7.3 The Room in Early Summer and the Second Prince
After Dia uttered so, Jillreid seemed to ponder a little.
He looked a bit tired but also attentive.
“O, other than that, there was a mass for Bableclair this morning, which you didn’t attend.”
“That’s originally only for the Royal Family and their relatives, yes? I wasn’t invited.”
“…Is that so. Well, I consider you my cousin. I don’t think they didn’t invite you to imply that kind of thing… that’s right, father was in charge of it this year.”
“Maybe… Lord Jillreid, is there something else you would like to say to me?”
His appearance was very odd.
After she had spoken so, Jillreid looked at her with an indescribable gloomy face.
“Do you remember the old blessed painting in the church?”
“Yes, that one that depicts the fairies, dragons, monsters, and spirits that appeared in old fairy tales. What’s with that?”
“In that story, fairies are like temptations while dragons would usually bare treasure. The demons find pleasure in brutality… while the spirits depict strong attachment…”
“Yes, it’s a story about the protagonist going to the Gate of Heaven, resisting temptations and overcoming the consequences of ruin… did something happen regarding that?”
“Well, you see, Dia…”
It was when Jillreid tried to say something—
—his eyes suddenly sharpened towards her. He slowly looked behind Dia.
“Ah, if it isn’t His Highness, Jillreid. I didn’t know you were visiting…”
Standing there was Joel, Prince Richardo’s Guardian Knight. In his hand was a tray of tea—he truly didn’t appear like a knight.
So he’s still here—Dia thought.
From another’s perspective, Joel’s appearance might be thought of as a form of instruction from Richardo. After all, that former fiancé of Dia’s refused to let his brothers and sisters grow too attached to her.
“Since the maids are absent, I thought of preparing tea for Lady Diarashe and have a conversation, but since His Highness is also here, I shall increase the number of cups.”
“…no, no need, I’m going home now.”
“Your Highness Jillreid…?”
Realizing how unnatural his panic was, Dia involuntarily called his name.
Jillreid wandered his gaze as if he was upset.
It was unusual to see her tall cousin behaving like that, as if he had been suffering mischief from a wolf…
“Dia… uh, that’s right, do you still recall the first time you attended the ball?”
“…A sudden topic change again. Yes, I do recall.”
“…what about the first prince you ever danced with?”
Have I ever spoken about this to him?
The only glorious and beautiful night in Dia’s relentless hardship of a life.
Then, Jillreid smiled in a dazzling smile, silently staring at Dia, before reaching out and gently stroking her hair.
“I always thought it would have be nice if your feelings had come true, but such is reality… I hope you aren’t having a hard time.”
“Your Highness Jillreid?”
“—Your Highness Jillreid, if you are going to stay long, after all, maybe it’s better for me to re-brew the tea.”
“…! N, no need! I’ll go home now! I, I’ve been a nuisance! You better talk properly to Marietta. Aafter all, she’s also concerned about you.”
“Yes, I shall write her a thank you letter.”
Apparently, Jillreid wasn’t good at facing Joel.
His relationship with First Prince itself should be good—well, maybe there was a clash of personalities.
Jillreid treated Dia like a sister and often visited the Night Violet Wing at night.
Until the engagement was abandoned, Joel was the captain of the escort knight. There might have been some contact between them.
“…Is it acceptable for a mere knight to turn away the Second Prince in this country?”
“It matters not. So, you still have heart for that prince?”
“…Noin? Ah, that last exchange. Well, that’s all I ever talked about when I was young—only to my parents and brothers, though? I never spoke to Jillreid about it… It’s only a childhood sweetheart thing…”
Dia said so, but Noin approached her and tilted her face up towards him using his fingertip on her chin.
The ‘Joel’ disguise had been unraveled—his purple eyes gleamed so bright, piercing straight into Dia’s eyes.
Despite so, Dia couldn’t resist but to turn away from his gaze.
“…’Only a childhood sweetheart thing’? We will see about that, after all, you just looked away.”
“T, too close! At this kind of a distance, even those without guilty consciences would avert their eyes!”
Dia hurriedly insisted as she took his finger off and looked at him.
His face was full of ridicule, its coldness further messing with Dia’s depressed mind.
…it’s unforgettable for me.
She entwined her own fingers and thought back about that beautiful, gentle day.
A beautiful man dancing under a big chandelier. It was also the first time Dia saw the majestic throne. Her father told her it was intended for the King—
—that was also when her gaze intertwined with his, who was said to be a member of the royal family.
Yes, that man who stole her heart was a prince.
That day, that brilliant person, whom Dia thought was far from her, gently stroked her head when she was sad. It all happened in a ball—a ball that later proved to be her own undoing.
That day, Dia fell in love with the Prince—
—and even though she knew said Prince wouldn’t save her, and instead let her march along towards her death, said feelings still persisted.
“I don’t know how you’re going to kick the bucket, but it’s part of the contract for you to let me watch how it happens. Therefore, don’t let there be the slightest of mistakes.”
“Yes, I’m going to attain my wish.”
“That wish, is it for the heart of that Prince you fell for when you were a child?”
“…No, it would only further make me miserable to want for someone that doesn’t want me back. All I want is for those who killed my family to get their just desserts.”
Dia uttered in a quiet voice. Noin still stared at her, but he wasn’t as sullen as before.
“Other than that, since the room temperature has gone down. I might be able to eat something.”
Did Jillreid instruct someone?
Dia’s room temperature switched from early summer to a warm winter day.
Dia only said what flashed in her mind, but it resulted in Noin putting his hand on his waist with overshadowed eyes.
“…I’ve said it already, I’m not your chef.”
“…mugu. If it’s sweets, don’t you at least have any?”
“Good grief, do something about that appetite of yours. Before the ball, you might turn into a barrel.”
“M-my waist is just fine, thank you! That’s rude of you, Noin. If you’re in doubt, just feel it! The corset fits perfectly!”
Noin looked at her, astounded, but in the end, still give her delicious food.
Enjoying salmon baked in herbs and apple butter glaze, Dia thought about the painting displayed in the church mentioned by Jillreid and tilted her head.
Why did Jillreid ask such a thing?
He wasn’t the type to speak nonsense. Therefore, Jillreid was perfectly serious. Something serious probably happened.
She actually recalled the picture book of the King of the Night—she perfectly knew what he was referring to—
—but, as if she would help the kingdom that intended to kill her.
However, she truly couldn’t comprehend why Jillreid brought up the painting of that church.
***T/N: Man their banters never get old, at least to me. LMAO, mad props to this King who willingly disguise himself as a knight (which is of a greatly lower status than, you know, King) and even serves tea to one of the assholes involved in cutting down his forest just for the sake of ensuring the safety of the maiden he considered entertaining.