Limited Time, Kitchen Maid of the Fourth Knight Order ~I Got a Job Because I Don’t Want to Get Married~ – Chapter 43

𝐅𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐅𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐢𝐯𝐚𝐥 – 𝐁𝐞𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠

It’s the National Founding Festival. The most important event in the country that continues for about a week with festivities. On the first day, the nobles are forced to attend a party, so the carriage traffic is terrible.

Despite the fact that magical tools have developed so much, I was frustrated by the fact that the only means of transportation in the capital is still horse-drawn carriages. Rolf explained the reason to me. It seems that several generations ago, the former king really loved horses. He lamented the reduction of horses when there were no more wars, and in the capital, they decided to limit the means of transportation to horses in order to reduce the decrease in horses even a little. Thanks to that, that king’s reputation is a bit bad.

Dad escorts mom, and Thor escorts me as we enter the party venue. It’s been a long time since our family went out together. There are very high ceilings with luxurious chandeliers hanging down.

“Nee-sama, shall I get some juice? What would you like?”

“Thank you, Thor. Let’s go together.”

“No! At times like this, it’s the gentleman’s duty not to burden the lady!”

The charming gentleman went to get juice with determination. How cute.

I seriously choose the juice and drink grape juice alongside Thor when he brings it. This way, it will look like I’m drinking wine.

“Thor, you’ve grown taller. You’re already bigger than me.”

“I’ll grow up quickly to protect both you and Mother. I plan to work in the royal castle, but on my days off, I’ll be the bouncer at Nee-sama’s shop!”

“Fufu, I’m looking forward to it.”

“And I’ll deal with any man who gets too close to Nee-sama.”

“Huh?”

“Nee-sama finally told me clearly that she won’t get married. I was afraid that she might eventually say she’s getting married for the sake of the family, but now I can act confidently. Despite what happened to Nee-sama, she joined the all-male knight order for the sake of our family. Back then, if I had believed in what Nee-sama said. . .! Because of that man, Nee-sama. . .”

“Thor.”

I involuntarily call his name with a strong tone, and Thor startles, closing his mouth.

“I’m sorry for raising my voice. Your Nee-sama isn’t angry. Don’t worry too much, even though it might be difficult. She is fine, and in the end, nothing happened back then. Right?”

“. . .Yes.”

“Besides, the lord Knights are all good people. Your Nee-sama’s dislike of men has improved a bit.”

“Isn’t it a big problem?”

“It’s fine for her to interact with the opposite sex.”

“But won’t Nee-sama get marriage proposals left and right?”

Thor has been saying that since he was little, but I have never received a marriage proposal. He began to be vigilant like a watchdog, so I sent Thor to his friends. He was quite reluctant, but I also want to chat with friends for the first time in a while.

I head to the friend’s place, where we will meet after parting ways.

“Alice! It’s been a while! You look well.”

“Long time no see! You seem happy. Your face is radiant.”

“I have no complaints about married life, but I’m sorry that I can’t see you, Alice. Soon, our life will settle down a bit, and we can have tea together.”

“I’m looking forward to it! I found a lovely cafe. How about we go out and have a secret chat?”

“Oh, would my complaints turn into bragging?”

“In that case, I’ll leave the table right away.”

 ㅤ

Speak candidly with each other and share a laugh face-to-face.

All my friends have gotten married, so casual tea parties aren’t as easy to arrange as before. When a single person mixes with a group of married people, it often turns into a matchmaking session.

Friends who know that I dislike men refrain from inviting me to tea parties. I appreciate their thoughtfulness.

“Everyone, I assume that married life is settling down for most of you by now. If it’s just our close friends gathering, no one will try to set Alice up with someone, right?”

“Thank you. I really want to see everyone.”

“I already greeted some people over there. I’ll have to go around with my husband soon for more greetings. It’s a shame; I wanted to talk more.”

“Let’s get together again soon. There are so many things I want to discuss.”

“I feel the same way!”

Reluctantly parting with a friend, I enjoy catching up with another one after a long time. Though there’s a lot to talk about, I can’t mention my work with the Fourth Knight Order, which makes our conversation inevitably superficial.

I want to brag about Prep-kun and Cooker-kun and get everyone interested! I want the nobility to know how amazing Prep-kun is!

As the greetings wind down, an announcement blares that royalty is entering the room.

“Prince Linus Royalcrow and his fiancée, Emilia Telhar-sama, are entering!”

So, he’s the prince who’s been supporting the special medicine for my mother’s illness.

His silver hair, neatly combed back, shines brilliantly under the chandelier, and he walks with poise despite the intense gazes upon him. His build is surprisingly robust.

Emilia-sama beside him has beautiful wavy golden hair. Her somewhat cold demeanor might be because her well-structured face appears rather expressionless.

Following them are the entrance of the emperor and empress. They walk slowly and majestically on the red carpet, even managing to smile, despite their cumbersome garments. Upon reaching the front, the emperor turns to us. He first offers thanks for our gathering, lauds us with elaborate words for making the nation what it is today, and then announces the start of the Founding Festival.

A cheer erupts and lively music instantly fills the air. Attending parties can be quite bothersome, but moments like this uplift my spirits.

While watching my parents make their greeting rounds, I head to the buffet. Since no one is there yet, I get a chance to study the decorations.

The table is full of colorful, visually appealing bite-sized dishes. As I mentally note each one, a sudden shadow falls over my head.

“I thought I’d find Miss Norchev here.”

“Arthur-sama. What brings you here?”

Arthur, dressed in a white formal suit, looks like a prince just based on appearance. As he moves, his blonde hair sways gracefully and his light green eyes twinkle delightfully.

“Today, someone who couldn’t be here asked me to check on Miss Norchev’s dress. They were anxious about whether you’d wear it.”

“Didn’t I tell them I’ll be wearing it?”

“Even so, one can’t help but worry until actually seeing it. That’s how men feel. Miss Norchev, would you mind keeping me company for a little break?”

As I’m escorted by Arthur, we walk toward a less crowded area.

 ㅤ

“Putting on the Duke family’s mask after such a long time feels so constricting. I understand that I have to live with this mask forever, but recently I’ve been true to myself, so it’s suffocating. . . I excused myself early on, under the pretext of seeing Miss Norchev’s dress. I should’ve brought a bouquet since I’m meeting my family after a long time.”

“Oh, who just made a pun?”

“Delicious!”

When Arthur smiles genuinely, his face crinkles a bit. I find this more approachable than when he smiles like a prince.

“It’s unfortunate that I can’t dance with Miss Norchev, but let’s not get greedy. You never know what the family will say.”

“The Norchevs are Viscounts, and I’m not particularly beautiful either.”

“Miss Norchev, you are beautiful.”

I wish he’d stop complimenting me so casually.

“I couldn’t help but brag about you to my family. When I told them there’s a wonderful young lady who not only tolerates my puns but actually teaches me some, and who’s also a good cook, they became very interested. If they find out you are Miss Norchev, they might arrange an engagement.”

“You’re joking, right?”

“I’m serious. You may not know this, but my nickname is ‘The Ice Prince.’ Most people think it’s because I use ice magic, but those who truly know me use it in a different sense. My jokes freeze the atmosphere!”

“That’s nothing to brag about.”

“I’ve always wanted to marry into a family that balances well with the Dahlia family. But that also means I have the power to reject engagements from them. Every time I meet someone a few times, they gently turn me down, so I don’t have a fiancée even at the age of 25, haha.”

“Is this a laughing matter?”

“Yes.”

I don’t have to worry about marriage since I don’t have a territory or an heir to worry about, but Arthur doesn’t have that luxury. He’s the heir to the Duke family, after all.

“I must go now. Miss Norchev, have a good night.”

Arthur took my hand with a graceful gesture, pretended to kiss the back of it, and then left. He must be really busy. Once the founding festival is over, I should teach him some new puns.

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