Title: I, I Would like to Refuse
Author: みこと かなめ
I was happy to be chosen as a queen candidate for the person of my dreams, but something unexpected came to light… I thought that ‘I want to decline,‘ but then…?
Until that moment, I was happy.
So, so happy…
But, in reality, I was just a foolish girl with childish dreams.
While attending a party, Charlotte was approached by a young lady she did not recognize. Though puzzled, Charlotte tried to respond politely. At first, it was just small talk, but soon the words that came from the young noble lady’s mouth began to make Charlotte cower.
“Yes, yes, Lady Charlotte. I was also named a princess candidate for Prince Cain. Oh yea～ So if… Just if, okay? If the remaining candidates are asked to be his concubines, you shouldn’t begrudge him. But well, not that I’d let there be concubines.”
With a merry laugh, the young lady departed from Charlotte’s side. It was a mere few days ago that Charlotte was told the news by her father that she had been chosen as a princess candidate for Crown Prince Cain. While she had heard of mention of “candidate,” she had no idea that there were others. However, that young lady said she was one of the candidates, and that young lady sounded as though she had been chosen to be Princess Consort.
—Becoming Princess Consort to the beloved Crown Prince Cain!
Becoming the one person he loved… It was like a dream.
And ultimately, it was wishful thinking. It was impossible for there to be only one candidate. If names were listed, there were probably more than just a few candidates. At the end of the day, this was about who’s to be Prince Cain’s consort. Intelligence, beauty, and sociability were all questions at hand. It dawned on Charlotte that the likely real reason why a dull lady like her was chosen was that her father served as the Prime Minister under the current king.
Charlotte could feel the world spin as she came to this realization.
In the swaying landscape, the only thing she could properly make out was the figure of a person. Beautiful long golden hair and ice-blue eyes. She had once believed that she was the only one reflected in those eyes. But, in truth, she was only one of many candidates. She was the daughter of the Prime Minister and his childhood playmate, and while he spoke to her openly, it could be said that it was only out of obligation and pretense.
As this all happened, the young lady from prior began speaking to Prince Cain. Her words were returned by him with a smile. Charlotte reached her limit. She had the foolish belief that Cain belonged to her and she was ashamed of herself. She could not stand to be there a moment longer and turned her back and ran.
Charlotte’s mother passed away ten years ago.
During that time, the topic of remarriage was brought up many times to her father, but he cited that he’ll continue to refuse until Charlotte comes of age. Charlotte even once told her father to not worry about her and to just remarry.
“Charl, you’re such a kind girl. But your father still loves your mother, so he can’t think of anyone new.”
Charlotte’s father loved her mother so immensely that it was embarrassing to see. When her mother passed away, her father fell into a terrible state of shock, but because of Charlotte, who bore a natural resemblance to her mother, he managed to recover. Needless to say, Charlotte’s dream to become the wife of a man like her father, a man who loved her mother so deeply and profoundly was one that sprouted from childhood.
When he resumed his work at the royal court after the death of Charlotte’s mother, the Prime Minister took Charlotte with him.
He couldn’t bear to leave his young daughter alone in their mansion. It was both for the sake of the little girl, who had lost her mother, and for the Prime Minister himself. The king, too, mourned the death of the Prime Minister’s late wife, who had been a childhood friend of his own. He granted the wish of the Prime Minister, who was also his closest friend, and brought his own son, Cain, to be Charlotte’s playmate.
Charlotte was five and Cain was seven.
The two studied together and played together.
This exchange continued until Cain’s fifteenth birthday.
“What happened to you yesterday, Charlotte? You had Prince Cain worried.”
Charlotte’s hand stopped on the fork she was holding when confronted by her father at breakfast. Charlotte had left a message for her father, but since she left as soon as the party started, it was a natural cause for concern. Charlotte had spent a long time pondering over it. Perhaps it would have been easier if she could bring herself to accept the possibility of being a concubine, but Charlotte came to the conclusion that a foolish girl could not give up her foolish ideas.
“…Father. I… I would like to refuse.”
“Charlotte? What do you… What do you mean by ‘refuse‘?”
When questioned by her father, Charlotte revealed events of the day prior and exposed her thoughts.
“I… I thought that if I became Prince Cain’s consort… Prince Cain would always look my way. It had never occurred to me that it could be otherwise. Yesterday, I learned… That there were other princess candidates and that eventually, they’d stand to become concubines. I want to be loved by a singular person like my mother. I want to be loved by Prince Cain. I realize now that it’s a very selfish thing to ask. I don’t want to see Prince Cain loving anyone but me! And if so, I refuse!”
Charlotte had made up her mind to live in a monastery to wish him happiness from afar. Half-crying, Charlotte’s emotions were unleashed in a flurry. And after draining herself of all her resolve, Charlotte broke down in tears, unable to bear it any longer.
I love Prince Cain. I love him. But I’m a foolish girl who can only think of herself!
Charlotte, sobbing, her hands covering her face, was, unfortunately, woefully unaware that her father’s face fell flat onto the table, head in hand.
“All right, Charl, if that’s what you insist, I’ll inform the King. However, you must inform Prince Cain yourself. Understand?”
With that warning, Charlotte was brought to the royal castle. It was her father’s belief that the best course of action was to speak with both the King and Prince Cain. Still, Charlotte was crestfallen when a maid notified her that Cain would be a little delayed because of his scheduled duties, having come at a busy time.
A sinking feeling grew as time passed. Only a slight ruckus could be heard before the door swung open with a thunder. Charlotte, startled, stood up and darted her eyes towards the door.
“Charlotte! I’m so sorry! I made you wait!”
With a fresh smile on his face, Cain stood before Charlotte and hugged her.
“Please let me have a good look at your face. You had me so worried yesterday. You left without any warning.”
Cain gently held Charlotte’s cheeks in his two hands, then shifted her downcast gaze onto himself and smiled at her lovely face.
“Oh, I felt a little unwell yesterday, so I came here today to talk to you, Prince Cain.”
“Talk? Did something happen?”
Charlotte almost burst into tears at the gentle tone of Cain’s voice.
Once she says the next word, it’s over, no more gentle hugs, no more conversation… It’s all over.
“…I, Prince Cain, I’d like to refuse…”
“Charlotte… What would you say you’re refusing?”
“My princess candidacy. I am not educated. I don’t think it is good to have me named as a princess candidate simply on the basis that I’m the daughter of the Prime Minister. Thank you for all the kindness you have shown me.“
Charlotte felt proud that she was able to look Cain in the eye and say everything she had to say.
It was painful, but Charlotte was convinced that if she wanted Cain to be happy, the right thing for her to do was to step aside now rather than later.
“Charl… Why don’t we take a little walk?”
Cain grabbed Charlotte’s wrist, pulled her toward himself, then quietly walked her out of the room. The auxiliary knight stationed outside the door appeared startled. Seeing the look on the knight’s face, Charlotte realized that Cain was extremely livid.
“Order everyone to leave the greenhouse. No one can approach it until I say otherwise.”
Huh? P-Prince Cain?! What are you-??
To Charlotte’s consternation, the knight replied, “Yes, my liege.”
And responded to his master’s command with a bow.
It was during a day in their childhoods that Cain suddenly whispered in Charlotte’s ear amidst a view of flowers at the greenhouse.
“Charl, you’re so cute. I love you.”
Saying this, Cain gave Charlotte a kiss on the cheek. For Charlotte being presented with a kiss by Cain was like a blessing.
“Charl, if you like me, can you do the same for me?”
Charlotte blushed and kissed Cain’s cheek in the same way, drawn by his sweet whisper. “I-I love you too, Prince Cain.”
Charlotte acted despite her embarrassment, but when Cain gave her a big smile, Charlotte’s heart was filled with fuzzy warmth and she was overwhelmed with joy.
Thus, Cain’s current behavior was both confusing and terrifying for Charlotte. Just as Charlotte thought she was about to be embraced, Cain robbed her of her lips.
It was a long kiss, and Charlotte, breathless, begged for air
As a gap formed between her lips, Cain forced his tongue in-between. Though Charlotte tried to escape, Cain’s hand pulled her head back in a strong, unyielding grasp. Charlotte could feel a tingle in her lower body as their tongues entwined and she was kissed deeply.
W-W-W-What is this?! No, it feels strange!
Charlotte’s world was flipped onto its head.
“Charl, do you hate me? Refusing to be my wife because of your lack of education or because you are the daughter of the Prime Minister… I will not allow it.”
While licking up her ears, Cain’s right hand skillfully unbuttoned Charlotte’s dress.
Charlotte had heard a fair amount about what Cain was about to do from the gossip of the maids,but a feeling of near-terror welled up in her at the thought of what was about to happen to her.Sensing Charlotte’s confusion… And perhaps her fear, Cain smiled as if to reassure her.
“It’s okay, I’ll be gentle, so please accept me…”
The scent of the flowers was intoxicating. And that scent robbed Charlotte of her thoughts.
Charlotte no longer had any thoughts of resisting. Her dress was unbuttoned, and from there she was simply tossed about by the torrent.
“Ahh, ahn! No! P-Prince Cain!”
“Hmm? But Charl, you never said you didn’t like it here, did you?”
With that, Cain inserted another finger into Charlotte’s honey pot. Charlotte’s body twitched as the two fingers were inserted inside her, and Cain watched with satisfaction as her nectar overflowed.
“Ah, just how cute can you be, Charl? I’ve loved you since the first time I met you. I won’t ever forgive you if you leave me…”
Love? Won’t forgive?
In her pleasure, Charlotte could barely pick up more than two words.
Charlotte was no different. Since the moment they met, Cain was the only person to ever occupy her mind.
“Really? Really P-Prince Cain? M-Me? Just me?!” She wanted to say, “Don’t take anyone other than me as your consort… Don’t take a concubine,” but all that could be heard from Charlotte’s mouth was her coquettish voice.
“Aah, don’t get me worked up like that.”
Charlotte felt a bit sad when his fingers were pulled out from inside her, but soon enough, she could feel something hot touch her honey pot and she could only quiver in response to the heat. When she looked down fearfully, Charlotte could see Cain’s desire rubbing against her honey pot. It was a sight that filled her with both horror and ecstasy.
“It’s okay… It’s not scary. Will you let me have your first time, Charl?”
His feverish gaze was answered by Charlotte with a happy smile and a nod of her head.
“That—that was an error on your part…”
“I didn’t think there would be a noble girl who was willing to pick a fight with the Prime Minister’s daughter.”
The Prime Minister, Charlotte’s father, had his head hanged in the King’s office.
Cain had privately threatened to make Charlotte his consort for the longest time… And even made specific requests for it.
However, politically, the Prime Minister’s daughter could not be the only candidate, and the council’s decision was to select a consort from among several candidates.
But, although the candidates were nominated by the nobles, the decision on who his consort will be ultimately rested on the Crown Prince. It was a setup that obviously favored Cain, but whether Cain was just that shrewd or whether he was secretly a wicked schemer is left unclear.
The Prime Minister did not wish to discuss politics with Charlotte, and Cain figured it wouldn’t be an issue because he loves Charlotte so much. In any case, those around them were silenced so that the true methods of selection would not reach Charlotte’s ears. Naively, it was presumed that as long as the selection period passes, it would be fine.
“Forgive me, Your Majesty. His Highness has shut himself inside the greenhouse… And he’s made orders to prevent access…”
It was Cain’s adjutant who had arrived. Cain may be the Crown Prince, but he was also the commander of the nation’s army. His adjutant met eyes with the Prime Minister and looked as though he had difficulties saying something.
“Ahhh… He’s with Charlotte, isn’t he? Thank you, I’m able to comprehend the situation.”
The adjutant was quick to salute and communicate his understanding.
The King sighed. In a way, the real victim today was the adjutant. The greenhouse was Charlotte’s favorite place to visit. It was where she used to nap when she was little. Cain had made improvements to it a few months ago to make it nicer and more convenient in many ways. With that knowledge, the King’s sighs only got deeper. The atmosphere was strange inside the office, and it was filled with nothing but a continuum of sighs.
“…I hope her stomach isn’t too big at the wedding…”
The Prime Minister was sighing as well. He was happy that his daughter could find happiness, but knowing what he knows, as a father, the feeling was a complicated one.
“…I’d like to think that, since I’ve ordered the finest lace and was planning the design for Charl’s bridal gown, I’d be okay, but……I hope I don’t end up feeling almost abandoned by Charl and lose my sense of reason…this is the culmination of ten years’ worth of emotions. Charl, I’m sorry.”
And with those words, all that was left from the Prime Minister was a long-extended sigh.
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