“I don’t get it, I sent you out to the Frontier to stay quiet during the Eight Nation Conference, but somehow our problems have only increased…”
It’s me, Rururia, sitting here getting sighed at by His Royal Highness, whose beautiful face was marred by deepened wrinkles.
His Majesty had summoned me a few days after returning to the Royal Capital, so here I was, currently in the Royal Palace.
Somehow, I had ended up in the Foreign Minister’s Office.
I was just on my way when an aide had grabbed me and led me here.
No, no, no? I thought… I had already resolved the problem? Was I not here to be praised?
Had my dissatisfaction bled into my expression? Huh, was the devil actually squinting at me?
How scary! But even if I was scared, I just needed to grin and bear with it!
Surely there must have been some misunderstanding!?
“I worked really hard, and I thought I contributed to dealing with that black thing…”
I raised my hand as I protested against him.
However, that evil god seemed to have predicted what I was about to say, so his expression did not change at all.
“Well, yes, I suppose. But all this increased work had given me no time to rest.”
…So, he’s taking out his anger on me… Such a harsh dark god!
He was punishing others for his own problems!
Such a harsh devil… Venting out on a poor, defenseless woman!
I had stopped protesting vocally, but I conveyed my protests to the Crown Prince with my silent glare.
The Crown Prince sighed once again, annoyed.
“It’s just one thing after another… What the hell is the matter with you?”
“Huh… What did you just say…”
Wasn’t I Rururia Dalton? I don’t think I’m anyone else.
…So, what’s the deal then? This must be related to recent events.
Just try to think… What was the Crown Prince talking about?
That black thing wasn’t my fault.
And I don’t know anything about why my dragon was sleeping.
And there’s nothing left to be done about Margrave Siegbert’s Hammer…
At my visible confusion, the Crown Prince grew frustrated, like a dark god whose servant had not brought enough offerings.
Wha… Whaaat? He hasn’t looked at me like that in a while. I felt like I would die under such a cold gaze!
I didn’t do anything… Nothing to deserve the Crown Prince’s cold stare! At least I think so!?
“It’s everything. Whenever I looked at you, I think of everything you’d been doing, the trouble in other countries… How my work increased and my sleep decreased, losing to Sara, having nightmares, issues with the Head Priest… It’s all your fault.”
That’s harsh! I resent your allegations, Crown Prince!
Should I protest again for his absurd accusations? No, an evil god like him wouldn’t care, right? As I was at a loss, the door opened, and a dark tea-like scent wafted in.
“A moment of your time, Your Excellency. My success was unwavering as always, and it’s about Ria.”
“Ku… I didn’t expect you to be here…”
Sara-chan came in with a tea tray in her hands.
Sara-sama! The Crown Prince had been saying mean things to me… What’s with that face…!?
An evil smile, like an ancient dark dragon gambling with life and death, was on her face.
If you looked at her from the side, she looked like an evil god angry that a human had betrayed her!
…This room was just brimming with scary old things.
And what were they talking about winning and losing for?
As I trembled with fear, the victorious dark dragon poured tea for the frowning evil god.
Why was Sara-chan preparing tea?
I mean, Sara-chan did love tea to the point where she collected exotic and unfamiliar tea leaves from all over the world… But I didn’t think she brewed it for other people, too?
Disregarding my surprise, the Crown Prince murmured as he inhaled the scent of black tea.
“…Diwa 3, Seroin 5, and Uda 2.”
“That is correct.”
After reciting that mysterious chant and hearing Sara-chan respond to it, the evil god sipped his tea, his expression relaxing.
Well… Sara-chan’s tea was pretty good! Thanks for pouring me some…
Hmmm? Did something weird just happen?
Both Sara-chan and the Crown Prince both maintained their expressions as if nothing had happened…
As I puzzled over what to say or do, the Crown Prince’s expression went back to his dissatisfied, evil god glare.
“So, I’ve really lost to Sara, and it’s all your own doing. I really do detest you, lady Rururia.”
“Hold on, what’s my fault? What are you talking about!?”
I shouted in indignity, but the Crown Prince showed no sign of answering.
What do you mean, ‘you’ve lost’? And what does any of this have to do with tea?
I glanced appealingly at Sara-chan, but she didn’t meet my gaze.
Sara-sama, please tell me what the hell was going on!
“Fufu. We had a bet with the Foreign Minister on what you would do.”
“Huuuh… What do you mean… A bet?”
Sara-chan grinned like a dark dragon with a bountiful feast in front of her… On the other hand, the Crown Prince reflected a similar look, like an evil god with a new creature in front of him.
But I’m just an ordinary girl with a Dragon?
But the Crown Prince just said, “I lost to Sara as expected.” What does that mean?
Wasn’t I the one that rode a Dragon?
Even I didn’t think that would happen!
I just powered through it, and even though I, too, was surprised, I still undoubtedly exceeded expectations!
“His Excellency bet that Ria would cause more Dragons to appear, and I bet that you would aggravate the black object. That means I’ve won, right?”
“But Sara, Solan, and the analysts were withholding the latest results, so that’s cheating.”
“Well, you did your best to make sure that information didn’t reach me, didn’t you, Your Excellency?”
The two smiled at each other, still looking as scary as ever.
…They’re both off their rockers, but had they really predicted what I would do? Was I that easily read?
Why did Sara-sama know that black thing would react to me…
The only thing I know for sure was that Solan and his analysts were involved somehow and had suffered for it!
But there were also a lot of Dragons on the beach of the Frontier… So maybe the Crown Prince was also right about the number of Dragons increasing! I only have one, so I wouldn’t know!
“Information warfare was the basis of diplomacy. You, Your Excellency, tried to restrict access to information on site. I had a hard time acquiring that same information.”
“All because of your ministerial privilege, wasn’t it? Rururia?”
“Leave me out of this.”
These guys were crazy. They’re putting so much effort into a simple bet.
…I hope Solan-kun’s alright…
Stroking the scales of my Dragon helped me calm down.
I didn’t know the problem here, but the deeper I dug, the more scary things came out.
I definitely won’t ask what the winner got… So, let’s just change the topic.
I’m still confused by this betting story… However, I’m also wondering what was going on with Sara-chan and this tea.
She met my eyes, which probably looked dead, and as my friend, she understood.
“Ah, this tea… The other day, His Excellency accidentally drank my tea during a break. It seemed like he really liked it, so I pour some for him sometimes. Conditionally, of course.”
“Sara-sama!? What were you making him do in exchange!?”
“What could it be…. “
I was amazed to hear the Crown Prince himself being surprised.
Sara-sama was indeed well known, to me at least, for not doing anything she wasn’t interested in.
“I change the mixture of tea leaves each time, and if he got the ratio wrong, I’d get a piece of information from him.”
“Yes, I didn’t realize that in the beginning… And it was painful having to give up some information.”
So, it’s about information!? I see.
Was that what had the Crown Prince looking zoned out for…? No, I won’t ask.
…It seemed like those two have gotten pretty close?
It’s the first time I’ve seen Sara-chan show that dark dragon smile to anyone else.
She didn’t even show it around Solan-kun or Irene-sama.
Kuuu! Crown Prince…!
Sara-sama was supposed to be mine! It’s because he’s a dark god, wasn’t it!?
I was burning with jealousy at the thought of him stealing my friend. I just won’t say anything about it.
“By the way, what did you call me here for?”
For some reason, the Crown Prince showed a puzzled expression when I asked.
No. It supposed to be me that should be puzzled. You just brought me here without explaining anything!
“Huh? Ah, yes, since my Brother called you here, I wanted to complain about my workload and losing the bet.”
“Whaaat!? You called me just for that!?”
Why do I need to hear complaints about a bet I had no part in!?
True. I was appointed as a complaint listener, but that’s just for the King.
Listening to the Crown Prince was outside my job description!
“I have little time for this, Your Majesty.”
“…Shouldn’t you show a little more respect for your superiors?”
Being forced to see them get along already felt like an abuse of my time.
…Sara-chan was supposed to be my friend!?
I won’t ever give her away, especially not to the Crown Prince!