Translator: Kell | Editor: Weasalopes
Secret Meeting with Emperor Kaglai
A man of small stature—if he were human, his looks would paint him as a young man—was sitting in front of his desk, writing. It was late at night. Magic lamps illuminated Emperor Kaglai G. Quinbland’s room.
The light wasn’t too bright, but unlike candles, it didn’t sway in the light wind, producing only a fixed amount of brightness that dimly lit the chambers.
All of a sudden, Kaglai’s hand stopped moving.「You have finally arrived. One day later and I would have left already.」
「That’s one way of talking considering you’re the one who called me.」
Kaglai turned around, seemingly unsurprised at the figure wearing a black cloak and a silver mask that appeared in the room out of nowhere.
Silver Face tossed a silver mask at Kaglai’s feet, the one displayed on the palace gates for almost a month now.
「I could not think of any other way to contact you.」Kaglai said.
「It’s not like I want people to call me all the time anyway.」
「Yet you came here. Why?」
「Hey, you’re the one who called me here. I should be asking you that.」
「It was the same with Unken’s case. You appear to not want to meddle in worldly affairs as much as possible, yet you delivered his letter to me. You did that for personal reasons, yes?」
He was right. Hikaru could’ve ignored the summons, yet he still came. He figured he could try to be more proactive, although not as much as Selica.
「Let’s just say I’m doing this on a whim.」Hikaru dodged the question, not wanting to tell the truth.
「I see. That is fine. I have a favor to ask of you, Silver Face.」
「Of course you do. That’s why you called me here.」
「I am heading to Vireocean and I want you to accompany me.」
As he suspected, it was indeed related to Vireocean.「Hmm.」
「You do not sound surprised.」
「I don’t really know the details, though.」
「We depart at noon tomorrow. Come to the palace gates then.」
「Wait a minute. Why are you assuming I’m going? Besides, this is all too sudden.」
Hikaru left Lavia and Paula in Pond since Drake was still asleep and moving with them would draw much more attention than going alone.
「I waited for you to come. Had you arrived a day later, I would have been long gone.」
The Emperor waited that long for Silver Face. He said he delayed his departure until the last minute, even going against his retainers’ advice.
「Why would you even wait that long for me? It doesn’t make any sense.」
「Perhaps. But the current situation requires me to go to Vireocean.」
「What in the world happened?」
「I will explain on the way… or I suppose you will not agree to that. I will tell you now.」
Kaglai stood up and brought a lamp to a small table carved with the map of the continent. The Imperial Capital was represented with an embedded gem.
「Do you know of the Ruined Continent?」
「Nope. No clue.」
Hikaru scanned his memories, but nothing came to mind. Even Roland, who received proper education as a noble, didn’t have any information about it. Kaglai seemed to have expected his answer, however.
「What about Dew Roke?」
「I believe it’s an island located to the east of Vireocean.」
Too big to be called an “island,” there was once a small country on it which was occupied in a past war and now a part of Vireocean’s territory.
「Yes. This right here.」Kaglai said, pointing at a small circle at the easternmost part of the map. The map ended there.
「The Ruined Continent is over here.」
He placed the lamp further east, about twice the distance between Dew Roke and Vireocean.
「I do not know how big it is, but its shoreline is at least as long as Vireocean’s, or even longer.」
「So there’s a continent over there?」
「Gigantic sea monsters inhabit the east of Dew Roke. Going there is impossible. Today, at least.」
「It was possible in the past?」
「Exactly. Colonization had been attempted in the past, about 550 years ago, using Dew Roke as a base.」
「That’s a long time ago. I’m guessing something went wrong?」
「The colonization took fifty years and a small nation was finally founded. Man Gnomes were also involved in the foundation.」
That sounds like a large-scale project, Hikaru thought. According to Kaglai, the population didn’t even reach ten thousand.
「There are barely any records of it left. But it is said that the continent in the east has a much harsher environment than here.」
「What do you mean?」
「The monsters there are strong.」
The people back then managed to survive because of the high-ranking adventurers accompanying them. If it weren’t for them, they would’ve been instantly annihilated. The army couldn’t be dispatched that easily as they were also needed for internal security, so at first they had to rely on adventurers.
「After fifty years of colonization, about five hundred years ago from now, aggressive monsters started appearing in the eastern seas and we suddenly lost contact with the eastern continent.」
「How far is it from Dew Roke to the eastern continent?」
「About fifteen days on a fast ship. Monsters sunk most of the ships that sailed from Dew Roke, and only a few that came from the eastern continent survived.」
Apparently, huge sea monsters were still being observed from Dew Roke.
「I see. But that sounds like monsters are simply ruling the seas. Is that really enough to call the place the Ruined Continent?」
「It was because passengers who travelled from the continent to Dew Roke said there were supposed to be a lot more ships.」
「A lot more ships?」
「Ships that abandoned the continent and fled.」
「What? They abandoned everything they’d built up over 50 years just because monsters appeared at sea?」
「A problem arose on the continent as well.」
Wearing a complicated look, Kaglai pointed on top of the lamp, on the northern side.
「According to the survivors, there is a so-called Monster Den in the northern part of the continent where vicious monsters dwelled. Noticing the invasion of humans, they advanced to the capital, Lands Harvest, in great numbers and attacked the place. The capital was on the brink of collapse, prompting the people to escape.」
「If you flee by ship, sea monsters await you.」Silver Face said.「If you stay in the capital there’ll be even worse monsters.」
No information had been received in the past five hundred years from the Ruined Continent, a place located beyond a closed-off area of the ocean.
「Why is information about the Ruined Continent kept confidential?」
「We are not concealing information, mind you. The higher-ups of every nation know about this story. But this is all a matter of the past. We are not to go anywhere east of Dew Roke island. That was all we needed to know.」
Hikaru heaved a sigh. He knew where this was headed.
「So, I’m guessing someone made contact from the Ruined Continent.」
Kaglai nodded.「A fleet of ships believed to be from the Ruined Continent has the island of Dew Roke surrounded. As people who share the same ancestors, they wish to have a dialogue with us.」
However, their first words were:
「You will pay for what you did 500 years ago.」
They thought they were abandoned.