15.1 What I’m Capable of
The Viscount of Kholmogory, Anastasia, was only 10-years-old. Despite that, she looked dignified.
Showing no sign of fear, she behaved politely to His Highness Alexander.
Still… I was a little worried. Her expression was dark.
Also, she was very cute…
Anastasia was a beautiful girl with fluffy silver hair and mysterious golden eyes.
If my 10-year-old self were to stand beside Anastasia, and someone raised the question, “Which one has the nobility of a duke’s daughter?” even I would choose Anastasia without hesitation.
I was happy that Anastasia was merely a little girl.
If she was a girl around the age of 15 or 16, I’d surely be anxious that His Highness would be attracted to her beauty.
Even though His Highness had especially told me to not worry about that, if I saw them talking together, I’d surely burn with jealousy.
Behind Anastasia, a young man in military uniform appeared. He had a sword on his waist.
Through the number of gold buttons, he could be identified as a lieutenant. He didn’t have that high of a ranking. However, the red ruby emblem on his chest indicated that he was a nobleman.
Aristocrats other than the prince often became military personnel or church priests. The aristocrat before me seemed to have attempted to become a soldier. It was possible that he resigned from the army at a young age and became a reserve officer.
“Sorry for my tardiness. My name is George Procofieva, I’m a relative of Anastasia. I myself am also a landowner with some land near the viscount’s territory.”
George, who had a meek attitude, looked like a common Ruthenian man with brown hair and brown eyes. He was a guardian of Anastasia, and seemed to be in charge of territorial management.
At first glance, he looked like a decent person… but, I recalled the devastating landscape of the viscount’s territory. If he was responsible for that view, I had to be careful.
His Highness politely greeted Anastasia and George, while I followed suit.
With Anastasia, we entered the viscount’s mansion. Our followers waited at the front door.
Then, we went through the large entrance hall and ascended the large staircase. A number of gorgeous ornaments were on displayed on stairs and in the corridors.
Afterwards, we were guided to the drawing room at the back of the second floor.
A mahogany desk had been placed in the center of the spacious room. It was quite expensive and had been made in a foreign country.
“Your Highness and Lady Alisa must be tired. Please follow me.”
“Oh, thank you. I’m grateful.”
His Highness replied so as we were recommended to sit in the seats at the back of the room.
Although exiled to the frontier, His Highness was still the first prince. For Viscount Anastasia and her distant relative, George, he was far more superior.
I also sat next to His Highness. When we sat side by side for public greetings, I realized that I was indeed his fiancée.
When I glanced at the profile of His Highness, he smiled a little. I also smiled back.
Although I was a little nervous in front of the viscount’s family, I felt reassured because of His Highness.
For His Highness, I hoped that my presence also aided him.
The purpose for which we were there wasn’t just for a greeting.
The resources from the Viscount of Kholmogory’s iron mines were to be exported using the port of Arkhangelsk.
Indeed, we planned to negotiate that with them.
Whether it worked or not depended on His Highness and I.
However, it wasn’t like we could just get to the point right away. We’d be making small talk first.
George was calm and responded with a smile. Anastasia, on the other hand, looked a little restless.
She also seemed to be worried. When our eyes met, she’d stare at me as if to say something.
…I wonder what’s wrong?
I was suddenly struck by anxiety that something bad would happen.
“By the way, George…”
His Highness finally got to the main subject.
His Highness reasonably explained that exporting Kholmogory’s iron from the port of Arkhangelsk would have considerable benefit for the viscount’s territory.
In fact, the cost of transportation would be much cheaper than using the distant port of Elemeigrat.
Besides, the tax for using the port of Elemeigrat, which was the under direct control of the royal family, was quite high. Since there was no other large port, everyone had no choice but to use Elemeigrat’s.
“But the port of Arkhangelsk is different. It should be much cheaper and more efficient than Elemeigrat’s—what do you think?”
After wrapping up his explanation, His Highness asked George.
It shouldn’t be a bad offer for the viscount’s territory. At least, I didn’t think it was an offer that would be rejected in an instant.
The viscount’s territory seemed to be low on capital. This could be an invitation for its improvement.
However, despite smiling, George slammed his hands against the desk and stared at His Highness.
“That’s just impossible, Your Highness.”
His Highness’ eyes widened in shock and concern.
I was also surprised. Did we overlook something?
George was still laughing, as if he were in a good mood.
“Your Highness seems to have misunderstood something. Elemeigrat is the territory governed by Prince Mikhail. By using the port of the royal family, I’m merely showing my loyalty.”
“But for the viscount’s territory, it’d be better to use the port of Arkhangelsk. Even though the port of Elemeigrat belongs to the royal family, it’s usage is not compulsory.”
“It isn’t, Your Highness. But Anastasia is the one who decides which port to use, and not His Highness.”
Suddenly, about a dozen of soldiers with swords barged into the room.
Involuntarily, His Highness and I stood up.
“What is the meaning of this, George?”
***T/N: Yo, so every other aristocrats we gonna met in this territory are scummy…