“And what did the Duke say?”
“He begged my father to help him.”
The Duke of Nottenger was the cousin of His Majesty, the King.
Therefore, he had been offered some leeway until now, but he had finally reached his limit.
“Perhaps your Marquisate will soon be involved.”
“To purchase another of the Duke’s failed enterprises?”
“Yes, we’ll be bothering your house again…”
“Your Highness has no need to apologize. Fortunately, the two businesses we bought before are stable…”
Sales are good thanks to both of them being indispensable for the food industry. It was incredibly hard to go back to hard bread after trying fluffy bread and we were now exporting salt to other countries.
“But this time things are a little different from before.”
“Is that the case?”
“Yes. For some reason, the Duke of Nottenger requested to trade it for your salt business.”
I hurriedly blocked my mouth with a fan.
I accidentally let out an unlady-like shout.
“The Duke of Nottenger said that your family’s business was successful thanks to the Duke’s family.”
“Wait, come again?”
It was the Duke of Nottenger who threw them away in the first place.
The Duchy had abandoned them half-heartedly, and the people who worked there had had a hard time because of that.
“The Duke says that it was originally Miss Alicia’s, and that they should only be returned. But, indeed, he’s making a fool out of Marquis Birmingham.”
“That may be true, but we were also forced to buy their dying businesses. I can’t believe he has the gall to say that without an ounce of gratitude towards us.”
“I suppose the Duke doesn’t like it, either. He seems to be saying that Birmingham has stolen those businesses.”
“But we’ve gone through a lot of trouble getting the two businesses back on track. It’s unpleasant to be told that by someone who gave up early and threw them away.”
“Of course, no one believes such a story from the Duke. It is common knowledge that you and Elysion frequently interacted with the commoners to make them succeed.”
“And what did His Majesty say?”
“As expected, he was angry over his rudeness. However, we’re unable to abandon the Duchy, so we’ll have to trouble your Marquisate to buy his business again. Your family has shown its excellence in that regard.”
“The new business, I believe, involved creating parts for horse-drawn carriages…”
Springs won’t be a bad business because they can be used not only for carriages but also in bedding.
However, no matter how well you know how it works, you’d need to know how to make it for the business to take shape. There was nothing we could do by just knowing about it.
“I’ll leave the matter to my father and brother,”
“Tell the Marquis that we don’t mind if you refuse.”
“I understand, but…… won’t the Duchy be in trouble?”
“I don’t think they’ll be too poor to sustain themselves, but it’s going to be difficult to start a new business.”
“Rather, they’ve had a lot of money up until now.”
“I concur, but perhaps that’s why the Duke of Nottenger has begun to say absurd things.”
“He said he would send Miss Alicia to be my fiancee as an apology for always inconveniencing the Royal Family.”
“W-what is he planning…?”
“His plan is to cancel my engagement with you.”
I couldn’t keep my jaw from hitting the floor.
Prince Gilbert exhaled tiredly without saying anything about my manners.
“It is true that she was my top fiancee candidate before my engagement with you and we were almost officially engaged.”
But she was the one who refused it.
From here on out, it’s just my theory, but I think there was a death ending for the villainess in the otome game.
And it was highly likely that she avoided the Bad End by not being engaged to His Highness.
But why was this being brought up now?
“By any chance…”
“Can you think of something?”
“No… well… I just thought Lady Noelle’s withdrawal from school might be related.”
“It is true that she started approaching you after she left school…”
Wasn’t Alicia safe now that Noelle left school?
Then there was no problem if she started looking for a fiance.
However, did it have to be the Crown Prince, whose fiancee has already been decided?
“Whether or not this has anything to do with Miss Noelle, the Duke of Nottenger seems to have a strong desire to make use of his daughter’s talents in the Royal Family. He seems to be deeply proud of his daughter’s talent.”
“That’s why he started new businesses no matter how much they failed.”
“Unfortunately, however, he seems to have finally realized that there are not enough people around her to make use of her talents.”
“In summary, he wants the Royal Family to support her with money and resources, correct?”
“That’s what the Duke of Nottenger claims…”
I see, that was why they wanted an engagement with His Highness.
But that may certainly be a good idea.
Frankly speaking, I don’t hate her that much.
I don’t know what kind of otome game this world was, but anyone would be desperate if they were reborn as a villainess. Moreover, if you get condemned and executed.
So I think it was inevitable that she refused the Crown Prince’s engagement, and I think she was working very hard to start a business using her past life’s knowledge.
It was a bit disappointing that she was so reckless, but if she has the patience to continue her business, she’ll definitely succeed.
Now that I think about it, it seemed like a good idea to protect her talent in the Royal Family.
“Your Highness, I will always accept the withdrawal of our engagement if you will provide me with compensation.”
If I can escape the pressure of being the Crown Prince’s fiancee, I really don’t need any compensation.
However, I have to accept even a small amount of money just for appearance’s sake.
I said such a thing lightly, but I suddenly stiffened after feeling a sharp gaze on me.
His Highness was giving me a piercing glare.
“U-um, Your Highness…?”
“No, well, that’s just a joke…”
The warm atmosphere up until a while ago suddenly disappeared, and I felt the air in the room freeze over.
I unconsciously looked away from the Crown Prince who looked extremely displeased.
I have often seen his troubled expressions, but I’ve never seen him this angry, so I was careless.
He was a member of the Royal Family.
“I’m sorry… that was just a joke…”
I desperately held my trembling hands and bowed my head slightly.
I couldn’t see his face because I was so scared.
“I don’t like that kind of joke.”
“I’ll be careful from now on.”
“I’d appreciate it if you would, Emmy,”
His Highness stood up after calling me my nickname and stormed out of the room.
I didn’t feel safe until I got home that day.
It was my blunder for getting carried away in the nice atmosphere between us.
I immediately reported it to my father and brother, but they only said it was ok with a wry smile.
But I was still scared.
“…What should I do?”
I messed up and offended His Highness.
I never thought he would get angry about that.
I’ve always had a good relationship with him, but if I make the Royal Family angry, I won’t know what could befall the Birmingham family.
I should apologize formally the next time we meet, but it might be better to send a letter as soon as possible.
With this in mind, I hurried to my desk.
At that moment, my brother came in with a knock on the door.
“Emmy, here’s a letter for you.”
“I brought it because the maid looked busy.”
“Thank you very much.”
He walked in holding a beautiful bouquet of roses and a letter.
I didn’t know anyone who would send me a bouquet of beautiful pink roses.
I checked the sender, and nearly dropped the bouquet I was holding.
“He heard you went home very haggard, so I think he sent it in a hurry.”
I looked inside and read over his apology for the incident earlier.
His Highness said that he was not angry, but sad.
“I think he was quite shocked to hear that you could break off your engagement so easily.”
“Well, that’s that, so make up the next time you see His Highness.”
“Yes, I’ll write a response immediately.”
“That’s good to hear.”
I quickly wrote a letter and sent it to the Royal Palace immediately.
Once I managed to reconcile with the Crown Prince, I felt relieved.