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Chapter 204 Conference 7
“W-what are you saying!”
Was it bravery or just rashness? One of the nobles who had been named earlier spoke out.
“What, you don’t know? The merchant working with you, Divan, is an elite soldier of the Towair Kingdom. He was bulk purchasing food not just to send it to his own nation, but also to reduce our storage.”
“Where’s the evidence of that?”
“What a crock of nonsense…!”
Perhaps finding their courage as well, several other voices rang out to insult Bern.
Of course, that couldn’t be helped.
There was no way that they would admit the possibility of Bern being right.
The moment they acknowledged it, what waited for them was a cruel end.
“Proof? I have it.”
Bern didn’t seem the slightest bit worried about that.
In my eyes, the way he looked seemed to mirror the way I was when I was exiled from the church.
That was the expression of someone who had a grip on others.
“Baron Messi has captured the Towairs lurking around the border, and forced them to speak out about how Divan is related to the kingdom.”
Compared to when my proposal ended in denounciations, he felt like quite a different person.
…Of course, in a good way.
“Baron Messi also lent a hand in helping us confiscate a portion of the exports to the Towair Kingdom. Although Divan cleverly hid or eliminated most of his traces, we still managed to confirm the emblems of families I just named. Your pridefulness in printing your emblem on everything has been quite helpful. It was so excessive that even a slippery individual like Divan couldn’t cover them all up. Well, I suppose that if my family emblem were my only point of pride, I would go around spreading it like that too.”
He smiled slightly, although there was no smile in his eyes.
“You guys were so proud of your own family name that you wrung yourselves out by the throat. There’s no saving you.” That’s what it sounded to me like he was saying.
…It probably wasn’t much different from what he was thinking.
“I’ll also show you the physical proof later…Of course the prince and I have already confirmed it with our own eyes, so there won’t be any mistake about it.”
“Combined with that, you should be able to see that it’s a bit suspicious that a specific baron isn’t in the capital during social season.” (Reference to Chapter 178 “Tanya’s Adventures”.)
I remembered what Tanya reported Milo as having said.
Of course, Tanya also found her answer in the subsequent investigation.
Divan’s merchant’s guild seemed to be using Earl Monroe’s territory as a homebase.
No matter how cleverly they disguised the goods during transportation, the final destination was already settled…it could only pass through Earl Monroe or Baron Messi’s lands.
So Divan decided to establish a relationship with Earl Monroe.
And from that point on, he didn’t have to worry about transporting goods any longer.
Baron Messi always surveyed his territories’ borders when he wasn’t in the capital.
According to Tanya, recently he seemed to have established a place near the border between his territory and Earl Monroe’s territory, and spent most of his time there.
When she reported that to me, I had already made a few conjectures of my own.
…Baron Messi, who was a member of the first prince’s faction.
And the fact that he was transferring his whereabouts.
That was the first prince becoming suspicious toward Earl Monroe…or the Towair Kingdom, which was backing them up.
In other words, Prince Alfred hid his subordinates near the border of Earl Monroe and the Towair Kingdom, urging them to focus on seeing through Divan’s schemes…so that he could collect enough evidence to bust this nation’s issues.
“As a matter of fact, we are still in a war at the moment…”
I remembered what Baron Messi said during that dinner party.
It really was a war…even if it wasn’t a war with immediate killing or struggles.
Not just Prince Alfred…no, Dean and Prince Edward’s competition for the throne, plus Queen Ellia and Marquis Maelia’s nobles arraying themselves for conflict.
It was a struggle shouldering the kingdom’s fate.
And of course there was me, who kept shouldering a heavy burden.
…Even in that situation, I still kept wanting him to help me out.
Thinking that, I couldn’t help myself despite the situation. Perhaps it was regret or something else, tears started to swirl in my eyes.
Dean walked up to Bern.
Bern halted in the middle of his sentence. Dean smiled, watching him as he struggled to figure out what he should do, before walking before him.
“Nobles are noble not because they are born as such, but because they are above the people to guide and lead them, and are ultimately chosen as noble by the people…But they’ve begun to forget what it means to preside above the people. People who were arrogant and ignorant enough to look down on the people pretended to be nobles without believing in their mission.”
Dean said this, surveying the room.
“The people are the flesh and blood of this nation. Hurting them, scattering them, is a betrayal of this country! That’s something that a noble who wishes to carry on their family name should never do!”
Dean’s voice echoed through the room like a thunder clap.
No one was even bothering to argue or explain themselves at this point.
“…There is no class distinction in those who commit treason. They will be punished for their betrayal of this nation. Do you think that I’m mistaken in any way?”
The people of the first prince faction stood up together. They lowered their heads out of respect.
That was the same gesture they would carry out when meeting with a king.
I also curtseyed along with them.
“Arrest all the people that Bern just named, as an end to this meeting!”
“In a few more days, the king will host another conference. Please wait in the capital for further notice.”
And after that, the historic meeting drew to an end.