This commotion definitely hurt Lady Sylvia and Lady Seraphina. If I’d handled the situation a little bit better, the two of them wouldn’t have been scolded by their fiancées. That is my only regret. Still, how could Lord Franklin and Lord Griffith treat the people they loved in such a manner…?
“Emmeline.” After arriving at the royal palace, I’d immediately asked for my father or older brother. I’d been seated in the guest room, but it wasn’t one of my family members that came to greet me. It was His Highness.
“Your Highness.” I greeted him with a curtsey, but he asked me to sit down. He’d asked me to come to the palace, so I wondered if he meant to tell me about his decision before bringing it up with His Majesty, the King and my father. His Highness certainly was a very sincere man.
“Emmeline, I’d like to hear about what happened in the cafeteria today. Is what Lady Katrina said true?”
“You mean about how I harassed her?”
“There seems to be a misunderstanding. Lady Katrina was quite upset, but I couldn’t figure out exactly what she was upset about.”
“Were you harsh with her?”
“I’m not sure. I certainly didn’t raise my voice, but perhaps it was my fault for not communicating properly.”
“Ah, is that it.” His Highness grasped his chin as if pondering something.
It seemed that since His Highness turned eighteen three months ago, he’d become even more handsome. I, who have been by his side for many years, am familiar with his good looks. In fact, even princesses of other countries desire to marry him for this reason—all despite the fact that he already has a fiancée.
“Yes, Your Highness?”
“It’s going to get a little bit annoying, but I’d like you to remain calm.”
“You’d like me to stand aside…”
I didn’t want the situation to stay as is. He’d found someone who meant more to him than anything, so aren’t you going to break off the engagement? I’ll always help you. His Highnesses well-defined eyebrows drew closer as if in an unspoken question.
“Emmeline, what are you thinking?”
“No, it’s nothing.”
His Highness usually never pushes me to speak, but it seemed today was different.
“…Yes. Then I’ll speak. Was it not for the purpose of dissolving our engagement that you summoned me here today?”
“…Eh?” Oh, he looks caught off guard. How unusual, but what did I say that was so surprising. Oh, was His Highness surprised that I had guessed his intentions. Well, that makes sense. “Emmeline, what are you talking about.”
“Hm? Just what I said, Your Highness.”
“No, no, no, wait a minute. I don’t know how you came to that conclusion—well, I have an idea but that doesn’t make it any less startling.”
He held his head in his hands and looked like he wanted to scream. Ah! Was it because— “I’m terribly sorry, Your Highness. I should have waited for you to broach it. You were caught off guard. I was terribly rude.”
“What? It’s not that.”
“Unfortunately, it cannot be taken back so let’s proceed with our talks.”
“What? What do you mean?”
“Don’t worry Your Highness. This Emmeline understands your heart.”
“No, wait a minute. I don’t think you understand at all.”
“I’ve already asked father and brother for a few moments of their time. I’d hoped to speak with you after they were both here, but since we’ve already started, let us seek an audience with His Majesty.”
“An audience with His Majesty? Wait a minute. What are you trying to say?”
His Highness’ complexion changed drastically. Ah, I might have been too hasty. When I realized I might be able to go to La Steria after all, I couldn’t help but become impatient. Yes, father hasn’t even approved this yet. You’re right, I was in too much of a hurry… I was out of line.
“I understand now that there’s been a grave misunderstanding. Yes, I know I’m in the wrong, but it’s not what you think.”
“What? Aren’t you in love with Lady Katrina?”
“Ours is a political arrangement. I believe you should be with a woman that you truly love, so I consent to this dissolution.
“I’d like to congratulate you, Your Highness.”
Huh? It’s the middle of summer, but the room seems to have suddenly gotten colder. I shuddered and rubbed my arms. If I’d known this would be the case, I’d have worn a heavier outfit. I don’t want to catch a cold, so I think I’ll have some chamomile tea when I get home. As I was thinking this, His Highness said in a voice lower than usual:
“You think that I’m in love with Lady Katrina?”
“Yes, that is what Lady Katrina told me.”
I tilted my head at His Highness’ sudden drop in mood. Huh? Are you angry with me? Why is that?
“So, you’re stepping back?”
“If I were to become engaged to Lady Katrina, would you give me your blessings?”
Of course. I live to serve my country and the royal family. If His Highness is happy then there isn’t a single reason for me not to step aside or deny you blessings. “Yes, of course, it would be a National Celebration after all.”
Hm? Why is it that at my heartfelt words, His Highness’ mood dipped even lower?