“I would like to have a good relationship with Argan-sama and Selene-sama.”

A steaming teacup.
Holding the saucer, just staring at it without taking a sip, that was what Kreschenta did.
She looked elegant and thoughtful, but Selene knew that she, like Krische, had a cat's tongue.
The gesture was oddly amusing, considering the fact that she simply could not drink it hot.
She looked as if she was intellectually looking at the surface of the tea and elegantly sniffing the aroma, but in reality, she was merely judging whether the temperature was too hot or not for her to drink.

Overall, it was elegant, and the way she covered it was better than Krische, but it seems the inside was the same as Krische.
Selene nearly laughed but held it in.
At least now it was time for serious talk.

Bery and the others had left to prepare the tea.
When Bery said that she had an after-dinner dessert, Kreschenta reacted slightly.
This princess in front of her, like Krische, has an extremely sweet tooth.
Earlier she and Krische had been silently arguing over who would get to eat the last piece of pumpkin pie.
When Anne snatched the pie onto her plate, saying “It's a waste to leave it,” the two of them stiffened, and Bery smiled wryly, that was probably the reason Bery said that there was also dessert while cleaning up the table.

In that respect, she found Kreschenta really cute, just like Krische.
But that doesn't mean she could let her guard down.

“Selene-sama seems to be suspicious of me, so I thought it would be better to set up an opportunity for us to talk.”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean it as it is.
Selene-sama knows that I, just like onee-sama, am different from the others, right?”

In the end, Kreschenta put the tea on the table without sipping it.
It was probably still too hot to drink.

“Selene-sama, I don't really like conversations that are ostentatious.
If we both understand each other, then it's a waste of time.
Please talk to me like how you usually talk to onee-sama.
Selene-sama also knows that I'm bothered by it right? For me as long as we can understand each other's words then I don't really mind.”
“I think it would be disrespectful to the royal family if I behave like how I usually do around Krische though.”

“Oh well”, saying that, Selene grabs Kreschenta's teacup, which was modestly filled with honey, and pulls it closer.
Kreschenta blushed as she glanced at Selene, filling her tea with cool honey and drizzled it generously with milk.

it's Argan-sama, isn't it?”
“If Kreschenta says so, then this kind of ostentation is also not needed.
Add plenty of honey and milk to make it lukewarm.
Sometimes I also want to drink this kind of sweet drink, so you don't have to be shy.”

Selene did the same with her own tea and then returned Kreschenta's tea.
'When tired, I want to drink something sweet'.
Although Kreschenta glared at her for a while, in the end, she timidly reached out and sipped the tea slowly.
Her mouth relaxed slightly.

“Fufu, you have exactly the same taste as Krische….
I also don't like bothersome things.
If you say so then I'd be happy if you also act normally.”
“I think I'm pretty skilled at it, but…”
“I think you're very good, but it's kind of transparent .”

Selene also took a sip of her sweet tea and sighed, then continued.

“Krische is very stupid and cute.
I wonder if that's what pure and innocent is like.
I love that kind of girl.

However, she is cruel to anyone she doesn't care about, and she can kill someone else easily.
To be honest I think that part of her is very scary.”

Selene put down her saucer and looked at Kreschenta.

“That's why I'm scared of you too, Kreschenta.
I can understand your reasoning because I've seen Krische.
But it's not like everything is the same, and even though we want the same thing, the method used to achieve it is different, right? For example, the reason we had a talk right now is because you thought that no matter the reason, the Christands won't throw you out now.
Am I right?”
“Yes…you are very clever.” Kreschenta said, a little impressed.

“Now that the war has begun, no matter what I say or do, it's already too late…
I've known for a long time that you are just like Krische.
But you only asked to talk now because you were sure of it right? …Just so you know, that was a cowardly method, and that's where you differ from Krische.”
I'm sure you've learned way more than Krische.
But let me tell you, that's a method you shouldn't use against someone you want to get along with.
At the very least, trust won't be born from that kind of method.”

After saying that Selene smiled.

“The cute thing about Krische is that she's really silly.
She's not good at hiding things, she's honest and truthful.
She always pushes herself when you rely on her, and when she's told she can be spoiled, she will ask to be spoiled until she melts.
If you want to call her silly, then maybe she really is.
But she is purer than anyone else, and I think that's beautiful and cute.
That's why I love her more than anyone else and trust her more than anyone else.”

The root of this is the same.
Maybe she can love the girl in front of her.
Or maybe not.

“You are smart, and you may be able to use your intellect to get the results you want.
But all you can get with your cleverness are only results.
I don't have faith in you.
Neither will those around you.
If so, then you will be all alone.
No one will trust you, no one will remember you, and no matter what results you get, you will forever be alone, and you will die without ever attaining peace of mind.”

Kreschenta's brows furrowed in displeasure, which Selene found refreshing.

The story she had heard from Bery was fragmentary, and Bery had deliberately hid something from her.
But if Kreschenta is a human who is “very similar”  to Krische, then she can guess it.

—-that this princess was the one who disrupted the order of the kingdom and brought Christand into the center of the scheme.
She used Christand in order to gain the throne for herself.

If her nature is the same as Krische's, then she knows what Kreschenta is seeking.
Krische is abnormal.
But what she always seeks is a place where she feels safe.
And she believes that the place was here, in Christand, in Bery's arms.

If her nature is the same as Krische, then what she truly desires is nothing more than a place where she can feel safe and secure, just as Krische does.
At the very least Selene's imagination shouldn't  be that far off the mark.

Kreschenta was clearly showing displeasure.

“Honestly, it's very unpleasant.
Neither me, nor Father, nor Bery—and Krische—-no one wants the war.”
“So you can't get along with me?”
“Well, yeah.
At least if you're the way you are right now, I refuse.
I don't want to be swayed for the results you want.
I even thought it might be better to kill you.”

Kreschenta's eyes narrowed.
Realizing that the magic that coiled around Kreschenta's body was being sharpened to the limit, Selene raised her hands and laughed.

“…but I don't.
Do you know why?”
“Because I am fearful?”
“You are clever, but stupid, huh.
I know scarier girls.”
“Stupid ……? Me?”
“Yes, just like Krische, even though you have a very smart head, you end up thinking too much.
You don't understand the simple things.”

Selene giggled and sipped her tea.

“The reason is that Krische is letting you live.
If Krische can't forgive you for what you've done, your neck won't still be there, right?

 There is a good chance she would have done so, but she didn't, and she's leaving you alive like this…Do you understand what that means?”

“…At the very least, Krische is trying to accept you.
She's thinking of making you feel safe and become a new family that she can trust.
She feels that way about you.
As her sister, I don't want to tell her she's making the wrong decision, and I don't want to think she's making the wrong decision either.”

It's very simple, Selene continued.

“Krische wants to include you in her happiness and be happy together.
She wants you and her to be happy.
That child thinks that you can do it and believes you.”

Selene punctuated her words, closed her eyes then opened it again.
Looking straight ahead, Selene said this.

“What I want to say is, don't do anything that will betray that child's trust…That's all I ask.
If you can do that, I swear by my name, the place you want, together with Krische, I will make it.
As for how to achieve that, I guess it's up to you.”

Kreschenta stared back at Selene.
Observing her, not moving an inch.

After a short pause, she sighed and replied in amazement.

“Selene-sama also says something similar to Argan-sama.
……what a weird person.”
“If you weren't weird too, you wouldn't be so fond of Krische.
Though it's not as much as Bery, she also likes me after all.
I don't know about you though.”
I heard similar words from Argan-sama.”

Krechenta drank the lukewarm tea and put it in front of Selene.
Selene silently poured the tea, just as sweet as before, with plenty of milk.

She gave it to Krechenta and she loosened her cheek just a little.

“I promised onee-sama that I won't do this anymore.
At the very least least I'll discuss it first.
I also don't want to be killed by onee-sama.
I came here to create a safe place with onee-sama.
Can you at least trust this?”
“No, that's enough…
You're still young after all.
I'll forgive you for what happened this time.”
“I too will pretend that I did not see the disrespect you have shown me today.”

“Is that so?” Selene said with a chuckle.

“Is the tea good?”
“…Uhm, just so-so.”
“Fufu, Krische and Bery will bring delicious cookies in a little while.
You like them too, don't you?”
“…I don't hate it.”
“Unlike Krische, Your Royal Highness isn't honest, huh.
I really like that part of her very much and it's also very cute.
It's the truth, isn't it?”

Krechenta 's cheeks blushed and she glared at Selene.

“I am very unhappy.”
“Is that so.
But well, let's get along? If you're Krische's little sister, then you're also my little sister.”
can you please not make me your little sister without permission.”

Krechenta sips her tea with a look that seems to say, 'I'm angry'.
And as she tasted the sweet tea, she relaxed her mouth slightly.

Selene patrolled the fortress, talking around.
She listens to the various complaints of the soldiers, from recruit training to logistics, and thinks on how to satisfy their needs.
A wall can be created with just a report.
If a wall is built, there is a risk that dissatisfaction will build up without her knowledge.
Selene herself thought it was important to take the initiative to create an atmosphere in which it was easy to talk and to have conversations from the same point of view.

Of course, the difference in position between a commander and a soldier must be absolutely separated, but it is also a problem if the two are completely separated even in terms of feelings.
Excessive reverence can create distortions, and these distortions will eventually grow.
As someone in charge of their lives, she feels that it is only her duty to properly pick up on their concerns and dissatisfaction, which they cannot say toward a superior officer.

The soldiers and officers hold high respect for Selene due to this.

But it's not all good.
If she acts to win their trust and respect like that, she'll have extra worries.
When she returns home after completing her rounds, a mountain of paperwork would be waiting for her.

Selene felt like sighing, but ordered the soldier escorting her to rest and opened the door.


In the office, Bery was sitting on the sofa, staring at the papers —- Kreschenta, sitting at the office desk with a bored look on her face, was sorting through the papers.
When she saw Selene, she pouted and glared at her, pointing at the trembling Anne by her side.

“Selene-sama, if you're going to hire a servant, would you hire someone who is more considerate? Really.
Earlier because of her I had to spend double, no, I mean, triple the efforts, it's like I'm the servant here.”
“Uh, I'm sorry…”

Bery chuckled when she saw Selene not grasping the situation.
Somehow, it was a happy face.

“Kreschenta-sama came to help the young lady after the young lady went to make her rounds.
It would be troublesome if Selene-sama collapsed after all.
I also didn't have anything to do, so I thought I'd give you a little help, but…
this person has been hindering me since a while ago, do you know that? “

“I'm sorry, I'm sorry……”Seeing Anne's apology, Selene holds her mouth and laughs.
Kreschenta tilted her head and sat down on the sofa with a stack of papers on the desk, leaving room for Selene to sit down.

“I took a quick look and divided them into those that seemed important and those that weren't.
I'm not very familiar with the actual military situation, so I can't say it's perfect.
Since the more money, the better, I've taken the liberty of signing off on funding for towns and villages.
There are also some from the merchants, but I've put those on hold, so don't worry.”

Kreschenta continued sorting through the documents in an orderly manner.

“There's also a cargo offered from the town and village, the one I think is okay to accept is here.
And since it would be troublesome if we take from someplace that doesn't have much reserve and then something happened, over here is the one I think is better to reject and just thank them. 

“……Why do you just stand there?”
“……fufu, it's nothing”

Selene stood next to her and patted Kreschenta's head.
Then she sat down with a nonchalant look on her face.
Kreschenta's cheeks blushed and glared at Selene.

I'm just trying to help you a little for the sake of the future.
Please don't misunderstand.”
“Anne, can you go and make me some light snacks?”

Anne rushes out at those words.
Selene saw it off and she petted Kreschenta again.

“Is that so? But still, I'm very happy.”
“……Please don't pet me.”
“It's because you're cute.”
“It seems you don't understand so I'll tell you.
Normally, when you praise someone for being cute, it's for people who are lower than you.
I'm much smarter, also more excellent than you after all.
Such words are inappropriate.”
“That's your opinion, Kreschenta.
I think that part of you is cute in that way, that's why I praise you like this.”

Selene giggles and Kreschenta glares at Serene sullenly.
But she did not really reject being petted like that.


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