A Messenger came from the palace two days after the appraisal at the Court Mage Division.
Ones had come many times before, but this time was different.
Everything was normal up until the point when the Director greeted the Messenger at the entrance.
The Director called me and took me along with him to where the Messenger was waiting.
The Director and the Messenger formally exchanged pleasantries and then we all moved to the Director’s Room.
Why was such a pretentious messenger here? He came delivering a letter, addressed to me from His Majesty.
The letter went like this:
I would like to meet you at the palace tomorrow.
Mhmm, is this not an audience with the King?
“I don’t have appropriate clothes to wear when meeting His Majesty.”
I was reminded of the first conversation I had with His Majesty when I looked at the letter.
He told me at that time that there would be an official apology. I wondered if this was about that.
I felt like I’d rejected such an over exaggerated apology before; had he disregarded it?
Liz taught me a little about the customs in this kingdom, but I hadn’t learnt enough to have an audience with His Majesty the King.
Therefore, I tried to refuse the invitation by using my clothes as an excuse, but it failed.
“There is no need for you to prepare anything, Sei-sama. All your preparations will be taken care of at the palace.”
That was it.
It was inevitable, and even if I refused by frankly saying I was worried about my manners, he would just say that it wasn’t a problem.
I felt a little uneasy at the Messenger’s respectful attitude, but it would become troublesome if I kept on hesitating so I accepted.
It would have been better for me to refuse, but I felt that things would get even more complicated if I did.
Even when I had met His Majesty at the library, he had tried to gift me with various things such as territories and titles.
If I refused this time, he would be aware that I was angry. I would be extremely troubled if he started preparing things for me.
Furthermore, I worried about causing the Director inconvenience if I refused more than I already had.
From the viewpoint of the Research Institute, His Majesty was the equivalent to a head of a superior organisation.
At any rate, the Director, who was a person of this world, might get some kind of blame for it.
Even if no one blamed him, there would be a dilemma between me and the superiors, which smelt like trouble.
It’s the troubles of middle management.
I didn’t want to bother the Director with such things because he always did so much for me.
Well, even if I told the Director that I was worried over this, he would just end it with, “Don’t worry about it.”
The day after the Messenger came.
I went to the Royal Palace early in the morning and began my preparations for the audience with the King.
It seemed that various kinds of preparations were needed in order to meet His Majesty the King.
I told the Messenger that I didn’t think it was necessary to prepare so early in the morning, but he ignored me.
I was getting ready in a large room that looked like a hotel suite, with a bedroom and living room.
As soon as I entered the room, the maids, who were waiting, gathered around.
They ushered me into the bathroom and, before I realised what was happening, stripped my clothes and gave me a bath.
I didn’t think I had to take a bath again this early in the morning since I took one every day at the Research Institute, but it was non-negotiable.
The maids washed every nook and cranny of my body, from my head to my toes.
It was really embarrassing, but I’d already experienced this before, when I lived at the palace after being summoned here.
I felt scared of getting used to it.
The maids who were currently in this room were the same ones I had with me when I was first summoned, so I was able to bear with my embarrassment.
The maids also carefully massaged my body after I got out of the shower.
A nice smell spread throughout the room from the essential oils that they were using, such as geranium and bergamot.
Because the maids were skilled, it felt really nice.
Because it was early in the morning, it was inevitable that I dozed off.
They quickly finished my makeup while I was absentminded after my massage.
I came back to my senses when I heard a voice call, Sei-sama. I looked into the mirror and saw how refined I looked and wanted to ask, “Who’s that?”
My hair was down like it usually was, but after applying the perfumed oil, it looked so silky that a ring of angels could be seen.
The maids were also satisfied with their work.
The work on my body was done so now I needed to change.
The dress in the maid’s hand was not the type of dress I’d thought I would wear. It was an elegant, shiny white robe, embroidered with gold thread.
I wanted to retort, whose high-ranking aristocratic young lady is that for? I was a bit surprised that the maids, however, continued on with the preparations.
I thought that I would surely wear a dress that tightened around the waist.
The robe was similar to the ones that the Court Mages wore, but it was even more extravagant.
When I saw it, I thought that……
It somehow looked like something a saint would wear.
My face inadvertently twitched.
I didn’t remember doing anything during the appraisal that would out me as a 【Saint】.
When I thought back, however, I did act more on the grey side than the black side.
I didn’t write my status after all, so they could see that as guilt.
Actually there was something that would reveal who I was.
The palace may have already decided to treat me like a 【Saint】from observing my various actions.
The maids steadily changed my clothes while I was thinking.
When everything was finished I looked at my body in a full body mirror and there stood a 【Saint】.
What am I saying?
I was surprised myself.
There was no halo behind me, but there was a pure image of a 【Saint】.
I wanted to retort, who is this?
“You are very beautiful.”
I was praised by someone that seemed to be the leader of the maids.
Their skills were quite good so I thanked them.
I was proud that my skin had become incredibly nice since coming here, but in the hands of a professional, it glowed.
My skin looked translucent so I was happy and got a bit excited.
How nice, I thought as I looked closer into the mirror and then someone informed me that someone had arrived.
Even if I went out like this, I wouldn’t be embarrassed, so it shouldn’t be a problem.
I told them to let him in.
I was currently in the bedroom, so I looked in the mirror once again before going into the living room.
The Captain was sitting on the sofa when I entered the living room.
My eyes widened. The Captain stood up and walked towards me.
“Good morning, Sei.”
“Good morning. Umm…… What are you doing here?”
I asked in a weird way and the Captain tilted his head for a second, but he immediately understood what I wanted to ask.
I was going to have an audience with the King, so he came here to escort me to the room where the King was at.
I was just walking through the Royal Palace, so there was no need for an escort, was there?
I was surprised and the Captain laughed in a troubled way.
“I thought you would feel uneasy by yourself. Did I think too much?”
“Ah, huh?! That’s not true!”
“Um, thank you.”
I panicked and shook my head. The Captain looked relieved.
Even the people of this kingdom would be nervous at their first audience with the King.
It was more reassuring to have someone you knew close by at times like that, so he came especially for that reason.
He said that he heard about the audience from the Director, who was also worried.
Their kindness warmed my heart.
I thanked in my heart and I noticed that the Captain was staring at me.
“Is something wrong?”
I wondered and asked. For a second, the Captain was speechless, then he smiled softly and dropped a bomb.
“No…… You look different from normal. You’re beautiful today too……”
I’d recently gotten a little used to the Director’s attack, but the Captain’s attack power was very high since he was the Captain.
I blushed. Being told something like that in a slightly irresistible voice was argh!
I’m telling you I’m not used to getting compliments!
I realised my face was getting red the moment I heard a noise.
I held down the urge to scream and looked downwards to conceal my face.
It was also impossible for me to face the Captain.
The Captain shortened the distance between us by a step.
I could see the Captain’s hands rise at the edge of my eye.
The Captain’s hands seemed to touch my cheek and I closed my eyes.
“I, it’s because the maids worked hard……”
I said, suddenly remembering that the maids were here.
W-why am I causing such a weird aura in public?!
I panicked and looked around. I saw the maids, who were standing in wait by the wall, glance this way.
When my eyes met theirs, they averted their gazes.
They were watching us……
Ah! I want to crawl into a hole……
I felt embarrassed and wanted to crouch down on the spot, when a knock sounded at the door.
The weird aura in the room disappeared and the maids moved in response to the knock.
When I saw the Captain lower his hand, I didn’t know what I felt. Was I feeling relief? Or regret?
The knock came from the Civil Official, who came because the audience preparations had finished.
The maids sent us off, and the Civil Official began leading us to the throne room.
The throne room was far from the room we were in, and we walked down the long corridor in silence.
If I was by myself, then I would probably have gotten more nervous as I walked.
Thankfully the Captain was behind me, so my mind stayed relatively calm.
When we arrived in front of the throne room, the Civil Official explained what would happen when I entered.
The Civil Official explained what was happening all of a sudden and didn’t just throw me into the throne room……
I took a deep breath and the Guard, who standing in front of the door, opened it.
The space between the throne and the door was narrower than I’d thought.
I was a little surprised because I’d thought that I would be guided to a spacious hall.
I looked around the not-too-wide-room, and saw around ten people who looked like aristocrats.
The throne was placed in the centre at the back of the room, and His Majesty the King was sitting on it.
Was that the Prime Minister next to His Majesty?
An older man with slick dark blue hair and a stern face stood next to his Majesty.
The Captain, who accompanied me from behind, entered the door from the side and went to stand with the other aristocrats.
Our eyes met for a moment.
His eyes were smiling as if telling me it was okay.
For now, I walked up to the centre of the room like the Civil Official had told me to do.
When I stopped, I heard the sound of the door closing behind me.
The Civil Official only told me what to do until here.
From here on there was no script.
I felt nervous from the subtle tense atmosphere.
After several minutes, the King stood up from his throne and the tension increased.
The King got off the platform, where the throne was placed, and walked towards me until he stopped a few steps away.
“I am Siegfried Slantania, the ruler of this Kingdom.”
“My name is Sei Tanakashi.”
I received His Majesty’s name and returned it with my own.
I didn’t know what to do but this was curtsy, wasn’t it?
“First of all, I would like to apologise for suddenly summoning you from your country, and for my son’s rudeness.”
His Majesty bowed deeply after speaking.
The people around me also turned towards me and bowed.
Wait a minute.
What’s with this setting?!
I was breaking out in cold sweat inside yet no one moved, not even His Majesty.
Let’s leave aside things like forgiving or not forgiving for now. You should raise your head first, shouldn’t you?
“Please raise your head.”
I said, holding back my quivering voice, and everyone raised their heads.
The tension in the room slightly loosened.
I guess this was the formal apology he told me about before, but it was intense for common people, so I would like him to stop doing this in the future.
I thought that it was over with this, but it wasn’t.
“Sei-dono, you have accomplished various achievements since coming here to this Kingdom. I want to give you a reward on top of the apology. Is there anything you want?”
Even if he suddenly asked me, I couldn’t think of something on the spot.
I thought it would be over with just the apology.
A reward, a reward, huh……
Oh yeah, he asked me this before too.
But I didn’t really need anything.
Could I say that I didn’t need anything, in this kind of place?
I glanced at the Captain and I saw him knit his eyebrows a little.
It wasn’t just the Captain, the people around him were also doing the same.
It felt like they were breathlessly watching me.
“You can ask for rank or territory. You can have anything you want as long as we can provide it.”
“Well, that is a little……”
The Prime Minister (?) suggested, probably due to my silence.
I was worried, but if I had paid attention, I would have noticed that the relaxed aura had become tense again. Both the Prime Minister (assumed) and His Majesty looked grave.
Things such as rank or territory might have been common rewards here, but I didn’t need such things.
Things beyond my reach would probably restrict my actions.
Having such things would make it hard for me to get out of this Kingdom if something happened.
I didn’t think I could throw them away, either, if I wanted to leave the kingdom.
I wondered what would happen if I said that I didn’t need anything.
I wanted to try saying it out loud, but I wavered when I saw how the people around me looked.
Judging from His Majesty’s words, the purpose of this audience was the apology.
He might have been trying to understand my true intentions by seeing if I would accept the reward or not.
Honestly, so many things had been running through my mind when I was first summoned; but six months had passed since then, and I wasn’t as angry as I had been.
Did I feel better from working hard and doing what I liked at the Research Institute?
Or was it the fact that being angry took so much energy that it was difficult to continue being angry?
If I had to spend energy on something, I’d rather spend it on consolidating my position.
I might have also been moved by the kindness of the Researchers, Knights and people around me.
I wanted to leave this Kingdom at first, but I didn’t feel the need to do so anymore.
I should just prepare to get out as soon as possible in case something happened.
I wanted to tell them that I didn’t need anything, but if I did, they’d probably put on this farce again.
That would be troublesome.
I wanted to receive something and put an end to this.
A reward that wouldn’t be troublesome. Was there anything like that?
I thought for a little and then it hit me. I told them:
“I can have anything I want, isn’t that right?”
“Then…… Is it alright if I receive permission to read books from the prohibited section?”
Was my request unexpected? His Majesty slightly widened his eyes.
It wouldn’t get in my way, so that’s what I wanted the most.
I’d been searching for a while now to find if I could make potions that were higher than advanced potions, but my search had come up fruitless.
I’d finished reading all the related books in the library, and I couldn’t think of any other way than to read the prohibited books.
A mere researcher, however, did not have the permission to read the prohibited books, so I gave up halfway.
But a reward was suddenly brought up at this place.
I should make use of it, shouldn’t I?
“I also want to learn about magic, so could I get a magic instructor?”
I somehow thought that it would be alright to ask for one more thing, so I added it on.
Thanks to my magic skills, I could also use magic.
It felt like I was missing out a lot of things just by self-studying from books.
Magic didn’t exist in my original world, so if possible I wanted the opportunity to learn from a proper instructor.
Being able to use magic in this world was advantageous for supporting oneself.
“Okay. I will make the preparations.”
As a result, my request was accepted.
It seemed that my request was unexpected.
Adjustments needed to be made, and I would receive my rewards as soon as they were ready.
Editor: Polar Bear