23. Prove Your Love!
“There’s truly nothing to be seen here, onee-chan…”
“That may be true…”
I smiled bitterly at Elena’s words.
Elena and I were taking a walk through the forest on the mansion grounds.
Certainly, there was nothing in our territory other than the harbor.
However, coniferous forests of larch and fir peculiar to the North were spreading everywhere.
I had to talk to Elena.
I needed to ask her fiancée, His Highness Mikhail, for the permission to the mines.
But I had a hard time conveying the request… I felt as if I were taking advantage of Elena. I was uncomfortable by the notion.
…I would broach the main subject little by little.
“By the way, is it alright for Elena to stay here for such a long time? What does His Highness Mikhail think?”
“It’s alright. Mikhail loves me. He said that he’d never let go of me.”
Elena proudly said that while holding out her chest.
As expected of Elena. She seems to have managed to obtain His Highness Mikhail’s heart.
“What kind of person is His Highness Mikhail?”
To the simple question I asked, Elena halted.
Elena turned to me, and after a moment, she smiled.
“He’s a kind person.”
“Then, that’s good.”
He might be as kind as Alex-sama.
I knew very little about His Highness Mikhail. Was he similar to Alex-sama?
Elena said that she wished for my happiness. I also prayed for a happy future for Elena as she’d become the future queen.
“Hey, Elena, I have a request.”
I explained the background of the mining case.
We might not be able to mine due to interference from the royal capital.
I’d like for His Highness Mikhail to resolve the interference.
Elena listened to my story. The entire time, she appeared unusually restless.
“I’m reluctant to ask for this… but can you ask His Highness Mikhail to help? I’m sure if it is from his fiancée, Elena, he’d have a change of heart.”
I put my hands together and stared at Elena.
Elena had pale gray eyes. She looked at me with the eyes bearing the same color as mine. However, hers would shine all the time.
“…I wonder about that.”
Elena muttered. She didn’t seem to be very enthusiastic. I felt impatient. Elena was a mood maker, she didn’t usually behave without enthusiasm.
“Well, Mikhail is a work-oriented person. Therefore, I’m sure he already knows about the mine. If Mikhail thinks you should be granted rights to those mines, he normally wouldn’t tell me. Still, I’m sure he’s doing what he can. On the contrary, if Mikhail thinks that he shouldn’t grant you those rights… he won’t be one to change his mind.”
What Elena said was correct. Since ancient times, Elena was sharp.
That might be true.
From Alex-sama story, His Highness Mikhail appeared to be a perfect superhuman. Such a person must have placed great importance to principle.
Therefore, his fiancée’s personal wish might not change a decision he made in public affairs.
I glanced at Elena. Speaking of which, His Highness Mikhail appeared to be a serious person—at least, as far as I could tell. I wondered if his personality matched Elena’s innocence.
No, there might be something that attracted him to her. She was the exact opposite of him after all. His Highness Mikhail might actually have a carefree side to him.
“Regardless, it’d be a great help of Elena were to say something about it. After all, it might also be beneficial to His Highness Mikhail.”
Elena didn’t appear to be convinced.
I proceeded onward.
“At this rate, the territory of Arkhangelsk will collapse, and neither Alex nor I will be able to remain here, so please—!”
“…What if that happens?”
“I wish you had never been engaged to His Highness Alexander, that you’d return to the royal capital.”
Elena stared straight at me. Her expression was truly clear.
“I said that I’d try to make my onee-chan happy. So, are you happy in a frontier like this?”
I spoke without hesitation.
Alex-sama was here. He needed me. We had our territory. It was a path I had decided on my own terms.
I had no reason to be unhappy.
But Elena shook her head.
“I don’t think so. Who’d be happy at being whisked away from the royal capital to live in poverty in an empty place like this?”
“But, I have Alex-sama…”
“Back when we were at the academy, His Highness Alexander didn’t seem to care about my onee-chan. So why? The two of you were only engaged on paper. Does he really love my onee-chan? It’s really treacherous of him to bring my onee-chan to a place like this and make her struggle.”
“Elena, I never thought I was having a hard time. While there may be nothing here, there’s a harbor, there are beautiful trees, there’s Felix, Anastasia—and there’s Alex-sama. That’s already enough for me.”
I was happy.
Everyone was there—and they needed me.
For that happiness, we had to protect that territory.
Elena stared at me, and she gently wrapped my hands around hers.
Her cool little hands enveloped mine.
I knew that comfortable feeling well.
“Didn’t we use to hold hands like this when we were little.”
“Yes, back then, onee-chan used to hold my hands like this.”
Elena blushed and nodded.
I smirked and patted Elena’s head.
I could never win against Elena. However, as her older sister, that was the only thing I could do.
“I believe in Alex-sama. I love him, so I want to remain here.”
“…No matter what onee-chan says, I’m still worried. Perhaps, some people aiming for His Highness Alexander’s life might appear, and if my onee-chan were to be caught up…”
“It’s okay, I’m sure Alex-sama will protect me.”
I believed in Alex. Elena knew little about Alex-sama, but the same didn’t apply to me.
We came to that territory together, slept in the same bedroom, surveyed the territory, and faced danger in the Kholmogory territory together…
The His Highness Alexander I knew was a dependable and kind person.
However, Elena didn’t seem to be convinced.
“…I can speak with His Highness Mikhail, but there are conditions.”
“I still can’t believe that His Highness Alexander loves my onee-chan, so prove it!”
“Well, then, what should I do…?”
It seemed that Elena hadn’t planned for anything concrete. After a while, Elena blushed as she lowered her face.
“Then… act like a couple?”
Elena murmured shyly in a small voice.
…Elena wanted us to flirt in front of her?
***T/N: I see that Elena is actually a woman of culture.
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