CHAPTER 111 – HARASSMENT FROM THE NORDSTURMS
As I expected, the agenda for today’s House of Lords meeting began with a discussion about the threat posed by the possible disappearance of the Rindarl Kingdom.
It’s located in the center of the four dukedoms to the east, and has deep historical and cultural ties to the other countries that are trying to unite into the Rindarl Union, which carries the same name.
So, of course the Rindarl Union would want to incorporate it into its territory if they succeed in uniting, but as a kingdom, compared to the dukedoms there are major differences between their societies and their laws. The Rindarl Union wouldn’t want to forcefully incorporate a country with such deep ties into their new country, as they would have to worry about the political repercussions of doing so.
Since the Rindarl Kingdom is geographically located within the four dukedoms, it’s impossible for other countries to interfere in their affairs. Meaning, it’s almost certain that the Rindarl Kingdom will likely cease to exist and be incorporated into the new Rindarl Union in some way.
So, to the Arxia Kingdom, what’s important to us is the question of when the Rindarl Kingdom will cease to exist, and when our neighbors will officially form the Rindarl Union. After all, it costs a lot of money to constantly have soldiers mobilized for border defense and remain on guard at all times. It’s only natural that Arxia would want more accurate information so that it can move only when necessary.
“At any rate, it would be great if we could get more detailed information……”
The nobles were clutching their heads and complaining. Since Arxia of today is an isolationist country, it has too little information about other countries. Our ambassadors and just a few merchants are our only sources of information.
Well, even if we don’t open our country’s borders, I still think that we should create some sort of spy network, but that’s just me. Well, even if we make one now, it’ll still be too late to find out the current political situation in Rindarl.
Anyway, a spy network, hmm…… There’s no such thing as too much information. Maybe I can set up some sort of spy network using the Kaldia army, it’s worth thinking about. No wait, I’d need to think about who even has the talent for this first.
“ – May I say something?”
While the nobles were busy making a fuss and I was getting lost in my daydreams about creating a spy network, a loud and clear voice rang through the hall and caught my attention as well as everyone else’s. It’s an elderly voice with a low baritone. This voice belongs to a noble that I’ve been on guard against for the past two years – the major noble of the north and their leader, Marquis Nordsturm.
“……Yes, of course, go ahead, Marquis Nordsturm.”
The noble who was acting as the moderator for today’s House of Lords meeting was obviously surprised for a moment, but quickly regained his composure and gave Marquis Nordsturm permission to address everyone. The entire hall fell silent as if something major had happened.
“I keep hearing everyone say that they would like more information about Rindarl. If everyone is okay with me, I have some personal resources and people I can use in Planates. Maybe I’m overstepping my bounds though, what does everyone think?
……Eh. He has personal connections in Planates, he says. Wouldn’t he also have them in Densel, then? Mentally inside I laughed sarcastically at his arrogance and haughtiness. Since only I have information from the Densel bandit group that he’s probably connected somehow to them, anything he says is difficult to believe. Rather than information from Planates, information from Densel on their anti-Arxian terrorist organization would be much more useful, if he were really trying to help Arxia.
“Oh, ohh. Of course, go ahead, that would make everyone feel at ease.”
However, it’s definitely true that the Nordsturms are well connected, especially due to the nature of their money lending business. On hearing that he had connections in Planates, the country from the four dukedoms that Arxia has the friendliest relations with, all the nobles gleefully latched on to his proposal. Having skillfully controlled the discussion in the House of Lords, I saw Marquis Nordsturm smile a dark, self-satisfied smirk, then he glanced directly at me for a moment. I saw malice in his eyes directed straight at me, and an expression as if to say everyone here was a fool beneath him, myself included.
“Then, it is up to you, Viscountess Kaldia. May the god Misorua’s guidance be with you.”
A high-ranking priest from the Arxia church was currently lowering his head towards me. Right after the priest said this, Viscount Ogren who was wearing the Nordsturm emblem on his scarf smiled viciously at me without even attempting to conceal the nasty grin he had on his face.
“……Yes, I understand. I shall definitely do the best I can.”
I suppressed myself to the best of my abilities, and a surprisingly calm and neutral voice managed to come out of me. I feel like if I look in a mirror though, maybe I can see a throbbing vein that’s about to burst.
I’ve been forced into something troublesome. What’s more, it’s a request from Viscount Ogren. Marquis Nordsturm is almost certainly behind this very troublesome request of his.
After the end of this regular meeting of the House of Lords, I had to participate in a medium-sized dance party with Marquis Nordsturm’s unpleasant smile still fresh on my mind. As the first evening party of the new season, many people were present, and I got a bad premonition when I noticed Viscount Ogren heading in my direction together with a person that looked like a high-ranking church official.
I should have listened to that ominous feeling, and escaped from them while I still had the chance. Now I know all too well just what that malicious expression Marquis Nordsturm had aimed towards me was, as something incredibly troublesome has been forced upon me unexpectedly.
“So they used a high-ranking priest to order you to mediate a dispute between Viscount Ogren’s son and his fiancee, eh. They’ve pressed something so unreasonable onto you.”
While I was busy wallowing in regret at not running at the sight of them, Margrave Molton who had heard the story from Claudia patted me on my shoulder to console me.
“At any rate, even if you escaped tonight, they would still send you an official letter from the church, with the same orders that you can’t refuse. Although, this is still a rather annoying task to receive at an inconvenient time. This is definitely something only dirty and underhanded people will stoop to.”
Margrave Molton dares to say things like that out loud. The “they” that he’s referring to, is of course the Nordsturm faction.
“……Well, you’re right. Dealing with a sixteen year old girl and her love problem, this is something completely different, even if I am also a girl, I’m only nine years old still, it’s ridiculous to be asking me.”
They even went to the extent of using a high-ranking priest to make this request of me so that I wouldn’t be able to refuse. Since the church has the power to uphold the law, when they ask me like this to help mediate a dispute in order to maintain order, a minor noble like me, a viscountess, has no right to refuse.
Honestly, I’ve been saddled with something so bothersome during this terribly inconvenient period of unrest and turmoil.
“Viscount Ogren’s son’s fiancee is the daughter of the Rogshia family, correct? If it’s the Rogshia family, they’re a noble family from the Greenfield region.”
Claudia was cool as a rock as she listened to our exchange while accompanying me as my maidservant, and she finally inserted herself into our conversation, letting me know about the fiancee’s background. As for the nobles in the Greenfield region, isn’t that the place where people ignore women’s opinions and wills almost entirely? That’s where my fired former nanny, Mrs. Galton was from. At such a busy time, I now have to go talk to a girl who was probably never brought up to think for herself for all her life, and change her heart. How meaningless. For women from that region, she probably had an upbringing where she always had to listen to anything and everything her father and grandfather had to say.
“……In any case, for the time being we must set up a meeting with the daughter of the Rogshia family. Hopefully Earl Terejia can give me some advice as well.”