Intermission: Lord's Secret
"Baronet Leon Donan, over here."
At the center of the chapel near the royal castle that his majesty has lead me to, there's a crystal-like thing with 20 sides shining blue light while floating.
His majesty is waiting in front of that floating crystal.
"Leon, this is a City Core."
I stare at the City Core as if I'm charmed.
"This is the reason that makes a king and governing lords different than other nobles."
"...Reason, is it?"
His majesty solemnly nods at my parroting words of question.
"That's right. The City Core draws abundant magical power from The Source, it's an artifact that exist for the purpose of letting the person who becomes its master to make use of that vast magic power."
As if answering to his majesty's voice, the City Core flashes blue light once.
"Even if it's said that this City Core is an artifact, it's unknown if the core is made by someone somewhere. There was a certain king who once asked the gods, but the answer never came."
"Then, just who is..."
"I don't know. At the very least, the method to create one is already lost at the present time. Once, the Bornean sage, Trazayuya-dono, attempted to recreate one, but he could only make a counterfeit with much lower performance at best."
I wait for his majesty to continue his words.
I wonder what's the real intention of his majesty for showing me this artifact?
"The story has diverted, I'm sorry."
"No, I've heard some really interesting things."
"Although it goes without saying that this talk is a secret to anyone but the one who will succeed royalty's or lords' house. Revealing this to others is useless."
Unpleasant sweats flow on my back.
Why would his majesty tell me such secret?
Even though I'm a relative of duke Oyugock, I'm not of the main family, and nothing more than a baronet.
Just what is the king--
"Now then, let's get back to the topic. The lord could establish this City Core to people so they could use it and uses ritual magic. Truly various magic; you could create walls that could defend against attack from high-ranking demon, attack magic that reduce armies to ashes, or climate magic that could manipulate weather."
Even manipulating weather!
Handling enormous amount of magic power from The Source, it could even resist high-ranking demon that could equal sub-gods.
"That is like--"
I hesitate to continue the words on the verge of my mouth.
Since the words are like sacrilege against gods.
"Like a living god is it?"
However, his majesty continued to speak those words lightly.
"There is no need to worry. Gods will not needlessly interfere kings or lords. It has been decided with the covenant between the gods and the ancient kings."
The king said so, but there was a large country comparable to the the old empire that got destroyed after angering gods.
Shouldn't we be careful not to let out many sacrilegious words?
Though a coward like me isn't able to remonstrate the king.
"The story keeps wandering off. The lord is special precisely because they could wield the core power to transcend human."
His majesty repeat the story once again as if emphasizing it.
"The rank of the governing lords depend on the scale of The Source they control. Once, a lord raised his rank followed by numerous cities he had."
His majesty stops talking and judge my reaction.
I timidly nods at his majesty to show my understanding.
"And then a king is a person who's followed by his lords. And then, an emperor is a person followed by kings."
The difference between king and emperor is like that... I've thought that it's just a difference in naming.
I express a question that has crossed my mind to his majesty.
"Then, are guards and viceroy lords too?"
"No. They're both representatives that lords have given authority to act on their behalves. They could borrow the power of the City Core, but the master is still the lord."
With this I think I understand the reason why rebellion that guards and viceroy have caused in the history is suppressed.
The reason why the rebellion have been able to be quenched isn't written in the history, but after seeing this, I finally can understand.
"Also, as the holder of City Core, you can appoint new nobles in behalf of the king."
So that's the reason why marquis Lloyd isn't able to appoint chevaliers.
I've always thought it's strange that a high-ranking noble couldn't appoint new nobles when earls of neighboring country could, but I understand now.
"[Nobles] are originally what people who control cities are called. The rank of nobles is indication of the level of authority a representative had. The one protecting the city is either baronet or a baron, the city's viceroy must be a viscount at least, those aren't just customs but in accordance to the authority level of the City Core."
I desperately try to understand his majesty talks, but it's too difficult to understand it all at once.
"Oy oy, you should understand this."
Ashamed with myself, I'm going to apologize to his majesty, but when I hear the majesty's next words, I get so dumbfounded, nothing is coming out of my mouth.
"Leon, today I will grant you Muno house name. Go to Muno city, release the cursed and blocked City Core, and become the new lord."
The same territory where nobles who've announced their candidacy to become its governing lords die one by one, becoming the lord of the [Cursed Territory]?
However, this is a royal order. I do not have the right to refuse.
The majesty has talked about the City Core earlier probably because he has maximum faith in me.
Right now, the thing I can do is to solemnly lower my head and answer, [Your will].
"Are you nervous?"
An old lady with miko outfit looks at me worryingly.
"No, head miko-sama. I, I am okay."
"You don't have to force yourself. Even for me who has long life of confronting monsters, standing in front of this door is making me trembling."
She probably said that to reassure me.
Latenion head miko lets out a young smile belying her age.
I take a deep breath, and together with the head miko, go toward the underground sanctuary on the Muno city where the City Core is.
The people who descend the spiral stairs to the underground sanctuary are only the head miko and me.
Originally, this passage is only to be used by the lord, but for the sake of exorcising the curse that the [Undead King] has left, I'm accompanied by the head miko this time.
I feel more sick each time I step down the stair.
It seems that many nobles die the moment they step on this stair.
It's probably safe this time because I'm with a head miko who holds the title [Saintess].
I continue following head miko while feeling nauseous.
In front of the sanctuary, the head miko touch the walls as if falling.
"Leon, looks like it's the limit soon."
"I understand. I'm going to go alone from here..."
I step into the sanctuary while holding my consciousness.
--My vision is shaking.
Bam, I hear the sound of my own body that has collapsed as if it's coming from other's, I look up.
A semi-transparent black shadow is floating in front of my eyes.
『O intruder. I am [Undead King] Zen--Its shadow. O pure person, show me that you deserve to become the lord.』
I faint in the middle of my words, and I get rescued by the golems controlled by royal court magicians that his majesty has deployed.
I tried challenging it for three times after this, but it was over right whenever I had just arrived to the sanctuary.
I wasn't able to grasp the City Core, but for my accomplishment of getting to the sanctuary, I was appointed to be the lord of this land.
Since I'm just a temporary lord, I am not able to tap the magic power of The Source to manipulate weather, resulting in famines often happening in the territory, and I'm not able to stop people from leaving this territory.
I was only able to become the true lord after 16 years.
I had to wait until a merchant who had just become an adult uncovered the plot of the demon by himself, and even saved the territory from the swarms of undead monsters.
I want to grant honorary knight to Satou-kun for his achievements, but since I don't have the City Core, I don't have any way to confer peerage to him.
I could ask Nina-dono to write a letter of recommendation for duke Oyugock, but I'd like to reward him with my own hands.
I proceed to the sanctuary where the City Core sleeps after 16 years, and over there I notice that the curse that has always been there is gone.
I don't know if the caster has died, or if the silver masked hero who defeats the demon has dissolved it.
I walk to the front of the City Core, and a voice that's neither man or woman greets me.
『Welcome, qualified person. Do you hope to become the lord of this land?』
This is probably words from the will of the City Core itself.
I answer clearly.
『The registration is complete. I serve lord Leon Muno from now on』
Lights separate from the City Core, one becomes a ring on my finger, the other flies beneath me.
When I concentrate on the ring that I've received, things that could be done with City Core come into my mind. Apparently, the demon wanted to do something by stealing the magic power from The Source. For the time being, I do ritual magic for controlling weather, I should be able to grant him rank too.
"■■■■ Weather Control. Warming."
『Executing Command. The average temperature of the territory will raise by 15°C for the next few days.』
I don't know how much 15°C is, but if I could decrease the freezing cold, the people who die from it would probably decrease too.
Either way, there's not enough magic power for anything more than this.
On the next morning, I do the ritual of conferring peerage using the City Core without any problem.
I go to the balcony in the early morning, and is surprised at the warmth.
Usually, my breath would becomes white. The cold of midwinter has changed into the warmth of autumn in just one night.
I'm trembling under the sunlight warm.
--It's excessively powerful.
The City Core brings power beyond human to a person.
I vow to use this power for the sake of people without drowning on it.