Chapter 158 Emperor’s ‘Assistance’
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
On the night Emperor visited the settlement, I had already received a day’s worth of reports, finished dinner and bathing, and was left with only sleeping. However, on this day, I had called Diana, Lewya, and Mei to the office, and the four of us were in the middle of a discussion.
”His Majesty the Emperor is indeed planning to stay overnight. Since he’s here incognito, there’s no need to prepare rooms in the mansion for him.”
”I see, well, we couldn’t have prepared anything even if we wanted to. I’m just glad he said he’s fine with an ordinary inn.”
After unilaterally cutting off the conversation, I asked Diana to confirm whether the Emperor, who had been inspecting the settlement without any intention of returning to the capital, actually planned to stay overnight. As expected, the Emperor seemed to be leaning in that direction. Fortunately, since it was an incognito visit, elaborate hospitality wasn’t necessary, which was quite convenient for us, who were utterly unprepared for such a sudden visit… though it was safe to say that nothing was convenient when you were suddenly visited by the Emperor.
”I wouldn’t say it’s a relief. While His Majesty came incognito this time, what would you have done if he hadn’t? Have you considered that?”
”This incident serves as a good lesson. How about preparing guest rooms or accommodations now, in order to align our preparations?”
”Well, I mean, guests like that aren’t likely to visit a place like this. Besides, if there were guest accommodations, it might attract nobles and such.”
”Even though you’re a noble yourself, Neil seems to dislike nobles quite a bit.”
”Lewya, you’ve heard stories about the Empire’s nobility, right? I’m not the kind of person who willingly interacts with them.”
As someone with a small-minded mentality, I already disliked the idea of interacting with nobles, and the Empire’s nobles were particularly unappealing. While having such a fruitless conversation, Mei interjected into the conversation.
”Would it be okay to postpone that topic? I was just told that His Majesty suddenly visited the settlement, and I still haven’t fully grasped why I was called here or what’s going on.”
”Right, for now, let’s briefly explain what happened today to get everyone on the same page.”
I switched topics to go along with Mei’s words and briefly explained why the Emperor had suddenly visited and the reasons and outcome of the incident.
”So, while we didn’t receive an imperial decree, we did obtain the personal assistance of His Majesty.”
”I don’t know much about the Empire’s emperor, but not providing assistance as a nation implies that he’s not using his imperial authority, right? Can we really rely on someone like that?”
”At least in my opinion, I think he’s more reliable than someone who provides assistance using the power that nobles can wield. That person’s individual abilities, or rather, influence, are not to be underestimated. So in that sense, I don’t have any doubts…”
”Hmm? Is there something else that’s causing doubt?”
”At the end of our conversation, he said, ‘The rest is up to you.’ That’s probably his way of indicating he’ll let us handle things on our own.”
”…Is that really ‘assistance’ then?”
”Well, ‘support’ might be a more accurate term. But in any case, he’s willing to help, and that’s what matters.”
If there were any other concerns, it would be about how exactly the Emperor would provide assistance. It was completely unpredictable. It would be very helpful if he could assign trusted personnel or quietly influence the nobles behind the scenes, but I felt that the Emperor wouldn’t choose such straightforward methods.
”For now, I think we should continue to keep the secret, steadily increase the number of trustworthy personnel, and be prepared to respond flexibly if the Emperor takes any action.”
”Even though he’s willing to help, it’s a bit unsettling to be on the back foot against the Emperor. But if Neil has decided that way, I have no objections.”
”As for matters related to His Majesty the Emperor, Master Neil is much more knowledgeable. If Master Neil judges that it’s not a problem, then I have no objections either.”
”Well, this time, I’m leaving it up to Neil, so I have nothing to say either.”
”…It’s quite a heavy responsibility.”
In the settlement, I was in charge, and since this incident was my idea in the first place, there was no way around it. But hearing it from the three of them again made me doubt whether handling things this way was really alright. On the other hand, making a misstep could make things worse, so for now, I decided it was best to maintain the status quo and respond as needed if anything changes.
”For now, we’ll have to wait for a response from my father. Maybe he can send us some trustworthy personnel from home.”
”Speaking of which, I had a question after hearing the earlier conversation. Why doesn’t Neil have a direct means of communication with his family? Instead of going through the Harvest Hoe, couldn’t you exchange messages directly using the Item Box? That way, there wouldn’t be any intermediaries involved, and you could communicate more quickly, like in this situation.”
”Well, you see, in the Empire, nobles who communicate using the Item Box are quite rare. In most cases, someone is usually involved as an intermediary for communication.”
”Is that so?”
”I’ve told you about the incident caused by the Teleportation Magic before, right? Now that you’ve heard that story, I think you can understand. The Item Box I developed is also considered quite risky. For instance, if someone as important as someone who might be targeted for assassination were to communicate with someone using the Item Box, even if they had deployed multiple guards to watch out for an assassination, they naturally couldn’t reach the other side of the Item Box.
While communicating through the Item Box, the other person would be far away. Since the Item Box is made large enough for a person to pass through, you can’t see what’s happening on the other side very well, and while you’re talking, someone could suddenly jump out from a blind spot and hit you in the face. That’s entirely possible. Even if you avoid standing directly in front of the Item Box to guard against that, there’s still the possibility of explosives or poison being thrown into the Item Box or released into the air. Nobles never know who might hold a grudge against them, so they don’t do things like keeping the Item Box in close proximity.
In my family, the magical tool for the Item Box is only installed in the warehouse of my laboratory, which is a bit away from the mansion, and I don’t carry it myself.”
”Speaking of which, when Neil puts something away or takes it out, you use magic directly instead of magical tools.”
”Even with precautions, I can’t guarantee it won’t be cracked. For example, if the magical tool stored near my chest suddenly activates and a knife is thrust into your heart… I can’t really carry it with me, considering that possibility.”
It’s precisely because His Majesty, who should be the first to guard against assassination attempts, casually carries the Item Box whenever he goes out that I’m not sure whether I should be amazed at his audacity or exasperated by it. I found myself in a rather indescribable state of mind.
”But it’s true that it would be nice to have another means of communication with the family. Even if it’s not possible to communicate directly with Father, it might be a good idea to set up a dedicated room for communication through the Item Box, connect it to someone among the servants at home, and send messages to Father from there.”
”Oh, Neil, I’ve been meaning to ask you this for a while now, but can’t the term ‘Item Box’ be changed somehow? It might cause confusion when dealing with different spatial magic that also uses the term ‘Item Box.’”
”I’ve thought about that, but I couldn’t come up with a good name.”
For me, those who used Teleportation Magic were the “Fake Item Box” users, while those who used the spatial magic I developed were the true “Item Box” users. So if I were to change the name, I wanted to address the former, but since the name “Item Box” had already spread for the former, there was nothing to be done about it anymore. As I was fretting over such trivial matters, Diana clapped her hands in the office, changing the atmosphere in the room.
”It’s already late today. Let’s save the thinking for tomorrow. There are various things to consider, and Master Neil hasn’t sorted everything out yet, I’m sure.”
”Yeah, Diana’s right. There’s too much to think about, and with all the commotion, my thoughts have become quite scattered without me even realizing it.”
In the end, that day concluded, and due to various issues that arose afterward, the discussion didn’t make much progress. Before I knew it, a week had passed.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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