“What? Huh? Lady Lateia!?”
I was just relaxing in my room when suddenly Lady Laitya came running into the room and buried her face in my lap as if she were embracing me.
I was puzzled by this, and I stared at her, stunned with her face in my knees.
“What on earth happened to you!?”
I put my hand on Lady Lateia’s shoulder and asked for an explanation.
Then Lateia-sama slowly raised her head and looked up at me with a serious expression on her face, her eyes moistening.
“Cecilia-sama……will you elope with me?”
“That’s why! So I want you to elope with me!”
“No, no, no, I don’t know what that means!! Why do we suddenly have to talk about elopement!?To begin with, eloping with another woman…For now, Lateia-sama, please calm down. And please explain it properly to me from the beginning!”
So, I managed to calm down Lateia-sama, who was in the mood to elope with me at any moment, and when she sat down beside, I asked her to explain the situation.
“The truth is…I’m being forced to marry someone who doesn’t like me.”
“I’m sure you’re right to be surprised. It’s what my father told me just now.”
“Lady Lateia…it is true that your father, the Marquis of Daiharia, wants you to marry a powerful nobleman…but he was not so aggressive as to force you to marry someone like this, was he?”
“Yes, my father has always tried to introduce me to a lot of people and to find me the right man. But even so, if I refused, I wasn’t forced to do anything. However, Dad…I heard that he often went to the salon where aristocrats gathered for a while, and he got acquainted with a man there. They hit it off and met several times. One day while they were drinking and talking together, my father was in such a good mood that he drank so much alcohol that he lost his memory…and realized that he had signed a marriage contract.”
“Yes…I’m told it was a contract in writing that said I was to be to his wife.”
“…What? What’s with that contract!?”
“When my father saw the contract, he was surprised and asked for a withdrawal, but…he didn’t listen to it. That’s when he finally realized that the whole thing had been set up, but since the contract was signed by my father, he told me that he couldn’t do anything about it.”
As she said this, Lady Lateia was severely depressed, and her hands were squeezing my knees very tightly.
I felt my chest painfully tighten as I looked at her.
“Lady Lateia…if I can help you, I will help you…”
“That’s why I want you to elope with me!!”
“No, that’s not a fundamental solution, and besides, if Lady Lateia is gone, what happens to the Marquis Daiharia left behind? I’m sure such a contract would contain some kind of quid pro quo in the event of a breach. For example…the entirety of the Marquis’ property.”
“Huh!? Well, there’s definitely a good chance of that. It could be why my father looked so serious when he talked to me about marriage.”
Then once again, Lateia-sama became depressed and I was at a loss for what to do.
“…In this case, it’s a good idea to have the person who made the contract destroy it, but…I can’t imagine that he would normally do that. But…why did he make a contract that called for Lady Lateia as a wife in the first place?”
“That’s…well, I heard that when I went out to the city, he apparently saw me and liked me.”
“Oh, so it’s love at first sight.”
“It seems so. But I have someone else on my mind, so even if I was told such a thing…”
“Have you made up your mind already? Who is it?”
I was reminded of the confession at that time by the way Lateia-sama stared at me, trying to ask who it was.
Then I scratched my cheek with my index finger and made a troubled expression.
“We’re both women, but…”
“It doesn’t matter!”
“Oh, well… that’s right I guess…Oh, but we have to think about that contract now!”
“Well…what in the world should I do…”
“Hmm, Lady Lateia’s lover…Oh, of course, in the case of the opposite sex, I would have convinced them to give up, telling them that I couldn’t marry because I had a boyfriend to whom I had made a vow of marriage. Well, it’s just speculating, but…”
“Lover…a marriage vow…persuasion…it might be a good idea!”
“That’s a strategy worth trying!”
“What? Trying…is there someone who has actually made a commitment to marry you!?”
“No, there is no such person!”
“So with whom…oh, maybe you’re going to be working with one of the guys, like Kaiser and the others?”
“No, I have no intention of asking them to help me!”
I was confused as I didn’t understand what Lady Lateia was trying to say, when suddenly, Lady Lateia took my hands in hers and stared at me with a serious expression.
“I can’t think of anyone else to play my lover but Miss Cecilia! Please consider helping me and taking on the role as my lover!”
“Wait a minute, Lady Lateia! I’m a woman! I wouldn’t trust the other person if I came across a lover like that!”
“No! If it’s Cecilia-sama in men’s clothing, It’ll definitely be fine!”
“What? Dressed as a man?”
“Yes! The men’s outfit worn by Lady Cecilia at Nina’s unveiling parade…that would make them think it was a man!”
“No, no, no, it’s impossible! Hmm? But by the way, the leader thought I was a man when he first saw that figure too…could it be possible? No, but…”
“Please, Lady Cecilia! Would you please help me!?”
When I saw Lateia-sama squeezing my hand even tighter and pleading with her moistening eyes, I froze and then let out a loud sigh.
“Oh, I understand. I don’t know if it will work, but I’ll do it as best as I can.”
“Lady Cecilia! Thank you!”
Lady Lateia seemed happy and joyfully hugged me tightly.
Then I heard a suppressed laugh from near the door.
I was startled by the sound of the laughter and turned back to the door still being hugged by Lady Lateia.
“Hmm, that’s quite an interesting story you were talking about.”
“Wait, were you eavesdropping!?”
“No, I knocked, but there was no answer, but I could hear talking from inside and was curious. But you didn’t notice me, and you two were talking to each other with serious expressions on your faces, so I waited here until you were done talking.”
“In that case, shouldn’t you have waited for me, or refrained and left at once?”
“Well, yes. But it was quite an interesting story and I couldn’t resist listening.”
As he said this, Alexel walked towards us.
Furthermore, even Noel was following along behind him, smiling wryly.
“I’m sorry, Cecilia, but I couldn’t find the time to leave either.”
But even as he said that, the depths of Noel’s eyes told me that he was curious.
I let out a sigh again at the sight of the two of them, and apologetically looked at Lateia-sama, who had moved away from me.
Then I saw Lady Lateia glaring at Alexel, who was sitting in a chair across from us.
“Your Majesty Emperor Alexel, with all due respect, I have to say this. I hate you for forcing an engagement on Lady Cecilia!”
“Hey! Lady Lateia!?”
“Huh, you’re an honest girl.”
Alexel grinned with a relaxed expression and sharp-eyed grin, not showing any agitation at Lateia-sama’s bombshell remarks.
I was inwardly cringing at the state of these two people.
“I felt that I had to tell you this very clearly.”
“I see. Well, I like that a lot better than other girls who only hide their feelings and flirt.”
“I am not at all pleased to have you say that!”
“Cecilia, after all, there are many interesting people around you.”
Alexel shifted his gaze to me and smiled happily.
“I knew it…well, that’s fine. I’m sorry, Alexel. Lady Lateia was very rude to you. I’ll take the scolding myself, so please forgive her.”
“No, don’t worry about it, I’m not mad at you. Why don’t you tell me more about what you just said before?”
“What? What I said before?”
“Oh, the story about Miss Lateia’s contract marriage over there. I’ve heard it from around the middle, but I want to hear all of it exactly.”
“I only heard it halfway through, so maybe I’ll talk about something else that’s unnecessary? I suppose it’s Cecilia and the others who would be in trouble if that happened?”
I looked at Lateia-sama sitting next to me with a troubled expression, and Lateia-sama reluctantly nodded to me.
“…I understand, it can’t be helped. But from now on, please do not anything you hear about anywhere else!”
“Yeah, I understand.”
“I can promise you the same thing.”
Alexel and Noel, who was standing behind him, nodded in agreement, and I let out another small sigh as I explained to them both from the beginning what Lady Lateia had told me earlier.
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