Chapter 44: An audience
After adjusting ourselves and finishing the minimum preparation, we went out into the corridor.
We called out to a male attendant who was waiting in front of the room and asked him to lead us to the audience chamber.
We pushed our way down the long corridor and stopped in front of the double sliding door.
Facing the heavy door, the man looked back at us and bowed gracefully. Then, he called out to the guards who were waiting on either side of the door.
It looks like the show is finally on. Even though we just met a few minutes ago, I’m still nervous about having an audience with the emperor. I’m honestly worried that I’m going to do something wrong,……, but now that I’ve come this far, I have no choice but to do my best.
“There is no way out,” I told himself, and whipped my body, which was tense and stiff.
As I prepared myself, a male attendant gave instructions to the guards and lightly nodded to us.
The guards hurriedly drew up a magic circle and put their hands on the double doors, while he dropped down to the wall elsewhere.
“──── Entering Viscountess Charlotte Luna Meyers, Master of the Art of Prayer, and Elvin Hope Anderson, Commander of the Court Mages, and Keith Berg Price, Deputy Commander of the Court Mages!”
The guards, who had announced our arrival using even loudspeaker magic, slowly opened the heavy-looking doors.
Beyond the door was an orderly space, as beautiful as the clear blue sky.
“It’s like being on a cloud,” I thought to myself, gasping at the architectural skill of the building.
Amidst the excitement of the splendor, Keith-sama and Erwin-sama stepped inside.
The sound of their footsteps brought me back to my senses, and I hurried after them.
Oh, that was close…… I almost stood in front of the room without thinking. I’m glad I didn’t have to make an abomination of myself before starting the audience……. Well, I’m sure His Majesty Emperor Oswald would laugh and forgive me.
I raised my gaze slightly, imagining His Majesty behaving generously.
There are two thrones set up at the back of the room, and His Majesty the Emperor Oswald is sitting on a prominent golden chair. The silver chair was empty because only the Emperor had been asked for an audience this time.
I stopped in the center of the room, pondering, “Should I have requested an audience with the Empress as well?” Then, kneeling down with Erwin and Keith, I waited for His Majesty to speak to me.
“Raise your face. Make yourself comfortable, I don’t mind.”
The voice echoing through the audience chamber was dignified, and our backs naturally straightened.
As prompted, we raised our heads and locked gazes with His Majesty Emperor Oswald.
Even though we had just met a few hours ago, I felt nervous in front of him, even if I didn’t want to be.
Gulping, I took a deep breath once to keep my composure.
“Charlotte Luna Meyers extends her greetings to His Majesty the Emperor Oswald Lorenz Draconian. Thank you very much for accepting my request for an audience at such short notice. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. ……”
“No need for formal greetings or words of gratitude. Instead, tell me what happened. You must be in some kind of urgent trouble, right?”
The Emperor Oswald, who interrupted me and urged me to get down to business, seemed to have it all figured out.
Probably, he also knows that we got into trouble investigating the summoning technique. His Majesty is a man of keen intuition, so he must have some understanding of the situation when the two heads of the court mage corps are here.
Well, even His Majesty Emperor Oswald, the sun of the empire, would not be able to hide his surprise at the results of this investigation.
“Yes, you are right. We faced an unexpected problem in our investigation of the summoning technique, and I have come here to report it to you in a hurry.”
“Oh? Trouble in the investigation of the summoning art? That must have been a hard time for you.”
His Majesty Emperor Oswald, whose eyes widen as if he is hearing about it for the first time, reacts in an exaggerated manner.
I exhaled one breath to change my mind as I chuckled inwardly, ‘You’re a white-knuckle person, aren’t you?”
“There are three major reports on the investigation of the summoning technique. One is that the summoning technique was successful. The second is that Emilia-sama’s hypothesis was correct. And the last one is that more than twenty summons of the ──── legendary class were summoned.”
I looked at Emperor Oswald’s face as I confessed everything.
His Majesty froze in place at the explanation, which was simple and easy to understand, yet unimaginably difficult to follow.
In contrast to his earlier bland attitude, his eyes went black and white as if he was seriously surprised.
He said, “Hah ……? Legendary-class summons……? And More than twenty of them ……? Wha, what on earth is Miss Charlotte talking about……?”
‘Did you eat something strange?’ Emperor Oswald asks, and I shake my head from side to side.
When I told him that I was feeling perfectly normal, he became even more confused.
“What? Hmm……? So a summon of legendary class really appeared ……? In an investigation of the summoning technique ……? Not just Miss Charlotte’s misjudgment or something, but ……?”
At the unbelievable fact, His Majesty the Emperor Oswald, who could not conceal his bewilderment, tightened his expression.
“Is it true?” He asked me again and again, revealing his confusion.
Perhaps his restlessness had finally made him numb, Keith-sama raised his hand.
“Excuse me for interrupting. We were the ones who guessed the type of summons, so I don’t think it was a mistake. At the very least, I think it’s possible that Miss Charlotte’s lack of knowledge caused the misunderstanding. ……”
With a nervous look on his face, Keith-sama spins his words, encouraging me to speak up.
Following that, Erwin-sama also testified that ‘there is no falsity in Charlotte’s report.”
Hearing their advice, who are well versed in past literature, His Majesty the Emperor Oswald calmed down.
Then, after a moment of silence, he let out a breath as if to calm his ──── mind.
“Summoning more than twenty legendary class summons? …… Miss Charlotte, for better or worse, has exceeded my expectations. So, did you sign a contract?”
“No, I refused to make a contract. Their power is too great for me, a child. ……”
I looked down at him, saying, “I’m not sure I can handle them well”.
I was a little nervous, not knowing what His Majesty Emperor Oswald would say.
His Majesty might be furious if he finds out that I’ve managed to summon a legendary-class summon, but I haven’t made a contract with anyone. …… But I have no intention of twisting my decision now. If I’m prepared to break with just one word from His Majesty, then I don’t need it from the start.
My lips are tightened, and I decide, ‘No matter what they say, I will not bend my will.’
Leaving me to get excited on my own, His Majesty Emperor Oswald ──── uttered a calm voice.
“────You’ve stepped up to the plate well, Miss Charlotte. It was a wise decision to refuse to sign a contract with the summons. It’s dangerous to have great power when your position is not stable. Even more so when you’re a minor. I’m doing what I can with my authority to keep the people around me in check, but I can’t say that it’s absolutely safe. You must be very careful when signing a contract with a summon from now on.”
His Majesty Emperor Oswald, who told me to ‘be cautious’, was not outraged, but supported my decision.
I cannot hide my bewilderment at this reaction, which is the exact opposite of what I expected, and I reflexively look up at him.
I know it is impolite to stare at His Majesty’s face, but I did not feel any feelings of anger or hatred from him.
I’m sure His Imperial Majesty, Emperor Oswald, is not merely concerned about me. There must be a desire to monopolize promising mages. …… I was honestly happy that he assured me that my decision was not a mistake.
“Your advice is greatly appreciated. I will continue to put my personal safety first and be vigilant.”
I managed to repair my expression as I desperately tightened my loosening cheeks.
I coughed once, reminding myself that ‘I mustn’t let my guard down’.
“By the way,────, how would you like to report to the Flugel Academy? Since you’ve been given the task of investigating the summoning technique, you can’t afford not to report anything, can you?”
‘How much do you intend to report?’ I asked, looking for a response from His Majesty the Emperor Oswald.
It was not an easy question to answer immediately, so His Majesty pondered for a moment.
It is very typical of His Majesty that he does not say, “I will tell them everything honestly.”
The Imperial Household is the party that has undertaken the investigation, so they cannot abandon their obligation to report. That said, it is too risky to make a false report. …… In the worst case, it would be related to a credibility problem of the Imperial Family.
If I could, I would like to muddy the facts to some extent,…… but I wonder what His Majesty would decide?
Not wanting to attract any more attention, I hope ‘please, make a hard decision …….’
While I was pondering the fact that there is nothing good in honestly coming clean, His Majesty Emperor Oswald finally came to a conclusion.
“ The report to the academy will be ──── kept to a minimum. For the time being, I will explain that Miss Emilia’s hypothesis was correct, and I dare not mention the type of summon. We are not making a false report, so even if the identity of the summons were to be discovered, it would not be much of a problem. We have firmly established the identity of the large number of hands that came out of the summoning magic circle.”
His Majesty the Emperor Oswald grins, saying in a roundabout way, ‘I have no obligation to report anything more than that.’
I let out a chuckle inwardly at his black smile, which could be called a villain’s face.
I guess His Majesty the Emperor Oswald didn’t want to increase my value any further. People would be even more interested in me if I were a user of the prayer technique and a person who had summoned a legendary class summon. It would be a bad move …… to increase his rivals without fully capturing me, so I guess he chose to hide the truth.
I have mixed feelings about a conclusion that came from the consensus of interest.
I was happy to avoid any trouble, but I did not like the fact that the emperor was watching me with an eagle eye.
I turned my gaze away from the smiling and happy-looking emperor.
“I feel like a rabbit being targeted by a predator,” I lamented, quietly bowing my head.
“────I’m in awe. I will follow Emperor Oswald’s instructions. If the school asks me about the identity of the summon, let’s just say ‘I don’t know’ and push through.”
Swearing to be sober by reason of ignorance, I agree with the Emperor’s proposal.
In this way, The audience that began in a hurry ended with the decision of how to respond to the school. ────