Reincarnated Princess Wishes To Avoid Death - CH 303
Meaning of Oldest and Weakest
Ludwig and Dion were already looking into the Yellowmoons while Mia was busy talking on beds. The two men would eventually become close friends and become Empress Mia’s most trusted retainers, but they had never worked alone together before.
When Dion walked into Ludwig’s office, he asked him right away, “So, Ludwig, how do you plan to do this? Round up the suspects and beat each one until they tell the truth? I’d be up for that, but it sounds like a lot of work. If you want something quicker, we could just…”
He made a sound with his tongue while moving his thumb across his throat.
“Take care of them without telling the princess. I’m not crazy about this idea, but I’ll do whatever needs to be done.”
His sly grin was obviously meant to get a reaction.
Ludwig didn’t bite. Instead, he shook his head in a calm way.
“That would go against what Her Highness is trying to do. Such a plan should only be used as a last resort,” Ludwig said with a shrug, making it clear that he didn’t want to reject the idea right away.
“I’d like to think that we can still come up with more…civilized solutions.”
He then went on in a more serious way.
“Like I said before, I’ve told my men to keep an eye on the Yellowmoons ever since we got back from Ganudos. We are keeping an eye on the Duke’s family, as well as his butlers, maids, and servants. I’m also keeping a close eye on the Yellowmoon faction’s most important nobles. But…for now, we don’t have much to show for it. Nothing has happened. Not even an attempt to deter our agents. The Yellowmoons haven’t done anything at all. No surveillance system is perfect, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they were taking steps but keeping them secret from us.”
He stopped for a moment.
“It’s also possible that Ganudos warned them and that they chose to stay put.”
“Probably. Still, they can stay quiet, but they must be able to talk to each other. Most likely, they are sending secret messages.”
Ludwig agreed with the idea.
“Indeed. Letters are sent regularly to the Duke’s daughter, who is currently at Saint-Noel.”
“Oh, the school for the princess. Well, at least they’re going in the right direction with their teeth. But you’re telling me that those letters didn’t have anything strange about them?”
Dion said with a sharp gaze at Ludwig.
“Let me remind you that those are private letters from the Duke to his daughter, Sir Dion. Do you think I’ve been reading such private letters?”
“I sure as hell do. Otherwise, I’d say you weren’t good at your job,” he said with a smile.
Ludwig smiled back and put his hands wide apart.
“All right. I’ll admit that I may have acted in a way that wasn’t very gentlemanly. The letters were written by a father to his daughter who was in school, so it wasn’t a surprise that they were about what you’d expect. He asks her how she is doing and tells her to make the most of her time and skills.”
“Damn, I have to say, anyone who says I’m a monster should take a good look at you. Getting a loving note from a father to his daughter? That’s just disgusting,” Dion said in a mean way. “Are you sure you don’t want to, instead, choose incompetence?”
“For sure,” Ludwig said with a straight face. “Especially when Her Highness’ safety is at stake. If that’s what it takes to keep her safe, I’ll go to hell and back.”
Before going on, he stopped and took a deep breath.
“But despite my best efforts, I have nothing to show for it. To be honest, I’m getting a little desperate for some useful information about the Yellowmoons…”
Ludwig put his arms across his chest and let out a deep sigh.
Dion was chuckling to himself about how deep the lines on the minister’s forehead were when he had an idea.
“Huh. Question. Is it even possible that only a few family members could be part of the plot?”
Dion asked in a snap.
“I think these kinds of big plans need everyone in the house to work together.”
“You’re right, but I think it’s quite possible that the Duke is the only one involved,” Ludwig said, putting his finger to the bridge of his glasses in a classic way.
“Oh yeah? How do you see it?”
“The thing about secrets is…the more people who know them, the easier it is for them to get out. It’s a fact that can’t be argued with.”
“Hah, and in the meantime, nothing is being said about the Yellowmoons. Not even a little bit of talk. The fact that they’ve been able to keep quiet for so long shows that there aren’t that many lips involved. Maybe only the Duke knows what’s going on, and the rest of his family is clueless. So, what do you think?”
“Just about. Unless, of course, we’re talking about a very unusual family…”
Ludwig went quiet, which made Dion ask, “What’s going on?”
“Just now, I had a thought… What do you think the House of Yellowmoon was supposed to do? What was supposed to be their role?”
Dion raised one eyebrow.
“What do you mean by the word ‘role’?”
“For example,” Ludwig said in a calm voice, “the House of Redmoon has a lot of power over the Ebony Moon Ministry. But with that kind of power comes the expectation that you have the right knowledge and can be counted on in an emergency.”
“Yeah, that makes sense,” Dion said with his arms crossed and a nod.
“The same reasoning can be used for the House of Greenmoon, which has a lot of ties to other countries. By being the first to see how valuable goods and information from other countries were, they gained a lot of power in these areas. I don’t like it when one group has too much power over education and scholarship, but the Greenmoons deserve credit for what they’ve done.
“Gotcha. So Duke Bluemoon is the empire’s official ‘cat-herder,’” Dion joked. When Ludwig gave him a serious look, he said, “He’s the one who gets the powerful central nobility to work together so they’re easier to control.”
“Yes, more or less. The point is that each of the Four Dukes has had a different role to play in our history. Then, what was Yellowmoon’s?”
Before Dion’s thoughtful answer, there was a moment of silence.
“Hmm… The Four’s oldest and weakest member… If you take that at face value, it means that they have the longest history. They were there when the empire was made, and they shared the blood of the emperor and the hard work that went into making it. That might be it. All that glory in the past.”
“That might make sense today, but I don’t think the first emperor lived by such nice rules. At the very least, he didn’t sound like the type of person who would promote friends to noble ranks just because they were friends. This is just a guess, but…”
For his own reasons, the man had tried to build an empire from the ground up. And he had done it.
“I can’t imagine that a person of his stature would put up with waste. Out of gratitude, he wouldn’t waste money on the Yellowmoons. There must have been something they did. Or…a role that they still play today. That might be the place to look for answers.”
“So if it’s not about being the oldest, is it the other part? Some kind of point to being the weakest?” Dion asked before giving a shrug.
“I don’t see what good being weak does.”
“Well, it might be helpful… Since they are the weakest, they can at least avoid getting a lot of attention. If they were as strong as you, Sir Dion, both friends and enemies would know about them. Then, having so many people watching them would make it harder to do some things.”
“I see… That’s a good point.”
“Now that I’ve said that, I think I finally know what we need to do. We need to know. Not just about Duke Yellowmoon and about the these current times. We need to go further back in time to find out what part the Yellowmoons played in the history of the empire. That should tell us something about our opponents… Maybe then, we’ll be able to tell Her Highness who in their house is really connected to the Serpents, as she had asked.”
So, they made a decision about what to do for the time being. Ludwig and Dion would look into the dark past of the empire to find answers.
Mia, on the other hand, was also about to go somewhere. In her case, though, she went into Saint-forest Noel’s to look for groups of mushrooms that were easy to pick.