Keithwood’s Confidential Information

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“This is just a guess, but do you happen to be curious about what Prince Sion thinks of this marriage proposal?”

“My, that’s shrewd of you. I certainly am.”

If information could be hunted, Mia would have found it right away. Sion’s closest servant was Keithwood, and he was one of the few people he could be honest with. In other words, Keithwood could be a gold mine of important information.

Sion doesn’t seem like the kind of person who has many friends. I wouldn’t be shocked if Keithwood is the only person he can be honest with…

Mia felt a little sorry for Sion, which he was sure to find very annoying. “I assume Sion knows what’s going on with the politics of this?”

Keithwood gave a nod. “Yes. He knows that Count Lampron wants to make a strong political alliance between Prince Echard and the House of Greenmoon to fight against the power of Prince Sion and you both.”

“Hmm… So what does Sion think about all of this?”

“I haven’t directly asked him, but I don’t think he threw his hands up in support of the idea.”

“That shouldn’t be a surprise. In the end, it makes his political opponents stronger.”

“Yes, that’s true. But I also don’t think he’ll say he doesn’t like the plan.”

“Oh? So why?”

Keithwood grimaced.

“Siblings…are hard to understand. I’m sure you already know that His Highness is a great person. His uniqueness shows in his skill with a sword, but it also includes his intelligence, grace, guts, and willingness to stand up for what is right and fair. He has every trait that a king should have. As the heir to the throne, he is perfect in every way.”

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Mia wanted to say something mean to balance out all the nice things he said about Sion, but he said things that were all true. Sion really did have all the traits that would make a good king.

“Then there’s Prince Echard, who was always compared to his brother as he grew up.”

Mia almost said a swear word out loud. Oh, what a poor kid! I really feel bad for him. Sion being his brother… Moons, how scary to think about it!

The thought was so scary that she couldn’t help but play it out in her mind with a strange interest.


“I made some tea, Sion. Do you want some?”
“Oh, Mia, my dear sister. As nice and thoughtful as always. I’ll have some tea, for sure.”
“Oh, and can you help me do my homework? I don’t know what to do here…”
“Well, yes. How about…”


“…Hm? Is it just me, or does it not sound so bad to have Sion as a brother?”

Maybe it was a good thing to have an older brother who was very smart and especially very handsome. Mia was no Esmeralda, but she wasn’t immune to the power of beauty either.

Oh, but I think I would have to think of him as my sister. What would it be like if Sion were my older sister…

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Round two of the simulation. This time, replace the outside with Esmeralda, and leave the inside the same.


“Mia, my dear sister, my next idea might be building a hospital in the slums. How do you feel about it?”
“My! That’s a great idea, in my opinion.”
“I’m also thinking that we should build a school for the people. What say you?”
“Yes, I say! Esmeralda, you never have anything but good ideas!”


“Wow, that sounds incredible!”

All she had to do was say “yes” to every question, and all the problems would be solved. That was Mia’s dream come true! She had a sudden pang of envy for everyone in the world who had older brothers who were very smart.

In that way, it doesn’t sound too bad to have Sion as a big brother… But it could be hard if Prince Echard is very competitive and doesn’t like to lose. I think he’s still young, too. He’s not as grown up as I am, so he doesn’t know how lucky he is. After all, you need a big heart to be able to look past the bad and enjoy the good, and that comes with age.

Again, bigness, delusions, etc., etc., etc.

“His Highness has always kept an eye on Prince Echard. He can see his pain and knows how much it hurts him to be compared to others.”

“I see. What do they call this again? The curse of the talented, or something like that?”

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It was a feeling that was hard for Mia to understand. To be honest, it seemed like a problem that was nice to have. Still, she knew that it didn’t matter if the person was privileged or not; the problem was still hard for them.

“And then,” Keithwood went on, “his poor little brother is set up with a bride. The bride is a Tearmoon Duke’s daughter. The difference in age is big, but her standing is more than enough. Also, the union would be good for Sunkland’s interests. How can he say no to something like that?”

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“Oh, I see. Well, that’s a complicated issue.” Mia groaned. Now that she knew what was going on, she couldn’t blame him for not talking. Even well-intentioned advice could be misunderstood.


“Don’t you think it’s too soon for you to get married?”
“What, do you think you’re some kind of hotshot because you’re getting married before me, you little punk?”
“Look in the mirror. In every way, you’re worse than me. What makes you think you are good enough for her?”


Inferiority complexes have a way of amplifying the unconscious barbs in other people’s words, whether they are just a little bit of worry or a vicious attack. People in pain would sometimes make up completely false stories to victimize themselves. Sion was smart enough not to feed fodder to his brother.

“Even if he spoke out against it, he’d be shutting down political opposition to him,” she mused.

He would be acting in his own best interests. He couldn’t take away a good marriage proposal for his brother just to help his own political standing.

“How does King Abram feel? I don’t think it’s as easy as saying, ‘It makes me happy to know that our nations will be brought closer together,’ as the king did,” said Mia.

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“There perhaps are some truth to his words. Some people think that you are going to invade Tearmoon because you are stockpiling food. This would help His Majesty control these claims.”

“I see. If the Greenmoons got married, it would be a strong point against the invasion case.”

Keithwood gave a serious nod. “I think that another part of his plan is to put a member of the royal family close to Count Lampron and his group of conservative nobles.”

“Hm, hm.” Mia crossed her arms and thought about all of this information.

Keithwood said with some hesitation, “That’s all the information I can give.”

She gave him a smile.

“That’s no problem. You’ve helped a lot. But, are you sure it’s okay to tell me so much about what goes on inside the royal family?”

He gave a shrug. “I was hoping you could help us get the royal family back on track. We vassals are the only ones with limited power. So I’ve come to you, the Great Wisdom of the Empire, to ask for your advice.”

“My! Well, that knowledge won’t be free, you know? I hope you have something good in mind to make up for it,” she said with a playful smile that made him smile back with a wry one.

“All right. So, let me give you another piece of information, and this one is a big one. The royal cook said that today’s dessert could be his best work ever.”

“My! That is…” Mia rubbed her tummy. “That is definitely a useful piece of information!”

She went back to her seat at the table quickly.