11.1 The Rose Garden’s Retreat
“…Rosalind Ariarose, Violet Rodriguez, Camila Garry, Imelda Campbell, what do you think you’re doing?”
With folded arms, Leonardo’s eyes swept over all his fiancé candidates. His voice was cold.
“I said, what do you think you’re doing—! Explain to me, Rosalind Ariarose—!”
“Y-Your Highness Leonardo…”
“Your Highness…! Both Lady Rosalind and we were just giving them some advice…!”
This was the first time the rest of Rosalind’s group had ever spoken up.
“W-we haven’t said anything wrong!”
Well… you guys aren’t mistaken. To be more precise, none of you had a chance to say anything, not with Rosalind being here and all…
However, their argument itself was pretty solid.
It wasn’t wrong for the Prince’s fiancé candidates to give words of truth to an ignorant noble lady who kept clinging to their Prince…
…in short, it wasn’t the argument that was wrong, but the person who was given the task to deliver it. Indeed, that person was a fatal mistake.
“Silence—! If you actually admit your wrongdoings, I would readily forgive you all—! How disappointing—! Be gone from my sight—!”
…you commanded them to explain, only to tell them to shut up afterwards—which is it, exactly?
“…Forgive my lateness. You must have been scared.”
“…no, it’s no problem…”
Sharina responded to the approaching Leonardo as expressionless as a doll.
Compared to what you did last night, Rosalind’s words only pierced my chest as deep as 1 mm.
“What Lady Rosalind has said is perfectly justified. Please don’t be too harsh on them.”
“Fuun… you don’t have to pretend to be strong in my presence.”
—Leonardo was lightly patting her head.
Bile rose to her throat and she felt extremely nauseous—and no, those aren’t metaphors.
Witnessing such a scene, Rosalind couldn’t stand it and ran away—her eyes were brimming with tears. The other noble ladies immediately went after her.
As Leonardo’s gaze swept over those noble ladies, the tip of his nose rose smugly, and his smirk was full of ridicule. His gaze then returned to her—
—she wished he wouldn’t do that.
—she wished she could’ve just fallen asleep right there and then.
“I’m truly sorry. Not just for now, but also for yesterday… and also for the few weeks before the party… Because I didn’t visit you, you must’ve been lonely. I’m sorry for making you feel like that.”
He bowed his head—his expression looked utterly miserable. Other than that, he had certainly said something she couldn’t just let pass…
…sorry for not visiting her? A few weeks before the party? Making her feel lonely…?
…No. Actually, your absence felt rather comfortable.
“Of course, there was a reason why I couldn’t meet you before the party and had to hand the corsage that way. You see, it was part of my plan. But I’ll have to keep it to myself, since you wouldn’t understand why. I’m sorry…”
His gaze turned serious.
“…but that little plan ended up failing, anyway. Because of a certain meddlesome coward’s interference.”
Leonardo’s lips rose in a meaningful way as he glance at Sharina and Riol.
…’a certain meddlesome coward.’
Leonardo must be referring to the Blue Rose Corsage Incident. That moment when every first year girl in the dormitory received a blue rose corsage—
—the perpetrator was right under his nose, however, he probably didn’t know that.
“Because of that, I got impatient and dragged you into doing something without actually perceiving your appearance… until a certain rat stopped me.”
Sharina wondered how to deal with Leonardo’s extremely sad and annoying face.
The fact that he—the actual bully—was playing the victim card made it hard for her to empathize with him.
“That said, part of it is my fault, too.”
“…that’s why, Black Rat. I can forget all your rudeness up to now, however.”
With his hair raised and voice lowered, Leonardo stared at Riol—
—does he think he’s acting cool?
Once again, Sharina was the actual the executioner of the Blue Rose Corsage Incident. However, if she were to appeal to Leonardo, it felt like she would only strengthen his false assumptions towards Riol.
“—there’ll be no next time.”
The same goes for you.
How Sharina wished for a certain magic to exist—a certain magic that would allow this Prince to hear other people’s thoughts without actually knowing who the owner was. A shame that such magic still doesn’t exist to this day—Sharina bit her lips.
“Fuun. Don’t pout, Cat.”
That sentence alone was enough to light her murderous intent.
“Well, let’s open up a new page and have lunch. Hey, Black Rat, how long do you plan on staying there? I don’t remember ever allowing you to remain in my presence.”
…What I wouldn’t give to banish this Root-of-All-Evil’s soul to hell right now—take my soul, Satan!
“Alright, let’s have a fun picnic.”
Up until then. Right until that second. There was no way to confront that misunderstanding, narcissist, bastard who kept abusing his authority as a member of the royal family.
Without proper reason and a solid foundation, one couldn’t just decline the First Prince of one’s own kingdom’s advances. When they first met, things were much worse—especially when she refused his invitation into his carriage without thinking.
“What’s wrong, Cat? Are you still pouting?”
Today, Sharina had a good reason. The strongest trump card she had just acquired last night.
If now wasn’t a good time to use it—right when Riol was about to be forcefully dismissed, when else?
“It is as Lady Rosalind has said—this amateurish, questionable, sandwich, I can’t possibly let Your Highness eat it.”
“Fuun. That kind of thing, I don’t mind it—“
“—and not only that—!”
As he laughed ‘fufufufu’—Sharina had to desperately resist the urge of swinging both her hands at him.
“Lady Rosalind Ariarose, Lady Violet Rodriguez, Lady Camila Garry, Lady Imelda Campbell, Compared to them, I, who is of a lower stature, and also isn’t one of your candidates, mustn’t carelessly approach Your Highness—!”
“They aren’t even my fiancé. They are but foolish women, blinded by their desire to ascend to the throne.”
“It happened just the other day—! Lady Rosalind directly advised me against approaching Your Highness—! I can’t just shamelessly ignore it—!”
“…what did you say…?”
The strongest trump card—the technique of Shifting the Blame. It was a technique that would put all the blame of her rejecting the invitation of the Prince to Rosalind.
“Is that what that woman told you? To stay away from me?”
“Yes. Therefore, it is I who should be taking my leave. Pardon me for my rudeness.”
***T/N: OH MY GOD, EWWWW *Spray Sharina’s head with disinfectant BAD, THAT, BAD. And…
…it, it worked? The trump card? slowly back away from the screen, before approaching it again …phew?
Guys, guys! I’m starting a new series since my projects are almost over, check it out! This time we have a sturdy, battle-hardened, girl as our heroine–!! As always, imma jump in it blindly, hopefully it won’t disappoint–!!