Extra 05: Nadine 01
Richter du van Warung. His mother, Olivia, was Crown Prince Jean’s nanny. For Richter, who grew up with him from a young age, Jean was his best friend and irreplaceable master.
When he was killed in battle (or so Richter had thought), Richter had lost one of his eyes in a previous battle and was being treated in the rear. He still regrets that he was not on the same battlefield as Jean at that time and that he wasn’t able to rush to the scene.
Crown Prince Jean had actually won many battles and many generals revered him. Many of Jean’s direct retainers have taken refuge with Lord Warung.
They also have high expectations for Jean’s son, Emperor Carmine, so they felt disappointed and anxious whenever they heard rumours about Carmine from the capital.
Lord Warung distanced himself from the palace since he knew he wasn’t good at politics. The imperial fiefs, which used to be adjacent to Lord Warung’s fief to the east and west, have been ceded to other nations during the peace negotiations after the death of the Crown Prince Jean. In order to solidify the defences of his own fief, Lord Warung couldn’t get involved with the toxic central government.
As a result, the Young Emperor Carmine was not given satisfactory education.
Lord Warung has been depressed these days because he has dishonoured his master’s family in every way.
Nadine, who had seen her father like this, concluded that Carmine ‘was the one who made her father sad’. Nadine admired and respected her father’s imposing aura, so when she saw that her father was depressed, she thought:
“If only Carmine was more decent… If he becomes a good Emperor, then Father will be pleased.”
“Father, I’m going to the Imperial Capital! I will study with His Majesty and make sure that he becomes a decent person!”
Lord Warung was opposed to Nadine going to the capital at first. He told her that he couldn’t send his precious daughter to a palace full of treacherous retainers.
But Lord Warung decided to send his daughter to the capital when he received a report stating that most of the aristocrats from both factions hadhave left the capital to suppress the Theanabe Union.
He also found it intolerable that Carmine refused to go to battle because he didn’t want to die. He felt apologetic towards his former master since he had fought together with him on the battlefield.
He would have gone to the capital himself if it were possible. However, when he heard that the Aplada Kingdom was making a move, he had no choice but to go and deal with them. Therefore, he reluctantly entrusted Carmine to his daughter.
Incidentally, the Aplada Kingdom had acted because the Chancellor wanted to keep ‘Lord Warung in check’. The Chancellor feared that Lord Warung would win wars and increase his influence… Although there is a merchant association that took advantage of this.
He sent Nadine to the capital because of these reasons without realising that he was manipulated by someone else…
Nadine didn’t have a good impression of Carmine before she came to the capital, but that impression has grown much stronger now that she has seen him up close.
From Nadine’s perspective, Carmine was nothing short of pathetic. He skips classes and sleeps all day. It was pathetic of him to act like this when he is still young.
Nadine’s expectations of Carmine are too high, partly because she didn’t know any other boys her age and because she was comparing him to Lord Warung, but she didn’t realise this.
“I’m going to turn you into a good person at all costs…!”
Nadine is stubborn and competitive by nature, so leaving isn’t an option.
One day, Nadine spotted Carmine leaving class.
“Where are you going?!”
He clicked his tongue when Nadine shouted at him and spoke to the attendant next to him.
“Hey, do something about that.”
“As you wish.”
Nadine cowered slightly when the Emperor’s attendant stood in front of her. She hated this guy’s cold eyes. His eyes told her that he would kill her immediately if Carmine ordered him to.
“His Majesty is going for a ride. He doesn’t have time for trivial matters, so please leave.”
Nadine clenched her hands tightly at those words.
“Are you saying that the lessons and I are trivial…?”
“Yes. Please leave.”
Nadine was on the verge of tears. Her efforts and her father’s desire were meaningless.
Behind him, a boy looked as if he wanted to say something. It was Carmine. He decided to leave this to Timona, but Timona dealt with Nadine in the worst way imaginable.
(But now I know for sure… that he hates Nadine.)
Carmine thought. He decided to deal with Nadine himself.
Timona wasn’t interested in most people. He deliberately avoided liking or disliking them. This was the first lesson he was taught by Count Palatine in order to respond flexibly to his master’s actions. So, he didn’t particularly feel anything for Nadine, but he thought of her as an ‘obstacle’.
“That’s enough. Let’s go, Timona.”
Carmine walked away with Timona and his guards.
Nadine bit her teeth since Carmine acted as if he really didn’t care about her at all.
(I won’t give up… I’m not going to give up!)
The girl ran after Carmine, Timona and the guards.
Carmine had a dumbfounded expression on his face again when Nadine came to the stables.
But he knew that she would say something else if he looked at her, so he quickly turned away and walked towards his horse.
Nadine couldn’t move even though she had followed him here. She wasn’t good with living beings. She didn’t know what to do against beings whose thoughts and actions she couldn’t comprehend and would cower.
Wouldn’t the horse go wild if she yelled at Carmine now? Nadine was taught that she should never startle a living creature and was bewildered since she couldn’t say what she wanted to say.
Carmine tugged the reins of the horse and came out. Once on the horse, he looked like he had an idea and called out to Nadine, “Do you want to ride too?”
He seemed to believe that she would have nothing to complain about if he made her an accomplice.
Nadine, who couldn’t ride a horse, answered briefly. Carmine sensed this and said mockingly, “Oh, what’s this? You can’t ride a horse?”
“Whatever! I don’t want to ride it anyway!”
Nadine shouted. Her face was turning red.
There was one thing that Carmine could do that she couldn’t. It was as if this was an unforgivable disgrace. She needed to be better than Carmine to rehabilitate him. She wouldn’t be able to do what her beloved father had asked of her if she were inferior to Carmine.
“Well, how about this? Get on that platform and extend your arm.”
It was then that Carmine reached out his hand to Nadine.
“Don’t you want to ride? This horse can carry two adults, so it’ll be fine for you to ride with me.”
Nadine hesitated for a while. She was curious about the expression on Carmine’s face as he petted the horse. He seemed calm, and almost looked as if he was talking to the horse.
She took the Emperor’s hand after pondering about it for a while.
“Make sure to hold on tightly. I won’t be able to help you if you fall.”
There was almost no difference in their height since they were both children. So, Nadine was riding behind Carmine. Even though the guards were pulling the reins of Carmine’s horse, it was still dangerous for him to not be able to see in front of him.
“It’s dangerous, so come closer. Put more strength into your arms and hold onto me.”
Nadine had never been this close to a boy of her age before, but she was so nervous about riding on a horse that she didn’t care. She squeezed her eyes shut and did as she was told.
Then, Carmine made the horse trot faster.
The breeze brushed against their cheeks. Nadine opened her eyes little by little when she finally got used to it.
“How is it? Are you comfortable?”
Carmine asked Nadine, but she was so anxious that she didn’t have time to think about his question, but she put on a brave face and nodded silently.
“I see. But you won’t be able to see what’s in front of you like that. You’ll have to practice horse riding yourself if you want to see the scenery.”
Then, Carmine continued.
“You’re Lord Warung’s daughter. You should be able to ride a horse. I’m sure he would be delighted to hear that you’ve learnt how to ride one.”
“… What do you know about Father?”
You’re always worrying him, Nadine grumbled in her mind.
“Oh, you’re finally getting used to it. I thought you were cowering because you thought holding onto me was disrespectful.”
Nadine held onto him tighter in protest to his laughter, but strangely enough, it wasn’t as strong as before.
Their appearance on the horse looked like that of a close brother and sister.