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Published at 12th of March 2016 10:11:44 PM

Chapter 10

The carriage carrying Mira gradually decreased its pace and finally came to a halt in front of an imposing, giant gate. When they were still traveling on the plateau, only the walls that encircled Lunatic Lake could be seen from that high place. However, as the travelers got closer and looked at the city from below, they were greeted with a visage that splendidly embodied the meaning of Arkite Kingdom, a country that focused on its national defense.


While leaning her body on the window of the vehicle, the young girl looked up at the city walls and exclaimed, “Wow, they got really big…,” as her heart pounded in excitement; an obvious reaction, caused by such disparity with the memories she had from the capital of thirty years ago. Mira then wondered just how different the place inside was, considering its outside was like that now, and started looking forward to all the changes undergone by the world during her absence.

Currently, the Thousand-mile Carriage was positioned in front of a gate that wasn’t the main entrance to the capital; rather, the enormous doors blocked the way to a straight road that led directly to the Royal Castle. Garrett exchanged a few words with its gatekeeper and, soon after, the huge gates began opening with a deep, dull sound.

Then, when the soldier serving as gatekeeper raised a hand over his head and made a signal, the ringing of a bell that sat atop the gates resounded in the skies. In response, another bell started echoing in the distance, sounding almost as if it tried to do a follow-up every time time first one rang. From afar, they announced the arrival of the very special carriage Mira was in.

Although five other lanes crossed it, the dedicated road to the castle didn’t have a single pedestrian walking on it. That was due to the fact that each of its intersecting points had been temporarily closed, as soldiers holding black and yellow rods came out of those passages and started blocking any passerby from reaching the roadway.

Speaking of the Thousand-mile Carriage, it was a particular vehicle used when very important matters related to the country were involved. As a result, that amount of preparation used, where everyone stayed on high alert, was perfectly reasonable.

“Oh my, this is quite an exaggerated reception…”

When the gates opened completely, the girl who was still leaning on the coach’s window was able to see the entire pathway. At that moment, when she caught sight of the many soldiers lined up at regular intervals on the road, Mira realized just how grand the greeting prepared for her was and couldn’t help but mutter a line in dismal.

The carriage then slowly started moving again, gradually increasing the pace until it reached its maximum speed after several seconds, the view of the city around the vehicle quickly changing and moving behind it. While following the wild dash of the Thousand-mile Carriage with curious eyes, the inhabitants of Lunatic Lake would easily take notice of Garrett, who was working as the coachman; consequently, it piqued everyone’s interest as they started wondering about how serious and important the matters related to that visit were.

Steadily, Mira began growing accustomed with the scenery outside and, soon after, she discovered a very preeminent building among the many others that had entered her field of vision.

(Now that I am closer, I can see just how big it really is…)

It was one of the Tools of the Five Elements, the Craftsmen Workshop Bureau. Upon seeing the impressive structure, that greatly resembled the good old German architecture, placed right inside the capital, Mira decided to schedule for later a sightseeing tour to each of those five great constructions.

After a few more moments of shaking inside the carriage, the young girl noticed the moving scenery outside gently slowing down, coming to a complete halt as they finally arrived in front of the gates to the Royal Castle.

“I guess we finally arrived.”

Mira, whose body had stiffened from sitting inside the coach for almost the entire trip, loosened up after stretching for a bit; her next action was to secretly leave another empty bottle of Apple au Lait by her feet, on the vehicle’s floor.

“Yes, I’m thankful for your efforts, Mira-sama.”

Garrett opened the door of the carriage and bowed, subsequently extending a hand in order to escort the young girl outside.

“Sorry for all the trouble.”

As Mira thanked and apologized to the military man, she followed it by refusing his help; the girl then gently brushed off Garrett’s hand and simply jumped out of the vehicle. A few moments later, she raised her face to gaze at the castle and realized that at least that place didn’t change even after three decades; so it was with a mix of disappointment and relief on her face that Mira brought down her sight, only to become speechless immediately after.

When the gates to the Royal Castle slowly opened, she was able to see what awaited behind them: a reception even grander that the one in the roadway she had just crossed. On each side of the passage that led to the interior of the building was a line of knights, standing completely still while holding a sword before their own eyes. And forming another line behind them were more knights, each one with a spear in their hands. In addition to all that, at regular intervals in those lines it was possible to see soldiers hoisting the flag of the kingdom.

“Now, well… this seems a bit too much…

“It just shows how much Solomon-sama is pleased with your visit, Mira-sama.”

“It was that guy, huh…”


Mira let out a sigh as she muttered those few words, a weird sense of discomfort now quickly assaulting her.

“If we consider Dunbalf-sama, he is a hero of the kingdom, right? So this kind of reception for the disciple of said hero is perfectly normal.”

“Hmmm, is that so?”

“Yes, of course. Well then, Mira-sama, let’s go.”

The moment they moved away from the vehicle, a caretaker working for the castle appeared and began transporting the Thousand-mile Carriage to the stables.

With Garrett escorting Mira towards the building, they both crossed the gates that had been opened for them. And not a second later, their ears were suddenly assaulted by a strong and rhythmical sound made by drums.

Not only that, but the knights holding swords thrusted their weapons diagonally above their heads and readied their shields, each one of these defensive equipments engraved with the national coat of arms. At the same time, behind them, the second row of knights tilted their lances with the same oblique angle of the swords. Effectively, the combined actions of those particular soldiers created an arch that covered the passageway to the Royal Caste.

“Hm, well… this seems a bit too much…”

“For me, this feels somewhat pleasing.”

In the middle of that grand reception for Mira, the one who seemed to enjoy it the most was the person supposed to be guiding her, Garrett; he simply revealed a great smile while speaking to the young girl.

“Good grief, what am I going to do with you now…”

Such carefree attitude displayed by that man caused Mira to mirror his expression with another broad smile. Furthermore, it made a really favorable impression of his human nature while also increasing the girl’s praises for Solomon, who had a person like Garrett as his subordinate.

———–

Supported by the delightful sound of the fife and drum corps, the visitors crossed the exaggerated arc created by knights and finally entered the castle. Waiting for them at the entrance were two palace guards who bowed and said, “We will be guiding you to where the king is waiting.” Because Mira didn’t like standing out that much, she felt relieved that it was a bit quieter there and followed them.

When the guards opened the door to the king’s place, the pleasant fragrance of sophisticated flowers entered their noses. A carpet has been laid on the floor and, from where Mira stood, she could see it was colored in a specific order, at equal intervals: first was the black, then blue, followed by green, red and finally white. After a quick look at the room, she noticed five individuals there, with the most conspicuous one being, obviously, the young boy seated on the throne placed atop a set of stairs.

He had a light green hair that slightly covered his golden eyes and wore on his head a crown adorned with countless of jewels. At first glance, that scene felt really out of place; however, the boy clad in sumptuous clothing and seated on the throne was, astonishingly, an impeccable king. That fact could be easily assumed by looking at all his accomplishments done while he governed the country for over thirty years.

Indeed, that young boy who kept staring at Mira with a mischievous look on his face was Dunbalf’s friend and the leader of Arkite Kingdom, King Solomon. Except for his clothing, that looked somewhat more luxurious than before, the king’s appearance was still the same even after all the years the girl was absent.

A few steps below the top of the stairs were two individuals with their backs turned to King Solomon: the first was a knight standing in wait, exuding an atmosphere that indicated he was no ordinary person; the other was an Expert wearing a robe tinged in black and covering his head with a hood. Said Expert observed Mira with a gentle expression while smiling at her. On the other hand, the knight breathed a sigh in disappointment when he realized that the disciple of Dunbalf, the kingdom’s hero, was a mere little girl.

Garrett took a step forward, kneeled and…

“I humbly present you Elder Dunbalf-sama’s pupil, Mira-sama.”

Made his report, bowing afterwards.

“Thank you very much for your efforts on the trip. You can move back now.”


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The one who replied while exhibiting an imposing air as he stood next to the throne was Suleiman. As a member of the Elf race, his characteristic blond hair fluttered over his graceful face.

Upon hearing the orders given, Garrett said, “Then, if you will excuse me.,” and walked to the side.

“Nice to meet you, Mira-san. My name is Suleiman, personal aide of King Solomon.”

“Yeah, Mira here.”

While only moving her eyes to recognize the person talking to her, the girl answered with a very brief greeting. Garrett, who was near her, became greatly flustered by seeing Mira’s unchanged attitude even after she stood before the king. But the person herself had no way to know what was going through that man’s head, so she crossed her arms and placed a hand on her chin while trying to investigate Solomon.

In spite of the girl’s efforts, however, no information appeared on her field of vision as she observed the king. Instead, she was able to confirm Suleiman’s full name and status floating within her line of sight.

(Just… what is the meaning of this…?)

“Let us get to the point, first we need you to prove that you are, indeed, Dunbalf-sama’s apprentice. Are you fine with that?”

When Mira was in deep thought, trying to figure out why she could inspect Suleiman but not Solomon, the former’s words brought her back.

“Oh right, no problem.”

She brought out the Master Key from her item box and, with it in hand, walked towards the king’s aide while saying, “Here it is.” Or, more precisely, the girl tried walking towards him. Because all of a sudden, she was stopped by the knight who drew his sword, unable to contain himself anymore as he said with an angry voice,

“Don’t get any closer than that! You bitch, there’s a limit to how disrespectful one can be!”

While also pointing his weapon towards Mira.

That man was the leader of the Imperial Knights of the Kingdom of Arkite, Reynard. Right before the audience, Solomon had told him to not mind the visitor even if she didn’t know the proper etiquette. And he followed his orders, keeping in check his boiling emotions as Mira didn’t kneel before the king and kept using such improper way of speech.

However, of all things she dared to approach King Solomon without being allowed to do so, causing him to finally snap. Mira didn’t know that, but there was a restriction to how close a person could get to the king. The distance was determined according to one’s own social standing and guests, excluding exceptional cases, should never move past the black section of the carpet.

“What? Then how will I hand it over to Suleiman?”

“Just give it to the palace guard standing by your side!”

In the old days, Solomon and Dunbalf always walked together as equals; consequently, to Mira, that visit was nothing more than a meet-up with her friend. She just wanted to talk with him for a bit, that was the only thing the girl had in her mind. Because of that, she completely forgot about how serious an audience with the highest-ranking person in the country was supposed to be.

(How bothersome…)

Mira was talking as if she were still playing the game, but upon seeing the anger-filled expression on the knight’s face, the girl finally remembered that the circumstances right now were different. She didn’t know a thing about the proper manners required by visitors on such occasion, so it was with a bit of unease that Mira pinched the tip of Reynard’s sword with her fingers and presented the Master Key to him.

“That is right. Sorry, my bad. Anyway, since I am here already, could you hand it to him?”

“You bastard… just how far are you going to… first of all, get out of the stairs!”

Seething with rage, the knight put his strength on his sword. Contrary to his expectations, though, the weapon that was supposed to be held by the fingers of a mere little girl didn’t move an inch; Reynard couldn’t help but reveal a surprised expression at such absurd occurrence.


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“Reynard, bring it here.”

The boy sitting on the throne finally talked, albeit using a few words only.

“But Solomon-sama! That person is being too disrespectful!”

“Remember what I said before? This is still within my expectations. Or perhaps do you mean to make me wait even longer?”

The knight seemed to shrink under the king’s gaze, causing Mira to wonder if she somehow made a mistake without noticing it. Nevertheless, a moment later the girl changed her mind and just let it go as an annoyed Reynard grabbed the card from her hand and, in response, she released his blade.

He then threw a sharp glare a Mira while observing the pale and thin arm coming out of her robe, concluding, in the end, that she most likely used some kind of shady ability to hold his sword. As a result, the knight further increased his vigilance against Mira.

Amidst all that, Garrett was observing the scene unfolding and when he noticed that it had calmed down, from the bottom of his heart he felt relieved, now that everything was settled without turning into some kind of fight.

While Mira walked down the stairs and returned to her original place, Solomon examined the item he received from Reynard, trying to ascertain that it was, indeed, the Master Key to the Tower of Summoning.

“Without a doubt, this is Dunbalf’s key. If we consider that he, as the master, handed it over to his pupil, then it is perfectly understandable.”

As Solomon said that, he gave the Master Key to the royal guard by his side and, a moment later, the girl received her item back. She then quickly returned it to her item box while simultaneously trying to move away from the knight’s line of sight, whose piercing glare was still directed at her.

“Now that we have confirmed it, let’s head to another place. Disciple of Dunbalf, I want you to tell me everything about your master, who disappeared for thirty years. Is that okay?”

“Yeah, no problem.”

Mira gave an immediate reply to the king’s life-saving invitation.

“Well then, I believe that my office should be fine since our conversation will be more private there. To everyone else, you can join the party prepared by the parade group.”

Upon hearing Solomon’s words, Reynard once again took a step forward, forcing a bitter smile to appear on the young girl’s face.

“Solomon-sama, even if she is Dunbalf-sama’s apprentice, staying alone with such suspicious person is too dangerous. Your humble servant asks to, at least, stay together with Your Majesty in the room!”

The knight threw a glance at Mira and bowed deeply to his king, giving a proposal concerning Solomon’s safety.

(I see we did not progress here…)

Considering that situation, the girl thought that she could, indeed, appear as someone suspicious to him. On the other hand, Reynard’s loyalty was so exaggerated that Mira simply shook her head, feeling tired of the back and forth happening there.

“Reynard, are you trying to imply that I could lose to the likes of that little girl?”

Solomon displayed an extraordinary spirit as he fired a question at his knight. Even if the king had the appearance of a young boy, it didn’t mean that the three decades he kept working as the country’s sovereign were just for show. It wasn’t just politics that decided the fate of a nation in the world they lived, but above everything else was the military prowess of its leader. And it was in that exact world that Solomon continued to rule over the whole country for all those years; consequently, one could easily guess just how strong the king was.

“N-No, absolutely not! It’s just… if that person uses some kind of weird ability, we must be prepared.”


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Only that Mira had absolutely no idea about any “kind of weird ability” he was talking about. It was understandable, though, considering Reynard had mistaken what Mira did with his sword as the girl using a spell or ability. He arbitrarily concluded that there was no way that his well-built physique would lose in terms of strength against such a frail-looking little girl. And in reality, Mira’s strength was indeed boosted by her own equipment, but since she didn’t understand that Reynard was talking about said status boost, instead of a “weird ability”, the girl had no way of explaining herself.

“Mira… that’s your name, right? Do you have any intention of causing harm to me? ”

“Why would I? I simply came here to talk with you.”

When Mira’s reply reached his ears, Solomon’s face briefly displayed a pleasant smile.

“Did you hear that? I also want to speak about a lot of stuff with her. At least be reasonable, Reynard.”

“But, if by any chance something happened to Your Majesty, I would never…”

The knight pleaded so while clenching his fists. However, the one who finally stopped that back and forth barrage of arguments was the Expert, who had stayed silent until now.

“Then, how about this; I will be on standby together with you, Reynard-san, on the corridor right before Solomon-sama’s office. If anything happens, we’ll be able to answer it right away. Do you believe that Mira-sama, or even Dunbalf-sama would be able to do anything to His Majesty in the short period of time we would take to enter the room?”

“Hhmm, ugh… indeed…”

“Alright, so it is settled. The fact is, I was really looking forward to the party, but since Reynard-san wouldn’t budge, it can’t be helped. I believe that it should be enough if it’s just the two of us doing the job, right?”

After the Expert made his suggestion, he placed a hand on Reynard’s shoulder while smiling.

“That’s a great idea. Sorry that you won’t be able to attend, Joachim. We’ll hold another party again soon, okay?”

After nodding with all his might, the king paused for a moment and got up from his throne.

“Oh no, there is no need, Your Majesty. Reynard-san will treat me to something.”

“Hmgghh…”

Not able to retort anymore, the knight revealed a twisted expression.

“Okay then, shall we go?”

On Solomon’s invitation, three people followed him, making way to the corridor that led to his office.

 

TL: Names and Info

スレイマン – Suleiman
レイナード – Reynard
ヨアヒム – Joachim

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