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An Unexpected Declaration
The next day after the unpleasant encounter with Miss Cecilia. The day when we would make the final decision on the day of departure.
In today’s meeting that was intended to arrange that, Miss Cecilia was obviously not there.
As for the flow of the meeting, it was basically Margrave Vayne telling us the decision in a simple manner. It seemed he had already finished arranging things with Reggie.
Having a rough idea of how the ration would be transported and that the equipment was ready, as for the problem of the soldiers that’d be sent to the war against Ruain, there were around 8,000 of them gathered.
As they would depart three days later, and in 6 days they should arrive at Marquis Limerick’s territory in the Southwest, and there was a plan to merge with Viscount Rainster’s army that would come there.
Based on the notice we received, the other party’s army would have around 7,000 people, making our military forces to have around 15,000 people.
The Ruain army’s power should have swollen up by receiving the military forces offered by the defectors within the country, but the amount of it was unclear. However, according to Margrave Vayne, there wouldn’t be any steep difference in military strength in each place.
The Ruain army was scattered around in various places.
Although their number has increased, after invading one territory, they can’t leave it quite empty. They will have to leave behind some military force until their reinforcement comes. As it repeats, the territories that join hands with the Ruain wouldn’t be able to take out quite a large reinforcement even if they are reluctant.
The first thing we will encounter when we march after this would be the place where the temporarily placed army would be waiting for their reinforcement to come.
After understanding all that, the meeting was finished.
Since it was already close to evening, I decided to use the bath.
After we departed for the front, I wouldn’t be able to enjoy a bath like this.
Actually, when we repelled the Ruain army the other day, I was forced to lead a life weeping as I couldn’t quite take a bath, and I barely endured it.
It is every woman’s natural desire to want to be able to take care of their body and keep it clean. Even if it wasn’t as good as it was in my previous life, but in this world, there was a habit especially among the nobles to wipe one’s body and take a bath before one went to sleep in order to prevent illness, so I was even sadder.
That’s why, I ought to enjoy it now while I can.
More or less, I’ve already made a countermeasure for the next time. I’ll try making a private space around the river by using the soil several times, so that I can arrange an environment where I can bath. At any rate, I’m glad it’s a warm season. If it were winter, it’d be absurd to take a bath in the open air.
I was thinking about that while enjoying the bath with the hot water that I had asked to be prepared before.
Speaking of which, the bathing place in the Everal castle is fixed, so there’s no need to bring in a bathtub into the room. A room that isn’t separated from the water well becomes the bathroom, and we can enter the water into a big bucket, then heating it by entering the burnt stones. I’m happy since I can feel slightly more at ease asking for the hot water be prepared since there’s no need to have the hot water transported.
After getting out of the bath, I felt fresh like I just came out from the oven, but in the middle of returning to my room, my expression stiffened.
As I encountered Miss Cecilia while getting up the stairs, the one whom people told me not to get close to.
Perhaps Miss Cecilia was thinking about the seating on the dinner we’d have after this, and she had her hair tied and wore a formal dress. So, thinking that she was waiting for Reggie, I intended to pass by her after bowing slightly, but…
“Uuuuuuhm, I’d like to talk…”
I was called to halt. When I inevitably turned around, I made an eye contact with Miss Cecilia, but she then averted her gaze as if she felt awkward.
Weren’t you the one who wanted to talk? I tilted my head in confusion. If there is nothing to talk about, then I’d like to enter my room quickly, though.
After waiting for her to speak for a while, and after Miss Cecilia hesitated like saying, “Errr…” or “Uhm…,” she tightly closed her eyes and said.
“I want you to not be that close to his Highness…”
The talk I finally got to hear was apparently about Miss Cecilia being jealous.
Since she is the prince consort candidate, Miss Cecilia is recognized as someone worthy to be married to as a relative to the royal family. And since the person herself was into that, I thought she felt unhappy seeing Reggie and I being together.
Miss Cecilia is surely the type of girl that hates it if her partner has another woman next to him even if they’re just friends. In the magazine that my mother read in my previous life, I remember that there was a written article that stated how such a person existed.
To Miss Cecilia, Reggie isn’t just a boyfriend, but he’s her husband candidate.
Moreover, with her territory falling into the enemy’s hands and under the forlorn situation where she doesn’t know of her parents’ life and death, perhaps to the extent that she can’t tell if it’s reality or not, she might want to think that Reggie—who’s tied to her with a fine thread and someone that can be relied on—is hers.
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That might be the case, but… I ended up thinking that I found it unpleasant.
If she were his fiancee, then it can’t be helped as she’d get married to him after that. In that case, our friendship has to be cooled down like a fan, and I’d think that it can’t be helped that I can’t be close to Reggie. However, Miss Cecilia is in the position where it’s unsure whether or not she’s going to marry Reggie. Much less to say if her parents were to be deceased, it won’t be weird for the talk about her becoming the prince’s bride falling through.
But, it’s not like I’m sticking unnecessarily to Reggie, and it’s still within the proper limit… I ended up thinking about it.
And then, I suddenly recalled.
That Reggie had hugged me close. And if it’s only kissing my hand, then it’s still considered safe, right? But he had also held my leg.
Whoa, that’s right. What to do if she were to hear that as a rumor? I’d certainly be hated. Wouldn’t I be considered as a thieving cat?
I became subtly flustered as I remembered various things that had happened until now, but when I suddenly felt a strong gaze, I came back to my senses.
Then, I noticed a brown-haired knight standing at a slightly distant place as if he was watching over Miss Cecilia.
How to say it, I understood that he was there to protect her, but I felt slightly unhappy as he was staring at me with a slightly sharp look, perhaps thinking whether or not I was going to do anything to her.
I wanted to say that I wouldn’t do anything.
On the other hand, Miss Cecilia looked so full of things she wanted to say to me.
“P-please. At least don’t approach his Highness. If not, I’ll be troubled.”
I couldn’t say this with certainty since the inside of the building was dark, but her face was pale as if she was scared.
Is she thinking that she can’t tell what I’d do if I were to get angry, since I am a magician? I completely have no intention of doing anything due to this kind of thing, though…
Nonetheless, I didn’t feel like saying yes. But in this situation, wouldn’t it be better to pretend that I understood? If this talk drags on, I might end up catching a cold with how my hair is only half-dried.
As I began to feel troubled, a helping hand finally arrived.
“What’s the matter, Cecilia-dono?”
Reggie was climbing down the stairs.
Also unlike me who was wearing clothes that weren’t fixed with corset on my waist and how I was brimming with the obvious feeling of being at home, he was wearing a long-hem jacket.
Looking at Reggie, Miss Cecilia’s expression turned into one that seemed about to cry as she said, “I-it’s nothing!” before running away.
The knight that was glaring at me together with her was also gone. I wonder what’s the matter?
“…Somehow, she’s similar to a small bird or squirrel, huh?”
Even if it has come to the fodder it saw, if people were to come to a certain distance, it will escape at full speed. In this case, both the fodder and the person are Reggie, though.
Even though it was only my honest thought leaking out, Reggie burst into laughter.
“Kiara, didn’t you just get entangled with Cecilia? But you thought of her as cute animals such as a squirrel or little bird, didn’t you think that she’d bite at you at all?”
“It’s not that… I didn’t think of it at all.”
It was certainly not an enjoyable mood. There is nobody in this whole world that will be happy to be acknowledged as an enemy by someone with no particular interest.
“She wasn’t that sort of person who’d come and say such things before.”
Reggie had a pondering expression on his face.
“She seems to be an introvert since she was a child. We first met during a banquet at the royal palace. She was always hiding behind her mother. But still, her parents managed to interact with the royal family. Even if she wasn’t good at talking, she gave me a painting as a gift.”
“Is Miss Cecilia good at painting?”
“It’s landscape painting, though. Cecilia-dono is a person who paints beautiful picture that preserves the delicate nature of the landscape. It seems that she spends most of her time to paint pictures since she’s poor at interacting with others.”
“That’s why, I was slightly surprised, too,” Reggie said.
“To think that she’d say thing such as don’t get close to me.”
“…You heard everything from the very beginning?”
“Sorry, there’s something that bothered me, after all.”
Reggie calmly smiled and apologized. Then, he extended his hand and touched my hair.
As my hair moved, the nape of my neck was slightly touched.
“Sorry that it made you stop. You should better return to your room, Kiara. If you were to meet other people with your wet hair like this, it’d be troublesome.”
Uhm, well, having a long talk right after getting out of the bath, in this world… or rather, it’s not something that people do that much in Faruzia kingdom. I think it’s because we can’t dry our hair with a hair dryer here, though. There’s the need to let it dry slowly in a place with fire.
That’s why, I thought that Reggie was saying it was improper, but he—who accompanied me until we arrived in front of my room—gave another advice before closing the door.
“I want you to put something on to cover it after taking a bath if possible. Kiara will soon become an adult, right? You look even more mature than usual with wet hair, so I don’t really want to show it to other men, though.”
“Then, good night,” said Reggie before he left.
I… was so surprised that I almost dropped my jaws open.
With my previous life being counted as well, it’d be 29 years. Up until now, nobody has given me such kind of an advice.
That he doesn’t want to show it to other men, doesn’t want to show it. Not—wanting to show it. I felt too shaken as I was being treated like an adult woman, and my brain’s speech center couldn’t function well.
“What’s it? Are you, including the content of your head, boiled? Ihhihihi.”
I couldn’t rebut Master’s words at all today.