Chapter 29: The Songstress in the Tower
“Say, Timona. Can’t I go outside?”
I asked while looking out the window on a night when I didn’t have training.
“Do you need to do something outside?”
“No? … I just want to get some fresh air.”
I am an Emperor by birth, but that doesn’t mean I only know how to be an emperor. I still have the middle-class sensibilities of my previous life. I act as a child emperor, and it would be nice if I can switch that emperor side of me off when I’m in my room… but I can’t since I’m not alone in my room.
I’m not unhappy with Timona. I just want some time alone… or more accurately, I want some time where I’m not the Emperor.
This is an urge I have to get rid of if I am going to continue to be the Emperor. I know that.
“… You can, but please don’t leave any tracks behind.”
“I know. I’ll be back in a bit.”
I went out the window after I had surrounded myself with various barriers.
Then I flew.
It’s not like I can use levitation magic or flight magic. Like always, I couldn’t do them because I think about things I don’t need to think about like gravity and air resistance.
I’m flying right now because of a special technique.
First, I create a physical barrier, 『Christel』and use it as a foothold. I can force this barrier to move depending on how I manipulate my mana. This is how I fly. It uses a lot of mana and is obviously inefficient, but… well, it’s fine to use it occasionally.
The night breeze that blew through my whole body was nice and the moon was full and beautiful.
The moon in this world is clearly different from the one on Earth, and it was because of this that I didn’t think this was a parallel world.
As I was wandering around without thinking about anything in particular, I found myself near the eastern edge of the palace. There was a tower in front of me. My father’s concubine, Vera-Sylvie le Chaplier, is imprisoned in this tower since it has an underground prison. I heard that she was 14 when she married my father, which makes her 24 years old if she is still alive.
… I said it like that because I don’t know what state she is in. I don’t even know if the person who imprisoned her (the Regent) even knows. It’s possible that she may have already passed away… or even worse…
Is this another wrongdoing I need to know about?
There was also a balcony on the tower, so if she was here, she would probably be out there. I casually made my way towards the tower.
I heard a song as I got closer.
――― It was a song that shook my soul. The person singing the song had a clear voice which was filled with loneliness and sorrow.
I’ve heard some songs from this world in my arts and culture class, but I thought this song was better than any of those. It was so good that I couldn’t help but listen to it. It was coming from behind the balcony that I was heading to.
I landed quietly and tried not to make a sound. The air was trembling. When I looked up, I saw that the windows were barred and there was only a dim lighted lamp inside. I slowly peeked inside and saw that the room was much cleaner than I had expected. The room was simple, but the sanitary conditions weren’t bad. The problem was the owner of the room…
I noticed the singing had stopped. A girl, who looked only a little older than me, trembled as she stared at me.
Ah, dammit. This is bad. If people know I’m here… wait, it doesn’t seem like she knows who I am? Since she doesn’t know who I am, I should try to talk to this cautious girl first… unless she screams in a loud voice and calls people over.
“It was a nice song.”
The words came out easily. This wasn’t the time to be complimenting her, but I felt like I had to tell her this first.
“Th… a… nks.”
Unlike when she sang, her voice was quiet and barely audible. I’m surprised she could produce sounds like that with her tiny body.
“Your voice was so beautiful that I was drawn to it.”
The girl tilted her head cutely in confusion.
I don’t remember how old I was in my previous life, but with this life combined, I’ve lived at least 30 years. I don’t think a man who has lived for 30 years total would be a fairy. It reeks of a crime.
“Well, something like that.”
… No, no, it’s not something like that. I thought it would be bad if she found out that I am the Emperor, so it would be better for her to believe that I’m like a fairy. Most importantly, the eyes of the cute girl in front of me was shaking with anxiety… How can I say no?
She patted her chest in relief. Eh, you’re relieved by hearing that? … Are you alright? Your awareness of crimes is too low.
It’ll be suspicious if I rush back now. I talked to her while resigning to the fact that whatever will be will be. If I’m found out… erm… and I play dumb, then the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies probably won’t kill me even if they doubt me.
“Why were you singing at night?”
“You know… little birds… and cats… come to visit… me in… the daytime.”
“But… I’m… all alone… at night. So… I’m lonely.”
So that’s why she sang such a sad song.
“I see… what’s your name, by the way?”
… So, this girl is the former concubine who is imprisoned in this tower? Eh, but she should be 24. She looks like she’s 13 or 14 at most.
Vera tilted her head again. I coughed and spoke while suppressing my agitation.
“Ah, alright. Is there anything you want me to do to thank you for the wonderful song? I’m a weak fairy, so there’s a limit to what I can do.”
If her request has something to do with magic, then I can manage somehow. So, I want to finish my duty as a fairy and get the hell out of here.
“Hmm… can you… be my… friend?”
… Oh. That’s something that won’t end with just one meeting. That’s a bit…
… No. If someone looks at you anxiously like that then all you can say is ‘yes’.
It’s not my fault.
I talked to Vera through the bars for a while after that. Apparently, she has been imprisoned in this tower since she was 14. Her childish appearance was probably the result of malnutrition. And then there was also her childish behaviour and how she let her guard down just because I said I was a fairy. She also seemed extremely shy and unable to speak well when she was nervous. She was probably singing fluently because she was concentrating on singing. It was hard to tell with the dim light, but she probably had silver hair and green eyes.
“Umm… will you… come… again?”
She asked while looking anxious as the distant eastern sky began to light up.
“… Sure. I’ll come here when it’s a full moon since that’s the kind of fairy I am.”
Ugh, it’s embarrassing to say this. It’s a thousand times more embarrassing than when I have to act like a child emperor and show disgraceful behaviour.
It was a cute smile full of happiness. Well, this is a bit of a change of pace for me too… But I have to act like a fairy now too.
“Let me hear you sing again next time. If you sing for me then… ah yes, I’ll teach you magic.”
I’m sure it won’t be a waste to teach her. Well, she might already be able to use magic well enough.
That’s about all I can do, or so I thought at that time.
“I can… sing for you. But… I can’t… use magic?”
“Yeah… because this… room is… sealed. I’ve also… never been… taught it… so I’ve… never been… able to use… magic.”
There’s a seal in this room?
I kneaded mana into the air… It certainly is stronger than normal… If the balcony is like this then there must be powerful sealing magic inside of this tower. But just before…
… I see. Maybe I’ve met an extremely gifted person.
“Don’t worry, you’ll be able to use it. I’m a fairy, after all. I’ll see you on the next full moon!”
I said as I waved my hand and flew towards my room.
Should I read a beginner magic book in the meantime…? Hmm, but I don’t know how I’ll borrow one.
I succeeded in returning to my room without anyone noticing while thinking about this.
Timona didn’t scold me for coming back late… That’s even scarier.