She and the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country 1
Ah hurry up, I want to be released from this pain.
Before my eyes, the owner of a beautiful face smiled with only his mouth.
It’s His Highness the Crown Prince Maximilian.
What a misfortune that I had to be his dance partner, I sighed in my mind.
No matter how unwilling I was, time heartlessly passed by.
After the audience finished, I took a little breather, then was changed into the attire for the evening party and moved to the location of the evening party hosted by the Royal Palace.
The evening party hosted by the Royal Palace is different from those organized by nobles every weekend, it gave off a somehow graceful aura. The tingling air has no feeling of frivolousness, I have more favorable impression of it compared to most evening parties I know.
Of course, this sort of occasion emphasizes ‘formality’.
The ‘Rules of evening parties’ I’d heard of from Father naturally don’t apply to such occasions.
These rules only apply to evening parties where younger men and women gather, everybody tacitly understands that.
The high society of this country is not so sweet as to let a fool who doesn’t understand that survive, is what I was told.
The sparkling chandelier is beautiful. In the opened banquet hall of the castle a great number of people gathered.
Perhaps because they’d heard foreign royalty is coming, I feel everyone is dressed more passionately than usual. As I caught a glimpse of Crown Prince Maximilian, he seems too occupied to pay attention to me.
As for me in the midst of that, I was perfectly surrounded by people.
Freed is next to me as if it’s natural, and strictly holding the spot.
Since we entered the venue, he’s tried not to leave my side even for a moment. You could say it’s natural that as the result people would circle around us.
Freed is responding to nobles who come to greet us with a smile on his face.
Naturally I can only respond with a smile together with him, but I feel depressed thinking of what will happen afterwards.
A little away Crown Prince Maximilian is talking with prominent nobles of our country.
Thinking I have to dance one piece with that man after this fills me with gloom.
I learned during the day that I find that Crown Prince hard to deal with, I completely hate to dance with him.
Of course, I won’t do something so unseemly like letting these feelings show.
Keeping a fake friendly smile, I’m quietly staying at Freed’s side.
At any rate, I thought.
Since I’d been absent from evening parties whenever I’d hear Freed’s coming, being hardly present in public I came to be called a phantom beast of high society, but what a fate for a day to come when I’m smiling next to the person himself.
It can’t be helped since I’ll be marrying Freed, but you can truly never know what fate has in store.
Among nobles there are many who see my face for the first time, nobles who tried to sell their faces and names even if a little came to Freed and me one after another.
Some of them are naturally trying to test me.
They greet Freed while waiting for my introduction, then begin from offering congratulations on the engagement.
“Congratulations on the engagement. I have always been under His Excellency the Prime Minister’s care, but does Lady Lidiana know of me?”
Saying that, he didn’t give his name on purpose. Since a while ago those guys have been coming in droves.
Perhaps he wants to shame Father by hearing me say I don’t know, or perhaps laugh at the shameful sight of me relying on Freed, but how dares he pick a fight with me.
Now too Freed signaled me with eyes, but I shook my head a little to say there’s no need to worry.
“Of course I do. Count Bälz. The pottery made in your county is famous. There is no way I would not know… Ah, come to think of it, Father has mentioned he would like to acquire new tea utensils soon. We have received new tea, so the time is just right to search for tea utensils”
I looked at him with a meaningful gaze.
As I mentioned his name, and while at it pottery the Count is proud of, his reaction changed in the blink of an eye.
“His Excellency the Prime Minister has! Thank you very much. I will go greet him at once”
“Is that so. I believe Father will be delighted”
The previous attitude of trying to test me out was easily flipped over, to obtain the order the Count said his farewells and briskly walked away.
By the way, I gave a similar talk to a viscount proud of his pottery.
It’s true Father mentioned wanting new utensils for tea, so he probably won’t mind.
About now, they should be competing for Father’s attention. Wahahaha.
“Lidi… What a graceful way to drive him off”
“What might you be talking about, Your Highness. I have not uttered a lie”
There are still people around.
As I maintained a bad smiling face that feigned friendliness, Freed next to me whispered in a low voice.
It’s the dance with Crown Prince Maximilian that I’m steeling myself against. This much is no problem. I want to release a little stress.
When I turned away with a hmph, I heard little laughter over my head. Damn it, he laughed.
“It seems Marquis Muller prepared an interesting show for tonight. Are you looking forward to it?”
“Yes. I have heard from a friend Marquis employed an unusual singer. It’s about that, right”
“Yup, it seems he’s bringing the rumored singer tonight. If we manage to stay here until then, let’s enjoy it together”
“If we manage to stay… is it?”
“Right… We’re retiring early to take a bath, aren’t we?”
As he told me in a soft voice close to my ear, I choked for words. I’m troubled he succeeded in such a surprise attack.
Seeing my reaction Freed happily smiled.
“Fufu, I’m looking forward to it. Now, unfortunately it’s time. Go. I’ll be watching, dying of jealousy”
As Freed said that with a serious face, I spontaneously sighed.
The time he spoke of course refers to the dance with Crown Prince Maximilian.
“You already know that, right? I can’t help that I truly hate it”
As I looked bitterly at Freed, in the corner of the eye I saw a figure of a man coming here.
It goes without saying it’s Crown Prince Maximilian. He changed into clothes for the evening party, coupled with the color of his hair he looks like a sparkling noble youth. Even with same silver hair, there’s a great difference from Brother.
The circle of people who surrounded us naturally split as if to usher him in.
Crown Prince Maximilian came close to us and elegantly greeted us.
“Prince Friedrich. As promised, I’ll borrow your fiancée”
“I understand, I entrust her to you”
With no regards for his inner thoughts Freed readily nodded to Crown Prince Maximilian’s words.
Then, I reluctantly took the presented hand.
One piece, only one piece. Then I can get away from that man.
I persuaded myself and got psyched up.
Escorted by Crown Prince Maximilian, I advanced glidingly to the center of the dance floor.
What I heard was waltz that I’m experienced in. Relieved, I moved my feet.
As I began dancing with the rhythm, I heard an impressed hou from before my eyes.
I raised my gaze, only to meet the chilly dark gray eyes.
I don’t know what he’s thinking.
“Seems you can dance better than I expected. I’m relieved”
“… I am much obliged”
Geh, don’t talk to me.
I better not say something tactless, having decided to keep silent as much as possible, I only bluntly thanked him.
Ah jeez, I want to quickly get it over with.
While thinking that I detest trouble, I focused on single-mindedly dancing.
And yet, unaware, Crown Prince persistently continued talking.
“Princess Lidiana… was it”
If I’m spoken to I have to reply.
As I reluctantly answered, Crown Prince Maximilian fixedly stared at me.
“From up close you look more and more beautiful. I’m truly envious that Prince Friedrich will welcome such a beautiful woman as a wife”
My face cramped at the unbelievable line.
He absolutely shouldn’t be thinking that. Because his eyes are as chilly as ever.
It’s not a seductive face. Only his mouth has the shape of a smile, but I simply can’t trust it.
“I still haven’t taken Princess Consort as a wife. It’d be good if I had a fiancée like Princess… Ah, that’s right, shall I steal Princess from that Prince instead”
I understand it’s a shot at lip service to me who’s Freed’s fiancée.
Maybe that’s why it’s completely different from the expression he directed at Freed some time ago.
Just as I or Brother have hidden sides, this Crown Prince too has various faces.
But, the purposeful smile doesn’t resonate with my heart at all.
Still, it doesn’t seem like this for the women who gathered at today’s evening party.
When the Crown Prince with a stiff impression narrows his eyes and smiles, even if it’s a lie he’s beautiful enough to be enchanting.
Sighs of admiration from women observing us leaked all at once.
I want to bitterly smile at Freed’s situation.
Well, it’s not like I don’t understand that feeling.
Certainly, a beauty is a beauty.
However, this expression directed at me right now. It can only be seen as him looking down on me.
Although it’s a lip service, I wonder if he thinks he can make a woman fall for him with a smile since he’s beautiful.
Thinking so I scrunched my eyebrows a little, and perhaps noticing it, Crown Prince Maximillian made an interested expression.
“I see. If I say this much, most women would at least blush. After all is Lidiana uninterested in this face?”
“No, that sort of conclusion is…”
After all he was testing me.
Who’d be delighted understanding they were made fun of.
But, he’s a guest of honor. The Crown Prince of a neighboring country. I can’t say anything rude.
As I sank into silence, unable to say anymore, Prince Maximilian continued while magnificently dancing.
“I thought Princess was interesting at the time of the audience. You truly seem uninterested in me though. Is your fiancé so much better? I don’t think I’ve ever been rejected like this yet”
He keeps staring fixedly at me while dancing.
Those eyes again. The unpleasant eyes evaluating people.
“What a silly talk. I would not dare to compare”
I compared military uniforms!! I shouted in my heart.
However, now both are in the evening wear. Those are outside my area of interest.
“I see. Unperturbed. Huh. A woman who declawed that man. I wondered what kind of evil woman it was, but not bad. There’s no sex appeal, but a discerning eye could lose his heart in love… huh”
No sex appeal, that was uncalled for.
While shocked by the lines Crown Prince Maximilian spat out, that I’m not quite sure are praise or insults, I prayed from the bottom of my heart for this piece to end quickly.