Extra 03: Rosalia 02
Rosalia van Chalonge Cruveilheir was stunned by the size of the imperial capital.
They landed in the Aquicurl fief and then travelled for a week up the river by boat. When she finally arrived at the imperial capital, Cardinal, she found that it was so grand that it blew away all her fatigue. Rosalia was excited when she first saw the city walls spreading out in full view.
(If it’s like this, then our kingdom might be saved…!)
Her heart filled with hope as she passed through the gates of the imperial capital.
Her hopes crumbled in just a few days.
She still hadn’t met the two Archdukes who held the real power. On the contrary, their desperate pleas to aristocrats of both factions were brushed aside.
The diplomats just hung their heads down in gloom.
“Princess, we should go to the next kingdom soon. It’s a little far, but I’m sure the Hismaphe Kingdom will at least listen to us if we go there.”
That would certainly be a better option than this nation, which wasn’t listening to them. But it’s doubtful whether the Hismaphe Kingdom, which is being hunted by the Teiwa Empire, a power on par with Bungdalto Empire, will have the power to save Belbe Kingdom.
Rosalia decided to execute the one idea that she had been thinking about.
“Alright… but before we leave this nation, could you please allow me to say a few words to His Majesty the Emperor?”
“You want to speak with His Majesty?”
The diplomat looked as if he wanted to say, “What’s the meaning of this,” but Rosalia continued, “I’m interested in the person who is the same age as me but in a superior position… Is this not possible?”
(His Majesty is younger than me and might respond honestly to our plight…)
She might be able to use just that one response to negotiate with the empire’s aristocrats. That’s how much weight the Emperor’s words carried even though he didn’t have any real power.
At the same time, Rosalia felt a pain in her heart at trying to take advantage of someone who was younger than her but resorting to desperate measures meant this. Like the diplomats, Rosalia was also in a hurry.
And like she had said, she was also interested in the Emperor who was around the same age as her.
The diplomats looked at each other and said, “The Princess is acting oddly unreasonable.”
“You are from the same family as His Majesty, the Cardinals, so I’m sure… an audience will be granted if you request for one.”
“Isn’t that a good thing? I’m sure the other nations are interested in the empire’s Young Emperor as well.”
“If I can manage to get him to make a brief comment about supporting us, then we may be able to use it to negotiate with the aristocrats.”
Even if the Emperor says that he would help, it wouldn’t actually happen, and it’s unclear whether this can be used for negotiating, but it’s worth a try.
Everyone knew that the Young Emperor held no real power, but the meeting between the two of them was going to happen.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Princess. My name is Helck le Duffe,” the steward greeted with a smile, but his eyes weren’t smiling.
“I will show you to where His Majesty is.”
“Thank you very much.”
(I see, so he’ll be monitoring me… He probably won’t let me talk much. I guess this is a stalemate.)
It was with that gloomy feeling that Rosalia was granted an audience with Carmine.
“Pleased to meet you, Your Majesty. My name is Rosalia van Chalonge Cruveilheir,” she greeted him, and looked up to see a little boy sitting there. Rumours ridiculed the Emperor as being a piglet, but he was no such thing, he is of standard build, but Rosalia didn’t have time to worry about these things.
(If I talk about what’s happening with my Kingdom, then I’ll immediately be kicked down… What should I do…? How much will he understand at his young age?)
As Rosalia was thinking about this, her eyes met with the Young Emperor. Rosalia was surprised to see his golden eyes, which were staring her with interest, were tinged with deep thought, just like the eyes of her father, the King or the elders.
(Are you saying that these are the eyes of a young child who knows nothing…?!)
It was then that Carmine spoke up.
“I like you! Be my wife!”
Rosalia felt as if the world had stopped.
(The Princess of a weak kingdom and His Majesty…?)
It was unbelievable.
Rosalia felt like she was dreaming before Carmine spoke.
“Yeah. You look like you’re smart.”
Rosalia could see Carmine’s concern in his inviting eyes. If she asked the diplomats about this, they would have told her that she was imagining things. But Rosalia, who was around the same age as Carmine, sensed that Carmine was different.
Carmine, who had just chased out the steward, looked like a spoiled child.
“So, what kind of place is the Belbe Kingdom?”
But how can a mere child change their mood so easily?
With a single sentence from the Emperor, Rosalia had the opportunity to tell him about her nation, which had been troubling her.
Rosalia realised that the situation had changed drastically. Even though the Emperor didn’t have any real power, no, it was precisely because he had no real power that ‘his wishes’ carried weight.
The aristocrats will probably try their best to proceed with the engagement and help the Belbe Kingdom in order to fulfil the Emperor’s wish… and to not let the other faction get ahead of them.
(Engagement… I see, I’ll be engaged to this person.)
“Yes, Your Majesty. My homeland is…”
It was Carmine’s and Rosalia’s first opportunity to talk in a relaxed manner to someone of their age.
(I want to be this Empire’s Empress and support this person.)
At this moment, Carmine was genuinely enjoying their conversation since it didn’t involve diplomacy. Therefore, he didn’t notice that her cheeks had turned slightly red.
The first meeting between the future Empress, Rosalia… and the Emperor Carmine was recorded as a peaceful meeting in the Empire’s history books.
This was also written in the Empire’s history books: the imperial court was in a ‘state of frenzy’ at that time.
At first, the Chancellor Lord Karl de van Raul disapproved of this engagement. Engaging the Princess of Belbe Kingdom to Emperor Carmine would bring them conflict with Tomis Ashinaqui, who were invading the Belbe Kingdom. Even though there is an overwhelming difference in national power between the Empire and Tomis Ashinaqui, Tomis Ashinaqui is a religious nation. If the Empire were to be hostile towards them, then it would directly lead to a religious conflict. Lord Raul simply wanted to avoid any trouble.
However, Phillipe de Garde Aquicurl, the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremony, greatly supported this engagement. Lord Aquicurl, whose fief faced the sea, sent his warships (his personal ones, not the Empire’s) to escort merchant ships under the guise of protecting trade.
Even though they were escorting those merchant ships, a warship is still a warship, and the Tomis Ashinaqui pirates who had terrorised the seas were brought to a stop.
Carmine said in response, “You’re amazing, Chief of the Ministry of Ceremony.”
With those words, the two Archdukes sped things up.
First, Lord Aquicurl sold food to the Belbe Kingdom at a discount, and he criticized the Chancellor for disregarding the Emperor’s ‘wish’ at the same time.
In response to this, Lord Raul changed his plans.
First, he approved of the engagement and informed all the other nations about the engagement between the Princess of the Belbe Kingdom and Emperor Carmine. Moreover, he offered weapons and ammunition that were produced in Raul fief to the Belbe Kingdom for free.
Lord Aquicurl responded by providing them food for free.
In response to their actions, Tomis Ashinaqui stopped their military actions towards the Belbe Kingdom, and withdrew from the area.
Incidentally, the food, weapons and ammunition didn’t officially exist in the Empire.
In other words, Chancellor Raul and the Chief of the Ministry of Ceremonies, Lord Aquicurl, were ignoring their obligations to pay taxes and file for tax returns.
From that time on, the peasants in fiefs directly under the Emperor’s control were gradually becoming impoverished, and there was a shortage of weapons and ammunition.
In spite of this, the neutral faction was secretly growing discontent with the fact that those things were going to a nation that wasn’t supposed to receive it instead of the nations that were. However, they weren’t powerful enough to compete with the other two factions, so they could only complain about it to themselves.
However, the power of the two factions was slightly reduced as a consequence of giving away resources to compete with each other.
After Rosalia and the diplomats left the Empire, they travelled to neighbouring nations to seek help. By the time the fleet returned to the Belbe Kingdom, the season had already changed, and it was winter.
The situation enclosing the Belbe Kingdom had already changed drastically. The citizens of the Belbe Kingdom had survived the winter and they had succeeded in reclaiming some of the towns that had been taken from them.
In the audience room of the palace, which was much simpler than the Empire’s, and was actually just a remodelled part of the citadel… parent and child were meeting for the first time in months.
“But I never thought it could be so easily reversed…” King Alexei, Rosalia’s father and the 26th King of the Belbe Kingdom, told his daughter upon her return.
“Your Majesty, our kingdom was saved thanks to that. You can’t complain like that.”
“It’s just the two of us. Stop calling me Your Majesty, Rosalia… I’m not complaining. Our kingdom has been saved… and for that, I’m grateful. But…” King Alexei didn’t seem satisfied with the situation. An infant’s voice has surpassed his own desperate efforts. It was understandable that he would be dissatisfied.
“I’m sorry, Rosalia. I’m afraid you’ll have to stay engaged for a little longer.”
She was engaged to a Young Emperor who was regarded by some as an ‘imbecile’. He believed that Rosalia probably didn’t want this.
“My. You can’t do that, Father. Breaking off an engagement that has been established will put our reputation at stake. Besides, no matter how much food and supplies we have, if we can’t win the war, then this will happen again.”
“You’re right, they retreated because they’re wary of the Empire’s military power…”
Politically, they shouldn’t break off the engagement. At least, not until they recovered their national power.
Even though the King knew this was the right decision, he is also a parent. He wanted his daughter to marry an excellent man instead of a stupid puppet Emperor.
“It’s alright, Father. I’m proud to be a Princess of this Kingdom, and I have to fulfil my role as Princess.”
The King, not realising that those words were his daughter’s way of hiding her embarrassment, was moved to tears.
His daughter’s heart was already elsewhere.
(I have to support him… and I have to study a lot in order to do so.)
No child knows how dear they are to their parents, or vice versa.
It would have been impossible to believe a few months ago that the conversation between the father and daughter at the palace would be peaceful and harmonious.
Incidentally, Rosalia’s mother, the Queen, was aware of all this and teased her daughter a lot about falling in love.