A/N: This time it is from the Nicolette’s point of view.
It had been about a month and a half since Wolfgang and his team went off to war. Since it was almost the peak of the rose season, Nicolette did some rose breeding for what she could not do last year. Of course, she never forgot to take care of her son, Ferdinand. It was more like playing with him, since the nanny was attached to the child. It was early days and had already been almost eight months since Nicolette became a mother.
By this time, Ferdinand was able to sit and play by himself. They had been feeding him baby food for a while now, but he was already developing likes and dislikes. Nicolette’s most recent boom was observing her own child.
“I still think he looks like Wolf-sama~!”
Cushions were placed on the carpeted floor to create a simple baby play area. Nicolette was also sitting on that carpet. Ferdinand was laughing as he piled up the blocks.
“The color of his eyes is the same as the queen’s...”
Marya said, comparing Nicolette and Ferdinand. Ferdinand had the same violet eyes as Nicolette. His hair was silver blonde like Wolfgang’s, but the color might change in the future.
“Your Imperial Highness. I made you some tea, would you like some?”
“I’ll have some. Hgh, ow!”
Nicolette was about to stand up when Helma called out to her and staggered when she felt a tug on her hair. In a panic, Marya and a nanny nearby supported Nicolette. They looked and saw Ferdinand grabbing Nicolette’s hair while saying, “Ah, uh”.
“O-Owwwwww. Fer, you’re hurting me...”
Since he would not let go of her hair easily, the nanny finally picked Ferdinand up, saying, “Let’s take him with us.” Then, poof, he let go of Nicolette’s hair. She didn’t know if it was because the nanny picked him up or because he didn’t want to leave his mother, but she would assume the latter.
After all the commotion, just as they were about to have a cup of tea, Markus arrived.
“Your Imperial Highness. Duke Reichenbach wishes to see you.”
Nicolette, holding a teacup, was silent. Herma blatantly frowned. “Does he not know the word forewarned?” Well, she agreed with her.
“... Oh well. We will meet with him. Tell him to wait in the parlor. Helma, prepare the tea. Marya, go get Lord Vogel. The nanny takes care of Fer.”
Each was assigned a task, and the other ladies helped Nicolette to dress herself. She was used to keeping up appearances, too, now that she’d been doing it for three years.
When she looked in the mirror, a violet-eyed woman stared back at her. Obviously, she was plumper than when she married, and Nicolette was a little unhappy. However, doctors told her that she would not live long if she lost any more weight, and so she had maintained her current figure. Oh, but she might have gained some weight after all after the childbirth...
Nicolette sighed a bit and looked away from the mirror. She wanted to wait until Duke Vogel, the Prime Minister who was away, returned, but she could not keep Duke Reichenbach waiting too long, so Nicolette went to the parlor with Helma and Markus.
“It has been a long time, Duke Reichenbach.”
When Nicolette, sitting across from the Duke Reichenbach, called out to him, he gave a belly laugh.
“Yeah. It has been a long time, Your Imperial Highness. You look as wonderful as ever.”
‘There you were as beautiful as ever’ was he would say, she heard Helma murmur. No, well, but in the case of Nicolette, she seemed fine, but she didn’t think she was wrong.
“So, what can I do for you?”
Lord Vogel had not yet arrived. But he would come as they spoke. Marya was Lord Vogel’s niece, so she should be able to intercede immediately. With this in mind, Nicolette asked Duke Reichenbach in a straightforward manner.
“The emperor has gone off to war, you know. Wouldn’t you like someone to talk to, Your Highness?”
“No thanks. You’re just in time.”
After the first shocking meeting, she met the Duke Reichenbach several times. Each time they were told that Nicolette was freezing towards him only. No, she was aware of it, though.
Duke Reichenbach was told in a roundabout way to get the hell out of here, but he was not discouraged. Nicolette was mentally strong, but Duke Reichenbach was also quite strong.
“Your Imperial Highness, I understand that you grew up in a convent.”
“If so, what are you saying?”
Nicolette asked Duke Reichenbach in a firm tone. He opened his mouth with a nasty smile.
“No. I heard that the monastery is located in the area where the emperor is currently fighting.”
They knew that Wolfgang was now deploying his front slightly south of the Lyonne region where Nicolette had grown up. Lord Vogel would let them know the situation from time to time, and letters would come from Wolfgang himself. Still, as usual, she had no idea what Duke Reichenbach was trying to say.
“The Emperor is at war with your family.”
‘So what’s your point?’was how Nicolette nodded her head as if to say. Perhaps because Nicolette did not react as he wanted, Duke Reichenbach became irritated.
“Your own country could be destroyed, you know?”
“Yeah. I’m sure it will.”
Nicolette nodded with conviction. Wolfgang would surely come home a winner. That was what she thought.
This calm demeanor of Nicolette seemed to have angered Duke Reichenbach. He tapped the table and stood up. The impact caused the teacup to fall over and spill the tea.
“Your Imperial Highness!”
Helma and Markus yelled in a panic, but Nicolette held up her hand to control them.
“Duke Reichenbach. You seem to have done your homework. Don’t you know why I grew up in a convent?”
Nicolette grew up in a convent because her father, King Laurier, was horrified by the prophecy that was given. She didn’t care about the people who imprisoned her and her mother, whom she had only met once. As for Nicolette, all she cared about was Wolfgang’s safe return.
“It is useless to try to frighten me with such complaints about the possible destruction of my country. Because the only country I recognize as ‘my country’ is the Hainzel Empire.”
Looking up at Duke Reichenbach, Nicolette smiled. Perhaps he was trying to take advantage of making Nicolette upset and getting her to do something, but unfortunately, his actions were off the mark.
“...... So, have you ever wanted to have an empire at your will? The Imperial Highness gave birth to the successor. If you wanted to, you could.”
“Unfortunately, I’m not that resourceful, so I haven’t really thought about it.”
“Really?Not even a little?”
Behind her, she could hear Helma and Markus gasping for breath. Nicolette pulled up a chair and stood up.
“If that’s all you have to say, I’d like you to leave.”
Smiling, Nicolette pointed to the door. This time, when told to return directly, Duke Reichenbach glared at Nicolette and ducked. Relieved, she heard a clatter and turned to look.
“...What do you think you’re doing?”
Nicolette said quietly. In front of her was a familiar Bayer gun. As usual, Nicolette couldn’t handle this gun because the recoil was too strong when she fired it.
Duke Reichenbach’s eyes were bloodshot as he pointed his gun at the queen. Markus called out, “Please step back, Your Imperial Highness“, but Nicolette did not move from her spot. She also stood still with fear of being pointed at. Still, she glared at the Duke Reichenbach.
“If you do what I say, I won’t shoot you. While you are gone, please raise your son, Master Ferdinand, to the rank of emperor.”
“...And what are you going to do about it?”
“Ferdinand-sama will be my puppet. Do so, and your lives are guaranteed.”
Despite the fear that she might be killed, Nicolette’s brain was calmly processing the current situation. She had always thought that Duke Reichenbach was too sloppy in what he did. So, frayed edges soon arose. And it was also frightening that he didn’t realize it himself.
Unable to answer, Nicolette opened her mouth anyway.
“Duke. You’re just like my father.”
“Like King Laurier?I am honored. Am I worth that much?”
Nicolette cruelly shook her head ‘no’ from side to side at the somewhat happy Duke Reichenbach.
“You, are only afraid of the emperor...Wolf-sama. You are afraid, so you eliminate me and try to manipulate the empire yourself.You don’t want power. Just fear. My father is the same way.”
Despite fearful that she might be shot, Nicolette kept talking anyway.
“My father was afraid of me because of the prophecy of his murder. Fearful, they locked me up in a monastery. He has moved the object of his fear away from him. Isn’t that exactly what you’re trying to do?”
“My grandfather on my mother’s side of the family was also a prophet, apparently. This also made my father fear that my prophecy would come true... And it’s gotten real.”
The outcome of the war was not yet known. But if Nicolette’s prophecy was true, Wolfgang would win.
“My father kept the object of his fear away, and then he lost. The same goes for you. You try to eliminate the object of your fear, and then lose!”
Nicolette turned over a cozy table. It was pretty heavy, but it turned over. At the same time, the parlor door opened and Lord Vogel entered, leading a group of soldiers. Nicolette hid behind a fallen table.
“Your Imperial Highness.”
Helma crawled over to Nicolette’s side. A sort of riot sound lasted for a while, and then it quieted down. Duke Reichenbach was shouting something, which they ignored without being disturbed by the noise.
“It’s all right now.”
Hearing Markus’s voice, Nicolette turned in a heap. Helma scolded Nicolette, but she quickly got up and fixed the hem of her disheveled dress. She looked sideways at Duke Reichenbach, who was captured by soldiers, and picked up the Bayer gun he dropped.
“Three bullets? I knew there was a problem with just pulling the trigger to shoot. Maybe I should add a safety device.”
Nicolette pointed the muzzle of her gun at the Duke Reichenbach, saying something like so.
“Your Imperial Highness!?”
Lord Vogel and Markus raised their voices. Helma covered her mouth with both hands. Duke Reichenbach looked frightened.
Nicolette laughed and mimicked a gunshot with her mouth. Duke Reichenbach seemed to have lost his spine and was carried away by the soldiers.
“...I think I might have overdone it.”
“You overdid it...”
Markus was indeed tweaked.
“You are bold, Your Imperial Highness.”
“Not really. It was indeed a scary thing.”
Nicolette said plainly. Although she could shoot a gun, Nicolette had never actually shot anyone.
“But still, how did you realize the Prime Minister was there?”
Nicolette smiled as Helma asked.
“The door opens and a signal is given.”
To that end, Nicolette meant that the table had just been turned over. Helma gave her a little aghast look. It was too late now.
Duke Reichenbach was taken into custody for attempting to harm the queen. The punishment was to be given as soon as the emperor returned home.
A/N: Thank you for reading this far.
In the next issue, this piece will also be the last episode of the main series. Finally, there’s Wolfgang’s point of view.
As usual, I will post the day after tomorrow (January 13).