Chapter 232 Brother and Sister
(This chapter is from Dean’s perspective.)
The palace, which had always been renowned for its beauty and elegance, was in quite an uproar now.
Here and there people ran around. Where there were people present, there was also the sound of shouting.
If any regular noble who valued elegance saw this, they would definitely frown at the tense atmosphere in surprise, or even be shocked into silence.
“Ah…there you are, my brother.”
My ears were filled with the noise in the palace while I worked hard on a stack of documents. That’s when Letty walked in.
“Oh, it’s you. I guess only you were able to find where I was.”
“I just searched through every single spot you might appear in.”
“Is that the case…”
Aren’t I impressive? That’s what she seemed to be signaling. I couldn’t help but smile in exasperation.
“…It really has turned into something major.”
“Yeah. They really served us.”
“When is your expedition leaving?”
Letty’s lighthearted tone immediately switched off. She asked me with a dead serious tone.
The suddenness of this question surprised me, and I couldn’t react for a good moment.
“How did you know?”
Trying to placate her would be fruitless, so I decided to abandon the attempt altogether and ask her a question instead.
“Even if you didn’t attend any sort of meeting it’s still an easy outcome to guess. This whole thing only happened because we don’t have enough unity among the people. That’s why the nobles must attend to the scene, showing the common folk that they haven’t abandoned them. You’re the only one who can lead both the military and the knights’ order: the military because of the relationship you built with them as Dean, and the knights’ order because duty obliges them to follow you. With the assumption that the more firepower the better, there’s no better candidate than you. Although there’s a high risk…there’s also high rewards if you can win glory as a noble. Thinking about it this way, it’s obvious that you would choose to attend to the battlefield.”
“Exactly so. And then? Are you just here to confirm what you already know?”
“Before that, Brother, why are you here?”
“…I just received a letter from the daughter of Duke Armenia.”
Just the name was enough for a smile to appear on her face.
The next moment, she regained her composure.
“It seems like a lot has happened in their territory. Are they requesting military support?”
“Yes. But unfortunately in our current situation, we can’t send reenforcements.”
“Considering the urgent state of affairs in the North, that’s the only option. But if we do that, Duke Armenia’s territory…”
“She’s already thought of that possibility. When requesting reenforcements she also asked for permission to get support from Duke Anderson.”
Oh, oh. Letty exclaimed when she heard what I said.
“Miss Iris is really something special.”
“But you don’t look happy about all this?”
“You needn’t worry about these things.”
I said this harshly without answering the question. It was an obvious motion of rejection.
Only because her question had touched on the heart of the matter.
She…Iris requested support as the current leader of Duke Armenia’s territory. If we couldn’t help her out, she hoped that we would allow her to request help from Duke Anderson instead. That’s what was in the letter, written in a cool, professional tone.
It was a very proper letter, with nothing at all to pick apart.
Although the nobles might squabble about it later, considering the current situation of Duke Armenia’s territory there was nothing in what she had said that was questionable.
Personally, I had already decided to affirm this plan.
Up to that point, there was nothing wrong.
The problem was the final part.
The final part of the letter wasn’t written on behalf of a leader to a king, but a leader to someone named “Dean” who had once worked there.
“Dean” should not act out.
It was up to the people in Duke Armenia’s territory to solve their problems on their own.
Although fate had tied us together in the past, but there’s no need to come help us in times of difficulty.
Yes, it was an explicit address to Dean.
To say “what the hell” and ignore it…I couldn’t do something like that.
Before even seeing the end of the letter, I had in fact already decided how I wanted to act.
…From “Dean’s” point of view.
From a rational standpoint, I should be thinking about my expedition to the North. But somehow, no matter what, I felt myself drawn toward the possibility of traveling to Duke Armenia’s territory.
Yes, that’s what I’ve been thinking.
The rational part of me keeps thinking about what a king should do, would do.
But in the other part of me, the impulse to save Iris at any cost shuddered in my heart, jumping up whenever I didn’t have full control of my emotions.
I myself was confused by these thoughts to the point of suffering.
“If you’re unwilling to respond, then there’s nothing I can do. Speaking of which, I haven’t told you why I’m here looking for you in the first place.”
Letty’s words pulled me back to reality.
“I want to incite a coup, so I’m here to discuss that with you.”
What Letty was saying left me dumbfounded.
Casting an eye across history, recent or otherwise, there has always been a bloody battle between brothers accompanying the succession to the throne.
But what the hell was going through the mind of someone who came to her own brother to talk about starting a coup?
“What the hell are you getting at? This is no joking matter.” I issued my question in full sincerity.
“I’m not joking. It’s something I’ve dreamt of all this time.”
Her warm smile was lovely. But the words she spoke sent one’s blood boiling.
“You’ve protected me until today. I’m only so healthy and well because of you.”
Her voice was as fluid as song.
“And that’s why, Brother, I started to think that perhaps I could become your power. I’ll be the one to bear your burden.”
How does all this connect to what she was saying before? Anyone would wonder that.
“Please answer me honestly. To someone like you, the throne is nothing but a burden, right?”
“What are you saying? If what you’re saying is right, then why the hell am I sitting here?”
“Because there’s no way for us to survive unless you succeeded to the throne. Our other brother…no, even beyond him, Ellia wouldn’t have been satisfied with simply stripping you of your throne if she took power.”
Those words were uncannily similar to things that had gone through my own mind.
I was slackjawed for a moment.
“Even if that’s the case, I’ve never imagined any future that hasn’t ended with me sitting right here.”
Letty chuckled lightly.
“You yearn for something else, don’t you? Brother, when you were working in Duke Armenia’s territory, you were happy. Even now, you’re balancing your role as the next king with your own hopes and expectations, aren’t you?”
Letty’s warm smile faded.
“Even if you become a king like this, you’ll still undoubtedly be excellent and contribute to our nation. But being suitable for the throne and being the best isn’t the same.”
“Are you saying I won’t be able to do my best?”
“Yes. If you lose her, and if your heart freezes over.”
I smiled coldly in response.
“A heart? That’s the most important qualification that a king needs?”
She didn’t answer. Only gazed at me quietly.
“Don’t you remember Father? How he abandoned everything after losing Mother?”
“I don’t remember any of it. All I’ve heard are rumors.”
I chuckled bitterly.
“I’m not saying that having a heart is everything,” Letty said, “I also know that you need to be able to make cold decisions and have a solid sense of judgement. But a heart…it’s what makes people willing to dedicate themselves to others. Only human nature can decide who someone ends up following. The more excellent someone is, the more catastrophic their downfall will be if they don’t have a good grasp on the hearts of their people. Even those who are adept at it will still live in fear of isolation. Right now, this country has taken a giant hammer to its previous system for the sake of rebuilding. You’ve shown your strength already. After this, it’s a matter of drawing people’s hearts in. If you plan on achieving your dreams, this will be how you do it.”
“I see. I’ll keep that in mind.”
Not waiting for her to finish, I stood up and prepared to leave.
“Brother…! Please hear me out!”
“I have my own pride as an elder brother too. Do you think I’ll really allow you to shoulder all burdens and move forth alone?”
“I won’t be alone.”
“Ah, no…if only that’s the way it could turn out.”
I stared her down as she tried to disguise her moment of shyness.
“Even without anything else, I want to be king. Even if I’m alone, even if the road forward is covered in thorns and thistles…I will devote myself to my dream.”
And at that exact moment, there was a knock at the door.
The person who appeared in the room next was Bern.