BBYW Vol. 2 Chapter 10 (WN)
Chapter 10 – The Golden-Haired Princess Makes Her Decision
The man who interrupted our conversation was Rajang Salazar, captain of the Imperial Knights, who consented to stand as witness to the meeting with my brother Lars.
Rajang was the same age as my father, one of his closest friends and most trusted knights. He led the Imperial Knights, a unit under the emperor’s direct authority. As the seat was currently vacant, Rajang followed father’s last order: to act as my escort and protect me.
“Rajang Salazar, I am speaking to Rossellia right now! How dare a mere knight interject in a conversation between members of the imperial family!?”
“With all due respect, Your Highness, I was commanded by His late Majesty the Emperor to protect and care for Princess Rossellia. I must thus beseech you not to make such unreasonable demands to the Princess.”
“Unreasonable demands!? Do you even know how much it pains me to…!”
“Please, Prince Lars, please calm down.”
A young knight stepped in to soothe my brother’s escalating spirits: Snowe Halphas, Lars’ second in command.
“Captain Salazar, we have come simply to propose this arrangement to Princess Rossellia. We have no intention of forcing anyone’s hand.”
“H-However, that is…!”
“We too know how the late Emperor, peace be unto His soul, wished for the Princess’ wellbeing until His last breath. While not in official terms, the Emperor apparently also gave permission for the Princess to freely decide her marriage partner. Is that correct?”
“…yes, Father did say such a thing.”
That was really true. Father, who loved me more than anyone else, told me that I could marry the person I loved. As the imperial princess, however, I seldom even had the chance to meet men outside the imperial family, so there was no such person…
“We thus wish to recommend Dyngir Maxwell as that partner.”
Snowe Halphas grinned, as if the conversation proceeded exactly as he planned.
“House Maxwell is, without a doubt, one of the most powerful and renowned noble clans of the Lamperouge kingdom. Some say that, in terms of military power, they surpass even the royal family. Once Prince Lars achieves victory and the kingdom is annexed to the empire, they will surely gain high standing as a military noble clan in the empire as well. I am positive he would be a fitting consort, Princess.”
“Dyngir Maxwell is also an infamous womanizer!! How could such a scoundrel be fitting for the Princess!?”
“All heroes live for love, or so they say. His Majesty the Emperor was served by many concubines too, if I recall. His four children were all born from different mothers, were they not? What more could you hope for from a valiant noble?”
I repeated Snowe’s words in my mind and reflected.
If I married into House Maxwell, Lars could take over the Lamperouge kingdom and become the next emperor.
That would also settle the conflicts currently dividing the empire, and possibly prevent the outbreak of more chaos.
Not to mention that —
“Not to mention that…if things continue this way, Prince Grett will become emperor, you know?”
“ — !!”
Snowe spoke, as if he read my mind.
“It pains and frustrates me to admit that at present, Prince Grett is closest to the throne. What would happen, was he truly to become emperor?”
Grett was an intelligent person of many skills, but as a human being, he lacked something very important. He did not see others as equals and sacrificed those below him without a thought.
Not too long ago, a peasant revolt broke out in his domain — and those who participated were executed with extreme impunity, apparently.
If Grett became emperor…
(There is no way Grett can be allowed to become the emperor! He would definitely bring misfortune to the whole empire…to his vassals, to the people, and me, too…)
I recalled Grett’s gaze on me and shuddered.
He looked at me as if his eyes crawled on my whole body. There was nothing but the desire to possess me and satisfy all of his lust in them.
(Compared to Grett…any man is a saint…!)
No matter how much of a womanizer he might be, it would definitely be better than becoming Grett’s spouse.
Even if we are half-siblings, or if father told me I could marry whoever I wanted, I am sure he would not care in the slightest.
“I have understood very well what you said…please, let me think it over a little.”
“Oh, will you consider it!? Great, I am looking forward to your reply!”
Rajang looked at me with apprehension, while — in stark contrast — Lars rejoiced.
“Yes, please think it over well, Princess. We trust in your wise decision.”
After an obsequious bow, Snowe Halphas turned away from me. Before he left, he whispered something — loud enough to barely reach my ears.
“You’ve lived all your life happy and pampered in your little birdcage at court. At least in the end, I hope that you’ll be useful to the empire.”
I felt as if his words pierced my heart, and held my chest with my hands.
(“Rossellia, I wish for at least you to be happy.”)
Father’s words echoed in my head. I clenched so hard that my dress wrinkled.
(Father, I am sorry…but I too am a child of the empire. Please, allow me, too, to use my life for the empire…)
I thought over the matter for a full day, then made my decision.
The decision to head to our enemy country, the Kingdom of Lamperouge.