As I froze in amazement, Prince Kaiser softly laughed, somewhat happily.
…Huh? This smile is a little different from the pseudo-smile I had earlier.
As I was tilting my head in discomfort, Prince Kaiser asked me again.
“Miss Cecilia…what is this ‘tupper’ you were talking about?”
“What? Ah! No, no… I was just saying… it looks delicious with plenty of food on the menu!”
“Was it? Hmmm…did I hear that wrong? But I didn’t think it sounded like that…”
“Maybe I just misspoke, so don’t worry about it.”
I tried to disguise the fact that I had a tupperware that I used in a previous life that does not exist in this world.
The Prince didn’t seem to be convinced by my desperate excuse, but since it was impossible to explain, I laughed it off.
“More importantly, Prince Kaiser, why are you here? And there’s also the other…well, no, it seems that those young ladies aren’t nearby…”
I was wondering why none of the ladies from the group of cronies who hadn’t left Prince Kaiser’s side a moment ago were now there, when Prince Kaiser indicated another direction with just one look.
There was a group of young ladies who were leaning back and staring at Prince Kaiser.
“I’m sorry for those ladies, but I had to ask them to step away for a moment.”
“…Oh, you wanted to be alone. Huh? But why are you here? If you’d like to be left alone, I can go somewhere else…”
“No, because I wanted to talk to Miss Cecilia.”
“…What? With me!?”
I froze in astonishment again at Prince Kaiser’s words.
Hey, why with me!? I don’t see why you would want to talk to me, since we’ve already said hello and I didn’t say anything that bothered you in the hello.
As I was thinking that, a puzzled expression appeared on my face, Prince Kaiser smiled softly again as if he was enjoying himself.
“Huh, Miss Cecilia has a lot of facial expressions.”
“No, don’t worry about it. More importantly…you’ve been eating.”
“Ah, yes. I was hungry…and…and I couldn’t not eat with such delicious-looking dishes in front of me.”
“…do you like the food here?”
“Of course! It’s so good!”
“That’s good to hear. Well, since you’re here, I guess I’ll join you.”
“Yes. Oh, but I don’t want a lady to eat standing up, so let’s sit over there and eat together.”
With his usual pseudo-smile on his face, Prince Kaiser indicated with his hand where several desks and chairs were located at the end of the hall.
The space was divided into sections with curtains hanging down from above, making it look like a private room.
When I saw the location, I felt my cheeks twitch.
No, no, no, I’m definitely not going to eat alone with Prince Kaiser in that place!
To be honest, I don’t even want to talk to him like this, but I can’t imagine spending time with the prince in a place like that, and I immediately remembered something that I couldn’t refuse.
“…Prince Kaiser, I’m sorry to be the one to tell you this, but I promised my brother that I would wait here.”
“Oh, Roberto seemed to have gone somewhere. Then you can ask someone else to take a message for him.”
I was momentarily unable to react to Prince Kaiser’s words, and I couldn’t stop him from quickly asking the man who was serving him to pass by to give him a message.
He smiled at me again, took the plate of food I was holding and grabbed my hand instead.
“Prince Kaiser! Would you take your hands off me, please!? Besides, I can hold my own plate!”
“No. It’s only natural for a man to carry a woman’s luggage, and besides…if I take my hand off your hand, you won’t come with me, will you?”
When Prince Kaiser stabbed with that point, I couldn’t help it and walked to the private room with a heavy step.
…How in the world did this happen?
I was puzzled by this unfamiliar situation, but as expected of a royal ball, I couldn’t just turn down Prince Kaiser’s invitation, so when I arrived at the private room, Prince Kaiser put the plate he was holding on the table and quickly pulled out a chair to seat me in it with a simple, streamlined motion.
…As expected of a prince, his concern for women is perfect.
While admiring that, I suddenly realized something when I saw Prince Kaiser sitting across from me.
Huh? Come to think of it, I thought he offered to eat with me, but there’s no food for Prince Kaiser.
As I gazed at my plate, which Prince Kaiser had placed in front of me, several serving men came in underneath us and placed plates of food on the table one after the other with a small portion of the food I had just seen.
“Prince Kaiser, this is…”
“I asked for a message earlier, and I asked for this along with it. Now eat as much as you like.”
I looked at Prince Kaiser, who said that with a good smile, with dismay, and I let out a small sigh without being noticed, and gave up and picked up my fork and started eating my food.
It can’t be helped, let’s quickly eat the food and leave quickly!…But all the food is still delicious!
As I was loosening my cheeks because the food was so good, I felt a glance from Prince Kaiser, who was sitting across from me.
For some reason, Prince Kaiser was sitting at the desk and was looking at me with a smile and didn’t try to eat his food at all.
“…Prince Kaiser, aren’t you going to eat?”
“I was content just to watch you eat so well.”
“…I don’t understand. Anyway, since you’ve prepared it, would you be willing to eat it too, Prince Kaiser? I can’t eat it all by myself, so…”
“You don’t have to force yourself to eat. Just eat what you want and leave the rest.”
“What happens to the food prepared here and there, Prince Kaiser, if it’s left over?”
“I think they will have to discard it.”
“If that happens, don’t you feel bad for the chefs who made such a wonderful meal for us? I’m sure it was made with the expectation that people would be happy to eat it. And yet, the ingredients in this dish are not free. It’s bought and made with government tax dollars obtained from the people, and to throw it away is the same as throwing away the people’s money!”
I involuntarily got up from my chair with an excited look on my face and rolled up to face Prince Kaiser.
Prince Kaiser was surprised to see me, but he immediately turned serious and put his hand to his chin and thought about it.
I came to my senses at the sight of Prince Kaiser and hurriedly sat back down in my chair and shrank back down.
What am I doing!? I couldn’t have said this to Prince Kaiser! I mean, is Prince Kaiser upset? It’s not like this is going to be the start of an execution, is it!?
All at once, the blood drained from my face and my back was sweating in disgust, and I looked fearfully at Prince Kaiser.
Then Prince Kaiser, as if on a whim, called out to the man who had served him earlier.
“Oh, Prince, have I done something wrong?”
“No, I didn’t do anything. I just wanted to check on something.”
“Is…Is it something you want to check?”
Prince Kaiser smiled reassuringly at the serving man who approached him with a pale face.
“That dish, what happens if it remains before this ball is over?”
“What? Oh, you mean that dish. It is always left over every year, and I’m sorry to say that we, the servants, are allowed to have it. Was it no good?”
“No, that’s fine. So there’s no disposal, then?”
“…no, no, it’s just that the quantity was so great that we had to discard all the food we can’t eat.”
“I understand. Sorry to bring you out of your office at such a busy time.”
“No! Then I’ll be back.”
So the serving man bowed and left us.
I listened to their conversation in silence, puzzled, but after the serving man left, Prince Kaiser looked at me with an apologetic look on his face.
“Miss Cecilia, if you hadn’t told me, I wouldn’t have thought about this dish that I would have taken for granted in the future. Thank you.”
“No, no! I’m sorry for saying too much on my part.”
“I have been told what I deserve, so don’t worry about it. I’m a prince, and I should have known that myself…”
“Oh, don’t be so downhearted! Then it’s something to take care of from now on, and I think you should just eat this dish for now!”
“Indeed it is. Then I’ll have some too.”
Saying that, Prince Kaiser put the food on his plate and began to eat it, and I was relieved to see him, and I began to eat my food again as well.
“……You’re very different from other young ladies, aren’t you?”
“What? Did you say something?”
Prince Kaiser seemed to say something small, but it was too quiet for me to understand, so I asked him back with a strange look on my face.
I asked him back with a curious look on my face, but he smiled at me and didn’t answer.
I was convinced that I had probably misheard him, so I concentrated on finishing the food in front of me again.
Then finally, having eaten with Prince Kaiser, there was no more food on my plate, and I quickly got up from my seat and decided to leave.
“Well then, Prince Kaiser, I’ll just…”
“Thank you for your patience. Here’s some more food.”
Just as I was about to say goodbye to Prince Kaiser, the man who had just served me replaced the empty plate with another plate of food on the table.
I froze, staring at the plate of food.
“I asked for more. Come on Miss Cecilia, you don’t want it to be left out, do you? Let’s work hard and eat together.”
I looked at Prince Kaiser, who smiled at me with a pseudo-smile, and I sat back in my chair again with a frustrated look on my face.
Damn it! You black-hearted prince!
I glared at Prince Kaiser with a snap and reluctantly held the fork in my hand.
“…That’s as far as we’re going to go here. As expected, even I can’t eat any more, so…”
“Yes, I understand.”
In the end, I had to continue eating with Prince Kaiser, who seemed to be enjoying himself.
After eating so much that I thought I couldn’t eat anymore, I put my fork on my empty plate and let out a breath.
“Thank you for the meal. Please tell the cooks it was very good.”
“Yes, of course I’ll make sure to tell them…Oh, Miss Cecilia, you have sauce on your mouth.”
As soon as Prince Kaiser said this, he got up from his chair and leaned over and reached for my mouth.
But just as his hand was about to reach my mouth, that hand was stopped by another hand.
“Cecilia, I told you not to leave that place, didn’t I?”
I apologized for breaking my promise.
Then my brother took a handkerchief from his chest and wiped my mouth with it.
“Okay, you’re clean.”
“Thank you, brother.”
“And yet…I told you that you shouldn’t follow strange men, didn’t I?”
“…is it me you’re referring to as a strange man?”
Frowning at my brother’s words, Prince Kaiser shook his hand free of brother’s grip.
Brother stood up from his chair, holding me by the shoulders while he gazed blankly at me.
“Well, Cecilia, now that we’ve had our fun at the ball, it’s time to go home.”
“Roberto…there’s still time for the ball to be over. Besides, I’d like to dance with Miss Cecilia, too.”
“…Cecilia, do you want to dance with Prince Kaiser?”
My brother asked me as he smiled at me, but I noticed that his eyes weren’t smiling and a chill ran down my back.
Uh, brother, what’s wrong? Dancing with Prince Kaiser? No, I could never dance when I couldn’t even eat with them!
I shook my head in conclusion.
“No, I would like to refrain.”
“As such, Prince Kaiser, we will leave you to it.”
“What!? Roberto, please wait!”
I heard Prince Kaiser’s panicked voice from behind me, but since I was being led around with my brother holding me by the shoulders, I just turned my head and bade Prince Kaiser a farewell and left the hall.
So I got into the carriage with my brother rushing me, and we went home.
Our father was surprised at our early return home, but brother explained to him that it was because I was tired from my first ball.
All the while, I felt a black aura wafting from my brother and just nodded my head in silence.
I don’t know why my brother was in such a bad mood…Well, at any rate, the ball is over, and if I miss the basic evening party and the ball so that I don’t get involved with Prince Kaiser, I should be able to escape from the fianceé status!
With this conviction, I fell into a comfortable sleep that night.
The next day, however, things took a sudden turn.
For some reason, my father, who had gone to the castle on business, returned home within a few hours.
And also for some reason, he was accompanied by Prince Kaiser. And behind him was my very unhappy brother, too.
Just as I was getting more confused by this strange combination, my father said something outrageous.
“Cecilia, rejoice! Prince Kaiser has chosen you as his betrothed!”
“Miss Cecilia, my father has given me his blessing, and I hope you will be my fiancée from now on.”
Prince Kaiser smiled at me, but I couldn’t keep up with the suddenness of the event.
Then my brother, who was behind Prince Kaiser, shouted at my father in protest.
“Father! I will never approve of this engagement!”
“Roberto, you’re still saying that. This is a direct order from His Majesty the King, so I can’t overrule it. Besides, it’s good for Cecilia, and I know she’s cute, but as a brother, you should think about your sister’s happiness.”
That’s what my father admonished him to do, but my brother didn’t seem to be entirely convinced.
Then Prince Kaiser approached me, who was still dumbfounded, and bent his knees in front of me and took my right hand and dropped a kiss on it.
“Thank you from now on. Cecilia.”
When I saw Prince Kaiser smiling at me saying that, I exclaimed loudly in my mind.
How did this happen!?!?
There was no one to answer the voice of such a heart.
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