Chapter 127: We’re getting towards half-ish through, so I guess I should start pulling the plot points together or something
After some time, we finally got on topic and Desmond brought up the real reason we came.
“The Demon Lord…”
The deep elf Diplomat hid her mouth with her fan as she closed her eyes, her brows furrowing.
Finally she let out a sniff and fluttered her fan.
“It’s too costly a lie to be made. Fine. I understand why you need to see the Queen.”
“That’s how things are, but if you are willing to send the message along, there would be no need for me to -”
Her Excellency snapped her fan shut.
“Do not get me unnecessarily involved with things that I have no relation to. I believe I’ve made it clear. I want nothing to do with your sparrow and duck faction fights, and I don’t mind cutting off anyone who drags me into it. And I want even less to do with anything involving the Demon Lord!”
So… what do you do as the Diplomat, then?
Yeah, yeah, this is probably not the place or the person to ask… and by that I mean she definitely wouldn’t answer.
“…Yes, Your Excellency.”
Desmond has a bit of a stiff look on his face, but he answers her suitably.
“And? So the reason you brought this woman and that… A Rank adventurer? I assume they are related to the Demon Lord, else why would you have brought them here? I’m sure you’re well aware that even if I understand the value of an A Rank adventurer, well, you’ve seen how ‘competent’ some of the people at my side are.”
Her Excellency crossed her legs, playing with the fan on her hand and a displeased look on her face.
This woman is still giving me mixed messages.
“They are not only witnesses, but have even exchanged words with the Demon Lord.”
Her Excellency threw her fan onto the ground directly near Desmond’s feet.
“Just what are you doing?! How dare you allow someone so well-versed with the aether come into contact with the Void Lord himself! Geez!”
… Your Excellency, your character is changing…
And I don’t think Desmond had any real say in the matter.
I mean, the Demon Lord literally broke through space or something and just showed up.
I feel like the Diplomat’s outburst is completely illogical.
As for Desmond, he doesn’t even flinch.
“Your Excellency, please keep your personal feelings separated from the current matter.”
The Diplomat sniffed and smoothed back her hair.
“I-I know that. However, you do know that I won’t be the only one who has this sort of reaction. Bringing a woman who has such a great capacity for aether magic into The Forest… although it can’t be helped, there are going to be people interested in her.”
“I-is that going to be a problem?”
I ask, picking up her fan and returning it to her.
The Diplomat looks me straight in the eye as she accepts the fan.
“Problem… well, it’s not really a problem. Being that you’re going to she Her Majesty herself, I think you’ll be fine, but there are fanatics of the most unbearable sort.”
…. … right.
I have no idea how to take that.
Her Excellency coughs and recomposes herself and looks back at Desmond.
“… You are aware how this will look.”
“… I am aware.”
“An exile bringing along a heretic and a light-blessed; there will be people who will be saying you’re thinking of starting a rebellion. There will be even more people using it as an excuse to confine this woman.”
A dark look crossed Desmond’s face.
“You know that there are those of our people obsessed with regaining control of the aether. Although you haven’t been back to The Forest in a few decades, surely you’ve heard about the fools who’ve been out of line these days. Thinking they can do anything they wish, and defying the natural order of The Forest. Her Majesty has even hunted some of them down with her own hands.”
It’s not like it’s exactly the same, but … it sounds kind of similar to what happened when the Demon Lord came over.
He showed up, killed a bunch of guys, and left, and the guys he had killed were demons who had … illegally trespassed or something?
… Maybe it’s not that similar?
While thinking about the details surrounding the Demon Lord’s appearance, I was startled when Her Excellency suddenly raged, swinging her fan and pointed it directly at Desmond.
“And now, you’re saying you’re going to bring this princess right into that situation!?”
… Who’s a princess?
Ragnall, goddammit, if you’re going to laugh, just laugh!
He’s bent over, supporting himself with my shoulder and trembling as he’s trying not to laugh out loud, but that’s REALLY irritating in it’s own way.
I can’t help but shoot him a withering glare, but it only seems to make him want to laugh more.
When I finally decide to ignore him and look back, I’m shocked to see the Diplomat glaring at the hand Ragnall has on my shoulder like she wants to bite it off.
I guess she realized I was kind of pulling back from her reaction, because she coughed and said,
“… I didn’t realize that the A Rank White Demon worked with a partner.”
Eh… partners, huh? Well, I guess you can call it that.
Her Excellency is staring coldly at us, hiding her mouth with her fan.
I just don’t understand this woman.
My first impression was that she looked like a goddess, then she acted like a queen, then she kind of went dere, or something like dere, for a bit, and now she’s kiiiind of acting like a crazy girlfriend.
I get that it’s got something to do with my light avatar thing going on, but … I’m still confused.
To try to calm her down, I say,
“It was just a series of coincidences? We just ended up traveling in the same direction.”
Desmond quickly followed up with,
“The Guild has requested them to work together on investigating the Forge.”
Her Excellency paused for a moment.
“Hoooh… I see.”
Her eyes narrowed before she turned her head away, speaking into her sleeve.
“If that’s the case, it seems I have ample time to forward the situation to Her Majesty and arrange for decent people to accompany you with. However, I do hope this great A Rank adventurer isn’t just dragging this young woman along for his own interests.”
Ragnall was able to stop laughing long enough to notice the semi-murderous aura she was emitting and said,
“Of course, Your Excellency.”
He seems like he wants to say more, but as always, Ragnall is good at reading the mood and shuts his mouth.
Half-demons really aren’t welcomed by deep elves, it seems.
Anyway, to save his reputation, or at least to get this elf lady to stop being so irritable, I can’t help but say,
“I’m actually the one who wants to go the most, since I have some interest in forges.”
“Interest… in forges?”
Ah. Looks like she has question marks over her head.
I mean, there are definitely women who work in forges in this world, but like our world, it’s not the most common thing around.
“She’s a Master Bladesmith.”
“A Master… Bladesmith?”
Her Excellency looks extremely confused at Desmond’s statement, then she suddenly falls deep into thought.
“Damhan, come here.”
With a crook of her hand, she summons one of her deep elf attendants and whispers something into his ear, covering her mouth with her fan.
As he walks briskly out of the room, she turns her attention back towards us.
“Ploid’s Forge will not be easy to traverse. What it is and if it even has anything to do with what we understand forging to be today is something that is unknown. Even though it’s a legacy of our deep elf ancestors, there probably isn’t anyone in The Forest save Her Majesty who might know what it is.”
If the Queen would know, then… something tells me there’s nothing straightforward about the situation.
The fact that no one knows what the Forge is despite knowing that someone might know is … it gives me the same uneasy feeling as when I asked about this world’s religions and gods.
The Diplomat’s attendant returns with a high-class wooden box, which she gestures over towards me.
“Naturally, I have no interest in whether or not someone can uncover the secrets of The Forge, however… I can’t help but feel that this should now go to you.”
As Her Excellency spoke, her attendant placed the box on the table in front of me.
She’s giving me a look like, “Go on, open it,” so I do.
A rather plain looking dagger lay wrapped up within the box.
Somehow, I feel like it’s not an ordinary dagger…
Ragnall grabbed my hand before I could take the dagger out of the box and draw the blade.
Watching the guards carefully, he said,
“This… isn’t really the place to draw it to take a look.”
Ah… Right. My bad.
Pulling out a blade in front of a Diplomat is usually a bad idea, even if she did just give it to me, and honestly, I still don’t feel like the deep elves are a race that can be reasoned with.
Even if I’m being racist, for you to choose these types of people as the representatives of your race … you know?
Hm… I want to take a look, though.
There’s something that bothers me about this dagger… hey!
I reluctantly divert my attention as Ragnall closes the box on me.
Fine, fine. I’ll wait until later.
Desmond wrinkles his brow and asks,
“Your Excellency, this is…?”
“A dagger of elven make; how old and of what kind of elven hands made it is unknown, however it was found in Ploids Labyrinth. It may not be of any relation to the Forge. Either way, for a Master Bladesmith who is loved by the Light to appear with this timing, I think there is some fate between it and you.”
“That’s not what I meant, I meant why are you, at this point in time -”
“Young man, do you have the right to question my decisions?”
Her Excellency raised her eyebrows as she looked at Desmond.
She doesn’t look much older than him, though, but elves aren’t exactly the easiest race to determine the age of.
Desmond just makes a strangled noise and falls silent.
“Well, I’m also kind of curious, at least about the background of the blade,”
“That’s right… it’s a strange item that was found in Ploids Labyrinth ages ago, and the previous Diplomat claimed it as a legacy of the deep elves. It’s a strange item, a simple magi-steel blade that should be of no interest … however, there are some oddities that I’m sure you’ll discover.”
I guess she’s right.
It’s no fun to have all the answers just handed to you.
“As for the reason I am giving it to you … partially just a whim of mine, and partially due to fate.”
“I did not depose the previous Diplomat through political schemes, you know. I won the right with my own abilities.”
Her Excellency’s eyes curved upwards as she smiled behind her fan, and they glowed … the color was something I wasn’t sure about, but I know I’ve seen it before.
It’s the same color as the stream of light magic I had been caught by in the depths of Nyl Labyrinth.
With a flick of her wrist, the Diplomat shut her fan and dispelled the glow in her eyes.
“At any rate, I’ll pass the message along and see if I can obtain permission for you to enter The Forest. I’ll hope those imbeciles will learn from Liadain’s idiocy and not hinder me in any way. I would so hate to have to take matters into my own hands.”
With that, our meeting with the deep elf Diplomat ended, and we were shown out.
Of course we got our equipment back before we left.
“… Is everything alright with a Diplomat like that?”
Ragnall was the first to say what both of us were thinking.
“Ahaha… she’s … eccentric, for sure, and is difficult to get along with for both deep elves and people of other races, but she does her job as a mediator between the Deep Forest and the outside world…”
Desmond laughed somewhat awkwardly as we left.
Why do I feel like being difficult for both parties to deal with is actually a good thing?
At least everyone’s on the same footing, I guess.
Desmond heaved a large sigh of relief as we left the tree mansion.
“To be honest, we were lucky everything went so smoothly. Diplomat Blaithin is usually a lot colder to people who bring trouble to her, but luckily she’s quite weak to beauty, and not only is Miss Jun quite pretty, deep elves find the aura of people who resonate strongly with the aether – light magic very beautiful.”
Okay, I instantly have a lot of mixed feelings about the situation.
But I’m a guy – not, I’m a girl, she’s a girl, but this is my face from when I was a guy, so… …? And did I just seduce our way through a political situation? Nah, that’s something entirely different… right?
… Right, let’s just ignore everything and move on with my life.
And also, that’s the first time I heard of her name.
“It seems like she really didn’t like me, though.”
Ragnall said as he laughed.
“That can’t be helped, and she’s already a lot better than most. Demons have the exact opposite aura, of void, and it feels unpleasant to deep elves. Although you’re a half-demon, the void has enough of an influence to feel slightly uncomfortable.”
Hm… I wonder if that’s the little static-y feeling I get when I look at Ragnall’s aura.
I don’t get a bad feeling from it though, it’s just odd; but then, I’m not a deep elf, I guess.
“By the way, Jun, why do I feel like your social skills have regressed since I first met … can you wait until we return to the inn at least?”
Oops. Ragnall’s talking to me.
“Sorry, but this dagger is bugging me a lot.”
I’ve already opened the box and unsheathed the dagger.
“… Haa. So? What’s wrong with it?”
I feel like Ragnall’s just kind of given up.
Hey, you’re the one who wanted to tag along with me and Hibiki-chan. It’s not my fault.
“It’s just kind of weird. If I look at it carefully… … …”
Well, let’s just try it out. Not like I’ll figure out its function just by staring.
I pour light magic into the stone in the pommel of the dagger.
“Oooh, so it takes light magic after all…”
I don’t know whether to be happy about confirming my hypothesis or not.
Ragnall tilted his head and squinted at the dagger.
“So? Magic swords require magic power, right?”
I know he can’t use magic swords or magic, but you’d think he’d have some common sense.
“What kind of magic sword requires you to channel elemental magic into a stone? When a sword requires you to channel magic power into it, it’s always just normal magic power. Or like, there aren’t many people who can release elemental magic power without converting it into a spell.”
“Nono, there aren’t any people except you, probably.”
I never thought I’d hear Desmond give a tsukkomi.
Ragnall, on the other hand, looks like he’s eaten a bug.
“To think there’d be a day when Jun had to teach me about common sense…”
This dagger… is taking a lot of magic.
But what sort of thing is it?
Hypothetically, even if a magic sword did have a repository that required a certain elemental magic power to be poured into it, it would normally DO something, right? And by that, I mean that there would be some sort of magic formula or something that would convert the power into a spell.
Basically, a magic sword that requires you to channel magic power does so in order to convert your magic power into a spell through the sword, hence the other common name for these magic swords, spell sword.
Otherwise it’s a magic sword that’s designed for you to cast full spells through it, like Nyl City’s magic ore swords, allowing you to put <Keen Edge> on it, or even cast <Fireball> through it.
It’s kind of like the difference between using an automatic calculator versus calculating by hand.
So … what’s with this dagger?
“Guh… isn’t this a little too much? A normal person would have died already.”
I complain as I checked my Status.
I don’t remember how much MP a normal person is supposed to have, but I’m pretty sure it’s under 10,000.
This gluttonous dagger…
<a/n: no fluvia again, sorry. Next time for sure; had burn out, muse-hijacking, writer’s block, and then sick.
Also, there will be more expanded on the diplomat later, but Jun got distracted.
New story: The Sage of Bamboo Manor>