She and the Morning of the Ninth Day 6
“I apologize, but His Highness appears to be calling me. I’ll excuse myself…”
A while after Raid went back to looking like a man, Ilya left the tea party.
It seems her husband’s patience reached its limits and he was about to come pick her up.
The Queen allowed Ilya to leave with no issues, so she cheerfully exited the room. I saw her off with a smile. After Ilya went back, the Queen spoke to me.
“Princess Lydiana. Do you still have some time?”
“Yes, I’m fine.”
Freed’s schedule today is packed.
I’d heard we could only join up at the evening party, so I nodded. The Queen answered, “I’m glad,” and continued.
“Then could I ask you to please keep me company for a while longer?”
“Yes, I’d love to.”
Even if I went back to my room, I’d have nothing but free time until dinner, so I was grateful for the consideration. When I nodded to show that, the Queen stole a glimpse at Raid.
Raid nodded under the Queen’s gaze and looked at me.
I tilted my head. Raid deeply bowed her head, and the Queen, who was sitting next to her, did the same.
“I’d like to thank you once again for yesterday. Thanks to you, I was able to safely return to the castle. I’m truly grateful.”
“I’ve heard from Hendrik that Ophelia came back unscathed thanks to you and your husband’s cooperation. Truly thank you. As a parent, you have my sincere gratitude for saving my daughter.”
“Eh, eh?” I was bewildered by the unanimous thanks from both of them.
“N-No, I didn’t do anything important…”
I just asked Cain to make a request with Abel. But both of them shook their heads to deny what I said.
“Elder Brother said that without you, he wouldn’t even be able to find me. Besides, you made sure my kidnapping wouldn’t become known, right? I’m truly grateful.”
“If everybody learned of the kidnapping, Ophelia would become a target of cruel slander. There are countless heartless people. And such rumors would make it difficult for her to succeed the throne. You and your husband’s cooperation also helped Irvine’s future. I’ve heard from Hendrik that when my son asked for your help, you accepted without hesitation. I cannot thank you enough, both as a parent and the Queen. Even though you’re from a friendly country, to have foreigners help so much… Ophelia truly has a good friend.”
“Yes, I’m truly happy to be friends with Lidi.”
Raid agreed with the Queen, and the Queen nodded back to her.
Then the Queen asked me with gentle eyes.
“Princess Lydiana. Please don’t find what I’ll say uncomfortable. I mean what I’ll say. What can I do for you as thanks for saving my daughter? I will do anything that’s within my power. I promise to accommodate you in whatever way you want.”
I looked blankly at the Queen. Seeing how serious she was, my face stiffened.
Then I told her what I thought.
“I don’t know what Freed will say, but at least I don’t need that. After all, I simply helped my friend. As long as Raid is safe, that’s enough for me.”
I don’t want compensation for helping my friend. That’s not why I helped her.
The Queen’s eyes went round upon hearing my answer.
“… Really? You don’t want anything?”
“Yes. My wish is to continue being close with Ilya and Raid, but that’s already come true. Isn’t that right, Raid?”
“Yeah, of course. We’re close friends. Soulmates. Right?”
This is the first time I’ve been called a close friend.
While I was delighted about making my first close friend in this world, the Queen laughed quietly.
“Is that so? I understand. My daughter and you are close friends. Yes, I understand perfectly. It’s also my wish to see your friendship continue. It might not amount to much, but I will help you.”
After nodding a few times, the Queen stood up.
“I have a little something to do. You two talk a while longer. As close friends, you want to talk with just the two of you, right? I’ll excuse myself.”
The Queen left the room looking like she decided on something. I and Raid saw her off.
“… I wonder what happened to the Queen.”
“Esteemed Mother must’ve thought of something. By the way Lidi, I want to ask you something. Can I?”
Raid looked at me nervously. When I tilted my head, she looked around. The room had already been cleared of people, so what she did was extremely cautious.
Raid corrected her sitting position and cleared out her throat.
“Um, you see, Lidi. I think you know who I love, so――”
“Abel, right? The information broker.”
“I-I see! He’s Abel! Y-Yeah. I don’t know anything about him, so I hope you could tell me something, Lidi…”
As Raid hung her head in embarrassment, I realized what it is.
Certainly, she doesn’t know anything about Abel. She probably didn’t need information about him to fall in love, but it’s different now that she’s in love. It’s natural to first gather information for the sake of capturing a person.
However, how much can I talk about?
For now I judged it would be okay to talk about everything except him being a member of the Hiyuma clan and talked about things since meeting him in Wilhelm in order.
Back in Wilhelm he was on the so-called enemy side.
I was slightly worried my story might upset Raid, but if her feelings cooled down from that, it would mean they were only to that extent.
Capturing Abel will probably be incredibly difficult. He’s not a person who can be challenged with half-hearted feelings.
That’s why I wanted to confirm how serious Raid was.
“―― And so, we met Abel again in Irvine. I guess he’s a free information broker now. He can’t go back to Sahaja, so he may stay in Irvine for a while. If you want to woo him, now’s the chance.”
I told her as much information about Abel as I could and looked at Raid. She nodded seriously.
“I see. So he seems to have fled from Sahaja. Since he ran away alone and is relaxing here on top of that, there seems no doubt that he’s single. I’m glad. I was worried about what to do if the man I fell in love with had a wife and children.”
As Raid patted her chest in relief, I became stunned.
“Er, Raid. That’s all?”
“What do you mean?”
“Eh, I’m saying… Are you really alright with a person who was active in the underworld…”
I thought my worry was reasonable, but Raid laughed it off.
“What are you saying? Of course it’s fine. If anything, I’m relieved. Even if his life is targeted, he’ll be able to deal with the attackers. Royalty is an occupation where your life is often targeted. He’s much better than any noble when it comes to protecting himself.”
“It’s that kind of thing…?”
“It’s one of the reasons Elder Brother made Ed a candidate. He’s the top knight of the country, so he’s certain to be able to deal with danger.”
“Elder Brother’s life is often aimed at, but he seems to avoid those attempts by himself. His Highness Friedrich is the same, right?’
I was asked like it was natural, but I had no idea about that.
Both before and after we got married, I just live pleasantly by Freed’s side.
“… I don’t know. It might be something I’m unaware of.”
When I honestly told her so, Raid nodded.
“He doesn’t let you notice. His Highness Friedrich really is excellent.”
“It’s true that Freed is excellent, but… Ah, I see.”
Come to think of it, there’s a barrier around Freed’s room and I also have Cain as an escort. There’s a decent possibility they don’t let me notice.
“It seems like you have an idea. Well, that’s how it is. I wouldn’t want him to get killed right away. It’s great that he’s capable.”
“Raid, if you are fine with it, I won’t say anything more and will support you. But, what about Sir Lantinotz? Won’t he be jealous?”
Edward was the culprit of this time’s uproar. He kidnapped Raid to make her his own. Won’t he kill Raid’s lover once he sees him?
“It’s alright. He’s a genuine pervert. He said he can’t help but be happy being ignored by me, right? So I’m thinking of granting him that wish. Just yesterday I told him while he was kept under house arrest. ‘I will marry somebody else than you in the future. Protect my husband then. Should that person be harmed, I’ll never again let you stay at my side. I’ll dismiss you, and you’ll die miserably somewhere I don’t care about.’”
“Whoa…. How did Sir Lantinotz react?”
Afraid yet curious, I asked. Raid made a difficult face and said.
“‘You’re telling me to die somewhere you don’t care about? I have no worth unless you see me. If I’m to die anyway, I want to do it in front of your eyes… I want to leave this world while you ignore me,’ he made such a perverted statement and continued, “Of course I will protect your husband. While crying painfully in my heart. Even if it costs my life. Aaah!’ All while hugging his body and writhing. I’d thought he was a pervert, but I hadn’t imagined it was to that extent. I wonder if some screw in his head went loose from the kidnapping.”
“… He had those tendencies from the beginning, didn’t he?”
When I answered while finding it hard to agree, Raid smiled wryly.