Chapter 35: That’s Right, Let’s Leave the Capital
After Rosalia and Salomon returned to their room, I was waiting for Count Palatine Vedett with a cup of tea made by TImona. The spies had worked hard behind the scenes so that this secret meeting could take place. Count Palatine Vedett oversaw all the spies since he was their Chief.
He came from above the ceiling as usual just as I was finishing my second cup of tea.
“Thanks for your hard work. I’ve made you work extra, sit down.”
I signalled Timona with my eyes and he began brewing tea for Count Palatine Vedett. Timona’s skill in making tea is, frankly speaking, superior to that of a maid. According to him, ‘this is a part of his duty’. But I don’t remember Helck ever making me tea.
Count Palatine Vedett sat across from me and spoke.
“This isn’t much for a spy.”
The spies in the ceiling twitched at those words. Apparently, that wasn’t true.
“Now don’t say that. Pass on my thanks to the other spies too.”
“If that is what you wish, Your Majesty.”
… Is this the carrot and stick… A way to manipulate impressions? No, there’s nothing better than having the spies like me a little… but this guy never misses anything.
“Just to confirm… Do you want to hear the details of the meeting?”
“No, I don’t need to hear about it.”
The secret meeting was set up by Count Palatine, so I thought he would have wanted to know what it was about… but I was wrong.
Well, now that my true nature has been exposed, he would have immediately got rid of them if he thought they would ‘pose a problem’. Count Palatine’s top priority is not my will, but my bloodline.
“What do you think?”
“It won’t be a problem for now.”
I sighed at his words.
“I thought the same.”
Rosalia’s explanation and the way she secured her role in the capital were brilliant, but they were lies.
She was evaluating the aristocrats who nested in the capital too rationally.
After all, they are those who labelled opposing aristocrats as ‘rebels’ and got rid of them for their own benefit. They are a mass of paranoia and power-hungry people, and they will soon become suspicious and uneasy about Rosalia and will move to eliminate her. Unfortunately, the fundamental principle that drives humans is emotions.
The only thing that can control them is continuous benefit. If you don’t give them ‘benefits’ all the time, they will move to eliminate you while lightly thinking ‘You might get in the way’.
In fact, they are wary of Count Palatine, who is often summoned by me, because he is from the neutral faction, even though he had declared that he would ‘side with the one who crowns the emperor’. Therefore, Count Palatine has been leaking information about me to both factions, though they are only information that can be leaked without any problems.
Rosalia and Salomon are in danger, but they ran away from the Belbe Kingdom, so they have almost no ‘continuous benefit’ to offer the aristocrats. What can I do…?
“… Shall I leave the capital…?”
“I see, to travel?”
Oh, as expected of the Chief of the Ministry of Intelligence, he’s quick. Honeymoons didn’t exist here, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before. Fortunately, Rosalia and Salomon will accept this because we have a collaborative relationship.
“Yeah. I’m too ignorant of what my nation is like. The information that is provided to me about the nation is also limited… So, I’ve always wanted to tour the nation, and I’ll only be going around with my fiancée.”
I don’t have much knowledge about this world. I don’t know how the commoners live or how the aristocrats live. I can’t stay ignorant when I gain real power.
I have to start by knowing about domestic politics, international politics and military affairs. The fate of this nation depends on it. I won’t be able to stand it if I make a mistake by thinking about things based on the knowledge I have from my previous life.
In a sense, the timing was convenient, because I can keep Rosalia away from the dangerous palace, and she will be able to see me as ‘a child who is having fun with the person he likes’.
“Do you oppose?”
“No. I don’t oppose to the idea itself.”
So, it depends on how I go about it. Well, I thought so. There are several problems with this.
“There are three problems with this. The first is ‘whether the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies’ would agree to it. The second is whether I will be seen as ‘doing Rosalia’s bidding’, and the third is whether it will be seen as ‘an act that will benefit the neutral faction’… right?”
My objective this time is to ‘tour around the nation’. I have to drop everything else, otherwise it would be dangerous.
“First, I will let the Chancellor and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies decide where I go except for the ‘first’ place I visit. This solves the first and second problems.”
By letting them decide my destination, they can move me around as they wish. They can show me what they want me to see and not show me what they don’t want me to see.
To gain something, you have to give up something. In this case, I must let myself be used to some extent.
Well, I’m not saying that I will move exactly like they want.
“And the solution to the third problem… will have you stay in the capital, Count Palatine.”
Count Palatine pondered for a while after saying this.
… What is this? Why does it feel like I’m asking my parents if I can stay at a friend’s house for the first time? Don’t make me nervous.
“Your guard won’t be a problem, since I can use the spies stationed all over the nation. I will stay in the capital for as long as possible.”
Good. He seems to have given me his permission.
“Ah, please do. And the ‘first’ place that I mentioned earlier… If those two are deciding where I go then there will both disagree on where I should go first, right?”
Both of them would probably want me to go to their place and not the other’s, and they can never know how long the interest of the Emperor, a child, will last. I might immediately say, “I’m sick of this,” and leave.
“Yes, they definitely will.”
“We shall say that you decided on where I should visit first, and that it’s a place I’ve been interested in for a long time.”
It wouldn’t be odd for me to visit the place first if he says that I’ve been interested in it for a long time.
“I see, you want to go to Theanabe’s border…? I guess they will ask you to visit Lord Raul’s fief after that.”
It is where the mercenaries invaded after all. He will probably try to gloss it over, but it might be possible to expose his weakness, so the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, who wants to draw out the Chancellor’s weaknesses, will agree. As for Lord Raul, his fief will be the second place that the Emperor will visit. Not bad.
“I’ll leave that to you. Can you arrange this?”
“Please leave it to me… Also, you need to be considerate towards the Regent, so you have to return to the capital from time to time.”
Ah, right. That person will be annoying if I leave her for too long.
“Alright. I will return regularly and stay in the capital during winter. I will probably be travelling for a few years…”
“That is fine. I will send Fabio if I have something to report to you.”
Now I just have to call those two…
The Emperor’s selfishness has started again, someone muttered.
“You’ve come all the way to my nation, so I’m sure you’d like to see more of my Empire, no?”
The Emperor, oblivious to Princess Rosalia’s slightly troubled expression, ordered the two Archdukes.
“I’m going to travel around the Empire with Rosalia. You may decide where I go. You are to entertain us so that Rosalia and I can enjoy ourselves.”
Thus began a series of journeys that would later be known as ‘The Selfish Emperor’s Tour’.
And with the end of that journey began a turbulent era.