Chapter 53 is out!
For the Patrons, Chapter 54, Chapter 55, chapter 56 (Easy mode) and chapter 57 (Normal mode) are all available on the Patreon page.
Anyway, here’s the chapter, I hope you’ll enjoy it!
【”…Is something wrong?”】
【”It’s nothing. I’m just troubled by my little sister’s behavior, but I’m sure she’ll have cooled down by the time you come back.”】
“That’s all there is to it, so stay away from her for a while.” Siegfried kept those last few words to himself.
But in his mind, he was absolutely determined to separate Kurats from his sister, even if he had to use his full authority as king for it.
『…Basically, this is just siblings being siblings.』
(What do you mean?)
『It’s hard to separate a big brother and his little sister.』
(Separate? What are you on about? Siblings should stay together forever!)
『You know what? It’s my bad. I’m the idiot for telling you that….』
Bernst held his head in his hand as he recalled that Kurats had a chronic sister complex.
Meanwhile, Frigga jumped in her room and threw herself on her bed.
What her brother had said was perfectly right.
But she had selfishly and childishly refused to admit it.
She had never experienced that before.
【”Your highness, what happened?”】
Usually, Frigga was the calm type, never particularly gloomy nor cheerful. And yet here she was, feeling down to the point of tears.
In her long years of service, this was the first time this maid had ever witnessed this.
【”I don’t understand what happened… All I know is I don’t want to be separated from Kurats!”】
Frigga’s shout was so loud that it sounded like a shriek.
But this scream was enough for the maid, Uld, to understand what was going on.
Uld had been serving princess Frigga since she was five years old. From her experiences through the years and from the changes she had witnessed in the princess since the battle of Crowdagen, it was easy for her to make a guess.
【”How do you feel when you think of sir Kurats?”】
Uld gently combed Frigga’s white hair as she spoke to her, like she was trying to comfort a young child.
【”I’m very happy when I’m together with him… But right now, it feels unbearably painful to think of him…”】
【”Your highness, that’s because you are in love with sir Kurats!”】
Frigga’s face became visibly red. Maybe hearing her feelings put into words for the first time made her conscious of them.
(Is that what this is? Then, was sticking so close to him a happy matter or a shameful matter?)
【”Your highness, your reaction is too childish; you must not let other people hear you say such things.”】
Frigga had unintentionally spoken her thoughts out loud. When she heard that, Uld reprimanded her in an exasperated manner.
【”But in the name of all the hot comradeship between men that you’ve allowed me to see- I mean, in the name of all the years I’ve been serving you, I will help.”】
Uld awkwardly cleared her throat. She had almost carelessly revealed her true thoughts.
【”There is one way to solve your troubles, but it will be risky. Do you have the resolve to do it, your highness?”】
【”If it allows me to be with Kurats, I’ll do it!”】
【”That’s a great answer.”】
With a joyful smile, Uld proposed a very direct method to fulfill the princess’ first love.
She was happy she’d get to see Frigga act cute like this for longer.
Plus this method was undoubtedly fitting of Frigga’s personality.
【”―― Since times immemorial, the best way to act in such a situation has always been to put the man face to face with the fait accompli.”】
◆ ◆ ◆
【”I am count Bartels. I am here to accompany you as envoy of the kingdom. Pleased to meet you, sir hero, if I may call you that.”】
The person who replaced Frigga as envoy was a young man with blue eyes and red hair.
Among the nobles of Lapland, he was one of the most loyal to the royal family, and the other nobles of the kingdom had high expectations for his future. Or at least, those who were still alive did.
To Kurats, the young man looked like a considerably skilled fighter, though not as skilled as Frigga.
『But he’s still not good enough to see through your skills…』
(Well, his strength is far off, but his fighting spirit might be able to rival mine, who knows?)
In order to bury the hatchet with Frigga, the nobles had approved of Kurats’ dispatch to the Macbarn kingdom without a hitch.
【”It isn’t much, but please enjoy this feast. I believe you’ll succeed in moving the hearts of our allies.”】
Kurats and the count of Bartels politely bowed their heads to Siegfried.
Dressed on the table in front of them was a line-up of hot, steamy soup and extremely extravagant meat dishes.
Though Lapland was a small country, this was still to be expected from a kingdom’s royal castle.
However, few people took part in this banquet. Besides Siegfried and Frigga, there were only three old, prominent nobles of the kingdom. They were the kingdom’s three remaining dukes. The duke of Varandi, the duke of Björkenheim, and the duke of Nordqvist.
Faced with so many important people, the count of Bartels couldn’t hide his nervousness.
【”Your majesty, do you really intend to send this man?”】
The one who struck the table like he was not convinced by the king’s decision was Haruk, the newly appointed, temporary duke of Varandi. He had taken on this position after the previous duke, Tulle, was killed in action.
Though his nephew, Tulle, had betrayed the kingdom, Haruk had seemingly taken on the role of a victim, whose family member never came back from the battlefield.
(This guy’s a lost cause.)
Kurats was looking at the duke with a cold gaze.
The duke of Varandi’s territory was at the very north of the kingdom and had yet to be captured by the Asgard empire.
That being the case, he felt less of a sense of crisis than the duke of Björkenheim and the duke of Nordqvist, who had lost most of their land to the empire.
【”His presence was requested by our allies. Besides, sir Almadianos is an honorary earl of the kingdom. Mind your words!”】
【”When did this unknown stranger become an honorary earl?! I did not hear about that! “】
Siegfried’s words made the duke of Varandi boil with anger.
If Tulle was still here, based on his achievements, he would have married princess Frigga and become a relative of the royal family. This would have put him ahead of the two other dukes.
To Haruk, it felt like Kurats was snatching away the gains that Tulle should have obtained.
【”I hope you realize it is thanks to sir Almadianos that you’re able to leisurely enjoy your meal right now. Not to mention that he saved Frigga’s life. If you insult him any further, I will hold you in comptent of the royal court.”】
【”C-contempt of the royal court? M-me? That’s…!”】
The duke of Varandi was at a loss for words. He did not expect such strong language from Siegfried, who had been little more than a figurehead up to now.
His shoulders were trembling, and he was seeing red, like everything in his sight was painted with blood.
This may have been the first time since the founding of the country that an important noble like the duke of Varandi was insulted like this.
What in the world had caused such a major change in Siegfried?
Based on intuition only, Haruk was convinced that this was Kurats’ fault.
(―― How dare you insult me! I will return this humiliation a hundred fold, kid!)
【”But tonight is a night of celebration. So let’s keep the tedious talks aside and enjoy ourselves!”】
The duke of Varandi had no other choice than to bear with his rage and go with Siegfried’s flow.
If he antagonized the king and the two other dukes, then even his Varandi household would have little chance of surviving.
But at the same time, he had also determined that the kingdom no longer deserved his allegiance.
He had every intention to send an envoy to Asgard’s side as soon as he’d return from this banquet.
What the duke did not know was that his nephew, Tulle, had once followed the exact same train of thought.
【”Your highness! I, Hans, count of Bartels, will bring you reinforcements from Macbarn at all costs!”】
Hans looked at Frigga’s beautiful face with feverish eyes as he emphasized that he was doing this specifically for her.
From a bystander’s point of view, this scene was quite picturesque.
With his red hair, his intrepid attitude, and his finely-chiseled facial features, he looked like a good match for the beautiful Frigga, with her white hair and delicate face.
Besides, as was often the case among the nobles who were skilled at fighting like himself, Hans longed and loved the princess.
He had never applied for a duel with her, but he still wished he would stand by her side one day. However, there was no end to number of men in love with the princess who had the exact same thoughts.
His heated gaze was warded off by Frigga with a simple, light smile.
【”Sure, just don’t pressure yourself too much.”】
To begin with, there was no reason for Hans to pressure himself at all. What the Macbarn and Elsrid kingdom wanted was a proof of Kurats’ existence, nothing more.
If they could confirm that Kurats’ strength was the real deal, then both countries would surely send reinforcements at once.
Hans, who did not understand that, could only look funny from Frigga’s perspective.
【”You can count on me! And then, though this may be presumptuous of me, would you listen to a request of mine upon my return…”】
【”If it’s a duel you want, anytime is fine.”】
“If you want to capture my heart, don’t ask for it, just defeat me and take it.” Th” patronizing implication behind the princess’ words was so humiliating that it would make the manliest man blush in shame.
Having his momentum killed so directly, Hans fell silent in disappointment.
If he thought he could defeat her in a duel, then he would not have bothered to make a request or anything of the sort.
(But the way things are going, she’ll end up never marrying anyone in her life…!)
Instead of feeling down, Hans felt a deep sense of duty.
(I have to save the princess from that fate…!)
『Is everyone in this country stupid? The king and the princess seem to be the only normal people here.』
【”It’s fine, at least this kingdom’s matters are easy to understand unlike the ones in Jormungand. If the king could just get rid of that one guy, he’d be set for the future.”】
Bernst and Kurats sighed together in exasperation.
As a ruler, Siegfried was modest but reliable, and all his dukes knew their place, except for the duke of Varandi.
If Siegfried dealt with that issue and purged the most foolish and arrogant nobles of the kingdom, then perhaps Lapland could turn into a good country, against all expectations.
【”So, how do you like the Molten cow meat? It’s our country’s specialty.”】
Frigga looked up at Kurats as she said so.
Kurats threw a large slice of beef in his mouth, and slowly chewed on it to get a good taste.
While the meat’s juice was rich, it was not too heavy on the tongue. The flavor was superbly balanced.
The delicious taste of the meat as it melted in the mouth certainly did not put the name of the country’s Molten cows to shame.
【”It’s great! I’ve never had such tasty beef before.”】
The red-eyed bear’s meat was delicious, too, but it could not be compared to the flesh of the Molten cows, which were raised with great care for the express intent of being eaten.
As a meat-lover, Kurats enthusiastically filled his cheeks with the Molten cow steak.
【”No need to eat in such a hurry. Normally, every mouthful should accompanied with a sip of wine, wouldn’t you say?”】
Frigga poured some wine in Kurats’ glass while quietly chuckling to herself.
Her maid, who was tending the table, sneakily gave her a thumbs up.
Frigga replied with an even more enthusiastic thumbs up under the table.
Partners in crime, they understood each other’s meaning.
Their mission had started before dinner even begun.
【”It’s sour, I like it. It goes well with the meat.”】
This was a 25 years old vintage wine that common people could never hope to taste.
It was characterized by its refined but mild sourness, as well as its light sweetness. As for its price, it was equivalent to a normal person’s yearly revenue.
If Kurats knew about this beforehand, he would have been much less easy-going about drinking it.
But that was not the main issue with the drink.
The main issue was that this tasty first-class wine was the perfect drink to dissolve any form of medicine. And while Kurats was physically invincible, his resistance to medicine and poison was not quite as abnormal.
【”Here, drink more. After all, today is a special day.”】
『Alcohol makes friends for life. This brings me back. I’d long forgotten about these moments.』
【”Oh well, then I won’t hold back…”】
(Hehehehehe――Just as planned!)
With a glint in her eyes, Frigga’s expression turned into an evil smile.