Title: Your Highness, Didn’t You Say That I Wasn’t Cute?
Summary: From a house on the verge of a downfall, Celine is unsociable and plain. Her childhood friend, Crown Prince Alexei, tells her she’s “not cute” but dotes on her nonetheless with various gifts and attention. Celine’s feelings towards him are complicated…
“As usual, you aren’t cute, Celine.” At the gorgeous venue of the royal palace, the future king, who was also my first childhood friend, said such a thing.
“Well, is that so?” The one who said that was the crown prince of the kingdom, Alexei. His hair was lustrous blond in color, while his eyes were the reflection of the emerald forest. At a glance, he seemed like a charming sort of guy.
He patted my black hair, which was easy to get tangled. “Yes, I assure you.”
I casually replied to him. “…Whether I’m cute or not, I wonder if it has any correlations to Your Highness…”
“I also like that unabashed attitude of yours, Celine.” Alexei, a cheerful young man, showed a refreshing smile.
I’m in no position to say anything back towards the kind and friendly Your Highness, considering that as a noble, I’m on the verge of falling to ruin… Even though everyone was watching, Alexei continued to pat me as if I was a dog. He had always been like that to me. Does he think of me as his sibling?
The other gorgeous ladies beckoned to him. Since he was in line for the throne, many of such ladies approached him. The ladies proceeded to swarm around him. Soon enough, Alexei was out of my reach.
“Your Highness, bestow us with your attention, as well…”
“Me too, me too…”
When things became like that, it became difficult to talk to him.
I decided to take my leave.
However, he grabbed my wrist.
“I’ll be giving you another dress at a later date, unlovely Celine.”
“…Thank you.” Upon saying that, I quickly dismissed myself from the crowd. As I made my way through the venue, I began to hear some whisperings.
“—Dull black hair and black eyes. Not even someone like His Highness Alexei could find it in him to praise her.”
“—It’s that count’s daughter again. Surely, Celine is her name? To be rebuked by His Highness, she must’ve done something terrible…”
“Didn’t His Highness give her a red ribbon the other day? I feel sorry for that ribbon. To be worn by such an unflattering lady…”
Of course, I was aware that they were directed at me. It stung. As such, I’d rather leave than endure the pain.
If I was as pretty as the other ladies…
…If only I was cute, then would His Highness be more willing to praise me?
Despite his sentiment, Alexei continued to take care of me. We were the so-called childhood friends. When he was young, Alexei was sickly. As a result, he’d often visit my father’s lush territory for medical treatment.
Because we were of the same age, we eventually became friends.
Then, as he developed into an adult, he became a refreshing and gentle person.
However, when with me, he’d always say such awful things. Nevertheless, he’d continue to fulfill his obligation as my fiancé.
Somehow, I feel like the meaning of His Highness’ “you aren’t cute.” Is different from that of the other ladies…
Since I was little, I had always liked his kindheartedness.
Perhaps, to His Highness Alexei, I’m akin to a little sister…
That was probably the truth.
I’d rather not think of myself as his special someone.
But I wish that he’d call me cute.
With turmoil in my heart, I left the venue.
A few days after the ball, a messenger arrived from the castle. I was told of unprecedented news.
“Huh? I’m one of his fiancée candidates?” For some reason, I was summoned as his fiancée candidate. Why me, though? If anything, I should be eliminated from the get-go…
After all, for someone as unflattering as me, it should be nigh impossible.
“The invitation goes to all the aristocratic women in the kingdom.” The messenger informed me of the additional fact.
“Oh, no wonder, then.”
“Since it’s a national agreement, your participation is mandatory.”
I wanted to decline, but it couldn’t be helped.
My father was frail. As such, I didn’t want to cause him needless worry.
“I understand.” Despite knowing how impossible it was for me to become his fiancée, I went to the castle.
At the castle, the selection of the crown princess began.
“Celine, I’m glad you came.” As I stepped into the hall, Alexei beckoned to me.
“Even if you aren’t cute, I’ve given you an opportunity to join the exam.”
“Of course…” Despite my aching heart, I replied casually.
“Good luck.” Then, Alexei kissed my cheek, before walking away.
In response, the other ladies burst into laughter. “Oh my, who do we have here? Well, if it isn’t Lady Celine. Do you honestly think you stand a chance?”
I froze. “I’ll do my best.” After giving a short reply, I left.
The first challenge was—for some reason, a written exam. The glossary of astronomy, arithmetic, biology, and physics. Those were unfamiliar concepts to the ladies in general, who had only received bridal training.
For some reason, all the questions are related to the teachings of His Highness back when we were young…
Although I only decided to participate for formality’s sake, I ended up passing the first challenge with the highest score.
The second challenge was art.
In the hall, the host told me to show off my talent because everything was fine. While the other ladies were buzzing to show off the skills that they had learned during the bridal training…
…W, what am I supposed to do?
I had no special skills.
The ladies stared at me with ridicule. At that moment, Alexei came to the rescue. “Celine, there may be nothing you can show. Well, it can’t be helped. Why don’t you sing?”
I’ll sing a song that I used to sing to His Highness. If I were to fail, I’d at least prefer to fail on my own term.Thus, I began to sing.My surroundings began to get noisy. What’s wrong? Is my singing horrendous?
I had no music instructor. The only person who had heard me sing was Alexei himself. Back then, he used to genuinely praise me…
After I had finished singing, the knights began to applaud.
“As expected of His Highness’ childhood friend.”
“How wonderful, not only is she well-educated, but she also has a firm artistic background.”
“She doesn’t seem to be mediocre…”
For some reason, everyone praised me. While the ladies were gritting their teeth, I managed to pass the second exam.
Somehow, I made it to the final exam.
Only five ladies remained. They ranged from the rank of a duchess to that of a countess. Moreover, they were all very good-looking. However, they slandered me the whole time.
I felt a little weak in the knees. As we proceeded to gather in the hall, they shoved me around and even stepped on my dress.
“Oh, forgive me, Lady Celine~” The daughter of the marquis, who had just shoved me, showed a nasty smile.
Her entourage also jeered at me.
“Well, well, it seems that someone has been quite lucky so far. But I wonder about next time?”
“You just happen to be good at academics and arts.”
…As these people say, I just happen to be lucky. As I tried to calm down, His Highness entered the hall. Without sparing anyone else a glance, he made his way to me.
“Apparently, you’re lucky enough to remain until the final exam, Celine.”
“Yes, that’s right.”
He softly kissed the back of my palm. “For someone as unlovely as you, the final exam may be difficult. Do your best.” He spoke and then winked at me.
My heart began to pound in unease. …Then, the final exam might be related to appearance.
The host announced the theme of the final exam. “I’d like you to don your most beautiful dress and come to this venue tomorrow. That’s it for the final exam.”
For someone as plain and poor as me, it’s the most difficult task…
I already felt like giving up. Apparently, I had a faint hope of being able to have an official relationship with Alexei.
In contrast to me, who became gloomy—
—all the other ladies began to smile.
It became nighttime. The five remaining fiancée candidates will stay in the castle today. They were accompanied by at least a servant. However, because I was poor, I was by myself. At the very least, there’s a guard stationed nearby…
After taking a bath, I quietly spent my time in the assigned room.
The final exam just happens to be the most challenging thing for me…
…Maybe, it’s intentional? Perhaps, it’s their way of getting rid of me.
Well, to come this far, I should consider myself as lucky…
Once Alexei became the king, he’d be out of my reach. Then, at the very least, we were able to spend time together for the last time. His Highness Alexei deserves a woman as beautiful as himself…
…At that time, I heard a knock on the door.
Upon opening the door, I was met with the figure of Alexei.
“Your Highness Alexei—!? What’s the matter?”
“I came to see the unpretty face of Celine.”
“Oh.” The unflattering words of His Highness, which I tried not to dwell upon, pierced my heart. To me, it was as if he was announcing my failure at the exam.
“…It has nothing to do with Your Highness.” I tried to reply nonchalantly. However, my pain flowed into my voice.
Alexei frowned. “What’s wrong?”
“Leave me alone, please.” I turned away.
“Celine, look at me.”
“I came to give you this. Look, isn’t it your favorite flower? Do you remember? In the past, you’d often look at it during a rainy day.” There was a hydrangea flower in his hand. A stem would consist of many delicate-looking blue and purple flowers. With how they were bunched together, the flower seemed truly adorable.
I gently received the flower. Your Highness Alexei, you remember it… My chest ached.
“While you may not be cute, as a woman, you’re as resilient as this flower.” Suddenly, his slender and delicate fingers caressed my cheeks.
Before I could think of anything else—
—our lips overlapped.
“Your Highness, why…?”
In reply, Alexei passionately stared at me.
A sweet voice spilled from my lips. It was my first kiss. As we kissed, he slowly made his way into my room. “Ah—… mmm—…” At the same time as the door closed, I was pinned against the wall. The kiss swallowed me whole. “Nnh, nn—…” Our tongues entwined as our breaths began to mix.
“This is a special task for you, who made it to the final exam. Therefore, listen to me—” Alexei lifted my dress, before tugging my underwear down.
“Y, Your Highness, please wait…”
Alexei knelt between my legs. When I was still at a loss, he leaned in towards my secret place.
“Hyaa—! Ah, mm—! No, that place is—!”
He began to explore my folds with his tongue. There was an obscene, wet, noise. As he started to lick, a strong wave of pleasure continuously pervaded me.
“Can you feel it?”
Upon my refusal, he slid his tongue into my folds. “You’re still dishonest.” His fingers played with my bud, squeezing, and stretching it. Unable to stand the sensation, my hips began to buck without permission. In between my hazy consciousness, I could feel his tongue crawling in and out.
“Hyiii…!” My legs quivered.
“Oh, you came.”
Love juice trickled from between my legs. Alexei proceeded to lick it, creating a somewhat lewd noise. Then, he lifted my rattling body and laid me softly on top of the fluffy bed. “I, uh…”
The flower I was holding was gently put to the side. While I still didn’t know what was going on, I was stripped of my nightwear. In the meantime, he kissed me over and over. My mind became blank. Alexei proceeded to remove his blue cravat. After removing his coat, he unbuttoned his shirt.
He excelled in martial arts. His well-trained body was exposed in front of me.
…Am I dreaming?
If it was indeed a dream, then let it be. After all, I was but a poor daughter. Even if I were to get married, I was sure that it’d be political in nature. Surely, no one else would embrace me. Moreover, my partner was someone I had been yearning for a long time.
“Ah… aah…—” As the feeling of joy enveloped me, I could feel his touches on my entire body.With utmost care, he fondled my breasts. It was kind of embarrassing, but also felt good…“Ah, ah, hya—ah…!” It was as if my entire body was lit on fire.
Thus, Alexei removed his undergarment.
Oh… Contrary to his delicate beauty, his hidden organ was lethal…
“…Celine, while it’s your first time, it appears that you’ve loosened enough.”
“Y, Your Highness…” I could no longer differentiate dream from reality. However, the way he stared at me was truly gentle…
…Before long, I found myself entangling my arms around his neck.
“Celine, I’ll be gentle…”
The entirety of my mind was basking in the pleasure. I could feel his slippery tip at my entrance.
He had taken my chastity.
It doesn’t hurt as much as I thought it’d be…
…Or had his kisses numb the pain?
Albeit there was severe pain, it only lasted for a moment. More than pain, pleasure had dominated my entire body. “Celine, you’re so warm… so good…” The part where we were joined together began to make a loud noise. Alexei’s huge member filled my inside, causing slight discomfort.
“What is it, Celine?”
I kept my usual habit of being nonchalant. “It’s uncomfortable.”
He responded with a smile, before kissing me softly. “As I thought, you’re truly not cute…”
My hips shook. Alexei had stirred the arousal within me. Indescribable pleasure pervaded my whole being. “Ah, ahn, ah, ah, ah…!”
The bed creaked, accompanied by wet sounds. Our bodies moved in synch with each other. His sturdy back glistened with sweats. As he went inside me, I was in a trance. Our breathing became faster and faster, along with the beating of my heart…
“Your, Highness Alexei—! Oh, ooh…!”
“Aargh…!” A hot sensation burned inside me. My flower twitched, greedily swallowing his member. The proof of our entanglement flowed down each other’s skin.
With a layer of sweat on his beautiful forehead, he showed a very joyful smile.“Celine, come tomorrow as you are.”He kissed me again.
—As you are…
Perhaps, it was nigh impossible for me to be his fiancée.
—this happy dream is enough to sustain my happiness for a lifetime.
The happiness then lulled me to sleep.
The day the result of the final exam would be announced…
Had it been a dream?
Nevertheless, it was a good dream. My mind was no longer muddy. That day, I wore the dark blue dress I received from Alexei.
To conduct a fair trial, a makeup assistant was assigned to me during the morning. I put on the red ribbon an important childhood friend had given me. Since it’s likely to be the last, I shall hold my head up.
When I arrived at the hall, the other four ladies were shocked for a moment.
Upon seeing me with such light makeup, everyone began to whisper. The daughters giggled while fanning themselves.
“Why, that dress did enough talking about her status as a fallen noble.”
“She seriously participated with a dark blue dress?”
“Apparently, she’s only smart.”
“She isn’t pretty in the slightest.”
The other four were wearing colorful and glamorous dresses.
“Your Highness, don’t you think so?” The ladies proceeded to ask Alexei.
In response, Alexei smiled. “Indeed, she’s truly not cute. Celine is wearing the dress that I had given her.”
—As I thought, I’ll never be pretty enough for His Highness.
As the ladies erupted in laughter, the host raised his voice.
“Then, the final result will be announced. As to who will be chosen as the crown princess—”
“I’ll take over.”
Alexei looked over the ladies.
“Everyone is dressed as beautifully as you can. I’m glad to see all these beautiful-looking people staying until the end.”
They felt very pleased with the words.
“A beautiful woman is indeed suitable for the role of crown princess.”
—is it useless?
Yet, I was still happy.
“—Therefore, my princess shall be Countess Celine.”
There was an uproar as the ladies raised one protest after another.
“Your Highness, are you serious!?”
“What’s so good about such a dull and ugly woman, Your Highness Alexei…!?”
To which Alexei only smiled. “…Well, it’s like you said, how unsightly—”
—the ladies were excited.
“Right!? Therefore, Your Highness Alexei, please retract your previous statement!!”
“Yes, that’s right!”
In response, Alexei coldly glared at them. “—and by that, I mean the hearts of all of you.”
The place immediately quieted down.
“B, but Your Highness, don’t you despise Lady Celine?”
Towards the stunned women, Alexei continued. “Upon seeing Celine with light makeup, is that your honest thought?”
The ladies were rendered speechless.
Alexei smiled again. “To me, it only proves that Celine is a modest woman. Ministers, knights, do you have any objections?”
People were staring at me for some reason.
Then, Alexei explained to the remaining four candidates. “To me, what matters the most isn’t the title, nor the appearance. But instead, the culture, intelligence, and discretion. A woman who possesses these qualities is the most suitable candidate for a queen. Moreover, I’m the only one who’s allowed to say that Celine isn’t cute. I don’t remember ever giving any of you such permission. But apparently, you’re brave enough to insult the future queen.” He added the last part smugly.
“T, that’s—!” The ladies seemed about to faint.
While the knights rushed to take care of them, Alexei approached me. “You’re my princess, Celine.” He kneeled before me and kissed my hand.
Then I, who had been resolute until earlier, turned bright red.
“Did you honestly believe it when I say that you aren’t cute? Despite your smartness, you don’t understand the heart of a man at all.”
“Y, Your Highness, as well! You keep saying that I’m not cute! You don’t understand the woman’s heart at all!”
Alexei apologized on the spot. “In the first place, when I praised you for being cute when we were little, you yelled at me. You said something along the line of, ‘A man who can easily say such a line is untrustworthy!’”
“You did! Because it’s the words of my beloved, I took it to heart!”
—My heart leaped.
“…Y, Your Highness, are you saying that…?”
“Shouldn’t it be obvious? Although, it’s an oversight on my part. Who would’ve thought that Celine will misunderstand?”
“I, I even thought that yesterday was a dream…!”
“…Did you? Even if it’ll lead to an issue of succession, I won’t embrace any woman for the sole purpose of entertainment. I have a difficult time convincing everyone to allow our marriage because your title isn’t so high… Hence, I proposed to hold an exam. I intended for you to pass the exam.” Then, he took my hand. Before I knew it, my ring finger was adorned with a ring. The ring had a round, sparkling, emerald embedded in it.
“I’m sorry for conducting such a test, but would you please govern the kingdom by my side?”
My heart was pounding loudly. “I, that’s…”
“Did my cowardice cause you to have a change of heart? Or did my words hurt you?” His beautiful jade eyes wavered with anxiety.
“Your Highness Alexei, please raise your face.” I returned with a smile.
“I love you too.” He stood up with a wide smile, before lifting me up. Then, he kissed me.
“Celine, I love you. You’re the only one I love, my future queen.”