Chapter 32 – Schemes
The Battle of Hercules ended in the defeat of the Monarchy.
The Monarchy of Diete could not make the Solar System a safe haven. It was clear that there will eventually be a Coalition offensive, and if the Solar System is lost, the Monarchy will be in danger again.
However, the main reason that made the Royal Citizens uneasy was the death of the Crown Prince.
The Crown Prince was extremely unpopular with the people after the battle of the Capital planet Defense, but the fact that he had been killed in battle even though the Royal Army had done everything in its power to protect him brought home the reality that the Royal Army might not be able to stop the Coalition, causing the people to feel anxious and scared.
The news of the death of the Crown Prince has rocked the Monarchy.
At the Royal Palace, a slender young man with blue eyes, a handsome face and blond hair that reached down to his neck, was sitting in the office given to him, questioning his entourage.
“Why is The Duke of Strani’s royal status restored?”
The name of the man who asked the question was Leandre Asteria.
He is the grandson of the reigning Sovereign of the Diete Monarchy, the second most magical man in the Monarchy, who, after the death of the Crown Prince, ascended to the first in the line of succession to the throne.
Leandre’s voice contained anger, and his tone was close to questioning.
The one he is taking his anger on is Stefan, son of The Duke of Langlois, and a classmate at the Academy of Magic.
Stefan’s father, the Duke of Langlois, and the Crown Prince’s mother, the Princess, are siblings. Therefore, Stefan and the Sovereign’s grandson are cousins.
On the contrary, Stefan was born when the Duke conceived his wife to coincide with the Princess’ pregnancy.
Stefan, whose gender was specifically selected as male even before he was born, was assigned to be the aide of the royal grandson, and was accustomed to these fits of anger.
He calmly swept away the anger that would frighten other aides.
“We are currently at war, and His Majesty the Sovereign, who has reigned for 55 years, is also elderly. The situation where there is only one heir to the throne is a national crisis in an unlikely event. I believe restoring Prince Valfrete to the royal family is unavoidable at this time.”
In the unlikely event, a situation like the Battle of the Diete Star System is assumed.
In last year’s Capital planet defense, the Sovereign’s grandson also participated in a defense fortress operated by several royals, and there was a risk of the Sovereign dying in the battle.
If the defense fortress, in which the Sovereign and the sole heir to the throne were on board, was destroyed, the Monarchy, which no longer has a royal line of succession, will be in turmoil over who would be the next Sovereign.
Valfrete, who does not have the right to succeed the throne, cannot easily be accepted.
Therefore, the number of successors to the throne had to be increased immediately.
This was the principle, and even the Duke of Langlois household could not oppose it.
Thus, Valfrate’s entry in the royal family register was revived, and the second in line of succession to the throne, after the royal grandson Leandre, was secured.
At the same time, with the restoration of Valfrate’s royal title, his children were also added to the royal family.
The eldest son of his wife, Bernard, has a magical power of 27,788.
The second son of his wife, Josslan, has an estimated magical power of 27,900.
The eldest daughter of his wife, Mirabelle, has an estimated magical power of 21,500.
The eldest daughter of his concubine, Yuna, has a magical power of 26,138.
The magic power value required to succeed to the throne is set at 27,440 or more.
Therefore, only two of the children, Bernard and Josslan, have the right to succeed the throne. However, the number of successors to the throne has increased to a total of four, including two sons of Valfrete, and has stabilized.
“It is unprecedented in the history of the Monarchy to have both a Royal title and a Dukedom. Moreover, Duke Strani also serves as the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Army. Doesn’t he hold too much power?”
An active volcano called Leandre was seeking justification for its eruption.
Standing in front of him, the tall young man looked down at the crater and tried to mitigate the damage that would be caused if it erupted.
“His Highness Valfrate graduated from the Military Academy and was appointed the same rank as the people. Him having influence over the military is inevitable. However, in terms of magical ability and the order of succession to the throne, Your Highness Leandre is above him.”
Leandre’s magic power value is 30,128, and Valfrete’s is 28,512.
Since there is a difference of 1616, Leandre has been chosen for the purpose of having the future Sovereign with high magic power. Leandre felt slightly better in that respect, but soon became grumpy as he recalled Valfrete’s actions.
“I would have received a warm reception from the aristocrats by issuing Letters of Commendation. I’m sure even the Langlois family received one.”
“The Letters of Commendation were certainly helpful.”
Stefan answered immediately without hesitation.
The Letters of Commendation prove that one has fulfilled the duties of the aristocracy for 441 years, and will be deducted from the loan so large that it could affect the existence of each household if they were forced not to accept it by other aristocrats.
To make such a loan or to cancel the debt, it would not be worth it to force the other noble families not to accept the letter of Commendation.
There was no option to refuse for the Duke of Langlois, and in return it was a reasonable decision for the Duke to be added to the petition to restore the royal family registry.
However, Leandre felt threatened by the succession to the throne as a result.
In the past, Leandre was touted as having the highest magic power value in the country, and him being the future Sovereign was also regarded as certain.
However, in terms of magical ability, Hart, who was in the same grade in middle school, pulled far ahead of him. After Hart overtook him in academic grades, there have been incidents in which Hart lowered his grades after being pressured by some aristocrats to “not beat the royal family”.
Even with a track record of military service, there is an irreversible difference. Hart successfully defended the Monarchy in the Capital defense battle, but Leandre, who had operated the defense fortress on the final line of defense, allowed enemy ships in his area to break through and destroy the royal capital.
Even in the selection of a fiancée, the top 3 girls according to magic power value in the middle school division chose the same destination as Hart, and the young lady of the Duke was also omitted from the list of candidates due to Hart’s testimony. Alisa, whose engagement offer was revoked, regained her honor after receiving military strategy from Hart’s command center.
Hundreds of aristocrats and members of the Royal Army forces, led by the Duke of Mauriac, have been clamoring for Alisa’s spectacular success.
Alisa became known throughout the Monarchy as “a tragic heroine who was ordered by the royal family to flee before the enemy only to be stigmatized for desertion, and then went to the front line to defeat many enemies and rescue many allies, clearing the stigma herself”…
The government privately asked Leandre if he could issue an apology, even if it was just a formality, which added additional fuel into Leandre’s wrath.
Valfrete’s return to the race for the throne was partly due to Valfrete’s son-in-law, Hart, who made the greatest achievement since the founding of the country.
Therefore, Leandre believes, “All of this is Amakawa’s fault”.
The original Leandre should have had it all.
Because of Hart, he was demoted to “second place”, and was no longer showered with the words of praise he once received.
On top of that, Leandre fears that he will have nothing left if Valfrete were to succeed the throne.
If others knew, they may be astounded at his dissatisfaction in being the second place among a total population of 40 billion. But Leandre was raised from the beginning to want to be Sovereign, and he didn’t know any other way to live.
Stefan, who understood Leandre’s feelings, chose a safe answer from the several that came to mind.
“His Royal Highness Valfrete has been reinstated, but as long as Your Royal Highness Leandre remains, the next Sovereign will not be reversed. If Your Royal Highness had a high magic powered son who could succeed to the throne, said son would be Crown Prince, and the royal family would be secured.”
“There’s no possible concubine candidate with such high magic for that.”
Sparks rained on the hand he stretched out to try to contain the eruption.
Leandre throws unreasonable anger at Stefan, who cannot refuse.
“There were no suitable girls at the Magic Academy. The one with the highest magic power value in middle school was actually the daughter of The Duke of Strani’s concubine. It was such a terrible trap.”
Stefan nodded and tilted his head inwardly.
If Valfrete wanted to give the throne to his descendants and was thinking of having his daughter marry Leandre, he would have had a child with a lady from a senior aristocratic family, not a low magic lady of a Baron.
Yuna, the young lady of the Baron of Takamiya, went on to the Military Academy after the results of her high magic power. If she had entered the High School of the Academy of Magic, she would surely have been in the same class as the Sovereign’s grandson. If she had been aiming to be Queen, she would have gone straight to the High School.
It was entirely Leandre’s paranoia and allegation, but Leandre himself, who insisted, was not conscious of it, and would not accept it honestly if it was pointed out, so Stefan did not point it out.
“Come to think of it, I heard that your cousin Beatrice, a member of the Duke of Langlois, showed a Royal grade of 28,000 in the recent magic power anchoring.”
Stefan nodded at Leandre’s point.
“The Duke of Langlois was also surprised at the matter. Beatrice is of a branch family, but she didn’t tell the main Family Head until September, when her magic power was anchored.”
Magic is anchored in the middle school of the Magic Academy every September.
This year, three of them were royal-class magic power holders: Claudia, the Duke of Coursefeld young lady, Beatrice, and Bernard, Valfrete’s eldest son, who had been resurrected as a member of the royal family.
“Was she to be your fiancée?”
“Yes. After anchoring her magic, Beatrice’s father approached my father. Originally, she was one of the candidates for my legal wife.”
Leandre nodded to Stefan’s affirmation.
“If she is a Royal-class wife, the next generation of the Langlois family will be in good hands.”
“Yes, thank you.”
In response to Leandre’s words about his aide, Stefan bowed a little while tilting his head inwardly.
But the following words made his uneasiness a reality.
‘Because of Alisa, I’m unable to choose my fiancée. And my mother, who is from Langlois, could no longer be queen. Therefore, I propose that another future queen be chosen from the Duke of Langlois family.”
After a few seconds of silence, Stefan fully understood the meaning of those words, and rebuked the Sovereign’s grandson.
“Beatrice has been chosen as my fiancée.”
Leandre smiled scornfully at his close aide’s admonition.
“It’s probably unannounced. It must have been the Duke’s policy to produce a Queen from the Langlois household. The Duke of Strani is stirring up a lot of trouble, but if it’s me, a person with high magic power, and his Royal-grade legal wife, even my descendants can make a difference. As a consideration for my political decision, please inform the Duke first. Noble Duke’s Son”
Leandre knew how to say things in a way that Stefan, who was sent by the Duke’s family, could not refuse.
Of course, Stefan did not agree, and he only withdrew in the hopes that his father would reprove the matter after telling him.
“Also, I would like to inform His Majesty, and have Duke Strani take responsibility to embark on an expedition.”
To Stephan, who was wondering of what responsibility, Leandre spoke of it, as if he had decided.
“As Commander-in-Chief of the military, he is responsible for the death of my father, who was the Crown Prince.”
Deflated, Stefan could barely hold back a sigh.
The death of the Crown Prince is not Valfrete’s fault, as he had been removed from the front line. As a matter of fact, it is the Crown Prince’s camp that removed him from the front line.
But Stefan made no unacceptable and meaningless points.
What Stefan pointed out was another problem.
“If Your Royal Highness Leandre, who lost his father, announces that he will avenge the death of the Crown Prince, it would be a good idea to send His Royal Highness Valfrete, the Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Army, to war in his name. However, if he goes to war, he may be able to garner more military achievements, as in the Loki Star-System Battle, is fine with you?”
The Crown Prince, reluctant to have Valfrete’s success escalate the issue of the right to succession to the throne, did not allow Valfrete to play an active role on the front line.
In the Monarchy, where magic power is valued, Leandre, who has a higher magic power than Valfrete and is the legitimate son of a legitimate son, will not be dropped from the first succession unless Leandre wishes to do so in peacetime.
However, the Royal citizens recognized the royal system because they wanted them to fight the Coalition, and if Valfrete continues to fight and defeats the Coalition, there is a good chance that they will want Valfrete as Sovereign.
Leandre’s actions had the potential to be self-destructive.
Stefan intended to point out the problem politely, but Leandre’s next remarks blew away any explanation as a trivial matter.
“Leak information on the formation of expeditionary forces and any unfavorable military secrets to the Coalition. Let Duke Strani die.”
Stefan doubted his ears and asked back.
But Leandre didn’t take back his statement as a joke.
No matter how much he is told to maintain a good mood as Leandre’s aide, there is a limit to what is acceptable as an aristocrat of the Monarchy.
Stefan answered no, from the standpoint of the Duke’s son.
“This is different from simply reducing the number of opposing royals in a political struggle. If we do that, there will be heavy casualties in the Monarchy’s army. We are at war with the Coalition. Now that we’ve lost the Battle of Hercules, the Monarchy itself would be in peril if we reduce our forces further.”
Leandre did not feel the sincere appeal of his aide.
“It’s to stabilize a country shaken by the issue of succession to the throne. If there is a civil war here, that is the danger to the Monarchy. I am judging from the position of the next Sovereign. Please inform the Duke first. Son of the Duke of Langlois”
Stefan had no choice but to push down his desire to yell at him and tell his father, Lord Maxim, the Duke of Langlois, who sent him. And he wanted to expect a proper judgment.
However, the Duke, who made sure Stefan was born at the same time as the Sovereign’s grandson and made him an aide, did not make a proper judgment. In a sense, he made a calculated judgment as expected.
He agreed without hesitation on the idea of making Beatrice the Crown Princess.
“Then father would give My Fiancée Beatrice to Leandre and pass the information on to the enemy.”
A light of deep anger was emitted from Stefan’s eyes.
His father responded calmly to his son, who asked for an explanation.
“Yes. His Majesty is old, Leandre is young, and the next Sovereign will reign for 200 years. I went to the trouble of submitting the Duke of Langlois Household to him. Moreover, if he takes away your fiancée, Leandre will owe a debt. Accept and be compensated.”
As for compensation, that can certainly be expected. Since he will be in a position to work closely with the Sovereign as an aide, it is easy to do things that are convenient for him with that authority.
But for Stefan, handing over his fiancée was emotionally unacceptable.
And as for the other instruction, it was unacceptable from an ethical point of view.
“Leandre intends to have His Royal Highness Valfrete killed on the battlefield in order to settle the issue of succession to the throne. To that end, he has told us to release information on the Royal Army and have them lose the war. Father, do you want me to betray our country?”
Stefan might not have rebelled so much if it was a matter of assassinating one person in a political struggle during peaceful times.
But now they are in the middle of a war, and the one they want to kill is the Commander-in-Chief who could win the war, and the method is to leak military information so the entire Royal Army would be defeated.
The Duke grumbled to Stefan, who was clearly having a hard time accepting the idea.
“Leandre, as the next Sovereign, probably made a political decision to solve the problem of succession to the throne. If this resolves the succession dispute and prevents civil war, it may be a wise decision rather than a betrayal of the nation.”
Stefan felt indignant at the Duke for saying something so ridiculous.
“Leandre is not the Sovereign. He has no such authority. And even His Majesty would never be forgiven for deliberately causing the defeat of the Royal Army and throwing the lives of officers and soldiers away in vain.”
The Duke was not moved by Stefan’s sound argument.
“Listen, Stefan. The crown princess is my sister, your aunt. The Dukes of Langlois has been throwing people, money, assets, efforts, and connections at the royal family long before you thought of such things. All the while struggling against the intrusions of other senior aristocrats.”
“What does that have to do with it?”
“If Lord Strani turns the tables on us, everything we have spent so far will have been for nothing. First, recover what we have spent. And then comes the country.”
Until now, Stefan did not know how much the Dukes had invested.
But for Stefan, it looked like the Duke, who had placed his bet, was about to throw in an even higher-risk gamble in an attempt to recoup his losses.
Because he had a firm grip on Leandre, he cannot cut his losses.
“I’m going to pretend there was never an offer for Beatrice to you, so choose another woman. If you take a woman with high magic power from the same family as your wife, you can’t divide it numerically as if you were renting or borrowing from another family, so you must be considerate. You can enjoy playing with a mistress who is a quasi-aristocrat.”
Could there be a more aggravating piece of good-natured advice?
Stefan set aside the matter of Beatrice, and focused on another issue.
“I understand father’s thoughts on Beatrice. Our opinions are different, but that’s all I can do as a Duke’s son. However, as an aristocrat, I cannot overlook the matter of sacrificing the Royal Army. As a Duke, does father not think anything of it?”
“You’re green. The Monarchy lost a billion people, but took the Solar System and 6 billion people from the Coalition. Since the start of the war, the Monarchy gained a star system and increased its population by 5 billion, and the Coalition lost 6 billion and a star system. And there are spirit crystals and battleships. The Monarchy will not lose. And there will be fewer opportunities to erase The Duke of Strani.”
The argument of population and the system is true, and Stefan, though repulsed, could not deny the logic.
However, the Solar System was not easily acquired. It was a result of the crisis in which the population of the Diete system was about to be killed and the Capital planet lost. The Duke simply downplays the sacrifices of the royal citizens.
“If you can only say frivolous things, you will never serve as the head of a senior aristocratic house. There is no head of a senior aristocracy who runs a territory and has clean hands.”
There is no way for Stefan to confirm that this is really the case. His father uses only things that Stefan can’t confirm to persuade him, and he doesn’t try to persuade him sincerely.
As a result, Stefan was completely unconvinced by his father’s forceful persuasion.
“There will be unnecessary sacrifices to Monarchy Forces.”
“Fighter crafts can be mass-produced as easily as toys. The throne was to be held by His Highness my brother-in-law and then my nephew Leandre. We can’t afford to change our plans now.”
The Duke once again reiterated to his silent son.
“Send the Royal Army formation data and military analysis results to the Coalition. It would be prudent if they knew that the majority of the forces which the Duke Strani has gathered are fighter crafts, and that their weakness is a massive electromagnetic pulse cannon for interceptor. You will tell His Highness Leandre that you have relayed his instructions to your father and that everything went well.”
Stefan remained unconvinced, but the Duke didn’t relent.