Son-con – Vol. 7.5 Ch. 05



 Determination at Sixteen Years Old (Part 1)

Castell looked at the ring in his hand with a blank look. It was a very simple ring without any pattern on it. It was the simplest ring you could find. As a matter of fact, it was so small that it was pitiful. It was akin to a wedding gift a penniless man would give his wife, but this ring had been exposed to all sorts of hardships. Her Majesty had never removed the ring from her finger. He looked at the ring in his finger and saw a faint flame emitted from it. The young man couldn’t sleep as he looked at the reflection from the ring.

“This is the ring my husband gave me…”              

‘This is what Her Majesty’s husband gave her…?’          

Castell looked at the ring and spaced out. The young man’s heart was comparable to a lake in spring creating warm ripples. This must be the ring that carries Her Majesty’s husband’s love.

‘Is Her Majesty suggesting the same implicit meaning to me? No, no, no, I can’t do this. I can’t. I can’t have any crooked thoughts for Her Majesty. ‘

“Your Majesty, what do you think of Castell?”

The Empress looked up from a pile of documents to look at Alice who wore a stern expression. The Empress touched her forehead and with a smile, replied, “What’s wrong? You’re looking at me so seriously, Alice.”

Alice replied in a serious tone, “I noticed that you had given Castell your ring. I want to know what you think of Castell.”

“I don’t think my opinion of Castell affects anything, does it?”

The Empress lowered her head again. She didn’t seem to care about the subject and had no desire to respond to the question. Perhaps the question was meaningless to her compared to the pile of documents before her.

“Your Majesty, it may not have anything to do with you, but it is very important for the inner court. Today, you rewarded Castell with something you always kept on you, and it was such an important item, too. That sort of item is a very sensitive thing for the inner court.”

The Empress looked up at Alice with an expression of interest and asked, “What do you want to know then?”

“I just want to know how you see Castell.”

The Empress thought about it for a moment then placed her pen down on the table. She went to sit on the bed and then lay down. She looked at Alice who was serious and nodded. She indifferently replied, “I like him.”

Alice froze up. She hesitated before asking, “You… like him?”

“Yes.  He adapted to his work in less than a month. He’s got my life organised well, doesn’t say much and is quick-witted, so it’s a given that I like him.”

The Empress calmly smiled and asked, “And he’s my personal attendant. Why would I have kept him as my personal attendant if I don’t like him?”

Alice looked at the Empress and seriously asked, “So you are fond of Castell?”

Alice’s question caught the Empress off guard. The Empress stroked her long-black hair and then asked with a smile, “Is it so important if I am fond of him or not?”

“Of course it is. Your Majesty, we, who serve in the inner court, are the same as your dog, Troy.” Alice looked at the Empress with absolute seriousness. She sighed and then elaborated, “It is a very sensitive topic for us. For us, we rely on your love to live. If we have lost your favour then we have lost our foundation. Therefore, we care very much about who you favour, and we are also very sensitive about it. We got really bothered when you gave Castell that ring today.”

The Empress smiled and then rolled over to look at the mantle of the bed overhead. She responded, “You guys are strange. So now I have to pay attention to your feelings, in addition to paying attention to the power balance between the vassal states?”

“What we want to know now is if you favour Castell. If you favour Castell, Castell will be your favoured vassal. If you favour Castell, his status in the palace will be completely reversed. At present, he is just a servant nobody cares about. But after you decide to favour him, he will become someone everyone will try to ingratiate themself with.”

“I never considered that. However, I promised to give Castell a reward. That’s why I gave Castell the ring. The ring isn’t my most important one. I’ve already lost my most important ring.” The Empress looked at Alice with a slightly lonely expression. She laughed in a soft tone and then went on, “I never thought about favouring Castell. I don’t have a favoured vassal, either. Castell is just a personal attendant to me.”

“I see.” Alice let out a sigh of relief. She then looked at the Empress and asked, “But in that case, Castell will be leaving soon, right? He has been your personal attendant for a year. What job do you intend to have him take on next year?”

“Huh?” The Empress paused for a moment then stood up and asked, “Why? Why didn’t I know there was such a rule?”

“Castell will be seventeen next year. How can a man that has come of age be your personal attendant? If you were a man and Castell was a woman, then there would be no problems. However, you are without a spouse, Your Majesty. If you have a man who has come of age as your personal attendant, then there will definitely be rumours. That will negatively impact your image to a great degree. We cannot allow a man that has come of age to be your personal attendant; therefore, you must prepare to switch him out for a new personal attendant.”

“I don’t care about that sort of stuff!”

The Empress scrubbed her head with slight frustration. She exclaimed, “Just what are these rules? Let them gossip to their heart’s content. I know myself best. And not only do I have a husband, I even have a kid. How could I possibly lust for a child?! Their gossiping is all rumours.”

“Rumours are very frightening. Your Majesty, you may not be guilty; you may have a husband and child, but they do not know that. I think it would not be so bad for Castell to remain as your personal attendant once you have found your child. At present, though, you must maintain your image as the Empress. You cannot allow negative news about you to spread as a consequence of this matter.”

Alice looked at the Empress with a stern look and continued, “Further, Castell is just a Valkyrie to you, right? You only saved him. I think that you could have as many personal attendants as you liked, so less Castell is no big deal.”

The Empress nodded. She silently looked at the documents on her desk. She then smiled bitterly and replied, “It seems that my life is never stable… I have a child and yet am forced to be separated from him. As soon as I established the empire, all sorts of troubles arose. As soon as I got a personal attendant, I have to swap him for another.”

“Those things cannot be helped, Your Majesty. It is precisely because you are the most outstanding person in this world that you have to deal with the most troubles. Nevertheless, Your Majesty, no matter what happens, you will be the Empress for sure. I promise you that as long as I am alive, nobody shall threaten your throne. I will allow nobody to. I will also inspect everyone around you. I will not allow a single traitorous vassal to appear!”

Alice looked at Her Majesty with a tense look. Her gaze was filled with fanaticism and determination. The Empress looked back at her. She stroked her head while smiling and then softly said, “I see… I feel assured then…”

 

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