"……Father. How did the Rinmel Principality's investigation go after that?"
"Ahh……they kept their hands close to themselves, so it was quite difficult."
He let out a sigh as he flung the documents onto his desk.
I took those in hand and flipped through them.
"The moderate faction and the hardliners……each of them are continuing to investigate the other's internal affairs while testing out the waters when in contact."
"Pretty much……but both factions are so wary it's troublesome. As I thought, spending all of their time in power struggles is more is less this country's national character……."
The Rinmel Principality……it was a region that joined together the Tasmeria Kingdom's northern part and Towair Country's eastern part.
"Right now, the hardliners……the faction that advocates the expansion of the territory make up a portion of the top brass. If the Rinmel Principality is broken up due to the power struggle, then the threat to this country should disappear."
"Yeah, in order to work towards that, we've prioritized the investigation of the hardliner faction's weaknesses…….however, there is still a worst case scenario. If the situation changes, we could be plunged into war in no time at all."
"Is that using the war with Towair as a basis? ……it is true that the war with Towair was triggered by a poor harvest, so it started in the blink of an eye but…….though the Rinmel Principality is located north of our Tasmeria Kingdom like Towair, I am told that since the soil quality is good, the production output of the variety of grains is stable. Exactly what sort of changes in the situation are you anticipating when you say that?"
"Well, I do think that I am over-thinking things…….do you know one method that is simple and effective in uniting a country that has split due to power struggles?"
At Father's words, I thought about it for a moment before opening my mouth.
"……the creation of a common enemy, is it?"
"Precisely. Well……the power struggle hasn't become too much of an issue, and this country has our great hero. It is very likely that I'm just over-thinking things…….leaving that aside, what about your mercenary matter, has it been making progress?"
"It's been making progress……or rather, I should say that there haven't been any movements. Like I told you the other day, those guys that have been gathering in the Anderson Territory are still staying at the Anderson Marquis House."
"Perhaps that is why?"
At my question, Father turned a sharp glance towards me.
"The reason why Melly was sent to be betrothed. If she marries into the Armelia Ducal House, then she'll be away from the target, and it will also be possible to keep her at a distance from the battle……is what I believe."
"She's your first love, isn't she? I just wanted to help you as your father."
"……I did not know that Father had such a kind personality."
"You fool. I'm kind, you know? As proof, I cannot help but tease my cute, cute son."
Even as I was amazed at Father as he laughed with enjoyment, I opened my mouth.
"Well, it's fine. You certainly do have a kind personality…….towards your best friend."
"Hahaha……pretty much. Although if it's that Jou-chan, then she'll probably be okay even if she is dragged into a battle."
"Please do not joke around. It is true that she is strong. However……it is for that reason that she will cut through the vanguard and try to spread her two arms as far apart as possible to protect others. She has such a terribly dangerous strength."
"What, you really have fallen in love with her, haven't you?"
Hearing Father's earnest impression, I felt my face getting hotter.
Eventually, I coughed as though to smooth things over.
Seeing my appearance, Father gave a self-satisfied laugh.
"……so? What did Gazelle-dono say?"
"He said he didn't want to kill him."
Father answered while letting out a large sigh.
"Don't tell me, Father actually approved of that?!"
"It can't be helped. He had that much spirit. If I recklessly lay a hand on him, then it seems like he'll end up biting me, who is supposed to be his ally…….that's how strongly he felt."
"But, like that……"
"Of course, I told him that if that guy moves then we would take action as we pleased…….Rui, do not overlook any sort of information. If you want to protect your bride's home."
"I was planning on doing that from the start."
"……I figured you'd say that. I'll continue sounding out the Rinmel Principality…….this time I'll protect this country from the flames of war. Rui."
After that, I withdrew from the room.
When I exited the room, I quickly returned to my own room.
And then, I collapsed onto the seat that I was presented.
"……you seem quite tired, Rui-sama."
The man that was my personal attendant gave a strained laugh upon seeing my state and called out to me.
"Does it look like that? ……then, I still have a ways to go."
"How strict you are with yourself."
The youth gently poured a cup of tea and placed it in front of me.
"……aren't you stricter than I am? To yourself in particular…….right?"
"That is not the case. Because it does seem that I do have a ways to go."
Even as he made a wry smile, the youth still seemed to enjoy himself as he spoke.
"Heh……I am quite interested in learning what sparked that realization of yours."
"It is not like there was any particular major event…….it is just that I once again understood the meaning of the world being vast."
Momentarily turning my eyes downcast as though I were thinking of something, I drank the tea that had been poured for me.
However, I soon returned my gaze towards him.
"……well, it is fine. Could you leave me alone for a bit? Belun."
"Understood. Then, please excuse me."
Seeing the youth off as he withdrew, I slowly started to look through the documents.