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Chapter 31: Noah and the Women
One afternoon, I was visited by Byron Allan.
Byron is under me, so I met him in my living room, which I use on a daily basis, not in the parlor for guests.
I’m sitting on the couch, and Byron is standing.
Behind Byron, the servants were still bringing in boxes and other things and piling them up.
As I look at them, I ask Byron.
“What’s with these boxes?”
“I just received news from the palace. Ada has officially become a ‘Common Queen’ in His Majesty’s favor.
I understood what he meant, and nodded.
Eida is the woman that Byron offered to the royal court as a servant.
Six years ago, I met her, and based on my advice, selected her.
That woman has been promoted to Queen in His Majesty’s embrace.
“This is just a small token of my gratitude.”
I sat down and looked at the box behind Byron.
The box was almost open, revealing the gold and silver treasures inside.
“You’ve spent a lot of money, about thirty thousand reens.”
“What’s the matter, you look so surprised?”
“Yeah. I was just surprised by Noah-sama’s eyes. To guess the exact amount of money, that’s impressive.”
What’s that about?
“I’m happy for the time being. First of all, the common consort, huh.”
“Above the common queen is the side queen, above that the legitimate queen, and at the top is the empress.
“Yes, eventually, I hope, she’ll be a legitimate queen.”[TN: I was thinking of using consort]
I nodded at Byron’s wish.
The status of the women in the palace is divided by rank.
At the top is, of course, the Empress.
Below her is the legitimate queen, who has the meaning of “Regular”.
Below the legitimate queen is the “side queen,” meaning “concubine,” and at the bottom is the ” common queen,” with the character for “commoner” attached.
Like officials, the queens rose through the ranks based on their favor and the status of their sons.
The mother of the crown prince is the empress, and the mother of the prince is unconditionally a concubine.
I became a “wise” prince six years ago, so my mother also became a legitimate queen at that time, one step above.
Needless to say, there’s only one empress, so if you want to move up, a legitimate queen is a de facto pinnacle.
“Now all we have to do is pray that His Majesty will give her more favor.”
“No, it’s politics from here on out.”
Byron was surprised.
He looks like he’s just been told something he hadn’t thought of.
“I said politics. Obviously, gaining His Majesty’s favor is the quickest way, but other than that, politics between queens is important.”
“Is that so?”
“Don’t try to make a mistake with that. What would happen if one of the Queens switched out Queen Ada’s perfume with a scent that His Majesty hates?”
Byron gulped, his face turning pale as soon as he heard it.
“The palace is as much an abyss as the men’s world, if not more so.”
“Send money, resources to Queen Ada. Once she understands it’s politics, she’ll know how to do it, right?”
“Of course! Thank you very much!”
Byron said, bowed hurriedly, and left with his servants.
I pondered for a moment and finished one of my letters, using the paper and pen that I also kept in my living room.
Just after I called out, my maid, Zoe, came in.”
She was probably waiting outside the door the whole time.
“You wanted to see me, master?”
“Yeah, go and deliver this letter, along with about ten thousand leens in cash, to my mother in the rear palace.”
“Well, …… me? Wouldn’t Dylan-san be a better choice for the royal court?”
Zoe wondered if why he wasn’t the one I picked.
“Men are forbidden in the inner palace. Not even me, her son, can enter.”
“Is that so?”
“The prince is separated from his mother as soon as he is born. He only gets to see his mother once a year or so.”
“Ah, by the way, ……”
Other than the royal family, I often talk about these things as small talk.
I’m sure Zoe, who has been with me for quite some time, has heard of this sort of thing at least vaguely.
“That’s not important right now. Mother – when you meet the queen, give her a message, too. Tell her that I intend to be the guardian of Queen Ada.”
“Well, ……, are you taking your mother into politics?”
“Your mother is ……, isn’t she?”
“That’s what the royal family is all about. Even if you’re a real parent and a real child, your interests and values are more important than your feelings. Ada is the girl I chose, she is serious and ambitious. If Queen Ada goes up, she will be a good ally for Mother.”
“Haha ……, the nobility is an amazing world, isn’t it ……. I understand. I’ll be right there.”
Zoe rolled her tongue, accepted my order, and headed for the royal palace.
On the afternoon of that day, a messenger came from the Bardsley Shop on Cobalt Street.
Alan, the owner of the store, had found a treasure, and he wanted me to come anytime.[His first name is the Last name for the previous character in the story ]
I wondered if he had fallen for my 10,000-reens bait.
So I headed to the Bardsley store by myself.
“Welcome, to my store! His Imperial Highness the Thirteenth.”
When I arrived at the store, the owner, Alan Bardsley, greeted me with a big smile.
I’ve been here many times before.
I walked in with Alan as if it were my own mansion, and we entered the guest room in the back.
Sitting down on a chair, I asked him quickly.
“So what kind of treasure is it?”
“This one, sir.”
Almost as soon as Alan held up his hand, a shopkeeper brought in a cloth-covered object.
“Is that a …… painting?”
“As you said.”
Alan tucked his chin to his man.
The cloth was removed to reveal a painting in a frame.
It was a picture of a beautiful woman.
“It’s a painting called Fuwawa.”
I stood up, approached the painting, and peered at it from up close.
“…… is it cursed?”
“Very good, sir!”
Alan said, and held up his hand again.
Then another of Alan’s subordinates walked in with another painting.
This time it was not covered with a cloth, and I immediately recognized what it depicted.
It’s just a painting, but if you look closely, you can see the face of the first painting – a beautiful woman depicted in Fuwawa.
“What is this?”
“It’s a replica, sir. I heard it was a replica from the time when Fuwawa was painted.”
“I see. A cursed picture that grows.”
“It seems so, sir.”
I looked at the two pictures in turn.
Fuwawa and its replica.
I could see it clearly.
Through Leviathan, I can see that the real thing is giving off an uncanny vibe.
If this is it…
I grabbed the leviathan.
I take out the Leviathan, which has shrunk enough to be hidden by the bracelet and return it to its original size.
Then I swing it down.
The painting Fuwawa was cut in half with a single swing.
Alan was surprised, wondering what I was doing.
Immediately after, he was even more surprised.
To his surprise, the painting that looked like it had been cut was completely undamaged, but a beautiful woman jumped out of the painting.
Her figure was translucent, and her body was floating in the air.
The beautiful woman looked like a ghost.
The ghost–Fuwawa’s mouth moved as if she had spoken something.
“W-What is it?”
Alan asked me curiously since there was no physical voice.
The paints in this painting are made of her own blood. The guy who painted it must have been crazy, he killed her when she was a kid and mixed her blood with oil paint to paint her.”
“I-Is that so….”
Fuwawa said something more.
It was still inaudible and probably only I could hear it.
“W-What is saying now?”
“I want to repay you for freeing me. In that case, swear your allegiance to me.”
Okay—after hearing that, Fuwawa went back into the painting.
She came right back out and went back in again.
Thanks to the Leviathan breaking the bond, it seems she is no longer trapped in the painting, but can use it as a substitute to come and go at any time.
Name: Noah Ararat
Minister of Justice
Level: 3 / ∞
My abilities of Earth have also gained a bit of a “+”.
It’s a cursed picture, but considering how it was born, it’s about right.
Alan, on the other hand, was watching Fuwawa coming and going.
“W-Wow ……. I didn’t expect a cursed painting to turn out like this. ……”
He was really surprised.
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