Edited by Lord Fyre
A few days after the events in White Garden, Felmenia Stingray was summoned to the audience chamber by King Almadius. The reason was, of course, to hear about Hero Reiji’s progress in learning magic. He wanted to hear it from the teacher herself.
The king heard about it from other people as well, but the details were like “Mass of Talent”, “Magic Genius”, “World’s Best”, and other such vague descriptions. The details were not clear. It might be that he’s strong beyond comprehension. Anyway, as the person who sent him, he had the responsibility to know the details.
He wanted the hero’s teacher, Felmenia, to report. Felmenia, wearing a white robe and kneeling before him, was going to evaluate Hero Reiji and Mizuki Anou.
In short, Hero Reiji’s talent was extraordinary. His magic power alone was 10 times stronger than the Court Mage’s. There were still a few problems with his control and technique, but she thought that his comprehension speed when learning magic was weird. About Mizuki Anou, even though she didn’t have that much power compared to Hero Reiji, she had a similar ability. Regarding her ability to comprehend and express magic, she was probably on par with the Hero without the Hero’s Blessing.
“That’s all. I’m impressed by Hero Reiji’s and Mizuki Anou’s progress. They will someday be on par with other countries’ top mages as well.” (Felmenia)
Lastly, to finish Felmenia’s compliment, the king asked a joke.
“Will they surpass you?” (King)
“If it’s Reiji-dono, maybe.” (Felmenia)
“Is that so. I’m relieved. If Reiji-dono’s talent is that great, then I have no worries.” (King)
“Yes. I’m surprised as well. It’s only been two weeks since he first experienced magic, and he’s already on par with an intermediate level mage. ‘Hero that is chosen by the world’ is not just a title. As a mage myself, I must say I’m jealous.” (Felmenia)
Said Felmenia silently. She dropped her face a bit. Even though she didn’t express it clearly, since she spoke honestly about being envious, it was shown on the surface a bit. Not surprising. According to what she said, Hero Reiji’s growth couldn’t be put into words anymore. To have made Felmenia, who was known as a genius, say such words, it was probably cruel.
“That might be so, but if he doesn’t have at least that much power…” (King)
“I agree with Your Highness, the demon lord wouldn’t be defeatable.” (Felmenia)
The king nodded in agreement. Having heard the hero’s progress, he wanted to give thanks to Felmenia who had helped him until now.
“Mage, Felmenia Stingray, I have heard the circumstances. Three days until Hero Reiji’s departure. Until then, give it your best.” (King)
“As you wish. Then, I will be leaving…” (Felmenia)
After Felmenia paid her respects, she tried to leave…
But, she couldn’t hear agreement from the king. Instead, the king opened his mouth as if there was still something else…
“Felmenia, there’s someone else I want to ask you about, is it fine?” (King)
“About that boy, Reiji-dono’s friend, Suimei-dono.” (King)
There, the king mentioned Suimei’s name.
That’s right, other than Felmenia’s report; the king was also interested in Suimei. He also used magic inside of castle while strolling. But, the king feared Felmenia and Suimei’s confrontation the most. It had been a few days since that conversation. He wanted to ask whether anything had happened…
As if not expecting such question, Felmenia panicked a bit. Though she didn’t intend to let out such a small voice, the king asked her.
“That’s right. Back then, you told me that the boy was moving right? You always kept observing him right?” (King)
But, somehow, Felmenia tried to avoid the king’s gaze and couldn’t speak clearly. It was different from the talk about the hero, the king couldn’t understand.
Anyway, the situation was weird. She would always respond coldly. No matter the situation or the enemy, she would always be calm. She would look to meet the enemy. But now, there was nothing like that.
“What’s wrong ? Don’t tell me, something happened?” (King)
“N-No, It’s just that…” (Felmenia)
Even though the king asked twice, she acted like she was holding something and said weird things. When he realized, she was sweating. Now, he asked seriously.
“Answer me, Felmenia. If you stay silent, the conversation won’t go anywhere, you know? Tell me what happened and what you saw.” (King)
But, instead of answering, she lowered her head.
“Y-Your Highness! Please, somehow, forgive me, anything but that!” (Felmenia)
“Are you saying that you can’t speak of it?” (King)
“Yes… Unfortunately, as Your Highness said…” (Felmenia)
“That too, I can’t speak of it, I beg for forgiveness.” (Felmenia)
Upon seeing that persistent attitude, he could only groan.
Felmenia declined while prostrating. She had never been like this. But, why was she hiding it to that extent? No, it’s why now? Before now, if something happened, she wouldn’t like talking about it. If she spoke something bad, there would be a punishment. She probably thought so.
That meant, it was her self-defense from punishment. Then, everything was clear.
“I already told you not to do anything, Felmenia. But, it seems you did something to him, am I wrong?” (King)
When asked with a stronger tone, Felmenia became like a small animal, trembling and scared. The wise Felmenia was ashamed that she didn’t expect this to happen. But, no matter how scared she was, a punishment is a punishment. First, grasp the situation, then, if she explained, it would be alright…
“Speak. I can’t give the proper punishment if you don’t speak.” (King)
“P-Please Your Highness, I-I beg for forgiveness.” (Felmenia)
“There’s no need to be that obstinate. I already expect things that can even endanger my life. Speak all of it.” (King)
“Y-Your Highness…” (Felmenia)
“It’s heavy, you know? Felmenia?” (King)
When he realized, she was frozen like for eternity, and tears welled up in her eyes. He wondered, when was the last time he saw her crying? When she entered an evening party for the first time, she got lost. She was separated from her father, Count Stingray, and her mother. She was confused and didn’t know where to go. That was probably the last time.
This was weird. It was like he was extorting something from her.
“…Why can’t you talk?” (King)
Felmenia didn’t answer, she only hang her head down.
King Almadius was thinking about why she refused to talk.
Since he didn’t receive an answer, he decided to change the question…
“Felmenia. I will ask you a question now.” (King)
“But, Your Highness…” (Felmenia)
“Listen, Felmenia. If the answer is “correct”, stay silent. If the answer is “wrong”, shake your head. Understand?” (King)
She could only stay silent…
Then, the king asked her one by one.
“In the last few days, did something happen with Suimei-dono?” (King)
Silence… Bullseye. But, it was still within his predictions.
“Was it a conversation?” (King)
This time, Felmenia shook her head.
“Was it using force?” (King)
Right on the mark. If it was using force, the punishment would have been coercion with magic.
Felmenia should have known. But, I might be wrong.
“Did you hurt Suimei-dono?” (King)
But, she shook her head.
“Wait. Did you try to hurt him?” (King)
Felmenia stayed silent. Now this is surprising. According to her, she used force. She must have taunted him, but, even though she’s the country’s best mage, she couldn’t even hurt him. What does that mean…
King decided to ask her again.
“Did you lose?” (King)
There was only silence. It’s certain now. Felmenia faced Suimei alone, and the result was that she was miserably defeated.
“Then, at that time, somehow you had your weakness held by Suimei-dono, and as a result, you can’t speak now?” (King)
Right on the mark… So, she couldn’t speak because of her weakness. Even though the person who held it is not here, she still abided by the contract. But, Felmenia and Suimei are both beings that reside in Magic’s Abyss realm. For me who only has limited knowledge, it’s hard to guess the contract.
“Y-Your Highness. I’m sorry. Not only to break your order, I have shown disloyalty. This Felmenia will accept any kind of punishment.” (Felmenia)
“It’s fine. You already received your punishment from Suimei-dono. I won’t punish you anymore.” (King)
“Y-Your Highness…” (Felmenia)
Regretting her mistakes, Felmenia was extremely discouraged. The fight with Suimei had left a very big impact on her.
If so, she no longer needed to be punished. Being like this, her pride would have vanished already. I have one less thing to worry about. But, I can’t afford to be at ease. In return, I received another thing to worry about.
“Felmenia. I can’t afford to overlook this. I’m thinking of summoning Suimei-dono here.” (King)
“Your Highness, to summon Suimei-dono, what for…” (Felmenia)
Felmenia was extremely embarrassed, the answer was obvious.
“Isn’t it obvious? I will ask things that I can’t hear from you. Whether it’s about the summoning room or your weakness, I can’t overlook this discord.” (King)
“I-It must not be done! You can’t—A-a-Argh!!!” (Felmenia)
Suddenly, she held her chest and started screaming.
“Felmenia!? What happened!? Felmenia!?” (King)
The king stood at the throne watching this unusual event. Not only was her suffering unusual, she writhed on the floor and cried. Thankfully, it didn’t last long, and then she bowed her head again.
“Ah… Ah… I’m sorry… for showing… such disgraceful…” (Felmenia)
“What just happened? Is it illness?” (King)
She denied it. But, it certainly was something. She sweated and curled up in a ball, her face was pale like a dead man’s. Of course, I would have thought that it was an illness. But, I’ve never heard that she had an illness before. I reevaluate the situation. Her chest hurt. It was probably her heart. It was in the middle of conversation. When she objected, and talked about Suimei.
That would mean…
“Can it be, your weakness?” (King)
Felmenia didn’t answer. No, she couldn’t answer because of it. From her distorted face, it could be seen that she was full of regret, condemning her own foolishness.
It seems I can’t ask anymore.
So, I say…
“I understand. Felmenia. Leave everything it to me.” (King)
“Your Highness?” (Felmenia)
“Just like I said before, I will summon Suimei-dono.” (King)
“It’s fine. I will take all the blame. You-” (King)
After that, King Almadius dispatched a messenger to the mage who placed the curse.