Common Sense of a Duke’s Daughter – Chapter 165 – Determination
“Lord Bern, we will be waiting here for you.”
“Ok, thank you.”
Following that, departure from the palace.
This place is not as magnificent as the Palace, and it seemed very calm and solemn.
It was even reminiscent of the Queen herself.
Since it was his first time visiting, Bern strolled along slowly, observing everything along the way.
As I moved forward, I became increasingly nervous, and I couldn’t help but put my hands on my chest.
I had to make sure that I still had my document.
… Do what you have to do.
This is what Father used to tell me. He entrusted Bern to hand the document to the queen.
It was just a piece of paper, yet it felt enormous.
“You can’t let people know what’s inside. Not even the most trusted servant.”
Since Father said this, the contents must be quite significant.
Is he worried about betrayal? Or is he afraid that people who knew the contents of this document would be in danger? Or…?
Judging from the fact that Father usually had great faith in his servants, Bern believed that it must be the latter case.
No matter how hard one might try to protect civilians like those servants, the enemy were powerful enough that they could crush them without thinking.
They had even dragged Father into the dark side of this country…
Bern was guessing that perhaps that was exactly what Father worried about.
After entering the Palace, we were guided forth by servants.
Our destination was this palace’s current owner–the Queen Dowager.
“Well … so you’re the one who came today. Is Louis’s situation that bad? ”
” No. Although my father is now under treatment, his life is not in danger. He had wanted to come today…”
“Is that so…”
“Father gave this to me and asked me to store it in somewhere safe.”
Bern handed the letter to the attendant who stood by.
The Queen Dowager took the letter from the attendant, and she started to read.
Her expression changed instantly. It turned from a kind expression to that of a harsh ruler.
Because of that change, the atmosphere naturally became very tense.
I could not help but remember in that moment that this is the lady who once led the whole country into war.
“Did you know the contents of this letter?”
After hearing her question, Bern shook his head.
“Both of you?”
“I didn’t read it.”
“Really…Louis really does love his son.”
The Queen Dowager smiled.
However, there was coldness in her eyes.
It felt like we were being interrogated. Cold sweat streamed down Bern’s body.
“Or is it because you and Louis are on different sides?”
“… I am sorry, I don’t understand what you mean. ”
“Oh, because you and Edward were once classmates. Perhaps you’re a part of the team with Yuri as the center.”
“… Indeed, I have a good relationship with Prince Edward. But I belong to Duke Armenia’s family. I am proud of serving the Duke of Armenia as a minister. So, for me, the top priority is the country’s stability.”
“Are you saying that it’d be better to let Edward succeed the heir?”
” No. According to the national law, it should be the first prince to inherit the throne. Plus…no, nothing, please forgive my rudeness. ”
“…What we say here stays here. You are free to tell me what you think. ”
Queen Mother urged Bern, who was still hesitant to speak.
Facing the pressure from the Queen Dowager, I couldn’t help but feel sorry for my own slip-up, but it was too late.
“…Although this is a private family matter, there have been many opportunities for self-reflection after graduation. After considering many aspects, I finally concluded that I am proud of the Armenia household and also love them dearly…even so, when I was a student I stupidly sabotaged this sense of pride on my own.”
In retrospect, all of it seemed like it happened yesterday. That incident.
From the beginning of my time at the academy up till that incident, I never worried about my sister.
…… No, it’s just that I didn’t think to even consider it.
Even if it was just a little bit, I wanted that woman to like me better.
It was almost like my sister was like a stain that had to be gotten rid of.
… and as a result, everything has broken down.
That expression, when being pushed to the ground by Dawson, of utter abandonment…
When Bern was thinking about this, that woman smiled as if she were rejecting everything, and spoke the words of complete abandonment.
… At that time, even that kind of behavior made Bern unhappy.
Thinking about it now, all that was left was a chill down my spine.
And then, a darkness before my eyes, the staggering sense of how terrible my mistakes had been.
Abandoning one’s own sister, completely out of choice.
Or perhaps, treating her like a pawn to get closer to that woman.
A sister that was of the same blood.
Childhood memories with my sister appeared before my eyes again and again.
Too many warm moments to count.
It is these feelings that have made me the way that I am, yet I forgot about them completely.
Now Bern understands that such actions are the reason behind the complete abandonment of the original yearning for a future.
Since things that were abandoned so carelessly were so difficult to earn back.
No, there was no way to take them back at all.
Since that incident, what was lost wasn’t just a familial connection…but also self-esteem.
But even so, it was possible to keep moving into the future. It was the awakening that came when one saw one’s sister again, the person that had been so eagerly abandoned.
“Therefore, I am determined not to go the wrong way again. I don’t want to jeopardize things that are important to me. As they’re so important, I am going to protect them well this time. I’ve made up my mind.”
As a result, Bern wouldn’t stand on the side of Master Edward.
Since the marriage proposal had broken off, up to the whole church’s exile, to the tax incident with the Armenia family.
Aside from the incident with the merchants’ guild, none of the other incidents happened because of Edward. Even so, one could say that they happened because of the presence of Master Edward.
Bern didn’t want his sister to feel again the rejection of that day, and the despair.
If something like that happened again, he would never leave her side.
…That’s his decision.
Now he knows what matters to him the most.
“For you, compared the future of this kingdom, does family really matter more?”
Facing this problematic question from Queen Mother, Bern lowered his head in fear.
A heavy silence fell in the room.
What broke the silence was the laughter of the Queen Dowager.
“Innocence to this extent, nothing like something a politician should concern themselves with. … But if one cannot protect the important people in one’s life, can one really protect the nation? Heh. I don’t hate this line of logic.”
Bern couldn’t help but feel a sigh of relief when she heard the words of the Queen Dowager.
” Now, the upper level of this country is divided into two factions. One is the side who wants the first prince to succeed, and the other is the one who wants the second prince to succeed. The ones who are leaders on the side of the first prince are the nobles from the Armenia household. Leading on the other side are Queen Ellia and the Duke of Maelia. These two factions are constantly checking each other’s authority, maintaining a balance of power. Well then, which side should I choose?”
I did not answer the question of the Queen Dowager. I could not answer.
This was not only because I didn’t know the answer, but also because the atmosphere in this place tells me not to make stupid answers.
“The correct answer is that I tend to be neutral, with a bias toward the first prince. ”
Because she understood my silence just as well as I did, the Queen Dowager spoke the answer before I did.
” I hid the first prince, raised him, nurtured him, knowing that there would be chaos in the future. Yet I still did it. Why do you think I did it?”
“… to curb the growth of the aristocracy. ”
“Although it’s still possible that there won’t be any chaos if the second prince inherits the throne. But if we do that, the foundation of the country will be affected as the king is affected by the whims of nobles. Is that the idea?”
I choose my words carefully.
“Yes … Although this is the case, I am neutral. If the first prince were a dimwit, I would think about abandoning him immediately. To my surprise, the child is quite competent. For this reason, I seem to be regarded as part of the sect of the first prince…in the eyes of a certain family.”
Even without saying, Bern understood that “a certain family” was none other than the Armenia household.
” For the second prince, the biggest obstacle is not the Duke of Armenia. I would be the biggest obstacle because of the power I have.”
” Then, will they also attack you like what they did Father?”
“Well, I guess so. I will soon be deprived of my rights as a royal family. Your father and the first prince are acting to stop this. This is what this letter says.”
“As for the reply to the letter: ‘I don’t care. Return to your land.’ That is my message to Louis.”
“The King can still support himself for a month. After the child’s death, there will be actions from the Duke of Maelia. I don’t think Louis can fully recover in a month? He’s just had a serious injury. We cannot make things more difficult for him.”
“I didn’t expect Ellia would act against the child like that.”
Act against…Bern swallowed as he realized the true meaning of the words.
“Are you sure about all this?”
“Yes, although he was sick, he was on the path to recovering. However, it was suddenly said that he couldn’t last past one more month…”
Queen Mother bit her lip tightly.
As she didn’t have evidence, she could not blame the Duke of Maelia’s family.
“I guess it’s because they loved each other. When the emotions grew sour, then they also hated each other more than anyone else could. Well, let’s not discuss that now. With Louis’ current situation, I think we’d better let the first prince go to another country.”
“It’s a secret…given the current circumstances, it might be a good thing. Although we cannot assume the safety of another country, things might still be better than here. Moreover, the kid is blaming himself so much he almost wants to kill himself.”
Queen Mother sighed heavily.
“However, Queen Mother, what do you intend to do?”
“Who knows? Anyhow, I have to bet our future on the kid. Then I will have no regrets.”
The eyes of Queen Mother flashed with hope.
“Bern, please let Louis know what I’ve told you.”