Behind the Scenes 02: Flag
A month had passed since the 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】.
At the time, the day had long faded and darkness enveloped outside of the room. Two men were relaxing and drinking wine at Earl Waldeck’s detached house in the capital. One of them lived here and was the second son of Earl Waldeck, the owner of the house. Johan Waldeck the Director of the Medicinal Herb Research Institute.
The other was Johan’s childhood friend, Alberto Hawk, the 3rd son of the Margrave family and also the captain of the 3rd Knight Order. Although they often drank together at the Waldeck estate, Alberto had been busy subjugating demons and couldn’t make time for it lately. So it had been a month since they’ve met up at the Waldeck estate.
“Come to think of it, I heard that a new person recently joined the research institute.”
It had been a month and a half since they met and exchanged information. So Alberto asked about the new researcher who’d recently joined the research institute. Johan smiled bitterly as he remembered something upon Alberto’s question. Johan had guessed that this was the reason why Alberto had made time out of his busy schedule to visit the Waldeck estate as if it was nothing.
“What’s she like?”
“She acts the same as the other researchers.”
Johan replied to Alberto’s question in a roundabout way as not to stray far from the question. Although Johan knew what Alberto wanted to know, he answered in a roundabout way like he usually did. Just like this, Johan always made fun of the serious Alberto. Since Alberto also knew this, he returned Johan’s answer with a bitter smile and urged him to continue with his eyes. Johan was satisfied upon seeing that and gave the answer that Alberto wanted to hear.
“At present, she’s had no complaints towards the royal palace and she’s working earnestly.”
“Is that so? It seemed that she was angered promptly after being summoned. Since she was extremely furious, it seemed that the interior affairs official who corresponded with Saint-sama went deadly pale upon angering her.”
“Seems like it. Because of that, those guys who are always putting on airs are acting really humble this time.”
On the day that the 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】was performed Alberto had left the capital to go subjugate demons so he’d only heard about what had happened afterwards from rumours.
He’d heard various rumours upon his return and that was where he’d learnt that one of the saint candidates was working at the Medicinal Herb Research Institute, where Johan was the Director. So he’d thought that it would be faster to ask Johan directly instead of listening to rumours and made time out of his busy schedule to visit the Waldeck estate.
Johan explained how he came to look after the saint candidate, Sei, at the research institute.
A month ago, a black hair, black eyed woman suddenly started coming to the research institute every day. At first one of the researchers, Jude kept her company. However since the research institute was an all-male place and there was a woman who was interested in medicinal herbs; in no time at all most of the researchers had kept her company. Johan remembered that he’d felt uneasy looking at Sei, who had unusual coloured hair and eyes.
A few days before that, Johan talked with his older brother, who he’d met by chance at the Royal Palace and heard about the 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】being performed. He’d heard that two women had been summoned, one with dyed brown hair and black eyes, the other with black hair and black eyes. When Johan remembered this he immediately contacted his older brother.
The next day after he’d told his brother about the black hair, black eyed woman who often visited the research institute; he was urgently summoned to the Royal Palace. There was a high-ranking officer in the designated room at the Royal Palace, besides his older brother. Johan sat on the lounge suite set sofa and listened to their story. The woman who came to the research institute was indeed one of the summoned woman. If possible, they wanted him to look after her at the Medicinal Herb Research Institute.
Why did he have to look after her at the research institute? Although she was just a candidate, the Saint was just as important as the King in Slantania. No, since the Saint held the fate of Slantania in her hands, she was more important than the King.
What was the reason for keeping someone like her, who might be the 【Saint】at the research institute located at the corner of the Royal Palace? When Johan pointed that out, the High Official wiped sweat off his forehead with a handkerchief and awkwardly replied.
Sei didn’t have a very good impression of Slantania because of the Crown Prince’s actions after the summoning. Actually she also tried to leave after the Crown Prince had. Not from the room but from Slantania.
The people in the room had somehow managed to stop her and guided her to another room. After that thanks to the High Official’s desperate persuasion, they’d somehow managed to persuade her into staying at the Royal Palace.
There has been no instances of two Saints being summoned in the past. Since there has been no case of two Saints being summoned by the 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】, the people at the Royal Palace currently didn’t know which one was the Saint. However since there has been no case of this happening, both of them could also be the Saint so it was dangerous to let them go therefore both were being kept at the Royal Palace.
Meanwhile Sei liked the herb garden at the Royal Palace and had recently been visiting it every day. The High Official thought that if she deepened her relationship with the researchers then her impression of Slantania would improve.
“The point is that we’re cleaning up His Highness, Kyle’s mess.”
“We originally planned to have her learn about Slantania from a teacher. Incidentally it seems that the saint candidate under His Highness, Kyle’s protection is attending the Royal Academy.”
“Perhaps, since you have made her angry you plan to curry her favour by letting her do as she pleases?”
“I guess so. We’re not in a situation where we could take things slowly…… In any case, you’ve provoked the interior affairs many times right?”
Johan broadly laughed and raised the glass in his hand.
As an aristocrat, Johan understood what the people at the Royal Palace was thinking, having heard the High Official’s story. There seemed to be no problem in watching over Sei at the research institute. But Johan didn’t like the High Official’s attitude since he was completely entrusting everything to him. So Johan made a difficult expression and gave many reasons for refusing.
Even if she came to the research institute during the day, there was quite a bit of distance between the Royal Palace and the research institute so it would be difficult to commute daily. Some of the researchers were staying at the research institute for that exact reason so what will happen if she asked to stay as well? Even if she said she would like to stay at the research institute, wouldn’t it be a problem to make her stay at such a scruffy place?
They didn’t have the budget to reconstruct the rooms at the research institute, and so on. Johan also gave other various reasons for why he couldn’t do it and finally things went the way he wanted. After agreeing to support the saint candidate, Johan casually looked over at the resources to plan for the improvement of the research institute.
His brother who was sitting next to him stiffened but he ignored him. Afterwards the renovations of the room that Sei would live in was given top priority. One week was an exceptionally short period of time but they managed to finish the renovations by the time she had moved.
“But it’s strange, no matter how much they wanted to gain the favour of the saint candidate, didn’t the guys from interior affairs just leave her in her room?”
“According to one of researchers, she was complaining about it. She was summoned then guided to her room, but after that they just left her alone so she had a lot of free time.”
“What do you mean? That’s different from what I heard.”
Johan raised an eyebrow upon Alberto’s words. Alberto had heard at the Royal Palace that she had poor health after she was summoned and retired to her room. As a matter of fact, there was a time difference between Japan and Slantania Kingdom.
When she was summoned, it was late at night in Japan but in Slantania Kingdom it was still morning. Because of that, Sei was summoned after she’d returned home from work and was tired. Therefore after being guided to her room she immediately passed out on the sofa. Because of that, people didn’t have a very good impression of her.
She looked like someone with poor health. Her skin was pale from working late day by day and she had eye bags under her eyes from many years of sleepless nights. The court lady who had saw Sei passed out on the sofa sleeping like a dead person had rushed to inform the High Official.
The High Official had panicked because he’d thought that the summoning had a bad effect on her body, which was so different from her angered state a few hours ago. He quickly called the Court Physician to examine her and he diagnosed that she wasn’t ill, just fatigued. The High Official decided to give Sei time to rest and that was what had happened.
In addition due to these series of events, the information about two saint candidates was reported to the King a day late. One of the reasons that the report was late was because even if just slightly, the High Official had been a little conflicted over the fact that he had to report their carelessness.
“I see. Her complexion was certainly bad when she first came to the research institute.”
“What about now?”
“Now? Well…… Her complexion is considerably better now.”
When Sei had first came to the research institute it was just like Alberto had said. Johan recalled that he’d concluded that she looked like she was prone to poor health. Time had passed since then and although her skin remained white since she secluded herself at the research institute but the bags under her eyes had slightly improved. If people saw her again, they wouldn’t think that she had poor health.
“I see. Is she eating properly……?”
“Eating? You sound somewhat like a father.”
“…… Shut up. It seems that recently the candidate of His Highness, Kyle’s place hasn’t been eating and it’s becoming problematic.”
“The chefs are trying everything they can but since she’s lost her appetite, His Highness is worried that she’ll collapse someday.”
“The candidate at my place also doesn’t have much of an appetite.”
“Is it normally for people not to eat much in their country?”
“Who knows? I’ll ask about it next time.”
The food seasoning used in Slantania Kingdom was too simple for the two who had been summoned from Japan. Little seasoning was used and many dishes didn’t use any seasoning at all so it didn’t suit their tastes. Therefore it was only naturally that they didn’t eat much. The Crown Prince was worried about the other saint candidate and ordered people left and right to solve the problem. However, nothing worked.
“His Highness is very enthusiastic this time.”
“Well, in various ways……”
Alberto said evasively but Johan understood what he was implying.
There are three princes in Slantania Kingdom. For generations the eldest son become the King so the first-born was treated as the Crown Prince. But the Second Prince was more brilliant and factions had appeared backing him as the Crown Prince.
It didn’t pose much of a problem since the Second Prince wasn’t interested and the King negated it but the Crown Prince, who’d always been aware that he was inferior to his younger brother, was concerned about the factions. It was evident that he’d aimed to appeal to those aristocrats by offering to supervise the 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】.
Unfortunately at that time, the Crown Prince had angered Sei and his plan backfired on him which added extra pressure on him.
“Is His Highness still in charge of the 【Saint】?”
“Ah. His Majesty is still concerned about His Highness’s blunder but if he left it to other people the Crown Prince might become anxious so he’s just going to wait and see for a while. Fortunately the candidate at your place considered staying, His Majesty is probably hoping that’ll help His Highness recover.”
“If there’s a dispute over succession then the kingdom will lapse into chaos.”
Johan sighed. If dispute over the crown happened on top of the miasma problem, he expected that the kingdom would definitely fall into chaos. Although the Crown Prince was a bit prejudiced, he was straightforward and deeply passionate which many people found favourable.
In addition, he had the support of his close aides and the Second Prince. So for the time being, he’d have no problems when succeeding the King.
The Crown Prince’s evaluation from the aristocrats had dropped because of what had happened this time, but he avoided making the fatal blunder of losing the saint candidate and the King seemed to think that the first Prince could still recover.
“Even so there’s two people…… Did the ceremony really succeed? Given the history, it’s weird for there to be more than one 【Saint】.”
“There’s no doubt that the ceremony was a success.”
“What’s your basis for saying that?”
“The appearance of demons have decreased lately.”
Since the 【Saint Summoning Ceremony】the knights who periodically subjugate demons realized that the demons were decreasing bit by bit.
The demons that already formed didn’t disappear, but the outbreak speed was getting slower. The knights felt that the number of demons have decreased compared to before.
Because of that, the knights knew that the ceremony succeeded and they were certain that the 【Saint】was at the Royal Palace.
Of course, this was also reported to the leaders.
The Court Mage Division’s Head Magician, who could tell them who the 【Saint】was, was still unconscious and they couldn’t tell which one was the 【Saint】or if they both were. But the tragic atmosphere had been casted aside.
“Is that so? It’ll be good if your place settles down.”
“Yeah. As expected, everyone’s feeling fatigued.”
“Your next subjugation is at the West Forest?”
“No we’re going to the East Forest first, then I can take a long holiday after we’re done with the West Forest. It’s more troublesome than the East and South, but the demons aren’t that strong so we should be able to finish the subjugation with ease.”
“Well, should be simple for you but do be careful.”
At the time, some kind of flag had risen but none of them knew about it.