Translation: Kurehashi Aiko
Editing: Team Foxsunes
How much time has passed since we started to ride this fine and comfortable carriage? I had no idea, but compared to the carriages I was usually taking, this one was cut above them all in terms of pure comfort.
The carriage that the princess procured for us for the sake of our journey was so spacious inside that every passenger could stretch all of their limbs and they would not bump into others, with even some free space left to spare. The carriage we were riding in was in the middle of the column, with a few smaller ones riding in front of us and a few smaller ones riding right behind us. The ones in front were carrying knights who were to be our escort along the way, and the ones in the back were carrying maids and princess’s personal caretakers along with all the luggage.
The strong horses that were suited for long-distance travels carried us outside of the city’s limits in no time, and for quite a while now we were going through empty fields and plains. Just where on earth are we heading towards, anyway? I had yet to inquire about our presumed destination, and the fact that casually chatting with the princess and Heinrich was so entertaining and laid back, it was hard for me to actually find a good moment to ask about that specifically.
Incidentally, that man was looking out the carriage’s window all this time and did not get involved in any conversation that took place until now. It seems that he is going to behave just like usual, but since we are already here, it might be a rare occasion for him to…… I mean, no, no, but still, but still! No matter how hard I try, I am having trouble imagining that man just laughing together with us all and engaging in small talk of his own accord. Thinking like that I manage to convince myself that the usual is probably for the best here, and just continue to laugh together with the princess.
Then again, no matter how comfortable the carriage may be, if you continue to travel by it for a prolonged period of time without any stops or rest your body will start to hurt. I took that opportunity to ask about our destination and finally Heinrich said the name of the place for the first time, shedding some light onto the matter.
「–––––– Azure Desert?」
I ask him that while watching him trying to get comfortable in his seat despite the sudden shaking of the carriage. I feel like I have heard that name somewhere before, but I cannot exactly remember where and when. Apparently it is a place that is very remote and rural, so it was really intriguing that we would be going to a place like that. And to think that a place like that would be present in a region that worships the Goddess of fertility and love as their guardian deity. It is a region completely different from the rest of the country, where instead of lush vegetation there is nothing more but a barren wasteland. The rain hardly ever falls there and the sky is always clear and without a single cloud to be seen. Hence the name ‘Azure Desert’. I don’t want to sound rude here, but how come they have found a matchmaking partner for the princess in a place like that?
「On paper, the official reason for this journey is nothing more but a polite visit. A simple act of courtesy. Every single year, there is a ceremony being held in this very Azure Desert, where its denizens pray to the water spirits for their protection. Right now we are going to visit the tribe that is responsible for organizing said ceremony as an official delegation from the capital city. And you know what they say: first impressions are the most important.」
The princess gives me a quick explanation of the situation, to which I nod my head. Is that how it is? I see, so I guess that every region can have their own unique set of circumstances. That explains a lot. And the desert no less is an area that I have never seen before and I know literally nothing about. Honestly, I was quite excited to see it with my own eyes for the very first time, but it would be a lie if I said that I was not worried at least to some extent.
And whether it was the desert or an area located at the seashore, it doesn’t really matter all that much here. What does matter is the purpose of our visit to that place. A visit is only a cover story for the masses to believe. The real objective of our visit is the pre-marital meeting for the princess to attend to.
「Umm, Your Highness? I am sorry if it may sound rude to you, but do you know just what kind of person is the possible partner you are supposed to meet? Even if it is from the rumors?」
Right about now should be a good moment to let us all in on that closely guarded secret, right? Or do not tell me that it was that kind of information that was so classified that absolutely no one could know about it? While I was thinking that, the princess murmured ‘Let’s see’ to herself and then glanced towards Heinrich. In return, he smiled lightly but shook his head.
「I’m terribly sorry, Filmina-dono, but I’m afraid that this matter needs to remain a secret still.」
I suspected as much, but hearing that out loud was not making me feel any better about that matter. The princess only bowed down her head slightly and said “I’m truly sorry that I can’t tell you anything more and picked the conversation up where Heinrich left off.
「So you see just how things are. I would very much like to disclose it all to you, but I simply cannot. But there is no need for you to worry. Soon you will understand everything, I can promise you that. You know what they say: seeing is believing. And I believe that a picture is worth more than any amount of words.」
「…… Right. If you say so, Your Highness.」
If that is what the princess is saying, I guess I have no other option but to believe in her words and just be patient. I wonder if that man, who was still just casually looking out the window, would know something about it? When I cast a short glance towards him, he noticed it after a brief moment, but much to my disappointment he only shrugged his shoulders. As if he was trying to say ‘‘Not interested, do not care’. And so I ended up with no explanation whatsoever.
Most probably I am the only one who is still left in the dark in here. At the very least that’s how it looks to me. Not that I am in any position to complain here, since I was the one who agreed for the princess’s request without asking for any details beforehand. That is why I think it is something that cannot really be helped. Still, even though I knew that, I could not help it that I was feeling lonely and left out.
Oh well, no matter what kind of person turns out to be princess’s partner, I have sworn in my heart that I would be the princess’s ally no matter what. So even if I knew just what kind of person the princess is supposed to meet, that fact would not change. Yes, that’s right. That is exactly right.
Having told myself that, I resumed the friendly chatter with everyone else, and just like that after the next several hours had passed the sun started to slowly disappear behind the horizon, and the orange light started to seep through the carriage’s curtains.
「It should be right about time.」
When Heinrich opened the carriage’s curtains, dazzling orange sunlight poured into the carriage. The hour was already pretty late. Considering that we have left the capital city in the morning, it means that we have been travelling for the whole day. Right next to me, that man opened the curtain as well, and at that moment I let out a short gasp.
I realized that for a while now the sound of the wheels rolling on the ground has changed. Apparently for a while now we have been driving on the sandy surface. But now that I have actually saw the scenery with my own eyes, I have realized that it really was quite different from that of the city. There were no plants or grass here, only sand as far as the eye could see. I highly doubt that any people could live in such a desolate land, but in and of itself it was exceptionally beautiful. The world seemed to be divided into sky and sand, but there was no sign of any town or city in the vicinity. Where could we possibly be heading?
Can’t wait to see more? Want to show your support? CLICK HERE to be a patron and get additional chapters ahead of time!