Chapter 126: Fall
A bolt from the blue would be just such a thing.
Queen Rebecca, who had been busy doing the king’s work on his behalf, received a report from her lady-in-waiting that she had a visitor.
Rebecca, who was extremely busy, did not ask who the visitor was, and ordered the lady-in-waiting to only ask about their business. But then she returned to Rebecca immediately with a troubled look on her face.
“She would like to speak to you in person, and would like you to arrange it somehow.”
The small, plump lady-in-waiting was an old servant who would turn 40 this year.
The lady-in-waiting should be familiar with how to deal with troublesome tactics, and unless they were a big guest, she didn’t have to bother to come back to ask.
Sensing that this was no ordinary matter, Rebecca stopped her work and looked up.
“Who is it?”
“It’s Walkins-sama, my queen……”
“Walkins? What does he want?”
The look on Rebecca’s face was one of surprise and bewilderment.
It was not often that he visited Rebecca in this way.
As it should be, Queen Rebecca and the consort Pearl had one boy each with the right to succeed each other on the throne.
Inevitably, Pearl had a higher status compared to the other side chambers, and above all, she was in a position where her own son could become the future king in the ‘unlikely event’ that something should happen to her.
Walkins was the elder brother of Pearl. It would be preferable if possible to refrain from meeting the relatives of a side-chamber member who had the power to shake the queen’s throne, as this could lead to unintended misunderstandings.
It was conceivable that Walkins also understood this, which was why he kept his distance.
“How can I help you?”
She could have turned him away on the grounds that she was busy.
However, Rebecca also seemed to have had her own thoughts about Walkins’ visit.
‘The royal court is becoming more noisy than ever about the 21st saint. They told me it was Walkins who was harbouring the saint. When he was wandering alone in the royal palace?’
Regardless of the truth or falsity of the circumstances, there was no doubt that Walkins knew what happened.
“Let him pass.”
When she ordered her lady-in-waiting to do so, Walkins appeared in her office with the same stale air.
“Well, well, my queen. It is an honour to meet you.”
“Walkins. It’s very unusual for you to turn up at my door…what can I do for you?”
Perhaps it was because of the sudden visit, but the tone Rebecca used was mindlessly stinging.
But Rebecca was unconcerned by her words, and Walkins gave an elusive smile and continued to speak.
“I have heard some interesting things. I thought I should bring it to the Queen’s attention.”
“It’s currently the talk of the town - the cover-up of the 21st saint.”
Immediately, Rebecca looked at the lady-in-waiting who was waiting beside her.
In addition to the lady-in-waiting, there were also several servants waiting in the room.
‘Is this the kind of story that they are allowed to hear?’
“No, it would be better if they heard it too. It is not something that should be kept secret.”
Rebecca looked at Walkins with a challenging look.
“The source of the information is you, of all people. I don’t believe everything I read, but…”
“Of course, Your Majesty. That is why I have decided to share the information not only with you, but also with everyone here, so that they can make a more appropriate decision.”
“Enough of your nonsense. Let’s get down to business.”
Rebecca took a bullish stance in the face of Walkins, so as not to let him take the initiative.
Walkins held out a scroll-like object.
Rebecca took it, unfolded it and looked through it, deliberately pretending that it was nothing.
“In relation to the matter at hand, we have an offer of an unfair hearing and a specific remedial action in response.”
“Unfair? It can’t be. Because I’ve been severely insulted by this case. I have ordered them to make a just decision, regardless of faction.”
There was nothing more humiliating for a superior than to have their hand bitten by their own dog. It was also unthinkable that the queen of a country should be taunted by an official who had believed in her and followed her.
Therefore, she ordered not to favour her own people in this matter, but to resolve the issue neutrally.
“On the contrary, that doesn’t seem to be working.”
Rebecca was miffed by the mocking sneer.
There was no need to listen to the views of Walkins, who were essentially on the opposite faction.
However, having been betrayed by an official of the Queen’s faction, it would be rather a bad idea to believe only one side’s opinion on this matter or to dismiss the other side’s claims.
“If you’re going to go that far, you must have a good reason.”
Walkins was offering false information to mislead the sceptical Rebecca. With this possibility in mind, Rebecca urged him to continue.
“Apparently, the inquisition was limited to a very small number of knights who were present at the time of the summons.”
“……What do you mean? I have certainly given an order. Whatever happens in this case, make sure to get to the bottom of it.”
The lady-in-waiting, who was listening to the conversation, nodded quietly.
“If you’re telling the truth-It is outrageous that only a small number of knights are subjected to hearings. What is the point of having inquisition then?”
“It seems that the ministers misunderstood or rather, perverted the Queen’s words about [all those who were present at the summoning], and are collecting testimony only from [those who were present at the place where the saints were summoned].”
Rebecca’s fists clenched tightly.
The Queen had heard that unintended problems had occurred during the summoning of the saints and that they had been summoned to different coordinates than originally planned.
Some of the knights and servants who were supposed to be present, including the king, went out to look for the summoned saints.
Rebecca therefore understood exactly what Walkins meant.
“If that’s the case, then it’s outrageous - an important matter that must be rectified immediately, but……I can’t move so easily when the only source of information is from you.”
Rebecca did say she didn’t favour her people, but that didn’t mean she was paranoid about telling on people outside her family.
It was not easy to trust the word of a person from a faction that was, in a sense, hostile to her, no matter how much she had been betrayed by her own people.
“As for the hearing, I would close my eyes to the fact that you, an outsider, are sticking your neck out. Where did you get your information that there were irregularities at the inquisition, Walkins?”
“I met with the King’s steward, just now. He told me that there was going to be a hearing and that he had gone through all the people who had been summoned that day and had even catalogued and prepared a list of the men who worked for him, but he was wondering why none of them had been summoned to the hearing. So I asked a judicial officer I know to find out.”
And then Walkins spread his arms out in a grandiose gesture.
“What a surprise. It is surprising that only a small percentage of the knights of the Queen’s faction, even those involved in the summoning, have been summoned for the inquisition. I did some research, but as the queen said, I am an outsider - there are limits to what I can investigate. If that is the case, I thought it would be better if I consulted the queen, who is also the person in charge of this matter, in person.”
Squinting his white eyes, Walkins glanced with a serpentine, sticky gaze at Rebecca’s lady-in-waiting.
Rebecca noticed this and immediately sent an order.
“Have them look into it immediately.”
“Yes, my queen.”
The lady-in-waiting reverently bent down and went to inform the servant waiting outside.
“Walkins. I don’t know why you, who are supposed to regard me as an enemy, are so attentive to this matter.”
“It is nothing else. As a vassal in the service of my country, I consider the King’s body to be important-”
“I know that if I question you, you’ll just brush me off.”
Walkins showed a deliberately disappointed face when he was struck by an unthinkable entrustment.
If what he just said was true, then surely tomorrow, not just spears, but axes, swords, shields and even armour would fall from the sky together.
It was so improbable that such a ridiculous dream was possible.
“Well, yes. I don’t see how keeping quiet would be detrimental to me in any way.”
“Frankly speaking, I don’t trust you. But when you’re a senior servant under the king’s direct command, it’s a different story. I am not so foolish as to suppress information of a certain source just because it was you who brought it to me.”
It was only Walkins who put it in Rebecca’s ear.
Once again, if Rebecca let her handlers investigate, the credibility would be clearer.
“When it’s clear, I’ll send a messenger. No further confrontation is necessary. You may leave now.”
“Yes, my queen.”
Without making a scene, Walkins disappeared.
It was also true that Rebecca felt uncomfortable with his unlikeable behaviour, but this would come to light if she could get testimony from someone worthy of her trust.
Putting Walkins nonsense to the back of her mind, Rebecca set about her accumulated duties.
Some time later, several of her servants appeared at Rebecca’s door.
They were the ones who had been ordered by the chamberlain to collect information earlier.
When Rebecca finished listening to the reports from the servants, she looked into the distance with a grim expression on her face.
The look in her eyes could be indignant or tragic.
“I want you to send an errand to Walkins.”
With a distant look in her eyes, Rebecca ordered the chambermaid to do so. When the chambermaid left the room, Rebecca sat deep in her chair and let out a long sigh.
“I don’t know what to believe anymore……”
Walkins was visited by the Queen’s messenger, who said, [I have a solid backing] and [Thank you for providing the information].
While disturbing speculations were roaming the royal court. The Saints had just left the royal palace and were on the verge of setting foot in a new land.
Securing a means of transport. The dragon wheel they had asked the engineer to build was finally completed.
The nuns had also asked for a blessing to prevent vibration, increasing strength and preventing damages.
If it was connected to the high black lizard Alvarizard, which was made a subordinate with the 『Underling Training』, it would be ready to go at a moment’s notice.
“We are just getting used to life in this town, but we don’t need to stay any longer. We have a goal to return to our original world - to defeat the Demon King. We want to achieve that as soon as possible.”
On behalf of Torao Shigenobu, the leader of the group, who was still in an unstable state of mind, Kanami Inugami, a member of the public morals committee, gave words of encouragement to all members of the Saints.
“There will be many occasions on the road from here when the maps prepared by Fujiyoshi will come in handy. You can say it is now indispensable. I would like to check the map once again to ensure that all members of the team are aware of the situation. -Fujiyoshi,can you do this for me?”
“Unn, everyone gather where I can see you.”
They all looked at the map spread out by Yuri, surrounded by everyone else.
Next to Sayaka, Ran was also looking at the map with her.
“I don’t understand…”
Someone voiced out and Ran nodded secretly.
“What’s with the white-out in these places? Did you forget to draw them?”
“Ah. That’s a place that’s never been mapped, even though it’s been searched for in books. It’s a place that’s barely been touched by human hands, so you might not want to take the initiative to go there.”
“What’s the one over here that’s painted black?… seems to be in quite a few different places.”
“The book itself that I’ve searched for was blacked out like this. It looks like it was blacked out when it was left as a map, rather than painted over afterwards.”
Yuri answered Kanami’s question in a calm manner.
However, Kanami raised her eyebrows in frustration at Yuri’s response.
“What can I say……I know it’s terribly impolite to say this from a position where I haven’t lent a hand in any of this, but that……”
Yuri waved her hand at Kanami, who unusually had something stuck in her back teeth, as if she didn’t care.
“The culture of surveying and stuff like that seems to have hardly developed. Maps of places other than where people need to know for their own gain and country were all pretty lousy.So I had to find maps of the surrounding area for each country and put them together like a puzzle and fill them in……”
“So the crucial location of the Demon Lord remains uncertain.”
It was true. The map prepared by Yuri did not show the location of the Demon King.
“The most recent sightings are more than a hundred years old. According to records from that time, there is a Western-style house around here where the Demon Lord has his stronghold.””
“…… If he’s hiding, that’s a good place to start.”
Yuri pointed to a part of the area that was completely white. According to the written notes, the area appeared to be a thick forest.
When the saints were ready and jumped into the demon king’s castle, only to find it deserted. -Was it possible for such a case to occur?
“It’s funny when you think about it, though, that we’re supposed to go and defeat the person who cursed the king without knowing where he is.”
“Well, some fantasy stories are like that.”
“There are also the rare demon kings that hide in other worlds that we can’t normally set foot in, but reveal themselves when the conditions are met.”
“It’s more like a game, where the demon king waits in the castle for the heroes to get stronger.”
The Saints muttered to themselves.
Amongst the Saints, who were buzzing around, saying self-indulgent things, Yuri, who had been with the map the longest of them all, crossed her arms and grunted.
“The only thing that bothers me is that there have been almost no sightings of the Demon King within the last 100 years-”
Indeed, how could the royal palace have determined that it was a [Demon king’s curse]? Yuri couldn’t help but be suspicious and couldn’t shake off her suspicions.
Could there be some other kind of plot going on somewhere that Ran and the others didn’t know about? Such an outlandish fantasy came to her mind.
“Whatever it is. We have to defeat the Demon King. If there is even the slightest possibility, we just have to go on, aiming for that place that Fujiyoshi mentioned.”
However, wandering around in a labyrinth with no answers would only cause the Saints to worry in vain and lower their fighting spirit.
The best thing to do was to set an immediate goal and work hard to solve it.
“That’s true. Niigaki is right, we only have to fulfil the duties imposed on us. At the very least, there must have been a sighting of the Demon King in this vicinity. Even if they’ve already pulled out, if we go there, there might be some clues left behind.”
Kanami summed it up in the end, and the pre-departure class meeting came to an end.
“Once again, this is amazing……”
The royal library. The knight who was making his rounds looked through the documents that had been left on his desk and expressed his admiration.
In his hand was a map of the surrounding countries, which he had copied for reference when Fujiyoshi Yuri made the map.
There were no so-called [world maps] in this world. One reason for this was that there was no technology to create such a map, but the most important reason was that many countries concealed their own land area and geography.
In the past, a mad scientist attempted to study the rough shape of the continents, but it was said that he failed halfway through his project.
Yuri therefore searched for maps that recorded the geography of the surrounding area for each country, copied the pieces of the map and put them together like a puzzle, filling in the overlapping parts to complete the current map.
This was a piece of that puzzle.
“Is it really that amazing?”
“It’s amazing. You can see everything, not only the territorial area of neighbouring countries, but also the location of waterways. This country is particularly bad. If you pour poison into this river, you’ll probably lose a lot of lives. There is a mountain of information that should never have leaked out of the country.”
A fellow knight peering out from behind was tilting his head, but if this were to fall into the hands of the wrong minded, it would be a terrible thing. The surrounding countries could be destroyed.
“If they can make a map more precise than this one, then there’s no such thing as secrecy.”
“I heard that the Saints who were holed up here making maps could read information from all kinds of books, or something like that.”
It was only a rumour… The knight added.
“If that is the case, then that is frightening. I’ve heard stories like that in the past about countries where the deployment records of border troops were accidentally leaked to other countries. -and they were destroyed within a few days.”
Contrary to the excited knight in question, his fellow knight had a cold reaction.
The temperature difference between Otakus and the general public, to say the least, was not the only reason for the lack of interest from fellow knights.
“But you know, the Saints were called from another world to defeat the Demon King, right? How is that map going to help them in their quest to defeat the Demon King?”
No matter how much the inner workings of the surrounding countries were made known to them, it was meaningless if it did not help them to defeat the Demon King.
“It might be necessary for Saints who have no knowledge of the surrounding geography, but I doubt it would be as useful as it could be.”
It’s just - The knight added casually.
“It may be useful in a war.”
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