40.1 The Queen’s Scenario
“…I was naïve…”
She didn’t remember how she left the room. By the time she noticed it, she was already in the backyard. Before Sharina went to meet the queen, Riol had promised to wait for her there.
“It isn’t just the honor of His Highness Roland… she wants to restore the honor of the entire royal family…”
Riol’s complexion turned as blue as Sharina’s.
“This is bad. The queen understands that someone of your status shouldn’t be yearning for His Highness, yet she still went out of her way to do that…”
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry that I failed. It’s just, no matter what I said…”
She wasn’t able to deduct the queen’s goal and thus fell into her trap. By the time Sharina noticed it, she could no longer escape. At the end, she even broke her pretenses and stated her true feelings—however, instead of anything, she only ended up cut off. Her true feelings were chalked up as mere disrespectfulness. After telling Riol everything, Sharina’s shoulders were trembling. She desperately tried to hold her tears that were threatening to overflow.
“…His Majesty’s condition must be very bad. That’s probably why the queen went to such lengths.”
Riol put his hand on top of her quivering arm. Despite that, his hand was also shaking slightly.
“By making it sound like you rejected His Highness Leonardo for the sake of His Highness Roland, everyone’s impression of the second prince will rise. Speaking of, ‘supporting your love’, that could be an apology or a clever ploy on her part. Afterwards, the third son of the poor countryside baron will be reduced into playing a mere supporting role—that, ‘he’s merely trying to support the countess who longs for the second prince!’”
The queen only had one desire. To restore the prestige of the royal family as much as possible before the king’s passing. Otherwise, the fact that she couldn’t prevent the former crown prince’s ruin, and that she had lost the allegiance of the former Rose Garden’s houses apart from the Ariarose family would resonate within her reign.
“No way…! Even if that is her desire, would anyone believe it…? Wouldn’t anyone deem it as strange!?”
Back then, during the conflict involving Leonardo, no one listened to Sharina. It was aAll because everyone concluded that there was no women in the world who didn’t yearn for the prince.
Would the same thing happen again?
“Aside from the turmoil caused by the Rose Garden being disbanded, all that the aristocrats from around the kingdom not part of this academy know is of the events leading to the duel and the daily happenings from the hearsay of children. If you actually become the fiancée of His Highness Roland, and are taken around at an evening ball, while also being forced to act as if you yearn for him—that alone would become a powerful shield. ‘The uproar concerning His Highness Leonardo, was that true?’ It is quite possible that everyone will convince themselves otherwise little by little. The queen is most probably betting on it.”
As if Sharina not yearning for the first prince wasn’t already unbelievable enough, she also chose the third son of a poor countryside baron, one whose appearance and magic were subpar. Riol stated such.
Status, lineage, financial strength, magical prowess, appearance—the prince had everything aristocrats valued in a marriage. Compared to that, a below average male student whom enrolled in a department that was considered as worthless…
The possibility of their prince forcing someone into a duel and misusing a national treasure had probably never occurred to those aristocrats. Much else the fact that the countess chose the poor baron’s third son over said prince.
That much was already obvious.
“Afterwards, once they see an opportunity, they’ll say that you failed during the queen’s education and that it just isn’t possible for you. Then, you’ll probably be downgraded from a queen candidate to concubine.”
“…If I were to be downgraded into a concubine, would they release me afterwards?”
“After that, even if you and I were to get married, those aristocrats whom have been deceived might get suspicious again. It’s a chain without release.”
The shadow of the big tree, which was casted by the setting sun, grew darker and darker. The cold wind of the night creeped into the always warm backyard.
“If I knew this was going to happen… I should’ve proposed to you sooner! Because I keep procrastinating, if only I was faster…”
“No, it’s not Riol’s fault! If I had been able to see through the queen’s intentions faster!”
Sharina was suddenly struck by the queen’s words—she wasn’t engaged with Riol. The queen most likely took that as an opportunity to make it seem as if Sharina had been yearning for Roland.
They weren’t engaged because Riol wanted to propose to her with his own words rather than going through all the formality with their own houses. Likewise, Sharina, who knew of Riol’s feelings, kept waiting patiently for him.
After they had deflected the great enemy that was Leonardo, they never expected for such thing to happen in such a short period of time.
What had happened was that they had ran out of luck.
“I think that if it’s Her Highness, it wouldn’t have mattered whether we were engaged or not. If we had been, she’d simply have created a scenario that would have matched it.” Said Sharina.
Even if they were engaged, the queen might have force Sarina into ‘admitting’ that the engagement resulted from her feelings of being indebted towards Riol—that, in truth, she still longed for Roland. In such a scenario, for the queen to reach out to such a maiden whom had been forced into an unwanted engagement, no one would think of it as strange.
A strong wind shook the branches of the tree, and his small, low voice fell on the grass near her feet.
“If only I was the eldest son of a count. If only I had been born into a house related to the founder of the kingdom. If only I had a fortune comparable to that of a high-ranking aristocrat. If only I had a dazzling appearance—”
Both his black bangs and shadows obscured his face. His expression was hard to see.
“…If only I have magical prowess that is second to none. Then, no one would bat an eye at your choosing me…”
In a voice that was about to disappear, Riol spoke of a way they might solve the conflict—which was to convince everyone. To convince everyone to the extent that even the queen would hesitate to make such a gamble.
“…I’ll convince everyone!”
By the time Sharina noticed, she had already screamed it.
***T/N: Man this is what happen when you have turnips as the royal family.
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