Huge thanks to emely for the kofi! The support is much appreciated <3
This was unexpected, so even I was a little surprised.
A commotion broke out. Unbothered by the crowd, Izek grabbed me and turned me around to see me for himself. Caught in his tight grasp, I felt like a mouse trapped inside an eagle’s claw.
Was he going to hit me?
I didn’t care as long as I didn’t die.
“Say that again. Hiding… What are you going to do while hiding?”
“I-I’ll just hide and watch. Even if I follow you, you wouldn’t know…”
“Do you want to die?” His tone sounded pretty odd for a threat.
Of course, I was doing this so I would not die, so I shook my head.
“Then, why would you do that?”
“I-I… would like to see you, but I don’t want to be a bother…” Like a cute fan.
Surely, he wouldn’t think his weak wife would try to assassinate him. Clearly, the only person brave enough to try and assassinate a Paladin was someone with a death wish.
As I tried to make tears come out of my eyes, my husband, staring at me with a look I couldn’t figure out, suddenly let out a sound similar to a sigh and rubbed his temple. At the same time, Sir Ivan, who was watching us with a somewhat solemn look, coughed, “Lady Rudbeckia, that is a very dangerous thing to do.”
“I don’t mean to say that Lord Izek would ever mistake his wife for an assassin, but, as you know, the North is a dangerous place, so we’re not like the knights that you’re used to from the South. Our bodies are trained differently from other knights, and if the Lady is near us when our divine powers and swordsmanship hit maximum levels, we wouldn’t be able to distinguish humans from monsters, and may end up killing you without knowing what’s going on.”
Right… Paladins were rumored to enter a state of frenzy when their swordsmanship and divinity reached their peaks. Naturally, I never intended to follow Izek to such dangerous places, but I guess I did look like a fangirl judging from their reactions. Thank you for misunderstanding me, you delusional people.
“Oh, I almost got myself into trouble. I’m sorry, it’s just that since I’m from the South…”
“Please don’t say that. It’s no wonder you didn’t know. It’s fine, right? Hey, say something,” Ivan objected without missing a beat.
Izek, who didn’t budge an inch, was silent. He just stared at me with a strange look in his eyes, chewing on his bottom lip. He seemed to be thinking about how he’d get annoyed to death by me.
“D-Don’t worry. I’ll never get you in any trouble…” I made sure to stutter, looking as crestfallen as possible.
“If your schedule has changed, you should have told me in advance.” That cold voice belonged to Ellenia. She came close to us and glared at her brother with an impassive look on her face.
“Ellen’s right,” Freya, walking up to Izek, said with a cheer. “You could have stopped by. You don’t even know how to be grateful for the beauties waiting at home.”
She playfully tapped Izek’s arm with the tip of her fan, breaking the tense atmosphere. The move seemed to come very naturally.
He was still staring at me.
Usually, in this type of situation, you would hear a reply like ‘What beauties?’, but by maintaining his statue-like silence, Izek was making this barely cheerful atmosphere awkward again. Not to mention my poor shoulder still trapped in his tight grip.
Such a narrow-minded b*stard.
This response of his was interesting, though. I thought he’d just walk away like last time.
“His Majesty the King has arrived!”
Just when he had finally opened his mouth, a loud horn sounded. Talk about great timing.
The king of the North, King Feanol, came up to us. With a gentle and friendly enough smile on his face, he said in a professional tone, “You must have had a hard time coming such a long way, but I am happy to have your presence, Lady Rudbeckia.”
“I also appreciate your hospitality, Your Majesty.”
“It’s rare for my nephew to appear on time for a banquet, but it seems like after getting married, little boys really do grow up. Isn’t that right, Lord Izek?”
Apparently, King Feanol had made a considerable amount of money thanks to his nephew.
Izek would also have gotten enough money to last a lifetime because of my dowry. He responded politely to the jab, “A son will follow in his father’s footsteps, after all.”
The king’s expression became distorted. It was not an angry look, but one of strange melancholy. “Is that why you never listened to me, even after I kept requesting for so long?”
“What can I say, and who can I even blame? Since I was the one who brought this on to myself,” he answered in such a cold and bitter way, that I felt compelled to lower my head in shame. This marriage was forced upon him just as much as it was forced upon me, after all.
Izek turned his eyes to me, taking me in carefully, and left like a passing storm, clicking his tongue in displeasure all the while.
This child-like behavior reminded me of Cesare’s.
Laughter rang out from all over the place.
Yes, yes, laugh all you want. I will be the fool, still smiling even when my husband throws me away.
“If only he hadn’t been Isis’ child…”
“Calm down, Your Majesty. The new bride will be surprised.” The queen gently pacified the king, who was about to throw a fit. She gave me a kind smile.
Rich, red-brown hair. Lemon-colored eyes and a mole underneath the left one. Light coffee-colored skin rare for royalty in the North to have. She stood out. I remember someone saying that she was a slave from the East, and my memory seemed to be correct.
“Now, now, princess, it’s daring of you to stare at Lady Rudbeckia like that. You have to greet her properly.”
The Princess of Britannia looked around six or seven years old.
With brilliant turquoise eyes gawking at me, the princess hid behind the queen, who lightly pushed her with a hand on her back. Her long, red-brown colored hair was twisted in a braid and swayed as she moved. “Welcome to Angvan Palace, Lady Rudbeckia.”
“Thank you, Princess Arien.”
I greeted her with a big smile, and the princess, who went back to hiding behind the queen’s skirt, quickly averted her eyes. She was like a little kitten.
Seeing her in person, it was clear why the existence of the princess was so insignificant in the original novel.
King Feanol was sufficiently in love to give the crown to a woman that was not only a former pagan slave, but also a dancer. And yet, he could not give his daughter, who resembled her mother so much and had the same pagan characteristics, the same position as any other princess in the world.
It was inevitable, no matter how hard the king tried. On top of that, with cousins like Izek and Ellenia, Arien would eternally be a stranger in Britannia’s aristocratic society.
I was never in a position to sympathize with anyone, but I couldn’t help but feel sorry for her.
Damn it, this world and that world are not much different after all.
In any case, after the formal greeting of the king, the banquet continued on in earnest.
The music the bands played, the sound of people talking, the laughter and the glasses clinking together was all that could be heard. It filled the vast ballroom, and, sitting at a dinner table with Ellenia, many questions poured in.
“Those sleeves are so unique. Is it a southern fad?”
“Aha-ha, I’m still waiting for a new dress.”
“Where did you get your dresses tailored?”
“Do you like the food here? I visited Romagna before, but I had a hard time because the southern food didn’t fit my palate.”
It was expected that they would give me looks of compassion, since I was basically a hostage sold off to this country, mixed with ridicule, because I was the vile Pope’s daughter.
Sure, look at me just like that! I’m a Borgia but I’m also a fool who can’t even think about harming anyone!
“Frey? Where have you been?” Freya, who had disappeared some time ago, finally reappeared and joined our table. It was refreshing to see her perfectly pale complexion flushed, as if she had been riding a horse in the short time she was gone.
Freya sat on the right side of Ellenia and immediately turned to me, “I’m sorry, My Lady. I was going to bring Izek back in, but now he’s ignoring me. Just where did his knight’s chivalry go?”
“You’ve done something useless. Has there ever been a time where he listened to us?” Ellenia sighed.
“I know… Haaa. Anyways, My Lady, do you like horseback riding? Ellen and I host horseback riding parties every summer.”
“I don’t ride very well, but I do like it.”
“Don’t worry, all you have to do is like it.”
As a matter of fact, it was the other way around. In my previous life I was very good at riding, but I didn’t like horseback riding itself. Now that I think about it, I just didn’t like horseback riding clubs. They were filled with nothing but bad people and bad memories.
“Horseback riding skills are hard to keep up with. Well, Lord Izek did teach you two, of course. How about asking your husband for help, My Lady?” One of the women sitting across from me smiled widely. Her round, gray eyes sparkled with provocation.
Before I could open my mouth, Freya cut in quickly, “That was when I was a child. Besides, I wasn’t that good at it.”
“But of course. Don’t get me wrong, Lady Furiana.”
Lady Consolace apologized coolly and exchanged glances with the people around her. She looked like she was dying of joy. Why was there always one such person like that everywhere?
“Thank you for your concern. But I can’t waste his time on such a trivial matter.” A moment of silence passed by as I replied with a smile.
She gaped at my grinning face, as if what I had said was absurd, and soon cleared her throat and gave me an awkward smile, having lost all of her excitement. “By the way, summer is soon coming to an end. This year’s Gladiatorial Match will be held earlier than last time, right?”
“Will Lord Izek attend this year’s game?” someone asked.
“Well, I’m looking forward to it, but if Lord Izek attends, the winner will be too obvious.”
“I wouldn’t be able to guess what’s going to happen this year, honestly. I wonder who’ll the Flower of Glory will go to…”
The conversation quickly shifted, and I felt sick when this topic came up.
Because Cesare would visit once the Match started.
The Gladiatorial Match, held every three years in Elendale, was the largest event with the longest history on the continent, attracting participants and visitors from all over the world.
Just a note for all readers, y’all have my love for the comments and support so far,,, it’s what gives me motivation to translate more <3 feel free to let me know if this needs editing or not :3 – Yui
Ed./N: And then months later, I came along to edit :p – Nila