Chapter 31: More Valuable Than Jewels
“It’s been a while, Your Majesty.”
It was unusual for Count Palatine Vedett to appear in my room at noon. Timona has also left for quite some time… I’ve never been in this situation before.
The Imperial Guard at the door was probably taken care of as well, which means there’s no need for me to act.
“You’ve been very busy lately… I’ll guess I’ll hear that report later. What do you want?”
“Please stop messing around.”
Count Palatine Vedett’s serious voice made me ponder if I had done anything wrong… Oh, there is something.
“What if I wasn’t messing around?”
“Then you should stop.”
… Hmm, he sounds very serious. He’s probably telling me to stop at any cost.
“Wait. This is about the Crown Prince’s concubine, right?”
I guess he’s talking about my regular secret meetings with the former Crown Prince’s concubine, Vera Sylvie le Chaplier. Her father is an aristocrat in the Chancellor’s faction, and she is grandly using the magic that has been concealed from her for a long time. It was only natural for him to reproach me for meeting her.
“Was there anything else?”
Count Palatine Vedett interrupted. Apparently, he couldn’t grasp what I was doing at the tower.
But the guard who guards the tower where Vera Sylvie is imprisoned is changed to a spy on nights when the full moon is out. I knew this from their presence, and I only detected the spy with magic, so I’m certain of this. I thought that the Chief of the Ministry of Intelligence, Count Palatine Vedett, who would have received reports of me going to the tower, would have been aware of everything, but that… doesn’t seem to be the case.
“You haven’t received reports from your spies about what I’m doing in the tower?”
“I receive reports after it’s happened, but it’s impossible to know what you’re doing there because you’re hidden by the barrier.”
I see, so that’s the limits of the spies.
Just because we’re allies now doesn’t mean that we’ll continue to be allies in the future. I wanted to find out what the spies were capable of. Besides, emperors shouldn’t blindly trust their vassals. I want to find out what they can and can’t do.
… In fact, the Chief of the Ministry of Intelligence, who is standing in front of me, continues to distrust me.
Well, I’m trying my best to stay hidden with the way everything is. I ordered him not to write about me whenever he wrote to his family… Naturally, I can’t trust him, so the letters are reviewed. This is also done by a spy. But… What does he mean after it happened?
I know what happened. During the period when Count Palatine Vedett was busy, Timona Renan had been instructing the spies on his behalf. So, everything that has happened was reported to Timona only, and Timona is aware of what I have been up to.
… Hmm, but it’s not like he betrayed you.
Yeah. Let’s just try persuading the person in front of me for now.
“That tower has seals on it, right?”
“… Yes, it does.”
He was still calm even though he was emotional. I’m glad to see you’re still rational.
It’s simple. The reason why I’m acting so daring is because it’s worth it.
“I was surprised when I first approached the tower because all the mana outside was shaken by her singing.”
When I told him this, his eyes widened in surprise, and he muttered.
“How can that be possible?”
“I was even more surprised when I got closer. The mana inside of the tower was shaking so much from her singing that I didn’t even feel the seals. I wouldn’t have noticed they were there if she hadn’t told me about them.”
I did think she had a beautiful singing voice at that time; her voice was so beautiful that it attracted me, but more importantly, it was my first-time feeling mana shake that much. Resonance is perhaps a better way of phrasing it.
Perhaps people ‘feel fascinated’ when ‘mana shakes’. I still don’t understand that part yet.
I realized that the magic I thought I had understood was only one aspect of magic.
I can use magic even within the ‘sealed zone’ by forcibly releasing the mana in my body. I was doing heavy labour, but Vera Sylvie is different. She can move fixed mana. Sure enough, she was able to use magic as soon as I taught her how.
She’s a real genius.
“I’m glad I met her before other people found out about this.”
There might be someone besides me who can perceive mana.
“Other than me, she’s the only person who can use magic in a ‘seal’.”
“… That solves one of the problems.”
There’s an issue that always pops up after I seize real power; that problem is who taught the Emperor magic?
Count Palatine Vedett and Timona aren’t as good as magic as I am, nor are they unique. It wouldn’t be a problem if I hide my abilities by not using magic, but I might go to war or be attacked by an assassin. I can’t afford to hold back.
But this problem would be solved if I pretend that she is my ‘magic teacher’. Even if she isn’t as skilled as I am with magic, her unique ability to ‘use magic within sealed areas’ will persuade people that she’s the Emperor’s teacher.
This excuse is valid even if she doesn’t say, “I’m the Emperor’s teacher”, if anything, it would be better if she says, “The Emperor taught me magic,” to make people think that she’s hiding the truth.
She must come to my room to teach me magic, so she would have to slip out of the tower to teach me magic. So, of course she would want to hide the truth. This is what people around me will think.
It’s easy to make this lie work. I can get Vera-Sylvie out of the tower after I seize real power and treat her with respect. Just by doing this, I can create the lie of ‘repaying a favour to an unofficial teacher’.
More importantly, the ability to use magic in the palace means that assassinations and destruction of evidence can be done at will. That is incredibly dangerous. Of course, I can kill them, but what if I fail? They will get revenge and my life will be in danger.
I can guide them to someone who isn’t hostile towards me.
“Count Palatine Vedett. I have a favour to ask you. Count Chamneaux is a potential neutral faction member, is he not? Support him even if it’s just behind the scenes. Create a connection with him and get him to the point where ‘he can change to the neutral side even if he’s in the Chancellor’s faction’… Is this too much?”
“… No, rather it’s too little.”
Alright, did I manage to convince him?
“As you wish, You Majesty… This Alfredo is truly ashamed of my pushy and thoughtless words. I apologise.”
“It’s alright. You were worried about me, and you didn’t have enough information. The problem is…”
Why did Timona stop him from getting that information?
“Timona le Renan told me that ‘we should not question His Majesty’s actions’…”
… What’s with his blind faith? How did he turn out like that?
“That’s troubling. I’m someone who makes mistakes… Keep his blind faith in check.”
“I am sorry, Your Majesty. That is impossible.”
Eeh… it’s scary though. With that kind of blind faith, he might come to kill me and say, “You’re not the Majesty I know”, if I make a mistake…
Ah, this isn’t good. I feel like he’s really going to do that now that I’ve said it. Is this alright…?
“W-well anyway, please keep up the good work. And you’ve been busy lately. How’s that going?”
“Then I will start by reporting the movements of the neighbouring nations…”
By the way, all reports are verbal since it can be used as evidence if it were written down.
In the end, the day’s report continued until dawn, though we did take a break for dinner. That was how tense things were in the other nations. They were all focused on what will happen after the Empire rumbles.
There’s finally no time left to spare.
By the way, I’m certain that Timona is aware that I can use magic because of recent events. He probably knows that I can use magic within ‘seals’ too.
… He hasn’t mentioned anything about this. He’s really scary…