Our plan to gain Liz her independence surged forward with a newfound momentum. At the same time, the number of days left for Liz to stay in Muhle rapidly decreased and we now had a little less than a week before Liz’s time was up.
…comparing the time we have left with the work we still have to do, I feel like we’re not working fast enough.
W-Well, I’ll describe what we’ve come up with so far.
First off, we’ve decided to build two large basements in the city to store all perishables.
We’ll cool these rooms using Alice’s magic and then maintain the temperature using Liz. One basement will be used as a freezer, the other a refrigerator.
With this, we’ll be able to store any perishables or ice cream for much longer.
Next, our plan to shorten the transportation time.
First, remodelling carriages. We’ve already begun work on making the carriage a smoother ride by creating rubber tires and adding suspension.
In addition to this, we’ve been working to reduce the fatigue put on the horse by remodelling the shaft connected to the wheels to reduce the coefficient of friction.
Moreover, we’ve been rapidly increasing our efforts to remodel the highways between Muhle, the relay points, and Rizelheim.
If everything is completed as planned, the time it takes to reach Rizelheim will be reduced to two days.
— However, a lot can change considering we’re mostly still in the planning phase.
Alice and I are using our knowledge from our previous lives to work on the specifics of our plan, but to everyone else, our entire plan is purely theoretical. So, I’m really not sure if I’ll be able to convince the royal family, but I do know we can’t finish all of this with the little time Liz still has left. And so, with that thought in mind, we departed to Rizelheim on a horse-drawn carriage.
We departed with little time to spare…it would take us five days to reach Rizelheim. And we’d be arriving with nothing to show.
I was worried we may face some delays. Obstructions in the road, issues with our carriage, or anything that may cost us time, but it seemed I was worried for nothing.
In any case, I need to explain the circumstances to Liz’s father, the King.
I hoped to gain an audience with him and tell him our plans. I could show him how useful Liz can be and get him to reconsider her engagement….
However, the moment we arrived at the castle, we were summoned by Crown Prince Alberto.
And that’s why we’re currently waiting in a meeting room for Alberto.
By the way, Liz and I are the only ones here. Alice and Sophia accompanied us to the castle but were told to wait in another room while we meet with Alberto.
“I’m sorry, Leon onii-sama. I was hoping to be able to speak with my Mother first.”
“No, I wasn’t expecting to be summoned so quickly, so I’m as much at fault as you. In times like this, I would rely on Claire…. I wonder what she’s doing now, or even where she is.”
Claire left the Grances territory over a month ago.
Since then, she’s been in regular contact with me. However, in every letter she sends me, she mentions that she’ll be moving somewhere new so I shouldn’t bother writing back. I wonder what she’s doing.
Still, whining about Claire not being here won’t get anything solved. I decided the best thing to do was wait and find out why Alberto summoned us here. Before long, Alberto entered the room.
“It’s been a while, Crown Prince.”
“It’s nice seeing you, Onii-sama.”
We stood up and paid our respects to the Crown Prince before retaking our seats.
“It seems that you’ve kept your promise.”
“Of course. I’d never break a promise I made with you, Crown Prince.”
“Hmm, there’s no need for such blatant flattery…. That reminds me, I was pleased with the clothes you sent me.”
“Thank you very much.”
Now that he mentions it, Crown Prince Alberto is currently wearing Alice brand clothing. It’s nothing like the fashion of this world, but…I guess I’ve got used to seeing this type of fashion in Muhle so I didn’t even notice.
“Next, I’d like you to make me clothes that I can wear when on official business. Oh, and I’d like some made for my father as well.”
“I understand. Is that everything.”
“I’d also like a set of clothing made for my mother and each of my siblings. In total, I’d say about twenty sets will do. And, of course, only the finest fabrics will do.”
Silk for twenty sets of clothing. We’ve begun mass-producing silkworms so we should be able to manage…. But, with this, I’ve all but confirmed I’ve taken Wells’ job.
However, I’m already working on fixing this with Amy. Once she graduates, Amy is supposed to work out a deal between Alice brand and Wells’ clothing shop. There may be some issues, but with Amy’s efforts, I’m sure Wells will be able to regain most of his lost customer base.
In any case,
“For twenty sets of clothes, I’d say we need about three months once we have everyone’s measurements.”
That’s too long. You’ll have the job done in two months.”
“…how about this: we’ll send as many completed sets as we can every month. We’ll give this job priority and have the job done in a few months.”
“That will work. Please, tell the maid how you’d like the measurements taken.”
I bowed my head.
“Alright, these talks are over. Thank you for returning Liz, we’ll be taking our leave.”
“Thank you very much — p-please, wait!”
I got caught up in Alberto’s pace and panicked as he began to leave. That was close.
“What? Did you have something else you wished to speak to me about?”
“Yes. It’s actually the main reason we’re here.”
I gave Alberto a brief overview of our plan and explained to him how useful Liz could be.
“…I see. I was told that Liz’s spirit magic was useless, but you claim to have found a use for it. Is that correct?”
“Yes. If we use Princess Liselotte’s spirit magic, we stand to make a huge profit.”
“Well, that certainly does sound wonderful.”
Alberto turned to Liz with a look of admiration and Liz smiled in response.
I saw this and began to actually think we could persuade Alberto. However, Alberto’s gaze suddenly became cold.
“–and? What’s your point?”
“Eh? If we use Princess Liselotte’s magic, we could make a huge profit.”
“I understand that. What I’m asking you is, if the Grances family stands to gain a substantial amount of money from this, what exactly do I get?”
That answer would be nothing.
Of course, people throughout the city will be able to eat a wide variety of foods previously unavailable to them and the economy of the kingdom will benefit from this.
Princess Liselotte will also gain popularity throughout the country. However, Crown Prince Alberto would gain nothing directly.
“…wouldn’t you be happy seeing your sister succeed?”
“If Liz’s magic is what’s required to make this work than there is no need for us to involve the city of Muhle at all. We can send and store all of the perishables from the capital.”
He picked up on that quicker than I expected.
If I were dealing with another merchant I’d expect that, but I thought the prince of the kingdom wouldn’t have a mind for business.
“Apparently, that seems to be the end of your story. I was expecting more from you, but…. You’ve disappointed me.”
Crown Prince Alberto reached out to grab Liz.
“Liz, I don’t have the type of personality that can be loved by the people like you. That’s why I need you by my side so our people can love their rulers.”
“Didn’t you say you wanted to be my strength ever since we were young? Or were those words nothing but a lie?”
Liz’s deep purple eyes began to waver.
Liz truly loves her brother, but she doesn’t see him as a man. I want to help her; I don’t want her to get married, but I don’t know how to help.
“Your Highness Alberto, please, reconsider.”
I couldn’t even bear to look at Liz. I tried to appeal to Alberto one last time despite the fact that I knew it was pointless.
“My answer will remain the same no matter how many times you ask me.”
“Crown Prince Alberto.”
“You’re persistent. If you have nothing to offer me then remain silent. Or are you going to go against the prince of this country?”
— I’m in the same situation Amy was in when Alberto first came to the school. At that time, Amy tried her best to protect Liz.
However, if I do the same here, I wouldn’t be exaggerating if I said the Grances territory will be completely crushed. It may lead to me losing everything I care for in this world.
I want to help Liz. But I can’t sacrifice everything else to do so. I don’t know what to do — and my eyes met with Liz.
I thought she’d be suffering more than me, but under her bluish silver hair, she had a somewhat defeated expression.
“Thank you for everything, but this is enough.”
“I’m indebted to you for everything you’ve done up until now. So, please…just stop.”
The light seemed to have left Liz’s eyes as she said this.
I can understand even without her saying it. Liz is forcing herself to accept her unwanted marriage in order to not cause me any further problems.
I truly want to help her.
“Leon, you may leave. Ah, Liz will also be needing a dress to wear during the marriage ceremony. Be sure to make her beautiful for me.”
I couldn’t say anything.
I can’t risk the happiness of everyone else just to save one person.
I began to give up any hope I had of saving Liz —
“Crown Prince Alberto, will you stop harassing my otouto-kun.”
Claire’s voice — a voice that shouldn’t be here — resounded in the meeting room.