“...” Flopped on a slab of stone tiles, I held my right arm into the air, manifesting another one of the said balls from the palm of my hands.
Passively, I manipulated the balls until I lost control on all of them. Dying out like a flash of light, I stopped supplying mana. Retracting my arm, I flapped it before resting it atop my knees. Then reaching out my left, I restarted the same light ball manifestation and manipulation.
Within the odd room slabbed with stone, “It’s surprising that you’re here,” A voice echoed fragrantly.
Recognizing the voice, “You suggested that I can use this place whenever I want to grow my horn,” I muttered.
“You seem to have gotten used to it,” the voice replied.
“What are you talking about?” I asked, “It’s too easy to reach this place with the necklace.”
“Then mind guessing where you are?”
“Impossible,” I answered, “I don’t even recognize this type of stone– no, this isn't even an ordinary stone, is it? It's glowing.”
Using my right hand, I slid my fingers on the slightly rough surface of the floor.
Shifting my sights from left to right, “This place is firmly enclosed, yet I can breathe.”
Maybe it’s a type of concrete mixed with crushed Dasbalites? Without failing to control the light balls, I thought.
“Anyway, Celes, please let me stay for a while longer.”
Waiting for a reply, “Thank you,” I muttered.
Again, after reaching the limit, I exchanged my hand and repeated the process.
Leaning my back against the wall, “Haaah...” I breathe out a sigh from my weighted chest.
“Say, Celes,” I called.
“That dream, was it possible?” unsmiling, I asked, “was it just a dream?”
“It happened,” she said, “at a different time.”
Balling my left, “Why?” I asked, “why do you have to show me?”
“It was a precarious time, Amelia,” She answered, “If I hadn’t shown you, would you have recognized that it didn’t feel right?”
“...” Unable to reply, I loosened my grip.
“You were asleep for two weeks,” she said, “you’ve accomplished the goal of saving yourself and Erina, and have thought it was enough, right?”
“That could’ve been your end,” she continued, “you could’ve stayed asleep for eternity.”
Feeling my consciousness starting to lose ground, “Amelia, you shouldn’t waver,” she said, “abide by your decision.”
In exchange for my right, I held out my left.
“Keep at it; I’ll return you to your bed.”
Not long, my head became dizzy, and my sight turned fuzzy and before I lost my consciousness, Four rounds of thirty light balls… Then I slumped against the wall.
With her chin placed on the end of the bed, “Lia, are you okay?” Kanna asked.
Snorting a smile, “I’m fine,” I answered, “I just need some rest.”
Shifting my body, I turned my back against Kanna.
“Kanna,” reaching for my necklace, I said, “do you think the other two Enarfs reached the Duchy?”
Amelia, you’re not someone who’d sulk over something like this.
“Why not?” she answered, “the Tribe journeyed from the west of Alabaster.”
Chuckling a grin, “you’re right.”
There’s no time for this.
As I propped myself to a seat, I turned around and said, “Erina, please have my dress prepared.”
Dressed in a white gown laced in black, I strode down the hallway leading to the main building of the mansion. As I walked, several figures emerged from my sight, standing before a large oak wood double door.
After arriving at the side of Kanna and Uncle, I took another step forward. Then from the other side, Max, wearing a black suit, the representative between him, a Noble, and a priest, took a step forward and placed a hand on his chest.
Lifting my skirt, “good day,” I curtsied, “I’m Amelia Laurel, entitled as the Silver Princess.”
Bowing his head with a smile, “a good day to you too,” he said, “I’m Maxwell Brent, Brent’s heir to the throne.”
Finished with our greetings, Kanna, Uncle, the Noble, and the Priest each introduced themselves.
Led by Knights, we entered the solar purposed into a meeting room. Inside, a 14-foot long polished black trestle table stood in harmony with the red carpet underneath. Taking our designated seats, I and Max both sat center of our group. On the other end of the table, a man called Administer stated the rules for the diplomatic talk.
Then the discussion started after the Administer stated Brent's trade request.
Continuing from where the Administer left off, the Noble from Brent said, “In compliance with the war, we ask Laurel to support our cause in maintaining the borders and in reclaiming Niveria.”
Placing his clasped hands over the table, Uncle spoke, “and what would Laurel gain from this?”
“Peace and Security of Laurel from the races.”
“If Laurel provides food for Brent, we might encounter a food crisis during winter.”
Upright, I silently sat while observing the black-vested priest as Uncle and the Noble gave their piece.
Pinching my thighs underneath the table, [Max, what’s this priest for?] I used Wind Whisper.
With a quick glance, [the church won’t calm down if we didn’t bring at least one priest.]
“Brent requires food to maintain the borders, if Brent falls, Academia and Laurel will be next.”
Interrupting their argument, “I beg to differ,” I said, “I believe the accounts stated that the ones that felled Niveria were Beastmen. In that case, once winter approaches, a portion of their army will be forced to enter a partial hibernation stage.”
“True, your Highness,” the Noble replied, “but replacements are possible.”
“What makes you think that they will attack immediately?” squinting my eyes, “maybe Brent still has Beastmen slaves?”
Twitching for a slight moment, “I believe Laurel is the same,” he replied.
Expressing a smile, “Oh, we did have,” I said, “but if you wish, we can show you the graves of the offenders.”
“… Pardon, but I’ll have to pass.”
[Amelia, you’re teasing him too much,] said Max.
“In any case, an im-”
Interrupted, the priest spoke, “Laurel must provide war funds and supplies to stop the war against the races.”
“And by races you mean?” I asked.
“The demons of course,” with a grin he glanced at Kanna and me.
“Is that what the church believes or is it Libet?”
Smiling, “In that case, Laurel will not hear your opinion.”
He shouted as he stood from his seat.
With a bang, “Quiet!” the Administer interfered, “please maintain a peaceful discussion!”
[Why did the church send an inferior priest? Are they mocking me? Or are they too busy with their puppets running around Randia?]
[We withheld the church,] he replied, [In case of the Heroes, you are correct. After all, they are going to use them against the Beastmen soon.]
No wonder, I thought, expecting this priest as the culprit behind those observers is a mistake.
“In any case,” I continued from where I left off, “this talk is between Brent and Laurel. Libet and the church have no voice here.”
“You,” said the priest, “do you know what you’ve said?”
“Obviously, yes,” I said, “after all, this dialogue was requested by Brent.”
“True,” Max added, “this is a talk between Brent and Laurel. If Libet and the church wished it, then request it yourself,” glancing at the priest beside him, he glared and said, “again, we are not your pawns.”
“I agree,” nodded the Noble.
“Ghh...” Gnashing his teeth, the priest remained silent.
Placing his own clasped hands on the table, “regarding our request,” Max said, “we may not need it immediately, but eventually, we will.”
“Hmm...” grunted Uncle, “then I believe it is fine to provide in a manner that won’t affect Laurel’s state of affairs.”
“Yes, we do not wish to trouble our ally.”
Grinning a smile, “Ally huh,” Uncle scratched his thin beard.
“One thing,” I said, “what will Laurel gain in Niveria's reclamation? Although true that the capital has fallen, and the King and the Queen slain, the cities far from the capital remain standing, no?”
“It’s an undeniable fact,” Max said, “several cities, towns, and villages remain in Niveria, but since Niveria’s princess wasn't given enough time to create a foothold as the next Queen, Niveria’s control fell into chaos.”
Closing his eyes for a second, he continued, “Once we reclaim Niveria, and successfully reinstate the princess as the Queen and my brother as King, Laurel, our Ally and Benefactor, will be given rights to our land.”
“And that land is?”
Smiling, he said, “It depends on how much we’ll gain from Niveria, or if there will still be a kingdom called Niveria.”
Left with a smile on my face, that’s it, show me, grab the opportunity.
“And for the meantime?” I asked.
Turning his head to the Noble beside him, they met each other’s eyes and nodded.
Returning his sights on me, he said, “If Laurel agrees to provide, recognize us an ally, and avoid any form of war, then, we’ll return the favor by removing the border tax collection on Laurel's merchants.”
A free trade huh, I thought, in more ways than one, that will decrease the price hike on the supplies they requested, and at the same time, let the outflow of Laurel’s commodities to increase.
[You’re better at this than I thought.]
[Do you see me in a different light now?] Max asked then continued, [wait for me Amelia, I’ll make sure I grab you by the hand this time.]
Clenching my fist, This is unfair.
[Make sure you do,] I replied, [I’ll be waiting.]
“Last,” I said, “about Niveria’s refugees, how does the princess take it?”
Shaking his head, “Unfortunately, the princess has yet to recover from the shock of losing her parents.”
Ah, another naive princess like I used to be.
“In that case, Laurel will take care of the refugees as is and consider them as Laurel’s citizens,” turning my head, “Uncle, please have someone to announce that the refugees will be given six months to assimilate Laurel’s rules and regulations.”
On a sudden occasion, “Haah...” Kanna sighed, “I can’t believe someone eyeing my body will keep muttering ‘demon’ through telepathy. This geezer sure is persistent,” glaring, Kanna said, “or you're just a pervert lusting over your deluded superiority.”
Squinting my eyes with a frown, “is this true?” I asked.
“Would you rather believe this fool?” replied the priest.
[Maize, trace this priest’s parish.]
[Any other wishes?]
[Make it natural.]
Casting a glance, “Kanna,” I reached for her hand and said, “please refrain from giving responses unrelated to the discussion.”
“I’ll have to ask,” Max said, “what’s the stance of the Tribe regarding the war? Will they join as an ally?”
“As a chief myself, the Tribe will only recognize those who have passed the proving.”
Someone needs to share that waterfall experience.
As settled, the discussion continued until the afternoon, but everything ended peacefully. As a result, a treaty was signed between Laurel and Brent, indicating the constructed alliance and trade agreement.
On another matter, as proof of the alliance, an engagement was proposed. Brent's 1st Princess, Clarissa Brent, will be wedded to Argent.
Laughing mischievously, wait for your surprise Argent, I’m sure you'll be thanking me, I thought. Though I admire you aren't a debauchee like Father and Mark, at least, learn how to get a woman! You’re like Max! A headache!
“Haah...” falling into a fluff, my vision went dark.
With my arm reached out, I grabbed a soft object, brought it closer, then placed my chin over it.
Reclaiming my vision, “hmm...” I muttered.
“Hwaah!” Kanna muttered, falling on the bed beside me, “that was tiring!”
Sliding my cheek against the pillow, I faced Kanna and said, “You didn’t even speak that much.”
“But that priest was ridiculous!”
Propping myself up, “Haah...” I sighed again.
That’s easier than what I’ve been through...
Turning my head with a smile, “Erina,” I called, “the Summer’s End festival is today right?”
“...” Unmoved for a second, Erina broke into a smile, “fine, but please be quick.”
“Don’t worry, Maize and the others will be around.”
Standing from the bed, “Kanna, let’s go for a walk.”
“Eh?” propping herself up, “we’re sneaking out?”
“Why not?” I asked, “it’s our last day here, although tomorrow will be the announcement of the discussion’s result, we have to move to the refugee's settlement, so it’s a good time to relax and wonder about something else.”