Chapter 17: Emperor Adrinus Odo Albus
Long after the sun had set in the western sky ─ after Zavok fled back to the Albus Empire and transported his companion who had withered like an old man to the national hospital, he headed to the general reception desk located on the first floor of the Imperial Palace.
“I am Zavok Dodo, land tax collector assigned to District 15 in the southern part of the Empire! I wish to see His Majesty the Emperor immediately!”
“I’m sorry. His Majesty the Emperor is busy and it is not possible to have an audience with him right now. Please submit the prescribed application form and wait for about a week─”
“─You idiot, like this could wait that long! I have information about that Silver, you know!?”
“The representative of the Saint…!? P-please wait a moment…”
The receptionist’s eyes widened in shock and she hurriedly went to seek instructions from her superior.
The reason Zavok was acting like that was not because he wanted to serve the interests of the Empire.
The Emperor was currently collecting information about Silver and it was announced that a large reward would be offered to those who provide useful information.
(I was thoroughly embarrassed by that Silver bastard… I’m a guy who isn’t satisfied with just getting back up after falling! I’ll sell information about you and receive an outrageous amount of reward money from His Majesty! Hehe, this will be dozens of times more efficient than rummaging through that trash heap Spedio territory…)
As Zavok was smiling evilly, two Imperial Guards descended from the upper floor.
“Lord Zavok, please follow us to the throne room.”
“His Majesty the Emperor is waiting.”
The Emperor is typically busy with political affairs and it takes about a week or more for an audience… but since it was ‘information regarding Silver’, he was immediately ushered into the throne room.
Zavok followed the Imperial Guards with his eyes lowered and knelt.
“─ Zavok Dodo, raise your head.”
A voice that combined beauty and dignity echoed, and he slowly raised his head.
Ahead ─ sitting on the golden throne was the world-renowned absolute ruler of the Albus Empire.
(H-he’s even more impressive when seen in person…)
Adrinus Odo Albus, 33rd Emperor of the Albus Empire, 28 years old.
He is 185 cm tall and has a slender body.
His hair is dyed a translucent green and is long enough to reach his back.
Large topaz iris, well-shaped nose, fine-textured skin, and a perfectly proportioned face that is sharp yet elegant.
Wearing a robe made of the finest white silk with gold designs and loose pants with a wide hem.
“Zavok, you say you have information about Silver, are you certain?”
“Y-Yes…! He uses the Spedio territory at the southernmost tip of the Empire as one of his bases of operation!”
“Hoh… keep going.”
Sensing a solid response, Zavok gulped and told the outline of the incident that occurred in Spedio territory, dramatizing the parts that were not convenient for him.
“S-since I am a tax collector, I headed to the Spedio territory to figure out the appropriate land tax for the next year ─”
Just as he said that, a sharp knife passed right in front of his line of sight.
His cut hair from the side danced in the air and fresh blood dripped from a shallow nick on his ear.
Adrinus gave advice to the confused Zavok.
“Zavok, I hate men’s lies and women’s flattery. The next time you speak a lie, I will open a new hole in that ugly face.”
He already had another knife in his left hand.
“W-what do you mean…?”
He gave a look of disappointment when Zavok still tried to act innocent.
“Zavok Dodo, 34 years old. After graduating from the Imperial Military Academy, appointed as a junior secretary in the central government. The following year, due to poor behavior, delegated to civil servant. Work attitude is poor and possesses no enthusiasm for work. ─ Do you think I would believe a lazy man like you would inspect such a remote area to ensure proper land tax management? Most likely, you happened to encounter Silver when you asked for some side income under the guise of tax.”
“I-I-I, I am terribly sorry…”
Having had his guise perfectly unraveled, Zavok lowered his head below his butt and apologized for his flippant false statement.
“Keep in mind that this is your last chance. The information you have seen and heard about Silver, speak in detail without any lies.”
Afterward, he shared the information he learned without embellishing it in any way.
“─ I managed to escape and return like this…”
Adrinus utilized his brilliant mind to ponder Zavok’s report ─ and grinned.
“Hmm… this information has value. Especially at this moment, it is very important to know that the Spedio territory is one of Silver’s bases of operations. Perhaps the Kingdom has not grasped this information yet. ─Well done , Zavok.’’
“I-I am grateful…!”
Zavok breathed a sigh of relief, but… the next moment, Adrinus’ eyes sharpened like a hawk’s.
“─ However, this incident has made Silver distrust the Empire to some extent. The discord with him… is equivalent to a myriad of national disasters… You did something utterly troublesome.’’
“I-I am extremely sorry…”
Zavok, unable to speak properly due to fear, slammed his forehead against the floor over and over again.
His skin tore and bone creaked as blood splattered, and he continued to bow on the ground.
As an imperial officer, he knew all too well the fate of those who displease the Emperor.
Adrinus sighed and showed mercy to Zavok, who continued to bow on the ground in pain.
“Hah… that’s enough. Don’t waste any more blood.”
He somehow managed to win over his kindness.
Zavok’s heart suddenly eased but at that moment, he was grabbed by his arms by muscular Imperial Guards.
“Even the blood of a fool like you is still valuable nutritional value. I don’t like wasting resources.”
“Take him underground, grind him up, and feed him to the demonic beasts.”
Hearing the indifferent instructions, Zavok’s face turned pale.
“Y-Your Majesty, please wait…! Please, please have mercy…! Your Majestyyyy…!?”
He desperately screamed in vain as he was transported to the ‘Demonic Beast Research Institute’ in the basement of the Imperial Capital… and met a tragic end.
“Now, let’s end today’s political affairs here. ─ Rad, come with me.”
Adrinus left the throne and moved to his private quarters on the top floor of the castle, accompanied by his closest aide.
Rad Tsezgenia, 28 years old.
He is 180 cm tall, has a slender build, and has long light brown hair.
A man who has followed Adrinus since he was a child and swears absolute loyalty to him.
Rad followed the Emperor into his private quarters and chanted a spell softly.
The candle stick installed on the wall was lit, and a gentle glow warmed the room.
“Your Majesty, would you like a drink?”
“Hmm… ’70-year Glokis’.”
Rad took out the designated bottle from a small fridge made of ice magic stones, poured vermilion wine into a transparent glass, and presented it to the Emperor.
Adrinus, resting his body on the crimson sofa, took a small sip of the wine after enjoying the mellow fragrance of the grape and let out a satisfied sigh.
“Hah… it’s confirmed from that information just now. There’s no doubt that the Saint is hiding in the Elgia Kingdom.”
“Is it because of the consecutive sightings of Silver within the Kingdom?”
“Hah, my thinking isn’t that shallow.”
Adrinus, in a good mood, inhaled the scent of the wine and explained his theory.
“As you know, the Kingdom’s national treasure, the Red Book, contained a prophecy that the Saint will be reincarnated in 300 years. ─ Just before she was executed, the Saint cast a reincarnation spell on herself. This is a confirmed fact.”
That opinion of Adrinus was completely unanimous among the Imperial Saint Society.
“And what follows is ‘top secret information’ that is not disclosed to the general public. ─ <Storage>.”
He deployed space-time magic and pulled out an old tome from thin air.
“Is that… a magic book?”
“There is one holy relic that has been passed down my Albus imperial family ─ a spell book left by Shasha, the legendary Saint party ‘Great Magician’.”
While the Saint left worthless dark history behind, Shasha passed on her magical wisdom to future generations.
“According to what Shasha wrote ─ reincarnation magic is performed at a place where you have deep ties to in life. From this information, I believed that the place where the Saint would reincarnate was her birthplace, the Divine Kingdom, or her place of execution, the Elgia Kingdom… Judging from the sightings of Silver and the scope of his activities, it seems that death carved a stronger tie. The Saint’s hatred towards humanity seems to be quite considerable.”
Amidst Adrinus’ wicked laugh, Rad thought deeply.
“The choice of where the Saint would be reincarnated was narrowed down to either the Divine Kingdom or the Elgia Kingdom… Then, Silver appeared at the Elgia Royal Museum and the Kingdom’s Spedio territory… I see, if that is the case, then it makes sense that the Saint’s hiding place is the Kingdom.’’
Adrinus lifted the corner of his mouth with satisfaction and placed the glass to his lips.
“Rad, why do you think Silver showed up at that museum?”
“Wasn’t it to retrieve the Red Book that was stolen by the demons?”
“No, that’s not true. That doesn’t match the timeline. When he joined the battle, the Red Book was still stored in the basement of the Kingdom.”
“… You are right.”
“Silver, who had been hiding for a long time, somehow chose that moment on that day to appear on stage and declare the reincarnation of the Saint. I was struck by an intense sense of incongruity.’’
“Sense of incongruity…?”
Rad tilted his head.
“Think about it. Was there really appropriate?”
“…I’m sorry, I don’t understand the intent of your question.”
“Don’t think too deeply. As a place to announce the ‘Saint’s Reincarnation’, it wasn’t significant enough. From Silver’s point of view, it’s a big announcement that he’s been reluctant to make for 300 years, right? If he had to do it, he would do it in a flashy manner right in the middle of the Royal Capital… or rather, he should. And yet, for some reason, he showed up at a museum in the suburbs and made his declaration there.’’
“So… the declaration was not intentional, but an accident?”
“Yes. Probably at that time, Silver had to appear. This is my hunch ─ I guess he chose to come out to protect his ‘precious someone’ from the imminent threat of Weiss. There’s only one person in this world that he wants to and must protect.’’
“No way… the Saint was there!?”
“Yeah, there’s no doubt about it. On that day, at that time, at that moment, the Saint was at the Elgia Royal Museum. ‘Immediately after reincarnation, the Saint’s power and memory will have deteriorated significantly.’ ─ In light of the announcement of the Saint’s Society, my reasoning is consistent.”
Regardless of the process of reasoning, the conclusion Adrinus reached was perfectly accurate.
“However… the Elgia Royal Museum is a world-famous tourist attraction. Over 30,000 people visit the museum every day. Even if we found out that the Saint was there, I think it would be extremely difficult to investigate.”
“Ah, even if we mobilized all of the Empire’s intelligence agents, it would be impossible to track down everyone who was there. However, by adding just one ‘condition’, the scope of the investigation would be narrowed down dramatically.”
Adrinus got up from the sofa and sharpened his topaz eyes.
“Did you know? There was a group of people with slightly unusual status in that place that day.”
“A group of people with unusual status…?”
“The first-year students at the Kingdom’s Saint Academy. Apparently, they were there for a social studies tour.”
“To summarize the story so far… the Saint has two choices for reincarnation: the Divine Kingdom or the Elgia Kingdom. And just the other day, someone claiming to be the Saint’s representative appeared at the Elgia Kingdom’s museum at a really strange time… What’s more, the first-year students from the Kingdom’s Saint Academy happened to be there. Is that really a coincidence? No, it’s not. There are no coincidences in this world. Everything is inevitable.”
The moment Adrinus snapped his fingers, a large number of photographs appeared on an otherwise empty wall.
“Photographs of all the first-year students attending the Kingdom’s Saint Academy— and their detailed research reports.”
“…As expected of Your Majesty (Fast, he’s too fast in everything. I wonder how far ahead this person can read…)”
While Rad was at a loss for words, Adrinus spoke further.
“As a result of thoroughly investigating these people, a suspicious student was found.”
“The students who attend the old-fashioned Kingdom Saint Academy always have parents who are great aristocrats, wealthy merchants, or central government officials… However, among these, there was an ‘irregular’ who was born and raised in ‘a certain remote territory’.”
“A certain remote territory… no way!?”
“Yes, the Spedio territory where Silver appeared.”
From all over the world to the Kingdom of Elgia.
From the Kingdom of Elgia, to the Royal Museum.
From the Royal Museum to the first years of Saint Academy.
From the first-year students at Saint Academy to a child in the Spedio territory.
Adrinus used his intelligent mind to accurately narrow down the Saint’s hiding place.
“As you know, the Spedio territory is preyed on by the four major powers. From that impoverished land, a student was accepted into Saint Academy. By the way, this seems to be the first time in the long history of the Spedio territory.’’
“I can’t believe Your Majesty has already done so much research…”
The deep wisdom that sees through everything. Keen eye and swift action ─ Rad’s admiration for Adrinus knew no bounds.
“As far as I can see from this research report, she’s pretending to be a commoner at Saint Academy… but she’s too naive. Slight mistakes in revealing her prodigious talent, that sense of incongruity and excellence that can’t be hidden. After all, you can’t fool my eyes with your little girl acting.”
“S-S-So what’s that person’s… the Saint’s name…!?”
Rad couldn’t hold back anymore as he leaned forward and asked for the ‘answer’.
With a bold smile on his face, Adrinus took out a knife from his pocket and threw it with a strong swish.
It cut through the air in a straight line and pierced a certain photo.
“─ Rho Steinclaw, she is the Saint.”
Unfortunately, he just missed the mark.
TLN: Lol the ending of this chapter made me fall in love with this series. Please leave a rating and comment on novelupdates if you enjoy this series to let it reach more audience 🙂