111.1 The Battle Maiden is Raising a Black Dragon
“Happy 11th birthday, Jill.”
Presented to her upon her office desk was a black silk ribbon.
Jill, who thought she was about to have a business discussion, was surprised to see her fiancé. While pPushing up the bridge of his glasses with his index finger, her fiancé averted his gaze a little.
“…Even the military academy should allow this. After all, it’s technically a string that ties hair.”
“Yes! I’m happy to receive this. Thank you, Geraldo…!”
When she picked it up, the ribbon felt so good to the touch, it almost slipped off her hand. Although she had just clenched it, it didn’t wrinkle. After holding her chest, she looked at the ribbon again.
…A ribbon that even the military academy would allow.
Jill would soon be enrolled in Geraldo’s military academy. When Geraldo told her she’d be exempted from the crown princess education, she wondered if it was due to her lack of talent at embroidery and poetry. As it turned out, Geraldo hadn’t given up on her.
“Our current situation is one where not even a birthday party can be held. Not even a good night’s rest is possible”
“Don’t worry. It’s supposed to be a secret, but the second princess of the Rave Empire has proposed to me. Whether I refuse or accept the proposal, having you stand as my present fiancée will act as a provocation to the Rave Empire.”
Originally, on her eleventh birthday, Jill was to officially be revealed as Geraldo’s fiancée. However, the other day, the Rave Empire had suddenly sent their second princess to be engaged with him. As such, the reveal was cancelled. The reason was none other than the second princess’ visit.
There was no way they could dismiss such an opportunity. It was an offer made from a potential enemy they had been fighting for many years. Currently, there was a fake emperor mayhem in the Rave Empire. The uncle of the current emperor, Grand Duke Radea—Georg Theos Rave, claimed to be the new emperor on the grounds that the sword of the young emperor Hadith Theos Rave was a fake.
It was also Georg, who had claimed to be the new emperor, who asked for Geraldo’s engagement with Natalie Theos Rave, the second princess of the Rave Empire. As political as it was, even Jill could understand that it was their way of seeking help from Kratos. If they were to make a careless move, they’d be caught up in the internal conflict of the Rave Empire.
“What’s the situation in the Rave Empire?”
“Grand Duke Radea has occupied the imperial capital. He’s also trying to persuade the three dukes. Despite that, he’s in a stalemate because he doesn’t know the whereabouts of Hadith Theos Rave. Therefore, it’ll take a little longer before the settlement. Until then, we have no choice but to dodge Princess Natalia’s proposal.”
“Your Highness Geraldo exchanged a greeting with the missing emperor at last year’s birthday party, right? What kind of person is he? Is it true that he’s the reincarnation of the Dragon God—the Dragon Emperor?”
“Hadith Theos Rave is a Dragon Emperor. At the very first glance, you can see his ambition. The fact that he’s the legitimate Dragon Emperor is known to everyone—despite that, there seems to be an underlying reason as to why they don’t acknowledge him.”
Jill blinked at Geraldo’s ridicule. He was the rumored cursed emperor—Hadith Theos Rave. That man hadn’t only shaken his own empire, but also the Kingdom of Kratos. The cause of that was the fierce purge he enacted as a solution to a recent incident in the Water City of Veilburg. The opposition within the empire was great, and he was also considered dangerous, even within the Kingdom of Kratos.
Despite such, Geraldo claimed he was still the true Dragon Emperor.
“Then, Grand Duke Radea—Georg, is the false emperor, isn’t he?”
“Yes. I believe that by the summer, he’ll be defeated. I don’t know if he’ll be overthrown or if the emperor’s curse would reoccur, but in any case, it’s not our kingdom. Our best solution is to arrange an engagement between that empire and our princess, or the opposite… because of that, I’ve burdened you. Faelis is also angry with me. She told me to not make you anxious with a sudden talk of an engagement.”
“No, I’m the one at fault… I’m sorry that my bride training didn’t progress at all…”
“Because it’s unclear when the Rave Empire’s turmoil will settle, the official announcement regarding our engagement will be next year, or the year after. Despite that, you’ll be the crown princess. I’ve decided that.”
When told so, Jill nodded. Her cheeks were flushed. It was then.
“Your Highness Geraldo, if I may, Princess Natalie is missing.”
Geraldo narrowed his eyes at the person who barged into the office without waiting for a reply. It couldn’t be helped because that person was one of Geraldo’s trusted aides. Jill was also a talented enough person whom was introduced as a candidate for adjutant.
“What do you mean, Lawrence?”
“It seems that the carriage carrying Princess Natalie was attacked near the territory of Saber, which resulted in her getting abducted. It’s unfortunate for her as it happened right after she had replaced the Saber family with her personal escort. I wonder if the abductors knew and made adjustments.”
“What’s their objective?”
“Hopefully, the culprit isn’t our people. I have an inkling as to where she has been taken. Or rather, if the culprit does intend to harass the Rave Empire, only one destination is left—the Southern King’s back palace.”
Geraldo slammed his fist against the office desk. He took a deep breath and suppressed both his resentment and frustration. His hatred for his father could only be seen within the glint of his black eyes.
“Immediately search for and rescue Princess Natalie. Don’t even show the slightest opening, otherwise we’ll be letting the Rave Empire to take advantage of us. I’m searching for a way to deal with the Rave Empire.”
“Your Highness Geraldo, if you would, I’d like to return to my parents’ house and join the search!”
A princess from another country was kidnapped in their own kingdom. Regardless of the political speculation surrounding the reason for her arrival, and also the search for the culprit, it’d cause concern if Princess Natalie didn’t return safely.
I don’t want to think about it, but if she were to be found dead in Kratos…!
Geraldo’s reply was as harsh as ever.
“No, don’t you dare attempt to do anything! If that Southern King were to notice you, I wouldn’t know what to do!”
Geraldo hurried some instructions to Lawrence while Jill’s eyes grew wide.
“It may already be too late. Don’t get caught up in the matter regarding your own sister, Lawrence.”
“Shouldn’t I be saying the same?”
“Do you think I’ll make such a mistake? If hatred alone were enough to kill him, then I would have already done so! Look at the state of Faelis.”
When she saw off her fiancé, whose profile showed sternness, Jill’s feelings were mixed. Lawrence tapped her shoulder.
“You can leave this to me.”
“But… His Highness Geraldo is in trouble, despite so, there’s nothing I can do…”
Geraldo didn’t refer to his father, the king, as ‘father.’ He would address him as ‘His Majesty’ in public, but he would otherwise refer to him as the ‘Southern King’ in private.
After all, his father threw most of his duties onto Geraldo and built a back palace under the direct control of the royal family South of Kratos. As of the present, that man was indulging in depravity. It was only natural to be repulsed by such a man. Geraldo’s coldness told of their bond, which wasn’t that of a family, or an amiable one.
It may be a family problem… one that he can only share with Faelis…
Jill was Geraldo’s fiancée—even though it had only been for about half a year. Despite that, even if a little, she wanted to be of help.
“His Highness Geraldo doesn’t want to put you at risk. This involves the Southern King, after all.”
“But, for His Highness Geraldo, I’m willing to fight.”
“How reliable of you. Then, why don’t you protect the pride of a man who doesn’t want to involve his fiancée in danger or battle? Even His Highness Geraldo would prefer for his beloved woman to just enjoy herself, dressing up, and being pretty.”
After a second, smoke erupted from Jill’s head.
I, I see… so that’s how it is, love sure is difficult…
To be honest, that was her first time being treated like a princess since she was born. The moment she accepted the prince’s engagement, she was about to soar. Her respect towards Geraldo was increasing every day. She was slightly aware that it might be because it was her first love—but she didn’t care about that. Although, she was always confused because she didn’t know what the correct thing to do was.
—hence why, in the future, even when she had turned 16 years old, was hailed as the Battle Maiden, and was about to get married, the thought that Geraldo had merely been deceiving her had never arose.
***T/N: Even if Geraldo is revealed to be good I don’t think there’s any space left in my heart to like him. How to say this, he has been a villain for too long :V
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