Translator: Pink Tea Editor: Ryunakama
Led by a still confused Fiatora, we descended to the lower floors.
Going past a few huge doors we proceeded along the corridor and then went down another set of stairs. As we were walking through it the building felt more spacious than it appeared from the outside.
I couldn’t spot even a single window, but with a neatly spread white carpet, stone walls decorated with paintings and vases put here and there, the overall atmosphere didn’t feel too depressing.
Mysteriously, the ceiling itself seemed to glow, perhaps the same technique as in Taiki-sama’s heavenly castle was at work here.
If so, then I understand how the Empire was taking over neighboring countries one after another.
If they had golems equal to those of Taiki-sama then it’s understandable.
「…No, that’s not the case, huh…?」
According to what I’ve heard, the Emperor was astounded by the sight of the heavenly castle and dispatched Aifa to get it. And I also heard that during the confrontation with Azul Kingdom the empire was utterly beaten.
Taking their action into account, the possibility of the Empire possessing technologies of the same level as Taiki-sama is extremely low.
Then just as Schwartz said, this tower is an exception. If even Schwartz, part of the royal family, has no idea, then just who could have built it.
I certainly would like to investigate this.
As I observed the ceiling or touched the walls those walking in front stopped.
It was because Fiatora has opened a single big door.
「This way please.」
After seeing her say that and then go inside, I also entered, walking behind Schwartz.
The place where we were guided turned out to be a large hall. The ceiling and the walls were luxuriously decorated, but this room had no windows as well. However, it wasn’t dark, as the ceiling here also radiated light, illuminating the room.
And farther in that room on a chair calmly sat a middle-aged woman wearing a white indoor dress.
Even now she had the appearance of a beautiful woman, but twenty years ago she probably was called a peerless beauty.
And that woman, the moment she laid her eyes on Schwarz, stood up with obvious surprise written on her face.
「Ah, Aah……! Is it really……!」
Saying that she approached without taking her eyes off Schwarz. As if she didn’t see us at all, she went straight towards him.
Then, Schwarz relaxed his stiff expression a bit and deeply bowed.
「I’m slightly late with my greeting… Mother」
After saying so, the two hugged each other in silence.
「A reunion of mother and child…」
Yuri whispered seeing that scene and wiped her eyes.
Mmmm. So that person is the Empress? I feel like age-wise she is too young, but this atmosphere doesn’t seem to be a farce.
For some reason, I feel like we did something good, but it isn’t the time to get sentimental.
「……For now, we’ll be taking Fiatora?」
Saying that just in case, I wave my hand to Fiatora, urging her to come to us.
However, the person in question stood without moving, having a troubled expression on her face, and instead, it was Schwarz who turned here after he finished with his reunion.
Being done with the hugs and while still having his hands on the Empress’ shoulders he glared at me with an annoyed face.
「……You can’t read the mood. However, it is also true that there is no time. We should hurry and make our preparations as well. Mother, please provide me with your support.」
The Empress narrowed her eyes, still wet with tears, and replied.
「…Yes. I understand. So you have resolved yourself, Schwartz… Then I, as a mother, won’t be holding anything back.」
After that exchange, Schwartz and the Empress turned to us.
「They are collaborators. The reward is elves, including Fiatora…… Are you two fine with this?」
「Eh? Collaboration? Reward?」
As I panicked at the sudden development, Yuri, who stood next to me, put on a gentle smile and nodded.
「Yes. No objections. It seems like it will be the best outcome for us.」
As Yuri replied, the faces of the Empress and Fiatora became more rigid as if they realized something.
While both Yuri and Yanual usually were somewhat absentminded, when politics or finances were involved they suddenly became a lot sharper.
And people belonging to royalty and titled nobility had a habit of obscuring such details during a conversation.
「…Can someone explain what we are about to do?」
When I asked, everyone looked at me with the eyes of disbelief.
While watching Mea and the others return to the empire’s capital, I spoke.
「Now, I wonder what are they gonna do about the last one?」
「Could it be that they judged it to be impossible to bring them out secretly after all?」
「Possibly. In that case, as was expected, we will have a conflict with the Empire. Let’s prepare a letter for Violette-san to deliver. Aifa-san and others seem to have stayed, so they probably stealthy infiltrated the castle. In the meantime, we should make our preparations as well.」
When I stood up while saying those words with a wry smile on my face, Ayla worriedly looked at me.
「Are they going to be okay, sneaking into the castle without Taiki-sama’s golems and with only three of them…」
「Aifa is a court magician, right? Unless they go really wrong about it, they should have no trouble getting inside the castle. Right, Violette-san?」
When asked, Violette only shrugged her shoulders, disinterested.
「They will easily manage one way or another. He can enter the castle alone and then bring the two afterward, he also could put them into a container and smuggle in a wagon.」
Violette snorted and expressed her agreement with my opinion.
「That’s how it is. But, if they meet the Emperor it might get problematic. So we have to prepare in case things go awry.」
Surely, they wouldn’t try to force their way through. Since Aifa had a slave seal engraved onto him by the Emperor, a brute force approach is far too risky.
Aifa appeared to be level-headed, so he shouldn’t try anything irrational.
And with these thoughts, I leisurely prepared my letter to the Emperor.