178 – Mimi’s Blood Ties? + EX-002
Editor: Thor’s Stone
The Internal Affairs Bureau Director Lord Cornell, the Imperial Court Physician Dr. Falke, and the two members of the Imperial Royal Guards left for the time being. The Imperial Guard duo was very adamant in insisting they accompany Mimi in order to protect her. However, I made good use of my supposedly impressive track record as well as the high level of Black Lotus’ security measures (once the shield is up, there ain’t anything getting past it,) and managed to convince them otherwise.
And the ones who remained on my ship apart from the crew are Lieutenant Commander Serena and her adjutant, Lieutenant Robbitson.
“There’s quite a number of things I want to point out…… First of all, just why did no one manage to notice at all until now? We even have some genuine Noble Ladies here.”
I turned to Lieutenant Commander Serena and saw her beautiful face frown.
“I also only managed to notice when I watched the news this morning. I merely thought the Princess’ face seemed familiar at first, but then I remembered your crew member and that she was the spitting image of Her Highness. I even spat out my morning tea in utter shock.”
Man. I would have wanted to see Lieutenant Commander Serena elegantly sipping tea only to spit it back out… I think it would have been hilarious. I bet it would have been fun to tease her about it to her face.
“I mean c’mon. She’s your Imperial Princess, right? Nobody was familiar with her face? Elma and Lieutenant Commander Serena are both from reputable Noble Houses, so it wouldn’t have been strange if you had an idea about it. Why didn’t you?”
“Basically, members of the Imperial Family do not appear openly in public until they come of age apart from the ceremony they undertake when they turn five years old… This is the first time Her Imperial Highness Princess Luciada has shown herself to the citizens in ten years.”
“So it was just bad timing……”
“Well, how about you? You have a high-performance maidroid with you, right? Don’t tell me she didn’t notice as well?”
After Lieutenant Commander Serena pointed it out, all our gazes turned toward Mei.
“Regrettably, due to the fact that this was the first instance of Princess Luciada appearing openly in ten years, and that I have been busy with processing other important data these past few days, I placed her public appearance low on my priority list and failed to notice as well.”
“Yes. I was drafting a list of Nobles who potentially posed a threat to us before and after the Award Ceremony. I looked up details like their whereabouts, schedules, ingrained habits, and so on.”
After realizing that info really was rather important, I, Mimi, and the mechanic sisters all cried out. Elma, Lieutenant Commander Serena, and Lieutenant Robbitson merely displayed bitter smiles.
“Anyway, I guess we’re clear on why no one managed to notice this matter until now, right? More importantly, you owe me for this, Captain Hiro.”
“Just why? I don’t think I’m at fault for anything though?”
Why did I suddenly owe this woman a favor, I wonder. I immediately expressed my objection.
“It’s because I noticed it fairly early and contacted the Imperial Internal Affairs Bureau in order to arrange things as discreetly as possible. That’s why this matter didn’t blow up in your face. That’s a pretty hefty favor, don’t you think? I’m sure you at least have an idea how much more troublesome things could have gotten without me making a move first, right?”
“I’m sure it would really have become a major hassle if left alone, but we had absolutely no idea after all. And besides, we also have a way to contact the Internal Affairs Bureau, so even if Lieutenant Commander Serena didn’t make a move, we would have been able to deal with things regardless.”
Actually, Chris offered the help of House Dareinwald when she contacted us earlier, and there’s also the option of relying on Viscount Willrose, Elma’s father. Viscount Willrose worked directly for the Internal Affairs Bureau after all.
“Nonetheless, it would have still taken some time even if you had contacts, and there’s still a big possibility of you getting into trouble even after asking for help……”
“Well, I guess you’re right. In my family’s case, I’m not too sure if dear father and brother would actually decide to help because of how they are.”
“As for Chris…… Ugh.”
Chris openly showed that she still hasn’t given up on getting together with me, so if we solicit her help, she might use that as leverage in order to reach her goal. If you ask me if I hated it…… uh, not really, I guess. But I hated the possibility of getting shackled and being made to stop my mercenary activities. That’s definitely a no-go.
“If you look at it like that, I suppose it might be better to just agree with owing the Lieutenant Commander a favor. What do you think?”
“Considering the result, I suppose so.”
“That’s how it is then. We do owe you one. But with all that’s happened before, how about we just call it even?”
“I’m sorry, but I beg to differ. This is a pretty big favor you know.”
“Okay. Then I guess we owe you a little. Just a little though.”
Lieutenant Commander Serena groaned in frustration, but she didn’t offer any more rebuttals afterward, so I guess she must have agreed, albeit grudgingly.
“More importantly, this matter regarding Mimi…… Just how exactly did she manage to have the Imperial Bloodline anyway?”
“I have no idea, Hiro-sama…… As far as I know, my Mama and Papa really were just ordinary commoners.”
“Wouldn’t we find clues if we trace back the Imperial family tree and see if there were royals who went missing during Mimi’s parent’s generation?”
“That’s one angle. We can also look up the generation of the current reigning Emperor and even further back…”
“There’s one person who is pretty suspect. The younger sister of the current Emperor, Celestia-sama……”
Elma and Lieutenant Commander Serena came to the same conclusion and voiced their thoughts simultaneously. The younger sister of the current Emperor, Lady Celestia, huh…… In other words, they were suspecting Mimi’s grandmother. I’m not too sure if it’s the mother or father’s side of her family though.
“What kind of person was she?”
“……She was really unconventional for a Royal.”
“……Yes. She was quite the character.”
According to our two Noble Ladies, the said Princess acted like a tomboy from a young age and was really adventurous despite her Royal lineage. And when she reached 15 years of age, she fled the Imperial Capital with a starship she prepared in secret after undergoing her coming-of-age ceremony. She then hid her identity and worked as a freelance mercenary. She brilliantly evaded all pursuers sent by the Imperial Family, and finally escaped to a far-flung sector beyond their influence– Hey… Now just hold up one sec. I seem to recall a pretty similar story told to me quite recently.
“No, uh, I was just thinking the story was pretty similar to your own experiences.”
Elma’s ears turned bright red and pinched my flank in embarrassment. Ouch. I see. So the Elma five years ago was heavily influenced by such a person and took off to the sea of stars to emulate her, huh?
“Ow, ow…… Man. It sure sounds like her life story would be perfect as a movie or something.”
“There haven’t been any direct adaptations released so far, but lots of works made use of Celestia-sama’s life story as a base.”
“I’ve seen some of them as well. I particularly like the movie about adventures in the McSear system.”
“Eh? Don’t you think Mercenary Celes vs. Shark Kaijuu was interesting as well?”
“What’s that? It sounds pretty interesting.”
They really sound like they’re discussing low budget B movies… Or rather, what’s the deal with something like a shark kaijuu? So sharks also exist in space……? Well, I’ve already seen sharks with three heads and flying sharks in movies, so I guess space sharks really ain’t that weird. But I seem to recall we already had something pretty similar too. Oh well.
“Anyway, it’s very possible that Mimi’s grandmother was the younger sister of the current Emperor who loved a life of adventure. Since the Emperor’s granddaughter and Mimi look so similar, the possibility is very high.”
“If that turns out not to be the case, we’d have to trace even further back. But……”
Mimi tilted her head when I and Elma turned our attention to her.
“If that really was the case, then just why was Mimi left to fend for herself in such a disastrous state back then? If I and Elma didn’t manage to encounter you back then, it would have been pretty terrible.”
Yep. That’s what’s bugging me about all this. Even though she fled and became a mercenary, a Royal is still a Royal. They should have sent someone to secretly monitor her and protect her or something.
“Perhaps Celestia-sama just managed to cover her tracks very thoroughly. She might have hidden her true lineage, used illegal means to procure a fake Imperial ID, and blended in with the rest of the citizens.”
“Can you actually fake such a thing?”
“As an Imperial Soldier I’d rather not admit it, but there really seems to be a way to forge one. It just goes to show that anything made by mortal hands cannot possibly be perfect.”
Lieutenant Commander Serena answered me with an expression akin to having swallowed a bitter pill. I see. So there’s a way, huh. Well, according to the stories I heard, Mimi’s grandma seems to be quite highly skilled, so she really might have done it. But it’s not like we’ve truly confirmed that Mimi’s grandma was actually this Celestia person.
“Thinking about all this stuff is turning out to be a major headache.”
“Yeah, that’s true……”
“In any case, we already decided on a policy, right? We’re gonna continue on with being mercenaries no matter what. This is something we’re gonna insist on until the end. And for that, we’ll get rid of anything that would stand in the way, no matter who or what it is. At present, we’ll have to deal with the Award Ceremony first, prepare all that needs to be prepared, and leave all the other procedures to Lieutenant Commander Serena. We still need to wait for their response regarding Mimi’s matter anyway.”
After declaring that, I pulled Mimi and had her sit on the sofa. I then sat beside her.
“I won’t let anyone take Mimi and Elma away. It doesn’t matter who the other party is. It’s that simple.”
“Oh boy. Those are some heavy-sounding words depending on how you interpret them, Boss.”
“This isn’t the time to tease them, big sis.”
“If Mimi and Elma still decide to leave in the end though, I guess I need to swallow my tears and send you guys off…… Nah, I’ll probably get in your way. I’ll cry and tell you not to abandon me or something.”
After saying so, I pretended to cry pathetically. Tina laughed her heart out, Whisker giggled reservedly, Elma smiled bitterly, and Mimi–
“It’s alright! I will never leave you, Hiro-sama!”
She then hugged me tightly. Umu. How very like Mimi. The volume of the soft objects touching my arm was as heavenly as always.
“At this rate, we’ll end up getting caught up in all this huh.”
Lieutenant Commander Serena and Lieutenant Robbitson didn’t seem too thrilled, but that’s understandable.
In any case, we’ll have to wait for the Imperial Family’s response. The Award Ceremony’s date should be settled soon, but I’m sure those folks from the Imperial Internal Affairs Bureau will contact us first.
If you’re gonna come, then bring it! I’ll take you on.
EX-002 – Serena Holz’s Supposedly Elegant Breakfast
I checked my appearance on the hologram, confirmed there wasn’t anything that looked off, and nodded in satisfaction. I can’t possibly show a sloppy appearance to my subordinates as a proud Imperial Military Officer after all. Moreover, I am also the Commander of an Independent Military Fleet. All the more reason why I have to always look my best.
Although life as a Lieutenant Commander in the Imperial Military might be somewhat suffocating at times, I still greatly preferred it over participating in those ladies-only tea parties that simply consisted of women exchanging tasteless gossip. In that sense, I am truly glad I was born a lady of the House of Marquis Holz, which was a renowned military family. I didn’t hate pretty dresses and accessories, but I’m really bad with those tea parties.
However, since I’m now back in the Capital, I will probably be forced to attend several such gatherings eventually. But as I’ve been away serving in the Imperial Military for five years already, there’s still a chance they won’t invite me after all.
“Good morning, Lieutenant Commander.”
“Good morning, Lieutenant.”
When I entered the officer’s dining area of the Restalias, I found my adjutant, Lieutenant Robbitson, already enjoying his breakfast. He’s quite the dependable aide. He properly respects even a young woman such as myself and follows my orders as the Commander of the Fleet without fault.
I ordered breakfast and tea from the auto-cooker, placed them on a tray, and joined him on the table. I applied marmalade to my toast as I greeted the other officers who entered the dining hall one after another. I wonder if we can do something about this auto-cooker. The tea was excellent, but other than that, everything else was so-so.
If the breakfast for commissioned officers just consisted of toast, marmalade, baked beans, and tea, I do not even dare to think what items the NCOs are getting served with. Since we’re already in the Imperial Capital, should I try to request for the replacement of the auto-cookers installed in the ships of my fleet?
Compared with all the bothersome formalities and procedures I had to undergo yesterday, it should be a piece of cake. It’s a completely trivial matter compared to everything regarding the upcoming Award Ceremony.
“We’ve finally sorted things out huh.”
“That’s right. We can probably relax until the day of the ceremony arrives.”
I then took a sip of my morning tea as I glanced at the holo-display installed in the dining hall. Perhaps in order to welcome the coming of spring, what’s featured in today’s morning news was Her Highness, Imperial Princess Luciada, who was making her first official public appearance in ten years after undergoing her coming-of-age ceremony when she turned fiftee–!?
“Whoah!? L-Lieutenant Commander!?”
I couldn’t help but spit out my tea in spectacular fashion. Lieutenant Robbitson, who was sitting with me on the table, cried out in surprise. But I was in no shape to mind the other’s reactions. I couldn’t tear my eyes from the image of our Imperial Princess shown on the holo-display. It’s because the face being shown was utterly familiar to me.
I wiped my mouth with one arm as I listened intently to the news program shown by the holo-display. I didn’t want to miss a word. Ah, my goodness. To think I’d encounter trouble of this magnitude…… Was there really something wrong with Captain Hiro? He actually managed to land himself in this mess with pinpoint precision…… Ugh. This isn’t the time to be thinking about all this. At this rate, the ceremony would probably descend into chaos once she appears. We’ll have to do something before that happens.
“I take back my words about being able to relax…… We have to contact the Internal Affairs Bureau right away!”
“T-The Internal Affairs Bureau!? M-Major, just what is……”
“We have to hurry! It would turn into a major incident if we don’t make a move now. You’re coming with me, Lieutenant.”
First, I’ll have to explain the situation to my aide, who doesn’t seem to have any idea about what’s happening. I’ll then need to gather some materials and data to serve as evidence before contacting the Internal Affairs Bureau—- Aah, my head and stomach are already starting to hurt.
Damn you, Captain Hiro…… This favor is going to cost you big.