The Villainess is a Marionette - Chapter 100
Translator: thursdays PR: scarcecrow
They snapped to attention as if they had suddenly been hit by cold water.
“W-we greet Her Highness, the Princess!”
They urgently saluted her.
“Tsk. If this was during a war, you would all be punished for being so absent-minded!”
The knights had heard many stories of Princess Cayena’s temper, and they gulped, waiting to be reprimanded.
The knights haltingly rose from their bows.
Cayena laughed lightly. She said to Jed, “It’s only natural they couldn’t recognize me. I had been inattentive to them until now.”
Their faces, flushed with embarrassment, looked refreshing and young.
When Cayena laughed, their faces soon relaxed and smiled along.
She suddenly thought of Raphael, who was similar in age to them.
He would also have the capacity for that sort of youthfulness, considering his age. However, he didn’t give off the impression of being young because of his unique personality and demeanor.
In addition, his thoughts and actions were different from them.
‘Nothing about him is ordinary, his looks included. Well, it’s natural for the male lead…’
Cayena stopped herself from thinking about him.
She had inadvertently thought about Rapahel again.
She sighed briefly and walked on.
Jed, who was beside her, noticed her expression. He glanced at her and asked,
“Did something displease you?”
Jed was worried that the princess was unhappy because of the knights’ attitude. But Cayena had no issue with the knights. They just reminded her of Raphael.
Cayena smiled self-deprecatingly, thinking she was still acting immature.
“That’s not it. I was thinking of something else.”
Commander Jed did not stop staring at her doubtfully. Embarrassed, she smiled before making a more appropriate excuse.
“To be honest, I haven’t been sleeping much while studying to take care of the state affairs. I didn’t want to let others know about that… I suppose I was being immature.”
Vera, who quietly followed behind her, added,
“Her Highness has been working so much recently that she barely sleeps. She was particularly laboring over how to improve the treatment of the central army, following the report that you sent.”
Cayena called her name to hold her back, but Vera did not stop there. She continued speaking as if to hammer Cayena’s deeds inside Jed’s head.
“There were many incidents, but Her Highness dismissed everything and said she was fine, so her subordinates’ worries are quite numerous.”
Cayena laughed, abashed.
She had only been sleeping an average of four hours each night. She did want to pass out, just a little, but she could bear it for now.
‘But I’m glad that the work is going well.’
She had worked until late at night, arranging for her budget to be reallocated, securing the biggest cloth merchant in the capital, and acquiring large quantities of food, among other things.
How great would it be if energy drinks existed in this world?
“No, you didn’t need to push yourself this hard.”
Jed was surprised by Vera’s words. He felt gratitude toward Cayena once again.
“Thank you for your vast generosity, Your Highness.”
He sincerely expressed his appreciation.
‘At the emperor’s chambers and the council meeting, I felt satisfied. Like a decade-long disease was being cleared up.’
How long had he been caught in a fierce battle against Chancellor Debussy, struggling for power?
“Your Highness is…” Looking at the princess as she walked slowly and gracefully, he carefully opened his mouth. “…very different from what I imagined.”
“Is that so?”
It had been a long time since Jed served a member of the imperial family who was this flexible. Funnily, this made him recall his youth, and he felt energized.
“I will continue to support the central army with my palace’s budget until it becomes stable.”
‘If you’re going to put someone in your debt, you have to do it definitively so that the other person feels sorry. Then, they will remember it with their hearts.’
Cayena continued to smile and said,
“Right now, I’d like for you to focus all your energy on repairing the situation, Knight Commander.”
Jed dipped his head in a bow.
“In order to transform the central army into an influential force, appearance is important as well.”
“After the completion of the land reforms, I was thinking to station only the elite knights at the palace.”
“Excellent. It would be beneficial if a fixed number of knights were stationed and managed here.”
After speaking with Jed, Cayena looked around the training hall.
She swallowed a yawn and thought about what to do next. First, the land that needed to be cleared around the capital had to be identified. Afterward, she had to study the administration to prepare for the next council meeting and make more snacks for Rezef.
‘Plus, my coming-of-age ceremony is coming up.’
Cayena told Jed one last thing before she went to do other work.
“Please acquire whatever items are necessary without reserve. Just attach the receipts to your report.”
“As you command.”
Then, a servant came to Cayena.
She had sent the servant to request an audience with the emperor. The servant bowed and said,
“His Majesty says you may enter.”
“All right. Shall we go?”
Cayena gladly followed the servant. She was going to gift the silver spoons she had prepared today.
They quickly walked to the emperor’s chambers.
When they arrived at the bedroom, a voice from inside granted them permission to come in.
“I greet Your Imperial Majesty, Father.”
The emperor lifted himself up and said, “I heard you’ve visited the Hamels.”
“Yes. I briefly went to see my esteemed aunt.”
Emperor Esteban looked at his daughter’s face. She was difficult to understand; Cayena seemed to be growing more adept at containing her expressions.
She had once been lax to some extent, but now she was restrained to a frightening degree.
‘She’s decided on something.’
Cayena had grown into the form of a ruler ready for power.
“You should always be mindful of your relatives so that none of them get any strange ideas in their heads.”
“I will bear your teachings in mind, Father.”
That was what Cayena replied, but internally, she felt that it was an unusual thing to say.
You should always be mindful of your relatives, was it?
‘Isn’t the sight before me the result of not being mindful?’
Cayena looked at her father, who was skinnier than before, then called out to Vera.
“Vera, bring the thing we’ve prepared.”
Vera brought forth a box wrapped in silk, a sign that it had been blessed by the temple.
“It’s a silver spoon that was blessed by the temple.”
Each of the five silver spoons in the box was decorated with gems of different colors. All were beautiful in shape and adornment.
“I had it prepared in hopes that you’ll recover your health soon, Father, and stay with us for a long time.”
In this castle full of schemes and trickery, a silver spoon was one of the most important items someone could have.
Moreover, the temple even verified that it was made of genuine silver and blessed it.
“Child, there was no need for this. You must be busy with the affairs of the empire.”
“How could I not care?”
Then, she looked around the chamber and noticed an anxious attendant with his head drooping low.
It was the servant who poisoned the emperor’s tea and had previously drunk the poison with Cayena.
She deliberately called that attendant.
Cayena pointed to the box holding the spoons and said, “Take it and leave.”
Immediately, the servant approached and received the silver spoons. His expression did not look very good.
Grand Chamberlain Luden, who was next to them, smiled.
“Her Highness’s filial piety grows deeper by the day. The princess must be the model for all nobles, Your Majesty.”
Cayena smiled and bowed her head a little.
“I’ve heard about the central army. You’ve done splendidly.”
“You flatter me.”
The emperor was about to tell her that she did not have to be so humble when he had a coughing fit.
His face turned paler. Luden said with a hardened expression, “His Majesty needs his rest now.”
“That seems to be for the best. Then, I will head back.”
Cayena rose from her seat.