* * *
15 days since the start of the diplomatic battle.
Elizabeth finally made a move.
“The saintesses are condemning us?”
“Yes, Your Highness. Their statement was announced just yesterday.”
Ivar answered politely.
“The saintesses from the Temple of Poseidon and Ares have formally condemned the Habsburg Empire. They referred to the Empire as harlots who have forgotten their duty as humans and sold their bodies to demons.”
“I see. So they are using religion.”
I was in awe.
There was a reason why the ambassador that Elizabeth had dispatched felt so flimsy. Elizabeth never intended to win the diplomatic battle. She pulled out an entirely new card called religion to flip the playing field.
Once I came back to my senses, I saw that Ivar was giving me a weird look.
“Hm? Oh, yeah. Good work. You did great getting this information in only a day. You did well, Ivar.”
“That is not…… Well, no, that was partially the reason, but.”
I gently patted Ivar’s head. Ivar squirmed under my touch as she blushed. How cute.
I showed a fatherly smile as I pulled Ivar by her wrist. ‘Ah’, Ivar let out a small cry as she fell onto me. I held Ivar in my arms as I slid my fingers through Ivar’s golden hair.
“Y-Your Highness, it is still the middle of the day…….”
“Rest is needed every now and then. Is there something you want to ask me?”
Ivar’s face became redder once I whispered into her ear. Aah, Laura used to be innocent like this as well. Will Ivar also become blunt like Laura one day?
“Well…… it is because Your Highness did not get as upset as this humble one expected……. If anything, it is surprising because it feels as if you are happy because of this.”
She was right. I was actually pleased when Ivar told me the news. It was like a wave of relief after watching your opponent make a move in a game of Go.
“It is because I knew that Consul Elizabeth would not leave things like this.”
“……Your Highness seems to hold the Republic’s Consul in high regard.”
“She is a genius.”
If history flowed by as it should have, then would she have been solidifying her position as Habsburg’s next empress around this point? However, the Empire had collapsed and Elizabeth was placed in an awkward role as a republic nation’s consul. Life is a mystery.
Ivar gave me a weird look again. The emotions in her purple eyes……unease? Anxiousness and hesitation were mixed together. Once I tilted my head, Ivar mumbled in a tiny voice.
“……T-To me, Your Highness is more impressive.”
Ivar then turned away. It was like she was trying to run away because of how embarrassing her words were.
Thump, my heart skipped a beat.
What is this adorable creature? Is she an assassination tool that Elizabeth made in secret to kill Demon Lords? I was bewildered by a real heroine’s destructive power. A cuteness that was almost criminal was here before me.
I wanted to embrace Ivar right this moment, but I held myself back. If she ends up like Laura because I slept with her too much, then I would only be filled with despair.
I was too indifferent when I was going out with Laura. I didn’t consider what a girl’s dream could be. I should’ve approached her in a softer and fluffier way like a lover. And yet, all we did was have sex. Sex in the morning, sex after lunch, and sex before bed. Because of this, Laura denounced me saying, ‘Men are all animals, and Your Lordship is the biggest animal in heat out of all of them.’ There are no dreams or hope.
Thus, I decided to lightly kiss Ivar’s forehead here.
“To me, you are also the most beautiful.”
Ivar’s face became red like a boiling pot.
How cute. I want to eat her up, but I can’t. Like leaving the meat for last when eating a bowl of curry, I left Ivar Lodbrok alone today as well.
“How have the other countries responded?”
“T-They seemed surprised by the sudden announcement. The delegates seem like they are not planning to move until they receive orders from their home nations. There are still a lot of delegates who are not aware of the announcement as well.”
“We should tell them ourselves.”
Giving them information would put them further in debt to us. It’s important to gradually build up this debt.
“This is negative information for us. Would it not be better to tell them as late as possible?”
“It is because it is negative that we must be the ones to tell them. If we honestly tell them about something that puts us in a negative light, then that would contrarily make them trust us more.”
Everyone will find out by tomorrow anyway. In that case, it would be better to tell them and build some trust. This was the clear difference in viewpoint between Ivar, a merchant, and me, a politician.
“Now then, shall I meet the ambassadors? They must have not expected the saintesses would get involved either. They must be anxious to speak with us.”
Huh. Ivar was making a weird face again, but this time, I really didn’t understand why she was making that face.
I could easily check her current thoughts through her status window, but I’ve been trying to rely less on the status windows lately. The status window was too convenient. There was a risk that I might grow lazy when observing others because of it.
I wanted to figure out what was on people’s minds through my eyes and instincts if possible as long as it wasn’t something incredibly important. This was also my way to prevent my political side from growing rusty.
Ivar let out a sigh.
“As I thought, she was lying.”
I didn’t expect those words at all.
“I am talking about Head Maid Daisy. Normally, it would be impertinent to talk badly about one’s superior, but please allow this one instance of discourtesy. She had audaciously stated that Your Highness had inserted a slime inside of her!”
That sly Daisy.
“Furthermore, she even claimed that that slime is connected to a masturbation device that her brother uses. In other words, she slandered Your Highness by saying that you were forcing her to incestuous intercourse with her brother through a proxy.”
“……What baseless slander.”
“Truly. What kind of pervert would pursue such a goal? I am sure all of that was a fantasy that the Head Maid made up herself.”
Ivar let out a mocking snort.
“Your Highness, I have been wanting to ask you this, but why did you take such a human in as your adopted child? She is a child who is vulgar and perverted by birth.”
“……I pitied Daisy because her village was caught up in the flames of war. Of course.”
Referentially, I was the one who burned that village.
“Your Highness has a somewhat soft tendency to her. You cannot overlook her outrageous behavior all the time simply because she is your adopted daughter. I advise that, as much as she is still young, she should first be properly educated about the concept of sex.”
“You are right. Sex education is important.”
I’m the one who forced that education on her.
This is really stabbing at my conscience…….
I was constantly being moved by Ivar’s maiden-like demeanor, but now it was so blinding that I couldn’t bear to open my eyes before it.
“In that regard, Ivar. Go and call Daisy here. I will start teaching her immediately.”
“As you command.”
“Oh, could you also go see the ambassadors in my stead? They know that you are my maid, so you should be more than enough to take the role of my messenger.”
Ivar told me to leave it to her as she left the room.
That day, Daisy’s pained moans echoed through my room endlessly.
* * *
The situation got worse.
Once the next day arrived, Hestia’s saintess made the same announcement as well. They declared that the Habsburg Empire was subordinate to the Demon Lord Army and claimed that going along with this nation’s antics would be like handing the continent over to the demons.
There was currently a total of three saintesses who were backing this declaration. The saintesses of Poseidon, Ares, and Hestia.
Poseidon is the state religion of Sardinia, Ares the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Hestia the Kingdom of Moscow.
The Kingdom of Sardinia and the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth supported Elizabeth from the very beginning. Therefore, with the inclusion of Moscow’s Hestia, Elizabeth gained another ally.
Therefore, the score is now 4:3.
I smiled bitterly.
“I am doing a diplomatic battle while Elizabeth is doing a religious battle.”
There were no blades, but this was still a fierce battlefield.
The separation of church and state is done rather thoroughly throughout the continent, but saintesses are the people’s icons. If saintesses step forward and condemn something, then the people will follow suit. Bureaucrats with strong senses of devotion will also do the same. Their influence will quickly exceed that of politics.
The place I went to in face of this situation was probably a little unexpected.
“You wish to meet our nation’s saintess?”
“That is correct.”
The Kingdom of Brittany’s delegate.
It was the ambassador of the nation who was probably having the least fun during this diplomatic battle. Queen Henrietta most likely wants to take the Republic’s side, but she couldn’t in order to maintain her nation’s safety. I’m sure that she must be feeling happy because of the saintesses rising up.
“This is not something that I can decide on my own. I will have to ask Her Highness the Queen.”
“This is an urgent matter. I ask of you to hurry.”
The delegate seemed doubtful as he connected me to their queen.
I entered a private room and used Brittany’s magic orb. A foggy curtain filled the orb before Henrietta’s appearance was shown. She must’ve been in the middle of doing office work as there were mountains of documents on her desk.
“Have you been doing well, Your Highness?”
“I have been cursing you every day.”
A corner of Henrietta’s mouth twitched. Surprisingly, there were bags under her eyes.
“Oh? It seems that you are tired.”
“It is because a certain Demon Lord caused a division throughout my lovely kingdom. Our nobles have been stirring some trouble. Thanks to that, I have been having a great time.”
“What a terrible fellow.”
Queen Henrietta turned her body to me and crossed her legs. This was my first time seeing Henrietta in casual clothes and not a military uniform. Her purple dress focused on simplicity and comfort, so it looked refreshing. It suited Henrietta really well.
“I heard that you were promoted to count palatine. Congratulations. Well, I wonder if something like that has any meaning to you.”
“Thank you very much. It is all thanks to Your Highness.”
“……It makes me angry because that actually sounds true. I genuinely hope that you will fall to hell.”
I was promoted for defeating Henrietta. Henrietta said that after figuring out the meaning behind my words. I laughed again. Was she not an interesting queen?
“What business do you have with me? Do not tell me you threatened our nation’s delegate simply to make fun of me.”
“The Consul of Habsburg is pushing the saintesses forward.”
I changed to a serious tone.
“I would more than gladly accept a fight between political schemes, but I cannot do much when religion gets involved. Unfortunately, I have little connections with the religious world.”
“That is a statement that would astound Priest Jean Bole.”
“I would like to speak with your nation’s Saintess Longwy.”
Saintess Jacqueline Longwy.
She’s a priest of the Goddess Athena and the Kingdom of Brittany’s guardian. During the previous war, she was captured by our army after trying to defend Parisiorum until the very end and was returned to Brittany as a condition for the ceasefire agreement.
Henrietta furrowed her brows.
“……What are you planning, Dantalian?”
“Do not worry. I simply wish to be a little considerate.”
I smiled broadly.