The Villain's Little Sponsor - Chapter 3
Translator and Editor: Nana and Ishy
‘Is she really crazy?’
If not, why would she do this to herself?
Mariel’s hands were still shaking.
The unemotional eyes that looked down at her yesterday and the smiling mouth were deeply embedded in Mariel’s mind.
She became afraid of the things that went out of control.
‘If I hadn’t done this, would I.…’
Mariel clenched her trembling hands.
It was absurd.
Despite such denial, Mariel was patiently waiting for someone to do what Daphne had asked for.
She stayed in a long corridor that had to be passed through in order to meet the emperor. How long had she been standing in the corner and waiting?
She heard a servant opening the door and welcoming someone.
‘Did he really come here? ‘
Mariel poked her head out.
It was Count Corman walking slowly down the hallway.
He was famous for his integrity, and for giving advice since the days of the previous emperors.
‘… He really did come here. How did she know?’
From the looks of it, it seemed that he wanted to meet the emperor alone.
How did Daphne know the time of the meeting, something that only the emperor and the count could know?
The emperor’s servants were famous for being tight-lipped.
Mariel quickly bowed her head and called the Count.
She was told that she should call him.
“My master has called the Count.”
It was an arrogant and sudden invitation. Mariel did not even say who her master was, nor what their purpose was.
It would not be strange if Count Corman berated the maid, but he stopped walking instead.
‘The only maid who would dare to do this would be of the imperial family’s.’
Count Corman knew the emperor and the empress, and the two princes’ maids.
However, it was the first time he had seen this particular maid.
“I’ll guide you there.”
No matter who a person was, they could not ignore the call of the imperial family.
The count nodded obediently.
“Ah, yes. Then go ahead…”
As if a little startled, she opened her eyes wide, but soon, the maid led the count to a place.
Eventually, they arrived at the end of a secluded hallway. It was a good place to chat for a while because people didn’t go there often.
Someone was standing at the end of the hallway, hidden by a shadow.
As soon as he heard the little girl’s voice, the count immediately greeted her.
“I see you, Princess Daphne.”
“You recognized me right away.”
Daphne slowly walked out of the shadow.
The count’s eyes narrowed.
‘Oh, is that how she looks like?’
After being adopted, he hardly heard any stories about her, so he was rather curious.
She looked like she wasn’t from the imperial family, so Count Corman looked at her in pity.
‘I have to say one more thing to His Majesty other than taxes.’
The reason why Count Corman came to see the emperor today was to talk about the taxes.
A few years ago, even though the tax had already been raised to the maximum, the emperor wanted to increase it again.
Every vassal came forward and voted in favor.
Only Count Corman was against it.
“Raising taxes here will ruin the lives of commoners.”
Many tried to convince him, but he flatly refused to listen to them.
And today, Count Corman came to the imperial palace on his own to persuade the emperor.
Although the emperor would hate him more, he could not turn a blind eye to this. It was a trait that Count Corman inherited from his mother.
‘But even the princess was treated like this.’
How could a child the age of his daughter look so skinny and haggard?
The count became confused by the guilt that came from within.
“The only members of the imperial family this young are Prince Claire and Princess Daphne.”
Swallowing guilt and sympathy, the count smiled.
Daphne also smiled in response.
Her eyes narrowed.
“Are you going to meet His Majesty the Emperor?”
“How did you know that?”
Daphne’s head tilted slightly.
Her hair was fluttering due to the cold wind that rushed in.
“You have an honorable intention, but a count alone can’t stop the tax increase.”
At Daphne’s words, the count’s eyes widened.
He was surprised that she knew what he was doing.
“I could! Rules cannot be passed without everyone’s consent… Wait!”
The count shook his head.
“How did you know that? That’s confidential!”
Unlike the count, Daphne was calm and quiet.
“The forest will be quiet when a bird that sings alone is hunted, right?”
A bird that sings alone.
Count Corman’s pattern was that of a bird singing on a branch.
But he wasn’t aware of the hunters.
“His Majesty, to me… Are you saying that he’s plotting something?”
“That’s right, His Majesty has already prepared the arrows to shoot the birds.”
At her words, the Count held his breath. The girl’s words meant that the emperor was going to kill him and make all future matters unanimous.
And that was all because he was the only one who didn’t agree with the emperor.
The count gulped but then shook his head.
“How did the princess know about this?”
Daphne raised the corners of her lips as she looked into his eyes, which could not let go of his doubts about her until the very end.
“If I tell you the truth about how I found out, will you believe me?”
Daphne laughed out loud.
“Well, it’s true that my words came out of nowhere, and you may not believe them.”
Daphne was a 13-year-old princess with no education.
If that kind of child suddenly said something like that, anyone might’ve been suspicious.
“But, count. You already know the answer yourself.”
Daphne looked straight into the count’s eyes and said,
“That the emperor is preparing something.”
Count Corman had long been a survivor in this bloody world.
Could such a person really not have noticed that the emperor was preparing to kill him?
He must have suppressed his anxiety by thinking that it wasn’t him that the emperor wanted to kill.
‘That’s why he’s a more valuable person than that stupid emperor.’
Even in the midst of anxiety, the count was still loyal and went on the path he had chosen.
Daphne had grown the seeds of anxiety that Count Corman had planted on his own.
The count was now trembling.
‘Good, let’s start now.’
Daphne whispered softly.
The emperor would raise the tax somehow, even though Count Corman objected to it.
And he was going to get revenge on what had bothered him.
“Don’t miss your only chance to dodge the arrow.”
As she continued, Daphne looked at the count’s face. He looked completely heartbroken.
‘The struggle he had felt since the early days was met with betrayal, so it’s natural to have such an expression.”
Daphne felt sorry for the count, but this was not over yet.
“In addition, His Majesty intends to send Lady Corman as the bride of Grand Duke Bertrund.”
Kael Bertrund. The grand duke, who was only fifteen years old, had many rumors about him. He was called a bastard who killed his mother and took over the duchy.
The Lord who ruled winter and the land of demons. A product of unbreakable curses and madness.
A man who hated the imperial family.
A monster that quenched thirst with blood.
Count Corman became pale when he heard that the emperor wanted to send his daughter to such a man.
‘How can a person be that pale?’
That was what Daphne was thinking.
“You know better than I do what His Majesty is thinking about when contemplating sending your daughter down there.”
The count slowly closed his eyes and opened them after a while, as if he understood the current situation.
He had many precious things.
His family, beliefs, and those who followed him.
But if he had to pick the most precious thing, it was definitely his own daughter.
He raised his daughter, who they barely got because of their age, with utmost sincerity with his wife.
But what would happen to his daughter now?
“You will die after being used here and there according to the will of the emperor.”
Daphne was telling him that his life would be taken advantage of, as well as his death.
The voice trembled.
“That can’t happen…”
The count gasped.
How could he send his own child off before himself?
“No way. Never. I can’t let my daughter go before me…”
Daphne stared at the count who shook his head while repeating the same words.
‘So that’s how ordinary parents would react?’
A person who would abandon his cherished beliefs and cries for the need to protect his daughter. It was the second time Daphne saw a person like that.
Didn’t the count cry because she saved his daughter in her previous life too?
‘At that time, I was envious of Lady Corman.’
She was so envious of the lady, who had parents like that.
‘Why didn’t I think like that now?’
It was probably because Daphne realized that she couldn’t have parents like that. Forever.
Daphne raised the corners of her lips and smiled.
Daphne smiled as she looked down at the count, who had completely collapsed.
“That’s never going to happen if you say you’re in favor of the tax.”
“But when taxes go up, the lives of commoners…”
Daphne looked straight into the Count’s eyes while sighing.
“The count has only two choices.”
“Follow the emperor’s will.”
‘Taxes will go up, but the count and the lady will be safe.’
“Second, you continue to disobey the will of His Majesty the Emperor.”
It was the worst ending.
Taxes will go up, and both the count and the lady would die.
“There is no other option than that. I’d personally recommend the first one. It would be kind of sad if everyone dies.”
The count only laughed bitterly.
But he did not say that he would disobey Daphne’s will.
“May I ask why you are giving me such valuable information?”
The words she had been waiting for had finally come.
“Yes, there is something I want.”
Daphne looked at the count with completely different eyes from before.
“If the count follows the will of the emperor, then the emperor won’t do anything to his daughter. So, speaking of being sent to Bertrund.”
If the emperor needed someone to watch the grand duke, then she would take the position.
“Could you recommend me for the position?”
“…Are you talking about sending someone to the grand duke?”
“Yes, that is correct. Somebody has to go.”
Daphne smiled brightly.
The count didn’t answer.
He remained silent for a long time, even though his daughter would be in danger if he didn’t nod.
He was in even more of a panic than when he heard that his family was going to fall.
‘Ah, he’s still a good person in the midst of a crisis.’
“You have nothing to feel guilty about, Count.”
The count was also like this in her previous life.
When she saved his daughter and family from death in the original story, he obediently followed Daphne and helped Alan.
A family famous for their integrity supported Alan and gave him a lot of strength.
‘The emperor is stupid.’
To kill a person like this in the original story and in Daphne’s previous life.
‘It’s hard to find someone like this.’
“There are only two paths left for me anyway. Either to die because I’m neglected like this, or grow up and be sold abroad.”
The count silently agreed to that.
“I’d rather go to the grand duke. Because who knows? I might survive.”
Daphne laughed as if she was really okay.
“I get what I want, and you get to protect your precious family and daughter.”
The count, who had been silent for a while, took a deep breath.
The count adjusted his clothes again and fixed his messy hair.
“Then, it’ll be like how you want it.”
The count gave her a bow, walked down the hallway again, and went to meet the emperor.
Daphne and Count Corman only talked for about ten minutes.
During that short time, the count had broken his stubbornness, which was known to be unbreakable even in times of crisis.
He was disappointed by the emperor’s betrayal, and he must have suffered from the situation of having to continue his life by sacrificing a young princess.
‘Now the count will never forget me.’
In an instant, Count Corman owed Daphne a huge debt.
‘So, under any circumstances, Count Corman will act for me.’
There had to be at least one nobleman in the capital to move for her.
She had gained a satisfactory result.
Daphne smiled and left.
Mariel, who saw only the result without knowing what the count and Daphne talked about, followed her in astonishment.
A few days after Daphne met the Count, she was told,
“Go and meet Prince Bertrund.”
The desired command had been issued.
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