Aby

The Show Must Go On 25

Translator: Aby

Editor: GracelessLiar

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!

 

TRIGGER WARNING! This chapter has mentions of Rape and attempted rape. 

The section mentioned highlighted in the same colour, feel free to skip it if uncomfortable.

Fool

As Nasha Laturi’s twin sister, Melia Laturi was born and raised in Cofone village.

The Laturi family may have been poor, but their familial relations weren’t poor.

There was her kind and gentle eldest sister, her lively, beautiful, second eldest sister who was the most popular person in the village, her elder twin sister with the same face, and her sickly but cute and honest younger brother. Including herself and her parents, their family of seven led a humble but happy life.

That peaceful life completely changed the day the Knight Templars came from the capital and forcibly took her elder twin sister, Nasha, back to the capital, claiming that she had been chosen as the holy maiden.

While her parents had gone to the nearest town and reported the situation to the stationed knight squad as well as the town mayor, nothing came of it. Maybe they just couldn’t be bothered to lift a finger on behalf of a single missing girl from a small village.

The family might have been at a loss, but there was some good to come out of the situation. When her parents had gone to town, they were approached by a wealthy man who happened to be in town as well. He explained that he knew of Cofone village from when he had gone there to purchase goods in the past and, hearing about their situation, offered his aid. Of course, it was on the condition that one of the two eldest daughters, renowned for their beauty, would be married off to the man as a concubine. Still, for an impoverished villager, it was a good match. The sisters gladly agreed to marry the man regardless of whom he chose, and the middle-aged man sent the parents back to their village with money for surgery for their weak son. Later, the wealthy man contacted them saying, “Unfortunately, I am unable to marry either of the elder sisters as I will be taking a noble lady as my wife. As the situation is like this, please keep the deposit money given.”

That was an act put on by the Laturi parents, for the sake of hiding the fact that they had sold Nasha to the Shrine from their children. However, Melia and her elder sisters did not realize it and were grateful for their sudden good fortune.

With nothing else to worry about, Melia decided to track Nasha down alone. Thankfully, because she shared the same face as Nasha, it was easy enough to gather information just by asking around if anyone knew of a girl with the same face as hers being escorted by knights.

Blessed with luck, Melia continued her journey and somehow managed to reach the town that lay just before the capital.

In that town, Melia was approached by some men claiming to be part of a merchant group who were delivering goods to the capital. They offered to take her to the capital if she helped with loading the goods, and Melia readily agreed.

The men said they would bring her to where the merchant group was staying and led her to a dim-lit building on the outskirts of town.

Within the building, the [sampling] of goods had already begun.

Young women, kidnapped from various places or gathered for sale, were being raped by the men of a kidnapping ring.

It was too late for her to run by the time she realized she had been deceived. Even compared to the other young women, Melia stood out as being especially young and beautiful, and was thus presented to the large man who was the head of the bandits.

Despite her struggles, her clothes were torn off, but moments before she was robbed of her chastity, the kingdom’s knights burst into the kidnapping ring’s hideout. The one who burst into the particular room Melia had been dragged into was Sigurd, accompanying them as support from the Imperial Knights. Stunned by Melia who had the same face as Nasha, Sigurd let down his guard, letting the head bandit escape after dealing him a blow.

After hearing of her situation, Melia was invited to the castle and reunited with Nasha, who had been chosen as the Sacrificial Priestess without her consent, and was trying to escape her current circumstances. Melia informed Nasha of their family’s well being, and requested to be allowed to remain by Nasha’s side as a support and relief for her, and so Melia was allowed to stay in the castle.

She quickly realized that Nasha was in love with the crown prince who was already engaged, and it seemed that the crown prince also had feelings for Nasha. Although the crown prince’s fiancee was Sigurd’s younger sister, His Highness, and not to mention Sigurd himself, were prejudiced against her, so Melia had thought that the fiancee was probably a terrible person.

If so, she might as well make Nasha the queen; then both His Highness and Nasha would be happy.

Speaking to her one-time saviour, Sigurd, and planning together to support the two’s romantic journey, Melia realized that Sigurd was also in love with Nasha. Sigurd didn’t reveal his feelings to anyone, keeping it hidden in his heart like a treasure.

When she found out his feelings, the pain in her heart made Melia realize that at some point, she had fallen for Sigurd.

She shared the same face with Nasha. Would it be possible for her?

Melia revealed to Sigurd that she knew of his feelings for Nasha, and laid her own feelings out to him. Sigurd said he may need time to sort out his feelings, but would agree if she was willing to wait. Thus, their relationship started,

Unlike His Highness and Nasha who were unabashed about their mutual love, Sigurd and Melia’s relationship was a pure and modest one with decorum. Even so, Sigurd always chose Melia to escort without fail and, after several dates, he let Melia wear his mother Yurikano’s keepsake pendant at a ball.

She was happy, unbearably delighted— in utter bliss.

However, several days after that ball, she overheard what some noble ladies visiting the castle said, causing her heart to freeze over.

Sigurd’s family, the Asbal family, was a long-standing duchy lineage, who had served as Prime Minister for generations. It would not be a problem if she was a titled noble lady, but the commoner Melia would, at most, only be allowed to be a mistress. Becoming his legal wife was impossible. On the other hand, should Sigurd throw away his family name and title for Melia, he would then have difficulty serving the Crown Prince. There wasn’t the slightest chance he would allow that to happen.

That was why.

That was why, Melia, who was suffering from a love divided by status jumped at the chance presented to her.

By becoming the Dragon Priestess, she would be given equal status as Sigurd, even if it was only for a single generation, but she hadn’t understood anything regarding the heavy responsibility that accompanied the position.

Before the excruciating pain brought about by being the Dragon Priestess, Melia’s small amount of dignity served her little.

Every time the effects of the healing spells cast by the healers dissipated and she was overwhelmed again by intense pain, Melia would scream and cry without shame or honour, finding fault with everyone around her. If the mood struck her, she would abuse the ladies-in-waiting who looked after her, and the joy gained from their unresisting existences allowed her to forget her pain momentarily. When she found out there was a medicine that could relieve the pain of the Dragon Priestess, she threatened Malacia and Lutora into giving it to her.

Suimo’s effects were extraordinary, and after a long while, she was finally able to pass her days without excruciating pain. Thanks to finally being able to sleep and swallow food again, Melia slowly returned to her former beautiful self.

Around the time Melia recovered, someone visited her confessional room; someone who had somehow, somewhere, gotten a glass bottle filled with a flower with round petals sunken in pale purple liquid— a large-built man who had Suimo in his possession.

After feeding Melia a single drop of Suimo of his fingertip to prove it was real, he pushed the desperate Melia to the floor, a vulgar smile showing from underneath the hood he wore to hide his scars.

“It’s been a while… Do you still remember me?”

“More… Give me more.”

“You… are the woman of the man who gave me these scars, right? Perfect. I’ll make that knight’s wife’s body into something unbelievable.”

“I’ll do anything, I’ll do anything so—”

That day, the boss of the kidnapping ring who Sigurd and the knights had allowed to escape, leisurely took Melia’s virginity, using Suimo as bait.

After that, the man would bring several ruffians into the confessional room and give Melia Suimo while they played with her body as they pleased.

Due to the side effects of having taken copious amounts of Suimo, Melia had long since lost her reason and had the unwaveringly blind faith, that even after her body was tainted this much, she would still be able to become Sigurd’s wife.

And then, one day.

And then, one day while rolling around in her bed, tired of waiting for the day her role as Dragon Priestess would end, her beloved sister, Nasha’s, shout reached Melia’s ears.

“Sigurd is being hoodwinked by that woman… That’s right, it’ll be fine if we just feed the Sacrificial Priestess to the dragon sooner! Once the Sacrificial Priestess is eaten by the dragon, the Dragon Priestess’s role will be done, right? Everything will be solved then!”

Oh, I see, that’s right.

That woman should be referring to the Sacrificial Priestess, Julieta.

Deceiving my beloved Sigurd is unforgivable.

“Let’s do that! Hurry and have Julieta eaten by the dragon! It would save Melia, and also satisfy the dragon that supports the kingdom! It’s a great idea!”

Aah, as expected, her sister was both kind and wise.

She was a splendid woman who always thought about Melia.

Melia, who sent praise to her elder twin sister in her heart.

Melia, who praised her elder twin sister from the bottom of her heart, was fawning over the man who always brought her Suimo just a few days later.

“Hey, There’s something I’d like to ask of you.”

Melia offered up the one remaining proof of a bond she had left. The pendant she couldn’t even remember receiving from Sigurd, the proof of being his lover was the only thing she had left to offer the man to coax him to do her bidding.

“The Sacrificial Priestess, Julieta. Could you feed her to the Ancient Dragon? If you do that, it would immediately set me at ease.”

“Heh…? The reward would be this pendant? It does seem to have some worth.”

“When I become Sigurd’s wife, I’ll hire you…We can enjoy ourselves every day.”

At some point during their relations, he’d slowly grown addicted himself to Suimo after having licked it off of Melia’s skin. That was why her suggestion sounded so appealing to the man.

“Alright…I will listen to your request.”

“Really!? Thank you!”

Clinging to the nodding man’s large neck, Melia rejoiced.

“Oh right. At the same time, would you kill Julieta’s father too? Sigurd hates him, and I don’t think I can get along with him either.”

 

 

Posted by Aby in SMGO, 1 comment

The Show Must Go On 22

Translator: Aby

Editor: GracelessLiar

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!

Sister

Born when Sigurd was three, his younger sister was, to him, an existence that could only cry and flail about.

Even so, when Sigurd reached out to touch her with just a timid finger, she grasped that finger, wrapping it up in a palm smaller than an autumn leaf. The moment her jade green eyes peered up at Sigurd’s young face and he saw her round cheeks, plump from laughing happily while babbling and cooing in a clumsy voice, something implanted itself in his heart. It was an oath, a lofty promise to protect the precious, newborn angel lying before him for the rest of her life.

That oath was broken quickly.

As he grew older and started to understand how the world worked, what he found was an ever-growing mountain of evil deeds built by his father, who in turn scorned Sigurd, but spoiled his younger sister. Rumours spread among the gossiping nobles, as they pointed their fingers at him for not having a single outward trait of the Asbal family.

At the age of seven, his sister was chosen as the Crown Prince’s fiancee, and simultaneously, became the Dragon Priestess with the duty to oversee the shrine’s rituals. Around the same time, Sigurd, who had been allowed to enter the Knights’ platoon, became acquainted with Crown Prince Vikram. As they grew up, so did their friendship and trust.

Occasionally, he would overhear rumours about his sister’s reputation, and every single one was terrible. While His Highness would give a wry smile wryly and say “As expected of your sister,” but Sigurd himself couldn’t help but feel shame.

And then, fate brought a beautiful girl to the side of those supporting the Crown Prince.

Nasha Laturi.

A sacred maiden brought over from a remote village for the sake of becoming the Sacrificial Priestess who would be offered to Ancient Dragon Kharis.

There was no citizen who didn’t know that Placemith prospered because of the ancient dragon’s grace. For that reason, Sacrificial Priestess, who would become the Ancient Dragon Kharis’s fuel, was guaranteed a high social status and was respected and waited upon by even the royalty.

At first, it was just to comfort Nasha, who was confined to a room in the royal castle that the Crown Prince, and Sigurd in his role as His Highness’s Imperial Knight, visited the Sacrificial Priestess’s room. Because of this duty, Sigurd had the chance to meet her. Eventually, his feelings began to change.

It was the same for them too; Sigurd, Lutora, Morino, and Crown Prince Vikram. They were all the same. On the condition that she must be accompanied by someone, Nasha was allowed to leave the room she was confined in, and bravely faced her fate. She desperately gathered information, never discouraged by the burden of her unfortunate circumstances, as she earnestly moved forward.

I want to become Nasha’s strength, he’d thought.

I want to remain by Nasha’s side, supporting her, he’d prayed.

However, the man she’d chosen was His Highness Vikram.

Her younger sister, who bore the same face, fell in love with Sigurd, despite his thoughts still being full of Nasha. After receiving her confession, Sigurd decided to accept her feelings.

He accepted her for the sake of being able to pray for the happiness of his Lord, Vikram, and the first woman he ever loved.

He accepted for the sake of killing those feelings.

“…Brother.”

Crouching on the lawn under the shadows of branches, Sigurd sat with his head between his knees until he felt someone draw near.

A reserved hand reached and touched Sigurd’s black hair before cupping his cheek with her palm.

“Julieta…”

When he lifted his head slightly, his sister stood there with a frown on her beautiful face

The sister that Sigurd had, the entourage had, pushed into the depths of hell with their schemes.

Enduring ten years of excruciating pain, only to finally be discarded by the Crown Prince and her future ripped from her.

His beautiful sister stood before him.

“Brother, my dear brother…”

“…”

“Even if we aren’t related by blood, you’re still my precious brother.”

This sister, whom he’d started living with at Morino’s request in order to guard and observe her, wasn’t exactly the rumoured Dragon Priestess he’d heard so much about. He’d heard that Julieta had hurled cruel words at Nasha when she had visited the temple with Crown Prince Vikram, but if an engaged man was escorting a young lady who wasn’t his betrothed, it would be enough to foul anyone’s mood.

Engrossed in reading fairy tales, admiring small animals and the greenery in the courtyard, challenging dessert making in the kitchen with the maids, Julieta had been freed from the intense pain of being the Dragon Priestess. She was living her days to the fullest as if trying to make up for lost time.

Even with all that, her small body, even now offering up prayers to the sun as it began to set, bore the traces of the scars left in her heart.

Julieta hadn’t rejected the role His Highness forced upon her, but even if he understood the pain she had gone through and all the time she had dedicated to him—

It was already too late.

What could he do? How could he get her to open her heart to him?

The only one who could heal her loneliness and pain was, as much as he detested and regretted the fact, their father and no one else.

Which brought him back to today.

He’d heard the secret of his birth as he eavesdropped through the wall, a secret that had given reason to his father’s hidden distress and poor treatment towards himself.

How could his father face Sigurd, a child born of his mother’s infidelity, a visible proof of betrayal, and still show him love?

“Julieta…You…knew about it?”

Even if she had overheard the conversation from the study through the walls like him, Julieta was not as distressed by the news.

It was possible she’d already known he was not her brother by blood.

Asking her with his gaze, Julieta replied with a small nod as she wiped away the tears running down Sigurd’s cheeks with her fingers.

“There was something that Father once said when he came to visit me in the temple.”

“…”

“He’d happily told me all about your knightly achievements, and then afterwards had muttered to himself, ‘Blood will tell.”

“…”

“Even as flattery, one could not say that Father is skilled with a sword.”

“…I…see.”

“Yes…Although, I was only certain of it just now.”

“Ugh…”

His very foundation was crumbling beneath his feet.

The world he thought to be true, the justice he had unwavering faith in, was collapsing all around him.

He couldn’t protect a single thing.

He couldn’t save a single thing.

His family had been supporting him all this time in silence, and yet he was the one to push them off the cliff.

“…If only.”

“…Brother?”

“If only you hated me more…!”

How much easier it would have been that way?

If he was despised, treated cruelly, or had salt rubbed in his wounds, the agony and regret he felt wouldn’t be this intense.

“Brother.”

She held his face between her hands as he clenched his teeth together.

Julieta stared straight at him with tears in her hazel eyes.

“…I love you, my dear brother.”

“You’re the only one I have, you know? Even Father couldn’t love you well… Afraid of being hurt, he always kept you at arm’s length.”

“…”

“I won’t allow you to be hurt. I will protect you from anything that may hurt you. …That’s why…”

The angel with swaying silver hair smiled.

“Don’t cry, Brother. Julieta is here by your side.”

His aim when becoming a knight was to protect the people who had guided him since his youth, and to protect his beloved country.

That’s why, to be protected by someone else, by such an ephemeral girl—

“…Julieta!”

Driven by a sudden impulse, Sigurd pulled Julieta into a hug.

“Julieta…”

The body he held was light as a feather, the shoulders clad in the collar of her sopravveste1 were delicate enough to break.

Despite that, the floral fragrance wafting from her long hair, and sweet body warmth of a young lady warmed his skin where they touched.

Her pale fingertips pressed a handkerchief to Sigurd’s snot-sniveling face.

“Oh Brother. You’re such a crybaby,” she said in a teasing voice that sounded like the chiming of bells.

“…I love you.”

On that day, he’d sworn an oath to when the newborn Julieta first grasped his finger. Even if he wasn’t allowed to do so, he would do so once again anyway.

“I love you too…Julieta. My precious, one and only sister.”

“Brother…”

“…I want to kill the me of that day…! Believing only in rumours, not knowing of your pain and suffering…!”

“…”

“Even though I’m your elder brother. Even though I’m your family…!”

“…No, Brother.”

Within Sigurd’s arms.

Julieta weakly shook her head.

“I am the daughter of Asbal. Our original purpose was to serve the royal family and support them from the shadows…Thus, for daring to wish for His Highness’s affection…it was my comeuppance.”

“Such a thing…!”

“…It’s fine, Brother.”

“…”

“For someone as thoughtless as I to remain as his fiancee, surely His Highness would feel annoyed.”

“…”

“I offer sincerest apologies and deepest regret, ut I will no longer be a bother, I would be grateful if you could forgive me.”

What did my sister say she did?

Did she truly deserve retribution to the point she was in such pain? Must she bear this blame with only a sorrowful smile?.

There was no mistaking it, the one who should have borne the blame was none other than Sigurd himself, and along with him—

“…”

He could see them in his mind—

The smiling face of his first love, and the profiles of the friends he held in such high esteem.

Their images—

were clear in his mind.


A/N:

They are unrelated by blood.

(Hasr: Sorry for posting this so late, my internet’s been crappy the past few days)

Posted by Aby in SMGO, 3 comments

The Show Must Go On 19

Translator: Aby

Editor: GracelessLiar

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!

The Knight Commander

When Knight Commander Jolga and Prime Minister Morino visited the Asbal estate, three days had passed since they sent a visitation notice.

I greeted Jolga, dressed in his usual military uniform and [Quistacis: He who Controls Dragons] at his side, along with Morino— who was, for some reason, burdened with a large stack of documents— at the second-floor study. The two of them looked around the study, seemingly surprised at the bare room. The shelves were essentially empty, and the room itself stripped of all decorations. Before beginning the discussion, I confirmed with High Priest Malacia that he could be seated beside Lutora, who had accompanied him from the temple. Jolga and Morino sat on a two-seater sofa, while Malacia and Lutora sat on the sofa opposite them, a low table between them. Meanwhile, I took my place on a single-seater sofa between them. Once the butler, Thomas, took up his place in a corner of the room, I began by urging Prime Minister Morino to reveal the reason for his visit.

“First, I am returning the contracts I had borrowed. It has been determined to be genuine… From the bottom of my heart, I express my respect for the devotion of the Asbal family over the years.”

“I gladly accept your praise for the Asbal family… However, that no longer concerns me.”

I put my hand on the folder Morino had placed on the low table and shook my head slightly.

“As you will inherit this mansion, it should be used by you. Once he ascends to the throne, I would advise you to draw up a new contract with Crown Prince Vikram as an addendum to the original.”

“In regards to that matter, shouldn’t the inheritor of this mansion not be me, but rather the new fief lord Sigurd?”

Having learned that I had stepped back from acting as fief lord, it was natural for Morino to harbor doubts. In reply, I gave a bitter smile and leaned back against the sofa, letting my gaze drift slightly.

“…At best, Sigurd’s reign will only be for a brief period. He… will likely leave the Asbal family.”

Aside from Malacia, the faces of the four people present changed color. I took out a diary from the inner pocket of my coat and placed it on the table. The thread-bound book did not have a title written on the front, instead, the name of the book’s owner was written in small letters on the cover.

[Yurikano Nana Lisette]

Jolga’s eyes widened.

I didn’t stop him as he reached out towards the book with trembling hands.

“…Head Priest.”

Jolga took the diary in hand, opening it to reveal faded pages, and Morino peered at them with restraint from the side. I left them to it and called out to Malacia.

“I would like to confess the deceased. Please grant forgiveness for my late wife, Yurikano’s sins.”

“… I am at your service. As three witnesses are required for confessions of the deceased…

Lord Morino, Sir Lutora, as well as Thomas. Would you agree to witness this confession?”

A confession of the deceased, which only the Head Priest had the authority to preside over, was something the bereaved family could request, to cleanse the deceased of sins committed. Proof of the sin, a bereaved relative to confess, and three living witnesses were required. Malacia took it upon himself not to choose Jolga as a witness. Of course, this was because the [sin] I was about the reveal, had a deep connection to Jolga.

“…The child Yurikano bore… Sigurd, is not my son. Jolga Von Oswein, he’s your son.”

“…So it was true.”

“T-that can’t be!”

“How…!”

“…ngh.”

While my words agitated the witnesses.

Jolga simply nodded quietly, with the diary still in his hands,

“The night before Yurikano was to be married to Lord Anderheim… Yurikano and I had an overnight fling. Sigurd was likely conceived at that time. This diary was definitely written by Yurikano. I’m familiar with her handwriting… It is undeniable evidence.”

“…I see.”

Shocked by the sudden confession, Lutora had stood up without even realizing it. Jolga looked up at him with an expression full of distress.

“I’m sorry… Lutora. This blame may fall upon you too. …Lord Anderheim. This should be a sin borne by myself alone. I beg of you, please be lenient on my sons.”

“…”

“I know that guilty as I am, I have no right to request so. However, Lutora and— Lutora and Sigurd, my sons, have done nothing wrong.”

“…Haa.”

A sign escaped my lips.

Jolga, who pleaded repeatedly on his knees, and the speechless Lutora and Morino froze.

“…You misunderstand, Knight Commander.”

“…Lord Anderheim…?”

“Did I not say it was a confession for the deceased? I have no intention of persecuting you. I was simply seeking forgiveness for my late wife’s sins.”

“…But that is…”

“Of course, there was a reason for deliberately summoning the Head Priest and confessing here. Knight Commander… I would like to make a deal.”

“Deal…?”

Hearing words inappropriate for the situation, Morino raised his voice in vigilance. I nodded, taking the diary from Jolga’s hands and, once again, placed it on the low table.

“The diary left behind by Yurikano is undeniable proof of the Knight Captain’s adultery. However, if you accept the conditions I suggest, I will present the diary to you untouched.”

“… And your suggestions would be?”

At Morino’s question, I raised three fingers.

“Firstly, to wait on acknowledging Sigurd as Captain Jolga’s son. I never had any intention of letting him succeed the Asbal family, however, as the circumstances have changed, I need him to temporarily succeed me no matter what. It’s fine if you wait until the political situation has settled. Until then, I would like Sigurd to protect the fiefdom.”

“…No problem.”

Having received Jolga’s confirmation, I lowered my ring finger.

“Secondly, do not make the role the Asbal family has played all this time public. This family does not need prestige. That we are not honored for our role is the very reason we take pride in it. Additionally, moving forward, this role will be undertaken by Prime Minister Morino. It’s a tough job… but it’s for the kingdom’s sake.”

“…I understand.”

Nodding back at Morino’s nod, this time, I lowered my middle finger.

“Finally, the funds received from disposing of the Asbal family’s assets will be set aside as retirement funds for the servants who have served the Asbal family. I have double-checked the estimations Thomas had calculated, and the funds should be more than enough. Any leftover funds will be donated to the Shrine’s orphanage.”

“Master…”

“Lord Anderheim…!”

Thomas choked on his words and Malacia gave a deep bow of his head.. With a small smile, I lowered the last finger.

“Those are my conditions. Do you accept?”

“…Rather than that, I have a question, Lord Anderheim.”

Morino’s voice was full of confusion.

“None of the conditions you have raised were unacceptable, and not a single one of them has any benefits for you. Why would you ask for those conditions?”

As expected, Morino gave voice to the question they were all wondering about.

“Because I do not need benefits, Your Excellency.”

“…?”

“I bought a small mansion on the west hill with a sweeping view of the capital. I am thinking of spending the days up until the Dragon God Festival there, with Julieta. Of course, I don’t mind if you put me under surveillance. There may be few rooms, but it is a house with a beautiful garden… Julieta is sure to like it.”

“…”

As I thought of my daughter, Jolga stared at my fatherly expression, and suddenly, something seemed to occur to him and he grabbed the diary again.

“…Lord Anderheim.”

“What is it?”

“When did you discover this diary?”

Ah, so he was the one who had realized the crux of the matter.

I had predicted Morino to be the one to realize it, but it seems Jolga was more perspective than I thought.

“When Julieta returned to the mansion from the shrine, she started using her mother’s room. The other day, she boldly decided to remodel the room and found it behind a picture frame.”

Jolga hesitated slightly.

“How did you know? That Sigurd… That the child Yurikano bore was not your flesh and blood?”

“…”

That was right, if one properly thought about my words, they would realize this point.

I had only discovered proof of Yurikano’s infidelity in this diary a mere month ago, and yetI had declared that even before that that I had no intention of letting Sigurd succeed the family. Rather than it being that I hated Sigurd, it was almost as if I had known he did not have the Asbal family’s blood in his veins all along and thus could not entrust him that responsibility.

How could I know that Sigurd was not my son, and was instead Jolga’s? While there was the flimsy truth that Sigurd looked nothing like me, Sigurd himself was aware that I had never once brought him to the underground vault with the blood lineage sensor.

“…I was well aware of it.”

The thorn that would pierce Jolga’s heart left my mouth.

“After all, I had never once held Yurikano.”


Birthday Release (3/5)

Hasr: Thanks Aby for helping me out and making this (sorta) mass release possible

Check out our new series: The Gentle Death God Laughs Above the Cherry-Blossom Sky!

Posted by Aby in SMGO, 2 comments

The Show Must Go On 17

Translator: Aby

Editor: Vnovember

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!

HASR’s Birthday Release (1/5)

Twins

“This isn’t a good development, Lutora.”

“I know.”

“To think that the evidence we wanted to use would end up being the noose around our necks.”

Morino sighed deeply. Having looked through the leather folder full of contracts passed to him by Morino and understanding what Malacia had meant by “Anderheim’s situation”, Lutora once again looked up at the ceiling.

Away from the gloomy two, in a corner of the office, two children with a similar face sat side by side, knees touching, on the long fur carpet, opening a large book taken from the bookshelf.

In the Royal Office.

Morino, who was welcoming Lutora for his regular report, had deep bags under his eyes and looked exhausted.

On top of the follow-up investigations of the revealed truth, there were also petitions from various state organizations, preparations to be made for the Dragon God Festival and the coronation ceremony five months later as well as settling the guest list, maintenance and security for the roads, investigation of the taxes… the list of things he needed to do just kept getting longer.

Anderheim, who had been Prime Minister before him, had a thorough understanding of whom to delegate the state affairs to, as well as how to distribute them to prevent dissatisfaction. However, Anderheim had been angered by the unreasonable treatment of his beloved daughter and had resigned from his position.

All the heavy responsibilities and the baton of command fell to the new Prime Minister Morino, a barely sixteen-year-old who had none of the necessary know-how.

“While it’s not impossible, we’re far too short-staffed. The evidence you’ve recorded, rather than being a double-edged sword, is more likely to become a soldering iron. One wrong step, and we’ll be scalded past the point of recovery.”

What Lutora was doing while staying in the temple was recording conversations through the magic stone, saving it as evidence.

Of course, any identifying details of private consultations or confessions were deleted, but any of Head Priest Malacia’s conversations and accompanying actions were all sent to the office.

The audio recorded through the magic stone could be paused at will, however, the contents could not be altered. In other words, for a given length of audio recording, the recording in the middle would be reliable evidence, but the beginning and end of the audio would be judged unreliable. After all, it could be suspected that something inconvenient was recorded and cut off so that it was not saved.

Melia’s violent actions and Malacia’s countermeasures to them, additionally, Lutora’s words requesting for Suimo to be given to Melia, were all unfortunately recorded in the most inconvenient part of the recording.

Should this audio be used as evidence of Malacia’s wrongdoings; Melia’s violence, as well as Lutora’s careless words, would also have to be submitted as evidence.

The audio continued to Lutora giving Melia the Suimo, and the fact that Melia had started wallowing in the drug.

Neither of those facts would allow them to escape unscathed.

“Who heard this audio when it was transmitted to the office?”

“Fortunately, it was just me. Sigurd was at the Asbal estate guarding and keeping an eye on Lady Julieta, and Jorga had immediately left after sending me these contracts, just as Lord Anderheim had predicted, to suppress the revolt that broke out at the border. His Highness accompanied Sir Jorga. Nasha was in the middle of her lessons and wasn’t around.”

“I see… It’s great that His Highness and Nasha didn’t hear it.”

“Yes. Also… ”

Morino hung his head, and let out a long sigh.

“Regarding the Suimo that was found in the merchant goods headed to Cemtoah… Just now, I found out its intended destination.”

On the night of the banquet, they had prepared this to corner Head Priest Malacia should the opportunity arise.

“The destination was a wealthy water merchant family in Cemtoah. That family has a daughter who has fallen ill with [Junkusa Disease].”

The Junkusa Disease was an incurable illness with multiple outbreaks in Cemtoah. One theory was that a local Cemtoah disease evolved as it was transmitted by humans, but nothing has been confirmed. Should one contract it, their extremities would start to decay. As if they had severe frostbite, their fingers would turn black and crumble, following which it would spread to the rest of the body via blood. The most frightening part of this disease was not the grotesque rotting appearance, but that the pain of the decaying body remained till the end.

“Both her arms are lost to the elbow, and legs are lost till the knee. For the sake of their daughter who could only suffer intense pain while waiting for her death, the parents had exhausted all their means to contact an intermediary to buy Suimo. However, that was…”

“…confiscated by us.”

“Yes,”

Morino’s beautiful face twisted with regret.

“In the end, her internal organs started to decay. Unable to bear watching her suffer from the pain in her last days, the father… personally ended his daughter’s life.”

There was no need to ask what the expression of the hunched over Lutora was.

His fist was clenched so tightly that his fingernails drew blood and his hunched back simply trembled with the force of his emotions.

“Lutora.”

“Lutora. I am guilty of the same.”

“I… If I hadn’t confiscated that Suimo.”

“It was I who asked you to do it…! Believing that it was for the best. Believing it was justice, without a trace of doubt!”

That fact.

It was far too late. Even if they regretted it, even if the hidden circumstances were known to them now.

As he struggled with the depths of the sins he now bore, small hands gripped Lutora’s arms from both sides.

“Sir Lutora, what’s wrong?”

“Sir Lutora, don’t cry.”

He drew his eyebrows together. Gazing up at Lutora’s face from below, looking as if they would cry too were the twins, Cain and Abel.

Amongst the orphans that Lutora was instructing in swordplay, these two were remarkably outstanding in their talent.

The elder of the two, Cain’s sword skills were decent and he had an introverted personality, but he was also very smart. The younger one, Abel tended to leave the thinking to his brother and was rather rough, but when handling a sword, his natural talent was outstanding.

The two were very attached to Lutora and were habitual offenders of raiding Lutora’s bed every night.

“Sir Lutora, are you being bullied?”

“Sir Lutora, tell me who’s bullying you! I will beat them up!”

“Hahaha.”

Abel was swinging his fists and snorting wildly, while Cain, with tears at the corners of his eyes, was about to cry.

At the affection shown to him by the twins, who had barely turned eight, Lutora laughed weakly.

Lifting the twins onto his left and right thigh, Lutora bumped his forehead lightly on their round heads. The body warmth of the twins clinging tightly to him slowly melted the coldness in Lutora’s heart.

“Cain and Abel. They’re quite sensitive to emotions, aren’t they?”

“Yeah. And not just that, Cain is really smart and Abel is quite talented in swordplay. Although I also wanted to introduce them to Father, not just to you, Prime Minister Morino.”

Just like Sigurd, who had left the Asbal family. Talented children could be invited to be Knights, regardless of their birth. Lutora had been thinking of introducing the twins to his father, Knight Commander Jolga. By the way, when Morino had first met them, he had asked seriously, “Who did you have these children with?”

“Lord Anderheim’s predictions were spot on. Sir Jolga detoured to the knight garrison on his way to the castle and dispatched a squad to the suspected area of a revolt. The revolt broke out right before the squad arrived. Thanks to that, it was reported that the revolt was swiftly suppressed.”

“I see. That’s great to hear.”

“Yes. When His Highness and Sir Jolga return, we’ll invite Sir Jolga and discuss our future plans.”

“That’s true. For now, we can’t let His Highness…”

“Agreed. We can’t let him know.”

Hugging the twins tightly, the two men sighed again. Then the sounds of violent knocking at the office door reached their ears.

“Hey! Morino, Lutora! Are you in there?”

The voice they heard from beyond the door was a high-pitched voice, tinged with irritation, they were very familiar with.

“Nasha?”

“What’s wrong, Nasha?”

Morino stood up, but before he gave his permission to enter the room, the wooden door was opened. Uncaring about the hem of her dress dragging on the floor, entering with large strides was the former Sacrificial Priestess, Nasha Laturi. Yes, this person.

“Nasha, isn’t it currently time for your lessons?”

“Aren’t you scared of angering the head maid?”

Without replying to Morino’s or Lutora’s questions, Nasha pursed her lips and took a look around the room as she slumped her shoulders dejectedly.

“Nee. Prince Vikrum has yet to return?”

“His Highness is currently at the border, handling a revolt.”

“I know that! But isn’t Sir Jolga leading the troops? Surely it should be fine for the Prince to return earlier.”

“Nasha, that’s not possible.”

“His Highness headed to the frontlines in order to make his dignity and competency, as the next King, known. As he is with Sir Jolga, the degree of danger is less and it’s a necessary action as an administrator.”

“Even though I’m this lonely… the Prince is so unfeeling.”

Once again, they were on different wavelengths.

Nasha did not listen to their explanations. Like the past few days, she should have fought with the instructor of her lessons and had run to the office seeking comfort from her friends.

“Hey Abel, it’s a princess.”

“That’s right Cain, she’s so pretty.”

The words were exchanged in a whisper while sitting on top of Lutora’s lap.

Nasha dropped her gaze to the owners of the voices and was shocked to see the twins.

“How cute…! Are they Lutora’s children!?”

“Why are you asking that too!? When did I have children? These are two kids I’m looking after at the temple’s orphanage. Look. Cain, Abel. This is Lady Nasha. She’ll be the next Queen. Go on and greet her.”

Nasha smiled and approached the sofa as she bent over. The twins slid down from Lutora’s lap and bowed their heads, greeting her with a short “I’m Cain” “I’m Abel”. At the nervous expressions of the adorable twins, Nasha’s mood was lifted.

“So you two are twins. I have a younger twin sister as well.”

“Lady Nasha is a twin too?”

At Cain’s words, Nasha nodded in agreement, smiling happily.

“My sister is very lively and she’s called Melia. She has the same face as me, so you can tell right away.”

“Eh…?”

“Melia? The Dragon Priestess, Lady Melia?”

They tilted their heads as they asked, Cain in confusion and Abel in curiosity.

“Do you know her? Right now, she should be in the temple, like you.”

“Un…”

What Abel delivered next while nodding was the cruel truth that only children could say.

“Every day she shouts “Give me more medicine”. That Lady Melia, right?”


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The Show Must Go On 14

Translator: Aby

Proofreader: Hasr11

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The Shrine

Mornings in the Shrine began early.

Lutora woke up to the faint and distant sounds of hymns, slowly sitting up in the darkness of his room. Accompanying Lutora’s stirrings were small arms and legs stretched unreservedly across his supple, muscular shoulders, and abdomen tumbled onto the sheets.

“…The brats slept here again.”

Uncaring about Lutora’s muttering, the children who had cheekily trespassed in the middle of the night continued sleeping soundly.

Half a month had passed since Lutora started sleeping in the Shrine. Lutora had arrived with the firm belief that he was intruding on enemy territory, but contrary to expectations, Head Priest Malacia welcomed him with a smile and didn’t treat him badly. He even introduced him to the Temple Knights and priests, conscientiously explaining about his stay.

As the Head Priest, Malacia’s days were busy. They began with morning prayers, followed by a breakfast of bland soup with bread, then listening to the confessions by shrine visitors and giving advice to their problems. His lunch would be wild vegetable stew, after which he would head to the shrine’s orphanage, where he would teach the children to read, write and count. In the evening, he would meet with the nobles who, avoiding public notice, snuck into the shrine. When they were gone, he would then have a late dinner followed by a bath. After all that, he would handle all operational matters within the Shrine, then make his prayers in bed before sleeping late at night.

The same routine– rinse and repeat.

After several days of working together, Lutora had lost most of his malice. Malacia soon requested him with a smile one couldn’t refuse, saying, “It’s a good opportunity to teach the children swordplay”. Before Lutora could protest, Malacia introduced Lutora to the children, “This is Lutora, a member of the Royal Knights, who has been staying in the Shrine. He’s a very strong knight. If I recall, there were several of you who wanted to learn swordplay?”

Immediately, numerous small hands were raised, their owners staring in longing expectation at him, making Lutora unable to refuse as he wished.

While the Kingdom of Palcemith was affluent, there was still a disparity between the capital and countryside. Families struggling with poverty no doubt existed.

Children abandoned by their parents, children who had lost their guardians to one reason or another, children sold into slavery. The shrine accepted all the lucky children who managed to make it to the Shrine not minding their origins, or whether they were rich or poor,. However, the shrine was only allowed to raise the orphans until they were fifteen. If they didn’t, they wouldn’t be able to accept new children. Before that deadline, the children had to decide their future…be it to be adopted, enter the workforce, become an apprentice or re-enter slavery.

“The Temple Knights, unlike the Royal Knights, have a pitifully low military power. That’s why they could only act as guards of the Shrine. Political concerns prevent the Shrine from having too much military might. But the Temple Knights are largely orphans who never had formal training in swordplay, to begin with.”

There were more than twenty children who wished to learn swordplay. Lutora himself was young for a knight, and while he had vast experience in receiving training, he had next to none in instructing. Recalling the instruction he had received from his father Jolga since he was young, Lutora was contemplating how to gather the basic training equipment, when the equipment was donated by the Temple Knights.

“…We’re weak.”

Having learned of the swordplay lessons, the Temple Knights had gathered together their funds and managed to scrape together enough training equipment for the children to use. The Temple Knight representative who brought the equipment to Lutora, was a young lady, her face hidden under her conical sugarloaf helmet.

“All of us would have been long dead if we hadn’t been picked up by the Shrine. On top of that, I’m not that smart…and couldn’t get an apprenticeship with a merchant family. My features aren’t attractive, so I couldn’t get adopted. The only options left were to become a slave or a prostitute…That was when Lord Malacia appointed me as a Temple Knight.”

The other Temple Knights all had similar reasons for becoming knights, she said.

“To be able to receive training from a Royal Knight is the best. Unlike us, who are only knights in name, you’re a true Knight. If the children can become stronger, perhaps even the rat-tag Temple Knights might be able to be more active and successful. …Sir Lutora, please, we’re relying on you.”

Her sincere bow of gratitude shook Lutora’s conviction, who had simply vaguely followed in his father, the Knight Captain’s footsteps, to the core.

In the afternoon, while Malacia was giving lessons to the orphans, Lutora systematically taught the orphans who wished to learn swordsmanship.

Originally the cheerful mood maker even amongst the Knights, Lutora had a friendly aura despite being nobility. The orphans quickly warmed up to him and started following him around.

“Even so…they didn’t have to invade my bed too…”

It was a recent development. Every night, a few children would sneak into Lutora’s bed while he was asleep. As the eldest orphans left the shrine at fifteen, the eighteen-year-old knight Lutora’s physique was perhaps found dependable by the children. Still, even if there was no hostility, to not wake up even when his bed was being invaded brought Lutora some uneasiness at his sound sleeping.

After changing his clothes, he left his room and came across Malacia, who was moving after finishing his morning prayers.

“Lutora, good morning. …Did you receive a nightly visit again?”

Lutora had already lost the will to rebut the joke Malacia made while smiling.

“A group came…Thanks to that, I slept well and woke refreshed.”

“Fufu, that’s because of the children’s body warmth. …Lutora, today before noon, we’ll visit the Dragon Priestess’s room.”

It had been half a month since he came to stay at the shrine.

Lutora had requested a meeting with Melia countless times and was even willing to be accompanied, but Malacia had firmly rejected his requests.

Looking at Lutora’s immediate tense expression, Malacia continued speaking quietly.

“These few days, I’ve received reports that her condition is stable. However, any action that may be stimulating, or words that may upset her are forbidden. Also…The pain that the Dragon Priestess suffers cannot be put into words. Should Lady Melia hurl verbal abuse, it’s simply a product of the agony eating away at her. Please, do not slight Lady Melia for it.”

“…I understand.”

“Then first, let us have breakfast. We’ll head to the Dragon Priestess’s room after.”

Nodding back at Lutora’s obedient nods, Malacia left with a flip of the sleeve of his dalmatic robe. Lutora waited until he could no longer see Malacia in the corridor before he slipped his fingers into his uniform’s breast pocket and took out the small magic stone hidden within.

“…Can you hear me, Morino? I’m going to check on Melia’s situation now.”

He couldn’t hear any reply, but a small light blinked within the magic stone, so it should be functioning properly.

To be able to gather information within the Temple with its inviolable wards, Morino Swettso invented this tiny voice transmission device. The receiving device was set in the Royal Office and had the same structure as the eavesdropping magic stones set as decoration at visiting nobility’s tables at banquets. On the off chance the magic stone was discovered, there are plenty of knights who carry magic stones sent by their families or lovers as charms so it wouldn’t be suspicious.

“I will pull as much information as possible from both the imprisoned Melia as well as Malacia. Please carefully record it.”

Lutora grasped the magic stone he had entrusted his words to once before he returned it into his pocket.

As Lutora chased after Malacia who had disappeared down the corridor.

Two small pairs of eyes.

Trained on his back through the crack in the door.

 


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The Show Must Go On 13

Translator: Aby

Editor: GracelessLiar

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Adapting to Darkness

Ever since it’s founding 600 years prior, the Kingdom of Placemith had never encountered such a terrible crisis, and the Langrede war 400 years ago had cast a shadow over the country’s governance. Truth be told, the long-lasting peace had driven the Kingdom of Placemith into complacency.

The aftermath of the war was far more disastrous than anyone could have anticipated.

The roads that connected farmlands to various cities were destroyed, delaying the distribution of goods and leading to widespread looting. The country’s military was barely able to maintain domestic peace, let alone finish disposing of the trenches and temporary bases of enemy troops. Selfish merchants withheld provisions, pushing the price of a single bag of wheat within the capital to nearly 10 times the pre-war price. The royal family was unable to determine their priorities for the reconstruction, leading to haphazard efforts that proceeded based on the whims of the nobility. Despite nearly emptying the national treasury, their efforts at recovery brought no relief to the suffering citizens.

Understanding the severity of the situation, the reigning King, Migliore Gakach Palcemith. and his close friend, Prime Minister Okha Semz Asbal, engaged in a heated discussion for three days and three nights on the future management of the nation.

They concluded that a government relying on the assumption of good intentions should never have existed.

Such a country would have been beautiful— an ideal nation, but it was nothing more than an illusion the blessing of the dragon had shown. If the country was allowed to continue on such a course, in the near future, they would be brought to ruin.

Information was necessary. An understanding of the deep darkness that must exist in this peaceful kingdom was necessary.

…Thus, the two of them exchanged a secret pact.

…Thus, the pair made a secret vow.

[The children of Asbal shall carve loyalty into their hearts— unafraid of staining their pure hands red, they shall support Palcemith from within the shadows.

The children of Palcemith shall understand the pain that shackles the children of Asbal, and shall not question their devotion, only praising them in their hearts.

The children of Asbal shall be prepared for any situation. They shall keep enough gold in reserve to support both the royal family and citizens through four seasons.

The children of Palcemith shall rely on the Asbal family in times of emergency, and request aid from the family Head who serves as Prime Minister.

He who swears to stand in the darkness to protect the future of the kingdom, my dearest, closest friend,

Okha Semz Asbal, to you, I swear my eternal friendship.

Milliore Gakach Palcemith]

. “That’s… assuming this secret vow is even true.”

After Jolga reluctantly spoke, I answered in a flat tone.

“It’s the truth…The Asbal clan has heeded this pact for generations. We became familiar with the darkness of the country, always preferring the muddied water..”

This contract was actually something passed down within the Asbal family. It was secretly given by the king to the then-Prime Minister, who had decided to throw himself into the underbelly of society for the sake of the kingdom. It was prepared for the eventuality that the descendants of Asbal would one day need to proclaim their innocence.

That was how the Asbal family began to control the underworld after the Langrede war. In other words, about half of my actions were due to promises made by my ancestors. Of course, I believe some descendants simply preferred the darkness.

And regarding this contract—

In actuality, it had endured some editing of its “contents”.

The third and fourth lines of the contract had been added by His Grace Kharis at my request.

This parchment was signed using a method based on the [Atrizia] that Malacia showed Morino the other day as a base, and written as it was, in a mix of blood and magic, it was impossible to change the words.

In Morino’s route, there was also a case of forging a contract. It had happened when Nasha stepped down as Sacrificial Priestess on His Highness’s orders. Malacia had dispatched the temple knights to Nasha’s family, requesting the immediate return of the gold they had earned from selling Nasha. Through this, Nasha learned she had been sold by her own parents, and that when she was no longer the Sacrificial Priestess, her family was threatened to repay the money.

Morino had consoled the grieving Nasha and requested that His Grace Kharis help by altering the contract between Nasha’s parents and Head Priest Malacia.

…Even if the holy maiden steps down as Sacrificial Priestess, there is no obligation to repay any monetary offerings made to the priestess’s family…

With that single sentence added to the contract, they escaped from their predicament. This time, that demand for repayment was being conducted under the table, so as not to stand out. There hadn’t been any results as of yet, but I was looking forward to hearing about it in the future.

And with the addition of the third and fourth lines in this contract… I successfully created a plausible reason for all the money that had been illegally accumulated over the past generations.

Jolga understood the true meaning of that line, and his expression grew stiff.

“All in order to protect the citizens, as well as the royal family… Did you know, Knight Commander? The one who gave His Highness his name was not His Late Majesty, but rather myself. The night His Highness was born, His Late Majesty summoned me in secret to the castle, and allowed me to hold the newborn Highness.”

I lowered my gaze to look at my hands.

As if I was remembering what had been there— whom I had held in my arms.

“I was asked to name the prince, and so I named him Vikram, a name that means ‘bonds.’ However, no matter what, I couldn’t tell people that I had given His Highness his name. Even so, whenever the citizens extol His Highness’s name and look forward to his reign, my heart fills with pride.”

“…Lord Anderheim.”

“Now, none of that matters anymore.”

I took the holder from Jolga’s hands, put the contract back in its place, and then closed the cover and handed it back to Jolga. Assuming my intentions, Jolga looked me in the eyes, as if to confirm his reasoning.

“…Is this alright?”

“I don’t mind, take it with you. If you pass it to the new Prime Minister or his aides, they can confirm its legitimacy.”

“Did you not think that there’s a possibility I might somehow dispose of such important evidence?”

“…Hah. I’ve never once thought the irreproachable, personification of virtue, the great Knight Commander, would engage in such foolish behavior.”

“You have my thanks.”

I tried provoking him with arms wide, but he just obediently bowed his head. How uninteresting.

“I shall return to the castle first, and have the contract I have borrowed from His Excellency looked over. Sigurd, as planned, you will assume your position as Lady Julieta’s guard.”

“Yes.”

“Oh, Knight Commander. Wait one moment.”

I returned to the office next door and took the stack of documents left on the desk. When I returned to the center room, I handed it over to the waiting Jolga.

“According to my predictions, the situation will become volatile soon .”

“What…?”

“Didn’t you just read the contract, Knight Commander? The Asbal family stood within the darkness, and using its influence, pacified those who lived in the underworld.”

“In other words, we had served as a stopper. Now that the knowledge that I’m no longer in power has spread, I’ve made some rough predictions about how they will move. You’ll need to take more specific measures; you should activate the knights immediately.”

The “rough predictions” were on the documents I handed over.

Now, if only they would rampage well.

“…You have my gratitude. Please excuse me.”

“You don’t need to speak like that anymore.”

I protested the formal address, but Jolga simply replied with a slight smile and headed swiftly to the stairs leading above ground, carrying the documents and the leather case.

“…Sigurd.”

“…”

“Sigurd, Julieta will awake soon.”

When I raised my voice, Sigurd, who had been looking down, slowly raised his head and bit his lips when our gazes met.

“…Father.”

His gaze was full of distress and hesitation, sincerely requesting answers to countless questions.

“…We’ll talk more later. For now, concentrate on protecting Julieta, Sigurd.”

“…Understood.”

I patted Sigurd’s shoulder gently while he hung his hand, and left the basement after urging Thomas ahead of me.

That’s right, we should continue our conversation next time.

When regaling such a mockery of a tale.

It was only interesting if there was a large audience, after all.


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Posted by Aby in SMGO, 1 comment

The Show Must Go On 11

Translator: Aby

Editor: GracelessLiar

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!

 

The Elderly Butler, Thomas

After loading Julieta’s trunk full of personal items onto the baggage area, I climbed onto the horse carriage alongside her. As she held onto a bouquet given to her by the ladies-in-waiting, we departed for the Asbal mansion.

The Asbal mansion was located a certain distance from the royal castle, within the capital’s residential area for upper-class nobility.

As Prime Minister, it might have been better to set up residence in the castle’s vicinity, however, the basement located under the Asbal mansion had also served as an emergency shelter for royalty in the past. As such, this was the better option.

When the gates to the mansion came into view, the coachman called out to me, “My lord, it looks like there are guests”.

I slid a finger through the gap between the window curtains and opened them to look outside. Standing before the mansion’s entrance was the butler, Thomas, my son Sigurd, and the Knight Commander, Jolga.

“Again, exactly as expected.”

“…Father, who are the guests?”

“It’s Sigurd and the Knight Commander. Julieta, it’s been a while, so feel free to act spoiled around your brother.”

“Oh my.”

Julieta embraced her bouquet, as the sound of her giggles comforted my heart, the carriage arrived at the mansion’s entrance. Thomas opened the carriage doors, dipping into a bow and offered a “Welcome home, my lord”. I generously nodded in return and reached out a hand to Julieta before Thomas did. As Julieta descended from the carriage, half-carried in my arms, Sigurd looked on with a slight knit to his brows. This was the lady he had had a hand in pushing into hell. The enemy of Nasha, for whom he harbored feelings he could never voice… However estranged they might be, Julieta was still his sister. Was it possible he was already starting to feel some guilt? Such naivety would only bring him regret in the future.

“Lady Julieta, welcome back.”

“Thank you, Thomas. I’m home.”

Thomas’s expression faltered for a brief moment at Julieta’s kind reply. However, as expected of a butler serving the Asbal family since the previous generation, he regained his calm demeanor in an instant. After ordering the footmen to bring in the luggage, he smiled gently at Julieta.

“Milady, you must be tired. Your room has been prepared, would you like to take a rest first?”

“Is that so? …In that case, I shall heed your suggestion. Father, may I be excused?”

“Yes, go ahead. After all, I seem to have guests.”

“…”

As I gave a low chuckle, the two men stared at me and their expressions soured. It seemed like the three of them hadn’t been able to come to an agreement before our carriage arrived. 

The elderly butler, Thomas. He was the Head Butler of the Asbal family and also a supporting character in the route belonging to Sigurd, the Prime Minister’s Heir, as well as the route of the hidden capture target, the Knight Captain Jolga, who appeared only after capturing Sigurd.

Thomas lamented at the suffering of the commoners under the Asbal family’s heavy taxations. Though he had reported them countless times to both the previous lord and Prime Minister Anderheim, every time his reports were ruthlessly dismissed.

In despair, Thomas lent his aid to Sigurd, who had been troubled by his relationship with his father, and helped him enter the Knights’ squad. Thus, after Sigurd built a close friendship with the Crown Prince and stood on the side built around Sacrificial Priestess Nasha, opposing his father, Thomas became the spy that leaked the Asbal family’s movements to the Crown Prince’s faction.

…He was such a convenient existence.

That was, of course, to [me].

After seeing Julieta and her attendant off, I invited Sigurd and Jolga in and headed to the parlor with a fireplace.

As soon as he sat on the leather sofa opposite me, Jolga immediately requested to appoint Sigurd as Julieta’s escort. On paper, it was to guard and observe the recuperating Julieta. In truth, their aim was probably to keep an eye on me and to search the grounds.

“Julieta and I are fine with it, but what about you? Even if it’s just for show, aren’t you part of the Knight Guards attached to His Highness, the Crown Prince?”

In other words, he was the head guard.

“Under His Highness orders, I have temporarily withdrawn from the Knight Guards and am now part of the Royal Knights again. There is no cause for concern.”

“I see, that’s fine. In that case, properly protect Julieta. I’ll say this first… Julieta is far weaker than you may think. Take care of her.”

“…I understand.”

I waited for Sigurd’s acknowledgment, and then called over Thomas who had been standing in a corner of the room.

“Thomas, I’ll leave this to you.”

The necklace that I held out to Thomas held a single key with the Asbal crest engraved on it. Jolga was confused by the sight, but the expressions of Thomas and Sigurd, who knew what it was, changed in an instant.

“Lord Anderheim, that is…?”

“…It’s a key.”

“I can tell that much at a glance.”

“…Sir Jolga. This is the master key for the mansion.”

“What…?”

The mansion’s master key, as the name suggested, was held only by the master. With that single key, entry was possible into any place within the mansion. That included even the room that Morin wished to investigate—the Asbal family’s secret basement.

Ignoring Jolga who had frozen in shock, I tossed the master key in Thomas’s direction.

“This is a good opportunity, Sigurd. When Julieta is resting in her room, you should spend your time learning how to manage the fiefdom. Thomas, I’ll allow your usage of the key. Gather the necessary materials and guide him.”

“…Huh?”

Sigurd’s foolish voice reached my ears. Despite being my son, he certainly showed his surprise too easily.

“What do you mean by ‘huh?’. In the near future, I will leave this mansion. After all, this mansion has to be handed over to the current Prime Minister. At that time, I will step down as the fief lord. That position will then be handed to you.”

“…Don’t just decide this on your own!”

“Lord Anderheim, regardless of circumstances, this is absurd. For close to ten years no, Sigurd has barely even set foot near Asbal lands. As such, even if you tell him to become the lord, he will just be lost.”

I sneered at Jolga’s words.

“Such ironic words coming from the source of this issue? Isn’t that right, Sir Knight Commander?”

“…Ugh.”

“…To make things clear, I never had any intention to make you lord after me. However, the situation has changed. I no longer have the time to wait and groom a successor. And I didn’t say that you have to continue being the lord forever. When the situation has calmed down, you can decide to do anything, be it returning the territory to the country or donating it to the church, or even appointing another lord.”

“…What are you scheming?”

“I have no such plans… I’m simply tired.”

I let out a huge sigh.

I leaned back against the sofa and looked up with uncertain eyes at the chandelier hanging from the ceiling.

“For the sake of the royal family? For the subjects? I no longer wish to suffer for such ridiculous reasons. It’s not worth my beloved Julieta being treated so horribly.”

“…Father?”

“…That’s blasphemy, Lord Anderheim.”

“Report it to His Highness if you wish. In any case, it doesn’t matter to me.”

“…”

I lowered my gaze from the ceiling and let it wander until Thomas, standing motionlessly with the master key in hand, entered my sight.

In Sigurd’s route, Thomas would find a chance to steal the master key and find evidence of illegal doings in the basement that only Anderheim could enter. In Jolga’s route, the master key played a key role in discovering decisive evidence for a certain secret between Anderheim’s first wife—Sigurd’s mother— who was also Jolga’s former fiancee, Yurikano and Jolga.

In either route, it was a tool that Thomas had to go to great effort to obtain.

Yet, it was suddenly handed to him. Undoubtedly, he has been must be feeling bewildered.

Now then…It was about time to execute the plan.

“…Ah yes. First, I should teach you how to enter the basement.”

Thomas stiffened even further while Jolga and Sigurd exchanged incredulous looks of disbelief. To Morin and the others, they had predicted there would records of illegality hidden in the Asbal family’s mansion. And yet, I was inviting them in so matter-of-factly. As my actions were far from their expectations, they didn’t know how to react.

“Even with the master key, the door to the basement requires a certain technique to open. After all, the lock is a bit tricky. I’ll show you on location, come, follow me.”

There were no objections to my suggestion.

I grabbed the candlestick that was sat on top of the fireplace and led the three of them towards the staircase to the basement.


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Posted by Aby in SMGO, 3 comments

The Show Must Go On 9

Translator: Aby

Editor: Hasr11

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!

The Pawns on the Board

“…They got us. We can’t arrest the Head Priest.”

In the royal office a few days after the eventful banquet.

Morino entered the office with a bitter look on his face. Immediately after, he placed the stack of accounting ledgers in his arms on the desk.

“No way!”

“Why not!”

Nasha was thinking of arresting Malacia and then exchanging his freedom for her sister, while Lutora held a grudge of her own against Malacia. They both protested in anger but were stopped by Sigurd.

“Calm down, Nasha, Lutora. Let’s listen to what Morino has to say first.”

“But, Sigurd…!”

“How could you stay so calm! Isn’t your lover in the Shrine’s hands!?”

“…It’s exactly because she’s in their hands. If we make a wrong move in haste, what if something even worse happened to Melia?”

Hearing Sigurd mutter reluctantly, Lutora regained his senses. He hung his head. The one who wanted to scream most was probably Sigurd. But he gritted his teeth and endured. Jolga patted Sigurd on the shoulder. He then met his gaze with Lutora, who was biting his lip and nodded silently.

“Don’t be too eager, Lutora. That is what the opponent wishes for. Sigurd…You did well.”

“…Thank you, Captain.”

“Sorry, Father…”

“Miss Nasha, you’re not the only one worrying about Melia. Let us remain calm.”

“Yes…”

The three of them regained their composure hearing Jolga’s matter-of-fact words. Morino, prompted by Jolga, retrieved a single ledger from the stack of accounting ledgers he placed on the desk earlier. He opened the ledger to where he had bookmarked and handed it to Vikram.

“Please take a look at this, Your Highness.”

“…This is?”

“It’s the total daily expenditure of the royal family over the past few years, excluding any official and diplomatic fees…It is the royal family’s ledger.”

From small expenditures for daily routine tasks such as the thread used for mending to the large expenditures like the carriages and precious metals the royal family bought, the numbers were neatly recorded in the ledger.

“When I compared the budget that was approved by the parliament for royal expenses to the actual expenditure recorded in this ledger, I found a discrepancy.”

“What…?”

Crown Prince Vikram’s expression changed.

Just from what Morino had researched these past few days, the difference seemed rather substantial.

“The sum recorded in the ledger is far greater than the allocated budget. If so, the compensation for the difference has to come from somewhere…tracing the castle’s flow of money, it led to the Shrine.”

“…What do you mean?”

“The determination of the budget requires approval from the parliament, where the Prime Minister holds a lot of influence. To reduce the Shrine’s influence on it, the approval of the budget was handed over to the royal family. However, that backfired. The portion of the budget meant for the continued operations of the Shrine was embezzled…by the former King, Queen, and their relatives.”

The Crown Prince and his aides were dumbfounded.

If that were true, it was a scandal of tremendous proportions. As a direct descendant, the standing of the Crown Prince would be in danger should the facts of this matter come to light.

“Since Malacia assumed office as the Head Priest, I found countless petitions to reconsider the Shrine’s budget, recorded in his name. Prime Minister Anderheim seemed to have planned to pass the petitions somehow…In the end, all the attempts were stopped by the royalty.”

“…How could that be…”

Vikram held his head. When his parents, the Royal Couple, were still alive, his enthronement was far in the future. While he had been formally educated in all the matters related to governing, he had no practical experience. Even so, it wasn’t a matter that could be brushed off with the excuse of “I didn’t know”. After all, Vikram was undeniably a descendant of the Hero Palcemith, a direct descendant even amongst royalty.

“…Additionally, although Suimo is mostly sold overseas, we managed to track down some leads. We investigated those customers and found something unexpected.”

“Unexpected…?”

Knowing Lutora’s past, Morino did not know how to reveal the truth and hesitated. Lutora grasped his hand and said, “It’s fine, please just tell me”. Morino pushed ahead, despite his hesitance.

“… All of the customers were families having someone with an illness without treatment. What is more commonly known as an [incurable disease].”

“An incurable…disease…”

“While Suimo does have narcotic effects like ecstasy, it also has pain-relieving, calming effects. Its effects cannot be compared to what is officially permitted in the country…And most incurable diseases happen to give intense pain in the final stages. And that pain…”

Morino let out a sigh.

“And that pain…is on par with the pain the Dragon Priestess suffers, or worse.”

Hearing Morino’s explanation, Lutora remembered.

When he lived in the same house as Fiona, her uncle suffered from an incurable disease.

He had a gentle personality despite fighting an illness. Whenever he suffered from fits due to his illness, the pain he suffered was unbearable to see. His family suffered as if they were the ones in pain. They wished to at least take away his agony.

“Don’t tell me…”

“Yes…It’s exactly what you’re thinking. The recipients of Suimo were all people who needed it. Whether to treat this fact as good or evil…my mind is in a mess.”

“…But isn’t it a fact that Malacia was selling Suimo illegally outside the country? Can’t we charge him with the crime?”

Nasha sent an entreating gaze at Morino, wanting to rescue Melia no matter what. But Morino could do nothing but shake his head quietly.

“It is unmistakably a crime. However, all the funds he got from selling Suimo were used for the operation of the Shrine. Should we prosecute him for his crime, we will then have to reveal the crimes of the royal family…If things don’t go well, the Crown Prince can be disinherited.”

“No…That can’t be true…!”

“Do you think I would lie in a situation like this?”

Back then, Head Priest Malacia had whispered in Morino’s ear.

“Investigate the royal family’s ledgers.”

Morino had thoroughly investigated his opponent, Prime Minister Anderheim’s accounting ledgers and company records. However, when it came to the royal family’s ledgers, he had overlooked them and the Crown Prince’s relatives. He thought there wouldn’t be a problem and left them untouched. It was frustrating, but Morino was thankful for

the fact that Malacia had whispered the warning only for him to hear, and not the other attentive nobles in the room.

“…Unfortunately, there is nothing we can do in this situation. With such sparse information

we can take no action.”

This was a development that even Morino, hailed as a prodigy, had not predicted.

In the silent office.

Lutora, slapping his face with both hands and standing abruptly from the sofa, came to a decision.

“If we don’t have enough information, we just need to go and get it. I’m going to the Shrine.”

“…Lutora!?”

“Didn’t Malacia say as he left? If we have any concerns, we should send someone to the Shrine. So I’ll go and squeeze information out of them. I’ll also be able to check on Melia’s situation. It’s hitting two birds with one stone.”

“Don’t do it Lutora, it’s dangerous!”

Unlike Jolga or Sigurd, who wielded a large sword to cleave their enemies, Lutora was more proficient in using daggers in a backhand grip and wore a military uniform that was tailored shorter to make better use of his nimble body. Nasha, who exclaimed reflexively, clung to his back. Lutora was briefly

surprised before he patted the teary-eyed Nasha on the head.

“It’ll be fine. Malacia had proclaimed so in front of countless retainers and nobles. If anything happens to me, the blame will immediately fall upon the Shrine so they will not do anything untoward. I’ll keep my guard up and send detailed reports.”

“Lutora…”

He was hurt, having lost his lover once. The girl who made love sprout in his heart anew, entered a relationship with his respected lord Vikram.

He could never express his feelings.

He would live his life hiding those feelings.

“I understand…Lutora, can we rely on you?”

“Leave it to me, Prime Minister. It’s in decent hands.”

“…Shouldn’t that be ‘in good hands’?”

“Isn’t that better than ‘in careless hands’?”

Lutora cheerfully winked.

The entourage finally broke into smiles.

That day.

Would be the last day that the entourage would ever gather around the Crown Prince.

Was something none of them could ever imagine.


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Posted by Aby in SMGO, 2 comments

The Show Must Go On 8

Translator: Aby

Editor: Hasr11

Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu! Support the Translators and Editors!

The Second Accomplice

“This is a medicine I got through a certain contact of mine. While I do not know of its official name, it is called Suimo1. In exchange for strong pain-relief and euphoric hallucinations, it is a highly addictive drug, almost a narcotic.”

To think that he even managed to get his hands on the real thing.

I secretly praised Morino in my heart.

That’s right. Suimo was one of the secrets of Head Priest Malacia.

Within [The Dragon and the Sacrificial Priestess] that Nasha was the heroine of; it was the greatest secret of the hidden capture target, Head Priest Malacia: the cultivation of the flower [Dragon Sleep], the main ingredient of that narcotic drug.

Malacia’s scenario was a branch route unlocked after capturing the Knight Commander’s son, Lutora. It was the direct opposite of the Crown Prince’s classic capture route. It shone a spotlight on the hidden darkness of the Kingdom and unveiled a degenerate, depraved story. Malacia himself was born of a prostitute in the slums. An abandoned son of unknown lineage who did anything he could to survive. Anything he could make use of, he did, deposing of others before he was killed. After living through such a childhood, Malacia awoke his healing ability and was picked up by the Shrine. There, he greedily absorbed knowledge, climbing to the position of Head Priest.

Having achieved authority, Malacia took over the management of Dragon Sleep, cultivated in secret by generations of Head Priests. With the help of Prime Minister Anderheim, he distributed the drug refined from Dragon Sleep to other countries, padding his coffers.

If the heroine entered the Head Priest’s route, in the bad end, the heroine would become addicted to the drug at Malacia’s hand. Even in the good ending, Malacia would spread the drug within Palcemith’s Capital, bringing about great chaos. The story ends with him fleeing the country, accompanied by(or followed by) the heroine. It was an ending that couldn’t be called satisfying.

And that Suimo was the very reason for the short lives of generations of Dragon Priestesses.

To those ladies of nobility or royalty, their lives as decorations in the Shrine were simply unexciting and boring. Even if it increased their standing in society, they could not leave freely, nor could they meet anyone without prior notice. As it was considered a holy job, even their food consisted of mainly vegetarian dishes. To those young ladies, raised being able to do anything they wanted, they couldn’t endure for long.

That is when the Head Priest would whisper in their ear. That there was a drug that could bring them pleasure.

Attracted by those words, the young Dragon Priestesses would become addicted to the ecstasy brought about by the drug, quickly becoming heavy addicts. After that, it was a matter of waiting for a suitable moment to withhold the drug, until the Dragon Priestesses sent for money from their family home.

And thus, the Dragon Priestesses’ bodies were deeply ruined by the drug, even if they quit being Dragon Priestesses, they would die one by one.

That was the truth behind the early deaths of the Dragon Priestesses.

By the way, Julieta’s engagement with the Crown Prince had been confirmed by the time she assumed the position of Dragon Priestess. In consideration of the Crown Prince’s future offspring, Prime Minister Anderheim forbade offering Suimo to Julieta. In any case, Julieta was only seven at that time, should she have taken Suimo, she would have immediately died.

Dragon Sleep was originally classified as a type of waterweed. Only the flowers that managed to bloom; watered using nothing other than the water of the underground lake the Ancient Dragon Kharis was submerged in; never having seen sunlight, could be used as the main ingredient for Suimo. While the effects were amazing, it was a rare drug with scarce production numbers.

As it was such a precious commodity, it had never been used on anyone apart from the Dragon Priestesses. However, a few years after Julieta became Dragon Priestess, Malacia became Head Priest and joined hands with Prime Minister Anderheim. As the drug was not being taken by the Dragon Priestess Julieta, there was an excess of Suimo, which was then smuggled out the country and sold at high prices.

Morino managed to trace their steps and somehow managed to confiscate the actual drug.

“This is something you created…Am I wrong, Head Priest?”

In answer to Morino’s question, without a falter in his smile, Head Priest Malacia carelessly replied, “Yes, that is correct”.

“So you admit it, Head Priest! The creator of this drug is you!”

Turning his head towards Lutora, who roared in place of the stunned Morino, Malacia nodded in affirmative.

“It’s true, I am the maker of Suimo. I had heard that our delivery to the neighboring Cemtoah had been forcibly seized. So it was done by you.”

“How impudent…!”

“Head Priest. How we managed to get this drug in our hands is of no relevance. If it is you who created this drug, then that is a serious crime.”

“…Oho?”

With a finger on his chin and a tilt to his head, Malacia showed no sign of unease, composed even at Morino’s dogged probing.

“Don’t act innocent! Because of the drug you created, just how many people…!”

“Head Priest Malacia. In the name of Prime Minister Morino, I take you into custody.”

“Hm…I refuse. You have no reason to do so.”

“What!?”

Holding back the agitated Lutora with one hand, Morino observed Malacia cautiously.

What he saw was Malacia’s calm smile.

Morino was truly a genius.

However, he has only ever lived in a beautiful world. He might have been of commoner birth, but both his parents were wealthy merchants. He could have never experienced eating moldy bread.

That is why, even if he was able to see through to the hidden vicious darkness behind his opponent’s smile, he was likely to misjudge the depth of it.

“…Please explain your objection, Head Priest Malacia.”

“You still want to talk…? I’m already of a mind to return to the Shrine.”

Shrugging his shoulders helplessly, Malacia sent a token glance my way and gave a bow as if requesting permission. After being assured with my nod in return, Malacia took out an old booklet from within his priest robes and extended it towards Morino.

“Your Excellency, do you know what this is?”

“……The Dragon God Record [Atrizia]…It’s a contract with the Ancient Dragon Kharis that is entrusted to the Shrine.”

“Exactly. It’s a contract signed when the kingdom was built, between Sage Asbal and the dragon he sealed, His Excellency Kharis. This contract itself is protected by His Excellency Kharis’ magic, making its destruction foolish, and the alteration of its contents impossible.

“I’m aware of that. What is your point?”

“The Head Priest has the approval to take any action to protect the Ancient Dragon Kharis. Regardless of the method, the Shrine will put in a continued effort to support the Sacrificial Priestess and the Dragon Priestess.”

“……That’s a statement about the Head Priest.”

“Yes, I have been abiding by this doctrine. If I say this, surely you would understand, just for whose sake I have created Suimo.”

“…!”

“Correct. Suimo was originally meant to relieve the Dragon Priestess of suffering from pain. It’s indeed a powerful drug. However, it is also true that without it, past Dragon Priestesses would have been driven mad. …..The only Dragon Priestess to be able to withstand the pain without usage of this drug, is also the youngest Dragon Priestess in history, Lady Julieta. She has such indomitable will..:

“……In that case, how would you explain the fact that Suimo is being smuggled out of our borders to be sold!”

Believing he is right, Morino continued to press for answers, unknowingly tightening the noose around the Crown Prince’s neck.

“This process only started after you became Head Priest. I know that Suimo is not a drug that can be mass-produced. That Lady Julieta not using the drug creates excess can also be predicted. However, to bring it out of the country, and selling it widely on top of that, is a crime you committed.”

“…Because of you, because of that drug…Fiona, she…!”

Five years ago, Lutora studied abroad for a year in the southern country of Sahana. There, he fell in love for the first time with a young maiden three years older, Fiona. However, she passed away. Leaving behind a light purple-colored drug, with a flower with round petals submerged at the bottom.

It was a sad past that’s revealed when the heroine enters Lutora’s route.

Lutora clearly remembered the traits of the Suimo he found at her bedside and traced it down, finally tracing it to Head Priest Malacia…Or so the scenario goes.

“Hah…Your Excellency, could you lend me your ear for a moment?”

“…You won’t be able to lay a spell on me.”

“What are you misunderstanding? Should I explain in a loud voice, the one who will suffer a heavy blow would be him over there. Be at ease. I cannot use any magic that could manipulate your mind.”

Beckoning with a hand, Malacia bent next to Morino, who approached him, and whispered something into his ear.

Morino’s complexion changed, and his round, feminine eyes widened even further.

“…Should I have explained it so that everyone can hear?”

“…No. That is unnecessary…I am grateful for your consideration, Head Priest.”

“Morino!?”

Right now, Morino probably did not have the composure to reply to Lutora’s surprised yell.

“Well then, I shall take my leave now. I will not run nor hide. If you have any concerns, do send someone you trust to the Shrine. As long as it does not disturb my work, I will hear you out.”

“…Then I shall return too. Julieta needs to undergo treatment all over again…Come, Julieta.”

“Yes, Father.”

I gave a sidelong glance at the flabbergasted Crown Prince and his friends.

Carrying Julieta in my arms, accompanied by Malacia whose smile never wavered, I left behind the dazzling banquet hall.

Come, the symphony of destruction has begun.

However, this is only the overture, nothing more than just the beginning.

I will allow you to experience that fact firsthand.


A/N: The majority of comments: I forgot that this is BL!

Posted by Aby in SMGO, 3 comments