On the very same day, Quique who had visited the royal palace finished a meeting of nearly an hour and left the office of Roland Kaparos-kyou. The attendees of the meeting were three people, Quique, Kaparos-kyou, and also the head director of Royal Magic Academy (Furigana: Prasa Marefikos), Orvieto Richternach.
Quique spoke to Orvieto as they walked side-by-side on the well-polished marble passage.
「…However, what’s this, Head Director-dono. Even though we’ve been discussing like this for the sake of the request from the Seal Chivalric Order, it’s simply irresponsible that the all-important His Highness isn’t here」
「Ara, aren’t you thinking that the discussion concluded easier when His Highness isn’t here, Albiol-san?」
Orvieto, who was carrying a bundle of documents in her hand, lowered her voice and smiled as if it was amusing.
「Iya iya, that’d be so rude of me」
Quique took out his favourite kiseru from the pocket of his wrinkled white robe, shook it gently and lit a fire. Breathing in the smoke quietly, he then turned his face away from Orvieto and exhaled.
Orvieto called Quique “Albiol-san”. Although she’d also add the title of “Chief Engineer (Furigana: Maestro)” at places where there were other people, she’d often call Quique who was much lower than her in terms of status by adding “san” to his name.
On the other hand, in regard to Orvieto, Quique made sure to properly call her “Head Director”, but perhaps even if he addressed her as “Orvieto” without an honorific, she gave the feeling that she wouldn’t get angry. After all, Quique and Orvieto had a friendship which exceeded almost 20 years.
「—Nevertheless, that’s truly great, Albiol-san」
「Your research of many years was recognised」
「I didn’t continue my research because I wanted it to be recognised in particular though」
Swallowing the bitter smoke, Quique smiled wryly.
In the first place, today’s meeting was related to the mass production plan of the magic motion sword (Furigana: Espada Marefika) that the Crown Prince had proposed. It could be said that precisely because the Crown Prince recognised Quique’s research that even the Finance Minister was involved and the specific discussions began to move.
「—But maa, it became easy to secure a budget, and I can also proudly get the cooperation of the magic academy, so in that meaning, I guess it’s certainly possible to say that it’s great that it was recognised」
「Ah, but speaking of to recognise or to not recognise, the ones whom I really wanted it to be recognised by are Head Director and Babel-geika instead though」
「My research is, Head Director, the result of more than 20 years which the grudge of one ordinary person towards the pair of geniuses of established reputation had compelled him to do」
「Ara, saying “grudge”, how dangerous」
「Of course; for a youngster who originally wanted to become a magic warrior and was ignorant of the ways of the world, if he personally saw Head Director and Her Eminence’s magic abilities before his eyes, whether he’ll genuinely admire you or become perverse and jealous, it’ll only be either of those」
Quique was originally born in this capital. Although the Albiol House was a mercantile house and wasn’t to the degree of being called wealthy, it was much more economically blessed than a commoner’s. Quique himself was also the youngest child of the three siblings and didn’t need to th
ink about succeeding his parent too; he was in an environment where he could devote himself to the things which he liked from childhood.
The boy, Quique, was fascinated by magic then, but the fact that he didn’t have an ounce of that talent was confirmed before long, and the path of a magic warrior closed early.
Nonetheless, Quique who had continued to hold an interest in the thing called “magic” strove to study by himself in the magic academy’s library and the like. It was just then that Quique subsequently met the geniuses who were called “Amaddo’s Pair of Bright Jewels”.
「…At that time, from the moment I met Head Director-dono and Her Eminence and witnessed those magic talents, I thought of creating a world where even common ordinary people can use magic someday and had been continuing my research the whole time. Anyway, the talents of you two were to that extent」
「To be able to get the genius with an unusual talent say so, Shakira and I are honoured」
「A genius with an unusual talent? Me?」
Bending his eyebrows, Quique looked at Orvieto.
「—Since Dominas Bradmante whose name first appeared in Amaddo’s history books, the Dominas who remained in the record add up to several hundreds, but no one among them used magic without depending on the magic crests which were carved onto their own bodies. …You accomplished something which successive generations of Dominas couldn’t do in a generation. If I don’t call that a genius, what should I call it?」
「That’s…ma, it’s just that there wasn’t a person who thought of doing such a thing until now, I guess」
「Then, that idea is already something of a genius」
「…Please don’t flatter me. I’ll feel uncomfortable」
Knocking his kiseru lightly against the corridor’s stone pillar and throwing the tobacco ashes away, Quique scratched his head with a “bori bori”.
More than 20 years had passed since the day they first met; Albiol had become a completely exhausted middle-aged man, and Orvieto had become a married woman, and then a widow from a Dominas candidate, but she was still beautiful even now. When that Orvieto smiled sweetly at him, even Quique who was nicknamed as an eccentric looked like he’d be in a strange mood.
「In any case, I’m grateful to Albiol-san」
「If it’s about Dii, there’s no need to express your gratitude. After all, it’s a situation where I’m being helped by him」
「However, it isn’t an exaggeration even if I say that that current child exists because of Albiol-san’s invention, so—」
「Any more than this is unnecessary」
Quique interrupted Orvieto’s words, went outside the corridor and came out under the setting sun.
Although one might say that a patron had sided with him, Quique’s research environment didn’t improve dramatically. The Crown Prince had promised to newly build a workshop for his exclusive use, but he’d have to continue his research in that army’s workshop which didn’t get much sunshine for a short while.
「Well then, Head Director—」
Quique, who had thought of returning to the workshop and looked back at Orvieto, noticed that she was looking in a different direction and chased after that gaze for no particular reason.
「…Is there something wrong with that young man?」
A young man could be seen walking in the corridor which was visible on the opposite side across the lotus pond. Although he was considerably and delicately slender, he was wearing a uniform which was frequently seen in this royal palace.
「That child, somewhere—」
「That uniform, if I remember correctly, is the Seal Chivalric Order’s」
Seeing off the young man who had disappeared into the royal palace, Quique turned his neck slightly.
A member of the Seal Chivalric Order; that was to say, for Orvieto’s son—Lucius, the young man was his subordinate. Perhaps Lucius had invited the boy from just now to their mansion, and thus Orvieto felt that she recognised him.
「…Is that so, I wonder?」
「Are you bothered by something?」
「It’s not like that, but—」
「Iya, this is a new surprise」
Even when the young man’s figure couldn’t be seen, Orvieto who was absentmindedly staring that way turned her head suddenly at Quique’s laughter.
「What’s it, Albiol-san? Saying “a new surprise”…」
「It’s that even Head Director-dono will forget things. I thought that you’re a person who would never forget the things which you’ve seen and heard once」
「If I’ve a perfect memory to that extent, I shouldn’t have that much hardships during my training period」
Orvieto held the documents in her arms again and smiled a little.
「—Well then, Albiol-san, do your best at work」
「Head Director as well, please don’t overwork yourself」
Waving his hand lightly, Albiol started to walk.
A few days had already elapsed since Bettina left the capital as Valeria’s attendant. The workshop without Bettina and Dimitar was very quiet; it was pleasant to thoroughly read the multitudinous data which Nereida had left behind in Biranoba and to be engrossed in speculations, but on the other hand, he also felt that something was insufficient.
As he held the kiseru which didn’t contain tobacco leaves already at the edge of his lips, Quique squinted in the sunset glow.