31. The Returnee Noble Lady (30)
A messenger from the Kingdom of Kratos had already arrived.
He said that he came bearing the intention of discussing the future relationship between the two kingdoms. It seemed that the letter addressed to Jill was also delivered by the same messenger.
There was no public welcoming party or anything, and the discussion place wasn’t in the Imperial Capital but the Water City of Veilburg where Gerald would arrive the next morning.
There was no time to prepare, both mentally and physically—or rather, they purposefully didn’t allow such an opportunity to occur.
“Jill-sama, your eyes are wandering. Please show a more ladylike smile.”
Sufia, who was tasked to assist Jill in getting ready, said so upon seeing the look on Jill’s face.
Jill tried to force her cheeks up.
“…that kind of smile would only belong to a bandit.”
“How about this?”
“Now, you seem like a predator about to savor its prey.”
“…I think your original blank expression is much better, yes~”
At Camila’s advice, which came from the doorway, Sufia sighed. Jill felt somewhat guilty.
“I’m sorry, showing a cute smile is beyond me… are there any dresses that provide ease of movement? One that wouldn’t restrict my legs. That way, I can relax.”
“You mean, one that would show your feet? That’s right… there’s such a trend. Besides, Jill is still a child. Rather than vulgar, it may appear cute instead.”
“No, not that. It would hamper the technique of my feet. Maybe I should put a garter around my thighs…”
“Oi, we are going to receive an audience, not the battlefield. As such, there’s probably also no need for an escort.”
Zeke chimed in—but, if possible, Jill wanted to slay said audience.
Sufia raised her eyebrows.
“…your face is getting more and more brutal…”
“I’m just staring.”
“Jill-sama is pretty, you know? Don’t be nervous, just stay confident! Do you have any preference for the shape and the color of the dress?”
“Hmm… to slay an opponent, as I thought, I need a dress that would provide mobility.”
“…so you hate Prince Geraldo that much, huh? But Jill-sama, the smile is also one of a lady’s strongest weapons, you know?”
‘Weapon’—at the mention of such, Jill’s ears perked up.
“Regardless of the kingdom’s internal situation, Kratos is convinced that Jill-sama was abducted, right?”
“Therefore, if you want to prove them the otherwise, you must show how happy you are—gracefully, without sacrificing elegance. Show them that you’re treated well here. Laugh in reassurance—like this.”
Sufia, with her hands forming a beautiful posture, pulled her chin and smiled beautifully.
Immediately, chills ran down Jill’s back.
…that’s not the usual Sufia!
It was a lovely smile, full of gentle kindness, and also reassurance. If I could show this kind of smile, then every kind of problem would surely be washed away! Jill thought.
“What do you think?”
“I understand what Lady Sufia meant. Therefore, I shall do my best. Lady Sufia, you are a formidable person.”
Sufia’s elegant smile broke a little, showing her true, happy, smile.
That was the usual Sufia she knew.
“You can pick a dress that shows your legs. Regardless of the reason, it’s important to wear something you feel comfortable in.”
Sufia entered the dressing room that Hadith had prepared for Jill and looked over the dresses that matched Jill’s preference.
After that, they proceeded with the preparations. Jill entered a milky white bath with a moisturizing agent and started washing her cheeks and forehead with the rose water. The milky lotion was spread across her entire body, while her hair was rinsed with balm. She was relieved she needn’t wear a corset.
Since she was a child, only a thin layer of makeup was applied to her face. Beeswax was applied to her lips to make them look fresh and healthy.
The newly hired servants of the castle were very competent in dressing Jill up to appear like a wonderful princess.
When she gazed upon the mirror, she couldn’t tell whom it was.
Then lastly, smile, try to smile!
She walked alongside Zeke and Camila—her escorts, while reminding herself.
Hadith stood in front of the large double door, behind him, was a marble corridor. Rave was nowhere—probably inside of Hadith.
Hadith stood out as usual. Because he was naturally good looking, when he stood there alone, he appeared like a blooming flower.
…I need to painstakingly dress up to be this pretty, and all this guy needed to do is stand there…
The smile she gave her utmost to show faded because of an entirely different reason.
“We’ve brought you Lady Jill, His Majesty the Emperor.”
“Is it okay for the escorts to remain outside?”
“No problem. After all, it isn’t official, and there’s only the Prince alone.”
Of course—after all, Geraldo is strong. Jill’s gaze turned cold.
I’ve never participated in such a discussion before. I’m not confident I can win in a verbal confrontation… I wonder if there’s something else I could do…
Hadith dropped his gaze on Jill, noticing her wariness.
“Kratos accused that you have been kidnapped by me. I’ll be with you to prove that such is not so, but you’ll have to smile. Yes, that’s all you need to do, but…”
Hadith became silent—surely, it was because of Jill’s facial expression.
With both fists clenched, Jill shut her eyes tight.
“Forgive me, Your Majesty! I keep thinking of this as an enemy attack! My mind is on the offense!”
“I, I see… as brave as ever, you are… even though he came all the way here to pick you up…”
“—not. There’s no way Prince Geraldo’s real purpose could be me in the first place.”
That alone was already an established fact.
“We don’t know what might happen—therefore, I shall protect you, so please don’t leave my side, Emperor!”
Hadith staggered while putting his palm around his chest. ‘Emperor’, Jill said.
“Are you alright, Emperor?”
“J, just a trivial breathing complication, otherwise, I’m fine…”
“I see, good luck, Emperor! Be a man! Prepare yourself! Show him what you’ve got! Go!”
“I, I understand.”
“Jill-chan~ don’t toy with Emperor’s heart at such times~”
Why did I get scolded?
Zeke stroked Hadith’s back while Camila brought him water. He took a sip, then inhaled deeply before picking Jill up.
“It’s about time, let’s go.”
“Are you sure you’re alright? Facing Prince Geraldo in poor physical condition is just…”
“…are you implying that I would lose to that Prince?”
Jill hurriedly shook her head.
“N, no, I don’t mean that…”
A light glinted behind Hadith’s golden pupils as he stared straight ahead. It changed to the face of a political officer. Zeke whistled, and Camila laughed.
…most of the time, he’s strange, but it seems like he can also show his mature side…
She stared at his profile, Hadith, who had corrected his collar with his index finger, stared back dubiously.
“You’re still worried about something?”
“Even though Your Majesty has shown such an Emperor-like countenance, I still can’t show a cute smile… Sufia’s smile was wonderful, I really hope I can smile like that…”
“Huh? So it’s about that. Well, you needn’t worry about anything—“
“It’s not alright, Your Majesty! I! As your wife! Really want to show a dazzling smile at such times!”
It frustrated her—not being able to do such a simple thing. Wouldn’t she just be dragging them down? Hadith thought a little, then quietly averted his gaze before saying;
“…if you really want to appear cute, there are other… ways…”
“B, but, as I thought, never mind. It’s too harsh, and it would seem as if I’m taking advantage of you… it’s too early for you.”
This time, Hadith fidgeted. Jill had none of it.
“No matter how harsh it is, I’ll endure! I don’t want to be a hindrance!”
“I… I won’t get fooled! What if after doing it, you get angry and end up hating me—!?”
“I won’t get angry, nor would I hate you! Therefore, show me the way, Your Majesty!”
“…you won’t get angry, really? You won’t hate me for it?”
“Yes! I promise!”
“Really? Truly? Absolutely?”
Jill laughed a little at how unsure he was.
It seemed that no matter what, the part of him that didn’t want to be hated by Jill stayed unchanged.
“Absolute, I promise! Your Majesty knows that I would never go against my word, right?”
“…I understand. I believe you.”
Jill heard the sound of falling object—it could be either Zeke or Camila.
Jill, whose vision was blocked by Hadith’s face, was returned to reality thanks to the sound. Instantly, she realized what was happening.
They were kissing. In such a public place. Out of the sudden. Her confusion turned into shame, and shame became anger, and anger returned to being confusion.
Hadith opened his eyes, looking as if that was what he aimed for since the start.
His golden eyes, containing fierce sexual desiree, made her choke.
“—when you’re with me, you’re too alert.”
Looking at his bewitching smile from such a close distance, steam almost erupted from her head. She had difficulty breathing. As such, she could only lean against Hadith’s neck—perhaps, her waist was broken…
…while holding Jill with great care, Hadith whispered.
“You just have to take it easy and melt in my arms.”
“Emperor, you’re already an adult. What do you think you’re doing right now~”
“Oi, can I punch him? Just now, he’s totally playing foul.”
“But, isn’t this the best way to show off to Prince Geraldo?”
She wouldn’t get angry. She wouldn’t hate him. Indeed, she had promised him so—but, just once, let her curse at least once!?
“T, that, that was my first…!!!”
“You promised you won’t get angry.”
Ah, but, Jill didn’t recall ever promising not to beat him up.
***T/N: …Holy shi–rather than whistling and clapping, I can hear it. I can hear everyone in the comment section taking up their phone and dialing 911…
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