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The Forbidden Fruit

Translator: Hasr11

Editor: Evelet

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Prologue

{For the readers: Here’s a map of Yugena to better understand the content of this chapter}

 Six months had passed since a new page had been written in Palcemith’s history.

 Although there had been some controversy about the fact that the former Queen had given birth only four months into the marriage, public opinion took a complete turn and was filled with sympathy for her when it was officially announced that the child was unfortunately stillborn and that the shocked Queen Nasha, who had suffered a heartbreak, was to spend a long period of time recuperating in the imperial villa.

 At the same time, it also marked the beginning of a new round of conflict.

 In accordance with King Vikram’s wishes, the position of queen would belong to Nasha till the very end. However, if the opinion that she could no longer present herself in front of the populace as the Queen gained traction, it was inevitable that a ragtag bunch would appear, aiming for the position of the ‘replacement.’

 At the top of the list of candidates was King Vikram’s former fiancée, now known as the ‘Goddess Loved by the Silver Moon,’ my beloved daughter, Julieta. However, Julieta had gotten married a mere two months after the Dragon God Festival. In addition, the wedding was blessed not just by the Head Priest Malacia, but even the ancient dragon Kharis. It wouldn’t be wise to interfere with her.

 If it had been, I was certain that attempts to sordidly probe the other’s true intentions would flourish behind closed doors.

“This dispute will continue for at least two years. Meanwhile, you should strengthen your foothold and ascertain those subordinates who are easy to mobilise.”

 I got up from the sofa in the office and placed the documents I had gone through on the desk where Morino was writing with his quill. The offices of Palcemith Kingdom, which had undergone both a historical and a national upheaval, were short of staff as always.

“…Not subordinates who will be my allies, right?”

 I lightly nodded back in reply to Morino’s question.

“It’s not so difficult to make allies when you have the position of Prime Minister. But try surrounding yourself with only ‘allies,’ and you will easily present your weaknesses to your ‘enemy.'”

 With whom is it easy to deal? Who holds the patronage? With whom to walk together?

 As I taught Morino my forté, my tendency towards schemes, if all those who were around him were allies, it would be difficult to get information from outsiders. This is not a favourable situation for a prime minister who has to keep a close eye on domestic and international affairs.

“There is no need to change course. However, it would be an invitation to danger if we were all of the same means. It takes brains to make even your enemy your pawn at times. At best, let them dance skillfully to your tune.”

 It might be difficult for him now, but before long Morino too would be able to tip the scales as if it were child’s play. If it somehow doesn’t happen, me going out of my way to name him as my successor would have been in vain.

“…I will do my best.”

“Hah; you give quite a prudish answer.”

 As I snickered at his overzealous reply, someone knocked on the door of the office.

“Prime Minister, it is me, Vanellope. May I enter?”

“You may enter, assistant.”

“Please excuse me.”

 Vanellope, cousin of King Vikram and current assistant to the Prime Minister, came in holding a pile of additional documents in her slender arms. She was an excellent government official, and at the same time one of the top candidates to become the King’s consort.

 I felt apologetic that she was forced into the line of fire more often than not, but Vanellope, who had helped her parents run their business in Kicoed, was excellent at grasping the flow of trends. Whenever it felt like she would be the target of strong jealousy, Vanellope brought out a plan to deflect the brunt of the attack from her, and would skillfully avoid confrontation. There was no doubt that her sense of propriety was excellent.

“Well, with Lady Vanellope assisting the Prime Minister, I can leave the country at ease.”

 At my mutterings, Morino raised his head from the pile of documents, his expression turning faintly gloomy.

“…Lord Anderheim. As expected, you intend to leave for Hinoe.”

“That is my intention. However, I haven’t decided on a clear itenary yet.”

“I have heard rumours that…the Royal Knights are in turmoil thanks to that.”

 I’d be troubled if the responsibility for the Royal Knights were to be placed on me.

“It was Jolga’s own willfulness, deciding to step down as the Knight Commander, so I’m not at fault here.”

“But isn’t his reason for leaving the Royal Knights because he wishes to accompany Lord Anderheim to Hinoe for your investigation? The existence of Sir Jolga, who can wield [Quistacis: He who Controls Dragons], is a major deterrent to foreign powers. If he leaves the country just like that, we will be in trouble.”

“I know that. That’s why I intended to go to Hinoe by myself.”

 A while had passed since Queen Nasha had been sent to the imperial villa.

 Reading the ancient records I had found in the Oswein family archives, I was convinced.

  The country of Hinoe probably held some clues.

 As it was hard to create something out of nothing, it was likewise difficult to make nothing out of something. [The literal TL is “One doesn’t come from zero, and likewise it is difficult to turn a one into a zero.”] Humans are forgetful creatures so we leave behind records and draw paintings in an effort to be remembered. According to the records left behind in the Oswein family, the family, currently headed by Jolga, had quite ancient origins. Its beginnings were quite close to the founding of the kingdom. The Oswein family was famed for its valour, and had produced countless Knight Commanders to this day.

 However, the reason [Quistacis: He who Controls Dragons], which had been wielded by the Hero Palcemith, became the possession of generations of Knight Commanders was still unclear.

  And there were more questions about the beginnings of this kingdom.

 Where did the Hero Palcemith and Sage Asbal come from?

“I have heard from hearsay that the Hero Palcemith was from the streets. I’ve heard that Sage Asbal was the same…but isn’t it strange?”

 I ran my finger along the spine of the book lying in one corner of the archives, and looked up at Jolga, who I was using as a backrest.

 Jolga, who was silently tending to [Quistacis: He who Controls Dragons], slightly cocked his head.

“What is? “

“This Kingdom of Palcemith was not inhabited by humans right from the beginning. In the past, it had been a frozen wasteland.”

“…The land ruled by His Grace Kharis, right?”

“That’s right. The Hero Palcemith, who brought down His Grace Kharis, was the founder of this kingdom, as well as its first king. Yet, don’t you think it’s strange that the the legends say that he was ‘from the streets?’”

 Perhaps realizing the incongruity for the first time when I pointed it out, Jolga placed his hand on his chin as he pondered.

“Certainly…it is because it was originally a frozen wasteland inhabited by no one that the Hero Palcemith and the Sage Asbal’s birthplace was said to be a different kingdom.”

“It is easy to guess as much. Although it is more than a thousand years in the past, a culture of leaving ‘records’ had already taken root. The oldest records within Palcemith are the [Dragon God Lamentation Records: Atrezia], inherited by generations of Head Priests. However, even within them, there are no mentions of the Hero Palcemith and Sage Asbal’s origins and such.”

“Then, do you mean that the country the ‘legends’ spoke of isn’t this one?”

“You’re quick to catch on, Jolga. Perhaps both the Hero Palcemith and Sage Asbal were refugees. Moreover, they were from outside this continent.”

“…What? “

 As expected, even Jolga’s eyes grew wide.

“And what is the proof of that?”

“…That’s difficult to explain. I fear it will take a long time for the answers to come out.”

 In a world where genomics hadn’t been discovered, tracing an ancestor’s roots was extremely difficult. While I did not have professional knowledge with regards to anthropology, the [me] in my past life had heard an interesting story from somewhere.

“It’s a strange story. But one of the proofs is earwax.”

“…Earwax?”

 I grabbed the dazed Jolga’s ears and blew lightly into the ear canal that had just been cleaned with an ear pick. Pleased at seeing Jolga flinch, shaking his shoulders in response, I placed my head on his firm shoulders while playing with my lover’s earlobe.

“In this kingdom, we use a small, spoon-shaped ‘ear pick’ to clean our ears. However, in our neighbouring Cemtoah and Sahana, they don’t use that.”

“…Is that so?”

“Ahh. In Cemtoah and Sahana, they use a stick wrapped with cotton at its ends to clean ears. This difference is due to the nature of earwax.”

 Even in the world in my past life, ear picks were a common tool for ear-cleaning in the east-Asian sphere. An ear pick was suited to cleaning dry and powdery earwax, while wet and sticky earwax would naturally be cleaned better with a cotton swab. Originally, the gene for dry earwax is also believed to be due to mutation, and its distribution was extremely low in Europe and the West.

“I have confirmed with Lady Vanellope too, the only kingdoms that use ‘ear picks’ in the continent of Yugena are Palcemith and Hinoe. I have sent people to various places and have them proceed with the investigation little by little…but the study will need time and patience.”

“I see…in other words, our ancestors might have come from Hinoe.”

“That’s right.…However, a question remains. Why wasn’t that recorded as a historical fact? Why did the Hero Palcemith and Sage Asbal hide their birthplace? There must be a reason why they concealed their roots.”

“…It’s hard to know.”

 The Eastern Kingdom of Hinoe was a nation-state.

 Possessing the technique to defeat dragons with forged steel in their arms, they were a clan said to have crossed the seas.

 While at its head the Sasaragi clan ruled the state, they were said to be a group that had travelled westward across the continent.

 The footprints of people who had traveled around the continent of Yugena a thousand years ago could still be found in many places.

 The curse of early death had been cast upon the Asbal bloodline.

 It was an ancient spell that was out of the control of the ancient dragon Kharis due to having been distorted by Asbal.

 The key to unlocking it might be at the place where their footprints began.

 In order to investigate those clues, I had decided to head for Hinoe. But because Jolga announced that he would resign as the Knight Commander in order to accompany me, the Royal Knights were all in turmoil. I was of course glad that Jolga would be accompanying me, but it was bad from a national defence standpoint.

“Oh dear…”

 Placing my fingertip on the bridge of my glasses, I wondered what to do.

 A few days later, the situation took an abrupt turn with the words of the young princess who finally arrived in Palcemith, protected by her loyal vassals.

“I am Shirayuki, the third daughter of the King of Hinoe, Motonari.1Shirayuki is the Japanese name of Snow White2 I heard from a late swordmaster in Hinoe that a swordsman who wields a [sword that can destroy dragons] exists in this kingdom. I am clutching at straws here, and thus came rushing. Please, I beg of you, save my kingdom, Hinoe!”


 A/N (Probably talking about the dragons. It’s an allusion to Yamata no Orochi):

There are eight heads and tails in total.

Their eyes are a shade of bright vermillion.

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Sarkasm
Sarkasm
6 months ago

Thank you ❤

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