Chapter 198. Currency Reform (15)

As expected, the room assigned to the duke inside the palace was quite luxurious. The hotel room where I stayed last night was also luxurious, but as a palace with a deep history, antique beauty was revealed from each piece of furniture.

"Did you bring the nine battlefield chess?" asked Duke Asteria.

I took out a chessboard and the pieces from my bag. "I thought you would want it, so I brought it. What kind of tea should I bring you?"

The duke burst into laughter as I pulled out 45 boxes of tea onto the table.

"You also have talent as a butler. I’ll have an Earl Grey."

"Yes, sir."

While I was boiling water in a magically heated kettle, a knock came from outside the room.

"It looks like we have a guest," I said.

The duke frowned. "I’m sure I said I was tired. I wonder what kind of guy is bold enough to come see me?"

"I will go have a look."

I left the kettle on the table and opened the door.

"Who is it?"

Outside the door was an old servant in imperial palace livery.

"I apologize for the sudden visit. Excuse me, but I have a message for His Highness. Would it be ok if I came in?"

Since he was an elderly servant and not a young one, I wondered if this was a ploy by a noble that attended the conference. Judging from the pattern of the name tag attached to his chest, he was also quite high up within the inner palace administration of servants.

Perhaps he was sent by the emperor or the prime minister...

"I would like to ask the duke. I would appreciate it if you could wait a moment," I said.

"Yes, I understand." The servant smiled gently. 

I closed the door, approached the duke, and asked him quietly, "A man from the inner palace administration has come saying he has something to tell you."

"Department of Inner Palace Administration?”

"Yes, seeing him, I wonder if he was sent by the prime minister or His Majesty, the Emperor."

"Tell him to come in." The duke sighed unhappily.

I opened the door again to let the servant into the room.

The man came into the room, looked at me, and said, "Would you give us privacy?"

I nodded before the duke could respond to the request.

"I will be in the next room for a moment."

"Thanks. I'll call you when we're done.”

I relocated to the next room that was connected via the living room. Then I focused my mental power on hearing. Because of the wall in between us, I couldn't hear well, but I could still hear them talking.

"I'm very tired right now. It's hard for an older person to sit in the same seat for a long time."

It was the duke’s voice. He was openly warning that he would not let it go easily if this wasn’t important.

As he had worked in the palace for a long time, facing the duke, the servant naturally told the main story.

"There is someone who wants to see Your Highness."

‘Someone’? That servant just used a title for the ‘someone’  who wanted to meet the duke.[1] 

The fact that the imperial servant did not remove honorifics here meant that the person who wanted to meet the duke was not lower in status. The old servant couldn't have made such a mistake as the palace was a place where even a single slip of the tongue could cause you to lose your head. This meant that the level of the person who wanted to meet the duke was at the level of a duke, which was the crown prince, empress, or king of another country. If it was someone higher than a duke, there was only the emperor of the empire, but the servant would not have called his master ‘someone’.

"Oho, ‘someone’ you say. So who is this ‘someone’ who wants to meet me?" [2]

Duke Asteria emphasized the ‘someone’, and the servant answered in a calm voice.

"The representative of the Crow Tribe wants to meet you."

What?! Who asked to meet?

I wanted to run out through the window and escape, but I managed to endure it.

"The representative of the Crow Tribe. We'll meet at the banquet anyway, so why insist on meeting now?

As I expected, the people from my tribe had also come. Judging from the duke’s natural tone, he seemed to know that people from my hometown would come to the capital. Well, since he was working together with the prime minister, it would be strange if he didn’t know. Perhaps they did a welcoming parade or ceremony instead at Asterium or Warrant, since they would not have been able to do it when entering the capital.

"I am not sure myself, but she wanted to meet you earlier regarding the currency reform."

Based on what the servant said, I could tell who the representative was who wanted to meet the duke. As I had thought, it was my big sister who came to the capital as the representative of the tribe. If it was Elder Weger or Elder Mirpa, they wouldn’t have come to see Duke Asteria. If it was my father, he definitely would not have come to see the Duke, who he didn’t even know.

"Is the representative the chief of the Crow Tribe?" The duke's emotionless voice sounded.

The servant denied it. "No, it is a woman named Hestia Blade-nim."

As expected. I never imagined that I would hear the name of my big sister from the mouth of a person that I saw for the first time today.

"Hestia?"

"Yes, I'm sure I heard that she is the Crow Tribe Chief-nim’s daughter..."

"All right."

The duke cut off the servant before he finished talking and agreed.

"Where do I need to go?"

"She said that she was coming this way. She will probably be visiting in a little while."

What? My big sister's coming this way? Damn, I have to get out of here somehow!

"Okay," the duke replied.

The servant then knocked on my door, and I opened it.

"I have finished saying what I needed to say to His Highness."

Saying so he immediately said goodbye to the duke and left to do his original job.

"I don't know what you will be talking about, but should I completely vacate the room?" I asked tactfully.

In fact, I was asking because I wanted to get away.

"Why do you say that without knowing what I was talking about?"

Unlike his usual playful voice, I felt like it was a little sharp.

"There's no way a servant would come here for personal business. Then, the purpose must be to relay someone else’s message instead, and if it is at the level of an imperial servant, the person, whose message it is, must have a high status. However, seeing that the time that the servant stayed was not that long, I thought it would be more like announcing someone's visit than discussing something. If it is a visit, you would probably have a secret conversation, and it probably is not a good idea for a civil servant to hear."

The duke smiled and nodded at my reasoning. "That's correct," he said.

I was slightly surprised. I could read his emotions from his usually unreadable face as he always had a playful expression. His playfully smiling face clearly showed agitation and slight tension.

Is there anything to be nervous about meeting my big sister? Although she was the representative of the Crow Tribe, the duke's agitation was surprising.

"Then, sorry, but could you go for a walk?"

Good! Fortunately, I won't have to meet my big sister. Let's thank the servant for letting us know about her visit.

"I will take a walk over to the imperial kitchen and try to sneak away a bottle of good quality wine."

As the duke’s guide, I needed a justification to walk around the palace alone away from him. It was possible for the duke to walk around alone, but I had to have an excuse to be walking around by myself.

When I spoke with a playful smile, the duke also smiled playfully.

"Good, give them my name and bring me a Lascore wine."

Production of Lascore wine had long stopped 120 years ago when the area of Lascore became the Demon Territory. To ask me to bring back something that even the emperor can’t drink easily… This will be interesting.

"That sounds good. I will be back."

As I left the quarters, I casually cast wire-tapping magic and concealed it. After leaving, I quickly moved.

I looked at the map of the palace that I had stored in my magic storage device from when I had visited the palace for the civil servants’ exam. Then, I headed to an appropriately unoccupied place.

"Let's see, the reception is...”

- Zizik... Zizizik! Zizik! Zizik! Zizik...

The wire-tapping magic didn’t seem to function properly because of the monstrous magic circle with no equal that existed in the inner palace. The easiest way was to hack the magic circle, just like I did before. However, to be honest, I had failed at that time, so I didn't think I would succeed this time. And most of all, I had to use my magic wand to make contact with the magic circle of the palace. To release my mana from my magic wand in the palace where the people of my hometown were, was like telling everyone “here I am”.

Would it be okay to attack the barrier? No, let's not have an adventure.

Even if I had hit the barrier like when I visited the palace before, there was a high chance that the people from my hometown would notice. In particular, those that followed my big sister as her escort must be elites even within the village.

Phew, oh well.

I sighed and focused on the wire-tapping magic. It wasn’t like I couldn’t connect as long as I put all of my focus into it.

- Zizik… Zizizik… Failed.

- Zizik… Zizizik… Failed.

- Zizik! ...Hello. -Zizizi... Seeing you... Zizizik...

Oh! It was noisy just now, but I heard a voice.

The voice I heard through the wiretapping was the voice of my big sister that I hadn’t heard for a long time. I concentrated all my focus again to increase the reception of the wiretapping.

- Zizik!… Yes, you are… Zizik!... The daughter of...

This time, it was the duke’s voice. The noise was decreasing slightly.

I was concentrating on the wiretapping when someone suddenly ran up from behind.

"Wow! It's Den!"

"Alphonso?"

No, why is this kid here?!

I couldn’t understand the situation for a moment and was surprised, but then saw Yuria behind Alphonso.

“Oh, my! Den! Why are you here?” 

“What about you...”

Oh! Indeed. It seemed that not only the Crow Tribe but also the Butterfly Tribe were called over regarding the currency reform. I could understand if Alphonso and Yuria were here to stay with their family who came to the capital. So if the Butterfly Tribe was here, the Dragon Tribe must be here too.

"Hahaha, let's go slowly." An old man appeared behind Alphonso and Yuria.

The old man's hidden mana and spirit were extraordinary. This was enough to compete with Elder Mirpa and perhaps even my father.

"Grandpa! Hurry up!" Alphonso beckoned the old man excitedly.

Alphonso's grandfather was Arpen Fendria, who was the Great Elder of the Butterfly Tribe and a renowned elementalist among the great madosa.

"Yes, yes. By the way, who is that kid? Do you know each other?” asked Arpen.

"I sent you some letters about him, but he lives in the same boarding house," Yuria answered.

"Oho, really?"

Arpen gave a friendly smile and asked me with message magic.

- What kind of punk are you?

Based on what Yuria and Alphonso told me, he was somewhat of a sucker for his grandchildren, so maybe that was why he seemed to be wary of me. I was trying to answer with a smile when I heard the magic message again.

- What kind of person are you to be hiding that much mana?

I froze.


1. It is lost in translation, but there is a formal word to say ‘person’, and this formal word was used here in the raw Korean text.

2. Again, the formal word for ‘person’/’someone’.

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