37.2 The Answer is Obvious
I shook His Excellency’s hand and looked straight into his eyes.
His Excellency Knut stared down at me with his jade eyes. Somehow, they appeared hollow.
“Have you formulated a plan as to how you’ll resolve the predicament of Arkhangelsk?”
“I came to this negotiation as the wife of the Margrave of Arkhangelsk—the future wife, to be precise. That alone justifies my existence—even in this place. Therefore, why should I become the mistress of His Excellency Knut?”
“But Arkhangelsk is…”
“I’ll look for another way. If we can’t keep our position as rulers, we’ll go into exile together. After all, my greatest wish is to be with Alex-sama.”
His Excellency Knut listened to my words in silence.
I signaled Felix to leave the room with my eyes. We had no reason to linger.
The negotiation had failed.
Alternatively, His Excellency Knut might come up with a new offer. There was no doubt that our proposal was favorable for Ninorsk. The possibility still existed that he might change the condition, allowing for further negotiation.
I felt we should remain at the inn in Ninorsk for a few days and oversee the situation.
If that didn’t work… even if it was difficult, I would have to find another way.
Thinking that, when we attempted to leave the room, the two soldiers blocked our path.
His Excellency Knut instructed them to do so.
As it was, we might be forcibly restrained as well. At that point, it’d become a diplomatic problem, but our position was on the weaker side.
For example, if His Excellency Knut were to cooperate with the second prince, I could be forced into becoming his mistress and Alex-sama might lose his territory.
His Excellency Knut grabbed my hand from behind.
…As I thought, I am desperate, but I mustn’t yield until the end.
“—No! Let go!”
When I tried to resist with all my might, His Excellency Knut appeared as if in a hurry—
—and suddenly knelt in front of me.
His Excellency Knut respectfully bowed in front of me and kissed my hand.
I stiffened in confusion.
Did he just… kiss my hand?
Felix made a terrifying expression.
His Excellency looked up at me apologetically. His expression had reverted to his gentle one.
“Please forgive my rudeness. I’m truly sorry for trying to test you, Lady Alisa.”
“What do you mean?”
“When I told you to become my lover, it was to test your determination. My goal was to learn if you were as intelligent and as noble as your reputation.”
“Well… then what is the result?”
His Excellency Knut stood up and smiled.
“Lady Alisa is as impressive as I thought.”
“I, I beg to differ…”
However, His Excellency Knut shook his head.
“Lady Alisa is courageous and determined. As I said in the beginning, I’d be delighted to cooperate with your exporting timber and provide funding.”
“W, what about my becoming the lover of Your Excellency Knut?”
“There’s no need for that. …But of course, it’d be a whole different story if Lady Alisa agreed to it.”
I shivered. I was in danger.
Nevertheless, I seemed to have been exempt from having to become his lover. I was glad that I didn’t lose sight of what was important.
His Excellency Knut pressed a gold seal on the document.
The seal of Heath, the coat of arms of the Grand Duke of Rivalsi, appeared in vermillion color on the document.
The new trade and funding had been agreed to.
Although the details would be determined in a separate memorandum, our negotiation there had been concluded.
With that, Arkhangelsk was saved, and Alex-sama could continue to serve as margrave. We didn’t have to separate.
Everything had been settled.
I was so relieved that I wanted to sit down, but I endured.
Until the end, I had to properly conduct myself before His Excellency Knut—
—for I was the future wife of the Margrave of Arkhangelsk.
As we left, His Excellency Knut had a mischievous expression on his face.
“Dear Lady Alisa, in the future, if you think that His Highness Alexander is unsuitable for you, you’re always welcome to me.”
“Does that mean you’ll take me as your lover?”
“No, you will become the wife of the Grand Duke of Rivalsi.”
His Excellency Knut’s jade eyes shone brilliantly.
He must be joking. Besides, in no way did I find Alex-sama lacking.
Everything was settled.
It was time to return to Arkhangelsk.
***T/N: Negotiation conducted successfully! It’s especially easier because the other party has hots for her!
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