Translator: Silver Editor: Namorax
「The Return of the Princess」Part 2
Two days later, Princess Juliana’s party entered the Hoban territory and the princess was sent to meet with prince Sect in the feudal lord’s castle.
A young woman with long, dark blonde hair that fell down in loose waves, lovely brown eyes and white, regular features now stood in front of prince Sect.
The young woman lifted the hem of her dress and offered the prince a greeting in a manner befitting of royalty.
From her elegant demeanor, it was obvious the princess wasn’t suffering from any wounds, which caused prince Sect’s eyebrow to twitch.
“It’s been a while, onii-sama.”
This young woman was no other than the second princess Juliana Meroru Melissa Rhoden Olav.
One of the two people who stood behind her was a young man with short, brown hair and a square jaw, Lendl Do Frivetran.
A member of the seven duke households, son of one of Rhoden’s three generals and the leader of Juliana’s escort.
He should have been fatally injured during the assassination attempt, yet his perfectly fine appearance made one question if the surprise attack had actually happened.
Next to him stood a nearly two-meter tall man in the prime of his life.
He had trimmed white hair and lilac skin, a large scar on his face and his body was robust and rugged. All of this only made him stand out even more than a dark elf in a human country normally would.
As a security measure, the man was unarmed, but the intimidating aura he gave off made it perfectly clear that he could overwhelm the nearby human guards with his bare hands.
Prince Sect tried to ignore the cold sweat running down his back as he smiled at his sister.
“Yes, it has been, Juliana. I’m happy to see you’re alive and well. I couldn’t bear watching after I informed father of your passing.”
Juliana returned Sect’s faint smile with a full smile of her own.
“When I was attacked on my way to Rinburuto, I was sure I would meet my end. However, thanks to the gods, I stand here before you.”
“Still, I never expected Douglass to take such violent measures against us.”
Sect signed loudly after she made that comment.
“Were you attacked by brother as well?”
“Yes, my arm…… Though I was normally no match for Douglass in combat, I managed to fight him off…… Perhaps the gods are watching over me as well?”
Sect jokingly replied to Juliana’s question.
Though her eyes narrowed slightly, the princess continued to smile at her older brother.
“From what I’ve heard, when Douglass’ attack against you was announced in the capital, my death was also announced. Why is that?”
Juliana remained silent as she earnestly examined Sect’s face in an attempt to find even the slightest change in his expression.
However, Sect simply narrowed his eyes and let out a disgusted sigh before loudly snorting.
“Douglass was in possession of the necklace you always held onto in memory of your mother…… I had assumed he had slain you to obtain it.”
“However, it wasn’t like my body had been found, was it?”
“Certainly. When I learned where you had been attacked, our search party could only find the corpses of bandits in the area. Apparently, monsters had been through the area before they had arrived.”
“I see, but the carriage was missing as well, wasn’t it?”
Prince Sect held up his index finger and had a disappointed look on his face as he shook his head at Juliana’s question.
“You make a good point. I thought there was a slight chance of you being alive. However, because your whereabouts were unknown, I didn’t want to endanger you by making that possibility known. Additionally, with the revolt that happened here in Hoban, the nobles are just biting for a chance to ridicule the royal family…… To show that the royal family’s authority is still strong, someone needed to take the lead and restore order.”
Juliana’s smile thinned and she raised an eyebrow as Sect continued to speak.
“If you were found to be alive, then those who are disapproving of you ascending to the throne could have stationed troops here to kill you. Not to mention that Hoban is an important way station that can’t remain in discord for long. The neighboring nobles won’t remain silent with the feudal lord’s seat now empty. You understand, right?”
Juliana paused for a bit before she answered her brother.
“Yes…… I can see things from your perspective, onii-sama……”
Upon hearing her answer, Sect clapped his hands together and nodded.
“I’m glad you understand. Now I have a question of my own. I understand that you have escorts from Rinburuto, but how did you befriend that dark elf behind you?”
Juliana lightly cleared her throat before answering Sect’s question.
“Serena arranged for the Rinburuto Archdukedom’s soldiers to defend me until we reach the capital. And this dark elf gentleman here is a great elder of Great Canada Forest, Fangas Furan Maple.”
Sect’s eyes bulged a bit when he heard this before she turned to the ridiculously muscled, smiling dark elf he had assumed to be a mere soldier.
The great elders were the leaders and decision makers of Great Canada Forest, and the man before him was one of them.
While one had occasionally been seen in Rinburuto, this was the first time one has visited Rhoden.
Understanding dawned on prince Sect as he realized why someone like that would be accompanying Juliana to the capital.
“…… Could it be, trade negotiations?”
Juliana nodded in affirmation at Sect’s utterance.
“Yes. The elves of Great Canada Forest intend to form a trade relationship with Rhoden Kingdom, and elder Fangas has taken the trouble to personally arrange the details of the deal.”
Until now, the only country the elves had been willing to trade with was Rinburuto…… thanks to that, the small country was able to amass an impressive amount of wealth from selling elven magic tools to the other human countries.
If Rhoden Kingdom became trading partners with the elves, then Rinburuto would lose its monopoly on the tools. However, considering that Juliana’s escorts were partially composed of Rinburuto, then the country must have already accepted it.
“What goods are to be traded?”
“The main item to be traded are 『Abundant Harvest Stones』.”
Sect had to swallow his saliva and speak in a cheerful tone to hide how anxious Juliana’s comment had made him.
“That’s wonderful! Our country will certainly benefit from this deal.”
When 『Abundant Harvest Stones』 were crushed into a fine powder and spread over fields they increased the vitality of the land and the yield of crops.
In a world filled with monsters, there were few fertile areas for humans to occupy…… and that item was capable of directly raising the prosperity of the land.
If she managed to obtain these items without having to go through the Rinburuto Archdukedom, then the nobles would be in the palm of Juliana’s hand.
The likelihood of her taking the throne would rise exponentially.
Thinking about such things caused Sect to lower his shoulders and look up at the ceiling.
Juliana honed in on his suspicious behavior.
“So? Do you intend to stay here long? Or will you head towards the capital immediately?”
With these words Sect turned back to Juliana and resumed speaking in a cheerful tone.
“We’ll rest here tonight, and set out for the capital tomorrow morning.”
“Well, you’re welcome to use one of the unused wings as your own. I hope you have a good rest.”
Juliana was a little bewildered by her brother Sect’s offer, but accepted it with proper etiquette and left the room with her associates.
When Juliana had finally left the room, general Setorion stepped from behind Sect and started speaking.
“Is this alright?”
His simple question actually concerned the princess’s large strides towards obtaining the throne.
However, Sect sat back in his chair and threw his hands in the air while manically laughing.
“If the trade negotiations are legit, then her backing for the throne will raise by 80%.”
Sect shook his head at Setorion’s short questions.
“This is a baffling situation. Word of Juliana’s accomplishment is bound to spread. Due to the recent events, the royal family’s standing in the kingdom is already unstable enough, so this deal needs to go through no matter what…… It’s also a little ironic that humans are dependent of the elven minority to secure a stable food source.”
Sect chuckled a bit before he resumed speaking.
“I’ll need to ensure my control over Hoban is unshakable, I will not allow my little sister to control such an important stopover between Rinburuto and the capital. For the time being, we should inform lord Tiosera about the dangers that accompany switching allegiances.”
Setorion silently nodded in agreement to Sect’s decisions.
“Given Juliana’s disposition, she’ll prioritize giving 『Abundant Harvest Stones』to the more barren territories. That will likely invoke the ire of the lords with favorable land holdings. If she’s aware of the risk, she’ll need to keep the 『Abundant Harvest Stones』 in limited circulation. It won’t be too difficult to draw the dissatisfied feudal lords to our side. The power balance has temporarily shifted in her favor, but it should swing back into balance once I gather those opposed to Juliana’s monopoly under my banner.”
A dauntless smile appeared on the prince’s face.
“There’s no need to rush when you aim for the throne…… lest you end up like that fool Douglass. I plan to leave the throne to my first son, so I should probably start working on finding a suitable bride.”
Having made his declaration, Sect closed his eyes and continued to smile.