“That’s why I told you. I told you people would get lost one day, for sure! We should have sealed the whole place off!”
“You don’t want to get into that now, do you?”
“What were the knights of the guard doing in the first place? Allowing crooks to enter the palace!”
In the midst of all the angry voices in the conference room, only Nigel’s surroundings were very quiet. There was no speaking to him, perhaps fearful of the rage that he was emitting.
The only people who could speak to Nigel in this state were Phil-Lynn or Claude Eus, both of whom were otherwise fearless, and that’s why everyone was glancing at Nigel, but no one was able to say anything.
When Phil-Lynn and Claude Eus, the two people who were about to be spoken to, returned with them, Nigel looked particularly unchanged from the usual.
“Your Highness, may I give you a report?”
It was Claude who opened his mouth first.
“As the princess’ maid said, it was truly a coincidence that my grandmother met the princess in that place today.”
“…Why would Luthia take that route to the main palace?”
There are several routes that lead from the corner used by Arthirea in the rear palace to Nigel’s office. Among them, the route where Arthirea and the Duchess met this time was not the shortest one.
The one who responded to that was Phil-Lin, who had an expression of some kind of incomprehension.
“It’s just a coincidence that the princess decided to bring you some food. But it’s not a coincidence that she took that route.”
“Not a coincidence?”
“That route is the princess’ favorite route. I heard that she often passes by it because she likes the pictures on the corridor.”
“So, is it a coincidence that the Duchess was on that route?”
“The Duchess was on that route intentionally. Apparently a maid put her up to it. A passerby said that the maid who was with her, expressed a sick feeling in her stomach and asked her to wait for her there.”
“…That maid is fired.”
Will let out a mumble with a dumbfounded look on his face.
“As you know, my grandmother has a soft spot for maids and ladies-in-waiting.”
‘I’m sorry,’ Claude bows.
“So? Who’s that maid?”
“…She died in the bathroom. The medicine she took for stomach pains were poisonous.”
Phil shook his head.
“I think the princess was not the target. I’m thinking it’s the Duchess.”
Therefore, those who are trying to kill the Duchess have the power and status to send personnel to the royal palace. Phil turned his gaze toward Claude, saying that he was more familiar with it.
“…It seems that my grandmother has received threats for some time.”
“…Threats do not qualify as threats unless the person being threatened is aware of them, Your Highness.”
“I don’t understand the meaning.”
“My grandmother received several threatening letters, but she didn’t seem to be aware that she was being targeted.”
“What is that?”
There is a plunge from the surroundings.
“My grandmother seemed to think the threatening letter from the first time was a letter that came to her by mistake.”
“It was addressed to her, wasn’t it?”
“Yes, but I guess my grandmother didn’t think that the basis for that resentment was herself.”
“Why is the Duchess resented?”
Nigel tapped the desk with his fingertips with a thump.
This was Nigel’s habit when he was thinking.
“…Do you understand the five-day fever two years ago?”
“It seems that he lost a lot of his relatives eat that time.”
Two years ago, a fever called ‘five-day fever’ broke out in the neighboring kingdom of Lesange.
Five-day fever first causes symptoms of coughing and headache, then high fever. The high fever persists and makes it impossible to eat. Eventually, even water becomes unpalatable, and about half of the patients die within five days of the fever.
This dreaded fever is not fatal if you can survive the five days of fever. It was said that if you got the disease, the best way to deal with it was to somehow get through these five days.
There were no known herbs or prescriptions for five-day fever, so much so that it was said that the best remedy was to take care not to get sick.
What was not known at the time was that this disease could be transmitted through people. It was said that if you lived in close proximity to a person who had this disease, there was almost a 100 percent chance that you would be infected.
When Nigel learned of the outbreak of this fever in Lesange, he immediately declared a blockade of the border with Lesange and a ban on all movement in the area adjacent to the western border.
The two cities adjacent to Lesanges were Neve, the duchy of Grachie, and Neisse, a territory directly under the Crown, both of which were not able to enforce the isolation.
In Neisse, which was under direct royal control, the Crown Prince’s proclamation was naturally more thorough.
A tent city was set up outside the gate, where travelers from Lesange were accommodated. The gates were closed and no one was allowed to pass through them, not even an official flyer in a hurry, except for his papers.
Nigel then asked the university in the royal capital to send medical and pharmacological personnel to the university, and a medical unit was created and sent to Neisse..
Sure enough, there was an immediate outbreak of five-day fever in the tent city.
The medical unit assigned tents to quarantine people in order of the date they left Lesange, and those who became ill were further quarantined.
It was Neve who was unable to be thorough.
Neve, like Neisse, had also set up a tent village to deal with the people who had caught the fever.
The town’s people were unlucky in that Duke Grachie, who was not so concerned about the fever, had arrived late because he did not facilitate the transport of a medical unit sent by Nigel, and the duke’s family had come to the Grachie’s winter home in Neve, where the duke’s family had come to stay.
The duke and his family took pity on the sick in the tent village in the cold weather. The duchess was particularly distressed when she heard that the sick had a child, and offered her own villa as a temporary hospital.
The quarantine measure was taken because the disease had already been declared contagious and could be transmitted by air. However, the town doctor who was treating the patients did not take kindly to this offer.
About one hundred and twenty sick people and about seventy of their precautionary troops, who were tourists, were moved to a villa, and the medical staff, who arrived there soon afterwards, were stunned by the measure.
The unfortunate thing is that the traveler who entered Neve had no way to leave Neve because of the travel ban.
Two battalions from the Western Division were immediately dispatched to Neve to blockade the city itself. Nigel did not even allow the duke’s family to move.
Within a week, five-day fever had spread to the city of Neve.
It spread throughout the town from travelers stranded in Neve and from the duke’s servants and their families in the villa that had been temporarily turned into a hospital.
The final death toll in Neve was five hundred and twenty-six.
One of the Duke’s granddaughters, who was only five years old, was counted among them.
However, considering the fact that more than two thousand five hundred people had been sickened, the number of deaths was much lower as a percentage.
This was due to the efforts of the medical units.
This opened up new avenues of medical research in our universities, but that’s another story.
And in Neisse, where the isolation policy of the medical units was strictly enforced, the total number of sick people out of about 700 people kept in tent cities on the border was about 300. The death toll was forty-three.
The disease, which was so rampant in neighboring countries that it had reduced the population by 30 percent, was contained here in Dardinia because the initial isolation policy worked to some extent.
“If my grandmother hadn’t let a five-day fever patient into her cottage, her own people wouldn’t have died…”
“Isn’t it obvious who the killer is?”
The eyes of the other aides who had joined the conversation were focused on Claude.
I’m not sure if he’s the mastermind or not. We know who the blackmailer is. We’ll talk about that later. For now, let’s get back to the story.”
“Our territory suffered a lot of casualties in that time. But it was far better than our neighbors.”
Those who knew the inner workings nodded deeply.
“But the number of victims was higher than in the neighboring territory under direct royal control. I know that this has caused some people to complain…but it wasn’t actually my grandmother who brought up the matter of accepting the villa that was said to be the cause. The reason why it turned out to be my grandmother’s fault was probably because my father was not there and she had to make the decision.”
“There are many who would think that they would have been saved if the Duchess hadn’t made the move. It was an act of good will, but it was a mistake.”
“Mistake? There’s no mistake, right? Sure, if you only look at the results, it may be due to the relatively high number of deaths, but Neve is colder than Neisse. It’s possible that the tents couldn’t handle that cold. And that’s the extent of autonomy involved in the territory. You can’t force it. In fact, a number of people have died of pneumonia in Neisse. In fact, more people may have died of pneumonia than of five-day fever.”
Nigel went on, saying calmly that it was impossible for others to know what was right.
“Mostly, as far as I can tell. Isn’t that a resentment?”
“I think it’s a grudge.”
Claude nods emphatically.
“…But that’s why my grandmother had no idea why she was resented and it didn’t get through to her.”
“…Your grandmother is oblivious.”
“My grandmother is boxed in. My grandfather is okay with it, so I’ve stayed put until this age…I know that’s not a compliment, but when your grandfather is okay with it, it’s not something people can say about you.”
“And so? How did you know about the threats?”
“It’s because my grandmother was starting to have her life threatened…There may have been some things we were unaware of, but one of them was the work of a maidservant. The maidservant, who was seized by the guards, said, ‘My sister died of that fever. I want my sister back.’”
“It’s not just one case?”
“Yes. There have already been three cases seized over here.”
“Isn’t that strange?”
Phil tilts his head.
“Is the whole thing a fever victims’ association?”
“There was no such meeting, but they were all the ones that lost their relatives to that fever.”
“Mostly, Miss Fiony would have died there.”
The duke’s family has lost the daughter of his late eldest brother, Claude’s niece, to five-day fever.
…There are some people who are agitating.”
What for? He tilted his head.
“Is there any reason for Grachie to target her?”
“I can’t say no, but I don’t see why he would go after my grandmother. Of course we would feel sorrow for my grandmother if she died, but she is old, and we are prepared for nothing.”
“Who else is going to benefit from your grandmother’s death?”
“…I sound like a human being when I say this, but I don’t think my grandmother is worth that much. Only my grandfather would put that much value on my grandmother.”
“Then when your grandmother dies, the old lord will lose hope. Who will benefit from that?”
“He will follow in his footsteps, me and Alienor?”
Claude tilts his head.
“Of course not. It’s a seat that’s sure to come around eventually, if nothing else.”
“…For the time being, you can leave the purpose behind.”
There was a chilling voice.
A pressure that forced everyone to look in that direction.
It was the sound of a calm voice that made the whole entourage feel terrified.
“More importantly, Claude, we will have the thieves who entered the royal palace reaped now. Clean up the backgrounds. Phil, follow the footsteps of the Duchess and Luthia.”
Nigel gives instructions in rapid succession.
“…Ah, Princess, I think that’s probably it.”
Phil-Lynn said, seeming a little hesitant to say it.
“What do you think?”
“…Didn’t they definitely go in the underground?”
“Yeah…Several of the thieves have been found killed by the invisible guardians. But there are many places where they are killed, and because of the inconsistency, I can’t follow Luthia’s footsteps.”
“Speak up now.”
“…Maybe…the Princess is directionally challenged.”
No one present could tell what Nigel was thinking from the profile of his mind.
T/N: As a directionally challenged person myself, I feel like I can relate to Luthia very well (-_-”’)
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One thought on “Side Story: The Crown Prince and his Entourage”
I can relate to both Luthia and the grandma.
I’m also kind of living in a boxed, sheltered way.