V2 Chapter 70: Audience with the Prince

Baron Jeed, the tutor of Prince Shion, was the very image of a loyal servant.

He was likely in his late thirties, with a sturdy physique and a stern countenance. One could discern his solid character from his grave and dignified manner of speaking. He did not give off an impression of particular brilliance, but his every action and word revealed a steady mind and loyalty to the royal family.

The Baron had lost his right arm in battle, and was now one-armed. According to Princess Sakuya, Baron Jeed had once been a palace knight and lost his arm on the battlefield while saving the Emperor’s life.

In gratitude, the Emperor had bestowed upon the now disabled knight, who could no longer fight, the title of a baron, urging him to continue serving not as a knight but as a noble.

Even after becoming a noble, the Baron’s dedication did not waver, and the Emperor, appreciating this, had appointed him as the tutor of his beloved youngest child.

If a count or a marquis were to be appointed as a tutor, there would be a risk of the ambitious tutor using Prince Shion to vie for the throne. In contrast, a baron without a fiefdom would not harbor such ambition. The circumstances of Baron Jeed’s appointment as tutor appeared to take this into account.

Considering the Baron still held the position of tutor, it seemed the Emperor had no intention of changing the order of succession.

According to the information I’d heard from Miroslav in Ishka, there were rumors of friction within the imperial family over the issue of succession to the Adoastera Empire.

If the Emperor intended to disinherit the current Crown Prince, Risharl, and seat Prince Shion on the throne instead, there should be more talent around Prince Shion.

After all, Crown Prince Risharl had been assisting his imperial father in political and military affairs for over twenty years since he came of age. When compared to the youngest prince who had just turned ten, it was clear who was more suited for the throne.

If the Emperor wanted to overturn this difference, the only option would be to strengthen the team of vassals supporting Prince Shion.

Despite this, the tutor, who should be the Prince’s most reliable support, was still a baron. From this, it could be inferred that the Emperor had no intention of making Prince Shion the Crown Prince.

The rumored friction within the royal family might be grossly exaggerated – or, at least, minor disagreements were possibly being blown out of proportion.

These thoughts crossed my mind, but I decided not to verify this with Baron Jeed. If I were to say something careless, I could be suspected of being a spy from the Kingdom of Canaria. Above all, I had neither interest nor concern in Adoastera’s succession dispute, so I saw no need to deliberately confirm it.

Baron Jeed, having confirmed that the letter of introduction I brought from Princess Sakuya was genuine, promised to deliver the princess’s letter to the Emperor — the one carefully placed in a tube.

Fortunately, the Emperor was due to visit Prince Shion in three days, so there should be no problem delivering the letter. As for whether the Emperor would agree to meet me afterward, that was in the hands of the gods.

By the way, the straightforward approach of Baron Jeed visiting the palace, having an audience with the Emperor, and delivering the letter was denied by Princess Sakuya. She argued that the Princess, newly married to a foreign country, trying to arrange a meeting with the dragon slayer and the Emperor — especially when the dragon slayer is from the disowned Mitsurugi family — would undoubtedly cause problems if the other courtiers found out.

Her argument was indeed sound and left no room for dispute. Hence, albeit a bit roundabout, it was decided to seize the opportunity when the Emperor visits the Prince and deliver the letter then.

Now, given this, I would need to stay in the imperial capital for a few days. As for accommodations, Baron Jeed offered his home, which I graciously accepted. However, the question was what to do with my free time.

I’d love to go sightseeing around the imperial capital, but considering Claira’s feelings, I can’t just leisurely enjoy sightseeing. Well, I’ll think about that later — just when I was pondering such things, it just so happened that I ended up setting foot in the imperial palace that very day.

That said, it wasn’t the Emperor who wanted to meet me. It was Prince Shion who wished to see me. Apparently, upon learning that a messenger from his sister who had married into a foreign country had arrived, he passionately wished to hear about his sister’s situation in the Kingdom of Canaria.

At first, Baron Jeed refused considering our fatigue after just arriving in the capital. However, the usually well-behaved Prince was unusually insistent. The siblings must have been very close, and the Prince must have been lonely since his sister had married abroad.

Knowing this, Baron Jeed couldn’t ignore the Prince’s repeated requests – and so, that’s the reason I ended up setting foot in the imperial palace.

Honestly, there was some doubt about whether it was appropriate to simply invite someone from a foreign country, whose face he hadn’t even known until yesterday, to the palace, and even let him meet the prince, regardless of the fact that he brought a personal letter from the Princess.

However, no matter what their intentions might be, if I have a chance to get closer to the Emperor, I should take it. With that in mind, I decided to meet Prince Shion, thinking there’s no way I’d be ambushed.

“Nice to meet you, I’m Prince Shion.”

The Prince, who greeted me with a gentle smile, indeed, looked a lot like Princess Sakuya.

He is more delicate than his sister, and I can’t feel the depth of his character, but on the other hand, I can deal with him without being on guard. I probably don’t need to be as cautious and wary as when I met his sister.

In a way, the Prince seems more like a princess.

Thinking that I’d certainly be charged with disrespect if I said that out loud, I exchanged words with the Prince.

Apparently, Baron Jeed hadn’t told the Prince anything about me, and the questions the Prince asked were all about his sister.

Is she doing well? Is she enjoying her meals? Is she disliked by the people of the Canaria Palace?

Since I’m not familiar with Princess Sakuya’s situation in the palace, these questions were quite tough. However, I can’t simply say, “I don’t know”. Remembering the state of the princess when I met her and the stories I heard from Duke Dragnaut and Claudia, I answered Prince Shion’s questions one by one.

Every time the Prince heard my answer, he eagerly nodded and smiled happily. There seemed to be no ulterior motive behind that smile, and I could tell that he really cared about his sister.

The Prince’s kindness was evident just from this.

Looking at the Prince, I suddenly thought.

This Prince couldn’t possibly fight for the throne. His kind heart is a virtue, but it would only hinder him from overthrowing his brother and seizing the throne. As an emperor, there may be times when you have to kill your personal feelings and make ruthless decisions for the sake of your goal, but I doubt Prince Shion could do that.

In a way, this Prince is less suitable to be an emperor than Prince Azul.

On the other hand, the Prince’s kindness is attractive.

Even I, who am meeting him for the first time, can’t help but feel reassured. The courtiers who interact with the Prince on a daily basis must undoubtedly hold him dear.

— But I couldn’t help but feel a sense of danger.

There’s the accomplished Crown Prince, and the well-liked youngest Prince. Currently, because the Prince is still young, a full-blown conflict has not yet ignited. However, as the Prince grows older, the conflict will likely intensify. This is because even if the Prince is unsuited to being Emperor, and even if the Prince himself does not desire the throne, the people around him will push him towards it.

The Crown Prince’s faction surely wouldn’t sit idly by while the power of his rival younger brother grows.

The rumors Miroslav had investigated may have been something scooped up from the atmosphere of such a clandestine conflict. It was while I was thinking such things that…

Knock knock knock, the door to the room was hastily knocked. The vassal assigned to the Prince, who entered in response to the Prince’s voice, informed the Prince in a somewhat flustered manner.

His Majesty will be arriving soon, he said.

Below is a rough sketch version of Claira’s standing portrait.

Liked it? Take a second to support WordyCrown on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!