She and the Night of the Ninth Day
Because of the farewell evening party today, I excused myself from the Queen’s room and walked through the royal quarters in a hurry.
Evening party preparations take time. I asked Raid if she was going to attend the evening party today and she said yes, so I was looking forward to it very much.
“I have to hurry back…”
We had been talking for quite a while, so I was really pressed for time. While I was hurrying, I heard a voice from nearby.
“You’ll stumble if you hurry so much. Please be careful, Princess.”
Cain appeared from behind a pillar in the corridor, raised his index finger and hushed me.
“I’m trying not to get noticed by guards, so don’t raise your voice. We’re in the royal quarters, so it’d be bad if I were found out.”
“Ah, I see. Sorry.”
I looked around in a fluster. Fortunately, nobody seems to have noticed it.
No ordinary or foreign soldiers can enter the royal quarters. My escorts were no exception and were waiting by the entrance. The only reason Cain was in those royal quarters is because he’s Cain.
My ninja can sneak in anywhere. He’s a ninja, so it’s only natural.
“Er, Cain. What do you want? I didn’t expect you to come out, so it caught me off guard.”
Fundamentally, Cain guards me in hiding. He rarely comes out while escorting me, so I found it strange, but Cain frowned and said.
“Irvine didn’t assign you anybody to show you the way, so I became worried. Aren’t they a little too careless?”
“It seems the royal quarters are just that safe. I understand why I was told to leave my guards by the entrance, so I’m not particularly angry.”
Soldiers are posted at regular intervals in the corridors of the royal quarters. If something happened, they could come running right away, so I proceeded without worry. It’s the same as in Wilhelm.
I wondered if it was fine to let a foreign royal walk freely, but with so many soldiers, I couldn’t do anything bad. Or if anything, I felt like being dared to.
“Well, I’m sure the security is on point.”
“Cain, you can enter as you please though.”
“I’m special. In the first place, I’d be troubled if I couldn’t.”
“You’ve got a point.”
It was like he said, so I obediently nodded.
“And? You’re having the evening party after this?”
“Yup, I’m going to prepare now. Ah, that’s right. Cain, can you tell me the name of the inn where Abel is staying at? Raid said she wants to pay it a visit.”
I had asked Cain for the name of the inn once, but since I hadn’t gone there myself, my memory was hazy. I couldn’t tell Raid a wrong name, so I postponed telling her, but if I hear it now, I’ll be able to tell her at the evening party.
Cain’s eyes went round as I asked that.
“Ha? Abel’s inn? Of course I know. What does that princess want there?”
“She said she wants to go there to pay the request fee instead of her older brother… Cain, didn’t you listen to our conversation?”
I was aware that even in the room he had been guarding me from hiding. That’s why I thought it was strange he asked me why, but Cain pouted and said.
“Please don’t think I’d listen to private conversations unless necessary. Especially since… you’re both women… I think it would be bad if a man like me listened to it, so I kept as much distance as I could afford and made sure not to listen.”
“I see. Thanks.”
I was happy that Cain felt like respecting my privacy.
I listened to Cain telling me the name of the inn. While doing that, I suddenly noticed.
“Say, Cain. What will you do about your way back? Will you take the three-day trip again?”
Cain came to Irvine by a different route than us. I didn’t know what he’d do this time, so I asked, but he answered with an unconcerned face.
“I’m going with you… I said I don’t really have a reason to hide anymore, right?”
“Besides, I don’t want to lose time by taking another way back. Since I don’t intend on keeping myself a secret, I can just go back with you. Tell the Crown Prince I said that too.”
If Cain is fine with that, let’s do that.
“Ah, I should hide soon. Princess, don’t let your guard down for just a while longer.”
We were talking while walking, so I could see Wilhelm escorts waiting fifty meters ahead of me waiting impatiently.
When I looked at Cain, he was already gone. He must’ve been hiding somewhere, but I had no idea where.
In the end, he wasn’t discovered by the soldiers stationed in the royal quarters. He really is excellent.
Looking like nothing happened, I walked towards the escorts waiting for me.
When I returned to my room, the court ladies were already waiting for me and began preparing me for the evening party as planned.
I was wearing the dress the Queen specifically picked for me, but it wasn’t suitable for evening parties, so I decided to change into a different one. Before that, I took a bath and had court ladies take care of my hair and skin.
“I’m glad. You don’t seem to have gotten sunburnt.”
While massaging me with perfumes, a court lady told me so in a relieved voice. Sun is intense in Irvine, so the court ladies bothered me every day about sunburns.
“You have such a white skin. It would be a waste if it got damaged from sunburn. As for the hair… After returning to Wilhelm, I wonder if we should tidy up the tips a little.”
The court lady muttered so while checking the tips of my hair. Then she nodded, “Let’s do that.”
To begin with, I was born to the preeminent ducal house, so I’ve been cared for by maids since I was little. Thanks to them, my body is always in the best condition. From years of experience I know it’s best to follow them obediently. After all, they’re professionals. An amateur shouldn’t make strange objections. Of course, I make my taste known, but I basically leave such things to them.
The dress they prepared had a relatively light skirt part and flowy lines. The fabric was smooth, and it had a feeling of transparency. It was a relief that it didn’t tighten around my body too much, and it seemed quite airy, so I felt cool in it. Of course, the neckline was wide open.
My hair was braided a little and flowed down on my back. When I was ready, Freed, who was similarly dressed in evening wear, came to pick me up.
“Freed. Thanks for your hard work.”
When I showed appreciation for my husband, who for sure worked hard until the very last minute, he for some reason smiled wryly. Then he looked over me and nodded.
“Yep. Cute. That’s my consort for you.”
Freed dropped a kiss on my forehead. While I was grinning from that, the court ladies bowed and left.
When it became just the two of us, I looked intently at Freed’s face. He’d been working non-stop since the morning, so I was worried if he weren’t tired.
“Will you be alright at the evening party? You’ve been working all the time, right?”
“I’ll be completely fine. Everything worked out.”
“Is that so? It’s just like you, Freed.”
I looked at my husband with respect. He said, “Lidi, it’s thanks to you,” and took my hand.
“Lidi, you refused the Queen saying you had only saved your friend, so you didn’t need a reward, right? Upon hearing that, the Queen went to talk with the King to make sure your friendship can continue. She said she wanted to be on good terms with Wilhelm, where her daughter’s friend lives. And so, the King decided to accept Wilhelm’s agreement offer.”
I was stunned by what I heard from Freed. Certainly, after talking with us, the Queen said she had something to do and left, but I didn’t think she’d go to the King.
“The Queen went to see His Majesty the King?”
“Yep. It seems it served as a strong push for him. It seems to have made him decide to form an alliance with Wilhelm.”
While I couldn’t help but be surprised by the unthinkable development, Freed further said.
“By the way, the King showed his gratitude by approving the import of coffee beans under our terms. And so, the issues I’d been worrying about were settled.”
“Lidi, it’s thanks to you.”
“No, I haven’t done anything.”
I really haven’t done anything.
However, I’m happy the negotiations went well for Wilhelm. While I was rejoicing, Freed said, “One more thing.”
“I got Hendrik to agree to let Levitt and Princess Ilya talk. They will have time tomorrow, even if not much.”
Those were happy news. I unconsciously grasped Freed’s hand tightly, and he smiled sweetly.
“You’re welcome. After all, you asked me for it, Lidi.”
“My husband is so cool. I love you…”
“Thanks. I love you too.”
This time, a kiss fell down on my lips. As I ecstatically accepted it, I heard my brother’s voice from the other side of the door.
“Heeey. Are you ready? It’s time we go soon.”
We opened our eyes and looked at each other.
We wanted to immerse ourselves a little longer in the afterglow, but certainly, there was no time.
“… Shall we go?”
I nodded to Freed’s words.
The last night in Irvine.
I muttered a wish that it would end up enjoyably, not realizing I raised a flag.