Disclaimer: I do not guarantee a 100% accurate translation. Do kindly notify me if you see any mistake.
Karin Rudbeck had a second name called “Ice Gaze”.
Young men who had seen her studying in the Magic Academy (Furigana: Prasa Marefikos) were struck by the beauty of that cold gaze and they became accustomed to calling her so—even though this was slightly untrue, one could say that it was a fitting second name for her beauty.
Shakira Babel who held the position of a Dominas over a period of more than 20 years was the “Immortal Dominas”.
Orvieto Richternach was the “Witch of Sunlight”, and her son, Lucius, was the “Knight of Moonlight”—each had a second name given to them.
If so, what should Valeria Costacurta, who was extolled as the once-in-10-years talented woman, be called by the people then?
As planned for some time, the Seal Chivalric Order (Furigana: Tanpries Aegis) turned towards Roma and backtracked.
After seeing that off, Valeria and party departed for the capital of Haiderota, Aurillac, guarded by the Gale Chivalric Order. From today, they’d board a roofless carriage that Haiderota had prepared, and then advanced while making themselves pleasant to the people at the roadside.
Of the people who had crowded at the roadside, some were looking up at Valeria and party in a daze, and some were waving their hands wildly. In any case, it was proof that Valeria and party had tightly caught hold of their hearts.
「This itself…feels good, on the contrary」
Waving her hand with a flutter from atop the carriage, Valeria spoke to Karin who was beside her.
「Yes. As for Sigibert-kakka, I guess he’s getting angry that it didn’t go according to plan though」
Karin who replied so and Valeria as well, had adorned their whole bodies with tiaras and accessories that they never wear, and had put on even fluffier mantles from above their tabards. Although the degree of exposure of their skin had decreased a lot, one could say that their entire gorgeousness and impressiveness had increased considerably.
By having Clotilde, dressed in an awe-inspiring military uniform, stand at the head of a dazzling battle formation, and showing the form of Valeria and party being jolted in the carriage and coming along at the rear to everybody, he’d implicitly show their own country’s Dominas protecting another country’s Dominas—in other words, Sigibert most likely intended to appeal something like the power relationship of the two.
However, since Valeria and party’s gorgeousness had increased in this way, the matter of them being treated like Clotilde’s extras was avoided. At a glance, the seemingly happy-go-lucky Crown Prince had seen through Sigibert’s aim and brought in these clothing from Amaddo from the start.
Heavily adding even more parts like this to the tabard which was considered to be the uniform of Amaddo’s Dominas was something that should happen on the occasion of some special ceremony or so. In fact, it was during the investiture of Dominas that Valeria and Karin were in these appearances before; this was their second time since then.
「—Nevertheless, I wonder why we aren’t in this appearance regularly? Something is strange about the uniform being lighter」
Picking up the cloth of the mantle that she usually didn’t wear very much, Valeria tilted her head to the side.
「Are you able to take that off immediately at the critical moment?」
Dimitar, who was sitting on the coachman’s seat of the carriage, muttered in a whisper as he faced the front.
「…Maa, the reason is probably more or less like that. It’s true that I also want to be in an appearance of this much regularly though」
It didn’t look like she minded it very much, but as expected, it didn’t seem to mean that Karin also wasn’t opposed to the usual style that had a lot of exposure.
「…To be in that appearance day and night, I think just Babel-geika, who has no chance to leave the capital unless something very serious happen, is enough」
「Now that you mentioned it, Babel-geika is in this appearance whenever we meet. …Or rather, you know Babel-geika?」
「More or less」
Needless to say Amaddo, the “Immortal Dominas” who stood at the top of all the Dominas—Shakira Babel seldom came outside from the Bradmante palace that was built close to “Hill of Seal” at the outskirts of Roma. A point of contact for Dimitar and Shakira didn’t seem to exist.
「Hey, how did you get to know her? Even we, have only met her three times so far—」
「Ask the person herself if you’ve the chance. It isn’t something to be said by me. …More importantly, don’t let your guard down too much just because you’re popular」
「I-I, I didn’t let my guard down in particular」
「That’s good if that’s the case」
While saying so, Dimitar casually let his gaze fly to the vicinity. Even though their surroundings were enclosed by the Gale Chivalric Order’s horseback riders, only he alone had been feeling tense since just now.
「You can’t put your trust in the Haiderota’s guards that much?」
「I won’t say that the Chivalric Order here is inexperienced in combat. They’re probably much better than our close friend club. —However, this place still isn’t so far away from the national border」
Certainly, this place still wasn’t so distant from the national border. If she felt like it, she probably could gallop a horse and return to Amaddo’s territory without taking an hour.
However, Valeria couldn’t understand why he was being overly concerned by that.
「It’s because nasty thieves frequently appear at plots of land along borders like this」
Perhaps he had anticipated Valeria’s question, Dimitar answered before he was asked.
「Is there some relation between borders and thieves?」
「There is. …From the thieves’ perspective, even if they’re chased by the authorities, they won’t be pursued anymore if they cross the border」
「…You mean that they can’t give chase, to the extent of rashly crossing the border, since it’ll become a violation of national border?」
「That’s how it is. It won’t become a problem if our relationship is good like Amaddo and Diruma’s, but even though we’re in an alliance relationship, it doesn’t mean that Amaddo and Haiderota are so intimate. Since they can go back and forth between such two countries and shake off their pursuers, this environment might resemble a paradise for the thieves」
「…Does the fact that it was noisy at dawn perhaps have some connection to that?」
Valeria opened her eyes wide in surprise at Karin’s words. Although they had slept in the same tent, Valeria completely didn’t notice the noisiness that Karin had sensed.
「Did Petra notice it? Nee?」
「Me? Not at~all」
Setting aside Petra who had slept earlier than Valeria, Bettina said that she’d keep watch throughout the night, so she should have noticed something if she was awake.
However, when Bettina—who was waving her hand towards the roadside with greater joy than Valeria and party for some reason—was asked by Valeria,
「Eh? Ah—…ehehe. I fell asleep halfway and didn’t notice it」
「But everyone had gone to sleep before me, and it was boring to stay awake just by myself; as expected, I get sleepy unless I talk」
「Can such a thing be a reason for negligence; even though you’re the night watch」
Speaking bitterly in a whisper, Dimitar stroked his neck.
「…I don’t know whether this morning’s disturbance was the incursion of thieves from somewhere or not, but it’s a fact that there are many thieves in this country」
“Maybe it wasn’t recorded in the history books,” Dimitar continued.
「Haiderota’s national policy is that its military expansion is the top priority, so the tax is heavy. Since there’s also labour especially in the rural districts, everyone is suffering. A part of the peasants who had gotten tired of lives like that abandoned their villages and took refuge in the towns, but the world isn’t so lenient. Most of the people, who had dreamt of an easy life and then gathered in the towns, faced the reality that things didn’t proceed as they had hoped and let their dissatisfaction smoulder. —It’s a thing called “typical urban illness”」
Valeria fixedly stared at the back of Dimitar who had started to say scholar-like things suddenly. She also thought of this when she had ran into him in the Magic Academy’s library—it was vexing to acknowledge this sharp-tongued man—but he was a diligent studious person. And perhaps that stemmed from the desire to try not to besmirch the honour of the name called “Richternach”, Lucius and Orvieto.
「—Of those people who had such dissatisfaction, it’s easy for the young people especially to incline towards crimes. Even if they cause troubles in the towns and escape, since they can’t return to their hometowns, they’ll generally hide in the plains and become thieves. On the other hand, the army is huge, so it’s easy to carry out frauds too. There are also probably many bad soldiers who think of putting the army’s weapons on the black market to make an earning. …The thieves who stop being peasants in this way become an armed and troublesome existence」
「…I’m sorry, why does Richternach-kyou know such things?」
Karin then voiced Valeria’s doubt for her.
「In the first place, no matter which country you go to, the ones who are the most well-informed in the various countries’ states of affairs are the merchants. If you carefully listen to the conversations that such people get drunk and talk on and on, even if you’re in Amaddo, you can guess the various countries’ states of affairs to a certain extent」
「Come to think of it, Dimi-san is lodging at a bar」
「Merchants who have finished their everyday businesses will gather in that kind of store and exchange information with each other or come together to express their dissatisfaction」
「Are you perhaps living in such a place for that?」
「That wasn’t my aim in particular though」
Dimitar looked at the girls fleetingly,
「…More importantly, now that His Highness has returned, the person who can stop that His Excellency’s sarcasms is gone. Will your side be all right?」
「Yes. …I’ll be all right」
Karin, who had nodded slightly, directed a meaningful gaze towards Valeria.
「E, even I’ll be all right!? I can splendidly ward off one or two sarcasms!」
「It’ll be nice if it’s only sarcasm that comes flying though」
“Exactly what sort of basis do you have?” Dimitar said such a thing and made Valeria feel unpleasant.
In the path of the ostentatious procession, a large clock tower’s silhouette came into view. It was Klutoreto, a leading big town even in the southern part of Haiderota.
「…I heard that a lodging house has been prepared in that town」
「It was a simple bed last night; looks like I can slowly rest tonight」
Sighing with a “hoo”, Valeria looked up at the sky. She felt as though the clouds had increased a little more than before noon.
Perhaps it might rain again.
PS: For those who are curious, here are images of Shakira Babel, and her in the outfit similar to what Valeria and Karin are wearing. & 🙂