Chapter 25: Thorny Lady Nadine
“I’m going to knock that twisted attitude of yours back to normal! You can thank Father for sending me!!”
Nadine is the daughter of Lord Warung, Richter du van Warung, who holds the largest fief among the remaining neutral nobles. She had a father-complex and everyone knew this.
This was the first thing she had said to me when she came to me and saw my face, and she had even said this in front of the nobles from the Chancellor and Regent factions.
How can Lord Warung send her here?
Lord Warung had a fief on the southern border and had little to do with the court. He is from a ‘military’ family, and although his fief is about one-fifth of Lord Raul’s, his military power was said to be ‘comparable to Lord Raul’s army’.
This was an aristocrat who I would like to have as an ally when I gain real power.
Nadine, the daughter of such an aristocrat, is a year younger than me, but she has been flaring up at me like this every time we meet ever since I first met her. She is prideful, foul-mouthed and fearless. I heard that she was known as the ‘Thorny Lady’.
Honestly, I have a hard time dealing with her.
I don’t particularly mind being looked down upon or cussed… I even think that it might be interesting to tease her.
The problem was that it was unnatural for the Puppet Emperor not to be angry, since I’ve been throwing tantrums over various matters until now.
But if I pretend to throw a tantrum then Lord Warung’s position will become extremely bad.
Both the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies are wary of Lord Warung, who is renowned for his military prowess, so they stripped Lord Warung of his marshal title even though he wasn’t present when Prince Jean was killed on the battlefield.
If I were to throw a tantrum because of this then they would be happy to use that as an excuse to strike Lord Warung, but it would be too unnatural for me not to throw a tantrum.
Seriously, why did he send his daughter here in the first place… I believe Lord Warung is a terrible politician.
Timona noticed that I was troubled and whispered in my ears so the other aristocrats couldn’t hear what he had to say.
“Your Majesty. She is younger than you, Your Majesty. She’s young, so her attitude is normal.”
Ah, I see, let’s go with that.
But of course, Nadine heard him and interrupted.
“It’s only a year difference!!”
Shut up, I’ll play with you as much as you want later, so be quiet for now.
“I see. Hmm, I should forgive her then because she’s younger than me. You’re lucky I’m an adult.”
Nadine’s face turned red. The aristocrats looked at me and seemed like they wanted to say, “How are you an adult?”
Well, I’m actually a former adult on the inside. People theorised that your mental age was adjusted by your physical age, making you act younger.
Timona narrowed his bloodthirsty eyes at Nadine, who was about to say something again.
Nadine finally noticed the unsettling aura and closed her mouth. I’m sure she can sense killing intention since she’s the daughter of a former marshal. I would have loved it if she could read the mood from the beginning.
And Timona, your bloodthirst also affects me, so I’d like it if you stop.
Nadine has been staying in the palace since then.
She had a strange sense of duty for some reason.
For example, she stood in front of my room to make me go to lectures whenever I tried to skip, and she would bring a wooden sword to my room and say, “Come at me!” to try and make me practice my swordsmanship.
I felt that she was trying to make me into a decent emperor, but it really none of her business how I am.
You should flatter children if you want them to learn. Why can she only act arrogantly?
See, this is how she forces me to read. Well, I should read it since it was a textbook that was used for primary education. Ordinary children learn by reading this.
She was right, but the way she said it was poor.
She couldn’t talk to the Emperor that way. Even the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, who both only see me as a puppet, and the Regent are careful about what they say to me. I can’t just read the book just because she told me since the spy maids are here.
I think she’s a good kid.
“What? You think I haven’t read that?”
“Eh… I see, have you read it before…? Hmm, I’m sorry.”
Yeh, yeah, I think it’s good that you can apologise when you think you’re wrong, now if you can only fix the way you talk.
But aren’t you being too meek?
“Umm, well I haven’t read it yet though.”
Nadine looked dumbfounded, then she raised her voice when she realised that she had been ridiculed.
“You’re making fun of me again!”
She’s so funny.
I looked at Timona who was standing next to me, hinting, but Timona narrowed his eyes and glared at Nadine.
… Shouldn’t you rebuke me for teasing someone younger than me? This isn’t very exciting. Too bad.
By the way, when I told her to go home, she yelled at me, “You don’t have the right to order me around!” But the Empire is paying for your stay? Can you not be dead weight since the treasury is empty?
… Well, children wouldn’t understand this though.
Swordsmanship and self-defence training was held at night. This was usually over by the time the sky brightens. There are clocks in this world, but perhaps because they weren’t widely spread, the basic way of life was to ‘wake up when it gets light’.
Ah, but I wake up much later than that. It’s just that people start moving around at that time, so I try to finish my training and not make any noise.
I think I’ve become more of a night owl than I used to be.
Today, my training ended at the usual time and Count Palatine Vedett left. I was thinking about practicing my magic until it was time to get up when Timona, my aide, approached me.
“Would you like to take a bath after you get up?”
Timona’s job didn’t consist of being a night guard or being a poisoner taster, he also did the job of a steward. His role was to give instructions to the maids. Honestly, I believe he’s been working too much, and I’ve been telling him to take regular breaks, but he says he’s working ‘without pushing himself’.
… I could only pray that he doesn’t suddenly explode with all the pent-up frustration.
The steward Helck didn’t seem unhappy that his job had been stolen away. He was still ‘acting as an intermediary’ for the aristocrats. Although some aristocrats from the Regent Faction such as the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies have begun using Timona as an intermediary, most of the bribes go to Helck.
He wasn’t the type to take pride in his work as a steward… How can someone like that be the steward of the emperor?
Incidentally, the Emperor can take a bath whenever the maids are awake.
“Ah, and Your Majesty…”
Timona, who usually didn’t speak except for when he needed to, spoke up.
“What is it?”
“Lady Warung’s maid has been communicating with the outside world.”
Although Nadine was staying in the palace without permission, she is still the daughter of an aristocrat. She can’t get ready by herself. Having said that, it was a nuisance for the palace maids to take care of another lady, so she brought a few maids with her to the palace.
… Or rather, those maids were the main reason why she was staying in the palace. Was Nadine only using fixing my attitude as an excuse to place her maids in the palace so that they can distribute information about the palace to the outside world?
First of all, Nadine wasn’t someone who could act like me, since I’m a good actor. I’m pretty confident that she can’t act.
Then again, I doubt that Lord Warung is the kind of man who would trick his own daughter. I’ve met him and talked to him a few times, and he’s a decent father who loves his daughter.
It’s possible that Lord Warung has secured the safety of his family by actively distancing himself from the palace.
It was said that they made Lord Warung responsible for my father’s death and stripped him of his marshal title, but if he were really responsible for my father’s death, then the matter wouldn’t have been settled with just having his title stripped. Of course, it’s possible that the Chancellor and the others were wary of Lord Warung’s military might, so they compromised with that level of punishment.
However, Lord Warung is believed to have caused the Crown Prince’s death because he was stripped of his marshal title. It wouldn’t be surprising if there were protests and revolts if his family placed importance on honour, and if Lord Warung were to lead this then he might have succeeded.
Would that Chancellor really take such a risky move? Lord Warung was neutral right now, but he could be influenced by other factions.
But the fact is that Lord Warung was no longer a marshal. So that means that… he voluntarily gave up his title.
The political situation in the palace was undoubtedly unstable at that time. Lord Warung, who knew that he wasn’t a good politician, distanced himself from all this.
Why would such a Duke risk his life to get involved in politics now? This was too strange.
So, it was safe to assume that Lord Warung and Nadine are in agreement. So, he was grieving over my current situation and was risking his life to return to the palace to make me a decent Emperor.
But if that was really the only reason, then Lord Warung can just come to me directly. He can just send his vassals or subordinate aristocrats if he’s worried about the other factions.
At the very least, that wasn’t a reason for him to send his daughter here… especially if she knows the rumours about me. I mean, I’m someone who threw a tantrum, pointed at an aristocrat and told people to kill him.
So, there’s someone who’s twisting information?
It would be fine if the person twisting the information is Lord Warung’s subordinate or another Empire aristocrat, since it would only cause internal strife, but if that was spread by another nation…
Oh yeah, this is the palace. Why didn’t I realise?
I only pay attention to the Chancellor and Regent factions because they’re always fighting.
… Isn’t a stormy palace a perfect hunting ground for other nations?
Ah, I see. Count Palatine’s men are in the attic as a countermeasure for foreign spies.
… Which means some force is trying to gain information through Nadine’s maids in order to escape Count Palatine’s counterintelligence network.
“Timona. It’s possible that an outside force is intervening. Can you tell Count Palatine to carefully look into this? As soon as possible.”
“… As you wish.”
The question is what nation is behind this…? I’ll have to wait for a full report.