Because today is a special day (it’s my sister’s birthday!), I will post this instead of tomorrow. Klaus and Ann are back! Also, oh man, you will LOVE the next chapter. Will there be another chapter tomorrow? We’ll see.
ED: clover, eristol
Due to too much embarrassment, I broke away from the table where the royal family members were sitting.
I was in the midst of taking a plate of meat in one hand.
If you have a buddy to eat with as much as you can, you can taste a little bit of everything without having to worry about various dishes.
With such a situation, while I was going around various tables and saying greetings hurriedly, I made some friends before I knew it.
One is Tricia, daughter of Baron Rails from Aurelia.
The other person is Marquia, daughter of Viscount Jonas from Ignitia.
They said they are eight years old just like me.
Tricia attached a wand to the band of her dress for decorative purpose, and Marquia had a dragon as small as a bird on her shoulder.
“Erica-sama, Erica-sama, please use my handkerchief so that your hands will not get dirty.”
“Erica-sama, please enjoy this sweet. This sugar confection is very popular among Ignitia’s noble children.”
“Erica-sama is a princess from Aurelia, from the same place as me. Aristocrat of Ignitia, please leave.”
“What, on the contrary, Baroness lady, this here is Ignitia. Isn’t it natural that people of Ignitia should show her around?”
“Both of you, if you make too much noises, you will disturb everyone.”
Tricia and Marquia, the two cute girls have grabbed me from both sides.
My current situation is like a captured alien.
If it is around this age, they would say ‘He/She will play with me!’ and compete for that friend.
Such aspect of tiny little girls is very charming.
Both Tricia and Marquia were caught up in the struggle and looking at this, Tirnanog came out from under the table.
I quickly exchanged the heap of foods that I brought with the empty dish Tirnanog had finished eating.
『Don’t worry. I ate something other than the dish you brought.』
“Be careful not to be found out, okay?”
『It should be fine. I’m still quick.』
Is the dispute over? The two ladies, Tricia and Marquia came closer.
Tirnanog quickly hid under the tablecloth.
“Thank you for waiting, Erica-sama. Marquia is a terribly indecisive person.”
“Oh my, I wonder if you forgot about the thing just a while ago. It is Tricia who was being stupid, you know?”
“Yes, yes. I will not run away, so please feel at ease.”
However, this might make it difficult for me to move around.
Well, what should I do?
Just when I was in trouble from being caught by two lovely ladies, a girl who stood out from a group of Hafan noblemen appeared.
My eyes met with the girl, I smiled.
I know her well.
She is Ann Hafan, it is a relationship where we were caught in a point between life and death about a month and a half ago.
Ann is dressed in a mature black dress.
At first glance it seems to be somewhat plain, but when I look closely it has elaborate laces and embroidery sewed on it.
She is also wearing a corsage that looks like a light-red flower which suits her well.
Every time Ann moves, the silver thread sparkles with the light of the chandelier.
Her face looks a bit more mature than before and I can see a glimpse of a cool and sharp beauty.
“Long time no see, Erica-oneesama. I have wanted to see you since forever.”
“Well, Ann-sama. I’m happy to meet you too.”
I smiled and welcomed her.
At that time, I felt Tricia and Marquia grab my sleeves tightly from both sides.
“Well, what an impudent little girl. We were talking to Erica-sama first, you know?”
“That’s such a poor dress, you don’t deserve to stand in front of Erica-sama. You should turnover and leave.”
Oops, do they see Ann as a rival?
I tried to open my mouth, but I was unable to interrupt their conversation and couldn’t make out a word.
“By the way, I am the daughter of a Baron of Aurelia, from the same place as Erica-sama. Same as Erica-sama!”
“By the way, I am the daughter of a Viscount of Ignitia. Daughter of a Viscount!”
The two who seem to have set Ann as a common enemy cornered Ann who is one year younger.
While I was looking at the three of them in bewilderment and trying to mediate, my eyes met with Ann’s.
Ann smiled lightly and gestured for them to calm down by raising her hand.
“The crest of three ships sailing on the quadruple wave……You must be the daughter of Baron Rails of Aurelia, right?”
“Uh!? Yes, I am Tricia Rails……why do you know the emblem of our house?”
“Emblem of sword crossing a sleeping white dragon……You must be the daughter of the Viscount Jonas of Ignitia, right?”
“Guh……Certainly, I am Marquia Jonas. But, that’s rude. We introduced ourselves before you.”
Oh~ how amazing!
As expected of the younger sister of that diligent person Klaus, her preparation is perfect.
Ann smiled in full composure, casually removing her hand which was hiding the Hafan’s coat of arms.
“Excuse me for the late introduction. I am Ann from the Ducal House of Hafan. Tricia-sama, Marquia-sama, let’s get along from now on.”
Ann introduced herself with a carrying voice in spite of being a child, and bowed with a perfect manner.
Tricia and Marquia held their half-opened mouths and became rigid for a while.
Unexpectedly, the two of them took a step backward and bowed deeply.
“I didn’t know that you are the princess of the former royal family Hafan, please forgive my impoliteness!”
“Hii……! It’s an honor to meet someone of a high social standing such as you, I am extremely delighted!”
“After all you don’t need to be sorry, it’s not like the two of you were bullying me. Please, raise your heads.”
Ann turned her smile which was full of composure towards them.
“It is a fact that I have disturbed the two of you, we are even with each other now. The three of us like Erica-oneesama, so let bygones be bygones. Let’s get along well on equal terms, alright?”
Although she said ‘on equal terms’, it seems that the rank has been decided firmly.
Both Tricia and Marquia are totally obedient to Ann.
Ann-sama, what an amazing young lady!
I feel like I have been shown the skill of an artisan.
When Ann approached me calmly, Tricia and Marquia moved back one step further.
Ann looked up at me, leaning close to me.
“Erica-oneesama, I have wanted to talk to you all this time. I still cannot forget about that night, my heart will beat faster every time I remember it.”
“……Ann-sama, there are other people here.”
“Oh, yes, that thing is our secret, isn’t it?”
“……Ann-sama, the bad part about having an audience is not just that.”
At a glance, when I looked at Tricia and Marquia, they stealthily averted their eyes away.
Why are their cheeks red?
As expected, is it getting misunderstood in such a way?
‘That is wrong, we were only exploring the underground ruins together and knocked down the evil spirit!’ It is painful that I can’t say that.
“By the way, Erica-oneesama, did you receive the gift properly?”
“Yes, I did. It was very delicious. Thank you very much.”
“Wasn’t it? I knew that you will like it, Erica-oneesama. If you come to Hafan, you can eat delicious meat everyday!”
“That is nice. If I have a business in Hafan, I will certainly take you up on that offer.”
Klaus aside, Ann seems to welcome me properly so I am glad.
I am also interested in Hafan’s delicacies where food culture seems to be progressing.
Let’s expect it when we go to Hafan for some occasion.
Oops, now that we are on that point, I would like to ask about Klaus’ letter.
“Excuse me……about Klaus-sama……”
“Yes! It’s about Onii-sama! Please ask me anything!”
“I got a strange letter……Did I do something to make Klaus-sama angry, did I do something like lighting a fire on his fighting spirit?”
“Strange letter……? That, when did it arrive?”
Ann had a slight wrinkle between her eyebrows.
As usual, her attitude towards her brother seems to be harsh.
“It was a letter enclosed with the gift from you, Ann-sama.”
“Enclosed……eh, no way……no matter how stupid Onii-sama is……by the way, what is the content?”
“‘You are strong. I will become a man who will not lose to you.’”
Ann-sama seemed to collapse backwards as if it caused anemia for a moment.
I tried to support her in a panic, but she picked herself up immediately and breathed in deeply.
“Was it a letter of challenge as I expected?”
“No. That letter was supposed to convey another intention. It may seem like a letter of challenge with only few words, but it wasn’t. So please trust Onii-sama. Give my older brother another chance.”
Well, I don’t know the details, but I guess that letter was a mistake?
That is good, it wasn’t a letter of challenge.
I am really relieved.
“I’m glad. I want to be friends with Klaus-sama. He’s welcome to rewrite it.”
“Thank you very much. Erica-oneesama, you are not only beautiful like a goddess, but also kind like a goddess.”
“You’re exaggerating, Ann-sama……It’s embarrassing……”
Shortly after I said such a thing, high-pitched cheers rose from nearby.
Those were the voices of the two young ladies who were accompanying me just a few moments earlier.
“Kya~! Who is that? That one over there!”
“Kya~! Kya~! He looks like a prince from fairy tales!”
Tricia and Marquia were screaming excitedly.
It seemed that not only them but also a few older sisters were enchanted by one boy.
The black haired boy turned over.
Oh, what? It’s just Klaus, huh.
Klaus, like his sister, seems to have grown during this short period we didn’t see each other.
The refreshing feeling that didn’t have any cloudiness of that time is hidden, his blue eyes that are tinged with sadness are impressive.
At first sight, he is wearing elaborate clothing.
The gray-almost-black robe is not the practical clothing I saw a month ago, but it is a luxurious clothing with silver embroidery on the glossy luxurious woolen fabric.
The chest brooch and cuffs are silver moon, similar to the pattern of Hafan’s coat of arms.
Beside that, refined craftsmanship was applied on various places.
As expected of Klaus, when he comes to the feast organized by the royal family, he is smartly dressed.
Even though it is a fancy costume, it doesn’t feel frivolous.
Rather, the apparel is keeping to a modest color tone while still giving off a fresh feeling, which complements Klaus himself.
If I didn’t know the contents, I might have shouted ‘Kya~!’
“He doesn’t seem to be too far apart from our age, I didn’t think there would be such a beautiful gentleman!”
“W-what should we do now, Erica-sama! That gentleman, he is coming over here!”
“I am excited, my heart is beating fast! Aah, I wonder if this is a dream!”
“Hee……it might be so……”
Although I could answer in a vague manner appropriately, my heart was beating fast inside of me.
Yet, as Tricia and Marquia were holding down both sides of me, I couldn’t escape.
While I was worrying about it, Klaus came in front of me.
He was a little awkward, but still smiling towards me.
“Ah, yes. Klaus-sama.”
“While we haven’t seen each other for a while, it looks like you have gotten even more beautiful. It is worth the journey here all the way to Ignitia.”
“Klaus-sama, your character has crumbled……oops, I mean, your personality has changed.”
“That is harsh. Does it not suit me?”
Klaus laughed naturally this time, and I was lured into smiling too.
Yeah, the good vibes from this situation has warmed me up.
As I thought so, Klaus behaved unexpectedly.
Like a knight to a lady, he knelt in front of me and took my hand.
(W-what are you doing—!)
Instead of my silent scream, Tricia and Marquia’s happy ‘KYA~!!’ echoed in the hall.
“Erica Aurelia. Please, will you do me the honor of having the first dance with you?”
While looking around in confusion, my eyes met with Ann’s proud gaze.
(Ah, I understand. This is a report on the results of Ann’s training. Good job.)
Because the contents are those of a ramping horse, it seems it is dangerous to display it in front of an unknown person.
As how things are, I am supposed to serve as a poison tester.
“Excuse me, Klaus-sama. I will be pleased to accept your offer.”
I took up a lady-like gesture, bowed down while holding my dress’ skirt.
Again, Tricia and Marquia’s high-pitched cheers resounded and entered the ears of the surrounding adults.
Oops, this is embarrassing.
However, if I am to do my society debut, I have to endure this and try hard.
It seems that Klaus also feels embarrassed about being seen, he is looking at me with his ears turning red.
“Let’s go, Erica.”
“Your real character is showing, Klaus-sama.”
Klaus quickly pulled my hand and we went into the circle of dancers.