Hestia entered the audience room where the emperor was and bowed lightly.
"It's my first time meeting you, Your Majesty. My name is Hestia Blade, the deputy chief of the Crow Tribe."
The emperor, who was absentmindedly watching Hestia, came to his attention and greeted her. "First time meeting you as well. I am the Emperor of the Oreliang Empire, Bendiel von Bahamund di Oreliang Eltriara."
The emperor introduced two people standing next to him. "These are two people whom I trust more than anyone else. This is Sir North, head of the Imperial Guard Division who protects me, and this is Sir Glont, head of the Adventurers’ Guild."
At the emperor's introduction, the two bowed their heads without saying a word.
"I believe you have probably heard of Sir Glont."
"Yes, I heard that our tribesman, Bloody Blade, is indebted to him. Feel free to let me know if any of our tribesmen have caused any trouble."
Hestia deliberately did not use honorifics for Bloody. The title of deputy chief of the Crow Tribe was higher on the chain of command and so she had to treat him as a subordinate even if he was older.
"No, rather I owe him a lot. Ohohoho." Glont spoke naturally because he had heard about Hestia from Bloody, but the captain of the imperial guard just stood still with a stiff face.
Hestia also introduced the two who escorted her. "This is Great Elder Weger Partizan of the Crow Tribe, and this is Filan Hermes, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs."
At the same time as Hestia's introduction, both silently bowed. Glont and the head of the imperial guard both looked at Weger with glistening eyes. Although Glont had never met him in person, he had heard from Bloody that any Crow who could use swordsmanship was basically his students.
"It looks like we have made you stand for too long with these precious guests you brought."
Hestia lightly nodded and sat down when the emperor suggested a seat.
When she sat down, the emperor smiled lightly and changed the atmosphere. "Sorry about that just now. You looked so much like someone I knew."
In support of the emperor's words, the head of the Imperial Guard and Glont, who were guarding the emperor, also seemed very surprised upon seeing Hestia.
"Is that so?" Hestia smiled softly and asked.
The emperor nodded. "Yes, she was a very beautiful and intelligent woman like you. She was actually my first love, but I got dumped because she was into muscular men," the emperor said jokingly with a smile.
Hestia smiled along and changed the subject. "By the way, I heard that the representatives of the other two tribes were coming, but I guess we were the first to arrive."
"Yes, the representatives of the two tribes arrived in the capital last night and are at their quarters, but it was a long way to come here without anyone knowing."
Rather, Hestia, who arrived late in the capital, was the fastest to meet the emperor.
"They will be there in a little while anyway."
As soon as the emperor spoke, Glont and Weger looked at the door of the reception room.
As soon as the emperor finished speaking, the door of the reception room opened so hard that it was almost broken and a giant came in. The giant man was the king of the Dragon Tribe.
"Your Majesty, hyung-nim! I asked you to restrain yourself because this is the capital!" After the Dragon King, a blond young man followed in with embarrassment.
"Hahaha! What’s the matter? Aren't we allies?!"
"Your Majesty, hyung-nim! The empire has its own laws and etiquette! Didn't you make an agreement in the name of the dragon to follow the rules of the empire before you left the hometown?"
The Dragon King flinched at the blonde young man’s words.
"Uhum, please forgive us if we were rude, Emperor. And... Those from the Crow Tribe.”
Seeing the Dragon King letting out a dry cough, the emperor smiled lightly and offered them seats.
"It's okay, I don't think it's right as an ally to force our etiquette too much since you're not familiar with them. Also, this is not such a formal setting, and please be at ease."
"Uahahaha! Thank you for saying that."
The Dragon King looked at his brother, who he had brought as his deputy, and the blond young man sighed with a frown. Then a dry cough came from behind.
"Ahem! Do you mind if we come in?"
When the Great Elder of the Butterfly Tribe, who came to the reception room, asked the Dragon King, who was blocking the entrance, the latter stepped aside.
"Oh! Who is this! Long time no see! Sir!”
"My ears are still fine, so you don’t have to speak so loud. Yeah, it's been a while too. How's that old man, Drachen?” the Great Elder asked.
The Dragon King bowed his head with a gloomy face.
"The former Dragon King traveled to the Dragon Gorge a few years ago."
The Dragon Gorge was believed to be the heaven of the Dragon Tribe, and that the spirits of dead dragons and their ancestors gathered there.
The Great Elder was surprised and groaned at the Dragon King's words. "To hear that that strong Drachen is dead... I didn't think he’d die even if he tried." The Great Elder briefly mourned the passing of his old friend. "He fought at the front with a stronger body than anyone else. It's late, but my condolences.”
"Thank you. Grandfather, who is in the Dragon Gorge, will be happy."
The Great Elder looked at Weger with gloomy eyes at the news that his friend, who he had known for 120 years, had died. "But you're still alive. How have you been?"
Weger also nodded with a bitter smile.
Hestia greeted for Weger in his stead as the Great Elder looked curiously at the appearance of Weger nodding his head without saying a word. "It's my first time meeting you. I am Hestia Blade, the deputy chief."
With Hestia's greeting, the Great Elder understood why Weger was silent.
"I see. Weger didn't come as the representative, but this cute lady. Nice to meet you. I am Arpen Fendria, a great elder of the Butterfly Tribe. This is my son and assistant, Bendis Fendria."
Bendis, who came with the Great Elder, gave a light silent salute.
At the Great Elder’s greeting, the Dragon King's younger brother elbowed the Dragon King on the side.
"This one is called Muk Draconium, the Dragon King of the Dragon Tribe. This is Aron Draconium, my younger brother and assistant. Nice to meet you."
"Ah, I am well acquainted with those two, so you don't have to introduce them. For Weger, we've known each other since the advent of Demon King, and the head of the foreign affairs over there has come to our town a few times."
"The head of foreign affairs has been to our town a few times as well."
Hestia nodded at the Great Elder and the Dragon King. The emperor offered a seat for the two as well.
"We have plenty of time until the end of today's conference, so let’s sit down and chat. At the end of the convention, there will be a banquet to welcome all of you VIPs of the alliance," said the emperor.
The Dragon King laughed loudly. "Uahahahaha! A banquet makes me feel better!"
The emperor laughed along with the Dragon King. "Ahahaha! I'm glad you feel good. We've done a disrespectful act of bringing VIPs into the capital without a welcome parade, so we've prepared enough to make up for it, so please drink and enjoy yourselves.”
Hestia smiled, reading the insidiousness hidden in the emperor's laughter.
As soon as I entered the hall the conference was being held in, the atmosphere felt like a tea party at a social gathering, but also a knife with a sharpened edge. This place was very befitting of the phrase "hiding a knife in a smile".
"It has been a long time, Duke Asteria-nim."
At the very end of the hall which was split side to side, when a young man sitting alone stood up and greeted, everyone in the hall rose in unison and bowed their heads.
"It has been a long time, Your Highness, the Duke."
Everyone, regardless of the nobility and civil servants, greeted in unison, and although each individual's voice was not that loud, it felt like my whole body was ringing. It was to the point that I could confuse this with a scene from a mafia movie.
"Yes, it's been a long time. Have you all been well?” The duke smiled lightly as if he was used to it.
They all answered in unison, "Yes."
As far as I knew, the right side was the emperor faction and the left, noble faction. Despite them being in factions that were sharply divided, the sight of all of them answering with one voice showing respect to Duke Asteria truly gave me goosebumps.
"I'm glad you all are doing well. I'm so old that my whole body aches. Ahahaha."
Everyone laughed at the duke’s joke and each of them replied.
"Ahahaha, for someone who is more honest than anyone else, that’s too much of a joke."
"There's an alchemist at our estate, and fortunately we just acquired a precious mandrago. I will make you some medicine."
The duke raised his hand to silence the nobles, each of whom was clamoring to offer flattery and gifts.
"Hahaha, I'm very glad you are all trying to take care of me. But now is the time to start the conference, so let's continue this conversation at a later banquet."
The duke's laughter gave off a feeling of strange pretenses, annoyance, and disillusionment. But similarly, if I got such greedy looks at me all at once, I would feel nauseous.
"Is my seat still the same? Arthemius—”
When Duke Asteria trailed off, a young man in the center replied with a smile.
"Please call me the prime minister. Yes, the Duke Asteria's place remains the same."
The duke's intentions were clear. If he wanted to be called a prime minister, he was with the emperor faction, and if he wanted to be called a duke, he was with the noble faction. In this situation, naming oneself was a serious issue that could lead to a war on the spot if one said something wrong because it separated one’s identity and faction.
"That's a relief that my seat is still there, Prime Minister." The duke smiled and headed to the empty chair next to the prime minister.
But anyway, that man seemed to be Prime Minister Arcanta. The boarding house had a picture of the prime minister as a child, but because it did not have a picture of his current self, it was my first time seeing him. Strangely enough, like mother and child, he resembled Mrs. Arscilla.
When Duke Asteria sat down and I stood behind him, the nobles who stood up sat down in unison.
"First of all, I'm sorry for being late. It’s because I traveled a long distance despite being sick. Let's start the conference now."
When the duke slightly nodded his head, the prime minister nodded and shouted, "We will begin the conference now!"
With the prime minister’s announcement, civil servants from the Central Ceremony Department quickly began distributing the conference materials. And of course, I also accepted the extra materials that the duke might ask for.
"This is the first agenda of the conference."
The prime minister began to explain the items by talking about the agenda on the first page.
There were five people working as scribes in the hall, but their record was impossible to read except for the emperor, so I had no choice but to hold a memo and serve as a scribe.
I quickly wrote down the prime minister's remarks and rummaged through the materials for the upcoming items to be discussed. I was skimming through the materials when I was shocked to see one of the items in the middle.
The prime minister was trying to drop a huge nuclear bomb during the conference.Previous Chapter Next Chapter