Author: Tam

Serina and Driane had been laughing for a long time, but when they saw my confused face, they stopped laughing and laid me down. 

 

Before I knew it, Driane had me lay down on the blanket Driane had spread out and covered me with a blanket.

 

– Let’s sleep first. We’ll talk tomorrow.

 

Serina, who was preparing to make fun of me because I didn’t look very good, lay down next to me and whispered.

 

I lay down, but I didn’t think I would fall asleep.

 

[Close your eyes]

 

I closed my eyes as Driane said and then remembered vividly what had happened earlier.

 

Even though it was dark, I could clearly see the face of the Prince reflected on the back of the carriage.

 

「If possible, I want to be the ‘one existence’ who can share that burden together. If Young Lady is okay with it—. I ask that you consider me as a potential candidate for such a relationship.」

 

The Prince’s voice rang in my ears, which was speaking in a slightly trembling voice.

 

“Ha—”

 

I covered my face with a blanket.

 

I felt like I had to give up sleeping.

 

*****

 

In the blink of an eye, the morning came.

 

I ate breakfast blankly and moved, and when I came to my senses, I had arrived right in front of the Elf Forest. 

 

Now I was resting for a while, waiting for the forest to open. 

 

It was because I couldn’t enter the Elf’s forest unless the Elf opened it.

 

So when we arrived, we had to send a message through the bird and wait for the bird to return with the Elf.

 

It usually takes about half a day, so everyone rested under the sun for the first time in a long time.

 

“Young Lady, aren’t you tired?”

 

The Prince approached me naturally as I was resting under the tree and asked.

 

I was on guard because he didn’t talk to me at breakfast, but I never thought he would speak to me now.

 

As I remembered what happened last night, my face turned red instantly.

 

– Lione! Answer! Answer! 

 

“Ah—. Yes, I’m fine.”

 

At Serina’s shout, I realized that he had been waiting for too long, so I got up and answered.

 

“The tea you gave me before was really good. But, I was definitely tired.”

 

“That’s… That’s a relief.”

 

“I’d like to thank you when I return to the capital, do you like rose tea?”

 

“…Yes. I like it.”

 

The Prince sat down naturally, and I followed him and sat down next to him.

 

Clearly, I couldn’t avoid the Prince who wanted to talk. But, honestly, I didn’t want to avoid it even if I could.

 

I had no idea how to treat him, but what was certain was that I didn’t hate it.

 

My toes and fingers shrunk because I had a strange feeling that I didn’t know what to do.

 

“If you do, I will take rose tea and go to the Duke mansion.” 

 

“Your Highness will go by yourself?”

 

“Yes.”

 

Surprised, I looked at the Prince and asked, but he nodded as if it was natural.

 

It is possible to give a reward in return, but it was too much for the Prince to give it directly

 

I was going to say no, but the Prince said first.

 

“I’m going to see Young Lady using the rose tea as an excuse, so please don’t refuse.” 

 

My face flushed helplessly at the words.

 

The Prince was looking at me with an expression that was clearly looking for an answer, so I couldn’t help but answer.

 

“…I’ll be waiting.”

 

The Prince stood up from his seat smiling brightly at my answer.

 

“Thank you. I won’t disturb you anymore. Please rest comfortably.”

 

I couldn’t breathe until the prince moved away.

 

The gazes that had been focused on me and the Prince were also scattered.

 

Among them were Viscount Janen’s happy gaze and John’s bewildered gaze.

 

My face was about to burst at the thought of all this being reported to my father by John.

 

– Wow, I’m so excited~

 

“Don’t tease me—”

 

– Why am I teasing you when I said I’m excited? 

 

Serina laughed mischievously and poked me in the arm.

 

“That—. What should I explain to my father?”

 

With a face that was about to explode, I barely changed the subject and turned away.

 

– Order John not to report this. 

 

“John puts my father’s orders before my words.”

 

– That’s true, but… 

 

Serina thought hard and soon sighed and said.

 

– Just bump into it. What would the Duke say to you?

 

“I’m afraid he’ll do that to the Prince….”

 

– Oh~ You’re already taking care of him? 

 

Serina smiled and poked me in the arm once again.

 

“….”

 

I didn’t have anything to say, so I just looked around. Then all of a sudden, yesterday’s events slowly came to mind, and I frowned. 

 

I asked Driane, who was lying right next to me. 

 

“Why did you turn away from me yesterday?”

 

I couldn’t ask yesterday because I was distracted by what the Prince said, but I kept wondering. 

 

Driane said, avoiding my attention a little bit.

 

[I can’t teach you forever.]

 

“I was surprised because it was so sudden.”

 

[It was just a good opportunity]

 

Even at Driane’s soft words, I couldn’t stop my mouth from opening. 

 

Driane has said several times that I should make a habit of making decisions without asking their opinion. 

 

Still, can’t they give me a hint? As I continued to pout my lips, Driane continued.

 

[Since I knew that the child had feelings for you, neither decision was risky.]

 

“….”

 

I close my mouth and put Driane on the floor. 

 

Then Driane looked at me in a bit of embarrassment and quickly continued.

 

[B, but I think it’s too much to say nothing at all]

 

“…I want you to tell me to decide by myself.”

 

[Yeah. I made a mistake.] 

 

Driane admitted it obediently, and I watched Driane gently come up to my lap, but I didn’t put it down on the floor again. 

 

– Yeah. Driane is so mean. 

 

Serina, who was watching, sneaked in.

 

“Serina stayed still, too.”

 

– …Did I? 

 

When I looked at Serina clearly, Serina sighed and came close.

 

– I also had the same thoughts as Driane. Unlike Driane, I can’t be with you forever.

 

Serina carefully told me, looked at me slightly, and continued. 

 

– But it’s too much to say nothing… right?

 

Unlike other times, I looked at Driane and Serina, who frowned at me, and finally burst into laughter.

 

“Tell me next time. I was so surprised—”

 

[Okay.] 

 

– Okay! 

 

Only then did Driane and Serina, who were relieved, nod eagerly.

 

“But… Did I do a good job?”

 

[You did well.] 

 

– That’s right. 

 

[I wonder how far he knows?]

 

“Ung?”

 

[Somehow, I think he knows more than we think.] 

 

– That’s right. Yesterday, Lione was particularly flustered, so you looked at the left and the top together. Nadia was asleep. So he might think there are three divine beasts. 

 

Serina nodded and said to Driane.

 

I hadn’t even thought of that, but I’m confused.

 

“Then, the burden the Prince was talking about— was it because he thought there was something deeper hidden, including the points I didn’t tell him?”

 

– That’s possible.

 

[Probably so. He had good observation skills. Because he moved his eyes to follow your gaze on Serina and me.]

 

“I didn’t notice—”

 

– It can happen. People watching from the side know better about that.

 

“Should I have hidden it?”

 

[You don’t have to. He can’t know the truth unless you tell him anyway.] 

 

I was a little worried, but I was relieved when Serina nodded, saying it was okay.

 

– How about the confession? 

 

“…Ung?”

 

I looked at Serina perplexedly because I couldn’t adapt to the conversation that had changed in an instant. 

 

– No, if you heard the confession, you have to answer. In addition, it is not just a matter of consent or refusal to confess but also a matter of sharing information about the fake and getting help.

 

“Ah—”

 

I nodded at Serina’s comments and was lost in thought.

 

I felt much more at ease, thinking that confession was not a problem.

 

– But don’t just think about what to do with a fake princess. I feel sorry for the Prince’s pure love. 

 

“…Ung.”

 

Serina’s words, as if they had penetrated my heart, made me feel heavy again.

 

“It’s hard.”

 

When I complained, Serina smiled and stroked my head.

 

– It’s not that hard. It’s simple. You can decide whether you like it or not. 

 

“I’m not in a position to judge whether I like it or not.”

 

– In love, status doesn’t mean much. Just look at that person and decide.

 

Serina’s words made my head a little more complicated.

 

“They’re here!”

 

I was trying to ask for more advice, but I heard a familiar voice and turned around.

 

The Elf was walking out with the bird that had flown away.

 

Embarrassed by the earlier-than-expected arrival, I quickly approached it. As the elf beckoned, the forest barrier opened.

 

“I’m Minera, who is guarding the barrier.”

 

“I’m Noel Inoten, the 2nd Prince of the Inoten Empire.” 

 

“Nice to meet you. The barrier has been opened so you can get on the carriage, and I will guide you.” 

 

Elf’s appearance and voice were a frequent subject of minstrels.

 

When I met them in person, I seemed to understand why it was a regular material. 

 

It was beautiful because I could see they were not human, even if I didn’t confirm that both ears were sharp. 

 

It was clear that he was a man, but just looking at his voice and appearance, he was so beautiful that it was hard to tell whether he was a woman or a man.

 

The Prince had a conversation with Minera as the representative, and the other party got on the carriage.

 

So did I.

 

Soon after, the first carriage began to move.

 

Since I moved at Minera’s pace, my carriage, which was relatively behind, started moving after quite a while.

 

– Can’t wait, right? 

 

As Serina tried to say something again, our carriage entered the forest.

 

– We’ll go inside— kyaaa! 

 

When the carriage was halfway into the boundary, suddenly Serina was pulled back with a scream.

 

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