Chapter 6: Luncheon part 1

The moment the ceremonial officer opened the door to the small hall where the luncheon was to take place, the gazes of the people in the room focused on us as if they were piercing us.


I let out a voice only in my mind.

This is not a cheer. Rather, it’s the opposite.

I don’t know how I feel about the tremendous amount of attention…

A probing, testing gaze…people trying to assess ‘me.’

There’s something about it that feels salty right off the bat.

When I think about what’s in the gaze directed at me, I can’t help but sigh.

It’s not as sharp as hostility, but it’s…

But there’s something lurking behind the scenes that is never kind.

I want to just throw it away, but I will never be able to do that—I can’t do that.

Because I am Arthirea Luciane, after all.

The ‘me’ who is Maya and Arthirea.

I must stand firm for the lost Arthirea in me.

Because I have already made up my mind.

To live here with His Highness Nigel.

And to stand beside His Highness.

When His Highness Nigel ascends the throne, I will be the queen. I will be in a position to influence the government of the country, regardless of my own will.

And I will be the only “Elzevert.”

For reasons that cannot be made public, I am more important to this country than it appears on the surface.

The four lords who are invited to this luncheon must know that, so their gazes are even more acute.

I’m not sure that this means that they are unconditionally on my side, although His Highness Nigel said that I don’t have to worry about the four dukes because they are my guardians.

…There’s a huge gap between duty and will.

It’s the same as with His Highness Nigel. It is the proactivity of his free will and willingness to help me, and not just out of a sense of responsibility, that helps create a better environment.

Now that I’ve decided to live in this world, I think it is important that I have a more comfortable environment to live in.


His Highness calls my name.

The soft sound of it makes my almost timid heart hunch up.

I give His Highness a small smile as if it were nothing.

It’s okay.

I say to myself.

Because next to me is His Highness.

His Highness, who is believed to be my absolute ally.

If that’s the case, then I don’t have to worry about the fact that the gaze is a little sharp.

There’s no need to think too hard.

Making a successful debut in public service or trying to impress everyone can take a back seat for now.

One thing is important. I say to myself in my mind.

My main goal for today is to make sure His Highness eats a delicious lunch!

I will make sure His Highness has a good meal at lunch. If I can do that, the rest is just a bonus.

If you chase two rabbits at once, you will fail to catch either.

Viscount Rada, His Highness Nigel’s Chief Secretary, always tells me.

‘His Highness rarely eats at the table of official business,’ he said.

Most of the time, the usual course is to eat the usual portable rations while looking at the documents after the official business is over. At the very least, I want him to eat something that might at least provide him with some sustenance.

Although, portable rations are pretty well balanced in terms of nutrition.

And the Executive Chef of the Main Palace often tells me as well.

The Executive Chef of the Main Palace is called Ridley Reve Elrance. He is said to have been born into a family of township officers who are of knightly lineage, and when he became the head chef of the main palace, he was given the rank of ‘associate knight’, a first-generation baronet, when he became the head chef of the main palace.

After becoming friends with him, I found out that, despite his stern appearance, he is a good-natured grandpa on the inside.

He was originally one of the cooks who worked for His Majesty’s deceased head chef, and it is said that he would never have been able to become an executive chef.

Apparently, in a different way than His Highness Al, His Highness Nigel’s cooks don’t last long.

That’s rather understandable.

After all, His Highness has neglected eating too much in the past.

The only reason Ridley has been able to continue to do this is because he didn’t quit…because he didn’t give up.

As a cook, it is a disgrace that the Lord prefers portable rations to his own cooking.

No, Ridley said that in the case of His Highness Nigel, giving up comes first, and he would cry over the humiliation.

He and I became friends because we became part of the Alliance to improve His Highness’ food situation.

Ridley always says the second word.

He wants him to at least have something that isn’t portable rations, even if it’s not his own food.

People in the royal palace don’t often speak their true feelings honestly. So in that situation, his words resonated with me in a very honest way.

I think it’s amazing that he can express himself without any embellishment and without fear of misunderstanding.

But what makes Ridley even more amazing is the fact that he can ask a little girl like me to teach him something.

…People usually can’t do that.

Because Ridley had been a cook long before I was born. If you’re called a court cook, you must have some skills.

It is not easy for such a person to ask a child like me to teach them in a straightforward manner.

And not only am I a child, I’m not even a cook.

But in the end, he and I will both end up in the same place…

So we were able to acknowledge each other.

A meal is not just about ‘eating’.

His Highness already knows that.

Phil told me the other day that breakfast and tea time with me has become a special time for His Highness.

He said, ‘he doesn’t say it, but he looks forward to the meals he has with the princess’…

Of course, I know he enjoys being with me.

But it’s a different kind of joy to have a third party tell you that.

I feel like it proves that I’m not the only one who is thinking that.

That’s why I wanted them to know properly.

Both Viscount Rada and the head chef are blabbering, but it doesn’t mean that what the two of them are doing isn’t helping.

So I asked them both to help me out.

Viscount Rada told me about His Highness’ recent physical condition and other information, and based on that, I assembled the lunch menu.

The most important thing to eat well is to be in good physical condition!

Some have even told me to change the seasoning and the menu itself, based on the day.

Today’s lunch is a bit different.

Using information from Viscount Rada, the chef of the Royal Palace and I worked hand in hand to create this dish.

We took great care in creating the menu and choosing the ingredients.

It’s amazing what you can do with a budget…

For my debut in public service, His Highness told me to make sure that nothing would be inconvenient. He also told me to spare no expense.

Since it was an official royal lunch, I couldn’t cook it myself, but even so, I was able to get him to listen to my selfishness.

The head chef is very skilled and my helpers are finishing up the desserts…

Alice and the others, who had been shaky in the beginning, are now so well versed in the art of it that they’ve become mentors to the new handmaidens.

And it was still them who could be entrusted with the dessert to close out the lunch.

The nice thing about dessert is that, depending on the menu we chose, we don’t have to serve everything freshly made on the spot.

This time, the main course was a baked cheesecake with apples and walnuts, which had already been baked yesterday.

I showed Alice and the others the same arrangement as the real thing yesterday, so I’m sure they’ll be able to do it perfectly if they’re used to it.

Not that I’m serving anything too unusual.

There is no need for anything fancy at such a table.

It’s a lunchtime meal, so glamour is probably necessary, but that can be done with the choice of presentation and vessels.

The things you are familiar with eating every day is the best!

However, His Highness is most used to eating portable rations, so that’s out of the question.

The crafting is fluid, the rest is just to look at the finishing touches.

I’ve made all the moves I had to make.

Now I just have to wait for the results.

When the ceremonial officer finished announcing our arrival…this was a bit of a rule to call out our full names…everyone in the room stood up.


His Highness Nigel calls out my name in a whisper, and our eyes meet as he looks into my face.


When I smiled with the meaning that I was okay, His Highness’ eyes softened.

Yeah, it’s okay.

I wasn’t too nervous.

There was no need to be nervous once I remembered my biggest goal for the day.

Then I notice that the air in the room is terribly tense, contrary to the calmness His Highness exudes.

…What is it? I’m not sure it’s just for me, though…

I feel like it’s not just the way they look at me.

It’s like these invisible sparks are flying all over the place…

The only people present here, however, are the head and wife of the great aristocrats representing Dardinia. On the surface, the air is very calm and quiet, and there is even a hint of elegance in the air.

…and yet, everyone’s eyes are too sharp, right?

They are not careless, or perhaps they are looking for an opening in one another…There’s a graceful air, but there is a tense atmosphere behind it

I tried not to let it bother me and sat down in the chair His Highness had pulled over for me.

Then, when His Highness took his seat, everyone sat down.

The ceremonial officer announced the start of the luncheon with a peculiarly inflected verse.

Then the music began, though I didn’t know where he gave the signal.

It’s a live orchestra, this music.

Although we couldn’t see them at all because of the walls, the orchestra was playing on the stage in this small hall. In this world where there are no records or other similar instruments, we have to listen to live music if we want to listen to it at all.

There is an automatic music machine called a musica, which looks like a huge music box, but the machine needs a player, and this hall is not equipped with a musica in the first place.

Since they are playing at the royal palace, the live orchestra is very skilled, and I only half listened to their music.

Ah, that’s “Weldiana,” as His Majesty liked to call it.

The melody, the subject of the opera “Weldiana,” began with a clear, high-pitched brass tone.

The gentle melody was loud enough not to interfere with the meal, and it softened the atmosphere of the place.

The content of the opera itself is an utterly sloppy love-hate drama.

And yet, the music played is light and bright.

The lightness of the music may make the love/hate drama of the characters in the story stand out more.



“Let me introduce the others. Elzevert is fine.”

“As usual, His Highness is strict with Duke Elzevert.”

I nodded back as Duke Elzevert, who was seated closest to me, gave me a light eye bow.

“The Duke and Duchess of Feldie.”

“It is a great pleasure to meet you, Your Highness.”

“It is an honor to meet you.”

The fiery golden-haired great man sitting next to the Duke of Elzevert bows lightly, and the slender duchess beside him bows in accord with him.

I nodded at the proof that I had received that greeting.

“And next to them are the Duke of Alhane and his daughter.”

“It’s a great pleasure to meet you, Your Highness.”

“I’ve been looking forward to meeting you.”

“I had wondered if she was too young to be his wife, but she was his daughter.”

As I recall, the Duke of Alhane’s wife has already died.

I’ve heard a glimpse of her story about being a second wife.

I gave them both a light eye bow.

They didn’t look much like parent and child, but perhaps the daughter was like her mother.

This young lady, I’m sure, would be a cousin to Nadi.

“And that’s the Duke and Duchess of Grachie.”

“We are pleased to see that Your Highness is safe and well.”

“You should come to our house sometime. I have one of Lady Efinia’s favorite automatic musical instruments at home.”

The stern-looking old man wished me well without smiling, but his wife spoke with a big smile on her face.

I nodded at him and looked at His Highness. My plans are not just something I can decide on.

“Duchess Grachie, I will not let Arthirea leave the palace. Until after the Founding Festival.”

The air took on a slightly more tense tone.

“Very well. I look forward to your visit.”

Whether she knows it or not, the Duchess smiles at the tense atmosphere.

She is a gracious old lady with a refined and gentle manner.

I’ve heard that she is pious and dedicated to service.

She seems to be kind and I hear that she is very kind, but I do not know if that is true yet.

Although, I don’t know what true kindness is, either.

All three dukes, except the Duke of Elzevert, are accompanied by a woman.

In Dardinia, formal socializing is something that takes place in the marital unit.

His Royal Highness Nigel has always participated alone so far.

Even though it is unavoidable, I find that distressing and unpalatable at the same time.

From now on, we’re going to participate together as much as possible.

I clench my fists tightly with determination.

His Highness has been attending alone so far because I, his official wife, was still too young before the flower crowning ceremony.

The Duke of Elzevert is…well, he can’t bring her along.

He has no partner who he can bring to this table.

The Royal Family…It is only the ‘wives’ or ‘children’ of royalty who can accompany them to the occasion hosted by the next king. Or ‘sisters’.

His wife is officially a duchess, but not a ‘princess’. Therefore, in order to allow her to take part in this event, he would need to consult with the royal court.

But even if he did, they probably wouldn’t give him permission.

Above all, the circumstances in which the Duchess became his ‘sife’ were what caused the death of my deceased mother, his official “princess.”

To begin with, His Royal Highness’ attitude towards the Duke is quite cold, so…

The Duke of Elzewert is one of the few people that His Royal Highness Nadir, who is said to be a gentlement, absolutely responds to negatively.

It’s Lilia’s opinion that it wouldn’t be much different for his wife.

Or rather, Phil had said that there was a chance that they might not be in sight if they were not good at it.

I consider their decision in that area to be a reasonable one.

“It’s good to see you, Your Highness, Princess.”

Once again, Duke Elzevert bowed his head.

”It’s been a while…Duke…Duke of the East.’’ (***Two different words for the Duke are used here in Japanese. Kōsha and Azuma kō. The first can mean something like a ‘government official’ and I think the second can mean ‘Eastern’ so I just went with Duke of the East)

I called him the “Duke” and then called him again.

All of the people here are dukes, and there are four dukes alone, so I’ll have to be careful what I call them.


Duke Elzevert had a smile on his mouth. The blackness that was transparent in his usual interactions with His Highness was in the air.

…Could this have been a bad idea?

I noticed that everyone was lightly opening their eyes and showing some questioning facial expressions in our interactions.

Perhaps with just a few words now, everyone here would have determined that I was getting closer to the Duke.

Even if it wasn’t a reconciliation, they would have seen enough to know that it wasn’t a total subversion of the negotiations as before.

His Highness Nigel glared at Duke Elzevert with an uninterested look, as if he was not amused, but the duke silently killed it.

Hmmm, but I can’t ignore it…

I’m repairing my relationship with the royal family! It might have been used as an appeal, I thought, but I allowed it to go unchallenged.

I’ll talk later about His Highness’ instant sensitivity to many things when it comes to me.

“Then, let’s get started.”

With those gruff words from His Highness Nigel, the turbulent luncheon began.


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