Risou no Himo Seikatsu Volume 8 Chapter 1
Chapter 01: Nilda Guzzle 1
Roughly ten days passed, since Zenjirou returned to the Royal Capital.
The sky over the Capital was covered by dark rain clouds and the raindrops drummed on the roof of the Royal Palace, creating puddles all over the courtyard.
At least there was no heavy wind like during a typhoon, but it was by no means the sweet rain shower you could witness in Japan during its rainy season. It poured down so heavily that you could hear the rain even with the window shutters closed.
The “Rainy Season” had just started.
This season had the slightest long-distance travel percentage of all seasons in the Carpa Kingdom.
Although the “Vibrant Season” was all about business, like its name applied, and everyone stayed indoors during the “Hottest Season”, because of its severe temperature, the “Rainy Season” was actually even more unsuited for travels than these two.
Even though it was called the “Rainy Season”, it actually rained only once every two to three days on the average, but with the street development in this world being what it was, most streets turned into small rivers unless it happened to be state-funded roads like the “Salt Road” or the main street in the Capital.
The rain would flood rivers and muddy the water, preventing you to replenish your water resources on the way. Likewise, it was no easy feat to camp outside in the rain. Moreover, some amphibious carnivores would show up on the street, when the rivers flooded, even though they normally did not come ashore. On top of that, vision was poor during a rainfall, so one could easily fall prey to an attack from these dragons.
Because of these circumstances, it had become a global acceptance to avoid long-distance travels as much as possible during the “Rainy Season”.
In light of this, Marquis Guzzle and Nilda Guzzle literally managed to reach the Royal Capital in the very nick of time, seeing as they arrived here a few days ago.
While the rain was watering the greenery outside, Zenjirou was sitting in front of his computer in the living room of the Inner Palace and chanted a spell with a strained expression.
“Send my chosen target to the place I envision. As compensation, I make…”
The fact that the “Magic Language” he had uttered sounded Japanese to him was proof that the automatic translation from the “Soul of Words” had been at work. In other words, a proof for his correct pronunciation.
Zenjirou wordlessly typed on the keyboard, entering the tenth check mark for today into his spreadsheet software.
The check marks indicated a correct intonation for “Teleport”, the spell he was learning right now.
He shouted emotionally, thrusting his clenched fists into the air while remaining seated.
It had been a spontaneous impulse born out of the subconsciousness of his mind.
Zenjirou usually contained his emotions, so it was a rare sight, but it was understandable in this case. After all, his efforts from the past three months, since Aura told him to “learn Teleport next”, were finally bearing fruits.
Of course he had only cleared the first hurdle by the name of “correct intonation” so far and the second and third hurdle, “correct amount of magical power” and “correct perception” respectively, were still waiting for him, but he had more or less cleared one third of the progress, so the feeling of accomplishment was accordingly great.
Especially after coming home from the March of Guzzle, he had invested a relative great deal of time in his magic training.
It practically doubled his delight.
Stretching his raised arms, Zenjirou turned his head to the sides and relaxed his shoulders.
Probably because she heard his cheer, his beloved wife Queen Aura appeared in the door connecting the living room and their bedroom.
“Looks like you make a breakthrough.”
When Zenjirou turned around, the Queen in a casual dress drew closer with a soft smile.
Two waiting maids flanked her on both sides, keeping watch over her.
“Ah, sorry. Was I too loud?”
Standing up from his chair, Zenjirou forgot all about his computer and trotted over to his wife.
“No, it is alright. You are working hard for my sake, right?”
“Yeah. Well, for you and our ‘second child’, to be precise.”
Then Zenjirou took her hand and lead her to the couch in the middle of the living room.
Aura obediently let him take the lead and slowly sat down on the black leather couch.
Normally the waiting maids would wait in a different room until they are called upon out of respect for Zenjirou, but they were not separating from Aura right now.
There was only reason why Zenjirou was learning “Teleport” with utmost zeal after coming back from the March of Guzzle.
His beloved wife Aura was quite likely pregnant with their second child.
Her menstruation still had not come as of yet and after the examination, the royal physician Doctor Michelle also had said she was pregnant in all likelihood, but even on the off chance that she was not, she still should act in moderation until it was verified.
Needless to say, the news of a second pregnancy of Queen Aura spread throughout the Royal Palace like wildfire.
Zenjirou had been dumbfounded by it at first, but once he had calmed down, he felt nothing but joice about it.
It was a shame that the nightly activities with his wife would come to an end again after such a short time, but the eager anticipation of their second child outweighed it by far.
That in turn reminded him of the vow he had taken in the past.
During the pregnancy and delivery of their first child Carlos Zenkichi, Zenjirou had been made aware that both pregnancy and delivery were not without risk in this world, even for royalty.
So he had sworn back then that he would master “Teleport” by the time their second child was going to be born, in order to bring over a healer from the Twin Kingdom of Sharrow and Jilbell in case anything went wrong.
And now, with Aura’s second pregnancy at hand, Zenjirou was incited by the goal had had set for himself.
If Aura was indeed pregnant, there was no time to waste. He needed to learn “Teleport” and visit the Twin Kingdom as soon as possible.
Although Zenjirou was royalty from an allied nation, they would hardly listen to him, if he suddenly were to come over with “Teleport” and agitatedly demand: “My wife is in danger! Give me a healer!”
It was necessary that he visited them officially once and negotiated beforehand that “he needed to bring a healer into his country at a later date“, when they had become acquainted.
Zenjirou sat down next to Aura, preoccupied in thought.
“I can’t travel during the ‘Rainy Season’ anyway, so it’s a race against time. I have to learn ‘Teleport’ before the ‘Rainy Season’ ends at all costs.”
Seeing her husband clench his fist with determination, the Queen cracked a smile and narrowed her eyes to slits most pleased.
“No need to drive yourself into a corner. The ‘Rainy Season’ is followed by the ‘Hottest Season’. It is not as bad as during the ‘Rainy Season’, but long-distance travel will still be quite difficult. So how about you set the time limit to half a year from now on?”
It goes without saying that Zenjirou himself was not going to ride a dragon carriage from the Carpa Kingdom to the Twin Kingdom. It might work for domestic travels like Valentia or the March of Guzzle, but when it involved a foreign country, it was definitely too careless.
Other Royalty might have no other choice but to do so, but the Royalty of the Carpa Kingdom was in possession of their trump card “Space-Time Magic”. There was no need to deliberately expose their members to a danger.
Zenjirou himself could easily be sent over with “Teleport” from Aura.
But he was still Royalty, so there was no way he could visit a foreign country all by himself.
Knights, Soldiers and Waiting Maids needed to accompany him for protection and support. Sending all these people over with “Teleport” was definitely impossible.
Everyone besides Zenjirou would have to travel the normal way by foot or carriage.
So even when he himself could move around with Aura’s “Teleport”, he still was somewhat bound to the restraint of the seasons.
Zenjirou, too, understood that Aura was right, but decided not to be spoiled by his wife.
“Yeah, thanks, but I better get this over with as soon as possible. If you really are pregnant, I’ll likely be busy with work again and have no time for practice anymore.”
During her previous pregnancy, Aura had to cut down her workload quite a bit before entering the stable period. At the same time, it meant that Zenjirou got more work to do as her representative.
From now on, he would continue to make an effort to learn “Teleport” while working as a proxy for Aura. Once he had mastered “Teleport”, he would then negotiate the dispatch of an healer in the Twin Kingdom.
Needless to say, the negotiation were expected to take a while, so Zenjirou would have to go back to the Carpa Kingdom at regular intervals (made possible through his use of ‘Teleport’) and handle the work as Aura’s representative.
Either way, he would be quite busy for some time now.
“Sorry to impose on you, Zenjirou, and thank you.”
“No, it’s alright.”
Zenjirou softly squeezed the hand his beloved wife had put on top of his.
* * *
It was indeed true that the “Rainy Season” slowed down productivity as a whole, but it did not bring it to a complete halt.
Especially the nobles staying in the Royal Capital were the least affected by the rain. The streets in the capital were paved with stone and nobility generally travelled by a carriage with a roof.
On top of that, they mainly gathered at the Royal Palace or their own mansions. Both were large structures of stone and braved the weather well and truly.
As a result, the nobles involved with the Royal Palace socialized relatively unaffected, even during the “Rainy Season”.
On a certain day, the nobles gathered in the audience room of the Royal Palace and curiously fixated their gazes on Queen Aura sitting on her throne, an elderly Feudal Lord and an unfamiliar little girl standing before her.
Today’s audience had not been on the agenda. Queen Aura had suddenly summoned a special meeting.
The fact alone that she had convened an extraordinary meeting was enough to convince them that something out of the common had taken place.
At the beginning, most of the nobles had been anxious, thinking “Just what could have happened?”, but everyone had regained their composure by now. Seeing how Marquis Guzzle, who had explicitly been obliged to attend, had remained calm, they had concluded that the matter could not be all that severe.
Under the watchful eyes of numerous nobles, Queen Aura sat on her throne imposingly and lowly began to speak.
“I am glad you all headed my summoning today. I called you here for no other reason than to share an important information I have obtained.
Marquis Miguel Guzzle and the girl besides him, step forward.”
“At your command.”
Upon the Queen’s order, the elderly Feudal Lord, Marquis Guzzle stepped forward with an ease unusual for his age.
Nilda Guzzle, the little girl who had stood besides him, followed behind him.
You could tell at a glance how nervous she was by looking at her stiff motion.
Be it her length of stride, her way of walking or how she dragged the hem of her dress. All of it was still barely in line with etiquette, but obviously deformed by her tension. Everyone broke out in a cold sweat, seeing that.
The majority of nobility here should have never seen or heard about this girl, but at some point, everyone was warmly watching over her with worry.
Even though they did not know her, the fact that she was next to Marquis Guzzle made it easy to guess that she belonged to the Guzzle Family.
Some nobles here could be considered political opponents of the Guzzle Family, but even those did not give her any mean glances, thinking “Serves her right. Go and embarrass yourself in front of the Queen”. Nilda might actually be a factor to be reckoned with.
Anyway, when Nilda managed to prostrate before the throne, even if slower than usual, everyone in the audience room heaved a sigh of relief.
In order to get this lax atmosphere under control again, the Queen spoke with dignity.
“It has been bought to my attention that this little girl here is your own flesh and blood, Marquis Miguel Guzzle. Is that correct, Marquis?”
The elderly marquis agreed with the words of the Queen.
“Yes, that is correct. She is my daughter, Nilda Guzzle.”
“Okay. The Guzzle Family has been a loyal vassal for generation, so I do not mean to doubt you. But let me say this: The royal ’Roll of Names’ I keep does not register the name Nilda Guzzle.”
Her straightforward declaration caused a commotion within the audience room.
Well, of course it did. For nobility, it was a serious issue, when their name was not registered on the “Roll of Names”.
In the Carpa Kingdom, nobility referred to those, who were registered on the “Roll of Names” in the possession of the Monarch.
Strictly speaking, even a legitimate child of a noble family was only the “child of a noble”, but not a “noble itself”, until they went to the Monarch and had its name be registered on the “Roll of Names”.
As a matter of fact, a noble without an heir could appoint a promising subject of his as a foster child and make him nobility by registering him on the “Roll of Names” under the eyes of the Monarch. On the other hand, low-ranking nobility with lots of children often refrained from registering the younger ones on the “Roll of Names” for economic reasons.
Hence it was a very important matter for nobility, whether the name was written on the “Roll of Names” or not. In a way, it could even be considered more important than parentage.
All the gazes were naturally fixated on Marquis Guzzle and his daughter Nilda.
But unlike the surprised crowd, the two people in question were not behaving any different from before.
Nilda had been trembling like a small animal from the very beginning, so it could not get any worse, and Marquis Guzzle kept his calm composure and slowly shook his head, objecting to the Queen’s statement.
“Be that as it may, it is a fact that Nilda is my daughter and I came to here in the past to register her on the ‘Roll of Names’. I have our ‘copy’ here.”
Saying so, Marquis Guzzle took out a single dragon leather parchment from his pocket.
Like its named suggest, the “copy” was a duplicate document you received as proof for the registration, when signing in a name on the “Roll of Names”.
Needless to say, it was a very important document and was usually stored away at a safe place of the owner. One does not simply pull such a thing out of the pocket for a spontaneous counterargument.
Before long, the nobles in the audience room realized that they were watching a prearranged conversation.
And in fact, it was indeed a performance for publicity.
Aura and Marquis Guzzle have had an unofficial meeting a few days ago, where Aura informed him about the missing entry of Nilda’s name and confirmed that his “copy” was not counterfeited.
But without revealing any of that, Aura remained seated on her throne and ordered the civil servant standing next to her.
“Hmm, I see. Bring the ‘copy’ to me.”
“Well then, Marquis, I will be taking this.”
The young civil servant took the “Copy” from Marquis Guzzle and handed it to Queen Aura, whereupon she spoke up overexaggerated.
“This is definitely genuine. It has the signature from His Majesty Sancho and it is his handwriting for sure.”
Needless to say, she could say that, because they had an expert verify the signature a few days ago.
The late King Sancho was Aura’s little brother from the same mother. She did know his handwriting, but her memory of it was not so vivid that she could identify it on a single glance.
After checking the “Copy”, the Queen looked over the audience hall and declared.
“Seeing as this ‘Copy’ is real, I am afraid that I will have to admit that there is a mistake with the ‘Roll of Names’.
Marquis Guzzle, this ‘Copy’ has the signature of His Majesty Sancho. Is that correct?”
“Yes. His Majesty Sancho filled in the ‘Roll of Names’ and made this ‘Copy’ in the City of Potoshi six years ago.”
Marquis Guzzle affirmed the words of the Queen like that.
Sancho I. also known as the “King of Revenge”.
As that name implied, he swore to avenge the death of his older brother and spent the majority of his not even one year regency on the battlefield.
Hence the registration of nobility on the “Roll of Names” was conducted either on the frontlines or in Potoshi, who was the closet city to the frontlines.
Later on, the “Roll of Names” he carried must have been lost in the chaos that followed his death on the battlefield.
Explaining this hypothesis, Aura continued on.
“This is an unprecedented incident, so I will make an exception this time and re-register the name on the ’Roll of Names’ without further ado. The registration date on the ’Copy’ will be valid as it is, of course.”
The fact she especially mentioned without further ado was due to the normal commission fee, when registering a name on the “Roll of Names”. That fee was just pocket change for a great house like the Marquis Family, but low-ranking nobility had trouble coughing up that amount of money.
The Queen then addressed the civil servants standing at attention behind her.
“Someone, bring me something to write.”
“Here, Your Majesty.”
Upon her order, the civil servant standing next to her handed her a wooden plank akin to a drafting board and a dragon-bone quill.
While two civil servants supported the wooden board from both her sides, Aura opened a large book and took the patterned dragon-bone quill in her right hand.
The dragon-bone quills used in the Carpa Kingdom were like glass pens, namely hard dip pens.
Another civil servant presented Aura an ink jar, wherein she dipped the dragon-bone quill. With all eyes focused on her, she ran the quill over the “Roll of Names” in a composed manner like always.
Once the Queen had written the name Nilda Guzzle, her degree of kinship, the name of her guarantor and the dates of six years ago and today, she gave the “Roll of Names” to one of the civil servants and then put the “Copy” on top of the wooden board.
This document required less effort.
She simply wrote her own name, Aura I., under the sign of Sancho I. and added today’s date in small letters under the date of six years ago.
Giving the completed “Roll of Names” and “Copy” to the civil servant, the Queen declared to the nobles gathered in front of her.
“The mistake has been corrected. I, Aura I., hereby acknowledge that the late king Sancho I. registered Nilda Guzzle as nobility of the Carpa Kingdom six years ago.”
Only the “Roll of Names” in possession of the Royal Family had been out of order. The Guzzle Family had not been at fault, so their treatment of Nilda as nobility had been correct. Aura was explicating that she would not accept any objection over that.
Due to her standing as the Monarch of the country, she did explicitly mentioned an “apology”, but her phrasing made it more than obvious that the Royal Family assumed full responsibility for this case.
“His Majesty Sancho I. only ruled for less a year, but I really doubt that Nilda Guzzle was the only one to register on the ‘Roll of Names’ during that time.
Come and talk to me later on, when it happens to concern you. I promise that I will give you the same treatment as Nilda Guzzle as long as you have the ‘Copy’ with the signature of Sancho I..”
The nobles were thrown into turmoil in light of the words from the Queen. Some of them were showing a pensive face, apparently having someone in mind.
Waiting until the commotion settled down on its own, the Queen continued on.
“I shall establish a special one-year period to re-register on the ‘Roll of Names’ from today on. Anyone affected shall come and see me within that time period, bringing along your guarantor and the ‘Copy’ with the signature of Sancho I.
In case that there is no guarantor, you also may come alone as long as you explain the circumstances.”
Like its name implied, the guarantor was someone, who guaranteed the background of the person aspiring to become new nobility. Normally, it was the own parent, but in case of vassals, the head of the lord’s family could act as a guarantor as well.
The reason Aura mentioned that “they may come alone if there was no guarantor” was that some houses had lost the head family in the previous great war.
“That is all for today.”
When the Queen ended the meeting, the gathered nobles deeply lowered their heads while they were already considering how to act from now on in their minds.
* * *
The next day.
It was raining hard. Even though it was called the “Rainy Season”, the rain was only falling once every two to three days, but today happened to be that very day.
The heavy raindrops resounded beyond the closed wooden shutters and the room was so dark it required a couple of oil pans for illumination, despite it being midday.
In that dim-lit room of the Royal Palace, Zenjirou was meeting with Marquis Miguel Guzzle and its second daughter Nilda Guzzle.
“You have my deepest gratitude on this matter, Master Zenjirou.”
“Thank you very much!”
The elderly father and the just coming-of-age daughter did not sit down on the couch, but took a knee on the carpet.
Aura had informed him that this might happen in advance, so Zenjirou replied without being surprised.
“All right. Raise your heads. We cannot talk like this.”
Saying this, he urged them to sit down on the couch.
“Yes, thank you.”
Seeing as Marquis Guzzle and Nilda obediently sat down on the couch across from him, Zenjirou heaved a sigh of relief so small no else heard it.
He could deal with it, when it was just a formality at an official event, but when someone prostrate himself before him in all earnestness like Marquis Guzzle just now, he was overwhelmed on an emotional level.
Born as a normal Japanese guy, Zenjirou still could not get comfortable with other people prostrating before him.
However, that was nothing but his personal sensitivity. Marquis Guzzle on the other hand had a concrete reason to express his gratitude by prostrating himself.
Miguel Guzzle was a straightforward warrior with an unusual lack of talent for intrigues as a noble, but that did not mean that he was stupid.
Once he was told that Nilda’s name was missing on the “Roll of Names” and recalled the incident at the wedding ceremony, he easily could figure out the intention behinds Zenjirou’s actions back then.
For some reason, Princess Freya had intervened in the quarrel between Nilda and the knight from the Navarre Kingdom and even taken the spotlight at some point.
As her partner, Zenjirou had not restrained her “tomboyish act”. On the contrary, he had supported her in full.
And in the final stage, he had proposed to “pretend this incident never happened to begin with, without further probing from either side”.
All of these actions had come across as strange at that time, but with the knowledge that “Nilda was no nobility”, it became apparent what Zenjirou had wanted to do.
He had protected Nilda. As a non-noble, her actions would have caused problems later. In order to prevent that, he had made Princess Freya back her up. Considering the circumstances, that was the only possible conclusion.
“Have you already been aware of Nilda’s circumstances back then, Master Zenjirou?”
From his previous mistake, Marquis Guzzle had learned that he was more suited to voice his doubts directly instead of scheming poorly, even if that was untypical for a noble, so he asked frankly like that.
Zenjirou pondered a moment over the question from the elderly feudal lord, but decided there was no reason to hide things at this point and answered honestly.
“I had no proof, but I have had no information about you having a daughter named Nilda.
So I just acted with the worst case scenario in mind. I am glad nothing serious happened.”
“Yes, you really saved us there, Master Zenjirou.”
This time, Marquis Guzzle deeply lowered his head from the couch.
His attitude was by no means exaggerated.
Without Zenjirou’s meddling back then, Nilda and the Guzzle Family might not have fallen from grace, but they surely would have suffered a great deal on the diplomatic stage.
Of course the whole incident arose from the erroneous entry on the “Roll of Names” from the Royal Family, so you could say that Zenjirou, as a member of the Royal Family, had only cleaned up his own mess, but politics were too complicated to write it off as that.
Even if a previous king had committed the mistake in the first place, the fact remained that the Guzzle Family had “its non-noble daughter cause a quarrel with a noble from the Navarre Kingdom”.
It was more likely that the Navarre Kingdom would have brought up a complaint to the Guzzle Family instead of the Carpa Royal Family. But that possibility was completely erased now, because the situation had been resolved around Zenjirou’s proposal to “pretend the incident had never happened to begin with and neither side was to probe into it any further”.
Marquis Guzzle could technically say a thing or two to the Royal Family for its mistake on the “Roll of Names”, but he felt nothing but gratitude towards Zenjirou himself, who he had read the atmosphere and completely smoothed out the situation.
“I shall not forget your kindness. Please just say the word, if I can ever be of use to you.”
“It is quite reassuring, when a seasoned general like you says that. I could not be happier, when you continue to pledge your loyalty to the ‘Carpa Royal Family’.”
“…Yes, as you wish.”
After a short pause, the elderly lord obediently nodded his assent to Zenjirou.
Nilda next to him was showing a beaming smile and did not seem to notice, but there was a hidden meaning in the conversation just now.
Zenjirou was afraid of the fact that the marquis was expressing his gratitude towards his person alone, so he explicitly reminded him to pledge his loyalty towards the “Carpa Royal Family” and the marquis accepted that after a moment of consideration.
Zenjirou himself knew he was being a bit too neurotic, but he wanted to remove any dangerous seeds as soon as possible.
He gladly accepted the loyalty from a noble knight with an effective manpower of a single person, like Knight Natalio Maldonado, but accepting the loyalty from a Marquis with his own army to his person as the Prince Consort would spell trouble for the future.
Although involved as well, Nilda on the other hand seemed to not understand any of these circumstances and still showed an innocent smile.
She was no fool, either, and had received an education as a noble from her older sister Lucinda once she had been taken into the Guzzle Family, so she did understand that it was a severe problem in the higher society, when your name was not registered on the “Roll of Names”.
But that was all she understood.
She did harbour a genuine gratitude towards Zenjirou for going out of his way for her, but that was about it. She was not considering any interests like “Why did he do so?” or “What does he seek in return?”.
“Thank you very much, Master Zenjirou.”
Hence, she was also pouring nothing but a genuine and almost dazzling affection into her thanks.
“No, do not mention it. I am just glad nothing worse happened.”
Encouraged by the little girl’s smiling face, Zenjirou also showed an honest smile.
* * *
Around the same time, in another room of the Royal Palace, Queen Aura was having a confidential meeting with her faithful retainers Secretary Fabio, the Royal Archmage Espiridión and the waiting maid Margret.
“Are you feeling fine, Your Majesty?”
“Yes, no problems so far. Well, even Doctor Michelle still could not be sure about my pregnancy after all.”
With a helping hand from waiting maid Margret, the Queen sat down on the black leather couch and said this, thanking the maid with a wave of her hand.
Only Aura was sitting down. Her three retainers remained standing, forming a small circle before the couch.
A middle-aged secretary, an old magician and a young waiting maid. Their jobs, gender and age were all different, but the three of them shared one thing in common: Aura was placing her full trust in their abilities and loyalty. One of them had a somewhat untrustworthy personality, though.
The person with that untrustworthy personality, Secretary Fabio had started this conversation.
“So, Your Majesty, I take it you have summoned us here because of the incident with the ‘Roll of Names’?”
The Queen agreed to the words of her secretary.
“Indeed. I need to consult you about my ‘pregnancy’ afterwards, too, but the ‘Roll of Names’ takes priority.
Margret, report what you know as of now.”
Prompted by the Queen, the waiting maid with unusual blonde hair, green eyes and white skin for the Carpa Kingdom, bowed briefly and began to speak.
“Yes, Your Majesty. At least four people from all the nobles leaving the audience room, have expressed a concernment later on.”
Hearing the espionagesque summary from the blonde waiting maid, the Queen wrinkled her brow a bit.
“Like I thought. Miss Nilda was not the only one. I had expected it, but it will be somewhat troublesome. That said, those from the capital will be our least problem.”
“Certainly. The true problem lies in the ‘possible erroneous entries’ whose families were not present today and do not know about these circumstances.”
The slender-faced secretary acknowledged the misgivings of the Queen.
The Carpa Kingdom was currently releasing nobility from their duty of serving in the capital by way of exception, when they were short on hands due to the losses in the previous war.
A delay in the procedure could be expected, when the “possible erroneous entries” happened to be in these families, who were shutting themselves away in their domains.
The aged magician Espiridión stroke his short beard while answering to the words of the Queen and the secretary.
“Do you know which nobles have been relieved from their duty, Your Majesty? If so, we can just inform them and resolve the problem.”
The Queen shook her head vexedly to his question.
“Of course I do, but some of them are vassal nobles. It will only complicate things, when I go over the head of their lord and contact them directly.”
“I see. That certainly is a problem.”
In light of these words, the elderly magician also showed a vexed expression.
The Royal Family possessed quite the power in the Carpa Kingdom, but the country was essentially a feudal state.
The Feudal Lords were more or less self-governing and the influential ones had other nobles working under them, the so called vassal nobles.
As the Monarch, Aura technically had no authority over them. The vassal nobles generally only obeyed the orders of their lord.
If Aura were to get in direct contact with these vassal nobles without the knowledge of their lord, the lord would obvious be offended.
Even if it was done out of consideration, it did not necessarily achieve a good result.
The Royal Family could only bring up the topic to the lord and when that lord was harbouring some kind of reservations towards his vassal, the Royal Family could do nothing about it.
“Then how about we extend the period for the nobles, who have received the information belated?”
The proposal from Secretary Fabio was instantly met with a head-shaking from the Queen.
“No. The period will be one year, no exceptions. If I give them any more time, people might start to have evil intentions.”
The “Copy” of the “Roll of Names” one brought along for identification was signed with the Royal Crest and the signature of the Monarch at that time, but given enough time, it was not outright impossible to forge the document.
To make things worse, the error in the “Roll of Names” occurred during the previous great war.
It was not uncommon that commoners were promoted to nobles for their military achievements in a great war.
Influential nobles could make use of this opportunity to increase their vassal nobles by forging a “Copy”.
And unfortunately it was likewise possible that the second son or daughter of a poor noble, who were not ennobled themselves, were tempted into some evil intentions.
Low-ranking knighthood families often only registered their oldest son as their successor or their beautiful daughters as a way to bond with other families on the “Roll of Names”. All their other children remained commoners.
The reasons for that were many and various, but the registration fee was without doubt the greatest hurdle. The fee was so expensive that nobles a the bottom of the hierarchy had no choice but to forfeit the future of their own child in tears.
The current condition to “re-register without a fee, but with a ‘Copy’ signed by Sancho I.” was extremely attractive to these people.
“But a few might slip our attention then. Have you thought about that, Your Majesty?”
The Queen nodded briefly to the aged magician.
“Indeed. Hence I intend to more lenient with other things other than the deadline. The ‘Road Maintenance‘ this year will be done in consideration of these circumstances.”
In the Carpa Kingdom, it was pretty much a given that a road somewhere in the country needed repairs after the “Rainy Season”.
When part of the road turned into a mud or a clogged gutter prevented shallow puddles to flow off, it was still the lesser evil compared to an expected landslide in the mountains, where the road became impassable by all means.
A mountain road blocked by a landslide was obviously a more serious matter, but puddles or mud on main roads like the “Salt Road” were effectively impeding more people.
Since the available military engineers were limited, the Queen had to decide on a priority list in terms of efficacy for the whole country.
As a result, the problem of a landslide on a mountain road with relative few travellers was put on the back burner or dumped entirely on the residents there, even if it was a severe obstruction for them.
However, Aura was claiming that she was going to prioritize roads, where “people with a missing entry on the Roll of Names“ would pass through, this time.
“The Royal Family is at fault for this case and when people end up losing their nobility, just because they could not reach the Capital, I will definitely fall out of favour with them.
In the worse case, I will ‘leap’ you there, Greybeard. I know it will not be easy on you, but brace yourself for it.”
When the Queen said that, the elderly mage shrugged his shoulders and heaved a heavy sigh.
“Well, all right. These old bones of mine are yours to command, Your Majesty.”
Normally, people with a lot of magical power tended to have trouble with small-scale magic that required few magical power, but some rare exceptions did exist.
Espiridión was one of them.
With all kind of spells and an enormous magic reservoir at hand, he could exhibit a power far greater than a whole group of military engineers all by himself.
It would not even take him a day to make a road blocked by a landslide be passable by foot again.
“I am counting on you.”
The elderly magician nodded with a small smile to the request of the Queen.
With the “Roll of Names” issue dealt with for now, the Queen began to talk to her trusted retainers about the other matter at hand.
“Well then, I believe the news of my pregnancy already went around the Royal Palace, so what are the reactions in that regard?”
To be precise, Doctor Michelle only had suggested “a high possibility for a pregnancy”, but nobility was not known to be patient enough to wait until it had been confirmed for real.
Margret gave a report with a composed tone.
“Yes, the majority of them are reacting the same way as before. Most of them are trying to push for a concubine for Master Zenjirou while others are aiming for the position of the second wet nurse.
Needless to say, the great houses are carrying out both at the same time.”
“Hmm, I just hope there will be someone suitable like Cassandra was for Carlos, but I have no bearing on that, unfortunately.”
Saying that, the Queen rested her chin in her hand with a difficult expression.
Cassandra was the wet nurse for their first child: Carlos Zenkichi.
She was not upper nobility, but her personality was trustworthy and she had three own children, so in terms of nursing a child, she was the perfect fit for a “wet nurse”.
Unfortunately, she had not received much education, so she could not continue as a “nursery nurse” after the nursing period.
Aura could leave her child to Cassandra with an easy conscience. But would she actually find such a wet nurse for her second child as well?
As a token of her anxiety, Aura unwittingly placed her right hand on top of her not yet swollen stomach.
The slender-faced secretary raised an eyebrow to her behaviour, but did not address it and instead carried on the dialogue.
“Certainly. We can only choose the most suitable applicant at that point. More importantly, the great houses will not aim for the wet nurse, but for a concubine for Master Zenjirou.
We will have to think of a countermeasure for that first.”
Aura gave a small nod to her secretary.
“You are right. That is the more pressing problem. I was thinking that the presence of Princess Freya would put them off, but how does the current situation look like?”
Princess Freya from the Uppsala Kingdom on the North Continent had actually proposed to Zenjirou at an official event.
Afterwards, Queen Aura had not separated her from Zenjirou, but rather even allowed her to accompany Zenjirou to a wedding ceremony as his partner. At the Royal Palace, it was seen as nothing but a matter of time until Princess Freya was officially recognized as a concubine.
Aura was asking whether such a de-facto concubine was discouraging other concubine aspirants or not. The Waiting Maid Margret shook her head relentless.
“Unfortunately, her presence has actually worsened the situation instead. Truth be told, the nobles have increased their efforts on commending a concubine, compared to your first pregnancy.”
Previously, they had believed Zenjirou preferred a “woman like Aura”.
To put her charm blankly, she was a mature woman with a tall and voluptuously figure.
But the prime age for marriage in this world ranged from fifteen to twenty-two years-old and only a few women had such a charm at such an age.
On the other hand, Princess Freya was a typical beautiful girl in her later teens. She did have some quirks, such as her unladylike short hair or her zest for outdoor action while cross-dressing, but it made things simpler, when Princess Freya was acceptable to Zenjirou.
Nobles were thinking that they just had to prepare an ordinary “attractive girl of marriageable age”, so the line-up was broader than before.
Hearing the status report, the Queen heaved a heavy sigh.
“I see. Then my husband being busy actually has a favourable effect.”
“I do have heard that Master Zenjirou is working really hard, but is it really to such an extent?”
The question from her secretary prompted the Queen to pull a wry face, but at the same time, she could not conceal a tinge of delight in her expression.
“Yes. Ever since he was told that I might be pregnant, he has been using almost all of his free time to learn ‘Teleport’. He can already chant the spell without any trouble and the output of magical power does not prove to be a problem, either.
Now he only needs to draw a concrete image of the spell in his mind, so he is almost there.
You see, he promised me that he would definitely make it in time for my childbirth.”
“Phew, you sure are loved, Your Majesty.”
The Queen went red in the face in light of the teasing words from the aged magician, but threw out her large chest with pride.
“Indeed. I do worry about the burden it gives him, though. But the bustle does seem to work in a favourable way, too.
My husband is preparing to bring over a healer from the Twin Kingdom by learning ‘Teleport’ before I give birth. With that excuse, we can limited his public appearances to a minimum.”
Normally, Zenjirou was such an obedient husband that it worried her instead, but there was one topic, where he explicitly expressed his refusal: Concubines.
So it was a good thing to have a “legit reason” to shield him from the concubine obtrusions as much as possible.
But the secretary with the slender face addressed the next problem with his usual inexpressiveness.
“But, Your Majesty, if you really are pregnant, then we have to concern ourselves with a lack of manpower from now on.
Assuming your pregnancy will proceed the same as before, we cannot expect you to continue to you work as you have during your pregnancy. Previously, Master Zenjirou had stepped up to compensate for it, but now that he is prioritizing his magic training, I am afraid the state affairs will stagnate.”
“You have a point. We can only hope that my husband will have mastered ‘Teleport’ before my pregnancy starts to obstruct my workload.”
“Will Master Zenjirou not be going to the Twin Kingdom as soon as he has learned ‘Teleport’?
We will be even more short of hands then.”
The Queen denied the worry of her secretary with a shook of her head.
“Not at all. The ‘Rainy Season’ has only just begun. And after that, we have the ‘Hottest Season’. Neither of them is suited for long-range travels.
It will take at least half a year before my husband actually sets out.”
Aura and Zenjirou had already discussed this matter before.
Even if Aura were to ‘leap’ Zenjirou himself there, all the other personnel had to travel by land.
People, who were not used to travelling, would have extreme troubles to move from the Carpa Kingdom on the western part of the South Continent to the Twin Kingdom on the central part during the “Rainy Season” or “Hottest Season” by foot.
The slender-faced Secretary nodded approvingly to the statement of the Queen.
“I see. Even Master Zenjirou would not be that reckless, after all.”
“After all? My husband is very compliant to begin with, you know. He hardly ever tries to push a measure through.”
When the Queen gave him a questioning look that was saying “You should know that”, the secretary raised an eyebrow in surprise and objected.
“Master Zenjirou certainly is quite compliant and reasonable in most cases, but when it comes to your well-being, Your Majesty, I sometimes see him act otherwise.”
This was not a compliment in its entirety, but in one sense, it was a most pleasant evaluation for Aura.
Her usual reasonable husband became emotional to the point, where he abandoned his reasoning, when it involved her. It let her feel the sheer size of his affection.
The Queen smiled softly with a mixed expression of embarrassment and pride.
“Be it the incident with the ‘Roll of Names’ this time, the dragon subjugation in Valentia previously or the prototype distilled liquor and glass production in the backyard I have not told you about in detail yet; my husband has accumulated far too many achievements to keep them hidden. What is your opinion on that?”
Looked at by the Queen, the blonde waiting maid took half a step forward.
“Yes, it is as you say, Your Majesty. Every time Master Zenjirou achieves something, more people are spreading rumours about you being a ‘bad wife oppressing her husband’ little by little.
Fortunately enough, Master Zenjirou reacts delicately and continues to deny these rumours every time they come up, so it has not become a serious problem, but it does not change the fact that such a tendency is on the rise.”
In this patriarchic world, it was unnatural that Aura was holding the title of the Monarch as a woman, so it was understandable people would voice such an opinion, when Zenjirou was exhibiting a certain capability.
Aside from the kinship, Zenjirou was of unknown origin to them, so while marrying into Royalty may be acceptable, the actual majority of people were expressing the opinion that Zenjirou should not ascend the throne.
But as a matter of fact, a female monarch would be restricted in her duties every time she got pregnant and gave birth, so it was kind of inevitable that the nobles, who experienced the effect of a pregnancy on the state affairs first hand, would come to think that “a female monarch is troublesome after all”.
Acknowledging this reality and such a future, the Queen made a resolve.
“Carrying on like this will surely come back to bite me in the future. I am more than reluctant to do so, but I guess I will have to resign myself to appointing a ‘Marshal’ and a ‘Prime Minister’.”
The Carpa Kingdom currently had no ‘Marshal’, the highest ranking military officer, nor a “Prime Minister, the highest ranking civil servant, appointed.
Because Aura hated a division of powers as the Monarch. And she did have the wits to keep the country running without trouble while holding all the decisive power over both the military and the government. Until now, that is.
But during the pregnancy, even Aura had trouble to deal with military and government matters alike by herself.
“I see. That is why you are giving Master Zenjirou a title of nobility, too.”
Quick on the uptake, her secretary immediately read her intentions, so the Queen agreed with a determined look.
“Indeed. Right now, my husband is nothing but a member of the royal family and he cannot attend any real meetings, unless he acts as my representative. But with a title of nobility, he will be able to sit next to me.”
With a “Marshal” and a “Prime Minister”, Aura’s workload would decrease. But at the same time, it would mean a decrease in authority as well. So it was easily conceivable that her influence on meetings would decline in the future.
A title of nobility for Zenjirou would become meaningful at such a time.
With it, Zenjirou could attend the meeting as some kind of Lord without being a representative for Aura.
Of course they could not expect him to eloquently talk down the other higher nobility, but for Aura, it was sufficient to have one more person present, who would unconditionally take her side.
Having discerned these intentions of the Queen, the Secretary nodded appreciatively a few times, then answered in a sharp-tongued manner.
“Why yes, quite a sensible administration. The nobles will surely rejoice, when you appoint a ‘Marshal’ and ‘Prime Minister’, and your workload will decrease, too. On top of that, you keep up your powerbase for when it is important, so everyone, but one, will profit from it. Such a fabulous idea.”
It was self-evident, who that one person was.
Namely Zenjirou. He got an honorary title without land and, as a consequence thereof, only more work.
“Just so you know, my husband did give his approval.”
“Oh, I bet he did. Master Zenjirou is quite compliant after all. Even if it disadvantages him a bit, he will accept it without complaint as long as it will be of help to you.
But Your Majesty, you have to understand that every person has a ‘limit’. Please do keep that in mind.”
The Queen took heed of the warning from her secretary with a wry face.
As a matter of fact, Secretary Fabio had been right.
So far, Zenjirou had been acting under the patronage of his wife, so “he did not need to endure anything, nor did he suffer from it”, but the inconveniences entailed by a title of nobility were something “he could endure, because he understood their necessity.”
The difference between these two was obvious.
The former would obviously be tough for an ordinary man here, but Zenjirou had different morale values and he did not suffer from it in the slightest, so was there no need for consideration.
On the other hand, the latter was definitely tough on Zenjirou. But it was still on an acceptable level and he gladly assumed the role, when he could ease the burden on his beloved wife by enduring it.
So if Aura were to forget the premise that Zenjirou was suffering from it and took his devotion “for granted”, it would disrupt their intimate married life.
“I know that, of course.”
So the Queen mumbled again as if to convince herself.