A little over a week after the day of the ritual, Kuuga was invited to join a certain conference.
It was a meeting that brought together the chief retainers of the kingdom. To his surprise, Kuuga was the first one to see all seven gathered. In other words, despite being the chief retainers, they hadn’t seen Gadillas for the past week or so.
It seemed that they managed to convey that public affairs had stagnated from the previous generation, but Kuuga thought it’s necessary to hear from them and even cooperate immediately. Realizing what Kuuga, who was looking suspicious, was thinking about, Gadillas told him that he didn’t want to meet them.
First of all, there were a number of things that Gadillas had to remember about the current affairs before talking to them.
Second, he didn’t trust them. Since they’re also busy, they couldn’t hold meetings without adjusting their schedules which would only annoy them. It also seemed like they’re trying not to come to the office.
It was obvious that they picked up on the rumors spread inside the castle and were taking Gadillas on lightly.
What’s more, the agenda was “when to do the coronation” which didn’t even need a meeting.
The meeting began, and Gadillas, who had Kuuga sit next to him, quietly accepted the hatred they gave him like an arrow. Although they wouldn’t blame him directly because he’s the king, Kuuga was impressed that they never said a sarcastic word during their tirade.
But Kuuga noticed that some of them began to look suspicious. Probably because Gadillas was taking their words normally. Or rather, Gadillas had an attitude like he’d been waiting for it.
Gadillas ended the meeting when they began to wonder if he had other intentions from the beginning.
“How was it?”
[…haa~, I know you can’t trust them but… this is not a good way, Gadi…]
What Gadillas wanted to do was show the seven people to Kuuga. Because they told various things to Gadillas, Kuuga was clear who had the most troublesome personality and what they felt toward Gadillas.
But doing something like this… Kuuga felt like sighing again, but this was why Gadillas was distrustful of human beings. Gadillas was a man of great talent, but that’s his only and greatest drawback. Kuuga wanted to cure it little by little.
Kuuga, who had a dictionary presented by Gadillas in front of him, sighed again then reached for it.
[…it can’t be helped.]
Kuuga conveyed his impression of the seven people he observed earlier to Gadillas by combining words. After confirming the word, Gadillas would ask Kuuga with an “is that what you mean” question, to which he’ll either agree or correct it.
Gadillas, who had confirmed all the members, looked at the documents with a slightly surprised expression. He might have seen everyone as his enemy.
While Gadillas was feeling conflicted, he finally noticed that Kuuga was looking at him. He awkwardly scratched his head then roughly placed a hand on Kuuga’s head.
“Don’t look like that… I have decided to believe you.”
Kuuga opened the dictionary again and showed two words. ‘Try’ and ‘apology’.
Gadillas, who had become accustomed to these kinds of exchanges, immediately realized what Kuuga wanted to say. The king showed a stern look, implying that he wouldn’t apologize so easily, but he nodded that he understood.
After the two’s secret meeting, Gadillas called four people to the office.
4 people, not 7. Gadillas fulfilled his promise with Kuuga to the four members who had dubious expressions.
“Some of you may have noticed, but first of all, I apologize for testing you.”
Two of the four responded as if they were expecting it. The other two seemed to have no idea why.
“I’ll receive questions later. Let me talk to you first… the real purpose of that conference was to show you to the Divine Beast.”
Although they looked like they wanted to ask a lot of questions, Gadillas didn’t care. They also had the awareness that the king had deprived them of their right to speak.
Gadillas slowly looked around while placing a hand on the nearby Kuuga’s head.
“The name of the Divine Beast is Kuuga. I didn’t give it a name, it’s the Divine Beast who told me so. I didn’t even know that the intelligence of the Divine Beast would be so high. To be precise, it cannot speak our language but has the same intelligence as humans. It can also read characters.”
As they were listening, their eyes gathered on Kuuga to determined if it’s true. When Kuuga nodded, he felt suprise from them.
“And the Divine Beast had a power that was not even transmitted to the royal family. ――the Divine Beast can discern a person. I only called those recognized by the Divine Beast.”
There were about three people who caught their jaws about to drop. It’s interesting how they looked like they were itching to know more.
“…I hate this country. I can’t trust the people born and raised in this country… no, I have no reason to believe in them.”
While thinking that it wasn’t words that a king should say, Kuuga wondered why Gadillas despaired for this country. He admitted that Gadillas turned his negative emotions too broadly and the range was ambiguous, but he seemed to have the momentum of hating the rest of the world so Kuuga tilted his neck.
The four people showed convinced faces, saying “this must be the case” in response to the shocking remark from the king.
And so! Why! Everyone knew it like it’s normal! The situation! Someone tell him! Kuuga screamed in his head but it didn’t reach anyone.
“But I am willing to fulfill my duties as the king… I decided to trust you whom the Divine Beast recognized.”
One person couldn’t stand it anymore and opened his mouth to Gadillas, who was being ridiculously honest.
“Might I have the permission to speak?”
It’s Luon Grik who’s gazing at Gadillas with a mysterious look. He’s a man in his late 40s with a tall and thin physique. He stroked his pale green hair behind him.
Luon was the Minister of Finance and was an excellent man who also managed merchants. Wrinkles were left between his brows, probably from the habit of having a no-nonsense demeanor.
“Excuse me, Your Majesty. It’s an honor for you to trust us, but isn’t it too dangerous to trust us just because the Divine Beast-sama told you?”
They didn’t know how much the Divine Beast could do, but it’s stupid to swallow it just because the Divine Beast said so. This was what they didn’t say. Kuuga thought it was reasonable.
Gadillas nodded deeply at the other man’s words.
“That’s right… if you don’t check, then you won’t be convinced. Listen to the words of the Divine Beast and confirm its authenticity… but be prepared. He won’t care about your feelings.”
“…what do you mean confirm?”
Kuuga thought Gadillas planned it to lead to this point. Gadillas grabbed the documents he had prepared in a graceful manner and assumed airs. He seemed to be having fun.
“First, Luon Grik.”
“It’s the kingdom, not the king, that he swore loyalty to. It doesn’t matter who is chosen as the king if it makes the country prosper according to the legend, but he thought it would be good if it was a person who could easily be managed. He had no hesitation in “moving” on his own if the person chosen have bad politics.”
From the beginning, Gadillas’ words were like a shooting star. Luon’s mouth moved slightly, but he immediately tightened his expression to see if there’s some misconception.
“It seems that he’s quite dissatisfied with my actions from the day of the ritual to today. Well, probably. Luon will not move on his own, and if he did, it will always be for the country. Also, if he isn’t convinced of something, he’ll listen properly without prejudice. If he’s convinced, he’ll trust it… or so the Divine Beast said, but how is it?”
Luon stared at Kuuga with an indescribable face. It’s not pleasant for their own hearts to be read. Moreover, it was said in the presence of others, so Kuuga sympathized him a little.
“…does Divine Beast-sama have the power to hear our hearts?”
“No, he can’t seem to hear the voice in a person’s heart. If he could read up to that point, then he’ll be a threat. ――then, next…”
Gadillas chose the next victim as if he’d lost interest in Luon once the man agreed with him. Two other people’s faces had become a bit distorted.