144. The Battle Maiden is Raising a Black Dragon (34)
144. The Battle Maiden is Raising a Black Dragon (32)
“Lord Georg was trying to protect both you and this rotten empire called Rave which is governed by those who claimed to be Rave royal family—from Kratos, and also Hadith.”
From mocking, Vissel’s expression turned flat.
“Of course, it’s only to be expected he would prepare for the worst-case scenario. Naturally, the solution he came up with was pathetic, it can’t even be called an operation. Regardless, those of the imperial army took it upon themselves to execute said operation—this is proof of their loyalty.”
“So, what is the imperial army doing in Radea? If they truly wanted to protect the Rave royal family, they should’ve stayed in the imperial capital.”
“I don’t know about that.”
Vissel gave a curt reply—probably because he wasn’t interested. However, Elynsia interjected.
“Surely, you have a rough assumption regarding that.”
Vissel, who furrowed his eyebrows, spoke.
“…That’s right. I’m sure they’re trying to protect the Dragon Princess’ sacred relic from Kratos.”
Before the appalled Elynsia could ask why, Vissel continued.
“For a long time, there have been rumors that a man who worked as uncle’s assistant had a connection with Kratos. After uncle’s defeat, that man surely feared of Hadith’s punishment. As such, he must have seen the Dragon Princess’ sacred relic as a good souvenir.”
“T, that’s! If that’s true, what the imperial army is doing in Radea can’t be labeled as a rebellion! You—!”
“Regardless of anything else, they’re trying to rally, occupy, and even raised their weapons to fight Kratos on their own. They act even though we hadn’t given them any sort of order. If we were to leave them alone, they’d either demand autonomy in Radea or establish a military regime. Afterwards, they’d surely start a war with Kratos. How is that different from a rebellion?”
“Indeed, you can see it that way. However, if they truly intend to protect the empire, there should be a room for reconciliation!”
“Except, their loyalty lies with uncle, not Hadith.”
Elynsia could only swallow at Vissel’s rebuke. No one could argue against that.
“In the first place, they view Hadith as an enemy. After all, Hadith has slain their lord. There can be no reconciliation. Uncle must’ve also divulged a lot of information to them. An army that has turned against Hadith, even if only once, can’t be forgiven. They are probably aware of that, too. Hence, they fled from the imperial capital.”
“…But, didn’t you get along well with uncle, too? You’re even engaged with his daughter…”
Elynsia and everyone else shared the same stunned expression. Vissel laughed.
“My fiancée? I’ve never even met her—for I’m not interested. For Hadith’s sake, I attained the power of the Duke of Fairert. Meanwhile, uncle only accepted me to suppress Hadith. Both our interests and agreement were just in name only.”
Frida squeezed Natalie’s hand. With an indescribable expression, Elynsia asked Vissel.
“Does Hadith know? The reason why the imperial army has gathered in Radea?”
“I’ve conveyed it to him.”
Vissel, who nonchalantly replied so, brought relief to Elynsia.
“I see. That’s why Hadith left the imperial capital.”
Vissel struggled to come up with a reply—something unusual for him. Suddenly, soldiers ran out from within the castle.
“Your Highness Vissel! A courier dragon has arrived from the Duke of Noitral—it seems that Radea has rebelled!”
Vissel, whom was unfazed, asked calmly.
“When will the dispatched soldiers reach Radea?”
“They’re still on their way. Should they be able to borrow dragons from Duke Noitral, they will be able to arrive in half a day.”
“Can the dragons from Noitral be utilized?”
“When we tried to approach them, they escaped! However, the messenger from Noitral doesn’t face the same problem. The problem is, it’s only that one messenger, and our soldiers also need to rest.”
“Alright, as soon as they’re ready, I will also head out. Farewell, Lady Elynsia, Lady Natalie, Lady Frida.”
Vissel stared at the face of each princess and spoke in a low voice.
“Please refrain from adding to Hadith’s enemies.”
“I’m Hadith’s ally.”
Vissel snorted at Elynsia’s reply.
“I hope those are not just words. Excuse me.”
Vissel gently turned on his heels and went into the castle. Elynsia sighed.
“…Out of all my brothers, he’s the most troublesome, that boy.”
“Oi, why are you treating that crown prince like a little brother? He’s our enemy, no matter how you look at it.” Said Zeke.
“Don’t say that, that child is—”
“The emperor, who has penchant for little girls, isn’t protected by uncle, or anyone else, for that matter.”
Towards Natalie’s revelation, everyone fell silent.
Their uncle’s last will was to protect the Rave Empire and Natalie and the others from the Kingdom of Kratos—and also Hadith. However, by ‘the others’, their uncle didn’t mean Vissel and Hadith. It might be natural, considering the distance between them and the bad personalities of those two. But, the first ones to be hostile to them—were probably their parents.
“If we were to ignore the ‘means’, and only focus on the ‘end’, Vissel is just crushing the emperor’s enemies.”
Mercilessly, Elynsia responded.
“That’s right, Natalie. Vissel is on Hadith’s side. For a long time, it has been like that.”
The knights of the Dragon Princess, who were trying to complain, shut up.
“But, isn’t the emperor going to help the imperial army in Radea? Isn’t that why he went to Radea alone?”
Elynsia nodded to Natalie’s question.
“Perhaps, that’s indeed the case. Hadith has changed, but the same can’t be said about Vissel. That person has a lot of problems—since before and after Hadith came.”
To the pair of siblings, their surroundings were filled with enemies with familiar faces. If they were to lower their guard, they’d be betrayed instantly. The younger brother received the emperor’s crown while the older brother became a crown prince. There was no way for Natalie and the others to know what they had gone through—the conversations, conflicts, or bonds the two shared with each other—
“—Which is precisely why, we mustn’t leave them alone.”
Elynsia raised her face towards Natalie’s words.
The pair of siblings couldn’t trust anyone. They couldn’t depend on anyone—only themselves. That feeling was well understood by Natalie. After all, even though she was a princess, she had lost her patronage. Had it notbeen for Frida and Elynsia, she’d surely have ended up the same as those two.
When she thought such, for some reason, she felt angry.
“Elder sister Elynsia, depart for Radea—please.”
***T/N: Aw, Elynsia finally decided to be the firm older sister.