V2 Chapter 63: The Princess’s Invitation

When I was invited to the royal palace by Princess Sakuya of Adoastera, the first words that came to my mind were ‘Please, spare me’.

Having obtained the catalyst for the Barrier Magic, I thought I could finally put an end to the Hydra incident, only to feel like a new trouble had flown into my lap.

Well, the invitation via the Duke of Dragnaut was a courteous one, so it might be premature to consider it a problem.

However, the one inviting me is the Third Imperial Princess, who is attracting attention all over Canaria. She is the crown prince’s wife and future queen of Canaria, and undoubtedly, there must be many who wish to meet the princess, regardless of their status.

In such a situation, the princess has gone out of her way to invite me. It’s only natural to think that there must be something behind this.

According to the Duke of Dragnaut’s letter, the princess deals with people with a sincere attitude, without flaunting the empire’s dignity, and is well-received in the palace. This invitation is also framed as ‘if possible, by all means’, so I could decline it if I wanted…

“Still, that would be a bad move,” I thought, scratching my head.

Having recently met the king and crown prince with Claudia, I am certainly considered a member of the Duke of Dragnaut’s family. Probably, the princess thought the same and thus invited me through the Duke.

If I were to decline her invitation now, it would not only be an insult to the princess but also to the Duke of Dragnaut. Worst case scenario, it could involve Claudia and create a major issue—considering this, I decided to accept the princess’s invitation.

And so, I decided to research about the princess I was about to meet. After all, all I knew about Princess Sakuya was that she was the third imperial princess.

Fortunately—or perhaps inevitably—it was easy to gather information about the princess in the Kingdom of Canaria, which was on the verge of a wedding ceremony. Even just walking down the main street of Ishka, one could overhear rumors about her.

However, in my case, I could gather information without even walking down the main street. My source of information was Miroslav. She seemed to have obtained information about the wedding ceremony via her merchant father, and even told me about the current state of the Adoastera imperial family.

“Sooner or later, we knew the empire would contact the Dragon Slayer Master,” Miroslav said. That’s why she had researched this while we were in Berka. Her concern was incredibly thoughtful. I appreciated her for obtaining highly accurate information from her reluctant father.

She was also successfully improving the antidotes and recovery potions I had previously ordered. I might have to reward Miroslav for her efforts soon. With these thoughts, I looked through the information about the princess gathered by Miroslav.

The name of the princess, Sakuya, resonates similarly to my mother’s name—Shizuya. The princess also seems to have black hair and black eyes, another trait common with my mother.

However, both aren’t uncommon in the eastern part of the continent, so I don’t think there is a blood relationship or anything like that between them. My mother is from the common class, and Princess Sakuya’s mother is said to be the daughter of a powerful lord in the east, so there is likely no connection in that regard.

When I talk about my mother, I say “I think” or “probably” because I don’t know much about her origins. She rarely talked about her past. When I, as a child, asked her about it, she always looked sad and lonely. I remember feeling that it was something I shouldn’t ask.

All I know is that my mother was born in the eastern part of the continent. Whether that’s on the eastern side of the imperial territory or the far east area that doesn’t cooperate with the empire, I have no idea.

My father surely knows, but at that time, I couldn’t possibly have talked to him. Wait, no, that’s not right. What I should be thinking about now isn’t my mother’s background but Princess Sakuya.

As I just mentioned, Princess Sakuya was born to the Emperor of Adoastera and a noblewoman from the East. Her mother is still in good health, residing in the imperial palace of Adoastera as a favored consort, and she has borne the Emperor a son and a daughter.

The daughter, of course, is Princess Sakuya. The son is Prince Shion, who turns ten this year. Given the Emperor’s advanced age, Prince Shion is likely his last male heir.

Now, the Emperor is utterly enamored with his youngest child born to his favored consort. As a result, there are rumors of a silent friction between him and Richard, the middle-aged Crown Prince.

Prince Richard is known for his harshness that surpasses that of the young Emperor. On the other hand, as the Emperor has aged, he has started to show interest in policies of conciliation. In this respect as well, things don’t seem to be going well between the father and son.

Thinking about it, perhaps the Emperor’s will plays a significant part in the current marriage ceremony. If it were up to the Crown Prince, he wouldn’t bother with ceremonies; he would directly send troops to invade the Canaria Kingdom.

If we read further into the situation, perhaps Princess Sakuya, who is gathering support by humbly addressing people in the Canaria Royal Palace, is considering using Canaria troops to aid her father and brother in the event of a civil war in the empire. Besides the military power of Canaria, the mobility of the Dragon Knights can be greatly utilized, considering the vastness of the Imperial territory.

With a Dragon Slayer at the head of the Dragon Knights, there would be no lack of military power—wait, have I already figured out the princess’s plan?

“Perhaps I’m overthinking things. Well, I guess I’ll find out when I go there.”

I shrugged casually and considered the schedule ahead.

I would have to send an acceptance reply to Duke Dragnaut, arrange a date for the meeting, and then visit the capital city once again—it seems a bit of a hassle. You never know when another troublesome issue might arise, so it would be best to meet the princess sooner rather than later.

I should probably go directly to the capital with my acceptance. If I were to respond and arrive promptly, it would undoubtedly create a good impression on the princess. I don’t particularly intend to flatter the princess, but I don’t want to draw unnecessary attention and cause trouble for the Duke’s family either.

And there’s one more reason for me to go to the capital.

“I want you to come with me this time, Miroslav. I want to stop by the Sauzar Trading Company.”

When I addressed Miroslav, who was standing by me like a maid, the red-haired magician widened her eyes in surprise.

“I would be happy to accompany you, but… why do you need to go to my father’s trading company? As the Master, you don’t need to go there personally—I can go and relay the message for you.”

“No, as the Master of the Blood Spraying Sword, I thought it would be a good idea to meet at least once. I should express my gratitude to his daughter, who has always been of great help to me.”

Upon hearing this, Miroslav was at a loss for words. She didn’t know whether I was joking or serious.

The correct answer is “serious”.

Originally, the chairman of Sauzar had communicated through Miroslav that he would like to meet with me once. I believe it was around the time Miroslav officially joined the Blood Spraying Sword after returning from Mount Skim.

However, I didn’t meet him at that time. According to Miroslav, it was because he was seeking my connection with the likes of Duke Dragnaut, so I did not see the need to meet him. To be honest, I still don’t want to meet him.

However, there were several occasions where Miroslav used the power of the Sauzar Merchant Company to help me, just like this time. Therefore, I thought it was time to show some appreciation.

Miroslav, who dislikes her father, remained furrowed in the brow as she listened to my story.

After a moment, her pale red lips slowly opened.

“…Master, As I’ve mentioned before, what my father wants is your network. It can be rephrased as a tool to ingratiate himself with nobles.”

The Sauzar Merchant Company is considered one of the top three merchant companies in the capital, but in reality, it’s an upstart power built up in one generation by Miroslav’s father. As such, it seems they have difficulty getting recognized by nobles, especially those of count rank or higher.

This is also why I’ve heard that they are significantly behind the other two merchant companies in terms of assets.

“My father will probably ask you to bridge the gap between him and Duke Dragnaut. However, the Duke already trusts a certain merchant company. Even if you ask, I don’t think they will accept another merchant company. Worst case scenario, it could cause a rift between you and Duke Dragnaut.”

That’s why Miroslav says I should not meet with her father.

In response to Miroslav, who was trying to change my mind with a somewhat earnest expression, I casually responded.

“I won’t interfere with the Duke’s internal affairs. Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t the main business of the Sauzar Merchant Company clothing? If you make the formal attire for my future visits to the royal palace, it could serve as a good promotion. If I’m not enough, I can ask Claudia too.”

As Claudia is considered my fiancee, it wouldn’t be strange to provide her with outfits. The merchant company employed by the Duke’s family probably wouldn’t complain either.

It would likely be difficult to get the outfits in time for the upcoming wedding, but if Claudia and I wear formal attire made by the Sauzar Merchant Company every time we visit the royal palace in the future, it should be sufficient repayment for their past services—probably.

When I said that, Miroslav responded with a puzzled look.

“The famous Dragon Slayer and the daughter of the Dragnaut wearing outfits from the Sauzar Merchant Company—it couldn’t get any better than that for promotion. My father would be overjoyed…but are you sure?”

“Yeah. I can’t keep borrowing formal attire from the Duke’s family every time I go to the royal palace.”

Considering future events, I will definitely need formal attire. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t order them from the Sauzar Merchant Company. This would make it easier for Miroslav to draw on the support of the merchant company in the future, so there’s really no reason not to ask the Sauzar Merchant Company.

At the same time, if I give Miroslav a reward for her past efforts while touring the capital, it would kill two birds with one stone. Hopefully, there are high-performance magic wands or robes for sale in the capital.

As I thought about such things, I watched Miroslav, who was shrinking her shoulders with a sense of reluctance.

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