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The Unwanted Princess Becomes Loved in the Werewolf Kingdom and Becomes Queen! – Chapter 32

The Unwanted Princess Becomes Loved in the Werewolf Kingdom and Becomes Queen! – Chapter 32


Chapter 32: The madder red way home

The stubbornly burning sun has dyed the thin stairs, still warm from the daytime heat, a shade of orange. Ernesta couldn’t bear to see the profile of the person walking next to her contrasting with the color of the setting sun, so she kept her face pointed forward while making small talk.

In the end, Ivan bought lots of other fabrics as well. He plans to send someone to pick them up tomorrow and have a tailor come take measurements the day after.

He showed concern one after another, saying that they needed this and that. Ernesta felt like she was being crushed by her guilty conscience towards him.

She would never wear those clothes made with such thoughtful care.

Of course, that’s the obvious thing, and her heartache must be just her imagination. It would be a mistake to even think about not wanting to go home.

She needs to think again about why she came here. Nothing is more important than curing Isolte. She shouldn’t even joke about wanting to live here.

Ernesta forcibly drove away her cloudy thoughts and smiled as she looked up at the person walking next to her.

“Come to think of it, the palace grows fruit. I didn’t know that.”

“The orchard is a little far from the residential area.”

Ernesta was worried that she may have made an unnatural topic shift, but Ivan did not seem to be questioning her.

“In Shenka, there is not much difference between the daily lives of nobles and commoners. Most households grow vegetables and fruits of some kind, and those with time to spare take care of them.”

“In that case, is Ivan also growing apricots?”

“When there’s time. And I go out hunting a lot.”

Ernesta was amazed by his easygoing demeanor.

It seemed that she had been so focused on accomplishing the task at hand that she hadn’t paid much attention to the way they lived. She never imagined that their customs would be so different from those of the imagined aristocrats.

“The women cook and sew, while the men go out to chop firewood and hunt on their days off. They dry the food they acquire before winter arrives so that they can live without going outside once it starts snowing. That’s how life is in the mountains.”

“I see… I didn’t know anything. I’m sorry.”

Said Ernesta, her shoulders drooping. For the past three weeks, she had been living peacefully without thinking too deeply about what was going on, eating without care and not even bothering to make clothes. Maybe everyone was laughing at her.

“You don’t need to apologize. Everything is fine.”

When she lifted her eyes once again, she saw his blue eyes, which showed a hint of kindness.

“I told you, those who have time can do so. Nobody will blame you for being busy. Besides, most royal and noble families who hold important positions hire servants because they are so busy. I, too, have trouble finding the time for that.”

Before they realized, the two of them stepped into the main street. Those who were out working hurried home, while store owners loudly shouted to sell their goods.

As the bustling city gradually became shrouded in darkness, the passing people did not notice the king and queen.

Ivan’s eyes reflected the lively city, and his expression was calm yet dignified at the same time.

“My father taught me as a child that everything is brought by connections. It is the people who create the means to keep me alive, so I must repay them by governing this country well.”

It was a heavy responsibility for a ruler, even though the concept sounded simple.

Ernesta finally understood it, as the people in this country respected the king because he also respected them.

“You’ve done more than enough in that regard… But, uh… I guess.”

Ivan hesitated, which was rare for him. She tilted her head, waiting for him to continue.

“If you’re interested… we could go to the orchard this weekend. It’s currently apricot harvesting season. We also have blueberries and peaches.”

His voice was low and hesitant, sounding like he invited her for the first time, but maybe it was just her imagination.

“…You’ll take me there?”

“Yes.”

He chose to walk alongside people, carrying various burdens despite being disappointed in them. The road he chose was nothing but a wilderness—a harsh journey where only stones and withered branches were crawling, and just walking on it would make blood ooze out.

Even so, he taught Ernesta, a human, about the werewolf’s way of life.

“I’m not forcing you to go, but…”

Ernesta was unable to believe it and ended up unable to say anything, causing Ivan’s regretful eyes to look away. He understood that he had given her the wrong impression and his mouth moved faster than her own realization.

“It’s not impossible! I want to go. I’ll definitely go!”

As she spoke with enthusiasm, she suddenly realized that wanting to harvest fruit was not a very princess-like way of thinking.

“I see, that’s good. Then let’s go.”

Although hesitation would come later, it would disappear into a corner of her heart when he showed her his smile.

As the sunset melted into her reddening face, Ernesta gently placed her hand on her increasingly beating chest.

That’s why she had never noticed.

Unknown to them, someone was quietly observing the two of them in the city at twilight.

❂❂❂

Upon arriving at the royal castle, Ivan remembered his work and headed to his office.

When Ernesta returned to her room, she found no one there, so she decided to write in her diary while she had the time. Unlocking it and taking out the contents, she wrote down what had happened that day with a feather pen.

She had written about half of it when a knock sounded. After putting her diary back in the drawer and answering, Engeberg stood on the other side of the opened door.

“Ermengard-sama. May I have a moment of your time?”

“Please come in, Count Engeberg.”

Engeberg smiled cheerfully and sat on the rug that Ernesta had gestured to. He seemed unaccustomed to sitting on the ground, so he took the posture of seiza voluntarily.

“I came to ask how you are doing. I was relieved to see that your cold got better.”

“I’m sorry to have caused you any worry. I’m fine now.”

When Ernesta replied with a smile, he let out a sigh of relief and relaxed his expression.

“How was it today? It was your first time doing work outside, right?”

“Yes, it was a bit nerve-wracking, but I was able to take a tour around and learn a lot. I also talked to the craftsmen, so I think it was really meaningful.”

“That’s good to hear. Was there anything unusual?”

Engeberg added “around your majesty” and his expression seemed to tense up a bit.

“Well… let me see, today he bought some woven goods. I was told that we wouldn’t make it in time for winter clothes if we didn’t get them tailored soon.”

“Did His Majesty choose them for you?”

“Yes, that’s right. I heard that he will even call a tailor in the day after tomorrow.”

Ernesta was about to say that she(I) hoped that Ermengard-sama would like them, but she quickly closed her mouth. She shouldn’t mention anything that could reveal her identity as a substitute, even if it was just the two of them with Engeberg.

“Lastly… your majesty said he would take me to the orchard.”

“Oh, is that the fruit garden at the royal palace?”

“In Shenka, even the royal family grows fruit and learns to do daily tasks. I’ll make sure to observe and remember properly.”

If it’s for Ermengard-sama’s sake. Though it was left unsaid, Engeberg lowered his eyebrows with a somewhat sad expression.

“You seem to be enjoying yourself while performing your duties so honorably. You aren’t secretly interested in King Ivan…”

Engeberg unnaturally interrupted his words at that point and shook his head in response to Ernesta’s denial, putting an end to the topic. Though Ernesta was worried about the melancholy expression on his face, Engeberg’s next statement was shocking.

“Let’s get back to the topic. It’s possible that somebody may have caught onto our scheme.”

His whisper clearly reached Ernesta’s ears, causing her to widen her eyes in shock.

“What do you mean…?!”

“It’s still just a suspicion, but I noticed that something in the drawer had moved slightly. It was a small change that might not be noticeable to others, but I have confidence in my memory.”

“Does that mean someone was searching through the drawer?”

Engeberg nodded clearly. Ernesta felt like the ground was shaking and clenched her fists so hard that her nails bit into her skin.


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