──Thor’s point of view──
We left for the venue where the meeting was to take place the very same day.
The location was an area past the border, in the area situated between the Demon Territory and the Empire.
The participants were Demon Lord Rukie, Chancellor Kelve, General Reisenga, and minotaur soldiers, with the addition of Mabel and myself.
Rukie and Princess Sophia were meeting to discuss the military exercises of the Empire.
Additionally, Rukie was intending on proposing the idea of trading with the town of Nosa and a joint investigation of the monsters in the border area.
Both of these were necessary for both the future of the Demon Territory and for peace in the border area.
I believe it is my role to support her, so that her vision can be realised.
For that purpose, I intend to fully use my status as a hostage sent by the Empire.
I want to help Princess Sophia as well…….
She told the pixies she would keep quiet regarding what happened and entrusted me with a ring that was a memento of her nanny.
She had said that the ring was without value, but when I examined it, I discovered that was not the case at all.
The ring was formed from mithril, and it was strengthened with the water attribute.
It was an extremely valuable item.
Therefore, I decided to trust her and let her use the [Footbath].
If Princess Sophia is supportive of fostering an amenable relationship with the Demon Territory, I want to support her.
If possible, I want to create a situation in which she can use the [Footbath] regularly so that her physical condition improves.
If she were in a position of authority in the town of Nosa, she should be able to help Rukie and the rest.
“Halt! Soldiers can only accompany us this far.
Stand by until we return!”
Just as they were exiting the forest, General Reisenga raised his voice.
The minotaur soldiers froze.
The soldiers couldn’t go any further.
The only ones allowed to proceed to the actual meeting were Rukie, Chancellor Kelve, General Raisenga, and myself, the designated witness.
“I’m off then, Mabel.”
Mabel looked at me with concern.
Suddenly, as if she had noticed something, she reached out and began to straighten my clothes.
I left the encampment hurriedly, and my clothes were disorderly.
She straightened my collar, pulled down my rolled-up sleeves, tugged on them to smooth them, and then nodded her head in satisfaction.
“Thank you, Mabel.
You’ve been a great help.”
I was about to meet the Imperial Princess, right? I should at least dress in a befitting manner.
I was practising my alchemy late into the night, so I overslept.
That’s why I hadn’t bothered with my clothes.
“I’ll be waiting for you when you return.”
Mabel stared at me and said.
“I’ve been waiting for you for a long time.
“I’ll be right back.”
I know that.
But now that I’m Thor-sama’s fiancée…… Since I am conscious of that, I feel uneasy…….”
Mabel was flushed to the tips of her slender elven ears.
When she says that…… I’m embarrassed as well.
Yesterday, Chancellor Kelve announced that Mabel and I were to be engaged, to ensure that the Empire wouldn’t interfere with my matters.
He added that this was only temporary, so I shouldn’t make a big fuss about it.
Mabel and I were both taken aback.
However, the Chancellor’s order had been issued, and since Rukie had also permitted it, I couldn’t refuse.
Besides, I trusted the Chancellor.
So, I am currently temporarily ‘engaged’ to Mabel…
“I-I want to ensure that the people of the Empire recognize that we are engaged.
I-if I send Thor-sama off too nonchalantly, they might find it suspicious.”
“…… I see.”
Mabel nodded, a nervous and bashful expression dominating her face.
…… But I don’t really know what I’m supposed to do when they say I’m engaged.
The aristocrats’ marriages were usually political marriages.
I had always been treated as someone unwanted in the Empire, and I hadn’t even imagined that I would ever marry someone.
However, there was one thing I had decided on.
If I ever met someone I wanted to marry, I would cherish them.
In the Empire, marriage partners for aristocrats are decided based on status and power.
I hated the Empire, so I wanted nothing to do with that custom.
I had decided to cherish my partner regardless of their status or power.
Therefore, since Mabel had become my fiancée, albeit only temporarily…
“I’ll definitely return safe and sound, don’t worry.”
Mabel’s eyes were growing increasingly misty, so I nodded at her.
“No matter what the Empire says, I belong here.
I won’t go back to the Empire.
I will stay in the Demon Territory where Mabel is, you don’t need to worry about that.”
“That’s why, please hold onto this.”
I handed Mabel a silver ring.
“Thor-sama! What’s this?”
“I-it doesn’t mean anything deep, okay? It’s just a good luck charm.”
“A good luck charm?”
It’s a [Special Luck Ring] that I discovered in the corner of the [Mail Order Catalogue].
I created it because I felt that I needed to give it to Mabel if it would truly bring you good luck.
It isn’t complete yet, though.”
The ability described in the [Mail Order Catalogue] was…
[Special Luck Ring]
All the lucky people have it, a ring of good luck for you!
Wear this ring and you too will be a lucky one!
The [Special Luck Ring] is fully customized.
We will use your birth date, blood type, occupation, body type, and food preferences as references to contract a special master (a secretive master who has been honing his techniques since super-ancient times) who will select the best materials for you.
Then, they will engrave a pattern on the stone of the ring tailored to each individual.
The completely custom-made [Special Luck Ring] dramatically changes the flow of qi(energy).
You will be blessed with a tremendous amount of luck, beyond the realm of mortals!
You may be surprised at how your world transforms due to your powerful luck.
(It depends on the person’s opinion.)
If you want to get your own, please cut out the postcard on this page, fill in the required information, and send it to us.
(*Stamps not included.)
(**This is an advertisement and bears no association with our company.)
“Th-there is such a thing?”
“Yes, but this one only imitates the shape.”
Unfortunately, the specific stone and pattern for the ring did not appear in the catalogue.
The only related text was, “For more information, please contact us via the attached postcard.” Moreover, the bottom of the page had been cut off.
Perhaps that was where the postcard had been.
The world of the heroes is still so frightening.
They strengthen their luck with their qi – in other words, their magical power.
And there is even a being capable of creating such an item…
I wonder who in the world they are.
“I’m going to study stone and pattern design for the ring and create something original, belonging to this world.
Of course, at the moment it is simply a ring without a stone.”
“I’ll complete it properly someday.
Until then, Mabel can hold onto it for me.”
“It fits perfectly on my finger.”
Mabel slid the [Special Luck Ring] onto her ring finger.
“How do you know the size of my finger?”
“We held hands the other day so that I could sense your ‘life force’, didn’t we?”
“Thor-sama is amazing…”
Mabel closed her eyes and wrapped the palm of the hand wearing the ring with the other.
Then, as if suddenly realizing something,
“Hmm? You said that you measured my fingers the other day when we joined hands.
Does that mean that…… Her Majesty has also…?”
I just gave it to her.”
“So that’s why Her Majesty was overly motivated.”
“But, she’s wearing a mask…”
“I can tell since I’m her childhood friend.”
“Is that so?”
“So it’s like that.”
Before I knew it, Mabel and I were staring at each other and laughing.
Mabel and Rukie are in the Demon Territory.
Agnis and the pixies are there, too.
There was no way I was going to return to the Empire without them.
“I almost forgot about this.”
I took out two more items from the [Ultra-Small Simple Warehouse].
One was a [UV-Cut Parasol].
“Keep this parasol open during the meeting.
That way I will know where Mabel is.”
So, Thor-sama, what is this little item?”
“It’s for emergencies.
I don’t think you’ll need it though, with the soldiers and the owls stationed at the forest exit.”
“I see that the owls have arrived.”
Mabel looked up at the treetops and laughed, proceeding to then smile in their direction.
“But, if it’s an item meant for emergencies, it would be better if Thor-sama took it with him.”
“As one would expect of Mabel, you’re very perceptive.”
It’s because I’m Thor-sama’s maid and fiancée.”
Mabel declared resolutely as she touched the ring.
Soon, the time for the meeting approached, and Chancellor Kelve came to call me.
I joined Rukie, Chancellor Kelve, and General Reisenga and began walking to the location of the meeting.
Participants from the Imperial side were already approaching us.
At the forefront of the group was a girl donning a pure white dress.
I glanced back, and the owls perched on a tree at the entrance to the forest nodded.
That must be Princess Sophia.
Following behind her were two warriors in full body armour, as there were no restrictions regarding armour.
Since Princess Sophia was unarmed, her bodyguards were probably completely covering their bodies to compensate.
The Imperial soldiers, who stood behind Princess Sophia and her men, were also all heavily armed.
When he looked further, he caught sight of the heavy cavalry, the pride of the Empire.
Covered head to toe in armour, these powerful cavalrymen also carried long, broad spears.
Their penetrating power was tremendous; I had heard tales of them breaking through enemy lines one after another on the southern battlefields.
I didn’t feel threatened at this distance though, I could aim at their horses with a [Laser Pointer].
“Halt, people of the Demon Territory.”
A warrior standing behind Princess Sophia shouted.
The distance between Princess Sophia and ourselves was a little greater than ten meters, still a little too far apart to hold a meeting.
“There is no need to draw closer.
I can hear their voices from here.
Let’s hold the meeting like this!”
“Isaac! That is extremely……”
“For your safety, Your Highness.
The warrior in full body armour said.
“I said I would cooperate with the meeting, but Your Highness’ safety is our foremost priority.”
In the end, it seemed that the Empire was wary of the Demon Territory.
Therefore, even if Her Highness Sophia wanted to talk to Rukie privately, the guards had no intention of allowing it.
“Your Majesty Demon Lord, I would like to speak with the Imperial people.”
It was difficult to hold a conversation at this distance.
It couldn’t be helped.
As the alchemist of Her Majesty the Demon Lord, I’ll resolve this issue somehow.
“Are you sure about this, Thor?
“We have safety measures in place, no need to worry.”
I said, and Rukie nodded.
I checked the contents of my [Ultra-Small Simple Warehouse], the bag at my waist.
The items I had prepared were fine.
I carried the [UV-Cut Parasol] with me from the beginning, so no problem there.
“I am Thor Canaan, a former Imperial nobleman.
As a witness for this meeting, may I speak a few words?”
Princess Sophia raised her voice.
“Pl-please come this way.”
I left Rukie and the others and began walking towards Princess Sophia.
The escorting warriors stepped forward to protect the princess.
When I was in the Empire, I was fearful of these bulky warriors.
However, I don’t think anything of them anymore.
“I am grateful that you allowed me to speak with you.
My name is Thor Canaan.
As a person sent to the Demon Territory from the Empire, I have been ordered to witness the meeting.”
I kneeled down in front of Princess Sophia, as was the etiquette of the nobility.
“So you are Thor Caanan.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
“The son of a former duke…”
The warrior named Isaac examined me.
“The reason I ordered you to stand as a witness is so that you can interpret the meaning of those Demon Territory people.
However, I don’t recall asking you to offer your opinion.”
“These are the words of someone extremely familiar with the Demon Lord.
They are worth listening to.”
Princess Sophia shook her cherry-red hair and announced.
“Let us hear what you have to say.
Thor Canaan, what is your opinion?
“The people of the Demon Territory would never do anything to harm Your Highness.
Her Majesty the Demon Lord and the other dignitaries have agreed to the meeting and wish to meet with everyone in the Empire.”
I said, looking Princess Sophia in the eye.
“If there is the slightest doubt in your mind, Your Highness,”
I said, looking her clearly in the eye,
“If there is the slightest falsehood in these words, please, Your Highness, unleash light attribute attack magic upon me.
With that, I will answer for the sin of having spoken untruthfully to Your Highness.”
“Your words…… echo in my heart.”
Princess Sophia held her hand to her chest, which was enveloped in a white dress.
“If you are so determined, then I will place faith in you.”
“After Her Highness has been harmed, how can you take responsibility?”
“The life of the son of a count is no substitute for that of Her Highness! If anything should happen to Her Highness….”
“It’s strange, isn’t it? I didn’t realize that people who revered the heroes would be so afraid of demons and demi-humans.”
I had lived in the Empire for more than 10 years.
I knew how Imperial nobles and high-ranking soldiers reacted to certain words, and what kinds of provocations they fell for.
As a weak man, I had survived in the Empire by observing the tendencies and behaviour of the powerful.
“The great otherworldly heroes are now the protectors of the Empire-”
“What would they think if they heard the words of Isaac Mueller-sama?
I looked at Princess Sophia.
I saw that she nodded and continued.
“I wonder if the hero’s holy sword found in this area has accepted Isaac Mueller?”
Isaac Mueller’s face scrunched up.
“Y-you, you even know that we attempted to retrieve that sword!”
“I am granted freedom in the Demon Territory, being allowed to even wander the border areas.”
“A hero is one who is courageous.
Then, aren’t those who stand and calmly speak before the Demon Lord truly courageous? I believe that a hero is one who is able to calmly face difficulties.”
I took a deep breath and said a few words.
“Or is it that heroes are only those from other worlds, and there are no heroes in the Empire?”
Isaac Mueller tightly gripped the sword at his waist.
I touched the new item in my pocket.
However, the other side shouldn’t move.
If he draws his sword, Isaac Mueller will have ruined the meeting.
A man so close to the princess would not commit such a mistake.
I still did not take my eyes off Isaac Mueller, however.
“Thor Canaan is right.”
Princess Sophia suddenly said.
She quietly glanced towards Isaac Mueller.
“It was the heroes who laid the foundation of the Empire.
Those who were summoned from other worlds were termed heroes because they were brave enough to fight in this foreign world.
What are we, who revere those brave men and women, to do if we fear speaking with people from another country?”
“Look at the people in the Demon Territory.
There are just more than a dozen soldiers behind them, and their guards are only fitted in light armour.
Compared to us, who brought dozens of heavily armed cavalrymen, the sincerity of the Demon Territory is clear.”
Then with a sigh, Princess Sophia said:
“Besides…… I said that all failures are mine alone, and all credit is attributed to you.
Are you dissatisfied with that, Isaac Mueller?”
“It would be rude to keep them waiting any longer.
Let us go.”
Princess Sophia held out her hand toward me.
“You possessed the courage to go to the Demon Territory as per the Emperor’s command.
Please stand as witness between us and the Demon Territory and facilitate our meeting, Thor Canaan.”
“I understand, Your Highness.”
I took the hand that Princess Sophia stretched out to me.
The hand was thinner than I had expected, slender and delicate.
She was trembling slightly; it was likely that she was nervous.
I wonder if she was afraid.
Even so, Princess Sophia agreed to meet with the Demon Territory.
There were these kinds of people in the Empire.
I wish that…… Princess Sophia would rule the empire.
The upper echelons should consist of those familiar with weakness, and the front line should be teeming with volunteer heroes who value strength.
I believe the Empire would function better if that were the case.
Thinking of this, I pulled Princess Sophia’s hand and began to walk away.
The escorts followed behind me.
Both of them were a bit apprehensive, however.
And thus I arrived in front of Rukie and the others.
“Your Majesty, Demon Lord Rukie Evergard.
I have brought Princess Sophia.”
Rukie nodded, her expression complicated.
She was still wearing her mask and robe, so I couldn’t make out her expression.
However, I have been able to recognize the kind of expression she is sporting by the tone of her voice as of late.
“Thank you for your hard work.
My – no, my guest, Thor Canaan.
Please come with me.”
I bowed to Princess Sophia and moved to the side of Rukie and the others.
Thus, the preparations for the meeting had been completed.
The distance between the Demon Lord Rukie and Princess Sophia was only a few meters.
It was as close as they could approach while remaining out of a sword’s range.
“I am the Demon Lord Rukie Evergard.
I am grateful for the opportunity to meet with the Imperial princess in this manner.”
“I am the Imperial Princess Sophia Dolgaria.
I am honored to meet the great lord who rules over the demons and demi-humans.”
Rukie and Sophia exchanged greetings with one another.
Thus began the meeting between the Demon King and the Imperial Princess.
The content of the meeting was far different from what I had expected.
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