As we neared the city gate of Veneer, you could finally see the guards that hadn’t been present throughout the city’s outer suburbs we’d passed through. In other words, if you thought about it, you could say that they didn’t check who you were outside the city. How is this related to security? As you might think the suburbs were dark while Veneer glowed brightly. It may have been a situation that was necessary for the development of the city.
As we approached the gate, the guards walked towards us.
“Halt, we’re required to verify your identity and collect an entry tax. Who is the one in charge of this group?”
This city charges an entry tax… While I studied this world in Barga’s library, I learned that some cities and villages charged entry taxes. But neither Balga nor the Capital did this.
Laptiricia-sama’s escorts included me and Ashley. On the other hand the guards – while a part of our security team – were a different group under the escort commander. The commander talked to the guards and dealt with all the formalities needed for us to enter. I still had to present my guild card but as nobles, Ashley and Laptiricia-sama did not.
We passed through the gate after a brief inspection as they recommended the ‘Glorious City Pavillion’ to stay at. The Glorious City Pavillion seemed to be a luxurious inn that competed for the upper spots of the popular list within the city. It was a three-story stone building as it’s main building with several detached houses. The escorts would stay in the main building with a few servants – that included me and Ashley. Everyone else would stay in one of the nearby buildings.
The detached house was a two-story wooden home. The second floor held the bedroom, a living room, and the bathroom. Everything else was on the first floor. Trees had been planted around the building to give it some privacy, so the inside gave off a different atmosphere. However, the trees hinder our ability to monitor the surroundings. The area outside would be guarded by the escort team 24/7, and the inside would be guarded by us while Laptiricia-sama was within the residence.
I planned to check with the escort commander about our plans and prepared to rest tomorrow, but before I left, I had to set a few things up. It was the installation of the T-UGS. Although there was some room to place them further, I decided to position them close near the main building and along the passage to our residence so I could gauge people’s movement better.
Laptiricia-sama schedule, which started the next day, was rough. First, we had to visit the manor of Veneer’s managing lord. Then, we had to visit an elderly Count and his wife who’d been staying in the city for a long time. At night, there’d be a dinner held for all the single young nobles to socialize.
If this were just a plain noble or the third daughter of a powerful aristocrat, there’d be no need to be busy. However, Duke Barga was a magical noble. Being one of the adventurers that’d helped conquer a labyrinth and having magic, would want to marry her so that magic would run in their offspring. Regardless if she was a noble or an adventurer. Magic was needed to fight against the monsters of this world. And the trip wasn’t just a matching making trip; it signaled the beginning of Lapitirica-sama’s noble life.
One thing I noticed at the banquet that the escorts all waited in a corner.
There were not only young men here, but young girls, yet all of them were polite to Ashley. Was it awe? Fear? It seemed like she was treated with more respect than Laptiricia-sama. The hosts showed no reactions, but maybe that was something to expect with their rank.
That concluded the first day of our schedule. Afterward, we returned to the Glorious City Pavillion. We reported to the commander about the event and asked if anything strange had happened while we were away. We also asked if there’d been any changes to our schedule for tomorrow. At this time, Laptirica-sama and Ashley should be on their way to the baths.
Of course, the escort team kept their vigil as I monitored their movements via my mask as they went… I’m not a peeping tom, you know?
“Shaft-dono, did you notice something?”
The escort commander asked as the meeting was over. After having stood all day, and also standing now, I wasn’t physically tired but mentally because of the boredom. Was that a good reason?
“Speaking of which, the young nobles were very concerned about Ashley, did something happen?”
“Oh? Shaft-dono, did you not know? Ashley-dono, no, it’s more about the Zepanel Family. She… Sorry. I don’t really remember how many generations ago, but it’s probably because of Prime Minister Zepanel Eisei-dono and his influence. Properly controlling the distribution of power and stopping even his own relatives to reach his goal, which is still being respected and feared by many today.”
Honorary Prime Minister Eisei Zepanel. There were few who hadn’t heard of the Prime Minister’s name, an elf. In Kurtmerga, he was a mastermind that strived for domestic stability as the Prime Minister since the kingdom’s founding. Even to go as far as to live past the 300-year life expectancy of the elves. Although retired from the frontlines, he still held great sway among the monarch. And given the one-time post of Honorary Prime Minister of the Kingdom.
It was said that he had even prevented the Zepanel family from gaining influence over the Royal Family, on his own. Because of that, the Zepanel family has lived in the Kurtmerga Kingdom as nobles without titles, no office, and no power. Ashley seemed to have been regarded as the next candidate for the family’s head. Speaking of which, Ashley did mention she was a noble, but she never actually spoke about her family.
But even after hearing this, it changed nothing between us.