This chapter felt longer. Well, that’s cause it was. (Probably not actually)
“Your Highness. Just what are you thinking here?”
“The recipients of the invitations are mostly those of the upper nobility. Within all that, Tina alone is the exception here. Might you have any idea, just what that girl might be feeling because of that?”
“What do you mean. What’s wrong with inviting her because I wanted her to come?”
—Ah, this guy’s hopeless. He’s not even trying to understand. Lilia, let’s give up here.
—You’re right. I feel bad for Tina, but this is out of my hands.
Sighing together with Sakura, she turned her back to The Prince. Now that she knew there was no point in any further conversation, she had no more reason to be here. She’d already fulfilled her obligation to show up, so she decided to head back to her room. As she felt an unpleasantness that made her good mood from touring the town earlier seem like a lie, Lilia wordlessly started walking away.
“Wait, Lilianne! Our conversation’s not over!”
She stopped at The Prince’s words and answered without turning around.
“No, it has concluded. Now that I have realised the pointlessness of any further exchange of words with you, there is no longer any reason for me to be here.”
After this she left without saying anything more. The Prince was shouting something or other from behind her, but she completely ignored it.
There was no one who impeded her path of return. Anyone who saw Lilia’s face all scattered like away like a flock of birds. But when she neared the exit there was one person standing there who didn’t flee.
Tina was looking at her with a worried expression. Probably because there were other upper class nobles around, she seemed to be holding back from being too familiar with her words. Lilia gave just one glance at Tina, before passing her by.
“Hang in there.”
Tina widened her eyes at the short parting Lilia sent before leaving. Without turning back to see her reaction, Lilia quickly took her leave from the place.
When she got back to her room, Alisa had prepared some tea and was waiting for her. Slightly surprised, she was guided to her seat by Alisa. Taking a sip of tea, she felt a bit of life returning to her.
“Good work out there, Mistress Lilia.”
Just how much does this girl know in saying that? While thinking it strange, Lilia simply gave a small shrug and didn’t respond.
“Might there be any plans for tomorrow?”
“Not really… No, there is actually. But there isn’t anything requiring your assistance, so it’s fine if you guys have a rest. At least take a break on the weekends.”
Hearing that, Alisa had a troubled look. It seemed like she was going to say something, so Lilia spoke first.
“You can take this as an order.”
“Take a break tomorrow.”
Alisa looked like she still wanted to say something, but soon gave up with a sigh. However that was just giving up, and didn’t mean she had accepted it. Alisa seemed like she was thinking for a while, before eventually opening her mouth.
“We shall take a break during noon only. Will that be acceptable?”
“…Suit yourself then…”
She was wondering just why she was so opposed to taking a day off, but it didn’t seem like Alisa would budge any further than this so she gave her consent with this.
—Lilia, what are you actually doing for tomorrow?
—Not much. Just going to make a few arrangements.
—For Tina’s sake?
—I suppose that’s what it comes down to.
When she answered, she was a bit surprised at her own words. To be acting for the sake of someone else… But, Lilia quickly shook her head. This was just the thanks for lending her the dress. It’s for my own sake, or so Lilia convinced herself.
—It’s a good thing, so there’s no need to deceive yourself you know?
Sakura said so with a cheerful laugh.
The next day. Finishing her breakfast, she saw out Alisa who went to buy things in town, and spent the rest of the morning working on her studies with Sakura. Making do with the snacks she bought yesterday as her lunch, Lilia left her room as well when afternoon rolled in.
When she got to the second floor entrance, the hall once again fell silent. But perhaps lacking in the shock factor compared to yesterday, the people quickly averted their gazes, and bit by bit returned to their own conversations. Even so there were still some who froze just from seeing her, but Lilia paid it no mind and moved her feet.
She arrived at Tina’s room. When she knocked, there came Tina’s voice from the door.
“Tina. It’s me.”
“Lilia? I’ll be right there.”
Following right after that voice, the door was opened. The face Tina revealed seemed just a bit worn out.
“Welcome, Lilia. What’s up?”
“Well, not much… May I come in?”
“Yeah, of course.”
Tina led her into the room. On her desk, study materials and notebooks were strewn about. So she was diligently studying, for some reason Lilia felt a bit happy at that.
—You’re just like an older sister huh.
—Hah? Older sister?
—Oh it’s nothing.
She didn’t think it was really ‘nothing’ from the way Sakura was happily giggling to herself, but she could tell that Sakura had no intention of answering her so asking would be useless anyways.
“Tina. How were things last night after that?”
When she was asked that, Tina gave a tired smile.
“There wasn’t anything up until I left but…”
Tina turned her gaze to a corner of her desk. There were numerous scrunched up pieces of paper there. With a doubtful frown, Lilia picked them up and read their contents. And instantly, she had her eyes narrowed.
—Lilia, that’s scary. Though I get how you feel.
—What in the world, is with this…
There were six pieces of paper. On each of them words such as ‘You’re not fit for The Prince’, or ‘Don’t get ahead of yourself’ and so on were lined up on the pages, seeming so far off the mark to someone who actually knew about Tina that they could only be shocked.
—It’s a mass produced Lilia model.
—I have no idea what you’re talking about but the fact that you’re making fun of me is clear.
—Then, it’s that. The mass produced former-Lilia model
—You sure have some guts there…