Chapter 25 The Smiling Princess Part 2 7

 The Smiling Princess Part 2 7

 Those who had fainted were brought in, those who had behaved badly were made to clean up the mess, and they were hurriedly escorted out, while those who had ranted and raved without permission were restrained and thrown into the wards.

 The singers who had been praising the former temple chief who had been let out of the wards all fell to the floor and silently expressed their gratitude to Bartolomeos, then left the ritual room accompanied by the knights.

"Where are those people? They haven't been released completely, have they?"

"Yes. I think they are in a room where those who are ready to be condemned are grouped together."

 Martin's question was answered by Edeltraut.

 It seems that the maids who are capable of fighting have been sent out.

 Three of the maids who had been taking such good care of Alexandra and the others have disappeared.

 The maids who took their place seemed to be skilled and prepared drinks and food to cool down their excited bodies.

"Well, they must be disillusioned after seeing her like that."

 The former temple head's followers? The followers of the former head of the temple must have despaired at the fact that he had escaped alone in the form of infantile regression.

 That's why they can wait for the absolution quietly.

"Maybe they were still... pure. It seems that there are few people who are aware of their own sins and can wait for absolution."

 At Martin's words, who was drinking a cup of well-chilled, sugar-filled milk tea, Boniface, who was also drinking a cup of chilled, unsweetened straight tea, shook his head while cowering his shoulders exaggeratedly.

"Should I go too? I have a modicum of experience with warding magic, and I'm confident in my ability to subdue it in a pinch."

 Ferdinand stops Annemarie, who is about to sit up.

"Don't worry, Annemarie-sama, there are only a few more troubled people than we expected, we have enough manpower."

"Yes, Annemarie-sama, and I'm worried about my sister-sama."

 Sylvia, who had been confined to the temple most of the time and had only been in and out of the castle in limited places, was less informed than Alexandra.

 It was also because Ferdinand dared not to let her hear about it.

 That's why she doesn't understand how capable Annemarie is.

 He is genuinely worried about Annemarie.


"What is it?"

"...I think I understand how you feel now, sister-sama. It's a very, very happy thing to be adored by your sister!"

 Ferdinand smiles quietly at Annemarie's excited words, and Sylvia laughs in relief.

"Yes. I've been through so much, but I'm so happy to know your heart and to have this time to talk peacefully with you."

"If you don't let me in, I'll sulk."

"I'm sorry. I've always taken you for granted in the family."

"...Looking at you, maybe marriage isn't so bad after all?"

"Well, I may not be able to meet someone I'm so in love with, but I might as well hope for an empire, right?"

 I couldn't help but smile at Martin at Annemarie and Boniface's uncharacteristic reactions.

"...Now that things seem to have settled down, let's take questions."

 A man stood up, spitting violently as he straightened up at Bartolomeus' words.

 I am a member of the Ziege family," Edeltraut told him.

"Mostly, Your Majesty!"

 But the man, who started to speak without raising his hand or being allowed to do so, was immediately restrained.

"Hey! Hey! Let go of me, you sama! I'm your queen!"

"I only have one true queen, Eleonora! I've told you many times. You're asking the same questions anyway, aren't you? Back off.

"That's terrible! How dare you refuse to listen to a loyal subject like us! Your Majesty!"

 The man who was desperately chasing her was only talking.

 The knights grabbed him by both arms and dragged him away.

"Your Majesty! It's only because Carla is a fool! We are!"

"...I only accept questions."

 Bartolomeos' dumbfounded voice was met with nods from the more sensible people.

 A few people raised their hands as the man was led away.

 The woman who was allowed to do so stood up slowly and gracefully picked up the hem of her skirt and folded her waist.

 It was a beautiful gesture, but it was not a commendable one, as decorum was considered a minimum in a judging situation.

"That's the dressmaker's dress that she used, isn't it? I've seen them a few times."

"They had a reputation for being expensive, unrefined, and of poor quality, but the owner is a first-rate flatterer."

 Without even bothering to look at Edeltraut's and Boniface's descriptions, I can understand why the woman's clothes are so out of place.

 To add to that, although she was trying to look lovely with lots of frills and ribbons, her thighs and bosom were vulgarly exposed, and she looked neither youthful loveliness nor age-appropriate glamour.

"I would like to ask His Majesty Emperor Bartholomew. Will you have mercy on me?"

"...Mercy is not mine to give, but God's. I have no answer to that question."


"If I tell you what I think, not the answer to your question, then you cannot have mercy."

"No! How could I be so foolish? I have only been able to defy my tyrannical father and husbands!"

 The tears that flowed down her cheeks would have been beautiful or pitiful to anyone who saw her.

"I don't know about you, but you put on too much white powder, don't you? Are you aware that your tears are peeling it off?"


 Boniface erupted at Annemarie's question.

 A thick band of tears had formed from her eyes to her chin, and the white powder in that area had peeled off.

 There was one large pimple floating in the air, which stood out strangely.

"Do you know how much a dress made by the same dressmaker as the former lady-in-waiting costs? The dress you are wearing now must have cost at least enough for a family of four to live in for a year without hardship. Your family is in such dire straits that you've been petitioning for tax breaks for years. As your daughter and wife, it's impossible for you not to notice!"

"Me! I didn't know! I was reprimanded that women should stay out of politics, so I tried to stay out of it! If I had known, I would have refrained and warned you!"

"You can't say you didn't know. Every family that is loyal to the Crown has a wife who manages the house. Being involved in politics and managing the house are two completely different things. That's no excuse! You will be punished accordingly for your obsession with dressing yourself up and wasting the people's blood money."

 The woman shuddered and collapsed on the spot.

 You've got some nerve, aren't you? Ferdinand whispered.

"Do you have any more questions?"

 A number of people are still raising their hands.

 One by one, Bartolomeos pointed, not so much answering questions as debunking and rejecting self-serving opinions and entreaties.

 Finally, at last.

"If the Empire of Mysia is to be destroyed, then we nobles must die for the Crown, for the Empire. But what will happen to the people who have lost their lords? Will a new lord be able to guarantee their lives? I would like you to tell me what God has told you, in as much detail as possible."

"Are you in a hurry? Are you?"

"I am in a hurry. If we are told that our country will be destroyed today or tomorrow, we must let the innocent go. We must be ready to let them go. If Alexandra-sama is to be married, I think it would be best to lie down in the empire and ask for her hand..."

 Her eyes focused on me.

 He seems to be one of those who struggled under the vizier.

 Martin stares at Bartolomeus.

 Bartolomeos shakes his head.

"Wait until Alexandra leaves the country. No harm will come to you."

"But! The people still don't know! At least the country will be destroyed because of Alexandra-sama's long disgrace and the wrath of the gods. That's why we're going to die! I have to tell her! You can't even apologize to Alexandra-sama!"

 The man's eyes were wide open and tears were falling.

 He wiped the tears away roughly with his cuff-it wasn't like a civil servant, but he was very heroic.

"...The good people genuinely adored Alexandra. Alexandra has helped me a lot. Alexandra would say she'd rather receive thanks than apologies. Right? Alexandra."

 She looks at me and I stand up.

 Immediately, the man turns to Alexandra and bends at the waist.

 Confronting her head on, he reminded her of the explanation in some of the documents Bartolomeos had given her that he was one of the main people who prevented the Vizier from doing anything to Alexandra.

"Yes. I was very young as a member of the royal family, and I did not realize for a long time that Tak-San was trying to be kind to me and guide me. Therefore, no apology is necessary. You must have gone through a lot of pain because of me, acting against the Prime Minister's wishes. Thank you for everything. I have no word from the gods, but I am deeply grateful to the people who have helped me in every way. So please don't worry. Please believe that the future is bright for your people and for you."

 It is strange that there is no apology from the one who should have apologized, but from the one who wants to be grateful.

  He should be more proud, he should be.

 He should be more proud of his living-sama who remained loyal to the Imperial family without giving in to power.

 Above all, his heart and soul, which cares for and protects those weaker than himself.

"Thank you for your kind words to me, who, due to lack of hands and talent, was unable to protect the precious Alexandra-sama!  Please let my people know."

"Yes. I'll be counting on you. Please tell them that the First Princess Alexandra was very grateful for your help."

"As soon as we leave this place! Emperor Bartolomeus. Thank you for answering my questions. It was also a great honor to hear from Alexandra-sama. Now you can rest easy. I can now give you the voice of God."

"Hmm. God have mercy on those who are good. If anyone has any doubts, tell them the emperor and the princess told you so."

"Thank you for your kind words. That concludes my question. Thank you very much."

 The man who had bowed to Bartolomeos and Alexandra, as well as to Martin and the others, sat down and unfolded his handkerchief, burying his face in it.

"...Someone like him, I wish I had one."

"I'll give him a call. I'm sure that when His Majesty gets settled, he'll come with some of his excellent lords."

"I want people who are not only good but also trustworthy, so I'm counting on you."

 As he listened to the exchange between Martin and Boniface, the questioning seemed to be over.  His question and answer session probably convinced the nobles who were the conscience of the country.

"Then, this concludes the question and answer session!"

 While those who tried to leave the room like rabbits were condemned by the words of the end, there were those who went out without hesitation.

 The people inside the wards were taken away somewhere after their individual wards were reestablished.

 The clinging eyes of Dietfried appear and disappear.

 It was as if he was momentarily taken aback by something extraordinary that had suddenly appeared.

 As Bartolomeos, Martin, and Alexandra waited for the preparations to be made, Edetrout appeared in full imperial dress.

 Edeltraut looked good in the white formal attire of the Empire, but he also looked good in the black formal attire of the Empire.

"Sorry to keep you waiting, sister."

"The Imperial formal attire also suits you well, Edeltraut."

"Are you sure you don't want to change?"

 The black outfit she wished to wear for the absolution was the color of the Empire's formal dress, so there was no problem.

 However, the ornaments are all made of diamonds, and the cloak that was prepared for the cold weather as the empire approached was black with silver thread and elaborate embroidery all over.

"The cloak is opulent and warm. I think the inside should be simple. You'll have to change again when we get to the Empire. Really! It's not easy being a woman."

"Some of us have it as easy as me, sir."

 Annemarie appeared, looking just like Edeltraut.

"Well! Annemarie. You're not in a dress, are you? But... like Edeltraut... it looks terrific on you."

 A beauty in men's clothing.

 There's no better way to describe Annemarie right now.

 Dignified and beautiful.

"It certainly suits you. There are high-ranking female soldiers in the Empire, but I doubt there's a woman who wears men's formal wear better than Kun."

"Oh. Are there women on the other side who like to wear men's clothes like I do?"

"At first, I started wearing it with the same attitude as kun, 'Don't be insulted! At first, I think I started wearing it with the same spirit as -kun... But now, I think female soldiers who are capable tend to wear men's clothes... Single men say it's a waste! It's a waste! -If kun shows off her figure and dress, I think both men and women will be able to change their attitudes for the better."

"I'm honored! I'll do my best to live up to my sister-sama and Martin-sama's name!"

 Boniface taps Annemarie on the shoulder as she straightens her posture.

"It would be nice if you could relax and get a good foothold first, Annemarie."

 In the past, I would have waved you off! And Annemarie, who would have waved her hand away, responded to Boniface's words with a carefree smile.

"Yes. Of course! I'll make sure my brother, Ferdinand and Sylvia have an amazing foothold! Please don't worry."

"Wait! I don't want you to forget about me too!"

 As Edeltraut grabbed Annemarie's other shoulder, Ferdinand and Sylvia chuckled and gently placed their palms on Edeltraut's shoulders.

"Of course, we are expecting you, brother Edeltraut."

"Ferdinand and I... it may take us a while to get there, but we will be there, we will be there. Please protect my sister-sama."

 Sylvia bowed to Edeltraut, who nodded, and wished Martin and Alexandra a safe journey.

"I pray to the gods that Martin-sama, Alexandra-sama, and the rest of your party will reach the Volturnine Empire safely."

 Next to Silvia, who was praying with her eyes downcast, Ferdinand did the same.

 Her sincere prayer seemed to be heard with surprising ease.

 I could feel the presence of something precious protecting me.

"Thank you, both of you. I'll write to you when I get there."

"We'll be waiting."

 The others who were to arrive later bowed deeply.

 Only Bartolomeos remained near Alexandra.


"Yes. Father."

"Take care of yourself. I, too, will visit when I can find the time to go to the Empire, though it may take some time."

"Yes, I'll be waiting. Father, please, take care. When I come to the Empire, I will cherish every day with the bliss that your father has bestowed upon me."

"Very well, Alexandra. I wish you all the happiness in the world."

"Well then, we'd better be going, Alexandra. I'm sure you'll miss me, but I'm sure you'll see whoever you want to see again."


 I took Martin's hand and we both bowed our heads, broken at the waist.

 I could hear them sobbing as if they couldn't take it anymore.

 Alexandra smiled at the people who couldn't hide their tears of farewell and said that she was so happy that she couldn't help it.

 She settles down in the luxurious carriage in which only Alexandra rides.

 When she looked out of the small window, everyone waved her off.

 The carriage continues with Martin on his horse.

 Edeltraut and Annemarie seem to have taken the rear guard with their own men.

 Alexandra continued to wave until she could no longer see the people leaving.

 It was more heartbreaking than she had imagined.

 When everyone was out of sight, Alexandra called out to Martin and then closed the window.

 She breathed a small sigh of relief at being alone for the first time in a long time.

 Eyes downcast, she mutters with trembling lips.

"That's enough."

 You can be happy now.

 I've been in despair ever since I can remember.

 Every time I had the faintest hope my heart was broken.

 Why only me! I've wailed countless times.

 I could not afford to accept the feelings of those who cared for me.

 I didn't have the kindness to care for those who suffered more than I did.

 I can't forget the fear I felt for myself when I realized that.

 No, but...

 The people I care about sincerely want Alexandra to be happy.

 They laugh and say that Alexandra's happiness is their happiness.

 There are people who will take your hand to make you happy.

 There's only one person who'll swear to never let go of your hand.

 So, come on.

 That's enough.

 You don't have to hate happiness.

 You can seek it.

 You can cherish it.

 You can soak it in.

 As long as you don't drown.

 Wiping the tears from her chin with the tips of her fingernails, Alexandra smiles to herself in the carriage.

 You can't show that smile to anyone but me! It was a smile so full of compassion and charm that it made Martin wary of his surroundings.