Chapter 1 Part 1
“Yes. Everything is fine.”
Diaquit spoke, looking at the artifact with interest.
“Contact artifacts are amazing every time I use it. I can’t believe we can talk like we’re right next to each other.”
Goddess Fahar’s Grace.
Magic was truly a wonder. Although magic has disappeared slowly in the human continent.
[By the way, have you been able to get in touch with the Empress?]
“Not yet. I wonder what she’s still up to.”
Diaquit clicked his tongue.
[She’s just arrived in the empire, so she must be restless. By the way, are you sure that the princess is on our side? I’ve heard that she is very close to the First Emperor.]
“It can’t be true. How could the First Emperor be with such a wooden stone wife?”
[According to the rumors in the Imperial Palace, yes.]
“It’s not what it looks like?”
Diaquit stroked his chin twice with his hand.
According to Diaquit, Usphere was clueless about how to be cute or seductive. Her face itself…
The first Emperor must have held all kinds of women, but is he really impressed by Usphere? Diaquit thought it would never happen.
“He doesn’t seem to be bullying her, but he does seem to be a slacker who is trying to be polite to his wife. Anyway, don’t worry too much about Usphere. We have our people planted in the Imperial Palace.”
[But if it becomes a problem….]
“You can take care of it.”
[Are you okay with that?]
“You thought I have brother-sister affection? A great man has to do big things, I have to be prepared to give up at least my bloodline.”
But more importantly, tell me what’s going on with the experiment.”
Diaquit focused on the man’s voice over the artifact with great interest. His heart throbbed with anticipation.
With a little more patience, he really felt like this continent was going to be in his hands.
* * * *
The next morning. I caught myself in a daze and blinked my eyes. I was sure I was awake, but I felt like I was in a dream.
‘He said he was not good at it, but it was all a lie…’
I still haven’t gotten back the feeling that I left last night while having a proper first kiss with Kwanach. Thanks to him, after I changed my clothes, I immediately collapsed and went to sleep. It was a great stimulus for me, as I was ignorant in this area.
Kwanach said we would do it every day. ‘So we’ll be kissing again this evening?’
I couldn’t help but touch my lips with my fingertips. They felt a little fuller than usual.
‘It’s not like I’m advertising that we’ve kissed….’
The servants probably had all seen us come into the bedroom yesterday with Kwanach holding me in his arms. What would the people at the Imperial Palace think?
‘No, more importantly, why was I so out of my mind when we kissed?’
As I remembered, my face was burning with fever. I slapped my cheek a couple of times and shook my head from side to side.
‘Don’t think about it.’
I finally regained my composure, pulled on the rope, and called for Marianne.
“Your Majesty, you wanted to see me?”
Marianne walked in, looking every inch her usual self.
“Marianne. Tell His Majesty that I won’t be able to dine with him today, I’ll be busy until noon.”
I was glad I was busy. I didn’t know how to face Kwanach in this state. I vowed to get yesterday’s kiss out of my head as I busied myself here and there, taking care of what needed to be done.
Marianne spoke in a polite manner.
“Yes. I understand. Do you have an itinerary?”
“Yes, I do. You’re coming with me.”
“You haven’t heard yet? His Majesty gave his permission yesterday. Your sister, Edith, can come to the palace.”
“…… Are you certain, Your Majesty?”
“I’ve also asked Simon at the Imperial Palace to examine Edith, and get her medicine too if possible. It has been decided, I want you to bring her here today as soon as possible. What do you think?”
“Your Majesty, Your Majesty, thank you for your help!”
Marianne lost her composure at that moment and knelt down.
Startled, I stood up from the bed and approached her.
“Marianne, you don’t have to do this. Get up.”
“‘Thank you very much, Your Majesty. Actually, my sister is only sixteen, and I’ve always been concerned about leaving her alone in the hospital ward.. ….”
Marianne remained on her knees, looking up at me with a tear-stained face.
“I really don’t know what I have done to receive such kindness. And you’re going to give my sister medicine too… thank you so much…”
“I heard that this country evaluates people based on their abilities rather than their occupation or rank. His Majesty has said that you are a very capable person, so I just want to help you.”
Marianne was definitely someone I had to have on my side. If I could even help her sister while I was at it, I would be very pleased.
Marianne rubbed her eyes with the back of her hand, wiping away the tears before they could spill. Then she got up and opened her mouth while bowing her head.
“Your Majesty, I will serve you with all my heart.”
Marianne spoke in a low voice.
“I’ve never actually told you this before. Before you came to our empire, there was someone who secretly contacted me.”
In a cautious voice, Marianne confided in me what she had experienced. The information matched everything I saw through the memory of the plants in the greenhouse garden.
I asked her when and where she and the man had had their tangent and what they had talked about. ……… I couldn’t find any lies in her words.
It seemed that Marianne had decided to give herself to me. Having her on my side would make this unfamiliar life in the palace that much easier.
I listened intently to Marianne’s story and opened my mouth.
“Thank you for telling me, Marianne.”
“No, Your Majesty. I will endure it even if you punish me for straying even a little.”
“I’m not going to punish you. They threatened your sister’s life, and you have every right to be troubled. I admire you for not falling for it right there in that situation.”
“I am grateful for Your Majesty’s kindness. But I’m really ready to take any punishment…..”
“Stop it. It’s okay. So the person who contacted you is Baron Edwin?”
It was an unfamiliar name to me. Edwin wasn’t famous enough to get the word out on the northern end.
“What did Edwin was after when he approached you? What do you know about him?”
Marianne bowed her head deeply and gave me the information she had.
She was quite familiar with the imperial aristocracy and the political disputes concerning them. She was familiar with the various rumors that circulated within the palace.
Baron Edwin. The public’s opinion of him was as follows.
An opportunist. A man too incompetent to be worthy of restraint.
During the Pernen dynasty, which was overthrown by Kwanach, he remained confined to his own territory. He was hated by the king of the time. This made Edwin resentful, and he supported Kwanach during the Revolution.
It wasn’t because he agreed with Kwanach’s revolutionary ideals and values. Of course, Kwanach could not have known that.
He was on the list of meritorious persons who had founded the country, but he was not recognized for his service.
“Rumor has it that he dislikes Baron Oslin Beinard very much.”
“Because Lord Beinard refused the title when the Radon Empire was founded. Even though he had done the greatest service in the revolution, he refused to accept any title.”
It was strange that Oslin, a meritorious contributor to the founding of the empire, was still a baron, but that he had deliberately refused the title.
However, it was soon understood why Oslin had made such a choice.
“The revolution was originally an attempt to break down the excessive privilege of royalty and nobility. …… As a result, he must have thought it was not appropriate to receive a knighthood.”
“Yes, that is accurate. Your Majesty.”
“If Lord Beinard did that first, I’m sure the others would have shown an inclination to claim their titles.”
“In return, His Majesty the Emperor gave him a well-deserved monetary reward. He seized the estates of noblemen who were stripped of their titles or died during the revolution, and divided them up among the people who had contributed to the founding of the empire. It is known that mining rights were also widely granted.”
The political landscape of the Radon Empire was gradually changing.
During the Pernen dynasty, the power of a nobleman was determined by what title he held.
In the time of the Kwanach, it changed. The money earned from the ability to manage a fiefdom was more important than anything else. The prestige of a nobleman also depended on how rich his fiefdom was. The value of substance took precedence over honor.
Baron Edwin failed to manage his estates and went completely bankrupt last year. Instead of paying off his debts, he returned the estates to the imperial’s ownership.
“So now he spends his time in the capital, working as a bureaucrat?”
“Yes, and it’s only the eighth grade bureaucracy.”
The Radon Empire has returned to a thoroughly competency-based bureaucracy.
People could take bureaucratic exams and were divided into classes according to their performance. Class 1 was the highest position, and class 10 was the lowest.
There were very few noblemen who would stay in the 8th grade position. No matter how much there was no discrimination based on status, they would have grown up with a higher quality of education than commoners.
The fact that Edwin was an eighth-grade bureaucrat proved that he was particularly incompetent among the nobility.
“Baron Edwin says that his downfall is all Lord Beinard’s fault.”
“Why is that?”
“He was in sympathy with the revolution to win titles and honors, and the results were not that great. Besides, he went bankrupt. He seemed to be very dissatisfied with the fact that he was not recognized as a contributor to the founding of the country.”
“His Majesty should have already provided him with enough money and land. Isn’t it because of his own incompetence that he couldn’t manage it properly and went bankrupt? It’s really pathetic.”
Is Edwin really holding a grudge only against Oslin? His frustration could have spread to the entirety of Kwanach and Radon nations. He was a man who did not look for fault in himself, but blamed others unconditionally.
I need to get to know this Edwin person and find out why he wanted to spy on me.
It was suspicious of a fallen nobleman who had lost all his lands to act alone. The man didn’t even have the guts to do that from what I’ve heard so far.
As Marianne guessed, there must be someone behind Edwin. Edwin was just a tail.
I was considering all the possibilities.
Marianne opened her mouth cautiously.
“Your Majesty, if you agree…..”
“Yes? What is it?”
“I’ll be a double agent.”