The Devil’s Invitation
- Telepathy will all be in italics and quotes.
I had a dream. In my dream, I saw a golden-haired woman walking with a young man named Leon in a flower garden filled with colorful flowers. The golden-haired woman is the lady in the portrait I saw in the tower.
“Marion. Will you become my “Bride of God”?”
“Fufu. Is that a proposal?”
The woman called Marion’s cheeks flushed as her violet-blue eyes narrowed in delight.
“Yes, it is.”
Leon put his hands around Marion’s waist, and they walked to the lake beyond the flower garden.
I ran desperately, trying to catch up with the two figures ahead of me. No matter how hard I ran, I couldn’t reach them.
“Don’t leave me! Leon!”
I jump to my feet.
“What happened? Are you okay, Rio?”
My surroundings were bright. It’s already morning. Already awake and relaxing on the sofa, Leon jumps onto my bed and peers into my face.
I grab Leon and give him a tight squeeze.
“Did you have a scary dream?”
“…it wasn’t scary, just… I didn’t like it.”
“What did you dream about?”
“I don’t remember, but it was an unpleasant dream.”
The truth is, I remember the dream. I dreamt about the woman in the portrait, Marion and Leon. Why did I dream such a thing? Is it because I saw Marion’s portrait last night?
“Is that so.”
His fluffy tail swayed as if saying, “fluff as much as you want.”
＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊
After breakfast, my family and I enjoyed tea together in the gazebo in the courtyard. Our garden is beautifully arranged and has a sense of uniformity, all thanks to our gardener. Even so, I still want to create my own garden in the mansion.
Today, the history tutor is coming in the morning, so I decided to study with my brother.
“I didn’t think Rio would be interested in history.”
“Girls should focus on mastering their lady’s education, however. Rio is already very skillful in both dancing and music. Of course, with the exception of embroidery—her talents are utterly devastating. ”
Urk! Mother, you hit where it hurts. My sense of fashion or talent in embroidery seems to be nonexistent.
“You take after Mother, with the exception of your embroidery skills.”
Brother is trying to back me up, but his support isn’t helping.
“I’m sorry to interrupt your family gathering, but I’ve just received an invitation from the royal family.”
The head butler interjected and brought in a letter with a royal seal stamped on it. Is it urgent?
Father opens the letter with a paper knife and checks the contents.
“It’s from His Royal Highness, Prince Richard. He wants to invite Sieg and Rio to a tea party at the royal palace after the magic attribute test in three months.”
What did you just say!?
＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊
I found the history lesson almost impossible to follow. I had a lot of questions I wanted to ask the teacher, but I couldn’t manage to ask any… It’s all because of that devil’s invitation. I mean, the Crown Prince’s invitation.
Even though Father and Mother said that they wouldn’t force me to go if I didn’t want to, it’s not like it’s possible to refuse an invitation from the royal family.
“Ahh~ This is the worst …”
I kept muttering the same thing over and over again, propped up against the table inside the gazebo of the Rose Garden.
“If you don’t like it, why don’t you just not go?”
“I can’t do that. It would be impolite to refuse an invitation from royalty.”
My family is a Marquis house, which has a high rank even amongst the other noble families. If we were invited by a nobleman of a rank below a Count, we could just decline it, but this time, the invitation was sent directly from the royal family. An invitation from the royal family is basically “forced participation in the name of invitation”. It’s different from invitations amongst aristocrats.
Besides, Rick… Richard, His Highness’s character is one that I’m familiar with. Even if he doesn’t succeed by using his sheer force of power, he’ll still keep trying to invite you.
“But it’s an invitation from the Crown Prince, right? Are you okay with that?”
“Brother will be with me, and Leon will also follow me invisibly, won’t you?”
“That, of course, but I’m still worried…”
Leon’s tail is lowered, and his ears are dropping, which makes me feel the desire to protect him. I was tempted to pick him up and pet him, but he’s too heavy when he’s in his lion form. At any rate, I stroke his head, and he rubs himself against me. He’s a god, but his behavior is that of a cat-like animal. I can’t get over how cute he is.
“I don’t care about the scum Crown Prince’s tea party, but it’s been a long time since I’ve had the pleasure of getting a new dress for milady.”
In Marie’s mind, His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, is still a piece of trash. I’m sure she’ll play the perfect maid of honor in front of him, but I’m still worried that she’ll find an opening and put something in the tea.
Tomorrow, we’ll invite the tailor to the house to make new dresses for the tea party. Marie is very excited to design the dress.
“The best color for Miss would be… Blue, to match the color of her eyes. But the design should be something lovely that’s befitting of a young girl, and the jewelry should be sapphires to match the outfit. However, aquamarine is also a good choice. ”
I was going round and round the fountain, like some kind of dance, while taking care of Toruka-sama. Toruka-sama’s favorite things to eat are fruits, so every day, I offer him some fruits. Today is a peach.
“I also want you to make me clothes-zozozo.”
Toruka-sama seems to be interested in clothes. Is he talking about a pattern to go on his shell?
“…Marie looks like she’s having fun.”
“Yes. I wish she could share some of those positive feelings.”
For the time being, I don’t think I can be positive.
＊ ＊ ＊ ＊ ＊
The next day, a tailor arrived at the appointed time. I heard that it was a popular store in the Marquis of Grandeur. The owner of the store personally came to meet me. She was an intelligent woman in her 20s with hair as red as a licorice flower and brown eyes. She was an intelligent woman in her 20s wearing glasses.
“Thank you for choosing our store. My name is Laura, and I am the owner of “Sandorion”. Please make your acquaintance.
“Oh, my! You are such a lovely young lady. Darling, making a dress for you is totally worth it!”
“I know, right!”
For some reason, even Marie agreed with her. Laura clapped her hands, and three women, who seemed to be employees, came through the door carrying a lot of fabric. One by one, they laid out the fabrics on the table. I stood in front of the table, looking at the various colors of dress fabric.
“What colors do you prefer, young lady?”
Normally, this would be an exciting sight, but this time I could only sigh.
“Do you have any fabrics that are like a cloudy sky color or a muddy color?”
Laura’s hands stopped moving quickly as she continued to select fabrics.
“…zu… Surprisingly, you like austere colors?”
The smile she forced on her face was too stiff. It’s a pity because she is an intelligent beauty. Ah. Perhaps am I the reason why she’s making that face?
“Yes. A simple-shaped dress in a color that the gentlemen might not like would be fine.”
I hope that after wearing a strange-colored dress, the Crown Prince will be disappointed and never want to see me again.
“Milady! Excuse me, Lady Katariona is color blind.”
Marie smiled deceitfully and showed Laura some of the dress drawings she had designed. When Laura saw the designs, she shouted in admiration, “You’ve got good taste, you know that? Would you consider working in my store?”
“I have decided to serve milady for the rest of my life, so I respectfully decline.”
Yeap. Thank you. But I’m not color-blind. I just don’t have good taste.
I stroked Leon’s hair as he curled up next to me as Marie and Laura had begun their discussion without me.
“Rio. You’re thinking of wearing a funny-colored dress and making the Crown Prince hate you, aren’t you?”
Leon speaks to me in telepathy.
“His Royal Highness, the Crown Prince, likes pretty things. Charlotte often wore a dress with a pretty pink design.”
“That said, there will be no muddy colors. You’d look better in a pristine white or blue dress.”
It’s neat and tidy. I used to like to wear royal blue dresses, so he had a cold impression of me.
“My Lady. I will now take your measurements. Would you please stand over here?”
Laura called me, so I stood up from the sofa. The color and design of the dress seemed to have been decided by Marie. If I leave it to her, there will be no mistakes. Unfortunately, the plan to make the Crown Prince dislike me with a strange dress was a failure.