Machine Translated By:
Japanese to English Checking By:
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
This an edited Machine Translation, which has been checked by at least one Japanese-English Human Translator for quality using feedback from the machine translators and prooferaders. This may have a quality dip in accuracy, therefore, if you read this chapter you must take into consideration the tradeoffs between speed and quality.
※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※ ※
――The Sacred Vollachian Empire, under the reign of its current emperor, Vincent Vollachia, was enjoying an era of peace and tranquility unprecedented since its founding.
There had been small skirmishes, but other than the rebellion of Yorna Mishigure, there was no situation where thousands of people were involved in a conflict.
As long as the relationship with the Kingdom of Lugunica, which had been in a standoff for many years, remained stagnant, no civil war or even a situation of falling into territorial disputes with other countries could happen.
It was easy to say that the times were on their side, but that did not bring peace of mind to all the hard work that had gone into maintaining this peace.
To begin with, was this a feat that could be accomplished simply by having the times on one’s side?
To continue to take the very fact of wars away from the Vollachian Empire, which had been a constant source of strife and reason for conflict, for nine years of its reign, was a contradictory act of kindling a bonfire on thin ice.
It was due to the skill of Vincent Vollachia, the current emperor, who had even been called a “pacifist”.
???: [――Though I’m sure His Excellency would never be happy about being called a “pacifist” himself.]
???: [Reaaally~? You don’t feel bad about being recognized for your deeds, regardless of whether they were right or wrong, do you? In fact, the stability of the country is what His Excellency the Emperor wants, isn’t it?]
???: [So you’re proud to be called a “Demi-Human Lover”?]
???: [Undeniably. I’m the one who popularized the name in the first place!]
???: [Good grief, this looks to be the wrong person to make an example of. These days, my old friends who visit me are an odd lot. It keeps me occupied, though.]
The woman donned a wild smile on her beautiful face and narrowed her green eyes as she brushed her bangs back from her forehead.
She was tall and slender with a supple, well-trained body.
Her long, smooth-skinned arms and legs and feminine curves were enclosed in a merchant marine-like garb, and she carried a curved sword in its scabbard beside the fine chair on which she sat. Her whole body was filled with the high spirits characteristic of a warrior, as if to prove that it was not an ornament but a practical weapon.
Above all, on her left cheek, there was a long, large, white scar that ran from her forehead to her chin.
It was an eye-catching scar, and once you saw it, it was burned into your mind and difficult to forget.
However, even the scar was nothing more than an ornament to the person who gave others the impression that she was beautiful, the “Scorching Lady” as she was called.
――The “Scorching Lady” High Countess Serena Dracroy.
That was the name and title of the fierce lady before them, one of the greatest nobles in the Vollachian Empire.
To Roswaal, her counterpart, she was a friend with whom he had been in contact from across the country since before this all happened.
Roswaal: [Of course, aaaaas long as you are serious when you call me an old friend.]
Serena: [Friends or not, I’m not going to play such trivial games with you. First of all, when you are a high countess, all anyone wants to do is to talk about profit and loss. Sometimes I want to have luxurious small talk without such things. Is that too much to hope for?]
Roswaal: [I’m not saying it’s too much to hope for, but I’m heartbroooken~ by that sorrowful plea.]
With a small chuckle, Roswaal reached for a cup from the table in front of him and sipped his tea, enjoying the warm aroma. The aromatic warmth danced on his tongue. ――Unfortunately, Roswaal could not glean much more than that from the food and drink.
The lack of taste in anything he eats or drinks is part of the burden Roswaal had to bear, and the price he had to pay, in order to get to where he is today.
At any rate, there was no way he could not thank her for the hospitality she had extended to him as a guest.
There, Roswaal glanced at the petite figure sitting next to him, the one who had probably enjoyed the taste of the tea on Roswaal’s behalf, who had let out a small sigh,
???: [These tea leaves have lost their potency. It’s recommended that you change the waitstaff.]
Her sharp crimson eyes narrowed, and she commented on the tea with an even sharper statement.
Roswaal closed one eye at her relentless and dismissive tone, while its recipient laughed in amusement with a “Ha”,
Serena: [Something so clearly stated. Should the waitstaff be changed?]
???: [Yes, they are being disrespectful to the tea leaves.]
Serena: [In fact, with everything in the household being so busy, I was the one who brewed this tea.]
???: [Is that so? Then, it would be for the best if you did not make it at all.]
Serena: [A girl who doesn’t know how to show due consideration, I like that. You have a fine wife.]
With teeth showing in response, Serena looked at Roswaal mischievously.
As usual, she was a woman of great magnanimity, or perhaps, a woman who showed a forgiving attitude toward rudeness and impoliteness. Despite her position as a prominent noblewoman, she did not have the usual personality of being obsessed with authority.
This way of thinking and being had not changed since the first time they met.
Roswaal: [However, I’m not the kind of person who caaan’t~ tell the difference between rudeness and an insult. Please watch what you say, Ram, because this is only marginally humorous.]
Ram: [That is understood, dear.]
Roswaal: [――. Serena, I must correct you; she is my servant, nooot~ my wife.”
Serena: [I see, I guess it wasn’t like your demi-human tastes were finally caught. The relationship between our two countries was tense, but I had thought not having an invitation to the ceremony was rather standoffish.]
Roswaal sighed at Ram, who had calmly accepted what he had pointed out and then unconcernedly moved closer. Serena’s response as she chuckled to herself also seemed slightly off from Roswaal’s intentions.
However, from experience, Roswaal had known for a while now that the deeper he dug into this subject, the more detrimental it would be. Therefore, he would not delve any further.
In any case――,
Ram: [Even so, Ram was surprised when she heard it. That is, that Roswaal-sama and Countess Dracroy had such a close relationship.]
Serena: [I doubt I could unscrupulously call a relationship without contact in years “close”. When I think about it, to come visit me without contacting me in this hectic situation… If you were to be that overtly rude, I would surely end up wanting to burn you to death like my father.]
Roswaal: [Serena, that joke isn’t very funny if you’re not from the Empire.]
Serena: [Hmm? Is that so. In high society, it’s usually a sure bet at making people laugh.]
That statement, which had unintentionally made Ram be taken aback, was a joke which poked fun at one event from her succession conflict―― In fact, it had come from the true story of how she had burned her father to death and seized control of the Dracroy household.
Since she had said that the sword wound on her cheek was also inflicted by her father before she killed him, it had made Ram reflect on her courage in having ended up deciding it was a funny anecdote, and on the attitude of the Empire that laughed it off.
When Roswaal had gotten to know her, she had still been a teenager―― Serena had visited the Kingdom of Lugunica on business, and had endeavored to resolve a dispute that had occurred there.
To put it simply, since he saved Serena’s life when she had been targeted by assassins, and moreover, revealed that the attempt was orchestrated by her father who had shunned her, his ties to the Dracroy family were unexpectedly deep.
However, Serena’s personality had not changed before or after that fierce experience, so she must have been born with her fortitudinous, fiery demeanor.
Roswaal: [It’s true that I want to reminisce over old stories, and behaviour in your high society, but… As you might have guessed, there was a reason why we suddenly visited without contacting youuu~.]
A pleasant chat with an old friend was also enticing, but there was nothing important to Roswaal other than the fulfillment of his long-cherished wish.
Everything in Roswaal’s life was for the sake of a wish that had sunk to the deepest recesses of his heart. ――Therefore, his visit to the Empire, and even his blinking and breathing, were all contributions for the sake of his dearest wish.
Currently, Roswaal and Ram had parted ways with Emilia and the others, visited the territory of High Countess Dracroy in the northwestern part of the Empire and were having an audience with Serena Dracroy, the lord.
Needless to say, the purpose of the visit was to secure Subaru and Rem, who had disappeared from the Pleiades Watchtower and were believed to have been hurled to the distant land of the Empire. For Roswaal, it would have been enough if he could secure Subaru, but he had not done a foolish thing like saying that aloud.
In any case, they would bring their missing friends back to the Kingdom. That was the purpose of this journey.
However, even if they were to say that their goal was to merely bring them home, the matter was not that easy or straightforward.
For the four major countries other than the Kingdom of Lugunica, they all had their own reasons for why coming and going was difficult. The Kararagi City States, which required connections and a lot of money, were relatively preferable, and one could say that the Holy Kingdom of Gusteko was excusable in its ease of understanding, as long as one didn’t err in their timing and approach to their faith.
From that point of view, the Empire, which did not get along with the Kingdom, surpassed the rest in difficulty.
Relations between Lugunica and Vollachia had historically been bad for a long time, and although they had now miraculously confirmed a non-aggression pact, that too was doubtful in how far they could freely trust in it.
Rather than being proof or a sign of friendly relations, the confirmed non-aggression pact gave the strong feeling of a warning that, since it was time for both countries to shift their focus inwards, they should be careful not to interfere with each other unnecessarily.
It appeared likely that there was a connection between the matter of the national border now being blocked, and the backing for the non-aggression pact.
Serena: [――This major incident shaking the Imperial Capital was also a plot by a faction that wants to annul the non-aggression pact or something? There’s a limit to how suspicious you can be. It’s an idea unbecoming of a man of the Kingdom.]
Serena’s green eyes suddenly narrowed as she guessed exactly what was on Roswaal’s mind.
This fierce lady was rather sociable, though had catastrophic tea-brewing abilities; however, she was one of the very few in the Empire entrusted with the role of High Countess, with powers of observation that were genuine.
Imperialism, unlike the way things were done in the Kingdom, did not question age or origin if one had ability. Inevitably, the more capable one was, the higher the position one obtained.
Accordingly, Serena Dracroy had earned and continued to hold the position of High Countess.
The point she just made was another possibility that Roswaal had considered and taken to heart.
By the time Roswaal and his group had entered the Empire, the fuel of the rebellion was already bearing smoke. Until now, the efforts to quench the fires, which had been done at the first sign of trouble, had not borne fruit.
If the high probability that this would lead to full-scale rebellion was seen, then naturally they must have been some cause present there.
That was why――,
Ram: [――A war for territory with the Kingdom of Lugunica, that is what they are looking for.]
When Serena pointed out that she was skeptical, Ram placed her hands on her lap, and spoke in a quiet voice.
The eyes of the fierce lady turned to Ram, and she stared straight back at them with her light-crimson eyes.
Ram: [Above the reign of Emperor Vincent Vollachia being threatened, there are those who do not desire the peace that has been created. If that is the case, then after destroying the peace and quiet, what would those people want? It is natural to wonder if that is the Kingdom of Lugunica.]
Serena: [Is that so? There are people who revolt just because they don’t like the idea of anyone being superior to them. Such was the case last year with the leader of a band who raised their swords against me.]
Ram: [Let’s leave those peculiar instances out of the discussion.]
Serena: [I wouldn’t go as far as to call it peculiar, but you certainly missed the point.]
With a finger running along her shapely chin, Serena scrutinized Ram’s opinion.
Roswaal did not interject during the discussion because he saw nothing in Ram’s opinion that needed correction. He had never discussed these impending issues with Ram, but he was not surprised that she was also concerned about the same possibilities as he was.
In any case――,
Roswaal: [Serena, surely you don’t wish to go to war with the Kingdom of Lugunica either. Of course, it’s a different story if you’re so outraged that you want to rebel against the Emperor.]
Serena: [Fortunately, I’ve never been dissatisfied with His Excellency’s meritocracy. The behavior of General First-Class Yorna, whose tantrums from time to time are also a stranger to me as someone who possesses territory far away from the Demon City. It’s just…]
Roswaal: [It’s just?]
Serena: [That I don’t wish for war with the Kingdom, what kind of speculation did that view arise from? Supposing you say that our side will stand little chance, my heart will also start to waver with the wind.]
Serena’s lips relaxed while she looked at her, her gaze infused with a tingling sensation.
It was her way of expressing her own pride in Roswaal’s words. She was called the Scorching Lady, and as a woman who held the position of High Countess with her prowess, it was inexcusable for her to be looked down upon.
That was not the basis on which to compare Ram’s remarks about tea.
Serena did not pour her heart and soul into tea, but she did pour her heart and soul into her family name.
Serena: [How about it, Roswaal. Am I mistaken? Or, was it your slip of the tongue?]
Serena questioned him in order to block off his escape routes, and as he looked back into the green eyes of his old friend, Roswaal noticed Ram next to him, peering at his side.
From the change in the atmosphere, she could probably sense that the result would be poor depending on how he answered.
In addition, if Serena’s good mood were to be soured, it would make it very difficult for Roswaal and the others to move around in the Empire. Not simply because they would lose their backer or supporter, but also because Serena knew of Roswaal’s background.
Taking all of that into account, and adding Serena’s personality and humanity into the mix, the best answer that Roswaal could give in this situation was――,
Roswaal: [Indeed, sorry about the misunderstanding. Let’s rectify that. ――If it comes to war with the Kingdom, a large amount of blood shall be shed in futility. That of the Empire, too. That’s why I don’t recommend it.]
Serena’s eyebrows twitched and lifted at Roswaal’s matter-of-fact response.
The pale sword-inflicted scar on her face trembled, and the pupils of her eyes narrowed slightly. It had not yet connected to an outburst of emotion, but depending on the words that followed, such an outcome may arise.
But he had already decided on the words that would follow. Neither did he intend to attempt any lies nor pretense on her.
Were the Kingdom and the Empire to battle, a great deal of Imperial blood would be spilled.
The heart of the matter was――,
Roswaal: [After all, the Kingdom has the Sword Saint, Reinhard van Astrea. Every Imperial Soldier who comes across the border will amass into a great river of blood.]
Serena: [Oh come on, that’s an illegal move!]
Roswaal: [Even if you call it an illegal move, as long as it exists, there is no choice buuut~ to place it on the table for discussion. Though as you say, it’s a trump card that destroys the discussion. However…]
At that point, Roswaal cut off his words, and closed one of eyes, which differed in color between left and right, leaving only blue side open,
Roswaal: [There will be no hesitation whatsoever to play this trump card at the outset.]
Normally, trump cards and secret weapons are meant to be saved if at all possible, but this was not the case with the Sword Saint. To draw that card at the outset would be the most effective, and the results would also be stupendous.
Above all, the person in question would accept the duty with pleasure.
Serena: [Good grief, not even having the decency to let me do a thought experiment, you’ll make me cry, military strategist.]
Suddenly, the atmosphere from just before dissipated, and Serena flumped her weight against the back of her chair. She pouted her lips as if she were a sulking little girl,
Serena: [In the Empire, I have only been able to hear rumors, but… From your point of view, is that which is called the Sword Saint a supernatural monster?]
Roswaal: [Up until the previous generation, the Sword Saints also haaad~ a certain charm to them, but the current generation’s Sword Saint is more appropriate for that expression. If you do not know the real thing, you won’t be able to actually feel that, though.]
Serena: [The way you speak, it’s just as if you have seen all Sword Saints up until now. However, I see…]
Raising a wry smile at Roswaal’s response, Serena frowned with her shapely eyebrows.
Due to their long relationship, Serena believed that there was no way Roswaal was going to speak words without much thought put into them, and was thoroughly scrutinizing him.
However, for all Imperials other than her, whether they would be reasonable had yet to be decided.
Roswaal: [If you overestimate your own power, or underestimate the power of the Sword Saint, you will be unable to escape the tragedy. So, I shall blow an adverse wind into your mind. You shoooould~ not go to war.]
Roswaal: [Annnd~ well, supposing you choose to wage war against the Kingdom, then at that time, I’ll become your opponent. Shall I show you? The ruthlessness of the relentless onslaught of magic from an altitude so high that you would not be able to do a thing.]
Although he shrugged his shoulders and jested about showing her, Roswaal was also quite the strategic force to be reckoned with.
Although not as powerful as the Sword Saint, he could still suppress thousands of common soldiers by simply flying through the air and wielding magic. If he chose battlegrounds he had a strong compatibility with, it was also possible that he could overcome the war front by his lonesome.
Serena: [In that regard, I can easily believe it, unlike the hearsay about the Sword Saint. After all, I have seen a glimpse of that with my own eyes.]
Roswaal: [That was also over a decade ago. Currently, I can show you far more developed magic now than I did back theeen~.]
Serena: [You’re an unfathomable man. Be that as it may, outstanding power comes with its own set of shackles. I guess that’s the reason why you are unable to wield it freely in the Empire.]
This time, having been cornered, it was Roswaal’s turn to put his hands where she could see them.
In fact, if the tactics they had just discussed were to be put into action, Roswaal would continuously rain magic from high in the sky, out of reach of people, and would be able to reduce the Empire into naught but scorched earth until his mana was exhausted.
However, even when speaking in terms of the wide world, there was no one except Roswaal in the world today who was capable of doing such a thing with magic. It would be more or less the same in the places he used discretion.
Showing his preeminent magical talent within the Vollachian Empire was similar to exposing his true identity.
Therefore, Roswaal had to refrain from any flamboyant behavior after having entered the Empire.
The same reasoning and restrictions had been imposed on Emilia during their time apart.
Ram: [Though in the situation over there, there’s a chance that she’ll forget about that and flare up right away.]
Roswaal: [I’m going to have to rely on the children she has with her over theeere~. Well, if I take the circumstances into account, Garfiel should also be able to keep her in check, so I shouldn’t worry too too much.]
Or rather, if he was unable to place trust in them, he would not have gone separate ways in the first place.
That it would be okay to entrust decisions over there to them, because he had trust in that, the current state resulted. ――Such a way of putting it like “trust”, he thought that if Otto and Petra were to hear it then they would certainly make a disagreeable face.
Serena: [――Let me guess, you were not the only ones who entered the Empire under these circumstances, were you?]
While Roswaal and Ram exchanged words, Serena, who raised her posture from the back of her chair, continued. As she met their gazes, she traced the sword-inflicted wound on her cheek with her finger, and,
Serena: [Something you’re looking for… no, someone you’re looking for? It appears to be someone greatly important to you guys.]
Roswaal: [Even in the relationship between you and I, your way of asking sure makes it difficult to nod alooong~.]
Serena: [Nevertheless, your actions serve as proof for that. Otherwise, one would not go through the trouble of crossing the locked down border to come into Vollachia. ――Unless it is destiny.]
Narrowing her eyes just slightly, Serena muttered in a quiet voice.
Unable to understand what she meant, Roswaal frowned with a feeling of unease. However, before he could question the true meaning of those words, Ram was quick to nod and say, “Yes”,
Ram: [There is someone I must bring back at all costs. Someone equivalent to Ram’s very life.]
Ram: [No amount of hiding it or deception is going to work with her.]
Although he chided Ram, who easily disclosed information that was not unlikely to become a weak point, Ram retorted, and Roswaal was instead unable to offer a rebuttal.
If the action itself could be said to be the answer, then the truth was just that.
Roswaal: [However, even if you’re going to show weakness, then you should have some presentation techniques.]
Serena: [Don’t condemn Ram like that. Isn’t it a commendable thing? What surprises me more is that you went to such lengths for the sake of what’s important to her. She appears to be very important to you.]
Ram: [Yes, because there is no replacement for Ram.]
Roswaal: [That is an undeniable fact, but I’m somewhaaat~ concerned about the way you put it.]
Roswaal and Ram claimed that there is someone they wanted to bring back, although that someone differed between the two of them. This in turn, seemed to have caused a misunderstanding for Serena, who did not know that this was the case.
Since they wanted to secure assistance, they would share detailed information about the people they were searching for afterwards.
Serena: [――Whatever the case, I understand why you warned us not to start a war.]
With the conversation having returned to Roswaal’s warning, the discussion before this last one, Serena’s expression had suddenly stiffened. She looked at the naturally tense faces of Roswaal and Ram, and with a mindful gaze, she continued, “But”,
Serena: [I’ll listen to your advice, but I can’t vouch for the attitude of the other citizens of the Empire. Most of them would go into a frenzy, even if they were to be told they had no chance of winning a fight against the “Sword Saint”.]
Roswaal: [That is a point of difference with the Kingdom, where there is no need to explain the true power of the “Sword Saaaint~”.]
Ram: [Yes, that is correct. In the Kingdom, if you had the chance to get a glimpse of the “Sword Saint” Reinhard, there would be no need for any further explanation.]
Since the four great countries shared a treaty prohibiting Reinhard from leaving the country of Lugunica, the people of other countries had almost no chance of ever seeing him.
If they could have gotten that chance, there also would not have been any need to bother with this kind of roundabout persuasion.
――One look at the “Sword Saint” Reinhard van Astrea, and anyone could have sensed right away just how foolish it would be to oppose him.
Only lunatics living in a world completely detached from reason would not understand that.
Serena: [If it is really as grave as it sounds, I guess I can only hope that His Excellency will suppress the rebellion without incident, or that the rebel side taking his place is reasonable.]
The rebellion had already broken out, and caused the public to take interest in what really their objective was.
If the rebel side had concrete ideas and no unreasonable ambitions like fighting the Kingdom, the war between the two countries and the massive bloodshed Roswaal had spoken of could be avoided.
Of course, there would be nothing better than if the Emperor’s side could suppress the rebellion properly.
Roswaal: [No matter how this civil war is resolved, it would be troubling if an attack is aimed at Lugunica afterwards. Because a quarrel with the Empire would be an incident I have not planned for.]
――All of Roswaal’s actions were a path leading towards a dearest wish that must be granted.
Thus, the fact that he had acquired the opportunity to have an audience with Serena in the Empire was also no exception.
It wasn’t any different in regards to desiring assistance for the sake of bringing Subaru back, or persuading her, an influential person within the Empire, of the futility of going to war with the Kingdom.
For Roswaal’s dearest wish, Subaru’s presence was indispensable.
Furthermore, a fight with the Vollachian Empire, or something of that sort, was not included in the path Roswaal had to follow. So this was not the time for a war between the Kingdom and the Empire.
There must be no interference until the day of the “Dragonkindling Ceremony”, when the covenant between the Kingdom and the Dragon will be renewed.
Issues that hinder the Royal Selection must be removed.
And for that――,
Roswaal: [――We must have His Excellency the Emperor quickly suppress the rebellion, and far extend this first time of peace and tranquility since the founding of the Vollachian Empire]
Serena: [Hmm? I haven’t seen that evil look in a long time. Some kind of sinister plot?]
Hearing Roswaal’s words, Serena raised her eyebrows in amusement.
He himself was not aware of the evil face that had been pointed out, but from what she said, he must have had such an expression. Nevertheless, Roswaal’s plans should not run counter to Serena’s expectations either.
She was also a member of the Imperial nobility, and as long as she did not take part in the rebellion herself, she should naturally side with the Emperor.
Ram: [Countess Dracroy.]
Suddenly, next to Roswaal as he was thinking that, Ram started her own conversation with Serena.
At that call, Serena looked at Ram and,
Ram: [May Ram have a moment?]
Serena: [Sure, I don’t mind. Though, please don’t call me Countess Dracroy. I just want to chat with a friend …Serena, please]
Ram: [Then, Serena-sama. ――It seems you are really close with Roswaal-sama, correct?]
Serena’s eyes widened when Ram, who had changed on what to call her, focused her gaze on her. However, her face instantly turned into a mischievous one, and she nodded and said, “I see, I see.”
Roswaal had a bad presentiment about what it was she had just realized.
Serena: [You’re curious about how I met this guy, right? From the looks of it, you guys also seem to have known each other for a long time but…]
Ram: [It’s been exactly ten years.]
Serena: [In that case, we’ve been acquainted just a little longer. Ram, can you drink?]
Ram: [It is not at the same level as with tea, but Ram is pretty picky if it comes to alcohol.]
Serena slapped her knees with her palms and gave Ram a smile of her own.
It seemed like it would come to them having a good drink with reminiscent talks serving as a snack. Moreover, if they were going to talk about when he had met Serena, Roswaal also had a few youthful indiscretions.
Roswaal: [Serena, I appreciate the invitation, but we have some urgent business to attend to. About those matters――]
Serena: [You want my help for that, don’t you? If that’s the case, all the more reason you shouldn’t spoil my mood. If you haven’t seen me in a while, then at least have a drink with me]
Giving up on trying to dissuade Serena from her unheeding attitude, Roswaal looked at Ram.
Just as Roswaal wanted to bring Subaru back, Ram had come to the Empire to bring back her other half, Rem. She thought since she had sincerely answered Serena’s earlier questioning, she might be able to bring her mind from wine glasses back to a constructive discussion.
Ram: [Barusu aside, Ram does not think it would be wise to refuse Serena-sama’s offer for Rem’s sake.]
Roswaal: [Really, is that the only reaaason~?]
Ram: [Of course, if Ram could also hear stories about Roswaal-sama before he met Ram and the others, then even if we end up in the same stalemate, Ram could say it was an excellent plan.]
Ram was not ashamed if it could serve her goals and have real benefits at the same time.
And much to Roswaal’s regret, Ram and Serena were exceedingly compatible. There was no doubt that their drunk talk would also be lively, and that they would get along well.
That would very well be the beginning of a headache for Roswaal.
Roswaal: [In a sense, I should perhaps see this as a necessary price to pay?]
All so that they could reach their goal, then leave the Empire and return to the Kingdom.
When he called on an old friend and asked for help, he was prepared to pay some kind of price. However, he had by no means thought it would turn out like this.
Serena: [Just now, another guest left right before you guys arrived. She sure was a merry one, so I was about to feel lonely.]
Ram: [Because they were also close to you?]
Serena: [Technically, it was the husband of the guest with whom I had been close, but yes. She should be back soon, so I’ll introduce them then. Right now, rather than that――]
Having stood up, Serena headed to the display cabinet in the corner of the room. When the door opened, lined up inside were a variety of bottles of alcohol, large and small, and they could see she had great taste.
Serena chose one of them, and while she was returning with three glasses from the shelf,
Serena: [It was when I was serving as an emissary representing my father, that I happened to meet Roswaal. I was targeted by assassins while heading to the Kingdom… they were sent by my father, but Roswaal saved me there.]
Ram: [So that is how it was. Continue.]
Then, alcohol was poured into the glasses on the table, and the old stories began.
The conversation between the curious Ram and the talkative Serena was lively, and while Roswaal felt uncomfortable, he decided that this was a necessary moment and surrendered himself.
All for the fulfillment of his dearest wish, and to regain the pieces necessary for that――.
――Roswaal’s predictions had missed their mark, and he was compelled to prevent getting even more deeply involved in the Empire’s civil war, when two days later, the name of the black-haired maiden siding with the rebel army, “Natsumi Schwartz,” reached Countess Dracroy’s manor and Ram seized control of High Countess Serena Dracroy.