Chapter 33: The Kingdom’s Precocious Child and the Empire’s Foolish Emperor
“Ah… Your Majesty. I am here to report to you.”
I heard an awkward voice from outside the window.
“… Didn’t you leave three days ago to show off?”
Or was there a situation that occurred in just three days that forced him to report to me?
“I have something… that I need to report to you straight away. Can I make my report now?”
I was speechless. Has some nation been destroyed?
“I was just practicing swordsmanship with Timona. You may come in.”
Timona practiced with me whenever Count Palatine Vedett was busy these days. By the way, I have never won against him. I also can’t picture myself winning against Count Palatine Vedett. I wonder if I just don’t have talent with the sword.
I turned around when Timona called me, and a silver cup was offered to me.
… The cup wasn’t just coated in silver; it was made of silver. Even in this world, silver is said to ‘change colour when it encounters poison’. In my case, I didn’t need it since I’m always using magic that I had developed for warding off poisons.
Well, there was no such thing as non-silverware in the palace.
I was thirsty after working out, so I took a sip from the cup. It was barley tea today.
Yes, in this world… or rather in this nation, barley tea and green tea are common drinks.
The upper-class drink herbal tea or black tea, but even aristocrats drink barley tea and green tea as if they were drinking water. It was surreal to see Western-looking people gulping down green tea, but I’ve gotten used to it.
I guess I shouldn’t judge the people here by the common practices of my previous life. On the other hand, I haven’t seen any olives, which were produced in Europe in my previous life, in this world. Maybe olives themselves don’t exist in this world.
“Now, let’s hear your report.”
Timona, who had offered me the cup of barley tea, was standing next to me. Did he want to listen to the report as well?
“Actually… I was told that Princess Rosalia will be moving to the palace soon. This was a sudden decision; I am sorry for reporting it so late.”
… Move to the palace?
“Of course, the Empire’s palace.”
“What do you mean move?”
“It seems she will be living here as your fiancée.”
“… For how long?”
“Well forever? Since she is your fiancée.”
Eh…. I don’t understand anything. What am I supposed to do?
Rosalia really showed up three days later.
“Long time no see, Your Majesty.”
She smiled a smile that reminded me of a flower in full bloom. You’ve become beautiful in the time I haven’t seen you. Is this what you call a growth spurt?
“Hmm. It’s been a while. I’m glad to see that you’re in good health.”
The Chancellor asked Rosalia, whose happy tone did not fit the occasion, with a fake smile on his face, “I heard that you will be living here today, Your Highness, is that true?”
Yes, I’m sitting on a throne in the audience room right now.
This was a typical audience room with the monarch sitting on a golden and shiny throne as he looked down on the audience from a high place. By the way, I heard that this chair can be remade as many times as I need while I grow. Hmm, wasteful.
From what I can see, the Chancellor aristocrats are on my left while the Regent aristocrats are on my right. This is the first time I’ve seen them all together. There’s so many of them.
The atmosphere was the same as a ‘stress interview’.
Though the only people present here are the upper-class aristocrats who happen to be staying in the capital. The Chancellor and old hag are present, but the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies and the Great Leader are absent.
“Yes. I believe that it’s never too early to learn about the Empire’s customs and lifestyle.”
Rosalia answered the Chancellor’s question. I’ve always believed she was excellent, but she’s quite gutsy.
After all, the Belbe Kingdom, which has existed since the time of the Lothar Empire, has much stricter and more complex customs compared to the Bungdalto Empire where those customs have been simplified.
In other words, what she had just said was just a front. It was the same as saying ‘my real purpose for staying here lies elsewhere’.
Sure enough, the aristocrats’ expressions changed. The reason why so many aristocrats are gathered here today was to find out the ‘purpose’ of the Belbe Kingdom through Rosalia. Every time Rosalia has visited, she has played the role of a ‘diplomat’, but they were only told that she would be ‘living in the palace’ this time. The Belbe Kingdom’s intentions and objectives are unclear.
It was only natural for the aristocrats, who are sensitive to the balance of power between the factions, to gather. The aura in the room was horrible though.
What I’m trying to say is that the scene happening in front of me is completely ‘diplomatic’. On one side is an 11-year-old girl, and the other, evil aristocrats. It was an unfair matchup, but this was what diplomacy is all about.
And the Emperor sits on the side and observes.
Hmm, uncool. But it’s impossible for me to help her since I’m a puppet.
“Oh my, that is a noble mindset. So, what did King Belbe have to say about this?”
The Regent to my right asked Rosalia. You’re as insufferable as ever, getting down to business out of the blue. Well, but I also want this audience to be over as soon as possible. The old hag’s perfume is making my nose itchy.
By the way, the Regent’s remark just now is allowed because this is the Empire. The fact that she called him ‘King Belbe’ without any honorifics when she should have said ‘His Majesty the King’ was nothing but a statement saying that ‘the Empire is better’.
… As I thought, the old hag really just said that while thinking the Empire is superior.
Now, how will Rosalia respond? Her answer would be considered the answer of the Belbe Kingdom. A poor answer would lead to diplomatic problems.
Suppose that Rosalia supported one of the factions, then that faction would actually be at a disadvantage, since meddling in this factional dispute would be nothing more than interfering in the internal affairs of another nation. Aristocrats hated ‘other nations interfering with their affairs’. Many aristocrats would ‘go to the unsupported side’… They have the habit of doing things themselves.
By the way, unofficial support or interfering without saying anything is something that every nation does daily, since they can get away with it by feigning innocence. It may make them look bad, but it’s hard to make an issue out of it. Even if she had no intention of interfering but gave a response that could be interpreted as such, then it would be considered as ‘interfering with the internal affairs of another nation’.
That said, it would be horrible if she tried to convince them she is ‘neutral’.
Neutrality has two meanings. One is a ‘fence-sitter’ who follows the ‘winner’ when the scales tip. The other type of neutrality is a ‘third force’. If Rosalia were to say she is neutral, then they will interpret that as her being the latter.
The Belbe Kingdom is a small nation compared to the Empire, but it is a nation. It isn’t uncommon for the mother nation of the spouse to weaken the nation they married into and take it in as a vassal state. In this case, there is a huge power gap between the Empire and the Belbe Kingdom, so the Empire will never be ruled by the Belbe Kingdom, but it’s possible for the Emperor to be at the mercy of the Belbe Kingdom.
After all, the aristocrats haven’t given me a proper education so that I will do their bidding… I believe they’re getting their just deserts.
Well anyway, a simple declaration of ‘neutrality’ will be taken as ‘intervening as a third force’. It isn’t about how she answers, but how it is interpreted. Similarly, she can’t answer ‘vaguely’.
Rosalia remained calm under the gaze of almost everyone present.
“His Majesty has stated that he doesn’t have any energy to intervene in the affairs of another nation.”
Hmm, well I suppose that’s true. The Belbe Kingdom, whose only bordering neighbour is its sworn enemy, doesn’t have the capacity to intervene in the political disputes of another nation.
But that answer isn’t enough. Neutral people are those who ‘may turn into an enemy at any moment’. Those who are always fighting with other factions think like this, “If they may turn against us one day then let’s kill them now.”
Then Rosalia smiled and spoke again.
“If you can solve my nation’s problem, then I’m sure His Majesty will give you his full support.”
… I see. Their problem is probably Tomis-Ashinaqui. They will ‘side with the one who destroys Tomis-Ashinaqui’.
That’s a good move. I almost exclaimed in admiration.
The ‘neutrality’ from earlier meant that the Belbe Kingdom had the right to decide which faction they would choose to side with. That’s why the other aristocrats ‘don’t know when they will turn against them’. But now, Rosalia had declared the conditions for her nation to become their ally. If they want the Belbe Kingdom to support them, then they must destroy Tomis-Ashinaqui, otherwise, they should just leave things be.
This decision was left to the Chancellor and Regent factions.
As a result, Rosalia became someone ‘who can always be an ally if they want her to be’. At present, if one were to weigh the advantages of having the Belbe Kingdom as their ally against the disadvantages of ‘going to war’, then the disadvantage is greater, but that will not necessarily be the case in the future. For both factions, this would be a card they can hold in their hand if the situation changes.
In addition, they needed to destroy the Theanabe Union to destroy Tomis-Ashinaqui. It would take time to do that even if one of the factions wanted to make the Belbe Kingdom into an ally. If so, I can just destroy them then.
It is the Belbe Kingdom’s long wish to retake the entirety of their former territory. It’s understandable that they were willing to give full support to the faction that can do this.
This girl is too talented. King Belbe must be a brilliant man… to raise such a princess.
The Chancellor spoke again.
“You said that it is never too early… but unfortunately, I disagree with you.”
It seems that the Chancellor and the other aristocrats have convinced themselves that the Belbe Kingdom is neutral, but they suspected that Rosalia came here because the Belbe Kingdom has an agenda, and that was why the King’s view was questioned.
The previous answer could be a reason for why Rosalia has come to the capital, but it is not a reason for her to live in the palace. It was the best answer, but if she had come here to deliver a message, then she should have returned home afterwards.
Honestly, I was also curious about why she suddenly decided to live in the palace.
“We don’t have the energy to intervene, nor do we have time to settle for second best. I will stay here, but I will return home at once when the time comes.”
… Hmmm. So, you don’t want a ‘huge reward’ from either faction in advance, but you want to be the first to join hands with the winner after the factional strife has been settled…
If the factional strife between the Chancellor and Regent faction is settled, then it would be here in the capital. This is why she wants to live in the capital. Well, that makes more sense.
Well, I think that’s enough.
“Chancellor, isn’t this enough?”
Rosalia certainly looked like she could still deal with them, but she is only 11 years old. I should end this now before she gets too tired.
“I think it’s time for me to return.”
The Chancellor looked at me in dismay. Can this Young Emperor not even sit on a throne? Was what he was probably thinking. He reluctantly gave his permission, so the audience came to an end.
“Good work, you may leave now!”
Rosalia withdrew after quietly bowing beautifully. Hmm, the Belbe Kingdom has stricter etiquette than the Empire.
Oh, the aristocrats were looking at me with eyes that said, ‘Compared to the Princess, the Emperor is…’ Hey, you guys were the ones who raised me this way. Will you realise your own crimes? I won’t forgive you though.