Rhoden Kingdom took pride in being the third most powerful nation on the Hokkaido continent.
The eastern and western Leburan empires touched the northern border, the shoreline connected to the Burugo Gulf in the west, the south lead to the sea and in the east was the Canada forest, which was independent from Rhoden and the home of the elves. In short, the country’s location kept it relatively safe from foreign enemies.
The northern border was connected to both of the Leburan Empires.
The eastern Holy Leburan Empire and the western Great Leburan Empire used to be a single country before it split into two, and now the two are at each others throats, trying to grasp total power on the continent.
The two countries are almost equal in strength, so the struggle for supremacy will be decided by the country that manages to draw Rhoden Kingdom to its side, and because of this the conflict of east vs. west is casting its shadow upon the Rhoden Kingdom.
The eastern Holy Leburan Empire has tropic ports and vast plains in the south, and intends to offer them to Rhoden in exchange for overthrowing the west. While the more legitimate western Great Leburan Empire planned to use Rhoden to eliminate the east.
In addition to that, the struggle for the succession of Rhoden’s throne has also intensified, with the western empire supporting first prince Sect and the eastern holy empire supporting second prince Douglass respectively.
The final faction involved in the bid for the throne was the second princess Juliana who has remained independent from other countries. Instead she has focused her attention to the west, beyond the archduchy of Rinburuto, and seeks to strengthen the bonds between the great Canadian forest and the elves that inhabit it.
The fierce power struggle between these people has split the kingdom’s nobles, and since the shady source that funded the second prince’s faction was shut down due to someone’s machinations, the spheres of influence have greatly shifted in the kingdom.
North of the Calcutta mountain range, a fertile plain opened up, from the east side of the wind dragon mountain range the quantity of water in the Rydell river bolstered as it flowed past the capital into the southern sea.
In a certain room in the imperial palace in the capital city of Olav, a woman accompanied by her personal maid sat at a waist high table that overlooked the courtyard, together with two other people.
The woman who sat with ladylike conduct, dressed in neat clothes and surrounded by a calm atmosphere while still retaining the cuteness of a young girl, was the second princess of this country, Juliana Meroru Melissa Rhoden Olav.
She had long, dark blonde hair that fell down in loose waves, lovely brown eyes and white, regular features. However, deep within those eyes dwelled the light of a strong-willed individual.
“This time around, I heard that Douglass nii-san and Sect nii-san were interested in the Hoban territory. Officially they’re going to a ball, but in reality they’re just looking into territories around the capital.”
A man in the prime of his life nodded at princess Juliana’s words before chiming in.
This large man wore a General’s uniform, had brown hair that was cut very short and a square jaw that gave off a dignified impression.
This person was the duke that belonged to the princess’ faction, head of the Frivetran household and one of the country’s three generals, Carton De Frivetran.
“That inspection of Hoban reeks of danger. There’s still speculation flying around the court about the previous incident. Some even say that the elven surprise attack was a feint by the faction of his highness Sect, or our own.”
The previously mentioned incident was the assassination of a member of the second prince’s faction, Marquis Diento.
In the Rhoden kingdom, it was prohibited to capture and sell elves, but the former lord of Diento had been suspected of doing just that on the black market, and the affair happened just as princess Juliana had sent a scout to secretly investigate.
At first the witness testimony stated that elves were the ones behind it, but the witnesses suddenly disappeared, which lead to a number of speculations as to who the true culprit was. The purpose of the attack also remained unclear, which in turn lead to even more speculation.
“There is also the simultaneous attack on the slave traders, and how all of Marquis Diento’s savings disappeared on top of that. All the speculation just keeps piling up.”
Princess Juliana shrugged and sighed loudly.
“The whereabouts of the majority of it remains unknown, but a part of it seemed to have been found within the Diento territory. Pieces of expensive furniture were found in the possession of citizens. Everything that was recovered had been found on the open market. If the Diento family wants to recover everything, they’ll have to act quickly before the rest disappears into the darkness.”
The young man sitting next to the general opened his mouth.
He also wore a general’s military uniform, though simplified, was well-mannered and looked strikingly similar to General Carton even though his features were more delicate than the general’s. However, his tone was comparable to General Cartons.
His name was Lendl Do Frivetran. He was the battalion commander of a large military unit, heir of the Frivetran dukedom and General Carton’s son.
“Whatever they do, it will take take some time before Marquis Diento’s family recovers. With the loss of a major fanatical supporter, his highness Douglass is trying to quell the unrest in his faction… I’ve also heard that his highness Sect is making overtures toward Duke Brutus.”
General Carton stroked his magnificent beard as anxiety over both camps’ movements caused his eyebrows to rise and his wrinkles to be more prominent.
While nodding at the General’s concerns, princess Juliana spoke of future correspondences.
“A storm is coming…… It may be better to move up our schedule and hasten our visit to Rinburuto. Helen asked to accompany us at that time.”
Juliana straightened her back as she stood up and looked in the eyes of her personal maid and close childhood friend Feruna, while speaking of her future schedule.
The maid Feruna gave a little smile, sharpened her gaze, and lowered her head full of beautifully tied up hair.
“I understand, Juliana-sama.”
“……Alright. In about five days we will head towards Rinburuto, let’s also narrow the number of guards to fifty. We’ll leave Lendl in charge of selecting the guards, while I’ll select the subordinates we bring along.”
The general slapped his son on his shoulder, which broke the enthrallment he had been under after seeing the maid Feruna, causing him to quickly kneel on the spot and lower his head.
“Even if it cost me my life, I’ll definitely ensure that your highness has a safe journey!”
“Thank you lord Lendl. If that bishop of the Hiruku religion makes any suspicious moves, please be prepared to neutralize them.”
The two lowered their heads again at Juliana’s word.