Chapter 24: The Heroine “Nina”

When the door in front of me opened slowly, I saw many royalty and aristocrats lined up in front of it.

At that moment, I felt the urge to run away from the place at once.

But the faces of the townspeople, who sent me off with joy and happiness as if I were their own child, passed through my mind.

I was determined not to spoil their feelings, so I stood still and moved my nervously trembling legs in front of me as I made my way through the crowd of royalty and aristocrats toward the altar.

I was a little distracted by the fact that I had finally arrived near the altar, and my feet were caught in the carpet, which I wasn’t used to walking on.

“Ah.”

As soon as I said that little word, I fell forward.

I closed my eyes as the floor approached me and tried to withstand the impact, but someone was there to support me.

I didn’t expect that someone would be able to help me in this situation, so I quietly opened my eyes in confusion and was blindsided by surprise.

“What a beautiful person…”

I couldn’t help but think that when I saw the face of the person who saved me.

“Are you okay?”

“Yeah, I’m fine. Thank you for your help.”

“I’m glad you’re okay.”

“May I… excuse me, may I ask your name?”

“Me? I am…Kaiser, Kaiser Ron Beizelm. I’m the first prince of this country, in case you were wondering.”

“!!!”

Prince Kaiser smiled at me.

Then seeing that beautiful smile up close made my face heat up all at once.

***

I was intensely upset as I had such a game screen playing in my mind.

This was essentially the scene where Kaiser saves Nina, and even more importantly, the first time they meet!!! I just swore again earlier that I wouldn’t stand in the way of Nina’s love, and now I’m breaking it!

I shouted that in my mind, but on the surface I remained calm and let Nina stand up for now.

At that time I glanced at Kaiser, and he had already returned to his original stance and was looking at me with a wry smile on his face.

…Even if I switch with Kaiser now…it’s still too late. Hah~ Well, what I’ve done is no good now. I’m sure the two of them will make progress in another event.

I decided to break it off and looked at Nina again and smiled at her.

“So, Nina-sama, I’ll go back to where I came from.”

“What? Uh…”

I don’t know why Nina looked uneasy when she heard my words, and then she looked down and squeezed her hand.

As I was wondering why Nina was so anxious, I heard the voices of the nobles whispering in my ears.

“After all, a commoner’s daughter couldn’t possibly serve as a ‘Celestial Maiden’.”

“Oh, it’s unseemly to expose such an abomination. And what a nuisance she is, causing trouble for Cecilia-sama.”

“It’s not too late, shouldn’t we go through the ritual again?”

“I agree with you on that! I’m sure my daughter will be chosen this time, you know.”

“No, no, no, my daughter, of course!”

I’m getting more and more pissed off at these noblemen who are talking at a volume that Nina can hear no matter what you think.

Hey, what are those people!? It’s a proper ceremonial decision, and you’re saying terrible things just because she’s a commoner! I mean… what!? As I recall, this is another scene that was in the prologue. That’s right… Kaiser, who should be here, silenced those people with a single stare, right? Because Kaiser is a prince and Crown Prince, so there is no way that those people wouldn’t be silenced by such a person… But in reality, the person who is here now is not Kaiser, but his fiancée, a girl who has a title of Duke’s daughter. Even if such a girl glares at you, it won’t have any effect at all~

I stared at Nina, who was still lying on her back as I thought this, and noticed that her body was trembling a little.

When I saw Nina, I tightened my expression and put my hand on her clasped hand.

Nina looked up from her hand and looked at me, her eyes moist with tears.

I smiled gently to reassure Nina.

“It’s okay, Nina-sama. You don’t need to worry about those words at all. It’s all right to think of them as unheard words. Nina is the chosen “Celestial Maiden” through a proper ceremony. The Celestial Maiden has no status! So please, have confidence in me.

“Lady Cecilia…”

“But… I can see you’re still shaking, and I’d like to escort you to the altar.”

“Oh, thank you.”

As soon as Nina heard my words, she blinked her eyes and immediately looked relieved and thanked me in a small voice.

Then I took Nina’s hand and supported her on her hip and we started walking towards the altar where the priest was waiting for us.

I was expecting to hear more backbiting, so I squinted at the people who were talking behind my back as I walked and gave them a cold look, then lifted the corners of my mouth and smiled a little.

At that moment, the people who were smacking behind her back froze in place, their faces tightening.

Hmm, I can’t say it myself… but the cold gaze and meaningful smile of a beautiful girl makes me fear that something is going on…

I tried to imitate the expression of a beautiful girl actress in a slightly scary drama or movie that I had seen in my past life.

And it seemed to work very well, and then I didn’t hear any backbiting.

Then I let go of Nina’s hand when I came up to the platform where the priest was standing.

“Then, Miss Nina, that’s it for me.”

“Thank you so much, Lady Cecilia, for your help.”

“No, no, good luck with everything.”

With that, I gave a slight wave and walked away from Nina and returned to stand next to Kaiser.

Then, as Kaiser looked at me with a dumbfounded expression on his face, I said in a small voice with a lot of meaning,

“I’m so sorry, Kaiser.”

“Why are you apologizing to me?…But Cecilia, you continue to act awesome.”

“Is that so?”

“Yes, ordinary ladies are not made to go in to help like that on the spur of the moment. To the extent that I was late…”

“I’m so sorry about that!”

“No, I’m not angry…I’m just glad that neither of you were hurt this time, but in some cases, even Cecilia could have fallen down and been injured, right? Are you aware of that?”

“But, Lady Nina was very light, wasn’t she?”

“That’s not what I’m talking about… I don’t want Cecilia to get hurt. So the next time something like that happens, you can count on me! Is that okay?”

“Yes!”

I didn’t know why Kaiser was so angry, but he gave me a terrific pseudo-smile and all I could do was shake my head repeatedly and nod my head.

After that, the appointment ceremony was over and I left the ceremony room with Kaiser.

Then I saw a group of people I knew gathered around something in one corner of the corridor.

I stared at the group, wondering what in the world was going on, and I saw a fluffy blonde in the center of the group.

…Ah! Okay, so now there’s a prologue over there where they’re introducing themselves to each of the capture targets, which was the prologue.

That group is made up of Ghislan, Prince Leon, Prince Alfeld, and Viktor, all gathered around Nina.

“…What exactly are those people doing?”

“Maybe self-introduction…”

I was confirming that the game was progressing as it should, when Kaiser spoke to me curiously.

But then I realized something and looked at both Kaiser and Nina in turn.

“It’s a good time to say hello to Nina-sama, Kaiser, so why don’t you join them and say hello to Nina-sama?”

“…no, it’s not like I’m going to bother saying hello.”

On second thought, having ruined their first meeting earlier, I realized that they hadn’t yet met face to face and introduced themselves to each other.

No, no, as the person who ruined your first meeting, I want you to meet and exchange greetings as soon as possible!!!

I couldn’t say it, but when I thought so, Kaiser really was about to leave this place without saying hello.

It was also natural to him to walk away with me, hugging my waist.

“Come on Cecilia, let’s have a cup of tea together afterwards and discuss the future.”

“Future? No, no, no, no, no, no, no… Let’s go to the others! I mean, I want to go!”

“…I would have liked to be alone with you if I could, but…it can’t be helped. If you say so, I’ll go.”

Kaiser smiled at my desperate plea with a slightly disappointed look on his face, and then he changed his direction to where Nina and the others were.

Then Nina, who was in the center of the room, noticed our presence and smiled happily, and then she slipped out of the center and rushed towards me.

“Lady Cecilia!”

“Miss Nina, thank you for your hard work.”

“Thank you. It’s all because Cecilia-sama has helped me!”

“I didn’t do much. It’s because Lady Nina did her best.”

“No, Cecilia-sama gave me the courage to do this… Oh, and I would like to ask you to do me a favor, but please just call me Nina. I don’t feel comfortable being called ‘sama’… I’ve asked you all to do the same.”

“I understand. Then I’m just fine with being called Cecilia…”

“No! I can’t do that! Your status is too different!”

“But then…”

“I’ve heard it all! You are engaged to the Crown Prince of this country and a duke’s daughter, are you not? If I called such a person by name… I’m sure I wouldn’t live to see it!”

“No, you’re making such a big deal out of it…”

“That’s how different we are! So I’m going to put an honorific on your name!”

“Oh, yes. I understand.”

I was upset when Nina looked at me and said so crisply, but when I thought about it, I remembered that Nina was the kind of girl who would say so crisply when she had to, even if she was a nobleman.

“Huh, you seem to be quite an interesting person.”

“What?”

Nina seems to have finally noticed Kaiser’s presence when he suddenly burst out laughing next to me.

“I’m sorry. You will find that you will be able to get a lot more information about the company. I’m the crown prince of this country, in case you were wondering.”

“Oh, I’m Nina! Starting today, I will serve as the ‘Celestial Maiden’ for one year!”

“Good luck with that.”

“Yes!”

Kaiser gave Nina his usual pseudo-smile as he introduced himself, but Nina didn’t seem to react to the look on his face, in fact, she looked a little nervous as she introduced herself because he was the crown prince.

However, perhaps because the situation was completely different from that sudden encounter, the two of them began to talk normally without any particular change in their appearance.

…Hmm…I guess it wasn’t a good idea to interrupt that meeting after all~

That’s what I thought, but there’s nothing I can do about it now, so I decided to be careful not to interfere anymore from now on.

Then, Ghislan and the others approached us.

“Cecilia, you were awesome earlier.”

Ghislan then grinned at me, pushing up his glasses with his hand with an amused look on his face.

“It was lovely to see Sister Cecilia pop up on the spur of the moment!”

Next, Prince Leon complimented me with his usual devilish smile.

“Hmph, the faces of the nobles frozen by that cold smile of Cecilia’s was amusing to remember now.”

Prince Alfeld, who laughed bewitchingly as he put his hand to his mouth and stared at me, walked up to me gracefully.

“Princess… no matter how kind you are, I hope you won’t do anything rash.”

Viktor said and stood near me with a stern expression on his face, wrinkling his brow.

Then I realized that this time I was the center of the situation.

“…Everyone, you have the wrong person in the center, right?”

When I said this with a troubled expression, everyone, on the contrary, gave me a strange look.

“Then who other than Cecilia will be at the center?”

“What? That is, of course, Nina…”

“I think it should be Lady Cecilia too!”

When I tried to answer Nina to Kaiser’s question, Nina said it should be me.

For some reason, everyone else nodded at the same time to Nina’s words.

As I was puzzled by their behavior, Nina remembered something and spoke to me.

“Speaking of which, Cecilia-sama, I will be living in this castle from today until the end of my term as ‘Celestial Maiden’, where is Cecilia-sama’s room located? I’d like to make some sweets to take to you next time to thank you for your time today…”

“I’m sorry. I don’t live here. So I’m sorry to say, but just your feelings…”

“Then, shouldn’t Cecilia just live in this castle?”

“What?”

Kaiser’s sudden words startled me, and for some reason Ghislan and the others started to agree with Kaiser’s words.

“That’s a good idea. I’m Nina’s educator and now I have to live in this castle, so I won’t have to go all the way to Cecilia’s house.”

“Yes! I can live with Sister Cecilia!”

“It’s very tempting, because I’ve been living here for the whole time I’ve been in the country. ‘I’ll be living in this castle for the duration of my stay in the country. Now I can see you whenever I want.”

“I agree with you. As I’ve been assigned to be Nina-sama’s bodyguard, I can protect the princess as well as stay close to her.”

“I’ll make a lot of sweets, my specialty, and I’m going to bring them to you!”

“Hey, wait a minute folks! I don’t think I’m going to live…”

“Cecilia, it looks like this is a done deal and you’ll have to give it up.”

Finally, I looked up to the heavens when Kaiser smiled at me with his finest pseudo-smile and smiled at me.

Hey!!!! I was going to stay home from now on and not let Nina’s love life get in the way!!!!

So I was screaming in my mind as I stared at the beautifully decorated ceiling.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

T/N: Maria-chan…is that you??

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