Chapter 60: The Uncovering of the Water
“No, let’s call it Vilhelmina. She seems to be in good health.”
I gently slap the closed fan on my left cheek, and speak in a cold voice while making gestures indicating my discomfort and denial.
“It is thanks to Your Highness’ “authority .”
His Highness’ mouth twitched.
Vilhelmina, I have called you here today to be my official concubine.
To my immediate reply, His Highness Elias closed his eyes for a moment and showed a look of resignation. The guards around us unsheathed their swords.
His Highness conveyed his intention to stop the movement with a gesture, and kept them still.
“Do you really refuse?”
“That’s an impossible order in the first place. Do you think an unmarried prince can have a concubine? If there is a new law regarding marriage in the royal family, can you show me a document from the king or the House of Lords?”
A cough from a chamberlain.
“Of course, not immediately. It was a promise to officially give her the status of concubine after His Highness Prince Elias ascended to the throne. “
“In other words, become a mistress?”
“I’m not asking you, now I’m allowed to answer directly. Your Highness, please answer.”
I tilt my head loosely and wait for a response. I thought something like this might happen.
Oh, I understand why this kind of summons has come now. It’s to prevent Miss Ina from hearing about this and to prevent Duke Periknen from interfering.
The social season has ended, and he may have been waiting for them to return to the Periknen territory.
“…Yes, to welcome you as a mistress.”
I put my palm to my mouth and laughed loudly.
“You make me laugh when you call me your mistress when we don’t have a shred of love for each other. And to make it even more ridiculous, you want to make me your work assistant. You’re quite good at making jokes.”
In other words, the only means to allow me, who is a commoner, a woman, and a married person, to stay continuously in the castle, is to make me a mistress. I can’t be a queen or a concubine, I can’t be given the position of a noble, and I can’t be hired as a senior official or a senior servant.
The only possible relationship is as a mistress, based on sexual relationship and no inheritance rights given to children.
And the fact that he has no choice but to call on me indicates that His Highness is being neglected by officials and officials. Even if I am not present, there would be no problem if you had excellent and loyal followers.
“…that’s disrespectful language to me, don’t you know.”
“Don’t tell me, Your Highness, that you think I respect you?”
The guards drew their swords and the chamberlain shouted.
“Disrespect to royalty is a crime that deserves death!”
I tightened my left fist. Love is here. I don’t fear death.
“Feel free to kill me, but do you understand that it will lead to Your Highness’s downfall?”
“Nonsense! What problem would there be if I killed just one commoner like you?!”
I gaze into Your Highness’s blue eyes intently.
I opened and closed my fan, making a sound each time, but His Highness remained silent.
“By the way, I’ve informed the fourteen noble families I have dealings with that I’m visiting the castle today, and I’ve also contacted the bank, merchants, and newspaper companies, etc.”
“What kind of joke is this…!”
I tilt my head.
“Why? It’s just a fact.”
However, I don’t know what kind of response or article would result if I don’t go back. That’s all.
I heard a sigh from the front.
“… Put away your swords.”
The sound of the scabbard echoed in Your Highness’s voice.
“Vilhelmina, I apologize for the impoliteness from my side. And I hope you understand that I can only call you back in this form.”
Without saying whether I accept the apology or not, I wait for the next words.
“However, I want to request it. Could you please assist me with my work and be Ina’s assistant? There is no one who can support me except you.”
I snort and laugh with my nose.
“I understand that this is the most inept request for His Highness Elias. But no. Absolutely not.”
“… Why not?”
“It’s no use crying over spilled milk. That’s a saying even children know. Is His Excellency’s request worth as much as my honor being restored?”
His Highness cannot restore my honor. That’s because His Highness defamed my honor by giving legitimacy to his love affair with Miss Ina. If my honor is restored, the legitimacy of their affair will disappear.
In short, it’s a catch-22.
“Vilhelmina, there was no love between you and me… but you still supported me wholeheartedly.”
“That is… because I didn’t know love.”
I stroke my left wrist with my right hand.
“I now know love. My devotion is only for him.”
“What are you…”
Did he receive a shock from those words? His Highness’s face turned pale and he let out a murmur that could not be turned into words.
I don’t blame you for feeling that way. He never thought that a Duke’s daughter would love a commoner. But, in the first place, it was said that Your Highness loved a Baron’s daughter.
I knelt down again and lowered my head.
“May His Highness Elias reflect on the past, cherish the present, and carefully consider the future. If he does so, I am sure he will surely be able to grasp happiness within reach.”
This will be the only and last word I will give to him who taught me what it means to love someone. For when I leave this place, he will return to being a lost person.