She and the Audience 1
Escorted by Freed, I entered a room near the audience hall.
I thought we’d go directly to the audience hall, so I tilted my head at the unexpected development.
“Freed? Aren’t we going to the audience?”
The room I was brought to wasn’t a simple waiting room.
Briefly put it’s a room with various uses. This room is clearly designed to entertain noble visitors. And, it’s the highest class.
It’s a room where spaciousness is prioritized. The walls are decorated by many paintings of prominent artists, in the middle is a beautifully ornate antique table and a matching set of chairs.
A vase on the level of a national treasure, that’s so large one could barely wrap their arms around it, is generously decorated with fresh flowers according to its original purpose.
The windows are large, because it’s the first floor one can go outside as is. The curtains are one-of-a-kind item that were probably diligently made by the top craftsman of this country.
Inadvertently I looked at the carpet spread out below. The deep crimson damask carpet was embroidered with ample golden thread.
I think even the parlor in my home doesn’t have such a first class carpet.
… This is unmistakably royalty-class room for noble visitors.
“The schedule is for Prince Maximilian to come here after finishing greetings with Esteemed Father”
Freed readily answered to my natural doubt.
“It’s also Esteemed Father’s consideration, just as much as it’s Prince Maximilian’s wish. Instead of congratulations at a formal audience, he wants to talk over tea without reservations…”
“… The Crown Prince of Sahaja does?”
At my look of distrust, Freed smiled with interest.
“Right, the Crown Prince of Sahaja does. I couldn’t believe my ears. We’re talking about that man, I think he just wants to observe Lidi from up close”
“Has His Majesty accepted it with me in mind?”
“Yup, it’s Lidi’s first contact with diplomacy. He said it’s better than a formal gathering”
Certainly, for me who only has the position of a fiancée, suddenly finding myself in a position next to Freed in the audience hall would be too high of a hurdle.
In that respect, I’m grateful it’s a lighthearted tea party for such a reason. Thinking so, I looked up at Freed.
“… I’m saved, but is it fine for Freed not to go to the audience?”
When I asked if he shouldn’t be doing greeting together with the King, Freed said it’s alright and touched my cheek.
“It’s not like it’s our first meeting, Prince Maximilian also said he’s fine with it. I’m not going to make Lidi wait alone…”
I feel safe together, with the prince in a military uniform laughing so and stroking my cheek, I felt dizzy.
I wonder if I’ll have the nerve during the tea party. I have to stop this throbbing.
Rather that from meeting the Crown Prince of Sahaja, I’ll behave suspiciously from looking at Freed’s figure in the military uniform.
“I’ll protect Lidi. So, don’t worry about anything”
Perhaps misunderstanding something, Freed clasped my hand saying so.
These are reassuring words, but it’s not what I’m worried about.
I’m anxious about my fascination with the military uniform causing something awful.
But, unsurprisingly that’s too stupid. Unable to come up with an excuse I reluctantly nodded, only for Freed to continue talking under a complete misunderstanding.
“In reality there’s nothing to be overly worried about. It shouldn’t be strange even if you’re stiff from nervousness, but speaking of Lidi, you’d rather be fidgety over being fascinated over my appearance, but that’s just out of question”
“So you were worried about that?”
It seems my circumstances got perfectly exposed.
… It’s too much for me to argue back.
As I let out a dry laugh, Freed’s expression suddenly turned serious and he said.
“I think Lidi will manage well. That’s the truth. But, I’ll say it as many times as it takes, please take utmost care”
He’s the Crown Prince of a foreign country that may start war at any time. Of course I must be cautious. I also tightened my expression and nodded.
I tried to consciously change my mood. I strongly told my brain that’s it’s not the time for the military uniform festival.
Noticing my expression change, Freed slipped out a chuckle.
At that timing a knock resounded.
“Your Highness Friedrich. I have brought the Crown Prince of Sahaja, His Highness Maximilian”
The voice is Duke Pellegrini’s. Will and Glenn’s father, and Foreign Minister. It seems he himself guided the Crown Prince this far, without relying on court ladies.
When the door open the Duke stepped from the center and bowed.
From behind came an imposing personage.
Straight silver hair is the first thing that caught my attention. An adult man with clean-cut body.
I immediately understood he’s the Crown Prince of Sahaja, His Highness Maximillian from his refined movements. As I took a look at him, my breathing stopped.
Stiff like wires straight hair with dull silver luster reaches around halfway down his back. The piercing eyes directed this way are dark gray as in the documents.
He’s tall and has a slender physique. His look gives a chilly impression. The expression directed here eloquently speaks of how he’s not an ordinary person.
His well-featured looks are like a sculpture, but inside him lurks cold-heartedness that rejects others.
But what surprised me was not his beauty.
I’m sorry for the rerun, but it was his appearance.
His attire is perhaps the national formal wear of Sahaja.
He’s wearing a black jacket with an open collar.
A slender hourglass silhouette. Underneath is a pullover shirt with a matching black necktie. With the length of four buttons the jacket is short, it stops at a belt high at his waist.
Below are horse-riding pants with a slight bulge, of the same color as the jacket. To match them, he’s wearing polished long boots.
My eyes are glued to the attire I’ve seen somewhere before.
… This… is exactly like that uniform, isn’t it?
I silently did a double-take, then triple-take and muttered in my mind.
The formal wear adorning Crown Prince Maximilian of Sahaja is too similar to what I know.
The uniform of the Protection Squadron of a certain country from my previous life. The so-called black uniform.
There are some who are dedicated fans, some people say it’s the world’s most stylish military uniform. (To be precise it’s not a military uniform)
Of course details are different since he’s royalty. As a matter of course the fabrics used are first-class.
But, the overall impression is truly the same.
I only knew scraps about Sahaja. Naturally, I wasn’t aware of the royal formal wear.
Wow… this is the formal wear of Sahaja.
Our Wilhelm’s formal wear is also a military uniform. Thinking about it, it’s only natural that the formal wear of the completely militaristic country Sahaja would also be a military uniform.
But, more importantly, this is indeed it.
Amazing… I can only say the real thing is as expected the most stylish in the world.
The impact of the real thing is staggering.
It goes well with the stiff impression of the Crown Prince of Sahaja.
In my previous life, I feel there were many people with blond hair and blue eyes in that squadron.
In that sense, it’s disappointing Crown Prince Maximilian has silver hair!! A bit more! is what I want to say.
No, then I might as well have Freed wear it.
It will definitely extremely suit him.
It’s sure to give me a nosebleed. It’s the peak of sights for sore eyes.
I wonder if he’ll wear it next time if I have something with a similar feeling made. I’m truly considering it.
Unconsciously I fixedly observed Crown Prince Maximilian’s military uniform and imagined how Freed would look wearing it, when the Crown Prince shifted his eyes to me, perhaps noticing my impolite gaze.
In a fluster I cast down my eyes and bowed.
No good, no good. A bad habit came out.
I inadvertently imagined Freed wearing that uniform and what’s more smiling.
While my cold sweat flowed in drops with my head hung, a low voice resounded. It’s baritone slightly lower than Freed’s. If the voice was a little gentler, I’d receive a great shock, alas it’s regrettable.
“It’s been a long time, Prince Friedrich. Has it been since you threw our country’s soldiers in panic… hm?”
The voice came from Crown Prince Maximilian’s direction.
I solidified from surprise at the abrupt line. No one could have seen it coming.
After all he’s a prince of the enemy country, I steeled myself.
The door was closed, now it’s really only us three, Freed, me, and Crown Prince Maximilian.
I was nervous whether it’s alright, but both of them had relaxed expressions unlike mine.
As I sent a fleeting glance at Freed, he soothed me with his eyes that it’s alright.
It might be the usual thing between those two, so I also let the tension out of my shoulders a little.
But, as they continued with Freed’s reply, I stiffened again.
“That’s right. It’s been two years already. Since your country has been thoroughly beaten by ours. It looks like you’ve been quiet afterwards, has the Second Prince’s wound healed already?”
I thought Crown Prince Maximilian’s line was harsh, but Freed’s didn’t lose to it.
With a radiant smile Freed spewed venom. I felt like the air around grew cold.
Or rather, what kind of audience is it when they’re like this as soon as they meet. There’s zero friendship between them.
“Hmph, you’re the same as ever. The Second Prince of our country is still having nightmares about you. Thanks to it he’s completely useless”
Laughing scornfully, Crown Prince Maximilian with a barely audible footsteps quickly sat down on the prepared seat.
Jeez, things are too different from expectations.
When we sat down and had the tea prepared, those two continued their talk.
Meanwhile, my existence was completely ignored. The severe neglect makes me want to cry a little.
… If I remember correctly, that person had expressly asked for me.
“Even if you tell me that. Are you still feigning ignorance in front of your father, the King? I don’t think it’s something you can reasonably hide”
“Unnecessary concern. I don’t intend to let the opportunity to remove my country’s pus slip by. When the time comes, I’ll move”
Freed replied to Crown Prince Maximilian who spoke dispassionately with a sigh.
“I see. I’m completely fine with you all ruining yourselves, but I’d be saved if the scope wasn’t such that’d trouble our country. Save me the pain”
“I wonder. Why should I care about Wilhelm?”
Freed knitted his beautiful eyebrows a little as Crown Prince Maximilian let out a low laugh from his throat.
“… You know if you play too much, I’ll also be forced to get off my ass?”
“It seems Prince Friedrich will soon marry. Nobody knows what will happen on the battlefield, so I think it’s better to not show up”
“Who’s saying that. There’s no problem even if it’s whole Sahaja. If they’re too big of an eyesore, I’ll freely mow them down”
Shifting his sharp gaze to Freed for a moment, Crown Prince Maximilian thinly smiled. When the prince with the chilly impression smiled, I felt even more scared.
“… As expected, the flawless Crown Prince sure is unusual. But, don’t think it’ll go so smoothly. I’m different from my younger brother or father”
“You’re right. I think it’ll be troublesome if you become a king”
I could do nothing but vacantly watch over their conversation alone.
A violent exchange of words soaked with deeper meanings. It’s completely different from the audience I’d expected.
I took a small breath, with their exchange where neither would give an inch before my eyes.
… I’d never expected they’d begin without introductions.
I’m sorry I made a selfish prediction, but it’s more or less a formal visit. Introduce yourselves and greet each other with a calm mood.
Lightly converse and finish… I thought that’s the ordinary flow.
Or rather, that’s normal. Such a bloodthirsty audience, or rather tea party, who could have imagined it.
… I was naïve.
A carefree conversation over tea? Not at all.
It seems neither intended to feign friendliness. They’re saying all they have to say.
They’re close… I wonder if I can say that. No, that’s wrong.
Perhaps they’re on horrible terms. Thinking about it, that’s natural.
Oh well, I reconsidered with a sigh.
As a matter of fact, I’m grateful they’re having the conversation between themselves.
Like this I won’t stand out.
Just as told, I thought of staying quiet.