I Will Quit the Entourage of the Villainess 53
“Father, may I come in?”
“Ah, Cosette. Enter.”
I had come to visit father’s study.
Of course, this was in order to talk about Master Alfred.
I wanted a satisfying explanation for his recent actions.
“There was a duel at the academy, and well…”
He nodded with understanding when I finished telling him what had happened.
“Cosette, did you know that Master Alfred is also a marquis?”
Master Alfred was a teacher at the academy, but he was also deeply involved with the management of the institution as well.
Therefore, he had no class that he was in charge of, and no one seemed to know what exactly he did as a teacher.
As he had a reputation for being elegant and refined, and he would sometimes instruct the students in dancing and etiquette, but he wasn’t always present at the academy.
It had not been too long since he had replaced his predecessor, and so he was quite young. But it was said that he was brilliant and able to speak boldly of matters of state, even to the prime minister.
“Marquis Granshiel’s actions are…without a doubt, an attempt to push her away from the position of queen. Lady Remy, that is…and you, Cosette.”
My eyes widened at my father’s words.
Why on earth would my name be brought up here?
I had absolutely no intention of becoming queen.
I do feel like I have been able to become a good friend of His Highness, Leonheart, but this was something completely different.
Who would ever want to be placed in such a tiresome position as queen?
In my past life, I was once chairperson of the Parent-Teacher Association at my daughter’s school. It was the most troublesome thing.
Father saw my surprise, and he opened his mouth with some exasperation.
“The young lady who is the closest to his Royal Highness. That would be you, Cosette. And while you may not have noticed it yourself, your skill and ability to invent has established a trading company and explosive new trends. Taking all of that into account, it is no surprise that some would view you as a prime candidate for queen.”
“But, wasn’t mother credited for the development of Signora?”
“Such things cannot be hidden from everyone. It is already common knowledge that you were deeply involved with it.”
“Oh, no…yes, I see…”
Thinking about it now, it was not too surprising.
I had made myself too visible for someone who was trying to stay hidden. No matter how much you tried to prevent people from talking, mouths tended to become loose.
This was all a result of my own carelessness.
If I really wanted to hide it, I should have tried harder.
“But you are still the preferable candidate of the two. There are some among the nobility who would never accept lady Remy as queen.”
“Some among the nobility…:”
“Remy’s father is Duke Dolanju, the prime minister. If his own daughter became the queen, then his power would be enormous. And he is already considered to be very powerful. And if that were to increase…”
“He would be able to even go against the king…?”
“Indeed. The crown prince would be little more than a puppet.”
Hmmm…I suppose it meant that many nobles did not want Duke Dolanju to dominate everything.
However, if Duke Dolanju were to govern fairly, then was that not a good thing…? As a modern Japanese person, the emperor was more of a symbol.
“What kind of man is this Duke Dolanju?”
Father looked like he had eaten something bitter when I asked this question.
“Hmm… There is no doubt that he is very accomplished as a statesman. In both bad and good ways. Still, it was mostly thanks to him that there was little chaos during the succession of the current king. However, he is clearly hoarding more money than what his income should allow. Most understand this as funds that he is using for armaments on his own lands.”
“If it is clear that he has more money, why hasn’t he been suspected of anything? Why hasn’t he been dealt with?”
“Proof…there is none… Even if we knew that he was doing something illegal, there is no way to pursue a case against a duke without evidence.”
“That is true…”
But there was something there that I wasn’t used to hearing.
I gulped and asked him the question. His face became even more serious.
“The duke has long advised that we declare war and invade the neighboring country of Rumerica. It is a kingdom that is very rich in resources. Yes, there is an appeal to his plans, but a war will exhaust the country. Most of the others believe that it would be better to develop resources here…”
Duke Dolanju’s lands were vast, and some of them were along the border of Rumerica. It was not difficult to imagine that those armaments were for when the war would begin.
However, a war… It was something very far away for me, as a modern person from Japan. If war could in any way be avoided, then it must.
“Does that mean that Granshiel is trying to stop Duke Dolanju’s domination, and thereby preventing a war?”
“I think so. Or perhaps he wants to put someone of his own choosing in the position of queen.”
“Do you have any guesses about who that might be?”
“I do not. But I do think she would be among the students at the academy. Since he supported lady Angie, it is possible that it is her…though, Baron Bowie said that they had not been in contact.”
However…considering that Angie used to have access to the royal palace, there is plenty of reason to believe that she was able to contact Master Alfred.
I looked into father’s eyes.
“I do not want there to be a war. What should I do in order to help?”
“In order to stop Duke Dolanju from gaining too much power, we should expose his activities… But that would be very difficult. Another thing would be to support a candidate for the queen that is not lady Remy. Lady Angie…or even you, Cosette. You make have been seen as part of Remy’s entourage, but I myself am not on the side of the duke.”
Politically speaking, father did not side with Duke Dolanju or Marquis Granshiel.
That meant, that if his daughter did become queen, he would either side with the crown prince, or stay neutral.
Me, as the queen.
I had never thought about it before, and I did not want it.
Besides, becoming queen wasn’t just an office. It meant becoming Leonheart’s wife.
Obviously, you couldn’t ignore the political motives of royal marriages, but I couldn’t imagine that things would carry out without taking his will into consideration.
Maybe this was just the way that nobles think… But I did have a wish for the prince to be able to marry the person that he loved.
I didn’t want to be queen, but what if it meant being Leonheart’s wife…?
My own feelings were confused, and I could do nothing but stare at my feet in silence.
If I wanted to prevent the war without becoming queen, then I had to expose Duke Dolanju of his illegal activities. But even father was unable to gather any evidence, so how would I do any better?
There was something that I needed to ask.
“If we did expose Duke Dolanju, what would happen to Remy…and Remias?”
I understood that the Duke had to be exposed. But, if he were convicted, what would happen to those two?
I looked at father seriously, he smiled as if to comfort me.
“Don’t worry, Cosette. If those two have nothing to do with the Duke’s crimes, they will just inherit his position, though their rank may be lowered. But it may become harder for lady Remy to get married…”
Could it be, that she would be sent to a convent?
Father saw that I had become pale, and he became a little frantic.
“Do-do not worry, Cosette. Still, this is a hard thing…”
Yes, perhaps there was nothing we could do about it.
However…they were innocent of the crime.
Duels were conducted with your own will and responsibility, so it could not be helped.
But why did Remy have to be responsible for this?
I needed to prevent her from being sent to the convent.
I had a renewed conviction as I left my father’s study.