Arc 26: What can be done for tomorrow
Chapter 257: The Queen and the Blessing of Life
The Castle of Elfrau retains a moderate temperature. Have they applied warming magic on it? There’s nothing like a fireplace in the guest room I’ve been guided to despite it being considerably spacious. Is It fully equipped with floor-heating and air-heating magic?
I’ve seen a few castles like the one in Belfast, Misumido or Regulus, but Elfrau castle is more beautiful than they are. I feel its non-gaudy charm in the delicate workmanship applied to it, and the design of its interior separates it from those that are intended to be luxurious despite it being conservative.
Perhaps I should say that it’s the loveliness of silver instead of gold.
As I sit on a sofa I was recommended to sit on, a maid-san then comes in, bringing tea. It’s accompanied by a small bowl of red jam and a small spoon.
It really looks like Russian tea. I’m certain I’ve read about it somewhere. The tea is supposed to be enjoyed not by pouring the jam into it, but by tasting the jam first and then drinking the tea together with it, right?
I don’t know the right way to do it, but when I try drinking the tea that way, its sourness coupled with the sweetness of the jam mix become quite delicious.
「First of all, I wish to express my gratitude for taking on the request and fulfilling the subjugation of the Sunora Wolf. While it might have been sudden, I also thank you for dealing with it swiftly. Of course, you’ll properly receive your reward」(Foltuna)
「Ah, Yes. I thank you for that very much」(Touya)
Her Majesty The Queen, who’s sitting in front of me, bows very deeply, so I end up giving a dull reply devoid of tension.
Seeing that, Her Majesty smiles at me.
「You’ve heard about the request from Rerisha, haven’t you? 」(Foltuna)
「Hmm? Are you, by chance, acquainted with Guild Master Rerisha-san?」(Touya)
Both of them are elves, so that might make them acquaintances in a certain sense. Come to think of it, Guild Master Rerisha-san might have contacted me personally because the Queen-sama is an elf. I wonder if that’s something I could ask.
I continue eating the jam and drinking a mouthful of tea while thinking about that.
「She’s my niece rather than acquaintance. To be precise, she’s the daughter of my younger sister」(Foltuna)
I very forcefully gulp down the tea which promised to spill out it. A niece?! That Rerisha-san is a niece to the Queen of Elfrau?
Her Majesty The Queen chuckles. Has she guessed that I was THAT surprised?
「Rerisha is certainly my niece, but she has no relation to Elfrau. That’s right… Your Majesty, Haven’t you considered why I, who’s an elf, am the Queen of Elfrau?」(Foltuna)
「Eh? Yes, I guess I have」(Touya)
It’s no use even if I hide it so I obediently nod.
「Elfrau is a country which was founded about 1200 years ago, but the land was completely unfit for people to live on. However, this land was reclaimed thanks to the power of an adventurer and the Frau tribe who had been washed up here from a ruined country of those days. Afterwards, the country “Elfrau” was then founded」(Foltuna)
「An adventurer, you say?」(Touya)
「Yes. His name was El Caltered. He became the first king of this country as well as my husband」(Foltuna)
Husband?! But the country was founded 1200 years ago… Don’t tell me Her Majesty The Queen has been living since those days?!
「The name “Elfrau” comes from both his name and the name of the tribe that followed him. After he had died, it was just me, his wife and adventurer like him who was capable of supporting this country. The family head of the Frau tribe had recommended me as well, so It had been decided that I’d take the throne as the queen. Since then up until now, I’ve been supporting this country as its ruler 」(Foltuna)
「Forgive my rudeness, but the children between you and the King-sama…」(Touya)
「There are none. I’ve thought many times “if only we had had one before he passed away”」(Foltuna)
Well, long-living species like elves can postpone the problem with regards to the inheritance of the throne for a very long time. It’s the same for His Majesty The Demon King of Zenoasu. Though they do have a tentative heir who’s a muscle-head.
I wonder how it will turn out for us. With how things are going, assuming that I won’t die from longevity after evolving into a god, I’ll be enthroned for many thousands of years. As expected, it may be better to hand over the throne to my son the usual way and retire to Babylon.
Though I don’t know whom among my nine wives will that son of mine be born to. Naturally, if that son of mine, or maybe my grandchild, won’t govern this country properly I’ll come down to see him and give him a piece of my mind.
「It must’ve been difficult to govern a country for more than 1200 years…」(Touya)
「It isn’t that difficult, you know? People of the Frau tribe are gentle by nature. It’s a tribe with good people who can politely speak the untarnished truth, so they’re basically broad-minded. Because of that, large disputes don’t happen and other countries don’t come to attack this land covered with ice and snow. Small disputes do happen though, but I’ve gotten used to them after being a queen for more than 1000 years. There are also capable people around me helping to support this country 」(Foltuna)
This person, who has been living since the foundation, is a symbol of this country so to speak. She may even be an absolute existence for them.
It’s a certainty that the dominion of Elfrau has approximately the same size as Ramisshu Holy Kingdom, but the majority of the land cannot be lived on by its people. This land belongs to the spirits of ice residing on it, but Elfrau was granted some land where people could live after they had negotiated with those spirits.
It seems that the person who did the negotiations was Her Majesty The Queen during her days as an adventurer. Elves have an exceeding affinity with the spirits, after all.
If something supposedly happened to her Majesty The Queen, this land might regress back to how it was 1200 years ago, enclosed with a permanent frost.
However, a spirit, huh? This is the third time I encounter one, after the spirit of darkness and the spirit of the great tree.
It’s likely that Her Majesty The Queen is receiving some kind of divine protection from the said spirit of ice. I may have to meet it sooner or later.
「By the way, it’s about the Sunora Wolf. Would you mind selling it to our country?」(Foltuna)
「Yes. The quality of the Sunora Wolf’s fur is very high. It’s up to the point wherein we don’t get to acquire it so easily. We would like to ask you to hand it over to us if that suits you. We’ll provide a suitable compensation based on its market price 」(Foltuna)
「It’s not a problem. There should be more demand for it in this country than in other areas anyway」(Touya)
I thought for a moment whether she had overemphasized her intentions with the fur or not, but I currently had no use for a fur in particular. It also looked like the meat of the Sunora Wolf was hard and not quite delicious.
「Thank you very much. In that case, we would like to ask for a little bit of time to prepare the reward money, but would it be acceptable for you if you pick another reward in the meantime?」(Foltuna)
If I’m not mistaken, I can select a single item from the royal treasury.
Being guided by Her Majesty The Queen, we then enter the royal treasury in the castle basement. I see shelves arranged in an orderly and precise fashion with items inside them. There are items that can be understood as treasures just by looking at them and items that make someone wonder, “What are those things?”.
I ask about the articles that caught my attention one by one, but honestly speaking, there’s nothing in here that makes me think that I want to have it. That’s because the Babylon [Warehouse] has items sitting idly in there that have greater value than any of the items here.
The moment when I was thinking whether I should take a suitable article or not… “That” certain object caught my sight.
Appearance-wise, it’s an ordinary ax of some sorts. No, it’s a battle ax with a reddish tinge all over it. Has hihiirokane been used as the basic material for its construction?
However, this isn’t what caught my attention, but the carving on its side instead.
It’s the same secret letters that I discovered in that former capital of Belfast. They resemble the secret letters of Artema, but with some slight differences. Yet there’s no mistaking it.
「Your Majesty, what’s this?」(Touya)
「Aah, we received that weapon from a certain tribe around the time this country was established」(Foltuna)
「A certain tribe?」(Touya)
「I think they were called the “Arkana” tribe. Though personally, they called themselves the ”red nation”. That’s because they regarded the red color as sacred」(Foltuna)
The “red nation”. I guess that settles it. That foreword from those ruins, the one saying “we, red”, probably continues with “we, the red nation”.
「Reading/Secret letters of Arkana」(Touya)
I stealthily invoke the reading magic. Twilight… Judge? I really don’t understand what it means.
I thought I’d be able to understand it because the letters were short, but I guess it’s impossible. By the way, I can’t completely read it even after I translating it with the “secret letter of Arkana”. These might not be characters belonging to that language.
「Say, does this ax have a full name or something?」(Touya)
「If I’m not mistaken, this is called the “Conviction of Twilight”. It’s said that it has the effect of granting several times greater physical strength to the user’s arm holding it」(Foltuna)
“Conviction of Twilight”. I see. So it translates like that, huh? It certainly looks like a useful ax, though it’s useless for me.
「Speaking of this Arkana tribe, are there any living descendants of that tribe right now?」(Touya)
「I wonder? They were a wandering tribe at that time so… It wouldn’t be strange even if there were surviving descendants somewhere else, had they managed to locate some place where they could live in peace 」(Foltuna)
Muu. Bad luck then. But I guess I should just consider knowing about the existence of the said “red nation” as good fortune.
「Would you like that ax?」(Foltuna)
「Aah, no. I was just a little interested in it. That’s all… What’s that over there?」(Touya)
I take a pendant-like article, hanging next to the ax. A three-centimeter oval-shaped jewel is shining in rainbow colors. It looks more like a pearl rather than a diamond-like gem.
「It’s a magic tool called “Blessing of Life”. It has the ability to raise the likelihood of child conception if a woman wears it when she’s with a man. It didn’t display any effect in me and my husband’s case for some reason, but after we had lent it to retainer spouses, they achieved conception with a very high probability rate. It may be that a certain affinity is a requirement」(Foltuna)
U~mu. Perhaps the reason that Her Majesty The Queen couldn’t achieve pregnancy is that of a problem on the deceased King-sama’s side.
Nevertheless… Can this item be considered a dream item in some way? It may be the case for a couple who wants to have children but doesn’t have one yet. Though in the end, it’s not like it absolutely guarantees pregnancy since it just raises the likelihood.
It’s an item wherein it’ll usually be regarded as fake when being sold in the markets, which will eventually lead to the seller being suspected as a fraud or something. It’s no mistake that an object is a magic tool since it’s properly loaded with magic power, but how effective it’ll be is still unknown.
「Speaking of His Majesty, you have a lot of fiancees. I believe it’s better for you to be able to produce an heir soon, you know? 」(Foltuna)
Her Majesty The Queen says so, probably from her personal experience.
Mu-mu-mu… Could it be that the reason why I’ll have many children in the future is due to this thing right here…?
I glare at the pendant in front of me. Well, I don’t believe that it’d be better for my children not to be born, and I do believe that I want to have a child with each one of them.
「Would you like that one?」(Foltuna)
「Because of those reasons, the item I received is this」(Touya)
Duke Ortlinde gazes with great interest at the “Blessing of Life” magic tool I’ve placed on the table.
In the end, I took this article from the royal treasury of Elfrau and came here to the residence of Duke Ortlinde in the Belfast Kingdom on these feet of mine.
「And so, are you saying that you’re lending this to me?」(Duke)
「Yep. That’s because I’ve received it with the permission of Her Majesty The Queen to do as I like with it. You see, I’d like to confirm its effects first and foremost 」(Touya)
「Ha-ha-ha, I suppose that makes me a test subject」(Duke)
Well, frankly speaking, it’s exactly as he says it is.
This house was left behind with no successors when Suu went to my house as my bride. It’s not like I’m doing this as atonement for that matter, but it’s by no means a bad thing to do.
「You still have the energy pills I gave you the other day, don’t you?」(Touya)
「Aah, I still do. I’ve given a few to some acquaintances, but you see, everyone was surprised, you know 」(Duke)
Of course they would be. It’s a pill that can make even a withered grandpa vigorous. On the other hand, if given to a young man, its effects would be absurdly scary. I think for young men, it lets them continue on for three days and three nights.
「Don’t you have any plans on selling those pills?」(Duke)
「I have no intention to do so at the moment」(Touya)
I’d be troubled if our country gains notoriety for a rumor stating that “if it’s energy pills, you only need go to Brunhild” despite the fact that it hasn’t been a long time since the establishment of our country. It’d be bad for our image, you know. What would I do if people started calling me the lecherous sovereign king?
「Well, I’m lending it to you for the time being. It’s said that its effect will appear if your wife wears it. I’ve also been told that there are no strange side effects, so let’s observe what happens for a year or so」(Touya)
「However, is it fine for us to borrow a treasure of Brunhild? There’s no need to give it to us if it’s just about testing the magic tool, right?」(Duke)
「Nn~… Frankly speaking, I still have doubts whether it’s genuine or not. Also, it’s not yet considered as a national treasure. I’ll make it one when Suu gets a younger brother or sister. Additionally, it will help the current situation of the Duke Ortlinde household 」(Touya)
Well, for argument’s sake, it’ll be impossible to prove whether the conception was achieved thanks to that item even if it did happen. As I thought, it must be a fake item, right? Muu. It’s a different matter on how to prove that it’s absolutely effective.
I’m considering such thoughts while I look at the delighted duke.