Chapter 168 Invitation
Edited by: Kanaa-senpai
A few days after concluding negotiations with Alex-san, the Spear of Shouhyou arrived at our settlement. Although there are ten Spear of Shouhyou member who have come to the settlement, not all of them have been hired. While we had a contract with an individual named Gaadhir-san during the Banrai no Senpu (Battle Axe of Ten Thousand Thunders) incident, the contract with Spear of Shouhyou this time doesn’t involve hiring individuals. Instead, we have entered into a contract where five personnel are assigned for nightly security duty, and the management of shifts is left to them.
In addition, we’ve also simultaneously entered into a contract to address potential threats, such as attacks by monsters or bandits that could cause physical harm to the settlement, where Spear of Shouhyou will cooperate to resolve such issues. As a result, we are paying a considerable sum as compensation each week, but considering we’ve bought safety, it’s a reasonable expense.
Several days have passed since the arrival of Spear of Shouhyou, and despite the sudden increase in people, there haven’t been any major issues. Peaceful days continue. The brewing commissioned by His Majesty has also concluded, and we’re now waiting for a representative of His Majesty to come and collect the barrels of alcohol.
”I never thought I’d end up using spatial magic like this…”
Nine large barrels, which were certainly too much to fit comfortably in a small laboratory, weren’t suitable for storing alcohol due to the humid and stuffy environment inside, as we were using distillers and ovens. However, the spatial magic I’ve mastered here has unexpectedly proven useful. It allows us to store items regardless of location, and by manipulating the internal environment, I can change it to create an ideal environment for storing alcohol. It’s very helpful, but… it’s a strange feeling, to say the least. Mei throws me some words as I’m feeling rather unsure.
”Regardless of the original intent, it’s still useful, isn’t it?”
”Using Lost Magic for something like storing alcohol… if other magicians heard about this, they’d definitely be astonished.”
I’ve always been aware to some extent that my magic usage is somewhat peculiar compared to other magicians. But this is something else entirely. To put it in a relatable way, it’s like using an ancient and extremely valuable fossil as a pickling stone. Depending on the person hearing about it, it wouldn’t be surprising if I received a barrage of insults.
”By the way, isn’t it about time for them to arrive?”
”Are you talking about His Majesty’s envoy? If everything is going as planned, it’s not strange for them to come at any time.”
As we chat about this and that, the laboratory door is knocked on. Lewya’s voice comes through the door.
”Neil, someone claiming to be an envoy of His Imperial Majesty has arrived at the entrance of the settlement.”
”Understood, I’ll be right there.”
When I open the door, Lewya is standing right beside it, holding an envelope in his hand.
”Lewya, what’s that?”
”Oh, this is what the envoy brought. It’s for the daughter of Duke Novack.”
”Huh? To me?”
Mei, who had been listening, peeks out from the side and takes the envelope from Lewya. The royal crest is imprinted on the wax seal, and Mei tilts her head upon seeing it.
”Even though I don’t really have any reason to receive letters from the royal family… is it probably from His Majesty?”
”Normally, wouldn’t this be your job, Neil?”
”Don’t call it a ‘job.’ I don’t recall ever having such a troublesome role.”
I complain to Mei, then leave the laboratory to complete the delivery of the barrels. The transfer involved moving the barrels stored in an interdimensional space directly onto the carriage, then from there onto the cart, so the task was completed relatively quickly. After smoothly finishing the handover, I return to the laboratory. Mei is already sitting on a chair, looking a little grim as she finishes reading the letter.
”The handover is done. So, what did the letter say?”
”…It says they’re holding a banquet at the palace and want me to attend.”
”A banquet invitation?”
His Majesty occasionally spontaneously hosts banquets at his palace. Although these banquets are ostensibly held to share interesting and beneficial things he has discovered with the nobles, there’s no doubt that political intentions are often involved.
”Wait a minute. Opening a banquet at this timing… Could it be that he’s planning to serve that alcohol at the banquet? And that recipe for the chicken dish he asked for, is he planning to serve that as well?”
”It wouldn’t be beyond His Majesty’s capabilities. In fact, I’m sure he’s planning exactly that.”
”Having livestock meat served at an emperor-hosted banquet, where nobles from all over the empire gather… Oh no, my stomach’s starting to ache just thinking about it.”
”It’s not something to worry about, right? Since the invitation wasn’t addressed to you, Neil.”
”Oh, now that you mention it… You’re right. And why was Mei invited?”
Normally, invitations like this are sent only to the head of the family, and individuals other than the head can only attend the party if the invited head allows them to accompany. Of course, depending on the purpose of the party, individuals other than the head can receive invitations, but it’s hard to understand why an invitation was specifically extended to a non-heiress daughter at an Emperor-hosted banquet in the imperial capital.
”You can’t refuse this, can you?”
”Of course not, it’s an official invitation from His Majesty. Actually, it’s impossible to decline an invitation, whether official or unofficial, that comes from His Majesty’s letter.”
Even if I had turned down the previous letters that weren’t even imprinted with the royal crest and could barely be called letters due to their content, I wouldn’t know what would have happened. The only option other than accepting seems to be resolving this smoothly.
”Sigh… It’s definitely going to be troublesome. For His Majesty to personally invite me, there’s surely something behind it. He wouldn’t do it without some ulterior motive.”
”There’s never been a time when what he does is without some hidden motive. Besides, just by opening a banquet, there’s bound to be something hidden behind it.”
But what is His Majesty thinking with this timing for the banquet? A banquet usually serves two purposes, the visible and the hidden. Outwardly, he probably intends to share the alcohol made in the settlement and the chicken dish with the nobles. But what is His Majesty really planning behind all this? The idea of the existence of Elves and His Majesty cooperating comes to mind. Is His Majesty planning something using the banquet?
”It’s no use; no matter how much I think, I can’t connect the protection of the Elves with the banquet.”
”Nobody can completely understand someone else’s thoughts. And when it comes to His Majesty, it’s probably even less possible. His way of thinking deviates greatly from that of ordinary people. In that sense, you might be similar to him, Neil.”
”I’ve heard that from various people before, but do you really think I’m that similar to His Majesty? I have no idea about his thoughts at all.”
”Even if you don’t understand the thoughts, can’t you understand the way of thinking? I can grasp your thoughts, Neil, but how you arrived at those thoughts, that way of thinking is similar to His Majesty’s, and there are many parts I can’t understand. I think that’s why people see similarities between you and His Majesty.”
”…I really don’t know. He’s someone who never reveals those crucial parts.”
This way of thinking is something I brought with me from my past life, so it’s only natural that it’s different from someone born in this world. Am I really similar to His Majesty? Does that mean His Majesty also came to this world with only the same soul as me? No, it’s a vague feeling, but it seems different.
”No, I can’t come up with an answer no matter how much I think now. If that’s the case, I should think about various things in preparation for the banquet. When is the banquet going to be held?”
”It’s in a few days.”
”What? It’s already the thirteenth week of Beginning Star. There’s not even two weeks left. Man, considering the travel to the capital, there’s only about a week left.”
”That’s right, but unfortunately, I don’t have clothes suitable for attending the banquet. I need to go back to my family home to get some.”
”So, if you plan to stop by the duchy first and then head to the capital, isn’t it going to be pretty tight?”
”Yeah, that’s true. I might have to leave here tomorrow to make it in time.”
Seriously, His Majesty couldn’t have planned this, could he? It’s frighteningly possible with him, but if that’s the case, I need to think about this and inform Mei as soon as possible. Otherwise, it’ll become difficult to get in touch afterward…
”Communication… right, communication.”
”Wait a moment. I believe there was a branch of Harvest Hoe in the capital. If I can get in touch from the capital after the banquet, but wait, the banquet will be held at night. There won’t be anyone left from Harvest Hoe afterward, right?”
”Hey, what’s all this sudden urgency about?”
”Oh, sorry. Um, it’s just that… I don’t know what His Majesty is planning with this banquet right now. But if I can see how the banquet unfolds, I might be able to speculate on His Majesty’s intentions from there. So, I thought if I could get information as soon as possible, it would be good if I could communicate with the capital through the item box.”
”Then should I bring it personally?”
”Huh? Well, but…”
”I understand the risks of carrying the item box. But at the same time, I also understand the countermeasures against it. I can intentionally disable it and only repair it when we need to communicate, so there’s no need to worry about cracking during the journey. When we communicate, I can borrow a room in the castle, and there’s no need to be vigilant in that environment, right?”
Indeed, if I ensure that the item box doesn’t operate, there won’t be any unauthorized connections, and with heightened security during the day of the banquet, it’s unlikely that suspicious individuals will approach. After much consideration, and with no better alternative in sight, I decided to accept Mei’s proposal, adding one condition.
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Edited by Kanaa-senpai.
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