Chapter 34: Fishing, or the Great Detective’s Deduction
“Let me show you around the palace!”
“Thank you very much, Your Majesty.”
The Emperor visited Princess Rosalia, who was waiting in another room, after the audience and left with his fiancé in tow. It was Princess Rosalia’s third time visiting the palace, so she didn’t actually need a guide, but the Emperor didn’t realise this as he showed her around proudly. In comparison, Princess Rosalia responded calmly without showing a hint of boredom. This Emperor must be an imbecile…
――― Or so I hope they would conclude.
I’m not sure if I was a little nervous because there are more aristocrats than usual or if I was uneasy since I was being too deliberate.
I’m relieved I can finally catch my breath. Rosalia, Timona and someone who looked like an aristocrat’s attendant were here.
I couldn’t let my guard down, but I was certainly relaxed.
“You were great earlier.”
I didn’t really understand what was going on, I continued to play the foolish Emperor as usual.
“Thank you very much, but everything I said earlier was actually a lie.”
Rosalia said before smiling mischievously at me, “It’s a secret though.”
… Hah? A lie?
“Father was actually opposed to me living in the capital, so I snuck out. So, His Majesty hasn’t told me anything about his plans.”
No, no, no, no. Seriously? I made a weird sound just now, but she told everyone that ‘they’ll side with whoever takes care of Belbe Kingdom’s problems’… Wait. I see, so she didn’t implicitly mention Tomis Ashinaqui!
No, but that still doesn’t work. This will ultimately depend on how they ‘interpreted’ her words. Since the Empire is overwhelmingly superior to the Belbe Kigdom, such deception wouldn’t work. Even if it’s a lie, the Empire can force it to be the truth.
“All my statements were unofficial, so I can’t confirm whether it’s the truth or a lie. Besides, it doesn’t matter if the result is as I’ve stated.”
It was true that Rosalia is a Princess, but she isn’t a diplomat today. It was easy to forget that all the statements that were made at the meeting earlier were unofficial because there were so many aristocrats at the meeting. If one were to ask the Belbe Kingdom about the statements made at the meeting, their reply would obviously be ‘That isn’t true’. That was the nature of negotiations made behind closed doors.
But even if that wasn’t what the Belbe Kingdom said it was what Rosalia had said. She has to take responsibility for what she said. But if the Belbe Kingdom does exactly what Rosalia had said, then her statement will become ‘truth’ and no one would know it was a ‘lie’. It shouldn’t be a problem if that’s the case.
… Yes, except for me. I had heard this from Rosalia herself. No, she told me.
If I told the Chancellor or the Regent about this right now, they would treat it as the truth. The Emperor had said it after all. It would be nice if it were true, but even if it was fake, they could just blame me.
It would have been better if she hadn’t told me. Nevertheless, what was her intention for only revealing it to me? … So, is it like that?
“The Princess ran away from home. They can’t tell anyone about it because it would harm your reputation, and they can’t force you back. That’s why you’ll be living here for a long time…”
Well, in other words, she ‘eloped’. It would be a scandal if this were made public. I don’t know how King Belbe feels about this, but he can’t ‘order’ her to return. If he can figure out a reason that will outweigh her reason for staying in the capital, then he could order her to return… But again, the Empire must agree with that reason. Now it has come to this, the Empire, not Belbe Kingdom, has to agree since this is the Empire’s capital.
The only reason that would allow her to return would be the misfortune of a family member. Her ‘reason for staying’ also seems to be a lie.
And ‘she can’t easily return’ because of her situation. This wasn’t the same as rebelling and running away from home.
“… So, you convinced them with a lie that sounds like the truth and secured your role in the capital.”
And most importantly, MOST IMPORTANTLY… revealing the truth to me means that…
“Yes! And I’ve always wanted to talk to Your Majesty like this.”
She saw that I am a reasonable person and was ‘clearing the air’ so that she could have a proper conversation with me without any acting. By exposing my weakness, she was forcing me, who couldn’t just discard her, into being an accomplice!!
“… When did you figure me out?”
I felt like a fish that had gotten carried away and found itself jumping onboard!
“Of course, since we first met!”
… Scary. If the Chancellor knew about this my life would be over, but she’s just a little crazy, right?
Ah, Timona, who’s standing behind me, is about to break out in cold sweat. What a rare sight!
… I’m sure I must look like a Tibetan sand fox right now.
Afterwards, thanks to the fast intervention of Count Palatine Vedett, who appeared out of nowhere (he was really helpful), a late-night secret meeting was taking place in my room. It seems that all the spies will be there to support me. Yeah, I’m sorry…
“Once again… It has been a while, Your Majesty.”
Rosalia, who should be sleeping in her room, bowed.
Well, the person sleeping in her room was a female spy. Rosalia is only 11 years old. She was probably curling her body desperately in order to imitate how Rosalia would look… Good luck.
“Standing next to me is Salomon de Valverde. He is my uncle and the man behind my arrival at the capital.”
She introduced the aristocrat who had accompanied her earlier… He was in his thirties? He was young for an aristocrat. But I believe his name was… in Fabio’s report as the ‘King’s right hand’ man.
“It is nice to meet you, Your Majesty. I hope that you will just think of me as the Princess’s guard.”
Does he have his own reason for being here?
“Milord… I believe you lead the army?”
I was about to ask him why he was here when I was interrupted by some shocking words.
“It is no problem, Your Majesty. It doesn’t matter if a general or two disappear from the frontlines.”
… So, the military threat from Tomis Ashinaqui has been reduced?
“We have succeeded in concluding the triple alliance, a treaty that will never be publicised…”
The three alliances consist of three nations, and there are a total of seven nations to the north of the Empire in the ‘Heavenly West’. It was only natural that the Belbe Kingdom, the most western nation, was one of them, but their adversary, Tomis Ashinaqui, isn’t. To the east, Eri Kingdom, and the Theanabe Union was created to the south of that, between them was the Gayuhi Dukedom, a small nation. Ghafur Republic faced those three nations and further north was Hismaphe Kingdom, which also held territory in the ‘Heavenly East’. Those make up the seven nations.
The three alliances definitely consist of…
“With Eri Kingdom and Gayuhi Dukedom?”
“Yes. Eri Kingdom, who borders Tomis Ashinaqui, is invading them while Gayuhi Dukedom, which doesn’t border Tomis Ashinaqui, is reining in the Theanabe Union to prevent them from sending reinforcements. A part of the Eri Kingdom army has already entered Tomis Ashinaqui.”
So, the Belbe Kingdom can intervene in the Empire’s politics…? Then Rosalia’s position at the capital… I see, so that’s why it’s a secret alliance.
The situation in the north beyond Theanabe Union won’t reach the Chancellor or the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies. This isn’t because the two are not capable enough, but rather because the northern border, who had been monitoring the northern situation, had become independent as the Theanabe Union. In fact, even Count Palatine Vedett, who was aware that the Theanabe Union was going to go independent, had a hard time obtaining information in areas to the north of the Theanabe Union.
By the way, apparently Fabio and the others are excellent and are often sent in that direction.
At any rate…
“I’m surprised you managed to convince both nations for an alliance.”
The Eri Kingdom and Gayuhi Dukedom weren’t established only recently. Those two nations were watching as the Belbe Kingdom was invaded by Tomis Ashinaqui. They didn’t want the blunt of the invasion to be directed at them.
Now, they have changed their course.
“I would like to say that… our diplomats are excellent, but it seems that this engagement has had a great influence.”
Rosalia-san, can you not look a little embarrassed when he said ‘engagement’? So cute.
Oh no, I can’t have dirty thoughts. Hmmm? If the Emperor and Rosalia are to marry, Tomis Ashinaqui, which is located between these two nations and hostile towards the Belbe Kingdom, would definitely be in the way. Naturally, they expect that the Empire and the Belbe Kingdom will attack Tomis Ashinaqui together. In other words…
“They want to tear apart Tomis Ashinaqui and make it their own. Or they will demand a ‘share’ of the territory after it has been conquered by the Empire for engaging in war. Was that their demand for an alliance?”
“You are insightful. Another reason may be that the establishment of the Theanabe Union has created a connection between Tomis Ashinaqui, the Theanabe Union and Ghafur Republic.”
Ah, I see. If those three nations join forces, then the Eri Kingdom and the Gayuhi Dukedom will be half encircled since they face the sea. It was a ‘pre-emptive self-defence’ so to speak.
“I see. This is valuable information that we wouldn’t normally hear. So, what is your purpose, Lord Valverde?”
A General had come here. He must have a purpose.
“It is enough for me… if you make Rosalia your legal wife. I want nothing more than that and this is non-negotiable.”
“… Ah, alright. That was what I was planning on doing.”
… Shit. This person… He looks serious. There are only scary people in the Belbe Kingdom…
Well, that’s how I got more collaborators. They won’t betray me as long as my engagement is the core of the alliance. I don’t know what will happen if things change though.
Anyway, now I have to enjoy my new life with my fiancée, who seems to like me an awful lot… if I make a single mistake, my life will go downhill real fast. It was the opposite of a bad guy looking like a good guy just because he picked up a cat in the pouring rain.