「関白宣言」 (Kanpaku Sengen)
“The Chief Advisor’s Declaration”
Learning how to live and work together is one of the difficulties of marriage.
Getting used to marriage is tricky enough when it’s by love and consent, so it must be even more so for those in arranged marriages. Nike and Livi are not unhappy with one another, but it’s also true that they didn’t marry for love in the first place. For them, it’s a case of getting to know and understand one another while in the bond of marriage, and while they’re willing to try to make it work, that can be difficult. It doesn’t make it any easier with the age difference (Livi is twelve and Nike fifteen), though in older times it really wasn’t a big deal to have child marriages and ridiculous age differences. Three hears hardly counts as outlandinsh (my own parents have a thirteen year age difference and my grandparents a 10 year difference), but when you’re young, three years seems a whole lot longer than it does for an adult.
Livi is still a child, not even a teenager just yet but getting close, while Nike is in her mid-teens and grew up in a frugal and less extravagant setting. They’re also both stubborn and hot-headed, and while they definitely care for one another, they aren’t sure where the lines in their relationship lie emotionally yet. However, in some ways that’s a good thing. Nike refuses to be protected one-sidedly like a traditional wife, and Livi tries hard to overcome his age with his power and personality; but while they do tend to fight (and childishly), they each want to do something for the other. They want to be understood and recognized and loved for who they are, and in turn understand and protect the other. That, however, is a process, and it’s only overcome with time.
If that was all there was to it, it wouldn’t be as harsh. Livi has enemies and by extension Nike does as well. They may not be assassins this time, but the fact that Nike is poor and seemingly uncultured rubs some nobles the wrong way, especially so when some among them want to get rid of Livi. That’s why Nike’s presentation party is important (gotta love the line about “it’s his fault for being seduced”), even if Nike is reluctant to use her singing for “entertainment.” In acknowledging that helping Livi means having to deal with PR and all kinds of publicity, Nike moves a little closer to his world and towards protecting him in her own way, just as Livi comes to understand through Nike that the world truly is still beautiful despite all the strife. It’s a good place to start in an arranged marriage, and an even better place for a caring relationship. Let’s just not forget we’re still dealing with a mischievous (and spoiled to some extent) twelve year old boy and a headstrong fifteen year old girl.