179 – Inquiry
Editor: Thor’s Stone
The next day, the Director of the Imperial Internal Affairs Bureau, Lord Cornell, came to our ship again along with some of his subordinates in order to conduct a formal inquiry. Of course, they went through the proper formalities and made an appointment with us first. They certainly are different from those media folks.
“First of all, we want to hear what you plan to do from now on.”
I nodded while sitting on the sofa inside the lounge.
The contents of the inquiry weren’t all that formal or rigid. It was rather loose and felt like one of those survey interviews instead.
I, Mimi, and Elma underwent the inquiry together. The mechanic sisters weren’t really involved in Mimi’s case, so they were just observing the proceedings from a corner of the lounge.
“The most important thing to consider is Mimi’s will, I think.”
“Hm. I suppose you are correct.”
My, Elma, Lord Cornell, and his subordinate’s gazes all gathered on Mimi, who was startled by the sudden attention and started shaking a little.
“U-Um…… Even if you suddenly tell me I have the Blood of the Royal Family, I still can’t wrap my head around it… And besides, I consider myself just an ordinary colonist. Though right now, I’m serving as part of Hiro-sama’s crew as his operator. I think it’s impossible for me to act as a proper member of the Royal Family after all.”
“We understand that it would be impossible for Mimi-sama, who had not been educated as a member of the Imperial Family, to act and fulfill your royal duties right now. However, you can always learn. In this day and age, there are a lot of practical and quick methods for learning available to us. We will of course offer all our support should you decide to live as a member of the Imperial Family from now on, and besides, His Majesty, the Emperor, is truly looking forward to meeting you, Mimi-sama.”
“U-Um, H-His Majesty!? Uu…… But why?”
After hearing that the Emperor wanted to meet her, Mimi became quite upset. Well, of course, she would. I would also be perturbed if I suddenly get told the Head of the State who holds absolute power over the entire country wanted to meet with me.
“As a result of analyzing your genetic information Mimi-sama, it was found that your closest genetic match from among the living members of the Imperial Family was the Emperor Himself. And as a result of cross-referencing with the genetic data of past Imperial Family members, it was also found that your closest genetic match among them was His Majesty’s younger sister, Celestia-sama. Furthermore, it’s close to 100%. She was probably Mimi-sama’s grandmother.”
“Ah– well, it’s just like we thought then. The Emperor’s been separated from his younger sister for a long time after all. It’s only natural that he wishes to see the granddaughter she left behind.”
In any case, the conjecture that Celestia-sama was Mimi’s grandmother was now confirmed.
“In that case, Elma, who escaped from the Imperial Capital due to her admiration for Mimi’s grandmother, actually managed to meet with her idol’s granddaughter and served in the same ship with her. It’s certainly a very dramatic series of events, huh?”
“Okay. That’s enough about me already.”
Elma, whose ears turned red from shame, started hitting my head. It’s okay, girl. I understand.
“Um, I do find it a great honor that the Emperor wants to meet me, but I still can’t process just how a commoner like me was given a chance to have an audience with him…… Um, I would like to meet him once at least though.”
“I see. Well then, I take it that you are amenable to a private and informal meeting?”
“Um…… If Hiro-sama and the others are present too, then okay.”
Elma and I turned our heads toward her when Mimi stated her condition. Elma was even starting to panic. I don’t really mind though.
“We will definitely try our best to not act rude in the presence of the Emperor, but different from Elma, I’m just your normal commoner mercenary who doesn’t know proper etiquette. If it’s alright with you, could you please tell him to be lenient should we let anything slip?”
“Yes, of course. I shall let His Majesty know. Well then, are you really alright with choosing to stay with Hiro-sama and live as a mercenary, Mimi-sama? You will not be subject to any danger should you chose to formally become part of the Imperial Family. Will you really not consider it?”
“I am already living safely and securely thanks to Hiro-sama. I traveled among the stars with Hiro-sama, saw lots of different places, met lots of different people, and sometimes get caught up in some form of trouble. But I am truly happy and content with my current life.”
Mimi faced Lord Cornell with a sincere gaze.
“That’s why I won’t agree to leave this ship.”
“I see…… Well, from what I can see, the interior of this ship matches that of the best Imperial luxury cruisers after all.”
Lord Cornell looked around the lounge and smiled.
“In fact, His Majesty is not thinking of forcibly taking you in as well, Mimi-sama. So please be at ease. In fact, he says he doesn’t want to get kicked by a horse and die a pointless death.¹”
“Somehow, after hearing that, a strange feeling of affinity with His Majesty is welling up inside me.”
Oh boy. The Emperor might actually be a rather swell guy.
“Let me confirm for one last time then. You have no intention of becoming a part of the Imperial Family, correct, Mimi-sama?”
Mimi nodded straightforwardly to Lord Cornell’s question. After seeing her do so, Lord Cornell nodded back.
“Understood. Well then, from here on out, we will act as if Mimi-sama has no connection with the Imperial Family whatsoever and treat you as a commoner. Your likeness to Her Highness Princess Luciada is simply just a coincidence, and the results of the genetic test will be sealed away and never see the light of day.”
“I see. You’re not just pulling our leg, right?”
“Yes. Celestia-sama has been missing for quite some time and is possibly no longer alive… Is that right?”
“Um, probably……? I heard from Papa that she was long dead, and I haven’t really met her at all, even during my childhood.”
“……It sounds a little disconcerting, honestly.”
Considering how tough and badass the masses have made Celestia-sama out to be, she might actually still be alive and is flying around in space somewhere. The fact that Mimi has never even met her once is a cause for some doubt.
“If it’s Celestia-sama…… I wouldn’t be surprised if she was actually alive after all this time.”
“She’s never been caught once by the Empire, and her descendant, Mimi is right here after all…… If His Imperial Majesty is still alive, then his younger sister Celestia-sama being alive can’t just be dismissed.”
After hearing about Celestia-sama’s story yesterday, I ended up watching the aforementioned holo-videos and novels as well. Based on those, then she’s actually ‘that’ sort of character. She’s basically portrayed as the female version of Co*ra². And since most works are regarded as nonfiction, it seemed even more ridiculous.
After listening to Elma and my exchange, Lord Cornell pressed his sides and laughed unabashedly. He probably thinks we’re just being silly. Since he can also be considered part of the elderly generation, he might have been a witness to the mayhem Celestia-sama caused back in the day.
“Oh, and one more thing. It’s regarding the situation you found Mimi-sama in when you first met her. There seem to be some unnatural points, so we are having our men investigate.”
“I see? Well, for us, it’s nothing but the past though.”
Mimi made an indecipherable expression. Maybe she remembered the time before she met us and got depressed. I enveloped the trembling fist she placed on her lap with my palm and gently rubbed it. I can’t even imagine just how scared and uneasy she was back then.
“If the conditions on Termaine Prime can improve a bit due to finding out the case that involved Mimi, then we can consider it a sort of blessing.”
I’m not sure how things will proceed from now on, but if Mimi’s parents were killed not due to an accident but due to some conspiracy instead, and the ones responsible even went as far as stripping her of all her rights as a citizen and dragging her to the mud, the administration on Termaine Prime will probably experience a storm of political purges in the near future. I’m not sure what methods they’ll use for the investigation though.
“Well then, this is the end of today’s inquiry. I will bring back the results to the Bureau and will use them as reference for our future dealings.”
“Thank you. I hope we’ll come to a good conclusion.”
“I hope so as well. However, it is probably inevitable that you all will stand out during the ceremony. As long as Mimi-sama does not formally join the Imperial Family, it will be difficult for us to offer you protection. Please do be careful from now on.”
“Is that a warning?”
Or was it a threat? I implied that when I posed the question. After hearing my question, Lord Cornell nodded seriously.
“Yes, it is advice that I offered out of sincerity. However, you are both a Platinum-ranked mercenary, a recipient of the Silver Sword Wings Assault medal, and even the prestigious Gold Star. The Imperial Military and the Noble families associated with them, as well as the Guild, will all try to protect you in their own way. Well, in the first place, it’s commonly accepted that touching a mercenary such as you will only result in painful losses, so no ordinary Nobles will dare go against you. However……”
“There are certain idiots out there who might try to reach for something beyond their caliber.”
Elma concluded Lord Cornell’s words with a shrug, and he nodded in agreement.
“That is the case. Mimi-sama is the spitting image of Princess Luciada and is young, sweet, and beautiful. There might be some unrestrained characters who will entertain designs on you due to this.”
“Well, that’s troublesome…… But I guess I’ll just have to swat them all away. And if I can’t, we can always just run.”
I’m just praying none of those idiots will turn out to be members of those Drawn Sword faction experts. Well, we can always take them on using our ships, and if we can’t handle them, we’ll just bail. In the worst case, we can also rely on Chris, Lieutenant Commander Serena, or Elma’s families for protection. I’m kinda scared about what they’d want me to give in return, so I don’t really want to use this card if possible.
“I’ve literally spat blood in order to train my sword skills to deal with such situations, so I guess it’ll be fine. Mei has certified my skills after all.”
“Yes. As you are right now Master, you can already compete with those Nobles from the Drawn Sword faction.”
Mei, who was standing nearby, nodded in agreement. Well, I still can’t win against Mei though. The power in our swings is just too far apart…… I wouldn’t be able to parry her attack since her strike is just too heavy so my balance will break, and her speed was also almost impossible to evade.
“Fumu……? Well, since you’re an outstanding mercenary, that might just be the case.”
Lord Cornell’s expression looked a little strange, but he got convinced anyway. Normally, a commoner who hasn’t undergone any physical strengthening cannot even hope to match a Noble from the Drawn Sword faction in a close-range battle. However, the fact that a maidroid like Mei approves of me must have given him an idea that I underwent some physical upgrades myself.
In fact, there actually are quite a few mercenaries who manage to upgrade themselves through cybernetic implants and such. Most who opt for sailing the galaxy opt for some form of vision and reflex strengthening. And those who mainly engage close quarters combat operations in the colonies get administered the basic physical body strengthening procedures as well. But the procedure seems to be quite expensive, so only veteran Silver rankers and above have access to it.
“Even so, I implore you to always stay vigilant. Alright then. We shall be taking our leave now. We will contact you again once the time for the meeting has been set.”
After saying so, Lord Cornell and his subordinates left the ship. With this, a meeting with the Emperor that might occur before or after the Award Ceremony will be added to our list of troubles.
 TL Notes: The full proverb goes something like this: Anyone who interferes in another person’s love affair should get kicked by a horse and die.
 TL Notes: I actually had trouble getting the reference at first, but then it hit me. Shame on me for claiming to be a sci-fi anime and manga nut but nearly forgetting Space Adventure Cobra – a 1982 Japanese anime sci-fi film based on the 1978 manga ‘Cobra’.
If you folks aren’t that familiar with Cobra or are young enough not to have heard of him at all, he’s kind of a cross between Han Solo and James Bond starring in a classic example of a 1980s sci-fi pulp anime movie. He wields his signature weapon, the Psychogun, and a Python 77 Magnum revolver as a backup. Do check the movie out sometime if you have the opportunity to and witness one of the classics.