Chapter 89: Halibut Country
As planned, we arrived at the Wegrain Kingdom the following day.
Initially, I could witness small hamlets and villages scattered between the tranquil grasslands and granaries, but the capital was fortified by sturdy stone walls, and I took a deep breath as I gazed at the breathtaking view from the carriage window.
The entire Faithnum Empire is in a constant state of turmoil, with advancements in technology and education, but also marked by a wide divide between the wealthy and the impoverished.
The fertile lands are limited, and towering buildings house numerous families in the sprawling cities.
With the assistance of a messenger, we entered the capital through the towering walls, and the cityscape of the Faithnum Empire spanned out before me, exhibiting a similar aura of sturdy, dark, and innovative architecture.
In the cramped alleyways, homeless individuals could be seen lying down.
The castle is rumored to be the farthest from the entrance of the capital, and we traveled through the wide avenue lit by street lamps on the stone-paved road, through the bustling city, past the second wall, and into the noble district.
The surroundings were similar to what we had encountered before.
However, the noticeable difference was the modest churches in the city and the grandiose churches in the noble district, surrounded by sprawling estates and magnificent structures.
The church in the aristocratic sector of the Faithnum Empire was an unsightly structure, with pristine white walls, a sky-blue roof, gleaming golden pillars, and a massive door that gleamed like candy.
It was reminiscent of a royal castle no matter where it was situated.
My unfavorable disposition might have been the reason, but I detested Father who was insincere and neglected to provide charity to the destitute in the city.
I had no place to call home, except for a cramped room that merely served as a place to sleep.
Despite this, the church was still in demand because it offered shelter from the rain and wind.
The food was meager, consisting of plain rice porridge and boiled leftovers.
I had seen such places from the palace, where I was occasionally taken for inspections as part of my royal duties.
What did I think about it?
…As I was, I had no leisure or authority to ponder such things.
Even if I did, my thoughts would be disregarded.
As a woman with no worth, I had no voice.
Lost in thought and gazing out the window, I was taken aback when Auglia-sama called out to me.
The individuals in the carriage are my trusted companions, who were enlightened by Auglia-sama regarding the ongoing and impending events in the Wegrain Kingdom.
Hillian, Melissa, and Gwenna, similarly to Auglia-sama, are observing me with anxiety.
(What a comfort…)
I experienced a tightness in my chest and placed my hand on the neckline of my gown, clutching it tightly.
Under the dress I tightly gripped, there lies a stone with a hue matching the sunset-hued eyes that gaze at me, filled with worry.
I was a little… concerned because it reminded me of the Faithnum Empire.”
“Really? Does it look that similar?”
I nodded to Auglia-sama, who expressed doubt.
“In my view, it seems to present a rigidly structured city.
The Faithnum Empire probably… constantly seeks subordinate nations as their lands cannot keep up with technological advancements, forcing them to take in immigrants.”
Upon hearing the term “subordinate nation”, Hillian’s expression stiffened slightly, and he added with a sigh,
“That’s right..This place is kind of… It’s kind of like a fake country, even to my eyes.”
“Rest assured, Claire-sama.
Both Gwenna and I will not leave your side.”
“Yes, Melissa and I will be with you no matter what happens.”
Melissa and Gwenna also echoed their steadfast words.
My heart, which was previously so tense, now feels relieved.
The warm sensation that rises up, I long for it to overflow as tears.
So, I forced a awkward grin.
Although I have improved a bit since arriving in the Baratonia Kingdom, I still want to respond to this warmth with a smile.
“Thank you, everyone.
Auglia-sama… I will be strong.
I want to be able to smile no matter what happens.”
“Yes, we’ll all do our best to protect your smile, including me.
If your smile starts to fade, we’ll hide it like this.”
Auglia-sama then took advantage of our proximity and embraced me tightly, making me quickly push him away.
Despite my efforts, I couldn’t conceal the embarrassment on my face.
Such gestures are common among royalty and may not raise suspicion, but if they are performed openly during the day in a carriage, it could cause heartache in another way.
“Hehe, I’m sorry, I’m sorry.”
Despite his quick release.
Hillian’s sigh, Melissa’s cough, and Gwenna’s comment, “there’s nothing we can do about it,” helped ease my discomfort.
Still, the palace I am about to enter remains ‘enemy territory.’
According to Gauche, there is still no evidence, but ‘she’ is here, in this place, as the queen.
I am uncertain of the response I will receive, but I am determined not to surrender my life.
I have ceased accepting death as inevitable.
I hold dear to my life, not just for my own sake, but for the sake of my cherished nation and those around me.
Defeating the “Completed Lady” with the “Defeat of Lady Education” may prove to be a daunting task, but with the title of “Woman of Living Knowledge” etched in my heart, I will persevere.
I am no longer the same person who was disregarded in that frigid and isolated palace.
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