Since the day I first met Theodore’s kol five years ago, I have been avoiding meeting him, making up various excuses.
There are many reasons for this, but the main one is that it is painful to be confronted with the fact that the person I like hates me. It is a weakness unbecoming of the next queen. Even though I cannot see my own kol, if I could, I would surely always be cowering and shrinking away. Even if Theodore hates me, he tries to be friendly towards me.
Yes, Theodore still behaves as if he adores me. Whenever we meet, he always embraces me tightly, and when we part, he seems reluctant to let go. At dances and parties, he constantly holds me close, never allowing other men to approach me, as if he’s jealous.
Everyone believes it’s because of love, and they laugh, saying that the future of this country is secure. Surely, Theodore is enduring and putting on an act for that purpose as well.
Knowing that I’m disliked by the person I love and yet being by his side, even forcing him to endure. Wanting to change this situation somehow, I have been contemplating the dissolution of our engagement while keeping my distance from him.
“. . .Dissolving the engagement, huh.”
During a break from my duties assigned by my mother, the queen, I went out to the garden for a change of scenery. I thought it would be okay since Theodore would be training with the knights at the time, but then…
“What did you just say?”
Suddenly, Theodore’s voice came from behind me, and I couldn’t help but scream. I took a deep breath and turned around to see him in his military uniform.
“No, it’s nothing. . .Aren’t you supposed to be in training?”
“There was a little trouble, so I went to report to His Royal Highness and saw you on my way back.”
“I see. . .Thank you for your hard work.”
As I tried to leave, he grabbed my hand firmly, stopping me in my tracks with his strong, manly hand, unlike the small injured hands i had healed back then.
“. . .What is it?”
“The engagement. . .”
For once, Theodore kept his head down, avoiding eye contact. When I peeked at Kol, wondering what was going on, he looked at me with hopeful eyes.
‘’The engagement. . .Can it be broken off?’’
It will be difficult for him, as the second son of the count, to dissolve this engagement, which could be considered a royal decree. Moreover, the Kieza family has a strong loyalty to the royal family, and I can’t imagine his parents approving of such a personal decision.
“I’m looking into various things, such as whether there are any precedents in the past. . .”
“Why. . .”
It’s because you want it so badly.
“Ester, do you hate me?”
“. . .Of course not.”
How I wish I could hate you.
No matter how you feel about me, the memories of the past four years, the happy moments we shared, are still vivid, precious, and I can’t erase my love for you. Besides…
“You. . .”
you hate me? I almost said it, but stopped.
Theodore is good at hiding his true feelings. Even now, when our eyes finally meet, it seems like tears are welling up in the corners of his sad, narrowed eyes. Without this ability, I would never have known that he dislikes me. I can’t let anyone know about this power, which is more confidential than any state secret, especially not in our current state as mere fiancés.
“. . .Please don’t worry, I won’t cause you any harm. Well then.”
I have several unique magic abilities besides healing and mind-reading, one of which is teleportation. Without waiting to hear the rest of his words, I instantly returned to my office.
I was told not to use it often, except in emergencies, as it leaves my maids and guards behind. but this is a matter of utmost importance to my mental state. Please forgive me.
“. . .What am I doing. . .me. . .”
I have to dissolve the engagement as soon as possible. Despite his attitude, Theodore’s kol wished for the engagement to be broken. I feel guilty for forcing him to say such heartless things.
In the first place, Theodore is a kind person who doesn’t have two faces, both inside and out. I must have done something to make him dislike me so much.
Oh, if only I didn’t have this power. Then I could have remained a foolish woman who believed that he loved me. I wouldn’t have to think about breaking off the engagement or not wanting to see him.
I keep avoiding Theodore in various ways, but there are times when I can’t escape him.
“Ester,I’m sorry for being late… You wore the dress I gave you, didn’t you?”
During the dance, Theodore spoke to me in a voice that only I could hear.
As a princess, I naturally participate in official events hosted by the royal family, such as this National Foundation Day party. And of course, my partner was my fiancé, Theodore. I usually try to avoid him as much as possible, but I can’t ruin the event because of my own convenience. Today is a day when I can’t escape…or rather, a day when I don’t have to escape for a reason.
“…Yes, my maid insisted.”
But do we really need to wear matching outfits? The navy-based evening dress with champagne gold satin ribbons and white embroidery around the hem, called a robe de colletage, was elegant and very nice on its own, and I liked it.
“It’s very beautiful. It’s so beautiful that I didn’t want to show it to anyone.”
Theodore, dressed in formal wear that looked like a military uniform in the same color scheme, he wouldn’t want to do this matching outfit thing. But he would surely compliment me with a face that didn’t show any of that.
No woman in this country would be unhappy to be praised with such a sweet face and voice…except for me.
‘’Why am I wearing matching clothes with her…it’s humiliating.’’
I responded to his kol’s complaints in my mind, saying that you didn’t give it to me. Watching the kol grumble beside me, no matter how much I’m complimented, it feels empty.
“Ester, this is no joke.”
“. . .It’s not like it would make a difference who wears it. You can’t see the face anyway.”
“It’s not the same for me. But… I guess I’m looking forward to seeing your true face.”
He said with a light smile, causing me to flinch and my shoulders to jump. Showing my true face is only for my future husband… in other words, he must be looking forward to getting married. Of course, I don’t want to show him my face, and I don’t want to act like I’m too good for him.
Besides, our engagement might be broken off… or rather, I intend to break it off, so I didn’t give a vague smile in response. Theodore seemed to sense that I intentionally didn’t respond and had a look on his face like he wanted to say something.
“Oh, can I have one of those?”
“Your Highness, this is a strong alcoholic drink…”
“. . .It’s fine. I’m thirsty.”
Not knowing how to break the awkward atmosphere after the dance, I search for a reason to remain silent and accept the drink that a passing server was carrying. I bring it to my lips and take a sip while being careful not to choke on the sharp sensation in my throat. Since I used my thirst as an excuse, I drink a fair amount. I’m not particularly weak to alcohol, but I’m not strong either, so I might get drunk. It’s quite foolish, but if it comes to that, I’ll have to use healing magic.
“Ester, if you drink too quickly, you’ll get drunk.”
Theodore seemed to be fed up with me and tried to take the glass away, but I dodged it at the last moment. I don’t want to be left with nothing to do.
“Don’t worry about me, Theodore. You can spend your time as you like.”
“. . .In that case, please let me stay by your side.”
‘’If I can spend my time as I like, I want to go home right now.’’
Why does it have to be like this? Even though his kol is desperately trying to stay away from me. It’s rare for his actions to be so different from his kol, but that’s just how he is.
However, we are currently at an official event. Even when we are alone and don’t need to act, we have to pretend to be close in front of so many people. I need to find a reason for him to naturally stay away from me.
As I aimlessly walked through the crowded venue without a destination, I suddenly noticed something.
[────. . ..]
I instinctively turned my gaze towards the voice. There were familiar and unfamiliar faces.
“. . .Diark, it’s been a while.”
The Crown Prince of the Verde Empire, Diark, noticed me and walked towards me with a smile.
Verde was an empire located on the opposite side of the demon world. Although there was once an emperor who invaded Acardi, the current emperor of Verde recognizes Acardi as the first and last line of defense for protecting humanity from the demon world and supports our defense budget. Our relationship is good, and we often attend each other’s official events. This time, the Crown Prince Diark seems to be visiting as a guest.
We often meet at events like this, and although there is a difference in national power, we are close in age and both heirs to the throne.
“You still have that gloomy face. How about being more friendly?”
“You can only see my mouth, so what are you talking about? But more importantly…”
I swiftly snatch the glass Diark was holding and drink from it. It’s a stronger alcoholic beverage than what I had earlier, even though it doesn’t have a noticeable smell.
He looked at me in surprise at my unexpected action.
“Did that person over there give this to you?”
“I see. This drink doesn’t have a smell and is easy to drink, but it has a very high alcohol content. If you knew that Diark was weak to alcohol, it seems like you were planning something dangerous.”
Theodore seemed to understand what I meant and immediately restrained the man I pointed out. The man was wearing a diplomat’s badge, but Lord Schröder, the diplomat, was much older.
“I-I’m sorry, Your Highness! I didn’t realize it was alcohol–“
“I was in charge of the food and drink this time, but I didn’t prepare anything like this.”
If there was such an easy-to-drink and easy-to-get-drunk drink, it could be used for dangerous purposes. The man protested that it wasn’t him and that it was the work of a server or someone else, but he was shaking with anxiety about how he was caught, i could tell seeing by Kol.
“Theodore, hand him over to the guards. Diark, I’ll keep him under house arrest until you return to your country, is that okay?”
“Yeah, sorry Esterize.”
I handed over the glass with the drink as evidence.
It seems the man’s plan was to get Diark drunk and attack him while he was asleep, attempting to frame Acardi for the crime. If that were to happen, it would undoubtedly become an international issue. The man’s master seems to be an imperial prince with aggressive intentions, unlike the friendly emperor towards Acardi. He probably just wanted a pretext for starting a war.
Since the kol is my main source of information, I won’t be able to punish the imperial prince directly. But for now, it’s important to prevent Diark from being killed in this country.
If I couldn’t hear his inner voice, I wouldn’t have been hurt by Theodore, but I still think that I needed his strength.
“Anyway, aren’t you being too careless?”
“Haha, I’m really grateful. I thought I had resistance to poison and could smell alcohol, but. . .”
Diark is very weak to alcohol.
When we became old enough to drink, he came with a wine bottle to have our first drink together. However, he got drunk with just half a glass. It was fortunate that I was there to use healing magic to remove his drunkenness, but as the crown prince of the empire, he was too careless.
Well, in the end, I ended up drinking strong alcohol one after another, and now my consciousness became hazy. It’s not the right time for me to say anything.
“. . .I’m starting to feel drunk.”
“Hey, are you okay? I’ll bring you some water, so wait.”
I didn’t use healing magic as my symptoms would be evidence. As a result. . .I don’t remember much about what happened afterwards.