28. There Isn’t Nothing
Elena’s tears surprised me.
When I spoke to Elena that morning, she said that Mikhail loved her, and that he wouldn’t let her go.
In other words, Elena must had grasped the heart of His Highness.
But she now said that she wasn’t loved at all.
“Everything I told onee-chan… those were lies. The only reason I became his fiancée was because I’m the daughter of the Duke of Tchaikovsky. He needed the power of the duke, so we were engaged. He isn’t interested in me.”
“Is he different from the kind His Highness Mikhail we knew?”
Elena said to me that His Highness Mikhail was a kind person.
However, I had to admit, her expression and attitude at that time were a little unnatural. I could still vividly recall her from that time.
With overflowing tears, Elena shook her head.
“While His Highness Mikhail is indeed a kind person, he’s like that to everyone. I’m no one special. The only time His Highness Mikhail ever greeted me was during the ceremony…”
That was the reason behind Elena’s suspicions. She suspected that Alex-sama was trying to take advantage of me.
Originally, Elena was fond of His Highness Mikhail.
I honestly thought now that her yearning had been fulfilled, she was happy.
But how wrong I was.
His Highness Mikhail chose Elena to become his fiancée only because he wanted to draw from the power of the Duke of Tchaikovsky.
She was different from Alex-sama and I.
Elena was more talented and prettier than I was, but that didn’t mean she got everything she wanted.
“…It’s always onee-chan! His Highness Mikhail chose me only because I’m the duke’s daughter! Meanwhile, my onee-chan is needed by His Highness Alexander, I…!”
Elena lowered her face and wiped her tears with her beautiful white fingertips.
I didn’t know what to say.
It was Alex-sama who spoke instead.
“I’m not resentful towards Mikhail for having robbed me of the throne. It can’t be helped. Mikhail is much more capable than me. Even if Mikhail tries to hinder the development of this territory, or if he were to attempt to eliminate me—that’s his right as the new crown prince. However, if you make my dear fiancée cry, I won’t forgive you, Ms. Elena—even if you’re her sister.”
Unlike usual, Alex-sama had a terrifying expression.
Truthfully, I was already aware that His Highness Mikhail didn’t care about Elena. However, my feelings were roughly the same as Alex-sama’s.
It couldn’t be helped for it was a political marriage. Still, if he dared to hurt my dear little sister… I wouldn’t forgive His Highness Mikhail.
Elena stared at me with her beautiful, crystal, eyes.
“I didn’t expect for His Highness Mikhail to become the crown prince. As my onee-chan became His Highness Alexander’s fiancée, and I His Highness Mikhail’s, I believed that His Highness Alexander would be the king, and my sister the queen. However, I was mistaken.”
In reality, Alex-sama was no longer the crown prince. Instead, he became a frontier lord. I also ended up residing in that place with Alex-sama.
The responsibilities of the king and queen were entrusted to our younger siblings.
Elena never expected that.
“I thought that onee-chan would become the queen, and I’d marry His Highness Alexander’s younger brother… Hey, onee-chan, won’t you return to the royal capital? Otherwise, wouldn’t I be left alone?”
Elena stared at me, and I felt sad. I wished to support Elena in her time of need.
I wanted to be with her.
“I’m Alex-sama’s fiancée. I’ve decided to remain in this territory. Therefore, forgive me, I can’t return to the royal capital. But you can always come here and play for as long as you like. You can even stay here.”
“Isn’t that obvious? Elena is my dear sister.”
When I said that, Elena suddenly hugged me tightly.
I stiffened in shock. Alex-sama was surprised, as well.
“Thank you, onee-chan.”
I smiled and hugged Elena’s delicate body.
Even if a little, I wanted to support Elena.
What should I do to support her? Was it possible to improve the relationship between Elena and His Highness Mikhail?
Furthermore, there was still that other urgency.
It had become impossible to persuade His Highness Mikhail to grant us rights for the mine through Elena. As long as His Highness Mikhail wasn’t interested in Elena, it would be impossible to influence him through her.
If that issue wasn’t resolved, Arkhangelsk with its now lost trading product wouldn’t be able to survive as a territory.
By exporting iron from the mine, the territory would be able to develop. The margrave territory borrowed a lot of money for that. But as things stood, the merchants in the United Kingdom of Sterling would ask for reimbursement.
Then, the margrave territory would go bankrupt.
If that happened, Alex-sama and I would lose our home. I also wouldn’t be able to help Elena.
What should I do…?
Elena whispered while clinging to me.
“I’m sorry that there’s nothing I can do for onee-chan’s territory.”
“Well, while that may be true, it can’t be helped.”
“But… Arkhangelsk… is a beautiful land, isn’t it?”
Elena stepped away from me and glanced out the window.
There stood an endless coniferous forest.
The territory was certainly beautiful. While the climate might be harsh and the land unsuitable for agriculture, beautiful trees spread out in Arkhangelsk.
“Scenery like this doesn’t exist in the royal capital.”
Elena’s words surprised me.
I looked again at the Northern peculiar larch and fir coniferous forest.
“…It wasn’t nothing.”
Iron wasn’t the only thing we could offer.
We still possessed these beautiful trees.
They were our—mine, Alex-sama’s, everyone in that land—hope.
***T/N: Oh wow are they going to start a resort or something.
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