“Sigh, I’m really weak-minded too…….”
As I shook my head, Mei groaned.
“Miss, what are you thinking? Are you thinking about which book to read? Shall we stop thinking of difficult things like that and eat something delicious?”
“Mei, reading a book is very important.”
“But eating good food is also important.”
“Okay, then I’ll tell the kitchen to prepare dessert. How about pickled fruits?”
“Yes. And cake.”
Originally, I wasn’t a big fan of sweets, but because I’m still young and growing up, my eating habits have changed a bit.
Seeing my urging, Mei and Mother, who came out to see Tess off, laughed.
* * *
“It’s been a while, Miss Euseniel.”
“Hello, Your Majesty.”
Tess hadn’t been coming, so I was summoned to the Imperial Palace. By the Empress who doesn’t like me.
“I prepared things that Miss Euseniel likes.”
The Empress smiled, recommending sweet treats to me. Did she think that this would make it easier to win the favor of a six-year-old child?
But unfortunately i was not six years old.
“Yes, Your Majesty.”
So I barely touched the food. I just ate so little that it wasn’t disrespectful.
I could feel the Empress’s observing gaze. I really hated that kind of look. She seemed to be criticizing me.
In such a case, it was best to settle the matter quickly and leave.
“By the way, where is the Crown Prince?”
“The Crown Prince is in his palace, Miss Euseniel.”
Then why did you call me? Perhaps reading my thoughts, the Empress hurriedly offered me an invitation.
“Soon, we are going to have a party at the Imperial Palace with friends of the same age as the Crown Prince. I called Miss Euseniel to give you an invitation.”
I respectfully accepted the invitation. Why did she have to call me when she could have someone sent to Hardland?
“Euseniel, please go to the party with Telun.”
Telun means Tessvalun. After that, only I called him Tess, the Emperor and Empress called him Telun.
Well, calling him Tess was my own retaliation.
Tess was the name of the main character in a novel I read in a previous life.
The gender was different from Tess, and it was a woman, and she lived a miserable life unlike the boy who was the Crown Prince. Maybe it’s just a sarcastic act that only I know about the annoying little kid.
Since Tess would definitely not go to the party as the Empress said that, the Empress’s intentions were very clear, so I pretended not to know anything and tilted my head and asked.
“Me? How dare I ask the Crown Prince to do something together?”
I should immediately reject this. Again, as I pretended not to know, a thin line appeared on the Empress’s forehead.
“Euseniel is Telun’s friend, so you can ask him to go together.”
“But, Your Majesty, I am only the Crown Prince’s companion. Besides, it’s a party held at the Imperial Palace, wouldn’t it be strange if I asked to go together?”
I didn’t know if a six-year-old could speak this cleverly, but I spoke as innocently as possible.
“Ah, is this Your Majesty’s order by any chance?”
Then I’ll do it. Of course, if it is your order.
“Haa, nevermind. Just take the invitation with you. Then we’ll see you on the party day, Miss Euseniel.”
The Empress gave a clear dismissal order as if she didn’t want to talk to me any more.
She was the only woman favored by the Emperor, and the Empress even gave birth to the Crown Prince. She was from Marquisate Mirien, and she didn’t like the Duchy very much. This was a very old, aged feeling.
Moreover, Marquisate Mirien was a distant relative of Marquisate Xuen, and there were no daughters in the Mirien family the same age as the Crown Prince now. But it was in Marquisate Xuen.
So of course I want Tess to go along well with the daughter of Marquisate Xuen, but Tess only chased after me, so the Empress didn’t like it. The lack of childlikeness in me could be one of the reasons.
As I was walking with the Empress’s handmaid, I heard a voice calling me from somewhere. There were so many people here that we shouldn’t have met, and my shoulders shrank.
It was a little child who came to me with a gasp. Don’t talk to me because I’m being kicked out by your mother. If you pretend to be friendly with me, it would make the Empress hate me even more.
Unbeknownst to him, Tess grabbed me again and slammed his head against my shoulder.
“Wow, that’s why Mother told me not to go to Euseniel’s house. Euseniel has come to the Imperial Palace!”
I don’t think so, Tess.
“Your Highness, aren’t you in class?”
The Empress’s handmaid seemed perplexed, but she spoke to Tess without expressing it.
But Tess used his whole body and insisted he wouldn’t go. Unable to touch Tess’ body carelessly, the handmaid rolled her feet.
Perhaps Tess had run away from the escorts while escaping from class, and Sir Guard hurriedly approached him.
“What if you suddenly run out of class?”
“But Euseniel is here.”
Tess, still holding my waist, said firmly to me.
“I’m not going. I will be with Euseniel.”
Sir Guard spoke sternly, but Tess didn’t budge.
“I want to stop.”
It’s a bit sad that Sir Guard sighed silently. He seemed to notice that I sometimes sneak out and avoid Tess, but he pretended not to know.
Of course, Tess always came to me like crazy, and it was all in vain.
“Your Highness, you should go to class.”
“No, I want to be with Euseniel!”
We saw each other yesterday too. So I didn’t think you needed to be so happy about today.
I asked formally, pressing down on my true feelings that rose up to my neck.
“What class is this?”
It was Sir Guard who answered in place of the sullen Tess.
“If it was magic class, don’t tell me.”
“Yes, this is a class taught by the Archmage.”
He’s at the peak of magic, no wonder he’s called the Encyclopedia of Knowledge! It was said that even for a Duke, he was a difficult person to meet. There were things I wanted to ask him when we met, so maybe it’s a good opportunity.
I patted Tess on the back and smiled.
Tess looked at me with anxious eyes.
“Let’s go, Crown Prince. Classes are very important.”
Tess shook his head again, with tears welling up in his eyes. I couldn’t let go of the hand holding me tight.
“No. I will be with Euseniel.”
Looking around, the Empress’s handmaid, Sir Guard, and Tess’s handmaids who followed, were making troubled expressions. Normally, no one could attend the classes the Crown Prince takes, but if the Crown Prince himself was like this, wouldn’t it be okay to use a little trick?
“Your Highness, shall I go with you then?”
Tess’s eyes widened.
“While Your Highness attends class, I will be waiting by your side.”
“How dare you attend the Crown Prince’s class—”
“-great! I love it!”
Although she was the Crown Prince’s handmaid, she must have been sent by the Empress, the handmaid was furious, but Tess jumped in glee.
“Your Highness, forgive me, but this is a private class. And the Archmage may be offended.”
Perhaps she resembled her master, the handmaid seemed to hate me. Although she was better at managing her facial expressions than a novice handmaid.
“So, bringing Lady Hardland to class—”
“-I have decided.”
Tess, now holding my hand tightly, said stubbornly.
“Forgive me, Your Highness.”
“Who told you to talk back to me?”
Wow, even if an old eagle was better than the young crow, he was the Crown Prince, right? He was shouting in a pretty commanding tone.
It was rare for Tess to show such extreme emotion, and while I observed quietly, the handmaid did not give up. Did she not like me that much? Or maybe Tess looked easy?
“The Archmage was specially invited by His Majesty the Emperor, so Lady Hardland-”
“I told you to stop!”
The little boy, who only came up to my eye level, screamed with all his might.
“Get out of my sight right now.”
It’s the first time I’ve ever heard a fierce tone. It wasn’t just me, but everyone around me was startled.
“Who are you to keep going against me? I said I want to be with Euseniel!”
It was unusual to roll his feet and get angry. At this point, I thought she should back down, but the handmaid didn’t even budge.
“Your Highness is saying that you are going to take a mere Duke’s daughter to class now. That is not going to happen.”
Our family also has a long history, but hearing the word ‘mere’ from a handmaid from a lower noble background made me feel bad.
“Can’t you shut up! How dare you!”
Perhaps it was the same with this friend of mine as he jumped and kicked the handmaid with his feet in anger! Oh my, Tess was acting so violent.
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