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Burning Pair Parchment -> Parchments of Shared Fire
Approximately one month after the advance unit led by General Puyol left the capital,
two『Small Flying Mail Dragons』 arrived at the royal palace.
The sender: General Puyol. The contents: “We have safely arrived in the capital of the Twin Kingdom. There were no casualties. The preparations for the reception are complete. You may come at any time.”
The first words of Queen Aura, the one who received the letter in a private room in the royal palace, are not about the letter’s content, but rather the dragons that carried the letter.
“Two copies, eh? Even though I explicitly instructed him to be cautious and send 10 flying dragons simultaneously…” (Aura)
“There’s quite the distance between the Twin Kingdom’s capital and this place after all. A few more dragons might come in a few days, but it might be wise to expect more than half not to return.” (Fabio)
The queen, dressed in a maternity dress, raises her eyebrows at the secretary with his usual, emotionless expression, and responds with “I know that.”
As she leans back on the chair to reduce the pressure on her belly which – now that she entered the stable period of her pregnancy – is unmistakable, the queen stares intensely at the ceiling.
“I knew it would happen, but it’s still concerning. The small dragons entrusted to Puyol were carefully selected specimens.” (Aura)
The small messenger dragons are raised in large numbers in the royal palace, but obviously there are differences between their individual abilities.
In contrast to normal flights within the country, the dragons that can make the journey from the Twin Kingdom in the center to the Carpa Kingdom in the midwest are only the youngest and best specimens.
Even for those elite dragons it’s very dangerous to cross approximately half of the southern continent. The longer the flight, the higher the possibility of them being preyed upon by larger flying dragons and similar along the way. The possibility of their homing instincts failing and getting lost increases as well.
As such, it appears that the fact that they would have to keep losing elite messengers on this long distance flight was inevitable.
Unfortunately, a method to resolve this problem fundamentally hasn’t been developed yet. Right now there’s no other option but to have the trainers of the dragons do their best.
Anyway, the queen is not in a position where she could spare a lot of time and energy in the problem of the flying dragons.
Breaking that train of thought, the queen refocuses on the details written in the letter.
“It seems the guard unit has safely arrived over there, huh? I suppose all that’s left is for me to send over the entourage and then my husband.” (Aura)
Staring at the ceiling, Aura thinks about the personnel she should send to the Twin Kingdom.
Natalio and Ines are going, of course. Besides those two, I think it will also be necessary to send a few of the young maids from the inner palace so that Zenjirou can relax while he's there.
The guard unit that headed to the Twin Kingdom by land mostly consists of male soldiers, as its name implies.
It wouldn’t have been possible to take maids along on such a long journey during the Hottest Season as they would have become a burden because of their stamina.
On the other hand, several of Prince Francesco and Princess Bona's maids were among the personnel of the Twin Kingdom that returned to their country together with the soldiers, but since the letter says that there had been no drop-outs, I guess they also reached the Twin Kingdom safely.
Queen Aura exclaims in admiration.
“Truly, the presence or absence of magic tools plays a big role after all. I suppose, the rest is getting accustomed to using them.” (Aura)
The Pope Jilbell family, one of the two royal families reigning over the Twin Kingdom of Sharrow and Jilbell, has many members visiting foreign countries to perform 『Healing Magic』.
Because they accompany the members of the Jibell family, there are many maids accustomed to traveling in the Twin Kingdom.
The Sharrow family, users of 『Bestowal Magic』, are aware of the Jibell family's situation and devote themselves to developing 『Magic Tools』to make the journeys smoother.
As a result, the Twin Kingdom is much better equipped for long journeys than other countries.
To Aura, who encountered the terrible conditions of the camps in the previous great war, that’s honestly very enviable.
“Anyway, with this the preparations are in order. When are you going to start sending maids over with 『Teleport』?” (Fabio)
The queen considers Fabio’s question.
“Let’s see. First comes a message to His Highness Francesco and Her Highness Bona. It's probably a bit much, but my husband’s safety takes top priority. If possible, I’d like to get confirmation from His Highness Francesco’s side as well.” (Aura)
There’s a magic tool called 『Parchments of Shared Fire』 in the Twin Kingdom.
It capitalizes on the special characteristic of dragon skin paper: two sheets of dragon skin paper burn in exactly the same way. It's reliant on having an iron pen to burn letters into the paper, it's possible to transmit messages regardless of the distance.
“I think that should be fine. If you consider the Twin Kingdom’s relationship with us, the possibility that their side will get any foolish ideas is fairly low, but there’s an exception for everything.” (Fabio)
The secretary agreed monotonously.
That afternoon. Queen Aura received the two royals of the Twin Kingdom, Prince Francesco and Princess Bona, in a parlor in the palace.
Sending a message in the morning and having a meeting that very afternoon is very fast – almost unbecoming for royalty – but this is the norm in Prince Francesco’s case. There’s no merit in being surprised at this point in time.
As usual, the queen, princess and prince sit on sofas facing each other. What’s different from usual is that the heavily pregnant Aura borrows the hand of a maid to sit down and that there are more guards than usual, protecting the queen more closely than usual.
Queen Aura, stretching out a bit to accommodate her girth, first starts with greetings and a report about a different matter.
“Let me express my thanks for your swift response to my sudden summons. Ah, speaking of thanks, there was the matter of the magic tool, wasn’t there Your Highness Bona?
It was decided that we would install the 『Decorative Candlestand』 we received from you in the courtyard.
We will be holding a dinner party for the unveiling so please allow me to invite you two to the occasion. Of course you will be the guest of honor, Your Highness Bona.” (Aura)
She has been invited as the sole guest of honor at a party in the foreign country that is the Carpa Kingdom.
For Princess Bona, who had been born a low-ranking noble before becoming part of the Sharrow family, that was quite the responsibility.
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty. I shall be looking forward to it.” (Bona)
Subduing the nervousness in her heart, she answers with a forced smile.
But then again, although her smile is fake because of the pressure and her own nervousness, her words are sincere.
The 『Decorative Candlestand』 she gave the Carpa family as a gift this time was a masterpiece that required all the effort of even Princess Bona.
Of course, she's afraid of the criticism, but even more than that, she feels the desire to hear the true impressions of the public.
Watching Princess Bona's smile become more real as she pictured this, Queen Aura's eyes crinkle as she smiles back.
“Yes, we will do our utmost not to betray your expectations, Your Highness.
By the way, Your Highness Francesco.” (Aura)
She changes the target of the conversation from the princess to the prince.
“Yes, what might it be, Your Majesty?” (Francesco)
Even with this abrupt topic change, the blond prince answers with a carefree smile.
“We received a message from the unit that left last month that they had arrived in the Twin Kingdom's capital. Have you received one yet?”
The prince meets the queen's piercing stare, and honestly responds,
“Yes, I have. It looks like everyone arrived safely. Here’s the 『Duplicate』 of that.” (Francesco)
Prince Francesco retrieves a sheet of dragon skin from his pocket, unfolding it and placing it on the table.
As might be expected, he wasn’t so careless as to bring the actual 『Parchments of Shared Fire』, a precious and somewhat dangerous magic tool.
If the party holding the other sheet of the pair makes a mistake and burns it, it's counterpart will burn too.
Given the worst case scenario, it’s usually stored in a non-flammable box made of metal and stone.
“Hmm, let me have a look. Please check this as well for comparison.” (Aura)
Queen Aura placed the dragon skin brought back by the messenger dragon on the table.
Three royals of two major powers compare the contents of the two short letters.
There isn’t that much to compare, but the date and time of the arrival match.
With this, the information that the guard unit led by General Puyol has arrived safely and that the other side has finished its preparations to receive us is probably trustworthy.
“I see. It appears our country’s knights are being taken care of by your country. Thank you.” (Aura)
“No, not at all. Thank you as well. Those of our soldiers who left with yours managed to safely return home because of your assistance.
By the way, the preparations being in order means that His Majesty Zenjirou will soon head to the Twin Kingdom as well, I suppose?” (Francesco)
The queen confirms Prince Francesco’s inquiry.
“Indeed. We have some preparations to make on our side so it won't be today or tomorrow, but he will likely transfer over within ten days at the latest.” (Aura)
Hearing the queen’s words, the prince leans forward and exclaims in delight,
“Ooh, that is good news. As promised we would like to return to our country temporarily in the event that everything is settled on your end. Is that still alright?” (Bona)
Next to him Princess Bona raises her voice in surprise at that.
Aura, guessing that Prince Francesco didn’t tell Princess Bona about this, turns to face the princess and grins at her.
“Once my husband arrives in the Twin Kingdom, there will be 『Teleport』 users in both countries. In that case it becomes possible to make a day trip between the Carpa Kingdom and the Twin Kingdom, though it is limited to one person per day.
At the end of this『Hottest Season』, it will have been a year since Your Highnesses have come to our country. It’s not just the soldiers who are feeling a touch of homesickness, right?
If it’s just the two of you, I can send you there and my husband can send you back with『Teleport』. How about returning home during my husband’s stay in the Twin Kingdom?” (Aura)
“T-That certainly makes sense…” (Bona)
Princess Bona barely manages to respond, her face still caught in surprise.
Having experienced much hardship on the way to the Carpa Kingdom despite how well-travelled the Twin Kingdom's guards are, Princess Bona can't seem to fully accept Aura's words, even though she understands what they mean logically.
“Yeah, that’s how it is. I will gladly accept the offer and plan to return home for a short while, but what about you, Bona?” (Francesco)
The princess, who acts as Princess Francesco’s chaperone, glares hatefully at the problem child who smiled back indifferently.
“Your Highness, please tell me such things in advance. It puts me on a spot having to react to such talk so suddenly.” (Bona)
“Eh? So, you won’t go home then, Bona?” (Francesco)
“No, I will. I will go home, but that’s exactly why you must contact me in advance. After all there are some things I have to prepare, too.” (Bona)
Aura mediates the two-person comedy act, which had already become famous even in the Carpa Kingdom, with a soft chuckle.
“Certainly, His Highness Francesco has been rather careless, but this is also my mistake. Even though both of you are concerned, I only talked about it with His Highness Francesco. I forgot to personally explain it to you, Your Highness Bona.
That was impolite of me. Pardon me, Your Highness.” (Aura)
Seeing the queen of another country apologizing even though it’s something trivial at best, Princess Bona vigorously shakes her head, to the point of stirring up the silver dust in her chestnut hair.
“N-N-No, please. We showed you something unsightly due to our lack of communication!” (Bona)
Princess Bona returned the apology.
“Is it fine to assume then that you will eventually be returning home for a while, Your Highness Bona?” (Aura)
“Yes! I'll be in your care, then. Ah, could you tell us what will be needed for remuneration?” (Bona)
There is no such thing as getting the royalty of another country to use their 『Bloodline Magic』 for free. If there was, that could only be a sign of more troublesome demands in the future.
Even Princess Bona, who hasn't been a royal for very long, is aware of such common knowledge.
However, even that concern was for naught.
“Ah, as for that, we have come to the agreement that I will pay for it all at once. The price is my magic tool.” (Francesco)
In contrast to Prince Francesco's bright smile, Princess Bona's lips tremble furiously with those words.
If Teleport is the Carpa family’s trump card, the same can be said about the creation of magic tools for the Sharrow family.
“Your Highness! Why do you have to be so careless!?” (Bona)
Forgetting the fact that she’s in front of the queen of another country, Princess Bona shrilly admonishes Prince Francesco, for making such a thoughtless agreement behind his chaperone's back.
————– End of Part 1 ————–
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