17. [Day 2 (1)]
Confused, Velbutte stared at the document presented to him.
“What is the meaning of this…? Isn’t Lorona dead? Why a penalty claim…?”
“Please read the documents carefully, Your Highness. This claim isn’t a penalty. It’s a consolation fee and a tribute.”
“—Hence, I’m asking you what’s the meaning of this!!”
Although he had vigorously struck the desk, the messenger sitting in front of him was unfazed.
On the contrary, the messenger coldly gazed at Velbutte. It wasn’t the kind of gaze one would turn towards their crown prince.
“It seems that you have little knowledge about engagements… Well, this kind of thing doesn’t usually happen. There has been no example of such bereavement in this kingdom before.”
He stared into the deep blue eyes of Velbutte. The way the messenger from the House of Lords spoke was as if he was scolding a toddler.
It was the second day after Lorona’s untimely death.
Messengers from the temple and the House of Lords came to see Velbutte.
At first, Velbutte was upset by the sudden visit. But after the messengers told him it concerned his engagement with Lorona, Velbutte welcomed them.
He thought that the messengers came bearing the procedure to invalidate his engagement.
Instead, Velbutte was presented with two expensive invoices.
“I know of the penalties for annulling an engagement, but they shouldn’t be this expensive!”
“That’s right. If was merely the annulment of an engagement, it wouldn’t have been this amount.”
Velbutte shivered and shook his head as if he couldn’t understand the messenger’s words.
“A tribute because she died during our engagement!? No way! I’ve never heard of such a thing!”
“Your engagement with Lorona was a reward from the royal family to the Ruth family. As Lorona died before becoming queen, you have to reimburse them with a tribute, instead.”
“B, but there’s still Lumina! Even if Lorona dies, as long as there’s another daughter in the Ruth family to replace her, the tribute should be…!”
“At the time the two of you were engaged, Lumina hadn’t yet been baptized and wasn’t registered with the House of Lords as a lady. At that time, Lorona was the only daughter of the Ruth family. If the Ruth family had amended the contract once Lumina was baptized, we wouldn’t have to make this claim.”
“If so, why can’t you just fix it now?!”
“As she has already died, it’s out of the question. The House of Lords and the temple will charge the royal family a tribute as stated by the contract.”
Due to not being able to overturn the messenger’s words, Velbutte bit his lips.
The complaint was legitimate, and it was impossible for the royal family to go against the words of the contract.
Moreover, unfortunately, Velbutte had declared that he’d cover all the costs associated with annulling the engagement.
Even if the claim was made to the royal family, Velbutte had to cover it himself.
If it was only the tribute, Velbutte could manage with the budget given to him by the royal family.
It was certainly more expensive than the penalty for annulling the engagement, but it wasn’t impossible for him to pay. Given that he was originally willing to pay, it was acceptable.
Furthermore, the recipient would be the Ruth family. He’d be able to get the amount back after marrying Lumina. If he were to speak to her properly, he could use her dowry to offset it.
“I don’t understand the part about compensation!”
Velbutte slammed the invoice signed by the House of Lords against the desk.
The messenger of the House of Lords sighed deeply at his attitude.
“…Your Highness annulled the engagement in public, correct?”
“What’s wrong with that?”
“You may have not known of the repercussion. It’s only natural because no one has done such a foolish thing for decades. However, there’s a rule that if you want to annul your engagement, you have to go through the procedure. It has been forbidden by the rules of the House of Lords to unilaterally announce annulments, and in turn tarnish the honor and future of the other. Had you annulled your engagement in private, you wouldn’t have to pay any compensation.”
“Many students and their parents who attended the graduation ceremony are complaining about whether or not you’ll fulfil your promise to Lady Lorona.”
The messenger of the House of Lords coldly stared at Velbutte.
Velbutte turned to the messenger of the temple for some salvation.
“I have something to inform you of from the church. Even though Your Highness had a fiancée named Lady Lorona, you were intimate with another woman, correct?”
“We’ve received a lot of evidence. Royal engagements, which require chastity and transparency, are under the jurisdiction of the church. This can be taken as an act of depravity. The church will formally protest the actions of His Highness.”
Velbutte paled and even lost the energy to get up from his chair.
He was suspected and distrusted by the church and by all of the people of the kingdom. Not to mention, he was about to be protested.
How much would it tarnish Velbutte’s reputation?
“I’ll inform His Majesty the King of this.”
The words of the messenger of the House of Lords were akin to a kick to Velbutte, someone who was already down.
“If you don’t pay the full amount of the tribute and the compensation, the House of Lords will have to hold a council over the issue of succession for the throne. Don’t expect the royal family to be above the rules.”
“Think carefully about what you have done.”
Velbutte, who had been rendered speechless, could only silently see the messengers off as they left the room.
In that kingdom, a lot of blood had once been spilled over battles for inheritance rights.
Therefore, the inheritance of the firstborn was stipulated by law.
However, there was only one exception—the succession of the throne.
The kingdom would perish if an incompetent person were to take the rein simply because he was the firstborn.
Therefore, in order to succeed the throne, approval from the House of Lords and trust from the temple were required.
The two pillars Velbutte needed to succeed the throne were about to forsake him.
Velbutte clutched his head while groaning in a faint voice.
Everything he did should had been right.
***T/N: Ahahahaha, damn, not only is he about to become poor, he’s about to lose his crown, too?
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