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Chapter 53: Donna’s Child
My first impression of the girl Lutora brought to the office was a simple sense of admiration that made me go, “I see.”
Her golden hair had been cut into a short bob, her slender eyebrows seemed as if they had been painted by a brush, and she had inherited violet eyes from her mother. Despite a stiffness that might be due to nervousness, the girl in black-rimmed round glasses looked around calmly, seeming to assess the situation.
Vanellope was the sole daughter born to the Royal Prince Borzeff and the high-class courtesan Peragene. If I recalled correctly, she was nineteen, a year younger than the Crown Prince Vikram.
They might have not been gifted in statecraft, but they seemed to have showered proper affection on their child.
Peragene told me that Vanellope had finished her master’s degree in Kicoed at the age of fifteen and then began to help her parents with their trading business, helping to improve it by leaps and bounds.
It is essential for commerce to stay ahead of the curve during changing times, keeping track of what was in demand or in surplus in different places. While long-distance communication using magic existed in this world, only state-level institutions could use it. Ordinary citizens usually communicated via letters carried on fast horses alongside the luggage or perhaps carrier pigeons. In this situation, it was rare for someone to have the intellect to gather information from all over the continent of Yugena, analyze it accurately, and apply it to their business. That was a far more useful thing to me than the blood that flowed within her.
With the desk in the royal family’s office in between them, the Crown Prince, Vikram, and his sole cousin, Vanellope, faced each other for the first time.
In response to Vanellope’s lowered head and beautiful conduct, the Crown Prince gave a refined bow.
“…I’m Vikram Atrai Palcemith.”
“…I am Vanellope Maria Palcemith. It is a pleasure to meet you for the first time, Your Highness the Crown Prince. First of all, I would like to thank you for saving me from the recent crisis.”
Vanellope had taken refuge in a village along the road to the east of the capital, awaiting correspondence from her parents. Count Lowe, the traitor, went to her and attacked her in an attempt to rape her, precisely as I had expected. He had been aiming for the royal bloodline. If something were to happen to Vikram, she would be the sole descendant of the Hero Palcemith. Of course, that was stopped by Lutora, who had chased after and captured Count Lowe easily.
“If you have to thank anyone, thank Lutora. I only received the report afterward.”
“No…I heard from Sir Lutora on my way here. I shall be indebted to Your Highness for life for having held out your hand, even to the daughter of a traitor.”
“No need to get so worked up about it. You were told by your parents that your father, my uncle Borzeff, had been unjustly expelled from the country, weren’t you? Having given a hand to us in such circumstances, allows scope for leniency.”
“…Still, it is an indisputable fact that I had a hand in the rebellion that my father caused.”
Her tightly pressed lips were proof that no matter what was said, she didn’t think that the affair would end simply.
She was a clever girl and must have done adequate research on Palcemith, though it involved domestic affairs of a foreign country. Although she had an inkling that her parents weren’t telling the truth, she must have turned a blind eye to that incongruity out of love for the two.
“…I don’t care what kind of punishment I receive. But please, please give my mother, my beloved mother who has just lost her husband, some respite. I am well aware that it is impertinent for me, a rebel, one of the very people who exposed Your Highness to such danger, to make such a request, but I have no other hope to cling to but this.”
At seeing her kneel, banging her forehead on the floor in appeal, the Crown Prince knitted his eyebrows, nonplussed, and looked at Morino who stood beside him. There was no need for a trial of the traitor and in this case the crown prince himself could pronounce the verdict.
Normally, the relatives of the ones who plot to overthrow the king are all beheaded, hanged, sentenced to life imprisonment, or confined for the rest of their lives at best. If the enemy was a young girl, one could purposefully enslave her for crime, making her toil in the harsh mines doing manual labor. There was no gender distinction amongst the criminal slaves who worked in the mines. Any fool could imagine the fate that awaits a girl who is thrown amidst such ruffians.
In this rebellion, however, the mastermind Borzeff, had already been executed, and both the remnants of the soldiers who helped him and the traitor Count Lowe, had already been imprisoned. The only people left were the mastermind’s daughter and her mother, who were currently in our hands. This situation was a good deal for me. Vanellope was obviously playing her desired role, as if strutting the stage at my direction.
Most importantly, with little time now left before the Dragon God Festival, my real purpose could not have any more strange interruptions.
“…I have resolved myself to my fate. Please…!”
Vanellope’s desperate appeals continued.
She might be clever, but her negotiation skills still had a ways to go.
“Your Highness the Crown Prince, Your Excellency the Prime Minister, I request your permission to speak for a bit.”
I raised my hand lightly and waited for them to nod before I stepped in front of Vanellope who remained kneeling before me.
I laughed on seeing Vanellope’s expression as she looked at me warily, wondering what I was going to say. I got down on one knee, matching my line of sight with hers.
“It’s a pleasure to meet you for the first time, Lady Vanellope. I am Anderheim Yucht Asbal. In the past, I used to serve as the Prime Minister of this kingdom. I now work for His Highness as one of his vassals.”
Vanellope raised her voice in surprise.
She seemed to have heard a few rumors about me.
Well, in any case, they wouldn’t have been anything good.
“Lady Vanellope understands her sins. And on top of that, you plead for a reduction in your mother’s sentence. Did I understand correctly? “
“You understand that this is a very serious request, do you not?”
“To achieve that, do you have the resolve to sacrifice yourself?”
Finally, I pretended to glare at her.
Seeing Vanellope still nod resolutely, I nodded back, saying, “Fine, then.”
“Your Highness the Crown Prince, Your Excellency the Prime Minister, I have a proposal for you.”
“…Let us hear it.”
Prompted by the crown prince, I turned my gaze to the guard knight standing by the door and snapped my fingers lightly.
“Yes, at once.”
The knight, who had received instructions from me beforehand, bent his body at a right angle and bowed to the crown prince.
Then, as soon as they thought he had left the room, he returned to the office with a woman in a wheelchair.
Sitting in the chair was Peragene, who had been restrained after her calf had been slashed by Jolga.
Seeing her mother’s pitiful appearance with bandages wrapped around both legs, Vanellope clutched the cloth around her chest, unable to endure.
The truth was, she wanted to hug her mother now, but in the current uncertain situation, even a single willful movement could be an incentive for punishment.
If this were that fiancée of his, she would have been shouting and making a fuss by now.
I like people who recognize their situation.
“The rebellion has happened and it can’t be undone. Although it’s already been suppressed, the news has spread to the neighboring countries and rumors are still flying around in the royal capital.
“Nevertheless, it is still possible to change its ‘implications.’”
I spread my hands out with my palms pointing outwards and I pointed to Peragene then Vanellope.
“The scenario is simple. Let the rumour spread: ‘Tales of the Crown Prince and his fiancee, Lady Nasha had even reached as far as Kicoed. His Royal Highness Borzeff, who had been living happily with his wife and children, was distressed to hear the gossip about his motherland. In an attempt to offer council, he arranged an audience with the Crown Prince through his acquaintance, Count Lowe…… But Count Lowe, who had been secretly plotting to overthrow the state, took advantage of the opportunity to raise his troops. He took their daughter, Lady Vanellope, as a hostage and forced her to cooperate with him.’……something like that.”