◈ Episode 323: Conferment Ceremony in the White Mirror (1)
the next morning.
Early in the morning, a guest came to Ludger’s hospital room.
The one who opened the door and appeared was Pasius, a handsome knight with a good-looking blond hair.
“The princess is waiting for you.”
“… … I think I need to rest a little longer.”
“The princess is waiting for you.”
“You don’t seem to be feeling very well yet.”
“The princess is waiting for you.”
“… … .”
No matter what you say, Pasius repeats the same answer with a smile on his face.
It was unfortunate that the position was on the other side, but it gave off strong momentum that this side could not yield, so in the end, Ludger had no choice but to accept it reluctantly.
Upon receiving guidance from Pasius and heading towards the entrance of the hospital, there was a black steam car waiting in advance.
Because it was a vehicle exclusively for the imperial family, it was difficult to check the inside of the vehicle outside the window.
Perhaps this was also First Princess Aileen’s consideration.
‘I didn’t want this kind of consideration.’
Speaking of Eileen’s consideration, something should have been thrilling, but Ludger didn’t think so.
Aileen gave as much as she received, but on the contrary, she had the personality to receive more than she gave.
If each of these trivial benefits and considerations given now accumulate, Rudger’s leash will be tangled in the future.
Rudger knew that too, but there was no reason to refuse right away.
Eileen was the one who covered up what she had done as much as possible, and Ludger was in a position to receive help from it.
Once in the vehicle, Pasius took the wheel.
“Do you drive?”
“Sometimes when the princess is on a secret inspection, I drive. Thanks to that, I had to get a driver’s license that I didn’t even have to sell.”
“Does the Royal Guard do that?”
“I am a unique case.”
The voice of Pasius who muttered so much was already full of resignation.
Rudger felt sorry for the fact that his successor was going through something like that, and at the same time, he thought it was a relief that he was not confident in that position.
‘To think of using a sword master who pulls out auras with his bare hands as a driver. I don’t know whether to call it a waste of manpower or extract the marrow.’
While Rudger was thinking so, the vehicle started.
Pasius skillfully turned the steering wheel as if he had never driven it once or twice.
The roads were quiet, probably because the repair work due to the terror attack had not yet been completed.
A black car drove over it without stopping.
“So how are you feeling?”
“Thanks to treatment, I feel better enough.”
“okay. You don’t have to worry, we hired therapists who are heavy-mouthed as the princess thought.”
“Ah, by the way, other people are waiting in the imperial castle right now. First of all, it was decided that those who entered the underground waterway that day would receive a medal.”
“You mean the award ceremony?”
“It’s not a very encouraging reaction. You might as well be a little proud. Aren’t other people impatient because they didn’t receive it?”
Pasius laughed while holding onto the steering wheel.
“To be honest, I want to hand over all of my medals to Mr. Rudger.”
“I know what happened in the aqueduct that day. When I opened my eyes, I was in a different place, but I couldn’t help but realize that I owed Mr. Rudger.”
“Do other people think so too?”
“no. Since I came to my senses first, I was moderately circumspect, so there was no one who doubted it.”
After all, the shadow dagger of the princess.
The work is very neat.
Rudger thought that part was fortunate.
If this side remains alone and informs them that they fought against Ruifault, it will reveal that they have been hiding their power.
“Of course, it’s not that no one noticed. Are you wondering who it is?”
“Isn’t that Casey Selmore?”
As soon as the correct answer came out of Ludger’s mouth, Pasius gave an exclamation.
“also. It seemed that you and the detective already knew everything about each other.”
“It doesn’t really matter.”
“Well, if you want to hide it, I won’t stop you. However, Detective Casey also agreed to keep quiet about the part that Mr. Rudger saved us. Rather, he even persuaded Terry, the head of Lionhowl, who was most suspicious of him.”
“… … Is that so?”
In the end, Casey seemed intent on keeping his identity a secret until now.
I thought it was a relief that I didn’t even tell my best friend, Terina.
Now, rather, I feel suspicious in that part.
What the hell does Casey Selmore want from herself?
‘Even then, I was stubborn to fight with me anyway. what. Do you feel a sense of competition?’
Except for Ludgar, Casey was the only one who resisted the devil’s power.
Of course, it wasn’t perfect, so it wasn’t very good, but it was a great thing to wake up there.
It was something that even Ludger hadn’t expected.
“Is Casey Selmore also in the Imperial Family?”
“Ah, that… … .”
Pasius hesitated for a moment before opening his mouth.
“Detective Casey left for Leathervelk right away.”
“You mean you left?”
“yes. The princess called her personally, but she said she was tired and busy and left. He is a wonderful person.”
Pasius’s words were not empty words, but more like heartfelt compliments.
In the eyes of Pasius, Casey’s behavior of coolly refusing the first princess’s coyly pressured invitation was very worthy of imitation.
Maybe it was because he knew he would never do that.
“However, I checked the condition before leaving, and it didn’t look very good.”
“What was it exactly?”
“oh. Are you finally admitting that you have a relationship? You’re worried, right?”
“… … It just counts like that.”
“It’s a joke, a joke. Anyway, I said it was a condition, but his expression was dark and his complexion looked haggard. Not an excuse, he looked really tired.”
“Is that so.”
Pasius drew a line saying that this is the story he knows.
Rudger recalled the look in Casey’s pitiful gaze toward him at the end.
Ludger glanced at the scenery outside the window and scratched his temple with his hand.
only like this
Don’t you think you should visit it yourself at least once?
At some point, the vehicle had arrived at the entrance of the De Valk Imperial Castle.
The guards opened the door right away as soon as they saw the car, as if they had given a word at the entrance in advance.
The imperial castle was still full of majesty, perhaps because it was not affected by the turmoil of terrorism.
Ludger, looking at the white spiers rising innumerably, headed inside, half-expected and half-worried.
* * *
A waiting room to stay for a while before an audience with the emperor.
Rudger stared at Chris Vennimore, who was nervous and trembling on one leg, with a subtle gaze.
“… … .”
“Mr. Chris Benimore.”
“… … what?”
When Rudger called his name a little louder, Chris responded.
His voice, which would normally have been harsh, was weak and full of gloom.
Rudger knew why Chris was doing that.
“Are you still thinking of that elf girl?”
“Not an elf girl, but Lady Bellaluna.”
“… … yes. Are you still thinking of Lady Bellaluna?”
“Don’t call her by her first name… … !”
“… … .”
what do you mean
Rudger shook his head.
During the fight underground, Rudger carried everyone to a safe place.
Among them, Bellaluna had Hans take her before the others came to their senses.
It was to be prepared in case she risked her position.
The problem was that Bellaluna’s disappearance without a word gave Chris a shock as if the sky had collapsed.
‘He must have been the main character of misfortune.’
Chris Benimore was looking for Bellaluna anxiously, like a man with love sickness.
Perhaps, if it had not been for the ceremony today, he would have been wandering around the capital like a specter.
“… … You’ll be fine somewhere anyway.”
“no! I’m saying this because you don’t know how weak and fragile Lady Bellaluna is! She suddenly disappeared! suddenly!”
‘… … Weakness? Soft?’
For a moment, Rudger had to reconsider what he had misunderstood about the meaning of the word tender.
I didn’t hear it wrong.
Surprisingly, Chris firmly believed that Bellaluna was a tender elf girl.
‘… … How many Belalunas were notorious as wild doctors in the underworld?’
Even if you drop it right now in a crime zone, how on earth is an elf that can devour it?
Just look at the work in the underground canal.
In the fierce battle, Bellaluna even secretly put the flesh tissue of the Chimera and the test subjects inside her personal pouch.
How terrified Ludger must have felt inside when he saw it while trying to take out the special medicine.
‘… … Well, I didn’t even take issue with hacking the World Tree, so what’s the point?’
Rudger shook his head.
But I can’t leave Chris as he is because he keeps bothering me from the point of view of using the same space.
“Well then, I will ask the princess.”
“… … What did you say just now?”
“There will be an opportunity to meet with Princess Eileen separately. Then let me ask you where Bellaluna is.”
So be quiet for now.
Rudger swallowed the words behind him, but Chris immediately stopped his trembling legs as if he had noticed what he meant.
“… … okay. Please.”
Seeing Chris calmed down, Ludger thought he was lucky.
Now that I’ve said this, I’ll have to ask Bellaluna for her opinion.
‘Because it’s entirely her choice whether or not to meet.’
It was just that, considering Bellaluna’s reaction to Chris, it was unlikely that she would refuse.
Since we want to meet each other, I will let you meet.
Rudger suddenly had such an idea.
‘Wouldn’t it be a sudden wedding invitation?’
Then what kind of expression will he make at that time?
I didn’t have a good idea.
“Are you ready? You must leave now.”
A servant belonging to the imperial family opened the door and said,
Rudger and Chris rose from their seats.
They followed the attendant’s guidance and moved into the spacious hall.
The ‘White Mirror Hall’, where hundreds of people would enter and leave space, was, as the name suggests, a pure white space.
The light coming in softly entered all directions to create a natural lighting, but it was not dazzling at all.
The floor was made of smooth marble.
True to the name of the white mirror, everything was clearly reflected on the floor.
It feels like seeing a sacred chapel somewhere rather than a hall.
Rudgar raised his head slightly.
Beyond the glittering jewel-like chandelier, hyper-realistic masterpieces were painted large on the ceiling.
A space that feels both aesthetic beauty and awe.
There, Ludger met the emperor.
Of course he wasn’t alone.
It was because Rudgar had other members of the infiltration team, led by Chris Bennimore, Pasius, Terry and Lionhowl.
Among the members, Bellaluna and Casey Selmore were the only ones who missed this spot.
Rudger looked at Roteron.
He still had the iron helmet on his face.
Although it might seem disrespectful to hide one’s face in an audience with the emperor.
It is said that Roteron’s refusal to show his face is quite famous, so permission was given.
‘I thought it was a prisoner.’
Roteron reminded Ludgar of one of his students, Iona Ovalley.
The beast race is a race that is quite discriminated against in modern society.
Of course, in the magical world that advocates elitism, beasts were more thoroughly rejected.
It is said that such awareness has decreased a lot these days, but the remnants of discrimination still remain.
The fact that Suin went up to that position in such a place.
‘It must mean that he really tried to die.’
Even more so, Roteron was hiding [special] magic.
That said, it did not mean that he had risen to that position with that power.
It’s something that can’t be done without some kind of tenacity.
Then Roteron glanced sideways at Rudger from behind the mask.
Rudger could clearly feel that gaze.
It wasn’t because this side was staring at me.
Roteron was also subtly conscious of Ludger.
At that time, a powerful trumpet sounded, announcing the start of the ceremony.
Both eyes looked straight ahead at the same time.
At the end of his gaze, he saw the appearance of the emperor’s family.
I saw a face I hadn’t seen in the square.
It was the empress sitting next to the emperor.
‘I think I immediately know who 1st Princess Eileen looks like.’
The empress was so young and beautiful that she couldn’t be seen as someone with three children.
Compared to Eileen, they can be considered sisters.
If I had to point out the difference, I would say that she has a more mature and warm impression, unlike Eileen, who has a black inside.
Next to the empress stood 1st Princess Eileen, and 2nd and 3rd princesses, Erendir, stood next to her.
‘Did all the members of the imperial family gather in one place? It seems that they were quite conscious of the awarding ceremony.’
In particular, three siblings with completely different personalities stood out.
Among the three, it was the second prince who caught Ludger’s attention the most.
Unlike Eileen and Erendir, whom he had seen many times, this was the first time he had met the second prince.
Since I don’t show my face in any place, it was a really rare opportunity.
The second prince was, in a sense, the most unusual person among the three siblings.
‘He was the kind of person that was rarely rumored.’
If it was the blood of the imperial family, rumors in one way or another were bound to spread.
It was because their natural lineage brought trouble wherever they went.
Even Erendir had a name circulating among the nobles, so he said everything.
However, the second prince was less well-known than Erendir.
There was also a reason why he didn’t show himself well outside.
Rudger thought there was something else.
‘Second Prince Ibellon von Exillion.’
His weak-looking expression resembled his father’s, but his eyes were not like that at all.
‘They said they gave up their right to succession and power because they were pushed by the first princess Eileen… … It doesn’t look like that at all just by looking at his eyes.’
At that time, the eyes of the second prince of Ibelon turned to Ludger.
The eyes of the two intertwined in the air.
At the same time, Ludger had a hunch that there was something in the second prince.
‘That person. They are intentionally hiding themselves.’