The Third Prince is Too Dazzling! I Can’t Look at Him Directly! Translation

35. The Third Prince is Too Dazzling! I Can’t Look at Him Directly!

Chapter Thirty-Five: The Girl Chat Became Rambunctious (II)

When I try to explain, everyone leans forward. I gulp. Their stares are piercing, let me tell you. Am I angering them? I guess they would be in their right. When I think about all the time I have spent with Gil and all the things we have gone through, even if I didn’t ask for them, they represent opportunities with Gil the group wishes to have had, not to mention an unfair advantage in the princess candidate process. But there are perfectly reasonable explanations, just let me tell you…

“I-it’s OK! Gil is OKwith it!”

I am desperate to explain myself. But Merlia and Alisa interrupt.

“Wait a minute! What’s that ‘united front’ you said!?”

“You do like His Highness, don’t you, Lady Lina!? As star-crossed lovers who finally found each other, right!?”

Huh? Star-crossed… lovers?

“N-no! You are mistaken!”

“My head is spinning”, says Merlia, and all the ladies similarly hold their heads and pinch their brows on cue.

“U-um… are you OK, ladies?”

“I’m so astonished I’m at a loss for words…”

“A-ah, don’t be like that, please. That’s why I’m saying, let me explain…”

“To think Lady Lina is actually such a show-off…”

“T-truly unbelievable…”

They are all murmuring different takes but bear the same utter perplexion.

“U-um, so let me explain…”

The ladies reflect in their posture their dejection, and even their auras flame out to match. For a moment, I worry their auras would peter out entirely and try to call out to them as if to rescue them from vanishing into the void. As soon as I open my mouth and before I can utter a word, their barely visible auras simultaneously erupt into flaming volcanoes, and they all stare at me. What is this synchro rate! Did you become more acquainted with each other while I was absent!? Wait, that’s not the point right now! I brace for the oncoming barrage.

“How can you not notice all of the obvious signs of Lord Gilbert’s true feelings!”

“Are you seriously not aware of how sweetly he gazes at you!?”

“How can you say such ignorant things when you are usually so sensitive and so uncannily attuned to everyone else’s feelings, Lady Lina!”

“And how can you not notice that His Highness wouldn’t give such a huge diamond to any ordinary princess candidate!”

I find myself not knowing how to react under the gaze of those blazing eyes and the assault of such loud, reproaching voices. It is more intense than I expected. Where did the kindness and consideration-filled room atmosphere of just a minute ago disappear to? With my mouth neither open nor closed, I can’t utter any words and feel completely overwhelmed.

“Ladies, please… calm down a bit.”

Merlia says as if noticing how paralyzed I am, realizing they have gone too far. So she cut me some slack. The ladies’ group raises their cups and takes a sip collectively in a very refined manner without making a sound. They seem to have regained their composure a bit. But appearances can be deceiving, for I can see their auras still being raging volcanos. I have no choice but to watch silently and take a deep breath while bracing for the barrage to begin anew.

The small sounds of clicking as the cups are placed back on their saucers are, to me, equal to a signal that my interrogation is about to resume. And as expected, Merlia fires the opening salvo.

“First of all, what do you truly think of Gilbert, Lady Lina? If you regard us as friends, please answer honestly.”

The room’s atmosphere is deadly serious. To stake our friendship on an honest answer means Merlia is not playing around. I must answer straight and without obfuscation or deception.

“I think he is a wonderful person. He is a little mean, but there is always a kindness to him, in his own way. Sometimes, he sulks and pouts like a little kid, and that is indeed a little bothersome, but it makes me feel like, well, that’s weirdly endearing. And annoying.”

“Do you feel your heart thumping when you are with him?”

The answer to that, Alisa, is obvious, you know.

“Of course I do. Any lady would feel her heartbeat go crazy when confronted with such a beautiful and handsome prince smiling straight at her. Isn’t that a given? You all said as much before too.”

Everyone seems to abscond into deep reflection. Did I say something weird? After a couple of seconds, Laila raises her face as if having realized something.

“Well then, Lady Lina, how about His Highness the Crown Prince? Does your heart also flutter when looking at each other and seeing him smile at you?”

“Um, no.”

“Isn’t the Crown Prince a sublimely fine gentleman as well? Did you have the opportunity to talk to him? Did you feel anything at all?”

Maribel picks up the questioning, and I reminisce about when I took a walk in the palace garden with Jerik. Sunbeams flickering through the leaves were shining on his red-gold hair. His gentle amber eyes were deep and swayed with melancholy. I feel an ocean of calm filling my heart as I reminisce, but my heartbeat remains still.

“No. Not in particular.”

Everyone sighs deeply and withdraws the stressed pose their shoulders had turned into in response to my reply, which had come after a slow breath so I could think carefully.

“If I were to judge by facial features alone, I don’t see any true difference between Lords Gilbert and Jerik.”

“Both are beautiful princes, and if either smile at you, you’d be just as excited.”

“His Highness, the Crown Prince, has more of an adult gentleman presence, which makes him even more wonderful in some ways, wouldn’t you agree?”

“It could be fair to say that my stay here was worth it just for the eye candy alone.”

The ladies’ group is now looking into the distance, picturing Jeril and Gil in their minds. Spellbound, they clearly like what they see in their imaginations. I wonder if they really see them as equally handsome? To me, it’s a little different…

Merlia breaks into a kind smile and a knowing chuckle.

“Don’t you understand it yet? Lady Lina, you are in love with Lord Gilbert.”

T-this is love…!?

“Try picturing His Highness in your mind.”

I follow Alisa’s words, and almost naturally, those azure eyes appear inside my mind. Gil’s soft and quirky golden hair follows, and then his gently arcing thin lips forming a faintly boyish smile. I can see his firm arms and chest that any girl would dream of being hugged by, and his hands that would look so big and strong stroking my hair… I feel like I can smell Gil’s scent in the air just by picturing it. My chest tightens, and I instinctively lay my palms on my chest.

“It is difficult for you to bear His Highness’ remembrance, is it not?”

“She is lovesick, isn’t she?”

Is this feeling in my chest what is called “lovesickness”? Love? I fell in love with…

Feelings I never truly resolved suddenly start taking form. I feel as if they are confronting me for an answer once and for all. That answer that my heart hasn’t found suddenly starts taking shape inside me. It’s true, isn’t it? I love Gil. I… really love Gil.

Not because of his beautiful looks or because fate brought us close… my heart flutters because it’s Gil, pure and simple.

“I-I… I’m sorry!”

“Wait! What do you mean you’re sorry, Lady Lina!? Don’t tell me that you still don’t…”

Merlia’s hands are making all sorts of confusing gestures in the air, but I shake my head at her. It is not what she is thinking. To withstand the overflowing feelings that have welled up within me, I gather my strength in my belly, and my voice is finally able to erupt.

“I-I like Gil! No, wait, I’m in love with Gil! I had zero interest in him at first, so I’m a really twisted woman to come off like this now, don’t you think!? I know, I know, but I love Gil all the same. I don’t think I can change that… But! I’m sorry! Please don’t hate me!”

I had to use all my strength to keep the gushing torrent of tears from making their way to my tear ducts. When beautiful people cry, it is dramatic and poise. But I’m totally not! I look like a three-year-old child, crying immaturely and uncontrollably! I can at least prevent myself from crying and avoid adding it to the list of negative impressions everyone has about my person. So please, please, please don’t hate me!

“Oh, Lady Lina… please don’t panic. I’m happy that you’re more concerned about your friendship with us than the love you have just discovered, but there’s no need to be worried.”

“Lady Lina, we knew in our hearts you had won the princess candidate selection for a long time now. And we look forward to being dear friends with you for all of our lives.”

“It looks like you’re the only one who is unaware of it, Lina, but everyone here feels happy to have met you.”

“I feel we were destined to meet at this castle. I don’t think we could be more fortunate than to have each other.”

I haven’t realized it, but my fists are clenched, and I finally release them. I also notice my palms have been sweating. But everyone’s kind words make me feel at ease. But now, I am overwhelmed with feelings of gratitude, and my nose itches for some reason. Proving that their words are sincere, everyone’s auras are swaying contentedly.

“Are you going to continue getting along with me?”

“Of course.”

I can’t contain myself anymore, and tears overflow. My limit has been reached. What wonderful persons they are!

“Oh, th-thank y-you…”

I’m sorry to expose my embarrassing crying scene after all. But, please forgive me because they are tears of happiness, not tears of seeking forgiveness or anything.

Furthermore, everyone walks over to me and pats my back and head very friendly and reassuringly. I feel this is too good for me. They are so kind, too kind.

“Oh, that’s right, I have a challenge for you.”

Hazy with tears, my eyes look up to Merlia.

“Please confess to Lord Gilbert properly. Instead of proposing as a joint front against adversity, convey your true feelings to him.”

“Especially because we were a bit mean to him earlier.”

“To be sure, His Highness looked a little pitiful.”

“Indeed, for him to make such a face… tee-hee.”

Everyone starts agreeing with Merlia, who then tilts her head as if she has just come up with a mischevious idea.

“So? Are you in agreement, Lady Lina? Do you promise?”

“Yes. I’ll do my best. And if it doesn’t work out…”

“No ifs needed, thank you.”

I swallow my tears at everyone’s suddenly reemerging threatening auras. Just as my body starts bracing for another volcano of rebuke again, we hear a knock on the door.

“Can I have a moment?”

Gil’s voice is quite tense, and everyone looks at each other.

“Well, speak of the devil.”