Chapter 3: Founding Anniversary
Editor: Skythewood, Darkdhaos, Chris S, Ravenslither
“Ah, bring that over here!”
Altina suddenly said.
“Your Highness, if you keep moving like that, your hair will get messy.”
“Hmm, don’t you feel that this headdress is cute?”
“Yes, yes. Please be seated in front of the mirror. Do not move around until your hair is done.”
It was the afternoon of the second day since they arrived at the capital——
The capital Founding anniversary was about to start. The streets were filled with festivity while the palace was also doing their last touch up.
However, it was a battlefield to Altina. To be exact, it was a battle in which Clarisse was helping to groom Altina’s hair.
“Clarisse, I still think that that colour accessory looks nicer here.”
Altina was in a dilemma, not knowing to choose the green or the yellow hair accessory.
“Your Highness will look cute in either one.”
“As expected, Clarisse’s opinion was not worth asking.”
“Ara, what a shame.”
Altina asked the figure which was reflected in the mirror.
“Regis, which one do you think is nicer?”
“Rather than worrying about that, I feel that we should worry about the fact that the banquet is about to start in 10 minutes.”
The banquet was scheduled to begin in the afternoon at 4 o’clock.
“Really… Ah, Eric, what do you think?”
Eric, who was dragged in, looked carefully.
“Although it feels like a sly answer, but thanks anyway”
“Ah! S,sorry, it is perfect…”
Seeing this, Clarisse jokingly said,
“Why don’t you try out the dress?”
“Ehh! Ah, no, I,I’m a man…you tease , Aha,ahahaha…”
For a moment, Eric seems to reveal an envious look.
I must be seeing things...
The one with the face of a young girl was the Blanchard house’s heir, Eric.
Evrard, who was both the head of the Blanchard house and the grandfather of Eric, told Regis that Eric who had no brothers, had been following the family rules strictly ever since his father died in the war.
“... Well, I feel that it’s quite suitable.”
Eric replied frantically after hearing what Regis muttered.
“R,really? Does that dress really suit me?!”
“Eh? Ahh, yes…”
“Is that so?... H,how troublesome…”
“I,if Regis really~~ wants me to wear it, it’s not…”
“I absolutely will not say that!?”
Regis saw a cold look from Altina that was reflected by the mirror.
On the other hand, Clarisse was happily laughing.
“How terrible, Your Highness, Regis is heading towards a dangerous path of no return.”
“Yes, however, only a narrow-minded person will interfere with the subordinate's preference. Well, I’ll just close my eyes on this, I really will not speak of this, really!.”
“... I won’t cross that line!”
“You have such interests since the beginning?”
“Please spare me, Clarisse.”
Time flies as they teased Regis.
“Ah… It’s almost time, it’s going to be troublesome if we don’t leave now.”
“Nn, I’m done here too.”
Clarisse raised both her hand and said.
Altina stood up unsteadily as she was not used to the dress.
The crimson hair coupled with the dark dress.
Coupled with the dark dress, the hair band, wavy and pleated, is like a blossoming flower on her long crimson hair
Regis went silent after seeing the snow-white skin of her neck, torso and chest area.
“Why? Does it feels weird?”
“Eh? Ah, i,it’s very beautiful…”
“Ah, It’s almost time.”
“Eh~ Say it one more time, just one more time is enough.”
“... it’s almost time.”
“Not this sentence!!!”
I know what she meant, but it’s too embarrassing to say it out loud.
Today’s banquet was hosted by the ceremony’s department. Only those who were invited could enter and were mostly nobles.
Regis came to the palace as Altina’s aide, hence he was not invited. Therefore, Clarisse and him had to wait in the waiting room.
The safety of the people attending the event were the responsibility of the imperial guards, it is the same for Eric who was an escort.
Altina who was done with her make-up looked at Regis’ head and pondered.
“Don’t you think that it’s better for you to gel your hair?”
“It’s unnecessary since I’m not invited, there’s no helping it.”
“I see, but since it’s a rare occasion, it’s fine to gel it a bit.”
“Even so, all I can do is to wait in the waiting room.
“Ara? Aren’t you going to accompany me in.”
“If I were to follow you in, I’ll stand out like a mountain. Attendance of this event is by invitation only.”
“Even so, you are also invited.”
“... What did you just say?”
Altina showed a face as if it was normal and said,
“Although the department forbids it, but those attending the banquet are allowed to bring another companion. Aside from those lower level invitees, the rest will bring along their relatives or friends to attend.”
That reminds me, I once read a novel in which the characters attending an event in the palace brought their friends along.
Never once did I dream that I will be one of those people.
“... … Do I need to attend? To a event with only nobles or the royalty?
“... … Even if you say so suddenly, I…”
“I wasn’t prepared for this. Besides, I don’t have suitable clothing.”
“There’s no problem.” Clarisse said as she opened the suitcase.
“I thought this might happen, so I brought along your ceremonial clothes.”
“Isn’t it fine? As expected of Clarisse. Regis, quickly go and change your clothes.”
“But the banquet has already started.”
While he was talking, the fanfare could be heard from the distance
However, Altina did not seem to care at all.
“It’s fine to be late a little. Besides, the royalty tends to go slightly later.”
“... I see.”
There was no helping to it since things have became this way.
With no other option, Regis changed from his military uniform to his ceremonial full dress uniform.
Ever since Regis was exiled to Beilschmidt border regiment, be it the new year celebration or officially entering the team, it was all done frantically. This was the first time Regis wore full dress uniform since he was assigned to the borders.
Like the other nobles in the capital, Marquis Thenezay will invite friends over to his mansion and host a banquet.
He was known not just for his extravagant behaviour, but for maintaining relations with the nobles.
Nobles that bankrupted their family wealth because of their vanity was not unheard of.
Some nobles who were self-conscious would stop their wasteful behaviour to avoid ridicule from others. However, there are also some who would increase taxes and oppressed the citizens instead.
“That’s why I do not like to attend this kind of events…”
“Well, I’ll not force you if you really can’t.”
Regis and the rest were already at the corridor at this point.
Altina who was beside Regis checked him out.
A green uniform with a white scarf and golden lock-shape accessory at the chest. At the waist was a red cloth hanging down, acting as a garment. Although it was ceremonial clothing, it looked very stylish. If one wore this to the battlefield, he would definitely draw the attention of the enemies.
Altina lightly elbowed Regis.
“It looks good on you.”
“... My shoulders aren’t broad and I’m not that tall, so it shouldn’t be as good as you said. If I wore some medals on my chest, it might be better.”
“Do you want medals? If so, why not apply for it? It should be fine if you apply for it.”
“Well, this kind of medals should be heavy, that would make my shoulder uncomfortable, so forget it.”
“Ahaha, that way of dismissing a medal sure is unique. Ah, since you don’t like wearing military uniform, why not try the dress from earlier for the event tomorrow? How about it? You might even like it.”
As Altina skipped around, the frills on her dress swayed along with her.
How cute, was what Regis thought. He never thought about wanting to wear such dress, which was a relief.
“... Thanks but no thanks… Although I do not like such events, but it’s a good opportunity to see Latreille’s schemes. Gathering intelligence is necessary.”
“There’s nothing better than that.”
“... However, I’m afraid of screwing up during the banquet, which is making me anxious.”
“Don’t the books you read have anything about the etiquette in such events?”
“... … I did read such things before, just that I’m not good in things like a dance.”
“Ahh, in that case it’s fine, because I’m not good in it too.”
“Even though your motor coordination is great, how strange.”
"That's because the dance instructor kept getting mad. She kept saying 'your movement is too sharp because you learnt fencing. Dancing requires working together with your partner, synchronizing both of your breathing is the most important point. Why do the men dancing with your highness kept getting tossed around? Men are not the swords in your hands, alright?'"
“I see… It’s because the difference in arm strength is too large. In that case, isn’t it better if the royalty teach you? Doesn’t the royalty excel in this?”
“Latreille is more strict than the instructor, so it’s definitely a no! Auguste seldom comes to such events and Bastian was banned from attending such events.”
“What did prince Bastian do?”
“... … Well, a lot of things happened.”
I kind of sympathise with the emperor, his children are all kinds of trouble.
As they got closer to the venue, the sound of music got louder.
At all of the entrances to the venue, there were old butlers verifying the invitation.
One look and people could tell that this was not a place civilians can enter. Regis’ heart was beating fast.
Noticing that it was Altina, all the butlers bowed and then announced her arrival.
“Her Royal highness, 4th princess of Belgaria, Marie Quatre Argentina de Belgaria~”
All of a sudden, the music stopped playing and the venue fell silent, all of their eyes looked towards them.
One year ago, she was a princess borned by a commoner, a target of envy and slandering.
Now, she had become an experienced soldier through the glory of battle.
Altina entered the noisy venue without any hesitation, Regis followed behind her.
“Why are you glancing around, did something happens? If you’re thirsty, drinks will be served later.”
“... This feels like another world with nobles everywhere, just like those in the theater.”
“Just that? What’s so interesting about that?”
“You can’t really say that.”
Although many of the attendees had yet to show up, but there was at least 100 nobles at the venue socialising as of now.
Located at the central of the south, a large reception hall was used as the banquet hall. The roof was even higher than the city wall and there were many chandeliers hanging down, it looked as if the roof was a starry sky.
The walls were covered with floral pattern wallpaper while the couches were covered with a soft carpet.
At the front of the banquet hall was a podium that looked like those at a theater while the middle was a dance stage. Tables filled with fine cuisine were located close to the walls. There were also six counters, each with a sommelier pouring wine for the guests. At the back of the hall was a resting area filled with sofas.
From the corner of the food table, one could smell the fragrance of rose.
This fragrance made the guests feel as if they were in a rose garden.
The orchestra located at one corner was performing a cheerful song.
Altina glanced around the hall.
“Latreille seems to be here, but is Auguste here? Ah… That woman is here too.”
At the centre of a crowd, there was girl wearing a fanciful sparkling dress.
She was the one that the emperor recently married.
The 6th concubine.
Johaprecia Octovia Fon Estaburg.
Because she was married to the emperor, her last name was changed to Belgaria.
Originally a Estaburg princess, she had deep diplomatic relations with many nobles in the eastern part of Belgaria.
The eastern domain had been under Belgaria for about 100 years. Back then, the rulers of that area surrendered to the Empire before any war started and was bestowed with nobility.
Incidentally, other eastern rulers that opposed the Empire were either sentenced to death or exiled.
Though there was no clear demarcation, the nobles that occupied those territories were referred as the "New Nobles", and were a target of scorn and discrimination by the countrymen and nobles.
Johaprecia showed-off the large gem in front of her chest to the people surrounding her.
“Ohoho, His Majesty gave me this gem for my birthday, he originally wanted to gift me an even larger gem.”
“Oohh, as expected of His Majesty.”
“I have enough necklaces though, I will make something else next time”
“Your Highness, what do you think about earrings?”
“Ara, that can’t do, the next gem could be even larger than this, my earlobe will be stretched, Ohohoho.”
Johaprecia laughed loudly, the nobles surrounding her laughed along too.
Regis muttered to himself,
——Looks like the rumours of her being pampered is true.
If one looked carefully, they will realise that the nobles were split into their factions.
Auguste’s faction ——Headed by the 2nd concubine Catherine, her family, duke Trouin’s house and their supporters. This were the Empire oldest nobles, especially nobles who held lands in the west, however they were lacking in financial and military strength.
Latreille’s faction —— With the empress and her family leading the central nobles who held lands in the capital, they have a large presence in the military.
Lastly, Altina's faction has no connections to any of the other factions.
Someone bowed to Altina
He was a middle-aged gentleman.
It was the rules of the nobles not to speak first in front of the royalty. If Altina did not speak first, the conversation would not start. In this case, Altina did not have a reason to ignore him.
“That will be rather rude, Your Highness, isn’t this your first time meeting him?”
“Ahh, pleased to meet you.”
The other party seemed to be an Earl that had territory at the southwest borders, rumoured to be brave. It seemed like he had something that must consulted with Altina.
Altina had been ignoring most banquet invitation, hence she did have the habit to greet others.
Regis felt nervous watching this scene.
Nobles that have the same thoughts as the gentleman began to gather around Altina in circles.
Some of the nobles are “New Nobles” while some seemed to have information on the other factions. These people were termed as the neutrals.
With this, it should be enough to form the third faction.
Seeing so many nobles who were able to attend the banquet being in the neutral faction, Regis understood why Latreille wanted to pull Altina in.
Even so, the topic for the conversation seemed to be just greeting and flattering, nothing about any news.
Regis closed in to Altina and whispered.
“... Try to remember these people and their names, I’m going to check the other places.”
“Ah, no, it’s nothing, thanks for your hard work.”
Feeling that this time was different from other events, Altina decided to change her usual indifferent attitude.
While holding a wine glass, Regis moved towards the centre of the hall.
From there, it was possible to see who was conversing with who, this was how intelligence was gathered.
Because Regis did not know who was worth looking into, he went to borrow the guest list from the ceremony’s department staff, using the excuse of checking whether any friends of his came.
Information that outsiders absolutely would not able to get was easily obtained here
Duke Trouin’s house which the 2nd concubine Catherine was from agreed to come, but they had not turned up yet.
There were other absentees that did not inform the ceremony’s departments… Those were mostly big shots.
Beside Altina’s name was “Regis Auric, Commoner, 5th Grade Admin Officer”, Regis felt weird seeing this.
Once again, he felt the dissonance of this event and him.
After thanking the staff, he returned the list to them.
After which, Regis continued to gather intelligence at the hall that he needed.
“Ah! Sir Regis!”
Hearing this familiar way of calling his name, Regis knew that he was the one he debated with on the carriage.
“... Good evening, Sir Germain.”
“Welcome to the banquet, Sir Regis, no matter what, this time you’re the hero.”
“... It’s thanks to Her Highness’ effort, I was just lucky to work under her. Moreover, I’m here as Her Highness attendant.”
“Is that so? Just now, there were some girls that wanted to know about you.”
Regis looked towards the direction Germain pointed to, only to see 3 girls looking over here with an embarrassed smile.
In their left hand was a frilly fan that covered the lower half of their face, without saying anything, they pointed to the front of their fan.
In this age, conveying their feelings using the fan like that, was known as “Language of Fan” was popular among the noblewomen.
Using the left hand to hold the fan in front of the face meant “I want to be closer to you” while touching the fan meant “I want to talk to you”.
Regis turned his line of sight away from there and deliberately coughed.
——Did those noblewomen arrange this?
Regis had been undoubtedly believed that he himself would not receive admiration from the ladies.
Latreille’s method of pulling Altina in and his other goals of his were made clear. This time was to send those girls to seduce and confuse me, in other words, using greetings as an excuse to trick me.
No matter what methods you use, I will not fall for it.
“... I’m very sorry, I’m not interested in girls.”
“Ohoh… I see, so it’s that…”
Germain deliberately blinked his eyes.
“I,I,I don't mean that, don’t misunderstand.”
Regis suddenly was shaken. As expected of Latreille’s closest aide.
“Well, I only wanted to help you establish good relations.”
“... It’s my honour.”
“His Highness Latreille said that he was very worried about last night.”
Regis was surprised hearing these words. To win, Latreille proposed to Altina and used force, Regis thought Latreille should be more pleased instead.
“On the surface, he looked strong, however, he is fragile emotionally. After returning, he kept thinking whether if he had overdone things and was quite depressed.”
“... Is that so?”
“Even so, it’s not the right time for him to talk to the princess again.”
“Yeah, perhaps after some time.”
“I think that next time they have a conversation, they should bring you along. What do you think?”
“Me? With the prince and princess?”
At that moment, Regis imagined both “Arme Victoire Volonte” and “Grand Tonnerre Quatre” slashing each other, causing his body to twitch.
“If it’s possible, tonight…”
Before Germain could finish his words, a loud voice interrupted him.
“—— Good evening to everyone!”
As his words was interrupted, Germain unhappily looked towards the direction of the voice.
There was an elegant old man on the stage covered with red carpet. There were a few people standing around him.
Germain smacked his lips and said.
“Hmph, a new noble…”
“Who is that?”
“He’s the “New Nobility” Duke Tiraso Laverde, owning a large plantation at the southern territory. He is one of those cowards that surrendered before the Empire invaded them.”
“... I see.”
As an opposition of the Empire, resistance without any military strength was pointless.
This was the outcome of the political negotiation. To prevent the Empire from invading, surrendering was the best choice. That was what Regis thought.
After opening the parchment, the elegant old man, Tiraso Laverde, took a glance of the hall.
Among the crowd, there was a young woman who dressed like a black-coloured bird, as both her hair and dress was pitch black. Because of the veil she was wearing, one could not see her face clearly, however, they could feel her exuding an unapproachable aura.
She turned and left after nodding.
Seeing this, Tiraso Laverde began reading from the parchment.
“We, the nobles that was bestowed land in the southern area, are termed the “New Nobles” by most,”
What was he trying to say? This was what the other nobles’ eyes seemed to give off.
Tiraso Laverde continued to speak.
“To the original nobles that have close ties to each others, we are weak if we continue to be fragmented. Er, hence, I hereby announce the establishment of the Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance, formed by the New Nobles.”
Hearing these words, the audiences were in an uproar.
Duke Tiraso Laverde ignored the commotion and continued.
“Up to now, we, the Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance, did not support any of the princes.”
Which meant they currently belonged to the neutral and were an influential force.
Since they have specially said it here, what comes next would be their choice of alignment.
It was not impossible for them to support Altina, thinking this, Regis could not help but tense up.
Tiraso Laverde’s breathing began to quicken and his pacing was getting messy.
“Erm… We, the Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance... are looking forward to the day when Prince Auguste inherit the crown… We… will fully support him… His Highness… is still battling his illness… but we believe that His Highness will triumph over the disease… Recently, His Highness continues to fulfil his duty despite being ill… His action can be comparable to the previous generations crown prince… Ahem… Ahem… We believe in His Highness Auguste.”
“Thank you for trusting in me.”
Auguste appeared on the stage.
This was totally a premeditated show
Auguste approached the duke and shook hand with him.
“Everyone from the Gaillarde garden’s Alliance, as to express my gratitude for your support, I will definitely be a great emperor, please continue to support me.”
Not just the people on stage, there were even some audiences applauding. These should be from Auguste’s supporter, from the sound of it, there seemed to be many of them.
Once the important part of the speech was over, the content behind was all concise.
The Gaillarde Garden's Alliance were a group of new nobles from the southern part. They were different from the old nobles that support Auguste, or the big nobles of the capital's outskirts that support Latreille.
Which meant that they originally were neutral.
They gathered, formed an alliance and joined Auguste’s faction.
Recently, rumours of the prince fulfilling his duty despite his illness reached Regis’ ears.
However, there were nobody raising doubts about this, hence it was likely to be true.
Although there were an increasing number of people supporting Altina... Was the sudden appearance of the alliance an indication of a change in politics? Or did it mean that from the start, a part of Auguste’s supporters were mixed in the neutrals.
The nobles at the hall were at a loss and whispered to each other.
In particular to some nobles, their face looked grim
Towards the neutrals that decided to support his political enemy, Latreille and his faction should be the most unsettled.
However, Germain’s expression did not change at all.
“How troublesome, don’t you think so, Sir Regis? It seems that these people have yet to understand the culture of the Empire, to actually do this kind of thing here.”
“... Eh, erm… Yeah.”
“Is anything wrong, Sir Regis? You don’t look very good.”
“... Because I’m not used to such events, I’m a little tired. Sorry about this.”
Looking at the current situation, the emperor would pass the throne to Auguste, did he, who was Latreille closest aide, not see this dangerous situation?
Not just Germain, even Latreille was still laughing with others.
—— Is it a bluff? Or that they have a countermeasure for this?
To be unable to tell what these two guys are thinking, how scary.
Germain then quietly walk over.
“For the conversation to be interrupted, I’m sorry, Sir Regis.”
“His Highness wishes to speak with you privately, is it possible for you to come to the prince’s room at 10 o’clock tonight?”
“...Is it really alright for me to enter there?”
“Of course, we will inform the guards.”
This situation was akin to being check by the opponent in chess. Since they already moved, how should we respond?
Moreover, we lack any pieces to use as retaliation.
Even if I can avoid now, I’ll still need to face them in the future.
“... I understand, I will go.”
Germain replied as if he have expected this.
“That’s great, in this case, I’ll have to go first.”
After giving a bow, he left without turning back.
Suddenly, Regis’ throat felt very dry.
When he came to his sense, the wine glass in his hand was empty. Even though it was a high grade wine, he could not taste anything at all.
Hence, Regis went to the wine counter.
“... White wine please.”
Greenish amber liquid was poured into the transparent wine glass.
Receiving the glass back, Regis drank a sip of the wine. The wine was very refreshing, an unforgettable taste with an aroma of a fruit.
“... How delicious, this is my first time drinking such wine.”
“Hehe, thank you very much for your praise.”
“This wine was produced by my winery. These wines are like children to me.”
The one who interjected was a woman wearing black dress, she seemed to be around 20 year old.
With black hair extending to her waist, her obsidian eyes looked at Regis behind the cover of a black veil.
“... Hello, this wine is really tasty.”
“Give me white wine too.”
The sommelier took the glass and poured the white wine into the glass.
She then received the glass and tasted the wine.
Regis was silently waiting for her to speak as she intrigued him.
If I didn’t see wrongly, she should be the one that Duke Tiraso Laverde was looking at when he announced the formation of the “Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance”. Rather than just looking, he seemed to be asking for consent...
“It really is tasty.”
“... Pleased to meet you, I’m Regis Auric, 5th grade admin officer.”
“I heard of your name before you came to the capital, it seems that you are the strategist in the northern war front who achieved major accomplishments.”
“The one who accomplished great things wasn’t me, it is Her Highness princess Argentina.”
“Humility is a virtue, proud, arrogant merchants wouldn’t be able to earn.”
“... I,is that so?”
“I’m Eleanor Ailred Winn de Tiraso Laverde.”
“You’re someone from the Tiraso Laverde house?... Then the gentleman earlier…”
“He’s my grandfather. I usually conduct business outside together with him. Because our last name is the same, it’s fine to call me Eleanor.”
“Because I’m a little successful in business, I’m also known as the “Vixen of the South”.”:
“Ah, I see… I think I’ll just call you Eleanor. That reminds me, you can call me Regis.”
“Okay, nice to meet you.”
Eleanor raised her glass and tilted it slightly as a greeting.
Seeing this, Regis drank his wine.
“That reminds me, I never heard of the Auric house before… May I know what’s your title?”
“Eh? Aahh, I’m just a commoner.”
“Which means… You’re a knight?”
“No no, I’m just a normal commoner. I’m here as an attendant of Her Highness Argentina, otherwise, my status wouldn’t even allow me to be here.”
“Just a commoner? I heard that you are a very outstanding strategist.”
“I’m indeed a strategist… However it was just a post in the military, unrelated to any titles.”
Normally, high ranking military posts were held by nobles. Cases in which nobility title was bestowed to strategist were numerous, but that was not always the case.
Eleanor looked at Regis as if she was looking at a rare animal.
“Isn’t the post strategist only for people that are very capable?”
“Well… I don’t find myself very capable, especially in horse riding and swordsmanship. The only reason I could take this position is because I'm only capable of using my brain and I just happened to know some things.”
“In other words, Regis, you’re quite smart?”
Eleanor simply just said his name out.
It looks like she wouldn’t use honorific on someone that seems to be younger than her. Well, that’s to be expected.
“... At least I don’t find myself too dumb.”
“How impressive, to think there is a smart commoner.”
“T,that should be normal, be it an admin officer, teachers or doctors, these jobs are filled with commoners.”
“Ahh, to be competent enough to be a strategist, a major contributor and to be even more outstanding than the enemy general, so that’s you?”
“... I think so, even though these are fact, but the way you say it is…”
“Is there anything wrong?”
“It’s thanks to the bravery of the soldiers. I never once thought that I’m better than the enemy general.”
Although Volk Fortress was captured successfully in the end, but if there was a mistake in the measurement, or if the digging was slower than expected or that the invading force got repelled, the strategy will fail.
In addition, thanks to Altina who defeated the enemy general, they obtained victory.
Eleanor’s eyes changed, as if she was a merchant appraising a good.
“What an interesting man.”
“... I,is that so?
“How old are you?”
“18… I’m going to be 19 soon.”
“Are you interested in business? Opportunities in military are rare for commoners, why not switch to a career that suits you?”
“What’s your current salary?”
“Well, a 5th grade admin officer could only earn that much.”
“If you work under me, I’m willingly to pay 3, no 5 times the amount, 4000 deniers per month.”
5 times… I wonder how many books I can buy.”
Even so, Regis shook his head.
“M,my apologies, I’m not interested in money.”
“In this case… I already have 3 spouse, are you willing to be the fourth? Or is it that you are interested in my sister, although she’s just eight year old.”
“No, I do not need a partner now… Ah, of course, I’m not interested in males too.”
“To not have any desire, just like a merchant.”
To be caught up in her pace.
Looks like I’m still not used to interacting with older women, Regis thought as he sighed in his heart.
That can’t do, I haven’t obtained any information that are beneficial to Altina.
——Let’s try testing her.
“Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance this time is determined. To actually bet their reputation and lives to oppose the central nobles. Even considering that the western nobles have some military power and the southern nobles having financial strength, should an armed conflict arise, it will still be futile.”
“I’m not clever enough to talk about politics.”
“But your grandfather doesn’t seem to think that way.”
Regis cleverly changed the topic and took control of the pace.
Eleanor gave a wry smile.
“Ara, even though I’m outside the stage, I still got caught?... Grandfather easily gets conceited and doesn’t have the guts to do big things. As a philanthropist, his reputation was fine.”
“... As I expected, the one who gathered the southern nobles is you, am I wrong, Ms Eleanor?”
“It couldn’t be helped as this was all caused by the central nobles. Giving us unfavourable conditions and using political marriage to obtain hostages.”
This was also a method that nobles commonly used.
If force was permissible, they would use force. For those who were submissive, they would oppress them using negotiation.
From a small nation in the west, Belgaria continued to annex lands within this continent, and shifted the imperial capital here more than 300 years ago.
For their own gains, the nobles kept sapping strength away from the nation and became more powerful. Eventually, this would lead to the collapse of the Empire.
Just like a snake eating its own tail.
“... There’s a chance of winning, Prince Auguste is the key to this.”
“To us, the formation of the alliance was an ‘important thing’, joining Auguste’s camp will solve everything. We will definitely win.”
Eleanor raised her red wine glass, as if she was giving a toast to Regis.
“His Highness Auguste seems to have recovered… He is now able to act in such a situation before the emperor and the other nobles.”
“Ahh, which situation?”
Regis fiddled the empty glass with his hand.
“... Which also means that prince Auguste can now hold a position befitting his status, for example, replacing prince Latreille as the commander-in-chief. Perhaps he is already asking the emperor.”
If Auguste really did ask the emperor for this, Latreille would have a huge reaction.
If that was the case, it would be an aggressive political stance and could be viewed as a revenge attempt.
“... In that case, it’s confirmed that prince Auguste is inheriting the throne. The ones supporting him will be already discussing who to be the chancellor now.”
“Ah, well, we are only 60% of his supporter, moreover, prince Auguste sides those old western nobles.”
The mother of Auguste was the 2nd concubine Catherine, who was from the Trouin’s house that had always supported him. Should Auguste succeed the throne, they will be able to gain the most wealth, power and fame.
“Although it’s difficult, but this way, we will be able to defeat the central nobles. Letting the western nobles gain isn’t a bad thing to us too.”
What Eleanor said was not wrong either
Even if Auguste became the emperor, there was no benefits to the southern New Nobles.
That was why they originally joined the third party, Altina’s faction.
However, how did Auguste managed to pull these neutral nobles to his side?
Regis fell into deep thoughts.
There should be others who were thinking about this. A book analyzing what would happen if something similar was to happen had been published a few years ago as a recreation literature piece in the underground market.
Hence, Regis used that as a new reference point
“To end the fight between the central and western nobles by forming the alliance isn’t hard. There should be some other purpose, which is the ‘something’ you mentioned earlier.”
Eleanor’s eyes changed.
Regis continued saying.
“... … To the north is the powerful Germania federation. To the west, a large sea is between us and High Britannia. In contrast, to the east is the declining Estaburg while the south is the Hispania empire whose military mainly consists of the navy. The probability of the Empire getting the land here is high… When seeing the map, It's not strange for people to think that "the capital could be on a more convenient place".”
“Fufufu, it’s a waste to give you to my sister.”
“... Once prince Auguste inherits the throne, will he move the capital to the south?”
Eleanor drank the remaining wine in her glass.
The thick fragrance of the wine was exhaled from the nose.
“Fufu, moving the capital? Indeed, that way the south will flourish, however, will the western nobles allow it?”
“Normally, they wouldn’t… However, it will be different if there is someone who is influential enough suggest this. For example, having the world’s greatest son and becoming the king’s mother —— for example, Her Highness Catherine.”
The Trouin house in which the 2nd concubine Catherine came from was very influential over the western nobles.
If her son was to succeed the throne, her words would be even more influential.
Furthermore, if the Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance also suggest this, the moving of capital would be certain.
“Fufu, what an interesting way of thinking.”
“...Personally, forcing a change of capital when the nation treasury is critically low makes me uneasy.”
“Isn’t it fine to just borrow from the nobles? If there’s interests, they will be willing to lend… … Well, let’s leave it for when it happens.”
What Eleanor meant by borrowing was to oppress them.
“... … So you mean that Latreille can only wait for his defeat?”
“Do not forget that Latreille is also a soldier, he is neither a politician nor a merchant. The essential thing is whether he can assassinate prince Auguste.”
“You have a countermeasure?”
“If you have any ideas, please let me hear it.”
“Then pardon me… … If I am in Latreille’s shoe, I will consider something else that is of equal importance to eliminating Prince Auguste.”
“What is it?”
“... To eliminate the neutrals, as you guys are a threat. If you are to be eliminated, Latreille will be able to eliminate Auguste… … Once Auguste’s faction loses their power, the other princes will not support you.”
“That might be so. However, those who jumped onto the bandwagon will be the target of insult and not willing to trust anything.”
“... Although that is correct, those neutrals who did now show support in either faction can still support other princes. After all, it’s possible that the time the emperor might elect the successor is still far away.”
“ I have heard of the emperor’s infatuation with increasing his heirs. If I’m not wrong, another red-pupil male will be born soon.”
Regis thought that this kind of thinking was flawed.
A human’s ability was not decided by hair or eye colours, nor was it related to character.
This superstitious was formed by the millions of Empire’s citizens, so it could not be helped.
“... Hence, considering in Latreille’s position, eliminating the neutrals that show no allegiance to anyone or eliminating the other candidates is also possible.”
“Indeed, if the first prince was to be eliminated, others who oppose him will be troubled.”
Regis nodded in agreement
The neutrals would have the rights to choose who they would swear allegiance to. The old emperor was to name who to inherit his throne, but he was actually busy increasing his heirs.
“... … So there’s the possibility of the second prince eliminating his political enemies… … In that case, aside from the first prince, isn’t the fourth princess also a target for elimination?”
“Ah, no… Well… In short, what’s important to the second prince is to eliminate his political enemies. In other words, it is of equal importance to either eliminate the prince Auguste or the neutrals.”
“Ara, is that so? He just needs to keep his place at the top of the order of succession, once His Majesty retires, there will be no problems at all.”
“... ...This kind of thing that can make Latreille anxious… Won’t be seen for the next few years.”
“Are you sure about it?”
Although the emperor was old, he was still healthy enough to marry a 15 year old princess.
Looks like the emperor will still be sitting on his throne for quite some time.
“... … For the emperor to abdicate and appoint his successor seems to be difficult and is also a battle against time.”
“Rather, it isn’t that easy to eliminate the neutrals. Aren’t there powerful nobles in the east and south?”
“... It’s very easy.”
“You see, for the Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance to switch from neutrals to Auguste’s faction, it isn’t that hard, right?”
At that moment, Eleanor fell into deep thoughts.
She then drank the wine in her hand in one shot.
“Fufufu, indeed, we have the card of supporting other candidates, but do not forget that if prince Auguste is to succeed the throne, victory will be decided.”
“Is there anything that you’re unsatisfied with?”
“... I still do not know what’s Latreille is scheming… Laying down countermeasures under such situation, I’m not very used to it.”
“If tricked, you just need to trick them back. You will lose once you’re unable to come up of a countermeasure. Isn’t that what being a strategist is?”
The words Eleanor said seemed to be directed to herself.
Regis fell into deep thoughts after hearing this.
He then drank his wine in a shot.
“... … Indeed… There’s no one that is omniscient, we can only react to changes now.”
“Well, that’s right. That reminds me, Regis.”
“How about 10 times your salary? Think about it.”
“Ha,haha… If this goes on, Her Highness Argentina will be angry. Well, it’s about time for me to go. The wine is very delicious, thank you.”
Regis moved towards the hall after bowing.
——The preparation I made should have been within Latreille’s calculation.
The role of a strategist is to prepare and predict what comes next. Hence, if we go on the offensive, we will not need to worry about losing due to being unable to come up with countermeasures. Before sending the troops, there is a need to prepare, consider, thinking in the enemies’ shoes, before there is any victim…
“I don’t know…”
This word is something I cannot say as a strategist.
10 o’clock in the night.
The banquet in the palace was still going on.
I’m sure it will only end the next morning.
Currently, Altina and Regis was with Clarisse in the room as they left the banquet at 8. There shouldn’t be any troubles tonight, Eric is also on alert too...
Regis continued to wear the ceremonial clothes and went to Latreille’s room alone.
——It’s as if I’m entering a tiger’s den.
The owner of the room was leaning against a chair that was covered in fine leather, his elbow was on top of the mahogany table.
His gleaming golden hair was swaying around
Hearing Regis entering, Latreille’s red eyes looked towards Regis.
“... Of course, I’m just a 5th grade admin officer. Not once have I thought I will get an audience with the commander-in-chief.”
“Germain told me that you think lightly of yourself.”
“My ability isn’t that good, I do not even know if I can accomplish the job Her Highness gave me. If the strategist is someone else who is more outstanding, I believe the situation now will be better.”
“For example, the incident in which Argentina attacked me?”
“... Please do not make this kind of joke.”
After yesterday night, Latreille should know Altina’s ambition.
After all, it was a loud declaration.
Even so, Regis was trying his best to hide Altina’s ambition.
Altina should have said this declaration at a more suitable timing and place.
On the table in front of Latreille was a chess set. Without saying anything, he moved the white pawn to d4.
“The idea of Argentina being my consort isn’t as bad as I imagined. That girl should have considered before… … Unless you are planning to invade the capital with the border’s regiment?”
Finishing his words, Latreille signaled to Regis to move.
Regis moved the black pawn to d5.
“Of course not, we never once thought of attacking the capital.”
“Originally, I won’t think of that too, but there are always unexpected incidents.”
“... It won’t happen.”
Although Regis denied Latreille’s conjecture, he still felt a little uneasy.
Altina whose ambition was to become the ruler won her authority at the borders by defeating Jerome who was the former commander.
Following that was the invasion by the barbarians. Due to the need for military strength, they formed diplomatic relation with the barbarians.
Once that was settled, an unreasonable order came from capital, ordering them to capture Volk Fortress.
Compared to before, Altina’s forces was greatly strengthened. Did Altina not once harbour thoughts of attacking the capital?
Latreille then moved his knight to f3, while the Regis moved his knight to f6.
Regis shook his head to shake off that thought.
Because a war will result in many people dying, Altina definitely will not want to see that happen.
“Her Highness does not wish for a civil war.”
Clack, clack. The blunt sound was resounding again
Both sides were positioning their pieces.
“The Beilschmidt border regiment had always been obeying the order from the capital, isn’t it?”
“If I knew that there is a strategist like you there, I would not have used this method.”
“... Is it fine to say that out loud?”
“What do you think about it?”
Latreille revealed a grin.
Hearing this, Regis’ hand trembled and dropped the bishop in his hand.
“W,what do you mean?”
“Using Volk Fortress as a base, the Beilschmidt border regiment ignored the protocol of the empire and increased their military forces without authorization. Argentina who gained more power returned triumphantly to the capital and discussed military affairs with me. What she was advocating was pulling back the front lines and cutting military budget.”
This was indeed part of what Regis planned.
Latreille’s queen managed to capture the black rook.
Regis seemed to groan a little.
If this goes on, it will be tough. However, if successful, it will change the tide of war.
Not only is it the time to go on the offensive, there’s also the need to come up with countermeasures against his tactics.
Regis moved his king to a position that was easy to protect.
“I can’t go against Her Highness’ decision.”
“I’m aware of Argentina wanting to change this nation. However, due to her being straightforward, once she has power, she will do things without consideration. However, I miscalculated as I never expected an outstanding strategist like you beside her.”
“... What are you trying to say.”
“The nosy nobles will not turn a blind eye to Argentina returning. Right now, the other forces are busy, should some unexpected event happen, she will be able to successfully increase her military strength.”
Regis being cautious, did not say anything.
The black bishop and knight was also captured. On the board, Regis’ pieces was getting lesser.
“As I thought, it’s because Argentina has you as strategist? Isn’t it better for you to come to my side?”
Latreille’s eyes were fixed on Regis.
As Regis was a soldier, he was in the control of the military. In the military, no one could oppose Latreille’s words.
Hence, they have the right to transfer an admin officer from the borders.
Regis muttered in his heart.
——I already predicted you will use this card, Your Highness Latreille.
“I’m not that fixated in the military as you think, Your Highness.”
“... If ordered to do something that I’m unwilling or uncomfortable with… I can always choose to quit, I’m not a prince nor a noble… I don’t have any family reputation or rules compelling me to stay in the military either.”
“I see, so you have that kind of position.”
“Yes, what the military rules means to me is just whether I can receive the scholarship from the Military Academy.”
“So it’s for the scholarship…”
To Regis who was not that well-connected, the system allowed him to borrow money for his living expense and school fees. However, he was not allowed to leave the military until he paid his debt.
To Regis who was not that well-connected, the system allowed him to borrow money for his living expense and school fees. However, he was not allowed to leave the military until he paid his debt.
“Actually, a lot of things happened, in the end, Her Highness loan me some money.”
“The money was loaned?”
“Yes, however, no matter what, I will repay the debt by working at Volk Fortress…”
This was from a book.
——"The heroic tales of Sylvania's attic hero" by Donatien Marqui Etna.
The story was about a soldier accomplishing great achievements by proposing tactics and married the princess in the end.
However, the servant who did the work was not the debt-filled commoner, but was a cat with boots that slept in the attic.
Latreille gave a wry smile.
“Indeed, if you aren’t a soldier, no matter what you do, I do not have power over you.”
“In that case, it’s possible for you to stay in the capital.”
“... I’m quite a coward, I’m afraid of how my current colleague will punish me.”
“I see, then I have nothing to say anymore.”
It seemed that Latreille gave up on recruiting Regis.
Moreover, on the chessboard, the black pieces were in an advantageous position, dividing the white pieces who were lured into two.
The situation was reversed, the black pieces occupied the centre of the board, surrounding the white king.
While Regis’ king was in a better position and unable to be surrounded.
Latreille looked at the board, his hand slowly stopped and was clenching his teeth.
“Erm… … … Well… It’s not a big deal.”
“It’s just a game.”
“An order will reach in a few days time, this is also what Argentina wanted —— Regis Auric will be promoted from 5th grade to 3rd grade admin officer.”
Hearing this, Regis swallowed the words that were about to come out.
It was within his expectations.
Although the promotion seemed too much, but there was no reason to decline.
The promotion meant that there was not only remuneration, there was also more responsibility. This was the same as a demotion, there was no rights to choose.
“I understand… I accept this promotion”
“Is there anything you are unsatisfied with?”
“If I want to continue being a soldier, I believe that this promotion does not fit my status…”
“If the nation’s 3rd grade admin officers and above are as outstanding as you, that will mean the Empire is filled with talents. That way, I will have more time to take an afternoon nap and play some chess.”
Regis was racking his brain in a panic.
Even though he won the chess match, Regis’ heart was still pounding fast. Just returning with the news of the promotion would be a loss for us.
I cannot just go offensive on just the chess.”
“... Your Highness Latreille, is it because of the princess that you are paying so much attention to me?”
“That’s also part of the reason, but the main reason is that once I become the emperor, having capable strategist serving me is a good thing. Otherwise, how can the nation win the war in the future?”
Regis’ confidence was shaken upon hearing these words.
It seemed like Latreille was absolutely confident about succeeding the throne.
Eleanor should be preparing now as well.
If there were no accidents, the numerous nobles who support Auguste would welcome the three days long anniversary.
Under the situation that the emperor had yet to name his successor, Latreille should not have those eyes of a winner.
“As I suspected… You have a countermeasure against the Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance. It may even be that those nobles supporting Prince Auguste is also part of your plan.”
“Eh~ What exactly is it?”
The neutrals who had some power joined Auguste’s faction.
More people were supporting the third faction, Altina’s faction.
Although there were still nobles that had yet to show allegiance, but it was lesser compared to before.
Regis reassessed the complicated situation.
The problem was what Latreille was plotting...
Regis could not find an answer no matter how he thought.
Latreille rang his handbell.
Germain opened the door from outside.
It seems that the time is up
Although I did not get the intelligence I wanted, there is still some gains. Both Latreille and Regis have this thinking.
“... As such, I got to go.”
“Okay, I will leave Argentina to you. She need to understand the nature of nation’s military and make a better choice.”
Those who surrendered to the Empire without any condition would be given a status befitting them.
However, once the war started, people who surrendered then will either be given a death sentence or exiled.
“... … I will tell her that for you.”
Regis left Latreille’s private room after bowing.
“Well, did you successfully persuade Sir Regis?”
After it was just the two of them, Germain who was beside Latreille asked that.
Latreille was still fiddling with the chess pieces on the board.
“Well, it’s as you said, he is quite clever, be it chess or his loyalty.”
“Yes, I heard from the juniors in the Military Academy that he is quite capable.”
“That I have experienced, however, it seems that he hasn’t notice our strategy and was probing me… Hahaha, I wonder who taught him that!”
Latreille revealed a smile after that.
This was an expression that even Germain who was his closest aide seldom saw.
“Ensure the communication line is maintained with the person at brother's side. Tomorrow morning, we will start our preparation in the capital.”
Latreille said this with confidence.
Germain put his hand on the table.
“Everything is proceeding smoothly, Your Highness Latreille.”
“Is that so?”
“Perhaps Milord is feeling uneasy?”
“... I do not deny that.”
“There will be no problem, please trust me.”
Hearing this, Latreille pressed his hand on top of Germain’s hand.
“Of course, I always trusted you.”
“I believe that for the nation’s future, Milord being the next emperor is required.”
“I’m made my resolve to do so.”
Germain firmly believed that only Latreille could save Belgaria which was on the verge of death.
Latreille was in a trance looking at the board, not saying anything.