“It’s finally over.”
After we’d handed the first prince to Prince Majid and escorted him away, I sat down on the couch with a sigh of relief.
“Mm hm, thanks for your hard work, Iris! You really were professional today.”
I felt a little bitterness in my heart at my mother’s warm words.
That this whole thing went well was thanks to her and Ryle capturing the first prince.
It was a liability to Prince Majid that the first prince was alive…even worse, alive in another country.
He had worked so hard for the throne. The fact that the first prince was abroad meant he was unaccounted for.
After all, people who were against the third prince ascending to the throne were numerous.
He had used underhanded tactics to gain the throne in the first place, plus the Tasmeria Kingdom might have supported the first prince to attack him from abroad. If this information managed to spread domestically, his supporter base could be destabilized.
But judging from personnel and resources, Tasmeria wouldn’t invade. So what he truly feared was his own people.
And that’s why he had to bring the first prince back at any cost…the result of everything confirmed my guesses.
Who knew what would happen to the first prince when he got home? He might not even survive. But he was an enemy, one who’d threatened my people’s lives.
I had no pity for him.
“Mother, you were quite calm too, smiling the whole time…not surprising, I suppose, coming from you.”
“Well, I was certain of your movements during the negotiations. If the middle-aged man might have done something, I was confident I could handle him.”
I couldn’t help but laugh at her words.
I don’t know if I should compliment her on being brave or something else…but this was how my mother was.
“A non-aggression pact and a trade deal. On some level these are the most beneficial deals for us to strike with a large country like that. Plus, the reduction in tariffs and limitations on exports for our territory…this whole thing was a great victory for us in the end.”
“For me personally, I think we lost the moment there was a conflict. After all, there can be no victims if there’s no conflict. I tried my best to prevent conflict…but didn’t manage to accomplish this. If I don’t really reflect on this, I won’t have done my duty for the people.”
“Iris, you’re quite harsh on yourself.”
“Not at all. I’m a noble with a burden to bear, so this is nothing special. I’ve made a mistake that apologies won’t be able to cover.”
“I see. And it’s because you are like this that your people are so willing to follow you.”
I smiled at my mother.
Sipping on the herbal tea Tanya prepared for us, we relaxed together.
Because we’d been so tense the whole time, the scent of the tea seemed to suffuse through our whole bodies.
“I’ll stay for a week longer, and if nothing else happens I’ll be returning home with the rest of Duke Anderson’s guard.”
“Good. Although this is nothing special, let me give you a gift to express my thanks. Also, I want to throw them a banquet before they leave. It won’t be anything too grand.”
“Of course, everyone will be overjoyed. They’re all quite excited at the delicious food to be found in this territory.”
“That’s great to hear. I’ll let Merida show off her talent during the feast.”
“Oh, I’m looking forward to this.”
Seeing my mother smile warmly, I felt like the days that had evaded me for so long were finally back. The tea tasted all that much better on my lips.
How long has it been since I could sit down and enjoy a beverage like this?
“Milady, there’s been a letter from Lady Letticia.”
Sebastian presented a letter to me.
I couldn’t imagine what might be written within, so I opened it clumsily and read it from beginning to end.
I’d just managed to finish reading when she said this. Folding the letter up, I spoke to her.
“She wants me to go to the capital and see Miss Yuri.”
“Huh…what’s going on here?”
My mother looked thoroughly confused.
To be honest, I felt much the same.
“It seems like Yuri was refusing to speak out in the past, but has changed her tune recently to say that she’d speak if she saw me. But why me?”
“Who knows? I have no idea what that girl is thinking.”
I couldn’t help but make a face at my mother’s words.
“Milady, are you going to be heading to the capital?”
“Yes. Our negotiations are over and there should be nothing to worry about with day-to-day operations. I’m quite bothered as to why I need to be the one there. Prepare transportation, let’s leave as soon as possible.”
“I’ll have to extend my apologies to Duke Anderson’s guard…”
“No worries. As part of Duke Armenia’s family, let me escort you for part of the journey.”
Perhaps they would even be more happy without me here, I couldn’t help but think.
Although I’ve already met them alongside my mother to express my thanks…my face was twitching when I realize they were looking at my mother not just with respect, but with something close to reverence. Honestly it was a great memory in retrospect.
After all, with how loyal they were to my mother it was only appropriate that she lead their celebration.
As a matter of fact, it was quite shocking no one among them wanted to stay.
“Well then, I’m counting on you, Mother. Tanya, help me prepare, please.”
They both nodded in response.