As of the moment, I was still sandwiched between the wall and Rufus.
B-but what of the condemnation scene—!?
However, when I tried to sneak a glance at the drama, Rufus leaned even closer.
“Hey, don’t come out! Today, why did you dress up and put on makeup? Where’s your glasses? Surely, you’re aware that many people will gather today?”
“Eh… T-that’s because Lord Rufus gave me the dress. As such, I thought that I shouldn’t embarrass you, so I tried my best… But apparently, that’s not good enough. Without glasses, I’ve been suffering a bit of headache since last night…”
Perhaps, my lack of experience was too apparent. Thinking that I had let Rufus down, my shoulders sank.
“Pia… don’t you know how many people were watching you!? The way you stood there, it’s just too ephemeral! They’ll defile you with their gazes! My bride-to-be, who’s already beautiful as it is, suddenly dressed up and became a transcendental beauty! How can you afford to show such a figure to other men!? Behave, and stay within my shadow!”
As a matter of course, I was confused.
…Well, on a more important note, the drama seemed to be in full swing, so I listened carefully.
The fiancées were politely refuting each and every one of the men’s accusations with a notepad in hand.
“—I’m ashamed to say that I sprained my ankle that day, and didn’t attend the academy. Therefore, it’s preposterous for me to spill tea on her uniform in the cafeteria. As for the witness, I thereby present to you Doctor Garpa of the Western Capital.”
“Oh, that day, weren’t we supposed to pick medicinal herbs in the suburbs in the morning? It was part of the lesson! As such, there was no way I could’ve pushed her down the stairs. What, did you skip the practice, or something?”
“During that day, I was busy with classes from morning till night, so I didn’t have time to shred her textbook. Why would I go out of my way to locate her arithmetic textbook, anyway? It’s boring. As for the witnesses, there are some students, and let’s see… the principal?”
“Is there a need for this? That day, I was summoned to the royal palace to receive guidance on ritual etiquette from the high priest. By the way, His Highness the First Prince barely showed up. My witnesses would be the high priest and the second prince.”
How to give them a standing ovation?
I looked up at Rufus.
“Lord Rufus, thank you for helping everyone.”
“Rest assured, Pia. They’ve already given up on their fiancés, and are looking forward to a new beginning. Of course, after breaking off their engagements. I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a potential suitor to any of them. Otherwise, if even a single of them is unhappy, Pia will be sad.”
“That’s a relief.”
As I clutched Rufus’ suit, I held back my tears. Since I’d anger Rufus by biting my lips, I suppressed the urge.
For some reason, Rufus kissed me on the forehead.
Lord Rufus, do you have no shame?
Although, certainly, everyone’s eyes were on the auditorium.
Surely, no one would notice, right?
As I thought so—
“—Rufus~! Everyone’s being mean to me~! Help me~!”
A woman’s voice, as sweet as candy, echoed through the hall.
It was none other than Caroline’s voice.
Immediately, I could tell that everyone’s attention shifted towards us.
What should I do?
Did Caroline feel something for Lord Rufus?
In the next moment, while hugging me, Rufus turned towards the auditorium.
“…You… who gave you permission to address me so casually?”
The venue froze.
O, oh right—! What a shock—! Caroline isn’t supposed to refer to Rufus by his first name—!
“Even my lovely wife calls me with honorifics. By the way, Pia may call me whatever she wants.”
Suddenly, he kissed my forehead once again—!
P, please, don’t involve me in this… This is bad for my heart, for real…
“R, rufus? What’s wrong with you? I’m on your side! Oh, is that your fiancée? Don’t be deceived, Rufus! That woman bullied me many times…”
But, didn’t Caroline just see me in person for the first time? One could argue that it was quite outrageous for her to be bullied by someone whose neither face nor name she knew.
Perhaps, Caroline was aware of that, herself. She didn’t get to finish her sentence, because the atmosphere of the venue had frozen entirely, by none other than Rufus.
Almost immediately, the venue was engulfed with fear!
“Not only did you mock me, you also sully my beloved wife’s name. Are you that eager to make an enemy of the Marquis Stan family? Understandable, I’ll do everything in my power to crush you.”
Uhm, I might be lacking in perception, but it should be about time to raise this question…
“Lord Rufus? For a while now, you’ve been referring to me as your ‘wife.’—why???”
“Well, shouldn’t that be obvious? At last, Pia! My dear wife!”
“…Uh, since when did we get married?”
“Didn’t you confirm it earlier? I won the bet.”
“Precisely at that moment, Mike filed for our marriage.”
“He’s quick to work—!”
S, somehow, I became a married woman at the age of 18…
For some reason, the venue was filled with applause.
“Hey, what the heck does that mean—?! Lex said that as long as we’re still enrolled in the academy, marriage isn’t allowed—! That’s why I put up with it until this event—!”
After Caroline’s tone-deaf remark, the venue fell silent once again.
…Also, by ‘Lex’, could she be referring to the crown prince?
“I have no obligation to answer, but my wife and I have already graduated from the academy.”
“Huh? Lord Rufus, as well? Since when?”
“…Actually, I skipped everything in my first year and graduated.”
“Then, why did the two of us attend the academy?”
If I hadn’t attended the academy, I wouldn’t have to meet Caroline, or be present at that condemnation drama!
“I can’t possibly make light of your prophecy? Thus, I decided that it’d be better to prepare meticulously and counterattack. Wouldn’t want to be entangled in a trap without knowing the reason or being unable to deal with it. Although, it’d be troublesome if you were to oppose the idea. As such, I stayed silent. Forgive me, Pia. I properly kept you safe, so please forgive me.”
Once again, Rufus rained kisses on my head…
…Is he my husband now?
“Hey, the Ice Chief Assistant is kissing her…”
“Could it be, the woman in his arms is the mysterious lady who the assistant prime minister doted on—!? I heard that ever since she collapsed at a small tea party, she has never been allowed to go outside—!?”
“Even when the prettiest lady flirts with him, all he has to say is, ‘Do you honestly think that you can stand beside me? Know your status! My fiancée is a woman who reigns in a higher dimension than you can reach even if you live a thousand years!’”
“But, instead of his fiancée, it’s his wife?”
“…That woman, I’ve seen her somewhere. Ah, is she the rumored white-coated fairy that is said to bring good luck if you encounter her three times in the academy!?”
“…Wow, that dress and necklace. He’s really keen on monopolizing her.”
There was just too much information for my brain to process…
“—Ugh! What are the two of you being lovey-dovey for—!? Lex, did you hear that—?! Rufus said that he’d crush me—! Punish him—!”
Caroline’s annoyed voice resounded amidst the commotion in the hall.
“G-got it. Rufus, for the crime of disrespecting Caroline, I shall banish you—!”
The crown prince had just deported Rufus. In response, everyone widened their eyes.