Editor: Areth Kyntaul
“You mean that group of merchants is very weird?”
Lorana nodded. She looked at me and, in a serious tone, explained, “Your Majesty, I investigated that group of merchants, in a low-key way, because they must have rested in this small town before they could continue. Therefore, that group definitely rested up here. There are also only two hotels here, so they rested here for sure.”
“Do you know what they bought? They purchased metal that can be used to manufacture guns. The metal is Rosvenor Empire’s. In other words, the goods that Castell is in charge of trading. Purchasing it privately is prohibited.”
I folded my arms, and while looking at her, said, “So they’re Castell’s men, then. Their logo and flag were the royal family’s. Nobody would dare to use that sort of stuff other than Castell. They’d all lose their heads when they enter the Rosvenor Empire. Further, Castell’s merchant group’s logo and the royal flag is made by the royal family itself. Nobody else could make that pattern.”
“Yes, that’s why there’s a problem with that group.”
I placed my hand on my forehead. I looked at Lorana, who was serious and knocking on the table.
‘She came here and woke me in the middle of the night, so here I was thinking something came up. But it was about the group of merchants who passed us during the day. I got called awake while still in my pyjamas. I’m still a little dizzy, right now. I really don’t want to do any more thinking.’
Lorana looked at me and sternly said, “It’s dangerous no matter how you think about it. Your Majesty, think about it carefully. If the group weren’t Castell’s men, they could get changed into their regular clothes, once they get back. They could then transport the metal, that can be used to make guns and cannons, to a secret location to manufacture weapons. What would they be doing that for?! They’re preparing to revolt! I don’t know what weapons they’re making privately, or what they’re thinking. If they’re Castell’s men, then their business can be considered legal. But they didn’t even greet you when they saw you!! In front of them was the Prince of the Rosvenor Empire, and they just continued to pass like that?”
“It’s not impossible to comprehend why, though, right? Not everyone recognises me, after all… Some people don’t recognise me. I didn’t display the royal family’s coat of arms or flag either, so it’s normal for them not to greet me, isn’t it?”
“No, Your Majesty, don’t you think you’re famous enough? Look at the Valkyries. They basically don’t leave the palace and don’t concern themselves with other’s business. But the Valkyries all know about you. They can all recognise you, now, even if they haven’t met you.”
I hesitated for a moment and then asked, “But the Valkyries are the royal family’s guard unit, so they would have to know about me now, right…? This is unrelated, isn’t it? As for the merchants, it’s possible they don’t recognise me. I don’t feel that there’s a problem. Are you thinking too much?”
Lorana sternly raised her voice, “You’re not vigilant enough!”
I quickly leaned over to cover her mouth. I pointed at Luna, who was sleeping behind me, and said, “Ssshh, don’t wake Luna. She has just fallen asleep.”
Lorana rolled her eyes and then said, “Fine, fine, fine. Do you think it makes sense for the royal family’s merchants to not recognise their own master? Nobody is better at acquiring inside information than merchants. If they saw you here, they would announce themselves, no matter what. That way, you would keep them in mind once Castell quits, but they just passed by without a greeting.”
“Don’t you think that’s where the biggest problem lies? Why didn’t they greet you? It’s either because they have no respect for you or don’t think you’ll be alive for long enough to become their master, or they’re not merchants. Castell tacitly consented to them buying that stuff in his name, which means that Castell wants to revolt!”
I chuckled hopelessly.
If I wasn’t being considerate of Luna behind me, I really would’ve laughed loudly.
Lorana waited for me to finish chuckling. She then revealed a somewhat angry expression.
I shook my head and replied, “I’m used to not being respected. I want to win other’s respect through my own efforts. Castell couldn’t possibly revolt. Anybody but Castell could revolt.”
“Why are you so confident? Don’t tell me you think Castell considers himself your vassal now, after helping you with a few things. Castell’s loyalty isn’t that easy to obtain. Didn’t you yourself say ‘loyalty can’t be bought with money, but true loyalty is a treasure’? Castell’s loyalty is extremely hard to obtain!”
“I always knew Castell wasn’t loyal to me. But I know that he’s loyal to Mom. Loyal to death, for that matter. So how could he revolt?”
There’s no room to question Castell’s loyalty to Elizabeth. He’s more loyal than even the Valkyries. If that wasn’t the case, the empress wouldn’t give him the right to enter her room as he pleased. As her personal vassal, he was her most loyal existence.
“That’s exactly why!” Lorana slammed her hand on the table, giving me a fright and almost causing me to jump up.
Luna groaned gently.
I then quickly calmed my breathing down and looked at Lorana like I was scolding her.
Lorana waved her hand nonchalantly to express her apology. She then quietly, yet sternly, said, “Your Majesty, you have to know that being loyal to Elizabeth doesn’t mean being loyal to you. They could throw away their lives for Elizabeth, so they could take your head for her all the same.”
I nearly burst out in laughter.
There’s no way Elizabeth would order my head to be taken. Anybody could kill me, but my two moms would never. They could take the heads of countless others to protect me, so how could they want me dead?
If Castell was loyal to Elizabeth, he would be loyal to me, because Elizabeth and I were bound together and could not be separated.
“Your Majesty, do not go thinking that because you are the prince and Elizabeth’s beloved child, they won’t try anything against you. Instead, you could say that they consider you a threat to Her Majesty’s rule.”
“You can say that you have no ambitions, with its implied pejorative nature, and that the empress trusts you without question, however; those schemers don’t believe that. They don’t stand on Elizabeth’s side or yours! They will go behind Elizabeth to eliminate you, and even consider that a merit!”
Lorana looked at me sternly and added, “Your Majesty, you must have your own faction, and you must separate your faction from the empress’ faction. You two are close, and you have no walls between you, but your people definitely don’t think the same way. You must keep a watch on what Her Majesty’s people are doing, for your own safety.”
“You have to realise that the empress’ people are definitely not loyal to you. They don’t feel consoled, or relieved, to know that you have great ambitions, for they view it as a wild ambition… Those loyal to the empress, to death, can’t possibly let you move freely when they consider your ambition. You must bear this in mind. And that merchant group must be investigated thoroughly!”