She and the Night of the Ninth Day 2
“Wow. It’s lively!”
The evening party held on the last night of our stay in Irvine was full of splendor.
The hall where it took place was larger than where the welcome party had been held, and there were more participants too.
I was wondering where the difference came from, when the King called Freed during his welcome address and announced he’d signed an official agreement with Wilhelm.
“I’ve already obtained the parliament’s approval. Irvine stands with Wilhelm.”
An applause resounded. Judging from appearances, everybody seemed to react positively.
Freed returned to me, so I asked him in a whisper.
“Is it fine to be so open about it?”
“I wanted to keep quiet until the agreement was signed, but now that it has been, it’s better to show it off. It’ll keep Sahaja in check.”
There seemed a lot of thought put into it.
Just as I’d heard, Ilya and Raid were both also participating in the evening party. Ilya was wearing a dress, but Raid was dressed as a man like usual. The masculine evening wear suited her extremely well.
It wasn’t well received in the noble society, and Irvine nobles were keeping her at a distance. Even so, I went over to her.
“Lidi, it’s nice to see you again.”
“Yup. You look great.”
When I praised her appearance with a smile, the nobles who were looking at us appeared startled. Raid perhaps noticed that too and made a complicated expression.
“Thanks. Well, don’t mind the surroundings too much. I used to avoid evening parties, but that can’t continue. I have to make everyone get used to this little by little.”
Raid didn’t dress like a woman even in this situation. With her strong will, she may indeed be suited to be a monarch.
“Ah, that’s right. I’ve heard from Cain the name of the inn where Abel is staying at.”
I told Raid before I forgot about it, and her face brightened up in a flash.
I told Raid the name of the inn that I’d heard just before. Raid nodded again and again and vigorously said, “I’ll go there tomorrow morning!”
“Tomorrow? That’s so sudden.”
Speaking of tomorrow, it’s the day of my return. I was surprised to hear that she’d go there the morning of that day, but Raid said, “Just for a moment,” with a wry smile.
“I also have various things going on. Anyway, that was a great help. Thanks, Lidi.”
“I’m glad I could help you. Do your best.”
Hearing her vigorous reply, I decided to definitely make her tell me what happened afterwards. Then Ilya came, looking like she was searching for us.
“Lady Ophelia! Lidi!”
“Sister-in-law. It’s nice to see you again.”
“Ilya, good evening.”
The surroundings raised a commotion.
Both Raid and Ilya rarely appear in public, and everyone seemed surprised to see them getting along.
“Lidi, you’ll be going back tomorrow, right? It’s regrettable…”
I agreed with the disappointment in Ilya’s voice.
“Ten days went by surprisingly quickly. I hope we can meet again.”
“So do I.”
“I’ll write letters.”
Nodding Ilya was cute.
Perhaps Ilya got used to Raid a little as she managed to talk to her.
“Um… Lady Ophelia. I received your book earlier. Thank you very much for the autograph. I’ll treasure it.”
Apparently, just like she promised a while ago, Raid gifted Ilya her signed work.
Ilya seemed so happy that her cheeks flushed. Her eyes were sparkling, and she was so cute I wanted to hug her even though we were both women.
“As the author, I feel blessed that you’re so happy. I will do my best to publish another book. I look forward to you reading it.”
Ilya turned bright red from the smile of the author she yearned for.
“O-Of course. I-I’m looking forward to it. Um… I won’t show it to His Highness, so…!”
For Ilya, the last words must have been the height of her courage, so Raid showed a gentle smile.
“Thank you for thinking about me.”
“N-No… Since you don’t want that, I think it’s wrong for even His Highness to force you.”
Even if they were an author and a reader, it was a major progress from before that they had a common topic now. While I was gently watching the two of them have an awkward but proper conversation, Freed took me by surprise and grabbed my hand from behind.
“Lidi. I got startled when I realized you weren’t there.”
“Ah, I’m sorry. I caught sight of Raid.”
“I also got caught by Irvine nobles, so I won’t blame you, but really, you do as you please, Lidi.”
Freed pulled me towards himself. While searching for Ilya, Prince Hendrik also came here.
“Ilya, where are… Ah, you are with Princess Lydiana, huh.”
Then he also hugged his wife and breathed out in relief. As a result, five royals gathered in one place. Naturally, we became the center of attention, but we were all fundamentally used to standing out, so we didn’t as much as quiver. Only Ilya was shy.
“Cute, cute,” Prince Hendrik was happily cherishing Ilya who had her face bright red with embarrassment. Raid next to them looked taken aback, but it was crystal clear she wasn’t forcing herself, so I became convinced she got over her feelings for her older brother.
―― Good for you, Raid.
It’s most important that she can smile.
Unfortunately, they had to go around to greet other guests, so Raid and Prince Hendrik together with Ilya went away.
While I was wondering over what to do next, a single young lady separated from the gathered nobles and stood before us.
I tilted my head.
I’d seen her.
She was Kate, the woman who had picked a fight with me some time ago saying I was not suited for Freed.
She was wearing a deep red dress and had flower decorations in her hair. The dress emphasized her feminine figure and had a wide open décolletage. It naturally drew the gaze to her cleavage.
She faced Freed, who was hugging me from behind, and said loud enough for all to hear.
“Your Highness Friedrich! Please take me to Wilhelm too!”