The princess grabbed my arm the moment I stumbled. Ziontin, who was nearby, grabbed me at the same time. My face began to heat up as I was caught between the two of them.
“Shouldn’t you be cautious if you’re wearing something like that?”
As expected, Ziontin wrapped her arms around my waist and scolded me.
I quickly untangled my twisted feet, feeling that they’re attempting to assist me in standing upright.
It’s so embarrassing.
“Thank you very much, Dame.”
“… Be careful.”
Ziontin loosened her arms around my waist and said one more word as I stood up.
I’m sorry. It’s all my fault, all my fault.
I stepped down from the tall shoes, scratching my cheeks in embarrassment.
“Hmm, that’s right. You might trip if you wear it.”
“Then just wear your old shoes. I can’t let you fall.”
Perhaps thinking it wouldn’t work, the princess let me avoid wearing those terrifying shoes.
I breathed a sigh of relief and yanked up the fluttering hem of my gown. I wasn’t doing it to seduce anyone; I was just checking my condition because my toe was hurting like it had been sprained.
I wasn’t sure if she was looking at me, but I noticed Dame Ziontin in the mirror turning her head away before frowning.
What the hell? Don’t look if you don’t want to see it. I sighed for no apparent reason and drew my skirt up to reveal my ankles. Then I turned my ankle deliberately and made a ‘ouch’ sound.
“Your Highness, I have something to tell you.”
Just in time, the princess left the room for a while at the call of a lady-in-waiting, and the maids were also busy cleaning up.
I appeared to be struggling to rub my ankle as Ziontin spoke to me.
“Did you sprain your ankle?”
“Did you realise that just now?”
“… Let me know if you need help.”
Her chivalry remains constant, whether she likes it or not. Her first rule is to be gentle with ladies and kind to the weak. I sobbed and fell to the floor.
“Ouch. It hurts so much. Because of the pain, I can’t walk……”
“… Are you being truthful?”
“Do you think I’m acting? I hadn’t realised it before, but you’re mean, Dame Ziontin. I’m in agony, but you’re just standing there…”
I pretended to cry in response to Ziontin’s suspicious stare.
Because my acting is so good, I can feel Ziontin flinching.
Ziontin eventually sighed and approached me to assist me.
In my mind, I stuck out my tongue.
“Looking at the time, isn’t it time for Dame to change shifts?”
“… Yes, but Lady Oberon appears to have hurt her foot, so I’ll have to take her home.”
Her expression indicates that she does not want to do it, but she must.
When the princess who had left returned and looked at us, Ziontin gave us a firm response. With a smile, the princess returned my gaze.
“It appears Ziontin genuinely cares about you.”
“Really? But she just stood there, even after I fell and grabbed my ankles.”
“On the surface, it appears that way, but on the inside, it is the polar opposite. She’s a sweet girl. She had no one to call her friend until now; she is fortunate to have you.”
The princess whispered as if telling me a secret story, but it was loud enough for Ziontin to hear everything.
With a stiff face, Ziontin maintained her gaze on the air.
It must be inconvenient to have extra chores to do on top of receiving an unexpected call from the Imperial Princess while on duty.
I became sulky because I was unsure of her true feelings.
“Who dares to take her home?”
However, my grandiose plan to target Ziontin quickly unravelled.
“Greetings and salutations to the Lord.”
On the other side of the imperial palace corridor, a halo-like light appeared, followed by a man with a dazzling light that could harm one’s eyes.
This world’s idol. My future husband!
Lacius noticed Ziontin supporting me uncomfortably and moved in close to take over. Then he gave me a questioning look.
“How did you two end up like that? As far as I recall, you weren’t very close.”
“Oh, I acted like I sprained my ankle.”
Ziontin’s brow furrowed in response to my confident declaration.
I leaned back against Lacius, turning my head to look behind me.
“Thank you very much, Dame Ziontin.”
We may argue frequently, but this is my sincere opinion. Thank you so much for being there for me as if you were a friend.
Ziontin flinched slightly, then relaxed her face slightly.
“I’m glad you’re okay. Please go safely.”
“Sure, see you!”
“I don’t think I need to see you again.”
She continues to complain, but it seems like we’ve made progress.
I smiled cheerfully and took a quick step.
* * *
“Oh no, my wrist.”
It was a rather windy spring day. On windy days when the window frame rattles, it’s difficult to go outside because the hem of the dress flutters excessively.
As a result, I shut myself away in the house and concentrated on painting.
I can’t get my hands on the ‘Viking’ from before because I need to dry it, so I’m focusing on the ‘Merry-Go-Round’ today.
Every child’s dream, Merry-Go-Round!
When I was younger, I wanted to ride a merry-go-round. I wonder if it was because I couldn’t go to an amusement park when I was younger. And it’s either because we don’t have enough money or because my father is too busy to take me there.
It was common for him to be called out while he was off-duty, and he sometimes had to deal with various reports on weekends.
I couldn’t stand in line at the merry-go-round after I became an adult. Is this my lingering feelings?
How long has it been since I concentrated and worked hard with my brush? I twitched my nose as I became aware that the bridge of my nose was itching. But no matter how hard I try, there will be no relief unless someone scratches it. I don’t want to scratch it with my hands because they’re all covered in paint.
I fought the itching for a long time before scratching my nose with the back of the brush.
I lost my reason and carelessly used the back of the brush, but no one else was around, so it was fine.
I was embarrassed for nothing, so I put the brush down for a while. But it was then.
“You’ve got some paint on your nose.”
From behind, a low-pitched voice called out. I was so surprised that I leapt into the air before standing up.
“Sorry. Did I frighten you?”
“When did you arrive?”
“… Well, I’ve been here for exactly five minutes.”
My heart feels like it’s about to leap out the second-floor window. I couldn’t even breathe properly because I was so shocked.
No way, this man! You should make some noise when you walk in!
“You have oil paint all over your nose. I’ll clean it for you.”
Lacius, who was approaching, however, had a slightly different scent than usual.
I flinched as the soft handkerchief moved up and down the bridge of my nose.
I unknowingly took a step closer to Lacius and sniffed him when he removed the handkerchief with a friendly face.
“Where have you been?”