“The time for the exercise is about to start huh?”
Theodor, the Empire’s ambassador for Natra was deeply moved.
“Yes, everything is going as planned, right now, Natra army, Antogadar army, and the province army should have met with each other.”
“We can’t thank you enough for all of your hard work, ambassador Talm.”
“No, no, no… My heart could not accept that Her highness Louwellmina and His highness Wayne meeting was about to end with such a terrible ending with Sir Gerald’s death.”
During his diplomatic life, Talm had traveled across many provinces and countries, during those times, he had made a connection with the current Gairan’s governor. Wayne looked into it, and asked him to mediate between him and the governor, and negotiate for military exercise between Natra army and Gairan’s territory army.
With that, the Natra army could legally be placed within the imperial territory. Which means, their presence could not be denounced.
The reason for the exercise was of course, under the pretext of ‘Princess Louwellmina’s selfishness’. Because she was said to be in love with Wayne and her tomboyish personality wants to accompany him on a battlefield, she wants to see Wayne command his army. With such pretext, everything was made to look natural.
“By the way, aide-dono. About the gold mine…”
“Please rest assured, ambassador Talm. His royal highness is not someone who breaks his promise. He will surely not forget to reward the ambassador’s work.”
To move Talm, the gold mine was used as a negotiation material. Of course, since the start, Wayne had planned to wholesale the mine to the Empire, they didn’t have a problem in using it as a negotiation piece.
“Is that so. Then, I cannot help but wish for their safe return…”
In response, Ninim smiled lightly.
He never heard of that. However, the governor’s expression told him that he was not lying…
“That can’t be…”
Not even two days had passed… Which meant, they had prepared in advance.
In other words, Wayne had predicted everything before he had even arrived at his mansion. Wayne had predicted if he failed to persuade Greenach, he would immediately given up and run away, then trap Greenach in between the Natra army and the province’s army. Which meant, Wayne had to also prepare the military exercise accurately.
“Is it even possible… To do all of that…”
It made him want to retort loudly. Since he thought all of that was impossible to do.
However, everything had moved according to Wayne’s plan. The boy who was far younger than him predicted how he would act, how he would move, and how he could be trapped.
(— I can’t win. If it’s me, then I can’t…)
The moment he admitted it, all power lost from his whole body. It was Wayne who comes to support his body that was about to collapse on the floor.
“… It seems Marquis Antogadar’s body is not well…”
Louwellmina’s voice, which sounds like a beautiful bell feels cold as ice.
“I’m sorry governor, could you prepare the military exercise between the Natra army and the Imperial army by yourself?”
“Since the commander is in this state, I guess I couldn’t help it…”
The governor nodded then leave the tent.
When she feels the governor’s presence had gone, Louwellmina begins to talk…
“So Marquis, what are you going to do now?”
“… T-That is…”
“Both are fine for me…”
So far, Greenach had guessed why he was called here.
In other words, she had told him which path he wants to choose, to die or to live.
And it was wrong to call that her last compassion either, after all, he had tried to capture Wayne to negotiate and get her.
He wanted to be a great man.
However, he knew that such a thing won’t be able to come true.
With that the case, he wants to crave his mark in history by killing a hero.
But, such a thing turn out nothing but a fantasy.
“P-Please, have mercy, princess–…”
The only thing Greenach could think right now was to beg for forgiveness.
Autumn comes to an end and full winter finally comes to Natra.
Ninim looked outside of the window in the hallway. The mountainous area in the distance had already started snowing. Soon, the urban area would also be covered in snow.
Her breath could be seen turns into pure white smoke, causing the window glass to turn cloudy. When she tried to wipe the window with her finger, she was called.
One of the government officials walked in the corridor. Ninim then shifted her gaze at the person.
“It’s good to meet you here. Here is the document about the emergency supplies for the winter.”
“Ah, thank you.”
She received the document from the official and checked through it briefly.
“… Hmm… I was wondering if something happens, after all the preparation for the winter was delayed due to the Empire’s delegation but, it seems everything is fine…”
“Indeed, we should be able to pass the winter safely somehow… … But still, about the marriage between her highness the imperial princess and his highness the regent.”
The government sighed before continued…
“To think something like that happened in the Empire, I heard the plan for the marriage would be shelved now…”
As the Empire delegation returned, successive unexpected events happened in the Empire. Many information about rebellion in the Empire had spread, causing confusion.
In such a situation, it was not the time to marry the princess, and they decided to freeze the talk until everything calmed down. Many of the Kingdom’s vassals sadly lamented such an ending.
“… Indeed you’re absolutely right.”
Ninim recalled the previous events in her mind and smiled…
“This is goodbye for the time being…”
It was around the time when the delegation was about to return back.
Ninim and Louwellmina sat down across each other.
Wayne was not present. It was a tea party between the two ladies.
“There are many twists and turns but, Wayne and Ninim have helped me. Thank you very much.”
“There’s no need for you to thank me. I just did what I need to do…”
“You sure cold like usual huh? But I like that part of you, Ninim.”
“Yes yes, thank you…”
After responding casually, Ninim continues…
“Rather than that, Lova, are you sure about this?”
“The marriage talk with Wayne, are you sure you want to freeze it?”
*Oh…* Louwellmina responded…
“For me, it is more advantageous to remain single if I want to expand my power in the Empire. Besides, using the pretext of the current situation, it would not look unnatural either for us to freeze the marriage talk…”
Seeing Louwellmina stubbornly evade her question, Ninim sighed and continue…
“But, Lova, you actually really do love Wayne, no?”
*Clatter* Louwellmina’s cup fell on the desk.
Louwellmina then picked up the cup as if nothing had happened…
“W-What are you saying, of course, I love him, as a friend…”
“As a woman.”
Louwellmina’s hand then began to tremble.
“W-What are you saying?! Why would I love that kind of man! Where did you get the information that is saying that I love him?!”
“Err, at least put the cup down… Your clothes would get dirty…”
Being reminded by Ninim, Louwellmina placed the cup down.
After a full silence, she timidly opened her mouth…
“Unn… From when?”
“Since our student days?”
“Am I that easy to read?!”
“Relatively, I guess…”
Louwellmina then covered her face in embarrassment. Her ears had turn red.
For the sake of leading the delegation mission to Natra, she had constructed many secret plans…
Officially, she appeared as the official member of the delegation. The meeting was under the premise of marriage. She said she intended to marry Wayne and make him the Emperor. And, she bluffs it by saying she did all of that to save the Empire.
But, the truth was not like that. She really wanted to come to Natra as a member of the delegation team, she really wanted to marry Wayne and make him the Emperor by cooperating with him.
In the end, all of that was her true intention.
(But well, I realize everything just recently though…)
Ninim silently thought that, shortly after, Louwellmina raised her face.
“… Fine, let me admit it. There is certainly such a feeling. But, I don’t mind if we freeze the marriage talk for now…”
“Are you saying that as the Empire’s Imperial Princess?”
“That is also part of the reason. However, how should I say this… I do love Wayne but, I also like Ninim as much…”
Ninim opened her eyes wide due to the unexpected words…
“… I don’t have such inclination though?” [TLN: She meant ‘lesbians’.]
“I don’t mean that… If I have to say, I guess admiration? I have always longed a relationship similar to what Wayne and Ninim has…”
On one hand, a royalty, on the other hand, a vassal from the discriminated race. The figure where the two trusted each other, leaving each other back… For Louwellmina, who knew the identity of the two since the student days, the sight of the two was very strange but also precious…
“I had thought many times, I want to join you both… I want you both to include me, not just two people, but three people. However, I understand, if I stay as myself, I won’t be enough… That is why, for now, it is enough…”
That was Louwellmina’s true feelings. She feels she was not suitable to stand together with the two of them.
“Ninim, I will reign as the Empress. And after I’m convinced that I could stand side by side with you, I will join you both…”
A determined declaration. It was clear, she was not joking.
That was why Ninim responded with a smile…
“Then, I don’t have anything to say… As a friend, I will support your endeavor…”
“That is enough…”
After that, the two exchanged words as time allow them… While feeling confident, that the two of them would meet again.
“… Aide-dono? What’s wrong?”
Ninim who was indulging in her reminiscent then turned back to reality.
“I’m sorry, it seems I’ve dozed off… Anyway, I’ve received the document. I will immediately take this to his highness then…”
“Thank you very much.”
Ninim then went to Wayne’s office.