Magi Craft Meister 507

15 Showdown With The Demons Arc

15-20 Catherine De Lafayette

 

 

“L-Lady Catherine!”

 

All six soldiers saluted immediately. It seemed that this old lady was someone very important.

 

“Someone has attacked my carriage, causing my coachman to fall and my horse to begin a rampage out of fear. That someone is what you need to be looking for!”

 

“Yes Ma’am!”

 

The captain gave instructions to his subordinates, saluted the woman who seemed to be called “Catherine”, and had three of his men go in the direction where the carriage had come from.

 

The remaining two soldiers looked at the still fainted horse.

 

“Lady Catherine, what would you have us do?”

 

“Should we prepare another horse to replace this one? Or should we send notice to your manor?”

 

But her answer took the soldiers by surprise.

 

“Oh, no need for that. I’ll walk the rest of the way. Please bring my carriage to the manor once the horse has regained consciousness.”

 

“Huh? …Yes, Ma’am.”

 

After throwing a sidelong glance at the soldiers, Catherine turned towards Jin and bowed in gratitude.

 

“Thank you very much. I see you hail from the Shouro Empire? My name is Catherine De Lafayette. I’m a former duchess in these lands.”

 

“My name is Jin Nidou. I’m a knight from the Shouro Empire.”

 

“I’m his sister, Elsa.”

 

Then, Jin introduced Reiko and Edgar as their Automata, and Shion and Lucas as their friends.

 

“My, my, what wonderful Automata you have there. I’d expected as much from someone from the Shouro Empire. …Have you come to this country as a tourist?”

 

“Yes, that’s right.”

 

“I see. Where are you staying?”

 

Jin recalled the name of the hotel.

 

“Um, ‘Hotel Lunor’.”

 

“Oh, what a nice choice. You have quite the expert eye. I’d like to repay you for helping me. If that’s okay with you, would you like to join me for dinner tonight?”

 

After a brief moment of hesitation, Jin decided to accept her invitation.

 

“Of course. Thank you very much.”

 

“Then I’ll send a carriage to pick you up at the hotel at 5 PM. Please bring your friends. I’ll be waiting.”

 

After that, the former duchess Catherine smiled and asked the soldiers to accompany her on her way back to her manor.

 

One of them would walk with her while the other one stayed behind to take care of the carriage.

 

“Elsa, can you heal the horse?”

 

“…I can try. ‘Heilung’.”

 

The spell “Heilung” basically worked by maximizing its target’s own healing ability. As a result, it would be effective on horses as well.

 

The horse opened its eyes wide and got back up as if nothing had happened.

 

“My, my, impressive! Miss Elsa, thank you very much!”

 

Catherine thanked her while the soldiers stood there in complete awe.

 

“I’ll be seeing you all later then.”

 

As they had started to draw in more and more attention from curious onlookers, Jin and his friends decided to leave.

 

“Brother Jin, do you think that person…?”

 

“Yeah. She seems to be quite influential, so I thought maybe we can get some good information from her.”

 

“I see, that’s very smart of you, Jin!”

 

“…”

 

After having such conversations, Jin and the others resumed their mission to gather information.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

By 3 PM, Jin and the others had returned to “Hotel Lunor”.

 

It was a little bit too early, but Jin had determined that it was very unlikely that they would get any significant piece of information by asking around for the time being.

 

“I mean, it’s probably going to be better to see what the former duchess can tell us anyway.”

 

“I agree. She seemed to be a decent person.”

 

The party washed away their sweat from having walked around town, and changed their clothes to refresh themselves.

 

The Covert Units that had been left in the room confirmed that their luggage had not been inspected nor tampered with.

 

“Listen, Shion, please leave the talking to me and Elsa. You guys don’t know the customs of this place.”

 

“Got it, Jin. I’ll be playing the ladylike role again. Lucas, you can’t say a word unless I say it’s okay.”

 

“Y-Young lady…”

 

“I know how much you care about me, but others may not be so understanding. I realized this after our first negotiations with Jin. I need you to be quiet. Okay?”

 

“Y-Yes…”

 

Shion seemed to have thought hard about that as well. Jin was relieved to hear that.

 

“Okay then, Elsa, do you think you can give us a short lesson on Shouro Empire etiquette before the carriage comes to pick us up?”

 

“Yeah, sure.”

 

Thus Elsa gave them a lesson in manners and etiquette for the next hour or so.

 

 

*   *   *

 

 

About a minute after the clock had hit 5 o’clock, two carriages arrived in front of the hotel.

 

Both of them were pulled by a single horse each. It seemed that only small carriages could be used in this town.

 

After some consideration, Jin, Elsa, and Edgar got in one of the carriages, while Shion, Lucas, and Reiko got in the other one.

 

The carriages ran leisurely along the cobblestone streets as they headed to the northwest side of the town. The Lafayette Estate seemed to be located in that direction.

 

“What an interesting town. There’s a mix of old and new buildings everywhere.”

 

“That’s probably a result of the war.”

 

Jin and Elsa make various guesses about the cityscape seen from the window.

 

Meanwhile, Lucas began to talk to Reiko…

 

“T-Tell me, Reiko, is Lord Jin a good master to you?”

 

“I was made by my Father, and exist for him. I don’t see him as good or bad. Please refrain from speaking about my Father as if he was like you.”

 

He had been completely cut down in a single stroke. Though she was there to monitor Shion and Lucas, Reiko was in a bad mood after having been temporarily separated from Jin.

 

 

About 15 minutes later, they arrived at the duchess’ manor.

 

“Welcome.”

 

The gate was wide open, and after both carriages had stopped in front of the entrance and Jin and the others got off, they were greeted by a large number of servants.

 

“I’m glad to see you’ve come.”

 

Catherine was waiting for them at the entrance hall.

 

“Well, then, come on in. And you, take good care of our guests.”

 

Jin, Elsa, Shion, and Lucas were each escorted by one of Catherine’s maids into the main hall.

 

“Whoa…”

 

The hall was so gorgeously decorated that Jin couldn’t help but express his amazement.

 

The floor was covered with a fluffy red carpet. A close look at it revealed that it had a pattern woven into a slight relief.

 

The walls were decorated with colorful tapestries and beautiful paintings in between.

 

The flag of the Frantz Kingdom was displayed on the front, and gold and silver suits of armor were placed on both sides of it.

 

The ceiling was adorned with colorful sculptures and chandeliers studded with Magi Lamps hanging down.

 

The table in the center of the room was made of jet-black wood and had fine carvings on the sides and legs.

 

 

Catherine sits at the edge of the table. Jin and his friends were also guided to their respective seats by the maids.

 

Jin and Shion sat to Catherine’s right, while Elsa and Lucas sat to her left. Reiko and Edgar stood behind Jin and Elsa, respectively.

 

“I’d like to once again welcome you to my manor, Chevalier Jin Nidou.”

 

“Chevalier” was the word used to refer to knights in the Frantz Kingdom. The word “Knight” was used in the Egelia Kingdom, while in the Shouro Empire, the word used was instead “Ritter”.

 

“Allow me to reintroduce myself. My name is Catherine de Lafayette. I was once the wife of the late duke. Now I’m just a widow, so I hope you can treat me as you would normally treat any other widow regardless of my past title.”

 

Despite her words, there were things about aristocratic society that could not be changed.

 

To have someone of upper standing show generosity to someone of lower standing was nothing short of a virtue. And those below should always be courteous about it and not behave like a spoiled child.

 

Thanks to Elsa’s crash course on Shouro Empire etiquette, Jin was able to correctly respond to Catherine’s words.

 

“Thank you very much for having us today. To see that you have gone to such lengths to prepare all of this just for us… I feel greatly honored.”

 

Jin bows his head after saying what Elsa taught him. Upon seeing that, Catherine smiled.

 

“Oh, I’m the one who should be thanking you. Not only did you manage to stop the runaway carriage, but you even treated my wounds… But before we get into that, let’s enjoy our supper.”

 

Catherine clapped her hands, and a maid who had been standing there stepped forward and poured wine into their crystal glasses.

 

“Here’s a toast to our fateful encounter. Cheers.”

 

Following Catherine’s lead, Jin and the others also raised their glasses.

 

“Cheers!”

 

The wine was a little sweet and very palatable. It was a good choice for an aperitif.

 

“Well then, please have your fill.”

 

The entrance was a deliciously rich chilled stew, followed by several fish-based dishes that were especially valuable in the Frantz Kingdom, as it was far from any sea.

 

All of them were well seasoned, and everyone ate until they were satisfied.

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