She and the Audience 2
I decided to leave the conversation to them and enjoy the tea.
To hell with the audience. Let’s enjoy the delicious tea.
Leaving the two alone, I drank tea before it got cold and looked towards the sweets served with tea.
Various sweets are beautifully arranged on the table. Among them I chose a chocolate cake and ate it. Gentle sweetness with a hint of bitterness spread, it was delicious, to a surprising degree.
Spontaneously I let out a sigh of admiration.
I know it’s a bad habit to think of how it was made, but I can’t stop being curious about it.
I’m enraptured by the elaborate recipe.
As expected of royal cooks. Their abilities are impressive.
The next thing I took from the plate was a baked sweet.
As soon as I nibbled on it, I opened my eyes wide at the remarkably light texture.
The moderate sweetness further drew out appetite.
It’s exactly the state of mind where I can’t stop.
And well, this is again a masterpiece. Wonderful.
I’d completely started having fun, in high spirits I reached out for chocolate.
… Wow, this is also delicious.
The moment I put it into my mouth the chocolate gently melted on the tongue.
It felt like my entire body lost strength from the mellow fragrance of cocoa together with the calculated superb sweetness. I’m excited.
Bravo. As expected, the sweets prepared for the tea party with the Crown Prince are totally different.
Even this chocolate’s flavor is subtly different, as expected it speaks of the delicate making process that cut no corners.
I’m lost for words. Perfect. Perfekt work.
I just single-mindedly chewed. And picked up the cup.
Ah, I have no more tea. I have to get a refill.
… Delish. The best.
And while I was enjoying the tea party at my own pace, before I realized the voices of those two that I had been hearing gradually settled down.
Wondering what’s up, with a delightful chocolate cake in my mouth I raised my head, to see two crown princes look at me with dumbfounded faces.
I hurriedly chewed and swallowed the chocolate cake in my mouth.
Tilting my head I asked Freed.
“… Nnn… Is something the matter? Your Highness”
I was a little lost.
As I asked despite feeling so, Freed blinked his eyes.
He seemed a little embarrassed as he returned the question.
“Lidi… have you been eating all this time while we were talking?”
“… Yes… Is there any problem?”
“No, of course I don’t mind, but…”
I don’t think I’ve committed a breach of etiquette.
During conversations you should be free to eat and drink, and the two of them kept talking disregarding me.
If I had to say, I was free.
So I enjoyed the tea party alone so as to not be a hindrance, but I wonder if I did something wrong.
As I cocked my head in puzzlement not understanding the meaning, Crown Prince Maximilian directly stared at me as if I aroused his interest.
After all he’s an amazing beauty. He looks like a well-made ice stature.
It’s not to my taste, but there are people who’d find it irresistible.
… Fans of being verbally abused, and the likes.
“… Is that princess your fiancée”
“That’s right. You had requested her presence yourself, right? … My fiancée, Princess Lidiana”
The sharp voice was completely different from the one directed at me.
Even so, reluctantly Freed introduced me to Crown Prince Maximilian.
Relieved that my turn finally came, I spoke.
“The greetings have been delayed… I am Lidiana. Pleased to make your acquaintance, Your Highness the Crown Prince Maximilian”
“Princess Lidiana. If I remember correctly, the only daughter of the leading ducal house… I see”
The appraising gaze is unpleasant. Thinking so, I hung my head and looked down.
Freed sitting next to me raised a voice as if to restrain him.
“Could you not look at her with such extremely unpleasant eyes. I feel sick that my fiancée is being appraised”
“… Excuse my impoliteness. It’s become a bit of a habit. You also should understand, it’s an unfortunate result of being the Crown Prince”
Freed turned chilly eyes towards Prince Maximilian as he expressed an apology that couldn’t possibly be called one. It’s not the sweet voice I always hear, it’s a chilly voice that feels like it’ll cut you up.
“I wonder. Prince Maximilian, I’m aware you’re looking for Princess Consort yourself. I know Sahaja is greedy for what others have, but I’ll warn you first. If you want to succeed the throne safely, don’t get any strange ideas”
“You’re in quite high spirits, Prince Friedrich. Isn’t your infatuation above what rumors say. You’ve been obediently entertaining me with conversation since a while ago, was it because you didn’t want me to talk to your fiancée? What a big change for the Crown Prince who had no attachment to anyone”
“If you understand that, don’t displease me any more. Well, just have your Side Consorts serve you, I don’t think you who doesn’t care for who he embraces will understand my feelings”
Having clearly declared, Freed showed a cruel smile.
Crown Prince Maximilian nodded while looking at such Freed.
“I’m aware. Certainly, it’s undesirable to pick a fight with how you’re now. I want to be spared from losing ten thousand soldiers in an instant. But, was it Princess Lidiana. I like that nerve. I didn’t think there was a woman who, without shriveling, could leisurely enjoy sweets while we were talking”
Crown Prince Maximilian stared here as if observing me.
I can’t calm down. Somehow, I feel like a laboratory animal.
For now, I understood one thing.
Apparently, I shouldn’t have enjoyed the tea party alone.
But then, how should I have spent it.
Even though I was as quiet as I could be as told, how unreasonable.
“Or do I call it courage. Truly interesting…”
“Stop at that. I won’t forgive any more”
Freed flatly shut Crown Prince Maximilian.
Towards such him Maximilian nodded with hmm.
“Your fiancée will naturally attend tonight’s evening party, right”
“Unfortunately. If you know, why ask”
Though Freed frowned, Crown Prince Maximilian nodded with his complexion unchanged.
“I’m just reconfirming. Then, Prince Friedrich, would you lend me your fiancée tonight. I want to dance one piece by all means, but is there any problem?”
I’m fed up with the always chilly gaze being turned towards me.
No matter how beautiful he is, I absolutely hate the prospect of dancing with the man who has such eyes.
But, I recalled.
Certainly, did I not have to dance one piece with this man.
I have a hunch I was told that the day before yesterday when I received the explanation of the programme.
Realizing I hate it, inside my mind I hung my head crestfallen.
How simple would it be if I could refuse dancing him with a smile.
Even though I more than enough understood it’s impossible, I couldn’t let go of hope.
And, Crown Prince Maximilian didn’t miss my face twitch for an instant.
He opened eyes wide in interest and laughed kukuku. But, the depths of his eyes are calm.
That laughter was too appropriate, conversely, I drew back.
“Do you hate dancing with me so much, Princess Fiancée. It’s the first time I’m faced with such a reaction… Even though things may appear this way, I’m aware women like this face”
“… Excuse my impoliteness”
Crown Prince Maximilian is well aware of the worth of his face.
Well, that’s natural.
But, I wish he didn’t think everybody will fall in love with his beauty. At least I’d like to strongly insist that I’m not at all interested.
But, I can recognize the value of the military uniform at a glimpse. It’s marvelous.
I want to receive the pattern.
“She’s not interested in my face either. It’s a big mistake if you think you can make her fall with a face”
“Hou, it’s becoming more and more interesting”
At Freed’s words Crown Prince Maximilian narrowed his eyes.
I feel like the air around them is getting colder and colder. Even though the temperature control should be enough, is it my imagination that it’s cold enough to shiver.
“Prince Friedrich, let me dance with her by all means”
“From the start there was a plan for one piece. Knowing this, what’s your reason for purposely asking?”
“Boring. I just wanted to see how you’d react”
Shrugging his shoulder, Crown Prince Maximilian easily revealed his secret.
Freed scowled at him and breathed out.
“… You truly have a bad nature”
“I don’t want to be told that by you, who can destroy our army in a single blow”
“You reap what you sow. In the first place, it’s your side that’s always rushing first. I’m only protecting my country”
It’s time, like this Freed stood up. Crown Prince Maximilian nodded and did the same.
I couldn’t only have the two of them stand, so I also stood up right away.
Looking up at the clock on the wall, it’s about time to end the audience according to the schedule.
“You met her as you wished. If you finished your business, could you leave”
“That’s right. I have no intention of provoking you anymore. Very well, with this excuse me. Then, Princess Lidiana, I look forward to meeting you at the evening party”
“… Please treat me well”
Crown Prince Maximilian bowed, and with anticlimactic ease turned his back to us.
Together with Duke Pellegrini and the guards who had waited in front of the door, he gallantly left, just like he came.
The door closed.
I became alone with Freed. The moment I thought so I lost strength and again sat on the chair.
Having suffered from that man’s chilly sight and aura, fatigue overcame me.
“I’m… I’m tired…”
“Good job, Lidi”
Freed crouched down and grasped my limp hand. While gripping it back, I breathed out.
“… What a dreadful person”
“That’s why I said it. He’s a troublesome man. Are you okay?”
“… I’m fine. But what should I do. He might have taken interest in me”
Thinking I blundered I hung my heard, then Freed hugged me to comfort me.
“You see… I also wouldn’t have thought in my wildest dreams that Lidi would carefreely enjoy tea in that atmosphere”
Lidi, really, as Freed bitterly laughed that, I also felt depressed.
“… Then, should I have watched your faces in fascination?”
After all, being a woman, such an action would be more natural.
But, although I enjoyed the glimpses of Freed in the military uniform, Crown Prince Maximilian’s face wasn’t an enjoyable sight.
When I reproachfully looked up at Freed, he bitterly laughted that’s wrong and shook his head again.
“Don’t say impossible things. In the first place, Lidi didn’t show interest after the first look at Crown Prince Maximilian. Afterwards, you didn’t look at him either. That alone was enough to arouse that man’s interest”
“… Eh… After all, aside from the attire there was nothing noteworthy”
He’s a different type of a well-featured beauty than Freed, but I’m not interested in that cold face.
But, at least I could properly observe his attire.
When I spoke of that proudly, greatly perplexed, Freed said so there was that.
I can’t confess I was infatuated with Freed wearing that military uniform in my imagination, but I’m not reflecting. No matter the form, military uniforms are justice.
What’s wrong with being infatuated.
“Haa… Jeez, Lidi. You’re always exceeding my expectations… But, I had been opposed to it knowing that’d happen”
After all it turned troublesome, lamented Freed.
Even if I’m told that, I didn’t want to meet him either.
Thinking I have to meet him again at the evening party, I became depressed.
“… Hey, Freed. I understand it’s impossible, but do I have to dance with Crown Prince Maximilian?”
“Nn? Lidi hates Prince Maximilian?”
“I wouldn’t go that far, but I don’t like that sort of people”
I hate those terrifying eyes like ice.
He smiled a few times, but those absolutely weren’t his true feelings.
I understood by calmly observing how he reacted.
My real feelings leaked when I thought of how I don’t want to get too close to him.
Seeing such me, with an apologetic face Freed shook his head.
“Sorry. I also abhor it, but it’s already decided. However, let’s finish early and retire. How about relaxing in the bath in the Royal Palace to get rid of fatigue?”
“A bath. Might be good”
Certainly, I’d be healed with that. I was allowed to use the bath in the Royal Palace several times, it’s wide enough to swim. The only drawback is being accompanied by lots of court ladies, but a bath after this unpleasant thing will surely feel good.
“Then, today let’s get in together”
“It’s alright. I’ll remove court ladies, it’ll be only us two. No one else will look”
“No, that’s not it…”
I blanked out at Freed’s words.
Bath together? No way, bath play? I haven’t experienced that even in the previous life? Eh? No, in the first place is it okay?
No no, as expected Freed wouldn’t do such tomfoolery in the bath in the Royal Palace… I want to believe he wouldn’t.
As I panicked, Freed dropped a kiss on my cheek and stood up.
He held out a hand to me.
“Now then, we can have a little fun after the evening party, so let’s persevere a bit more? Leave it to me. No matter what happens I’ll protect Lidi. You can feel safe”
“Fun you say… I haven’t replied yet… Jeez”
Sweet yet serious words made me smile.
If Freed says so, it’ll be alright.
It feels natural that it’ll be fine if I’m at his side.
The bath too… Hmm, I’m embarrassed, but it can’t be helped.
“Yup, I believe you”
Taking the presented hand, I stood up.
Looking at Freed’s gentle smile, something filled my chest.
What’s with this itchy feeling.
As I looked at him in silence, he called out to me in a curious voice.
My gaze moved onto his lips. Seeing the thin, nicely tightened lips, somehow I felt like touching them.
Following this feeling, I put my hands on his chest and raised my heels.
Standing on tiptoes, with a smooch, I dropped a kiss that was no more than a peck.
As surprise overcame Freed, despite being a little bashful I smiled.
This might be the first time I did something one-sided like this.
Yup. Something like this isn’t bad once in a while.
It may be late, but how cute to see him turn slightly red – so I thought.