Game in the Presence of the Lord
Translated by Mlzkzr
Edited by Mlzkzr
In the carriage heading to the royal capital, Retim.
The weather was nice, so I had an open carriage and enjoyed the scenery along the way.
“What a nice breeze.”
Nee-san, who was riding with me, murmured as she held her hair, which was blowing in the wind, with her hands.
Her profile as she gazed out at the scenery was so beautiful that I couldn’t help but be startled.
“……Leaving that aside, what are you going to the capital for”
“Ara, come to think of it, was this your first time, Hermes”
“The way you’re talking, I have a feeling that we’re going to get into trouble again.”
“It’s all right, you know.
It’s just an event to make sure my Otoutotou-sama does his duty as a nobleman.”
“It’s just more trouble than it’s worth, but…… what’s that event you’re talking”
“You’re going to participate in the Kicking Princess Festival.”
“The Kicking Princess Festival”
The naming of the event made me feel more suspicious, but the word “princess” festival held in the “royal capital” stuck with me, so I held back from saying anything irrelevant.
“It’s not completely unrelated to the Canoe family, you know.
It’s a festival associated with Queen Selene, the founder of the city.
When she was young, the queen was very selfish and kicked all her subjects to the ground if she didn’t like them regardless of who they were.”
“That’s where it came from huh.”
The specifics are that the nobles get together and kick pumpkins and compete to see how far they could fly it.”
“Who knows, that part is a bit vague, but I heard that the Queen’s trusted advisor advised her to do so.
After using the pumpkin, they could make it into a dessert and serve it to the children.
It has many theories like that.”
“It’s weird that the Queen’s privates-like parts are still clearly visible, and the origin of the festival is so vague.”
“Sometimes that’s the case, you know.”
“So, I’m supposed to kick a pumpkin in there”
Become the overall victor Otoutotou-sama”
“I’ll deal with it appropriately”
I see, the Kicking Princess Festival huh…….
At the summer palace in the royal capital Retim.
It’s a palace with a beautiful garden full of water and greenery.
It is said to have been built by a king hundreds of years ago for his favored queen.
When I arrived in the capital, I immediately turned myself in here.
“There you are, Hermes.”
As I was admiring the beauty of the garden, Shou called me from behind and came alongside me.
“It’s been a while, Your Highness.”
“I’m glad you came, since I was honestly afraid you were going to skip out.”
“I would never do that.”
I smiled bitterly.
That might have been the case a while ago, but not anymore.
I changed my plan and decided not to suppress my ability more than necessary, but to make it as good or average as my surroundings.
The most inconspicuous way is to keep it about average, about the same as the others.
“Your Highness, I only have one request.”
“I want, my turn to be the last.”
“Last ……Fumu, that’s right, the star performer is the one that appears last.
All right, let’s do that.”
“Thank you very much.”
I had no intention of giving a performance worthy of a true star performer, but it helped that Shou have listened to me.
Now I’ll be able to look around before I kick.
“I forgot, what’s your dominant foot”
“We need a pumpkin that matches your dominant leg.
So to speak, it’s a magic pumpkin.
If you kick it with the right foot, it flies very fast, but if you kick it with the wrong foot, it would fly a tenth of the distance.”
“Why are you doing this”
“Since it’s a festival to commemorate our great queen, wouldn’t it be more appropriate to have a big aerial battle”
There’s no need to lie here.
I honestly said it was my right foot, and Shou said he understood and walked away.
This was the end of what I had to do the day before it.
I went back to the inn I had taken in the capital and tried to relax for the rest of the day.
And just when I was about to leave.
“Oya, well, well, if it isn’t Viscount-sama”
I turn around at the sound of a voice calling my name.
There was a young nobleman, about my age, standing there.
I didn’t recognize his face, but that side seemed to know me.
…… I’m concerned about him being not friendly.
“Hah, you don’t know, well of course you don’t, how could the Viscount-sama at the peak of his popularity know someone like me”
His words were thorny.
What does this guy wanted to say.
“How’s that How’s that position you got by having a woman cling in tears for you”
“Cling in tears”
“Don’t play dumb, you’re the head of the family, and you got that seat by making your sister your daughter.”
Pon, I clap my hands.
If he hadn’t told me, I would have forgotten all about it.
No, on the way to the capital, nee-san have called me “Otoutotou-sama”, but I’m so familiar with it these days that I’ve completely forgotten where it came from.
Originally, I had three older brothers before me.
I’m the fourth son, and the succession to the head of the family will not be passed on to me, but one day, a meteorite fell and all three brothers of mine died in the accident.
Even there, the right of succession would still lie with my sister, but my scheming nee-san immediately appealed to the king and made herself my daughter, thereby lowering the right of succession and allowing me to take over the house.
That’s what he was talking about huh.
“Well, that’s approximately right”
I understood the story, and I also understood that this was a very messy entanglement.
I brushed it off and tried to finish the conversation.
“How is it How does it feel to be the head which has been blessed by a woman”
I just shrugged him off and tried to leave.
“Is that how you got the Cross Medal”
I was about to walk away, but the man’s words stopped me in my tracks and I turned around.
“Four Cross Medals on a Slime Lord.
How did you do that.
Did you present your daughter”
Suh, then my eyes narrowed.
I glared at the man.
The man snickered and pretended to be amused.
“Oh, scary, scary.
The man who has risen through the ranks by using women to his advantage”
“Take that back.”
“You can’t put your foot in a person’s mouth, can you
…… Oh well, you’ll be at the festival tomorrow, right It is the festival of the great Queen Selene, where no politics or deception can be done.
If you don’t skin the mole there, phew, I’ll take back what I just said.”
I scowled off at his back.
For the first time in a long time, I felt a fit of simmering anger in the pit of my stomach.
The next day, the festival was in full swing.
There is a triumphal street through Retim, which Queen Selene used for her parade when she returned from the war.
On that triumphant street, a pumpkin kicking festival was held.
While the residents of the capital cheered and shouted, the nobles appeared one after another and kicked the pumpkins.
Some girls, babies, and other people kicked in a ceremonial manner, creating a peaceful scene, but most of the nobles kicked with all their might.
That should be the case, beyond the triumphal street ―― on the terrace of the palace, the king’s King* is watching all the time. (TN: Apparently, he’s referring to the King as King, again)
So to speak …… it’s the game in the presence of the king.
It is natural for nobles to try their best to make a good showing.
And so, one after another, the nobles kicked.
Suddenly, the loudest cheer of the day erupted.
In the event where I’m not sure what’s going on, the young nobleman who insulted my nee-san yesterday has his hands up in the air to the cheers of the people of the royal capital.
As I looked further, I found that the pumpkins were flying far beyond the triumphal street, right before the terrace where the king was seated.
The longest flight of the day was met with the loudest cheer of the day.
The man replied that profusely, then turned his heel and came over to my direction.
“It’s a disappointment, but that’s the difference in our skills.”
He looked elated with his success, while looking at me from above.
“Sir Hermes Canoe, it’s your turn.”
I ignored him and headed for the kicking spot.
The person in charge prepared the pumpkins in place.
It would be red out of two colors, red and blue.
The most obvious relative shades are red and blue, and from what I’ve seen so far, they seem to be for the left and right feet, respectively.
I’ve been provided with a red one for my right foot.
While the lingering sound of the previous man still remained in me, I briskly walked towards the pumpkin.
The person closest to me is buzzing.
“Hah, without a run-up ―― are you just gonna kick it adequately and make tea*.” (TN: It’s a Japanese proverb having the meaning of ‘saying something appropriate and cheating on the spot’, it’s usually for mocking.)
I heard the man’s condescending words from behind.
I ignore that too.
I stop in front of the pumpkin and swing my left foot up without a run-up ――
To the surprise of everyone around me, I had kicked the pumpkin for my right foot with my left.
The pumpkin, at the opposite foot, which is said to be attenuated to one-tenth, goes up and increases its distance rapidly.
Eventually, it flew to the exact same place as the man from earlier.
It fell to the point of the flag that was set as the best record without any deviation.
The capital fell silent.
I kicked with a different foot and got the exact same distance.
It is a silent message, a message that anyone can understand with a little thought.
I turned around and stared back at the young nobleman who was shaking and trembling all over as he realized he was being mocked.
『I’m, not serious yet.
The man gasped and flinched at the silent message.
A beat later, the entire city erupted in cheers.