Chapter 16: Hostages and threats
I pondered for three days.
The Palace departments were already running smoothly, and the General Affairs Department led by Lord Balk had assembled a top-notch team.
So I stayed out of sight and simulated various scenarios in my room —— imagining the responses I would receive and the outcomes.
After three days of contemplation, I reached a decision.
When the same group of people assembled in the salon once again, I wore a weak smile on my face.
Father, you have underestimated me.
You have only evaluated me based on my gender and have not shown any interest in my worth as a person.
After three days of reflection and revisiting my experiences since arriving in this country, I realized that I can be a valuable asset.
“So, Claire… Have you come up with a good plan?”
I plan to use myself as a hostage.”
“What are you talking about?!”
His Majesty and His Highness Auglia spoke at the same time, and the Queen covered her mouth with both hands.
“My mind is filled with every detail from all the books and records in the Faithnum Empire Palace.
So, I will respond like this —— I don’t mind exchanging, but I need a year’s time.
I, Claire, will return once I’ve thoroughly conveyed the Faithnum Empire’s annual budget proposal, military tactics, farming techniques, trade tariffs, nobility registry, and the number of soldiers in each army, all translated into the languages of each of your vassals.
That’s the agreement, unless it is withdrawn.”
I am neither beautiful nor charming.
I failed in my upbringing as a lady.
But at least, my memory…my ability to recall information is extraordinary.
I love learning.
I can easily remember things that I love, and I have a slightly stronger aptitude for it than most people.
If the Faithnum Empire threatens war, we will pass on information to all their vassal states and launch a simultaneous war of independence under the banner of the Baratonia Kingdom.
We’ll reveal all the secrets of the Faithnum Empire.
I don’t want to fight.
I don’t want to be the cause of war.
By writing this letter, It will put my life in even greater peril.
In that case, I will become a pawn, a hostage.
I’ll be targeted for the rest of my life, but so be it.
I came here knowing I might not make it back.
I was sent as a sacrifice for peace.
I’ll make the most of this opportunity.
I no longer have any plans to go down without a fight.
But I’m willing to risk everything for the people of the Baratonia Kingdom, whom I have come to love.
“Claire… Can you really do it?”
“Yes, I am.
I remember everything that happened a month ago, just before I arrived in this country.”
“…A living knowledge…”
The king leaned back in his chair, took a deep breath, and then rose to his feet.
“Increase the number of guards assigned to Claire and thoroughly examine all food testers.
Anyone suspected of being an informant should be taken into custody.
Claire’s well-being is essential for the stability of the kingdom.”
The king’s assistant stepped back after bowing respectfully.
I was filled with fear, but I couldn’t let it show.
My hands were shaking, but I put on a brave face.
His Highness Auglia placed his warm and strong hand over mine, offering comfort.
I felt reassured and my smile became genuine.
From this day forward, I am a hostage and a blackmailer.
But I am surrounded by people who will protect me.
I resolved to do what I can to protect those who are protecting me.
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