She and the Fourth Day
The fourth day since coming to Irvine.
As promised, I went on a date with Freed in the afternoon.
The location was a beach near the Royal Palace. We walked down the road along the beach while observing it.
Brother seemed busy today, so Cain was our only escort. Our escort soldiers know Cain’s face and that his ability is certified by Freed. At first, they were hesitant to let us have only one escort, but all of them had helped with the Japanese café, so in the end they backed down quite easily.
There was also the fact that Freed is stronger than anyone. Freed and Cain. With these two, nothing should happen to me.
Be that as it may, it’s not like the escort soldiers were free from work. They were asked to guard Brother, my court ladies, and the rooms.
I’d be troubled if anything happened to the court ladies taking care of me, and while Brother can fight, he’s not a military officer. It was a natural arrangement.
“There’s a lot of people.”
The beach recommended to Freed by Prince Hendrik was brimming with people enjoying the ocean, probably because the season was summer. People spread towels on the sandy beach, wore light clothes, and enjoyed beach activities. Some had even taken out small boats and were fishing, so there probably were fishing grounds nearby. It looked more like a job than a hobby. The people in the water were mostly men, women were simply watching them from the beach, but they still looked to have fun doing things like building sandcastles or gathering shells.
Some people were using barbeque-like equipment.
I was unable to take off my eyes from the curious sight not seen in the Royal Capital of Wilhelm. I recalled ‘beach activities’ from my previous life a little. Of course, it was completely different from what I was seeing currently, but I still connected them.
“… I want to play watermelon splitting.”
“N-No. It’s nothing.”
I unintentionally uttered what I recalled, but I held my tongue in a fluster.
At the very least, I had never seen a watermelon in Wilhelm. Maybe they can be found in Irvine, but I didn’t know if the name ‘watermelon’ would be understood, so I reflected that I shouldn’t blurt out strange things.
“Sorry. I just recalled my ‘previous’. There was no deep meaning behind it.”
“…. Then it’s fine.”
At such times I’m glad I talked with Freed about my previous life.
Since Cain was near, I used the word ‘previous’, but it seemed Freed understood it.
I pulled myself together and took Freed’s hand. It was a date after all, so isn’t walking while holding hands a standard?
“It’s a date, isn’t it? Or is it no good in another country?”
“No way. I wouldn’t say that, right?”
For an instant I thought I’d be told that we better refrain from holding hands because we were in another country, but after all, it’s not something Freed would say.
Well, Freed is eager for sex no matter the time, so I couldn’t imagine him saying anything against holding hands.
While thinking about such things, I put strength into the hand connected with him.
It was natural, but no one here knew our faces.
Yesterday, Raid and Edward, whose identity is known, had attracted attention, but today it was only the three of us. With the exception of very high ranking nobles, it’s normal not to know the faces of foreign royals.
It was very fun to have a date without anybody realizing our identities.
Be that as it may, countless women we passed by turned their heads seeing Freed’s beauty.
I didn’t care since it was the usual thing.
My husband is cool, so it can’t be helped.
The temperature in Irvine was quite high today, the heat was appropriate for the middle of the summer.
I wore a wide-brimmed hat and chose long sleeves to prevent my skin being burned, but the heat was difficult.
Sometimes, the ocean breeze blew, but it didn’t amount to much, so the heat gradually took away my strength.
“Lidi, are you okay?”
When I let out a small breath, Freed peered into my face worriedly. I made a smile and answered.
“Yup, I’m fine. The Irvine heat just exceeded my expectations, so I was surprised.”
“Yeah, the first time is really surprising. But, it’ll get hotter. The summer in Irvine is only beginning.”
“It’ll get hotter?”
Even now it was so hot it was exhausting, so I want to be spared from anything beyond that.
“I’m glad I was born in Wilhelm… Viva la Wilhelm…”
I’m truly glad to have been born in Wilhelm where the weather is mild all the year round. And while at it, I’m glad to have married into the royalty so I can live in the castle where the temperature is perfectly controlled with magical arts.
My body, used to a comfortable life, cannot stand abrupt temperature changes.
“Well, the witch may desire that medicinal herb because it grows in such a country.”
“… You’re right.”
Somehow it sounded convincing that the medicinal herb that grows at the height of Irvine summer is an ingredient of the stamina recovery medicine. It can withstand this heat. Of course it can also recover stamina.
Cain, who had been silent until then, pointed his finger to the right. A quite dangerous-looking cliff was there.
“What about that cliff?”
“There’s a medicinal herbs colony over there. I checked it out last night. I could’ve picked them, but Princess, you wouldn’t like that, right?”
It was an important job I wanted to do together with Freed. Somehow, it felt wrong to have Cain do it instead. Of course, Cain being with us wasn’t a problem though.
“It wouldn’t be good if you did it by yourself.”
“I thought so too, so I only checked out the location.”
Cain seemed to have seen through what I was thinking.
I wondered if it wouldn’t be dangerous to get close to the cliff’s edge, but it was a needless worry. As Cain had said, a colony was there, and it had enough medicinal herbs that we didn’t need to approach the cliff edge. Even though they’re called medicinal herbs, the seeds are what seems to have medicinal properties.
The small violet flowers were lovely, so I could understand if they were what we needed, but we only needed the seeds. Not flowers.
“Alright, let’s do our best gathering!”
I put on the prepared working gloves and, checking flower by flower, gathered seeds. The small, semi-circular seeds were cute.
I gathered seeds alongside Freed.
The summer sun was blazing down on us. It was quite harsh, and I was dripping with sweat.
Still, it was for my own sake, so I did my very best.
While I was gathering seeds, Freed, who was doing the same thing behind me, called out to me.
“Yesterday afternoon, I asked Hendrik about Princess Ophelia.”
“About Raid? Aah, perhaps about why she dresses like a man or something like that?”
It’s understandable that Freed, who hadn’t known anything about Raid, asked his friend, Prince Hendrik, about the situation. Freed nodded to my question, tossed the collected seeds into a jute bag, and spoke.
“Princess Ophelia seems to have been like this ever since he could remember. Be that as it may, just as I didn’t know, she seems to skillfully keep appearances to foreigners. When meeting foreign dignitaries, the Princess is able to deceive them by dressing and acting femininely, which is why we didn’t know. When I asked him about why we hadn’t known, he said, ‘It’s too disgraceful, I didn’t want to be the one saying it.’ It seems only people from the country knew.”
It was roughly as expected. Without stopping my hands gathering the seeds, I listened to Freed.
“Hendrik seemed worried about what Princess Ophelia would do upon meeting you, Lidi. When I talked about ‘Raid’, he was surprised. By the way, when I told him you had become friends, he made an incredulous face. Normally, it would be a little unthinkable. She has hardly any allies in the Royal Palace, and the only one on her side is her personal guardian knight. Hendrik and the King and Queen love and cherish Princess Ophelia, but the same can’t be said about her surroundings. People in the Royal Palace seem to call her names like mannish princess behind her back.”
That woman called Kate also said that about Raid.
“Princess Ophelia looks and acts masculine, so she appears like a man, but she seems attracted to the opposite sex. Hendrik and the King and Queen support her and want to make her guardian knight, who loves her, her husband. There’s no problem with his status and he’s always been on her side. Supposedly, she too has feelings for him.”
“… Ophelia said she doesn’t though.”
Freed made a troubled face hearing my words.
“Hendrik mentioned that too, but he seemed to have heard from Edward Lantinotz that the Princess loves him and is just being bashful. Hendrik also said he had proof that she yearns for Edward Lantinotz, but he didn’t tell me what it is. That’s why Hendrik is convinced Princess Ophelia loves Edward Lantinotz and is eager to make them marry.”
“Proof? Really? I didn’t get the feeling that Raid loves Sir Lantinotz at all from what she said. Only that they’re childhood friends. She placed him on her side because he understands her, just that. She also said she doesn’t view him as an object of romantic interest. She was troubled that His Highness Hendrik misunderstood everything.”
No matter how much I recall, Raid didn’t appear to ‘love’ Edward.
She absolutely wasn’t hiding her embarrassment.
“… Somehow, it’s difficult.”
I believe Raid, but I can also see why Prince Hendrik, who has evidence, tries to get her together with Edward.
“I wonder what that proof is… Or rather, the biggest problem is Sir Lantinotz for telling them that Raid loves him, isn’t he?”
I think saying that despite their feelings not being mutual was improper. When I criticized him with a frown, Freed smiled wryly.
“That’s true, but everyone has full trust in him. After all, he’s been with the Princess since they were children, and he became the top knight of Irvine to always protect her. Even if we say, ‘Isn’t it wrong?’ I think it’s clear which side is more credible.”
“I bet. We’re foreigners. It’s natural a person who’s always on her side would be more credible.”
That’s why it’s difficult though.
“Irvine. I’m surprised how complicated the things here are.”
When I quietly said that, Freed nodded.
“I also only learned about Princess Ophelia’s matter this time. I was really surprised. But, this time I realized that there are countless things that can’t be said to people of foreign countries, even among friends. Of course, I’d have been told if I had asked, but since I didn’t know, I couldn’t even ask, right?”
When I completely agreed, Freed looked at me and asked in a worried voice.
“… Lidi, are you alright?”
I tilted my head, not understanding why Freed asked.
“This time, I only met with Hendrik and His Majesty the King, so there was nothing unusual, but Lidi, you only had only unexpected things happen, right? I brought you with me so you could enjoy yourself, and yet when I noticed, you were in the middle of another trouble. We’re in an unfamiliar country, so aren’t you tired?”
I held Freed’s hand as he still tried to say something.
“I’m happy to have become friends with Raid. I’ve become fond of coffee, and I’m glad you’ve brought me to this wonderful country. Certainly, I think various things will still happen, but I’m not tired and I don’t want to go home. I’m going to enjoy Irvine to my utmost for the whole ten days.”
“That’s why Freed, don’t worry.”
I don’t intend on becoming his shackles. I hope Freed can act freely, and I also will act freely to the extent that won’t inconvenience him.
“Okay? I’m fine.”
“… Yup. But, report to me every time something happens.”
“I know that.”
I’ve learned that nothing good comes out of keeping secrets from Freed.
When I made a face as serious as I could and nodded, Freed finally looked relieved.