“Castell, are you going to help us or not?”
Castell stood at the door feeling a little awkward. He had put on his overcoat and planned to head out, but Alice blocked him off at the doorway. He hasn’t wanted to see Alice the last few days. Alice had already made her stance clear. She wanted to harm his majesty. She wanted to at least punish his majesty. Castell himself didn’t want to, but he knew he couldn’t turn against the Valkyries so he didn’t want to see Alice.
“Am I not already helping you? I did not tell his majesty and her majesty about you buying metal. I have helped you keep it under wraps already. I have helped you with something so serious already, how else do you want me to help you?”
Alice frowned, folded her arms, looked up at Castell and in an annoyed tone said: “That’s not the help I’m talking about! Your indecisive stance is really getting on my nerves! We’re comrades, aren’t we? We have worked so hard by her majesty’s side for so many years. Are you going to continue maintaining your indecisive stance at this most crucial point in time? Do you still respect and love her majesty? Where’s your loyalty?! Are you telling me that time has erased her loyalty and courage?”
“That’s not what this is about! I’ve given up everything for her majesty, you know that very well, Alice!”
Castell scrubbed his head with irritation and then looked at her enraged. Castell was insistent on never letting his loyalty to the empress be questioned. Questioning his loyalty to the empress was the equivalent of questioning his entire life to him.
“If you’re still loyal to her majesty, why are you not participating in this?! You know full-well how ambitious his majesty is! He raised his own army, produced his own weapons and now has his own city. He’s just one step away from having his own private military! I don’t know what sort of sorcery he used to bewitch the empress into the way she is now, but you should be able to tell that the greatest threat to the empire at present is this prince!”
Alice got angrier and angrier as she spoke, almost smashing Castell’s expensive door to bits with one punch. Castell’s heart ached when he saw the crack on his precious door. He let out a heavy sigh and replied: “Alice, are you absolutely certain that his majesty has an evil ambition? If his majesty wanted the throne, he’d just have to mention it and her majesty will pass it to him for sure given how much she loves him. Why would he need to go through all that trouble?”
“Doesn’t that make it scarier?!” Alice looked at Castell aggressively. The empress’s throne was the most sensitive topic to Alice and a topic you don’t want to cross her about. It wasn’t just the Valkyries’ responsibility, but more because she witnessed in the flesh how hard Elizabeth worked. She witnessed Elizabeth first raise a nation in ruins and the tears she shed. She witnessed Elizabeth wear her military attire and smash her own throne without reserve. She witnessed Elizabeth fighting right at the forefront when she was wounded all over……
She witnessed everything. She witnessed the empress’s beginnings with nothing to her rise to become an individual who could shake the continent and strike fear into her foes. She was always by Elizabeth’s side.
Only such a talented individual was worthy of the majestic title of “sovereign”. Only someone like that had the right to sit on the ruler’s throne of gold and blood. What right did that man have? Did he ever go through a world of bloodshed and warfare? He hasn’t ever held a sword even. What right did he have to earn the favour of the most perfect, noble and outstanding ruler? What right did he have to become the emperor?
Alice is an orphan. She doesn’t know what a ruler needs. She doesn’t know what sort of person can become a ruler. But she saw Elizabeth. Her admiration and respect for Elizabeth knew no bounds. In her heart, Elizabeth was the only ruler of this world. That man, that kid, what right did he have to succeed the throne? He just happened to be a lucky brat that was born as Elizabeth’s son. He didn’t have a shred of Elizabeth’s heroic spirit!
That sort of man wasn’t worthy of being Elizabeth’s successor! He wasn’t worthy of having the empire that Elizabeth gave so much to establish just like that! If he threatened Elizabeth’s rule, she would give her everything away to bring Elizabeth to her senses and save the empire!
Elizabeth gave away her everything to establish this empire. Alice witnessed every step Elizabeth took and everything she sacrificed to establish this empire. There was no way she was going to let anyone destroy her. If they wanted to destroy what Elizabeth worked so hard for, they were going to have to destroy her first.
“Alice, let’s calm down and think about this properly.”
Castell pressed his hands on Alice’s shoulders, but she smacked his hands away and turned her head away somewhat angry. Castell chuckled awkwardly and then made an open hand gesture. He said, “We both serve her majesty. You want to eliminate his majesty for her majesty’s sake, right? In that case, shouldn’t we ask for her majesty’s opinion first since it’s got to do with her majesty? His majesty is her majesty’s current only child and her most beloved child. What happens if her majesty falls into despair because we killed him and offs herself?”
“H-… Her majesty has been bewitched by his majesty! If the prince dies, I think her majesty will come back to her senses!”
“Whenever did you see his majesty proactively trying to ingratiate himself with her majesty? He’s not the sort of person who wishes her majesty to promote him. He has been to the inner court fewer times than we have been in a single day. As opposed to saying that his majesty is bewitching her majesty, it would be more accurate to say that her majesty is the one who is clinging to his majesty.”
Alice clenched her teeth while looking at Castell. Though Castell said things that attacked her majesty, she had no counterargument because Castell spoke the truth.
“Hence, we cannot do something that would anger her majesty. Her majesty wants to have a family. Her majesty left after giving birth to his majesty. I think she must be feeling guilty toward his majesty. If we harm his majesty now, we really will be attacking her majesty herself.”
Castell chuckled and looked at Alice who had no counterargument. He continued explaining: “Everything that I do is for her majesty. Her majesty loves her child and his majesty is not vying for the throne right now. Even if we act against him now, it would only be considered an uncalled for attack. Let us focus on gathering power for now. If his majesty shows any behaviour that crosses the line, we will report it to her majesty. Only once her majesty gives her approval can we touch his majesty.”
“What if his majesty has gathered enough power too?! Look at his majesty right now. Everything that he’s doing is to grow and expand his power!”
“I think her majesty would be very happy if his majesty could grow his power to equal ours. Plus, he would have what it takes to be an emperor by then, wouldn’t he?”
Castell smiled then looked at Alice. He wiped his smile away and continued, “Alice, I am loyal to her majesty, not you Valkyries. Therefore, I will not support everything you choose to do. Alice, you are being too rash this time. Do not do something that will make her majesty unhappy. Do not do something her majesty does not want to do. Do you still not understand this?”
Alice clenched her teeth and kept silent for a moment. She then spun around and left him with “I’ll come find you again when the time comes” before quickly leaving.
Castell revealed a smile when he saw Alice’s tiny yet determined silhouette. He then let out a long sigh, adjusted his collar and took out a gold coin to look at the empress’s face-print on it.
He softly muttered to himself: “Your majesty, you have a sad fate. You have to die if you become strong, but you will also die if you do not…… How will you cross this single-log bridge……? I am most fascinated. However, as Elizabeth’s child, you should be fine, right……?”