Baby Hostage's So Cute - Chapter 2
A sacred empire.
A country with considerable force and was now a country with a temporary alliance with the Benedictine Empire. Similarly, The Benedictine Empire is strong and is now seeking to take Elaine hostage.
‘However, why would a priest like that be here?’
When Elaine was looking at him with questioning eyes.
The old priest, who came up with a flushed face, pointed his finger at Arnold and shouted,
“Lord of the Venetian Empire! How dare you say that you’re taking the princess of the neighbouring kingdom as a hostage?”
“Of course it’s all for the sake of peace.”
Arnold snorted as he folded his arms, shaking his head as if he was in trouble.
Then he handed out the agreement to King Astor and urged him to sign it quickly.
“And as King Astor had just said, this is what he has already accepted. It’s not a matter for a foreign priest to intervene.”
“But this is against reason! Stealing the princess’ freedom and using it politically is no different from human trafficking!”
“Human trafficking! You’re going too far!”
“If so, then cancel your plans of taking the princess!”
“You’ve already given me the mercy of not taking the prince, and now you’re telling me to give up the princess? Are you trying to start a fight with the Benedictine Empire?”
“That’s not what I’m trying to say right now!”
Just when he felt like the two men were about to have a fistfight, the King, who had been silent until now, stopped the two men as things were just about to escalate.
The priest straightened up with a still stiffened neck. Arnold, who was about to throw a sharp attack, also briefly entered a state of a lull.
King Astor, who the priest had stopped, frowned and said, “Your honour, I still do not like this plan…”
“What’s wrong with it? We were in the middle of a discussion.”
Upon hearing that, the priest questioned if it truly was a discussion that was being had.
‘I’m doing this for you. So why are you stopping me?’
King Astor shook his head as if he was in trouble because of the priest’s blatant discomfort shown on his face.
“I didn’t mean to interrupt your discussion. It’s just that the conversation was getting too heated…”
Was it too passionate even for someone like him?
When the priest stepped back one step, King Astor looked at Arnold and continued his words.
“I believe the priest’s words hold some value. No matter how much I agree with you, it isn’t my position to sell away my daughter for a couple of good words. I’d like you to offer me a consolation prize for her.”
Arnold gave a chilling grin.
He didn’t expect him to act so shamelessly.
‘You’re already in a dangerous position yet you dare to ask for something else in return?
What kind of dog is this really?’
When Arnold is dumbfounded, so is Elaine. Elaine was at a loss for words due to King Astor’s shameless behaviour.
‘Is his death going to be the consolation prize?’
I’m the one up for sale anyways. So might as well try to sell me off for a higher price.
Besides, why is that priest quiet again?
Does he think it’s fair to get a consolation prize when you’re looking to sell your daughter for money?
In the middle of the uncomfortable silence, Arnold looked downwards as he suddenly felt a tug on his shirt as it was being pulled.
The person who pulled on the hem of the shirt was Elaine, who asked with a worldly innocent face.
“Mr Arno, but what’s a hostage?”
Only then did the priest and Arnold look bitter, after realizing that they were saying mean things to the child in front of them.
Arnold was half anxious, half curious, about Elaine as she continued to look at him.
I dropped as I watched.
And he said with a sad expression.
“Uh, that’s why I wanted to take the princess to the Imperial palace…”
“The Imperial palace?”
Hearing Arnold’s amiable and careful words, Elaine opened her eyes wide.
“Yes. There are so many good things about going to the Imperial palace.”
“You can wear a lot of good clothes and eat a lot of delicious food, not just small clothes like what you’re wearing now. Also, do you like cookies?”
Elaine’s voice grew especially loud when cookies were mentioned. Then, the priest retorted.
“But if you go there, you may never come back to the Kingdom of Astor! Your Majesty, of course, may separate you from your other family members and you will never see them again…”
“I want to go with him!”
Never to see King Astor again? That’s exactly what Elaine wanted.
But the face of King Astor, who didn’t know what was going on and was just trying to extort money from Arnold, frowned.
Arnold, on the other hand, replied happily.
“Now that the princess has made her decision, shall we move on and continue our discuss regarding reparations?”
Arnold tightly grips Elaine’s little hand.
Elaine grabbed the back of her head and looked at King Astor, as she felt her decade-old burden finally lifting off her shoulders.
Both parties had come to a consensus, 10,000 gold was able to be reduced by 2,000 gold off of the huge amount of compensation.
‘Considering that the monthly cost of living for commoners is 1 to 3 gold, this is considered an extremely huge sum of money.’
That was agreed upon in the agreement anyways, but considering that Arnold’s words almost kept me from getting out, I’m glad to have heard that the discussion has finally ended.
Elaine had a cheerful look on her face, thinking of the priest and King Astor, who were fighting with each other.
‘I can finally bid this hell of a place goodbye.’
Elaine clenched her fist as she finally saw the kingdom that had plagued her for 20 years.
How frustrated were you to know that it’s only been a short while since you came back before having to return to the kingdom?
But even if the sky collapsed and there was a hole to spring up, I couldn’t imagine that the empire, who had nothing to do with me before my return, was to be the lifeline to the sky that I was desperately looking for.
‘This is just the beginning. I need to stay alert.’
But even in the Empire, Elaine’s days of hardship were not over yet.
The emperor is notorious in the Empire.
Before her return, Princess Astor was sent back to the kingdom after six years due to its filthy nature.
Therefore, I must never lose focus in the slightest.
‘But it’s still better than that hellish place.’
If you go to the Empire, you’ll at least have no stomach for it, and you won’t blow your fist because you’re bored.
If I were to go to the empire, at least I’ll likely be well-fed and treated decently as compared to the suffering I had experienced in the Kingdom of Astor. I will no longer have to resort to blowing my fist to entertain myself.
Elaine could smile slightly as she thought about how much better it would be there than here.
“Help me up.”
Elaine, who was assuming a fighting pose, as if to shake off her last nightmare, boarded the carriage with the help of a horseman.
The cushion felt extremely soft and comfortable as she sat, looking outside the window. There was a lot of activity outside, with people loading Elaine’s clothes and items into the back of the carriage.
She knew it was all a show, but it felt strange to see such a sight.
After watching for a long time, Arnold finally opened the other door and entered the carriage.
Elaine glanced around.
As he sat down, he looked at Elaine and asked,
“Princess, you’re going to be leaving the kingdom and travelling for a long time, are you going to be alright?”
“Oh! Yes, I will be! I left for the bathroom just now. I made sure the horses went too!”
“I see. Thank you for thinking that.”
Arnold looked at Elaine with a bitter look.
Originally, Astor was annoyed with the fact that the priest of the Holy Empire and King Astor were trying to sell Elaine away and toy with the Benedictine Empire at the same time.
But after he saw King Astor, he changed my mind.
I felt that I couldn’t leave such a pure Elaine under a man who only saw a child as money and trying to profit and earn money off of his own child.
But Arnold couldn’t easily answer when asked if he had made a wise decision.
That’s why it doesn’t change when a child is taken way as a political “hostage”.
He hoped that he had made the right choice.
Arnold sighed as he looked out the window with a curious expression.
I hope she doesn’t get hurt.
Contrary to Arnold’s words relating to distance traveled and time, the carriage arrived at the Empire in half a day.
That’s partially due to the fact that there were so many wizards waiting outside the kingdom for them to arrive for the teleportation team to help with speeding up the travel time.
With a little tremble, Elaine’s eyes were wide open in a completely different environment compared to the Kingdom of Astor.
“Is this the Benedictine Empire?”
I’ve seen the Benedictine Empire’s jurisdiction before I returned, but I’ve never seen the capital of the Empire before.
In addition, the environment is now 20 years behind Elaine’s memory.
Elaine was looking out towards the market from the windows when Arnold suddenly carried her and placed her at a safer spot in the carriage.
“We’ll be there soon, so please wait a little longer.”
She wanted to continue hanging on to the window, but from now on, Elaine needed to be a good kid.
‘My identity and title as a hostage can always be dropped.’
You may be held hostage by a treaty, however, depending on how Elaine behaves, she may even be kicked out before that.
That’s why the princess of the Astor Kingdom was kicked out in six years before my return.
Elaine sat quietly on the sofa and glanced out of the window, always vowing to keep that in mind.
After ten more minutes in the carriage, they finally arrived at the palace.
Arnold commented as he got off the carriage first and lifted Elaine out.
“Let’s laugh. I know it’s hard at first but you’ll just have to say hello to the big man in the future.”
“Hahaha, that’s right. The big man.”
Elaine nodded slowly.
‘Finally, the biggest hurdle has arrived.
When I first met King Astor, I still felt the tension form the trauma. And this would be the first time I would meet the Emperor and I am terrified due to the fear of the unknown of what would happen during the meeting.’
Elaine was still in a dress that was now sweaty due to her hands. Upon noticing that, Arnold quickly added.
“But you don’t have to be too nervous. He’s a little scary, of course, but he’s very nice.”
That’s his own opinion, however, Elaine did not believe Arnold one bit.
She didn’t agree with him at all. After all, she had heard countless rumors about the emperor of the Empire.
‘Anyways, if I want to stay safe within the Empire, I’ll have to look good to the emperor, by being as harmless and nice as I can to be and gain my independence later on. I’ll need to be as good as possible!’
Elaine, who was now more determined than ever, made up her mind and headed into the palace with Arnold.
However, once they arrived at the throne room, Elaine froze up.
This is because the emperor himself was staring at her with his own eyes rather than his guard or assistant.
“What’s this little thing?”
“It’s a hostage from the Kingdom of Astor.”
“Is this of King Astor’s blood?”
The emperor looked at Elaine with a look of absurdity.
This is because King Astor’s behavior and actions were abnormal. Considering how he just sent a pawn of blood, who was only four years old.
On the other hand, Elaine, who was witnessing the biggest hurdle in person, the emperor. She gulped, swallowing the dryness in her throat.
‘That’s the Emperor of the Benedictine Empire.’
As is rumored, he is a man who was not only so handsome as if he had a face carved of ice, he was just as level-headed.
‘Haa, let’s calm down. If you don’t show a good first impression right now, you may never get another chance again.
As a hostage, I need to buy over the emperor’s heart in order to survive for a long time in the Imperial Palace.’
It is necessary to instill a positive image in order to prevent people from losing their appetite when they hear about the hostage while eating. It is to ensure they won’t get irritated even if they were to encounter each other on the way.
‘Okay, now behold my lethal charm that I’ve been honing constantly throughout the whole journey in the carriage!’
“You’re very pretty, Mr Arno!”
The emperor silently observed her actions, the actions of Elaine who was still smiling with her arms spread out wide.
Then he turned his head coldly and said,
“You’ve got the eyes of Astor blood.”
Arnold looked at the child’s face in cold sweat, but it was too late.
Elaine blinked with her mouth wide open in stunned silence.
‘I can’t believe my lethal cuteness didn’t work on them!’
She had endured the shriveling of her fingers and shouting with a feeling of vomiting blood, but the Emperor is out of his mind and in a completely different league.
As Elaine was floundering about with great shame and frustration, when Arnold, who had finished his report, asked.
“So what should we do?”
“Place it anywhere in the public.”
“Will King Astor be able to do anything?”
“How much did you cut?”
“Tell him to spend it on the repair of the roads.”
Arnold nodded with a look of agreement upon healing the emperor’s decisive orders.
“By the way, do you really think this is the best we can do…?”
“What do you mean by that?”
“Regarding the war reparations.”
The emperor paused.
Elaine, who was still bruised by the Emperor’s words, and Arnold, who was listening to him, took a deep breath.
Arnold said to the Emperor, who seemed to smile like a villain.
“Are they short on paying the reparations?”
“More like you aren’t able to fully trust King Astor.”
The Emperor gestured towards Elaine.
“Do you think that the man who had bargained with his daughter would be quiet enough to agree to pay the reparations?”
“I don’t think so…”
In the first place, the Kingdom of Astor had asked for compensation so that he could avoid unnecessary thoughts later.
Of course, from the Benedictine Empire’s point of view, this was still a large sum of money.
Would he really be quiet since he sent his daughter and brought out all his money for consolation and annual reparations?
“10 percent of the nation’s total tax.”
“Yes…? You mean 10 percent? Not 5 percent?”
Arnold’s eyes opened wide at the Emperor’s words.
What does this mean? It means that they’re not only cutting back on military spending, they’re instead going to just completely shut it down.
“This is the right amount to make sure they don’t even think about climbing.”
“I don’t think they’ll listen to me if I simply ask them to just cut back on military spending, however, wouldn’t that lead to another internal backlash?”
Such a huge tax would naturally cost King Astor and his aristocrats to rebel.
It’ll be a pain in the neck if we were to implement a bunch of ridiculous tax rates and start a war again.
The outcome has already been decided, but I want you to look at the empire’s position to fight another money-eating hippo-like war.
“Well, it would be nice to have at least someone on the inside…”
Someone who is rather well-known in the Kingdom of Astor,
wouldn’t it be easier for someone like such to hold onto King Astor’s leash?
‘Of course, there can’t be anyone like that.’
Arnold heaved a sigh.
If there were such a man, the Kingdom of Astor wouldn’t have started such a foolish war in the first place.
Is there any other way to reduce military spending? In the middle of his contemplation, he suddenly felt another tug on his sleeve.
“Princess? What’s the matter?”
“Elaine’s grandfather said no wars!”
The Emperor’s, as well as Arnold’s, interest is piqued as they listen to Elaine’s words.
Leaning forward, the Emperor asking interestingly,
“Ho? Who is that? Was there such a wise man in the Kingdom of Astor?”
The nobles in the Kingdom of Astor were all greedy pigs blinded by power.
This war has been fought by the Kingdom of Astor as the Emperor watched from the sidelines.
She didn’t just avoid the war for nothing.
Elaine looked at the Emperor and told him everything that she knew.
“Mobi, my grandfather, who has a long beard, didn’t like my father, Gatten, who was always fixated on starting a war.”
“Mobi… Ah! Are you talking about the Duke of Mobi Grande?”
“Mobi Grande? The Chancellor of the Kingdom of Astor?”
“Yes! That’s the name!”
Elaine’s confident smile shocked the Emperor.
He didn’t know why, but her eyes seemed like they’re shining.