06-20 The Royal Castle
Egelia Kingdom’s capital Asunto was a Fort City. The walls rose to a height of 10 meters, they had been hardened and reinforced with magic, and in addition Magi Formulas to endow them with resistance to magic had been carved on the surface.
Inside the walls, the structure was unlike Blue Land’s, having been systematically divided by parallel roads lengthwise and crosswise like a go board, bringing to mind capitals like ancient Kyoto or the capital of ancient China.
The central road stretched forth from the south, and at the end of it stood the royal capital.
“What a terrific city.”
Jin said admiringly while gazing out of the window.
“Mh-hm. It’s because this town was established after the Great Magic War. They followed a logical structure.”
When asked what he meant by logical, he explained that first the area was divided into sections, then each section received a house number, and the addresses were recorded on ledgers.
With this, the citizens could be precisely managed, the population known, suspicious people rooted out and such with great efficiency. It could perhaps be called a simplified version of the modern family or address registry.
“Hmm, what a rather advanced country.”
Jin gave his praises.
The carriages continued on the central road, then the line stopped in front of the royal castle. Palace guards were stationed on the gates.
Duke Blue, Marquess Braun, Earl Kuzuma, and Earl Guarana each gave proof of their identity, and the crew of each carriage was inspected.
Reinhardt was a visiting diplomat from Shouro Empire, while Jin and Beana as Magi Craftsmen showed their registration cards.
Jin wondered whether or not to have Reiko vanish using Stealth to avoid attention, but to avert future problems he decided to reveal her as Jin’s Automata from the start.
If someone who was trained in magic examined her carefully, they could confirm she was an Automata, so without much trouble the group was allowed to go in the castle.
After passing through the gates, although they were inside the royal castle, the area was called the outer palace.
Where they headed to was not the royal palace in the front of the well-maintained and stone-paved plaza, but the state guest house on the left side.
They were moving slowly at half, no, a third of the speed at which they had moved until now.
And when the carriages arrived at the spot, the doors were opened from the outside.
Standing there were four royal guard knights. They were the most outstanding of the kingdom’s soldiers. As they were to not let suspicious individuals into the royal castle, they monitored the behavior of Duke Blue’s group.
And then, to welcome them came some of the royal castle’s employed maids. The women were the daughters of low-ranked nobles and influential merchants, working while learning good manners through apprenticesihp.
It was common to make certain of everyone’s identity. This was the royal castle, and everyone was on the lookout for foreign spies or assassins mixed in with the people invited for the third prince’s birthday party in two days.
“Please entrust us with all your weapons and such.”
They asked, and starting with Reiko’s ‘Peach Blossom’, Reinhardt’s guards’ weapons, and Elsa’s guard Herman’s sword were all taken to custody. In the end, even the butler Adberg’s cane was seized.
“Please come this way.”
Ten maids and ten footmen went with Duke Blue’s group, and seven maids and seven footmen went along with Marquis Braun’s group.
Earls Kuzuma and Guarana each both got five maids and footmen each, and Reinhardt got the same number of both.
“Please make use of these lodgings.”
Reinhardt, Elsa, Jin and Beana were led to a series of buildings. Somehow it reminded Jin of a single-storied apartment building.
The assignment of the rooms was left to the leader of the group, Reinhardt.
“In that case, I suppose me, Elsa, Jin, and Beana will each take a room. Please divide the rest of the rooms suitably between the men and women.
His last words were aimed towards his butler. The butler then assigned the rooms for the servants.
By the way, the golems participating in the party all had their operation suspended and were moved to a certain storeroom. This was also a measure taken to prevent sabotage and such.
“Now then, let’s move in the luggage and relax a bit. Elsa, Jin, and Beana, let’s have some tea in my room afterwards.”
Everyone then left towards their assigned rooms. However, one maid followed behind Jin.
“Umm, you are?”
Jin wondered if she was going to enter the same room as him, and asked.
“Ah, I-, I am the maid who is in charge of taking care of respected guest and his wishes!”
She responded in a bit agitated manner. On a closer look, she was about 15 or 16 years old. She appeared to be of the same generation as Elsa and Beana.
Her hair was a chestnut color cut into a bob, she had a maid headdress on her head, and she was wearing a black dress and a white apron dress; at a glance you could tell she was a maid.
Her brown eyes often looked around, and her round face made her a charming young lady.
“That will be unnecessary. I will assist Father.”
Reiko stood in front of the girl.
Seeing the 130-centimeter tall Reiko confidently face off the about 155-centimeter girl was comical and also sweet.
“U, Um, am I not good enough? Would you like someone with more experience?”
Seemingly thinking her inadequacy being the reason for the refusal, the maid hurriedly asked.
“No. Whoever it is, it would be unnecessary.”
Reiko flatly refused, but,
“No, Reiko, we don’t know much about this country or the castle, so don’t you think we could use a little help?”
Reiko reluctantly agreed.
Jin put the luggage away and looked out of the window. Nothing but trees and shrubs could be seen outside.
“A bad view, huh.”
Jin muttered, and,
“Ah, um, so-, sorry! The trees were planted so that there is no view from the outside.”
So that’s how it was, Jin thought after hearing it.
“Then, let’s go to Reinhardt’s room I guess.”
He said and left the room, and not just Reiko but the maid too followed.
Just there and then Elsa also came along, and in addition to Mine, yet another maid could be seen following.
She was slim and looked a little older than Elsa. She was a young lady with chestnut hair and violet eyes.
“Hey, Elsa. She is?”
“…The maid in charge of me. Jin-kun’s too?”
“Yeah, so it seems.”
Then Beana came out of her room.
A redhead maid was also following Beana.
The three then went to Reinhardt’s room.
In there they found, as expected, two maids.
One was in about her mid-20s, a glamorous woman with blond hair and blue eyes. The other was in her late teens, with unusual black hair in a ponytail, and reddish brown eyes. She too was beautiful.
“Seems like this castle’s maids are all nothing but beauties.”
“Oh, dear guest, you flatter us.”
The glamorous maid behind and to the side of Reinhardt said. Jin’s maid blushed, and Elsa glared a little at him.
＊ ＊ ＊
The tea Reinhardt’s maids brewed tasted like real black tea.
“Hm? This tea’s got a good flavor.”
Jin said, and,
“Thank you very much. It is called ‘teee’ and it is our country’s specialty.”
Green tea, oolong tea and black tea are all made from the leaves of Camellia sinensis in the Theaceae family.
To make black tea, the fresh leaves must be dried, but then strangely the leaves must be left to ferment.
Green tea’s steaming stops this fermentation, and to make black tea it must be fermented.
So, this tea was without a doubt black tea.
“Jin’s also pleased with it? Me too, I thought I’d buy some for the return trip.”
The tea seemed to suit Reinhardt and Elsa. It looked like Beana didn’t know much about teas’ flavors.
Reinhardt opened his mouth to talk. It looked like he had entered diplomat mode.
“You call yourselves maids, but your goal is to monitor us, right?”