At the entrance of the Underground Labyrinth.
Telchis was moving around without encountering any of the adventurers. Of course, he didn’t fear the adventurers. It was because he wanted to avoid his companions from being caught up in the fighting.
That’s right, he had companions.
“Princess, let’s stop here. If we continue like this, we might be unable to return!” Corias tried to persuade Francesca.
“Don’t make me say it again. Even if I return back alive, my body and the kingdom will be used until the empire crushes us. Since it will be like this, then let me act as if I have reached the end of my rope. It will be alright. Even if I fail, it can’t get any worse.”
While this kind of conversation was going on between the Princess of the Ferian Kingdom, Francesca, and her bodyguard, Corias, the sound of chains echoed.
Upon hearing this sound, Corias hurriedly retreated.
“Don’t be so cautious. We are travelling together now after all.” Telchis smirked.
“‘Now’ you say?! Princess, he said ‘now’! I surely heard it!” Corias screeched.
Ignoring the howling female knight who was pointing her finger rudely at Telchis, Francesca said to the Azure Knight.
“I am very sorry for the fuss she’s causing.”
“I don’t mind. It’s just like a dog barking… If I can discipline or kick it, I will not hate it.”
“Hy, hyii~~~~~~” Corias retreated further back.
“Do you want to train her? Well, it might not be so bad.” Francesca stated with a sinister smile after glancing at female knight who looked miserable.
“Pri-Princess!” Corias panicked.
“It was a lie. I will not hand you over for free because you’re a valuable asset. So, rest assured.” The princess smiled.
(Doesn’t that mean that you will hand me over if it wasn’t for free?)
Corias closed her mouth while feeling uneasy.
With her auburn eyes, the princess glanced at the female knight, and shut her up.
While looking at those auburn eyes, Corias couldn’t say anything. She felt that what the princess said was right With her train of thought interrupted, she already lost her willpower to argue.
“You are a wise person. If your father was the same as you, I will be much happier.” Corias sighed.
The skill Francesca possessed was called [Red Eye Fairy]. It was due to this skill that she can make Corias fall silent. Originally, it was a skill that was possessed by a red fairy who used to live around this place. But, because Francesca’s parents were both human, it might be one of her ancestors who had the blood of a fairy.
This skill would give the user a substantial bonus when doing a negotiation. However, there were several limitations.
First, there is a standardized limit for the intelligence of the target. The limit was quite high. At least, she has used it against her father and a few of the knights, but, it was only successful against a knight who she disguised as an adventurer as her secret agent.
The second one was the distance. She needed to look at her target’s eyes at a close distance.
And the last one was the number of times it can be used. It can only be used five times a day.
In addition, if in the first place, the other party didn’t plan to negotiate at all, the bonus in negotiation will not have any effect.
By the way, it was her fourth time using it today.
The first one was on the maid when she wanted to exit the castle. The second one was on the soldier who were preparing the horse, and the third time was used on the Azure Knight, Telchis.
(But, I don’t think this power will work on Alrac.)
While remembering the prince of the big empire who she had met six years ago, the princess of the small country smiled in reminiscence.
The prince who has deep blue eyes and golden hair… Alrac would probably not remember her…
For Francesca, she thought of him as a special partner for the first time, but then, she heard from other people that he already died. He who was a remnant of the Magic Empire… She doesn’t know why he had set up a residence in this small and remote country, but as a princess of a small country, she needed to greet him, and if possible, she wanted to establish a good relationship.
“…It seems like this negotiation will decide my life and death.” While muttering in a low voice, she decided to go down the spiral staircase leading to the interior of Underground Labyrinth.
＊ ＊ ＊
When Alrac felt Telchis stepping inside the labyrinth, he called for him.
A special connection exists between the summoner and the summoned.
The summoner can give the summoned creature a vague instruction, and if the summoned has intelligence, they can even communicate with their minds.
Even though this skill can only be used in the labyrinth, Alrac found it useful.
While sitting down on the white throne, he asked the knight.
(Before you report to me about the task, tell me about the people behind you.)
“It’s the princess, Francesca, with a female knight, Corias, as her attendant. The princess said she wanted to negotiate so I escorted them.” Telchis reported.
(Francesca… Ah, I know her.) Alrac stated.
“Are they annoyances? If that’s the case, do you want me to kill them?” Telchis asked.
(No. Just bring them here. Don’t be impolite to them.) Alrac ordered.
“By your will.” The Azure Knight replied.
Alrac cut the telepathic link and told his sister about the incoming guests.
“Do you remember Francesca?” He asked.
“Nn? Who is that, onii-sama?” Halva was confused.
“She is the princess of this country. We met her about seven years ago.” Alrac explained.
After hearing her elder brother’s words, Halva thought hard while looking at the ceiling.
“Ah! Ah! If you say seven years ago, then it must be at that Continent Peace Talk! Ah ~ I see! Un un. Certainly, we met at that time!” Halva smiled.
“How could you not remember it..?” Alrac sighed.
“Well, at that time, I was only ten years old. so I don’t remember much of it ~ Even onii-sama at that time was only twelve years old. In the past, we were only acquaintances, so it is normal to be unable to remember her ~ ” Halva giggled.
Judging by his sister’s words, it seems like she forgot the other party completely…
Perhaps remembering the peace talk seven years ago made her feel hostile about it.
(I almost made her cry.)
He smiled wryly unconsciously as he remembered his cry baby sister at that time,.
(That’s right. It has been seven years since that time…)
Alrac though back on those days.
The peace talk that was held 7 years ago… It was hosted by the Saint kingdom, and every imperial family and nobles from almost all the countries in the continent gathered.
Back then, although there were insidious claims about the Magic Empire, by the end of the discussion, the emperor, who was the father of Alrac and Halva, was placed as the head of the meeting. He brought Alrac and Halva to establish connections for the future.
The peace talk continued for two month.
The contents of the meeting were the policies towards monsters and barbarian tribes living in the country. Each country in the continent cooperated to discuss on how to deal with them. On the north side of Saint Kingdom exists the coalition of dark elf tribes with a mighty force. They insisted on exterminating the goblins and ogres employed by dark elves to attack them. The Magic Empire was against that and proposed to join hands with them.
Eventually, the discussion of both countries ended up in a set of parallel lines.
The Saint Kingdom’s side was the mainstream one, while the Magic Empire’s side was isolated.
Afterwards, a war broke out a year later, and the Magic Empire was ganged up on by every country.
But, even if the war between the Magic Empire and the Saint Kingdom can’t be avoided, to erase the tense atmosphere, each country’s younger generation established contact.
Alrac and Halva weren’t exceptions too.
The royalty and nobles of each country gathered around Alrac in particular. They talked about future economics and military affairs like alliances. They also dueled with swords and magic. There were also marriage proposals from princesses of certain countries.
As for Halva herself, there were many marriage proposals from princes and nobles of various countries. Because she was only ten years old at that time, she cried and called for help from her older brother when she saw many strange people coming to her.
At such a time, he met Francesca. Actually, the one who met her first was Halva.
They met when they were playing an occupation game called [Thane].
It had eighteen pieces per person, with a total of 54 pieces. It was a game where when you achieve the goal, you win.
The goal was different for every game, but generally, it was to take the king pieces.
Other than that, it was to reduce a fixed number of pieces, or to let a specific piece move to a specific location. There were various ways to play. Commanders, strategists, and, especially, civil officers like to play this game.
Generally, it was a game played by men. But, because of the influence of her brother, Halva liked to play this kind of game too.
When we were occupied by the game, and I had a little bit of advantage over Halva, Francesca appeared.
Even though she was a small country‘s princess, she had a strong mind, unlike the timid Halva who was born from a big country, and challenged her to a light game.
She was a little bit surprised when a girl, younger to boot, challenged her to a game, but she didn’t intend to lose, and started the game.
However, after the game started, Halva’s pieces were taken piece after another piece by her sharp attack.
When he could finally see the game clearly, Alrac looked at his sister’s state. When her older brother looked at her losing figure, there were tears in Halva’s eyes. However, after looking at the board, Alrac said to his younger sister.
“It is alright, Halva. Hey, look at this… Think. Even if every situation is bad, you must not stop thinking. You must not abandon the game.”
Listening to his words, Halva wiped her tears and looked at the board again.
And then, after a few minutes, she issued a small voice, ‘there’, and made her move.
It was the move Francesca overlooked, and victory and defeat was reversed at once. Afterwards, Francesca was defeated in just a few move, and her cheeks were dyed red from vexation. She had considerable confidence in [Thane]. Even though she was young, she was considered a master in her country, and for her to be defeated so easily, it can’t be helped if she felt frustrated.
“Amazing. For you to corner my younger sister to this state, especially on the fifth move? The one where you took out her knight was splendid. But, the eighteenth move was a mistake. Even though it seemed like a perfect move, it contained a flaw.” Alrac praised. “Hahaha, sorry, sorry. You must have thought that it was inelegant of me to meddle, right? But, since it was my younger sister who noticed it by herself, can you forgive me?”
“…Yes, but, won’t you play instead?” Francesca requested.
“With pleasure, my cute princess.” Alrac smiled.
[ED: Lol. Much playboy at age 12. *claps*]
“…My name is Francesca. I am the first princess of the Ferian Kingdom” She introduced herself.
“How rude am I? My name is Alrac, the first prince of the Magic Empire.” Alrac did so as well.
“I-I am… Halva. The first princess of the Magic Empire.” Halva followed her brother.
It has been seven years since that day. We had fun playing [Thane] for a few days. Sometimes, we also talked about the future of our both countries.
But, because of that event, we needed to leave.
When Alrac finished his long recollection, he muttered.
“Now then, that lady who used an aggressive move at that time… How did she grow up now?”
He narrowed his eyes and sneered while playing with his hair. His voice was ice cold.
But, when Halva heard a slightly happy voice from her older brother, a smile bloomed on her face.