Read at Watashi wa Sugoi Desu!
Chapter 31: The Marquess’ Daughter and The Gentle Prince
I arrived a little too early.
I sighed as I walked through the royal palace’s corridor.
Today, there was going to be a grand Knight’s awarding ceremony and a soirée at the royal castle.
The awarding ceremony was held every year to honor the knights who have been in active service, or the knights who have been appointed a position by the king himself in the past year.
Of course, there was an award ceremony for the military as well. The knights were awarded in the fall, while the military in the spring.
It was essential to maintain military power and morale in Rowlands, as the country had fought plenty of wars with the neighboring empire to protect its territory. Therefore, the king personally presented awards as a way to motivate them.
And today, I was here as a member of House Lewis to attend the ceremony.
Father was presiding over the ceremony as Prime Minister, and since Vincent was to receive an award for his appointment as Vice Commander of the Special Forces Division, I had to attend the ceremony as the House representative.
Although it was unusual for a daughter to serve as representative, no one would dare disparage me because my father was a widower. Plus, it was a well-known fact that I was involved in the management of our fiefdom and engaged in nobility’s business. This is also given House Lewis’ prosperous territory, of course. Whatever their inner feelings might be, many nobles would rather suck up to us.
Before departing, I left Monica to handle the affairs regarding the royal capital’s church and returned to the Lewis family mansion early in the morning. Then, I swiftly dealt with the work that had accumulated. Even though I had left the domain management to my successor and converted the Iris Merchant Guild and Mayra’s into private businesses, there was still a lot of work that only I could handle.
I spent my morning working and prepared for the ceremony in the afternoon.
As I got dressed, I wondered, maybe it was because I had spent a while as Eren at the church, so I hadn’t worn a corset in a while, and it was hard to breathe.
…I needed to get used to it again.
The violet dress that matched the color of my eyes would look great at both the ceremony and the soirée. Despite the lack of ornate embellishment, it was an elegant design with beautiful silver thread embroidery at the hem of the shiny, fine fabric. My honey blonde hair was tied up in a half updo to create waves of glossy locks as I walked. For the hair decoration, I used a silver hair ornament of artificial roses and irises combined with gemstones. The other accessories I wore were delicate, high-quality, and pretty designs that complemented the hair ornament.
The dress was from Mayra’s, and the accessories were ordered from my favorite jeweler.
As a daughter of a noble family, it was my duty to set fashion trends. That said, I didn’t want gaudy dresses and extravagant accessories to become fashionable… because they weren’t functional and weren’t my style.
Glancing at the corridor mirror, I saw myself as a perfect representative of House Lewis, the flower of social life.
It was certainly a classy dress, but… wasn’t it emphasizing my chest a little too much? Though my shoulders and back weren’t exposed, the neckline was too daring! It would have been too much if it concealed the chest, but I wondered if it was wrong of me to leave everything to my maids since I didn’t usually wear anything that showed much cleavage.
Vincent once said, “I don’t like women who show too much cleavage,” when he was approached by a voluptuous widow at a soirée. Thus, I gradually began to hide my growing breasts as the years went by. Because if my brother were to hate me, I would cry.
I didn’t have time to change my dress, though, so I had to put up with it this time…
As a result of leaving the mansion early with plenty of time to spare for the ceremony, I was unable to enter the venue and was wandering around the royal palace.
I didn’t want to walk down the corridor and bump into a nobleman, so I decided to go and admire the flowers in the garden.
I headed for the most inconspicuous one behind the royal palace. There was nothing overly gorgeous to see, only medicinal herbs and tiny flowers, but it had always been a favorite place of mine. When I had to accompany my father or grandfather to the palace, I used to escape to that place. I found that they let the gardener have free reign there, and often there were rare flowers planted, which made for some interesting discoveries.
When I arrived at the garden, I found it deserted with no soldiers on guard as I had expected.
Everyone was busy with the ceremony, after all.
Feeling elated, I decided to take a stroll. As I walked deeper into the garden, I found a visitor that was apparently there before me.
“W-Who are you!? I can’t believe I was found so quickly…”
I turned to see a small boy with dark brown hair and the same clear blue eyes as Prince Edward’s.
That must be… third prince Michel. I’ve never met him before.
He was the son of Lady Claudia, one of the King’s three consorts who was revered for her support of her subjects. The prince didn’t make public appearances yet, since he was only six years old. Moreover, it has been announced that Side Consort Claudia wished to renounce his right to the throne as soon as he came of age, thereby making him a vassal. Thus, no third party had been created to interfere in Prince Edward and Prince Douglas’ contest to the throne, much to the relief of their factions.
Turning to Prince Michel, I greeted him with the courtesy of a lady.
“I apologize for startling you, Your Highness. My name is Julianna, the eldest daughter of Marquess Lewis. I just wanted to stop by the garden before the ceremony. I did not mean to disturb Your Highness; I’m sorry.”
As I looked up, I saw His Highness Michel’s cheeks were flushed red.
“Lewis… Are you Vincent’s older sister, perhaps?”
“Oh my, do you know my brother?”
“Yes. Vincent plays with me a lot!”
His Highness Michel smiled in a carefree manner. Vincent was actually very good at taking care of others, after all. He was also very fond of House Olcott’s little kids.
“My goodness~! …I think that spending time playing with Your Highness is therapeutic for him as well. Please continue to keep him company.”
How honest! He was so different from that black-hearted prince. I wonder if he tried to avoid contact between them as much as possible?
I was agonizing over this when His Highness Michel hesitantly asked me a question.
“Well, um… Do you come to this garden often?”
“No, I don’t. I used to come often… in the past. But nowadays, I’m so busy that I don’t come to the palace all that much anymore. I had time before the ceremony today, so I dropped in for the sake of nostalgia. Among all the royal gardens, I love this one the most. Although… I should probably pay more compliments to the other prominent gardens of the palace than just this one.”
“No, don’t say that! I love this garden too because it is full of plants that I don’t know much about!”
“Oh my, really? It’s like a box of wonders; it’s so interesting, right?”
“Yes, it is! I often take a stroll with my mother and plant flowers—” His Highness Michel looked away shyly. “…It’s weird for a prince to do that, isn’t it?”
He was so cute! It reminded me of Vincent when he was younger.
“It’s not weird. I’m a marquess’ daughter, but I have my own secret hobbies, too.”
“What kind of hobbies!?”
“That is a secret I cannot reveal, not even to Your Highness. If you want to know a lady’s secret, you must use your own power to divulge it.”
“Fufu, I hope you will meet a lady who is willing to reveal her secrets to Your Highness.”
“Y-Yes…”His Highness Michel turned his head away abruptly. Did I tease him a little too much?
Okay, let’s change the subject.
“What brought Your Highness here all alone?”
“Well… when I said I wanted to participate in the Knight’s awarding ceremony, they said I couldn’t. Even though I’ve been studying hard and practicing my swordsmanship, which I’m not very good at…”
So, he didn’t run away because he didn’t want to study or anything like that. He was a kind and earnest person at this age… He is already a good royal worth serving.
“Your Highness is only six years old. You will be able to attend next year.”
“Older brother Ed also told me that. However, even though I will eventually become a vassal, I want to support my country as part of the royal family.”
So it wasn’t that he didn’t interact with Prince Edward. The sincerity of his honesty was so miraculous, surely everyone close to Prince Edward and His Highness Michel must be thinking the same.
“There is no need to hurry, Your Highness. You are already worthy of our services. Soon you will find what only you can do. Now is the time to accumulate knowledge and strength.”
“Did you also find something that only you can do, Julianna?”
“Yes. But I have found it because of what I have learned since I was a little girl. Without all that, I would have been just an ordinary young lady with good lineage.”
“That’s not true… But we were able to meet like this because Julianna worked hard. I’ll do my best too! I’m going to be useful to my older brother Ed in the future.”
“Do you mean Prince Edward?”
“I know that older brother Ed and older brother Douglas are fighting. But Mother said that brother Ed is the one who should rule this country, and he has always been kind to me. That is why I want to be useful to him! I’m not good with the sword, but I’m good at studying, so I hope I can use that to my advantage…”
Prince Edward… NICE!? Did he switch personalities in front of his brother? I couldn’t imagine it.
Anyway, Lady Claudia thought that Edward should be the King. She was the epitome of an ideal consort who served both Queen Dahlia and the King. It was not an easy thing to do. Many consorts would love to have their own son as King.
“In that case, there are many ways to get there. Especially if you pursue a career in diplomacy, Prince Edward would be heartened by that.”
“Diplomacy? … I like languages; it might be a good idea!”
“Fufu, hopefully, by learning more, you will be able to have a wider range of options.”
As I was laughing with His Highness Michel, I heard footsteps approaching us.
Based on the metallic clinking sound, the other party must be carrying a sword.
A knight, perhaps?
“I’ve finally found you. Michel, Father and Side Consort Claudia were worried when you wandered off on your own—”
“Older brother Ed!”
I turned around, and there he was, Lord Edward in his formal attire.