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FMDF – Side Story 5

After Marquis Kaelus returned to politics, Helios frankly took a breather.

When the emperor was confined to bed and could hardly participate in state affairs, most of his duties were transferred to Helios. He felt burdened by the sudden amount of responsibility.

Despite being a competent crown prince, by the time the burden was getting heavy, Kaelus miraculously returned.

“Ha….”

Without anyone knowing, Helios breathed a sigh of relief.

Apparently, Kaelus did not return to be his friend. However, he showed off his robustness as the best politician in the empire with relentless brilliant insight.

And, indeed, upon his return, he pointed out the suspicious movement of the border kingdom. Helios, who was busy with other tasks, felt like he was hit in the back of his head.

“….”

Helios read again the foresight in his hand.

<The kingdom will wage war.>

There was great assistance that added wings to Kaelus’ sharp insight. It was the future that Hestia, his wife, told.

It was Kaelus, whose normal daily life was difficult after the suicide attempt. No one would object to Hestia being the biggest reason he has been able to make a spectacular comeback.

She did indeed perfectly resurrect Kaelus.

Marquis Kaelus, struggling all his life alone, finally got the most perfect companion of his life.

“…Perfect… Companion…”

A perfect soulmate.

Helios’ voice, which seemed to be reciting, was very lonely.

At the time of his wedding, he had no doubt that he had met such a companion.

I’m sorry for my rival and best friend Kaelus, but I’m sure I can pay him back by showing myself living happily.

But what about now?

Less than a year after the wedding, things have changed completely.

“Whoo….”

Grief over his situation and envy toward his old friend were mixed together.

Helios did not hesitate to give up his long-standing friendship with all his effort to hold the most perfect companion in the world.

But Kaelus laid still and got a woman who proudly told him “I love you.” Dedicated to him, even competent.

Of course, Helios didn’t intend to dismiss Kaelus’s struggles as nothing. But Kaelus didn’t make any effort to at least get Hestia as his wife.

Helios lost all his strength. He envied the luck of Kaelus.

And I wanted it.

“Crazy guy…”

A terrible sense of shame.

Disillusionment towards the greedy self.

Blinded by love, he drove his friend to death, but after he managed to recover, he is coveting what he has again.

I’m such a piece of crap. Hundreds of times a day, Helios laughed at himself.

“…”

I glanced at my watch. Soon it is time for Kaelus to visit for political reporting.

“Ha….”

He took a deep breath once again.

There is a moment coming when you have to somehow shake off the deep-seated depression.

~~~~

“I’ve compiled a system for business in other countries, your highness the crown prince.”

The old friend, who was once friendly, became a perfect stranger and used polite honorifics.

Helios retorted, trying to keep a straight face.

“Good job, marquis.”

Helios quickly scanned the document Kaelus had presented. He could understand it quickly even at a glance. It was thanks to a unique and intuitive way of expression.

Until now, he had been looking at documents filled with only tight explanations, and it seemed to brighten his eyes when he saw such a simple schematic explanation.

“…is it her way?”

“Yes, my wife helped me with the paperwork.”

Kaelus replied in a grave tone.

Hestia had a knack for breaking the existing framework in every way. New ideas that even higher-educated nobles dared not come up with came out from all over the place.

I want to have it.

Helios crushed the greed raising his head unconsciously again.

A monotonous voice flowed into his ear.

“In order for foreigners to do business in an empire, they must borrow capital from banks within the empire. That gives them some room to get involved in their business operations and prevents them from wiping out the empire’s wealth.”

“The more we increase our country’s capital ratio in the project, the better.”

“It’s perfect if it’s more than half.”

More than half of the elongated rectangles were painted black. A schematic diagram that showed that the proportion of domestic capital in the business of other citizens was half.

Adding a little exaggeration, even a child who was just learning to write would understand what it meant.

“Even if the kingdom makes threats under the pretext of war, it will accept this condition without difficulty. It will also serve as a mechanism for both countries to continue to maintain peace.”

If the people of the kingdom do business within the empire, the kingdom would not conduct military provocations recklessly to protect its citizens.

Kaelus’s calculations went that far.

“I’d be happy if you and your companion came to the cabinet meeting side by side.”

Helios expressed his wishes half jokingly and half sincere.

Then, as expected, a serious answer without laughter came back.

“My wife is in a position to take care of all the internal affairs so that I can focus on state affairs. If she attends the cabinet meeting, the amount of work she has to do will increase out of control.”

“Ho, Hestia will take full charge of the estate and deal with it?”

“Yes, she is doing her duty as a lady.”

Helios suddenly thought, listening to Kaelus. What’s Diana’s job right now? Yes, it was a ceremony for the imperial palace event.

“Come to think of it…”

“?”

The sudden murmur gave a curious look from the purple eyes.

“Soon, there will be a dinner party to invite foreign envoys residing in the empire.”

Helios’ lips, answering, were twisted.

“Diana’s in charge.”

“….”

With that word, Kaelus recognized Helios’ feelings at once.

Helios laughed as if in despair.

It’s going to turn upside down again.

Given Diana’s morbid obsession with frugality, it was on the horizon what dinner inviting foreign envoys would look like.

He couldn’t deprive her of protocol authority. Since he left it to her without doubt right after marriage, it was extremely impossible to take it back completely, even considering the prestige of the crown princess, rather than giving advice from her side.

However, efforts had to be made to prevent the disaster in advance.

Kaelus asked cautiously.

“Have you made a plan?”

“Plan? I had to make one. They’re preparing it with the priests of the temple.”

“….”

Helios smiled sadly at his old friend who was speechless.

“I have no choice but to pray for God’s protection.”

~~~~

After Kaelus returned, Helios could no longer bear it and opened the window of the office wide.

Fresh air poured in. He breathed deeply and embraced the freshness.

“Haaaaaa…”

If Hestia had been in charge of the protocol.

In fact, it is not impossible. When the imperial family struggled with inexperience, there was a rule that the work could be entrusted to a wise person among the high nobles.

But was it really acceptable for Diana? No way. Even if the sky were doubled, it was impossible.

Helios had no choice but to give up hope.

He called in Zenon, the butler of the palace.

“Zenon, bring the brandy.”

“Yes, your highness.”

Immediately on his back, under orders, Helios snapped.

“By the way, what is Diana doing now?”

“A little while ago, Baron Potos’s young lady Diocke asked for an audience. I’m sure they’re talking for a long time.”

“The daughter of Potos?”

It was unexpected, because Baroness Diocke was vain and extravagant, and Diana was not very fond of her.

In addition, he couldn’t help but think about the special meaning of the name ‘Potos’.

Helios quickly opened the secret drawer and took out another envelope of prophecy.

A clearly written future.

<Baron Potos’ merchant ship will sink.>

The characteristic of Hestia’s prophecy was that unlike the ambiguous trust, it clearly stated the case.

Baron Potos’ merchant ship will sink soon. And now, the daughter of the family is coming and meeting Diana.

“Damn it…”

A cloud of anxiety.

Please don’t lead to the worst.

Diana, famous for her frugality, would not be able to do that, but Helios had no choice but to pray earnestly.

He spoke to Zenon who brought the brandy.

“When Potos’ daughter returns, tell Diana I’ll find her.”

“I see, Your Highness.”

Zenon diligently left his presence again.

~~~~

At that time, Diana looked at Diocke with close eyes.

“Do you want me to invest in your family’s merchant ship?”

“I’m ashamed, but yes. That’s what I’m going to say to her majesty.”

Diocke said with a determined face.

Diana clicked her tongue.

“I’m not close enough to you to listen to this. Is there a reason why you’re asking for it?”

“Of course I’m very embarrassed and ashamed. But….”

Diocke thought of Hestia’s words in her head.

[Princess Diana hates me.]

[I want you to keep the fact that I asked for it a secret.]

Then she had to use a magic word that can persuade Diana at once.

Diocke appealed with a look of despair.

“Actually, my family’s business is on the verge of collapse, your grace! It’s none other than the Marchioness Hestia.”

“!”

Diana was startled.

“Diocke, please explain in more detail.”

Diocke smiled inwardly.

To be honest, the Potos looked down on the existence of Marchioness Hestia. And they were paying the price badly. 

She apologized in tears, but she didn’t kneel down to Hestia.

It was obvious that she meant to attract the crown princess as an investor. Apparently, she was trying to be a businessman, but it was actually a trick for the baron.

What kind of person was Diana? Hestia was almost an enemy.

And how much she cried for thrift and frugality is a fact that nobles of the capital know well enough.

And yet what? Make Diana invest in merchant ships?

Diocke wanted to shout that she would rather catch a passing dog and teach him how to speak.

But even if the sky fell on her, there was a hole that she could rise from.* After a night of head-to-head meetings with Baron Potos, she found a clue to persuade Diana.

*TN: literal meaning: even if the sky falls on you, there is a hole from which you can escape. I.e there is always hope

No other than using Hestia’s name.

When Diocke met Hestia, her condition was ‘to keep what she urged confidential’, not not to use her. 

Despite Hestia being angry because of using her name, Baroness Potos didn’t truly reflect and naturally came up with the same trick again.

“Your highness the crown princess,  Marchioness estia is an incredible person. Apparently, she promised to invest in my family’s business.”

“Really?”

“She even offered Marquis Kaelus as a guarantor, asking if we could not believe what she said. And yet, why did she make my father and myself out to be liars, saying that she hasn’t decided to invest in us yet?”

Diocke gave a pouty look.

Something like a fire flared up in Diana listening to the story. You’re using Kaelus as a guarantor, that devilish woman!

“You and Baron Potos must be very disappointed.”

“May I say this, your highness? Even the prospective investors are turning their backs due to her malicious rumors. We’re on the verge of bankruptcy….”

Diocke wiped her moist eyes with a handkerchief.

Diana’s expression sank darkly.

The woman who was beaten by Hestia appeared. She’s so sneaky, so gruesomely duplicitous.

She brought the nobles to her side with all sorts of tricks, and among them, the powerless were mercilessly thrown out.

Rather, the dead Princess Letona looked like a saint compared.

“Did you tell people the truth, Diocke?

“Of course I tried to explain. But it wasn’t enough to undo the already disrupted business.”

“Oh, dear.”

Diana genuinely sympathized with Diocke’s poor situation.

Without missing a moment, Diocke’s persuasion resumed.

“And we are in dire need of your support. I will make a triumphant comeback and tell the whole world the wisdom of your highness and the shamelessness of the marchioness!”

“Is that possible with my investment?”

Diana’s blue sea-colored eyes began to shake little by little.

“It’s possible! Besides, aren’t you the crown princess whom God loves? With God’s protection, the fruit of the investment will more than double.”

“….”

One of Diocke’s numerous words of the tongue dug deep into Diana.

A woman whom God loves.

She was originally loved by God. The divine power that no one in the empire had proved that fact.

“…Okay, Diocke.”

“!”

Diocke held her breath in suspense. Will the difficult crown princess’ wallet finally open!?

Diana nodded slowly.

“I’ll invest in the merchant ship of the Potos. I promise you with my seal ring.”

“Ah…! I will never forget your grace!”

Diocke knelt before her in tears.

We have done it.

As expected, Hestia’s name is great. She couldn’t believe that stingy Diana decided to spend money so easily.

Diocke grinned with her head on the floor.

The only thing left now is for the promised funds to actually come.

~~~~

After Diocke had gone away, Zenon came to Diana and gave Helios’ message.

Diana’s fine eyebrows were distorted.

“Heli…?”

After a bitter quarrel over her healing powers, the couple did not reconcile. She had been so careless.

Of course, there were a few opportunities. There were mainly attempts to talk from Helios, but Diana deliberately avoided it.

Because the reason he wants to talk is not to apologize to her.

But this time, he said he’s coming to her room.

“…I have a bad feeling.”

After a while, he appeared.

“Diana.”

“…Heli.”

Helios noticed that Diana was trying not to make eye contact with him.

 He guessed it was too much to want to talk comfortably. It would be more convenient for each other to ask directly.

“I heard Baron Potos’ daughter has been here.”

“The news is quick.”

Diana burst out laughing. How can her every move get into her husband’s ears so quickly?

However, Helios cannot be unaware of what is happening inside the same lily palace.

Her mind sank heavily.

“Did she recommend investing in the Potos‘ merchant ship?”

“…”

Diana was once again depressed. Should she replace those who served them? Nothing is hidden from him. 

Helios’ expression also slowly hardened. Silence was a yes.

“Diana, open this envelope.”

“?”

She wondered but was given it first. But he paused his hand at the following words.

“This is a prophecy from Hestia.”

“Is it her again?”

The retort shrank at once.

Helios responded calmly.

“I know you’re upset, but you still have to trust the prophecies.”

“What did she say this time?”

Diana asked back, still unopened.

In the end, Helios had no choice but to tell her first.

“The Portos merchant ship will not return from its next voyage.”

“That’s the prophecy’s story?”

“Yes.”

Helios had yet to know whether Diana was investing. Even her expressionless face was completely unrecognizable.

When did she become someone with such a good poker face? She was more transparent and pure than anyone else when she was in a relationship. He sighed silently.

Diana remained silent for a moment with the envelope in her hand.

“….”

If she spoke about her promise with Diocke straight away, he would surely oppose it.

To avoid a fight, it was better to simply answer, “Okay.” But that’s strictly a lie to Helios.

To keep one’s moral beliefs, one must be honest even if one is to fight.

You should not be afraid of fighting.

For I am the faithful servant of God, Saintess Diana.

“…Heli. How much do you believe in her prophecies?”

“Ha….”

Helios had a throbbing headache.

He didn’t know what else to say to his wife, who stubbornly closed her lips, and looked at her, to persuade her of the accuracy of this prediction.

“I completely believe it, Diana. Hestia’s foresight is not as vague as the oracle, but very clearly points to a particular event. She’s never missed them.”

“So you trust her prophecy more than God’s word?”

The blue eyes became icy.

“I’m so disappointed, Helios.”

“Diana…!”

Helios closed his eyes tightly.

A conversation that always broke against a huge wall. He didn’t come there to fight his wife, but now he wasn’t surprised that this scene happened every time they face each other.

“Yes, as you say, Diocke asked for a merchant investment. I promised to do that.”

“?!”

Helios doubted his ears.

Diana couldn’t have done that. Diana couldn’t have done that. She accepted the request of a person who is usually away because she was vain and extravagant without reviewing it deeply? That’s a business investment that she didn’t have to spend on.

“What’s that…?”

“The Baron Potos was badly damaged by Hestia. I have to step up and make it right.”

“The merchant ship will soon sink. It’s up to the empire to collect the investment quickly…”

“The prophecy, I don’t believe it.”

Diana said flatly.

“….”

Any further persuasion was meaningless.

And Helios had no energy left to devote to worthless things.

It can’t be helped.

“I will not allow you to invest in the palace’s money under the order of the crown prince, Diana.”

“?!”

Diana was appalled.

It was Helios, who had never commanded her with authority. But!

“Your… name?”

“Yeah, because you can’t put the treasury in the sea on your own.”

Helios turned coldly. Diana’s stunned eyes glistened before her eyes.

Was it only this far?

The enchanted love is fading like a lie.

At that moment.

“!”

The sound of tearing paper came filled Helios’ ears. He looked back reflexively.

“…!”

Diana was tearing the prophecy apart with tearful eyes.

“….”

“…”

It wasn’t that long a face-to-face moment.

Helios turned his back cold again. Diana didn’t call out to him either.

“…”

Only the torn pieces were falling between them.


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