“I am Theodore. May I come in?”
As I lifted my face at the sound of a knock, I was startled by the unexpected person and almost spilled the inkwell.
“. . .It’s fine.”
I replied calmly, trying not to show my agitation.
Actually, I didn’t want him to come in. He shouldn’t be here for at least another month, so why is he here now? It’s strange.
“Theodore, it’s been a while.”
He entered the room with a smile as bright as a blooming flower, calling me by my nickname. Knowing what would happen next from our long-standing relationship, I gestured for my assistant and maid to step back.
Theodore Kieza, the second son of the Count Kieza and my fiancé, rushed towards me as I stood up to greet him, embracing me with a strong hug. It was frustrating that I had become accustomed to his slightly suffocating, warm embrace.
“Have you finished your subjugation mission in the Bubaldia territory?”
“Yes. I wanted to see you as soon as possible, so I hurried to finish it.”
“. . .I see.”
It was outrageous that he finished the dragon subjugation mission, which was supposed to take at least two and a half months, including travel, in just one month. My efforts to reduce the number of personnel and schedule the expedition to be as long as possible, within a safe range, just to avoid meeting Theodore, were in vain.
As I sighed inwardly, he released his tight embrace and looked into my face with expectant eyes.
“Ester, do you have time after this?”
I have time. . .but.
I glanced towards the door, and as expected, he was still there in his usual appearance. I couldn’t hold back a sigh that escaped my mouth.
“Angelica invited me for tea, but I just remembered that I have work that needs to be finished by tomorrow. So, I would appreciate it if you could go in my place. I think Angelica would be happy too.”
It wasn’t a lie that I had work to do. I was planning to sacrifice my sleep time tonight to have tea time with my cute sister, Angelica.
So, as he looked at the documents piled up on the desk, he seemed to understand.
“. . .I see. Understood.”
Smiling wryly at Theodore’s evident disappointment, I sat back in my chair to resume my duties. While he showed a dejected expression, he stayed close to me… on the other hand, that person over there… still hadn’t moved from in front of the door, and I felt relieved.
“Ester. . .I know you’re busy, but I haven’t been able to see you for a while, so I would be happy to spend some time with you.”
“. . .If that’s what you want.”
Giving an ambiguous response, I emitted an air that conveyed my desire for him to leave soon and returned to my paperwork. This was also part of the usual routine. Theodore sighed as if giving up, bid me farewell, and headed towards the door, saying he would wait for my invitation.
“I always want to be by your side.”
His lonely smile, accompanied by those words, only served to make me feel empty inside.
“. . .Liar.”
Even though deep down, you always find me distasteful.
Here in the Kingdom of Arcadia, the royal family and nobility have a unique system of female succession that is not seen in neighboring countries. It is because Arcadia borders the demon realm and serves as the defense line against monsters. Thus, men are busy with subduing monsters, while women handle political affairs.
That’s one reason, of course, there is another significant reason for the royal family.
In the past, alongside the Hero, the first Queen of Arcadia, Alessa Arcadia, vanquished the wicked Demon King and reclaimed the land from the monsters. As a saint beloved by the gods, she possessed several exceptional inherited magics, which are passed down only to women deemed worthy of being saints. These magics encompass healing, divination, and various other abilities. Among them, the magic to read the hearts of others, which invariably manifested in the first princess at around the age of ten, became a significant advantage for anyone who stands at the pinnacle of politics, both domestically and diplomatically. The Empire, located on the opposite side of the demon realm, used to be expansionist, and this power became indispensable for protecting the nation, leading to the establishment of a queen’s rule.
Well, there was also a theory that the hero was a muscle-brained idiot and couldn’t become a king, but it is somewhat disrespectful, but it’s a bit disrespectful, so let’s pretend that wasn’t mentioned here.
As the first princess of the Acardi Kingdom and the first in line for succession,I Esterize Alessa Acardi also awakened the ability to read hearts at the age of 12. However, it wasn’t just a matter of hearing voices easily. It’s…
“Just a moment, Onee-sama!”
The second princess, Angelica, burst into the room with a loud bang, opening the door roughly. Six years younger than me at 17, she still had a childish face that was so cute it wouldn’t hurt a fly. She puffed up her cheeks and marched towards me.
“Angelica, even if we’re family, please knock before entering.”
“I did. I knocked and opened the door. But more importantly, why are you being so cold to Prince Theodore? I can’t bear to see him so pitiful’’
Even though… this country, no, the most beautiful man on this continent is so in love with you, why… why is it like this? What are you going to do, being such a workaholic as a princess? Are you planning to live separately within the royal castle after getting married!?”
Yes, even though I can read hearts, it’s not simply a matter of hearing their thoughts. It’s like shrinking a person to about one-third their size, and their tiny form, like a dwarf or fairy from a fairy tale, speaks the voice of their heart while moving as they naturally would. We call this phenomenon “Kol,” which means the meaning of the heart.
In other words, Angelica wanted to stomp her feet and complain, but she endured it because of her position as a princess. Well, she had already shown behavior that was unbecoming of a princess,by barging in and standing defiantly, but still.
Although it was amusing to see my cute little sister’s Kol running around and screaming, I coughed to cover up my laughter because it was not an appropriate atmosphere to laugh. Moreover, Angelica didn’t even know about the existence of this magic, so we must not let her find out. Only the person who possesses the magic and the king consort are allowed to know about its existence.
“I haven’t been cold to him. I thought it would be more relaxing for him to be with someone brighter than a stiff like me, especially since he had just returned from an expedition and must be tired.”
As I answered, Angelica looked at me with a sullen expression. Her kol did the same, but her pure and innocent nature, with no hidden agenda, was adorable even though she was silent.
“You’re definitely lying. It’s definitely a lie, but if I keep questioning Onee-sama, she’ll just evade the topic. …I know! Ask her to fill in for the tea party, and invite Prince Theodore too!”
“Recently, there has been an increase in monsters, causing a lot of damage, so I’ve been busy. That’s the truth. So, I can’t go today, and I’m sorry for that. It might take quite some time before I can make it up to you, but next time, I’ll invite you myself.”
Before getting into a troublesome conversation, I quickly took the initiative and spoke rapidly, causing Angélica’s Kol, which had been sulking and hanging its head, to return to her shoulder.
“I can’t bring Theodore with me if I’m invited by my big sister! Geez… But I want Theodore to become my brother-in-law, so I’ll definitely play matchmaker for the two of them!”
“I understand. But I won’t give up!”
My sister is so brave and determined.
Theodore is an overachiever, with a gentle personality, exceptional skills in both swordsmanship and magic, and renowned as the most beautiful person in the country, Theodore can be described as an overachiever and a perfect superhuman without exaggeration. If he weren’t engaged to me, the future queen, there would have been fierce battles among women vying for his affection. Not only does he captivate young ladies of his age, but he is also respected and admired by people of all generations. It seems that he has a high approval rating from my sister as well.
‘’Why does Onee-sama act like that when it’s clear that you both have feelings for each other?’’
However, Angélica, who referred to her in such a manner in her thoughts while leaving the room, was unaware.
“I always want to be by your side.”
When he looks at me like that, with a strong expression of love and a sweet voice that melts with affection in every word, anyone would think that he has feelings for me. But it’s just a superficial conversation.
“I can’t breathe… I want to leave this place quickly.”
That’s what his Kol, which had been lingering near the door the whole time, expressed.