Chapter 4 - The Silver princess
Editors: Skythewood, Darkdhaos, Ravenslither, Storm Loki
On the third day of the anniversary——
After a light breakfast, the silver-haired Auguste left his room to begin preparing for the banquet.
He wore his military uniform.
“... That… Do I need to act like a sick person?”
A tiny voice resounded.
Lilim, who was Auguste’s maid, turned her head.
“Of course, people will be suspicious if you are too lively.”
Lilim was an outstanding maid, however she looked like a child and was rather short. Auguste looked at her while making his bed.
Auguste sat like a girl, with his legs bent 90 degrees.
Eddie who just fixed his hair sat on the sofa, looking into the distance
“Isn’t it fine to be a bit lively? If we are to report to the emperor now, the chance of asking for the commander-in-chief position is higher if you look healthier.”
Auguste nodded and said.
Lilim raised her brows.
“Is that so? Shouldn’t one be more careful as the important day draws near?... It will be bad if someone sees through us.”
Auguste lowered his head.
Perhaps he was feeling nervous.
Eddie said confidently..
“There’s not going to be any problems, no one is going to notice it if it’s Felicia. After so long, she should be quite experienced, no?”
“... … Well… … Thank you, Eddie.”
The one who revealed a wry smile was Felicia, who was acting as Auguste now.
In other words, the person called Auguste here was actually his sister, 5th princess Felicia Six Celia de Belgaria.
This happened last July——
The real Auguste coughed blood while having his dinner, till now he had yet to wake up.
Auguste’s mother, Catherine, declared that it was a poisoning attempt. The imperial physician felt that the probability of poisoning was high after looking at Auguste.
Felicia was heartbroken and could not stop crying.
Catherine then ordered the physician.
“Remove Auguste’s clothes.”
*Sob* “... Yes mother, i,is there anything?”
“Put on Auguste’s clothes.”
“Eh? What are you saying?”
“Answer me loudly, do you not feel angry? To see the one who poisoned your brother sits on the throne, do you not hate Latreille?”
“Put on Auguste’s clothes immediately and temporarily announce that you are undergoing recuperation. Within that time, I will teach you how to act.”
Catherine was an actress before she became a concubine.
Due to Trouin House prestige, she was chosen to be the main lead and impressed the emperor with her acting skill.
Felicia used about two weeks to impersonate Auguste perfectly.
Only trustworthy attendants were carefully selected and educated thoroughly.
Felicia also chose an attendant born in the Hispania empire called Eliana.
Her eyes were like a pair of beautiful black pearls.
On the other hand, Felicia’s eyes were red, just like the other royalty.
Elaine disguised herself as Felicia, and used the excuse of contacting an eye disease to recuperate at House Trouin.
They were currently in a villa that was near the sea.
To see such a beautiful scenery was rare to most.
Six months had past since then.
Felicia stayed in the villa all the time as she was afraid that her identity would get exposed. It was akin to prison to her.
Then came Eddie who said “I will protect you”.
Felicia hugged Eddie..
It was as if Felicia had gotten more courageous from him.
With the help of the virtuous maid with a childlike appearance, Lilim, the work that the prince was supposed to do was settled with a rather good result.
After which, they initiated a visit to a woman from the southern Duke house ——Eleanor.
The New Nobles will support us if we promise to move the capital when we inherit the throne.
If we successfully obtain the throne, there will no longer be any fear of assassination.
At that point, we will be able to remove Latreille’s military authority.
Even Prince Auguste will have some ambition.
Felicia stared blankly into the mirror.
This room was like a cage. However, Felicia who was locked inside was unlike those weak characters portrayed in stories. Those who looked at her would think she was Belgaria’s first prince.
“I am…the first prince Carlos Liam Auguste de Belgaria… Lilim, your worries are unnecessary, I’m still required to act a bit sick.”
“Y,yes… Your Highness Auguste.”
Seeing Felicia acting like this, Eddie swallowed his saliva in fear.
Ever since young, the siblings relation was good, hence Felicia was clear about Auguste’s behaviour. Therefore, not many people could see the difference. Recently, her acting had reached the point that it was frightening.
“How frightening… It’s as if you are Auguste himself. What a superb acting skill.”
“Well… When we are at the venue, call me ‘Your Highness”, Eddie.”
Regis was changing his clothes at the designated room.
Nothing happened for the past few there, nor was there any decisive information.
Hence, the third day approached.
“... In the end, I still can’t find the last piece to the puzzle.”
“Is this also Latreille’s scheme?”
For some unknown reason, Eric’s back was facing Regis and his face that was slightly turned to the side was red.
That reminds me, I have never seen Eric changing in front of others.
He always said that he is going to wipe his body, hence going to the room. When he came out, he already changed.
Moreover, whenever Regis changed in front of him, he would avert his gaze.
Although I’ll be troubled if he stares at me, but this is way too strange.
“Eric… Are you perhaps…”
“Erm… There’s a chance that prince Auguste isn’t a male.”
“... What make you think that way?”
“Ah, no. Although I have no evidence, but…”
“... An imperial physician will confirm the gender when a royalty was born. Moreover, physicians from the queen’s faction and the neutral faction were also there, so there shouldn’t be any mistake.”
“However, it only happens when he was born. Right now, prince Auguste gender is being questioned.”
“... I’m not very clear about what Auguste did. H,however, Altina said that something is weird regarding him.”
Was it from that time?——
Altina revealed a puzzled look that time
“Haven't you become smaller?”
“H,how is that even possible! How unreasonable.”
“Also, your voice seems higher pitched.”
Eddie answered this for Auguste.
“That, Argentina… After Auguste had fallen sick, a lot of things happened.”
Regis hung the golden accessory on his chest.
“Compared to Altina and Auguste, I’m more interested in the actions of the bodyguard Eddie.”
“If that Auguste is the real one, then the bodyguard will not need to separate them, no?”
Eric suddenly turned pale.
Regis hung his sword at the waist.
“... Did you notice anything?”
“That… the sword is in the wrong direction, it should be slightly above the side of the body.”
Regis quickly corrected it.
Eric slowly moved away from the chair.
“Well… … As a commoner, you are quite knowledgeable about the nobles. In that case, do you know what will happen if a house does not have any male heir?”
“...That, is it related to the Blanchard house? Or is it someone else?”
Eric thought for awhile before shifting his eyes away.
“In general, what do you think will happen?”
“In that case… I know these rules because I’m an admin officer. If it is a girl, it’s likely that she will be married to the second or third child of other houses.”
“Although it’s them entering the house, but a house tradition and custom is decided by the man of the house. Even if there’s a heir, they can’t inherit their tradition, so their bloodline practically ended.”
“Someone at a certain place disagree with this and does not wish for such thing to happen.”
Eric had already made his words clear as he said it without hesitation. Looks like he have his own troubles too.
“... Well… Is this related to someone you know?”
“Yes… … Someone that I’m familiar with… Precisely because of that, I believe that I should understand what will happen if such things occurs.”
There was sweat at the agitated Eric’s neck.
I roughly understand what he meant.”
Inside of his brain, Regis dug out a book he once read.
Regis understood why Eric was so bothered after meeting Auguste.
“... I see, so it’s someone else.”
In Belgaria, there were many kinds of people living here.
However, only the royalty have ruby pupils.
At the very least, Regis did not see anyone else having red pupils. There were rumours about non-royalty having red pupil, but it was quickly proven to be a gimmick.
Eric adjusted his uniform at the chest area
His smooth throat could be seen clearly.
“Looks like such gender issues happen everywhere.”
“Nn… That’s true... Prince Auguste has been sick for 23 years, and yet, after vomiting blood and collapsing, he recovered in half year to the point of handling government affairs without any problem, isn't that a little weird?
“Although some say that the royalty have a better recovery ability. When Altina fractured her wrist, the doctor said it will take three month to recover, but...
Regis was looking through the bookcase for an answer inside his brain.
Among the innumerous stories related to the palace, where are the stories similar to this...
“... … Ah, So that’s the case.”
Regis nodded his head as he was sure of it. Hence he lay a piece of paper on the table, it was a letter.
Regis was immersed in his book as Eric’s words was not reaching him.
“... Rumours about some royalty being a fake are not rare. However, if such things are true, there are too little benefits… Well, even if stories related to the palace are rare, there should be one or two such incidents.”
Regis took out ink and quill pen and began writing.
Eric seemed to relax a little.
“If it’s Regis, no matter what happens, there’s a feeling that you will do something about it. How remarkable.”
“I just happen to know… However, it will be funny if the emperor decides to name his successor on a whim during the banquet tonight. If that happens, the schemes that each faction came up with will burst like a bubble.”
“Indeed, that will be intriguing then.”
“... … This will feel like a bad comedy in which people will not be able to laugh. After all, it is a political struggle.”
Regis finished writing the letter.
“Is there anything wrong?”
“I will leave the preparation here to you. Also, please pass that letter to Abidal Evra who is outside the palace, it is essential to my plan.”
“... … I’m sorry, the plan this time cannot be changed. Hence, don’t die.”
“I understand, I will come back alive.”
Their next meeting could be in Sierck fortress, hence they both gave a wry smile.
Following that, Regis synchronised his watch with the clock on the wall.
“Looks like there’s still plenty of time… There’s no need to panic now.”
Regis sat on a chair and began reading. This was how he spent his time while waiting for Altina to finish her make-up.
“You look quite confident, Regis.”
“Your words are too exaggerated. I have been thinking all the time that I haven’t packed anything. This book originally is to be kept away, but I took it out to read.”
Eric put the letter inside an envelope and kept it properly.
After that, he checked his clothes before heading out.
“Ahh… Right, Eric.”
“That… about the girl that was mentioned just now…”
“I,is there anything about it?”
Eric replied while feeling uneasy.
Although nothing was mentioned, the Eric was restless.
Although Regis understood this, this was still unexpected news for him. However, he was not a blabbermouth.
“... Although it’s your acquaintance's problem... … Considering that even marrying to other nobles is not going to help her… … Isn't marrying someone that respect her and her family tradition another option?”
Regis said while looking at Eric.
Eric’s hand which was about to open the door stopped.
“I,is that so… If there is someone like that, I will definitely grasp the opportunity.”
“Someone that respect traditions and willingly to marry into the house… Moreover, grandparents will not object this… If there’s really someone like that…“
“Think about it once the mission is successful.”
“I will, Regis!”
Eric gazed at Regis with warm eyes.
Does Regis know about it? Having such thoughts, Eric felt like probing Regis out.
One hour later ——
The banquet was about to start immediately.
Regis, Altina and one more person was going to a certain room.
“I hope that they haven’t left yet…”
“We will know once we knock on the door.”
Altina who answered knocked on the door without any hesitation.
——Well, it will be weird if she hesitated in going to her brother’s room.
Regis despised himself for having having such thoughts because they were entering a royalty’s room.
After waiting for awhile.
There was no response.
“They have already left?”
“If that’s the case, won’t it be troublesome if you discuss this at the banquet?”
Just as he finished his sentence, the door opened.
The person who looked out was Eddie.
“What, it’s just you, Argentina. For a second I thought it was bandits again.”
“It’s impossible for a robbery to occur in the palace, okay? Well, in a sense, there are people that are no different from bandits.”
“What do you mean?”
“Auguste is inside, right? Let’s talk inside the room.”
After considering the situation, Eddie let Altina and the rest enter.
The interior of the room was not only vast, but also beautiful. It was even possible to host a small banquet here.
Dressing table, work desk and sofa, it was well furnished.
There was a door inside that lead to the next room. This design was the same as Altina’s room, hence that should be the bedroom.
Inside the room was Eddie in his military uniform, equipped with Defendre Sept and a young maid.
And of course, Auguste who was in his ceremonial clothes.
“Argentina, do you have any business with me?”
“I came precisely because I have business with you.”
Aside from Regis and Altina who came here, there was still someone with a cloth cap covering the face, making them unable to recognise the person.
Auguste and the rest were also aware of this person.
Auguste glared at them.
“Although we are siblings… … However, for you to have the guts to hide your face with the cap, isn’t it a bit disrespectful in front of a royalty?”
“You can remove it now. I only met this person on the way here, I brought her here because I have never seen her once in the palace. You should understand this quite clear.”
Altina reached for that person’s cap and slowly removed it.
Regis was at one corner observing Auguste’s expression.
Auguste, Eddie and the maid was looking at that person closely.
The hair that was hidden by the cap was revealed.
What was revealed was locks of beautiful silver hair.
What was hidden behind the cap was a young girl with beautiful silver hair reaching to her chest.
The girl’s eye area was bandaged.
Because she was looking down, one could only see her hair, but not her expression.
Auguste swallowed his saliva.
Eddie looked at Auguste with unease.
The maid was watching Regis carefully.
Their reaction is just as I expected.
At this point, Regis began to talk.
“... … This person claimed to be the 5th princess Felicia Six Celia de Belgaria that is supposed to be at the Trouin House’s villa recuperating. For some reason, I feel that she and princess Felicia are two different people.”
At this point, this person with her eyes covered was slowly bending her knee. Her shoulders were shaking, saying something in a timid voice.
“P,please forgive me, I was unable to do anything”
Eddie’s right hand reached for his sword
Altina also reacted by extending her right hand, however she was wearing the clothes for banquet tonight.
Hence she reached for the sword at Regis’ waist.
“Eddie, are you intending to draw the sword in the palace?”
“To actually hear something decent like this from you, Argentina.”
“I’m always growing.”
“... … Everyone, please calm down.”
It would be troublesome if Altina and Eddie began fighting. That way, they would not be able to achieve their objective, nor would the victory bring them any benefits.
Regis’ sword was a normal sword from the military, compared to Eddie’s Defendre Sept, it would break after one clash.
Before this tension intensified, Regis looked for Auguste.
“... Does Your Highness think that this girl here is Felicia?”
Auguste lowered his head to look at the person that claimed to be Felicia.
While Regis nodded and said.
“She is princess Felicia after all?”
Felicia who was acting as Auguste paled.
Eddie was gritting his teeth.
At this moment, the maid moved in front of Regis and the rest.
“What is your motive?”
“... You are?”
“I’m His Highness’ maid, Lilim.”
To be able to speak firmly under such situation.
So that’s it, Regis thought.
“... Based on my investigation, be it prince Auguste or princess Felicia, they both do not have much interests in politics and economics. Sir Eddie is the same, he always stayed by the princess side. However, recently, prince Auguste managed to solve all troublesome work beautifully.”
As Regis was talking, he looked at the maid.
Brown skin with black hair tied into a knot at the back.
The black eyes that was mixed with some red glared at Regis without fear.
“... You are the advisor, right?”
“Looks like I have no other option after what you said. Indeed, when there are troubles, I will help out.”
“... I have also looked into the details of prince Auguste. No matter how tough the problem was, it will always be settled. To think that it was actually a young girl, how remarkable.”
“Ha?! Nothing will come out of praising me.”
Lilim’s face was red.
“My apologies for saying such impetuous words.”
Regis signalled the girl by putting his hand on her
“It’s fine now.”
“Ara, it just ended like this?”
“... What a superb acting skill. Originally, you were suppose to just kneel down without saying anything.”
“Ara ara, is that so?”
The girl removed the bandage on her eyes and the wig.
The girl in front of them right now was someone with brown eyes and hair.
She bowed politely once more, different from her previous attitude.
“I’m Her Highness Marie Quatre Argentina de Belgaria’s maid, Clarisse. I’m prepared for the consequences for my brazen actions earlier.”
Felicia was momentarily speechless.
Regis lowered his head.
“My apologies for shocking you. Please forgive us for our action, as there’s a reason behind it.”
“You… What are you scheming?"
Felicia asked with a flustered and confused look.
Altina, Eddie and Lilim looked at Regis.
“... I believe that these advantageous position you believe you are holding are within prince Latreille’s scheme.”
Felicia was agitated after hearing this, only to calm down after some time.
Eddie tilted his head.
“Well, um, that is, what is going on, Argentina?”
“Eddie, you aren’t that smart since long ago~”
“Are you trying to say that I’m dumb?”
“I wonder~ You see, even I understand after hearing that just now.”
Putting aside Eddie, Regis’ shoulder dropped.
“If you just explain it properly…”
However, Lilim was pointing at Clarisse and said,
“In other words, Latreille is aware that Her Highness Felicia was acting as prince Auguste all along. Moreover, it is due to a certain silver-haired person telling him.”
“No… not just anyone… Do you not think of the person acting as Felicia leaked this??”
“Impossible! Eliana should still be in the villa!”
“Anyone can just research a little and know Her Highness Felicia’s home. Even the eye disease that requires the victim to bandage the eyes have been reported in the weekly news for the past few years. Even the books that the royalty collect have it… Just that they do not know who was the one acting as Felicia.”
“Eh? It’s recorded in the book?”
“If you go to the bookshops in the capital, there will be plenty of them.”
Lilim shaked her head and said,
“Even so, why are you so sure this is part of Latreille’s scheme? What if this isn’t his scheme? Perhaps Latreille isn’t aware of this at all, am I wrong?”
Of course, everything was only a possibility
However, evidence said otherwise.
“...The old nobles govern the western area of the empire, hence the west has no civil war and is quite stable. However, the second army was sent there, although it’s not the first army, it is strong enough to suppress a massive civil war… Prince Latreille’s aide, Germain’s brothers, brothers of the Beaumarchais House, are the commanders of the second army.
“It could be just a coincidence?”
“Furthermore, the Trouin family did not attend the banquet for the past two days. Right, perhaps they were delayed by some event? For example, having their mansion surrounded by the second army and such.”
“How is that possible?!”
Felicia who had listened closely to the conversation since the start began to crying. Anyone who saw this would feel heartbroken too.
Even so, it’s inevitable since it’s part of the plan.
“... I have checked the namelist, the Trouin house indicated that they will attend on the first day. You can send someone to contact them to check whether I’m lying or not.”
Lilim sighed like a child.
“It’s impossible to contact them, because reaching the Trouin house will require at least 10 days.”
“What about the 2nd concubine?”
“The 2nd concubine had returned to the main house, she originally indicated that she will attend this anniversary festival.”
“... … Doesn’t that mean that she wasn’t here for the 6th concubine wedding?”
Altina suddenly shouted upon hearing this.
“That’s apparent! Even if he’s the emperor, to marry another woman, how is it possible for her to congrats him!!”
Felicia and Clarisse also nodded in agreement.
Although these words were not directed at Regis and Eddie, the males here were also taken back by their responses.
“T,that… In any case… Something happened to the Trouin house. Isn’t it too naive for you to continue thinking that the second army isn’t part of Latreille’s scheme?”
Lilim drooped her shoulders.
“Be it the movement of the 2nd army or the commanders of the army that are under prince Latreille, I am not even aware of it.”
“... That can’t be help, this is something only those who belong to the military will know.”
“I understand. I will assume that prince Latreille is aware of Prince Auguste’s true identity”
“... … Even before this, it is likely that Latreille is already aware of this. During that time when Argentina met you in the capital, she already felt something is off.”
Felicia looked at Altina with a face that was teary eyes.
Altina confirmed with a nod.
“Well, it might be wrong to speak ill of Auguste who had apparently passed on, but his personality is actually quite twisted. He always called me as ‘child of that commoner’.”
“H,how is that possible… Elder brother, he…”
“That started since young? However, as he grew up, he stopped using that. However, because of that reason, never once did I call him elder brother.”
Remembering that time when they coincidentally met——
Altina waved to her brother and said,
“Elder brother, see you later during dinner.”
“Nn, be careful.”
Auguste nodded his head.
The two sides walked pass each other.
Towards the unusual way of calling, Auguste did not seem to have any reaction at all.
“I won’t believe it if someone else said it. I only began to suspect when Regis told me that someone else might be impersonating Auguste.”
“I,is that so… …we never seem to play together at all, hence I wasn’t aware of it…”
Felicia said while her face was still full of tears.
Altina gently stroked Felicia’s silver hair and said,
“Well, I always see you in the house… … I’m sorry, I should have played with you in the house that time.”
Eddie also began reminiscencing. After some time, he suddenly slammed his fist on his palm.
“Ahh, that reminds me, you really never called him ‘elder brother’ before.”
“Eddie is really slow!”
Lilim commented, causing the despondent Eddie to put his hand on his knee.
Altina waved and said,
“It can’t be help. After all, Eddie is more dumb than me.”
“Ku~... … I’m unable to refute that this time!”
Regis pulled them back to the topic
“... … In any case, Latreille is already aware that this Auguste is a fake for quite some time. However, no one will believe him without any evidence. Moreover, they have plenty of ways to leave the palace by making use of his disease as an excuse.”
“If such a thing really happened, I would have done exactly that.”
If he just escaped like this and waited till the emperor died, Auguste would inherit the throne due to the order of succession.
“... To Latreille, evidence is necessary. On the other hand, having evidence to prove that this Auguste is a fake, it will become his trump card. He will definitely use this trump card at the appropriate time to gain the maximum benefits… And the best time to use it is the banquet tonight.”
“How frustrating, but… As expected of him… “
“... I feel that Latreille is just plain greedy and ambitious.”
“I,is that so?”
Towards Felicia’s suspicion, Regis could only nod his head.
“”Latreille not only has the trump card of exposing your true identity, he is also finding ways to eliminate the neutrals. By guiding the most powerful new nobles in the southern region, he's changing the 1st faction that supports prince Auguste.
Felicia cried out aloud as she finally realised how frightening Latreille was.
Lilim muttered sullenly.
“Damn, if her identity is to be revealed, we will lose the power to fight against Latreille.”
Eddie suddenly walked over.
“There are no other options if that is the case. Latreille’s chance of winning in a war is quite high. More importantly, if your identity is exposed, you will be hanged for impersonating Auguste. If you want to escape, it has to be now.”
“Why are you stopping me? Do you not care what will happen to Felicia?”
“Even if you escape now, you will still be captured by the imperial soldiers and dealt as criminals.”
Eddie used his right hand to hold his sword.
“What about it? No matter who comes after us, I will protect Felicia. I will fulfil this promise!”
Felicia’s became red in an instant.
Altina and Lilim who were watching also blushed due to being embarrassed, while Clarisse only smiled.
To elope for love...
It’s a common plot in novels, however this must not happen.
Regis shook his head and said,
“... … If you are already resolved to escape, why not gamble on my strategy? Perhaps the outcome might be favourable to us.”
“Your strategy, is it?”
Eddie’s hand slowly moved away from his sword.
While Lilim closed in.
“Is this strategy better than escaping?”
Regis looked towards the princess.
Here is the crucial part.
“... … Princess Felicia… … Do you not want to avenge your brother over the poisoning incident? Are you fine with letting the mastermind, Latreille, to just sit on the throne like this?”
The confused young girl in front of Regis nodded.
“Then what should I do?”
“I've been waiting for you to say that.”
Regis seemed like he had overcome an obstacle, revealing a smile.
Altina and Clarisse looked at each other
“... Hey, don’t you think that Regis’ face suddenly darkened? To actually show a sinister smile.”
“Your Highness, men always deceive women like this.”
“... It feels, terrifying.”
“... Indeed, in the end, the princess should just trust me, my princess~”
Before the princess was enveloped by the curse-like chant, Regis deliberately coughed.
That, Ms Clarisse, I feel like saying that I’m just doing a normal deal.
“It’s about time to explain the strategy.”
Altina suddenly straighten her posture.
On the other hand, Clarisse was smiling and withdrew from the crowd.
Regis began to explain his points to the 4 people.
The music that signaled that the banquet started could be heard from far.
“His Royal Highness, 1st prince of Belgaria, Carlos Liam Auguste de Belgaria, Her Royal Highness, 4th princess of Belgaria, Marie Quatre Argentina de Belgaria~”
The old butler announced.
The noisy hall was filled with nobles dressed in black.
Eddie and Regis also entered.
It was a strange sight to the nobles to see Auguste having an aura different from usual and Altina who stood beside him as if it was normal.
In front of Felicia who was acting as Auguste was Latreille.
Latreille noticed her and walked over while revealing a face as if he had won.
“Dear brother, are you feeling better?”
“The temperature today is fine, I’m feeling pretty good, Latreille.”
“Haha, that’s good then.”
Latreille should know that the one in front of him was actually Felicia. His conversation just now was a bit forced.
On the other hand, Altina who was beside them said softly,
“As I suspect, this style doesn’t fit you at all, Latreille.”
“Hey, Latreille… … Did you really do something that you shouldn’t in my meal during last July?”
Altina looked at Latreille seriously.
Her fiery red hair and crimson eyes seemed to be emanating pressure.
Latreille was only silent.
“... These kind of people only believe that they are right. No matter how I explain, you’re most likely not going to change your opinion.”
“You only need to answer with a yes or no, you twisted man.”
“Well, you two are the only people that dare to criticise me like this.”
“Oh, is that so? I think that they also agree with us, just that they did not say it out.”
Auguste sarcastically remarked.
“As a royalty, those useless people’s evaluation means nothing to me. To not even understand this, how dumb.”
“Hmm, shouldn't we treat all who give us advise equally?”
Latreille tilted his glass slightly.
Altina raised her brows and said.
“Well~ My subordinate once told me that I’m reckless, imprudent, short tempered and thoughtlessness.”
The two princes had faces of disbelief. Well, one of them was a princess.
“Is that perhaps, Sir Jerome?”
Latreille asked, however, Altina shook her head.
“Ever since Jerome lost to me in a duel, I never heard him saying anything bad about me anymore. However, Regis kept saying it without any reservation.”
“So it’s that strategist.”
Latreille shifted his sight to a corner of the hall. Regis was talking to a beauty dressed in black dress at that corner.
Auguste revealed a look of unease.
“He, should just be commoner, right?”
“I think so.”
“Is he not afraid of receiving punishment for insulting a royalty?”
“I’m not sure, however, isn’t it fine this way?”
Latreille and Auguste showed a bewildered face.
“Maintaining strict discipline is the duty of the commander.”
“Love really is blind…”
“Eh!? Not that, what I’m trying to say is… … “
As Altina did not expect an attack from both of them, she seemed to be flustered.
Regis walked over with a glass of white wine in his hand.
“Oh, it’s you, Regis. Have you decided to come to my side?”
Eleanor slightly raised her glass of red wine and said. She was currently wearing a low-cut
Underneath the black dress was her pure white skin, her cleavage was also emphasised.
Regis shifted his gaze away forcibly and leaned his back against the wall before talking.
“... … As of right now, there’s no consideration for that.”
“However, perhaps your decision may change tomorrow. Soon, the 6th concubine will make her appearance.”
“... It seems that the ceremony’s department staffs are quite talkative.”
The queen has already appeared, the fight over who is the main wife is about to start. The queen should be moody now. That was as far as the intelligence could bring Regis to.
Eleanor sipped her wine.
The glass was stained with her red lipstick.
“Fufu, compared to our last meeting, my charisma has increase about 3 times.”
“The you right now is very charming.”
“Still, it seems that I’m no match for Her Highness Marie Quatre. After all, younger is better.”
“N,no, that isn’t the problem… I never looked at Her Highness in that way.”
“However, that princess thinks otherwise.”
“What do you mean?”
“Ahh~ I can’t wait to be with Regis tonight, that’s what I mean?”
“... … You mean chatting through the night? Indeed, I always fall asleep on the table… … Well, forget it. Right, it’s about the speech last time, is it possible to change the script a little?”
“Oya? To change my script?”
“... Er, how do I say it… There’s no need to edit your script, now, the best way is for you to follow my script.”
The smile on Eleanor’s face vanished.
What replaced the smile was a sharp gaze, causing Regis to perspire.
“What have you done, Regis.”
“... … Do you still remember the words that day? ‘If tricked, you just need to trick them back. You will lose once you’re unable to come up with a countermeasure’?”
“I’m sorry… That was a lie, if I was tricked, I will plan for a withdrawal.”
Regis slowly tilted his glass, drinking the white wine.
Even though it was not hot, Regis was drenched in sweat. If what he wore was not the military ceremonial clothes with accessories hanging all over him, he would have used his sleeve to wipe his sweat.
Regis looked at the stage.
“If it’s me… … Before preparing anything, I will think in the shoe of my opponents.”
“Fufu, to prepare your strategy after predicting your opponent’s move. It seems that you are rather good at it.”
“... … However, because of this, I’m unable to come up with a strategy if I can’t predict my opponent. In other words, predicting others is the role of a strategist. Even so, just predicting isn’t enough, it’s still a dead end if they cannot come up with a countermeasure.”
“So you mean that we merchants don't stake our lives?
“That isn’t what I mean… … The Tiraso Laverde House is quite famous in the world of business, hence you will understand how to gain by judging the profits and losses. Success and failure will determine your business, no? Till now, how many times have you encountered a failure that will result in you unable to make a come back and will also endanger your life?"
“Are you trying to fool me? You are still too young, Regis.”
Although Eleanor said it calmly, her face showed that she was impatient.
Her eyes glared at Regis, causing his feet to curl up.
Regis felt the same as encountering the wolf in the winter that time.
I see, so that’s how she got the nickname ‘Vixen of the South.”
Angering her was not Regis’ purpose. Leaving aside this, her assistance is required in the future. Hence, it’s necessary to come clean with her.
“... … … Following, I will come clean with you as a compensation for lying to you that time.”
“I accept your sincerity, however, do not take me as a fool. Speak, Regis, what did you do?”
“... … Eleanor, do you have a sense of dissonance regarding prince Auguste?”
It seems that there’s no meaning to beat around the bush.
It’s better to say it directly.
“The real identity of the prince Auguste… is actually Her Highness Felicia.”
Eleanor involuntarily shouted.
Her eyes followed Regis closely.
The red liquid inside the glass was shaking in her hand.
“... Seeing this reaction, it seems that you are not aware of this. Not only this, the chances of prince Latreille having evidence to prove this is high.”
“No, that shouldn’t be. If prince Latreille really had evidence, he will already present it to eliminate him.”
“His goal is to make use of this trump card by causing the neutrals to quit Auguste’s camp. Hence, he is waiting for a situation where Auguste cannot escape nor justify himself. In other words, the timing is today, before the emperor…”
It seems Eleanor never thought that she was also a target
After the bad news, it’s time to give her some hope.
“Regis, you know about this?”
“It was this morning that I’m completely aware of this, with the help of my comrades.”
Eleanor suddenly staggered
Regis used his shoulder to support Eleanor and took her glass in a hurry.
“A,are you alright?”
“... How foolish… There’s no way I would be fine.”
“I will bring a chair over.”
Regis supported Eleanor to a waiter and asked “This person is drunk, is there a chair around?” Under the guidance of the waiter, they soon found a place to sit.
The two of them were resting on a couch at a corner.
As it was still early, the other couches were empty.
Eleanor was leaning against the seat while Regis was sitting on the couch next to her
Eleanor wore a silk glove, her hand was trembling. After some time, she clenched her hands tightly.
“This news… How am I going to explain to the nobles in the alliance and those who conduct business with us? Right now, we are opponents with Latreille… If he becomes the emperor, all of them will lose their standing. It will result in a big loss for them. No, it might even be worse than that.”
“... That will not happen.”
“Do not comfort me.”
“No, really, because I’m aware of this scheme.”
“... Because I know it, I have an countermeasure for it. If you are willing to help me, I’m certain that it will work.”
Her breathe slowly returned to normal.
Her hands also stop trembling.
“Even when the prince is a fake and the opponent has evidence, even so, Regis, you have a countermeasure for it?”
“Erm, strictly speaking… it’s because of such situation that I have a countermeasure.”
Actually, I just read before about such situations in books.
Eleanor’s eyes were set on Regis.
“Those words are not just to fool me, right?”
“... Of course not, I will tell you my countermeasure. To me, your assistance is required. Hence, Eleanor, you are required to know my strategy.”
After confirming that there was no one around, Regis told Eleanor about the plan.
It’s not a complicated plan anyway.
On most part, it’s the same as what I told Auguste, Altina and the rest.
However, it’s necessary for the alliance to declare to others. Hence, contacting Eleanor and her grandfather is essential.
As Eleanor listened, she seemed to be relieved.
When Regis finished explaining, Eleanor was deep in thought.
She should be considering the feasibility of the plan.
“Well, looks like it’s a concrete plan. There’s nothing to be supplemented.”
“... … If I’m aware of this earlier, I should be able to come up with a more suitable plan. No matter what, the prelude to the show has already began.”
“I see, so this is what you mean by the ‘role of a strategy’. Indeed, If it was me, I will have no countermeasure.”
“Although it’s not what I originally want, I will be troubled if prince Latreille is to win.”
“Well, I understand, I will aid you. However, there’s something that needs to be changed.”
“My grandfather in this aspect is not up to standard. He is desire-free, kind and somewhat timid.”
According to Regis’ script, the plan was to let Eleanor convince her grandfather to do the act.
“... Don’t tell me that you are going to do it personally?”
“That’s what I intend to do.”
Eleanor closed her eyes and seemed to be thinking about something.
Don’t tell me that she is considering another plan? Regis felt uneasy after such thoughts.
After a while, Eleanor opened her eyes and brought her face closer to Regis.
Regis was surprised by her action.
Before Regis could react, a beautiful white hand closed off his escape route.
“W,what are you trying to do?... ”
“Well, I’m not obedient to the point I will just do your bidding. No matter what, I’m a ‘vixen’.”
Eleanor used her other hand to caress Regis’ cheek.
“T,that… … There’s people watching.”
“Let them watch.”
“B,but I will be troubled by it.”
“Your plan will also succeed even without our help, right? I’m thankful that you came to tell us that. In the future, the Alliance will become the foundation of the 4th princess power. Hey, do you think the old western nobles will just retire from the chessboard?”
“I do not deny it.”
“You will be looked down if you do not accept a woman invitation.”
Regis panicked at this situation from an erotic novel that fell over the chessboard.
"Leave everything to me."
Eleanor leaned her body on Regis.
Eleanor then kissed on Regis’ cheek, near his lips.
He sounded like a timid mouse.
After a kiss, Eleanor swiftly removed her face. Her face was like when a fox was chasing a prey. She then shifted her sight to the hall.
Regis followed Eleanor and shifted his sight to the hall.
Altina seemed to be shocked seeing this while Felicia was red in the face.
The other nobles were also looking over here with curiosity.
Regis was a soldier with a commoner status. On the other hand, Eleanor was not only a maiden from a Duke house, but she was also married. These two people kissed in the public.
Eleanor licked her lips.
“Fufu, it’s just the cheek. The lips will be the final attack, Regis.”
Regis did not do any strenuous action, yet he also felt the same as when he ran from the bottom of the Volk Fortress to the highest floor. His heart was beating furiously.
“Haa… Haa… I do not understand what are you thinking, totally do not understand…”
“You look as timid as a rabbit, how cute.”
“Eleanor, what are you thinking…”
“They are coming”
Eleanor looked at the stage.
The grand music sounded loudly.
The old butler announced loudly.
“His Majesty, Emperor of Belgaria, Liam Fernandi de Belgaria and Her Highness, the 6th concubine, Johaprecia Octovia Fon Estaburg~”
Sound of applause resounded in the room.
Regis’ body stiffen.
This title, how many times has it appeared in stories, how many times have I heard it in conversation.
Belgaria, Emperor ——
The atmosphere right now was not the same as when they were watching a parade, but was as if they were listening to a speech.
Now, Regis was attending the same party as his majesty.
The emperor wore a red costume and slowly approached the throne to sit on it, he was a wrinkled old man with grey hair.
The young sixth concubine sat carefully on the seat next to him, her clothes were so dazzling that she seemed to be wearing jewels rather than clothes.
The emperor sat down.
There were no soldiers guarding him.
One could approach him without being arrested.
Regis stood up from the sofa immediately, and got in line with the nobles that wanted to greet the emperor and congratulate his health and the empire's anniversary.
Regis had a wry smile just thinking about it.
He, a commoner...
Was going to congratulate the emperor for his health and for the empire’s anniversary?
His head started to heat up and he cooled it down with his reason.
He couldn’t be swallowed by the atmosphere.
He was doing his job as Altina’s strategist in order to take that emperor’s throne.
He took a deep breath.
“Huhu, don’t play dumb Regis.”
Eleanor poked the edge of her lips with the fingertip.
When he noticed the meaning of the gesture, Regis wiped his cheek hurriedly.
His hand was stained with a dark red color.
“Uaa… So you really did it, I don’t understand you at all miss Eleanor.”
“Huhu, because of your strategy, I have to stand before that cunning old fox and that young lion. It’s enough or would you like some more?”
A real battle doesn’t go like chess.
The power struggles in the court are the same too.
Eleanor went ahead through the assembly hall like a soldier going to the front.
She didn’t look back anymore.
In the stead of the emperor who couldn’t raise his voice, the ceremony’s minister read loudly.
The emperor who was sitting on his throne raised his golden glass.
The nobles also raised their glass and shouted.
Long life to the Belgaria empire——
After that, they drank from their glass.
One by one, the nobles went on the stage to congratulate the emperor’s health and the anniversary of the empire.
It should have been a first come first serve basis, however, the powerful nobles just cut the queue like it was normal. The staffs from the ceremony’s department did their best to maintain order, but there were conflicts from both sides.
After the greetings and congratulations——
On the stage was Felicia disguised as Auguste.
Eddie was beside her.
At the side of the stage, Altina and Eleanor seemed to be talking over something.
Should I go over and check what they are discussing about? Regis was very worried—— to the point that he forgotten the lipstick stain was still on his cheek.
On the other side of the stage was Latreille and the rest. Beside Latreille were Germain and two other soldiers. They should be Germain’s brothers.
Beside Latreille was a woman dressed in white robe.
This person appearance was like when Clarisse was impersonating Felicia, just that she slightly shorter. Her actions also seemed weird, she should be the real impersonator.
Her name should be Eliane.
If Latreille was to put her on the stage, then Auguste will not be able to prove his innocence.
In the worst scenario—— the old western nobles and the New Nobles from the Alliance will lose their prestige and power, Latreille will be able to gradually ascend the throne.
This should be the so-called trump card of his.
The hall was surrounded tightly by the imperial guards. Using force here seemed to be impossible.
Unless Latreille chose not to use this card, there was no way Regis and the others could make it through this.
Auguste greeted the emperor on the stage.
“Father’s health is the thing most worth celebrating in this year anniversary.”
“Well, that’s right.”
The emperor nodded and said.
Before this was the nobles greetings. the emperor seemed to be just nodding his head. However, it seemed that the first prince was special as expected.
Auguste’s voice became more stiff due to nervousness.
“I have a request today, with the nobles here as witnesses.”
Once the emperor spoke, the whole hall fell into silence.
It was so quiet that one could hear his own heartbeat.
At this moment, Regis’ heart was beating furiously.
According to the original plan, this should be the moment where Auguste reports his recovery to the emperor and asks for the commander-in-chief position.
However, Latreille would then use his trump card and reveal Felicia who is impersonating Auguste.
The scenario on the stage right now could be considered the climax.
At this critical moment, Regis changed his script.
Will the goddess of fortune bless this move of ours?... …
Felicia who was acting as Auguste opened her mouth...
“I have yet to recover fully, hence I wish to forfeit my right to the throne.”
Moaning could be heard below the stage.
At least 3 nobles fainted on the spot as countless glasses fell to the ground.
At this moment, the emperor looked at his subjects.
Towards this question, the queen was the first one to consent.
She had been standing at the front of the stage.
It felt as if she was at the centre of the stage, surrounded by nobles. She then looked at Auguste.
“Hohoho, isn’t this fine, Your Majesty? Rather than forcing a sick person do all the work, why not let the brothers work together… What the elder brother can’t do, let the younger brother settle it, isn’t it good?”
Thinking that her son, Latreille, would inherit the throne, her face was full of smiles.
Under such a situation, there was no need for Latreille to reveal that Felicia was acting as Auguste.
As things were outside Latreille’s expectation, there was no need to use the real impersonator, Eliane.
The nobles discussed among themselves, not a single voice opposes the queen.
The emperor nodded his head.
“... If that’s what you wish, then so be it, my first son.”
“Thank you, Father. Actually, I want to recommend a candidate for the throne.”
“... A recommendation?”
Once the words were spoken, the hall erupted again.
The nobles were thinking that Latreille would be the next emperor, which was why the queen agreed to let him forfeit his rights.
Auguste was trying to express his thoughts on the stage.
“Indeed, I recommend Marie Quatre Argentina to replace me as the first successor. This sister of mine is courageous and outstanding enough to obtain glory in the battlefield. She also has the support of the public. Moreover, her beautiful crimson hair is the proof that she inherited the blood from the founding emperor. Hence I feel that she’s fit for the role.”
“... Hmm, Marie Quatre is it…”
“Yes, the nobles supporting me is thinking the same as me and will support her as they believe she has the capability to do so.”
Hearing this, it became chaotic among the nobles.
This was Regis’ plan.
Since the opponent has a trump card against us, then we will just back down ourselves. After all, you can’t eliminate something that’s not there.
Latreille’s scheme were layered after layered, the neutrals were dancing in his hand. Not just Auguste, he even tried to pull Altina in by making her his consort.
However, just like dispatching troops, when there’s more work, the forces you can devote to each of them is weaker.
Strategy is a double-edged sword.
If Altina successfully obtained the inheritance rights, Regis’ plan would be more convincing. No one questioned Auguste’s recommendation too.
The 2nd concubine and her house would oppose Auguste giving up his inheritance rights. However, they were currently trapped inside their house by Latreille’s associates.
This was akin to manipulating a thin thread of cotton rope or walking on a thin rope.
This strategy was already halfway successful.
After hearing Auguste’s words, he looked at the side of the stage.
Altina bit her lips nervously, slowly walking on top of the red carpet.
“F,father… … That, I… want to be…!!”
“... Before that, where’s your greeting… You’re impatient, if you wanna become empress, you have to be as the great white mountain (La Dame Blanche).”
“U,understood! I, want to be the Empress!”
Til the very last, she still forgotten to greet.
Even so, Altina being an empress, commander-in-chief or having great swordsmanship, she was still a 14 year old girl. It was understandable that she was nervous in such a situation.
Till now, no problems surfaced.
After Altina’s declaration, the people present were shaken.
Immediately after that, another person entered the stage. She was Eleanor who was wearing a black dress.
“Greetings, Your Majesty. I’m a representative from the Tiraso Laverde House of the Gaillarde Garden’s Alliance of the southern nobles, Eleanor.”
The emperor did not say anything but simply listened.
Eleanor managed to finish her sentence smoothly without pausing. No matter who, they need to be aware of their conduct in front of the emperor.
“We understand His Highness Auguste’s intention, hence we will support Her Highness Argentina as a candidate for the throne. Here, in front of Your Majesty, we await for Your Majesty’s wise decision which will bring prosperity to the Empire.”
Just like how an opera ended, Eleanor elegantly exit the stage.
“... Let me consider this for awhile.”
The emperor let loose a tired voice and leaned against the throne.
He let out a sigh.
“... Originally, there were 5 heirs to inherit my throne… … Now, there’s only two left. Latreille… Argentina… Some things just happen too quickly, … … 50 years just passed in a blink of eyes, it feels as if the past was a dream.”
Auguste then gave a respectful bow.
“I’m grateful that you are willing to listen to my wish, Father.”
The nobles also followed suit
Similarly, Altina also lowered her head.
At the side of hall, Regis also bowed while clenching his fist tightly.
Till the very end, Latreille’s associates did not have a chance to appear on the stage. From the start when Auguste recommended Altina til the end.
Not just Latreille’s side, even the queen was speechless.
Under such a tense atmosphere, Germain shouted,
“P,please wait, Your Majesty! I’m suspicious of His Highness Auguste there.”
Hmph, Auguste laughed.
“I have been secluded since young… … It has been that way for many years. Now, I’m just a normal man who cast away his title as prince on his own. Do you still have any advice? Moreover, do you need to force me to justify my actions that are not unfilial to Father and cause him a headache?”
Auguste who gave up his rights was now no different from any normal nobles. To be suspicious of him right now would mean it was just a personal feud—— This was something that should not be presented in front of the emperor.
Auguste continued his attack.
“Is this how you should behave in the palace? If I may, whose subordinate are you?”
“Arghh… ... “
Germain bit his lips.
Latreille moved by half a step and used his hand to block Germain.
“Withdraw, you can go back now.”
Latreille said coldly.
Germain who went pale bowed and escaped to the exit.
On his way out, his bloodshot eyes kept looking at a spot on top of the stage.
The two brothers of his also chased after him in a hurry, Eliane in her white clothes who had no value also escaped.
Latreille’s voice managed to bring order back to the hall.
“Please forgive him, he is just faithful to his duty… … Towards brother’s decision, I feel surprised and lonely. However, I will work together with Argentina and carry the future of the nation, please take care of your body, brother.”
“Well, I’ll leave Father and the nation to both of you. Right, although everyone recognises your strength… but you still need to work on picking your staff.”
“... … Thank you for your advice.”
Latreille had a bitter expression, squeezing those words out.
Perhaps the nobles who still believed that Latreille would definitely inherit the throne after watching this was now the minority.
The emperor who hated this tension asked for wine.
At this moment, the 6th concubine Johaprecia who was sitting beside the emperor stood up.
“Fufufu. don’t worry about this, Liam! Isn’t it fine if I give birth to your 6th child?”
Hearing this, many nobles could not hide their disgust..
The eastern nobles also gathered at Altina’s side.
Auguste and Eddie walked out of the hall together. Perhaps they just pulled off an unbelievable show, they seemed to be out of energy.
Altina should also be tense. Ever since coming down from the stage, her face looks tired.
Regis originally thought that Altina would walk towards him——
However, she stopped at some distance away from Regis.
Then, she stare~~~d at him
She just stared at him like this without any words. Actually, the distance was too far apart for conversation.
She then raised her index finger and pressed it near her lips.
After that, she closed one of her eyes and protruded her tongue.
Bleh~~~ She made such a face at Regis.
Altina then exited the hall alone with a face full of anger.
“W,wait for me… Al, no… That, princess… “
Regis wanted to chase after her but stopped suddenly.
Latreille was at one side observing him
Latreille was emitting killing intent enough to make people think that it was not strange for him to draw out his Arme Victoire Volonte anytime.
His gaze was sharp like daggers.
If it was Regis from half a year ago, he might be overwhelmed by it and fainted.
Even when Regis was trained mentally at the borders, he was still overwhelmed by it and sat on the couch.
“... … How I wish I could kill you right now.”
In front of the snake that seemed to be looking at him as a prey, Eleanor who was wearing a black dress that emphasised her chest appeared.
“Ara, Regis, did you specifically wait for me here? How cute.”
“It’s not that!!”
After a joke, it felt as if the pressure from Latreille was gone.
——This incident is far from over, it has not ended yet.
Regis stood still for awhile before walking past Eleanor.
“You are going to leave now? You do not need help now?”
“My plan ends here at the moment. Ah, right… Eleanor, I have a favour to ask you.”
“If it’s tonight, it’s fine for you to come to my room.”
“I’m very sorry, but I need to leave the capital immediately… The girl in white clothes just now, if possible, bring her over to our side, her name is Eliane.”
That girl stood among the nobles even when wearing the clothes that was like a bath-clothes.
After a while, Latreille also exited the hall.
It seemed that she became an unimportant presence now.
However, Regis still could not leave yet. Before that, if things that need to be done are not done——
“Does she still have any value?”
“She is still worth investing. It’s possible that she will bring benefits to Auguste and the western nobles.”
“Fufu, I understand.”
Regis quickened his pace and walked towards the back of the hall.