The Other Side
Hertrude and Marquis Frampton visited the Holfault Kingdom’s treasury within the royal palace.
Numerous treasures and lost items decorated the place.
Among them were many tools of an unknown purpose.
(I found it. I heard that it was in the kingdom’s treasury, but I didn’t think that they’d leave it out in the open like this. Even that marquis doesn’t know its true worth.)
Visiting the treasury, when Hertrude found the item she was looking for, she stood still and spoke.
“Marquis, why don’t you relinquish this item?”
Marquis Frampton stroked his beard while responding to Hertrude’s proposal.
“An arm for ancient armor, is it? This is a very valuable object, so even with my authority, I cannot do much.”
The black, sharp right arm indeed held historical value.
However, it was judged that it could no longer be used now and was there as a decoration.
(Leaving a dangerous object like this out in the open, the kingdom is beyond saving. In order to prevent the off-chance of them using it, it should come to us.)
Unaware of Hertrude’s thoughts, Marquis Frampton displayed a haughty attitude.
“Is there something you want to ask?”
Marquis Frampton made a smile towards Hertrude, who was folding her arms.
“Hohoho, you seem quite interested in it. May I ask what it’s used for?”
Hertrude glared at the newer treasures within the treasury.
One of them was the magic flute──another was a large sword used for armor, treasured by the Principality of Fanoss’ strongest knight, “Bandel Hymn Zenden.”
The sword, which had been handled by a humanoid power suit, was massive and gave off a dignified feeling.
The large sword was a valuable item wielded by Bandel, who was feared as a black knight, and was made from a special metal.
It frustrated her that it was in the kingdom’s treasury despite originally being the principality’s.
“The magic flute and Bandel’s sword were stolen. How about handing over those treasures?”
“Stolen is an unpleasant way to say it. These are treasures that the kingdom obtained.”
Indeed, Leon had stolen the treasures and offered them.
Marquis Frampton had made an evasive and ambiguous reply, but then made a serious facial expression after perceiving that Hertrude was being serious.
“──Your Highness, do you want this treasure?”
“I want it.”
“What is it used for?”
“It’s an ancient armor part. What use is there other than for appreciation?”
Hertrude was a little nervous. She believed that if she showed too much desire for it, it would be suspicious, but was relieved that she managed to avoid that.
Marquis Frampton changed the topic.
“I was thinking about a friendship with the principality.”
“I’m glad for that.”
Hertrude spoke about being glad, but there was no emotion in her words.
Marquis Frampton, aware of that, continued speaking anyways.
“As a mediator for this friendship, I was thinking about asking his Highness Julian to head to the principality.”
“Isn’t he that saint’s lover?”
“It’s embarrassing to talk about. I wish that his Highness Julian was as self-aware as you are. Now then, onto the main topic──we are ready to transfer a portion of the territory to the principality. However, for that purpose, it is necessary to clean the kingdom.”
Upon hearing Marquis Frampton’s proposal, Hertrude showed more interest.
“──I’d like to hear more about this.”
“The principality can be traced back to a branch of Holfault’s royal family. I was thinking of using this as a chance for a genuine friendship. We can cooperate──don’t you think so?”
Hertrude took a cold attitude in response to Marquis Frampton’s call for cooperation.
“That’s out of the question. You’re saying that we’re going to lay down our arms just because we’re being given a small portion of land? Besides, that talk about transferring land is probably a lie.”
Marquis Frampton shook his head and explained with a smile.
“Your Highness Hertrude, you seem to not know the circumstances of the kingdom. The process of transferring is no problem.”
“What are these circumstances?”
They began to talk about the Holfault Kingdom’s internal affairs.
“There’s an area where a fight will occur with the principality, but the kingdom has no direct control over.”
Some feudal lords resided on floating islands while others were on the mainland.
In other words, although the kingdom had pieces of territory──not all of them were attached to the royal family’s land.
“I see. I almost forgot about Margrave Field’s floating island. Though, that’s not your people’s territory, so there’s no way you would be able to transfer it.”
The household of one of Marie’s lovers, “Brad Fou Field,” was in the important position of exercising authority over the principality.
There were feudal lords in other lands as well that the kingdom had no right to hand over.
“Without the support of our kingdom, those rural feudal lords can’t put up much resistance. The principality has no need to deal with such worthless feudal lords, right?”
“That’s one way to put it. I won’t say no to the offer. Though──is there some kind of benefit to this for you people?”
When she held suspicions about the proposal to decrease the amount of land the kingdom had, Marquis Frampton’s mouth formed the shape of a crescent as he smiled.
There was a glint in his eye.
“Your Highness──rural feudal lords are a nuisance for the kingdom.”
“Nuisance, you say.”
(Come to think of it, Marquis Frampton and the Field household are in opposing factions.)
Hertrude accepted the proposal while not wanting to hear any more about the complicated matters of the royal palace.
“Alright. Let’s go with that. If his Highness Julian is becoming a husband, then let’s make this a pre-celebratory gift for him.”
Their focus was on the sharp right arm made for armor.
Marquis Frampton nodded with a smile.
“A splendid deal. Now then, tell me when the principality is ready. I believe that the best scenario is for us to clean up the royal palace and then make peace once the principality achieves victory.”
“──Sure. I promise in my name.”
(His face is telling me that he thinks he got a good deal out of a supposed piece of junk. As if I’m just a young girl in the palm of his hand.)
While stopping herself from smiling, Hertrude was relieved that she had accomplished her objective.
(I’ll quickly send this to the principality.)
She then shifted her attention to the magic flute.
(Rauda──I know you’ll resent me for being foolish sister.)
While biting her lip, she took action in order to achieve yet another objective.
“What about Viscount Baltfault? You made sure to seize the lost item, right?”
Marquis Frampton ceased his smile and nodded.
“Yes, the airship he calls Partner and the armor with the showy name of Arroganz are in our possession. They’ll be analyzed soon. I wanted that little brat to be executed at once, but the queen seems to have taken him as a pet. We’re having a small amount of trouble.”
Hearing that, Hertrude smiled.
She was convinced that the Holfault Kingdom would no longer be able to use its trump card.
(The principality will have the advantage once Viscount Baltfault is gone. Judging from that familiar’s attitude, they won’t be able to control the airship or armor.)
“I see. With the marquis still there, the kingdom is safe. How close is it until the day you’re named as the prime minister?”
Hearing the words “prime minister,” Marquis Frampton made a smile.
“No no, having me be something like the prime minister is preposterous.”
(Lies. You were planning that from the very start. You must have done a lot of reckless actions to prevent the Redgrave family from ascending to the prime minister position. However, thanks to that, my objective was accomplished. Thank you, foolish prime minister.)
Hertrude asked Marquis Frampton a question.
“I’d like to quickly send a letter to the principality. Could you arrange an airship?”
“We’ll arrange one at once.”
A group stood in sky above the Principality of Fanoss.
The former black knight, “Bandel Hymn Zenden,” stood on an airship coming back from the kingdom.
Upon receiving a delivered item, he didn’t understand what it was.
He knew that it was some part for armor, but didn’t recognize it.
It made no sense for it to be one right arm.
“This is from the princess?”
“Indeed. We were told that it’s an important item.”
Bandel had a noticeable scar from his brow to the top of his head.
He was such a strong knight that one wouldn’t believe he was beyond middle age.
“Could it be that──this is a lost item?”
“Indeed. It was found in the kingdom’s treasury.”
Bandel wasn’t the only one on the airship.
“Garrett,” who used to serve as a messenger with the kingdom before, was there too.
He stroked his jaw with his hand, a habit formed from the facial hair that he no longer had.
His eyes burned with a passion for revenge.
“I would have preferred if the princess had sent an item that was a little more useful. Has the execution of that ‘heretic knight’ even happened yet?”
Heretic knight──was an alias used by the principality for Leon.
His actions strayed from the path of a knight, resulting in that nickname.
Though Leon didn’t kill his enemies, the knights and soldiers who returned home were slandered by the principality’s nobles and citizens.
It was as Leon had said it would be.
Bandel was treated as a senile man and lost his title as the black knight.
“I will not tolerate the princess being insulted.”
However, he still retained his dignity.
Upon being glared at, Garrett shifted his gaze towards a letter, as if to escape from Bandel.
“I, I didn’t intend such──hmm?”
After a brief period of time──Garrett’s eyes widened when looking at the letter, shifting his gaze numerous times between the black, sharp right arm and the letter.
“C, could it be?”
When Bandel asked that question while folding his arms, Garrett raised his voice in joy.
“Black Knight. No, former Black Knight──are you ready to give up your life?”
Bandel laughed scornfully at Garrett’s words.
“I’m an already an old fool who’s died as a knight. I’ll do anything to help the princess.”
“Splendid! Then, let me explain. This is a piece of an ancient──no, legendary armor. A lost item that only a portion of the royal family even knows about.”
As everyone gazed at the armor’s right hand, Garrett opened his arms.
“What a wonderful gift! Her Highness Princess Hertrude carried out her duty well. With this, her younger sister, her Highness ‘Princess Hertrauda Sera Fanoss,’ has no enemies! This time, even the heretic knight has no chance!”
“It can even compete against the heretic knight?”
“Yes, there’s a good chance of success. However──it seems that the heretic knight has currently been betrayed by his country and imprisoned. Just as he deserves.”
“It’s a shame that we won’t be able to finish him off in a battlefield.”
“I can’t comprehend the feelings of a military man. However, thanks to this, one of her Highness Hertrauda’s enemies has disappeared.”
Hertrude’s younger sister was Hertrauda, the second princess.
A trump card of the principality leading fleets and monsters in the sky.
Bandel squinted, staring at the armor’s right arm.
“I’ll help Hertrude. Even if it means giving up my life.”
Bandel tightly grasped his fist while next to Garrett, who was joyed that he could get revenge over his moustache.
I was in a dungeon within the royal palace.
The damp place was chilly and ice cold.
The air was stagnant and it was not a place I wanted to be in for long.
Since I had to be a prisoner, my hands were cuffed.
As I was yawning, the jailer gave me a signal.
It seems that a visitor arrived.
That person made a complaint upon seeing me.
“I misjudged you, Baltfault!”
The owner of that grand voice was the one who would most likely become the ruler of the royal palace.
It was Julian.
He might have been angry at me, but I’m irritated that he’s here as well.
“Who are you?”
When I acted as if I didn’t know who he was, his face turned red.
“Julian! ‘Julian Rafua Holfault’! That’s beside the point, explain your betrayal! I thought you were a coward, but I didn’t think that you’d do this!”
He was speaking recklessly.
It seems that despite how sly Julian believed I was, he didn’t think I would betray the kingdom.
──However, now that I think about it, it wouldn’t be strange for me to betray you guys.
And you’re the cause of that. This is your fault.
No, wait a minute. Rather than it being him, perhaps marriage is the cause? Each time I search for marriage, it results in catastrophe and I’ve thought about abandoning this country many times.
“I didn’t betray the kingdom. I’m being falsely accused. Save me, Prince.”
“You’re still at it with the jokes. Tell me everything, Baltfault.”
It seems that he isn’t going to help me.
Well, if our positions were swapped, I wouldn’t help Julian out either, I suppose.
In the first place, this guy doesn’t have much authority.
“Tell you what?”
“You’ve got a big attitude despite standing before me.”
“Do you think that I have any attachment to a country that’s treating me like a traitor and sending me to execution? I’ll make you regret this someday, so remember this. I’m a guy who strikes back after getting hit.”
“Is that so? I actually have something to say, so let’s get this over with.”
He proceeded to speak about the situation regarding me.
“Your Partner and Arroganz have been seized by the kingdom’s chivalric order. It seems they can’t operate it, so there’s no problem there.”
That’s quite the problem for me.
I’m not worried since Luxon will handle it, but I am discomforted.
“There’s a push to execute you, but there’s also a push to protect you. Perhaps you’re caught in the middle of a factional dispute, but the situation is strange.”
From my point of view, the royal palace is always strange.
They’ve been giving me promotion after promotion. I don’t think it’s only this occasion in particular that things are strange. It’s strange all the time, so if there are any periods of normalcy, then do tell me.
“Baltfault──why did you betray us? What are you scheming this time?”
Quite harsh of him to assume that I’m scheming something, let alone betray the country.
Am I that cruel of a person?
“I said that I’m being falsely accused. There’s someone who’s out to get me.”
What are you surprised about?! You’re the prince who lived in the royal palace, right? Use your noggin a little! You’re too naive.
“You thought I was betraying the kingdom? If I were to betray it, I would have done something with a little more force.”
“I suppose you’re right. If it was you, there would have been more force to it──and you would keep doing things just to spite us.”
Though convinced, Julian annoyed me. What kind of trust do you have towards me?
So Julian revealed what was on his mind, but why is he here to consult me?
“I’m not experienced in war, but I’m sensing that some conflict will arise soon.”
I was about to tell him that it would be a rebellion at worst, but I closed my mouth.
After all, the Holfault Kingdom is a large country with many foes.
There are numerous enemies hostile towards the kingdom, such as the principality.
Under such circumstances, it’s frightening to think about the verge of a rebellion, or the principality’s schemes.
I’ve got a bad feeling.
“──Is there some kind of corrective force?”
I can’t help but feel that some mysterious power is at work, forcing events to realign with the story of that otome game.
Julian was puzzled by my mutters.
“Corrective? What are you talking about, Baltfault?”
“The story. I’m being detained here, so I don’t know the full story of what’s going on.”
Julian put his hand on his jaw and pondered about something, so I made a request.
“Hey, let me out.”
“I cannot. I have no authority right now.”
Useless prince. Well, I suppose trouble would arise if he let me out.
All things considered──I’ve got some suspicions.
The magic flute, the principality’s trump card, has a potent ability and is being kept under strict safekeeping by the kingdom.
Hertrude’s absent from the principality, so the country wouldn’t make a move right now.
However, Hertrude’s been acting strangely.
It’s like there’s this corrective force that’s making reality follow the story.
“──This really is a terrible world.”
Ignoring my mumbling this time, Julian quickly left the dungeon.
If things keep progressing according to the story, I need to run.
I──no, even Luxon won’t be able to win against the principality’s trump card.