Author: alyalia

Charter and I were waiting separately in the nearby parlor because of the private meeting between the emperor and Prince Paku. There was fragrant tea on the table, but the two of us just only looked at it.

 

“There will be a war. Regardless of whether Prince Paku is alive or dead.”

 

That was my conclusion. In the enemy empire, there was someone who tried to start a war even by killing the prince of his own empire. It meant the same as that they didn’t care what happened to the prince, but would they give up just because the prince stayed alive?

 

The answer would be no. If so, a quick response was the only way to survive. But I didn’t know how to prepare for war. That’s why I tried to ask Charter for advice. “You have a plan, don’t you?”

 

Charter frowned thoughtfully, then turned his gaze to Arianne’s question. “Of course.”

 

Charter was just trying to reassure Arianne not to be scared, but in fact, there was no clear plan. In the meantime, whenever there was a noble meeting, he repeatedly insisted on the possibility of invasion by the Kelteman Empire. Still, most of the nobles dismissed his claim as excessive speculation. They said how such barbarians could dare to invade the great Harpion Empire with a thousand years of history.

 

“Stupid bastards.”

 

“Yes?”

 

“No, I was talking to myself,” said Charter, closing his eyes and pressing his temple with his index finger.

 

He already had a headache because he knew how the nobles would react if the war broke out immediately. They will grab the emperor’s trousers and whine. At least those who had brains were Luiden, Duke Krow, Marquis Hood, and Viscount Bening.

 

One good thing was that the emperor’s authority was still strong, so there would be no major problem in recruiting soldiers from nobles. There was no way nobles who were busy wasting their time would lead the war. He should be content with them just sending supplies or soldiers. 

 

Charter would stand at the forefront of the war. There was no doubt or concern about it. He suddenly looked at Arianne’s face and reached out without realizing it.

 

“?” Arianne wondered what he was up to. She only stared at him blankly.

 

Charter ran her thumb between Arianne’s eyebrows, then said, “You will get wrinkles between your eyebrows.”

 

Arianne also reached out and pressed between Charter’s eyebrows with her index finger. “You too.”

 

Seeing each other’s eyebrows while facing each other was very funny. Pfft. The laugh that leaked out naturally made the wrinkles between their eyebrows completely disappear.

 

* * *

“I see. You won’t answer me if I ask you anymore.”

 

At the Emperor’s question, Paku raised the corners of his mouth with a bitter face and said, “The current situation is a bit difficult, but for now, I’m still on the side of my empire.”

 

The emperor nodded as if he understood. “I see. I’ll be on my way. I hope the war will be suspended while you’re in this empire. Take care of yourself.”

 

After the emperor left, Paku closed his eyes and muttered lowly.

 

“That’s right. If not, won’t I be held as captive?”

 

Paku was left alone in a room full of cold silence. Lonely in the enemy empire.

 

* * *

I, who was called to my room at the call of madam, asked with a questioning face. “Mother, what is all this?”

 

At the end of my gaze, various gifts and gold coins were piled up. I saw a bunch of paper that looked like a check.

 

“What do you think? It’s your wedding gift and wedding funds.”

 

“But Mother, the war is just right around the corner…”

 

Madam carefully held my hand and said, “War is war, and isn’t a wedding the most important day of your life? It can be used to prepare for unexpected situations or to decorate a gorgeous and beautiful wedding hall. Do as you please.”

 

Madam’s words reminded me that I had forgotten something very important. Wedding ceremony. That very next week would be my own wedding. It’s my wedding that I had been waiting for so long… but I completely forgot about it.

 

That’s right. As Mother said, war is war. The wedding should be held as grandly as possible. It might be my last luxury. I, who thought that if it was my last luxury, I would have to do it to the extent that the whole empire would be in an uproar, but soon changed my mind.

 

It wasn’t even funny. What’s the point of a wedding when the war is just around the corner? It wasn’t even my real marriage. It would be better to buy a bunch of bullets with that money. Still, I don’t know if I can at least protect one part of my body.

 

I was a money-loving, extravagant woman, but I wasn’t an idiot who didn’t know what was important. It was madam’s idea to buy a lot of what I needed right now or just spend it on luxury.

 

Made up my mind, I called Bein. “Let’s go shopping.” Bein followed me silently. This time Sir Dale was with us. Because I ordered him not to hide around, just follow me.

 

I, who headed to the capital’s largest gun store, asked the owner. “Has anyone been buying weapons in large quantities recently?”

 

“Very few people buy in large quantities. For hunting or self-defense, it is steadily going out. Ah! I heard that Count Blanc bought a large quantity at a nearby gun store a while ago.” The owner answered without hesitation.

 

“Count Blanc?” Why is that human? Don’t tell me…

 

“Is something wrong?”

 

It was still dangerous to talk about the war. If rumors about the war were circulated, it would only confuse people. I had seen how far humans can fall in extreme situations.

 

“It’s nothing. Show me your rifle and handgun.”

 

“Yes. As for this gun…”

 

It was something that everyone already knew, but I pretended to listen sincerely. The point was that the longer and wider the range, the more important shooting skill was. The shorter and narrow the range, the less important shooting skill was. Should I just listen to his explanation?

 

“Is that all the guns in this store?”

 

“We have a little more stock in our warehouse. How much are you going to buy?”

 

I was asking because there were already a number of weapons on display in the store that could arm dozens of people.

 

Luxury items aren’t just jewelry and dresses. And, from ancient times, luxury had to be overwhelming.

 

“1,000 pieces.”

 

“YES???” The owner wondered if he had heard it wrong. But the moment he saw the check in my hand, the owner’s mouth went up in a line.

 

I bought rifles, handguns, bullets, and gunpowder with the bundle of checks I carried with me. The weapons, which cost nearly 20,000 gold, were enough to completely arm about 500 soldiers at once. The owner wrote a guarantee for the payment of the goods, saying that the store owner would send the rest to the customer.

 

It was too much to protect my body, but I had an idea. I ordered the weapons to be brought immediately to Kaien Duchy and left the store. Then I asked Bein as if I had just remembered.

 

“The blacksmith. He’ll still do it, right?”

 

Bein nodded when he noticed what I was talking about.

 

“Yes. He is probably working now.”

 

* * *

“The sun is in the middle of the sky, but you’re too diligent.”

 

“Has he not sober yet…”  the shaggy blacksmith and doctor murmured. That was what he said when he saw the silver-haired woman looking at him. “I thought I would never see you again. What brings you here?”

 

“Thanks to you, that person survived. And it seems your mouth is heavier than I thought. Seeing how quiet the alleys are.”

 

I felt that the atmosphere in the capital today was no different from usual. No one seemed to know the ‘rumor’ of the war. That would mean that the doctor did an excellent job of shutting down his mouth. Still, I got his help when I was in a hurry. I was thinking of congratulating him on his job.  

 

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

 

“You’re so devious.”

 

Until the end, the doctor only chose the words I liked. I put a rather heavy pouch on the workbench. The doctor, who saw it secretly, pretended not to know as if he couldn’t refuse. I raised the corners of my mouth and smiled. Oho, he’s inspirational in many ways.

 

I looked around the smithy. Maybe because the last time I was distracted, I just noticed that I couldn’t see any weapons or tools in this smithy. The furnace containing the intense fire and tools scattered around it only showed that this place was really a smithy. In addition, medical tools were neatly placed in one corner of the smithy, proving that he was also a doctor.

 

“—wake up the emperor!”

 

“Wake up!”

 

“—is impossible!”

 

“Impossible!”

 

I showed interest in the sudden uproar. “What’s that sound?”

 

Bein left the smithy to find out what was going on.

 

“Tsk. You got the timing right too. Those are the protesters.”

 

“Protesters?”

 

The doctor lit a cigarette and said, “Exactly.”

 

“What kind of protest are they doing?”

 

The doctor sucked in the pipe and looked at me with a meaningful expression. It was then I realized. That the protestors were targeting me.

 

“Ha. It’s funny. Shall we see if they can openly protest in front of me?”

 

When I tried to leave the smithy with a fishy grin, the doctor stopped me.

 

“Lady, wait a minute.”

 

He rummaged through the randomly stacked boxes in the smithy and soon brought a small box. He then handed the box to me and said, “This.”

 

“?” As I looked at the dusty box with a frown, the frustrated doctor opened it and showed what was inside it.

 

“It’s a handgun that you can hide on your sleeve. It can save your life once in a while.”

 

My eyes widened at the word handgun. The twinkle in my eyes showed that I was delighted.

 

“Why are you giving this to me?” I quickly accepted the box and said it, just in case the doctor changed his mind.

 

The doctor said as he exhaled the smoke from the pipe. “I think you will need it.”

 

I squinted at him and thought. Why is he being so kind to me? Because I gave him a lot of gold? Or…

 

Did he fall in love with me? You’re free to delude yourself.

 

This old man has high standards. I can’t accept his feeling, but I will gladly accept this handgun. “Then, I will take the handgun.”

 

I winked at Sir Dale and left the smithy.

 

“Take care of yourself, Lady Bornes.”

 

I said without looking back at the voice coming from behind me. “It’s Baroness Devit.”

 

After Arianne left, the smoking doctor said, “She’s not a bad lady.”

 

“Wake up the emperor who gave the title to the woman!”

 

“Wake up!”

 

“It’s impossible for a woman to receive a title!”

 

“Impossible.”

 

At first glance, a large number of people gathered on the street. The man in the center shouted. “The emperor is shaking the foundation of the empire! It is impossible for a woman to be in politics!”

 

At the man’s shout, the men surrounding him shouted. “Impossible!”

 

Amidst the shouts of the angry crowd, a woman’s voice, soft but strong, resounded. “They’re having fun.”

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