Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「Return to Rhoden Kingdom」
The next day, in a certain corner of Soulia’s palace.
Over a dozen people had gathered in a garden a normal person could never visit.
Lille and her two guardians stood in the center of garden, while eight additional royal guards waited behind them.
Nozan Kingdom’s group of messengers to Rhoden consisted of just those eleven people.
Dylan, Ariane, Ponta and myself represented the Elves of Great Canada Forest, so we could be considered three plus one people. Chiome, as a member of the “Blade Heart Clan”, represented the beastmen. All together, the delegation to Rhoden Kingdom counted fifteen plus one members.
Since this was to be an official meeting, a horse-drawn carriage and two horses for Nina and Zahar had been prepared in the garden.
Everyone was currently checking their equipment and supplies one final time.
In the corner of the garden, King Asparuf and a few important ministers were watching us and discussing something amongst themselves.
They were probably intellectuals that wished to witness the elven “Path of Spirits” for themselves.
While under the observing looks of those intellectuals, Dylan’s eyes remained focus on Lille’s carriage as he pondered something.
“Something wrong, Dylan-dono?”
When I asked about his strange behavior, he turned towards me with a troubled expression on his face.
“No, it’s just that Princess Lille’s carriage is adorned with the emblem of Nozan Kingdom, and I would like to have something that announces our arrival, as its something we elves currently lack.”
I didn’t know what to make of Dylan’s issue, so I looked to Ariane for answers, but she looked a bit embarrassed as she shook her head.
“We shouldn’t have too much trouble attracting attention thanks to Arc, right?”
Dylan gave Ariane a small shake of the head in response to her question.
“Although his luxurious appearance does catch the eye, it doesn’t do a good job of representing the elves to outsiders. Since Princess Lille’s visit won’t be following the normal diplomatic procedure, I was hoping to make a strong enough impression to smooth over our arrival.”
After his explanation, I was somewhat able to understand his logic.
Since it was well known that the royal families of Rhoden and Nozan were related, it wouldn’t be difficult for people to immediately accept the validity of our mission.
Still, proving our intentions might take several days of interrogations and identification checks if things were handled poorly.
Dylan had recently been negotiating with Rhoden’s government, so if we had an identifier they could immediately verify our identities and intentions.
Certainly, if those in Rhoden had some way of immediately recognizing him, it would help us introduce Lille’s delegation.
In that case……
While I was wrapped up in my own thoughts, Lille entered her carriage, followed by Dylan…… Seeing that, my eyes narrowed and I started to smile.
Next, I spoke up since I realised something important.
“I totally forgot that Shiden is still in the palace’s stables!”
Ariane and Chiome had a similar reaction when they heard what I said.
Under the guidance of one of the palace guards, I found my way to the stables only to catch sight of a large figure occupying to small grazing field beside it.
“Shiden, I’m sorry I didn’t come pick you up sooner.”
I called out to Shiden as I approached. However, Shiden just swatted his tail and lowered his head towards the ground.“This child is sulking. Because of Arc forgetfulness……”
“Arc-dono, to abandon the partner charging into battle with you……”
Not willing to just stand there, I tried to rebut Ariane and Chiome’s criticism.
“I’ll admit my mistake, but Ariane-dono and Chiome-dono forget about him as well.”
The two of them diverted their eyes when I said that.
However, I still needed to make up with Shiden if I wanted to get him out of the stable.
Ponta was the first that tried to persuade him.
“………Hey, Shiden, how about we go to for a run in your home plains next time?”
Its seems like promising a trip back home did the trick.
Shiden hoofbeats lightened after we’d returned to the palace garden the others had gathered in.
“Dylan-dono, you’re bound to attract everyone’s attention if you ride Shiden ahead of the princess’ carriage, right? There shouldn’t be any issue if I’m the one at the reins.”
While was I stroking Shiden’s muzzle, Dylan looked him over before nodding his head.
“Certainly, an I don’t believe we can hope to find anything better. Since we’re already pressed for time, we should leave immediately, shouldn’t we? Arc-kun, if you would.”
Dylan climbed atop Shiden’s saddle with Ariane sitting down behind him.
Chiome stood next to me and seemed to be set on walking.
After instructing the onlookers to step back, I prepared to invoke my long distance transfer magic.
It felt as if I were returning to Rhoden after a long absence.
Having said that, the Rhoden transfer locations were still depended on my memory and I haven’t drawn all of them in my booklet. It may have been better to take the time to draw a few locations while I had the chance.
After planning a little ahead, I started to draw on my memories from my last trip to Rhoden’s capital Olav.
The landscape I remembered the best was the view of the city I got from the base of the Calcutta mountain range when we’d been liberating Chiome’s enslaved brethren.
Because I had to include Lille’s carriage, the mounted guards and Shiden, I put more mana into the spell in order to expand the size of the magic circle.
After a moment of darkness, all of the party members gradually became aware of Rhoden’s dignified capital in the distance.
Ariane and Chiome took a moment to take in the magnificent view of the capital without any of the turbulence and confusion from that day.
The delegates from Nozan were caught off guard by the sudden change from the palace gardens and were restlessly trying to reorient themselves.
The royal guards were trained to handle unexpected situations, but even they were caught off guard by the literally ‘magical phenomenon’.
“Th-This is great! We’re in a place I’ve never been before!”
Lille leaped out of her carriage and took note of the northern mountains in the distance.
Soulia wasn’t surrounded by many tall mountains, so she must have been naturally curious about the mountain range.
Shiden quickly came to term with the sudden shift of his surroundings before starting to chomping at the grass near his hooves.
“We don’t know exactly how much time remains, so it would be best to go to Olav immediately. Princess Lille, please return to your carriage.”
“Ah, I understand.”
Atop of Shiden, Dylan’s voice was rather rough as he called out to the rest of the group.
Following his words, our group redirected itself towards Rhoden’s capital in the south.
Unfortunately, the location I transferred us to was far away from the paved roads entering the city, so it was a bit of a challenge to navigate Lille’s carriage through the plains.
If I wasn’t mistaken, the road we eventually got on led to Lanbaltic in the west.
As we advanced forward, I remembered the time I made a mistake and we wound up in the wasteland town Buranbeina.
The curious gazes of the other people on the road were directed towards us, and as we gradually approached the gate I caught sight of the guards restlessly hurrying about.
Certainly, it would be impossible to ignore a four-meter-tall, six-legged dragonmount leading a carriage and its escorts.
As far as the citizens were concerned, Shiden may as well be a new type of monster.
When we reached the town gate, two mounted guards, probably from the western gate, could be seen approaching us with tense looks on their faces.
They were either scouts or those sent to gauge our intentions.
Dylan’s idea seemed to have been successful, as I doubted Lille’s carriage would have provoked such a reaction on its own.
The two guards stopped a few feet away from us and had to soothe their frightened horse in the face of a dragon mount before they addressed us in a slightly threatening manner.
“Stop! State your name and the purpose of your visit immediately!”
The guard’s shouting surprised his horse and caused it to jerk about violently.
Once he finally calmed down his horse, his attention was drawn towards the people sitting in Shiden’s saddle and finally noticed what they were.
“My name is Dylan Targ Raratoia. When I visited this country before, I was granted an audience with the King. This time I am accompanied by a messenger of Nozan Kingdom. There is an urgent matter that must be discussed with his majesty immediately.”
Dylan tone was polite even though he was physically looking down on the guards from Shiden’s saddle.
After speaking with his partner, one of the guards went back the way he came and delivered news of Dylan’s arrival to the palace.
In the blink of an eye the news traveled through the palace and speculation about the nature of the visit ran rampant, but King Carlen simple said “Let’s speak with them first”, before making any major decisions.
Thus, all of the day’s plans were put on hold as a meeting place was hastily arranged.
King Carlon’s decision was immediately passed onto Dylan by the messenger.
The members of Lille’s delegation breathed a collective sigh of relief as their first concern had been dealt with.
While I was also relieved that the meeting arrangements had been gone smoothly, Dylan was wearing a dissatisfied expression.
He said, “I should have prepared a letter explaining our intentions and had the guard take it the first time.”
Lille had been entrusted with a letter addressed to the King of Rhoden from Nozan’s King but had we written our own letter explaining our intentions, we could have lowered our wait time.
Under the protection of mounted guards, the Nozan delegation and Dylan passed through Olav’s city gates.
If you compared the two capitals, in term of sheer scale, the entirety of Nozan’s Soulia could be fit within one-fourth of Rhoden’s Olav.
The members of the delegation were simply enamored by their surroundings and it seemed like Lille wanted to devour the view of Olav she got from her carriage window.
“Never imagined I return to this city in such a manner.”
My muttering should have been lost in the hustle and bustle of the city, but Chiome’s cat ears managed to pick up what I said.
It must have felt strange for Chiome, who lurked in the shadows and worked to free her wrongfully enslaved people, to walk down the main street in broad daylight.
While she didn’t say anything about it, she donned her facial mask and her tail restlessly swayed about.
Beastmen still didn’t walk the streets of this country unless they were slaves, but that could change if what Dylan said came to pass.
In any case, a few citizen of the capital would occasionally let out a surprised yelp when they saw the dignified appearance of a dragon mount and the two elves that rode it, however, the carriage bearing the crest of Nozan’s royal family kept them at bay.
There was no daredevil willing to call out Chiome for being a beastmen in this situation.
After passing through the miscellaneous urban areas and briefly crossing through the luxurious residential area of the aristocrats, the King’s palace came into view.
Murmurs of admiration leaked out of the mouths of the delegation members as they took in the graceful spires that connected to the palace’s main building. There was an obvious difference between the fort-like architecture of Nozan and the elegance of Rhoden.
Our mounted guides led the delegation to the open square in the front of the palace, where a line of people waited to receive us.
Although they were caught off guard by the diversity of the delegation, a guide asked for our representative.
“Wh-Who shall act on your behalf?”
Only the voice of a small girl was heard as Lille stepped forward.
“That would be me.”
The man seemed on the verge of laughter when he heard Lille’s declaration, but when he caught sight of Nina and Zahar behind her and took note of the glares Chiome, Ariane, and I directed towards him, he immediately refrained from doing so.
“I-I understand. Allow me to guide your way.”
The man directed a smile towards Dylan, who took a position beside Lille, but otherwise remained silent as he guided us through the palace.
As we and Lille made our way inside, the carriage and Shiden were left in the care of the eight royal guards.
Lille’s eyes bulged like a child’s as she took in the gorgeous furniture and various pieces of art that decorated the halls of the Rhoden’s palace.
Eventually, our palace guide stopped in front of our presumed destination.
“Please wait in here.”
After offering us a respectful bow, he opened the door in front of us and vigilantly awaited our entrance.
Lille’s expression tightened as she straightened her posture and took a set inside the room.
Nina and Zahar closely followed behind her.
Dylan followed after them with a smile on his face, while Ariane, Chiome and I slowly entered the room behind him.
It wasn’t the auditorium I expected us to meet the King in.
Instead, the room was similar to a large conference room, and had servants waiting in the corner of the room.
I imagine those working here usually didn’t allow their thoughts to show on their faces since those who were bewildered by our appearance quickly worked to conceal it.
“I didn’t expect things to happen like this, given our current attire.”
Speaking for myself, I was adorned in full body, carried a sword at my waist, and had Ponta throned on my head.
Both Ariane and Chiome also carried their weapons with them.
It was a good thing that Dylan, who’d negotiated on behalf of Great Canada Forest before, had come along with us.
Dylan had been accompanied by many elven warriors when he came here before, perhaps it had been a demonstration of power to help swing negotiations in his favor.
Elven warriors were rather strong and even without their weapons, it was doubtful that several human Knights could defeat them.
If I was being honest, if you gave Ariane’s mother, Glenys, a single sword she could capture this entire palace without breaking a sweat.
Rhoden may be trying to annoy us a little as possible.
There was this strange tension drifting from the guards on duty.
Since Rhoden’s representatives had yet to enter the room, Lille sat down with Dylan, while Nina and Zahar were taking their position behind the princess.
For the time being, Ariane, Chiome and I stood behind Dylan.
I thought we’d be left waiting for a while, but I heard fast approaching footsteps from behind the door opposite to the one we entered from.