The king, his daughter the third princess, as well as many other members of the nobility were assembled in the palace’s audience hall.
When all other point of business had been dealt with, and only the matter concerning that girl, Morena took place next to the king and prepared herself.
At first they had planned to receive the girl in a separate room with only a few themselves attending. But since the girl would be going to be around the princess in the future they thought it would be good to introduce her officially in this manner as to prevent any future problems with members of the nobility.
「Viscount Ascham as well as his daughter, Enter!」
Heeding the usher’s voice, the viscount and his daughter Prissy hurriedly entered the audience hall. They stepped forward till they were in front of the king, knelt and bowed their heads.
The pair was elated.
Yesterday a messenger from the palace had suddenly visited and told them that “The third princess would like to invite the daughter of viscount Ascham to the palace in hopes of creating bonds of friendship.”
The friend of a princess.
This wasn’t something small like a connection into the palace. This meant an immediate way to make your voice heard by the prince and even king. The possibility that the prince finds Prissy to his liking was also in reach.
They didn’t know at what point the princess had took notice of them. It might even have been that this was an indirect wish of the fourth prince who had entered the school this year…
AND like this, their expectation soared upwards endlessly.
「Raise your heads.」
According to the king’s words, Prissy and her father lifted their faces. The king glances towards Morena. But Morena’s face had turned to stone and no words left escaped her mouth.
「Hmm? What is it?」
「Um, Where is that person?」
「Eh? The daughter of viscount Ascham is right there, isn’t she?」
「But, that is not her…..」
Mumbling began among the other attendees as the conversation between the king and the third princess made it obvious that some kind of mistake had been made.
「Where is Burgle?」
「He was in the waiting room earlier before hurriedly leaving.」
A nearby guard answered with a troubled expression on his face.
「My King, may I ask your permission to speak!」
「Hmm? Count Bonham? You may speak.」
「Thank you, Your Majesty!」
The sudden demand to be heard from among the attendees piqued the king’s interest.
Count Bonham then began questioning viscount Ascham’s daughter Prissy.
「Young Miss, where is your mother right now?」
「My mother is in the Ascham’s mansion inside the capital…」
「Is that so…. Then am I right in assuming that your beautiful golden hair is something you inherited from your mother?」
「W-Well, yes, it is….」
Even though she didn’t know the meaning behind them, Prissy faithfully answered the questions.
Then Count Bonham made a declaration towards the king.
「My wife was on good terms with the Ascham’s young lady since their shared days at Adorei Academy. When we got notified ten years ago that she had given birth to a daughter, my wife and I visited the Ascham residence. The baby that was shown me that day shared the soft silver hair of her mother….
And then, three years ago that mother supposedly died in an accident. So I thought that something about the current situation was strange….」
「Something like that doesn’t belong to our family!」
Prissy suddenly shouted.
「The daughter of a previous wife is unnecessary for the Ascham family. That’s why she was chased away and forbidden from using the family name. Yet…」
Viscount Ascham hurriedly covered Prissy’s mouth, but it was already too late.
「It is a father’s right to treat his daughters how he pleases, but this time the situation is slightly different.」
Count Bonham continued his earlier words.
「As I mentioned before, my wife had been on good terms with the young lady Ascham since their days at Adorei. Meaning, the viscount married into the Ascham family and his current rank. The blood of Ascham flows neither in his veins or those of his daughter here. The Ascham line is only continued in the daughter with his previous wife, a child he intentionally chased away.」
「Taking over a noble house! That’s the lowest one can fall to!」
「This offense is punishable by death!」
Accusations soon began flying through the audience hall. Viscount Ascham had turned ghostly pale and completely stiff.
「What do you have to say, Viscount Ascham!」
Even the king’s voice had turned hard. The whole room had turned silent in expectation of the viscount’s defense. But viscount Ascham stayed mute, not even trying to refute the accusations.
A while after this oppressive silence had set in, the doors of the hall opened and a single knight entered the room.
「Burgle! Where have you been!」
In response to the king’s words, Burgle took out a sealed letter and started explaining.
「When I entered the waiting room where that girl was supposed to be waiting, all I could find was an unfamiliar girl, so I assumed a mistake had been made and rushed to the school that girls attends.
There I was told that the girl hadn’t been seen since this morning, leaving behind nothing but 4 letters….
Three of them were addressed at her classmates or teachers, but in the one directed at the girls I believe to be her best friends, the details were written.」
「Then recount the content.」
Ordered the king while looking at the letter in Burgle’s hands.
「As you wish. To summarize the content, despite being forbidden from using the family name, someone had appeared and tried to get her into the palace under this name. If such a thing were to pass, she would be killed like her mother and grandfather. She might be on the flight now but she will settle down in some village and quietly live her live, so they shouldn’t worry about her.」
「Killed like her mother and grandfather, you say!?」
The one to respond to the king’s roar was Count Bonham.
「The previous head of the Ascham family as well as his daughter were killed by bandits, but strangely, they remain the only incident of that nature in the region. And strangely enough not, viscount Ascham and his wife, but the rare combination his wife and the previous head of the family. Completely by chance.
My wife had harbored doubts before, but I couldn’t simply accuse another noble house without evidence, so she continues to voice her displeasure…」
Viscount Ascham’s face had skipped over chalk white and reached snow white.
「Throw those two into the dungeons! Send soldiers to the viscount’s mansion to apprehend the second wife. In regards to the death of the previous Ascham head and his daughter a thorough reinvestigation of all related will be carried out. Whoever is found guilty of having accepted bribes or not fulfilled their duties accordingly will be judged as an accomplice.
Until a rightful heir can take over the reigns in the Ascham territory, a royal magistrate will take care of the administration.
Burgle, search for the rightful heir. The legs of a small girl can’t have taken her that far yet, make up the delay of half a day. I don’t mind how many men you use for the search. Be certain to bring her into your custody, carefully.
Thus are my orders!!」
In accordance to the king’s swift directions, the people pooled out of the audience hall.
The attending nobles were slightly surprised by the fast and accurate orders by their usually mild king, but found themselves thinking that their king could be trusted upon when it counted.
Yet nobody noticed that the king was more distressed than ever…
After the remaining nobles had also left the audience hall…
「Father, that person is…」
「Don’t say it…」
The king let his head hang in response to the third princess’ question.
(I beg you, Burgle, find that girl….)
12 days later in a provincial city in a country far away from her home country.
A building sporting a sign displaying a sword, spear and staff crossed over a shield.
….it isn’t a blacksmith or weapon shop.
Yes, this building was the “Hunter Guild”.
And in front of it stood a lone girl.
The purse she been gifted had contained the baffling amount of three gold coins, which she had used to purchase a set of clothes as well leather shoes and a leather breast plate.
Completing her equipment was a cheap second hand sword she had pulled out of a barrel as a bargain sale.
Since the girl would easily break a normal sword if she got serious, she had no choice but to tweak it a little.
In accordance with her stature, she had bought a rather small sword, and ordered the nanomachines to strengthen it with the iron sand she had them excavate from a dried riverbed. Iron sand is a good source for Tamahagane, the sword steel traditionally used in japanese swords. Originally this would have taken a lot skilled craftsmanship to realise, yet for her who only needed to imagine the outcome, this was easy.
(Make it into a sword that won’t break or bend easily. A cutting edge with normal sharpness is okay. I leave things like the optimal carbon content up to you. Also, if there are cool ores like mithril, adamantium, orichalcum or scarletite, I wouldn’t mind it at all if you used them. Just make it look like a normal sword, please.)
What came out was a Mysterious Sword.
It’s true character, even the girl didn’t know.
She hadn’t made the thing from nothing since it bothersome to think about the handle or the sheath and get resources for them, and of course, to make it look like a normal sword.
Her preparations for monster extermination were finished. Thus the girl opened the Hunter Guild’s door and entered. In order to become an absolutely average, everyday Hunter.