Translator: Kell | Editor: Ryunakama
A few minutes later, we went through some thorough security check, and stepped into the royal palace.
The staff I was carrying—a spare that looked powerful but was actually pretty much useless—was taken away at the entrance. That was within expectations, of course. The one I normally used was hidden in my magic storage.
As long as there’s no magic to examine the inside of my magic storage, a luggage inspection is basically pointless.
“Come this way, please.”
We were ushered into an audience room with an awfully sturdy-looking metal door. Given that we are in the royal palace, it is understandable that it would be sturdy. But normally doors are more discreetly created. Yet compared to the other rooms, only the door to this room stands out.
Perhaps they recently constructed this room specifically for us. I must say, though, I commend their efforts for going through all the trouble of remodelling just to kill us. Or maybe there’s actually other people they want to kill as well. That would make sense.
Judging from the make of the hinges and lock, a weak magic spell will not even make the door budge. A powerful spell might destroy it, but we would need to consider how much distance to put between us and the door, or we could get wrecked as well.
As I was observing the surroundings, Count Meigis and I entered the room.
“Please wait over here.”
With that, the knights left the room and closed the door. Almost at the same time as the door closed completely, I heard a heavy sound of clattering. The door must have been locked.
The question is, how do we get out of here? The safest assassination method would be to pour poison gas into the room, but that’s probably not going to happen. There was no mechanism in the door that would make it airtight, and this room is too large to be used for poisoning.
Then there’s the possibility of blowing up the room, but that doesn’t seem to be very likely either. This room is near the center of the first floor of the royal palace, and also near thick pillars. Clearly not a spot suited for an explosion.
Blowing us up with a force that would kill us for certain would mean destroying the pillars too. It would be fine if it only resulted in a huge hole torn open in the building, but the whole palace itself could collapse.
I would applaud their guts if they were willing to sacrifice the whole palace just to take us down, but that was not likely. A while ago, I scanned the inside the royal palace for any magical reaction with my Magic Search, but there were still normal people around. The area around the room we’re in seems to be the only one with fewer people, but other than that, no one seems to have evacuated at all.
Considering the high chance that the enemy was occupying the palace, the people around could be their allies, and they wouldn’t want them dragged into the explosion as well. Assuming still that they were a group that didn’t care about the lives of their companions, they probably want to avoid reducing their forces for no reason. The fact that no one is evacuating means that they don’t intend to destroy the entire building.
In that case, the enemy will probably come to kill us directly, not from outside the room. Or the enemy will lead us to a different room designed for our doom. Either way, I guess we’d better wait for the enemy to make their move.
“Thank you for coming.”
A few minutes after we were ushered into the room, a door at the back opened, revealing who seemed to be the king himself.
There were four knights behind him standing guard, but at this distance I could kill them all together if I cast a spell. However, since the king could actually be the real deal, I shouldn’t make a move just yet.
“I would rush over if it’s a request by Your Majesty,” Count Meigis replied.
I watched the guards closely. There’s also a good chance that the guards will take the real king hostage, and attack us for real.
I wish I know if the king before us is real or not. It’s quite difficult to see through highly-advanced transformation magic. My only option is to judge him from his movements.
“I am pleased with your loyalty, Meigis.” The king turned to me. “I believe this is the first time we meet, Adventurer Eld.”
Hmm… How should I respond?
I have a feeling that when you’re an adventurer, it’s not a good idea to use respectful language. If I recall correctly, adventurers don’t even talk to royalty politely because they’d draw suspicions.
Considering the nature of the profession, there may be many adventurers who would rather not use polite language. In any case, I’ll just follow their example as well. Like they say, when in Rome, do as Romans do.
“Nice to meet you,” I said. “I didn’t expect to be invited to the royal palace out of the blue. It’s an honor.”
“Your reputation precedes you,” the king said. “I expected we would meet at some point, but I apologize for inviting you under these circumstances. The situation is rather complicated in the kingdom with the sudden death of my father.”
Hmm… I don’t see anything unnatural in his tone of voice, or anything else for that matter. He doesn’t seem to be under some kind of brainwashing spell, at least.
If the real king was being threatened to come meet us, there was a chance he might give some sort of a sign, but if he was warned not to do anything suspicious or he’d be killed, then even the real king would simply act natural.
An ordinary person might give himself away through a trembling voice, but a king would have courage. Now if he was smart, he could make his voice tremble on purpose so I could determine if he was an enemy or an ally, but I don’t think I can expect much.
“The kingdom is in a dire situation,” I said. “I don’t mind my payment to be deferred. How about annual payment for ten years? Will that work?”
This won’t end good anyway, but I’ll take the negotiations seriously for now. I’m not really in need of money, and I don’t mind a reduction in the amount of my reward, but I need to pretend like I have no idea this will turn into a bloodbath midway.
In a PvP, a single moment can decide the outcome of a match. The idea is to give the enemy some hope that we might not be aware of the attack, so they can’t read our moves.
They have the power of the king on their side—they have the initiative—so we want to create an advantage for ourselves, even a little.
If the enemy has experience in fighting, they will undoubtedly attack us at some random timing. Only amateurs launch an attack that can be foreseen.
That’s why we can’t let our guard down for even a moment. However, humans can not maintain a state of complete concentration for hours on end. Normally, we lose our focus over time.
If the enemy understands that, the negotiations will be long, just long enough for us to lose our focus. I wonder if that will happen, though.