Master's Smile - Chapter 99
Volume 5 – Kingdom Arc
C99 – To be Acknowledged
Prince Lintz and Princess Neena did not look distraught upon hearing the prime minister’s words.
Rather, the prince even let out a faint smile.
Of course, he was trying to not let people around him know, but I happened to see it.
“As you may know, the king is gravely ill and has been away from his official duties. Therefore, he has decided to abdicate and the next ruler shall be chosen from among the royalty.”
The prime minister explained the current situation.
…Well, one can tell by his appearance. It’s obvious that he is not in good health.
“The third prince had already announced that he would withdraw his right for the throne. Hence, only the two of you have the qualification to be the next ruler as of current.”
Ah, so Princess Neena and Prince Lintz were not the only ones who could succeed to the throne, I see?
I guess that was already the norm, yet I still mistook it.
Even so, withdrawal, huh?
I wonder if one of them had something to do with it?
“We have called the two of you together for a final confirmation of your intention to succeed to the throne. Are the two of you prepared to be a ruler?”
The Prime Minister’s sharp eyes fell on Princess Neena and Prince Lintz.
On a normal occasion, such a look towards royalty members would likely result in punishment, but now that he’s supposedly representing the king’s will, it is probably safe to assume that he will be fine.
In fact, neither of them seemed angry at being looked upon in such a way.
The first to answer was Prince Lintz.
“I will make this great Evans Kingdom even stronger and show the world how we can push this kingdom… to become a superpower nation as powerful as the Rald Empire once was.”
Ooh… That’s cool….
Prince Lintz’s determination seemed to be very noble, although he mentioned the name of an unpleasant nation that I don’t really want to remember.
If the princess hadn’t told me about him, I might have cheered him on.
“I, too, am determined to succeed to the throne.”
Princess Neena was the next to answer.
“A nation cannot exist without its people. I want to create a nation for the people, a nation that helps the weak.”
Princess Neena’s determination was very gentle.
It must be her ideal to protect and help the weak commoners.
Prince Lintz’s view as well as Princess Neena’s view. Neither of them were wrong.
That was why the knights were divided into respective factions.
It was up to the people living in Evans Kingdom to decide which of these two views they would prefer to have in their ruler.
I, the master of a small dark guild, Yelquchira, am not qualified nor do I intend to have a say in this.
Though, I hope neither of them will push the dark guilds away too hard. If that’s possible, then I don’t see any problem.
However, unlike what I had thought, Prince Lintz did not like her view.
He mumbled with a blatant sneer.
Princess Neena was not so quiet as to fall silent, and although her voice was calm, her eyes were looking very sharp.
“I said you’re naive, Neena. A nation for the people? The nation’s people ARE the ruler’s people. If the nation and the ruler are not prosperous, how can the people be prosperous?”
“The people ARE the nation, and the people ARE the ruler, esteemed brother. If they did not exist and pay taxes, we would not be a nation, nor would we be recognized as a ruler.”
Prince Lintz and Princess Neena engaged in a sarcastic fight.
As an amateur in statecraft, I had no idea which of the two was right.
It’s not easy being a ruler.
A ruler has to think about each and every one of the millions or tens of millions of people who live in Evans Kingdom, and govern them.
In this regard, I am totally relieved.
What I have to pay attention to and care for are only my nine daughters who belong to Yelquchira.
I also have to protect Yuuto, Maho, Lucille, and Lucica, who are our allies, but my priority is to help the guild members.
Thus, there was no way I could judge whether Princess Neena or Prince Lintz was right.
“There was no need for both of you to argue here and now.”
The situation was about to turn into a heated argument, but the prime minister managed to put it to rest.
Since he was speaking for the king, Princess Neena, as well as Prince Lintz, fell silent.
“The two of you are prepared to be the next ruler, are you not?”
Both of them answered the final confirmation of their intentions without taking a moment to respond.
Seeing this, the prime minister nodded ostentatiously.
“Very well. Then, these two shall be the candidates for the selection to the throne!”
The prime minister declared strongly.
Ritter and I were now walking behind Princess Neena.
After the prime minister’s final declaration, the king quickly withdrew, and Prince Lintz immediately left with his two entourage in tow.
Princess Neena also exited the throne room.
…Even so, how will the next ruler be chosen?
“Well, it’s quite simple. The major nobles who contributed to the creation of Evans Kingdom, about a hundred of them, will vote for their choice.”
The princess answered.
Hee, so, it’s a voting system.
I think it’s good to be very democratic, but why don’t you hold a national referendum instead?
“Fufu, are you nuts? Have you thought about how much time, manpower, and gold it would take to have tens of millions of people vote to choose a ruler?”
She looked at me like a teacher looking at a student who was not performing well.
I see, that is certainly true.
But I was surprised that I knew of a nation that practiced something similar.
It was similar to the world where Yuuto, Maho, and the others came from… that’s amazing….
“Now then, Master.”
We were walking down a deserted hallway when Princess Neena stopped abruptly.
Eh? What is it?
“Are you interested in being employed by me?”
…employed? Me? To Princess Neena?
“Ritter’s mentor is exactly the kind of person I would want.”
T-That information about me being her mentor is a mistake to begin with, though….
Nevertheless, it will be a bother to tell her that fact.
Hmm… certainly, a master who had raised a knight as powerful as Ritter would naturally be wanted by Princess Neena, who will be fighting for the throne that will become even more intense from now on.
But, well… I’m the master of a dark guild and I can’t leave the guild headquarters for days….
“I’m not asking you to be my follower as I had talked to Ritter about it and she got mad at me, you see.”
“…Obvious. Master may follow me, but cannot follow anyone else.”
Yes, like what Ritter just said, if I were to be taken under someone’s wing, I would expect a fierce backlash from within the “Salvation Army (Yelquchira)”.
…and I don’t want them to hate me.
Also, even if I am more or less their master, I don’t intend to be under Ritter or the others at all.
But, still… Princess Neena’s proposal is….
“You will be paid handsomely, though?”
As I was struggling, Princess Neena cut to the chase.
Even if you say so….
I was thinking about this but suddenly realized.
I don’t know what Princess Neena is going to do by hiring me, but the throne selection process seems to be very democratic and peaceful, so I guess she just wants me to be her bodyguard.
In contrast, Princess Neena will pay me.
Isn’t this similar to a request sent to the guild?
And speaking of myself, I haven’t really done any requests recently.
I only helped Sorglos subjugate the Lizardmen when she was undercover in the gray guild before.
I hadn’t done much at all before that, and the same can be said after the “Iron Queen (Inicken)” incident.
…If I finish a request here, won’t the members be less overprotective towards me?
I glanced at Ritter, who was one of my guild members.
She looked at me curiously, but then pulled her body closer to me smoothly.
I-I feel like I have to do something about this defenseless child too….
I decided to take Princess Neena’s offer.
It’s been a while since I became an adventurer again!
…It was not an official request, though.
“…with Master together.”
Ritter also gave off a happy vibe.
She was not opposed to the idea, and it seems like it was not my decision that was wrong.
Okay, I will do my best to get Ritter’s approval from the start.
“Well then, let’s go back to my estate. I’ll have to formalize our agreement in writing, you see.”
Princess Neena said so in a good mood.
Hohou, to think that she’s this wise in deciding to write the details of the contract as well.
With this thought in mind, I continued following Princess Neena’s back.
This time, Ritter looked around the hallway corner behind me with eyes that reflected no emotion, but a while later, she followed after us.