Chapter 32 - The Emerald of Aled
Estian picked up the ring again at her outburst. What’s different about it? He tried tossing the ring into the air once, but he could not feel the difference in weight. “I can’t tell what changed.”
“Can you really not tell?”
When she realized Estian was not joking, Cecile began to turn deadly pale. She bolted into her room and searched the bookshelf. “It was definitely written in a book.”
During her practice for her debut, she had received a book regarding jewels so she would get a rough idea about them. Soon, Cecile found the book titled ‘Finest 100 Imperial Gems’ and began reading it. It was not long before she found the part she was looking for.
“…The Emerald of Aled is known to be a gift from the king of Elves. But think about it. At the time the empire was found, it was built upon where the lushest of the Elves’ forests was located. Elves were inclined to snap the neck of a human for breaking a single tree branch, so how could they ever feel goodwill towards the empire’s ruler? So why then did the Elven king give a gift? Upon perusing records at the time, it is said that the king of Elves flung the Emerald of Aled to the emperor from a very far distance. In my opinion, the founding emperor’s simple nature no doubt led him to assume that what the king of Elves threw him was a present. And not so long ago, while deciphering the remaining records of the Elves, who have now left this continent, I have discovered what appears to be the Elven king’s diary. The contents are as follows:
Year 0000, 00 the 00th. The weather is clear.
Today, some human male came to the forest. He looked too ugly to even kill, so I left him be.
Year 0000, 00 the 00th. The weather is raining.
Today as well, the ugly human male came into the forest. He’s screaming that he’s looking for me, but what am I, your dog? Think I’d come when called? Who the hell are you to tell me what to do?
Year 0000, 00 the 00th. The weather is snowing.
The human left a letter. I had an Elf who knows human language read it aloud, and it was about the human having built a castle in a part of my forest. And he’s telling me ‘let’s get along well as neighbors.’ Son of a dog! Get off my property!
I plan on requesting that he move out in an extremely violent and brutal way. Looks like my tools will be tasting blood after such a long time. Heheheh.
Year 0000, 00 the 00th. The weather is.
Damn. He’s bloody strong for an ugly stinker.
Year 0000, 00 the 00th. What does the weather matter right now?
…I intend on throwing it at the human bastard. Yes, it. The thing we all fear. What our ancestors before us sealed inside. I cannot for the love of me think of any other solution. The thing that will escape upon the seal being broken will follow the seal breaker for life. It’s your turn to suffer, human.
The last record was written two days before the emperor was said to be given a gift from the king of the Elves. Judging by this, the Emerald of Aled is a jewel that contains something that even the king of Elves feared, and as such is more of a curse than a gift…”
As she was reading through the book, Cecile felt a premonition—that ‘something’ contained in the Emerald of Aled was released for sure, and the one who had broken its seal was most definitely herself.
* * *
With a slam, the door to the emperor’s office was opened. Kane greeted Estian as he entered. “Ah, Your Majesty. Has Her Majesty calmed down a little?”
“No. She was crying to the point of losing her breath, so I just came after knocking her out.”
“Enough about that. What’s the status of their movements?”
Kane’s expression hardened at the changed topic. “It is according to how we anticipated. It appears today’s events were beyond their expectations; they gathered in quite a hurry. Thanks to that, it was simple work tracking them as well. Here is a list of those who gathered today. There must have been a great many willing to take part for them to hastily rent the banquet hall of the largest hotel in the capital.”
“Let’s take a look, then.”
Estian received the paper Kane passed. On it was a densely packed list of names.
All of them belonged to those who were against Estian.
“Right, so what’s the story?”
“The one we all know. The gathered nobles questioned the current state of the empire and talked of how the mad emperor was smitten with the mad empress. ‘Birds of a feather flock together, but the empress looked pretty indeed. Why, if I was only 10 years younger’… Your Majesty, are you all right? The handle of your chair appears to have broken?”
“I’m fine. And who’s the bastard that driveled about being 10 years younger?”
“He is known as Viscount Devua.”
Kane made the sign of the cross in his heart upon seeing a murderous storm raging in Estian’s eyes. Looks like the world will be bidding farewell to a viscountcy tomorrow.
“In any case, near the end of their meeting, their main topic of discussion was related to Her Majesty’s lady-in-waiting.”
Electing the empress’s lady-in-waiting. This was the second thing Cecile had to do as an empress. Naturally, she had no close young ladies of nobility to choose as a lady-in-waiting. That being the case, she had to choose one from among the nobles of the empire through examination. It was self-evident that members of the faction opposing the emperor would mix in during the lady-in-waiting election that would begin next week.
“All sorts of rabble will come meddling, no doubt,” the emperor murmured.
“Indeed. Still, as Your Majesty predicted, rather than coming in with the intention of killing the empress straight away, it appears their plan is to play to her mood while siphoning information related to Your Majesty.”
“I see.” Estian breathed a slight sigh of relief at the dissenters moving as he had expected. “Looks like their cries will be ringing the palace next week.”
Estian’s lips curved into a smile.