She and the Irvine Kingdom 7
We briefly returned to our rooms and again changed clothes, this time preparing for the evening party.
The evening party dress was violet, had a bodice ending under my bust, and was made from a soft material.
The fabric was light, making it ideal for a summer evening party.
Freed was wearing a similar evening party wear to what he wears in Wilhelm. It was very showy and a sight for sore eyes. Be that as it may, though not as much as the formal wear, he looked to be quite hot in it, after all. Men have it hard, I thought.
The evening party was buffet style, and tables full of Irvine cuisine were lined up. There were many fruits with flashy colors that can only be found in southern countries. Dishes served on large plates, such as pig roast or pheasant steamed in herbs, were crowding the tables.
The evening party began with the King and Prince Hendrik’s greetings and our introduction.
When I stepped ahead together with Freed, the place became noisy.
―― Fufu. Everyone is captivated by Freed’s coolness.
It’s natural for the wife to be proud when her husband is highly thought of. While I was gloating, Freed laughed a little.
“No. I just thought that you look proud for some reason, Lidi.”
“I’m feeling good that everybody is captivated by you, Freed.”
“Lidi, half of those looks are for you though?”
No matter how I look at it, it was an exaggeration. Anyway, I was satisfied to show off the husband I’m proud of to everyone. Music played, and Freed offered me his hand.
“Lidi, let’s dance… Is this piece alright?”
“Yup, it’s fine. Leave it to me.”
What I heard was a traditional piece from Irvine. Ballroom dancing is my strongest point. I’ve mastered not only pieces from my own country, but also traditional pieces from others.
Freed knows that I excel at dancing. He learned that when I danced with him before.
This piece wasn’t particularly difficult, so I was sure I’d be fine.
I’m not very good at physical exercise, but if it’s dancing, I can dance to any difficult piece. I confidently took his hand, and we moved to the dance floor. When we started dancing to the melody, I felt surroundings’ gazes gather on us.
Freed whispered to me.
“You really are skillful. I’m saved that you can dance to pieces from other countries as well.”
“It’s the result of Father’s education, I guess. Aside from that, I like dancing.”
Among the things crammed into me as a part of the Crown Princess education were pronunciation, dancing, manners, situation in foreign countries, knowledge, etc. Various things like that. Thanks to studying them since I was young, I’m not troubled by such things now that I became the Crown Princess.
When my marriage with Freed was definitely decided, I was glad from the bottom of my heart that I’d studied seriously despite having no intention of becoming the Crown Princess. Otherwise, I’d have a consort education forced on me in a rush. A hasty Crown Princess education isn’t an easy thing, so I was truly relieved I didn’t have to undergo it.
After flawlessly finishing one piece, we left the dance floor. At that time, I caught a glance of Brother’s figure.
As Freed’s close aide, he also participated in the evening party, but Brother didn’t seem like he intended to dance. Be that as it may, he’s the heir to the preeminent ducal house of Wilhelm, and moreover the Crown Prince’s close aide. Women were gathering around him.
Brother who avoided them with a calm expression on his face was like another person, but knowing that Brother’s façade is abnormally skillful, I decided to leave him be as always.
Freed only wryly smiled and didn’t move to help him either.
Or rather, it was natural, but more people were gathered around us than around Brother. Honestly, we had to do something about it.
“Both of you were wonderful at dancing. If you please, may I have a dance?”
Beginning with such invitational phrases, various men and women of all ages talked to us.
They must’ve wanted to get acquainted with the Crown Prince and Princess of a major country very much. I was nonplussed by the invitations coming one after another, but Freed was completely unperturbed, perhaps being used to it.
His arm was embracing my waist like it was natural.
“We’re still newlyweds. I’ve decided not to dance with anybody except my wife for a while. Of course, my wife doesn’t wish to dance with any men other than me either. It’s a trivial desire to monopolize, but please pardon it for tonight.”
“I-Is that so? I apologize for being unable to guess.”
When the Crown Prince of Wilhelm says what normally wouldn’t pass, it’s tolerated.
At Freed’s overly bold declaration, everybody nodded as if they were overpowered and hurriedly left.
Be that as it may, naturally not everybody was satisfied.
It’s obvious, but it was naturally a group of women.
The women, who seemed to be Irvine noblewomen, refused to back down even after Freed’s rejection. Predictably, being his wife, I received incessant envious gazes.
―― Hmm. It’s been a long time since I felt this.
I ignored the envious gazes that I hardly experience in Wilhelm anymore. Despite me being a foreign Crown Princess, tingling malicious gazes were directed at me.
―― Well, I admit Freed is just that wonderful.
Yup, yup. They can’t tolerate me monopolizing such a cool person, can they?
While nodding understandingly, I heard Freed’s worried voice.
“Lidi, are you okay?”
“Nn? I’m completely fine.”
“But, there are many unpleasant gazes, right? Sorry. It’s my fault… I’ll drive them away now.”
The sound of his voice made it easy to predict Freed would mercilessly crush the group of women thereafter, so I stopped him in a hurry.
“It’s fine. It wouldn’t be good to cause problems on the day of our arrival. I really don’t mind, and if anything, I think that they can just be envious if they want, so don’t do anything unnecessary.”
“But, I can’t forgive them for directing hostility at you, Lidi.”
“That feeling is enough.”
I wasn’t holding back or anything, I just thought it’d be a bother.
Freed perhaps understood that, as he nodded.
“Got it. But Lidi, if anybody acts against you with malicious intent, I won’t have mercy.”
“Sure enough, I wouldn’t protect them. Or rather, I wouldn’t stay silent either.”
Rather, I’d retaliate with all my power.
“Strangely, it hasn’t happened in Wilhelm lately, but after all, things change when in another country.”
“… Everybody in Wilhelm is well aware that I’m infatuated with you, Lidi.”
“I’ve heard the rumors spread to Irvine though?”
If I recall correctly, Prince Hendrik said that. Freed made a displeased face.
“They can’t know how true the rumors are, right? People may think they have a chance when it’s convenient for them.”
“It’s the same regardless of the country. Really, people are the same everywhere.”
Although I wasn’t happy about the shared point, I nodded deeply.
Anyway, I ignored the annoying yet harmless gazes and looked around. A little distance away there were Prince Hendrik and his wife, Ilya. Noticing my gaze, Ilya happily waved to me.
“… Freed. I want to go to Ilya.”
“Yeah, Hendrik doesn’t seem to be talking with anyone right now. Okay. Let’s go over there.”
When I pulled Freed’s sleeve and pleaded, he readily nodded. We escaped from the circle of people and went to where Prince Hendrik and Ilya were.
“Yo, you’re as popular as ever. But, you agreed to dance with whoever wanted before. Has having a wife changed you, after all?”
Angry about Prince Hendrik’s teasing tone, Freed said.
“Don’t compare me to when I didn’t care about anything. Now I have my beloved wife, Lidi, so I can’t afford to care about anyone else.”
“It’s just a dance.”
“What if Lidi ended up dancing with some man after I accepted an invitation by a young lady I didn’t care about?”
Prince Hendrik lightly answered Freed, who was complaining with a serious face.
“What would you do… Isn’t one piece alright? It’s only a few minutes, right?”
“I see. That means you wouldn’t care if Princess Ilya danced with somebody?”
“What are you saying? There’s no way I’d let Ilya dance with another man!”
“… I feel like I witnessed an extreme about-face.”
When I unconsciously slipped in a retort, Freed agreed, “Hendrik is such a guy.”
My eyes met with Ilya’s. I showed her a nod and asked Prince Hendrik.
“Um, may I talk with Ilya?”
“Yeah, of course. Ilya too has been looking forward to talking with you. She’s usually gloomy about evening parties, but only today she was positive. She was overjoyed to meet her friend, you. If you want to talk together, you should go out on the balcony. Nobody goes there.”
I thanked Prince Hendrik and this time told Freed.
“I’m off for a moment.”
“Got it. Take care.”
I nodded to Freed, who was making an anxious face, and went towards the balcony with Ilya.
As Prince Hendrik said, there was nobody there. It seemed we could finally talk leisurely.
“Ilya. Once again, long time no see. I’m happy to meet you.”
When I greeted her, Ilya sweetly smiled.
“Me too. I never expected you to come to Irvine, so I’m incredibly happy.”
Her obviously delighted expression and words made me spontaneously break into a smile.
Thanks to being alone, we talked about all sorts of things.
As I’d asked, Freed seemed to have written about Ms. Tithi in a letter to Prince Hendrick. Ilya told me she had been very surprised hearing that from Prince Hendrik.
“I didn’t think Sister Tithi would be in Wilhelm…”
“Yup. Ms. Tithi was surprised too. I was also astonished to hear you were acquaintances.”
When I told her so while giggling, Ilya said with a serious look.
“I thought that even the meeting with Rena was a miracle. Lidi, thanks. Sister Tithi had left the island long ago. I’d been worried not knowing her whereabouts, so I was happy to learn where she was.”
“I’m glad then. Honestly, I thought we wouldn’t be able to talk until we met at the international conference. But Ilya, I wasn’t sure if you’d come, and I wanted to let you know as soon as possible.”
I’d thought that Ilya would be pleased to hear about Ms. Tithi, but she was pleased beyond my expectations. It was worthwhile to ask Freed a big favor.
“And… There’s one more thing I need to tell you, Ilya.”
I lowered my voice. Realizing it was a secret talk, Ilya came closer. I quietly whispered into her ear.
“… Ms. Philia seems to currently be in Sahaja.”
Ilya looked at me with a startled face.
She must not have expected it. While concealing Ms. Delris’s identity, I explained it to her.
“My fortune-teller friend divined it. Um… Fortune-telling may sound suspicious, but my friend is almost one hundred percent accurate. Anyway, the divination was only that accurate about her current location, but I have no doubt that she’s there.”
“I don’t mind if you don’t believe me, but――”
My explanation turned strange.
Who would be convinced when told that she was divined to be in Sahaja?
I know Ms. Delris, so I could unconditionally believe in that information, but not knowing about her, it was unlikely Ilya would be convinced.
―― I wonder if I made a mistake here…