Chapter 1. The fiancé is back
On their way back to their room after dinner, Marquis Azef asked Diane.
“Is that lady the one you said was on your mind?”
Diane nodded instead of answering.
Marquis Azef stroked his chin.
“Hmm, she doesn’t look that way.”
“You don’t have the eye for it, uncle.”
“Look at what this brat says.”
Marquis Azef clicked his tongue.
“If that lady was on your mind, why did you ask her if she’s going to attend the meeting? It would be more beneficial for us if she didn’t attend.”
“Then, it wouldn’t be fun.”
Diane, who arrived in front of her room, turned around with a mischievous smile.
“I’ve been preparing for a long time, so if it’s one-sided, it wouldn’t be fun. Wouldn’t it be nice to have at least one obstacle?”
“Obstacle… Is she at that level?”
“I don’t know yet.”
Diane opened the door and continued.
“We’ll see tomorrow whether she’ll stop only as an obstacle or become a huge rock that blocks our way.”
According to the schedule, the meeting was scheduled for the following Wednesday at 2 p.m.
I checked the schedule from time to time in case Marquis Valdir did another strange trick.
At the same time, I also prepared for the meeting diligently.
I made a plan while organizing the data I had.
I didn’t know about the others, but Diane was definitely a formidable person.
I have to make a thorough plan.
Because if she sees even a little gap, she will bite me right away.
I reviewed and revised the plan considering the number of cases.
Finally, with the completed plan, I visited Marquis Hutton’s butler.
“Can I use the magic messenger bird?”
“What do you need it for, My Lady?”
“I want to contact His Majesty.”
“I have to ask Master first, so will you wait in your room?”
How long do I have to wait for him to come to my room?
After a while, the butler brought the magic messenger bird.
“More people used it than I thought, so it didn’t charge much. The wizard said you could use it for about ten minutes.”
Ten minutes is a bit tight, but it can’t be helped.
I nodded and took the messenger bird.
“When you’re done, you can return it to me through the maid.”
“I’ll do that.”
“Then I will get going.”
The butler politely bowed and left.
I put the messenger bird on the table and turned the spring.
The bird’s yellow beak moved up and down and spit out words.
[This is the Imperial Palace Communication Department. Please indicate your identity and affiliation.]
“I’m Leila Thebesa, the aide of His Majesty the Emperor. I would like to contact His Majesty.”
[After confirming your identity, we will contact you again.]
The voice disappeared and the spring stopped.
While waiting, I was checking the plan, until the messenger bird flapped its wings.
It meant that the Imperial Palace contacted me.
When I turned the spring again, the beak moved.
Of course, I thought I was contacted by the Imperial Palace Communication Department again, but it’s actually Kalian.
Flustered and calling him, Kalian smiled a little.
[Why are you flustered when you’re the one who contacted me first?]
“I never thought Your Majesty would be the one who contacted me back right away…”
[It happened somehow. So, what’s going on? Hearing your voice, it doesn’t seem like anything bad has happened.]
“Is it obvious?”
Is that so? I spoke the same as usual though.
“There is something I would like to ask Your Majesty, that’s why I contacted you.”
[What is it?]
“It’s about the meeting.”
If I had more time, I would have explained them one by one and asked, but I didn’t have the time.
Out of urgency, I asked whatever came to mind.
“How far can I go?”
There was silence for a moment.
Realizing that I had asked something strange belatedly, I hurriedly spoke up.
“I apologize, Your Majesty. I didn’t mean to ask this, it’s…”
Kalian replied, cutting off my words.
It wasn’t an angry tone. Rather, I guessed he was smiling?
[As long as you’re not selling the country, you can do anything. Because you’re my agent now.]
The day of the long-awaited meeting.
I was so nervous that I couldn’t sleep at night, and I also skipped lunch.
After confirming once again that the meeting would be held at 2 p.m. as scheduled, I entered the conference hall 10 minutes before.
I arrived quite early, but there were already people seated in the conference hall.
There were three empty seats.
It’s the seat of Marquis Valdir, Marquis Azef, and mine as the emperor’s agent.
Perhaps because the words I said at the dinner two days ago worked out, my seat was right next to Marquis Valdir.
As I sat down, the nobles of the empire looked at me with piercing eyes. All of them looked disapproving.
The nobles of the other country were calm, but the nobles of the empire, who were on the same side, only made me laugh.
It felt like the enemies I had to face had increased into two teams.
They wouldn’t start an argument that what I’m doing now is something unconditionally bad for the Empire, right?
Diane, who was sitting across from me, smiled and greeted me.
“Of course. Because it’s a place I have to come.”
The smile on Diane’s lips deepened. Her eyes looking at me flashed sharply, unlike before.
“Then, please do your best for me today.”
It means that she will attack mercilessly without going easy on me.
“Please do your best for me too.”
It was what I was hoping for too. That way, I could comfortably receive their attacks and counterattack them.
After a while, the meeting began with Marquis Valdir and Marquis Azef’s arrival.
Firstly, Marquis Valdir came forward and apologized for the damage the Empire caused to the Natsha Kingdom.
And then, when he furtively presented the compensation set by the Empire, Marquis Azef immediately refuted it.
“The only compensation we want in our kingdom is Khan’s sovereignty.”
Marquis Valdir’s expression was subtly distorted at Marquis Azef’s bold request.
The expressions of the other nobles were not good either.
Diane smiled and said.
“I hope you don’t take it too badly about us asking for Khan’s sovereignty. We are just trying to reclaim our land.”
“Are you saying Khan is Natsha Kingdom’s land?”
At Diane’s answer, the nobles of the empire made a commotion.
Viscount Malven asked Diane.
“On what basis do you say that?”
“As everyone knows, the founder of our Natsha Kingdom is Randell Alliance.”
Natsha Kingdom was a country of seven islands and was called the Randell Alliance about 700 years ago.
Then, the lords of each island united and established a kingdom, which was the present-day Natsha Kingdom.
“At that time, Khan belonged to the Randell Alliance. This is the evidence.”
What Diane brought out was an old document.
The document contained a statement that Khan belonged to the Randell Alliance 700 years ago, along with a seal presumed to be the one who was the lord of Khan at the time.
“Do you have any proof that this document is real?”
When Viscount Malven cautiously asked, Diane answered immediately.
“I’ll ask you the other way around. Do you have any proof that this document is fake?”
Of course, there was none, so Viscount Malven kept his mouth shut.
Diane immediately attacked without a break.
“And I’m sure Cardin Empire would know that. Why did Khan, who belonged to the Randell Alliance, move to the Empire?”
Of course, I knew. It was a fact that anyone could know if they did a little research on Khan.
While the lord of Khan at that time was ill with a serious illness, his uncle arbitrarily sold Khan to the Empire and took his share.
However, at the time, Khan was too far for the Empire to directly manage.
It took five days by boat to get there from Hutton, the closest city to Khan.
On the other hand, it took only three days from the Natsha Kingdom.
Moreover, even if the Empire had Khan, there was nothing to gain from Khan other than expanding the territorial sea.
As a result, the Empire didn’t manage Khan properly, and Khan became the pirate’s den.
The conflict between countries made the Empire try to resolve the situation by sending navy to Khan, but it was already too late.
It’s clear that a lot of casualties would occur even wiping out the pirates.
However, it was a pity to hand it over to another country. In a word, Khan was a ‘Gyereuk’.
[T/N: Gyereuk is something that one hesitates to give up even though it is of little interest.]
Diane dug into that and appealed that it was better for the Natsha Kingdom to manage Khan.
Diane’s beautiful speech began to shake the nobles of the empire.
“May I ask why the Natsha Kingdom wants Khan’s sovereignty so much?”
Marquis Valdir, who was still holding onto the reason, asked.
“The people living in Khan now are the descendants of the Randell Alliance, and have the same ancestors as our Natsha Kingdom.”
Diane’s sharp eyes slightly bent sadly.
“But the people of Khan are not being properly protected and are suffering from pirates that cause our King to feel very sorry for them.”
Was she arousing pity in? It wasn’t a bad strategy.
Marquis Azef joined in and made sure of her words to us.
“So we decided that it would be better to take this opportunity to get Khan back, even if our kingdom bears the loss.”
To bear the loss on the other side meant that this side was gaining benefit.
The nobles were once again greatly shaken by the fact that it was beneficial to the empire.
Even Marquis Valdir, who was holding onto the reason, also seemed to have fallen for the splendid speech of the Natsha Kingdom.
I wasn’t surprised. Because their story was perfect.
…at least on the surface.
“Anyway, I know that the current Cardin Empire cannot afford to manage Khan.”
As if not wanting to give us time to think, Diane spoke quickly.
“That’s why I think us taking over and managing it is good for both the Empire and Natsha Kingdom. Don’t you think so?”
Marquis Valdir thought for a moment, then nodded.
“Receiving the kingdom’s opinion…”
“The sovereignty of Khan cannot be handed over.”