|Author: Sasaki Ichiro||Original Source: Syosetu||Word Count: 2163 characters|
|Translator: Tanaka||English Source: Re:Library||Word Count: 1013 words|
“So, it looks like you’ve already found a candidate?” (Hiyuki)
“Indeed, we’re talking about the unmarried ruler of a nation. There have been numerous marriage proposals, both domestic and foreign. The current front-runner is a 22-year-old niece of a neighboring king. She’s slightly past what’s considered her prime but is widely celebrated for her beauty.” (Gald)
‘Tsk, lucky b̲a̲s̲t̲a̲r̲d̲,’ Guildmaster Gald muttered, annoyance evident in his voice as he explained.
It should be noted that the optimal age for marriage in this world for women ranges from 14 to 18.
“Hmm, once someone ascends to power, opportunities just seem to fall into their lap, don’t they?”
“On that topic, Your Highness must be inundated with marriage proposals.”
“….Huh? I recall one particularly audacious individual who proposed within a minute of meeting me, but nothing since then. ——Right, Mikoto?”
Hiyuki deftly steered the conversation towards Seraphim Mikoto, who stood behind her in a maid’s outfit. Upon being addressed, Mikoto briefly looked away.
“Yes… Well, it’s not like there haven’t been any, but Tengai once said, ‘I cannot allow such disrespectful proposals to reach the Princess,’ and that was the end of that.”
“Oh? Well, that’s one way to handle it. So, how many proposals have there been?”
Sighing at Hiyuki’s query, Mikoto responded.
“As it stands, proposals have come from every conceivable nation on the continent. It’s 100% per country, and counting duplicates, it totals 869%.”
“…Every nation? Wait, surely none have come from the Holy Kingdom, have they?”
“……The world can never have enough traitors,” the silver-haired Seraphim quietly declared.
The discussion about the marriage had proceeded smoothly.
However, as for the man in question, Collard had mostly been lost in a daze. By the time he regained his senses, he found himself amid a flurry of maids assisting him in changing his clothes for an upcoming meeting with royalty. He was in the reception room at the royal palace of the neighboring kingdom of Welba.
…What am I doing here?
Though it took him a while, it seemed he had finally recovered from his heartbreak and regained his composure. The first thing Collard did upon regaining his clarity was to reflect in shock on recent events.
The whole saga began with the Minister mentioning the subject of marriage, to which he had nodded absentmindedly. Subsequently, he was ushered into a carriage designated for travel and, escorted by a detail comprised of his personal guards and those appointed by Hiyuki, crossed the border into the neighboring nation. There, he met the local nobles, who were assigned to guide them, exchanged some pleasantries, and entered the royal palace all while admiring the capital’s cityscape.
Though he could recall all these events, they felt surreal to him.
It was like recalling a scene from a movie; he had no real sensation of participating in it. It was only at this point that the weighty reality of ‘Marriage’ sank in.
Sweat trickled down his back, evoking a most unpleasant sensation.
No, this can’t be happening!
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Feeling the enormity of the situation from which there was no escape—a decision that would define his life—his legs began to tremble, as though he had fallen into a massive anthill.
Just as the maids finished assisting him with his clothes and were about to leave the room under the escort of guards, a voice inquired, “What’s wrong? You look a bit pale.”
Standing by the open door was Rabbitkin Chloe, who had accompanied him as a guard at Hiyuki’s request. She cocked her head, puzzled.
“Uh, well, I come from commoner origins, so I’m not particularly adept at interacting with royalty from other nations. I can’t help but feel nervous,” Collard responded, improvising slightly to hide his true feelings, though it wasn’t entirely untrue.
“You don’t have to be so self-conscious. They’re human, just like you. Just be yourself and be confident,” Chloe reassured, her large, expressive face beaming a comforting smile.
“You may be right…”
With a thump that made him almost stumble, Chloe patted Collard’s back reassuringly. “If you have time to hesitate, take action! Don’t burden yourself with needless worries. Things usually work out.”
Collard looked up at Chloe, who was taller than him, and found himself strangely comforted by her brusque yet caring words and her gentle gaze.
“Thank you. I think I’m fine now.”
“You’re welcome,” Chloe winked mischievously as Collard expressed his gratitude.
“Your Highness, it’s about time,” prompted a guard.
Nodding, Collard walked through the door. Mysteriously, his heart, which had been tumultuous like a boat on a stormy sea, had regained its calm. With a serene expression, Collard made his way down the straight corridor.
“He turned it down? How did it happen again?”
Hiyuki, who had come to inquire about the progress of the marriage discussions, blinked in disbelief.
“He said something along the lines of, ‘I’ve realized that if I want to marry, it really has to be someone I want to make happy.’ Basically, all the groundwork we’d laid was for naught.”
“I see. So, he’s still not entirely over his heartbreak then?”
Gald’s brows furrowed, framing an indescribable expression on his face. “No, that’s not it. Actually, he looks so full of life now, you’d wonder if he’s the same person who seemed like a living corpse just a short while ago. Everyone involved is puzzled.”
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Just as Gald finished his explanation, Mia, who had been quietly listening to their conversation, spoke up.
“Excuse me, Guildmaster. Could it be that His Highness has found someone he likes?”
“”What!?”” Both Hiyuki and Gald exclaimed simultaneously, startled by Mia’s unexpected interpretation.
“Another crush… Mia, do you have any idea who it could be?”
“I don’t. But based on what you two are discussing, it seems the most likely explanation.”
“Hmm… But we’re talking about someone who himself looked half-dead until recently. When could he possibly have—”
“Exactly. He shouldn’t have had any significant encounters recently.”
Stumped by the perplexing situation, Hiyuki and Gald spent the rest of the day racking their brains to no avail.