Translation: Kurehashi Aiko
Editing: Team Foxsunes
But there was also a good thing about this whole situation at home. Since that man was coming back home really late nowadays, it gave me time to steadily prepare myself for the journey that was waiting for me. Still, it was really hard for me and it made my heart throb in pain on more than one occasion. In order to comfort myself, I look down upon a huge traveling bag that was resting at my feet and caress it gently. It was not the journey during which we would fool around, and even though the princess said that we would only need the bare minimum as our luggage, my amount of ‘minimum’ still turned out to be quite large.
Yes, this journey would last for about two weeks. This means that I won’t be able to see that man for about two weeks. If I said that I would not feel at all lonely during that time that would be an obvious lie. And even though the situation in between us was less than ideal right about now, it would still be quite hard and painful to say goodbye to that man this morning. While I am going to be away, will that man eat proper meals? Will that man remember to get enough sleep? He won’t abandon me during that time or won’t have an affair with some random woman……?
Even though there is some bad blood in between us right about now, I just could not help myself but get worried about pointless things like that. And the more I start to think about it the more anxious I am becoming. This will not do, I was the one who decided to go on this journey, after all. It may sound like an awful thing to say, but for now, I should prioritize the princess over that man.
「Everything I could possibly say now would just sound like excuses……」
Even if it was not my intention, the princess should take priority right about now. It hurt my conscience greatly once I was leaving the mansion, but I needed to cast my looming anxieties about that man aside in order to focus entirely on the task that was right in front of me. No, the princess must be all I should be thinking about for now. Besides, it’s not like that man did something wrong. Just when I was thinking that to myself, I heard the sound of knocking onto the door, which for some reason sounded especially agonizing right about now. Then, the door to the room opened almost exactly at the same time I placed my cup of tea back at the table and stood up from my chair.
「I am sorry for having to keep you wait, Filmina.」
As to be expected, the one to enter the room was none other than the princess herself. Even though she has a wardrobe full of splendid robes and dresses, for now, she chose to wear a simple dress of white holy color that was making her seem all radiant. She seemed to be even more beautiful today than she normally was during her everyday routine. While the princess entered the room in the company of one of her maids, I lifted the hem of my dress and curtsied slightly as greeting.
「No, it’s nothing, Your Highness. I do realize that today is an important day for you.」
「That’s right. You said it, but…… What’s wrong? You don’t look so good right about now, Filmina.」
I was trying my very best to not let my emotions show on my face, but it seems that I could not hide anything from the princess’s careful gaze. I decided to pull myself together in that case and answer with as best of a smile I could muster in this situation. After all, it would only serve to spoil the mood completely if I were to admit that because of this very journey I got into a fight with my husband.
But still, the only reaction that the princess has shown here was that she brought her hands close to her mouth, as if she was trying to conceal a small chuckle. It was a really gentle and cute reaction. Maybe she managed to figure it out, that it was all because of a fight I had with that man? When I thought about that I really wanted to cover my face up in embarrassment, afraid that I was all beet-red, but I somehow managed to control myself and endure this humiliation in silence.
The princess then walks towards the sofa at the back of the room and sits down, urging me to sit down beside her as well. Once I do just that and sit down right beside the princess, she looks at me and smiles at me in a gentle manner.
「My preparations are all but ready now, so we can set out whenever we please. We are going to be traveling in a carriage, but since I have taken care of procuring a nice and comfortable one, even if you are not at all accustomed to traveling such long distances you should not feel any discomfort. Of that, I can assure you.」
「Oh my, thank you so much for being so considerate.」
「After all, you being here is nothing more but a result of my own selfish actions. This is the very least I can do in order to make you up for having to bear with me.」
The princess narrowed her eyes and smiled at me gently when she heard my words. She also nodded her head. Then she turns her amber-colored eyes towards the door through which she entered a mere moment ago.
Seeing that, the maid that was standing right next to the door opened it, letting another person inside. That person was a young and handsome man, his footsteps echoing loud and clear on the palace’s floor.
「Please allow me to introduce you. This young man here is Heinrich, the second son of Count Ruberts. Since on paper this journey is an official diplomatic matter, he will join us as the son of the person responsible for both Public Affairs and Foreign Affairs.」
After that brief introduction, the young man put his left hand on his chest and bowed down to the princess. The natural way in which he was moving and the elegance of his gesture made a real impact on me, but I managed to get a hold of myself and stood up once more, lifting the hem of my dress again and curtsied towards him.
After that I was told by the princess that this young man was also someone she considered to be her friend, one that she would invite her to the palace on some occasions, to either have a small talk or to enjoy a cup of tea together. Then the princess said, “During this trip, you can think of that young man as my personal assistant”. So that young man not only was an important figure here in the palace, but also someone who would be lucky enough to be considered as a trusted person by the princess herself. That fact alone was truly outstanding in and out of itself. There was also one other thing that was peculiar about that young man: a leather eyepatch he was wearing over his right eye.
The man introduced to me as Heinrich Rubert wore a uniform with his family’s insignia on it, and even though I was sure that mentally I was older than him, physically he must have been older than me, although probably not by all that far of a margin. Although it might have been an over-exaggeration, I was getting a feeling that in terms of beauty, he was almost on par with that of the princess and that man themselves. There is no higher praise than that. However, ‘almost’ makes all the difference here. He might not be quite on that man’s level yet, but just by looking at him, I could understand that he is someone who people might view as extremely handsome, and accompanied by his noble attire and flawless posture he himself was giving off an aura of someone who would surely attract attention while going in public. Not to mention that the eyepatch covering his right eye was enough on its own to attract attention to him. Still, the eyepatch seemed to be a little bit inconsistent with his overall calm and composed demeanor. His other eye, the one that was not covered by an eyepatch, was lively green in color, giving off a soft and calming light, full of compassion and intelligence. At the same time, his hair was short and had the color of sand.
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