top of page
  • Writer's pictureRina

Chapter 91

Joseph and Hans continue to scheme.


This chapter is dedicated to Kaiju-Ricci! Thank you for your generous support!


Disclaimer:

DO NOT publish our edit anywhere else. Especially on social media. Otherwise we may have to stop doing this. Thank you!


Episode 91. About a Year (18)


“Among the regular shipments from the Empire's allies, look at this one from the Kingdom of Barron, one of the largest wine-producing nations.”


“...That's quite a lot of wine.”


"There is a difference between the amount imported from the Kingdom of Barron, and the amount received by the Imperial Palace: About one-third less."


“How does this prove that the Duke is involved?”


"The processing of tributes isn't usually under the jurisdiction of the Minister of Finance. However, he directly met the Kingdom of Barron's delegation at the time of the tribute. Moreover, this here."


Hans held up another piece of paper.


"This is...!"


“Yes, there was an incident a few years ago when one of the Kingdom of Barron's envoys 

 unjustly punished a vassal of the House at the Minister of Finance's banquet. The Minister, who has a reputation for leniency, generously accepted compensation from the envoy.”


“Is that so?”


“Yes. However, that was the result of an investigation, and the original contents of the complaint filed with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs are significantly different from this. The envoy reported that a vassal of the Minister of Finance was trying to steal the wine that had been delivered by the official supplier. Of course, the envoy later corrected this as a misunderstanding, but the record remains.”


“This place is a treasure trove.”


Joseph scanned the room as if seeing it with new eyes.


“This is far too much fun for me, Your Highness.”


Hans smirked and gave him an exaggerated bow.


“I see. I'll take your word for it, and if this goes well, not only will you be promoted, but I'll buy you a mansion in the capital worthy of House Button. Hahaha.”


“Thank you for your kind words, Your Highness, but my position is fine as it is, and I fear that my progress would be hindered if I were to stand out. I would be more than happy to receive the mansion after I have accomplished great things, Your Majesty.”


Just the answer Joseph wanted.


Joseph took another slow look around the warehouse, which looked completely different than it did earlier. Then he glanced back at Hans, as if in realization.


“...Ah!”


“....”


“I suppose there are some documents related to me here?”


Was he really looking for the Third Prince's weaknesses? Joseph couldn't help but feel a slight hint of doubt. However, as if he had expected this, Hans was not fazed at all.


"Yes, Your Highness."


“Have you been searching for them?”


"Yes, Your Highness. I must be prepared and knowledgeable to serve you to the best of my abilities."


Joseph studied Hans's face for a moment, his eyes were politely downcast. Joseph broke into a friendly smile and patted him on the shoulder.


“Yes. I see. Indeed, the more a vassal understands their master, the better. Please, continue looking.”


Hans clasped his hands together and politely followed him out of the warehouse. Then, the door closed. Hans couldn't help but burst into laughter.


“Hahaha. Be assured that I am going to accomplish such great things, Your Highness, so great that you'll never be able to get rid of me...”


Hans looked at the documents related to the Third Prince next to him, then turned towards another box of documents and immersed himself in reading again.


***


The same day at the Empress's Palace. Noon.


In the drawing room, the Empress, First Prince Franz, Third Prince Joseph, and Duke Grafton of House Toulouse, who acted as both Franz and Joseph’s uncle and Minister of Finance, sat together.


Thwack!


The Empress slammed a newspaper down on the table in a clear expression of her mood.


[Imperial Citizen Daily


This morning the leader of an unscrupulous organization who sold confidential military information to the Skandoan enemy was taken into custody by a special team from the Military's Foreign Intelligence department. There is evidence to indicate that a vast amount of Military intelligence was strategically leaked [...] There is cautious speculation that there may be a big political figure behind the scenes who assisted Scorpion. We will continue to cover this breaking news as more details emerge...


November 10, 1815]


“You've made a great deal of noise. By God, Grafton, now that man will be hell bent on crushing Franz's power. What are we going to do about this, huh?”


“...Your Majesty, it was certainly a risk. Who knew that Skandoa would be so weak after they boasted so much about their strength? Or that Kyle would seize the initiative so quickly... It was short-sighted, but it's done, and now it must be dealt with.”


“You've been too reckless! You were so convinced his reputation would be ruined if the ambush had been successful. If you intend to fix this, you need to do it now! If any of this comes back to haunt my Franz…”


“Calm down, Your Majesty, you're agitated. You must be dignified, so that Prince Franz will follow suit.”


“Brother!”


The Empress had a hard time restraining her temper.


“Call me Your Excellency..... This is the Imperial Palace. How long are you going to let your emotions get the best of you? Didn't Father teach you that such small matters aren't worth your concern?”


The Empress looked furious enough to pop a blood vessel, but she only trembled and said no more.


Shewas ten years younger than her brother. Vivian would always live in the shadow of her brother, the honourable Duke of Toulouse.


It was an unalterable fact that no matter how influential she became as Empress, all of her glory would belong to House Toulouse.


The position of Empress was never something she could have attained on her own, and her family, House Toulouse, were the ones who kept her in that position. House Toulouse would also shape the future of the First Prince, Franz Amure.


On the surface, the Empress wielded the most power through her title, but the Duke of Toulouse held far more power in reality.


Normally, the Empress wouldn't have dared raise her voice, but today she shouted as if determined to do so. However, the fox-like Duke remained unaffected.


“First, we'll make Baron Hound Palliport responsible for the whole affair. We can bide our time until the trial, and the judge will be on our side. The First Prince can rest assured.”


"No. What do you mean! What do you intend to do, Uncle? Not Baron Palliport!"


Prince Franz, who had been standing still, jumped up like he'd been stung by a bee.


It was easy to object, but even Franz knew on some level that this was not a trifling matter.


During the war, information had been sold to the enemy by a government official, Baron Hound, who was one of Franz's close aides.


If the truth came out, the Hound family name would disappear.


Baron Hound had been Franz's closest vassal since he was a young boy, and had been responsible for cleaning up many of his transgressions.


Moreover, his youngest daughter was now Franz's long-time mistress.


The daughter of Baron Palliport, had been taken into his bed the day of her coming-of-age and he had been shamelessly seeking her out for two years now.


It would have been one thing if the Baron was simply a vassal who did his dirty work, but the thought of letting the father of his mistress suffer made Franz's skin crawl, she would spurn him for an entire month.


“Why not, Your Highness? Baron Hound Palliport was the most strongly in favour of using Scorpion. Who else will be left to blame now that things have gone awry? Who will be most responsible? Dwelling too much on affairs of the heart will only get you in trouble.”


“Uncle. The Baron has often handled my affairs in my time of need, so...”


“Surely this doesn't have anything to do with Lady Laura?”


Franz was momentarily speechless, but quickly cleared his throat. His uncle dared to sneer at the First Prince of the Empire.


“Don't tell me you doubt my intentions because of a mere lady, Uncle. Isn’t the trust between a vassal and a monarch irreplaceable?”


“Your Highness, Prince...”


Franz raised his hand to cut off the Duke's words, his expression projecting benevolence.


“Please let me finish my explanation. If my other vassals saw me throwing away my most trusted followers every time something like this went wrong, how could they continue to follow me wholeheartedly, Uncle?”


Franz was more than a little pleased with his improvisation. The Empress, hearing her eldest son's straightforward words, once again beamed with pride and patted Franz's hand.


The Empress's eyes revealed her thoughts. 'I'm so proud of you, my eldest son. My dearest prince.'


Joseph wanted to snort at the sight, but as always, held back.


Grimacing at Franz's words, the Duke of Toulouse had to admit that the First Prince had a point.


He wasn't just a close associate, he was too close. But that wasn't all. The Baron knew too much about the Prince.


If he had jotted down a memorandum somewhere, they were in trouble. He couldn't be disposed of easily.


‘I warned him to be more careful about what he showed his vassals.'


Grafton left the Empress's chamber without coming up with a solution.


Lately, the attitude of his younger sister, the Empress, had been bothering him. She was an Empress, and perhaps her position naturally created an arrogant personality.


The Duke paced the halls, agonizing over how to resolve the matter.


Joseph left the drawing room after a short pause and quickly crossed the hall.


When he was less than ten paces from the Duke. Gabriel Rankin called out to Joseph.


Gabriel's voice was loud enough to stop the Duke dead in his tracks.


"Your Highness, the tributes have arrived. They are ready for inspection."


“Ah. I see. But I assume they were thoroughly inspected this time before being brought in?”


“Yes, the third inspection has just finished. The specialist inspectors are on standby, as His Majesty wishes to check them himself.”


“Yes. Keep in mind not to neglect the inspection of the other tributes. There are many merchant companies who will be trying to establish trade with the Palace, and we must check everything diligently.”


The Duke paused at the sound of Gabriel's voice and resumed his path for a step or two, before turning back to stare at Joseph and Gabriel.


As if oblivious to the Duke's presence, Joseph moved closer while engaged in serious discussion with Gabriel. The Duke remained where he stood.


“Your Highness the Third Prince.”


"...Ah! Uncle."


“At court, you should call me Your Excellency.”


“Oh, my. That would be far too difficult for me, Uncle. It's far too formal and doesn't sound proper coming out of my mouth.”


When Joseph smiled warmly at him, the Duke no longer felt the desire to quarrel over his title. His nephew's face resembled Vivian's, but instead of being cold, he appeared kind and understanding, such that those who met him immediately let their guard down.


“We are in the hall... But, pardon me, what exactly did you mean when you said that there would be many merchants trying to trade with the Palace?”


“Ah, you heard that. It’s a serious matter for a prince to speak of so lightly. The Imperial court is busy these days. Sometimes, merchants offer substandard tributes to the Palace, even though they are aware of their flaws. They also tend to deflect suspicion by exaggerating the defects of tributes from other companies. I intend to thoroughly crack down on them to prevent any harmful accusations.”


“Ha...”


Joseph waited a moment, but the Duke only furrowed his brow, lost in thought, and made no further move.


‘Perhaps I delivered it too subtly. As expected... Should I do what Hans suggested?'


[.....If he doesn't understand, just say it plainly. In urgent circumstances such as this, directness will serve you well.]


Enjoyed the chapter? Buy us a ko-fi!


176 views4 comments

Related Posts

See All

4 Comments


ProMama
ProMama
Jun 23

What I really love is just how much the novel adds depth that humanizes some of the antagonists.

Like
ProMama
ProMama
Jun 24
Replying to

Yeah, this and surrounding chapters are so directly relevant to where the novel is in the latest chapters you’ve translated that I totally get why it’s synergistic to do this first/simultaneously. Plus it’s alllllost filled in the middle~


Like
bottom of page