On the 6th day of our journey, around noon, we arrived at a point where the town we were about to reach was already part of Margrave Santorina’s territory.
However, that place was still at the very edge of the Margrave’s territory, and the central town where Lord Rudy-sama resided was still a one-night, two-day journey away.
“. . .Finally, huh?”
As I said that, Lilyria, who was riding in the same carriage as me, nodded quietly.
Yes. Finally, in the next town, I would have to part ways with everyone from the Duke Baytree family except for Lilyria.
Since the Margrave Santorina family was supposed to send someone to pick me up, we would hand over the responsibility to them.
“Hey, Lilyria, this will be the last chance for everyone to go back together, right?”
When I asked again, Lilyria stared at me with a sharp gaze that was like not directed at her master and opened her mouth with a displeased expression.
“How many times do I have to say it? I have no intention of leaving Emmanuella-sama. Since the day I was picked up by you, I have belonged to you, body and soul.”
“You don’t have to be so desperate.”
Although I said that, taken aback by her strong resistance, Lilyria seemed even more displeased.
“Huh? After saving my life so brilliantly, did you really think you could just abandon me now? You underestimate the situation. Besides, even if I were told to go back, I have no home to return to.”
“Leaving your birth family aside, everyone in our family considers you as part of the family. Okaa-sama, who lamented having only sons and becoming a family of men, would be very happy if you returned, even if it was just you. . .”
“Well, that may be true. I think so too. However, I have been entrusted with Emmanuella-sama by Oku-sama. I will only return when I am with you, and occasional visits are enough.”
No matter what I said, Lilyria’s determination did not waver.
Hmm, this is troublesome.
I’m glad she’s coming with me, but now that it’s finally happening, I can’t help but feel guilty that I’ll be the only one happy, and I’m concerned that I might be interfering with Lilyria’s happiness. . .
“Lilyria, I want you to be happy too. Are you sure you don’t mind not coming back with everyone else? Like the person you left behind over there. . .”
“There is no one.”
Lilyria replied with so confidently, but that couldn’t be true, so I further questioned her.
“Well, no, you know, the person who was approaching you so eagerly. . .”
“I don’t have it.”
“That’s a lie! I’ve been forced to mediate between you and receive letters and presents from you countless times during our school days!”
As I couldn’t help but shout, Lilyria, who seemed to finally understand who we were talking about, nodded once.
“Ah. . .that was just teasing. There’s no way someone like me, an older woman who has been disowned by her family, would be taken seriously interested by him.”
“. . .That’s not true. . .”
“Is that so? Then, I have no interest in that person. Our worlds are too different.”
Knowing his true passion for Lilyria, I weakly tried to argue, but I was promptly dismissed.
Yeah, there’s probably no chance here.
Sorry, Callan. It looks like Lilyria will end up with me. . .
In my heart, I apologize to Callan Gladiolus, who loves Lilyria, the center of our conversation.
He should have made a serious approach to Lilyria.
Therefore, if this world were an otome game, he would be included among the male characters whom the player can capture, and he was a central figure in the school and highly skilled.
Well, he gave off a slightly intense feeling, though.
But that was a good balance with cool lilyria. . ., or so i thought, but maybe it was just my own opinion. Oh well.
“If Lilyria isn’t interested, then there’s nothing we can do. But if you ever fall in love, don’t hesitate to tell me.”
“Yes, yes, I understand. But more importantly, we’ll be arriving soon. Please make sure you’re prepared.”
I let out a sigh as Lilyria casually brushed off my modest request.
I wonder if you really understand. . .
We entered the town and walked with the knights and soldiers who had come from the Margrave Santorina family to the meeting place with the other party.
The people from the Duke Baytree family we had just parted with should be handing over the luggage they brought to the waiting carriage.
So during that time, we were planning to have lunch with the representative of the other family and meet face-to-face in this town. However. . .?
. . .?
Huh, there’s someone outside the designated shop who shouldn’t be here. . .?
Oh, wait. I’m still in my travel attire. I completely let my guard down.
But even from a distance, that well-proportioned figure with silver hair is undoubtedly Rudy-sama himself. . .?!
“Miss Emmanuella, welcome. We have been eagerly awaiting your arrival.”
Gwahh, so dazzling!
He noticed us, hurried over, and said so with a refreshing smile. I thought my eyes were going to close from his handsome appearance and radiance.
“T-Thank you very much. I appreciate the warm welcome. Wait, um, was Rudy-sama supposed to personally greet me?!”
I’m in travel attire! I let my guard down!
With my hair and everything, I’m not in a state where I can confidently show myself to someone I like. In my confusion, I couldn’t help but shout.
I don’t even know what expression to make.
Rudy-sama takes my trembling hand and gently escorts me into the shop, while announcing,
“It wasn’t part of the plan. . .but I wanted to show my respect to you.”
I don’t quite understand the meaning behind his words as he smiles shyly.
Respect? There’s no way that’s true.
“Um, well, what does that mean. . .”
“It’s better to discuss the details after we’re alone. Come this way.”
Without answering my question, Rudy-sama smoothly leads the way through the restaurant, which looks surprisingly luxurious for a town like this.
Since the staff doesn’t try to stop us, it seems like the conversation has already been approved.
Wait, no, I have no idea about the details that need to be discussed in such a fancy restaurant. I don’t have a clue.
What is going on?
Is there a major misunderstanding here?
We enter a secluded private room on the second floor. It’s the farthest room in the back, and it’s clearly the best seat in the entire restaurant. Still in a state of confusion, I sit down, and Rudy-sama kneels beside me, his expression serious as he begins to speak.
“I have read all the letters from Miss Emmanuella. Seeing how much you have struggled, I couldn’t help but shed tears along with my household.”
“. . .Huh?”
My letters? I thought they were just fluffy love letters mixed with occasional poems?
No, that’s not it. I mixed in poems because it’s the standard in this country, not because I was overly excited. Well, maybe I was a little.
But still, there shouldn’t be any tears or struggles involved, right?!
What does he mean?!
“My sword, my soldiers, my family’s wealth, and all the power of Margrave Santorina’s territory, I will follow your will. Let us seek glorious revenge against those who have driven such a splendid person as yourself to this remote land, even surpassing the goddess herself!”
Rudy-sama declares with a needlessly powerful voice, and for a moment, time stands still for me.
I see. Revenge, huh? That’s definitely a topic to discuss after the engagement. . .
Wait, revenge?! That’s unnecessary!
And besides, I wasn’t driven away. I came here willingly to marry into this land!
In this utterly confusing situation, Lilyria, who was standing behind me, inexplicably starts applauding as if praising him.
“You said it well. Miss Emmanuella is not someone who would settle for this kind of situation. I will also do my best, though my abilities are limited.”
“What are you saying, Lilyria! No! I won’t seek revenge! It’s not necessary!”
As I shout without thinking, Lilyria clicks her tongue, and Rudy-sama tilts his head.
“. . .You won’t? Then, why did you come all the way to this remote place, surrounded by knights, soldiers, and adventurers, where the only thing we have is military power?”
Why am I the one who seems strange here?
With a puzzled expression, Rudy-sama asks me, making me lose confidence as I answer.
“Well, um, it’s because I want to marry Rudy-sama.”
In an instant, for some reason, Rudy-sama’s expression darkens.
“. . .So, I’m not worthy of your trust to the extent that you won’t speak your true intentions?”
As he asks with a dejected tone, I feel guilty, but wait, why should he be dejected?
“No, um, there’s no deeper meaning to it. I simply wanted to marry Rudy-sama, that’s all. Earlier, you mentioned being ‘driven away,’ but I haven’t been driven away by anyone. I had the option of studying abroad, but I eagerly accepted the marriage proposal from the Santorina family.”
“Um, so, Miss Emmanuella agreed to the marriage with our family because we seemed useful in some way, right. . .?”
“No, that’s not it! I just want to marry Rudy-sama! Wait, did you really read all my letters?!”
Rudy-sama and I both have question marks floating above our heads, completely lost in this confusion, as we have our first meeting as an engaged couple.
That’s right. It’s our first meeting as an engaged couple, and yet, there’s no sweet atmosphere that I had expected beforehand.
What is this?
What kind of grand misunderstanding is happening here?