Chapter Eleven: Don’t Call Me Your Highness, Call Me…
“Alice, thank you for everything.”
Queen Catherine said this while bowing to Alice, who she had called back into the room after spending time alone with His Highness. At the scene, Mary, who was standing next to them, was left speechless, and Alice was absolutely flabbergasted.
“P-Please raise your head, Queen Catherine!!!”
Queen Catherine raised her head in displeasure when she heard Alice say that. Huh? Contrary to my expectations, Queen Catherine seems surprisingly emotional.
“Why should I?”
“Well… Her Majesty the Queen isn’t one to lightly bow her head to individuals of lesser position.”
To be honest, it’s pretty reasonable for her to do that from the perspective of someone who has lived in modern Japan, but as they say, when in Rome, do as the Romans do.
“I’m aware. I am still a royal regardless of the circumstances. I’m aware that I shouldn’t lightly bow my head.”
“Because this isn’t a trivial issue.”
After that, Queen Catherine bent her head once more.
“I’m really grateful, Alice. Thanks to you… I was able to mend my relationship with Zeke.”
“Alice. Please accept Mother’s gratitude.”
“Mother Catherine is truly grateful to you, Alice. That goes for me as well.”
His Highness said bowing his head as well.
“Thank you, Alice. Really, really, thank you.”
Alice began staring left and right in astonishment, thoroughly perplexed by both of their actions. As she did so, her sight was drawn to Mary, who was raising one of her thumbs.
“Don’t thumbs up me!”
Alice was even more bewildered by Mary’s gesture urging her to accept the gratitude.
Ah, I’m done… Fine…
“Thank you for your kind words, Queen Catherine, Your Highness.”
No matter what I say, these two will not listen. If that’s the case, I suppose I should just accept their gratitude. That does not, however, imply that I believe I accomplished something significant.
“That’s an excellent response, Alice.”
So, now that that’s out of the way, how should we proceed with His Highness’ education? Queen Catherine spoke out, as if she had read Alice’s thoughts.
“In regards to Zeke’s education, I just addressed it with him, and he expressed an interest in studying. I’m not a supporter of forcing things on people, but if he wants to study, that’s a different story.”
“However, it would be difficult for Zeke to stay here.”
“I figured as much.”
Alice realized that her acts had been practically equal to kidnapping, and that even if that wasn’t the case, His Highness, the future king, living in a nobleman’s home wouldn’t be looked at favorably. However, it seemed like that wasn’t what Queen Catherine was trying to imply.
“You’ve got it wrong, Alice.”
Huh? I have?
“I don’t care about that. Even if they don’t like the situation, no noble can intervene because of the royal family’s authority and the Salvato family’s influence.”
“I understand you’re trying to avoid causing uproar, but that’s nothing to be concerned about.”
“Then what is the most pressing issue?”
“Isn’t that obvious?”
While hugging His Highness, who stood just next to her, Queen Catherine said.
“I was finally able to restore my relationship with Zeke. I can occasionally give Zeke to you, but he’s still my Zeke, and if he stays with you, I’ll be lonely.”
Oh my… His Highness, that’s quite the blushed face you’ve got there. What a beautiful parent-child love they’ve got going on there.
“Well I guess that really can’t be helped.”
“Correct. However, I agree that Zeke and you, Alice, should get along. You’ll one day be his wife. Therefore, you’ll need to learn how to be a Queen as well.”
“Are you recommending that I move into the royal palace?”
Come to think of it, it seems like quite the strict place so I might just pass. But I’ve already made up my mind to act as His Highness’ fiancée to some extent…
“If we keep you in the palace, it will be Duke Salvato who will be lonely this time. How about you visit once a week? And if Zeke displays an interest in seeing you, he is welcome to come as long as you are okay with it.”
“However, is that going to be okay?”
There’s stuff like security to worry about…
“Well, it is not like I am going to let you pull him out like you did this time, and we’ll have some guards with him as well. That’s why, Alice, if Zeke decides to come over and play tag along with him, would you?”
I don’t mind either way… But wait, that means that that thing is also possible.
“Then that thing is also possible!”
“His Highness stated that the Viscount’s daughter Lili… Liliana Swarov is a fine woman. Because our family has a master servant connection with the Swarov family, His Highness will have more opportunities to see Lili.”
I decided to act as His Highness’ fiancée, but that doesn’t mean my motherly instincts don’t want him to be happy. If he intends to have intimate relations with Lili, I shall disappear and leave them to their happiness, as a proper Villainess would. It wouldn’t be good if this kingdom fell to ruin after all.
“Y-You’re misunderstanding Mother Catherine!”
His Highness turned to look at Alice with a look that wanted to say “Why did you say that?!” after responding to Queen Catherine’s cold stare.
I’m sorry, Your Highness. I’d like to spoil you all the time, but that would be bad for you.
“That… I-I’m sorry. It was rude of me to say that. I apologize.”
His Highness said bowing his head.
I think I’m already used to seeing him like this. “I do not mind Your Highness. However, try to reflect upon your actions, okay? You shouldn’t say such things to girls. It will make them sad.”
“Does it make you sad?”
“Me? Rather than sad it makes me a bit angry.”
I did land a drop kick on him after all.
His Highness grinned wryly when Alice said that.
“Now that is scary… I will try not to say such things from now on.”
“Well, I doubt anyone else will be as scary as me, but nonetheless don’t say it!!!”
“Huh? Is there something wrong, Your Highness?”
“It’s just that I just agreed not to say anything about other women, and now you’re telling me that other women aren’t as scary as you are, while also urging me not to say anything… This is way too confusing…”
With a fatigued expression on his face, His Highness said.
What’s with that look! Why do I feel like he’s making fun of me!
“His Highness, just what is…”
“Strangers or those attempting to be formal refer to me as His Highness. My name is Zeke. I’d like you to call me that from now on. Is that clear, Alice?”
His Highness, or rather Sir Zeke, smiled warmly after Alice accepted.