Chapter 34: Day of Departure

Starting today, I will accompany Nina on her pilgrimage to the Holy Land.

I prepared for the journey and came to the square in front of the castle where the carriage was waiting for me.

By the way, this time I was not dressed as a man, because I didn’t have any special announcement to make, I was wearing a normal light dress for travel, not a man’s dress.

“Sorry for the wait!”

I said that and greeted the people who had already gathered, but…something was wrong.

Nina, who was in the plaza earlier, was looking at something in a confused manner, so I followed her gaze and found that Kaiser, Prince Alfeld and Ghislan were gathered there, and they were having a dispute about something.

…What on earth are those people doing?

I walked up to Nina’s bottom anyway, thinking so suspiciously.

“Hey Nina, what is it that they’re all struggling with?”

“Oh, Lady Cecilia! It’s…”

“It’s a dispute over who gets to ride in the carriage with the princesses.”

Then Viktor approached us, and the look on his face was dismayed.

“Are you torn between riding in the carriage with us or not? What is going on here?”

“…Normally, Nina-sama and her partner, Princess, were supposed to make the pilgrimage to the Holy Land alone, so one carriage would have been sufficient. But this time, three more people were added to the group, so there are two carriages, and because of the number of people on guard duty, it was decided that one of the three would ride in the carriage that the princess and Nina-sama would ride in together.”

“…Huh.”

I looked at Kaiser and the others who were still struggling with the same dumbfounded expression as Viktor.

“…The truth is, I’m holding out for a ride in the same carriage as the princess…”

“What? Viktor?”

“…I’m sorry, it’s just a joke, so don’t worry about it.”

“Uh-huh. I don’t know, but I understand.”

“More importantly, we’ll have to do something about those people soon. It’s already time for us to leave…but we can’t leave for any length of time in this situation.”

“Oh, yeah, well…haha…I’ll go talk to them for a minute then.”

“No, Princess, you don’t have to do that…”

“Hmm~ But it seems that I’m probably the easiest person to talk to in terms of status…and I think that if we can’t talk it out, we can decide another way.”

“Another way?”

“Well, I’m going to go anyway, so Nina and Viktor should get ready to go.”

So I left them there and headed down to Kaiser and the others, who were still struggling with a grim expression on their faces.

“This is where I, Cecilia’s fiancée, should ride!”

“No, you have to hand that spot over to me, a prince of another country!”

“I’d rather have the royals riding in a carriage together, it would be easier for me to guard them, and I think it would be most efficient if I rode with Cecilia and the others, wouldn’t it?”

I let out a loud sigh as I held my forehead as no one seemed to back down from arguing with me about such things.

“Um…can I have a minute?”

“Hmm? Oh Cecilia, you’ve come to just the right place. Please tell these two, coming from Cecilia, that you would like to ride a carriage with me, your fiancé.”

“No, it’s with me, right?”

“It’s me!”

“…Honestly, I’m open to anyone.”

“““Cecilia!!!”””

I said it crisply, eyes fixed on the ground, and all three of them came at me, shouting my name at the same time.

But I looked at them coldly and glanced at the people waiting around me.

“We can’t leave until you decide sooner than that! Enough is enough, for now, let’s just decide this by rock-paper-scissors!”

“Rock, paper, scissors?”

“What? Could it be that Kaiser doesn’t know rock-paper-scissors?”

“Yes…does Prince Alfeld know?”

“No, I don’t know either. What about Ghislan?”

“…I don’t know. Cecilia, what is that?”

The three of them looked at me with a strange look, and I was confused by their appearance.

…Huh? Could it be that there is no such thing in this world? Hmmm…I thought it was normal to have rock-paper-scissors in the world of Japanese games…Well, I guess I’ll just have to explain the rules to these three guys.

I gave a simple explanation of rock-paper-scissors to the three puzzled players.

After receiving my explanation, the three of them looked at each other in a circle, puzzled.

“Then let’s go! Now first, Go! Rock-paper-scissors shoot!”

With my shouting, the three of them produced finger shapes just as I had taught them.

“Oh, well, it’s different for each of you, so I guess it’s a tie. Then, let’s move on! Right!”

“…Hmmm, I guess I’ll win this one!”

“Damn”

“Tsk!”

“Yes, Kaiser, who put up a rock, won against Prince Alfeld and Ghislan, who put up scissors.”

When I said this matter-of-factly, Kaiser looked at them with a smirk on his face and a triumphant look on his face.

They looked frustrated and severely depressed, and I knew I had no choice but to give them an alternative plan.

“Then why don’t we take turns every time we arrive at the shrine where the goddess statue is enshrined?”

So I said with dismay and they immediately regained their spirits, and they played rock-paper-scissors to decide the order without me having to say anything else.

But… the sight of grown-up princes of a country and the count’s son playing rock-paper-scissors with serious expressions… it’s surreal when you think about it.

As I was thinking about that now, Kaiser spoke to me with a disapproving look on his face as he looked at the two men who had finished playing rock-paper-scissors.

“I won, but…”

“Oh well, you can ride first, so you’ll have to live with that.”

“Hah~ I understand. But…Where did Cecilia find this thing called rock-paper-scissors? I had no idea until Cecilia told me about it, and even that Ghislan didn’t seem to know about it, so…”

“That’s not…Oh! Oh yes, it was in an exotic book I read when I was little!”

“An exotic book? What’s it like? Honestly, I’d love to read a book about how to win or lose like this, I’d love to read one.”

“What? Oh…I’m sorry! I lost that book a long time ago! And I was so young, I can’t even remember the title…”

“So why don’t you ask Lord Reinhardt?”

“No, no! My father doesn’t know! As I recall, it was given to me by someone who used to work at the mansion!”

“…I see. I’m very sorry, but I’ll give up. But if you remember the title, please let me know. I’ll make arrangements to find it for you.”

“…Yes. I’ll let you know when I do.”

I laughed with a troubled expression on my face as I said this, but I was inwardly breaking out in a cold sweat.

No, no, we don’t have a book like that!

As a result of this rock-paper-scissors game, it was decided that the order would be Kaiser, Prince Alfeld, Ghislan, and then Kaiser again.

I was relieved that it was finally decided, and I told them that I would go ahead of them to the carriage and started walking towards the direction of Nina and the others.

However, on the way, I spotted a pair of people with light blonde and dark brown hair that I had obviously seen before and walked up to them.

“Oh, Theo and Douglas are the guards for this trip too?”

“Oh, Lady Cecilia!”

“Yes, we volunteered.”

“Wow…Huh? But you’ve both been promoted to captains in your respective units now, I believe, haven’t you? Is it safe for two people like that to leave the Royal Capital at once?”

“Oh that’s all right. I’ve left it in the capable hands of my trusty second-in-command.”

“I’m the same as Theo.”

“I see…but why did you bother to volunteer?”

I asked them so with a simple question, and they looked at each other before turning to me again.

“We wanted to guard our benefactor.”

“…Benefactor? Who are you talking about?”

“That’s Cecilia, of course!”

“Huh? It’s me!?”

“Yes, Lady Cecilia is our benefactor!”

“No, no, I didn’t do anything!”

“No, Lady Cecilia, you dealt with our disagreements a long time ago!”

“Like Cecilia told me, we were eating each other’s egg rolls…and they tasted better than we expected.”

Hearing Douglas’ words, I remembered the dueling incident that happened when I first met Viktor.

“……Ahh~ that happened. But even if you call me a benefactor with that much…”

“And that’s not all! Thanks to Cecilia’s advice at that time, we were both able to get married this year!”

“Oh! Congratulations to both of you!”

“Thank you!”

Theo and Douglas both bowed their heads and thanked me.

“Hmmm…I didn’t do anything to be thanked like that…But is it okay for you to accompany me on this trip when you have such important wives? You won’t be coming home for a while, will you?”

“…Actually, I told my wife about what happened with Lady Cecilia, and she suggested I go.”

“My wife said the same thing to me.”

“Oh, really…”

“So please rest assured that we will do our best to protect you.”

Theo put a serious expression on his face and straightened his posture, and Douglas next to him nodded and put his hand on his chest with the same serious expression.

“Oh, thank you. Well, I’ll be in your care, then.”

I couldn’t help but feel uncomfortable at the sight of them, so I hurriedly left the place with a smile on my cheeks.

As soon as I got into the prepared carriage and waited for the departure, Nina and Kaiser got into the carriage, and when everyone was in position, Viktor called out to them to leave.

I looked out the window of the moving carriage and smiled and waved to Prince Leon and Lady Lateia who came to see me off, as well as to my father and brother.

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

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