there’s a chance it may cause groundless rumors to spread.
It would be a disaster if rumors went around that the descendant of the Second Emperor supported the Krone house.
(Well, I don’t expect they’ll be participating in the banquet though.)
The faction for the First Imperial Prince, which heads the Krone house, couldn’t possible leave Imperial Prince Schtobel to participate in the banquet while he’s under house arrest.
Plus, the foundation they thought to be solid had begun to sway.
I doubt this is the time for them to get drunk on alcohol during such a state of emergency.
If they don’t take the best measures possible, they will collapse in the blink of an eye. There’s no doubt they’re desperately racking their brains right about now.
(Third Imperial Prince Brutar will probably participate. His matter was deemed trivial so he’ll probably get wasted.)
At that moment, something pulled at his sleeve.
「Hiro… Are you ready?」
Hiro pauses his thoughts and looks at Aura who is walking next to him.
「Please walk into the hall alone, okay?」
「… You’re right.」
Hiro nods, understanding the meaning behind her words.
Aura is affiliated with Third Imperial Prince Brutar’s faction. She is a staff officer, so this should be a given.
If she appeared at the hall together with the Fourth Imperial Prince…
(A lot of speculation would probably start flying around. I want to avoid putting Aura in a bad position.)
She may be suspected of changing factions.
That would be a perfect chance for those who are not pleased with her position.
It would definitely attract criticism.
When he saw Third Imperial Prince Brutar in the throne room, his impression was that he was an extremely distrusting person.
(Someone like that would easily be misled by the words of their retainers. You could even say he would be easy to manipulate. That’s probably why his faction grew so large though.)
But in a way, it’s actually not a bad situation for Hiro.
If Hiro can choose his words carefully, he can have him act in his favor.
If there’s a chance of anything getting in his way, it would probably be the influential nobles who support him.
(… There’s no point in thinking about it now. First, I’ll etch faces and names into my head.)
He avoided such troublesome affairs a 1,000 years ago.
He was always standing on the front lines and only returned to the castle a few times.
The consequences for continuously evading such situations was great. Which is why he abandoned everything and returned to “Earth”.
But now, he can run no longer. He made his bed, and now he has to lie in it.
There’s a chance he may make a severe mistake due to his lack of experience.
(Even still, I swore to continue moving forward.)
Hiro stopped before a set of large doors. There was a light of determination burning in his eyes.
He passes through the double doors flanked by heavy infantry as the noise from the crowds leak through.
It let him know that there were many nobles within.
「I will enter from the eastern entrance. I will see you later…」
Aura said in a small voice. She then continues to walk the hallway pretending not to know Hiro.
He looks away from the now Aura who had disappeared and shifts his gaze to a maid waiting nearby.
「I will enter first. Thereafter, the doors will open from within, so please wait here until then, your Highness Hiro.」
The maid disappears to the other side of the doors, after which, majestic music began to play.
There’s a beautiful voice singing along to the music. Perhaps it’s the maid that was just there with Hiro.
『If everyone would please be quiet. The person who will now be entering, is a descendant of his Majesty the Second Emperor who was once praised as the 「Twin Black Hero King」, who also laid the foundation of the Empire as one of the Twelve Great Gods of Grantz, Fourth Imperial Prince Hiro Schwarz von Grantz.』
The doors open. Along with a bright light, a lively and elegant melody floods the hall and wraps itself around Hiro.
Hiro squinted his eyes, took one step forward, then entered the hall with a light stride.
Hiro is welcomed by a grand applause and is exposed to inquisitive glances, but none of them call out to him.
(I guess I’ll wait and see what happens first.)
So he grabbed a glass of water and walked towards a large table lined with extravagant food.
A number of nobles approach him once he gets there.
Every single one of them has on gorgeous jewelry and flashy clothing.
Hiro pretends not to notice as he goes into thought…
(Hmm~… They’re really assertive, aren’t they?)
That’s basically the first impression he got from them.
Their smiles somehow look superficial. They probably can’t be trusted.
One person from the group approached Hiro as their representative and bowed.
「Your Highness Hiro Schwarz, it is a pleasure to meet you.」
「Yeah, nice to meet you.」
They exchange a handshake.
The man began to introduce himself. It was long and winded, like a gloomy speech.
「—. I hope to see you again in the future.」
To briefly summarize, he is a noble who has territory in the western region.
The western nobles are supporters of Third Imperial Prince Brutar.
Although there were no problems this time around because his case was dismissed, no one knows what might happen in the future.
This is likely why they approached him, just in case.
「Alright. I’ll be sure to remember your name and face.」
‘As someone I can’t trust,’ he said in his mind.
That was just the beginning. Nobles gather around him one after another.
Hiro becomes overwhelmed dealing with this.
He was surrounded by nobles brimming with various desires, receiving offers of daughters’ hands in marriage and recommendations for sons as subordinates.
He was able to get away from this half an hour later. While straining not to show his fatigue in his expression, he leaned against a sofa by the wall.
(There are a lot more people crowding around me than I expected…)
He throws back the glass of water in his hand in one gulp, then pokes his throat with his finger to release a suffocating feeling there.
He looks around the hall and sees there are still nobles waiting and watching. It seems he still has to go through some more greetings.
Hiro recalls the scene from earlier and let’s out a deep sigh.
(But… just as I thought, none of the central nobles under the Krone house are participating.)
He isn’t surprised because it was as he predicted, but he was disappointed at the same time.
Of the nobles who called out to him, the ones who caught his attention the most were the ones from the eastern region.
(Having lost their head of the house, they were divided.)
What he could sense from various things they said, was that they were dissatisfied with their acting head of the house, Duchess Kelheit.
However, there are many who side with Duchess Kelheit, and it looks like those two groups are about to split apart from disputes.
(The ones who took advantage of this is the Krone house…)
It seems the Krone house is extending their evil influence in an attempt to take control of the entire eastern region.
Having lost their solidarity, there is a chance the Krone house will take over the Kelheit house in the near future.
If that’s allowed to happen… First Imperial Prince Schtobel will likely get his hands on the throne.
(… Now, what should I do from here on out?)
A shadow falls from overhead as Hiro is in thought.
He notices this, and when he looked up, there stood a woman in a scarlet dress.
「Excuse me, do you mind if I sit next to you?」
She had golden, wavy hair which was tied behind her head which flowed down in front of her right shoulder. Her bewitching blue eyes were looking down at Hiro.
Her symmetrical and voluptuous body could probably draw anyone’s gaze.
Boldly enough, her dress has slits up her thighs— Her beautiful legs peeking out from them are seductively charming and quite suggestive.
Actually, there is now a commotion starting from the nobles around her.
(But… I get the feeling that’s not the only reason.)
Hiro thinks the reaction around them is suspicious.
「Ahh, sorry. My name— is Miste Kariara Rosa von Kelheit. I was the former Third Imperial Princess, and I’m currently the acting head of the Kelheit house. It’s nice to make your acquaintance.」
After finishing her concise self introduction, the duchess put on a bewitching smile.
「I see. I can see why Liz is so worked up. There’s the color of your hair and eyes too, but… you have an unusual face for someone of the Grantz Grand Empire.」
Hiro didn’t let his surprise show on his face, but there was an uncomfortable feeling pressing down on his heart.