Beginning of Act 2, Part 3
After being showered in flower petals by my citizens as blessings for my eighth birthday’s celebration, life has been going on rather shockingly peacefully and calmly. Ever since my fifth birthday’s celebration, my days have always been so busy, so it’s unbelievable how there’s such a long respite now, and another year passed by in a flash just like that. I’m now nine years old.
As the horse-drawn carriage rattled and shook on the paved road, I took the time to reflect on how this past year went.
Honestly, it was such a peaceful year. Of course, it also means that things have remained stagnant.
The relations I have with the people around me haven’t changed at all in one year. I still can’t pass by Ratoka without having my heart twinge, and I still avoid Mrs. Hortensia as much as I can, so I keep my distance still from both of them. It might be more accurate to say that I had gotten so used to the new pace of things that I only noticed an entire year had passed after something unexpected interrupted this lifestyle.
“It’s rather cool for early summer this year.”
Maybe it’s to free himself from the silence, Earl Terejia muttered a comment about the weather as he sat across in the carriage from me while fanning himself. Although the air inside the carriage is mostly enclosed within a small space, it doesn’t feel stifling, rather relaxing instead today.
“Yes, indeed. It feels quite nice.”
Since I was also getting a little bored as well, I decided to join him in conversation and agreed with him. He glanced at me, perhaps sensing that I wanted to engage him in conversation, and he began talking about the recent situation in the royal capital.
“When I visited the royal capital earlier this spring, I hardly heard any problems about the issue of the crown prince. As expected, it’s calmed down a bit since it’s already been two years since the crown prince was decided. Rather than that, it’s rumored that the end of the Rindarl Kingdom is finally near.”
“The Rindarl Kingdom, is it. Well, two years ago they were saying the same thing.”
“I guess it was going to happen sooner or later. Regarding the issue of the crown prince, last winter Prince Albert has completed the process of entering a monastery.”
Maybe he’s thinking back to last year, the Earl was now looking at the ceiling of the carriage. His expression seems like he’s eating some disgusting insects, the decision about forcing the first prince to enter a monastery is one that the Earl doesn’t comprehend even today.
“There seems to have been a big commotion about that earlier last summer.”
Claudia who was sitting next to me spoke up as well. Just like last year, she’ll be serving simultaneously as my maid and bodyguard in the royal capital. Currently, the only ones that can serve as my attendants are Claudia, Ratoka, and Elise. But I won’t bring Elise along for the sake of her health, and since I still haven’t improved things with Ratoka, I left him behind this year.
“About that big commotion. He might as well have said it straight that he was disinheriting the first prince. Just what is our King thinking, I don’t get it at all……”
Maybe he didn’t want to think about the commotion caused by the crown prince incident, Earl Terejia started complaining to us as if he wanted somebody to vent to. It must be hard on him that he still can’t understand the royal family’s thought process.
Even if we don’t know the reason, even if we don’t agree with it, we have to obey whatever the King decides on. That’s the way things are in this country. However, there’s a big emotional difference for us, his subjects, between knowing the King’s intentions and not knowing what he wants.
“Anyways, if there’s so many rumors about Rindarl floating around this year, we need to increase our guard along the eastern border. Now, just to iron out the details……”
“Earl Terejia, how about having a meeting with Earl Einsbark and Margrave Genas? If we can form a united front by ourselves, that would be much more effective than having to go through the House of Lords.”
“Of course that would be for the best, but the problem is Margrave Genas’s wife. It’s difficult to establish any relations with how much she detests Kaldia.”
With a heavy sigh, Earl Terejia covered his eyes with his left hand. When I noticed that he seemed to be getting pale, I took a good look at him.
Seeing him like this, I can’t help but think he’s gotten so old now, even though it’s only been a little over four years since the night I first met him. Two years ago the earl’s condition got much worse, and I’ve been trying to take over as much of his work as I can, but even so he still has so much on his plate to deal with. Although he isn’t able to work as much as he did before, he still does an unreasonable amount of work for his age. He’s such a workaholic. It seems like he hasn’t been getting much sleep recently, and I’m worried about how he’s doing. It would be nice if he doesn’t suddenly die on me.
“In the first place, we’d have to decide on what to discuss if we meet. I’m not an expert in military affairs. Einsbark is quite reasonable and easy to make dealings with, but it’s still going to be difficult to establish something like a united front.”
Earl Terejia started talking to nobody in particular, as if he just wanted to complain. Seeing this, I decided to look over at Claudia. As for military affairs, the Rolentsors are the most famous family in all of Arxia for this. Claudia seemed to understand what I wanted and held up the palm of her left hand to me as if to say, wait for a little while. Then, she put her hand on her chin and started thinking.
Claudia doesn’t have a close relationship with her family though…… Basically, she has zero contact with them. Her family name probably won’t be of any help.
……Maybe I should have Earl Terejia help me establish a formal order of knights in Kaldia. I’ve been thinking about something along those lines as of late. There are two types of knights in Arxia, personal knights and those that serve the country. National knights are officially part of the Royal Army, and there are those within the Royal Army that are able to become knights. As for personal knights, nobles with the rank of Earl or higher are allowed to appoint members in their personal armies as knights with the permission of the House of Lords and the church.
But, there are strict restrictions on becoming a knight, only a limited number can be knighted by each noble and they must pass an examination as well. Also, to establish a personal knight order, a minimum of two knights must be selected and pass the examination.
Well, Claudia would probably pass the examination easily. Who should I pick for the other knight, though? In terms of ability, Teomer would be the best choice, but would he be willing? Among the three eastern border domains that received defense funding from the House of Lords, Kaldia is the only domain without its own order of knights. If we request to establish one, it will probably be approved.
I need to discuss this with Earl Terejia and figure out the details. ……Come to think of it, I discuss everything important with him. This is because I don’t have the ability to make decisions by myself yet.
Indeed, if something happens to him, I’ll be really troubled. I need to think about what to do just in case something like that happens as well.