TWEM Vol. 1 Chapter 15

Chapter 15 – Royal Audience

Current location: in front of the royal castle gates. Current status: the guards are pointing their weapons at us.

“You bastard, let go of the princess and her maid this instant!! Do it now and your life will be spared!!”

…why do these things keep happening to me?

To know why the situation escalated like this, we must go back in time about five minutes.

~

While we were heading towards the royal castle, dragging the unconscious assassin with us, Iris suddenly said something.

“Oh yes, you saved my life, so I have to reward you somehow!”

A reward, hmm…

“As I said before, there’s nothing I want in particular, though…”

I wanted to refuse like this, but Iris wouldn’t budge.

“But you also helped Asha yesterday, so I have to repay you somehow…”

Asha nodded too, in complete agreement.

I felt that they weren’t going to back down, no matter how many times I refused, so I begrudgingly accepted.

We eventually arrived at the stairs in the front of the royal castle. Finne and I looked up at them.

“These stairs sure are long…”

“Yes, it will be tough to just climb them…”

We sighed and started trudging up the stairs.

On top of the stairs we found a small clearing and the castle gates.

There was a slope on the right, probably used by horse carriages to go to and from the castle.

The gate guards looked at us with suspicion, surely wondering why unfamiliar people like me and Finne were together with Asha and Iris.

They immediately called for reinforcements from the guard post and approached us.

“You!! What are you doing with the princess and her servant!? You can’t be planning to use them as hostages to enter the castle, can you!?”

“What hostages? I just saved them from assassins and accompanied them here.”

“Assassins…? Don’t think you can deceive us with such nonsense!! Only a degenerate outlaw would take the princess hostage..! Release her immediately!!”

“I told you, I didn’t take them hostage!! Look, this guy we tied up is one of the assassins!! Just listen to me, seriously!!”

I tried showing the assassin to the guards, but my movements just caused them to take up their arms.

“W-what are you trying to do, you lout!?”

“Everyone, please wai— ”

Iris tried calming the shouting soldiers, but one of them interrupted her to bark orders.

“We are coming to your rescue, Princess!! Troops, ready your weapons!!”

~

—and this is how it all happened.

If only they listened at least a teeny bit…

Asha looked like she didn’t know what to do, Iris was all shaking since the soldier talked over her.

What should I do…? I can’t fight here, can I…

I was wondering what to do, when Iris stepped forward and shouted.

“I’m telling you all to wait a moment!!!”

“Princess? What happened? You are not hurt, are you!?”

The soldiers replied, perplexed.

“I am perfectly fine!! And this man just saved my life! But you are pointing your weapons at him…! Cease at once! How dare you interrupt me while I am talking, too!!”

After hearing Iris’ words, the soldiers hurriedly dropped their weapons and knelt down to her.

“Our humblest apologies, Princess!! But…is what you said really the truth…?”

“It is. Asha will explain in detail…please, Asha, I leave the rest to you.”

…Iris…you dropped it all on Asha because it was a pain to explain, right…?

I glared at Iris a bit and she turned around towards me.

The moment she met my gaze, she looked away immediately…as expected.

After Asha completed her explanation, some soldiers took the assassin we carried to the castle, while others went with her to the location where we were ambushed.

Iris received their report, then turned towards me.

“Sorry for the trouble. I will go report to father now, so could you please wait a while…though one of the guards will have to be with you.”

“Sure, that’s all right. It takes time before the guards’ suspicions are cleared, after all.”

“I’m glad you understand…I’ll be off, then.”

“Got it.”

“Understood.”

Finne and I nodded to Iris.

After about 10 minutes, Asha came back with some soldiers.

As soon as they arrived, the soldiers bowed to me.

“Please accept our humblest apologies. To think we pointed our weapons to our Princess’ savior…!”

“Please, raise your heads. If I had your same role, I would have probably done the same.”

“Thank you for your understanding. You have our utmost gratitude for saving the Princess’ life.”

After the soldiers finished talking, we followed Asha inside the castle.

About five more minutes later, another group of soldiers arrived. They wore armor clearly of higher quality than the gate guards: they were probably the royal family’s personal guards.

They looked at me, bowed quickly, and started talking.

“You have our utmost gratitude for saving the Princess. His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Queen and the Princess wish to express their gratitude as well. They are waiting in the audience room, please come with us now.”

“Understood. May my companion come too?”

“Yes. His Majesty wishes to see you both.”

”Thank you. Is that okay with you too, Finne?”

I turned towards Finne to ask her how she felt, and found her all nervous and tense.

“I-is it really okay for me to go too? An audience with the king…I-I can’t…”

“It’s not like we have the chance to see a royal castle every day, and I’m going to be the one talking anyway, so you don’t need to feel nervous.”

“…understood.”

“It’s decided, then.”

Finne seemed a bit conflicted, but after I convinced her she nodded.

We thus followed the royal guard inside the castle.

We passed through the gate and arrived in a very large hall: it was hard to believe that we were indoors.

There were paintings hanging on the walls, intricate vases, and engravings of full suits of armor near the pillars: the atmosphere was of absolute luxury.

When we arrived before the audience chamber, a question popped up in my mind, so I asked the royal guard for confirmation.

“By the way, we don’t know the proper etiquette or manners to use with royals, is that all right?”

The royal guard nodded and replied.

“His Majesty is not very particular about such things, so you will be fine as long as you keep a minimum degree of manners. Once we go inside the hall, please proceed in front of His Majesty, then bend one knee, hold one hand against your chest and lower your head. That will be enough — please wait here, then.”

“Okay then, thank you.”

We had to wait outside the audience hall, so I observed the door.

It had complex, colorful decorations: the door itself looked like an art piece. It was even more gorgeous than the one I saw in Glicente.

“ —please enter.”

The preparations were apparently done: after the royal guard invited us in, the door opened from inside.

The floor was elevated in the back of the audience hall: there we saw a man and a woman sitting on luxurious chairs.

We walked towards them, but since Finne was walking so stiff she moved like a robot, I couldn’t help but whisper to her.

“You’re too nervous, Finne.”

“O-of course I am!! We’re going to meet a king and a queen!!”

I smiled wryly to Finne as we arrived close to the royal thrones.

We bent one knee to the ground, held one hand to our chest and bowed our heads, as we were told, and waited for the king to speak.

“We thank you for coming despite the late hour. I am the ruler of this kingdom, Dillan Arclaidh Perdis…raise your heads.”

The king was a middle-aged guy, probably around 40 years old, with a very gentleman-like air about him.

“We are deeply grateful for the honor of an audience with Your Majesty. My name is Haruto, I am an adventurer. She is Finne, a member of my party.”

“I am Finne, Your Majesty.”

“No need for such courteous speech…I cannot thank you enough for what you did. I thank you from the bottom of my heart for saving the princess.”

“Sir Haruto, lady Finne. I am Amalia Arclaidh Perdis, the queen of this kingdom. Let me thank you too for saving the princess.”

The queen was very beautiful: as expected of her mother, she looked just like an adult version of Iris.

After the king and queen introduced themselves, they stood up and lowered their heads to us.

The royal guards were surprised by such behavior, whispering things like “Your Majesty, did you really need to go so far…?”, but they did not seem to mind and maintained such a stance for a little while.

“This is the least we can do to our daughter’s saviour…sir Haruto, we are deeply grateful to you.”

I hurriedly replied to the king and queen.

“Your Majesties, please raise your head. As everyone said, there is no need for you to bow to me. I just did what anyone else would have done, I just helped someone in trouble.”

The king raised his head but then shook it.

“Even so…I am really thankful. Oh yes, is there anything you wish for, as a reward for saving Iris? We could grant you a position within this country, or a financial reward if you so prefer.”

Hmm…I knew I said it many times already, but I really didn’t need anything…

“Your Majesty, I would like to decline from any title or financial reward.”

“Hmm, you truly are selfless, Haruto.”

“I am an adventurer, thus I crave freedom. Therefore such things are not necessary to me.”

My answer seemed to please the king very much.

“Is that so…let me ask you then, Finne. Is there anything you wish for?”

“I-I…when the princess was attacked, I could not do anything, so I would not deserve anything…please allow me to decline as well.”

“Another selfless one…understood. However, I will have proper recompensation for your actions given to you later. I apologize for forcing our circumstances on you, but we have our honor to preserve.”

The king then left the audience hall, together with the queen.

We were also led outside the hall by the royal guard, but once we passed the door, another royal guard approached us.

“Sir Haruto, Lady Finne, His Highness would like to see you privately. Could you follow me to the royal quarters?”

The king wants to see me in private? What for? Well, I’ll know when I go, I guess.

“Yes, no problem.”

Thus we followed the guard to the royal quarters.

~

There we found Iris, the king, and the queen, sitting on a sofa. An old butler was also standing right behind them.

The king and queen both had an atmosphere much gentler than before.

We were invited to sit down, then they thanked us again.

“Sir Haruto, Lady Finne, let me express my thanks again. Not as a king, but as a father.”

“I too would like to thank you, as the mother of our precious daughter.”

“Thank you so much, Haruto!”

The king, queen and Iris thanked me in turn, then bowed their heads deeply.

“Please, raise your heads. I just didn’t want to see someone I became friendly with be killed before my eyes.”

The three royals raised their heads.

Just as they did, a maid entered the room, carrying tea for all of us. When she left, the king started speaking again.

“Thank you very much…by the way, please do not worry about manners or polite speech in this room. I have called you here, so it wouldn’t be right to force you to talk so formally. You may address me simply as Dillan. Isn’t that right, Amalia?”

“Yes, I agree. You may call me Amalia too.”

I didn’t like having to use polite speech, so their proposal was more than welcome…Finne didn’t look like she shared my sentiments, though.

“Well then…ahem…let me call you Dillan, Amalia, and Iris.”

“I couldn’t possibly speak casually to you…I’m truly sorry.”

Dillan, Amalia, and Iris smiled wryly at Finne’s words.

“I understand, please don’t worry.”

“Everyone is like that at first.”

“Haruto is the incredible one, he didn’t change a bit.”

“Well, that’s the kind of person I am.”

Finne looked at me and whispered “how can you be so calm all the time, sir Haruto…?”

I whispered back “you just have to get used to it”, but was promptly scolded: “even when you’re talking to royalty!? That’s impossible!!”

Dillan looked at us, smiling, then asked us a question.

“By the way, you two said you were adventurers, right? What rank are you?”

“I’m rank A, and Finne is rank C.”

My reply seemed to surprise Iris very much.

“Eh!! Haruto, you’re rank A!?”

“Oh, didn’t I tell you?”

“You definitely didn’t!!!”

I could have sworn I did.

“So young and already rank A! No wonder you could defeat the assassins by yourself. But wait…rank A…Haruto…? Isn’t that the adventurer who routed the Ebony Wolves gang!?”

In contrast to Iris’ shock, Dillan seemed convinced by me being rank A, but then apparently recalled something and raised his voice.

I guess the king had been informed about it already.

“Yes, that’s me.”

“Oh my! You have saved us not once, but twice already!”

“We must rethink our reward then, darling!”

Dillan and Amalia reacted with excitement to my words.

“Er, I told you, I don’t need anything…”

“That will not do, as I said before, the pride of the royal house must be preserved. Please accept it as a sign of gratitude from Iris’ parents.”

Hmm, if you put it like that, I can’t refuse, can I…

“Very well then, I will accept it with gratitude.”

Dillan smiled, happy to finally have my consent, then spoke to the old butler near him.

The old butler left the room, but returned immediately after.

“Sir Haruto, Lady Finne, please accept this…Zebastian, give them the leather satchel.”

Ze, Zebastian!? Not “S”, but “Z”!? So close!!

I was engaged in such dumb thoughts while watching Finne timidly receive the satchels.

She peeked at the contents and was visibly shocked.

“T-this is…!! Your Highness, I didn’t do anything, I cannot possibly accept this much…!”

Finne gave me my satchel, then protested to Dillan.

I checked the contents too and found five black gold coins.

…okay, black gold is worth ten times white gold, so…500 million Gould!?

Eh? What? Can we really accept this?

I stared with surprise at Dillan too, but he motioned at us to rest easy.

“What you two have done was simply that important. In all honesty, I don’t think that’s enough of a reward either. So please accept it.”

“It’s just as Dillan says. You are our daughter’s saviors, after all.”

Amalia too agreed to Dillan’s words and nodded.

“…very well then, I’ll accept it with gratitude.”

I finally gave up resisting and decided to accept their goodwill.

“…we can’t walk around with so much money on us, though. Could it be possible to have it deposited in our guild accounts?”

“That’s true too. We’ll do that, then.”

“Thank you very much.”

The share was split with three coins for me, two for Finne.

Finne didn’t want to accept it, saying that she just protected Iris and Asha while I fought, but I firmly said I would give her a share, so she eventually accepted.

Afterwards, Dillan asked about our plans and I replied that we will continue adventuring for the time being— 

“ —to register with the guild and rise to rank A within one week…that’s incredible. You are full of surprises, sir Haruto.”

Dillan looked at me, eyes wide in surprise.

“Please, don’t call me sir. Maybe one week is too fast, but getting to rank A in one month isn’t rare, is it?”

“Very well, I’ll just call you Haruto then. About the promotion period…I’ve heard of people getting to rank B in one month, but that’s considered very fast too.”

Eh? Really? Then my one week is kind of unprecedented…?

Well, I guess I should be okay as long as I didn’t mention how long it took me to get promoted anymore…

I started having cold sweats inside, but Dillan suddenly changed the topic.

“Oh, look at the time. Haruto, Lady Finne, would you join us for dinner?”

“You will, won’t you?”

Amalia didn’t make it sound like we had a choice…

I was considering what to do, when I heard a stomach grumble rather cutely next to me.

I turned to the side and saw Finne blushing fiercely.

…guess we should accept the kind offer.

~

During the dinner, Dillan asked me a question with a very curious tone.

“By the way, Haruto…since you’re rank A you should be quite strong, but what kind of monsters have you defeated?”

“Father, I wanted to know that too! Haruto told me a bit about his adventures, but I wanted to hear more stories!”

After Dillan’s question, Iris too looked at me with eager eyes.

Hmm, well…

“I don’t think I’ve defeated any particularly impressive monsters…”

“Really now? Can you give us some examples?”

Dillan’s eyes were sparkling too.

“Let’s see…a Mephistos Bird, a Grizzly Bear, then a Black Tiger, I guess?”

My words caused Dillan, Iris, Amalia, and Finne to freeze completely.

“Ha-Haruto? Could you please repeat one more time?”

“Y-yes, dear, we must have heard wrong…”

“I-I mean, I know that you’re strong, but…”

“E-ehm, sir Haruto? It’s the first time I hear about any of that…”

Hmm? I didn’t tell Finne about this?

“I said, I defeated a Mephistos Bird, a Grizzly Bear, a Black Tiger, etc…of course, all on my own.”

“Y-you’ve defeated disaster class and class A monsters by yourself!?!?!”

Their reaction was so exaggerated I ended up being almost intimidated.

“Oh, come on, even disaster class monsters are just a bit tougher than the usual, nothing too different from normal monsters…”

“D-disaster class…are…normal…monsters…?”

After these words, Dillan couldn’t manage to say anything else.

Finne then timidly asked me a question.

“Sir Haruto, how much do you know about disaster class monsters…?”

“Hmm, well, I heard that it normally takes 10 or more rank A adventurers, or a whole army to fight them…that’s about it.”

“…just that?”

“Eh? Er, yeah.”

Finne sighed hopelessly, then started explaining.

“Disaster class monsters are the category of monsters even superior to class A, normally the highest classification for monsters. The name comes from the fact that those monsters leave nothing but destruction in their wake, just like a natural disaster. Most of them are powerful enough to destroy whole cities, so they require considerable fighting power to be defeated. Like you said…they definitely aren’t opponents any single person can defeat. There’s also a superior category, “calamity class” monsters, but none are confirmed to be active at present. They’re basically the strongest disaster class monsters.”

“I see, I see…what are those calamity class monsters, by the way?”

It was my first time hearing the word, so I asked Finne about it. She whispered “as expected, you don’t know about those either…”, then continued.

“Calamity class monsters are those monsters considered too powerful to fit even the disaster class category. They have been registered only once throughout history, and none of them are said to exist at present. The monster designated as such in the past is only the strongest dragon…the Dragon King. It could cause storms just by flapping its wings, its fire breath could turn the earth to magma, its roar could cause tremors…it is said to have utterly devastated one or two countries. In the era the Dragon King appeared, the continent’s very geography changed and large countries at the time were brought to ruin, apparently.”

“That’s unbelievable…also the fact that it was defeated.”

“Actually, as it could not be defeated completely, legend says it is still sealed somewhere…though the location is not known.”

So there’s the chance of a villain undoing the seal.

“I see, thank you Finne.”

“It’s nothing, even children know of this story. I was really surprised that you didn’t, honestly.”

I wasn’t born and raised in this world, after all.

I smiled wryly at Finne’s reply, dodging the topic.

Recalling the explanation about disaster class monsters, I whispered to myself.

“That disaster class monster wasn’t anything special, though…”

Words that caused everyone’s expressions to stiffen.

~

After dinner, the butler Zebastian accompanied us out of the castle. Before we left, however, he gave us something.

“What is this?”

It looked like a short sword with a blade about 20cm long. The handle was engraved with the Perdis royal seal.

“This short sword is a sort of pass that grants free access to the royal castle. It also acts as proof that the owner’s character is vouched by the royal family.”

“…is it really okay to give something like that to an adventurer like me…?

Zebastian nodded with conviction.

“Yes. His Majesty the King, Her Majesty the Queen, and Princess Iris were all very grateful to Sir Haruto and Lady Finne. They wish for you to come to visit again, and the short sword is proof of their trust.”

I see…well, I found I had to accept it after knowing that.

“I see, thank you. Please tell Dillan and the others that we are very grateful.”

“It shall be done. Please take care on your travels. When you visit the castle again, please show it and state your name, you will be let through immediately.”

Zebastian then bowed and saw us off as we returned to the city.

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