Chapter 36: Spending Time with a Friend
Lilia and I had been friends for a fairly long time now.
I entered school when I had been twelve years old. After some time passed, we had been instructed to pair up, and we got grouped together. At that time, Lilia was an opinionated girl and had a strong personality. Because of that, she had no friends and was all alone.
As for me, I was desperate to do the assignments given by the Queen every day and was not able to do anything else. So, I turned out to be a child who was constantly studying. Like Lilia, I did not have any friends.
While we both had different personalities, we still got along well. Thus, from then on, we ate lunch together with our respective maids.
The lonely school life I had led, unaccompanied by His Highness Rayford, was filled. All thanks to Lilia.
While it was embarrassing, one could perhaps call her my best friend.
That best friend of mine.
Glared at me with a terribly furious expression.
「An explanation, is it? 」
「Yeah. Please do explain to me so that I may understand」
「……where should I start? 」
Which part did Lilia sought an explanation from?
The part where I voluntarily dropped out of school all of a sudden?
Or that I suddenly received His Highness Rayford’s cancellation of engagement?
Or that I proposed marriage to Wilhelm-sama?
Or that I took the entry test of the Chivalric Order?
Now that I thought about it, there were certainly a lot of things which Lilia was unaware of unless I tell her.
「To begin with……right, I heard the news. His Royal Highness Rayford broke off your engagement」
「That is correct. I had not expected he would say it during the evening party」
「Mary Hopkins seems to have appealed to His Highness. Saying things like how you picked on her. And how you tried to push her down the stairs」
「Yes. His Highness seemed to have believed it」
「Just what have you been thinking? 」
Lilia was astounded as she looked my way.
Why do you look at me like that?
「What do you mean? 」
「Carol……when have you ever bullied Mary? As far as I know, that’s not true」
「I do not recall bullying anyone. In the first place, I was hardly involved with anyone in school other than Lilia」
「Then, why didn’t you say so! There wasn’t any bullying! I’ll testify if you want! 」
Lilia raised her voice.
Speaking of which, that was certainly true. But my heart could not recover from His Highness Rayford’s sudden condemnation.
Thinking carefully, I am a victim who had been falsely accused.
「It’s not true you bullied Mary. And yet, His Highness has—he told the kingdom you had done so. You know what will happen in this case, right? 」
「It warrants a false declaration under Article 42 Section 2 of the Kingdom Penal Code. Because negligence due to ignorance in the ternary is not admitted, it becomes a malicious false declaration. It also corresponds to defamation under Article 35 Section 1」
「……No, that’s not it. I knew you had memorized the law. I meant, why didn’t you say anything? 」
「I was not particularly interested. I do not intend on letting His Highness Rayford realize my innocence after such a long time」
I do not have any affection towards His Highness.
There was no doubt Lady Mary made a false declaration.
Even so, if there was no appeal coming from my side, then I think there was nothing wrong with the matter.
「You haven’t been interested? 」
「Yes. It was an engagement decided by my father in the first place. And the Queen’s education was grueling. I do not feel like making an appeal when I was able to somehow escape from it」
「You also haven’t been interested……in school? 」
I could not answer right away to what Lilia said.
My school life had been fun. I might have been absorbed in my studies, but I did enjoy spending time with Lilia.
Perhaps, what I did had been too selfish of me.
「……I am really sorry, Lilia」
「What are you apologizing for? 」
「You are all by yourself because I dropped out without a word. I am sorry」
Lilia’s face turned red enough that I easily understood.
Lilia might seem strongly opinionated and difficult, but she was actually really kind. She probably had been worried about me, so she came to visit like this.
「Th-that’s not true! It’s not like I was really lonely or anything! 」
「Of course. Are you thirsty, Lilia? Let us have some tea」
「Don’t change the subject so quickly! I-It really wasn’t that! 」
Lilia’s my only friend.
Likewise, I am also Lilia’s only friend.
So, from now on, Lilia’s school life would probably be lonely.
If that was the case, then I felt guilty for leaving school at my own convenience.
I asked Natalia, who was outside the door, to prepare tea.
I had intended to do it myself, but it seemed she had been nearby.
「Aah, mou! Even though I came to scold you……」
「Lilia, I may have left school, but the fact that you are my friend does not change. Let us play together during weekends」
「……Ah, right, you can already rest on weekends」
Lilia had invited me several times to spend time with her during weekends. But it had been those days where I would come to the Royal Palace and receive education from the Queen. So, I had to decline every time.
But now, I am free. I had the freedom to go out and visit my friend.
「Well, that’s fine then. While it can’t be helped on weekdays, we still have the weekends」
「Yes. Please take me to the shop you mentioned before, the one with the cute stuffed bear」
「I-It’s not like I’m fond of those! It’s just because my younger sister likes it! 」
Ufufu, I giggled.
My best friend was incapable of putting on airs. I knew almost anything about Lilia.
With a mou~, Lilia pouted. This gesture was Lilia’s habit whenever she was embarrassed.
Soon, Natalia brought us some tea.
We each drank our tea from the steaming cup. It seemed we had been fairly thirsty.
「By the way, has your engagement with His Highness been completely terminated? 」
「Yes. Lady Mary became his fiancée in my stead」
「Ha~a……Well, if you really don’t mind, then I guess it’s fine. But you’re the Duke’s daughter. You haven’t received any marriage proposal recently? 」
「I am in the midst of a courtship, because it is someone I had longed for since I was young」
「He~e, who is it? 」
Come to think of it, my feelings were kept a secret even from Lilia.
I had thought, “If it is Lilia, then I can tell her”. Even so, it was too embarrassing. Not to mention, I was the fiancée of His Highness Rayford at that time. If I had imprudently revealed another man’s name, it would have been considered as impropriety.
Thus, I kept it a secret. But I can already say it now.
「He is someone who often comes to our house when I was still very young」
「He~e. Then, they’re older? Isn’t that nice? Do I know this person? 」
「You probably know him」
Wilhelm-sama, who had long been the captain of the knights, was quite a famous person in the country. Lilia surely knew him.
As Lilia looked my way with delight in her eyes, she tilted her cup and drank a mouthful.
「He is the captain of the knights, Wilhelm-sama」
Lilia spurted out the tea with abandon.
I got a bit sprayed. It was messy.