“We don’t have clear evidence, because me and Stan just reviewed it…It’s just that the goal, or rather the purpose, is clear. I don’t think there’s any way they’re going to be able to do it, but the purpose is to ‘kick at my brother.’ Otherwise, they won’t be able to achieve what they want…In an extreme case, the ultimate goal is a coup d’état.”
“These coups don’t seem so benign.”
Phil-Lynn might have remembered that of Esalkar a year ago. He shook his head lightly in dismay.
“One of the aims of this attack on the Duchess is to reduce the power of the Marquis Grachie family. Besides scratching the interior of the Marquess family, I think it’s to spearhead the issue of responsibility of the Kings Guard.”
“Is the Kings Guard responsible for this?
Phil-Lynn tilted his head with a pouting face. Phil is a civilian, so he’s probably unfamiliar with the unspoken rules of military officers and military personnel.
“We’ve concluded that the Duchess’ attack is probably aimed at dismissing the Duke of Radeld, the current Commander of the Kings Guard Division.”
Perhaps it was an answer he hadn’t even considered. He had a look of utter incomprehension on his face.
“Why the Duke of Radeld?”
“The Duke of Radeld has been making a series of blunders…In truth, he said he was resigning because of a series of responsibilities, including my sister-in-law’s balcony incident last year, but he went to war because of the Esalkal coup. So he said he was going to resign after the war, but because it was a winning battle, the resignation was offset by his achievements and the resignation was cancelled out.”
“Should he have resigned?”
“The most important job of the Kings Guard is to protect the royal family. But he lost sight of the subject of the guard, endangering her life and even causing her to lose her memory…This is an absolute resignation case between us. He stayed on because my brother stayed again, but as expected, he can’t do it this time. This time, if the duke finds out that my sister-in-law is involved, he will resign immediately. If he’s not good, he’ll commit suicide.”
The fact that my sister-in-law was involved is being kept under wraps as a top secret, but this time the Duke of Radeld will resign immediately if he finds out.
“Suicide is an exaggeration…”
“I’m not exaggerating. It’s just the way it is…I take on the role of escort with that kind of preparedness.”
“No, but I don’t have anyone to replace him…The second-in-command over there is still a lot of things short of being a divisional commander. We’re talking about the attack on the Duke and Duchess as a penalty of returning salary or something like that, and we’re talking about keeping the Duke of Radeld in office.”
“That’s your problem. I’ve lost face twice as a member of the Kings Guard. The Duke will never get the nod. If you force him to stay, the consequences will be severe. I don’t care what kind of personnel puzzle you have in mind…The only reason he’s not resigning now is because of the Founding Festival. If he resigns here, there’s nothing you can do about it.”
“But his replacement is…”
“Claude is here.”
I thought of the face of the man who had come to greet me just a few days ago because he had come out of his estate for the Founding Festival.
Claude Eus of the Dukes of Grachie, who became the husband of my sister, Alienor.
He was my brother’s second-in-command, who originally doubled as the Commander of the Kings Guard Division. Naturally, he was a candidate for the future commander of the division, and even now, he should only be registered in the Kings Guard Division as a reserve officer.
“No, but that guy is officially going to be the successor to the duke’s family with his father.”
“Is that a problem? As I recall, the current Duke of Elzevert, who inherited the duke’s title, was also the divisional commander of the Eastern Division for many years.”
“It’s a special measure because it was a district army.”
“Then we’ll just apply that special measure to Claude as well. Claude isn’t going to be doing anything all the time…I bet that Claude won’t say no to it. I’m sure he wouldn’t want to further damage the Duke of Radeld’s reputation, either.”
“Is that all there is to it?”
“That’s as far as it goes. He’s especially responsible. Maybe he still cares about my sister-in-law’s case, too.”
Then I thought for a moment about the Duke of Radeld.
That man who became the divisional commander of the Kings Guard after taking over from his brother, I think he had quite a bit of trouble taking control of the Kings Guard.
I would never be able to do that if it were me.
After his older brother, who was like an absolute charismatic person. Moreover, he had a spectacular war record of winning all the battles he went to war in. The older the people in the division, the more they would have admired his brother.
Still, he was told in person by his brother, “I’m sorry. I know I’m going to put you through a lot of trouble,” but when he was told that this is why he chose him, he couldn’t help but be inspired.
“……Just because you say that replacing Claude is the best way to get public acceptance doesn’t mean there’s any reason it has to be Claude. If there’s a better replacement appointment over there, that’s fine. However, there may be circumstances, but please do not include a bonafide foil for the aristocracy…Also, I would caution you that the Duke of Grachie may receive threats in this case.”
“What? The Duke of Grachie is being threatened?”
Phil looked really weird.
I know the feeling. The Duke is not one to be threatened. He’s normally the one who does the threatening.
And he’s also one who is mistaken for threatening even if he has no intention of doing so.
His atmosphere is overwhelmingly frightening…
He has a dignity that is unapproachable.
“How do you threaten him?”
“Ah, Stan says, ‘I helped you out this time, but not next time.’ He said something like, ‘Next time I’ll get serious.’”
Besides, in such a case, the old man would never forgive the culprit, even if he had to split up the grassroots to find out the culprit and fight a duel or whatever. Everyone who knows the old man understands that. Perhaps the only person who doesn’t understand is the criminal.”
“That would be counterproductive.”
The Duke of Grachie does not have the ease, or rather the sweetness, to give in to threats.
And moreover, that Duke has a hidden and beloved wife. He couldn’t just let his wife fall victim to the attack, even though it was a close call.
“Well, it’s going to be a pity for the criminal, huh?”
Yes. I couldn’t help but feel sorry for the culprit.
“If I may, Your Highness, do you have an idea of who the criminal is?”
“…Is it an eyesore, or rather…well, maybe? But it’s not all of them, though…I told you earlier because I thought it began with my sister-in-law.”
“What did the princess do?”
Phil-Lynn’s expression fades.
Unusual…This kind of thing.
Phil doesn’t put too much stock in anyone’s affairs.
He gets along well with people and has a surprisingly wide range of friendships, but he tries to keep his relationships broad and shallow and not get too involved. He once told me that he doesn’t get too involved because he doesn’t know who he’s going to cut off at any time.
I understood that he was always ready to cut off everything but my brother.
That’s why his face right now was one I’d never seen before.
“It’s not that it’s my sister-in-law is in the wrong. It’s just that it’s probably because of my sister-in-law that the culprit has done this.”
“Because of the princess?”
“Maybe my sister-in-law doesn’t even recognize him.”
I’m sure I’ve met him more times than I can count.
“The problem is, I’m pretty sure he’s one of the masterminds, but there might be someone else who further incited him to do it.”
“The rear palace that was once called ‘Fushimaden’ is no more, but after all, the disturbing incidents have not disappeared.” (***Fushimaden or 伏魔殿 can also mean “pandemonium pavilion” I think)
“Who is it?”
‘Don’t be coy, tell me,’ says Phil.
“…No, I’m a bit afraid to say it out loud in person.”
“Because it’s a relative.”
Phil rounded his eyes.
Yes. I was a little confused, because it was started by my relatives in the first place.
“Ultimately, he wants to replace my older brother…or even for the person behind him to replace him…That’s a coup after all, isn’t it?”
I’m already full of stuff just thinking about it for a minute like this.
And yet, this mastermind—he wants to kick my brother off.
But in that case, I am determined to get involved.
Sometimes I forget myself that I am second in line of succession to the throne, after my brother. Moreover, when my brother ascends the throne, I’ll be temporarily first in line of succession until my brother and sister-in-law have a child.
“Who is it? Who wants to replace that Nigel?”
“I mean, just think about it normally.”
“Yes. Think about the throne. If you get rid of my brother, I’m next in line. But I don’t want the throne at all. You know that, right?”
As far as I’m concerned, as a second prince, even being the second in line of succession is a pain in the ass.
And yet, the reason I won’t renounce the succession and remain a prince is all because I want to help my brother.
“So what’s next for me?”
“…No way, Her Highness Nadia?”
“No…there is another one.”
“…His Highness Errol?”
Phil-Lynn gives me a look of surprise as if it’s improbable, but that’s not true.
Originally, Shion would be next in line after me. But Shion, who has already taken a monastic vow as an Orthodox priest, has renounced his claim to the throne and is no longer even a prince.
As far as I know, the throne of Dardinia is succeeded by boys in order of age first, so the third succession to the throne belongs to Errol and the fourth to Nadia.
There’s probably an exception, though.
Only the king, the crown prince and the four dukes would know about that. It isn’t even known to me, a prince, and I’m sure the rest of the royal family is the same as well.
Perhaps after my brother’s accession to the throne, I will have the opportunity to find out.
Well, knowing won’t change anything.
“That’s right…Even though they were twins, Nadia wouldn’t know anything about it. If she knew, she wouldn’t be able to stay around my sister-in-law in such an innocent way. That girl has a straightforward heart.”
“Is it really His Highness?”
“Yeah…Don’t say too much though. They’ll call you blasphemous.”
I nod with a sigh.
“…No, that’s right. What made him decide to replace Nigel again? That shadowy Royal Highness?”
Out of all of us siblings, I remember the face of my half-brother, who probably has the most personality resemblance to my late father. Honestly, he’s a little hard to remember right away. I’m not sure if it’s because of the unflappable nature of Nadia, one half of the twins who are usually always in the set at official occasions, but I’m extremely unimpressed with Errol.
“…I told you it was because of my sister-in-law earlier…”
“…Apparently, he’s in love with her.”
“What? He fell in love?”
Phil didn’t seem to understand the meaning of the words. I know the feeling.
“Maybe, but, apparently, Errol seems to have fallen in love with sister-in-law…or is it easier to paraphrase it as a concern?”
After saying that much, it seems he finally understood.
“Don’t ask me that. It’s not about me…Anyway, Errol fell in love with my sister-in-law. That’s the basic premise…That’s why he wanted the position of my sister-in-law’s husband. My deputy says that someone probably suggested it. That in order to be my sister-in-law’s husband, you have to be the king.”
“…Normally, you’d give up after that, wouldn’t you?”
No matter what anyone thinks, there is no comparison between my brother and Errol.
“He couldn’t give up…or maybe he doesn’t know how to give up…because that boy is still a born prince.”
“No, but…he’s dealing with Nigel, right? I think it’s amazing that he can even think of trying to compete with Nigel.”
Phil is seriously impressed.
“He’s not thinking seriously…The only thing Errol has over my brother is youth, but in this case, youth is not always an advantage.”
“There are a lot of people around that girl who say random things because they don’t want to be involved in tantrums. ‘Princess Arthirea is more suited to His Highness Errol than to His Highness the Crown Prince in terms of age,’ or something like that.”
“Oh, I can imagine. And maybe it made him want to do it…How old is His Highness Errol now?”
Phil doesn’t even remember Errol’s age, apparently.
“Eighteen years old. He completed the sword ceremony.”
“…That means it’s high treason.”
He said simply.
“If he is seriously trying to bring my brother down, that would be high treason against the state.
Royalty is not judged by the common law. But when things are high treason, it’s a different story. If they are minors, they can have their crimes reduced to first class, but not if they are adults.
“Maybe Errol doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand…”
“What kind of situation did his wish bring about? Maybe Errol just said it. He wants to make my sister-in-law his princess…He just couldn’t give up. But those words may have moved his milk brother, Viscount Farsad, to do it.”
“Viscount Farsad? Who’s that?”
“A member of the Duke Alhane family…It’s a house that caused a social stir more than twenty years ago… I had no idea about it.”
I was too young at the time to remember, and I wasn’t familiar with that side of things. But my good lieutenant did some research on the case.
Phil, who seemed to know a lot about such things, didn’t seem to remember hearing about it either.
“He abandoned his fiancée, who was appointed by his family, and ran off halfway and eloped together with the daughter of the Marquis of Rhodelia, who had another fiancé. Eventually, because the then head of the Viscount family died, there was no other heir, so he was nominally allowed to take over.”
“The ancestral manor was abandoned as a compliment to the fiancée of the daughter of the Marquis of Rhodelia. She relied on her cousin, Princess Argenna. She was lucky that Princess Argenna was pregnant at the time too. She was just about to give birth, too. So she became a nanny to Queen Argenna’s children… Nadia and Errol. And her child born at that time was the Viscount Farsad.”
“…I can’t remember any of that when I hear that much. I mean, to begin with, His Highness Errol has a thin presence, too, right?”
Phil twists his head in a huff. I think the level of importance of Errol in Phil’s mind can be seen through the fact that he never forgets the face of a father in a downtown bar, but cannot remember the face of the half-brother of the master he serves.
“Well, he’s not a very impressive person.”
Because of the sociable nature of Nadia, one half of the twins, Errol is inevitably overshadowed by her.
“I’m not sure I can remember much about his face, but I do know he’s a selfish prince with a temper tantrum. And I also know that he’s the third-rate lord.”
“Is he not good?”
“He is a failure in academics, martial arts and character. He’s too fastidious and selfish for his people, and is shy and docile on the outside, but he’s quick to lose his temper, according to a palace maid.”
It’s a terrible thing to say. I’m not sure I’ve ever heard such a thing. The royal palace ladies-in-waiting look like graceful beautiful women on the outside, but many of them have a strong professional character and are rather unforgiving.
I called out his name in the hope that he wouldn’t say more. Phil seemed to read my hope correctly, and sighed and kept his mouth shut.
“…So, did the Viscount Farsad move to fulfill His Highness Errol’s wishes and cause him to attack?”
I change the subject as if I’ve changed my mind.
“Ah. On the day of the incident, there were men he didn’t know.”
There are witnesses to pulling in to the interior of the royal palace.
“One of the guards who was the gatekeeper at the gate between that royal palace and the rear palace that day knew his face.”
“Hey…If this goes to trial, will you testify?”
The other party is the head of a legitimate noble family. If the witness was a commoner, he might get into all sorts of trouble.
“My sister-in-law’s half-brother. Sir Rael Crozes Vi Finos. He told me he was always ready to take the testimony stand.”
I knew that he had been transferred from the Eastern Division to the Kings Guard and that he was being made to eat cold food, but I heard that he had been made to be a gate guard even though he was the son of Duke Elzevert.
“There are a lot of contradictions in what’s happening right now, including the attack. It’s all very mismatched.”
“It’s not consistent. That’s why it’s hard to know what the perpetrator is thinking or what he’s trying to do.”
“It’s not so much that he’s sloppy or inconsistent…”
“Yes. But that’s because it started out as a child’s selfish wish. There is no consistency in what they are doing because everything comes to mind in a random way, and there is a haphazard quality to what they are doing. And there are multiple perpetrators, each with different goals, all working according to their own agendas…Well, I’m sure my brother would know more about what I just told you.”
“No, that guy wouldn’t tell me even a tenth of what I need to know!”
“That’s because he’s my brother.”
My brother rarely speaks. He understands the power of his words.
“…Aren’t you gradually becoming more and more like Nigel?”
Phil-Lynn said, sounding a little less than amused.
I smiled at him and told him.
“To me, that’s a compliment of the highest order, Phil.”
T/N: Anyone else shocked about Errol falling in love with Luthia? They’ve met like, what…twice??? Move aside buddy! ヽ( ￣д￣)ノ
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