I Don’t Care About the Story, I Want a Cat ～Transmigrated into an Otome Game～ - Chapter 9
- All Mangas
- I Don’t Care About the Story, I Want a Cat ～Transmigrated into an Otome Game～
- Chapter 9 - The Other Side of the Tea Party
The Other Side of the Tea Party
Clear blue skies graced the day of the tea party when Edward was to meet his fiancee candidates.
The tea party was set in one of the gardens in the Royal Palace. Since it was outdoors, it would have had to be rescheduled if they had bad weather. It would have been a huge waste of efforts of the staff, the knights and the maids involved in setting up the party, as well as the administrative personnel who had organised everything.
And so, Edward let out a sigh of relief as he saw the bright sky outside when his maid drew back the curtain. He was completely unaware that one of the ladies invited today had hung her weather doll* upside down.
(TN: literally called teru teru bozu; it’s a paper doll that people hang outside their windows to pray for good weather. Hanging it upside down means praying for rain. In this context, it was Amy who had hung an upside down paper doll to pray for rain so the party would be postponed.)
These were the thoughts going through the head of the Third Prince. Even now, he wasn’t particularly concerned about the fiancee candidates despite it being an important part of his future. He thought of marriage as an added responsibility he would have to deal with once he officially became an adult.
“Prince Edward, you should have a look outside.”
“It’s fine. I’m going to meet them anyways once we go outside.”
“Don’t say that, now come.”
Almost all of the fiancee candidates had arrived outside. Edward was currently waiting in a room on the second floor which overlooked the garden where the ladies were gathered. His maid, who had looked after him since his childhood, called him over to the window.
“Everyone looks lovely, don’t they? Miss Florence should be like that in a few years too…”
“Hannah, it’s dangerous if you lean out like that.”
The window was quite large, and the railing was small since it was made more for decoration than for safety. On top of that, while it wasn’t easy to see the window from below, if the ladies below realise they’re being watched they wouldn’t like it.
Regardless, Hannah’s work as a maid meant she always stayed inside the Palace, and dealt mainly with older people. She loved showering attention on the young princess, so it was only natural that she would also be curious about the young ladies outside who were also close to the princess’ age.
After being called over repeatedly, Edward finally gave a resigned smile and walked over to the window. He could hear the elegant sounds of the people below as their voices flowed in from the slightly opened window.
“Don’t you think that canary yellow colour would look good on me?”
“I think I would prefer a light pink instead.”
“Well it certainly seems to be popular.”
Hannah smiled, the wrinkles on the corner of her eyes creasing, as she nodded along.
When he met his sister last week she had been dressed completely in pink too, from her headdress to her shoes. He’d heard it was a popular colour right now, but he was honestly surprised; even the rabbit doll she always carried with her was the same pink colour.
“Ah there’s Marquess Sandor and Lady Judith over there. She just debuted in society; she’s the perfect example of femininity. I think she’s only three years older than Your Highness. The lady across from her, the one with camellias in her hat, that’s Lady Christina, the daughter of Count Levitt…”
“I’ve already read all of their profiles, you don’t need to point them out to me.”
“Your Highness! One of these ladies is going to be your wife!”
Edward had already looked at all the profiles and portraits of his fiancee candidates. The documents had brought to this waiting room as well, and were sitting on the table in a teetering pile. Hannah sighed in exasperation as Edward pointed to them.
Edward could understand Hannah’s concern for him to be a bit more interested in the ladies. But, he thought, they all look the same to me.
Since all the ladies gathered in the garden were carefully chosen by the court officials, he knew that all of them were ‘refined ladies’… they all had impeccable manners, were well versed in etiquette, had high status and good looks too. Even their way of thinking was surely taken into consideration. They may have differences in age or the colour of their hair and eyes, but they were all a ‘finished product’ with all the qualities needed to be a princess.
He could easily imagine all of them speaking to him in the same manner, about the same things, when he would go down later to talk directly with them. He had been told they would be different when he met them in person, but he seriously doubted that. Because, even now, he couldn’t find anything different about them apart from the colours of their dress or hair.
“Well… I suppose I am also the same.”
For the ladies down there, he was probably nothing but the ‘Third Prince’. In fact, even though the people below were mingling in a lively way, they were surely all hiding some sort of tactic or other, below the surface, to best the other candidates. He could feel their intentions in the atmosphere.
Actually, Edward would much prefer to go riding right now than attend the tea party. He would feel much better if he just went to the stables like this, saddled his favourite horse, and rode him under this clear blue sky,
However he kept these feelings to himself, not even showing them to the maid who had served him for so many years.
“I beg your pardon, Your Highness, did you say something?”
“Yes, we should head down soon.”
“You’re right. Please wait here, I’ll go make preparations.”
Hannah took out a magical tool from her pocket and contacted the head of security for His Highness. It looked like a pocket watch, but was used for communication. A voice could be heard from it informing the maid that the knights weren’t all present yet.
Edward’s gaze had already moved to the magical tool in Hannah’s hand. He waited for her to close it before speaking up.
“That’s one of Count Northland’s inventions, isn’t it?”
The Count, with his innovative and eccentric ideas, had recently released a lot of novel magical gadgets. He had established a place for himself at the Bureau of Magic with his creativity and sound abilities. Edward was one of the people who would like to talk to him if he had the chance.
“Yes. Thanks to this, our work is progressing well. Speaking of Count Northland, his daughter isn’t here yet… ah I think she just arrived_? Good heavens!”
Hannah let out an uncharacteristic squeal of surprise when she glanced out the window.
“Ah, she looks completely different from what I heard… uh, that is…”
Hannah was the sort of person who rarely raised her voice. She even ordered the other maids in a calm manner. So what was it that had made her so surprised?
Weird, she looked different in her portrait, Hannah thought as she rushed in a fluster to the pile of documents on the table. Curious, Edward went back to the window.
He looked down in the garden, his eyes landing on the mother and daughter who had just arrived…… it was the daughter that caught his eye.
She was wearing a dress embellished with plenty of soft, ivory lace. A headdress of the same material was arranged neatly on her black hair; apart from a small yellow rose she didn’t seem to be wearing any accessories.
The young lady closed her parasol and waited for the maid to guide them to their seats. Even from this distance, he could see that she was different from the other ladies in that her body was quite chubby.
The daughter of Count Northland. She had been the top recommendation of the officials.
They hadn’t said so directly, but they had placed her profile on the top. Also, Edward had heard how they celebrated after managing to convince Count Northland who had seemed reluctant to see his daughter as one of the fiancee candidates.
As an official in the Bureau of Magic, the Count was politically neutral, not taking any stances. On top of that, the grandfather, who resided over a piece of territory on the border seemed to dote on his granddaughter too. She also had a high level magic background from her mother’s side, and her brother was also famous as an adventurer… the match had lots of advantages. Surely, there wasn’t anyone else who could fit all these benefits.
The Amy Northland he had seen in the portrait had a cool gaze, a good looking face and a small but slender figure. It was completely different from her current appearance.
“S-something must have happened. She looks like a pigle… um, ah maybe it’s a sickness?”
“From what I can see from here, she seems to be in good health. And she doesn’t look injured either.”
Hannah had her portrait in her hand and kept moving her head from that to the person outside the window as she tried to make sense of it. Edward shook his head at his maid. If a person was sick wouldn’t they actually lose weight instead of gaining it?
She turned to her table, towards the building where Edward was in, and walked lightly to her table as the maid led them. Everyone around them was gazing at them, but she, along with her mother, replied to all of their greetings without showing any timidness.
Once they reached the table, her eyes widened in delight as she saw the plate ladened with various sweets placed in it. She would occasionally gaze at the flowers or the fountain, sometimes saying something to her mother. Overall, she looked to be enjoying herself with a smile on her face…… the two stood out clearly from the background; it was like they had merely come to a tea room with a good view.
Perhaps the maid and the knight standing with them had been pulled in by their friendly atmosphere, but the expressions on their faces were also warm.
“Just what did Isabel…”
“…she’s different,” Edward muttered to himself over Hannah’s ramblings.
She was completely different from him. He had always lived his life in the way other people expected him to as the ‘Third Prince’. She seemed to have completely disregarded societal expectations for ladies to be a certain way. Yet, despite that, she was smiling so naturally. Her smile looked dazzling in Edward’s eyes.
Among the people who looked the same to him, she was the only one who stood out.
She’s not like a normal girl, Miss Amy Northland.
His friend’s words rang in his head.
“……I want to speak with her.” Edward let out in a quiet voice, his eyes not straying from the window.
Looking at his expression, Hannah calmed herself down and descended to the lower floor. She took out the magical tool once again and connected it to the knights stationed in the garden.
“…… the maid and knight assigned to the table of Countess Northland is Alissa and…? That’s right, it’s Darius, right? No, no, let them stay there. I will listen to their report later.”
Back on the second floor, sounds of disappointment started pouring from the window as it was announced that the Queen wouldn’t be able to attend. But Edward didn’t hear any of it.