She and Evening Clothes
After I talked with Cain, Clara came back as if she estimated the timing.
As I saw the large amount of dresses the court ladies brought, despite having readied myself my face twitched.
Having all the dresses with elaborate designs spread before me, Clara smiled at me as if to say how is it.
“Princess. I apologize for keeping you waiting. Please select your favorite clothing”
Although the amount brought felt a little excessive, because I’m reaping what I sowed, I resigned myself and turned my attention to the vivid dresses.
On brief look their shapes and colors vary, but despite that, I understood what they all share is the off-shoulder design with widely open neckline.
They have all sort of shapes. And yet, why are they all off-shoulder…
“Clara? Is it only my impression, or do all of them have the same neckline design…”
I found it strange and tried asking, but Clara returned a plain answer.
“It’s His Highness Friedrich’s wish. Because the wish was for the chest part to be wide open, we have prepared dresses like that”
I see. It’s Freed’s preference, huh.
However, only the designs that completely show the ‘King’s Flower’ were chosen.
… I wonder if it’s okay not to hide it.
Since it was on my mind, I decide to confirm it with the person himself, but for now I freely chose my favorite dress.
“This one is fine”
I pointed at a silver dress. The color subtly varies based on the angle it’s seen from, the shape is also my favorite, slender line.
Seeing what I chose, Clara nodded right away.
“Certainly. Then, let’s begin the preparations”
As Clara clapped twice, court ladies started moving all at once.
Each had a properly assigned role. The execution is terrifically skillful.
I thought so earlier too, but they’re superbly commanded.
Then, under Clara’s command I was prepared by all court ladies and quietly waited for Freed to pick me up.
As Freed entered the room and saw my appearance, he broke into a smile. As he said you’re very beautiful without a hint of bashfulness, thank you, I offered him little thanks.
Whether it’s flattery or something else, I still feel happy being complimented.
It’s an inconsequential story, but the person I went out with in the past was a man who wouldn’t say “love” even once, perhaps he thought it unnecessary. But, even such trivial things make me happy.
It’s a secret from him, but I hold favorable impression of Freed who’s generous with words, even while whispering words of love.
Even though I’m a little bashful, I looked at Freed’s appearance. He’s already changed clothes to ones suitable for the victory celebration party…
Unconsciously my voice leaked.
I shut my mouth in panic, but it seems like Freed managed to hear it.
He looked at my face, and slowly looked down at himself.
“… I see”
It seems he understood why I raised my voice.
He smiled bitterly as if to say it can’t be helped.
I feel sorry for him, but I can’t suppress the feeling that welled up.
In other words, what I’m trying to say is.
I’m extremely disappointed.
That’s how it is.
His attire is common orthodox evening clothes.
A black justaucorps decorated with dazzling embroidery, and a waistcoat with golden buttons. The skillfully folded cravat in the same black was beautifully arranged according to latest fashion.
It suits his beauty of a prince well. I think it suits him very much, but…
Unfortunately, it’s far from what gets me going.
… Why isn’t it the military uniform. Or rather, why did you take it off.
Is it so fun to let me down.
Although I did it unconsciously, it seems the disappointed face I made was extremely easy to understand.
Freed made a troubled expression and put his hand on my cheek.
“… Hey, Lidi. Don’t be so openly disappointed”
“Ugh. I’m sorry”
I have no choice but to apologize. It’s completely my fault.
Even though Freed complimented me, I was so rude.
Despite thinking so, I couldn’t stop myself from thinking that it’s a shame.
To me who shrunk, Freed said in a gentle voice that he doesn’t mind.
“Lidi, it must be disappointing, but that is for combat, I can’t wear it for the victory celebration party. What I was wearing last time was a formal ceremonial wear… Okay?”
“Yup… I understand”
Looking at my obviously downhearted face, Freed talked to me so as to persuade me.
… No, I really understand.
What he wore last time was royalty’s ceremonial dress, and what he wore some time ago was commander’s clothes exclusive to royalty for combat use.
Logically, I understand they aren’t suitable attires for the victory celebration party held tonight.
Especially since today’s victory celebration party, held for the sake of showing appreciation to common soldiers, will be a showy evening party. It’s proper for Freed to look like this. I understand.
But, just because I understand, whether I can accept is a different matter.
I can clearly feel my excitement dying down.
Aah, military uniforms truly make men look 30% cooler.
I hung my head in dejection as I couldn’t feel the almost painful throbbing and infatuation, that I felt for Freed until a while ago, at all.
It once again came to light how much I’m not interest in Freed’s face.
It seems his appeal isn’t complete without a military uniform.
As I seriously sighed while looking at Freed’s face, his expression turned quite complicated.
“… I’m not bragging, but this is the first I’ve been told shame while being looked in the face”
“Sorry… It wasn’t on purpose”
Certainly, with Freed’s well-ordered beauty in front of me, I might be the only woman who’d say shame. I wonder if he feels hurt.
Although it’s unconscious, it’s the second time I showed my rude behavior, unsurprisingly I felt guilty and meekly apologized.
The handsome man in front of me said I don’t need to apologize, and suddenly he narrowed his eyes as if seeing something amusing.
“I thought so before, but Lidi is not interested in my face, right. On the contrary, as I didn’t expect that, it felt fresh”
But still, it’s no good like this, I tried to follow up Freed with all my power.
“No, I think you have a pretty face? And, err… I’m used to appreciating beauty, but I’m always impressed… Ah! Yes yes, it might be late, but I think today’s appearance suits you very well!”
Alright! I managed to say it!!
I looked at Freed as if to say I did my best, but for some reason he looked like he was desperately holding back laughter.
“No, it’s nothing…”
As Freed answered with his shoulders trembling, I tilted my head uncertain of what he meant. Then, he finally burst out laughing.
“Ahahaha. No, I thought you’d try desperately try praising me somehow, and you did it!! The face you made was somewhere between cute and amusing. Yup, if you so desire, I’ll wear those clothes when it’s the two of us, so endure for today?”
Receiving this extremely attractive proposal, I reflexively looked up at Freed with upturned eyes filled with expectation.
At that moment, Freed burst into laughter again.
“Bufu! … Lidi, you’re as honest as ever. There’s the earlier promise, right? It’s okay, I remember it properly”
“Ugh. Then you don’t have to laugh”
After wiping the tears that gathered in the corners of his eyes from laughing, Freed looked up at the clock.
“Sorry, sorry. Ah, it’s almost time. Shall we go”
I took the hand he presented and stood next to him.
Then I noticed I didn’t wear anything over my dress.
This might be bad.
“Clara, is there no stole or bolero?”
Freed made a mystified face at me who looked back and called out.
“Lidi? Are you cold? The temperature within the whole castle should be controlled with magical art”
“It’s different. I thought if I don’t wear a stole or something the ‘King’s Flower’ will be visible”
As I said that, Freed made a noticeably displeased face.
Somehow it feels like the temperature in the room dropped by several degrees.
Freed knit his beautiful eyebrows and drew closer.
“What do you mean? Are you trying to say you hate to show off my flower?”
No, I don’t understand what you’re getting at.
“No one said such a thing. Isn’t the ‘King’s Flower’ something to hide until the marriage ceremony?”
Who was it that told me to hide the ‘King’s Flower’ the last time.
As I explained that I thought it’d be better to continue hiding it, he finally understood, and his mood recovered.
Woah, this man is troublesome.
I felt like keeping him at arm’s length, but Freed didn’t seem to care about that attitude of mine.
“I haven’t said that. As long as the King confirmed it, there’s no problem showing it. Lidi has already received the certification from the King that this ‘King’s Flower’ is the real thing, so I’d rather you actively showed it off to everybody”
Aah, so that’s how it was, I understood why Freed chose a dress that showed the ‘King’s Flower’ well.
But, I wish I’d been told that earlier.
Because I didn’t know, until now I’ve been worrying over nothing.
“Moreover, there would be idiots opposed to us having relations before the marriage. That will also serve as restraint against such idiots. Seeing the ‘King’s Flower’, nobody will be able to say you’re unworthy”
Virginity is necessary to marry royalty, thus it’s a measure against people who think we need to wait for the wedding night.
Naturally, most people don’t know virginity is necessary to obtain the ‘King’s Flower. For those people, it’s natural to find a royalty and his fiancée having relations before marriage strange.
So showing off the ‘King’s Flower’ is basically declaring that in practice the marriage has already been established, it seems to be like this.
Even if they don’t know the truth behind the ‘King’s Flower’, everybody living in this country knows the ‘King’s Flower’ is the unshakeable proof of the Princess Consort.
The flower that can’t be erased, the story of the ‘King’s Flower’ is too famous.
“Just in case, as a countermeasure I asked Father during the engagement ceremony. I wanted you recognized not as my fiancée, but as the Princess Consort. I think in practice it had a considerable effect on nobles. People inside the castle treat Lidi not as my fiancée, but as my Princess Consort… But won’t it be perfect if the firm proof of the ‘King’s Flower’ is added onto that?”
Nobody will be able to object.
Freed had a face like his gambit succeeded, but something else was on my mind.
“Asked… Hey, was that okay?”
Freed said he’d asked the King, but I wonder if it was okay to do that.
“Don’t worry. There’s a proper precedent. I wasn’t trying to do the impossible… The Royal Prince, my uncle, also granted the ‘King’s Flower’ before the engagement, I took the same measure this time”
That’s why it’s alright, said Freed, and although I was astounded, I spoke.
No, in that case, right.
“Even if you didn’t go that far, wouldn’t it be enough if I didn’t stay in your room until the marriage ceremony?”
It could be avoided with that alone.
Since we understand there’ll be rumors going, I think it’s enough if I don’t expressly go into his room, at any rate the time until the ceremony has been cut to half a year.
I thought it wouldn’t be a problem since we’ll be marrying soon, but Freed said with a smile.
“Nope. I absolutely won’t allow that”
I thought this’d be the natural conclusion, but Freed completely cut me off.
He’s smiling, but his eyes aren’t, at all.
“… Why? That would be the easiest way”
Freed is scary. Somehow, I managed to ask him, but he shook his head, with his eyes still not smiling.
“If we did that, until the marriage ceremony I wouldn’t be able to embrace Lidi enough, would I. Absolutely impossible. There’s no way I could endure. Any amount of work is better than that”
If that came to be, I’d visit Lidi’s mansion all the time, said Freed with a serious face.
“… Is that so”
I was so shocked that it was all I could say.
I felt my eyes turn into dots at Freed’s words.
This man seems completely unsuited for enduring.
“Lidi too, you would hate that, right?”
It’s my turn.
I was extremely troubled as to how I should reply to having my consent requested.
Freed’s staring at me with a faint smile. His smile is making my back shiver.
It might be only my imagination, but I feel it’ll be bad if I give the wrong answer.
“Eh, ah, yup. I also, yes… I guess?”
I was asked once again, and while averting my eyes, for now I showed that I agreed.
Seeing me nod in agreement, even if awkwardly, Freed showed his usual smile. The intimidating air he had just now completely vanished.
“Then that’s good. Supposing I heard something different, I’d have no choice but to ask Lidi’s body directly”
What was that?
I broke into cold sweat at Freed’s words.
That was dangerous. Tonight will already be dreadful, any more would be tragic.
“Hahaha… Shall we go, Freed”
Wanting to change the topic by all means, I urged Freed with these words.
He looked up at the clock, and shaking his hair looked at me.
His gaze felt strangely erotic.
“Ah, it’s already the time… Hey, Lidi? Since it’s a duty it can’t be helped, but when that’s over and it’s appropriate, let’s slip out, okay? I want us to be alone as soon as possible…”
He’s not wearing a military uniform, yet his voice and eyes tinged with passion shocked me.
My ears feel hot. Feeling embarrassed, I responded in a little voice.
“Y… Yeah. Later, right”
Although I hung my head, my answer seemed correct.
Escorted by Freed, who looked so happy it wouldn’t be strange if he started humming or singing, we finally set foot into tonight’s main event, the victory celebration party.