Calian took his hands off his face and raised his head.
His face was hardened in anger. It was only to be expected. Calian was the one who ought to be the most enraged in this situation.
Of course, it was merely an expression that Calian had created to show the others. Calian’s true feelings were the exact opposite. He could even kneel and praise Franz’s tongue for saying such things out loud.
‘For once, Franz, you’re being helpful!’
Calian glanced at Rumein. What Calian wanted from Rumein wasn’t for him to be enraged and punish Franz. It was just the opposite – he wanted Rumein to turn a blind eye. That would bring him the most good.
As if Rumein had read Calian’s wish, he really didn’t do anything.
He didn’t scold Franz or warn him of a later punishment or stare at him with disgust. He merely turned to the front and nodded at the grand chamberlain to signal the start of the second act.
Silica bit her lip.
It was as if Rumein just showed everyone that he did not, and would not expect anything from Franz even in the future.
Calian once again smiled inwardly. ‘How far will you take this, Silica?’
He was sure that Silica would somehow try to cover up the situation. Calian was looking forward to how it might happen.
The fan broke with a crushing noise in Silica’s grip. ‘This stupid child… I told him to stay put!’
Rumein was well aware that Franz was misbehaved. There was no way that he wouldn’t know, considering that he even banned Franz from drinking ever since he stood in front of the public while drunk.
Therefore, he could brush Franz’s rudeness to Calian as part of his usual personality.
However, he had crossed the line by insulting Freya, the late royal concubine, in public by bringing up her origin – and moreover, in front of Rumein who loved Freya dearly.
‘Franz…’ Silica glanced at Franz. He must know what he had just done. That’s how she had raised him.
When Silica met Franz’s eyes, chills crawled up her spine.
Franz didn’t look surprised or regretful.
‘…you did it on purpose.’
One corner of Franz’s lips was turned up ever so slightly.
That was when she realised that he had said it on purpose. It was clear that he was pulling this stunt to protest her visit earlier this morning. Silica’s silent cry fell short to Franz.
‘Why today, Franz?!’
Alan Manasil had visited the palace. Calian’s name was included in the noblemen’s discussion about the next crown prince. On the same day, Franz made an irrevocable mistake.
Nothing needed to be said about what the nobles who were straddling the boundary of Brissen’s line of power would think and do.
Silica bit her lip once again and faced the front.
Although the second act was well on its way, nobody in the reserved seats were paying attention to it. Silica and Calian both continued on with their trains of thought – Silica to mend this situation, and Calian to use it.
At the same time but at a different place, Melfir sighed deeply upon finding something. It was both a sigh of relief as well as surprise. In front of him lay a halfway-cut rope.
“If this had fallen on top of His Majesty…!”
Just the thought of it was enough to make him feel as if he was being suffocated.
Melfir quickly began taking measures so that the rope would not be damaged any further and guarded the rope so that nobody could approach it until the end of the show.
When he finally had the room to breathe, Melfir turned and looked down. The black-haired prince who had warned him so that he could prevent this accident – hence saving his life – was sitting in his seat with perfect composure.
Melfir recalled the face that Calian had made when Melfir told Rumein that he must give up sitting next to the King after taking Calian’s advice to heart.
The expression of the youngest prince was akin to that of a teacher who was watching his student successfully solve a difficult problem.
Moreover, he didn’t seem to be concerned at all about what was going on up here. Calian didn’t seem anxious about Melfir heeding his warning and solving the issue.
‘Even if today goes by without any trouble, His Highness won’t look for me again.’
Melfir instinctively realised that Calian hadn’t saved his life expecting something in return. Yet, Melfir was born a merchant, and he had never engaged in a trade without a price.
“Dear lord…” gulped Melfir once again.
The show was over, and the basket didn’t fall.
‘I guess he took care of it properly.’ Just in case, Calian stood up and bought some time by talking to Yan.
Calian only left the reserved seating area after Randall and Franz had left. As expected, the accident didn’t happen.
When they walked down the stairs, Melfir was waiting for them.
“It was a good show,” complimented Rumein. He didn’t say anything about Melfir’s failure to stay by the King’s side. In fact, he was relieved that Melfir wasn’t there to see Franz’s ill behaviour.
“I’m glad that you enjoyed it, Your Majesty.” Melfir remained humble.
Meanwhile, Calian glanced not at Melfir, but Silica – who was, in turn, eyeing Melfir. Although a small flash of curiosity took refuge in Calian’s eyes, it wasn’t so obvious for someone to notice.
There’s no reaction from Silica.
Indeed, Franz had caused trouble today. However, that aside, Silica would never look past an accident that should have already happened. She wasn’t so stupid as to forget about something so important just because of Franz’s blunder. Silica wasn’t even paying attention to Melfir’s words of gratitude.
She doesn’t seem to be caring about the accident at all. If Silica doesn’t even know about the accident… that means that it was all just Lennon’s plan.
Calian’s thoughts tangled and intertwined with each other once again.
“I hope to see you at the ball, then,” said Melfir, looking at the three princes.
Although his words were specifically aimed at Calian, Calian acknowledged Melfir’s greeting with no particular reaction and seated himself on Raven’s back.
‘Randall, Brissen Merchantry, and Pollun Merchantry… What’s the relationship between the three? Does Tensil play a part in all of this?’
When he had been Bern, he had never really paid attention to Tensil, the holy nation that was located adjacent to Kyris.
He didn’t know what exactly was going on during this period of time. Thanks to that, Calian had to knit his brows and ponder what was going on at this time in Tensil.
If it has to do with merchantries, it must be about a trade item. If Brissen is willing to meddle with the royal family for his profit, it must be of significant value… ah!
Something of significant value. When his train of thought reached that point, he had his answer.
Calian smiled vaguely. It’s the diamond mine.
All the pieces came together when he found the keyword. He recalled a conversation that he had with Chase back when he was still living as Bern. They had been talking about the fallen basket incident.
“It feels too unsophisticated to call it terrorism.”
“Do you think that’s all there is to it? Terrorism against a member of the royal family?”
“Well, a prince was harmed… is there something else, Hyungnim?”
“Who knows? Give it a good thought.”
The execution was too explicit and simple and stupid. It was as if they wanted everyone to know that they were targeting the prince.
The priests of a holy nation don’t have much reason to buy diamonds. Tensil probably planned to sell most of them to Kyris. Since Tensil’s merchantry would have been taking Randall into consideration, they would have preferred to sell the diamonds to Pollun instead of Brissen.
He had only figured out the answer to this problem now as Calian when Chase had figured it out all the way back then.
The reason for Brissen targeting Randall was also cleared.
Brissen was trying to accuse Pollun of terrorism in order to claim commercial supremacy over the diamonds. After all, no merchantries other than Pollun could manage that big of a deal.
If Randall is harmed, the King of Tensil would intervene. He knew that the incident would be concluded before any strange spots could be investigated.
‘Lennon thought this through quite a bit, huh. I’m honestly surprised.’
Having finished organising his thoughts, Calian shifted his gaze onto Melfir. Though Melfir would want to meet Calian as soon as possible, Calian couldn’t let that happen. Since he found out how large-scale this incident was, he changed his mind and decided that he will take something that’s worth the price of Melfir’s life in return for saving him.
“Tell the event organiser that I won’t be at the ball tonight,” said Calian softly.
Yan turned to face Calian in surprise, and sighed worriedly as he looked up at Calian’s saddened face that seemed to have taken a blow from Franz.
“Yes, I will see that.”
“You needn’t be, Your Highness.”
Yan nodded, looking even sadder than Calian. He would never know how guilty Calian felt as he glanced at Yan.
Rumein gazed blankly at the visitor, took off his glasses, and placed them on his desk. He had been sitting behind his desk ever since he had returned from the show.
“An unexpected guest,” muttered Rumein.
The guest stood silently for a while before walking over to the couch. The clacking of the heels against the floorboard echoed throughout the quiet study. Rumein silently watched his guest.
Only after a considerable amount of time had passed did Rumein get up from his seat. He began opening the windows as if to chase out the scent of Ranieri that was starting to fill the study.
Just as he was about to finish opening all the windows, the grand chamberlain brought in a tray of tea and snacks.
Rumein lightly waved his hand.
Silica’s eyebrows twitched. He was treating her like a completely unwelcome guest.
After making the grand chamberlain leave, Rumein walked slowly towards the couch and sat in the seat across Silica. His eyes were void of emotions.
Silica, in truth, was already used to it. ‘This was how it always was ever since Freya had died.’
“What business do you have?” asked Rumein, his voice containing as little emotion as his eyes.
“He’s just a child. Please forgive his mistakes. Brissen will take the punishment instead.”
Silica gritted her teeth. She had never expected to ever have to say these words to Rumein.
Rumein raised his eyebrows. Until now, she had never visited him directly no matter what Franz did. Silica never went as far as to say anything like what she had just said.
Although Franz’s actions today were quite deplorable, she would have never stooped this low if it were in the past.
“Forgive? What must I forgive?”
Of course, Rumein knew why Silica’s attitude had changed so suddenly.
Calian. To be precise, it was because of Calian with Alan Manasil on his side.
Thinking about Calian reminded him of what Silica was trying to do as she sat across from him. He could also guess why she was telling him that Brissen would take responsibility.
She’s probably thinking that it’s more important to keep the nobles on Franz’s side right now. That way, after Calian dies, the nobles wouldn’t turn to Randall. No matter what she would lose as punishment, she had the confidence to retrieve it after Calian’s death.
‘Please continue to disregard this issue.’ Rumein chuckled as he recalled Alan’s words.
He chuckled in order to hold himself back from grabbing and twisting Silica’s slender neck.
‘Did he just laugh?’
Not knowing the reason behind his laugh, Silica showed slight surprise. Until now, Rumein had never shown his emotions in front of others. Yet now, he was laughing openly.
Silica clenched her new fan.
Rumein asked again,
“Alright, then. What punishment are you willing to take?”
There was no way that she would pull back her royal knights. She wasn’t that desperate.
Silica recollected herself.
“Since it was quite a memorable show, I believe he deserves a reward.”
It was just as Rumein expected.
“Ah.” It was truly a memorable show.
What Silica meant was that she would let Pollun Merchantry take some of Brissen’s commercial supremacy. Rumein would decide on how much they would take depending on the size of his forgiveness, and the Brissen Family would have to accept.
“I shall have Franz walk with me to the ball today,” said Rumein.
He accepted the trade.
After all, he knew that Calian would not die.
Hyungnim is a formal way of saying ‘older brother’ – hyung is ‘older brother’ and ‘nim’ is a suffix added to show great respect.
Original Translation: Wordexcerpt
Edited by: Tani Andris
Does anyone else feel like Rumein and Silica’s interactions are really icky?