She and Her Tea Party 2
While I was bewildered by the feeling like I’m being watched, Miriallia dropped a bomb with a smile.
“There is something I want to ask Lady Lidiana by all means. I have heard from my father that Crown Prince fell in love at first sight, but… where did you meet Crown Prince?”
Marianne splendidly sunk her teeth into the words that followed. Aah, her eyes are sparkling.
Speaking of myself, I desperately resisted spurting out tea.
Wait a moment. Where did she hear that from.
“… Miss Miriallia…Excuse me, but I wonder where has the former Marquis Lowe heard that story”
Wanting to know the source of the rumor I carefully probed her, but the response came all too easily.
“He has heard it from His Majesty”
“… I see”
… No way, from the top of the country. That certainly is unexpected.
“More importantly, Lady Lidiana! Please tell us about your encounter with His Highness the Crown Prince. I certainly do wish to hear about it”
More importantly my foot.
With everyone’s gazes gathered on me due to Marianne’s statement, my shoulders dropped.
There’s no escape.
…. Yup, I know. I was prepared for the barrage of questions today.
I’m supposed to be the host, so why do I feel like a victim.
Thinking that there’s no way I can tell about being locked-on during the masquerade ball, I spoke.
“… After our engagement was decided, His Highness came to the mansion to see me. At that time, I received the official marriage proposal”
I remember how the surroundings froze and I had no choice but to accept the engagement.
I was truly at a loss when he suddenly kneeled before me at our first meeting.
Actually, far from our first meeting, he was the partner I had severe sex the previous day.
Let’s pretend our first encounter was at my house. I’ll have to match stories with Freed later, thinking so I sighed in my mind.
Hearing the story, Lambert sisters put their hands to their cheeks and let out deep sighs.
“Love at first sight, it sounds like a story. I have also heard His Highness is extraordinarily infatuated with Lady Lidiana. I long for being loved by such a wonderful gentleman”
“I can understand if it is about Lady Lidiana, Elder Sister. We members of ‘Cheering Association” are beyond joyous”
Two dreamy maidens…
Unfortunately, Freed is not such a desirable prince.
I’ll say it as many times as it takes, he’s just a black-bellied unequalled Crown Prince.
While thinking they’d surely be disillusioned if they knew the reality, I twitched at the words ‘Cheering Association’.
‘Cheering Association’… I sincerely thought it was Marianne’s joke, but it appears to really exists.
And, they’re also its members.
I hung my head disheartened, when Miriallia asked curiously.
“‘Cheering Association’? What is that?”
“It is an association to cheer for His Highness the Crown Prince’s and Lady Lidiana’s love! Ah, we have to change the name to ‘Crown Couple Cheering Association’ from now on”
Marianne proudly explained in response to Miriallia’s question.
I didn’t miss her face twitch for an instant.
… Yup, no surprise. That’s the correct reaction.
“… Isn’t that enough of that talk. Aren’t there other interesting stories?”
“Interesting… stories? In that case…”
Wanting to be spared from more I changed the topic, to which Cecilia spoke as if she remembered something.
“It’s a story I’ve heard from my fiancé… Are you aware of the rumor of an unusual singer that recently appeared?”
“Right, it’s a story from about half a month ago, but Marquis Muller happened to overhear singing from a bar he passed by in town, and exceedingly pleased by it, invited him to his mansion. The song seemed to be unlike any he’s ever heard before”
Everybody paid attention to Cecilia’s story.
Speaking of Marquis Muller, he’s a famous for loving evening parties. It’s not particularly strange even if I hear he’s scouted a minstrel in town to have him sing at evening parties.
Come to think of it, Miriallia began talking.
“I have also heard about it from my older brother, but Marquis Muller said he would bring him along as entertainment for the next evening party in the Royal Palace. Perhaps we can meet him there”
I see… He wants to brag.
He wants to gather attention by bringing along a singer who’s attracted everyone’s interest. His thought process is trivial to understand.
According to Miriallia’s story, as fellow marquises Lowe and Muller houses seem to have a relatively close relationship.
I have no doubt that’s how she’s heard that story.
However, what in the world is that song unlike any heard before. Is it a song passed down by few tribes? I’m a little curious.
I could perhaps learn about it if I asked Brother, but somehow, I’m looking forward to the next evening party.
“I am looking forward to it. I cannot wait for the next evening party”
Marianne began in high spirits.
Then, she looked at me, and asked a little anxiously.
“Lady Lidiana is attending the next evening party, are you not. Is your physical condition alright?”
“Eh… Yeah, thanks for the concern. Recently my condition has been good, so I intend to attend”
I feel sorry for misleading Marianne into thinking I’m feeble.
If it’s like this, let’s shift the trend to me becoming gradually healthy.
Because it’s been exposed to Freed and Father that I’m healthy, I won’t be allowed to be absent from evening parties anymore. It’d be meaningless too.
I’ll appeal that I’m healthy so much it’s unnatural. Otherwise, these questions will always be brought up. Whether I can bear an heir with my feeble body, for example.
At my answer Marianne smiled happily.
“My, then I will finally see His Highness and Lady Lidiana together. Because I could not participate in the victory celebration party last time, I am very much looking forward to it!”
“I don’t think there’ll be anything interesting to see though”
As I muttered unconsciously, Miriallia quietly said “I participated in it”.
As Marquis Lowe’s family member she had the qualifications to participate. There’s nothing strange about her being in that place.
“It appears hidden today, but on her chest was a magnificent ‘King’s Flower’. I never would have imagined she would already be granted the ‘King’s Flower’. Everybody has been saying that Crown Prince loves Lady Lidiana greatly”
It got exposed!!
Of course I’m talking about the ‘King’s Flower’ being seen there at that time.
Because I didn’t want to tell that story I specifically wore such a high-necked dress, and yet it all got ruined with this.
The young ladies who were given the finest bait, looked at me all at once. Their eyes are shining just like starved beast’s. Scary!!
“I have also heard of that rumor!”
While raising her hand, Siris joined in.
“Lady Lidiana is wearing a high-necked dress today, so I was wondering about its veracity! After all the rumor was true!”
“Yeah, it was a splendid blue rose”
I find Miriallia who answered hateful.
What’s with that child. Did she come to trouble me.
I thought we’d manage to finish without it being touched upon, and yet just what has she done.
“Lady Lidiana! Please tell us that story in detail!!”
… Marianne’s eyes are sparkling.
When she’s like this, Marianne will never stop.
I breathed out in resignation. Escaping is no longer possible.
It was at that moment I understood how celebrities being interviewed on-the-spot while surrounded by reporters feel.
“Lady Lidiana, do you have a moment?”
I went to entrance hall to see off the young ladies, when Miriallia called out to me.
The tea party, that became a barrage of question afterwards, somehow ended without an incident.
After all Marianne is amazing.
To extract information she wanted to hear she had me in the palm of her hand, ultimately she made me reveal various things leaving me in a near-death state.
In spite of this, Miriallia kept asking questions that aroused her interest. I was at my wits’ end against their combined play.
… I don’t want to host tea parties for the time being anymore.
As all the young ladies got on carriages to head home, only Miriallia was left.
I thought she’d go home together with Marianne, but looks like it’ll be different.
“Somehow or other”
As I tilted my head, not understanding why she chose this timing, after looking hesitant for a little while, she spoke with determination.
Her eyes were frightfully earnest.
“Does Lady Lidiana… love Crown Prince?”
I became lost for words as she went straight to the point.
Looking at her face I finally realized.
Why she used such forceful measures to meet me despite the fact we shouldn’t have interacted before.
―――― She likes Freed.
Seriously at that.
Having until now observed women swarm around him only due to his status or appearance, I understand.
The firm glint in her eyes is more earnest.
Looking at her who was fixedly staring at me, I relaxed my body.
If she’s serious about liking Freed, I’d be rude to strangely mislead her.
I should face her seriously without lying.
Thinking so, I once again faced her.
“… I have a favorable impression of His Highness. That much is true. But, if asked whether I love him, I still can’t answer clearly”
Being frankly informed of my current feelings, her eyes opened wide.
“You don’t… love… Crown Prince?”
“I won’t declare that, but everything happened too suddenly for me to keep up. I am going to face His Highness without rushing from now on”
I’m thinking about Freed properly. However, as I honestly told her that I need more time, she looked me with eyes that seemed like they were seeing something unbelievable.
“Even given ‘King’s Flower’….? Am I… so much”
Seeing Miriallia’s strange state I tried approaching, but she suddenly drew back and bowed. I had a hunch her tightly clenched fists trembled.
Wondering what’s wrong I tried approaching, but Miriallia she spoke to reject me.
“… Excuse me, Lady Lidiana. This is all. Thank you for today”
I could not say anything more to her who spoke as if stifling her emotions.
She turned on her heel and silently boarded a carriage, while I saw her off, she looked back only once, in her eyes was intense emotion, that seemed like fury, directed at me.
I don’t know why in the world she got angry.
The first thing that comes to mind is jealousy, but I feel it’s slightly different.
“I don’t really hate her… I wonder if I offended her”
Was it bad to speak honestly.
But, I don’t want to lie to a child who’s earnest about him.
That’s why I don’t regret it.
“… After all, I wonder if it’s my fate to be hated by this type of young ladies”
Crestfallen, I returned to my room with my shoulders dropped.