Not to interject, but Simon and Daniella were husband and wife, not brother and sister.
>4 votes for option one, pursue more research about Chrisania with Ricardo.
Research a little more about Chrisania, just in case.
You'd better catch up on Chrisania before you meet again.
Tharja and Beatrice can wait. You may not even find them both before lunch, but you know you'll see them there.
You have to make sure Chrisania isn't hiding some secret.
You make a sharp turn and head to your treasury.
If anyone has notes on the duchy, it's Ricardo.
You find Ricardo working with all due diligence on your behalf to carry out your orders. After some brief courtesies, you tell him you want to see all documents related to Chrisania.
"…All documents, Your Majesty?" he asks, his tone implying it would take a bit of effort to accomplish.
Yes, you repeat. All documents.
Ricardo takes you into the back room and starts going through his filing system.
There's a remarkable amount of dust kicked up as he finds every last document he can about Chrisania.
It has the relevant information you're looking for. A confirmation of what taxes have been paid, and what house is paying them.
It doesn't tell you any details about Corrin's family situation or who his parents and grandparents were, it simply confirms taxes were collected, and the source of those collections.
The documents don't stretch back before King Vlad's unification war, because the territory was not one of King Vlad's original holdings.
The maps indicate the major source of taxes comes from farms, and some mining of iron and other materials. The mining is not in-depth because of the relatively out-of-the-way location of Chrisania in regards to Castle Valachia. The records indicate there is less wildlife there, relative to the rest of the country, because taxes from furs and meats are low.
–Or so Ricardo helps you interpret.
Your paranoia gets the best of you and you ask if the people who show up at the castle are confirmed to be who they say they are?
"That may be a question for your guards instead of me, Your Majesty."
Ricardo only investigates arrivals to the castle when mercenaries are involved. However, it's very likely Corrin is who he says he is.
"Why don't you try the method I used to identify you, Your Majesty?"
There's vague sketch of the family seal of Corrin's family in the documents… the one he wore on his cape-latch. You stare at it, but you can't quite remember if it's the exact same or even similar. You didn't get that close a look. Nevertheless, you try to commit the details that stand out to memory for when you see him again.
"You might also try asking him to explain the meaning, Your Majesty. An aristocrat who can't explain the history of their family's seal would be suspicious."
… Ah. That… may be an idea. Certainly you could do so for Virilia… and possibly Ruhemania's as well.
You're starting to think the notion of Corrin being some impostor is a wild possibility. Corrin was simply dressed too nicely and talked too eloquently to be anything but nobility. Furthermore, he asked for access to your library, a sign of literacy.
You sigh in relief. Perhaps your misgivings about Chrisania were simply that… notions of unease.
It may be wise to not take Corrin at face value in your interactions, but there's no indication of anything sinister in Ricardo's records.
You ask Ricardo one more time to be sure.
What he's shown you now… is every document related to Chrisania, correct?
He shakes his head.
"No, I have not, now, shown you every document related to Chrisania… Your Majesty."
Go ahead then. Bring out whatever he's hiding, you say.
He grunts a little apprehensively.
"I'm afraid I can't, Your Majesty."
You're getting frustrated now.
Again, why not?
Ricardo smacks his lips without opening his jaw.
"…Your Majesty, you removed one document relating to Chrisania and took it with you… therefore, it is impossible for me to present every document related to Chrisania for your review."
You blink, once, then again.
You removed it…?
…Oh, God. You remember now.
You've only taken one document from Ricardo. You were so eager to take it, you told him not to make a copy.
Eager to have it, and eager to remove all record of the place.
–But you understand Ricardo's meaning now. He wasn't playing coy to fluster you. He must have himself realized whatever reason you wanted that document was a secret, and it was a secret he would be better off never investigating.
…and he's right.
The missing document is the location of the manor you gave to Erika!
That could only mean… you'd sent Erika off to live in Chrisania.
… You swallow, hard.
Ah, yes. You remember now, you say.
You think you're done here.
You praise Ricardo for his good work and dutifulness. He's satisfied your request very well, to satisfaction.
You have no more need of seeing these documents right now.
You'll thank him if he puts them away while you get on with being King.
"…Of course, Your Majesty."
Ricardo gives you a respectful bow and you stalk yourself out of the room.
You climb up the stairs in a daze.
So much so you don't even hear the soldiers when they greet and salute you on your way out.
You walk a bit until your feet tire and you begin to calm down.
This was an inevitable result of giving Erika a place to stay… of course. Whichever of the three locations you gave her, they were going to be somewhere in your Kingdom. You just hadn't paid attention to the geography as much as the type of dwelling you'd asked her to live in.
…You take a deep breath, finally coming to a stop under an archway in a corridor.
This was fine.
Just because you sent Erika to Chrisania doesn't mean she's done anything.
The manor you gave her was, without a doubt, abandoned. Isolated. Chrisania was an entire duchy, after all. The size of it, in perspective, put the manor you gave her beyond something one could discover by tripping over it…
There was no reason to think Corrin or his family had met her.
… You should bring this up to Beatrice and Tharja later.
You blink, realizing you're being addressed by one of your guards on patrol.
He had no choice but to speak to you since you're blocking the exit. You apologize and tell him you were lost in your thoughts for the moment.
You step aside and he salutes before continuing on his way.
You rub your temples and discover you're sweating.
A quick glance out of a nearby window tells you it's almost midday. Somehow you'd wasted enough time you didn't notice before now.
–Though your stomach makes its needs known as you feel it let out a small gurgle.
You walk briskly in the direction of your sitting room.
Your legs feel a bit stiff from all the mindless wandering you did, but you manage well enough.
You consider your options…
You couldn't bring up Erika in front of Elizabeth and Margaret. It was probably better not to allude to them either.
But discussing your meeting with Corrin wasn't out of the question. It was a mundane activity you were fulfilling as King, after all.
The question was if you wanted to.
Choice time:>Attend lunch, bring up your meeting with Corrin in the conversation with Tharja and Beatrice, and that you have scheduled a meal with him and his family tomorrow.>Attend lunch… but don't mention the meeting. Hold the information in until you can see Tharja and Beatrice alone.