Chapter 48 030. Imperial Prince is Attending a Banquet -1 (Part Two)
Chapter 48: 030. Imperial Prince is Attending a Banquet -1 (Part Two)
Holy Emperor Kelt Olfolse closed his eyes and massaged his forehead.
The thought process of these people were too biased. With how much older and closer the emperor got to the day of his abdication, the easier it became to see all the behind-the-scenes manoeuvrings of the nobles. They were doing it all in order to win over the ‘heir apparent to the Holy Emperor’.
As for Archbishop Raphael, someone who staunchly maintained his neutrality, he was currently confining himself in his room solely because he did not wish to run into the smug face of the Seventh Imperial Prince.
‘…Who should I listen to in moments like this?’
-Have you eaten yet, your majesty? I’ve prepared some sandwiches, so would you like to…
Holy Emperor Kelt Olfolse slowly opened his eyes. He ended up recalling the First Crown Princess Consort, a woman who everyone thought as a lowborn, and was even treated as such.
He could only lick his lips in bitterness after recalling her always-smiling face.
The First Imperial Prince Luan, who carried her bloodline and grew up under her gentle wings, was a smart kid and possessed the disposition of a benevolent and wise king.
However, since his life could end any day now, the throne could not be handed over to him.
Kelt felt even more bitter when his thoughts reached that far. He should’ve been more worried about the health of his own grandson so he couldn’t help but feel that it was truly selfish of him to care more about the emperor’s throne and the wellbeing of the citizens living in this vast empire, instead.
‘That doesn’t mean I can relinquish my throne to the other princes, however.’
There were lowly and disgusting vampires hiding within the Theocratic Empire. It was unknown just how deep they managed to infiltrate society of the living while hiding behind the masks of normal human beings. In order to stop them, someone with a suitable level of qualification had to become the emperor.
-Ah, and by the way, there seems to be vampires hiding in Laurensis, so please do something about that. The citizens are living in fear.
Before exiting the grand hall, the Seventh Imperial Prince said this. He sounded as if he had seen the ‘vampire’ in question already.
Kelt Olfolse shifted his gaze.
Most of the nobles were still sneering at the Seventh Imperial Prince. However, some of them seemed to be agonising over something, judging from their current expressions.
These aristocrats knew the truth. They knew that there was a vampire hiding in the midst of this ‘Imperial Court’.
‘Maybe there’s still a chance.’
What if. Just what if…
What if the Seventh Imperial Prince still possessed a tiny little speck of talent to succeed as the emperor…?
And what if the boy also possessed the power to eradicate the vampires too? Would it be the correct decision to relinquish the throne to the boy if that was the case?
“This loyal servant wishes to address his majesty even at the risk of committing offence.”
Someone then called out to Kelt Olfolse still swimming within his thoughts.
The man asked for an understanding from his fellow retainers and cautiously stepped out from their ranks. The emperor recognised who it was and a smile naturally floated up on his lips.
It was a nobleman in his early to mid forties with a set of striking crimson hair and red eyes – Count Fomor.
He was also one of the forces that supported Yulisia’s son, the First Imperial Prince Luan.
Fomor knelt down and lowered his head before speaking up, “There is still plenty of time, your majesty. May I be so bold to suggest that a more in-depth investigation be launched into this matter? The anniversary of Lady Yulisia’s passing is in two months’ time as well. I beg of you to let his highness the Seventh Imperial Prince remain in the capital for that day, your majesty.”
His words caused a deep frown to etch on the faces of the other aristocrats. On the other hand, a grin formed on the emperor’s countenance.
“I’ve heard that his highness the Seventh Imperial Prince wishes to return to the Land of the Dead Spirits in order to reflect on his sins. However, this servant is of the opinion that his highness has already atoned for his past mistakes, through the great contribution of hunting down a vampire.” Count Fomor raised his head and carried on with a smooth grin. “And as such, may I suggest a celebratory banquet to honour those who have rendered meritorious services in Ronia?”
Kelt Olfolse nodded his head.
It was indeed too premature to make up his mind on the Seventh Imperial Prince. The boy needed to be kept at a close-enough proximity, so that he could be carefully monitored.
In addition, the emperor also thought that it wasn’t such a bad idea to personally listen to feudal lord Jenald Ripang’s accounts as well.
“Then, let it be so.”
“Inscrutable are the emperor’s favours.” 
Kelt Olfolse decided that the fate of the Seventh Imperial Prince would now depend on how the boy acted during the banquet. In other words, whether he should extend the banishment, or to let the boy remain in the imperial palace for further observation.
(TL: back to 1st person POV.)
Living a life of a prince in the imperial palace was far more comfortable than I could’ve ever imagined.
For the past week or so, I stayed in a room that would put any seven-star hotel to shame.
Most of the time, I’d just be laying on the bed, munching on various snacks while perusing the grimoire.
Holy cow…! Who could’ve imagined that the life of a prince would be this exquisite?
I wasn’t sure about the other nobles but well, the servants and maids here at least treated me with utmost respect. The bed was so cushy that I’d fall asleep as soon as I lied down on it. The food served was at the zenith of opulence, too. But the best of all, no one tried to stick their nose into my business or even try and nag me to death.
I wasn’t aware of what the role of an Imperial Prince entailed, but…
“…When I think about it, living in the imperial palace isn’t so bad, is it?”
I didn’t need to lug around heavy corpses or dig out graves. And in a stark contrast to my initial fears, no one tried to keep me in check nor posed a clear threat to my life.
Most importantly, though, I was in the palace of the Imperial Family, a place which was completely filled from top to bottom with Priests and Paladins. No vampire would be insane enough to infiltrate this sort of sanctuary, right?
As for the bloodsucking undead in the city, the imperial court would surely smoke it out sooner or later.
After finishing the grimoire, I stood up from the bed.
“Feels like something’s not quite enough, though.”
It was indeed true that the palace held quite a lot of grimoires. However, it was a lot harder to get a satisfying enough result from them.
Not just divinity control, but even the divinity reserve inside me felt as if they weren’t improving at all. This feeling was kinda like something’s been tightly clogged up somewhere, that I was going through a slump.
I smacked my lips while staring outside the window. It was already night time with a bright moon visible in the sky.
I cautiously opened the creaking door. My fingers were crossed but unfortunately, there was a Paladin standing right outside. He stared at me, looking visibly tense.
“How may I be of your assistance, your highness?”
I wanted to test out Amon’s skull, but because Paladins like this dude were practically everywhere in this place, I couldn’t activate nor practice any of my skills.
“Ah, well. I wanted to fetch some more grimoires, you see,” said I.
“In that case, let me summon some servants.”
“Don’t bother. Let them enjoy their well-deserved break. Besides, they wouldn’t be able to tell apart which book is which. I might as well just go there myself.”
“Allow us to escort you, your highness.”
Man, how annoying.
Look! This was why I couldn’t freely activate my skills, what with them following me around everywhere.
After arriving at the imperial library, I had the Paladins wait by the door before finally stepping inside alone. I thought no one would be here at this late hour, but contrary to my expectations, there was a girl here already. All by herself, no less.
Her attire was different from the regular maidservant’s. Seeing as how her robe came across a bit more high-class, I figured that she must’ve been one of the ladies-in-waiting.
She was reading a book with a lit lantern placed on the table. After sensing a person’s presence, she raised her head and stared at me.
“Huh, ladies-in-waiting gotta work hard too, don’t they? Seeing how you need to study refinement even deep into the night like this.”
My words caused a rapid transformation in her expression. She gradually froze up in pure fear, then shot up from her seat and hurriedly stumbled away from me.
Judging from her reaction, I figured that she had finally recognised who I was.
Her reactions made sense, though, since she was unfortunate enough to run into the Imperial Prince with a prior record of assaulting a lad-in-waiting at this pretty late hour inside a library that’s practically sealed off from the outside. She must’ve been overcome with shock and fear by now.
I spoke up. “You don’t have to be that scared. I won’t do anything to harm you. I only came here to read some books, that’s all.”
Maybe I wasn’t convincing enough, because she just stood there with her lips resolutely clamped shut.
I furrowed my brows while looking at her. Wait a minute, maybe she wasn’t an ordinary lady-in-waiting?
I recalled back to the ‘Witch Morgana’ incident as well as when I ran into the Holy Emperor Kelt Olfolse.
Back then, there had been just too many people for me to individually check out their real identities and that’s how that witch slipped past me. As for the emperor, I mistook him as just a simple gardener working hard at his job.
I really needed to change my mindset here. This was the imperial palace, after all. As I had no idea who was who, it’s probably wiser to confirm the identity of the person I was dealing with every single time, even if doing such a thing was a bit of a pain in the neck.
[Name: Alice Astoria
Traits: Loving and merciful, a massive pool of divinity plus magical knowledge, god’s fragment, prediction, hand to hand combat, excellent physique.
I’ll do my best to help my grandfather!]
I was surprised by her status as revealed by ‘Mind’s Eye’.
Wasn’t that the surname of Archbishop Rapahel, the one who authored the grimoire on the subject of divinity control?
Was she his granddaughter then?
Weren’t there five archbishops in the Theocratic Empire? A granddaughter of one of them was a lady-in-waiting, and she was standing right before my eyes. In that case, uh, could she be the one that the original Seventh Imperial Prince tried to rape?!
Besides, what’s that ‘god’s fragment’ thing?
It feels like I’ve seen that term somewhere before…
“Uhm, excuse me… Are you… really the Imperial Prince?”
It seemed that my worries were for nothing.
She rubbed her eyes as if she couldn’t quite believe what she was seeing right now and kept staring directly at my face.
The fear previously visible in her eyes had already disappeared. It was replaced by surprise and puzzlement instead.
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