Chapter 535 Worst Case Scenario
A line of tall stone pillars was located on each side of the room. The floor was made out of what appeared to be polished marble, and numerous artworks were exhibited throughout the incredibly spacious area that ranged from portraits to genuine gold sculptures.
Izroth had not taken even two steps into the palace, yet the sight of wealth was on clear display—just as it was described in the tale.
It only took a couple of minutes for Izroth and Nixere to arrive at the doors that led into the throne room where the ceremony was being held. The servants opened the doors to the throne room as Izroth escorted Nixere inside. The eyes of the surrounding nobles and wealthy merchants fell onto the pair the moment they stepped through the doors.
This was the first time any of them saw Izroth or Nixere; therefore, they were curious about their background. After all, anyone attending this ceremony was not a small character in the main city by any means. This caused those in the room to whisper among themselves regarding Izroth and Nixere's potential identities.
"White hair... Is there anyone like that in our kingdom? Who are those two?"
"I don't know, but they look well matched. Elegance and accompanied by a calm heart. Very interesting. I must find a chance to speak with them."
"I wonder what they're talking about. Given their appearance, it's probably something of great importance."
"You're certainly catching a fair share of glances from the noblewomen here, cousin. How is it? Do any of them suit your taste?" Nixere asked quietly as she kept a lovely smile on her face.
"Are these words that should leave the mouth of a princess?" Izroth responded calmly as he inwardly shook his head.
"Oh? Why? Do you prefer a woman who's more dainty and sophisticated?" Nixere questioned.
"No, it's just that my standards are too high for anyone in this room ever to reach them," Izroth answered with a carefree smile.
Nixere released a small sigh and commented, "These are some of the most powerful and influential people in the world, yet none of them satisfy your standards? You're right—your standards are far too high. That being said..."
Nixere lightly pinched Izroth's arm as she continued, "You're terrible at talking to women, dear cousin. If you are accompanying a woman, you should at least comment on her beauty. Honestly... At this rate, I fear that you may never find a wife in this lifetime." Nixere spoke the last of her words half-jokingly.
Izroth gave a helpless smile as he was rendered speechless. How did him not commenting on her appearance lead to him not finding a wife? This princess certainly had a way with words.
Time passed by as Izroth and Nixere settled down. There were no signs of anyone else from the outside entering the throne room. Then, after almost thirty minutes, nearly 200 guests were present, all of which were from the kingdom's highest walks of life.
Suddenly, the sound of beating drums and trumpets filled the throne room as a set of heavy doors positioned at the back wall opened.
"Presenting our guests of honor! King Sonamus and his future Queen, Princess Nixpera!" A voice announced.
King Sonamus and Queen Nixpera entered the throne room dressed in their usual formal attire; however, several precious ornaments were added to the outfits made them more suitable to wear during the ceremony.
'They're here. I have to get closer for my Eyes of Knowledge to take effect.'
King Sonamus and Queen Nixpera took their seats on their respective thrones as a voice announced, "King Sonamus welcomes and gives a special thanks to the guests who have taken the time out of their busy schedules to attend this once-in-a-lifetime ceremony! Please, rest assured, everyone will obtain the good fortune of meeting with our guests of honor. Until then, eat, drink, and be merry! For this is a day of celebration!"
Everyone applauded after the announcer concluded his introduction speech. Then, one at a time, people were called up to greet the king and queen, as well as offer a gift to congratulate them. Each conversation lasted no more than ten seconds. After that, the person speaking was shooed away by one of the guards near the throne, while the next person was summoned.
Naturally, Izroth would not let this chance slip by. He had been wondering how he would get close enough to the two without raising suspicion. But, it appeared that the opportunity had presented itself!
"Do you remember what you have to do?" Nixere whispered to Izroth as they stood in the line to meet the guests of honor.
"To quote what you said, some things are better left to the moment. Wouldn't you agree?" Izroth answered.
"I'm glad to see you're starting to understand me, dear cousin." Nixere covered her mouth with one hand as she giggled softly.
After waiting six minutes, it was finally Nixere's turn. Since only one person at a time could step forward, Izroth was unable to accompany her. However, this was not an issue as he was the next person in line.
"Then, I'll be going first," Nixere said as she walked forward and began to converse with the king and queen.
Izroth carefully observed their interaction and noticed two things. Although it was only for a split second, he saw a hint of shock in Nixpera's eyes when Nixere referred to her as "elder sister". The second was related to the indifference of King Sonamus. No matter what was said, he remained silent and detached as Queen Nixpera was the only one responding.
In the story, King Sonamus was an emotional and passionate man. It was to the point that his love for Queen Nixpera drove him to the point of insanity. However, it was not this part that made Izroth feel uneasy. In the end, King Sonamus was not the one from the story, but instead being played by someone else who was unfamiliar with his character's normal behavior.
Queen Nixpera hid herself well but could not fully conceal her human nature. But, when it came to King Sonamus, his reactions and demeanor were unnatural—as if they were not made by a human.
Since Commander Aurie was Hunter Venare, Izroth had determined the best and worst possible role combinations. The best involved Maeva as Mistress Asi and Captain Gritt as King Sonamus or vice versa. In this way, two of the key roles in changing the story's outcome, one of which had the most substantial influence in the kingdom, would be on their side.
Ultimately, King Sonamus held the greatest power in the Tale of The Snow That Falls In Summer. Having him as an ally instead of an enemy would be ideal.
As for Mistress Asi, while she herself had no real power or influence, she had the ear of someone who did—Nobleman Fraun. In terms of authority, he was only one level below King Sonamus!
The way Izroth figured it, King Sonamus could keep Queen Nixpera in check, and Mistress Asi could properly utilize Nobleman Fraun in secret. If it turned out this way, then all the cards would be in Izroth's hand!
However, if Queen Nixpera was indeed an enemy, Izroth may have no choice but to re-evaluate how to deal with her and Princess Nixere.
As Izroth silently observed from the line, Nixere, being the future queen's sister, was granted an additional ten seconds of audience before she politely excused herself. As she walked by Izroth, Nixere winked and quietly wished him luck as it was his turn to step forward.
"You may approach!" One of the guards declared.
Izroth walked until he was three meters away from the throne before he was stopped by the guards. This distance was the closest one was allowed to approach the guests of honor.
"I am called Viselo. I have come to congratulate you on your ceremony, King Sonamus, future Queen Nixpera. Since I have come from so far away on such short notice, I regret that I could not bring any gifts. However, I have prepared a short poem that I hope my cousin, Princess Nixpera, will allow me to present as my congratulations." Izroth said without stumbling his words.
The instant Izroth arrived within three meters of King Sonamus and Queen Nixpera; he had uncovered both of their identities. He maintained his calm demeanor; however...
'This combination—it's one of the worst outcomes... How troublesome.'
Izroth found out that the person behind Queen Nixpera's role was Maeva! But, this was not the worse news. The troubling part was the true identity of King Sonamus.
The individual who possessed the role that carried the most power and authority in the tale was the Antumbra Night Lord of the Skounae, Zarolas!