Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
⌈Meeting in Rinburuto⌋
In the center of the Great Canada forest. Next to the huge lake that was christened Great Slave stood the forest capital of elven society, the city Maple.
The metropolis that was home to over one-hundred thousand people was entirely constructed of fused tree buildings, surrounded by two city walls.
At the center of this metropolis was a structure taller than all others, a tower built within a large tree.
This place, referred to as the Institute, was where the power of the villages that dotted the Great Canada forest was consolidated, and where the ten great elders and the current chieftain gathered.
On the Institute’s top floor, on the balcony of one of the rooms where the Great Slave Lake could be looked down upon, two men were sitting at a table across from each other.
One of the men was Dylan, who was calmly lifting a cup of tea to his lips as his slightly long, green tinged blonde hair blew in the wind.
Across from Dylan sat a male dark elf with short-trimmed white hair. He had a large scar on his face and his body was robust and rugged. His name was Fangas Furan Maple and he stroked his beard as he stared at his friend Dylan.
Not only was he one of the ten great elders, he was also the father of Dylan’s wife Glenys.
“Please forgive me. I know that the transfer from Raratoia requires quite an amount of magic stones, but I still called for you.”
Fangas’ low and thick voice, combined with his face and large body, made him difficult to approach, even among dark elves.
However, after knowing him for many years, Dylan was able to put on his usual smile as he shook his head, lowered his cup of tea, and answered his father-in-law.
“It’s no burden at all, I received eight Wyvern magic stones from my house guest, so I had no trouble transferring here.”
“That adventurer my granddaughter hired…… do you trust him?”
Fangas’ tone carried quite a bit of animosity when he slightly raised his eyebrow and stared his son-in-law down. However, Dylan simply shrugged his shoulders and looked back at Fangas.
“Yes. He’s a bit odd, but I’d say I trust him. He seems to help and look after Ariane a lot.”
“……I see, if that’s your judgment then I won’t say anything about it.”
After he said that, Fangas crossed his arms and snorted.
Ariane was his precious granddaughter after all. Of course he’d be a little anxious at the idea of an unknown human hanging around her.
However, a great elder such as Fangas wouldn’t call the elder of Raratoia to Maple just for that. With a wry smile, Dylan asked his father-in-law why he had been called here.
“Father-in-law, what is it that you really wanted to discuss?’
“Ah, I was getting to that. A messenger from Rhoden recently brought up the incident in Diento at our Rinburuto embassy. Tomorrow we’ll leave the Institute and head to Rinburuto in order to attend the meeting about it.”
Dylan wasn’t all that surprised at what he had just been told since he had already guessed as much on his way over, so he simply nodded.
“That was quicker than I thought it’d be.”
Fangas sighed as he looked at his son-in-law with dull eyes.
“The person that visited wasn’t a simple messenger…… It was none other than Rhoden Kingdom’s second princess Juliana.”
Dylan was shocked for a moment when he heard that name, but he soon calmed down and smiled as he reached into his breast pocket and handed Fangas a sealed letter.
“This is truly a coincidence. I had wanted to get into contact with princess Juliana, so I suppose this saves me the trouble.”
After Fangas took the letter and examined it, he looked back at Dylan and asked him what it was about.
Dylan proceeded to summarize everything Ariane had told him yesterday.
“I see. In that case we would still have a way to salvage the meeting if the talks were to take a turn for the worse……”
Fangas had a large grin on his face while he stroked his beard.
The next day, Dylan and Fangas went to the heavily guarded transfer hub in Maple and transferred to the small shrine in Sasukatun, the closest village to Rinburuto Archdukedom.
Sasukatun was separated from the Rinburuto Archdukedom by the Sagune river, which was flowing into the gulf of Arudoria.
Though it would take a while to reach Sasukatun from Maple via normal means, the trip could be completed instantly by using large quantities of magic stones as an energy source.
Adjacent to the sprawling capital of Rinburuto was a huge harbor that sat on the opposite shore of the Great Canada Forest.
Currently, the Rinburuto Archdukedom was the only official trading partner of the elves, so other human nations had to come here if they wanted to obtain the superior magic tools of the elves.
As a result, the Rinburuto Archdukedom became a relatively wealthy country and the leader in technological advancement.
Dylan and Fangas sailed from Sasukatun into the gulf of Arudoria before docking at Rinburuto’s harbor.
They tied the boat down in a section of the harbor reserved for elves. A carriage and a group of soldiers were already waiting for them at the port, so they boarded the carriage and waited for it to set off.
Normally, escorts would surround the carriage on horseback, but elves weren’t really competent horse riders since they normally traverse the forest on foot.
However, Fangas had objected to bodyguards, having confidence in his toned body and skills he amassed as a former soldier. The war mace hanging on his waist wasn’t a decoration, but his dwarven-crafted, personal weapon. If he were to get serious, he would be able to crush the skull of a Ground Dragon since most of the elders were excellent combatants, therefore any guards would’ve been just for show.
After the soldiers of Rinburuto completed their formation surrounding the carriage, it started to move.
The carriage that picked them up headed straight for the castle located in the center of the archdukedom’s capital.
Crossing the stone bridge across the moat that surrounded the castle walls, the carriage drove through the gate and entered the castle grounds, arriving at the white walls of the towering palace in which the Archduke ruling Riburuto lived. It’s untold number of spires and elegantly carved walls gave the palace a dignified atmosphere.
Thought its appearance differed from the Institute’s in Maple, this building also drew the attention of those who saw it. Since it was Dylan’s first time setting foot into Rinburuto, he was rather interested in the scenery that passed by the carriage window.
When the carriage stopped at the foot of the palace’s main stairway entrance, several servants promptly stepped up to receive Dylan and Fangas. The two of them were then lead to a palace room where a woman was waiting for them,
“It’s been a long time, Fangas-sama.”
The woman with beautifully combed blonde hair turned her gentle brown eyes towards Fangas and smiled as she slightly lifted her pale blue dress in a curtsey.
Fangas smiled at her welcome and returned a slightly exaggerated bow in return.
“It’s an honor to meet with grand duchess Serena directly.”
The woman Fangas returned a greeting to was none other than Serena Melia De Olav Tishiento, the archduchess of Rinburuto
“Even though this is an impromptu meeting, I thank you for coming.”
“We’re here because we’re a little interested in meeting the messenger from Rhoden Kingdom.”
While Serena smiled thinly at his statement, Fangas simply smiled back until she began speaking again.
“Princess Juliana is my littler sister, all I ask is that you don’t be too hard on her.”
“Oh, we’re really just looking forward to meeting her.”
Serena then led the two of them to a back room. Although the room they entered wasn’t that large, there was a large round table in the center of the room and the sunlight that filtered in from the window brightened the tasteful decor.
Sitting in the room were a young lady and her maid, along with three young knights who were standing behind them.
The young lady rose from her seat and offered a greeting when she saw Dylan and Fangas enter.
Her beautiful brown eyes and lovely blonde hair were similar to Serena’s, though hers was longer. There was also visible tension on her face. She lacked Serena’s mature atmosphere and looked more like a girl, but no one could deny the strong will that dwelled in her eyes.
“This is our first meeting. I am Rhoden Kingdom’s second princess Juliana Marill Melissa Rhoden Olav.”
As she was speaking, she lifted her dress and offered them a humble curtsy.
“I am Fangas Furan Maple, a great elder and ambassador of Great Canada Forest. I’m a little old-fashioned, so I appreciate it when people show a little common courtesy.”
Fangas had a menacing smile on his face when he said that. The young knights that stood beside Juliana became a little stiff when they saw that, but Fangas paid them no mind and turned to Dylan.
“This here is──”
“I am the elder of Raratoia, a village of the Great Canada Forest. My name is Dylan Targ Raratoia. It’s a pleasure to make your acquaintance.”
Seeing Dylan’s more relaxed greeting, compared to Fangas’s, the tension left the knights’ faces and they breathed a relieved sigh. They weren’t the only ones, since Juliana and the maid beside her both felt the tense atmosphere in the room relax a little.
Dylan quietly smiled after looking around before he started speaking as the go-between.
“Please be at ease, despite his appearance my father-in-law means no harm.”
Fangas and Juliana took at seat after Dylan urged them to sit at the table. Dylan sat down beside Fangas while the grand duchess Serena sat in between both parties.
After exchanging greetings once again, princess Juliana began to tell her tale.
“The reason I approached the elves for this meeting is due to an event that recently occurred in Rhoden Kingdom’s territory of Diento.”
Fangas crossed his arms and remained silent as he listened to princess Juliana. Dylan remained focused on what the princess was saying but he didn’t react to anything in particular.
“I’m ashamed to admit it, but Diento’s feudal lord was suspected of breaking the treaty and kidnapping elves. Shortly after the royal family began to investigate, the lord was assassinated.”
Juliana stopped talking at that point and turned to the silent Fangas. However, Fangas didn’t move an inch and simply raised an eyebrow at Juliana.
“I intend to investigate the details of this case and would personally like to apologize for what happened. However, this matter involves the dignity of the royal family. I believe it to be suitable for the royal family to seek consultation on how to handle this matter, no?”
Juliana seems to have concluded that the elves were involved with marquis Diento’s assassination, and was offering a pardon for it.
This seemed to catch Fangas’s attention as he sported a toothy grin when he heard it.
“Hum, what do you want from us then?”
The kingdom was the one the broke the treaty in the first place and the elves merely retaliated in kind, so this wasn’t a situation where either side could make demands since both sides had already suffered losses.
“Well, I would like to make a simple request…… for the elves of the Great Canada Forest to become my supporters for the throne of Rhoden.”
Juliana lowered her head as she spoke. Fangas nodded at her proposal and urged her to continue.
So Juliana explained the turmoil over the succession rights that was currently plaguing the royal family.
“Juliana-dono what would we stand to gain from supporting you?”
“My older brother Sect is receiving support from the Western Leburan Empire. It was the old Leburan Empire that was responsible for the tragedy of the dwarfs in the past. While we are separated by the wind dragon mountain range, if my brother takes the throne the empire’s influence will naturally increase. This is unconfirmed information, but there is a rumor that the empire is developing new magic tool at the elves’ expense.”
The 『Dwarven Tragedy』she spoke of was when the dwarves of the Northern continent were hunted for their metallurgic knowledge. It was the old/previous/former Leburan Empire that led the hunts, and as a result of their severe and cruel acts human history now stated that the dwarves, along with their knowledge, have disappeared from the continent.
However, unbeknownst to the humans was that during those days the dwarves had formed an alliance with the elves and were currently living secluded in the forest capital Maple.
“Juliana-dono do you intend to stand against the empire if you obtain the throne?”
Dylan, who had been mostly quiet till now, asked the question, while Fangas looked the princess in the eyes to verify her true intentions.
Juliana’s response was a silent nod.
“We elves are rather ignorant of human politics, so would our support really help you all that much?”
Fangas’s large arms remained crossed as he sighed.
“Frankly speaking, I do believe so. I hope to arrange trade negotiations between my followers and the elves.”
In response to Juliana’s statement Dylan turned to Serena, who had been calmly sitting off to the side.
“The Grand Duke is already aware of this and has approved the sale of 『Abundant Harvest Stones』. Rinburuto is currently the only country dealing in 『Abundant Harvest Stones』 and if I’m able to obtain the trading right, my influence within the royal family would increase, thus drawing a multitude of nobles to my side.”
“I see. Juliana-dono, you’re trying to promote a positive relationship with the elves.’
Fangas actually moved his large body and began to stroke his white beard. However, a large smile soon appeared on his face.
“I recently learned that one of my brethren married your country’s feudal lord of Lanbaltic. If mutual understanding between elves and your countrymen continues, then that partnership may be possible. I can’t make any promises about trade negotiations yet, but I will have a response for you after the next meeting of the great elders .”
At that response, Juliana’s turned towards the knights and the maid that stood beside her, but they were simply nodding their heads with a surprised look on their faces.
Seemingly pleased with their reaction, Fangas stood up and offered his hand. Juliana quickly rushed to grasp his hand and sighed as a relieved expression appeared on her face.