When Ray and I entered the conference room late, the meeting had already begun.
Nigel’s chair was placed on the top seat of the long and narrow table.
His Highness Alfred was already seated on the right side of the two closest to that seat, and His Highness Shion was already seated on the left. The implication that they are both in abbreviated formal attire is probably because I’m poisoned by Nigel’s style of thinking.
Seated next to His Highness Alfred is the Count Diha Claude Eus, the heir of Duke Grachie and the husband of Princess Alienor, the sister to Nigel and His Highness Alfred, and half-sister to His Highness Shion.
I didn’t know the emissary sent by the duke was Count Diha…This means that things are going a long way.
It may be that Count Diha is an excellent horseman, but he must have come with a request for the Northern Division to be sent to him.
Duke Grachie is an especially ceremonious old man, and he must have gone out of his way to assign his own illegitimate son to the emissary. And sitting next to Count Diha is his second in command, Viscount Vesta.
The reason why the front of Count Diha’s, Lord Lys-Edel, the head of the Kingsguard Division, and his second-in-command, Lord Wheelito, is not visible is probably because they are already in motion.
And next to him is Nigel’s first secretary, Viscount Rada Cutlass-Geldia.
Ray sits next to me, and I can see the faces of the other faces I’m familiar with.
Including me, the people who are called Nigel’s aides…Treasurer Count Vigrad Edels-Dessell, Secretary Viscount Rius Serenius-Faddel, Count Ruido Bodius-Radiel, Consul Marquis Narfia Diedeld-Rifius… were the main civilian officials are lined up in a goose chase. (***officially giving up on these names, lol x_x”’)
The reason the military officers are not here is probably because they are already in motion.
Most of the entourage is the kind of people who have been my schoolmates since childhood.
The children of royalty and high-ranking aristocrats always have people like that.
The boys of the nobility, whose ages do not differ that much, are chosen to receive the same education, and they eat and sleep together.
In common parlance, they are similar to childhood friends.
When they are young, they serve as caretakers and playmates, and eventually become apprentices in the household, and after reaching adulthood, they become the entourage. If you have been close to their side since you were young and have eaten and slept together, the bond is naturally strong.
I am a prime example of this. After all, my mother was Nigel’s nanny, and he and I were foster brothers. So it was as if I was destined to be Nigel’s close associate from the moment I was born.
My family had a title, but in fact, they didn’t have a large fiefdom, and we were provincial country nobles who could barely make ends meet with my father working as an official. My mother was the official wife of the family.
It’s not very common for noblewomen to work. A man is not considered to have the capacity to keep a wife at home.
But when Nigel’s call for a nanny was made, my mother jumped at the opportunity, and when, after a few trials, she was chosen, the whole family, including my father and grandfather, were pleased.
Being a nanny for the children of a high-ranking nobleman was almost the only job that a noblewoman with no particular ability would not be ashamed of, and the salary for a nanny is quite high, so it is certain that if the child you serve grows up, your own child will be appointed as his or her retainer.
And the young son whom my mother serves, Nigel, was the eldest legitimate son and the young heir who would eventually take over the family.
Nigel’s name at birth was Nigel Elsebard Thea Diehl Dardie.
At the time, Nigel was a royal Thea, but he was not even a prince, let alone a crown prince.
He was a “prince” …the son of the king.
In Dardinia, the Crown Prince’s son is also called the Crown Prince, but His Majesty the present King, who ascended the throne as Gladis IV, was a prince at the time, but not the crown prince, when His Majesty Nigel was born.
His Majesty was the fifth prince of His Majesty King Ragulus II, and by virtue of his mother’s status he had moved up one place in the line of succession to the throne to fourth place. He had three older brothers above him.
In Dardinia, princes and princesses with high claims to the throne remained in the royal court until their older brothers and sisters ascended the throne and fell in line of succession to a reasonable degree. This is one of the safeguards to avoid a battle for succession. But none of the people around them, including His Majesty, thought that he would succeed to the throne.
That is why His Majesty was able to make Queen Yulia, a mere princess of the small country of Dahal, his official consort, and even though she was about to turn thirty years old, she did not hold any public office that would involve political duties.
If his older brothers, who were higher in the order of succession than he was, were to have children, he would be given the title of duke and descend into vassalage. This is the normal way of dealing with a Dardinia prince.
He is called a grand duke for his own generation, and his children are allowed the title of Thea, but after that, they are just ‘dukes’. Nigel had the title of Thea, but was supposed to be a duke in due course of time.
His Majesty was looking forward to that day, too, I’m told…
His Majesty the King had a deep knowledge and love of music and the arts, and he was renowned from his time as a patron of musicians and artists. In fact, he possessed extraordinary talent and enthusiasm in these areas, and many of the artists he sponsored at the time became very successful.
On the other hand, he was not at all interested in political matters, and left the management of his manor to the order of his family, who looked to Queen Yulia for instructions.
It was recognized by those around him as a virtue of His Majesty.
He was a prince who would never ascend the throne just because of his high inheritance. His Majesty’s interest in and active involvement in the politics of the realm did not please anyone.
His Majesty had already decided that the name of the family he would give to himself when he descended to his vassal was “Norville,” and he had been approved.
The unthinkable happened.
Firstly, the First and Second Princes, both children of the First Queen, died at almost the same time, in a circumstance that is not open to public scrutiny.
It was a great scandal, a great scandal whose truth has never been revealed and which has never been talked about in the palace.
Even I, who became deeply involved in politics because of Nigel’s ascension to the throne, do not know the truth behind it. There was even a play adapted from that incident, but the entire theater where it was performed was destroyed.
And yet, His Majesty still had a brother of the Second Queen, His Royal Highness Niedis, the Third Prince. A brother who was the commander of a division of the Kingsguard at the time, and whose military reputation was so good that his name resounded in other countries.
But misfortune does come hand in hand, doesn’t it?
No one would have thought that His Royal Highness Niedis, a man of great valor, would have fallen off his horse while on horseback patrol in the city…and lose his life because of it.
The cause was a single fly that flew into the ear of His Royal Highness’ beloved horse.
The horse not only shook His Highness off, but kicked and trampled him as hard as he could. When the runaway horse was subdued, His Highness was already gone.
As a result…
Unexpectedly, His Majesty, then the fifth prince, became the first in line of succession to the throne.
It was a very unfortunate event for those around him…as well as for the man himself.
His Majesty, who was still a prince, told his father, ‘I do not have the capacity to govern the country, and I do not think I am capable of ruling it if I’m not interested in politics. I do not have the dexterity to rule the country.’ I hear that it was well played.
But it was not recognized.
In those days, the fifth in line of succession to the throne was the three-month-old Schnack, born to the third queen, while the sixth was the eight-year-old Princess Felicia, and the seventh, Princess Efinia, was even younger.
There were no other siblings between them, but in Dardinia, the succession to the throne of children born to a side consort or to a mistress did not extend at all to those born to a regular queen.
…So His Majesty had no choice but to ascend the throne.
It’s not that there hasn’t been an infant or a queen on the throne in the past.
But that has only been the case when it was unavoidable.
His Majesty wanted to hand over the throne of the succession to his half-brother Prince Arthur, who was a solid civil servant, albeit descended from a consort, but this was rejected by his father the King.
If a special case was granted, it would be a precedent.
The succession to the throne in Dardinia would be preceded by the children born to the legitimate queen, regardless of their age and sex. This principle was not allowed to be broken. They were instructed not to create a situation that would be a source of contention in future generations.
As a result, the crown fell to the prince who wanted it least of all. And this is despite the fact that he was not expected to do so at all.
Moreover, what’s tragic is that he and those around him all knew that.
Perhaps this is the reason why His Majesty, after ascending to the throne, sometimes behaves in a way that is out of character and selfish.
I’m going around all the time when I’m crumpled, so Phil should come with me.
That’s right! I’m going to be the one to defend Nigel!
Our environment, where we had been saying such things, changed drastically.
As soon as His Majesty became Crown Prince, Nigel and the other lords and ladies who had already been born, were given the title of “King’s Son Thea”. In this case, the title meant that they were the sons of the one who was to become king.
Nigel and his siblings were to be called princes and princesses…and Nigel himself was to be named the next Crown Prince.
So, His Majesty King Ragulus II had greater expectations for his grandson Nigel than for his son, His Majesty King Gladis IV.
If His Majesty Ragulus had lived another ten years, or even five years longer, the throne might have leapfrogged His Majesty Gladis and been handed directly to Nigel.
And that might have turned out to be a happier outcome for everyone but Nigel.
I’ve been around since I was a little boy, and I’ve known Nigel well, but he’s always been a quiet kid, a bookworm who liked to read more than three meals a day.
When he was in the library, he forgot about the passage of time and became absorbed in books. and when he got to the end of the story, he was sometimes trapped in the library…That was often the case.
It’s not only that, but Princess Yulia even ordered the library attendants to make sure to check on Nigel’s whereabouts before locking up the library, which is a funny story. If nothing had happened, Nigel would have succeeded to the dukedom, surrounded by his favorite books, and would have spent his days in his favorite pursuit of learning.
It’s hard to believe, but Nigel is a person who loves “studying” and has no trouble with it. He’s really smart. Just the fact that he was going to enter the university was proof of that.
It was a nod to His Majesty King Ragulus II’s expectations of his grandson Nigel rather than his son, who was not at all suited to politics.
We couldn’t just be the childhood friends with our milk brother anymore.
Although the Lord and his aides couldn’t possibly have been equal from the beginning, there is still something special that was between us as young children, which had disappeared when a clear line was drawn.
The future duke and the lower nobleman’s milk brothers were allowed to talk in a tame manner, but the people around them did not allow the future king and the lower nobleman’s milk brothers to talk in a tame manner.
The others were the same.
A line was drawn between Nigel and us that could never be crossed…Where once we had often stepped over and laughed at each other as equals, that has become a distant story.
As a smart kid, Nigel accepted it meekly.
…He was forced to accept it.
Because Nigel’s presence was directly linked to the position of Queen Yulia…and to the future of his younger brothers and sisters.
It was exclusively rumored by the court sparrows that when His Majesty became the Crown Prince, the daughter who would be the first consort would be chosen from among the four duke families.
In the first place, Her Royal Majesty Queen Yulia was allowed to be welcomed as the regular consort because Her Majesty was the ‘Fifth Prince, the fourth in line of succession to the throne. If His Majesty Gladis IV had been the next in line of succession, no matter how much Gladis herself had wanted to, Princess Yulia, a princess of a small country like Dahal, could not have been the rightful Queen.
Moreover, at this time, her homeland of Dahal had already been annexed to the Empire, and Her Royal Majesty had no backing.
Moreover, each of the four dukes had a daughter of age to offer to His Majesty.
Queen Yulia had only the affection of His Majesty Gladis and the four children born to her.
There was no doubt that His Majesty loved Queen Yulia. But no one thought that His Majesty could refuse the queen offered by the four dukes. The princess must have known that better than anyone else.
In fact, the dukes, with the exception of Elzevert, had sent their daughters to the rear court.
These were Princess Argenna, the second queen, and the princesses, Ariana and Nacia.
Everyone says that Queen Yulia’s good fortune was that she had a child, Nigel.
Nigel had just been accepted into the university at that time.
A university is an institution that takes no account of birth or ancestry. Academic talent is the only thing that counts.
His Majesty King Ragulus II had chosen Nigel, who was already known to be extraordinarily intelligent, over his future grandson, who might be born with a good bloodline, to be born in the future.
In order to make Nigel the future crown prince, and by extension, the future King, His Majesty has decreed that Queen Yulia would be the Crown Prince’s First Queen and, eventually, the King’s First Queen.
Otherwise, Princess Yulia’s status would have been in a lower position, and she might have been made a concubine.
A concubine, although called a queen, was merely a formally recognized concubine, with no formal marriage.
If Ariana and Nacia could have had a child, they could have become a regular bride right away, but unfortunately they couldn’t have a child, so they remained as a concubines, which is completely different from the case of Queen Yulia being dropped as a concubine.
So, if that were to happen, the children born to Her Majesty would naturally not be called the king’s children, Thea, and even the title of Royal Thea could be stripped away for a reason because they had become the children of a concubine.
Nigel himself intended to make his living in academics, so he would not have minded what his status was.
But Nigel was concerned about his brothers and sisters, who were still young.
So he accepted to be the future crown prince without complaining about anything.
…That was the moment when Nigel gave up on the future he wanted, which was just within his reach.
Nigel appears to be someone who is largely unaware of setbacks and failures, but this is not the case.
Nigel is also a man who was destined to be on the throne, even though he never wanted it, and who was robbed of the future he desired.
I’ve never heard him whine or complain about it once, though.
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