Sei Bruno Part 3~ The Business Partners
“First, we must assess our current situation. In the first place, the reason why we were made to be engage with each other was in order to strengthen our alliance against other countries. The same thing could be said to the 2nd prince’s fiancée, but in House Walter’s case, it’s more on the side of trade relationships.”
Putting aside the idle behavior she always had until now, Missouri briskly turned over the pages of the book she took with her. Although we are engaged men and women alone together in the same room, she didn’t have any seductive appeals at all.
“The 2nd prince fiancée… The Corundum Kingdom huh? If I’m not mistaken, that’s the country with the mythical beasts called dragons, right. Furthermore, it’s the main producer of crystals.”
“That would be the main aim of the Coloflare Kingdom for the engagement, but for the side of the Corundum Kingdom, I presume it would be for national defense. The strength of our saintess’ barrier is far sturdier than any barrier put up by magic.”
The surroundings of that country are always broiled in military engagements. If it becomes a full-scale war, there’s a high chance that our kingdom, that Lady Momo, would get entangled in their troubles. However, according to what Missouri had said, the kingdom through House Walter has been expanding its influence through diplomacy and trade to use that to prevent conflicts.
“Those are the circumstances involving our engagement.”
“Then are you saying that in order to prevent a situation where Lady Momo is sent to the Corundum Kingdom for military campaigns, this engagement must happen?”
“Not necessarily, sir.”
Missouri thought that if House Walter is given an official position with sufficient authority, there would be no need for this marriage to happen anymore. War is still just a matter of possibility and will not just suddenly happen. However, if they only decide to take the necessary steps after things start developing, there’s a chance that they will end up too late to respond.
“That’s why first we have achieve things in the financial sector first, and while we’re at it, pass a law that allows us to respond quickly during emergency situations. The two of us might be fiancée on the surface for now, but let’s treat each other as business partners from now on.”
I reflexively clasped the hands she held out to me. The main condition for her agreement in the cancellation of our engagement was for me to never see her as a woman until it is revoked. Even without that, I have never really treated her as the opposite sex either way. Unlike playing around with other ladies, having the same kind of relationship with your arranged engagement partner may be seen as pre-marital intercourse, which would be problematic. Still, I do things like kissing the back of her hand, praising her as lip service, as well as sending her letters. I asked her whether I should stop doing those but she replied that I should just think of her as a friend of the same gender.
(Come to think of it, I wonder what Lady Missouri thought of me.)
Suddenly, her feelings which I have never considered up until now became interesting. I declared from the very start that I would never fall in love with her and that this is nothing but a mere political marriage. Lady Missouri took all of those and accepted them without offering so much a complaint. I’ve always thought that it was due to her not having a sense of self but, now the same lady was helping me to prepare plans to nullify our engagement. All for the sake of the man who not only made light of her but also fooled around with other women despite being her fiancée.
“Having hurt her so much… maybe she sees me as the worst kind fo man.”
As those words leak from my mouth, Lady Missouri turned her face away from the paper. She took a glance at me and let out a sigh. Her gestures were seemingly saying how it’s already too late for me to consider that.
“There’s no need to be considerate of me, sir. Didn’t you promise to not treat me as a lady?”
“…So this much isn’t allowed too?”
“Sir is not the kind to be considerate with his mere school mate of the same gender, is he? Let’s move on from this topic and let me pour you a tea instead. These tea leaves were procured from Corundum Kingdom and are awaiting permit for importation.”
Missouri, who already put up her business face on, felt rather anti-climactic. Even if our engagement were to be annulled, her behavior towards me will likely stay the same. On the contrary, we might be able to build an even better relationship after having moved on from that matter. Perhaps Lady Missouri was not the one bound by our engagement but rather only myself. As such bitter thoughts came to me, the taste of the tea spread within my mouth at the same time.
“…It has a really odd flavor to it. Tasting it for the first time wasn’t so bad at all too.”
“Isn’t it? It can recover both stamina and mana at the same time. It has the same efficacy as a potion concocted by an excellent mage. They call it the dragon’s excrement.”
“Bu-!! *cough* *cough*”
“fufufu~ were you surprised, sir? Well the trade name was chosen to create a lasting impact, but in actuality, it’s a herb nourished using the said excrement as fertilizer… fu~ the excrement of a dragon dismantled in soil producing nitric acid, also called Draconium… it’s a material recently discovered and is now used as… fufufu“
Missouri was barely able to bear her quivering in laughter at the sight of me throwing up the tea. The figure of her laughing is something I have never seen ever since our first meeting. As I took away the cup of tea from her hand to prevent it from spilling, she vacantly stared at me in response.
“Hey, You can actually laugh adorably if you wanted.”
“—Do you really intend to annul this engagement or not?”
Her response was not cute at all.
◆ ◇ ◆ ◇ ◆
Misouri is still currently studying at the academy but she was endeavoring an academic pursuit that would let her become a diplomat that supports the minister to the left. Rather, even if we did get married, the path she had chosen was to support my older brother together with me as husband and wife. I thought that she was quite an obstinate person but, apparently, she realized that she is more suited to formulating plans after having cooperated with me in cancellation of our engagement.
“I have always liked playing mischief on people in the past…. and upon success, loved seeing their surprised faces. Trade business has always been a game of deception in the first place, the same could be said to diplomacy.”
“That’s an unexpected side of you… Frankly speaking, I’ve always thought of you as a doll without a will of its own.”
“Fufu, I fooled you, didn’t I?”
From then on, Missouri frequented my room under the pretext of fulfilling her obligations as my fiancee. Although I don’t coax her with words nor do we come into contact with one another, we can treat each other more friendly than we did before.
My family saw these developments as favorable and welcomed them and still firmly opposed the cancellation of engagement. Even more so, after Darck’s mess happened which had made things more complicated.
“Leddorio no longer had a fiancé next to him and will likely not have one until Lady Momo decides, which is problematic. Now that Prince Yellow’s position as the crown prince had stabilized, I am being pressured to cut my ties with the first prince.”
“About that, Sir Sei. The school newspaper had written…”
The newspaper she handed to me had all of the details about our observation of Chloe densely written into it. The tone was sympathetic of Chloe. It also finishes by saying that a large portion of the student body not seeing Lady Momo favorably, being a lady who comes into contact with only influential gentlemen.
“The author is Chaco Brown!? Unbelievable.. isn’t she Momo’s best friend? Did she got bribed by his highness Yello or something?”
From how I remember it, she was also another lady who couldn’t be swayed by words. To describe it more precisely, she puts on a fake smile while talking to me and thereby draws a line. It’s probably her disposition as a journalist. However, I’ve seen the two of them together, and seemed quite friendly with each other. I didn’t expect to be the kind of person who would write an unfavorable article about her best friend.
“It is basically saying that with her engagement canceled in result, and her condemnation due to the harm she caused, now over, we must look into her circumstances in a different light.”
“Don’t tell me you think the same. That Lady Momo had enticed all of us on purpose?”
“Who knows? They do not relate to me so I quite frankly do not care, sir.”
She brushed it off as unrelated to her. Although it’s a problem for her to consider having engaged to me, right now, we are currently working together in order to cancel the said engagement. If that were to be safely done without issues, she would become of no relation to Momo in its truest sense. The one that should think about these matters carefully is none other than me.
“Well then, Sir Sei. As a chance to show how much you truly love Lady Momo, you will have to participate in the Advent Festival.”
“… Is this one of Prince Yello’s orders?”
We are currently trying to make certain of our doubts regarding Lady Chloe becoming a witch and raising our adventurer levels through conquering other dungeons for that. Although her participation in the Advent Festival as the saintess is important, if the awakening of the witch is as close as Lady Momo had previously said, that cannot be left alone too.
“Apparently, His Highness Leddorio had agreed to it as well. Hence, Lady Momo and the others will be conquering dungeons at that day while Sir Sei would need to act as his highness’ representative.”
“Wha–? Haa, I guess that can’t be helped.”
“Fufufu, our House Walter was the one entrusted with the preparation of the ceremonial rites, you know? I will be able to introduce the imported goods from Corundum Kingdom at the same time. I will be wearing the dress from their latest fashion trends in the party so would sir please take me to a dance by then?”
“….You seem to be having fun.”
As I tease her for being too ahead of her spirits regarding the advent festival, she replied with a full smile instead.
“Of course sir, it’s my last dance party as your fiancée after all.”
Whether she was truly happy or regretful of it. Even someone like me who had vast expertise in love couldn’t determine.
Okay, I did say three chapters but that seemed impossible. In my defense, these chapters are longer than usual and are more or less 2-3 pages which takes more or less 3 hours to work on in one sitting. Sorry about that, I’ll try to make up for it but I don’t want to make more promises that I would break lol.
Either way, Missouri should just throw this guy off the cliff and find a better man, that’s all.