Here’s the chapter, enjoy~
No matter what the situation, a banquet brings joy to the hearts of people. For example, whether there is an upheaval in the west or a calamity in the north, the people living in the center of the country are not aware of it.
This is an indicator of how strong and powerful the Grantz Empire is. However… it is also true that the repeated bad news gives people no small amount of anxiety. But if they get panicky, it will affect their reputation as a nobleman.
This is the reason why many people try to expand their network of contacts by participating in the banquet while keeping a low profile.
“――So, I look forward to working with you in the future.”
“Yes, see you later.”
After watching the back of the little nobleman leave, Hiro sat down on the sofa by the wall.
(Did I manage to handle it?)
Hiro looked down at the stack of letters in his hand. Many nobles had contacted Hiro on the pretext of his daughter’s love letters. The most common is the eastern nobility, followed by the central nobility ― there are also calls from merchants who want to reach out to the south and offer financial support.
(Is this a sign that the Krone family’s centripetal power is waning in the center?)
Turning his gaze to the hall, he saw many ladies and gentlemen gathered there, and everywhere he looked, he saw nobles chatting happily.
The most exciting place of all was probably the place where the Sixth Princess was.
Maybe because Liz isn’t used to it, she’s a bit confused, but thanks to Rosa’s good handling of the crowd, things seem to be going smoothly.
(It’s all going to come to a head sooner or later. I need to do a thorough background check.)
After this, he’ll need to be selective. He will have to think about who to replace and who to discard, just in case, he gets the center. However, there is a saying that haste makes the world go round.
First of all, he had to deal with the immediate problem of the Felzen region.
(What will the First Prince Stobel do from now on…?)
After all the checks and balances that have been put in place, it’s unlikely that Stobel will make any moves down the road. From now on, he must act cautiously and try to outsmart Hiro.
(Also, the Second Prince holed up in the north is giving me the creeps.)
He also wondered how the northern nobles who supported the Second Prince would react.
(None of them participated in the banquet this time as they did last time)
They have remained eerily silent as if they have no interest in succeeding to the throne. Because of this, there was a lack of information about the northern nobles. But that didn’t mean that if Hiro had moved, he would have taken the initiative, and if he had shown an opening, he would have fallen behind.
With no way to deal with them, he had no choice but to wait for the Second Prince to make contact with him.
(Things are not going as planned. It looks like it’s not going to be a simple matter from now on.)
But… Hiro stroked his eye patch, and his smile deepened.
(This is why it is so interesting. The more formidable the opponent, the more I can grow as well.)
He stood up and walked over to Liz, who was drinking water with an exhausted look on her face. Rosa noticed and turned her blue eyes with a wry smile.
“Our princess seems to be at her limit.”
“It seems so. But this is where it all begins.”
The banquet has just begun, which means that the nobles’ and lords’ greetings have just about finished. Currently, only the large nobles and those close to them have completed their greetings, and there are still many small nobles left.
When Liz looked back at him in surprise, Hiro gave her a sympathetic look.
“Do your best. You may become a great noble in the future from among the small nobles. Above all, there may be some who will become excellent subordinates. For that reason, you have to listen to what they have to say. That is the duty of those who aspire to be kings.”
That’s what the first emperor said. And finally, he muttered in his mind. Liz gave a slight nod and a smile as if she had a thought in her mind.
“…..I’ll do my best.”
“You look like a stranger, though.”
Rosa tapped Hiro on the shoulder.
“There are a lot of small nobles itching to greet you as well, it seems.”
When he was told, he looked around and saw people glancing at him. Something beats ― if someone were to take the lead, an avalanche of them would come in an instant.
“…No, I already said hello to them before. Not for today.”
After saying that, Hiro tried to run away, but Rosa grabbed him by the shoulder.
“There are more nobles here than last time. You don’t know most of them, do you? Besides, didn’t you just say that there are duties for those who aspire to be king?”
Hiro is the fourth in line of succession to the throne. The throne is certainly within reach.
“You can rest assured. If they have decency, let’s deal with it here.”
Then Rosa looked at Hiro’s hand and took away the love letters that the nobles’ daughters had given her.
“Hmph… it looks like some of the eastern nobles are among these.”
Rosa’s mouth twisted into a lecherous grin when she saw the sender of the love letter. Hiro involuntarily retreated. He may have to hide it.
“It seems that I was a little overwhelmed by the enthusiasm of the audience. I’m going to go get some fresh air.”
“Hou… as expected of the Black Prince. I’ve heard a lot of people say that they prefer the color of heroes, and it seems to be true.”
Rosa sighed with deep emotion and leaned deliberately on her table.
“It’s not enough to just seduce the Flame Princess, take advantage of the widow’s weakness, and devour her body; you also want to play with the hearts of the innocent noblewomen and even try your hand at other things?”
She explained to him at length. It was a very unpleasant thing to hear. In the first place, he had never seduced Liz, nor had he taken advantage of Rosa’s weakness. He tried to argue with her but could not do so because Rosa held his mouth with her fingers.
“I know what you’re going to say. I think you’re telling me that you’re the man who also inherited the Second Emperor’s nickname ‘The Woman Killer.'”
“Huh? He has that nickname?”
“It’s in a drama.”
Hiro had never heard of it. If anything, the First Emperor ― Altius ― should have been the most popular with women, but history may have been distorted, mainly by individuals’ hands.
“I-I heard that the First Emperor was a womanizer, but I never heard that the Second Emperor was one too.”
“It seems that His Majesty Altius also seduced the queens and princesses of the countries he conquered. However, it is written in his journal that he is no match for his brother.”
That bastard… did. Although he was swearing in his heart, he knew that snakes would come out if he poked at the bushes any longer. Hiro tried to keep his agitation out of his face and kept silent, not to say anything unnecessary.
However, when it came to Rosa, her mouth slipped as if it had been oiled.
“If your ancestors are like that, then so are the descendants. I guess you inherited not only appearance but also personality from your ancestors. Good grief, it’s so sad that such a true nature is hidden behind a face that looks like it won’t kill a bug…”
Rosa clung to Liz and lamented. For the overt gesture, Hiro can only laugh dryly.
“Rosa-Aneesama, are you drinking a little too much?”
Liz put her arm around her sister’s head and pointed her chin toward the exit. She wanted her to go while she still could. Thanks to her concern, Hiro headed for the door.
“Mmm, my dear little sister, I have a question for you.”
“…What is it?”
“M-my skull is screaming, is it?”
“You’re drunk already.”
“I don’t drink too much――.”
There was a deadly sound, like bones creaking. He looked back over his shoulder, but the door was closed.
(Well… I guess it’s my own fault)
Hiro walked straight into the courtyard. There were many people in the hall, but there was no one here, and it was quiet. It was a simple place with just a fountain ― Hiro sat down on the edge of the fountain, taking in the night breeze.
“….. I’ve been feeling it for a while.”
Hiro took out a talisman from his pocket, a talisman in which black and white were beginning to blend together miserably. This eerie talisman was handed to him by Altius.
“Altius, what do you want?”
Hiro looked up at the night sky and muttered to himself. There was no reply, only the wind caressing his ears and the soft touch of his eardrums.
When Hiro closed his eyelids…
“Oya… you have something unusual.”
When Hiro closed his eyelids, he instantly sharpened his senses and prepared himself.
“Oya, did I startle you?”
“How long have you been there?”
“…That’s a funny thing to say. I’ve been here since the beginning.”
The robed figure in front of him ― his voice made it impossible to tell if he was a man or a woman. It’s a very different existence, one that seems to vanish if touched and one that seems vague in some way.
“It can’t be. I couldn’t feel even a shred of your presence.”
Hiro took a deep breath and readied himself to fight at any moment.
“Shall I have your answer as to what you are?”
“I think it might be necessary to introduce myself to ease your guard.”
The robed figure nodded several times with deep emotion, then bent at the waist and bowed gracefully.
“I can’t show you my face, but I am a member of the staff of the First Prince Stobel, who is also a Long-Ear race.”
He put his hands on his hood and extended his forefinger, which he thought looked like an ear.
“So, what do you want from me?”
Driks had told him there was such a person, but…
“No, I was just curious to see what you had that was so unusual.”
The Long-Ear race guy smiled happily and pointed at the talisman before turning his back to Hiro.
“Well, I’m sure we’ll have a chance to talk soon.”
Hiro, who had a dubious expression on his face at the unconnected words, was about to open his mouth when…
“Hiro~~~? Where are you~~?”
It’s a girl’s voice ― Liz’s presence momentarily distracted him.
“…..You’re not just a person, are you?”
By the time he returned to where he had been, the Long-Ear’s figure had vanished without a trace.
“Ah, there you are!”
Liz rushed up to Hiro, who still had not let down his guard.
“I was worried when you didn’t come back.”
“I’m sorry. So, the banquet is over?”
“Yes, it was over while someone else was taking a break.”
“…So did Rosa get drunk?”
She was carrying Rosa in one hand with a strength that was unbecoming of a girl.
“Yes. she has fainted since Hiro went. Rosa-Aneesama is really exaggerating, isn’t she?”
Hiro twitched his cheek when he was told this with a smile.
“I-I see… Well then, let’s go back to Rosa’s mansion and rest for the day.”
Hiro carried Rosa on his back instead of Liz and headed to the Kelheit family mansion. Rosa’s mansion was located on the grounds of the imperial palace. She is a former Third Princess, so her mansion is fancier than other large noble families.
Her private army was on guard 24 hours a day, and even within the safe confines of the palace, there was no room for carelessness.
When he opened the luxurious door of the mansion and entered, he was greeted by the servants.
“Oh, Hiro, I’m going to go change my clothes.”
Liz said, waving her hand behind her as she walked away from Hiro and the others.
“Then, please come this way, Masters.”
The servant led them to the same bedroom as before. Hiro laid Rosa down on the bed.
He sat down on a nearby chair and took a breath, and then a deadly sigh came from the bed.
“W-what’s with the sigh; you think I was heavy!”
The drunk was awake. Rosa glared at Hiro in frustration.
“If you were awake, then walk.”
“No, no, it’s not every day that I get to be carried on the back of the black prince that’s the talk of the town. I have to enjoy it.”
“…That’s nice, right. I should have gotten drunk too.”
A voice came from the doorway of the room. When Hiro turned his eyes, he saw Liz standing there in her nightgown with the door closed behind her.
“Fufufu, this is what I call adult privilege. Liz can’t do it; she’s a little girl, after all.”
“What? I’m an adult now. I am not a child.”
“No, you’re not sexy enough.”
“You’re right; I don’t have breasts, but…”
Liz’s eyes twisted sadly as she looked alternately at Rosa’s breasts and her own. Then Rosa clapped her hands as if she had thought of something.
“I’ve heard that if a man squeezes them, your breasts will swell.”
The simple-minded Liz seemed to have taken her beloved sister’s words. Hiro was too dumbfounded to say anything.
“Hiro! Rub it!”
This girl, Hiro sighs ― and then he turns his dumbfounded gaze to Liz, not forgetting to glare at Rosa, who holds her mouth and holds back her laughter.
“Don’t be stupid. And above all, don’t say that a girl can’t be rubbed easily.”
When he responded thoughtfully, the two looked at him with bored eyes. In other words ― this is the difference between being drunk and being plain. It makes the scene bland.
“Hmm. Hiro doesn’t know.”
Liz, who was sulking, jumped straight into the bed. Rosa also lies down with a dumbfounded expression.
“….. It’s difficult.”
Hiro wasn’t satisfied with the female mind’s complexities, but no matter what his personal feelings were, the night went on.