Chapter 26│Read translated stories and daily updates at: Awebstories.com
The tea party was held in a gazebo in the royal gardens.
The sky was cloudless and blue. Colorful flowers bloomed and butterflies danced.
“Thank you very much for inviting me to come here today.”
“No need for formal greetings. Sit down.”
Once seated, the maid pours my tea into a porcelain cup with a floral pattern.
She pours milk into the tea and mixes it with a silver teaspoon.
At the center of the table is a cake-stand with a third tier of sandwiches, a second tier of scones, and a first tier of cupcakes and pound cakes.
It is considered polite to start with the third tier of sandwiches. After a pleasant chat over tea and pastries, the queen asks the maid to leave.
Only Her Majesty, Rushard-sama, and I are left in the gazebo.
“This reminds me of Alicia and Rushard’s childhood days.”
“It’s nostalgic. I studied hard with Alicia almost every day and competed for grades.”
“I secretly enjoyed tea time after studying.”
We talk about the good old days over sweets.
And then the main subject comes to light.
“I wanted to engage Alicia and Rushard.”
I almost spit out my tea when Her Majesty the Queen said that.
“To avoid a fight for the throne, the plan was for the first prince, Swain, to marry before deciding on a bride for the second prince, Rushard.”
The First Prince and Crown Prince Swain (22) are four years older than Rushard-sama.
“The plan was to formally engage Alicia and Rushard when they turned 14.”
Rushard-sama and I are the same age (18), and we were fourteen years old four years ago at that time.
“I never dreamed that Swain’s fiancée, Carla of the Marquess of Nonne, would elope with the son of a baron a few days before the wedding.”
Carla Nonne-sama, the Crown Prince’s fiancée, is the eldest daughter of a Marquis. —She met the eldest son of the Barons of Kiel, Con-sama, at school, fell in love and left the country hand in hand.
The marquises of Nonne, who were held responsible for the elopement of Carla-sama, were fined a large sum of money by the royal family and demoted to the rank of viscount. The head of the family was forced into retirement, and the Viscounts of Nonne were forbidden to hold office or enter the royal academy for fifty years.
The Barons of Kiel were forced to relinquish their titles. The former barons of Kiel, now commoners, could no longer stay in the Kingdom of the Maesters and moved to the Kingdom of Skorupion.
“I had to start the search for Swain’s fiancée all over again, so I had to postpone the announcement of Rushard’s fiancée.”
A year later, the Crown Prince became engaged to Johanna, the daughter of the Marquise of Keitel, and a year after their engagement, they were married.
“Just as Swain was married and Rushard’s engagement was about to be announced, Marquis Filta arranged the engagement of the brilliant Alicia to the failure Raymond after a desperate attempt by Duke Jaeger.”
Her Majesty’s eyes are filled with anger.
“Moreover, my husband, the king, decided to send Rushard to study in the kingdom of Scorupion without consulting me. How could he arrange Rushard’s study abroad without asking me, the queen?! I have never been so angry. I wanted to pull out every hair on my husband’s head!”
Since then, His Majesty King Gyaron has been recuperating in a detached palace due to an “illness”. He seems to have been put in confinement by the Queen’s wrath.
“The Kingdom of Scorupion has a princess the same age as Rushard—it is obvious that the Kingdom of Scorupion wants more than just Rushard to study abroad.”
Her Majesty the Queen exhaled deeply.
The Kingdom of Skorupion has two princesses. The first princess, Emily-sama, is 18 years old like us, and her sister Rosa is 7 years old.
“I thought Rushard would refuse the offer to study abroad.”
Her Majesty’s eyes are on Rushard-sama.
“I…It was hard for me to see Alicia and Raymond getting along so well at school… I ran away. I had no idea that Raymond was acting.”
Rushard-sama clenches his fists in frustration.
“It’s like they say, love is blind—how could you, a man of such insight and observation, be so blind to Raymond’s performance?!”
“…That’s how much the shock of heartbreak has hurt me, Mother.”
Is love blind? Heartbreak? What are Her Majesty and Rushard-sama talking about?
“Alicia has called off her engagement to Raymond. —A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is rolling in. —What are you going to do now? Are you going to run away again?!”
“No, I’m not going to run away this time, because I’ve come to realize how hard life is without Alicia!”
His Highness Rushard rose to his feet and walked up to me.
Rushard-sama knelt down and took a small box out of his pocket. He opened the box and found a ring with a brilliant-cut diamond in it.
“Alicia, I hate to tell you this, like I’m taking advantage of your weakness since you just broke off your engagement, but I can’t sleep at night knowing you’re going to belong to someone again, so I’m going to tell you now…”
His blue eyes look at me as if they are looking right into mine with intensity. —My heart is beating wildly.
“Alicia, I’ve thought about you since we were young. I like your intelligence, your kindness, and your strong heart. —Will you marry me?!”
Heat gathers in my cheeks—my heart beats loudly.
“…I also loved Rushard-sama since I was a little girl.”
I smiled in confirmation.
Rushard-sama then puts the ring on my finger.
“Alicia! I love you! Let’s get married!”
“Y-Yes, with pleasure.”
That’s how I got engaged to Rushard-sama.