Duke’s Daughter – Chapter 75

Translator(s): ShimizuA    Editor(s): Matty

Proofreader(s): Still Matty    TLC(s): N/A


Little Sister’s Strategy II

*Ludy’s POV

“…… You’ve really done it, Princess Letty.” (Ludy)

“…… My, Ludy, what might you be talking about?” (Leticia)

Princess Letty, Prince Alfred’s little sister, gave a cheerful grin as she asked me in return.

Even though you so transparently know… Whilst thinking about it, I loosened a response from my lips.

“Don’t tell me… that conversation from before… Right from the start, your aim was the travel permit, correct?”(Ludy)

“Fufufu, you guessed right~.”(Leticia)

While it wasn’t a lie that she also wanted to meet with Iris, she knew that it could only be if fortune brings them together… What she was really after was the travel permit… and she splendidly acquired it, just as she predicted.

She plopped down a pile of documents atop her desk, situated in her study. Her study room was smaller than the Prince’s. And in further contrast, cute accessories adorned  every nook and cranny of the room. Even so, most of the books displayed at its bookshelves didn’t match with the image of a princess.

“Haven’t you been taught by brother? In negotiating with someone, before presenting your truest terms, you’d start off with higher demands as to feign a compromise later on.  … That way, they’ll have believed they got a better deal than what was originally and be predisposed to accepting it as is. ” (Leticia)

Well said, I thought as laughter escaped me.

“…… And for that very reason, I was cajoled into mentioning the majority of my relationship with Iris… What a troublesome lady….”(Ludy)

“Fufufu…Looks like you’re exaggerating quite a bit. And it seems brother was aware of it all along.” (Leticia)

“…… That’s true.”(Ludy)

Now that I think about it, it was that contorted [1] expression he had made… perhaps… Perhaps it was at that time Prince Alfred had realized what Princess Letty wanted. Nevertheless, he still danced to her tune, in consideration for… her feelings?

She sat on the chair accompanying her study desk. It was a white-based, lovely desk; it was a desk that makes one able to catch a glimpse of the mirages of the royal children who have come and gone throughout the generations, toiling away at their letters on that very same desk… But the real scene, grounded in reality… piles upon piles of documents, crushing the imagination beneath their weight.

“Well, I will keep to my word. But… If I were to, say, take a stroll within the Capital, and during that, just so happened upon the Daughter of Duke Armelia, you wouldn’t have any complaints, right?” (Leticia)

“Like I asked, why are you being so hasty…” (Ludy)

The strife for the time being has been assuaged, and Iris should still be in the capital for a while longer. After all, there were various relief efforts instated to deal with the aftermath left in the wake of Prince Edward’s meddlings.

“Eeh. I only speak the truth when I say that I want to meet with the Daughter of Duke Armelia.”(Leticia)

“… Why do you concern for her? Well, yes, I suppose it can’t be helped if you became intrigued after seeing your beloved brother heartbroken.” (Ludy)

“ …… You’re right. It is as Ludy says. But it does not pertain to a feeling of “Don’t take my brother away” like you imagine, you know?” (Leticia)

She effortlessly saw through me. Moreover, she was able to deny it in such a way that rendered me speechless and awaiting her next word.

But keeping quiet just made her giggle even more…

“Of course, I harbour a bit of that feeling. … To put it simply, it piqued my interest. For example… “That brother [2] of mine” is restricted to a very small world. He has been protected by Ellia ever since he was young, and for a long time now, the people around never spoke ill of him. Isn’t the result of that his disengagement to the Daughter of Duke Armelia?” (Leticia)

I soon understood ‘That brother of mine’ was referring to Prince Edward. Princess Letty has always called him that when she mentioned him.

“In a different way, however, my brother’s world [3] is ‘small’ as well. His world is composed of only me and Ludy. Other than us… he has only allowed someone else at his side to serve as a tool… or so I think.” (Leticia)

I finally comprehended what she meant by that …Certainly, it seems that Prince Alfred’s world too is small like Prince Edward’s, but in a different sense.  

It isn’t a matter of his world view being ‘narrow’, but a matter of whether or not he seeks the existence of true companionship. A relationship not based on convenience… But rather, based on being able to forgive, exchange opinions, and have small talk. A person with whom he can do ordinary, every-day things with. Princess Letty, and after that, myself, have tried to become someone like that to him… Or something along those lines.

“For a royal, maybe it was unavoidable. But I think that brother, in this case, took it to the extreme…. I might’ve been the one to seal his fate, because he had to carry a burden such as I in the Royal Palace’s environment, a place filled with adversaries…” (Leticia)

*Huff*, Princess Letty let out a sigh.

“ … No, I don’t think that excuses it. Those who have worked under him were swayed by their own pragmatic judgement of cost and benefit, and as such, they were drawn to brother’s capabilities. That is indeed one of brother’s strong points, but… that kind of strength is too fragile to found lasting subordination upon. If you want to put it in a naive way, maybe it is due to.. a peculiar bond? If I were to take, say… a time where brother would make a miscalculation, if no sense of loyalty existed in that scenario, they would withdraw and re-evaluate having served him.” (Leticia)

I see. She raises a valid point. Currently, there are budding and lesser nobles who are under the influence of Prince Alfred. They have arrived at Prince Alfred’s side after attaining solid achievements themselves. In the end, they will choose to side with the more competent prince… Well, if they pitted him against someone like Prince Edward, naturally, Prince Alfred would emerge as the obvious choice.

Looking at it from a different angle, if we’re talking about an identical but hypothetical scenario where there were those forced to align with a side, had there been an opponent who equaled Prince Alfred in terms of ability and status, they would be indifferent enough to come to the conclusion that “either is fine”.

Initially, when the confrontation with Prince Edwards was highlighted, many of the ones who remained neutral may have come to the same conclusion.

“… This time, the biggest reason as to why the neutral faction is slightly inclined to him is probably accredited to the Duke of Armelia favoring him. So, then, why did Duke Armelia endorse him? Without question, I would have thought that it was just a front. But, could they have kept quiet watch while a prominent house was involved? Worst case scenario, they’ll make use of his daughter’s excommunication as a pretext to leave his post and withdraw to his territory, effectively eluding the turmoil.. Yet he remains the family head, and has even begun publicly cooperating as Prince Alfred’s hands and feet……” (Leticia)

“… Is it because… he felt indebted to him?” (Ludy)

“That’s right. Do you really think that Duke of Armelia would willingly offer his assistance to brother, even with the apparent risk of splitting the country in two should he choose a side, and without any compensation?” (Leticia)

“… Is it something he had acquired unpremeditated…” (Ludy)

“Right. … Then, looking at ‘the aftermath’ of said confrontation, doesn’t it make you think we need to expand the amount of our so called ‘allies’? Ludy.” (Leticia)

“ …… To strengthen the crown’s rule, is it…” (Ludy)

“Right again. In these times of peace, it wouldn’t be impossible to unify the lords with brother’s strength, like all past kings. Well, even at a warring time, it seems he wouldn’t have a problem with taking command of the army as king; he had made splendid connections with many of the military officers, owing to his time posed as Dean.” (Leticia)

…… Surely, as Princess Letty said, only the army, with grandfather as its leader and overseer, would have realized that Dean, who slipped into their training sessions frequently, was Prince Alfred in disguise. He blended in well. There, he acted not as a member of the royalty, but as Dean, as to not build any walls between him and others.    

“ … Though the talks have been derailed, brother must first consolidate his own camp in order to accelerate the royalty’s reinforcements, for future’s sake… Or so I believe.” (Leticia)

“I see… Uhm, Princess Letty?” (Ludy)

“ … What is it?” (Leticia)

“ …… Princess Letty, you really never did experience the outside world, right?” (Ludy)

Unprecedentedly, all I’ve done so far was listen to what Princess Letty had to say. Well, usually, you wouldn’t hear this kind of talk from a girl as young as her. Even if you take into account that she was a member of the royalty.

“ …… Something the matter? To so suddenly…” (Leticia)

“Oh, it just seemed as if you could personally relate to these stories..”” (Ludy)

“ …… It’s the other way around. Since I was captive to this cage, I want to know at least a little of the outside world, so all I can do is speculate about it.” (Leticia)

“ …… I suppose it’s something like that.” (Ludy)

“Yes, it is.” (Leticia)

It was regrettable, in my opinion. Even from the standpoint of an outsider, considering the aptitude she has displayed thus far, it’s clear that she didn’t have the chance to fully utilize her talents.

“I don’t regret it at all, Ludy. Because, I have never made a connection on my own. Anybody could apply that consideration to the event in question, right?”  (Leticia)

… Not just anybody could do that. Just how much does Princess Letty overestimate other people? It’s harmful for a human being to abstain from making any personal connections.

I mean, Princess Letty, weren’t you able to accurately guess what was on my mind just now? I don’t think that you would have a problem in negotiating with such a skill in your arsenal.

Now that I take a closer look, she is smiling.… could she have, yet again, perfectly predicted what’s currently running through my mind? I found the thought amusing and laughed at the notion.


Footnotes:

  1. 苦虫を噛んだ. (Nigamushi o kanda). If translated directly it would be “Chewed a bitter bug.” It’s an expression like, yeah, chewing a bitter bug.  And Matty decided it to be “contorted.”
  2. Letticia call Alfred as お兄様(onii-sama) and Edward as あの兄(ano ani).
  3. World as in ‘social world.’

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