The Bewilderment of the Sacrificial Second Princess ~ Married Into the Enemy Country as a Hostage Princess, but Was Strangely Welcomed With Open Arms~ – Chapter 7
Chapter 7: Prohibition of bringing in knowledge
“Claire, thank you for coming. Did you have a good time?”
“Your Highness, yes, I had a wonderful time. By the way, where’s the other prince?”
“My younger brother has joined the Order. He’s renounced his royal title and is determined to become the head of the knights. I’m sure we’ll see him soon.”
I stepped out onto the terrace of the banquet hall, and the cool night breeze soothed my flushed cheeks from the heat of the festivities.
The party had been going on since morning and was getting more lively with the arrival of the orchestra and dancers.
People were engaging me in conversation, and I did my best to respond, but I wondered if I was ruining the atmosphere.
His Highness Auglia draped a coat over my shoulders, and when I turned to him, I saw he was smiling at me.
I felt like I knew him… no, I did know him.
“It’s you! The boy from before.”
“You finally remembered?”
I had met Prince Auglia when the delegation from the colonized vassal state visited the Faithnum Empire every three years.
According to the Faithnum Empire’s policy towards its vassal states, it was strictly prohibited to bring any knowledge.
Engineers were dispatched to the new lands to establish infrastructure such as water supply and sewage systems, roads, buildings, and public baths, so that the settlers wouldn’t struggle. They also ended up settling there.
The trade of the Baratonia Kingdom is monitored by officials from the Faithnum Empire. While the exchange of goods is permitted, the transfer of knowledge is strictly forbidden.
Even if a skilled artisan from a foreign land wants to settle in the Baratonia Kingdom, they would be turned away. It wasn’t until after the war that the Kingdom began to develop sericulture.
This ban on knowledge extends to technicians as well. And, three years ago, a delegation from the Baratonia Kingdom was led by King Baratonia himself, along with his close aides and son, His Highness Auglia.
At the time, Prince Auglia was a mere 15-year-old boy. The once weepy youth has since transformed into a mature prince, tall and handsome.
“Claire saved us then… everyone knows it. We can’t speak openly about it because we know there are spies listening.”
If it’s on the terrace of the banquet hall, we can talk without being heard by spies.
At that time, I hid a book for this person, and made him copy only a few pages of paper that were necessary, which were wrapped around his body after undressing.
It was a medical book.
I had already read nearly all the books in the royal palace when the Baratonia delegation, including the King himself, came to visit.
The reason for their visit was to address an epidemic that was plaguing the kingdom. People were falling ill with a mysterious ailment that couldn’t be classified as a contagious disease.
The King implored the authorities to send medical professionals to address the issue, but his request went unanswered.
In the palace garden, I stumbled upon a crying red-haired boy whom I had never seen before. Despite his large stature, his sobs were muffled.
I was the only one in the palace who had a comprehensive understanding of the books housed there. Even the librarians could only vaguely recall the locations of the books, not their contents.
Baratonia is a mountainous nation with a bustling port that serves as a hub for trade and doubles as a granary. The landscape is abundant, offering both seafood and mountain produce.
That’s when I heard about the outbreak. The boy informed me that people were suddenly falling ill and struggling to breathe after eating, accompanied by rashes. Some had even died from difficulty breathing.
It immediately reminded me of something—wheat allergy.
Baratonia’s granary produces both wheat and rice. However, it lacks abundant waterways. The rivers that flow from the mountains to the sea are borders with neighboring countries, and the small rivers do not provide enough fish for the population.
Fortunately, the sea was an option, but that year the tides were unfavorable and the fishing was poor, leading to a shortage of dried fish in the country.
Eating fish can boost immunity to allergies. Additionally, since it’s a region abundant with crops, meat and grains are consumed more frequently than rice. And then came wheat, which produced more than rice, including older varieties.
Consuming the same food in large quantities can trigger allergic reactions, and it was believed that the suppression caused by eating fish all came out at once. If older wheat isn’t stored properly, mites may be present.
After learning about these factors, I wrapped several relevant pages around the boy’s body, in case I was mistaken.
Body inspections are not as invasive as undressing, but luggage is thoroughly examined.
Thanks to my providing the papers, steps were taken to reduce the risk of allergy symptoms. Rice is now the staple food in the Kingdom of Balatonia, while wheat is mainly exported.
“Claire, do you recall what you said during that moment?”
“… All I remember saying was ‘Please take off your clothes’ because I was in a hurry.”
“Haha… you were really brave. And… you told me ‘Crying won’t solve anything, if you want to laugh, you have to get stronger’.”
I’m ashamed for uttering such pompous words. I immersed myself in my studies as a way to cope with being treated as a disgrace by my family and sisters, and it gave me a sense of power.
“Do you remember what I said in response?”
“I’m sorry… I don’t remember.”
His Highness’s touch on my shoulders causes me to straighten my back, and he gazes intently into my face.
“When I can laugh again, I want to make you my bride.”
“If you ever regain your ability to laugh, come find me, and here we are now.”
I feel so ashamed. I’m losing touch with my ladylike manners.
“I’ve come for you, Claire. You’ve been my source of inspiration my entire life. And so, once more, I ask for your hand in marriage.”
The prince takes my hand and drops to one knee.
“I’ve learned to laugh. Will you be my wife?”
There’s no other answer I could give.
The night breeze, the sounds of the celebration, the light, all of it shines on His Highness’s smiling face.
…I couldn’t help but think that coming here as a sacrifice was the best decision.