425. Secret Meeting and Returning to Goza Village 
As the heavy door slowly opened, it revealed a very small and orderly room. There was a round table in the center with two chairs attached to it. The only other furnishings were shelves and lighting fixtures. It was a very simple space that doesn’t feel lived-in.
In the back of the room, Tenshi-sama was sitting in an elegant chair, and behind her was Rodis-san.
「Allen-sama. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to visit the palace today.」
「I didn’t have any particular plans today, so please don’t worry about it.」
I replied politely to Tenshi-sama.
Although there is a big problem with her personality, she is the one who reigns at the top of the Ringuard Empire. I need to be very careful in what I say and how I behave so that I never come off as rude.
「Fufu, you don’t have to be so polite, okay? Since Allen-sama and I are on very good terms, please be more frank and friendly.」
「I am afraid I can’t do that.」
「Is that so? Well then, it’s difficult to continue the discussion while you are still standing, so please sit over there.」
After bowing, I pulled out the chair in front of me and slowly sat down.
「I apologize for the cramped room. I wish we could talk in a more open space, but lately I don’t even know which walls have ears and eyes…」
Tenshi-sama let out a small sigh and looked around the room.
「Which means, this place is…」
「Yes. Specially processed spirit ores are used for the outer walls, and the rare blood diamonds are incorporated into the pillars in the four corners. As a result, the connection to the outside is completely cut off. Not only electronic signals, but also the flow of subtle spiritual power. The conversation in this room will never be leaked.」
「I see, then it should be safe.」
The countermeasures against information leak seem to be flawless.
「By the way, Allen-sama, can I ask you something?」
「Yes, what would that be?」
「I heard that you were fatally injured in the last battle… Is your body okay now?」
「Yes, thank you so much for your help at that time.」
Immediately after returning from Cherin―thanks to the speedy arrangement of the hospital by Tenshi-sama and Rodis-san, Ria and the others were able to heal their wounded bodies.
I am very grateful for that matter.
「Is that so? I am glad to hear that.」
As Tenshi-sama smiled softly, she cleared her throat.
It seems the small talk ends here. It’s time to get to the main topic.
「Now then… All the information from this point on are all national secrets, so-called “top secrets”. Please do not tell anyone else about the information you hear here.」
As Tenshi-sama focused her sharp gaze on me, I braced myself mentally once again.
「Today’s agenda is roughly divided into three. The first one is good news.」
「Yes. Do you remember the case where the head of Fox Finance, Rize Dorahein, was suspected by the leaders of every country as the traitor who leaked the location of the confidential meeting?」
This is something that the president told me when we were still in Cherin. I remember it very well because it wasn’t very pleasant.
「Regarding that, earlier today, the Holy Knights Association sent a message to the leaders saying that there is no suspicion of rebellion against Rize Dorahein.」
In other words, it means she is not a traitor.
I am very happy that the suspicions on Rize-san have been cleared, but… what kind of turn of events is this? It feels unnatural to me.
Seeing my unconvinced expression, Tenshi-sama continued the explanation.
「Actually, it seems that Rize-sama brought a “souvenir” to the headquarters of the Holy Knights Association yesterday.」
「And that souvenir proved Rize-san’s innocence?」
「Yes. The souvenir which confirmed her innocence was — Von Mustang’s embalmed corpse.」
I was dumbfounded.
「Von is… dead!?」
That guy boasted exquisite swordsmanship, well-crafted strategies, superhuman physical abilities, and most of all, he wielded the unparalleled power of〈Sand Whale of Purification〉.
He is undoubtedly the strongest swordsman I have ever fought.
And you’re telling me that Von is… dead?
I couldn’t easily accept that fact.
「I-If I remember correctly, there was a soul dress user in the Black Organization who can create fakes. Using that power, they should be able to create a fake that looks just like the real thing! Are we sure that that is really Von’s corpse!?」
「You’re talking about the swordswoman Thor Sammons, right? The Holy Knights Association is well aware that she possesses the copy ability〈Mimic Art〉. However, the DNA sequence and spiritual power information collected from the corpse seems to be a perfect match with the one registered with the association. The corpse that Rize-sama brought in was definitely Von Mustang’s.」
「Does that mean… Rize-san defeated Von?」
「Since the investigation is still underway, I do not know the details. However, I think it’s only natural to think that Rize-sama or someone from “Fox Finance” took care of it.」
I had often heard rumors that Rize-san and Fox Finance had great power, but… I never thought it would be this much.
「Moving on, the second one is bad news. ―It seems that a full-scale war with the Holy Ronelia Empire is no longer inevitable. Perhaps in the next few years, or even this year at the earliest, there will be a large-scale war on a global scale.」
Everyone knows that the international situation is quite fragile, but… to say that a war might break out this year is just too soon.
「Just the other day, the Polyesta Federation was pushed to join the war faction by Vesteria Kingdom and the Ronzo Republic, who have been advocating drastic measures for some time. We will tenaciously continue our discussions and seek a peaceful solution through diplomacy, but… As international public sentiment is expected to retaliate, we will eventually have no choice but to turn to war.」
Tenshi-sama spoke softly about the current situation with a sorrowful expression.
「In recent years, the Holy Ronelia Empire has rapidly expanded its power. They launched an armed group called the Black Organization behind the scenes, secretly allied themselves with the demons, and attacked the Principality of Theresia. Even now, they are surely inviting influential swordsmen from all over the world to strengthen their military power. That is why the war faction wants to launch an all-out attack immediately instead of letting them strengthen their military might.」
Once again, she let out a deep sigh.
(War, huh… It might really happen soon…)
The atmosphere in the room turned dark and heavy.
「And one last thing. This is what I wanted to convey the most today.」
After starting with that, Tenshi-sama slowly began to speak.
「This time, Allen-sama has defeated a Former Emperor’s Four Knight, Deal Reinstad, and even almost defeated one of the Seven Holy Swords, Von Mustang. After receiving this report, the noble faction has been in a disorder like never before and has been holding emergency meetings for the past few days.」
「Why is the noble faction in such panic?」
What’s the relation between my fight and the disorder of the noble faction? The two seem unrelated to me though…
「It’s not something odd, really. Until now, the nobles had pocketed one of the “Seven Holy Swords”, and backed by that absolute military strength, they undermined the Ringuard Empire. However, Allen-sama cornered Von, who is also one of the Seven Holy Swords, and almost defeated him in the last battle. Inevitably, doubts such as “Can the Seven Holy Sword in our faction beat Allen Rodore?” erupted within the noble faction. There seems to be a heated debate day and night about how to pull you to their side.」
It felt very strange to know that there was a discussion going on about me.
「Come to think of it… Have you had any contact with the nobles after the fight?」
「Contact from the noble faction? No, there hasn’t been any.」
The last time I received advice from Tenshi-sama was around the beginning of January–when I was summoned by Leia-sensei to her office at Thousand Blade Academy.
About three months have passed since then. There has been no particular contact from the noble faction.
「That’s strange. I received a report from a spy in the noble faction that an assassin has already been sent out…」
As Tenshi-sama’s troubled expression appeared, Rodis-san quietly slipped in.
「Could it be that the spy sided with the enemy?」
「No, it’s too early to consider betrayal. We must first carefully examine the information.」
The two of them discussed something with a serious expression.
「Oh, I apologize for the rudeness. This is an unrelated matter, so please don’t worry about it.」
She smiled softly as usual and clapped her hands lightly.
「Anyhow, what the royal faction fears the most is that Allen-sama will be pulled in by the noble faction. We will do everything in our power to avoid such a worst-case scenario. So I would like to quickly–if you don’t mind that is, could you take a simple test here and now?」
「Yes. A mental test devised by a famous psychologist, or to put it in a more informal way, it’s a very simple “psychological test”’. By making good use of this, Allen-sama’s latent desires will be revealed.」
「Is there any meaning to having it revealed…?」
Tenshi-sama immediately nodded in response.
「Yes, of course. The noble faction is good at finding out people’s weaknesses and exploiting them. I am sure that from now on, they will try to entrap you with every possible means. We, the royal faction, intend to do everything in our power to obstruct that, but without a correct understanding of what Allen-sama truly desires, we will not be able to take appropriate defensive measures. It will only take 4-5 minutes, so I truly ask for your cooperation.」
「O-Okay… I understand.」
I don’t really understand it, but taking a psychological test should be fine.
「Thank you very much.–Rodis.」
Rodis-san lowered his head slightly and took out a thick bundle of documents from his pocket.
「We will conduct a simple test now.―Are you ready, Allen?」
「Alright. Question 1, what do you want most right now? –Don’t think too much. Just give the first answer that comes to mind.」
「The thing I want the most right now… it would definitely have to be more time for training.」
In the deadly battle the other day, for the first time in my life, I was connected to something that felt like a “path”. At that moment, infinite darkness filled my whole body and overwhelmed both Von and Deal, who were higher-ranked true soul dress users.
If I could use that power freely, I would be much stronger than I am now.
(To tell the truth, I want to go to the soul world right at this moment and have a conversation with Zeon…)
Since Leia-sensei is not here, it would be a tremendous catastrophe if Zeon were to take over my body. For that reason, I decided to resume my training in earnest after the start of the new semester.
「Muu, I see… I’ll change the question then. Question 2, what is your wish?」
「To become stronger, of course.」
If only I was stronger then… Ria wouldn’t have been mortally wounded, Rose and the president wouldn’t have been poisoned, and Bacchus-san wouldn’t have lost his life.
In order to protect the people I care about, I have to become stronger.
「Nuu… Okay. Then I shall change the question further. Question 3, in your daily life, describe the impulse you feel most strongly – in other words, your “craving”.」
「Craving, huh…In that case, it is definitely my craving for practice-swinging.」
Since I swung for about three hours this morning, I thought the craving would be satisfied, but… I feel some kind of ache in the depths of my body.
As soon as this meeting is over, I plan to pick up the sword immediately.
「Kuu… Idiot! How far have you withered!? A healthy boy would usually desire money, women, and fame! Aren’t those the most normal things?!」
I don’t think I gave any strange answers, but for some reason Rodis-san got angry with me.
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Dropout Swordsman that Became Unparalleled
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