An Audience With His Majesty the Emperor
After taking the day of rest, it was time for our audience.
In the chamber for our audience was a red carpet rolled out between large white pillars, making it all feel like a temple.
A handsome man with silvery hair sat atop a golden throne stationed three steps higher than the rest of us. Raverio Empire’s emperor, Lionel Raverio.
And beside him stood a young and beautiful white goddess… our Haku-san.
We were wearing luxurious, rented outfits and kneeling before the steps on the carpet.
I was in the front with Wataru and Rokuko to my left and right respectively. Behind us were Gozoh, Roppu, and Shikina, with Meat and Ichika in the rear.
Sally-san, the knight leader, was there as Haku-san and the Emperor’s guard, as well as several other civil servants. It looked like there was even some kind of clerk, so I guess they were there to formally transcribe the event.
“Raise your head.”
As I practiced on the previous day, I looked up toward the emperor.
“Kehma Golen. You have repelled a flame dragon. Is this true?”
“Yes, it is… Please accept my offerings.”
Saying that, I handed a flame dragon talon fragment (from her trimming her nails) and some scales (what I had left after giving the rest to the blacksmith) to a civil servant. The man placed them on a silvery tray and delivered them to Emperor Lionel.
The emperor picked up the scales and talon fragment.
After he examined them for a bit while exclaiming to himself over them, Haku-san cleared her throat, prompting him to bring himself back to the matter at hand.
“It’s true then, these are indeed the scales and talon of a flame dragon… Very well. For your distinguished service of repelling the threat of a flame dragon from Our empire, we award you the title of Baron. For those who accompanied you, they will gain the Ventulier title. And for Count Nishimi, there will be a monetary reward.”
“”” Thank you, Your Majesty. “””
Baron. It was what I was informed I’d get, but well… eh, blah. Normally, B-Rank adventurers would become Ventuliers, but that wasn’t sufficient to reward the achievement I’d been the main player in. Wataru was there too, though…
Starting from the lowest peerage, there were Ventuliers, Landed Knights, Baronets, and Barons, so it was three ranks above everyone else. It was four ranks above commoners… and was a title that would be succeeded by my children. Hurrah.
And as I had just been elevated to a rank at least as high or above a Landed Knight, I was given the ceremonial sword tap to the shoulders and had to swear fealty to the empire.
… Some hero just had to have told them about this ceremony. It has manga and anime written ALL over it. I took the ceremonial sword as was practiced while thinking that.
By the way, I’d be keeping this sword. It was something like a proof of me being a Baron… let’s decorate the office when I get back home… it’s not one of Haku-san’s magic swords, right? This is just a standard, run-of-the-mill jewel, right?
Anyhow, everything was going according to schedule and all that was left was it coming to an end. Pfft.
I mean, it’s not like I was expecting to chat with the emperor or anything, the only reason I was summoned here was for this. But seriously da faq couldn’t they have just ended this with a letter saying it all… I mean, they obviously couldn’t, but still.
“You may ask these men for more information. I shall now—”
“Alright, could I have some time now? It will be somewhat informal starting now.”
Haku-san smiled as she interrupted the emperor.
Haku-san interrupted! I knew this would happen from the instant I saw her here.
Haku-san waved her hand, sending the civil servants scurrying out of the room. Were they on her payroll?
The only ones left were Haku-san, the emperor, Sally-san, and us… I wanted to head off as well, but I figured that probably would’ve been bad.
Hearing Haku-san call for her, Rokuko blinked, looking like she was at a loss.
This was definitely not in the script we’d rehearsed yesterday.
“Now, would you come here?”
Called forward oh-so familiarly by the white goddess–Haku-san—Rokuko thoughtlessly went up the steps.
Oi. Isn’t this entirely against what that person yesterday told us about those steps being there to show the difference in our ranks? The heck’re you goin’ up ’em for!? The difference in importance between them and our dungeon is huuuuuge!
Though even the emperor was knitting his brow as if to show his displeasure. This was probably a spur of the moment thing from Haku-san. No, it was definitely a spur of the moment thing from Haku-san.
“… Huh? Umm, this is different from our rehearsal though, right?”
Rokuko asked not Haku, but the person next to her.
Oi, Rokuko, that person you just asked something is this empire’s Emperor, you know that, right? Like, a super important big shot? He’s not some old dude running some weapon shop. I mean, couldn’t you have at least asked Haku-san? She’s right there.
“… … … This is the first I’ve heard of it as well. Would you please enlighten me, Ancestor-sama?”
“Yes, of course.”
And so Haku-san placed her hands on Rokuko’s shoulders with a grin.
“Let me introduce you. This is my younger sister, Rokuko. Rokuko, this is Lionel. He is the emperor, so please refer to him appropriately.”
“… … Ummm, nice to meet you, Emperor… Lionel?”
“… … … I am pleased to have made your acquaintance, Rokuko-sama.”
Oi oi oi this is off. Really, really off. His Majesty the Emperor just used -sama for Rokuko, whaaaaat… da faq.
Gozoh and Roppu both wore expressions that spoke for themselves, like [Oh… yep.] and [Figured as much.].
Ichika, Meat, and Wataru didn’t really react in particular. They knew.
As for Shikina, eh, she was just lost.
“Umm, Haku Ane-sama. Didn’t you say that me being your sister was a secret?”
“We’re off the record right now so it’s fine. Rokuko-chan, you’ve gotten to the point that you were able to come here naturally so I had a bit of wiggle room. On that note, everyone, this is off the record. If you tell anyone, I’ll consider it treason, okay?”
Everyone nodded. To do otherwise would’ve been suicide.
Seeing as how the emperor nodded too, it looks like he really is under Haku-san’s thumb.
“Now then, Lionel.”
“… What is it?”
“Rokuko-chan is my precious little sister. You understand?”
“… If you’d like for Us to give up Our seat as emperor, I would gladly—”
Wait, he straight up offered his position? I mean, it turned out that wasn’t it, but like… woah, he must be really stressed.
“I mean to be accommodating if something were to ever happen. Wouldn’t that be just lovely?”
“… If that were all, there shouldn’t have been a need for you to interrupt this audience…?”
“There would have been various nuisances if I hadn’t done so before the introduction.”
“I see… I am sorry for troubling you, Ancestor-sama.”
Oh, so he consented? Still though, Haku-san could have just used her dungeon functions to take care of anyone that—oh.
Could it be that she’s even kept the dungeon a secret from the emperor?
To the whole empire? He’s more or less the leader of the empire though? He doesn’t know about the dungeon… even though he’s Haku-san’s descendant?
No wait. She doesn’t have a Master, so maybe it’s better to not tell anyone? It would definitely be better for as few people to know about it as possible… but still, even the emperor?
… Maybe he only knows that the dungeon is entirely under Haku-san’s control?
Come to think of it, Sally-san did say that he was [supposedly Haku-sama’s descendant], but did she mean that they weren’t connected by blood or that he hadn’t been told many things?
There’s a possibility that he was just a pawn to use for running the empire, seeing as how the emperor spoke like he was entirely up for leaving his position.
And even her speaking about Rokuko in this situation with non-dungeon related people, was it so that I wouldn’t say anything unwanted to the emperor? That is, for the sake of avoiding the one in a million chance I wound up divulging information about the dungeon to him?
Woah. That just sounds like all sorts of troublesome.
“Alright then. I’m sure a few people will start causing a ruckus if we take much longer, so I’ll end it here. Rokuko-chan… I’ll see you again later.”
“Okay, Haku Ane-sama.”
Saying that, Rokuko skipped down the steps.
Phew, welcome back.
And that’s how we—with a slight accident—safely made it through our audience with the emperor.
… We’re safe, right…?