Translation: Kurehashi Aiko
Editing: Team Foxsunes
「Well, you truly honor me with your trust, Your Majesty.」
I feel like that revelation alone was a sign of the great trust that the princess put in me. And it was certainly an honor to know that the princess considered me to be someone trustworthy enough to be told such important, top-secret state information. Does that mean I can consider myself to be truly blessed and lucky?
Then, the princess reached out her beautiful and slender hands towards me and gently wrapped them around my hands. I could see every detail of her beautiful hands, and it only now occurred to me just how truly beautiful even her fingernails were. So shiny, well-polished, and pink-colored. They looked like they were not mere human flesh, but were instead chiseled in stone by an artist. The princess’s bright amber eyes continue to gaze at me. I wonder if something happened to make the princess act like that? Looking back straight into her eyes, I could see a question welling inside of them. That question was “Did you say it’s an honor”? She did not even have to say that out loud.
「Yes. For me, it really is quite an honor……」
But, before I even managed to finish what I was saying, I could feel that the princess’s hands strengthened their grip on my hands.
I could see every detail of her beautiful hands, and it only now occurred to me just how truly beautiful even her fingernails were. So shiny, well-polished, and pink-colored. They looked like they were not mere human flesh, but were instead chiseled in stone by an artist. The princess’s bright amber eyes continue to gaze at me. I wonder if something happened to make the princess act like that? Looking back straight into her eyes, I could see a question welling inside of them. That question was “Did you say it’s an honor”? She did not even have to say that out loud.
「Yes. For me it really is quite an honor……」
But, before I even managed to finish what I was saying, I could feel that the princess’s hands strengthened their grip on my hands. Hm? While I cocked my head in puzzlement and looked at her to see if something happened, I could see that the princess’s usual smile was gone from her face.
「Please, Filmina. There is something I would really want to tell you. Will you humor me and listen to what I have to say?」
Hearing those words, my body instinctively jolts upright as I correct my posture. I then placed my other hand on top of the princess’s hands and squeezed them tightly, as if trying to comfort the princess. The princess reacted with shock and wanted to back her hands away, but I pretended not to notice that, and instead, I smiled gently at her, just like she would do at me.
「If you are fine with someone like me lending you an ear, Your Highness, then by all means please go ahead.」
If there is anything I can do for the princess, then I want to do it. But even though I genuinely think like that, what is this feeling? I feel that there is something really off about the princess’s request just now. Still, I nodded my head and in response, the princess smiled bitterly at me.
「Let me start by telling you this: I think I now understand just a little bit how your husband must be feeling.」
Now what in the world is that supposed to mean? The princess smiles gently again as if she was reminded of something nice, and I once more cock my head in puzzlement as to why that man was suddenly mentioned right now. “Oh well, it’s fine for now”, I tried to convince myself of that here, but in reality, I don’t think that “fine” was the right word to be used. I cocked my neck some more, thinking that maybe I just happened to say something wrong or inappropriate by a complete accident. But the princess said nothing of the sort and looked me straight in the eyes again.
「What I would like to ask of you, is for you to come together with me to that premarital meeting.」
「Oh my. If you think that I can be of any assistance to you, Your Highness, then I would be happy to oblige and accompany you.」
「………… Filmina. I wonder, did you understand what I just said? Like, did you REALLY understand?」
「I believe I did. And rather, are you really sure about this, Your Highness? That you want someone like me to accompany you during such an important meeting?」
Maybe it’s because my answer was so unexpected, but the princess frowned her brows while her amber eyes kept on looking at me with doubt and suspicion. Her current expression seemed to be really complicated, as if she was really doubting whether or not I managed to understand the nature of her request. But of course, I managed to understand it. It was the princess herself who said those words to me, so there is no way that I would actually manage to misinterpret her words. What would such a thing make me look like?
Fortunately for me, it seems like my seriousness finally managed to reach the princess, for she only shrugged her shoulders, let out a sigh and shook her head in disbelief and finally smiled. It was a really rare kind of smile, even for her. A kind of smile that was true and that genuinely conveyed her emotions. That smile was as beautiful as the Goddess descending onto the world from the Heavens or like the circle of dancing fairies. And yet there was still a glimpse of the princess’s youthful cuteness in it. I wanted to actually say that to the princess to ease her worries even just by a little bit, but I was too embarrassed for the words to actually leave my mouth.
I could feel the princess’s hands squeezing my hands even tighter than before, and then the princess continued speaking with a most serious expression.
「It is something that I can ask of you, because you are a woman just like I am. I want you to help me out not because I am asking you to do it, but because you yourself choose to do so. It does not even matter if you understand or not. But even so, will you still be by my side and help me out?」
Why would the princess think that I would change my mind after hearing this? No matter what, it would still remain just the same. That’s just the kind of person I am. Because she actually begged me for help. If someone, no matter what, asked me in such a way for my help, there is just no way that I would be able to decline a request like that.
The princess wanted me to accompany her during her premarital meeting. That’s all there is to it, and there is absolutely nothing here that needs to be deliberated over, or excessively over-thought. As long as the princess herself is satisfied with me, even though my social status is lower than hers and a premarital talk of two members of the royalty is the last place I would actually see myself in. But even so, as the friend to the princess, the least I can do is to determine whether or not her potential partner is a good one or not.
After that, it is important for that man to be as good of a person as they can get, since we are talking about the future ruler of this kingdom. They cannot be someone weird or improper. It also must be someone who would understand the people and their worries. However, that cannot be the only key factor. But even if it is someone who I personally would not like, I must remember that the final decision rests with the princess and that our tastes do not necessarily need to match. And besides, pushing my own standards or opinions onto the princess won’t guarantee her happiness in marriage. So that’s it, I won’t voice any objections, unless they may be some great ones. No matter what happens, I want the princess to know that I will always be her dear friend and precious ally. And that is exactly why,
「Please allow me to be by your side and watch as you make your decision and enter a completely new path of your life.」
I then smiled warmly at the princess, hoping that this one gesture will be enough to convey to her the seriousness and sincerity of my feelings. Seeing that, the princess smiled back at me, with a smile that felt as though it was a fresh blow of early Spring breeze. Seeing that smile made me become certain that accepting the princess’s request was the right choice. It also filled my heart with determination to see the princess’s request fulfilled.
* * *
After leaving the greenhouse together with the princess we ended our meeting and after that, I returned to my house. As usual, I started to cook the food for lunch and waited for that man to return home from work. As for today’s menu, I have decided to cook a hot-pot tofu, because it was the perfect dish for this kind of weather, both tasty and warming, keeping you warm at night. I also added some vegetables and cooked them slowly until they became tender, and I also cooked soup from the stock made out of the fine sausage that I happened to buy at the market earlier that day. I just gave the soup a taste-test to see if it was ready to be served and everything was ready.
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