She and the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country 2
The painful time finally ended.
After we finished dancing, I tried to quickly escape Crown Prince Maximilian.
Bow and turn on my heel.
Ah, it’s over at last.
So I thought, but it wouldn’t be so easy.
Crown Prince Maximilian suddenly caught my arm.
“How cold to finish it at one piece. How about it, will you accompany me for the next one”
“No… My role is already…”
The spot where he caught me feels uncomfortable. I don’t want to be touched by this man when not necessary.
We finished, so let me go, is what I wanted to say, yet Crown Prince Maximilian already made a request to the band.
Naturally there’s no way I can deny a foreign Crown Prince’s request.
Soon the piece began, my face twitched when I heard it. Commotion arose from the surroundings when they realized what the piece was. The worst… Of all things this song.
“It’s a traditional music of our country… Can you dance to it?”
All eyes are on us. I ground my teeth that I cannot escape.
Looking for help, I sent a fleeting glance at where Freed was waiting.
Our eyes met for an instant, his eyes truly weren’t smiling. He must understand he cannot stop this. Under the guise of calmness, he’s absolutely angry.
… The smile only for appearance’s sake is dreadful.
I immediately regretted looking.
By the way, Brother looks to be close him, but let’s ignore it. Now’s not the time to care about Brother.
Meanwhile, with Crown Prince Maximilian’s lead the dance began.
If it came to this, it can’t be helped. Unwillingly I concentrated on it. If I don’t focus, I’ll likely make a mistake in steps.
Because, the piece selected by Crown Prince Maximilian has S class difficulty.
It’s a piece you’d usually never hear at evening parties.
At any rate it’s too difficult, hardly anyone can dance it.
It’s a piece utterly unsuitable for when a great number of people dance.
There are many fundamentally difficult traditional pieces from Sahaja, among them this one is said to be particularly difficult.
As to why I can dance to such a difficult piece, it’s because I came to be taught dancing to foreign music by the ballroom dancing lecturer who came to our house.
I liked ballroom dancing, it’s in my nature to fire up when given a challenge.
“This will be difficult even for Milady”
Successfully provoked by those words I became obstinate and mastered the difficult piece. It’s a little miserable how easily I was manipulated, is what I think now.
Thanks to that I didn’t end up embarrassed. Teacher, thank you!
I entrusted the lead to Crown Prince Maximilian and performed the dance step while turning around and around.
As expected of what he picked himself. This man is quite skillful at the dance.
But, he probably found it inconceivable that I’d be able to dance it properly.
As I cleared the difficult parts one by one Crown Prince Maximilian opened his eyes wide each time.
Hmph, serves you right.
Looking around, understandably there are no pairs dancing aside of us.
Of course they might be restraining themselves because a Crown Prince is dancing, but the lack of self-confidence in dancing must be a large part of it. Normally I’d also refrain.
I truly stood out.
“Hou. I didn’t think there was a woman in Wilhelm who could follow this piece”
While taking difficult steps, Crown Prince Maximilian muttered that, impressed.
His face said he found it unexpected.
“… In addition to etiquette, you’ve mastered Sahaja’s music. You can be a partner that doesn’t bring shame”
“Is that so”
Crown Prince Maximilian smiled as if he found something funny.
I was a little surprised that it wasn’t the unpleasant smile, or the one that tested people.
Seeing my face, he seems to have realized my surprise.
For an instant Crown Prince Maximilian had a curious face, next his mouth suggestively curved.
“Princess Lidiana, aren’t you interested in Sahaja”
My answer was extremely brief.
I don’t even need to think about it.
“Immediate reply, huh. Oh well, I’ll reword it. Come to Sahaja. I’ll treat you as my consort”
As I was told the too unexpected line, I unconsciously returned a simple question.
Feeling shaken, I almost made a mistake in steps.
I desperately recovered and glared at Crown Prince Maximilian.
“I do not understand what Your Highness is trying to say. Please stop joking”
Seeing my glare, he made an even happier face.
“I’m serious… what if I said that?”
“What a silly thing to say. Your Highness must be aware, but I am already the fiancé of this country’s His Highness the Crown Prince. Even as a joke, it is an overly poor taste”
I said the most natural thing, but Crown Prince Maximilian wasn’t perturbed at all.
“I’m not joking. I’ve taken a liking to Princess. That’s it. Moreover, you’re still at the engagement stage, right? It’s a common occurrence to break off an engagement”
“I would like to refuse. I am not interested in Sahaja. Besides, I have heard Your Highness does not get involved in things without merit. Nothing good will come by being involved with me”
Recalling what I’d been told by Freed, I tried to explain the size of demerit, but Crown Prince Maximilian didn’t seem to care.
“Ah, that man put that idea in your head. That’s right, he’s not wrong. But, you’re wrong that there is no merit in it. Pedigree, appearance, courage, the rare disposition of not being fascinated by me, knowledge of other countries. I think there are enough merits in obtaining you as my Princess Consort”
“No, there are only demerits… Your Highness will turn him into the enemy”
It became troublesome, so I hinted at Freed with a fleeting glimpse. I thought that’d end it.
But, Crown Prince Maximilian sidestepped even that with a smile.
“What are you saying this late. Before long, this country, no this continent will be unified by our country. It might be interesting to first crush that man to obtain you”
It really isn’t interesting.
“… I have forgotten one important thing. I am not interested in Your Highness”
“It was the same for that guy, wasn’t it. I don’t know how it’s now, but it was originally a political maneuver. Both I and that man have the same status of Crown Prince. Then, isn’t either fine for Princess? Come here. I’ll use you effectively”
Hearing that word, I felt strangely annoyed.
How are they the same.
I absolutely don’t want to compare Freed and Crown Prince Maximilian.
So angry I was about to flip out, I glared at him more intensively.
“Freed and you aren’t the same. Don’t look down at him”
I didn’t forget to dance, but I got so angry that I addressed him impolitely.
For a moment I thought damn, but then I felt defiant.
Call it lese majeste if you want.
He tried to make advances on a woman with a fiancé, I have the excuse.
“Hou, I thought it was one-sided for that man, but it doesn’t seem so. Even so, it’s no problem”
I wasn’t rebuked for my impoliteness. But, I still don’t get what Crown Prince Maximilian is trying to say at all.
The melody changed, the dance moves got even quicker.
While matching them, we talked in whispers. Although it felt unpleasant having my waist strongly pulled to him, I set my heart on dancing.
I intensely glared at the man in front of me.
Who’d go to your place.
To such a calculating person.
In the first place, what am I displeased with… That’s right.
“Without telling me anything like I love you, don’t say thing like want”
Where would you find a woman happy about being told she’d be used right in her face.
I thought so, but I became bewildered by the surprised face he directed at me.
“Love? Princess says surprisingly vulgar things. Individual likes or dislikes are only a trivial problem. Such is the marriage of royalty or nobility. Princess should know it from personal experiences”
Having the sound argument thrust at me I became lost for words.
That’s right. I also had thought that until recently.
Marriage is decided by parents. My wishes are irrelevant.
If the other party wasn’t royalty, wasn’t I thinking of marrying per Father’s expectations.
And yet, why did I say something like “You don’t love me and yet”.
Seeing my turmoil, Crown Prince Maximilian smiled as if he saw through me. Vexing.
The song is drawing to an end.
I breezed through the hardest part than normally forces you to concentrate. Even if I say so myself, this deserves the highest score.
Applause resounded, but in all honesty the dance is not a place for talking.
Looking at me, Crown Prince Maximilian in front of me nodded and declared.
“There’s only one element necessary for being Princess Consort. Whether she can be used, that’s all. You met my conditions. Princess Lidiana, discard Prince Friedrich and take my hand”
I immediately replied to Crown Prince Maximilian’s order. There’s no need to even think about it.
But, his attitude says he doesn’t think I’ll refuse him.
Ah yeah. The reason doesn’t matter anymore.
I hate this man. That’s why I refuse. What’s wrong with that.
“Don’t think all women will act as you want. I hate you. That’s why I won’t go”
“What are you displeased with. I’ll obtain anything you want. Jewels, dresses… even this country”
Anger further swelled up at his playful words.
I already lost the will to decorate my words.
“There are countless reasons. I hate your attitude. Your personality… I abhor that you think you think you can attract any woman”
As I declared that, Crown Prince Maximilian smiled happily.
Seeing him truly having fun, conversely I drew back.
“Abhor… huh. Kukuku. It’s the first time I’ve been told that”
“Isn’t that good. Quickly give up on such a troublesome woman and search for Princess Consort in your own country”
“I refuse. I meant to joke, but I changed my mind. Princess is interesting. The reactions are completely different from other women’s. I won’t get bored”
“You’re only curious because I wasn’t swayed by you. I know you’ll get tired of me immediately, so find another woman. In the first place, a man with eight concubines is out of question. I decline”
The long piece is finally over.
While being relieved, I recalled what I’d heard from Cain the other day, and said it in place of a refusal line.
That’s right, this man is a sexual maniac who has eight Side Consorts.
No matter how much such a man begs I absolutely don’t want it.
I said what I wanted to say.
As I looked up at Crown Prince Maximillian after bowing at the end of the dance, for some reason he was looking at me as if surprised.
“Why do you know that…?”
Crown Prince Maximilian stared at me in disbelief.
As I asked back, not understanding why he said that, he informed me with astonishment.
“Why do you know I have eight Side Consorts”
“Eh… I only heard that”
Did I do something bad.
… His words made me understand I committed a fatal mistake. Cold sweat flowed.
Crown Prince Maximilian isn’t looking away from me. His gaze is fixed trying to find out the truth.
An unpleasant premonition crept up my back.
“It’s the story from just the other day that I welcomed eighth Side Consort. I still haven’t leaked it. It’s information that shouldn’t have been exposed yet. And yet Princess, why do you know it?”
… It’s about that.
Damn it. Come to think of it, didn’t Freed say he had seven.
I didn’t notice information from Cain hadn’t leaked yet, it looks like I stepped on a landmine.
“Answer, Princess. Why do you have the information about our country”
Crown Prince Maximilian drew near.
Unable to answer, I took a step back. Without minding, Crown Prince Maximilian closed the distance. His face turned so dreadfully serious that my body trembled.
Scared, I tried to escape, when I understood he tried to reach out to once again catch my arm.
Chill ran through me.
Not wanting to be touched anymore, I reflexively cowered.
I expected my arm to be grabbed the next moment, but for some reason no matter how much time passed that feeling didn’t come.
Finding it strange I gingerly opened my eyes, only to be met with Freed holding Crown Prince Maximilian’s arm.
“Stop at this. Prince Maximilian, you’re overdoing it. I would be troubled if you forgot she is my fiancée. Could you refrain from more”
“Lidi, get behind me”
When I called out his name, Freed ushered me behind his back with his hand.
Forcibly brought behind his back, I felt I’d almost cry in relief.
Gradually, commotion broke out in the hall.
Well of course. With both Crown Princes of our and a foreign country glaring at each other right in the center of the dance floor, it’s impossible they’d keep quiet.
For a moment they glared at each other as if to restrain themselves, but the first to breathe out and turn his eyes away was the guest, Crown Prince Maximilian.
As if nothing happened, he lowered his arm and showed his best smile.
“Excuse me. Your fiancée was so beautiful that I just felt like pulling her towards myself. I had no ulterior motive”
At Crown Prince Maximilian’s yielding attitude, Freed also released his arm. Then he again adorned the pleasant atmosphere.
With their tense aura suppressed, the atmosphere inside the venue also calmed down.
Truly Crown Prince effect.
Those two can change the mood of a place, for better or worse.
“… Is that so. My fiancée is a charming person, so perhaps it was unavoidable. However, I do not believe that conduct was praiseworthy, no matter the reason”
“… That’s right. I’m sorry. Prince Friedrich”
“I understand. I shall tolerate it this time. It is not my intention to quarrel where everyone is enjoying themselves. However, there will be no second time… Now Lidi, come here”
“Yes, Your Highness…. Your Highness Maximillian. I am grateful for today”
I thought we’d say our farewells, but he again said something unnecessary.
“I had fun. I’d like to meet Princess again by all means… This time, in a more private place”
“I shall formally refuse that. I will never again lend her”
“That’s a shame”
Freed pulled my waist to him as if to show off.
Crown Prince Maximilian didn’t look like he cared at all.
Shrugging his shoulders, he turned on his heel and quickly left the dance floor.
It’s like the exchange with me didn’t happen.
I felt a little relived as I was afraid of being questioned.
Duke Pellegrini approached him and spoke about something.
Crown Prince Maximilian stopped in his tracks and began listening to the Duke’s talk.
Like this, the two left the venue.
The moment he was about to leave, Crown Prince Maximilian looked back here for a moment.
Our eyes met.
In contrast to me who stiffened, Crown Prince Maximilian smiled full of composure.
But, his eyes were different.
The strong look completely unlike the atmosphere just now pierced through me.
But, that lasted only a moment.
He turned his eyes away and left the venue with Duke Pellegrini.
The arm around my waist strongly drew me in.
“I have no idea what that man said, but Lidi should only look at me… I’ll absolutely never let go”
Saying so, Freed stared in the direction where Crown Prince Maximilian left.
Our eyes met only for an instant. And yet, I can’t get those piercing eyes out of my head. He’s aiming at me – is what I thought.
My heart pounded.
Unconsciously I grasped the hem of Freed’s coat and snuggled up to him.
His warmth reliably calmed my feelings.
After I let out a long breath, I was lightly patted on my back as if to say you did your best.
I felt my eyes turn hot at this gentle gesture.
… After all they’re different. That man doesn’t feel like this.
“Prince Maximillian went back, we’ve fulfilled our duty. It’s a little early, but shall we withdraw too”
As he gently whispered into my ear, I nodded my head.
Hearing my reply, Freed brought our foreheads together.
“Lidi doesn’t need to worry about anything. Still, if you’re worried, rely on me any time. I’ll mow down anything that causes Lidi’s anxiety”
“To say mow down… What’s with that”
I unconsciously smiled, having that seriously declared at point-blank range.
Mow down – I feel he could literally do it. Physically.
“I’m serious. It’s not a joke. So don’t make such a face”
Once again, I was gently patted on my back.
The terror I’d sensed just a while ago before I noticed disappeared.
Come if you want. Thinking so, conversely energy welled up.
That’s right, that’s how I am.
I regained my usual self and finally composed myself.
It seems Crown Prince Maximilian’s behavior had left me shaken.
How shameful. It’s not like me to have tables turned on me.
As I looked at Freed, grateful that I returned to my usual self thanks to him, he sweetly smiled.
“Yup, I’m glad. The usual Lidi is back. But, I’ll have you tell me everything you talked with Prince Maximilian about later”
I couldn’t do anything but agree as he declared that with a smile.
Urged by Freed, we went in front of the Royal Couple.
With their permission to withdraw, together we left the venue.