Chapter 106: The Ball, Conclusion
「Why, I did not think Wilhelm-dono would be a part of such a noble house」
「Yes. I may be old, but I am a novice in the noble society. My wife and I are pleased to meet you」
「Not at all, the pleasure is mine. Do come to my party next time」
「We look forward to seeing you then」
The happy time for dancing ended so soon.
Afterwards, we went around greeting people. Wilhelm-sama might be a knight captain, but since he married me and became a part of the Ambrose ducal house, he must greet various people. By the way, the person we were currently greeting was a distant relative of the Ambrose.
I could not understand it much, but greetings seemed to be an important part of living in the noble society. Even when I was with my father, he was greeting people most of the time.
At that time, I was attending only as the daughter of the Ambrose ducal house, so I did not have to come along in greeting people.
But now that I was Wilhelm-sama’s wife, I had to drop a curtsy half a step behind as a wife should.
Without saying a word, while the two of them were making small talk.
A wife could not speak unless her husband prompted her to. It would be rude otherwise.
「Then, goodbye. Enjoy the ball」
「Yes, sir. Have a good night」
The greetings and brief conversation seemed to be over.
Wilhelm-sama signaled to me with only his eyes and moved from there. Then, he went to a wall and heaved a sigh.
He looked exhausted.
「Fu~u……it is tiring」
「What is the matter? 」
「Well……I have never had to do greetings like this before……. Usually, when I attend such an occasion, it was either as His Majesty’s escort or as an on-site guard. I never though I would be in this position」
With a loud exhale, Wilhelm-sama slightly loosened the tie around his neck.
Men were supposed to wear a tie around their necks, but I had wondered many times whether or not it was painful. With Wilhelm-sama loosening his tie like this, it really must be.
Likewise, I was wearing a corset, and it was painful around the stomach. But it could not be helped, this was formal clothing. I was still doing fine, but it could cause blood to congest around the stomach for those who strictly followed conventions.
「But we are mostly done with the greetings, are we not? 」
「We are. We already went through all the people Elizabeth told me I had to greet. We could now take it easy and wait until the ball is over」
Wilhelm-sama sat down on a chair placed at a corner of the hall.
I followed and sat down next to him. It might be a ball, but it did not mean everyone was standing all the time. A wife could not sit ahead of her husband, though.
My body quietly drew closer to Wilhelm-sama’s body.
Until my shoulder touched Wilhelm-sama’s arm.
Wilhelm-sama did not reject me leaning on him.
「You have not had much drink, have you? Shall I go get one? 」
We did nothing but greet people, and I was reminded that Wilhelm-sama had not had anything to drink.
I was also a little thirsty, so why not bring Wilhelm-sama some liquor?
However, Wilhelm-sama shook his head at my offer.
「No, there is no need」
「Is that so? 」
「Yes. If one drinks on an empty stomach, it will quickly take effect. And I cannot hold my liquor well either, so I will pass for now」
Wilhelm-sama really does take things into consideration.
If he got too drunk, I supposed I would be worried about our way back. Indeed, if Wilhelm-sama passed out, I would not be able to take him home.
If so, I had thought of a good idea.
「Would you like to have a drink after we returned to the manor? I will pour for you」
After all, we only went around greeting people and had not been able to talk much.
This was a social occasion though, so it could not be helped. But once we return to the manor, it would be just Wilhelm-sama and I. I could talk to Wilhelm-sama without any interruption.
Was it not the best idea!
「Is something wrong? 」
However, Wilhelm-sama folded his arms with a grimace.
Then, stroking his white beard, he looked at me apologetically.
「……Actually, after this ball, I have to go to the garrison once again」
「I spoke of it the other day, did I not? About how we are working on a deal with a new purveyor. Their representative sent word on wanting to negotiate……Their selling price to the Order is cheaper than our current purveyor’s. All that’s left is quality, but our discussions on that seemed to drag on. It even took a long time the other day……」
Indeed, I heard about it.
Was it when he only returned in the morning? He said something about a deal with a new purveyor.
On such a day—.
「I was asked to speak to them when the ball is over. After all, I could not just step out of a ball hosted by His Majesty, so I am heading there once the ball is over. I called Miss Natalia to escort you on the way home. She is probably waiting at the entrance」
「On the way back, Miss Natalia will……hold on」
Wilhelm-sama stood up after saying so, and I followed.
The hustle and bustle stopped, and the place instantly became quiet. There was only one reason for it—King Gaius stood up with a glass on hand.
「Ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for taking the time this evening to attend Edward’s debut as the new heir to the throne! 」
It was His Majesty’s concluding the event in a voice which carried over well.
After that, if His Majesty makes a final toast, the ball would end.
The ball—was over.
「A toast to the continued prosperity of the Flarekista Kingdom! To the Kingdom! 」
「To the Kingdom! 」
Everyone around drank the wine in their glasses.
And then, a few one or two people headed towards the exit. It seemed those who had not conversed enough were still conversing, but this was the end of the official ball.
And, of course, Wilhelm-sama stood up as well.
「Now then, shall we go? 」
「Miss Natalia is……Oh, she is here」
I passed through the exit with Wilhelm-sama and walked to entrance of the palace.
Natalia waited there, standing upright as always.
「You have worked hard. Wilhelm-sama, Ojou-sama」
「Hmm. Please take Carol home safely」
「Understood. Then, Ojou-sama, a carriage has been arranged over there. This way please」
「Well, I am going to work. You may rest first」
With that said, Wilhelm-sama headed towards the Order’s garrison.
After seeing him off, I got on the carriage with Natalia.
It had been a really, really enjoyable time.
But it was now ruined.
「What is the matter, Ojou-sama? 」
「……So, it is work, once again」
I wondered why.
I understood Wilhelm-sama’s situation and that he was busy with his work.
I still felt sad—.