Forgot to tell you this in the previous chapter, but on 27th August the LN volume 2 will be released! There will be an extra chapter about Al and Lily’s date that was interrupted by Noel. Plus, there will be illustrations for Victor (and maybe Yugo). I will try to catch up before then. Enjoy!
(also, eristol is crawling her way up the chapters and edits them. so be patient about my grammar!)
There are two escorts soldiers called by Al. They followed us a few steps in front and behind us.
“What’s the matter, Chloe?”
Chloe, who hadn’t spoked a word until then, exhaled deeply when we almost arrived at the carriage stop.
“……he was a very nice person.”
“……? Um, who are you talking about?”
For a moment, I didn’t know who Chloe was talking about. When I asked back, Chloe said with her cheeks turning red.
“Victor-sama, um……I was surprised that he was so cool.”
“……ah……yes. My eldest brother.”
I was overwhelmed because I thought that she was still scared about Prince Wilfred matter, but she apparently was talking about something else entirely.
It appears that for Chloe, meeting Victor-niisama was more important than that.
Well, she seems to be in high spirits, so it’s okay.
I asked Chloe carefully.
“……do you like my brother, Chloe?”
“Wha! W-w-what, what, what!”
“That’s a lot of ‘what’.”
I pointed it out calmly, but Chloe didn’t seem to be calm and stared at me with a startled expression.
“How did you know!?”
“With such obvious attitude, there’s no way I could not know this.”
“You must be kidding meee!”
Chloe turned even redder before my eyes. She’s very easy to read.
“D-don’t tell me, Victor-sama also noticed that!?”
“It’s alright. My brother didn’t notice it at all. But I think everyone else knows, so be careful.”
“Eh……by ‘everyone’, you mean……”
“At the very least, Al and I have noticed it, and maybe Prince Wilfred too.”
“……isn’t that everyone then?”
“Didn’t I say so?”
When I stared at Chloe with a pointed look, she groaned, saying “Wait, wait” while holding her head.
“No way, you mean to tell me that it was known by almost everyone in that place? How embarrassing! Eh, you’re kidding me. I, was I so obvious?”
Hanging her head down dejectedly, Chloe stared up at me from beneath her eyelashes.
“Say, Lily……what do you think about me, who is in love with your own brother? After all, am I disqualified as a friend?”
“? What’s up with that.”
Hearing Chloe’s words, I tilted my head in puzzlement. I don’t understand what she was talking about.
“Why would you be disqualified as a friend? The fact that you like my brother has nothing to do with us being friends. Right?”
“Yes……yes, you’re right.”
Chloe nodded many times in agreement. Seeing her like that, for some reason I want to arrange a meeting between her and my brother one more time. Thinking that way, I opened my mouth.
“……Chloe. Would you like to come and see me in the near future?”
“What are you saying suddenly?”
I told Chloe who was staring at me in puzzlement.
“Recently, even if I go to the orphanage, the times when we cannot meet each other are increasing, and my parents have been telling me to bring over my friend if I’ve made some. This would also be my first time bringing over a friend home, so I hope you will come.”
There were times when I invited my acquaintances for a tea party, but I’ve never invited a 「friend」. It’s sad but that’s the truth. I thought it would be nice if the first person to be invited as a friend is Chloe.
“Eh……is it really okay?”
“Yes, no need to hold yourself back. Luke will also be there. We haven’t been able to talk to each other lately, have we? So I thought we could use this opportunity to do just that. And I also want to choose a book to be read to the children together with you. Is that not good?”
“It’s fine! Great! I’m going! Absolutely! Uwah, I can go to Lily’s house!”
Looking at Chloe who was delighted, I think it was a great idea to invite her.
Chloe didn’t think of it as an opportunity to meet my brother. She was simply delighted to be able to go to my house. I feel happy when I understand that.
Though, if all goes well, maybe she would be able to meet my eldest brother.
Nowadays my eldest brother is often at home. If they meet by chance, it shouldn’t be a bother to him, so there’s no problem.
After making an appointment with Chloe and sending her to her private carriage, I returned to the banquet hall with the escort soldiers.
“Al, thank you for waiting.”
When I returned to the venue, Al was leaning against the wall near the entrance and was waiting for me.
He was waiting with his arms folded and eyes closed, but he quickly opened his eyes and stared at me.
“Oh, you’re back. Was Miss Carlisle able to get on the carriage safely?”
“Yes, thank you. Um……that thing just now, it surprised me.”
“Aah, he’s such a wolf in sheep’s clothing, right? Will has always been good at expressing himself that way.”
“So that’s how it is.”
“Are you surprised?”
Hearing my meek reply, Al laughed meaningfully.
“It’s nothing unusual, he is a prince of the Roseblade Kingdom. There are a lot black-hearted people in my family lineage.”
“Black-hearted, is it?”
“Yup. By the way, speaking of black-heartedness, I think I’m more black-hearted than Will.”
“You, Al? No way……”
There is no way Al, who is always sincere towards me, is black-hearted—just as I thought so, I remembered that I felt he might be a scary person at some point in the past.
When I fell silent, Al smiled meaningfully.
“Oh, it looks like something came to mind. But, it’s too late to regret it now, you know? I said I’ll never let you go anymore, and you said ‘yes’.”
“I, I know that.”
The one who would be troubled if he let me go is me. When I nodded hurriedly, Al caressed my cheek smoothly. That gesture sent a jolt of electricity down my spine.
“Yeah, it’s fine if you understand. My precious Lily. From now on, it’s a private time for the two of us. I held back because of Victor, but shall we spend the remaining time slowly only with the two of us?
“Eh, ah, Nii-sama……?”
Speaking of which, the figure of my eldest brother who was supposed to be with him before has disappeared for some time.
Looking around, I couldn’t find him.
“Victor said he wanted to go to the royal library. There’s something he wanted to look for. He’s such a zealous man even at times like this.”
“That’s something my eldest brother would do.”
Rather, it was quite unlike him to even attend this evening party. Just as I thought so, Al said while reaching out to me.
“That’s why, now we can truly enjoy spending some time alone, just the two of us. To start it off—right, my dear fiancée Lily. Will you dance with me?”
Al smiled softly. Seeing that smile, my heart fluttered helplessly.
Put my hand on top of Al’s.
Go to the dance hall with Al escorting me.
Move my body to the music. As it was a slow-paced melody, we were able to dance well while talking with a low voice.
“Say, about today’s dress. I’ve always thought about it, but it looks great.”
While dancing, Al looked at my dress. The dress I’m wearing today is something that I had from before, but I never put it on even once. I tried to wear it, but it seems that Al likes it.
“Thank you. Um……it’s because my maid is excellent. Nowadays, I’ve been entrusting the task of choosing my dress to my maid.”
“Oh, speaking of that, when I asked about it before, you said something similar.”
“You remember it?”
I talked about the maid to Al when I got an engagement brooch from him. Al suddenly laughed, “That’s just a matter of course,” when I was astonished that he remembered something from such a long time ago.
“I can’t forget any conversation we had. I want to know everything about you.”
That should be my line.
I want to know more about Al. I always think so.
“Your favorite dress is something like the one you wore when we first met, right? I think you said that.”
Although I think it’s cute, lately I never put on that red and very flashy dress again. I’m quite confident that it suits me, but it is awfully conspicuous. If it were my previous self, I would have acknowledged it as something natural, but now I’m terribly ashamed to wear it.
“I tend to look at the flashier designs. If I choose the dress based on my preference, it would not look good. So, while my dress being chosen by my maid, I am modifying my preference little by little.”
“Yes. Al, you also said that it would be better to change to a dress like what I am wearing now, right? I want to get rid of the image of a 『villainess』.”
In accordance to Al’s movement, I made a complete turn.
The skirt of the dress made of soft material fluttered as I danced.
“Oh, so you’re worried about it because of what I said. But, don’t you think that’s already in the past? After all, you are no longer a 『villainess』, right? There is no longer a reason for you to worry over your image. You’re cute regardless of what you wear, and rather than forcing yourself to change, I think it would be perfectly fine if you go to your previous wear.”
“Y-you think so?”
I had never thought about it that way.
“What I currently wear suits your taste more, right, Al?”
When I asked him while our bodies are in close contact, Al blinked his eyes in surprise.
“Eh, no, that’s……”
“I want to please you, Al. Nothing would make me happier than you thinking that I’m cute and saying that you like me. So, I’m not forcing myself at all. I, I think I want to change myself for my own sake.”
From outsiders’ point of view, they might think that was not an action someone would do for themselves. But I’m serious.
If I have to wear a dress anyway, I would like to choose one that makes Al think I’m cute. The moment he looks at me with dazzled eyes, that’s when I think 「I’m glad I wear this」.
Al, who heard my words, stared at me and made a face as if enchanted.
“—aah, you’re so cute, Lily. I love you.”
While dancing, when he pulled my body closer to his, he murmured such a thing in my ear, turning my face red. Everyone was immersed in their own dance, so no one would hear our low-pitched conversations and no one would notice that my face turned red, but I still feel embarrassed.
Seeing that I became red, Al smiled happily.
“……good grief. I was surprised because I didn’t think you would say something like that. But I’m very happy.”
“Oh, right. Then, shall I try wearing something you like? Lily, do you have any requests?”
Being asked that suddenly, I almost made a mistake in the steps.
—Al will do that? He wants to wear something of my preference?
I looked at Al while correcting my posture. He looked at me back sweetly.
“I’m going to try to make the same efforts as you. I also want to be liked by you and I want to please you.”
“Eh? B-but……Al, you’re already wonderful……even if you ask my preference……”
This is troubling.
If I am asked about my preference, Al himself is already my preference. I could only answer with ‘anything is fine’ if he asks me about what I want.
Because I really think that whatever he wears, Al is already wonderful.
Explaining that to him, he said, “That’s unfortunate.”
“What. I thought that I could get you to like me more, Lily.”
“I, I like you well enough……!”
Any more than this, I wouldn’t be able to withstand it and I may die.
At last, the dance is over.
I was too caught up in talking with Al, and I feel like I was dancing almost subconsciously at the end there.
I was about to make a misstep; Al made me feel quite shaken. I looked down on the dress I was wearing, thinking that it would be nice if the visitors didn’t look at me strangely.
It’s a beautiful dress. It’s a dress that was chosen by my maid Lotte according to Al’s preference.
Until now, I have been leaving the dress-choosing entirely to Lotte. I can trust her aesthetic sense, and in fact, she has never made a mistake in choosing a dress.
I’m satisfied with that, but—
—From now on, I’m going to pick the dress by myself.
I thought so.
My preference should have changed too by now. If that’s the case, then I should be able to choose a dress by my own in the near future. The dress that I choose. I want Al to compliment me as I wear something of my own choosing.
I thought that way.
—If he does, I’m sure I will be happier.
Let’s talk to Lotte about it next time.
I will tell her that I want to choose a dress myself.
I may fail at first, but at that time, it’s good enough that I have tried, and I can have my maid to fix it.
—That may be a good idea.
“Lily, let’s go to the balcony.”
Retreating from the dance floor, Al, who had received a glass of wine from a nearby servant, called my name.
After that, I replied, talked a little with him on the balcony, and returned to the mansion before it was late.