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Chapter 51: Loyal Dogs
With a smile still plastered on his face, Borzeff’s head rolled off to the side of the throne.
After a brief pause, Peragene screamed.
Jolga, jumped back from the throne before he could be sprayed with the blood gushing out of the now headless body. Wielding his sword somewhat uncomfortably, he slashed at Peragene’s leg.
Her legs losing strength, she crumpled to the floor as the tip of the blade was pressed against her neck. Completely caught off guard by the sudden violence, by the time the soldiers escorting Jolga grabbed their weapons in a panic it was already too late.
“Catch him—! “
“Uwooooooa! ! “
“Proceed—! ! “
Using that scream as a signal; Palcemith’s Royal Knights, each clad in matching armor, broke through the doors of the audience room and rushed in.
‘What! ? “
“The knights should have been locked up! ? “
Although the surprised soldiers fought back the room was thrown into chaos, and thus they were no match for the Royal Knights who fought in tandem under a distinct chain of command.
“Fuck, where are the reinforcements!? “
“What the hell is that… gwaaah!” “
One by one, the mercenaries were cornered and slain by the knights. Finally, only a few remained alive, including the soldier who guided us, inside of the audience chamber.
“W-Why…! ? That sword, the knights, where did they…!? “
While I was under no obligation to answer the questions she threw at me in agitation, I decided to humor her.
Well, he was a capable man, having tricked her so thoroughly.
“…Your third-rate soldiers should’ve searched us properly.”
“That’s what happens when you concentrate only on my body. They should’ve paid attention to what I was carrying too.”
During the physical inspection, I purposely drew attention to my figure as Morino assisted me in taking off my knee-length coat.
This coat, known as a justacorps, originally was thickly padded so that the hems spread out when worn. Even if a considerably thick material is layered over the back of the fabric, it would be difficult to discern when worn. Of course, it would’ve been obvious if it had been touched, but I had handed the coat to Morino before they could examine it, and took the jacket back when it was Morino’s turn to be searched. Looking at the perfunctory pat-down we received, I feel like Morino and I could’ve hidden more things under our jackets. But then, we were pretending to be weak, so there was no meaning in carrying more blades.
“And you must wonder where the soldiers came from, right? You should’ve gathered more information.”
“What does that… mean?
“Commander! Lord Anderheim! “
Seems like they had gained control while I was talking idly.
One of the squad commanders rushed up to Jolga, who was standing beside me, and I.
‘We’ve secured the inside of the audience room. I will send half to liberate the Knights’ station. Sigurd has already gone to secure our route.”
“Ahh, you can leave it to my son. What about Malacia and my daughter? “
“As instructed, the Head Priest and Julieta are hiding inside the Shrine. Amy-cha-…, the Temple Knights are all guarding the two of them. If anything unusual were to happen, they’ll go to His Grace Kharis’ side.”
“Good work. Well done.”
Waiting for the knight who bowed to me to step back, I gave a slight smile as I tilted my head and looked at him, just like when I underwent the physical examination.
“Well, if your information is insufficient, it will no doubt be difficult. The Royal Knights are now close to the Temple Knights. A certain number of knights have been dispatched to the Shrine to help and guide them in their duties. In other words, a part of the fighting force is now permanently stationed outside the castle. I only summoned them.”
“I never heard about that…! “
“Because I never made it public. Nevertheless, it was your short-sightedness that led to you never finding out… By the way, Jolga.”
I whispered into Jolga’s ear as he kept his sword pointed at Peragene.
“That man who examined me… seems to have taken a bit of a liking to me, don’t you think? “
Hearing my words.
Jolga turned his lips down into a frown and, just as I thought he would, let out a sigh and the next moment, that soldier’s head went flying.
I shrugged my shoulders.
Doesn’t he have quite the temper?
Seeing how Jolga sulked as he once again held his sword at Peragene’s neck, I felt a little regret at my careless provocation, thinking about the troubles this could cause me later on.
“Ahh, no, no! …Ahh, Lord Borzeff…! “
Peragene on the other hand, despite her movements being severely restricted by the blade pressed against her neck, turned to the head rolling on the floor and desperately tried to reach out to it. It seemed she loved that man in her own way. Stepping on her back with my shoe, I grabbed her hair and forcefully pulled her head up. With the tip of the sword looming in front of her, I whispered into Peragene’s ear.
“Well then, shall we make a deal, Madame Peragene?”
“I fear I’ll have to contradict the words I said before, but I don’t think it’s a bad thing for you.”
“What…do you… plan to… do…? “
Pointing at Borzeff’s smiling head, I slowly drew a line across Peragene’s neck with my finger.
“You will be the bait to lure your daughter, Vanellope, here.”
“In any case, you must have brought her with you, right? So that she could advise you if anything went wrong.”
“Stop, spare my daughter…! “
I scoffed at Peragene’s motherly pleas and opened my arms in a theatrical gesture.
Not wanting to miss my words, what was left of the third type of enemy waited with bated breath.
“As a traitor conspiring to bring down Palcemith, just what are you saying! Ahh, certainly, your daughter is one of the few remaining blood relatives of the Hero Palcemith! “
“If, if by any chance, Baron Suey makes a mistake that could cost the Crown Prince his body or worse, his life… your daughter will become a tremendously precious existence.”
Furthermore, she was young and unmarried.
“We must make haste to Lady Vanellope’s side. I wish to bring her under our protection as soon as possible, before she can come to harm. I believe that Lady Vanellope isn’t a princess who would waste such meritorious individuals.”
I looked from the corner of my eye as I nodded.
Amongst the enemy that were gathered in a corner of the room.
One slipped through the crowd of people and passed through the gaps of the broken door, running off to the path outside.
As I jerked my chin as an indication, Morino, who was hiding in the gap of the curtains beside the throne, stood up and nodded back.
“I’ll have Lutora chase him.”
“I see. …Did you remember the rest? “
“Yes. I shall begin the screening at once.”
“All right, get on with it. If it goes well, you could make them your assistants.”
Giving a sidelong glance at the retainers, who didn’t quite understand what was going on, I quickly sent Morino off to the office, with a few knights in tow as guards.
Seeing him off, I once again turned to the anxious retainers in the corner of the room and slowly clapped.
“…Congratulations to the Successful Candidates. You endured well.”
The number of people left was only a fraction of the amount that had originally been gathered in the room.
There were no more than twenty that remained.
“You are the only vassals that truly care for His Highness the Crown Prince. I’m sure, once this rebellion is suppressed, you will be praised by His Highness. Even this unworthy Anderheim will never forget your faces.”
They didn’t know the meaning hidden in my words.
There was no reason to tell them now, so I left it out.
“…! Lord Anderheim, was this perhaps… a test of loyalty…! ? “
“No way, then this rebellion was! ? “
“Haha, of course, that is impossible. But it is true that we took advantage of this opportunity to see who we could truly trust.”
I smiled and shook my head as the retainers pressed me for answers.
“The first test was the gold in the basement of my former residence, which is in actuality a national treasury. However, it is built in such a way that it can’t be carted out so easily. I’m sure Baron Suey will give priority to arresting His Highness, but those that went scrambling for gold will be captured by the knights guarding the perimeter of the mansion. The second test was when His Highness Borzeff spoke of bringing revolution to your lands. Everyone who jumped at the chance of a profitable business opportunity isn’t completely untrustworthy, but it is a fact that they prioritized their own gain over the wellbeing of the Crown Prince. I cannot place them as the pillars of the government. And lastly… I knew the last of His Highness Borzeff’s compatriots would still remain. The final traitors.”
Borzeff was now dead.
His daughter, the blood that flowed within her, had become a precious existence.
I made them aware of it, and they immediately ran to secure it.
“It was Count Lowe, right…”
“I never thought… he is a distant relative of His Highness, but he certainly does have a little of Palcemith’s blood in him.”
That was exactly why he knew the worth of Vanellope, who was the closest to being a direct descendent, so well.
It was because of this that he sprung into action upon hearing my words.
“One wouldn’t know who the young lady was with just her name… it was because he knows what she looks like that he scrambled to get to her… Count Lowe was a prior acquaintance, wasn’t he? “
“You can keep silent. But your daughter’s fate might change? “
I replied half-heartedly.
In any case, it would take a while for the package to arrive, so I decided to take advantage of the wait and butter up my pet dog, Jolga, a little as I took off his fetters. But… they wouldn’t come off. Looks like the keys were still in Peragene’s hands.
While fiddling with Jolga’s wrists, still in shackles, I looked down at Peragene who was still enduring the humiliation, groveling on the floor.
She had played with my precious dog, so I was planning to go harder on her a little more, but… it was about time.
If I pushed her too far, and she decided to commit suicide, I would be troubled.
“…Well then, Mrs. Peragene. If you accept my proposal, the outcome won’t be a bad thing for you, the princess or… His Highness Borzeff. Won’t you play the part of a graceful widow for a bit?