Translator Note: I corrected the line at the end of the last chapter to show that Alice left the room and the this line at the start of this chapter to show Alice returned after she was called.
“… Thanks for your help, Lady Alice.”
Queen Ekaterina called for me to return to the room after their moment of hugging each other and crying together, and bowed her head deeply in front of me. I could see that Mary gasped at the sight… And I become impatient.
“Oh, please raise your head, Queen Ekaterina!”
Queen Ekaterina raises her head at my words, and her face turns slightly unhappy. Huh? You’re surprisingly expressive, Lady Ekaterina.
“Why … I mean, you know, the one who is the queen should not be bowing casually to the one lower down … “
To be honest, if I was living in modern Japan, I don’t think it’s ridiculous … If that’s the kind of world you are in, you can’t help it.
“I see. I’m one of the royal family, too. So I shouldn’t bow to you so easily.”
“So, this is not a casual lowering of the head.”
With that, Queen Ekaterina bows her head once more.
“–Thank you so much, Alice. Thanks to you … I was able to become a mother and child with ‘Zeke.’”
” And so–“
“… Just take it, Alice.”
“– … Your Highness.”
“My … ‘Mother’ Ekaterina is truly grateful to Alice. And so am I, for that matter.”
After saying that, His Highness Prince Zeke now bows his head.
” … Thank you, Alice. Really … truly, thank you.”
No, wait! I stared at the two of them, still cringing and looking to the right and left. And Mary’s hand, which was standing in front of my gaze, moved.
“… no, this is not a thumbs up situation.”
Mary’s behavior as if to say ‘take it’ makes me sigh in disgust.
Ah … I don’t care anymore.
” … Your words are too generous, Queen Ekaterina, Your Highness.”
… They just won’t listen to me. Well, I suppose I should be grateful. Well, uh… I don’t think I did much of anything, to be honest.
“… Mm. That’s fine.”
That’s fine. More importantly, what will His Highness study? Perhaps realizing my doubts, Queen Ekaterina opens her mouth.
“… Zeke says he wants to ‘study.’ I don’t like to force him, but if he wants to learn from himself, I think it’s a different story.”
“… I agree.”
“Hmm … but … it’s awkward for Zeke to live here.”
“Well, that’s right.”
I brought him here out of pure haste, but… It’s one step short of kidnapping. And even if it weren’t, it wouldn’t do to have the next king living in the home of one of the country’s most powerful families. No nobleman could act on what he felt in his gut. Not with the prestige of the crown and the strength of House Salbert.
“I don’t care about that. No nobleman can take action because of it if he doesn’t like the situation. Even if it is not talked about, there is the royal family’s majesty and the Salbert family’s strength.”
“… Is that so?”
“There is no need to cause a fuss for a trivial matter.”
“… Then what is the most important reason?”
“It’s been decided.”
To my question, Queen Ekaterina hugged His Highness Prince Zeke tightly.
“We’ve become mother and son, at last. At some point, I’ll give him to you, Alice, but … This is still my Zeke. I’ll miss you if you decide to live with Alice.”
… Oh. Your Highness, your visage is all red. The love between a parent and child.
“… Well, I guess it can’t be helped.”
“Yeah. But I agree that Alice and Zeke should get along. You’re going to be Zeke’s wife at some point, and you need to be educated as a queen.”
” … Are you saying that I am to be sent to the royal court?”
That would be a bit stuffy, don’t you think? Well, I’m going to act as His Highness’ fiancée to some degree.
” … If I keep Lady Alice in the royal palace for a long time, this time it would be Duke Salbert who will miss his child. That’s why you should come to the castle once a week or so. And Zeke, if you ever want to see Alice … If Alice is available, you can come and visit her.”
” … Is that okay?”
Mainly in terms of security and such.
“I’m not going to force him to come here as Alice did, and he’s going to have an escort. So, I want Alice to be able to play with Zeke if he wants to come visit, too.”
It’s not that I don’t mind. Oh, wait, so that’s what it’s all about.
“I suppose that could be it.”
“Because His Majesty, … said that Lily, the daughter of Viscount Swarov, was a better woman. My family is a close relative of Viscount Swarov, so he’ll have more chances to meet Lily.”
I’m ready to act as your fiancé, but… In a subtle ‘motherly-love’ way, I want your highness to be happy. If you live in harmony with Lily, I will make a grand exit, just like a villainous daughter. However, I don’t want to be ruined.
” … Zeke?”
“No, no! Uh, it’s not like that, Mother Ekaterina!” He waved his hand hurriedly at Queen Ekaterina, who was staring at him. His Imperial Highness turns to look at me as if to say, ‘Why did you tell her?’ Too bad, Your Highness. I’m ready to dote on your highness, but I don’t intend to spoil him all the time.
” … The … I’m sorry. I was rude. I apologize.”
Saying that, His Highness bows his head again. I’m kind of used to it now.
“But … Your Highness? I hope you’re truly remorseful. You can’t say such things to a girl, okay? It makes me sad.”
“… Are you sad, too?”
“Me? I’m rather pissed off about it, actually.”
I did a dropkick on him the first time. His Imperial Highness smiled at my words.
“… That’s scary, so don’t say it anymore.”
“No, I’m not afraid of anyone except me? However, I suppose it’s better not to say it,”
“What? What’s wrong?”
“No … So, we’re talking about nothing but you right now, and if I say something like that, you’re going to get angry … Yeah, I’m done.”
His Highness shrugs his shoulders with a somewhat tired look on his face. What’s with that slightly teasing look on your face!
“Your Highness? What are you–“
“Don’t call me ‘Your Highness’ like a stranger. My name is Zeke. From now on, you will call me that.”
Translation ‘Do you understand, ‘Alice?’’
Nodding with satisfaction in my words, His Royal Highness –Lord Zeke smiled.