Translation: Kurehashi Aiko
Editing: Team Foxsunes
Who would be the suitable marriage partner for a Shrine maiden of the country chosen by the Goddess in the world devoid of conflict and lulled into peace? Such rumors were constantly circulating not only around this country, but around every other country in the world, I am sure of it. And even though the person in the picture may have looked foreign and looked like a human mountain, he must have been one of the carefully selected marriage candidates as well.
I did not know what to say, so I just kept silent with a really troubled expression on my face. Seeing that, the princess casually took the picture and hid it away, looking at me funnily while cocking her head slightly.
「I wonder, from your perspective, my dear Filmina, which of the candidates would seem like the appropriate one for me?」
As the princess looks at me gently with her eyes, I can feel my own widen up in surprise and confusion. I also bring my hand to my mouth. A man who would seem like the most appropriate one for being the princess’s partner? No matter how hard I think about it, it’s not a matter on which I can give my insight so casually. It is way too complex and difficult of an issue.
「Princess, please forgive me for saying that, but regrettably, I don’t think I am qualified to give you any kind of answer in that regard. I simply would not be able to estimate what marriage partner would be the most suitable for you. But please know this: no matter who that marriage partner turns out to be, I would like for it to be someone who would be able to make you happy, Princess.」
That’s right. It is not only about how is going to become the next crown head of this kingdom in the future. If the princess is going to get married, as someone who can consider herself to be her friend, I would like for her to marry someone who would truly love and cherish her for who she is, not just because she’s a princess. Otherwise what’s the point? This might be selfish coming from someone like me to try and think about the crown princess through my own standards, but deep down inside of my heart I really want her to be happy. Especially since she’s a princess with her own set of unique circumstances.
Hearing my words, the princess smiled gently and put her beautiful white finger onto the table.
「I somehow knew that you would say something like that, Filmina. That’s just so like you.」
「I do realize that I have said all that in a really clumsy way. But still……」
「Fufu, that’s alright. It was more than enough for me.」
Thank you so much for your kind words. The princess may not even realize it, but those words made me feel really happy. But then again, why do I feel like her usually radiant smile was now tinged with a little bit of sadness and loneliness?
However, just before I was about to ask her about that, the princess must have realized what was going on, for she quickly changed her expression back to her calm and radiant one. Then she turned her large amber-like eyes towards a pile of pictures that were laying on the side of the table. Then she gently stroked the picture’s surface with her hands which were said to be like silver tree branches. But contrary to the gentle look of her touch, there were sparks coming out of the princess’s fingers at this very moment.
Those sparks were most probably the effect of borrowing the power of the Fire Spirit. Because of the Divine Protection of the Goddess, the princess is most proficient when it comes to Light Magic. However, since she is beloved by the Goddess, she has a natural affinity for drawing spirits towards her and because of that Spirit Magic is not impossible for her to perform. And even if she’s not as proficient with it as my husband, she is supposed to wield it quite skillfully. Or at least so I heard. But I would never expect to see the princess use her magic at such a time and at such a place. Not to mention using it to burn the pictures of her possible matchmaking partners to cinders.
After the pictures burned out completely, the fire that ate them went out as if it was never here in the first place. Now, the only thing that was left of the matchmaking pictures was a pile of ash. I thought that the princess might order the ash to be cleaned away, but instead of doing that she just blew some air towards the pile’s direction and soon the ash simply scattered in the gentle wind.
「P-Princess? Are you sure it was alright to do that? Won’t you get in trouble for doing that?」
「No, it’s fine. Please don’t worry about it. There is a whole lot more from where it came from. And besides, there is no harm in me doing that since apparently my partner has already been decided for me anyways.」
Said the princess while taking another sweet and putting it into her mouth. She was still smiling and acting really natural, but for some reason her current smile and actions had something really scary to them. Or maybe it was all in my head? For in reality, the princess was as elegant and dignified as ever, taking another sip of her herbal tea as if nothing ever happened just a moment ago.
And did I hear that right? The princess said that her partner has already been decided for her? Didn’t I just misheard that? No, the princess certainly said so. While I was looking at the princess’s face once more, she noticed that and gently smiled back at me, right before lifting her index finger and placing it at the top of her lips.
「Of course, you must realize that what I just told you is top-secret, classified information. As for my marriage partner…… picking one means that more or less a candidate for the future king has been elected. And it just so happens that I am going to be meeting with that person soon. Of course, it is going to be carried out as the “official diplomatic matter”, but in reality it is just going to be a pre-marital meeting.」
「Is that really something that has already been decided?」
「I’m afraid so.」
Even though I managed to remain calm on the outside, inside I was far from being calm. I don’t want to sound arrogant, but right now I was probably more upset about this information than the Princess herself.
A premarital meeting for none other than the princess. Taking her upbringing and position into consideration, she must have known that a day like that would come sooner or later, and that the institution of marriage would be one of her many royal obligations. However, even though she may understand that, it certainly must make her feel all restless and insecure inside.
I myself already have a husband so my way of thinking about those things may be completely different, but I wonder how the princess feels about all this? I remember that she once said that it’s something that leaves a really sour taste in her mouth, but I wonder if that’s really how it is? For me it was more of a sweet taste with a little bit of sour mixed in, but again: that’s only me. If I had to put it into words, it would be like a sweet taste of confection that you’d sometimes need to wash away with a sip of herbal tea. Just like we are doing right now. I also decided to bow a little bit towards the princess in a gesture of congratulations.
「Congratulations, Your Highness. I sincerely wish you happiness from the bottom of my heart.」
While it is true that marriage can be hard and often fill you with feelings of regret, it can also be equally as rewarding. I myself managed to find happiness in marriage, and I would like for the princess to be able to find it as well in her own marriage. I must have drifted off to the world of my own thoughts again, for when I finally realized I was spacing out I found the princess right before my eyes, flicking my forehead with her finger. For a moment out there I could see nothing more but black and white in front of my eyes, and when I came to I placed my hand over my forehead, and the princess smiled gently at me in response.
「I am not all that fond of that quick jumping to the conclusion of yours. I only said the first candidate has been decided, right? That matter has been decided, but it is nowhere near being the final decision. Father said that I should actually go and see that man in person…… and then decide for myself. I wanted to talk to you about that since there was still some time left before the actual meeting.」
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