Chapter 19 The Prince of Smiles Part 2 1

  While those who had been chasing them were gradually closing the distance, a lady-in-waiting approached the former head of the court mage, kicking him in the back.

"Annemarie! What the hell is going on with you!"


"...What?" "That national treasure belongs only to my mistress, you know. It shouldn't be worn by a military-obsessed little girl like you!"

"Wow... I can't believe it! Why is this idiot in my side? Is the Missourian Kingdom okay?"

 Martin was taken aback by the out-of-place comment of the side wife.

"I mean... Didn't you come here to ask Allen-chan to help you?"

"To the mistress! Give me that national treasure! Annemarie!"

 The lady-in-waiting didn't respond to Martin's voice at all.

 Apparently, she didn't hear him.

"Annemarie is already the official owner of the national treasure that you wanted. The formalities of state have been followed. Your ranting and raving will get you nowhere."

"Your Majesty! That's terrible!

"It's your head that's terrible, Carla Ziege. Why are you here? You are awaiting condemnation. You're under orders not to move from your post."

"How coldly you speak, Your Majesty! There is no way she is guilty. It's all a misunderstanding! The gods will not allow it to be a sin to love you with all your heart!"

 If she loved Bartolomeos with all her heart, why did she conceive so many children by different men?

 If she loved Bartolomeos from the bottom of her heart, wouldn't that be a situation that should be absolutely avoided?

"Huh... was it a bad idea to isolate him in the temple? You don't feel sorry at all, do you, both of you?"

"...I'm ashamed... just, I'm deeply ashamed that these two are my parents!"


 Biting her lip and desperately trying to hold back her tears, Annemarie pulls her close and gently hugs her.

 In Alexandra's arms, Annemarie let out a sob she couldn't hold back.

"What? That's...that's...that's..."

 As Alexandra holds Annemarie in her arms, the lady's gaze catches Alexandra's as if she has just noticed her for the first time.

"What's with you? What are you wearing? It can't be! It can't be! Eleonora's daughter, in such a beautiful dress and jewelry! What's with the tiara? Not even the national treasure of Mysia has one!"

"Yes. It's a national treasure of the empire, of course. Isn't it a beautiful diamond that suits the pure Alexandra very well? Even in an empire blessed with mineral resources, it's not every day you find something like this, you know?"

 The tiara that Alexandra wears under her veil is a diamond that used to be a national treasure of the empire, and was placed in the center of the tiara that was painstakingly made for Alexandra by a craftsman.

 The diamond, beautifully arranged in the shape of a teardrop, was said to have been displayed and enjoyed for a long time.

 From now on, it will be part of the tiara worn by the emperor's queen and passed down from generation to generation.

"The necklace, the earrings, and the diamonds sewn into the dress are all magnificent, aren't they? All made by me for Alexandra. I love her so much, I made all the arrangements and gave them to her. Hey, did the lady of the house give you anything for your beloved emperor? Personally, I mean.

I gave it to Eleonora, to Alexandra. -If the kun is truly loved, he should have received many, many gifts from the emperor."

"What? I, mistress... have given you... gifts..."

"Of course not. I don't love you, so I can't give you a gift."

 Bartolomeos easily throws his wife into despair as she struggles to remember.

"...Come to think of it, the things you are wearing were ordered with the budget given by the government to your wife. I'll have you give them all back. It's a bit early, but it's a fitting punishment for a fool who can't recognize his own sins. Make the necessary arrangements!

 At Bartolomeos's order, those around the two men who had been listening to Samaiko restrained them and dragged them away.

 The former chief mage of the court is hanging down and is left to his own devices.

 His wife was screaming all the while.

'If you're going to give back what was given to your wife... Your Majesty! Can a mistress become a full-fledged queen? You've finally understood! Thank you, Your Majesty! I love you, Your Majesty!

 Alexandra couldn't tell if her aunt was sane or crazy.

 Alexandra couldn't tell.

“状況が落ち着けば, そのように計らうつもりはある. 安心いたせ”

 眉根を寄せていたバルトロメオスも口の端を緩やかに上げて, 穏やかな表情で応えてくれた.

 諦めかけていた二人との関係が, アレクサンドラの求めてるものへ近付ける可能性が見いだせたのが嬉しい.

 微笑むアレクサンドラの前に, 神殿の大門が姿を現した.



 神殿長の姿はなく, それ以外の高位の者達は全員揃って額を床に押しつける礼を取っていた.

 幻覚かと思うほどの, 有り得ない光景だった.

“頭を下げれば許されると思っている愚か者達だけどね. 下げる最低の謝罪すらできない者達よりは幾らかまともな気がしちゃうから困るよね”


 アレクサンドラは屈辱にか恐れにか全身を震わせる姿を敢えて見ないように努めて, 開け放たれた祭儀の間へ一歩足を踏み入れた.

 広々とした祭儀の間が狭く感じるほど, 整列をした人々が綺麗に詰め込まれている.


 儀式が終了したら, 心を込めて労いたい.

 儀式を粛々と進行すべく祭壇の上にはフェルディナントが, 未だ嘗てない清廉な雰囲気を纏い佇んでいる.


 口元には穏やかな微笑が浮かび, 目元も軟らかく撓んでいる.

 一歩下がった左隣には, フェルディナントと揃いの正装姿のシルビアが, こちらもまた見たこともない慈悲深い微笑みを湛えたままアレクサンドラを見据えて, 静かに目を細めた.

 祭壇の左下, 他の参列者より一段高い場所にはオイゲン・バッヘル, ブリュンヒルデ・バッヘル, ヴォルフガング・バウスネルン, ランドルフ, エーデルトラウト, ボニファティウスといった皇族及び皇族へ絶対的忠誠を誓う関係者が姿勢正しく並んでいる.

 思うところは色々とあるだろうけれど, 全員が静謐を守っていた.

 祭壇の右下, 明らかに過剰な魔法による結界が施された見えない檻の中には六人の罪人がひしめき合っている.


 元宰相にして, ボニファティウスの実父.


 今まで着ていた衣類を無理に着ているせいで, 衣類がはち切れんばかりのみっともなさだ.

 バルトロメオスから最下級の役人がこなす雑務のみを与えていると聞いていたので, 己の惨めな立場を忘れようと暴飲暴食に励んだ結果ではないかと推察される.



 元宮廷魔導師長及び元魔導師育成学園長にして, アンネマリーの実父.

 両手首, 首, 両足首に恐らくは魔法封じの枷が嵌められているので, 他の誰よりも罪人らしく見える.


 目は虚ろで, 視点を定めることなく彷徨わせている.


 唯一の側室にして, ボニファティウス, エーデルトラウト, アンネマリー, フェルディナント, シルビアの実母.



 装飾品の類いは一切なく, 化粧もなされていない.

 口の端がだらしなく開かれているのを見ると, 思考能力を低下させる系の薬が投与されている模-sama.


 現神殿長にして, バルトロメオスの実弟.

 フェルディナント, シルビアの実父.

 清貧を謳う神殿にあるまじき, ふくよか過ぎる体型をしていたのだが, 今は骨と皮だけで一切の肉がない身体になってしまったようだ.



 結界で音が遮断されているので何を言っているのかまでは解らないが, ぶつぶつと休む間もなく呟き続けている.





 立っているのが億劫なのか座り込もうとしては, 結界の何らかの作用により強制的に弾かれどうにか立っているようだ.


 ヴォルフガングの姿を認識したのだろうか, 両腕を突き出し, 抱き締めて欲しいと懇願の絶叫を上げ続けているようだ.



 今はなきヴュルツナー家の嫡子であり, 元第一騎士団長.


  騎士らしく鍛え抜いたはずの身体は一見保たれているようで, 酷く窶《やつ》れて見えた.

 見習い修道士が着る簡素な衣類を纏った姿には, 騎士服姿を見慣れていたので違和感しか覚えない.





 罪状にそれぞれ差異はあるが, アレクサンドラに対する不敬は全員に共通していた.