Sakura was enraptured by the tastes of the strawberry daifuku. Just where did all that seriousness from earlier go? Making a helpless smile, Lilia bought one more and headed for the next shop.
After that they just continued with some pointless chatter as they went around to the shops marked out on Aira’s map. Along the way, they ran into many stores and foods that piqued their interest, but with only one exception they ignored them all. The exception being the strawberry daifuku of course.
And so after circling the entire route and while shopping at their last destination,
“Milady. Perhaps it is about time.”
It was a man’s voice. She recognised it even without having to turn around, as it was one of the agents. Thinking about it, that girl agent had referred to this guy as ‘father’, so were they parent and child? She was a bit curious, but it wasn’t something she needed to pry into so she left the question unasked.
“I got it. I’ll head back after I buy this.”
A small paper box was being wrapped up in front of her. Receiving it from the store clerk, she cracked a slight smile as she headed back towards the academy that was now within her sights.
As she reached the gate, the guard took a glance at her before silently making way. Lilia also didn’t say anything, and quietly went through. The agent had disappeared at some point. And as she returned to the classroom she used to change, there waited Alisa in the in the same fashion as when she departed.
“Welcome back, Mistress Lilia.”
Alisa politely lowered her head. Lilia returned a nod, and put the paper box on a desk.
“Could I get you to bring this back to my room? I’m going to go show my face at the evening party for a bit.”
“Ahh, by the way one piece in there is for you, so feel free to go ahead and eat it if you’d like.”
Alisa returned a look of astonishment as she widened her eyes. With a bit of trembling in her voice,
“Is that really alright…?”
“I did just say so didn’t I?”
“Thank you very much!”
Alisa gave an energetic bow. Lilia was a bit perplexed, but simply got her to help change outfits before getting her to return to the room.
When she got back to the evening party, the man at the entrance slightly widened his eyes.
“Welcome back, Mistress Lilianne. Well, I am sorry to say but…”
“It shall be over soon yes? I do not mind. I’ll just be going to greet some people.”
“Please excuse me. Well then, right this way.”
Passing by the man, she entered the venue. Different from when she had left, the place was filled with people. Even now the tables were still lined with numerous dishes.
—Lilia. Not gonna eat?
—I don’t think I can eat any more after that…
—Well, I guess that’s true.
Her stomach was already filled with the various treats she ate as she was touring the streets. She wasn’t bursting at the seams per se, but there was no reason to force herself here.
She felt some gazes and looked around her. She met eyes with numerous people who were looking this way, but they all quickly averted their gaze. While feeling a bit displeased, in order to get her business over with she searched for the person she needed. A sort of gathering of people was being created with said person at the center so it wasn’t too hard.
She headed over and began to walk. The surroundings that noticed Lilia fell silent, and opened up a path for her. It was the usual scene. Within that crowd Tina was there as well.
Letting out an exclamation inwardly in tune with Sakura, she turned just her sight to look towards the rightward area. Indeed, it was Tina. Dressed in an extravagant gown, Tina looked very much ill at ease here.
—This must be that idiot prince’s doing eh.
—Really… How worthless…
Give a bit of thought to Tina’s situation! Lilia could now see the trials this thoughtless Prince puts her through. Tina did certainly come from a house of barons, but that wasn’t at the status to be invited to an event put on by the royals. Surrounded by essentially nothing but upper class nobles, just what kind of mental state was she in by being in the middle of all this? The Prince might just think that she would decline if she didn’t want to go, but there was no way the baron class Tina could turn down an invitation from a prince.
So he can’t even comprehend such a simple thing, Lilia felt some slight disappointment, as she came before the one she was looking for, The Prince.
“Lilianne. What did you come for.”
With those being the first words out of his mouth, Lilia couldn’t help but make a bit of a frown. The surroundings also let out voices in confusion. Lilia quickly stuck a smile on her face,
“My, after sending over an invitation, those words are a bit much.”
Even a sneer was still within the definition of being a ‘smile’.
“It’s not like I invited you because I wanted to. They were just persistent in not leaving out anyone from a duke’s house from the invitations.”
“And it’s not like I wanted to come either you see. But it wouldn’t do to not answer to an invitation from the royal family no? Even though I didn’t even want to have to see you in my field of vision.”
The Prince’s eyebrows shot up. Taking in a breath and getting ready shout,
“Might you please try to think about people’s situation a bit more, Your Highness?”
“I don’t want to hear that coming from you!”
The Prince shouted. The surrounding atmosphere tensed up like a spring, but to Lilia it was no concern of hers.
—Well, hey, the place being what it is, you should probably think about your own situation a bit. It’ll cause trouble for your family.
—That’s… You’re right, I’ll be careful.
Somehow calming her heart that had begun to race, Lilia affixed a glare at The Prince. So you’re still not gonna stop doing that though huh, said Sakura with a wry laugh, but she really couldn’t fix that.
“That is so. Without thinking of the place I have said too much myself. My deepest apologies.”
Saying so she lowered her head. Voices of surprise leaked out from the surroundings. That was probably natural seeing the Lilia who rarely lowered her head obediently bowing here.
“Hmph. As long as you understand.”
“Yes. I shall apologise. And with that, I beseech you once more. Please think a bit about the situation.”
Wha-, The Prince was rendered speechless, and then his face was dyed red in anger. Without apologising this time, Lilia took a glance behind her, then quickly returned her gaze to The Prince.
“Your Highness. Why is it that Tina of Baron status is present here?”
“Is that not obvious? Because I invited her.”
“That has nothing to do with you!”
—An idiot. We have an idiot here.
—Let’s stop that, Sakura. Isn’t that rude?
Exchanging some lighthearted banter with Sakura, she felt refreshed and made a smile. Thanks to Sakura, she got by without losing her temper.