The next day, when I woke up in the morning, I found a pile of gifts in the living room.
It really was a mountain.
“…That’s it for the day, isn’t it?”
Despite Lilia and my sighs, the maidservants are having fun with this and that.
It’s a bit like excitedly opening a bag at home after shopping, checking each and every one of them while unpacking.
It’s a bit like packing up my moving stuff when I get to this point…
“Let’s start with the clothes and open it.”
Well, it’s the small items first. The small items! If you don’t do the small things first, it will definitely be trouble later.
Yeah, Julia, you’re right.
But I’m already in trouble.
There’s a lot of clothing this time, so the handmaids are a bit excited.
I’m already very satisfied just with the continuation of this ‘Eyes of the Sky’…
“Your Highness, the pattern on this ornamental ribbon is very intricate.”
“It’s beautiful. Is there a lot of them?”
“ I think there are about 30 cords.”
A decorative ribbon is a thin braid. The patterns are brightly colored and interwoven, and there are many different kinds of patterns.
They can be used to decorate hair, clothes, ribbons for gifts, and later as bookmarks, for example.
The finer the pattern, the more expensive they are, and the ones with a floral pattern or checkered pattern, such as the one presented to me, are special.
“You can take two rolls of whatever you want if you’d like…Put the rest in the small chest in your study.”
These kids aren’t in a position to go out freely either, so every time I get something, I’ll share a little bit of it with them. Just enough so that Lilia won’t say I’m giving too much. It’s difficult to find the right amount.
Even though I am not allowed to go out, it seems that unlike me, they are able to spend their time relatively freely inside the palace, and sometimes they go to the dining room of the main palace for meals and tell me all kinds of stories they have heard there.
It is one of my ambitions to play the role of a maid and visit the staff dining room…Don’t tell Lilia, though.
“Your Highness, look at this magnificent weaving.”
“…It’s really beatiful.”
The cloth shown by Alice is a strange color because of the different colors of the warp and weft.
“This is a piece of Noluk’s work.”
“As expected of Elzevert.”
Miredei sighs in admiration.
Noluk is the most fashionable workshop right now. I heard that the other day, they refused to accept an order from the Queen. I heard it from a girl who works at the palace.
“They said no to…”
I was surprised.
“To be precise, he didn’t say no, but rather, he said that he had reservations booked for the next three years, and he’d be happy if she could come back later.”
Normally, when the Queen makes an order, they would be the first to accept it, if not the other way around.
“The workshop in Noruk is a group of artisans…but the reason the workshop in Noruk has made a name for itself is because of the patronage of the Duke of Elzevert.”
“Is that so?”
“Yes. It’s a bit late to say to Her Royal Highness, but Elzevert is a well-known patron of the arts…”
“I’ve heard the world speak of the Military of Alhane, the Beauty of Elzevert, the Wisdom of Grachie, and the Commerce of Feldie.”
Lately, I’ve been talking to some of the others other than Lilia little by little, and I hear things from them that I wouldn’t hear from Lilia. I heard from Alice about the harsh winters in the north, where her family’s home is located, Julia told me about the life of a nobleman in the royal capital, and Miredei told me about her ranch. The girls were surprised at first, but now they are getting used to me talking to them.
”The blue color of this warp can only be used by the Crown Princess. It’s a forbidden color of the Crown Prince”
“Yes. Just as royal silver is only to be used by royalty who call themselves ‘Thea,’ His Majesty the King and His Royal Highness the Crown Prince are forbidden to use this color. Only the queen can use these colors in person.”
“…What are His Majesty’s forbidden colors?”
“The color of the coat His Majesty wears when he dresses up…It’s that blue color called jade blue.”
“…The color of the flag on the spire of the royal palace or the color of the flag?”
I’m convinced. Come to think of it, each Duke’s family also had a specific color.
“Can you make a gown for formal wear with this?”
“Is it official?”
“Yes. All the laces to be used are in Elzevert’s light blue. I’ll leave the design up to you.”
A dress is formally called a gown. When you call it a dress, it has a strong connotation of being private.
Lilia thought for a moment and nodded.
Because of the circumstances, I’ve never had any connection with my parents’ home. However, there are signs that we are slowly making progress here.
I don’t mind if my father tries to use it for political purposes.
I know that’s not his goal. But he can’t ignore it.
However, it was an afterthought, whether it was available or not.
He was seeking atonement for the daughter he had once abandoned.
Even though he knew he could never be forgiven.
In that moment of eye contact, I knew that of him and he knew what I knew.
“…Are you tired?”
“…Just a bit.”
I accept a cup of tea. An herbal tea drizzled with honey. It has a refreshing aftertaste.
The check of the donations continued until nearly evening, with a brief lunch in between.
That’s how many items there were.
The cloth is very expensive here, so it was an asset.
“By the way, didn’t you get any accessories?”
“These ornaments will not be worn in earnest until after the corolla ceremony. Her Highness will have the flower crown (corolla) ceremony on her next birthday, and after that, it will be amazing.”
The corolla ceremony is a rite of passage for noble girls. In the case of men of noble families, this is the sword ritual (Taiken) ceremony.
Basically, this ceremony is performed on the thirteenth to sixteenth birthdays for both men and women.
After this ceremony is completed, a nobleman’s children are considered to be full-fledged.
Originally, it was to performed by my father, Duke Elzevert, but in my case, since I am already married, my husband, Crown Prince Nigel, will perform it.
“Her Highness has many pieces of jewelry that she inherited from her late mother and grandmother. Princess Efinia was a beautiful princess of Reefid, and Reefids are famous for their craftsmanship.”
That’s why I’ve heard that among the items I inherited, there are several gems that are known throughout the continent.
The crown prince is in charge of them. I didn’t want any thieves to come for it by keeping it here as a matter of course.
“We have tiaras for Lady Efinia and Queen Eleanor, but of course the tiara for the crowning of the Princess has been ordered by the Crown Prince from Reefid.”
“I thought it was a fresh flower crown?”
The flower crowning (Corolla) ceremony is usually performed with a flower crown made of fresh flowers with a white flower base.
“This is the case for daughters of nobility. Since Her Royal Highness is a Thea, the tiara for the crowning ceremony should be made of silver.”
“Hey…but isn’t thirteen a bit early for that?”
That’s just barely old enough to perform the ceremony.
“In the case of Her Highness, everyone wants the formal marriage ceremony to take place as soon as possible, so it can’t be helped.”
I nod at Lilia’s words that there is also the intentions of His Highness the Crown Prince.
We can’t go against His Highness Nigel’s intentions. No, it’s not like there’s anything to go against.
Apart from the fact that my life seems to be in danger, I am blessed. Financially and in other ways as well.
Most of that is due to the fact that I am the crown princess.
Well, it’s not like I have to obey everything by any means, since I’m Elzevert’s provisional heir.
“Princess, I’ll go deliver the fruit wine and honey and other things over to the kitchen.”
Alice and her friends like sweets, but they don’t seem to have much interest in the ingredients.
“Wait. Leave it.”
“And I want you to turn that little room into a work room.”
Lilia tilts her head.
There’s a small room next to us with chairs and other items that we don’t use much on a daily basis, but we might need it if we have visitors.
“You can keep the big table, so just put the paintings and chairs somewhere else, and also take the carpet off.”
“What are you doing, Your Highness?”
“Because it’s a big deal to go to the kitchen, I thought I’d make a work room when making sweets…It’s always hard to clean. I’m careful, but the powder flutters…so I want a place without a carpet.”
I heard that there was a kitchen in the Crown Princess Palace, but I seems that it was shut down due to an attempted poisoning incident or something, and it was destroyed.
I thought it would be a lot easier if there was at least a workshop. It would also double as a little food storage.
I can make things like syrup and vinegar… Count Stassen told me there are berries growing in the garden. I’d like to make jam.
“Hey, Lilia. Can’t I bake some more? I’d like to bring some for the Count and everyone else, and, by the way, for His Royal Highness the Crown Prince.”
“I chuckle with a smile. I thought that if I say His Royal Highness, Lilia won’t object.”
“………Your Highness, in that case, please say that you would like to bring something to His Highness the Crown Prince. The main guest must go first.”
Of course the Crown Prince comes first! I have been complained.
Oh, right, I shouldn’t follow the crown prince around. I’ll keep my eye on him.
“Get some knights to help and do as the princess commands.”
Lilia tells everyone.
The three of them nodded with a look of enthusiasm. It’s a lot of work cleaning the carpet, isn’t it?
I called out in a revised tone… I didn’t do anything, did I? Me?
You’ve been merciless lately, Lilia.
It’s my fault for not remembering, and sometimes I do the most ridiculous things because I don’t remember.
“…What does Your Highness think of the Crown Prince?”
“What do you mean?”
“Do you like him? That’s what I mean.”
“I don’t know him enough to say I like or dislike him. I don’t actively hate him…but I can be scared of him.”
Yeah. I wonder if he’s unexpectedly a good person.
I think he has a surprisingly cute side to him.
…There’s an unfathomable bottomlessness to it, though, and that’s what’s stuck with me.
“You don’t hate him even if you’re scared?”
I don’t know why I’m scared.
I don’t know why he has that empty smile and that look in his eyes.
I barely know him.
“…Why would you ask that?”
“No. I hope that Her Royal Highness will have a good relationship with the Crown Prince, if possible…”
“Of course you do. We’re husband and wife.”
I don’t think divorce or anything like that is allowed here, fundamentally.
So then, it’s obviously better to have a good relationship than the one we have.
And I’m sorry to be so calculating, but the only reason I’m safe here is because of the crown prince. Under his protection, I am safe and my daily life is safe. I can’t lose this.
“I hope that you will take the opportunity to actively spend time with His Highness.”
“In layman’s terms, please try to win the heart of His Highness the Crown Prince. That will increase the probability of the princess’ safety.”
“………More than now?”
I think I’m protected enough even now.
“Don’t you think there is a difference between duty and active will?”
“And I don’t think there’s any downside to getting along with the Crown Prince.”
It’s hard to think of everything in terms of advantages and disadvantages in the world, but I understand what Lilia is saying.
“Also, let me put it this way…There may be some movement.”
Lilia whispered the second half in a hushed voice.
“Returning here, nothing of this sort has happened. To begin with, nothing has been done in the palace so far to directly harm the princess.”
“Well, there are many other reasons. But at the end of the day, I think that I want Her Highness to be happy.”
“Yes. Her Royal Highness can’t choose another man, so…”
Unless it’s unavoidable for political reasons, there won’t be a divorce.
“Even so, there’s not much I can do about it.”
I’m a child, so I can’t rush it.
“The crown prince is a strong drinker, so you can’t get him drunk to do anything about it…”
“No way, no way. Absolutely no way.”
Lilia, please don’t think about such scary things. Because I can’t do that. Not because of my age, but because of my skills.
“’When His Highness the Crown Prince is pressed, he can either look at you with a lascivious look on his face, or he can take a swipe at you with that absolute zero gaze, or he can cut you off with cold words while responding with a hollow smile.”
“…None of them.”
I don’t have the ability to have a skilled hand or to use a woman’s weapon in the first place…
“…There’s only one thing I can do to begin with.”
Yes. Just one.
“Yeah. First of all, I thought I’d bring him a snack every day.”
I’m glad I can make a snack every day with official Lilia approval.
“…It’s for His Royal Highness the Crown Prince, you see. It’s not for the guards, the maidservants, or even yourself.”
You’re holding on to your roots, Lilia.
Thus, the top-secret “Operation Feeding the Crown Prince”…which Lilia reminded me to never mention out loud…was launched.
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