Since he can’t deport me, he’ll be deporting Lord Rufus, instead?
Was the absurdity the so-called game correction?
From within Rufus’ arms, I tried to peek at the crown prince. However, I was immediately drawn into his arms.
“Like I said, don’t come out—!”
“I mean, His Highness ate the cookies, remember? Perhaps, his judgment is compromised…”
“Even so, I won’t treat it lightly. Your Highness the Crown Prince, I understand. My wife and I shall accept and leave the kingdom! Pia, let’s go.”
Gently, Rufus lifted me up, while I hurriedly clung to his neck.
“—Stop, you fool!”
However, in the next moment, the heavy double door opened and a bunch of guards rushed in.
Wait, isn’t that—!?
I’ve seen his portraits.
After all, they were pasted throughout the entire kingdom—
—Why, if it isn’t His Majesty himself!
“Capture those two—!”
A, are we going to get caught—!? Is it because of ‘Lese Majeste’—!?
What do I do—!? Instead of Lady Amelia, who has proven to be innocent, are we going to be condemned—!?
“Lord Rufus, I’m truly sorry—! Because of me, you ended up getting involved—!”
I had ruined Rufus’ bright future! Upon realizing that, I couldn’t help but be overcome with grief, I began to cry. Burying my face into Rufus’ nape, I cried in silence.
“…Silly Pia, look up?”
When I gently lifted my head and met Rufus’ eyes, he smiled as if reassuring me. Thus, I proceeded to look around.
The crown prince and Caroline had their hands tied behind their backs.
“You fool—! Have you forgotten the achievements of Rufus and Dr. Parmesan—!? If these two disappears, the kingdom will be doomed—! As for you, it doesn’t matter even if you aren’t here—! To abuse your power in an attempt to drive them out of this kingdom—how preposterous—! As a member of the royal family, what you did is unforgivable—! Take him away—!”
“B-but, Caroline still hasn’t given me any candy today!”
“Why—!? Why would the king appear—!?”
After gagging their mouths, the guards dragged the two away.
I couldn’t understand what was happening, and instead could only wipe my tears with the ammonite handkerchief that Rufus gave me.
“By ‘Dr. Parmesan’, does he mean the one who invented that groundbreaking map?”
“No, it should be the person who discovered a new coal mine from a geological point of view!”
“No, no, it should be Dr. Floor Control, who gave pinpoint advice on where to build a dam based on that map…”
…I heard a lot of things at once, yet I couldn’t process a single thing.
Then, the king briskly approached us.
“Rufus, Pia, forgive me for getting you involved in such a silly uproar.”
“Well, you should! Haven’t I told you to isolate and remove the taint as soon as possible!?”
“…As a king, regardless of how suspicious it was, there’s nothing I can do without solid evidence. But at last, I was able to unearth one and capture the fool… Although, not without causing such an uproar… Hahaha. Is it too late for Lex?”
His Majesty shook his head remorsefully.
“Even if you didn’t want to make it public, you should’ve utilized the shadows and kidnap him for medical treatment!”
“I, I didn’t listen to the words of the queen. I truly thought she was just playing with fire and exaggerating…”
With a sad look of resignation, His Majesty replied to Rufus. It was painful to watch.
But… Lord Rufus, is it alright to speak informally to His Majesty?
“…Y, Your Majesty, aren’t you? Uncle Johnny—!?”
However, unlike the usual Uncle Johnny, His Majesty had neither a great beard nor moustache. Nevertheless, he looked exactly like him. Even the way he spoke of my name, or the way the corners of his eyes would sink as he did so.
His Majesty turned to face me.
“That’s right, my adorable Pia. I’m none other than Uncle Johnny. I truly wanted to meet the genius that Rufus hid, so I disguised myself and went to the children’s tea party. Ever since then, I’ve been a big fan of yours. Pia, thank you again for all you’ve done for the development of this kingdom. Can you find it in you to forgive my foolish son and stay in this kingdom?”
“Your Majesty… behind my back…”
Lord Rufus’ eyes glowed eerily—!
“Rufus, you hide Pia too much—!”
“She was targeted by that bizarre woman! Of course I would!”
“Well, that’s true, but…”
His Majesty let out a deep sigh once again.
“Your Majesty, I’ve just gotten married to Pia. Therefore, please bestow your blessing upon me. Also, I’ll be on leave for marriage for about two months. Then, I shall leave the rest to you.”
“Wait—! Two months are too long—! What will happen to the kingdom—!? What will happen to me—!? Pia, don’t leave—! I’ll prepare a room for you, so please come visit me once in a while—! H, hey—!”
Ignoring the nosy venue, Rufus left the academy while still holding me.
Mike was waiting in front of the carriage door.
“Are you done filing the registration of our marriage?”
Afterwards, Mike proceeded to open the door for Rufus to board. Then, he hurriedly closed the door. Soon, the carriage began to move.
Although the marquis’ family carriage was quite spacious, Rufus refused to let me go. Instead, I had to stay on his lap.
“See, I told you, I won’t be deceived by her! Pia, can you believe it!?”
Rufus declared with a sunny expression…
…And a second later, I burst into tears.
Over and over, I told myself that when the time came, Rufus would simply abandon me and run to Caroline. In order to not be broken, I tried to keep my feelings under wrap as much as possible.
However, that was synonymous with doubting Rufus’ feelings and determination.
“How wonderful of you, Lord Rufus! I’m truly sorry for ever doubting you! This is going to sound like a pathetic excuse, but at that time I didn’t have enough reasons to not believe in the prophecy. As such, I resigned myself to my fate…”
Rufus untied my hair and let it flow smoothly.
“It’s alright. Ever since Pia posed that challenge to me, my life suddenly became interesting. If I hadn’t approached Pia on a whim that day, I wouldn’t have been able to obtain the power I have now. Even if I had married you back then, without knowing the prophecy, I doubt that we’ll share such a deep bond like we are now.”
I gazed at Rufus, who easily forgave me, while wiping my tears.
“It must’ve been difficult for Pia, to be haunted by the prophecy all the time… But, after all the time we’ve spent together, is that honestly all that was there to it?”
…Learning how to write with Rufus, accompanying fossil excavation in the Stan territory, discovering a gold mine upstream to the point that the two of us were in awe…
…Looking back, happiness was all I could recall.
“But, for Lord Rufus, aren’t I just a conquest? I mean, I did hurt your pride, back then…”
I’d like for him to at least consider us as a comrade in arms…
While rubbing his eyebrow, Rufus let out a sigh.
“Good grief, Pia… Why do you think I hurriedly registered our marriage without even having a marriage ceremony? I want you—I want you to become mine, both in name and reality, so that no one else can take you away. But don’t worry, we’re going to have a wedding ceremony. I’d like to swear an oath to both Pia, who’s in a bridal gown, and to God. Heck, the moment he saw how beautiful you are, I’m sure that my father will be back to full health.”
“T, take me away? There’s no way…”
“There are tons of men who’re after you, Pia. But of course, my love for you won’t lose to any of them. After all, haven’t I been by your side for the past eight years? Pia, who’s said to be a genius, loves to dress up as a man and plays with dogs. A true fossil enthusiast. Or that Pia, who was covered in mud, who also took care of my ailing father and supported my mother day and night. I’m the only one who knows everything about you.”
“A, a genius? You jest…”
I merely used knowledge from another world…
“Indeed, you aren’t. To me, you are still that adorable Pia, who sat on my lap and did her best to imitate my handwriting.”
I did my best, okay?
I wanted to learn to write as beautifully as Rufus. That way, I might get praised by him.
As if recalling those days, Rufus lifted my hand and kissed my fingertips.
“Pia, I love you. I’ll use everything at my discretion to make you happier than anyone else in the world.”
“B, but, as I thought, this is too surreal… After all, why would someone like Lord Rufus—”
—my tears overflowed.
“Pia, did you know? You always treat me like an equal. You saw beyond my status. Even after falling in love with you, my affection only grows deeper with each passing day. It isn’t the kind of fiery love that consumes me whole, or blind me to everything else—it’s the kind that remains. I’m here to stay, I’m not going anywhere.”
Upon grabbing my cheeks with both hands, Rufus erased my tears with his thumb.
“Look at how cute you are. I don’t want anyone else to see this side of you. You’re mine.”
He kissed me, fleetingly, akin to a touch.
“Be it your bashful kisses, or your enamoring face as you melt away—I’m the only one who knows about them. Now, Pia, can you reply?”
While gently blocking my escape route, Rufus drew in closer to the point that our noses were about to touch, demanding an answer from me.
“I, I’ve always been truly grateful to you… Thank you, I’m sorry, I’m sorry for being such a hindrance, but I’m nothing without Lord Rufus… Hence, I thought that if you were to fall for Caroline, I might as well just die… That’s when I realize—I’m in love with you…”
I cried and cried, while staggeringly conveying my true feelings.
“…You’re quite passionate.”
Rufus blushed. Then, after abruptly closing his eyes, Rufus confronted me. He was unusually serious.
After kissing away all my tears, Rufus kissed me. Then, as I peered into his eyes—
“I’ll fulfill the contract, my wife.”
Rufus embraced me so tightly that I couldn’t pry myself away. While being at the mercy of the kisses that gradually deepened, I was taken to a perfectly prepared new home. As it was, both my heart and my body were consumed whole…
…Thus, I became the wife of Rufus Stan.
When I woke up, I was within my husband’s arms. On my left ring finger, there was a diamond-encrusted ring adorned with five amber petals.