Intermission 1 – Strategy Meeting


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That evening.
Having finished her task of taking care of the guest of honor, Carpa Kingdom’s Prince Consort Zenjirou, Lucretia Broglie returned to the room rented by the Marquis Broglie House for her in the royal palace, and threw her feigned friendliness to the winds.

“Ah, annoying, so annoying…really damn annoying! Today’s attitude made it all clear! The four Dukes are serious, too! Don’t take him! His Majesty Zenjirou is mine, so don’t butt in!” (Lucretia)

Lucretia, now clad only in a luxurious, silken slip, waves both fists and screams while stamping her small feet with all her might.

“Lucy-sama. His Majesty Zenjirou doesn’t belong to anyone. If anything, you could say he’s Her Majesty Aura’s, but at the very least he’s not yours.” (Flora)

“I know that too. I just wanted to try saying it out loud!” (Lucy)

Hearing the sharp retorts of Flora, her maid and close aide, Lucretia roughly pulls out the ribbon holding her sidetail and dives onto her bed.

“Ah, jeez! Why? Really, why is it going this badly!?” (Lucretia)

The blond-haired girl buries her face in the pillow and recklessly flaps her arms and legs, hitting the bedding.

“If you act like this, you’re just like an unreasonable child, Lucy-sama.” (Flora)

 

The girl responds to her maid’s merciless comment by grabbing the pillow and turning her head to peek at her, her face still mostly buried in the pillow.

“Isn’t that unexpectedly adorable?” (Lucretia)

“If someone were masochistic enough to find a child more adorable the more troublesome it is, I suppose they might think that.” (Flora)

“…Dang.” (Lucretia)

In response to her maid’s blunt reply, Lucretia sits up on the bed with a sulky expression, and crosses her legs.
The way she’s sitting, combined with the slip she’s wearing, means that her panties are completely visible, but with her childish figure, the picture is not even remotely appealing.
To put it bluntly, she’s no more than a child with bad manners.
This apparently being a frequent occurrence, Flora didn’t explicitly bring it up, only sighing loud enough for Lucretia to hear her disapproval.

“Hey, don’t talk nonsense. Since you’ve undone your hair, then come over here please so that I can brush it.” (Flora)

“Okay.” (Lucretia)

The blond-haired girl slides backwards on her butt, obediently moving to the edge of the bed, in front of her maid.

“Alright, there’s fine. I’m going to start brushing now.” (Flora)

“Mhn…” (Lucretia)

Enjoying the feeling of her maid brushing her hair, Lucretia allows her eyes to close and purrs like a cat.

“…Hey, Flora?” (Lucretia)

“Yes, what is it, Lucy-sama?” (Flora)

“Answer me honestly. What did Zenjirou-sama seem to think of those four?” (Lucretia)

It goes without saying but ‘those four’ refers to Shura, Nazim, Taraye, and Fikriya.
Without stopping her combing, the maid answers,

“Let’s see. This is just my opinion, but I think there’s no doubt that His Majesty has absolutely no interest in those four.” (Flora)

“Hah! That’s right, isn’t it!?” (Lucretia)

Lucretia laughed, making fun of them.

“Well, if you allow me to add one more thing, just because he has no interest in them doesn’t mean that he has any interest in you, Lucy-sama.” (Flora)

“Haha, that’s certainly true…” (Lucretia)

Lucretia laughed at herself this time, after hearing her maid’s last addition.
Watching as Lucretia hung her head in depression, Flora scoops up her blond hair and continues brushing.

“But, I don’t understand. Even if we assume for argument’s sake that Zenjirou sama is not interested in me, how could he have absolutely no interest in those four either?” (Lucretia)

Lucretia understands that her charm as a woman doesn’t conform to the tastes of the average person.
But, him not showing any interest in those four either was, for better or worse, unexpected.
Although it’s irritating, even Lucretia has no option but to acknowledge that those four are overflowing with womanly charm.
Shura is a dignified beauty, no matter how stubborn she might seem.
Nazim might be a little plain, but she exudes a gentle, ladylike charm.
Taraye is justifiably proud of her flashy looks and well-proportioned body.
And Fikriya lacks facial expression but instead has two obsidian eyes that indicate a deep intelligence.
Each of them possesses a different kind of charm, as if it had been intentionally staged to cater to his tastes, whatever they might be.
Five women, if you include Lucretia. Showing no interest in any of them is strange, as expected.

“Does he maybe have no interest in women?” (Lucretia)

Flora immediately denies the worst possible prediction Lucretia brought up.

“That should be impossible. His Majesty has already been blessed with a child with Her Majesty Aura, and a second child is currently growing in her belly, too.
It’s a different matter if a lesbian were to be forced to conceive a child, but forcing a man is fairly difficult to accomplish.” (Flora)

“Fairly difficult doesn’t mean that it’s impossible, right?” (Lucretia)

“Yes, if you must have an answer: it’s tentatively possible. Not being able to make a child is a fatal problem for royalty and nobility. And yet there are a number of impotent and homosexual men born among royalty and nobility, too.” (Flora)

Hearing this, Lucretia leans forward, gulping audibly.

“I-In that case, how…” (Lucretia)

“I don’t know how other countries handle it, but this country possesses both the bestowing Sharrow and the healing Jilbell. A gender-segregated, exclusive magic tool for that problem has been developed by both royal families together and…” (Flora)

At this point Flora realizes that she’s digressing from the original topic.
Once she clears her throat with a cough,

“Well, anyway I believe you should consider His Majesty Zenjirou as a very normal man who is capable of loving women.” (Flora)

She forcibly changes the subject back. However, Lucretia seems to be lost in thought.

“Impotent…a special magic tool for that…hah, that’s it! The reason our country’s royalty can have so many children even when they’re much older than other countries’ royalty is due to that magic too―― muguh!?” (Lucretia)

Just when she was about to cheerfully uncover a somewhat dangerous truth from the previous discussion, Flora covered the mouth of her master with her left hand.

“Lucy-sama? Speaking about this any further will be unbecoming of a lady, okay?” (Flora)

Only after her master nodded in understanding, did Flora resume brushing as if nothing happened.

“B-But, if that’s true, I wonder, why is he so indifferent? He doesn’t seem to lust for power either.” (Lucretia)

There are some rare people among the royals and nobility who disregard their romantic and sexual desires, choosing instead to prioritize their quest for political power and the raising the status of their family.
Those kinds of people don’t consider whether the face and body of a woman looks good, only looking at their pedigree and titles instead.
If he were an ambitious man like that, it wouldn’t be unnatural for him to be apathetic towards beautiful women, but to Lucretia, Zenjirou didn’t seem like that kind of person at all.
Flora also agreed with this.

“That’s true. I think so as well. His Majesty Zenjirou doesn’t possess the unique and obvious aura of someone obsessed with power.
But then again there are some men with a strong enough level of self-control to even hide that seething lust for power. Hence that possibility can’t be ruled out completely either.” (Flora)

“In that case all I can think of are people with extremely weak desires, I suppose? Look, you run into those occasionally as well, no? The kind of people who naturally have very little desire, or who have experienced something that caused their desire to wane, I guess?” (Lucretia)

“That impression doesn’t seem to fit with His Majesty’s disposition to some extent. However, men with weak desires are often lethargic.
According to the rumors I heard from the soldiers of the Carpa Kingdom, His Majesty seems to be quite energetic in his work for the Carpa Kingdom. In the first place, the fact that he has come to our country now means that you should consider him to be a somewhat active man.” (Flora)

“Indeed, that seems to be certainly true.” (Lucretia)

Lucretia bit her lower lip and brooded after having that pointed out by her maid.

“Even though he appears to have weak desires, he’s energetic… The only possibility that I can think of is that he’s not doing this out of his own volition?” (Lucretia)

“In that case it would mean that Her Majesty Aura is responsible for how active he is, but that contradicts the rumors as well.
I have heard that His Majesty Zenjirou and Her Majesty Aura are intimate. If he were being compelled to do things, the relationship between the two shouldn’t be all that great.” (Flora)

“In other words, the harmonious relationship between His Majesty Zenjirou and Her Majesty Aura is just a false rumor spread by Her Majesty Aura and His Majesty Zenjirou is actually being oppressed by Her Majesty Aura, or something like that?” (Lucretia)

Seeing Lucretia looking over her shoulder with shining eyes, Flora gently repositions her master’s head so that it faces to the front while correcting her thought process as well.

“I won’t say that such a possibility doesn’t exist, but that is beyond the realm of reasonable conjecture and into delusion. If you don’t stop twisting facts to suit yourself, I don’t think things will end well for you.” (Flora)

“Uuh…” (Lucretia)

Seemingly aware that she has said something selfish, Lucretia became meek. After pulling herself together, Lucretia mutters seriously as if she were monologuing,

“But, I’m pretty sure that there’s some falsehood mixed into the circulating information from the impression I got from him so far.” (Lucretia)

The maid agreed with Lucretia on this.

“You’re right. If all the circulating information and the impressions we have of him were to be correct, His Majesty Zenjirou would be a person who 『doesn’t show any interest in various beautiful women at all』, but 『isn’t impotent or homosexual』, who has 『a nature of possessing low personal desires』, but 『accomplishes his work as royal energetically』 and 『keeps a close relationship with his wife, Her Majesty Aura, including the meaning of a relationship between man and woman』.” (Flora)

“It’s full of contradictions! There’s no way for such a person to exist, is there!?” (Lucretia)

Hearing Flora’s full list of Zenjirou’s attributes, Lucretia threw her hands up in despair.

“He’s doing his job vigorously despite having no desires? He’s intimate with his wife despite not showing any interest in other beautiful women? Those conditions are much too contradictory.
Or, is Her Majesty Aura such a great beauty? Is it because she’s such an attractive woman that no other woman could enter his consideration and that even a man with very little desire happily follows her orders?” (Lucretia)

“Let’s see. Her Majesty Aura is doubtlessly an amazing woman and a beauty, but…” (Flora)

Flora inclined her head to the side, troubled by Lucretia’s questions.
There’s a huge difference between being an amazing woman or warrior as well as a beauty, and being a transcendent beauty.
Having finished her brushing over the course of their conversation, Flora steps back a little.

“Okay, you’re free to move now, Lucy-sama.” (Flora)

“Mmh, thanks, Flora.” (Lucretia)

Her hair now sparkling and smoothly falling down her back, Lucretia completely turned around atop the bed and directly confronted her maid.
Even though the petite Lucretia is sitting at the edge of the bed, her feet still don’t reach the floor.
Dangling her legs while sitting on the bed is considerably bad manners for a noble lady, but compared to the previous cross-legged sitting posture it’s probably still less objectionable.
Lucretia continues talking in that position.

“Honestly, it sounds like I’m taking on an ethereal phantom here. In the last few days I made fairly serious attempts at approaching him, but there was absolutely no reaction.” (Lucretia)

Just as she said, Lucretia had actually tried to approach him in such an obvious manner that it was already stretching the limits of what a noble lady should do.
She had stayed so close that if she had taken it even a step further she would have been branded as 『indecent』. As soon as she saw the slightest opportunity, she praised Zenjirou.
She advertised just how much Zenjirou himself and the Carpa Kingdom would gain, if he married her, stopping just short of outright saying it.
Not to mention her facial expressions, but even the way how she presented herself was always focused on showing 『the angle where she looked the most attractive』 while she was at Zenjirou’s side.
But her words bounced off him harmlessly and her full power smile didn’t affect him in the slightest.
Flora adds her own opinion, tilting her head to the side as she considered Lucretia’s remark.

“From my perspective as a bystander, it looked to me as though you were attacking the complete wrong place rather than taking on a phantom.
How do I put it…it looked like you were trying to kill an enemy by attacking their shadow with all your might…” (Flora)

“How’s that any different from taking on a phantom?” (Lucretia)

Seeing Lucretia furrow her eyebrows in confusion, Flora raises her index finger and explains.

“There’s a huge difference. If your opponent were an ethereal phantom, no attack would get through, I think. But, if it’s just that you’re attacking the wrong place, you would be able to bring down the enemy as long as you can grasp where the main body resides and where to find its vital spots.” (Flora)

“…I see. In other words, what you’re saying is that it’s not that I can’t capture His Majesty Zenjirou, but that my approach so far has been all wrong?” (Lucretia)

“Yes. Well, it isn’t as though finding the correct approach is the best plan for you though, Lucy sama.” (Flora)

The maid puts a slight damper on Lucretia who had suddenly leaned forward, after apparently having discovered hope.
But, there’s no way that this would be enough to extinguish the flames of ambition burning within the little girl.

“Alright! Now that it has been decided, I will win with numbers! I’ll try all the different angles that courtesy will permit until I find one that’s effective. Then I will immediately mount an assault from there!” (Lucretia)

“…Please make sure to not cause any trouble for the Marquis Broglie House, okay?” (Flora)

Seeing Lucretia raise her voice in fervor and thrusting her small fists into the air, Flora sighed deeply in resignation and gave Lucretia such a warning.

 

 


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