Meeting the Crown Prince
Leon quickly hid in the shade of a nearby tree and snuggled up to me as I sat down, shaking and quivering.
“Marie, you go home first. I’ll be here until Rio calms down. Don’t worry, I’ll stay here with her.”
“Yes, sir. Take good care of the Young Lady, Master Leon.”
Marie didn’t ask why I hid. She just bowed and went back to the mansion.
“Le, Leon… Wah, I…”
“You don’t have to say anything. You can fluff all you want if it makes you feel better.”
I hugged Leon tightly. His warmth was transmitted to my shivering body, which has become cold to the core.
Leon silently let me hug him until I calmed down. It must have been painful because I was holding him tightly… He’s a gentle god.
“Have you calmed down?”
“Yes. Leon’s mofumofu was warm and soothing.”
“Do you want to go back now?”
If I go back, I’ll meet with his Royal Highness, Crown Prince Richard. But I can’t keep hiding until he leaves. The fact that he has visited at this hour means that he will be staying at our house tonight. If I don’t return after dark, my family will be worried.
“I’ll go back. Since I only returned a few days ago, frankly, it’s painful to see him this soon. But now that it’s come to this, I can’t just keep running away.”
“Are you okay? Can you interact normally?”
Leon peeked upward with a worried look of concern. Seeing him like that, I couldn’t resist stroking his head. Leon squinted comfortably.
Ah~ I’m being healed.
“I have received a strict princess education. Always keeping a smile is rule number eighteen.”
“Yes. Rio is strong, but I’m still worried. I’ll be with you when you meet the Crown Prince.”
“But when greeting the royal family, it is customary not to take beasts.”
Even holy beasts, no matter how holy they are, can’t be brought into the presence of royalty without permission. Sometimes, though, they are brought in to show off at tea parties amongst the nobles.
“So, the point is, as long as they can’t see me, it’s alright? If that’s all, don’t worry about it.”
What do you mean?
* * * * *
When I returned to the mansion, Marie was waiting at the entrance.
“Welcome back, Lady Katariona. His Imperial Highness Prince Richard is visiting our house. Master asked for you to change your clothes and come to the drawing-room.”
I knew it! It seems inevitable that I’d have to meet the Crown Prince.
Marie smiles on her way back to my room to change my clothes.
“Lady, you seem calm.”
“Thank you. I was healed by Leon’s Mofumofu.”
Marie stares intensely at Leon’s fur, scaring Leon.
“I’ll allow you to brush me every morning… And I’ll occasionally allow you to fluff.”
“Well, I’m very honored. Thank you, Leon-sama.”
I think she was really happy because Marie has a big smile on her face.
Marie was clearly upset when she saw me trembling suddenly. It’s unusual for the always smiling Marie to be like that. However, she didn’t ask why. She probably decided that she shouldn’t ask. Thank you for everything, my smart and talented maid.
“Marie. Will you wait for me to tell you the truth someday?”
Marie smiled and said, “I’ll be waiting for as long as you need.”
* * * * *
I changed into a dress and went to the drawing-room. My family, Crown Prince Richard, and the escort knights were waiting for me.
“Katariona. This is Crown Prince, Richard.”
I know, Dad. He’s a terrible person who betrayed me.
Yet, I can’t say anything. I merely pinch the hem of my dress and gracefully curtsy.
“It’s our first time meeting. I am the daughter of Marquis Grandeur. My name is Katariona Julie Grandeur.”
It’s not the first time I’ve met you.
“Look up. How old are you, Katariona?”
His voice hasn’t changed yet and is still childish. It’s nothing like the voice of the young man who condemned me.
When I raise my face, His Royal Highness Prince Richard laughs innocently. His Highness is the same age as my brother. Sitting with my brother, it seems like there are two angels in front of me. At this age, they were cute.
“Crown Prince Richard, I am 7 years old.”
I have a perfect smile as required in the 18th rule. I have no motivation to attempt to show a childish, innocent smile.
“You’re two years younger than me.”
“His Highness, Prince Richard, is the same age as my brother.”
When I was a kid, I was cute like an angel, but eventually, I turned into a devil.
“Rio, it seems that you have been criticizing the crown prince since earlier. Is it my imagination?”
Leon’s voice echoes in my head. Leon can’t be seen, but he’s next to me. It seems that gods are not beings that can be seen normally. However, because he intentionally makes himself visible, Leon is visible to everyone, not just me.
“I didn’t mean that. I’m sorry if it’s unpleasant.”
“Rio! Are you listening?”
It seems that my brother was talking about something, but I didn’t notice it as I was speaking with Leon.
“Dear brother, I’m sorry. I was a little lost in thought.”
My brother sharpens his mouth and pokes my head lightly.
“I told his Highness that Rio would guide him around the mansion with me until the supper was ready.”
Eh? After the greeting, I thought I’d stay in the room until supper!