BBYW Vol. 2 Chapter 3 (WN)
CHAPTER 3 – Every Country has its Morons
【POV: Cerros Baal, third prince of the Baal empire】
“Maan, I can’t put up with this shit…”
After the conference, little old me went back to his room, like a good boy, and lay on his bed.
“My dumb ass brothers and their lame-ass retainers too, they’re all such a pain.”
If you want my honest opinion, my two idiot brothers — who both really believe they’re going to be the next emperor — are not fitting to be a ruler at all.
First Imperial Prince, Lars Baal.
An honest, straightforward man, the warrior type, but after three failed war campaigns and the loss of his closest retainers, he’s on a path of self-destruction. He feels compelled to do something, gets too hasty, and messes up — rinse and repeat. The nobles in his faction decrease day by day, he’s pretty isolated in court right now.
Second Imperial Prince, Grett Baal.
A skilled tactician, but also someone who doesn’t value the lives of other people. And to top it all off, he’s even a degenerate seriously in love with his own sister. It’s true that within the imperial family incest is tolerated to a degree, in order to keep the bloodline thick, but those cases are far and in between. He even has pedophilic tendencies: certainly not the man anyone would sincerely want to serve.
That leaves me, the Third Imperial Prince: but I am the farthest away from the throne.
Lars is the firstborn and Grett is the first lady’s son, so they both have legitimate claims to the title of emperor. I’m just the third son, though, born from a maid that the emperor laid his hands on.
In this succession battle, I am the only one without a legitimate claim.
Even if, by some chance, I managed to take over the enemy country assigned to me — the eastern lands of the Huang dynasty — not my two brothers, nor the court officials or nobles would ever accept my ascension to the throne. I could already see the resulting civil war split the empire into two.
(For me to become emperor, either both my brothers die or I gain enough power to massacre any vassals that stand against me…who can blame me for losing motivation and acting the moron, really…?)
The true reason why someone like me was added to the succession talks was probably just to round out the numbers, really.
If Lars and Grett were the only candidates, it would just lead to a clash of their armies, resulting in an internal war. So they needed a third party to keep them in check, and here I am.
This three-way conflict prevents conflict — at least on the surface — and for the last ten years, their deadly battle has been going on behind the curtains.
(Man, this country is done for. Even if one of us three becomes emperor, the future is bleak as all hell. If at least one of them had realized the surefire way to win the succession battle, things would have been different, but…)
In this scramble for succession, there was a surefire way to win, set by the late emperor himself. Finding this way was the real condition to become emperor, but neither one of my brothers seemed to be aware of it.
(Father, you’d have never imagined that they wouldn’t even get a hint in ten years, would you? Nor that you’d die first…I guess you overestimated your kids, huh. Serves you right.)
Having lived on pins and needles my whole life, stuck in the middle of my brothers’ rivalry, my personality grew pretty twisted. I couldn’t even remember when I started this clown act.
“Haha, hahaha…look at them, all chasing the wrong fox. Idiots, idiots everywhere…and poor Cerros here, tears streaming down his cheeks from laughing too much…”
“Poor, who? What stupid way you talk?”
As I kept whining on the bed, the girl doing paperwork at the desk turned towards me with a sigh.
Her name was Xiao Mao, one of my retainers. She was just 18 years old, but showed brilliant talent in matters of politics and military.
Her eyes were lit with contempt, as you’d never expect from a retainer looking at their master: she was clearly looking down at me.
“You laugh suddenly, I think you gone crazy. Finally, mushroom grown from your head?”
She was still not fully proficient in our language: Xiao was born in Huang, the empire’s enemy country. Five years ago I found her at the slave market in the east of the empire, bought her and made her my servant. She never learned to have much respect for me, though.
“Hmm, I don’t think so? Can’t find any mushrooms up here. Is there a disease like that?”
“You not know? When humans not use body part at all, mushroom grows. My father had mushroom from crotch, so I know.”
“…I wonder if that isn’t the mushroom all healthy men have…”
She was a wonder in the books, but still lacked certain street smarts, as she showed time and again. I lazily expressed doubts about her diagnosis, so Xiao Miao protested.
“Stop your nonsense! I never seen mushrooms on crotch except father. Cerros, you have mushroom on crotch? I can take it off for you?”
“Please, anything but that, I beg of you.”
I humbly offered my apologies to Xiao, then returned to my bed.
“Jeez, how long do I have to keep living like this? I’m sick of it all…I don’t care who becomes emperor, just do it already…so the empire can fall down the pit it belongs to.”
“…your country, but you talk crazy.”
“Who cares? I never did, not for a country like this. I never asked to become prince, and I have to live with my brothers trying to kill each other and me, get it? Who the hell can put up with this shit?”
I just wanted to eat well, drink better, hang out with the people I liked…like Xiao, and just enjoy life together. I didn’t think I was asking for much, so why did happiness go farther away from me every day?
“What happen? Mushroom really grow on crotch?”
“…hey, enough dirty jokes, all right? I might not look it, but I’m the romantic type…sigh”
“Really, you OK?”
Xiao took a closer look at my face.
Despite her jokes, she was really concerned about me. Maybe you couldn’t call her a beauty, but from up close she looked rather adorable.
I raised a hand and was about to touch her face…but stopped just in time.
I turned the other way, away from her. If I touched Xiao right now, I might really fall in love with her.
(Don’t touch girls when you’re feeling down…even if she falls for me too, there’d be nothing but misfortune in store for her anyway. I should stick with just doing it for fun with women.)
“Let’s go to the market tomorrow. We’ll find another shady shack with shady magic tool lookalikes and send them to the east as souvenirs, right?”
“Right, right. Lunch, Cerros pay, yes?”
“Well, I am the prince, I should do that much.”
“Because food on other people’s money taste better! Triple delicious!”
I laughed together with Xiao, my back still turned to her, and fell asleep like that.
At that time, I naturally could not know that the next morning, I would wake up to see Xiao in bed next to me — she had slipped under the covers who knows when — and have a moment of slight panic.