I was thrilled.
It was an unprecedented tension.
The first time I woke up here, the first time I met the Duke…no, come to think of it, I’ve never been nervous since I came here. Maybe I was just freaked out.
Well, partly because my original personality is optimistic and I don’t care about the details.
But as expected, I’m a bit nervous now, too.
I just got back to the capital late last night, but I woke up before I was woken up. Even the maidservants went to great lengths to get ready for me.
I’m meeting His Royal Highness for the first time! We’ve never met.
Today, instead of a morning greeting, I will be greeting His Majesty the King. His Royal Highness the Crown Prince will be present there.
This will be my first opportunity to meet His Royal Highness, as I don’t remember any of what happened before.
I wonder what he’s like…
I was curious about it. Because, hypothetically speaking, he was my husband.
From time to time, I’ve been secretly collecting personal reviews of the Crown Prince, but the truth is that I didn’t really understand it.
Because they all say the same thing in different ways.
His Royal Highness the Crown Prince is beautiful, intelligent, brave, and a Vera.
A genius who has already taken part in the government and has the perfect talent to be the next king.
Bright-eyed, cool-headed, and accomplished in both literary and military arts…full of praise.
It can’t be! I wanted to plunge in. No one is that perfect. You’re definitely exaggerating!
And it’s strange that there are no other mistresses or princesses.
The King of Dardinia may take four consorts.
From the first queen to the fourth. This is a remnant of the old days when the four dukes would each take a consort.
In recent years, due to various reasons, it’s not very common for all the four queen seats to be filled.
Nevertheless, His Majesty now has two queens, two concubines, and three mistresses.
The two concubines could have been the second and third queens, judging from the time they entered the palace, and their families, respectively. But they were kept as concubines because they had no children.
The size of the palace, the number of servants and other budgets of the queen and the entourage are completely different. When I asked Lilia how much the difference was, she said it was twice as much by simple calculation. Of course, there’s also the support of the family of origin, so it’s impossible to measure this from the way they live on the surface.
Only one crown prince and princes are allowed to have a queen, but there’s nothing wrong with having a mistress. The crown prince in particular can be changed into a second wife when he or she becomes king, or if his or her family background permits, he or she can also be made queen.
I was too young to be the crown princess, and take on the responsibilities of a future queen…To put it plainly, it was a wonder that the crown prince didn’t have a chosen woman, as I was too young to be able to live the night life to produce an heir.
A healthy adult male of 27!
I’m sure he’d be able to find a way to make the most out of his time with a marquis’ widow, baroness, or even a so-called “high-class” saint of the flower district…
I was a little relieved to find out that although the Crown Prince is ostensibly a saintly young man, he is not exactly a serious one.
His Royal Highness has always said that he prefers to have only one princess, and he has refused several marriage proposals.
“He doesn’t happen to prefer men, does he?”
When I mentioned it, thinking it was no wonder considering that most of the lords of the Warring States period had experience with male sexuality, Lilia gave me a tremendous glare.
“Impossible!…I’m not saying it doesn’t exist at all, but it’s forbidden by the state church!”
Eh, I feel like churches are a hotbed of such things.
…But I’m not going to say that because I’m afraid of Lilia.
“It’s not like he’s…a lolicon, right?”
If he’s a lolicon, it’s the most dangerous thing in the world, right?
No, as a princess, I can’t say anything about being touched.
“What does ‘lolicon’ mean?
Sorry, I guess this wasn’t in the language in this world.
“It’s the kind of man who feels sexual desire for…little girls.”
Lilia denied it with a pale face.
I made a holy mark to prevent anything else as soon as I heard that it was outrageous.
“That’s right…I’m playing with someone who doesn’t have any strings attached. But just because of that…doesn’t mean I’m particularly important to him, right?
“Yes. Without embellishing his words, I would say that His Royal Highness the Crown Prince did not value Your Highness as anything more than the heir of Elzevert…in my opinion.”
As you can probably tell from this conversation, on the way back to Royal Capital, I have succeeded in making Lilia an accomplice.
I don’t know if she’s an accomplice…or an ally, I can’t really explain it, but that’s what I’m doing.
Because there’s only so much I can do on my own.
Lilia has always been by my side, like a shadow.
Especially after the falling incident, she never takes her eyes off of me, perhaps because she feels responsible for what happened. It’s almost impossible to do anything to fool those eyes.
I knew I couldn’t do anything about the future without Lilia on my side, and after a lot of thought, I decided that she was worthy of my trust and told her honestly what was going on.
As expected, I couldn’t tell her that I had the memories of a 33-year-old otherworldly person, but I could say everything else.
That I don’t remember anything at all before the waking up for the fall. That sometimes, the knowledge I needed emerged from the depths of my memory. That I didn’t open my mouth, not because I couldn’t speak, but because I was observing the situation…Lilia, who originally said she felt uncomfortable, was quickly convinced of those facts.
She was very surprised that I could talk smoothly.
On that basis, I asked for her cooperation.
I said he didn’t want to continue to be targeted.
I wanted to investigate the balcony incident and the poisoning with Ellucia, and remind the criminals of what happened.
Lilia was initially reluctant to do so. It was out of concern for my safety.
So I told her that I wasn’t going to jump into danger myself and that I wanted to reveal the whole case and bring the real criminal to justice instead of trying to deal with it by hand.
Lilia promised to be my ally on the condition that I would never be alone and that I would consult with her about everything.
…It sounds good to say that we’re kindred spirits, but I feel like I’ve lost a lot of mercy.
“Of course it was kind on the surface. I was concerned about the princess, I never missed a birthday gift and, as a princess, treated you with great care…I never took a step outside the realm of propriety at any time.”
Well, that’s about it.
Arthirea, who had rejected everyone around her to the point of being called a doll princess…so far, doesn’t seem to have had any exceptions. And it is unlikely that a man who would have everyone praise him for his brilliance would recognize any special value in such a girl. Even if she was a predestined wife.
However, the well-behaved prince didn’t do anything to hurt the little girl for nothing…It could be said that he considered his position properly. I have my mother’s and my people’s reputation to consider.
Above all, Arthirea is the one who brings him the Elzevert.
“But isn’t that what a political marriage is all about?”
“Yes. It’s a political marriage.”
It’s not that I’m lovers with him, or that I’m in love with him.
And more importantly, we’re 12 and 27 years old. We’re not going to get caught up in the anything between a man and a woman right now.
It’s would be enough to treat each other with compassion and live in a mutual respect.
“No…you really don’t have any memories.”
Lilia’s voice sounded half-impressed.
I tilted my head, not knowing why Lilia had said that.
“…Even if you call it amnesia, it doesn’t seem like you have any particular memory on a daily basis. After all, Your Highness didn’t open your mouth at all to meet the bare minimum, and you didn’t tell anyone what was on your mind. Almost no one cared about your voice, even at that time when we thought you had lost it.”
It’s an amazing thing to be told…that I don’t meet the minimum requirements.
But that’s why it’s so refreshing…that I’m talking like this, and that’s why they say it’s believable that I have no memory.
Normally, girls love to talk, but Arthirea spent most of her free time reading or studying.
“I had a few words with Professor Lehigh, who had been the Princess’s tutor for many years, but he said you would also exchange ideas, albeit with few words. Although you were far apart in age, I think he was the closest to Your Highness.”
“What happened to the professor?”
“I’m sorry to say that he died of a cold before leaving, and as he was an old man…the replacement as tutor has not yet been found.”
Lilia gives me a sad look.
“I’m so sorry. …Isn’t there a nanny?”
As long as I didn’t have a mother, I definitely had a nanny.
“Her Royal Highness’ nanny, Lady Marlene, died the year I came here…after being attacked by thugs.
“Is that so…”
Again, a shadow of danger and misfortune hangs over Arthirea’s surroundings.
What a…word to describe it…it may be bad luck.
“Alice is Lady Marlene’s niece. Marlene’s children were all male, so Alice came up here to the palace instead.
The only time I talk like this is when I’m alone with Lilia.
Because it’s strange to suddenly start talking so bluntly, I usually try to act like the old Arthirea as much as possible. This is partly to avoid alerting the real criminal.
But at the very least, it’s polite to say thank you, or at least say hello, and at least smile.
That’s all it takes for people to be surprised. It really brings tears to my eyes for what I’ve done so far.
Once this is all over, I’m going to reinvent myself! Absolutely!
“The princess’s maidservants are subject to frequent turnover and are often targeted…so they can be in danger.
“Is that how it is for you? That’s why you don’t go out much, do you?”
“Yes…If you stay in the royal palace, you’ll be safe. The palace here is more secure than the rear palace. But since you are the Crown Princess, that doesn’t mean you won’t go outside at all.”
There are certain official duties that the Crown Princess must do.
Some of them were exempted when she was a child, but nowadays they’re increasing a bit.
“It’s probably once a month now…and every time that happens, there’s something to do.”
I’m usually stopped by the Crown Prince’s soldiers in advance, but she laughed bitterly, saying “there’s a disturbance about once every three times.”
“Yes. I was surprised to see that you had no expression on his face at all…when he shot arrows into the procession and attempted to abduct and kidnap Your Highness by rushing into a rampaging horse. It’s not that I’m being rude to you, but I’ve always thought you were a doll princess.”
“Not that I can remember, but that’s pretty amazing…”
In my opinion, I’m impressed with the opposite.
Oh, but it’s…abduction and kidnapping. It’s…not killing.
What’s the difference between then and now?
“…Excuse me, Your Highness, but what do you remember about any of this?”
“Sometimes when I hear a person’s name, I get a flashback of their background, but I don’t remember their face very well, so it’s not very useful.”
Perhaps visual memories are difficult to recall.
To be honest, I asked Lilia to describe His Highness Nigel’s appearance, but I had no idea.
“Your manners and such were fine, though.”
“I think habitual behavior is something we don’t forget. We may forget them in our minds, but we remember them in our bodies, so if we trace a path, we can remember them.”
“Yes, that’s right…Please, Your Highness, just don’t make any mistakes in the order of greetings.”
Basically, greetings are opened by the lower ones first.
And the basic rule is that you should talk to them after greeting them, starting with the one above you.
Apparently, it is not polite to open your mouth first after the greeting.
Well, it’s not so strict, but it becomes important on occasions when ritual is necessary.
Maybe that’s why the Duke only said hello at the castle of Elzevert…
I was a little regretful about my misunderstanding.
I’ve told Lilia that she can speak up for herself whenever she needs to.
It’s a hassle, but that’s how a class society works, and I’m close to the top, so I can’t break that.
The only people above me in this country are His Majesty the King, Her Highness the First Queen, and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.
Other than the Crown Prince, the children of the First Queen and the children of the Second Queen and their children are all lower in rank than me, the Crown Princess. Not to mention the immediate princess and the concubines.
“I’ll be careful.”
I nodded with a serious face.
Lilia looked at me for a bit, then laughed. When she smiles, Lilia looks more her age. Normally, she looks five or six years older than her actual age.
“No, I was just happy to see you.”
“Yes…It may be impolite to say this, but…If it is because of your lack of memory that you have become the princess you are today, I would even be willing to see you remain without memory for a long time.”
I was happy to think so
Because it means that it’s okay with the way I am now.
It’s doubtful that all of my memories will return…but even if they do, I can’t and won’t go back to being a doll princess anymore.
“We have casually spread rumors throughout the palace about the confusion in Her Highness’s memory, so I don’t think it will be much of a problem if she acts a little strange in the future.”
“Thank you, Lilia.”
This is great, Lilia. You’re too good at handling things.
With Lilia on my side, my degree of freedom has been greatly expanded. And the amount of information I am able to obtain is off the charts. I didn’t think it would go this far.
It’s so ridiculous to think that I had to worry so much before I decided to bring Lilia to my side.
…There are many things I still don’t understand.
The truth is, I’m still afraid to believe in all of Lilia.
Because I feel like Lilia knows too much for a lady-in-waiting.
I’ve decided to believe in her.
So the only thing left to do is to make one decision with one feeling.
“…It’s time to go…”
“It’s already time?”
I woke up so early.
“Yes. Slightly early is better than late.”
Stand up slowly. It is not good to stand or sit up vigorously.
I tell myself.
Lilia is there for me. And then there’s Count Stassen and the escort knights who offered me their swords.
I am no longer alone in this world.
So I step out with confidence.
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One thought on “Chapter 11: The Return”
I hope Lilia is not deceiving her.
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