Develop 154

Chapter 154 Emperor of the Empire

Edited by: Kanaa-senpai

 Diana, who had come with me, waited outside the reception room. Currently, in the reception room, there were only the Emperor, the Emperor’s guards, and myself. His Majesty, Glaceus Gladigium, the current emperor of the Empire, sat across from me.

 Although some time had passed since then, my mind remained confused.

 How did things end up like this in just one day? Did my father simply approve it? No, that couldn’t be the case for my cautious father. Even if he did approve, it would take over a day, even with full-speed travel by horse from the capital, where His Majesty resides, to this settlement.

 The letter was sent yesterday evening, so it’s only been a little over half a day. Perhaps it was just a coincidence that the timing overlapped, and he was already planning to visit the settlement. If that were the case, I couldn’t fathom the reason for his visit. Still, it’s hard to believe that His Majesty would come all the way to this remote area without any reason. To be precise, while His Majesty himself might do so, the Prime Minister wouldn’t overlook it silently.

 There must be a reason he’s here that can satisfy the Prime Minister. In that case, I can only think of the incident with the elves as a possible reason, and the question returns to the beginning. If there is a way to resolve this issue, it’s through teleportation. However, it’s unlikely that the capital has a teleportation-based magical tool of sufficient scale for sending people due to defense reasons. Moreover—

 ”You seem to be thinking about various things, Neil.”


 ”Let me offer you a piece of advice. Excessive curiosity shortens your lifespan. Specifically, by about three seconds.”

 Does that mean if I inquire any further, he’ll kill me on the spot? I vigorously shake my head and signal that I’m not thinking about anything, making sure to appeal as strongly as possible. His Majesty seems amused by my desperation and chuckles.

 ”Heh, you’re quite nervous. This isn’t your first time talking to me, is it?”

 ”W-well, the frequency doesn’t matter. Besides, my father was usually present.”

 ”Hmm? I see, usually, Dirac would be in between us, and you’d be sitting next to him, looking down like you are now. This is the first time we’re talking directly without Dirac in between, isn’t it?”

 ”Thank you for your understanding back then.”

 ”Well, it’s not a problem when you consider the gains. Even now, I’m making good use of it.”

 His Majesty says so and takes out the magical tool, an item box, that I created using teleportation magic from his pocket.

 ”With this, I can have conversations with people and exchange things anywhere. Thanks to it, going out has become much easier.”

 Come to think of it, a while after I developed the item box, the Prime Minister once expressed concern, saying, “The Emperor has been going out more frequently lately, and it’s becoming a problem.” Apart from situations like audiences that require direct face-to-face meetings, the Emperor had started using the excuse that as long as he fulfills his duties, it’s fine to use the item box for Emperor-related work regardless of his location.

 This increase in secret outings was attributed to the item box, allowing the Emperor to perform his duties as Emperor from anywhere. Before becoming Emperor, His Majesty was even freer, and rumors say that in order to calm His Majesty, who was nicknamed the “Rampaging Lion,” the previous Emperor forced the throne upon a young and still unruly successor. At that time, he was young and had yet to become a emperor, and it seems there was strong resistance from courtiers who felt anxious about entrusting the throne to His Majesty, who was known for his impulsive behavior.

 However, the Emperor, who took the throne with such concerns from the surroundings, showed no major successes or failures, despite being known as the “Rampaging Lion.” Although some criticized His Majesty as proficient as a general but mediocre as a king, those who truly understood His Majesty knew that it was His Majesty’s intention. While trying to make himself appear like an ordinary Emperor to those around him, His Majesty had no intentions of showing his true capabilities, much like how a skilled hawk hides its talons. Once, a vassal asked him why he was doing so, and His Majesty reportedly responded with, “You’ll understand once you start envisioning the same future as me.”

 His Majesty’s envisioned future was unknown to everyone, but it was undeniable that His Majesty’s eccentric actions and way of thinking were influenced by that future.

 Honestly, what kind of future would lead someone to disguise themselves as a merchant and infiltrate a settlement? Truly, I can’t fathom what this person is thinking. I try to read His Majesty’s expression, moving only my gaze, hoping to catch any hint of what he might be up to. He wears a smirk, a gleeful smile, making it clear that he’s thoroughly enjoying my bewilderment. Damn it, I hope he didn’t just visit suddenly to mess with me.

 ”What’s wrong? Is there something on my face?”

 ”Oh, no, it’s not that… Your Majesty, may I ask you something?”

 ”Go ahead.”

 ”It’s about your beard. What happened to it?”

 The reason His Majesty is likened to a lion is not just because of his demeanor and actions. There’s another reason: he has a splendid beard that’s likened to a lion’s mane. However, now, His Majesty’s face doesn’t have a single trace of a beard. Due to this, I didn’t even realize it was His Majesty until I heard his voice.

 ”You didn’t shave your beard just for this secret visit, did you?”

 ”I did, actually.”


 ”Heh… Just kidding. I wouldn’t shave the beard I’ve been growing for decades just for a secret visit. Well, it’s a hypothetical scenario.”

 I was surprised. For a moment, I actually believed that His Majesty might do something like that.

 ”A hypothetical scenario?”

 ”It means exactly what it sounds like. I’ve never actually grown a beard. That’s a fake one.”

 ”A fake beard? Why would you…”

 ”People call me the Lion, right? So, I thought I’d enhance that image a bit more.”

 ”I see, that makes sense.”

 ”Don’t look so serious when agreeing. This is also a joke.”

 It’s difficult to understand because His Majesty sometimes does these jokingly serious things, making it hard to discern his intentions.

 ”To be precise, twenty-five percent of it was serious.”

 ”…Is that so?”

 ”Hey, normally you’d be making a remark like, ‘Is seventy-five percent of that a joke?’ I heard you were someone who’d insert those kinds of comments in response to jokes.”

 ”I can’t possibly make such remarks to Your Majesty.”

 I lack the courage to make such remarks to the king of a nation, so I’ve been holding back, only making those remarks in my mind.

 ”Well, twenty-five percent was about getting closer to the lion, and the remaining seventy-five percent had its reasons too. One is to show some regality as a king. I’m relatively young and inexperienced compared to other kings of neighboring nations. I can’t close the gap in those differences, so I at least want to appear regal, even compared to other kings.

 The second reason is for secret outings. While making the lion’s mane-like beard gave more of a sense of regality, it’s not just for that. It’s also to strongly implant that impression in others’ minds. When people remember someone’s face, they tend to focus on distinctive features. If those distinctive features are gone, they won’t know who it is. Just like with you earlier.”

 Indeed, the strong impression of the beard was so dominant that, even though I thought he looked somewhat similar to His Majesty, I couldn’t immediately recognize him as the Emperor of the Empire. Even accounting for my difficulty in remembering faces, it would be quite challenging for anyone who’s not accustomed to His Majesty’s face to identify him as the Emperor when he’s clean-shaven.

 ”Lastly, the third reason. Though I ultimately didn’t achieve the desired results, it was to facilitate my preparations for a body double. If I could implant such an impression with the beard, I wondered if people might still see the resemblance even without a similar face, just by adding the beard. However, it seems lacking in intimidation. To call me the ‘King of the Rampaging Lions,’ I need more vigor.”

 Of course, there’s no way this could work. While harboring the sentiment that there can’t be many people who can exude such an intimidating presence, I quietly shudder. Yes, this is it, this is what’s terrifying about His Majesty.

 He says things that seem like jokes while concealing two or three other motives behind them. By the time you realize it, he’s already achieved his goals. The audacity and cunning to execute plans, utilizing even the negative image associated with being a “Rampaging Lion King,” leave me astounded. This is the top of the Empire, immersed in a vortex of clandestine battles.

 In my eyes, the person in front of me seems like more than just a lion; he’s a monstrous presence.

 ”Well then, let’s wrap up this small talk and get to the main topic.”

 Saying this, His Majesty opens the lid of a wooden box placed by the side of the sofa and takes out a single box from within.

 ”Let’s discuss this and the matter concerning the elves. I’d like to hear your thoughts.”

 Undoubtedly, it was the newly developed item box that I handed to Lewya along with a letter last night, instructing her to send it to my family’s home using spatial magic.

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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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