Polymath Redux Annex
Chapter 46 – The Royal Commissions
“Looked like you were getting awful well with that incomprehensible head of the Royal Alchemist Commission.” Once the quest was turned in, Mordred spotted a lonely Roland drinking away with a depressed and reddened expression upon his face. Roland waved to him with his hands still clutching a large jug of what was most likely an alcoholic beverage. “I didn’t know you went for those children-looking types. What are you, a noble or something? Well, actually that might explain your pale skin complexion.”
“I assure you that I’m normal,” Mordred threw up his hands to deflect the accusation. “Speaking of, why is a child the head of the Royal Alchemist Commission?”
“Hah? Oh… guess you really don’t know,” said Roland as he took a large gulp from his jug. He slammed it down upon the wooden table with a loud ‘clunk’ and began to reveal the truth of that ‘small child’. “That lass, what was ‘er name again…? ‘Del Granate’, I think. Though she looks like a child, she’s anything but; she’s turning twenty-eight this year.”
“Twenty-eight?!” even Mordred couldn’t hold in his surprise as his voice spiked. “She’s a decade older than me? How? She looks like an eleven-year-old kid; did she drink some elixir of immortality or something? Or wait, maybe she’s a dwarf?”
Roland shrugged as he took more deep gulps from his jug. “Nah, that girl is from the ‘Granate’ family- a human family. I don’t know what happened to her, but maybe it was from one of her experiments or something?”
“The Granate family?” he naturally asked.
“They’re… the, um… Granate Duchy, the second most powerful family in this country, right after the Royal Family that is. Well, if we’re talking about power and influence, I suspect they may actually be stronger than the Royals. Y’see, most of their members hold very high military posts. You’ve got ya, generals, colonels and the bunch. Though that girl, Del Granate, was the odd one out and became an alchemist. At least, since she’s managed to become the head of the RAC, the dukedom doesn’t say anything and keeps her.” Roland explained before he shook his head. “Argh, enough about that, kid. How about you? How was Cecilia?”
“The mission was an overall success, although there was a bit of hiccup on the way.”
“Figures. Haa… what happened?”
“The Labyrinth was overtaken by a strange shadow creature and became rather distorted. We faced off against Black Dire Wolves on the first floor. The second floor had undetectable traps and the third floor didn’t even have monsters. When we got to the boss room, it was instantly defeated by the shadow monster. We tried to fight it but it was looking hopeless… well, until Cecilia went ‘berserk’.”
Roland shook his head. “So, you saw it then. Her ‘powers’.”
“I did. It wasn’t as scary as you made it out to be, or perhaps that was merely because of the controlled situation of it. Even with Cecilia in that state, the fight dragged on for a bit; the shadow monster was just that strong. Eventually, Cecilia won out but was knocked unconscious after that. I managed to find the flower and carry her back to the city.”
“That’s… well, if everything worked out then that’s fine.” Roland glanced around, “Where is that girl? You didn’t ditch her at some forest or anything, did you? Because if you did, you’re in for a bad time.”
Mordred shook his head, “I wouldn’t do such a thing. She said she was going to report what happened to a group known as the ‘Royal Knight Commission’? Actually, I’ve been meaning to ask about that as well. What exactly are the Royal Alchemist and Knight Commissions?”
“Ah, that? Well, in this country- like all countries- there are various factions all vying for power. The two most prominent organizations are the ‘Royal Knight Commission’ and the ‘Royal Alchemist Commission’. There’s also the regular Royal Armed Forces that comes in at third place, but they’re much less power hungry. Those two factions, or more specifically, the two heads of those organizations, ‘Vincent Granate’ and ‘Del Granate’, are the ones who are completing for power.”
Mordred tried to interject but Roland already had a clue as to what he wanted to ask.
“Yeah, that ‘Del Granate’, she looks all innocent and everything with that childish body, but don’t be mistaken. She’s just as power hungry as the rest of them.” Roland continued, “You see, there is a position close to the king known as the ‘Royal Guards’. In terms of military ranking, they’re the highest level an organization can achieve. Officially, only the King and the Royal Family has the power to move them.”
“So then, both factions are trying to gain that position? What about the current Royal Guards?”
“They’ve been stretched a little thin as of late, because of the war and all. The First Princess took a large chunk of them to the frontlines. Ever since then, they’ve all gone missing. Either AWOL or KIA. Probably the latter.”
“I see,” Mordred nodded. “Then a new Royal Guard faction must be established and you’re saying the two Royal Commissions are vying for that position.”
“Something like that,” Roland said as he took the last gulp of his drink before the jug became empty. He stared down at it with sadness as he tried to order more. “Not that any of this matters.”
“What do you mean?”
“Even if they gain favour with the Crown, the one who truly holds most of the power in this country is the Church. It’s been that way for a while and there’s not going to be anything to change that either.”
As the mood became a little heavy, the doors to the tavern suddenly burst open in a familiar fashion. The ironing board figured elf charged up to Roland with a displeased frown. “Just how much did you have?” There was no need to answer as Cecilia glanced over to see the dozen empty jugs littered over the table. “Are you serious, old man?”
To stop their bickering, Mordred passed on the sack of coins he had received from Del. “Here, this is your portion of the rewards.”
“Huh? Wait, this is like everything,” Cecilia’s eyes furrowed.
“You can take it, I have no need for it. Think of it as my tuition fee for taking care of me.”
“What? No, are you stupid?” Cecilia took out half the coins and plunged it down the side of Mordred’s pockets. “I’m not going to owe anything to anyone. You better take your half! Anyways, we aren’t strangers anymore so don’t go ignoring me when you see me next time, got it?”
“I understand. Then I should be returning to the inn. It has been a rather long day and I wish to rest for the time being. Thank you, for teaching me. I do hope we can see each other again,” Mordred waved back to both Roland and Cecilia as he left the tavern.