She and Her Tea Party 1
“Lady Lidiana, I offer my congratulations on your engagement”
“Then, at that time it was His Highness the Crown Prince?”
“Come to think of it, there was such a rumor…”
“Well, it is so”
Trifling chatter of young ladies dressed up prettily.
My mind was worn-out by the different from usual world.
… Hello everyone. It’s Lidiana, whose number of titles needlessly increased by Next Crown Princess.
For now, can I shout few word.
Let me go home!! … No, well, it’s my home.
Tea party with friends of the same sex invited… The so-called socializing between fellow women, no matter how close we are, is really tiring.
Even if I dislike socializing, as expected I can’t escape opening my salon to friends of the same sex.
I’m deeply aware that expanding my circle of friends even a little and deepening relationships is essential as a noble.
So even if I didn’t participate in the evening parties to not run into Freed, my salon has been regularly open from before. I had no reason to avoid these women-only gatherings, rather Father recommended them.
At any rate, the current stage is a salon of the young lady with the top position, me. I may seem feeble, I may not participate in evening parties, but the people who want to participate are endless.
Wanting my invitation, young ladies surrounded me when I occasionally appeared at the evening parties. Although there were many who backbit me, there were about as many who seemed to want to curry favor.
The role demanded of such me is to build personal connections with talented young ladies and bring back the information unobtainable to men.
It’s troublesome having to socialize when you have to feign overt friendliness, but because I understand my role and its significance, I open my salon like this, and diligently socialize.
Now then, today I’m hosting a gathering in my salon, only young ladies who I’m rather close with thanks to our earlier networking are here.
It being the first salon I’m hosting since I got engaged with Freed, words “Congratulations” and probatory gazes have been directed at me since a while ago.
They surely want to hear about Freed.
I understand it’s what they’re most interested in, but as the person who’s being asked it’s unbearable. I persistently feigned ignorance.
Exhausted from the conversations that frayed my nerves, I breathed out soundlessly and for no particular reason looked at Father’s prided paintings decorating the wall.
The location is the ducal residence’s parlor.
Three young ladies are sitting around the prepared round table. Counting me in, it’s four. The table’s capacity is six.
There are two empty seats. One is for my close friend Marianne. The other is for a young lady she’s acquainted with and will bring along.
When I gave Marianne a written invitation to visit me, she said she’d like to bring that young lady by all means. It’s my first salon since engagement. In preparation for hearing various nosy things, I thought of inviting carefully selected friends.
That’s why I thought of refusing as a matter of course, but as Marianne implored to invite her no matter what I eventually agreed.
I’m indebted to her for the masquerade ball. I had to thank her somehow.
She said she’d pick up the young lady she wants to introduce today.
There’s no problem as I’ve heard beforehand she’d come a little late.
When I picked up a cup of black tea and drank it, a maid who was waiting on the side received a message.
“Milady, Count Vetra’s daughter has arrived”
“I see, thank you”
I put back the cup and addressed the ladies who were enjoying their conversation.
“It seems Marianne has come. She is looking forward to introducing a new friend to us today”
“Lady Marianne is? I have not heard who her companion might be”
Hearing my words, a young lady who has been enjoying tea snacks – Viscount Cavani’s daughter raised her face with sparkling eyes.
She’s a year older young lady who worries about her slightly round figure that I’ve recently become close to. Her name is Tiris.
Her love of sweets is certain. She asks to sample my new products and introduces me to popular shops. Even now she’s frantically stuffing what’s been served together with tea.
She seems to like them quite a lot.
Next to Tiris is Count Lambert’s daughter tilting her head curiously.
She’s already engaged, and set to become a married woman the next month already, I got to know her together with her little sister at an evening party I rarely attended a few years back.
We share the hobby of tea, one way or another we became close since then.
Her house owns an area that produces high quality black tea leaves, whenever there’s new tea she sends it to me first.
Today’s tea – apple tea is also her present. It’s perfect for this season. The mellow sweetness is irresistible.
That girl, Cecilia, narrowed her emerald eyes and muttered.
“Me neither. It is only something I have heard, but…”
“Elder Sister, Lady Marianne would never bring a thoughtless person along”
The young girl who laughed that next to her is her little sister, Siris. She loves her older sister and always follows her around. It’s a secret she’s a little worried what will happen after her older sister gets married.
I slightly nodded when I’ve heard them speak.
“There is nothing to worry about. I just feel a little depressed wondering whether I’ll be asked various questions again”
I said honestly, yet without much seriousness.
Cecilia laughed happily.
“Well, that cannot be helped. Lady Marianne is looking forward to the story of Lady Lidiana’s engagement the most. She was already overjoyed at the time of the official announcement?”
“After all it’s like that…”
Even when I consulted her about the ball, Marianne was delighted by my engagement.
At that time we mostly talked about the ball, so I wasn’t directly interviewed about Freed, but I’m restless about what I’ll be asked today.
Ladies are a race that can ask about others’ complicated circumstances out of nowhere.
Especially stories about nights are their favorite food. No matter the world, women love gossiping and talking about love.
Because I’ve been avoiding the subject, nobody is insisting anymore, but I can tell the air is such that they’re itching to hear about this and that and that about Freed.
By the way, for today’s attire I chose a high-necked dress on purpose.
The rumors may have spread, but I’m not bold enough to go let’s expressly wear a dress that will show off the ‘King’s Flower’.
“Good day, Lady Lidiana. I am truly sorry for being late”
Guided by a maid, Marianne came. She’s as fashion-sensitive as ever, she’s wearing a newly tailored off-white dress. I confirmed there’s an unfamiliar young lady next to her and greeted them.
“Good day, Marianne. It is no problem because I have heard about it. I wonder who the young lady over there that you wanted to introduce might be?”
“Yeah, that’s right. She is Lady Miriallia. Lady Miriallia, please greet Lady Lidiana”
Introduced by Marianne, she took a step forward and prettily bowed.
“I am glad to meet you, Lady Lidiana. Thank you for the invitation at this occasion. I am the eldest daughter of the former Marquis Lowe, Miriallia”
Seeing her greet me with a smile, I hurriedly searched my memory.
Miriallia Von Lowe
The eldest daughter of former Marquis Lowe. Recently her older brother should’ve succeeded the marquis rank.
Surely, he’s the leader of the Primera Chivalric Order, it’s said he played an active role in campaign against Tarim.
As for herself, her name always came up as Freed’s fiancée candidate.
Until recently I had viewed the list thinking it’d be fine if he married any candidate, so I’m beyond certain of that.
When I understood what kind of person came, I welcomed Miriallia with a smile.
“I’m Lidiana. Welcome, Miss Miriallia. Let’s see, your elder brother succeeded the rank some time ago. Certainly, your elder brother is also the leader of the Primera Chivalric Order. In the recent campaign against Tarim, I have heard from my father he distinguished himself”
As I easily stated that, Miriallia looked at me with a surprised face.
“So you were aware of my brother. With all due respect, Lady Lidiana hasn’t appeared at evening parties much, so I arbitrarily thought you wouldn’t know”
Those words, I see, she also fell for the rumors of me being a feeble sheltered young lady who knows nothing.
I should dispel those rumors soon, but as the daughter of the foremost ducal house, I should respond to her with firm attitude.
I showed a beaming smile and asked her.
“It is true I have not been to evening parties much, therefore it is understandable to think so. Even so, your elder brother’s service has become a famous story. Is it so strange I know about it?”
“… No, it’s an honor. I am sure my brother will be pleased”
“Marquis will be? Preposterous. Come, please sit down so we do not talk while standing. I will have tea made”
With everybody sat and new tea prepared, the tea party started at last.
With composed appearance Miriallia is chatting with Marianne next to her.
I secretly observed her while drinking tea.
Strong-willed, crisp features, dark-blue hair arranged fashionably.
She feels like an archetypical old-fashioned noble lady, a type that’s rare among my friends. Rather if I had to say, she’s closer to the kind that’d harass me.
Not understanding what her aim in wanting to be introduced by Marianne is, I tilted my head in my mind, when Marianne directed her voice at me.
“Lady Lidiana. Lady Miriallia was also one of His Highness the Crown Prince’s Princess Consort candidates. This time I asked unreasonably because Lady Miriallia asked by all means for the opportunity to say few words of congratulations directly to Lady Lidiana”
It was Tiris who responded to those words.
She fixedly stared at Miriallia with great interest.
Miriallia seemed embarrassed receiving her gaze, still she properly smiled.
“Me being Crown Prince’s fiancée candidate is already in the past. Now I only pray for Crown Prince’s happiness. Lady Lidiana, congratulations on your engagement. Please be happy with Crown Prince”
“… Thank you”
I knew she had been the Crown Princess candidate without needing to be told.
But, why did she come here to express her congratulations to a person who’s not her acquaintance?
I can’t imagine it’s just that.
While suspicious of what she’s thinking, I looked at her.
I wonder why. I felt her eyes had a sharp glint for an instant… I wonder if it’s my imagination.
Feeling like I’m being watched I looked at her again, but this time Miriallia only had a gentle smile on her face.