Chapter 251 Remembrances

“Prince Edward has passed away?” I murmured to myself, staring ahead.

I knew that after losing in a political battle, it was only a matter of time before he was punished.

But the sudden news still shocked me.

Immediately my brain was filled with memories from our past together.

I should have nothing but hatred toward him, and yet…

“Why is it that now I can only remember when he was kind to me…”

“Isn’t it because you’re having a remembrance for the dead?”

Merida was the one responding to my murmurs.

We were on the balcony now.

Sebastian basically forced me away from my desk so I could take a breath of fresh air.

While tasting the pastries Merida made for me, Tanya brought the news.

“Even if it’s someone you hated from the bottom of your heart, you won’t be able to hate him after he dies. Instead of bottling up your hatred inside, it’s more tolerable for the living to substitute the hatred for more pleasant memories instead.”

“Yes, that’s right.”

Merida’s words were a beacon of light for my confused heart.

I had loved him in the past, truly. So much I became blind to everything around me.

And because I loved him so deeply, I hated him with the same intensity too.

When everything fled from me, I felt nothing but endless emptiness.

And after that? Nothing seemed to matter anymore.

Although I still got the occasional chest ache, my current life was too jampacked for me to even spare a thought for him.

When I started paying attention to my surroundings again, I found he was nothing but a modest obstacle.

An enemy who viewed me with hostility and attacked me occasionally from his side.

Of course I was angry at his obstructions, but I didn’t mind his existence overall.

My indifference almost felt tragic.

He hated me so much, and yet I had almost no feelings toward him. Perhaps my past hatred for him had disappeared for a long time now.

In my eyes, he was nothing but a puppet being manipulated from all sides.

And now even that was the distant past.

Seems like it was true after all, that people tend to glorify their past.

When the emotions have faded away, all memories seem worth missing.

“Milady, I have another report. May I?”

While I was still immersed in my melancholy, Tanya spoke up in a worried tone.

“Ah yes, sorry. Keep going.”

“Lady Letticia has written.”

“Oh, she wrote in herself?” I accepted the letter and opened it up immediately.

The handwriting was beautiful and neat, reminding me suddenly of when I had bumped into her on the street.

How similar she looked to Dean, with olive green eyes and dazzling golden hair.

Like the sun, a princess from the fairytales.

Opposite to my impressions, the contents in the letter were extremely practical. I couldn’t help but frown as I read it.

“Excuse me, milady, is something wrong?”

“They’re handing over leadership on the whole Acacia affair to us.”

Tanya and Merida’s eyes went wide.

Of course. This was far more than a territory leader could handle.

After all, it was a national level threat.

“This has already been communicated to the various territory leaders and determined to be the best course the country can take. Although I’d heard Lady Letticia had been participating in politics as Prince Alfred’s aide, this is far beyond an aide’s decision. She’s replaced him entirely in the decision making process.”

“So I suppose this is also proof of her power. The other territory leaders have agreed to it as well.”

“Indeed. The nobles, the national politics…she’s grasped everything.”

“Isn’t that perfect? Since Prince Majid has gained his own power…milady, you’re the best candidate for negotiations.”

“You praise me too highly.”

I had learned from Tanya that since our battle, Prince Majid had risen to the throne to supplant the previous crown king, who had died suddenly.

His actions were within expectations. Or should I say, faster than expected.

Although the official wording was that the previous king had passed away from illness…it was impossible that this could be a natural death, given the perfect timing.

Right when the first prince had been imprisoned, Prince Majid had eliminated the king.

Every single country involved in this had an incredibly chaotic royal family. It was almost laughable.

Beyond the cultural differences, the unchanging desire of humankind was laid bare before us.

“But since they’ve issued this request to us, I will do my best on behalf of our territory.”

“Milady, you really are unmovable. Is this really only for the sake of the territory?” Merida smiled as she asked.

“Yes. Everything I do is for the territory, not for the country. But from the nation’s perspective…I suppose Lady Letticia understands this fully.”

“What do you mean by that?”

“Everything I do for the territory will eventually become something done in service of the country. So that’s why I should do it…she wrote that in the letter.”

“Hm…so the people on that side have also recognized your power.”

“Who knows? Perhaps it’s more a recognition of Duke Armenia’s territory itself.”

We’ll give you a certain degree of freedom, so don’t do anything unsavory. That’s the underlying message I read from the letter.

Iris: “Anyways. Are we prepared for the negotiations?”

Tanya: “Yes.”

Iris: “Thank you. If there’s anything else going on, please report back to me continuously.”

Tanya: “Yes, milady.”

Iris: “Speaking of reports…how’s the battle against the Towair Kingdom?”

Tanya: “Since Prince Alfred joined the fray, there’s been a dramatic change. Especially Earl Monroe’s citizens.”

Iris: “Does that mean citizens are now willing to return to Tasmeria’s rule?”

Tanya: “Yes. His speeches as well as the resources he brought to demonstrate our nation’s might, plus the military defeats he’s dealt the Towair Kingdom’s soldiers…all of that has compounded to resolve the issue of uniting people once more.”

Iris: “You’ve spared him quite some praise.”

Tanya: “I’m just filling you in on what I’ve heard from my informants on the scene. As a matter of fact, because of how glowing all this praise has been, I almost thought my informants had surrendered themselves to his orders and began communicating what he wanted me to hear.”

Iris: “Ah, heh heh. But it seems like that’s not the case.”

Tanya: “Indeed. As a matter of fact, the battlefield does seem to be changing for the better.”

Iris: “Is that so. Seems like he not only has political talent, but also military abilities. I’m curious what he said during the speeches.”

Tanya: “I only heard indirect reports, without any detailed records of the speeches. Apologies for that.”

Iris: “No, I’m just a little curious. But really, if we can maintain our current trajectory and win the battle against the Towair Kingdom, then everything would be ideal.”

Tanya:“Yes…”

Iris: “Thank you, Tanya.”

Tanya: “Milady, I’m not worthy of your thanks.”

That was when Tanya was called away by other responsibilities.

Our conversation reached an end. I picked up the pastries Merida had prepared.

“Ah, this is delicious.”

What spread open in my mouth was a soft, warm sweetness.

Merida: “Good to hear. This is my idea for the police guard and the volunteers in the east, to pay them back for their hard work.”

“Oh?”

“I’ve lowered the cost of production and managed to extend storage time. You see, people…don’t just need to survive to be able to thrive. Having small rewards, small treats, little pleasures here and there…reminds them that living is not so bad, and encourages them to keep going on tomorrow.”

Iris: “Indeed. Was this your own idea?”

Merida: “No, the food was my recipe, but the idea was Sei’s as well.”

Iris: “Good. Prepare more as soon as possible. Just use the merchant guild’s resources to fund it.”

Merida: “To be frank, I’m shocked at your quick decision.”

Iris: “Yes. Because I’m not acting from the role of a substitute leader, but a practical operator who thinks this is a viable, valuable action. Once this has calmed down, the merchants’ guild should make more contributions to society to improve their image. Although it’s becoming a direct profit, I think something positive will come out of it.”

Merida: “One day…yes, seems like the case.”

As if engraving this in her heart, she murmured these words and then smiled brightly at me. Affected by her mood, I also smiled.

“Then I’ll leave this to you. Do a good job, Merida.”

“Yes, milady.”

Although we were discussing work, it was still an enjoyable lunch break.

Supporting the victims and families of this incident, taking care of the injured, and adjusting storage and funding accordingly…although there was a lot to do, because we already had an idea of how to do them we could just go by order.

Reporting to each department, adjusting accordingly, making our own judgement calls on the overall direction.

So far we’ve managed to do this quite well.

Right now we were executing plans and adjusting things as they happened. Right before our negotiations with Acacia, it seemed important to rest and reflect before moving forward.

Although my hand was being forced, I still had Sebastian to thank. That was the thought passing through my mind.

“Sorry to disturb your rest. I have an emergency report for you right now.”

Tanya rushed back, her expression in consternation.

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