“So how far did you end up investigating?”
“So far, I’ve done some research on the history and industry of the Landrick Empire, so now I thought I’d look into royal relations this time.”
“Then it’s…Yeah, that’s it. I’m sure that it was…right here.”
I leaned towards Ghislan to look at the book he had opened.”
But for some reason, I heard a deep gulping sound from him.
I was wondering what was going on and looked up at Ghislan’s face, only to see that he was frozen in place with a shocked expression on his face.
“Ghislan? What’s wrong?”
“Hey, you! Do you want to kill me!?”
“Ehh? Why do you say that? You don’t mean that, do you?”
“You know how I feel! That action is enough to kill me!”
“…Ah! Um…I’m sorry!”
I finally figured out what was going on at Ghislan’s words, so I hurriedly removed myself from him and sat back down in my chair.
And when I glanced at Ghislan, he had a sour look on his face as he turned away from me and adjusted the position of his glasses, but his cheeks were still slightly red.
“I’m sorry…I guess I’ll just go back to my room and investigate on my own.”
I got up from my chair in a hurry and reached for the book on my desk, but Ghislan grabbed my hand tightly and looked at me seriously.
I spoke to Ghislan, shocked by the suddenness of the situation.
“Just sit down. You’ll make more progress with the two of us than just with one of you. Besides, I’ve been researching the Landrick Empire for some time now. I can teach you a few things. Now that I have a chance to be alone with you, I’d like to spend some more time with you.”
So I sat back in my chair again at Ghislan’s urging and decided to investigate with him, this time being aware of the appropriate distance.
“Well…so where was it written?”
“Oh, right here.”
This time Ghislan placed the book open in front of me and pointed to it with his finger.
I lowered my gaze to the indicated section and read through the contents of the book.
“I see…my father’s documents also said that the country had once been greatly tilted due to the former emperor’s maladministration, right?”
“Yeah. It seems that he was spending the national treasury heavily, and when he came up short, he took money from the people, calling it taxes. Moreover, the bureaucrats were also working together with the former emperor to run the country of their own money.”
“Wow, that’s the worst…”
“But it seems that Emperor Alexel, unable to bear the situation, rose up and eliminated the former emperor…and promptly stripped all the evil-doing bureaucrats of their positions and property and drove them out of the country.”
“Well, there are still a lot of problems even if you leave things as they are.”
“But in doing so, it has restored the Landrick empire to the point where it can once again be called a great power.”
Hearing Ghislan’s story, I was once again impressed with what an amazing person Emperor Alexel was.
“But Cecilia…you’d better watch out for Emperor Alexel.”
“Rumor has it…that the former emperor was killed by Emperor Alexel himself. And also some of the other bureaucrats who opposed him.”
“So, no matter how much you’re been courted by Emperor Alexel, don’t let your guard down. If he doesn’t like something, there’s a chance he’ll point his sword at you without mercy…”
“I’m not that outrageous.”
Suddenly we heard a voice other than mine and Ghislan’s, and we both turned at the same time towards the voice.
Then we saw Emperor Alexel, who we had been talking about, standing right there with his arms crossed.
We were shocked to see him, and froze in our tracks.
“W-why is His Majesty Emperor Alexel here?”
“I just happened to come here on my own and found my fiancée in a secret meeting alone with another man. I just wanted to see what the hell was going on.”
“Se-secret meeting…I was just asking Ghislan to tell me something I didn’t understand!”
It seems that Emperor Alexel had a strange misunderstanding, so I explained the situation clearly to him.
But after looking at my face, Emperor Alexel immediately turned his attention to Ghislan and narrowed his eyes, showing no expression.
When I looked at Ghislan while questioning Emperor Alexel’s expression, I saw Ghislan was also staring at him with a stern expression.
“You are…Ghislan Risent, aren’t you? As I recall, you are the son of the Director of the Ministry of Academic Research at the Royal Palace. Furthermore, you were the educator of the ‘Celestial Maiden’ and a childhood friend of Miss Cecilia.”
“Hmm, so you can talk like that even to me, the Emperor. That’s pretty interesting. But…I’ll take over, so you can go back now.”
In response to Emperor Alexel’s words and snorting laughter, Ghislan’s eyebrows wrinkled further as he turned his sharp gaze to him.
I got up from my chair in a hurry and intervened between Emperor Alexel and Ghislan.
“Hey! Please calm down both of you!”
“I’m perfectly calm.”
I was beginning to get a headache as they stared at each other over my shoulder when I said this.
Suddenly, Emperor Alexel took my hand and started to walk away.
“Wait—wait a minute!”
“Ghislan, I leave the rest to you.”
“Ahhh…I’m sorry Ghislan. Thank you for telling me everything. For now, I don’t want to get into a lot of trouble, so I’ll go with Emperor Alexel. Please let me know when you have time again next time.”
I turned around and asked Ghislan, who was about to run over to me, to stop in place as I apologized and thanked him.
Then I was taken to Emperor Alexel’s room with my hand being held.
Upon entering the room, Emperor Alexel instructed his maidservant to prepare tea and then asked her to leave.
Then, when it was just me and Emperor Alexel again, we each sat on a couch facing each other as before.
“…But my fiancée is very enthusiastic about studying which is very admirable.”
“You’ve been researching my country, haven’t you?”
“It’s a sign of awareness as a queen. That’s good.”
“What!? No, no! I was researching with the intention of…saying that…”
“What do you mean by that?”
As expected, I couldn’t say in front of him that I wanted to know my enemy, so I stammered on with an embarrassed expression on my face.
Then Emperor Alexel burst into laughter at my expression, seemingly aware of what I was thinking.
“Well, no matter how much you struggle and try, I will not let this engagement be shaken.”
“I…I don’t know about that.”
“Hmm, good luck with that.”
“Ugh…Ah! Speaking of which, I’d like to ask you a question…”
“…Did His Majesty Emperor Alexel really have the former emperor…his own father…killed?”
“Oh, I see…”
“Are you afraid of…me?”
“…I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid, but it’s an undeniable fact that a lot of people were spared because of what Emperor Alexel did. So…I don’t see it as a bad thing.”
Emperor Alexel looked at me still and silent as he listened to my words.
“And…I think the hardest part was that His Majesty Emperor Alexel had to do it himself.”
“…I did what I had to do. I killed my father with my own hands, and that is something I regret to this day. But…even that father was a good man once. He served his people well and governed fairly. But…that changed when my mother died of illness.”
“Speaking of which…His Majesty Emperor Alexel’s mother was listed as having died a few years after giving birth to Princess Victoria.”
“Oh. When Victoria was only three years old, my mother suffered from the epidemic and never survived…and as a result, some bureaucrats cleverly enticed my father, who had just lost mother and was mired in seclusion, and as a result, he became the emperor that he was. I urged my father to stop this, but he wouldn’t listen to me, so I had no choice but to do it.”
I looked at Emperor Alexel, who spoke to me while staring at his own hands, which were still clenched, and I couldn’t say anything else.
“I’m sorry I made you listen to these stories.”
“No, I’m the one who’s sorry for such an insensitive question.”
“Don’t worry about it. You’ll hear about it when you come to my country anyway. In that case, I just thought it would be better for you to hear it from me first.”
“That’s true, but…I mean, I haven’t said I’m going to Emperor Alexel’s country yet!”
“Now that we’re officially engaged, it’s been decided you’ll come to my country. So instead, call me Alexel.”
“I give you special permission to call me by my name. So I’ve decided to call you Cecilia, too.”
“I don’t have any problem with people calling me by my name, but calling His Majesty Emperor Alexel—”
“That’s right. You’re the only one who can call me by my name, Cecilia. I hope you feel honored.”
“I’m honored…well, though…”
I’m not sure why, but the corner of his mouth was raised in happiness at me calling out his name. I was hesitant, but decided to just call him by name.
“Now, was that all you wanted to ask me?”
“Oh, well, that’s about it for now I guess.”
“Right. Well then, now let’s hear a lot about Cecilia.”
“I want to know more about Cecilia.”
“But…it’s not that big of a deal to ask about others me, right?”
“But I still want to hear it from your mouth. Because I’m definitely behind compared to all those around you, you know.”
“Behind…I don’t know what that means? Well, all right. So where would you like me to start?”
And so, as I was asked by Alexel, I told him as much as I could remember about the events that had happened since I was born until now.”
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