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Where Joseph and Hans show their evil and Beth shows her ambition and talent.
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Episode 158. About 10 months (35)
“If the family chosen by the Prince backs him, my position will be diminished! Didn’t Mother think of that? What the hell did she do without consulting me?"
“No matter how much the family she chooses suits her taste, they will still officially support him! What was she thinking? And what the hell are we going to do about it?!”
Joseph, still holding his glass, turned to look at Hans.
"Why aren't you saying anything? If you don’t wish to see me die of frustration, tell me what you’re thinking of doing about Mother’s decision!”
Hans grinned as he walked over to Joseph and carefully pulled the glass out of his hand.
As Joseph looked at him questioning his behaviour, Hans replied, "Your Highness, please drink alcohol after we finish our discussion. Useless anger does not suit Your Highness."
Joseph's eyebrows twitched slightly, but he nodded slowly, thinking he might have been a bit too open with Hans these days.
“I was too comfortable with you. Hans, what do you think? How do you view this decree?"
With a deep sigh, Joseph sat down on the sofa and gestured Hans to sit across from him, which he did immediately.
“It seems that Her Majesty the Empress was thinking that the Crown Princess Selection could be used as a means of binding the Second Prince, even if only a little. As the Second Prince is slowly gathering power, the Empress's forces become muddled and encounter more difficulties. Also, she seems to have thought that she might be able to control the 2nd Prince if he were to fall in love.”
"I guess Mother doesn't know yet that he's not that good-natured. She can’t regain her power by making him side with her through such means."
"Yes, Your Highness. It seems that the Empress Dowager is blinded by the fact that the Second Prince was born outside the Palace as an illegitimate son.”
"Well. Isn't it true? He's not the right person. We don't know how his life was outside the Palace, he managed to establish himself with a clever brain, but you and I know how many nobles will tolerate the Second Prince’s status. Don’t we?"
'He's that woman's son. He pretends not to be, but he looks like her to the core.'
People who did not want to see Prince Kyle’s true nature. Full of disbelief. No, who refused to believe. Such were the hearts of the Empress and her two sons.
Perhaps, even if the situation changed, the gaze of those who looked at Prince Kyle would not.
“That is undeniable. As you said, the Second Prince isn’t a good match. However, she probably couldn't object to his Talent Training System, so she seems to have taken her pick-up rights instead. Also, she would have accepted the 2nd Prince because she was confident, he wouldn't do according to His Majesty's will."
"Well, on the other hand, the long and the short end of it is that it’s Mother's responsibility to choose consort candidates. The young lady that passes the Selection’s 3 stages should be appointed as his wife. He will join a family he doesn’t want, and that family will be under Mother’s control. Whether the power of the Crown Princess’s Family is on Mother’s or Kyle’s side, it’s detrimental to me. Wouldn’t that limit the Crown Prince confirmation between my brothers, First Prince Franz and Second Prince Kyle?”
Joseph smashed his fist on the sofa’s armrest, annoyed.
"Your Highness. I will make sure that both Her Majesty the Empress and His Highness the Second Prince do not benefit from this."
Hans felt like laughing as this was a good opportunity to improve his standing once again, but held back.
Joseph turned his head as lightning flashed across Hans' face revealing madness in his eyes.
“Now, I must give the First Prince pause.”
"I'm going to take advantage of the rumours about the mercenary corps that have been floating around for a while. If Your Highness permits, I will immediately dispatch the Apache to a small town."
"Ah! I remember. Yes. It was there. We should use it someday."
“It will be quite a blow to her Majesty the Empress.”
Hans was asking Third Prince Joseph if he was ready to use this strategy despite the fact it would harm his mother.
Joseph, who was gently stroking his chin, made the saddest face in the world and said as if in pain.
“It can’t be helped. If I take a step back and prove I’m self-sufficient, then she will acknowledge the value of my existence. Subsequently, I will reach out to Mother in her time of need, and you will take care of the rest, isn’t that right?”
“You are smart, Your Highness.”
"By the way, how about staying out?"
‘He’s asking what he should do with the Duke of Toulouse.’
Joseph was now naturally dependent on Hans for all his decisions.
“When the rumour about the mercenaries begins, meet the Duke as soon as possible. Ask him immediately to choose between the First Prince, the Second Prince, and Your Highness. He will definitely choose Your Highness."
Joseph blinked and slowly nodded.
"And he will hold the the Second Prince back because of the decree."
“Are you saying you’re using the ban?”
“Yes, what if the chosen Princess has a major flaw, Your Highness?”
"Oh! For example?"
"For example, if she has an undisclosed serious illness, or if she secretly commits suicide, or if she runs away at night with a certain man ahead of the wedding."
"Haha, that's why I like you. I've got myself a valuable Aide."
"You're exaggerating. Your Highness."
"Yes, what about the expression on his face when he discovers the filth on his future wife, hahaha. I'm so excited, I can’t wait!"
“Then I will proceed slowly, Your Highness.”
Hans was about to say goodbye and leave.
“By the way, how long do I have to do this troublesome thing?” Joseph asked, pointing out the door where the magistrate's voice clamoured.
“The Second Prince will also be removed by the end of the Selection. At that time, I’ll be free the reveal myself. After all, Your Highness will be Crown Prince by then. So please be patient, Your Highness.”
“… You all have plans."
“Compared to His Highness, this is only a small skill. Your Highness, you only need worry about leading the Empire.”
"Hahaha. Yes, yes. It's for my future, I’ll be patient."
As Hans left, Joseph applauded at the prospect.
The small distrust towards Hans that had arisen during the Hunting Contest had faded. But a little fear arose in its place.
“What if I don’t benefit him…”
Joseph drank the rest of the wine in one gulp and wiped his mouth. Unlike the First Prince, who procrastinated when a problem arose, unless it was urgent, Joseph dealt with it immediately. He had no intention of letting anyone becoming a stumbling block in the future.
“You called, Your Highness?”
Gabriel Ranken, stationed outside the door, came in immediately, bowed his head, and waited for instructions.
"Watch him closely. If you find any weakness, report it immediately. Oh! And keep your distance, as he is quick-witted."
“I will keep that in mind, Your Highness."
*** Beth put the dress that Givenchy sent her on the stand and looked at it with raptured eyes and said, "Miss. Look at this lavender dress. Famous designers are indeed different. It's very simple, yet very luxurious with a little something indescribable. I got along very well with her. This kind of fabric is quite difficult to work with, but it is surprisingly well-finished and… Look at the sleeve details! At this point, the button is like a flower bud just before the honeysuckle is about to bloom. Really. It’s fantastic, My Lady."
I yawned and listened, but I suddenly had a thought.
"Beth, do you wish to be a dress designer?" I asked.
Beth's head swivelled, her eyes twinkling frightfully like in an anime.
“No. How dare I… I have no talent…”
Contrary to the words that came out of her mouth, her eyes and her hands eagerly pressed on her chest proclaimed otherwise.
“You can learn it.”
Beth's face came closer at my words. Her eyes gleamed with hope, and then it disappeared.
“Can I? What skills would a maid like me have as a designer?"
"Well, study hard and become a designer. What's difficult about that?"
With a sigh, Beth rolled her twinkling eyes, loosened her hands on her chest, and inspected the dress for creases.
“I think the young lady is unfamiliar with this field. Designers should eventually have a shop of their own brand. Before that, you need go to a famous dress shop as a student, but you can't enter without the patronage of a high-ranking nobleman. Of course, the donation cannot be cut off after that. So, if I want to become a designer, I must be supported, be in the eyes of the nobles, and find a designer teacher who will accept me.”
"… Well, it seems that there is a system in place. But why?"
Beth turned, looking at the dress and, following my words, she slowly turned back and sat leaning on the head of the bed, looking at me as if I was an ignorant child.
"My Lady. Are you making fun of me? Which high-ranking noble will support me? And, of course, there is no designer who will accept an aspiring newbie like me. To get into a designer job, I must quit my job as a maid and enter a dress shop. It's beyond my reach.”
As she spoke, Beth became increasingly frustrated with her situation. I thought about it for a while, witnessing Beth’s hopelessness and thought it would be okay to do this for Beth, whom I considered family.
"I will help you."
She lifted her head and looked at me. Her eyes were full of hope again, but soon she resigned.
“My lady, don’t even say that you will pay for it. How dare I covet that money. Since becoming your personal maid, my salary has already doubled compared to last year. And I also want to continue as your dedicated maid. If I study designing, I’ll have to leave your service."
“You misunderstood, Beth.”