Chapter 0269 Harold
“The western countries…I bet Ryo would like to go…”
The Royal Palace, King’s office.
King Abel I had finally moved out of that detached wing in the castle and returned to his original office.
And he was currently consulting with his prime minister, Marquis Heinlein.
“The golem corps was it…actually, even I’d like to see that.”
“You can’t go, Your Majesty.”
“Mm…that goes without saying.”
With a slightly forlorn look on his face, Abel let out a small sigh.
He was originally an adventurer.
To want to see things never seen before is a natural instinct.
However, he is now a king.
Moreover, Ryo had managed to save his life, so he can’t afford to do anything reckless….
“If this were a normal delegation, Ryo, the premier duke, would be fine as the leader, but with the Empire and the Union in the picture…it’ll be too heavy a burden on Ryo.”
“There’s no doubt regarding his abilities, but his experience in negotiations…”
Abel frowned and so did Marquis Heinlein.
“That’s his only drawback. Now then, who else could serve as the leader?”
Abel frowned more than before.
Abel had no siblings.
His only brother, the previous crown prince Cain, had died of illness.
No sisters either.
Furthermore, his father, the late King Stafford, also had no remaining siblings.
The previous king’s brother Raymond committed suicide after rebelling. And Raymond didn’t have any children.
Stafford had no other brothers or sisters.
Thinking about it again, it certainly does look like the current royal family of the Kingdom of Knightley isn’t really fertile.
“Talk about a scanty bloodline, or should I say insufficient direct lineage…”
“Your Majesty, please make a lot of children.”
Marquis Heinlein said with a serious face, and Abel nodded.
“If necessary, you may even take one or two concubines…”
“Nah, Rihya is likely to beat the shit out of me if I do, so I’ll pass.”
Abel shook his head again and again as he pictured the scene of Rihya hitting him with her staff technique.
As the two were discussing this, misfortune fell upon them.
“Your Majesty, a C-rank adventurer, Mr. Harold is here with his party requesting an audience.”
Abel frowned as he asked.
Moreover, Marquis Heinlein was putting on an even more displeased face than Abel.
It was unusual for him to frown so much….
It was completely by chance that Ryo saw the party.
He was planning to escape from the castle and go to ‘Cafe de Chocolat’ to have a cake set when he saw the group walking around.
Normally, he wouldn’t have paid any attention to them.
Perhaps, even failing to recognize them.
If he was staring at a table full of cake.
But this time, perhaps because the keywords ‘Cafe de Chocolat’ were in his mind… he immediately recognized the group.
“That’s the Mont Blanc punk and the capable priest! Plus, one.”
Yup, the party of three, including the future heir to a dukedom, who had previously made a fuss at the ‘Cafe de Chocolat’, saying, ‘Get us some Mont Blanc!’.
The three of them were walking around the castle.
It was quite unusual to see C-rank adventurers walking around the castle.
Of course, Ryo is also a C-rank adventurer, but he is the premier duke as well … so it’s fine.
“This reeks of trouble.”
Muttering a line as if he were the protagonist of a mystery novel, Ryo decided to follow the three of them.
The group entered the audience hall, led by palace guards.
Ryo followed them from a little distance away.
The whole spectacle was visible to those working in the royal castle, but no one said a word.
When one of the guards tried to call out to him, the other stopped him and explained.
The guard was surprised by the explanation and looked at Ryo from a distance.
Such scenes were repeated throughout the royal castle.
In his usual robes, he certainly didn’t look like the ‘Premier Duke’.
Nevertheless, he is known to many of those who work in the castle, as he always wandered around the castle from time to time.
Even if the nobles were oblivious to that fact, the guards knew… that he’s Duke Rondo.
There were, of course, guards at the door to the audience chamber, but they too didn’t stop Ryo.
They consciously kept looking straight ahead, trying not to change their expressions.
In the midst of all this, Ryo sneaked in stealthily…at least, from his point of view.
When it comes to an audience with the King in the audience chamber, there would normally be courtiers… lined up in the audience chamber, but this time, there were only three nobles at the lower floor.
Besides them, only the three members of the group that had entered were present.
Atop the stairs, King Abel was seated on his throne, with Queen Rihya standing just behind him.
After confirming this, Ryo continued moving stealthily.
Of the three courtiers, the one with the most information is the prime minister closest to the throne, Marquis Heinlein… but sure enough, he’s reluctant to stand in such a conspicuous position.
The only other courtier on the nobles’ side is a cunning-looking man who fits the image that Ryo has of a rotten noble….
He felt like he’d never met a noble who fits the image so well, and in a way, he was impressed, but wasn’t feeling inclined to move next to him.
Thus, he moved next to the one remaining.
“Whoa, Ryo…uh, why are you making a weird face that seems to say, how did I get found out! …”
It was Hugh McGrath, the Grand Master of the Adventurers’ Guild in the royal capital.
As expected of a former A-rank adventurer, he reacted immediately to Ryo’s sneak movement.
In the midst of all this, the audience began….
“I’m glad to see Your Majesty in such excellent spirits…”
“Thanks. Harold, please state your reason for requesting an audience.”
Abel cut off Harold, a C-rank adventurer, aka Mont Blanc punk, who was down on one knee at the bottom of the stairs and bowing, and asked him to state his business.
Which is very rare.
(It doesn’t seem like Abel likes this audience very much…)
Ryo just kept watching, as he thought that.
“I have but a single request. I want you to make me a Duke!”
Harold uttered shocking words… but somehow, only Ryo was surprised among those present.
Abel grimaced more than ever, Marquis Heinlein didn’t even flinch, the sly-looking noble grinned and… Hugh shook his head slightly.
The only one who didn’t seem to understand what’s going on was Ryo.
And Ryo muttered in frustration.
“Is a Dukedom something one can easily acquire if you desire it…?”
“Like hell it is.”
Hugh next to him sighed and said so, albeit in a whisper.
“That guy, Harold, the C-rank adventurer, is the son of the late crown prince.”
“The late crown prince? Abel’s brother, Crown Prince Cain?”
“Oh, you knew the crown prince?”
Of course, Ryo did not know Crown Prince Cain directly.
But he had seen the impromptu king training course assignments that Cain had given Abel.
They were a truly excellent set of questions.
One can only imagine the level of the question set’s creator by looking at the questions.
And he could pretty much infer that Crown Prince Cain, who created such wonderful sets of questions, must have been quite an amazing person.
“The crown prince was a wonderful person, wasn’t he?”
“He was. And Harold over there, being the crown prince’s last living heir, would have been the one sitting on the throne if things were different…it’s all very complicated.”
“Complicated or not…I don’t see a shred of excellence in him.”
Ryo glanced at Harold and said in no uncertain terms.
“He may have just been promoted to C-rank, but he’s still a C-rank adventurer at the age of eighteen, that should qualify as excellent, though?”
“If it was Crown Prince Cain, he would have made it to B-rank at the age of eighteen!”
“Nah, that’s unlikely…”
That was so like Hugh… a diligent man who would firmly rebut Ryo’s baseless and random opinion.
Meanwhile, the conversation within the audience session carried on.
“I believe I told you that you would get your dukedom when you’re good enough?”
“I’ve moved up to C-rank. I think I’ve become competent enough!”
Harold retorted King Abel’s words.
Perhaps because he was also his nephew, the orphaned son of his late brother whom he adored.
Abel shook his head without correcting his impolite behavior.
Seeing this, Harold continued.
“Uncle, I mean, Your Majesty, once said to me. That, if I could defeat you in a sword fight, you would make me a Duke without question.”
Abel made no reply to that.
“In that case, how about we do it right here, right now!”
As expected, Abel’s tone was a little deep, as if he was offended by what he just heard.
“Let me guess…you think you have a better chance of defeating me now that I’m ill?”
Abel narrowed his eyes, glanced at the cunning-looking noble, and then glared back at Harold.
“T-That wasn’t my intention! I just thought I’d show you my ability!”
Harold retorted, his face bright red.
Someone probably suggested it to him…the cunning-looking noble over there maybe.
Abel stared at Harold for a while.
Harold, too, met Abel’s gaze squarely.
(A face-off between an uncle and a nephew… the same thing happened during the Kingdom Liberation War. It’s a sad thing watching family squabble.)
Ryo compared Abel and Harold, who were glaring at each other, remembering the conflict between uncle Raymond and nephew Abel during the Kingdom Liberation War.
(I believe…this is where I, the premier duke, make my entrance…if he were to make this kid a Duke, it will upset the order of the country.)
After concluding so on his own, Ryo walked out of the line of courtiers and got down on one knee at the bottom of the throne.
“I, Ryo, a C-rank adventurer, have a matter I wish to discuss with His Majesty the King.”
Harold and the rest of his party were startled by Ryo’s sudden appearance.
Another startled fellow, a cunning-looking noble, began to rant.
“Hey bum, what are you…?”
Having said that much, he couldn’t get another word out because… his mouth had been gagged with ice.
And it wouldn’t come off….
Harold and another party member were surprised to see this.
They didn’t even understand what was happening.
But only the priest narrowed his eyes, as something glowed in his eyes.
(Oh, he noticed it? Got to hand it to you, capable priest…)
He had once laid Ice Bahn outside ‘Cafe de Chocolat’ to make the three of them trip.
Needless to say, only the priest didn’t fall, on the contrary, he even recognized that he had been attacked from somewhere.
He may have even recognized that the ‘slippage was caused by ice’ at that time.
And the ‘Ice Muzzle’ this time, put together….
“C-rank adventurer Ryo, you have my permission. You may speak.”
Abel said solemnly.
“Your Majesty, this man, Harold, was so angry at a famous coffee shop for being out of Mont Blanc that he lashed out at the manager and even the customers around him. He is such a child…no, an immature brat, who shamelessly claims that he is a C-rank adventurer and will become a Duke in the future.”
“Wh…What are you…”
Harold’s lips trembled and he couldn’t form any words against Ryo’s accusation… or rather snide remark.
The people around him were left with their mouths hanging open in shock.
So, Ryo continued.
“To appoint such a man, who is a disgrace to the people of the Kingdom as a Duke, would be to heap shame upon shame…”
“You bastard, you shut your mouth!”
At this stage, Harold’s face turned red and he shouted.
Then, at the same time, he drew his sword.
Ryo glanced sideways at him and smiled.
“Mr. Harold, do you understand the implications of drawing your sword on me?”
“You bet your sorry ass! After smearing my name with this much insult, what better way to redeem my honor than with a sword!”
“I see…I guess you have yourself a duel.”
Ryo said and stood up.