BBYW Vol. 2 Chapter 5 (WN)
Chapter 5 – Invitation from a beautiful…childhood friend
The crowning ceremony concluded without a hitch: Sulley Lamperouge thus became King Lamperouge V.
The only “unusual” thing, so to speak, was that the role of placing the crown on the young prince’s head was taken by Duke Rosais, the royal chancellor, in place of the bed-ridden (now former) king. Also, in the ceremony the new king did not wear “Herakles”, as custom dictated, but a golden bracelet studded with gemstones.
“The royal treasure stolen by Sullivan is still unaccounted…naturally.”
That incident had Sullivan Nommes marked as a wanted fugitive in the whole kingdom, for the crimes of royal treason and theft of national treasure. The assassination attempt on me was kept from the public, though.
The royal house had plenty of things to inquire about the missing treasure, but it had been given to Sullivan by none other than the former king himself.
A strict gag order had been placed on that piece of information: so all I had to do was drop subtle hints of being aware of it, and all questions stopped immediately.
“Okay then, better go back to the province, and fast.”
The empire was showing signs of unrest. I did not expect things to move too soon, but I didn’t want to stay away from the province for long.
I was leaving the court, immersed in such thoughts, when someone called my name.
“Oh Dyn, you’re leaving already?”
“Please, don’t make that face…aren’t we childhood friends?”
Standing behind me was the daughter of the southern Margrave, Echidna Thunderbird. Clad in a red dress that did not leave much to the imagination, she sighed at me demurely. I couldn’t help but frown a little.
“Yeah, we are, so there’s no need for compliments between us, right? Besides, I don’t want to have anything to do with the south.”
“My, how rude. If you persist in such behavior, I will have to make a report to Lady Grace.”
“Gh…that’s why I don’t want to talk to you. You always bring up that damn hag.”
I glared at Echidna, who shook her head in disappointment.
“You can be so bratty when it comes to Lady Grace…anyway, Dyn. Aren’t you going to participate in the ball?”
The royal house had scheduled a ball to be held after the crowning ceremony.
“Nope, I won’t. I’m not going to get any closer than necessary to the royals.”
(“I will participate in the ceremony, but not the ball.”)
In a way, that was a declaration of Margrave Maxwell’s stance towards the royal house.
Sullivan Nommes, a former member of the royal family, had attempted to assassinate the future heir of Maxwell Margrave, and the king himself was involved in it, as he had given Sullivan a national treasure.
While we did not voice any accusations out loud, the Maxwell house had not forgiven such acts.
By participating in the crowning ceremony, the Maxwell house acknowledged Sulley as new king. But we did not forgive or forget the acts perpetrated by Sullivan, nor intended to become especially familiar with Sulley or the royals. I wasn’t going to go to the ball, nor did our vassals.
“Oh, so you’re not going either. Me too, actually.”
“Hm? House Thunderbird isn’t on bad terms with the royal house, is it?”
“Mother is going to participate, so that’s fine. She pushed this annoying ceremony to me, while she gets to go to the ball…pretty selfish, don’t you think? If I go, I’d have swarms of men all over me, so I’m relieved though.”
“Yeah, I bet..”
I looked down at Echidna’s body, in contemplation.
We knew each other for more than 10 years: she had grown a lot since then. Long, slender legs, remarkable full breasts, a dress daringly exposing her cleavage and back. She would definitely attract attention at the ball.
“When you deal with noblemen, you always have to consider the prospect of marriage and the relationship between each house…it’s so troublesome. I prefer men without such baggage, you see.”
“Sure, but does that mean sleeping with sailors and pirates at that pace? You’re a noble, after all, shouldn’t you be a bit more modest?”
“Oh dear…you, of all people, lecture me about chastity? When we’re pretty much the same?”
Just like I had several women as my lovers, Echidna too romanced multiple men. Basically, we were two peas in a pod.
The only difference is that while I kept the women I loved at my side, Echidna preferred hunting strangers at the tavern and enjoyed one night stands only with them.
In terms of “chastity”, we were thus very similar, but miraculously our relationship never turned carnal.
We did not see each other as a viable candidate — just like how magnets of the same polarity repel each other.
“Is that so? I see you as a man, though?”
Echidna’s scandalous revelation made me unsteady on my feet.
“You’re the finest man I know, actually. Marriage is out of the question, but if I ever have to bear a child, I’d want you to be the father, you know? I have to give birth to a successor, after all. I would be happy if you at least considered it…”
“Hmm…right…well, actually…nah…I’ll pass…”
After a bit of mulling, I gave her my answer.
The offer was not without its charms, but I wouldn’t be able to treat Echidna as a woman at this point.
“Oh really? Well, if you ever change your mind, let me know.”
I wanted to leave as soon as possible. I felt that if I continued talking with her, I could commit an irreparable mistake.
(We’re not family or anything, but we’re still too close for comfort…that’s why I hate childhood friends…!)
I liked to think of myself as an expert with the opposite sex, but there were some women I couldn’t handle, apparently. The only way was to stay away from them.
“Ah, please wait, Dyn!”
I was about to scamper away, but Echidna grabbed my arm and stopped me.
“There’s going to be a gathering at the Thunderbird manor in the capital later tonight. Won’t you come too? We will serve food and drinks too, of course.”
“…at the same time as the royal ball? What the hell kind of gathering is that?”
I really did not want to go, but Echidna’s words convinced me that I had to.
“A gathering of the heirs of the Four Houses, Dyn. The other two are both coming, you know.”
My night at the royal capital was going to be rather long, I thought. I looked at the setting sun filtering through a window and sighed.