I returned to the royal capital, gave the bandits over to the royal army, and headed for Earl Terejia’s villa. I went to hear about what happened in the royal capital while I was away, and to report on what happened in my domain, an exchange of information.
“Oh, you’ve returned?”
“There’s no mistakes in the report from the two female victims from Nezu village?”
“The injuries on their bodies match what they say. The Shiru tribe members that helped in capturing the bandits can confirm this as well.”
It seems that Earl Terejia still isn’t feeling well, as the meeting was in his bedroom. Looking at the earl in his sleepwear more closely, I feel like he’s gotten a bit more gaunt since the last time I saw him. Even though I have grown a little as well, he used to always seem so big to me, and now looking at him he feels thin and small…… He even seems brittle.
“How is your body……”
“I’m just a little fatigued, it’s no problem. ……As expected, the years are catching up to me.”
Normally, the earl and I would just dispense with the pleasantries and get immediately to business and work. For me to be asking how he is, I wonder if it’s because I’m seeing how old he is, lying down in bed. – Well, it’s mutual, we both talk only about work. I don’t know if Earl Terejia sees me as his subordinate or his employer, but either way, asking him about how his body is or if he’s working too hard isn’t like me at all.
“Is anything going on in the royal capital?”
Well, I’ll cut to the chase with the topic of the earl’s body, and get to the main topic. Suddenly, the earl’s already strict-seeming face crinkled even further. Something major must have happened, my back felt stiff and tense.
“Several days ago, the royally-sponsored religious festival took place.”
“I know about that. If it wasn’t for the bandit group incident, I was supposed to have attended that originally.”
“It’s an important social event that you happened to miss. This religious festival is the largest event of the entire season. But back to the point, the king made an announcement during the festival.”
It was an unexpected topic, I couldn’t help but blink unconsciously. Because the king personally announced it to all his subjects, it must have been something that affects the entire country. Even so, the king shouldn’t have the power to decide national politics all by himself.
The king of Arxia has full authority for managing and governing over the country. But, there’s a limit to what any one person can do, and the governing system in Arxia is one where the king shares power with his lords. Recently in the House of Lords, there shouldn’t have been any topics that would require the king to directly make an announcement to the citizens.
“It’s about the princes.”
“……Ah, I see. If it’s a royal family matter, then the House of Lords would have no say in it.”
I finally got what was going on, and responded affirmatively. I’m still learning more about politics related to the church and royal family, so I wasn’t able to instantly connect all the dots this time.
Just recently, I had learned from Mrs. Marshan’s lectures that there’s two areas of politics where the House of Lords has no right to interfere in. One area is diplomacy with foreign countries, and the other is the affairs of the royal family. Diplomacy is the realm of the king, the archduke’s family, and the Upper House of Lords, while matters about the royal family themselves are jointly decided by the royal family, the church, and the Upper House of Lords.
“There’s currently several princes in the royal family, but do you know how many are in line for direct succession to the throne?”
“Yes. Queen Dionesia’s son Prince Albert, and Princess Evaris’s son Prince Alfred, just those two, right?”
When I asked if I was right, Earl Terejia nodded in confirmation like he was saying I did a good job at remembering.
“Are you still in the middle of your classes on current issues within the royal family?”
“Yes, that’s correct.”
“I’ll explain it simply for you, Queen Dionesia is the daughter of the duke of Planates Dukedom, while Princess Evaris is a princess from the Melloart family. Since the Queen and the Princess have roughly equal status within Arxia, it’s difficult to determine which prince shall become the crown prince.”
At the earl’s explanation, I thought back to the last time he taught me about politics. (TL note: Chapter 74, mentions the Arxian royalty.) With this much of an explanation, I can see where this is going.
“Then, was the announcement at the religious festival about the selection of a crown prince?”
“Correct. The crown prince was announced to be the second prince, Prince Alfred, son of Princess Evaris.”
“Prince Alfred? Not the first prince, Prince Albert?”
It was different from what I expected, so I asked again to make sure. Earl Terejia nodded, so it seems that I didn’t hear incorrectly. I hurriedly tried to recall as much as I can from what I learned about Arxian politics so far. According to Arxian law, there’s indeed no different in status between a queen and princess. But currently, there does exist a difference in status between queen and princess in reality.
Princess Evaris is from the Melloart family, which is one of two Arxian royal families. Together with the current family on the throne, the Teal family, they’re direct descendants of St. Ahar, and they are treated as the same status as the archduke’s family, without holding any positions other than that of family.
On the other hand, when Queen Dionesia married into Arxia from Planates for a political marriage, she didn’t have to relinquish her position in Planates. So she’s both a queen of Arxia, as well as the daughter of the duke of Planates.
What’s more, there’s also the matter of the order the princes were born in. Arxia isn’t a kingdom in which the eldest inheriting is absolute, but it’s a custom. Since Prince Albert’s mother is of such high status, and he’s the first prince, he should have been announced as the crown prince.
“Nobody doubted that Prince Albert would become the crown prince. Prince Albert is well known in the royal capital for being intelligent. Nothing’s lacking about him for him to not become the crown prince.”
“……Then how did this happen?”
“I don’t know. Because nobody knows, the royal capital is filled with tension and uncertainty at present.”
I see, I nodded, and began mentally organizing information. So the crown prince was decided upon as the second prince instead of the first, and the nobles that had supported the first prince to become king were probably quite shaken. ……No wait, just this alone shouldn’t be such a big incident. Thinking about it some more, I didn’t take into consideration the first prince’s mother’s background just earlier.
“Since we’re currently on guard against Rindarl, there’s quite a few nobles that feel animosity towards Planates……”
“That’s right. Currently, it wouldn’t be wise to provoke Planates though.”
Anyone should think that. Even if the king didn’t take that into consideration, the Upper House of Lords should have thought about it before making a hasty decision on the crown prince.
“Well, it’s useless even if we talk about it. All nobles like us can do is watch and see what happens.”
Although I’m still confused, what Earl Terejia is saying is correct. There’s nothing I can do about things related to what goes on in the royal palace or in the royal family.
“Well then, can you fill me in with more details on what you heard from those bandits?”
There’s more important things to take care of first, like things related to my domain. And so I stopped worrying about the royal succession, as I changed the topic.