BBYW Vol. 2 Chapter 22 (WN)
Chapter 22 – Before the Armies Clash…a Tea Party with the Princess
One month had passed since Rossellia began her stay in the Maxwell province.
After the attempt on her life, we immediately sent a formal letter of protest to the empire, but it was met with nothing but accusations of “speaking nonsense” and unilateral requests of “returning Rossellia immediately”. The planned assassination was treated as if it never happened.
According to our spies, Lars Baal had managed to form an allied army, composed of the First Imperial Army, Second Imperial Army and the Imperial Knights that was preparing to invade the Maxwell province.
House Maxwell, as well as the other noble families of the eastern provinces, were preparing to match the imperial offensive. An atmosphere of unrest pervaded the eastern territories.
Amidst all that, I made enough time to go visit Rossellia, currently sheltered in my private residence.
Rossellia and I, sitting across each other at a table set in the garden, were discussing the empire’s current circumstances. Standing next to the table were Sakuya and Rossellia’s attendant, the maid Luna.
“And so, we can’t send you back to the empire right now.”
“I see…I have no words to express my apologies. To think that saving me would cause House Maxwell such a dreadful development…”
Rossellia responded to my explanation with a melancholic sigh and apology.
The assassination attempt had left her pretty shaken, but she had calmed down recently. Immediately after the event, she would suddenly start crying, thinking about the knights who died, or scream into the night. The servants working in the villa were pretty worried about her.
“With all due respect, Sir Maxwell, it is certain that Prince Lars ordained the assassination, is it not? In that case, if the Princess could return to the imperial capital without being found, I believe she could officially indict Prince Lars, thus avoiding the impending war.”
Luna, who probably couldn’t endure seeing her lady’s clouded expression, interjected in our conversation.
“That’s too dangerous. In order to reach the imperial capital, you need to cross the area guarded by the First Imperial Army. I don’t think the whole army is in on the assassination, but there’s no way to tell friend from foe, is there?”
“…that is true.Please pardon my indiscretion.”
Realizing that her proposal would put Rossellia in danger, Luna retracted it immediately.
“Even so…if there is a chance to avert the war, it would be worth trying…”
Rossellia, however, considered her maid’s words in all seriousness. I waved a hand and tried dissuading her.
“Don’t even think about it. Lars Baal is using your life as a pretext to start the war. What do you think would happen if you get caught?”
“Don’t throw away your life, especially after it was saved. And don’t forget that diving headfirst into danger means taking all of your servants with you.”
“Princess, I shall follow you to the ends of the earth!”
Rossellia saw the serious look in Luna’s eyes and her shoulders dropped.
“Yes, I see…that was rash of me.”
“I’m honestly happy to hear that you really want to stop the war, though. You’re thinking about us too, right?”
Even if we saved her life, Rossellia’s position as imperial princess made her an enemy of House Maxwell, first and foremost. Even if the imperial army was going to attack us, she had no reason to feel concerned.
Yet, this kind-hearted princess was tormented by the fact that she could become the cause of our destruction. I was grateful for such thoughts.
“I have sown the seeds, after all. If only I could have seen through Lars and Snowe’s words, none of this would have happened. If possible, I would like to take responsibility, at least…”
“Considering the complicated position you’re in, that’s seriously noble of you.”
I smiled wryly and took one of the teacups set on the table. I put it on my lips and a rich, full taste filled my mouth.
“What a nice scent. Is this tea from the kingdom?”
“Yes, from the south. We’re right in the first harvest season, so the aroma is especially strong. I like it a lot too.”
“Is that so…”
For a short while, Rossellia and I enjoyed the tea in silence.
A noble from the kingdom and a member of the imperial family. In contrast to the hostility between our positions, time passed in complete peace and quiet.
Eventually, I was the one to break the long silence.
“…unfortunately, the war between House Maxwell and the empire seems inevitable. The result, however, is going to be different from what you expect.”
Rossellia looked at me, puzzled. She had probably imagined a future in which the imperial allied army trampled our territories without mercy.
I knew, however, that was never going to happen.
“In the next war, the winner is going to be House Maxwell. If the First Imperial Army, Second Imperial Army and Imperial Knights had attacked individually, we might have not been able to make it…but as long as they move together, we have a chance.”
I smiled and marked my words with confidence. I was not putting up a front: I truly believed in what I said.
“It pains me to say this to you, Princess, but we will crush them with all we have.”
Rossellia listened to my words, quietly. Quietly, silently, without a sound.
Her utter lack of reaction was getting bizarre. I peeked at her face out of curiosity and found her divinely attractive features forming a dazed expression. Her cheeks seemed flushed too.
Rossellia was silent like that for a little while more, but eventually her lovely lips managed to move and whisper something.
“Hm? What was that?”
“…eh? Oh, oh no! It’s nothing!”
After Luna and I called to her, Rossellia panicked a little bit, flailing her hands about. Her face was bright red, almost comically flustered.
“W-Well, no matter what the result will be, the empire will have brought it on themselves, and sooner or later, the empire was going to fall anyway, I think…er, so, well, I cannot cooperate with you openly, but I shall offer my assistance, to the extent of expressing my gratitude for saving my life, as well as my servants’!”
“Oh, er, really. Well, I’m grateful.”
I didn’t expect to be able to convince her so smoothly, to be honest. I thought she was going to refuse to lend me any assistance, due to her position.
(She’s way more cooperative than expected…even if I have no idea why. I guess she was really moved by the fact we saved her life?)
Putting aside the reason for Rossellia’s positive reaction, my cards were now all gathered. Nothing stood in the way of our counterattack against the empire.
(You can come anytime, imperial army…Lars? Grett? You’re going all down.)
I kept my feral smile inside, not to scare off the graceful princess.
Several days later, an official document was delivered from the empire: a declaration of war.