13-1. Ascending Peerage
Satou's here. In order to escape the predicament, the main character unleashes their hidden ability, that kind of method appears often in tales. However, it seems that it won't go that well in reality.
At the opening day of the Kingdom Conference, we have gathered in the great audience hall in order to participate in the [Great Audience Ceremony].
It seems today is the time in which people are conferred and raised peerage, and posts such as cabinet minister are announced.
Although it's called Kingdom Conference, they're not doing anything resembling conference in the opening day.
Today it's not only Satou who's going to participate in the [Great Audience Ceremony], Nanashi is too.
Nanashi is only going to appear for about 10 minutes, but even during that time, Satou cannot not present in the ceremony.
It's slightly troublesome, but I should be able to manage it somehow.
The great audience hall we're in is unlike other audience hall I've seen so far that are rectangular shaped, this one is fan-shaped.
I wonder if it's like a concert hall or a ceremonial hall?
More than 1000 nobles are lined up in the great audience hall that's slightly dark.
Even with this many people, the great audience hall is large enough for it not to feel cramped.
The king's throne is on the highest place, behind it there are some thin glass tube objects that look like neon tubes that are extended to the ceiling.
And then, once the music starts to flow in low volume, the objects begin to be clad in light.
"His Majesty the King, entering."
The high-ranking official working as the host announces that the king is entering, and then when the king sits on his throne, the objects shine, while the object's unseen orchestra starts playing a solemn tune.
The play is probably for enhancing the king's authority.
--Now then, since the surrounding's line of sights have gathered on the throne, I'll change to Nanashi.
Next moment, I'm already in the royal castle's waiting room.
Through my [Special Ability], the [Unit Arrangement], that I haven't been able to use until now.
For some reason, I've become able to use this after the disturbance from before was over.
If we talk about the reason, I can only think two things, either it's because I defeated 'gods' or because I wore the Divine Sword's power.
Unfortunately, [Unit Creation] is still unusable.
With this [Unit Arrangement], I can freely move my team unit in my home ground.
Moreover, it's without using magic power.
Truly a cheat ability.
Right now, the places recognized as home ground are only the mansions I own, Dragon Valley, Muno City, Boruenan Countryside, Labyrinth City, Duchy Capital, and Royal Capital.
Now then, the chamberlain is approaching from the other side of the door.
I'll think of this area with [Unit Arrangement].
Further, the place where I should have been was arranged with Satou's doll at the same time when I moved here. Of course I've changed the positions with [Unit Arrangement].
The inside of this Satou doll is an automatic skeletal golem wearing disguise suit I've made in the [Mansion of Ivy] in the Labyrinth City before.
It can't hold a conversation nor fight, but its gesture traces are perfect so there's no problem as a short-time substitute.
It's specialized in camouflage, so it doesn't seem like anyone can distinguish it as a doll from the real person as long as they don't have Arisa's level of [Persona Appraisal].
I've confirmed it by testing Kuro doll with an appraiser advisor contracted by Echigoya firm.
Now then, I, who have changed into golden armored hero Nanashi with [QuickDress] skill, is guided by the chamberlain to the great audience hall.
"Introducing, the hero who saved our kingdom from crisis--Hero Nanashi."
While being lighted by spotlight from light magic, I step forward next to the king.
Since I've returned holy sword Claiomh Solais to Mito, I'm armed with the fake made from Orichalcum metal.
The nobles' line of sights concentrate on me.
I stand before the king and with my back on the nobles, I take off my helmet and kneel.
I've used a newly made white mask for the face, but the nobles shouldn't have seen it.
"Hero Nanashi, the people of our kingdom have been saved by you. Extolling your achievement, we will grant you the house name of Mitsukuni and the peerage of dukedom."
"I respectfully receive."
The king looks like he has a bit of a hard time, but he can't exactly act the way he usually does in front of other nobles.
Before long, the king's body is wrapped in white phosphoresce.
"■■ Conferring Peerage"
I'm wrapped with floating light particles as the king chants the spell.
>Title [Duke of Shiga Kingdom] Acquired
>Rank [Noble (Duke)] Acquired
I update the status in the Exchange column since it doesn't automatically change.
I put the golden helmet again and turn back toward the nobles.
Heroic music plays from the orchestra in good timing as the illumination on the back darken as it has been prepared in advance.
I take out the imitation holy sword and put magic power into it, showing off the blue light toward the great audience hall.
"My name is Nanashi. The sword that defeats demons. I do not mingle in quarrels between men. When men fight against powerful demons beyond their capacities, call my name. I will go toward that land and destroy the demon--"
The speech is in accordance to Shiga Kingdom ceremonial courtesy, but coming out of my own mouth, it sounds like what a chuunibyou would say, damaging me with plain mental damage.
Finishing the five minutes speech, hero Nanashi will now leave this place.
"--Then, I will go to the land where I'm needed."
I float slowly with Sky Drive toward the top of the great audience hall.
After rising enough, I make the 30-meter long airship I've left floating in the royal castle's courtyard to appear in the room.
Noise appear from the nobles who are surprised.
"Ooh, is that the Jules Verne?"
"The same model of ship as Saga Empire hero's ship huh!"
I heard such voices from the nobles.
The first voice was of Baron Muno.
The outer shell of my airship is made in Boruenan just like the hero's ship, so it's only natural.
While floating, I board the airship, and after a short pause, I teleport together with the airship to the royal castle's courtyard using [Unit Arrangement].
Now then, Nanashi's turn is over.
I start the airship's auto-pilot, and make it so that it'll go toward the duchy capital area after flying a lap around the royal capital.
I slow its speed to be only as fast as a horse's, and instruct the automatic skeletal golems equipped with golden armors to wave their hands toward the royal capital's people while standing in the opened observatory room at the bow.
With this, people who think that we are the same people as them should be decreased now.
After all, the royal capital's people witness hero Nanashi and the golden knights parading around while we are participating in the ceremony.
Once I've finished the series of preparation, I use [Unit Arrangement] to go back to the great audience hall. Of course, I've changed back the Exchange column and my clothes.
I would have pushed Nanashi's role to Mito if she were in the royal capital, but it seems she's in the Fujisan mountains along with the Heavenly Dragon.
"Lord Leon Muno. I elevate you to the rank of Earldom."
"I respectfully accept."
Continuing the new year ceremony, Baron Muno underwent peerage raising ceremony.
After an exchange in Shiga Kingdom Language, the king who's holding the Royal Scepter chants a spell.
"■■ Convert Peerage"
I've never heard that command word before.
When the king finishes chanting, ring of light appear around Baron Muno and the king, then infinite symbol-like shapes are formed on the outer circumference.
The ring of light illuminates the surrounding for a while.
Before long the ring of light is disappearing to the sky and the ground.
And then, Baron Muno's title and rank have been changed to [Earl] when the light subsides.
Since the ceremony is over, Earl Muno bows to the king and gets back to his seat.
There's no applause or cheer, I wonder if that's the rule. Though it's not like it's because of it, the orchestra starts to play a solemn but rousing tune.
Next, the eldest son of old Earl Lesseu undergoes the [Succession to Peerage] ceremony and becomes the new Earl Lesseu.
"Chevalier Satou Pendragon, to be present."
Since I got called by the facilitator official, I stand up from my seat.
I thought that they were going to call it in turn by the ranking, but I got called earlier than Jeril who holds Baronet rank.
I kneel in front of the king while having a slight unpleasant premonition.
"I elevate Chevalier Satou Pendragon to the rank of viscountcy."
Wasn't it decided that I would be raised to merely either honorary baron or baronet?
The difference between a generation-long honorary noble to a permanent viscount is like the difference between a president of a neighborhood association to a diet member y'know?
The king begins the spell without confirming me like he did with Nanashi and Earl Muno.
"■■ Convert Peerage"
I'm wrapped with particles of light with the king's spell.
The effect is different compared to the earls' earlier.
>Title [Viscount of Shiga Kingdom] Acquired
>Rank [Noble (Viscount)] Acquired
I'm not the only one who's surprised, booing and noise come from the nobles regardless of lower and upper ranked ones.
When I look closely, the booing come from the protégés and family of Duke Bishtal.
I understand how you guys feel but please complain about it to the king instead.
Following after Jeril who became a baron, many nobles also underwent the promotion ceremony.
"Retainer of Pendragon House, Liza."
Next is the turn for the [Ennoblement] of the Mithril Explorers.
Liza is the very first, probably because she's won against a Shiga Eight Swords.
Liza who's chosen to wear knight clothes today walks toward the king with nervous expression on her face.
"Slave of Pendragon House, Liza, I confer you the peerage of Honorary Baroness of Kishresgalza."
"■■ Conferring Peerage"
Once the king's spell ends, Liza's name changes into [Liza Kishresgalza].
Kishresgalza is the name of Liza's tribe. And then her titles of [Satou's Slave] and the rank [Slave] have disappeared, and the titles [Retainer of Pendragon], [Baroness of Shiga Kingdom] and the rank [Noble (Baroness)] have appeared.
"Baroness Liza Kishresgalza, use your peerless spearmanship to protect the people."
"At your will."
The king said different lines than the obligatory ones for the first time.
Continuing on, Nana, Lulu, Arisa, Tama, and Pochi are conferred [Honorary Chevalier] rank.
However, Arisa's and Lulu's ranks remain [Slave].
Through Ms. Nina, I've told the thing about Arisa's and Lulu's [Geass] in advance, and we have been recognized as a special case.
Normally everyone would have been declined the [Ennoblement], but since there was the case with Liza, we were given this special exception.
According to the prime minister's information, the only people who have [Geass] skill are the emperor of weaselkin empire, and the magi of the western kingdom who's called [Dark Sage].
Once I've gotten the Chant orb, I'm thinking of going to either of the country to get the [Geass] skill.
Another way is with the pope of Holy Kingdom Parion, the so-called Zazaris person, his ceremonial magic [Wish] seems like it could release the [Geass], but since this magic's compensation seems to be big, it's going to be the last resort.
In addition, due to the elven law, Mia cannot become a noble of foreign countries, so she's declined the Ennoblement.
Just being an elf gets you to be treated like a state guest though, so the person herself doesn't seem to mind it.
Once the elevation and conferment ceremony is over, the nobles who are going to be demoted and get their peerage stripped are announced.
The noble who hid the [Light of Liberty] members and the other nobles who helped him are going to be executed along with their families.
Children who are 10 years old and younger are not to be executed, they're going to be sent to the monastery on Fujisan mountain foot.
Next, they announce the shuffle and addition of official positions.
The prime minister is to hold another position, that is the minister of [Ministry of Tourism].
No matter how I think about it, it's blatantly obvious that it's a front for the prime minister's spy network, on top of it overlapping with the [Ministry of Foreign Affair].
Among the candidates of Shiga Eight Swords, only Jeril is chosen.
The remaining two don't seem to be qualified. There are an axe-user and a shield-user whose levels are close to Jeril among the Mithril Explorers, I'll recommend them before my turn comes.
Lastly the king himself announces that the second and third large-scale warships are going into commission within this year, and the current warship that's already in commission is going to go on patrols to every internal territory, and each regional lords will be loaned a small airship.
Those airships are probably using the aerodynamic engines I gave them as Nanashi.
The magic furnace's fuel consumption is bad so the cost of service is expensive, it shouldn't revolutionize distribution that could catch the gods' attention.
The demand for magic cores which are the fuel for the magic furnace is going to increase, I have a hunch that more people would come to the Labyrinth City and Seryuu city.
In addition, the magic furnace occupies a lot of space in the small airship, so its load capacity is only as good as one carriage.
The small airships are only usable for the lords and governors, yet cheer still come from the territory lords.
Thus the new year's great audience ceremony is over, and the king does a broadcast through [Communique] Space.
There were these words in it.
"--thanks to Hero Duke Nanashi Mitsukuni and the Order of Golden Knights who saved the royal capital from the demon--"
Apparently they call us the [Order of Golden Knights] in the official papers.
I pray in my heart that there will be no event that would require us to appear again in the royal capital.
From tomorrow on, Kingdom Conference will be held for four days until the fifth day of January.
The lower nobles can chose to only participate in the new year ceremony, but as someone who has been conferred the rank of the lowest seat of the upper nobility, I'm also stuck to take part for four days.
"Still, it would have been nice if Master told us beforehand that you'd become a viscount."
"I too only knew about it during the actual thing you see."
Geez, it's terrible even for a kingdom where the rulers rule the bottom.
Perhaps it was someone's plan since they knew I would have refused had I known.
Well, I guess there's no use crying over spilled milk.
It's not like I can decline now.
I exchange words with Arisa like that while everyone is in kotatsu, enjoying the new year dish made by Lulu.
Arisa's family name as a noble is Tachibana.
Previously, Ms. Nina had told us that Chevalier Tachibana existed, but when we checked the list of nobles in the royal castle, she had mistaken it with Chevalier Tachivana, so Arisa was able to use her former family name without problem.
By the way, Pochi's and Tama's family names are the same as Liza's. At first, the girls said that they wanted Pendragon family name, but Arisa bewildered them by saying, "It's worth it when your family name changes to Pendragon when you're getting married right?", so each chose a different house name.
Lulu inherited the family name of her ancestor Japanese, 'Watari', Nana inherited 'Nagasaki' from her previous master, Zen.
"Master, please try eating this one too."
"Thank you. Lulu's new year dish is a bit unusual, but it's very delicious."
I tell my thought about Lulu's new year dish.
"Yeah, there's no fish and prawn surimi in the datemaki, and the kurikinton is entirely made of chestnuts, they're different from the recipes of my hometown."
When I pointed out the unusual parts in murmur to Arisa, her expression becomes bitter like she's feeling full of "I've been had."
Apparently, she used vague recipe for Lulu to make.
"U, um, I'll make it again!"
"Sorry, sorry. My way of speaking was bad. The flavor isn't the same with the one I know, but it tastes better than the new year dish I know."
I said more to hold back Lulu who had stood up.
"Lulu's dish is tasty nodesu!"
Tama, Pochi, and Mia also agree with me.
Their favorites are; the sea bream served whole for Tama, fried prawns for Pochi, and Kurikinton for Mia.
"The recipes for the new year dish differ in each region, so it's fine to think of this as the royal capita-style new year dish you know?"
"That's right Lulu. This boudara is quite chewy, it's delicious."
Smiles return Lulu's face with mine and Liza's words.
When the meal is over, everyone is relaxing on the kotatsu.
Tama is peeling and eating chestnuts while sitting on my lap, Mia is feeding me a bunch of peeled oranges.
--Ah, how peaceful.
Pink color from lipstick is adorned on the lips of Lulu who's dressed up as if she's proud of it
I sent word of praises many times to Lulu today, enjoying her beauty dyed in red. The smile of a bashful beautiful girl can really become a habit.
I'm enjoying the peaceful dinner with everyone, restoring my energy for tomorrow.
Now then, I'll work vigorously again tomorrow!