Translator: Kurehashi Aiko Editor: Queenie
It was only then that I realized that I was staring at her hair way longer than I was supposed to.
「I- I’m sorry for staring at you! But you have such lovely hair that I just couldn’t stop myself.」
Her long, crimson hair combined with her tanned skin made a very exotic combination, increasing the governor’s charm even further. Compared to her, my hair was rather plain and bleak. Hers were like the burning tail of a phoenix, and hearing my words of praise she opened her eyes wide and shook her head.
「Many people have complimented me on lots of different things, but I do believe that you are the second person ever to have complimented me for my hair color.」
「I-I’m sorry for saying something so insensitive.」
「No, please don’t worry about it. I think you may know my name from the documents already, but let me formally introduce myself. It’s a pleasure to meet you, my name is Leticiela Gero Nibbiella. As per His Majesty’s orders, I am the current governor of this Nibbiellata Isle.」
When she said so, she then extended her right hand towards that man. For a moment there, he seemed to be unsure why she did that, but then he reached out his right hand as well, and the two of them exchanged handshakes just like that.
「Agedilus Von Lancent, the Court Wizard. I was tasked with investigating the matter you subjected to His Majesty.」
Following the man’s gaze, I also bowed slightly while raising the hem of my skirt just a little bit.
「Please excuse me for my late introduction. My name is Filmina Von Lancent, and on behalf of my husband I hope that our cooperation proves to be a beneficial one.」
「Ah, one of the Heroes who brought down the Demon Lord. Even we have heard the stories about your exploits.」
After shaking her hand with the man, the governor now reaches her hand towards me. When I reached out my hand as well she shook it energetically as well in a friendly gesture. I stiffened just a little bit at that gesture, and the man only raised his eyebrows slightly while his expression remained pretty much unchanged. This was very forward and intimate of her. So much so that my heart may have actually skipped a beat there. No, it was only a formality, I know that. Nothing more to it.
Whether or not they managed to notice my reaction, the governor smiled at us and showed us the sofa while saying “For now, why don’t you take a seat?”. We as she suggested and made ourselves comfortable. Next, a maid came into the room, carrying with her a plate filled with tea and cookies. She seemed like a seasoned servant who knew the ins and outs of her job, but as she was serving us the tea, I couldn’t help but notice that her hands were trembling as well. And although I wasn’t foolish enough to ask about that in the presence of the governor, it still hurt me to see someone else like this. The man, on the other hand, didn’t seem to be interested in that at all. When his tea was served to him, he immediately took the cup into his hands and took a sip of the drink, accompanied by a cookie or two.
After sitting in front of us, the governor decided to skip right to the main subject.
「Now, onto the matter because of which you’ve been summoned here. Ahh, I don’t mind if Filmina-dono listens to this as well. I do believe that you agree with me on that one as well, Agedilus-dono. In any case, I would like you to investigate some ancient ruins.」
Just as the Princess said. The man said nothing, urging the governor to speak further with a gloomy face.
「You do know that this Isle thrives from tourism, correct? As a part of the ongoing development project, roughly two months ago we were investigating the forest located to the northeast of this mansion. You see, on an Isle like this, land is a precious resource that is sadly always scarce. And even though that forest is known as “The Forest of Knowledge”, we cannot allow ourselves to be wasting land because some of the local beliefs and superstitions…」
The governor lowered her gaze when she said that, and that man took that opportunity to interrupt her before she could continue on.
「So, it was there that you have found the Ruins of Kudan?」
「That’s right. The forest was probably given that name by the locals ages ago, just so they could hide the ruins from the eyes of outsiders. The wizards that we sent to investigate estimated that the ruins themselves are most likely dormant. Still, they are ridden with magical runes and formulas, so it is entirely possible that there are some things that the amateurs might have missed. I let them work on it some more, but eventually they said that they were unable to decipher anything more. Then I sent for some wizards from the capital, but three of them consecutively turned out to be unable to meet our expectations. Hence our current predicament.」
The governor then placed her hand upon her forehead, as if she was suddenly struck by a huge headache. But the fact that they wanted a Court Wizard to take a look at the ruins instead of trusting the words of some amateurs was probably a good decision to be made. The confirmation came from the fact that that man said as follows on the matter.
「I am most terribly sorry for the troubles those Wizards might have caused you. As a matter of fact, I am to be held at fault here, since I was the one who hand picked them for this job.」
「No, you don’t have to feel responsible for anything. After all, they did all that was in their power.」
The governor only dismissed that comment with a slight shrug of her shoulders and a laugh, causing her ponytail to sway again.
「I promise to do my very best during this investigation. I learned a bit of the magic language when I was young. That being said, I am not a master of it and there may be some parts or words that I won’t be able to understand. That is why I am thankful to you, Agedilus-dono, for coming. If there’s anyone who can understand the inscriptions in those ruins, that would most certainly be you.」
「Thank you for your kind words. Now, I have read the reports of my predecessors, but I’m afraid that it is no exaggeration to say that the investigation is standing pretty much in place, with no real progress being made whatsoever.」
「It is exactly as you say. All of the Wizards were saying the same thing. That is why we requested the presence of Agedilus-dono, who is said to be the greatest Wizard in the whole country.」
As the governor said that, she brought the teacup to her mouth and took a sip, while that man let out a loud sigh. I did the same, and I must say that it was delicious. The color was splendidly dark and its bitterness was just right. Small wonder that for a moment none of us spoke a thing, enjoying this exquisite drink.
I decided to add some milk to the tea to try it out this way, while the governor continued to speak in a somewhat regretful tone.
「If it turns out that the ruins are harmless, we can turn them into a new tourist attraction. However, if something was to happen to the tourists, it would quickly develop into a very difficult situation for us. For now only a handful of people know about them since their discovery wasn’t made public, and I would prefer it to stay that way until the investigation is pretty much over.」
When she said, it would certainly become troublesome if something like that were to happen. And even though she was looking into her cup, I could see it in her eyes that she was really worried about it. She was so young, and yet the hardships of her position must have been weighing hard on her. Then the man asked:
「I understand your story. Would it be possible to guide us to the ruins immediately?」
…… What’s this? I didn’t think he would be this interested in this whole matter. Or maybe it was the fact that the three wizards that were handpicked by him were unable to make some sort of a breakthrough?
Now that I think about it, even as a child he read many complicated books related to magic and everything that might circulate around it. Apparently his curiosity as a researcher must have been stimulated here, urging him to solve the riddle that was before him. His eyes were even shining with expectation. Unbelievable.
Even when being in a paradise on Earth, that man’s workaholism doesn’t seem to let go, not even for a moment. I sigh deeply inside my heart, knowing full well that technically we were here for work, not to laze around and do nothing. But still, if it was only just for a little bit… I knew it would be selfish of me to expect anything from that man once we got here, and I scold myself inside of my mind for expecting anything in the first place. Does that mean I’m a bad person?
After taking another sip of her tea, this time with milk as well, the governor returns it to the table and shakes her head, as if to say, “Sorry.”
「The sun is going to set soon. Even if someone knows this land like the back of their own hand, navigating the forest at night is really hard. Besides, I was thinking about throwing a dinner party to celebrate your arrival. Or maybe you’re too tired from the long journey? Would you like me to postpone the party?」
This must have been the “preparation” that the butler mentioned a little bit earlier. Knowing they would receive guests, the servants and maids were all getting ready to prepare a banquet for our arrival. That somehow filled my chest with anxiety. However, since that man didn’t voice any objection, the preparations were presumed to proceed as planned. Knowing that, all three of us exited the office, led by the governor herself.