Chapter 50: Touchstone
Peragene was the first to move after half of the nobles had vacated the audience room, clinging to Borzeff’s back as he sat on the throne. Throwing a seductive gaze, she left Borzeff’s side and sidled up to me, as I stood in wait at the foot of the throne.
“Anderheim. Do you remember me? “
“Of course, Lady Peragene. You’re as beautiful as ever.”
“Well, you sure are sarcastic, Anderheim. You haven’t changed a bit either. As a woman, that makes me quite jealous.”
“You jest… this is nothing but a curse to me. You must be aware of the fate of the Asbals and their early deaths. No matter how much I pride my looks, my life is but another ten years and a little. Unlike Lady Peragene and His Highness Borzeff, I have no hope of accomplishing anything beyond that.”
“I see… my apologies. But then if that’s the case, shouldn’t you be enjoying the life you have left even more so? “
Peragene’s amethyst eyes swayed with zeal.
“Won’t you help me and my husband achieve our dearest wish? It won’t be a bad outcome for you. I heard that you had been stripped of your Prime Minister’s post.’
“Uhm… rather than saying I was stripped of it, I resigned of my own will. I had my difference of opinion on the Crown Prince’s actions.”
“Ahh, it’s about him one-sidedly annulling his engagement with your daughter, right? I too have a daughter. I understand your resentment quite well. …He truly is a foolish Crown Prince, taking after his father.”
Her well-maintained nails leisurely trailed across my cheek.
“If I support your husband in becoming king, it won’t just be beneficial to you, but your daughter too. How about it? “
“…That is quite an attractive proposal.”
I lowered my jade eyes behind my glasses in melancholy and lightly shook my head.
“With all due respect, I apologize for my candid opinion, but if this continues, won’t it be difficult for the rebellion to succeed? Palcemith is surrounded by allies. In the event that Lord Borzeff declares his enthronement, there is no way they would remain quiet. They’re still brushing it off as a small skirmish. “
“What, you were worried about that? Fear not, we have already taken measures.”
Leaning into the back of the throne, Borzeff once again let out a hearty laugh, his stomach shaking.
“I can’t say this for all of them, but I have spoken to our neighboring allies. I offered to share the blessings of the ancient dragon Kharis with everyone who cooperated, once I was seated on the throne. .”
It wasn’t just me, but even the enemies left in the audience room were shocked.
“The ancient dragon Kharis’ blessing stems from the spirits that gather around him, attracted by his abundant mana. It is the water of the underground lake in which half of the ancient dragon’s body rests in, that makes mana permeate throughout the land. We have secured funding and collaborators from the heads of each country, on the condition that we distribute the groundwater after my coronation is held.”
It was a clever proposal. He seemed to have thought it out well this time.
“Why… as expected, Your Highness Borzeff’s foresight is far beyond this foolish commoner. However, Your Highness Borzeff. I’ve heard that the underground lake in which His Grace Kharis dips his body, lies deep beneath the castle. Moreover, its water is a deadly poison to humans. Wouldn’t it be quite difficult to keep pumping it by hand? “
“You need not worry about that… the truth is, the one who thought up this plan was my daughter, Vanellope.”
I seemed to have heard something interesting.
“She’s quite the intelligent young lady if I do say so myself. She has maintained an excellent record at the academy she went to, back in Kicoed.”
“I’ve told her since she was a child that her father was exiled from his homeland despite being the legitimate successor. Because of that, upon becoming an adult, she yearned to reinstate her father as the king of Palcemith.”
So you planted a distorted truth in the mind of your child who had just so happened to be born smart.
“There is a pump invented by Vanellope that is already in use in Kicoed. While I am not well-versed with the principle behind it… It takes advantage of the fact that water always travels from a higher point to a lower point, and uses a helical pipe to transfer water. If we use that, no matter how deep underground the water is, we can continuously draw water up to the surface.”
…An Archimedes Screw?
It indeed was a pump that drew water to a height on a simple principle, but you really needed a sharp wit to think of a practical use for it. The Archimedes screw was a technology that had been used for a long time, even in my past life, for draining water from the bottom of ships, etc., until a pump with an engine was developed.
“The division of the pumped water will be helped by the roads paved for the Dragon God Festival. I can promise preferential treatment to those who have fiefdoms along the road if you cooperate.
“Oooh…! What a godsend! “
“Fuck… this has nothing to do with my territory.”
“This will mark the beginning of a completely new trade for you…”
The remaining nobles and vassals in the audience room, once again raised a stir.
I clapped my hands lightly, grabbing their attention, and proposed to the enemies who stood excitedly.
“Everyone, it is still too early to rejoice. This is a project that will only begin after Lord Borzeff’s accession to the throne. At this stage, it is still not clear “what path” the water transported to each country will take, and “who” will support Lord Borzeff. …However.”
I cut off my words on purpose.
“If you could provide us with a detailed map of your estate and the condition of the pavement on the roads, wouldn’t that have a great impact on the discretion of His Highness Borzeff? I have already resigned from my duty as the Fief lord, and it is a pity that I cannot quickly make preparations for it…”
Before they even finished hearing me out.
About half of the remaining vassals in the room ran out of the audience room one by one, leaving behind a light “Excuse me, Your Highness”.
…My, my, aren’t you too easy to deal with?
With this, the second kind of enemy was mostly gone too.
…Well then, it’s about time.
“Come to think of it, Your Highness Borzeff. What happened to the Knight Commander? Did he risk his life to protect the Crown Prince when he attempted to escape?”
Borzeff gave a displeased frown as Peragene laughed bewitchingly.
“There aren’t many beauties like him. I wanted to keep him as my [pet]. I properly took permission from my husband too? “
“It is important to be open-minded with my beautiful wife… moreover,”
A viscous, sticky gaze traveled from my head to toe, as if licking my whole body.
“The pride of the Kingdom of Palcemith, the descendant of Asbal. Your beauty truly is innate… I will take care of you. Certainly, your daughter is still unmarried? “
“…I am sure your daughter is an unparalleled beauty. I won’t let her be sacrificed to a dragon, I’ll make her my concubine.”
“Oooh…That would be an honor!”
After returning a smile to Borzeff, I curled up the edges of my lips into a smirk.
“Then again, the Knight Commander is a fool. He cannot even discern which way the wind blows and choose an appropriate master. He truly is worth ridiculing.”
“Hahaha, you think so too!? I know, I know! Hey, Pege, bring the pet here. Let us show him a brand new world. Maybe he will become a little more obedient then? “
‘Oh, please… I’m not done training him yet.”
Even as I smirked, Peragene remained blissfully unaware as she shrugged her shoulders and left the room with several soldiers in tow. Soon after, the mature woman, holding the end of a chain in one hand, returned to the audience room with a cheerful expression.
“Look, I’ve brought him. My cute little pet.”
At the end of the chain that Peragene had wrapped around her arm, was Jolga, with steel fetters on his wrists.
I silently scrutinized him.
The military uniform Jorga was wearing was smeared with mud and blood, and a large blue bruise was carved into his handsome profile beside his eyes. Perhaps the inside of his mouth had cuts too, as bright red blood ran down the corner of his mouth as he bit his lips in humiliation.
Dragged along by the fetters shackled to the chain, the large knight reached my side as I waited below the throne.
Along with a sigh,
“I made you wait, Jolga.”
At the same time as I spoke.
Jolga pulled out a sword from its scabbard.
Chopping off the head of the fictitious king, dreaming on the throne.