Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
The Fate of Ludancia
Ten days had passed since the head of Ludancia received Queen Marquedo’s summons.
「Why do I have to go all the way to Forestzard for this?」
The representative showed up displeased. First of all, she despised traveling during winter. Second, being summoned by a figurehead ruler pissed her off. What really irked her the most was the ruler herself was from Kirihal, her mortal enemy.
Only Marquedo and the prime minister Zofira van Houtens were present in the spacious room. The queen had been using Zofira a lot lately and clearly thought little of the national advisers sent to her by the different nations. Ludancia’s representative didn’t expect Marquedo to act this boldly, and right now, she was pondering how to tie a rope around the queen’s neck.
「Thank you for coming.」Marquedo said.「Please, take a seat.」
「That is a lot of attendants. Would that be all right?」Zofira asked.
「It’s fine.」Marquedo replied.
Ludancia’s head brought a sizable party with her—three people for work support and five more as bodyguards. Only she took a seat, however, while the rest stood around as though to protect her.
What is she thinking?
Ludancia’s head couldn’t guess Marquedo’s intentions. Part of it was because her anger prevented her from thinking clearly.
「Now then. Let’s talk about the National Academic Research Institute in Scholarzard.」
Marquedo went straight to the point. Ludancia’s head nodded. She had received report that the squad she sent was defeated. Not only that, the Fedor gang of thugs they hired also failed in their job. She was rightfully seething.
One month had passed since the attack. So she’s complaining now, but it seems a little late, Ludancia’s head thought. There’s nothing to be afraid of, then.
All my men are dead. There’s no evidence left.
That’s what she heard at least. According to Ludancia’s intelligence network, every one of her subordinates, including Larks, and Ray who knew about her plans, was dead.
「The academy was badly destroyed.」Marquedo said.
「So I heard. How awful.」
The destruction that occurred that night was attributed to a monster whose location was still unknown. Ludancia’s head assumed it was the work of the new weapon that Ray brought with him.
「Apparently, it was a drakon that did it.」
「Really, now… Wait, a drakon?」
What? What is she talking about? No one told me about any drakon. She glanced at her subordinate, who only shook their head slightly.
「Your Majesty. We are not here to talk about that.」Zofira cut in.
「Oh, right.」Marquedo said, nodding with a dignified look.「A student of the academy and a participant in the mass wedding, Claude Zahard Kirihal was a target of an assassination. You’re the one ordered it, yes?」
「Do you have proof?」
So she mentioned something ridiculous like a drakon to shake me up. Ludancia laughed scornfully deep inside. That’s not enough to make me slip.
「Yes, proof. You called me here without one?」
「Bring him here.」
Zofira picked up the bell on the table and rang it. The door at the back opened, revealing a slightly haggard man with an unshaven face.
It was none other than Larks Lordgrad Ludancia. While he looked worn out, he wore fine quality clothes, the kind that nobles would wear. He was staring boldly at Ludancia’s head.
You little brat! So you already forgot your debt and betrayed me?! You will pay for this. I swear I will make you pay!
She was seething with rage, yet still managed to maintain a calm and composed expression. Nothing less to be expected from a head of a nation.
Marquedo only has three years left in her office, she thought. She won’t have the power to protect Larks. Not to mention she’s from Kirihal. There is no way she’ll cover for a man from Ludancia.
You only have three more years to live!
Handing the queen a death sentence in her mind, Ludancia’s head turned her gaze back to Marquedo.
「That man seems to be a citizen of Ludancia.」she said.
「No. He’s a citizen of Forestia. We have to change that mentality.」
「So you want to play with words, Your Majesty?」
The irritation piling up made the words slip out of her mouth. But Marquedo showed no concern at all at the woman’s anger.
「He testified that you ordered the assassination of Claude Zahard Kirihal and Luka Lordgrad Ludancia.」
「We cannot overlook such a crime within the country.」
「What?」Ludancia’s leader burst into a high-pitched laughter. It sounded nervous, even.
「Is there something funny?」Marquedo asked.
「It’s hilarious! That man is a disgrace to his family. You shouldn’t take his words seriously.」
「So you’re saying you’re innocent and that Larks is lying.」
「I cannot trust you.」Marquedo said straight to her face.
The woman’s face stiffened.「So you finally revealed your true colors! You just said you can’t trust me, the head of Ludancia! You speak of unity among the nations, but you can’t forget your grudge against my nation!」
「Wrong. You’re no longer the head of Ludancia. You’re a traitor who plotted to rebel against the state.」
This time Ludancia’s leader was really lost. Then out of nowhere, Zofira placed a small, glass vial with dark pink liquid inside on the table.
「Do you recognize this?」
It was the vial that she gave to Ray. Her secret should have died with the young man. No, Larks is still alive. So the intel was fake and Ray is alive? But he’s trained to never leak anything. It should be fine.
「I have no idea what that is. 」
「Still trying to play dumb I see.」Marquedo said.「Zofira.」
「This here is a substance extracted from ghost-type monsters and magic rocks via Accursed Magic.」
「H-How do you know that?! Ray shouldn’t even be aware of that!」
A slip of the tongue. She knew, but she couldn’t stop herself.
「Oh, so you admit you produced such liquid?」
「I’m the one asking questions here, you little bitch!」
The woman stood up and slammed her fist on the table, breathing heavily. Marquedo, on the other hand, maintained the same tone on her voice.
「True, the man called Ray didn’t know how it was made. All he knew was injecting the liquid into a human being turned them into a monster. We studied how it was made ourselves.」
「You studied… it?」
It shouldn’t be that easy. There’s no way they just “studied” it and got an answer.
After learning of its monster-turning effect, one would normally suspect monster eggs. No one would usually link it to accursed magic. Besides, accursed magic belonged to the minority; only few people could use it. A lot of time would be needed to gather magic rocks to test their theory as well.
「It just so happens that Zofira’s cousin is an accursed magic user and she’s staying in Forestzard for a while. And we also happened to have a lot of magic rocks available.」
「That’s just impo—」
Impossible. But it was clear that they somehow managed to figure out how it was manufactured. It was Ludancia’s leader’s secret weapon to throw Kirihal into chaos. With it, they could invade the other nations through terrorist acts.
「You were plotting to use this to weaken Kirihal and absorb the nation. Am I wrong? In fact, you already ordered one of your men to use it inside Forestia. That is more than enough to charge you with treason.」
「And? What now? You’re going to arrest me? A mere figurehead can’t possibly do that.」
Ludancia’s leader turned defiant. She was seething with rage for being made fun of, but she needed to break through this situation.
「If that’s all you have to say, then we’re done here. I’m heading back—」
「I would appreciate it if you stayed for a little while.」
A young man radiating an air of intelligence emerged from the door that Ludancia’s leader entered through earlier. He had straight green hair tied to the back.
「I believe you know League “Green Ogre” Rumania.」Marquedo said.「He exerted much effort in the investigation, traveling back and forth from here to Scholarzard.」
「Thank you, Your Majesty. It is an honor.」
Giving a slight bow, League gave a hand signal behind him. Twenty or so armed men streamed into the room. Ludancia’s head and her bodyguards shrank back. The leader alone glared at Marquedo.
「Rumania approved of the wedding. Anyone who would plan to sabotage it would not get away with it.」the queen said.「It seems you miscalculated. Besides, this is not the time to be fighting among ourselves. This whole Unionist and Separatist thing has no place in Forestia.」
Only Zofira and League understood the true meaning behind her words.
「We will move forward. We can’t waste our time with grudges of the past.」
Ludancia’s head was arrested for treason and her research was investigated, resulting in a great loss for the Separatists.
「God, that old lady’s terrifying!」Marquedo exclaimed.
There they were, in the visitation room after Ludancia’s head was taken away.
「Your Majesty, you’re technically older than her.」Zofira said.
「That doesn’t matter. She’s still terrifying! I’m really not suited to be a ruler.」
「I’m well aware.」
「Um, Your Majesty?」
「Oh, thanks, League! Sorry you had to run around a lot.」
「No, it’s quite all right. I owe you one, after all.」
League smiled as he watched how Marquedo and Zofira got along so well. Indeed, he owed Marquedo for the vote she gave on the wedding.
「I see. Okay, then.」Marquedo said, seemingly unconcerned.
She was the type who didn’t care about “debts” and “favors,” things that politicians would never overlook.
She’s even a greater person than I imagined.
League watched Marquedo, wondering what she would do in her remaining three years in office.