Chapter 15: On the day of the wedding
On the morning of their wedding day. . .
Under the clear sky, Diana and Leon rode down the hill on their beloved horse, Regina, carrying only a few belongings.
Both of them were quiet since the morning.
Their nervousness was palpable, almost painfully so.
Diana suddenly asked,
“Leon, have you ever kissed a girl?”
Leon growled slightly before answering,
“Since I can remember, no.”
“I see. . .”
“. . .”
“Are you okay with the vow’s kiss?”
“. . .Probably.”
“I see. . .”
The conversation ended there.
As they approached the center of the village, they noticed that it was bustling with activity.
Leon noticed something and pulled the reins, bringing Regina to a stop.
In the distance, they could see flowers arranged in the village square. The villagers had already gathered, and barrels of alcohol were being opened one after another.
Diana paled and tightly held Leon’s hand.
Leon whispered in Diana’s ear,
“It’s okay. If anything happens, I’ll handle it somehow.”
“. . .Okay.”
“Diana, you don’t have to say anything. You probably don’t know much about the village.”
“Just focus on remembering people’s names and faces here. When a wedding takes place, important figures from most villages gather. Concentrate on that, Diana. Let’s learn what we need for life in the village today.”
“I don’t think it will happen, but if someone who knows you as the daughter of a noble family appears, pretend to feel unwell. I’ll take you away.”
“. . .Are you mentally prepared?”
Diana looked up at Leon with an anxious expression.
Leon smiled reassuringly at her.
Diana felt encouraged by his thoughtfulness and thought of Leon as even more reliable.
The young lady faced forward.
“Alright, let’s go.”
The two of them rushed down the remaining hill as if leaving something behind.
Sparse applause and cheers erupted from the village square as the main characters made their entrance.
George and Hans were waiting in front of the square.
They dismounted their horses.
“Diana-san, please change into your clothes over there.”
Leon turned back and followed George.
Diana changed her clothes in a room of a local house and was dressed in a dress by the women.
She felt a sense of nostalgia, remembering the times when she had been dressed by maids in the Heinz mansion.
A slightly wider leather corset. A creamy, fluffy long skirt. A high-collared white lace blouse that laced up to the neck.
It was simple, but Diana felt like she had finally become a part of the village girls, and she stared at herself in the mirror.
After finishing changing, Hans arrived.
“How is it? Is there anywhere that feels uncomfortable?”
“No, it’s surprisingly easy to move in.”
“That’s good to hear. I don’t know about the city, but slightly loose clothes are popular in this village. That’s the wedding attire, but you can take it home as casual wear.”
“Oh. . .really?!”
“Yes. Since Diana-san escaped from the war, you were probably just wearing what you had on. Please take it to your wardrobe.”
Diana smiled sweetly. Hans gazed at her and said,
“You truly are a wonderful bride.”
Diana was taken aback.
“Perhaps. . .we, as his brothers, are now trying to atone for our sins.”
A heavy atmosphere filled the room.
“Even though it was Father’s order, we all collectively subjected Leon to a terrible fate. When I see things like that, I can clearly see how twisted my own heart has become. As we grew up and matured, we all became aware of this distortion. But we don’t know what to do about it.”
Upon hearing this, Diana smiled warmly.
“You don’t have to do anything. Please just leave Leon alone as much as possible.”
Hans widened his eyes.
“Thinking about you all just brings Leon pain. He can’t tolerate your self-satisfaction anymore.”
As Diana passed by the bewildered Hans, she opened the door to a civilian’s house with determination.
On the other side, Leon, wearing his usual ragged clothes, was waiting.
Diana spun around once in front of him.
“How does it look?”
Leon tilted his head and smiled.
“It suits you.”
As Diana started walking towards Leon, two village children approached, each holding a flower crown and a bouquet. Leon smiled and accepted the flower crown, gently placing it on Diana’s head.
Diana recognized the blue flowers used in the flower crown and bouquet.
“Oh? These are from Leon’s backyard. . .”
Looking up at Leon, he nodded with satisfaction.
“That’s right. I made them this morning.”
“. . .Is that so?!”
Diana’s face blushed in surprise. Then, she leaned her face into the bouquet and sniffed the fragrance, feeling touched.
“It smells nice. . .”
“Really? I made it in the cowshed.”
“W-Well. . .!”
Leon playfully nudged Diana with his elbow.
Feeling dizzy with a sense of happiness, Diana linked her arm with his and walked towards the center of the square, towards the pastor.
She let the teachings of the Bible flow past her, and soon the moment arrived.
“Now, for the vow of a kiss.”
Diana looked up at Leon nervously. With a serious expression, Leon lifted her flower crown slightly and gently touched her flushed cheek.
Leon’s face drew closer.
He softly kissed Diana’s lips, as if sealing them shut.
Diana felt like she was melting, but she held on, clinging to his arms, and managed to stand firm.
Applause of celebration echoed through the square.
When they parted their lips, Diana was completely red, and surprisingly, Leon was smiling.