Chapter 42: Ball
I slept well last night thanks to Odo’s “matchmaker under the moon.” If the Demon King granted me protection, I would like to repay Odo-san in some way.
We gather in the hall after breakfast.
“There will be a ball in the second round.”
Yulin declared loudly. A ball?
“We’ll provide the dresses, but you must find your own partners by the end of the night—you will be disqualified if you cannot find a partner.”
If you’re a human noblewoman, you’re probably already acquainted with some of the demon nobility.
They probably falsely claim to be of “any status,” but intend to exclude those from lower-status backgrounds in this round.
No, perhaps yesterday’s free time was more than just that: it was about networking. But I mistook it for free time and spent it reading. I once learned to dance before the rewind in order to be presented as The Saint, but I can’t do anything without a partner. Odo-san is the only demon I’ve met so far. Let’s look for Odo-san.
“He’s not here.”
I thought I could find the gardener, Odo-san, if I looked around the courtyard, but I couldn’t. Perhaps he was busy with something else. I was wandering around thinking about it when I ran into someone.
“We’ve crossed paths again, young lady with a lovely voice.”
When I looked up, I recognized the voice as Garen’s. I almost uttered the word “Garen,” but I swallowed it quickly.
Garen gives me a soft smile without frowning.
“Can I help you find something?”
Garen, who has been staying at the castle for a long time as the friendship ambassador, might know where Odo-san is. So I tell him that I’m looking for Odo-san, a young gardener demon, to be my dance partner at the Demon King’s Bride’s Ball.
“I’ve never heard the name Odo before.”
I see, you didn’t know Odo-san in the first place. Then he has no way of knowing where he is. I’m a little disappointed.
Garen paused for a moment before smiling.
“Could I be your partner, if you don’t mind?”
“Fortunately, I’m available tonight; you’d be in big trouble if you didn’t have a partner, wouldn’t you?”
“Are you sure?”
It’s the nicest thing I could ask for, but why is he so nice to me? Garen smiled, which may have revealed my skepticism.
“Your voice and your demeanor reminded me of someone I knew—I couldn’t get it out of my head.”
“I understand—thank you very much.”
So my voice sounds familiar to Garen. Garen has never said that to me before.
I thought it would be weird not to say my name when he was going to be my partner, so I’ll call myself.
“My name is Mira.”
“My name is Garen—Mira, please just call me Garen.”
I was thinking if I should call him the fifth prince so readily.
With that, Garen leaves.
Evening. Garen arrived at the hall shortly before the ball began, as promised.
“That dress looks great on you, Mira.”
I realize again that Garen is a prince.
Garen escorts me to the ball.
I don’t mind dancing, but this kind of glittering place is not for me, I thought as I danced.
Let’s see, this is where you switch things up. When Garen used to practice with me before the rewind, I used to step on his foot here.
That brings back some memories.
“You’re an excellent dancer.”
“No, it’s because of you that I’m a good dancer.”
I think it’s because I’m used to Garen’s company, but dancing with him is a breeze.
I can’t help but smile.
When I smile, Garen’s eyes widen in surprise.
I was wondering what it was when the waltz stopped.
Yulin enters the hall, clapping his hands.
“The results of the second round will be announced shortly—the names of the 30 people who advanced to the next round of selection will be read aloud.”
With trepidation, I await the results.
“Kasara, Anna, and Emma…”
My name has yet to be called out of the twenty-seven that have already been called.
I am nervously waiting for the last three names to be called.
Yay! I’ve been chosen again!
“Thanks to Garen, I was able to make it through the second round.”
“No, it’s your own effort.”
Garen smiles kindly at me. His smile made me a little nervous, but I said, “Well, I’ll see you later.”
I thanked him and prepared to leave.
I couldn’t continue. Why is that? I turned to see Garen holding my right hand.
I ask discreetly—what’s with the hand? Garen looks distressed.
“Do you really want to marry the Demon King?”
“Well, I guess so.”
The goal is to be protected by the Demon King, but in order to do so, I must remain in the selection. It’s strange to say that you don’t want to be the Demon King’s bride when your goal is to stay in the selection process.
Garen became even more distressed when I nodded my head in confusion.
“Then I won’t let go of your hand.”
Didn’t Garen help me because he knew this was the Demon King’s Bride’s Ball?
When I tilted my head, Garen looked at me with a somewhat feverish look in his eyes and put his face close to my ear.
“Please don’t marry the Demon King… Mika.”