10. I Don’t Care, So Let Me Go Home!
Even after they’d left, Irene-sama seemed dazed with no signs of snapping out of it. It wasn’t until I called out to her – “Irene-sama?” – that she came back to reality.
Thank goodness, I was wondering what to do if she collapsed.
“I’m terribly sorry to have kept you waiting. How is everyone doing…?”
Oh, were you just going to pretend that those earlier events didn’t happen? How admirable, Irene-sama. Well, I don’t want to touch upon that topic either, so I’ll feign ignorance as well. To be honest, I wish it had never happened!
But, hmm? Ah, was she worried about their reactions? She’s surprisingly timid.
“Everyone was very worried about you, Irene-sama.” Of course, Sara and I weren’t, and, well, as for the others…I didn’t know, but it’s not like I could tell her the truth.
Irene-sama who isn’t dull (but should be) sees through my white lie. Her face distorts, “…Ah, why is this happening to me…just when I’ve been spared from the false accusation.” Her voice is so soft that I could barely hear her. What did she say?
“Irene-sama? What’s wrong?” When I asked her this, suddenly she latched on to me, shedding tears from those beautiful eyes. Ahhh! What the heck is this?
“Please! Be my friend!” Oh, I see now. Irene-sama must have felt cornered all this time. I started to feel a little bad for her, but then I weigh this pity against the consequences. Of course, my conclusion was immediate.
“I’m sorry, but due to personal reasons I can’t be your friend.”
“Why?!” At my refusal, Irene-sama clung to me tighter.
But, it’s not like I can disclose that I’m His Majesty, the King’s ‘Official Venting Partner.’ Making friends with Irene-sama? That’s impossible. “I’m afraid I can’t say.”
“Why, what’s wrong?! Rururia-sama, you’re my only hope!”
Besides, if you upset her even slightly…then something bad will happen. From His Highness, the Royal Prince, noblemen, and even neighboring princes; as we saw earlier, there are consequences to being friends with her. “I’m sorry.”
“You’re so unapproachable!”
Irene-sama, you’re a bit out of control. Are those, perhaps, your true feelings? What did you think? That your beautiful face and tears would be enough? Eh? Wait, what? What does “only hope” mean?
“Then, let’s start an exchange diary!”
Huh…? Just what are you talking about all of a sudden??
“Um…? Well, I don’t really keep a diary…and I don’t personally like exchanging notes regarding my personal affairs.”
Huh? Is Irene-sama some exhibitionist who likes others seeing her personal life? Even though she’s the daughter of a duke? Yikes, that’s not happening.
“Oh duh! Of course! There’s no custom like that here!” Irene-sama falls to the floor.
“My life is over…”
Irene-sama, as a person, are actually you okay?
“But, it’s not over yet…if you give up the game ends here…” I might have said something profound, but my eyes are totally empty.
Fortunately, this was enough for Irene-sama to jump back up and clasp my hands. “Then, for the time being, I’d like to start as acquaintances, Rururia-sama!”
But aren’t we already?
After Irene-sama managed to recover, we headed back to the garden. I got incredibly freaked out on the way there, when she started muttering under her breath about “the best way to make friends…”
Irene-sama, I’m not sure that’s possible without addressing your surroundings first.
“Ladies, I am terribly sorry,” she curtsies elegantly, a completely different person from who she was a moment ago.
“No, we didn’t mind. We enjoyed some delicious sweets in the meantime.”
Ahhhh! Victoria-sama, you didn’t eat while I was here! So, everyone was enjoying the desserts without me!
“Thank you for saying that. The truth is, I’ve been a bit under the weather lately.”
Irene-sama, have you forgotten about the intruders already? Your excuse is a bit of a stretch. But I suppose you have no choice but to say this.
“My! How terrible! Please don’t overdo it. We’ll be off now.”
“Eh…” Irene-sama muttered in response.
If the host isn’t feeling well then, the guests have no choice but to leave after all.
“…Thank you everyone for your consideration. I will definitely make it up to you.” She finally says, after a long pause. Give up already. There probably won’t be a next time to make up for it.
After that, I refused Victoria-sama’s souvenir with apologies and finally got to return home with Sara.
“I’m glad it was a small tea party, especially by the standards of House Dilaver.”
“Haha, yeah – there were barely any gossipers.”
The success or failure of a tea party had a direct impact on the reputation of one’s house. And this time…well, it had been a total disaster.
“…I just remembered something and got goosebumps.”
“…Hey, Ria.” Sara has been looking serious since the tea party ended. What’s wrong? “I wonder if Irene-sama really is the daughter of a duke from our kingdom.”
“Well, even if she acts strangely sometimes, she must be, right?”
Then suddenly, she made me remember something awful. Just what did she say? “…I would never have imagined the types of sweets we ate today.” Sara’s eyes twinkled and her face looked like that ancient evil dragon (rest omitted).
Well, I’ll tell you again sometime.
“Hmm, oh. Ahhh!” Only I’d been denied the opportunity to eat sweets! I’d only gotten a measly cup of tea! I held my head in my hands, but Sara seemed to be enjoying the sight. Ugh, just because you got to enjoy them!
“Won’t you be invited back??”
“I’d rather not come back here.”
Visiting had been a huge waste of time for me.