6. The Announcement Party is a Battlefield (2)
“…My, it’s about to begin.”
Perhaps because of the appearance of today’s ‘protagonist’, Tistye, the ceremony transformed into a social event. The ballroom was then used for its original purpose. Downstairs, guests shook hands and greeted each other’s partners.
Tistye was admiring the glamorous atmosphere when someone appeared before her—
—Tistye blinked. When she lifted her face, Gaizel was right in front of her, extending his hand.
“Y, Your Majesty?”
Unsure of what his stare meant, Tistye started fidgeting.
Van, who was watching the entire scene, sent a rescue boat.
“Your Majesty, I think if you want to ask her for a dance, you have to do it more nicely.”
“Eh?! That’s what he meant!?”
Van was spot on—Gaizel directed a sharp gaze at him, before taking Tistye’s hand.
“Just come here already.”
It could be said that she was dragged from the throne down the stairs.
When the people below noticed them, as expected, a path was opened.
Tistye stood in the middle of the floor.
…I, in front of all these people…!
It will be fine—she had practiced a lot those past six month. Tistye adjusted her breathing.
Unable to withstand the tension, her fingertips trembled. However, Gaizel’s large hand firmly grasped her fingertips.
“Don’t be scared. No one will laugh at you.”
Then, as if waiting for the beginning of the dance, Gazel stared straight into the distance, his gaze unfaltering.
Because of those unexpected words, Tistye’s eyes widened. But she straightened her posture and properly stood beside Gaizel.
Afterwards, was a triple beat song which required her to do elegant and delicate spins—great skill from the dancer was required to be able to pull of such a move. At the precise timing, Gaizel took his first step.
Amazing… it’s as if my body is moving on its own…
Although without a strong force, Gaizel’s movement allowed Tistye’s body to be manipulated freely.
Of course, her practice played part, but Gaizel’s dancing skill was just on a whole different level.
The tempo of the song gradually increased, and amongst the people, those who couldn’t keep up with the beat started becoming apparent.
Thanks to Tistye’s partner’s natural movement, the hem of her dress fluttered, as if basking both her figure and him in vivid colors.
[“How amazing of His Majesty Gaizel…”]
[“I wonder if he’s willing to dance with me…”]
[“Lacie? Why must he be with a princess who hails from such a remote kingdom…”]
Occasionally, when she inadvertently heard the voice of someone’s heart, Tistye was slightly depressed. Perhaps noticing Tistye’s state of mind, Gaizel murmured in a low voice.
“Where are you looking?”
“Look at me—you’re not allowed to look at anyone else.”
“Yes…” Tistye answered with a voice that seemed to disappear.
In her heart, she shouted—
—even though it isn’t the voice of his heart, I was thrilled when His Majesty said that…
Tistye sighed as she realized the tune had changed to a gentle one, signaling the end of the dance.
As it ended, Gaizel’s stare turned into a grim one.
“Dance with Van next.”
“Two songs are already sufficient. After that, leave and run away as you see fit.”
Perhaps Gaizel had noticed how tired Tistye was after the ceremony.
“I understand.” When she answered that, she heard the voice of Gaizel’s heart.
[“T, too close… she’s too close, my heart is ready to stop… I’m glad I’ve practiced every time I’m finished with work… I mustn’t humiliate Tistye no matter what!”]
His Majesty practiced dancing, too…!?
Tistye was further shocked by the continuation of the voice of his heart, which came shortly afterwards.
[“Her cuteness made it that she’s already dangerous at a distance—it’s simply something that can’t be seen up close! She’s too cute, my eyes hurt… at the same time, I also don’t know when I will get another chance to be this close to her… I want to get a better look at her…”]
Before the astonished Tistye, Gaizel gave her a brief glance.
She didn’t know what to say—when Tistye, her face red, diverted her gaze, Gaizel immediately released her hand.
Then, Gaizel covered his forehead with one hand, as if enduring something.
Eventually, he lifted his face, and sneered at her.
He said something that was a total opposite of what he thought in his heart! The moment Tistye heard it, her excitement was instantly blown away.
She realized, in the last six months, he hadn’t uttered a single honest word.
Why do you have to be so mean…? If you had told me what you truly think, instead, I would… I would surely be happy…
Her thought becoming far-fetched, Tistye shook her head—
—No, she couldn’t imagine what would happen to her if the Emperor’s spoken words became as beautiful as his appearance…
…as of the moment, even though it was merely the voice of his heart, she was barely enduring.
For said voice of his heart to be uttered directly from his mouth instead… the end result would surely be disastrous.
“—Lady Tistye? Are you alright?”
“Y, yes! Forgive me!”
Suddenly called by her name, Tistye instinctively replied. Then, Van, who had been standing in front of her ever since when, laughed boisterously.
Before she knew it, the next song had already started.
“Please don’t be that surprised. This is a direct order from His Majesty.”
“Ah, I see, I’ll be in your care.”
“Me too—if you would, your hand, please.”
The next song that started playing was a relaxing, double beat, song.
When she extended her hand, Van pulled Tistye around.
Their hips were touching, causing Tistye to become a little flustered.
Van had a different approach than Gaizel, it was apparent that he was used to handling women.
Tistye glanced at Van.
The bride of his nose was straight, while his eyes were akin to the winter sky.
Seemingly noticing Tistye’s line of sight, Van stared back at her and smiled.
“Fufu, it seems that you’re flustered.”
“Ah, I’m sorry for my insolence…”
“No, no, as a knight, it’s an honor to be able to look at the flustered visage of Your Majesty the Empress like this.”
After hearing that, Tistye gave up upon arguing, and decided to concentrate on dancing.
Since it was an easier dance than before, the chattering of others could be heard.
Perhaps that song wasn’t one that appealed to the art of dancing, but instead was for socializing.
“What do you think of the Kingdom of Verscia?”
Van spoke to her in a quiet tone.
“It’s a very cold place. However, it’s quite astounding to see how much effort was given to make it a warm place.”
“I see, on the other hand, the Kingdom of Lacie is a warm kingdom all year round, isn’t it?”
“Are you familiar with the Kingdom of Lacie?”
Van smiled towards Tistye who showed a joyful expression.
His expression was gentle—such that if she wasn’t spoken for, her heart would surely skip a beat.
“Indeed. My mother was born in Lacie.”
“My! Is that so?”
“For some period of time, I’ve lived there, too.”
She never thought she would meet someone who had lived in Lacie in such an almighty kingdom!
The song was almost over when Tistye was happily explaining to him about Lacie’s famous tourist spots.
“Thank you very much. I shall visit them, if someday His Majesty bestows upon me his permission.”
“I’m grateful to you, too. I had so much fun.”
They thanked each other as they separated.
Following Gaizel’s instruction, Tistye casually turned to the window.
However, seeing it as some kind of opportunity, men were gathering.
“Your Majesty the Empress, wouldn’t you dance with me next?”
“Forgive me, but I want to take a break.”
“Then how about some wine? I will fetch it for you.”
Even though she was adamantly refusing, the men kept inviting her—soon enough, Tistye found herself unable to catch up.
Then, the women who saw Tistye being swarmed by males, began to gossip.
***T/N: I am surprised Gaizel let Tistye converses with Van unlike other stereotypical possessive Emperor ML(s) out there. I bet he’s actually happy when she looks like she’s enjoying the conversation, or even planned to let this happen cuz he know Van is also from Lacie, while deep down also enduring the feeling of jealousy. Maaan Gaizel, all my heart goes to you!!!