The words I was going to say had also vanished once he told me to believe in them.
As I slowly but firmly nodded, Ratoka also nodded. But then his expression changed to one of embarrassment.
“…….ah–we went off topic, didn’t we? By a big margin.”
‘As I thought’–I sighed exasperated. What we talked about now was important but we were supposed to talk about the stiff relationship with Emilia.
“No, it’s not like it isn’t related at all…”
Ratoka said while chewing his food, then swallowed and continued.
“In other words, well, right, this also goes for Emilia-sama. You’re probably interacting with her considering the situation and what not…”
“You are trying to tell me to consider her feelings too and have a better relationship, right?”
As I completed his sentence since he was getting sluggish at the end, Ratoka’s expression became sour.
Really, this guy’s expression changes so much. It tires me just looking at him.
“…I understand that you have to show that you’re not treating her that well to mitigate the tension inside the country but there’s no need to be that aware of it, is there? After all, you are pretty brusque even if you just act normal.”
“Pretty brusque even if I act normal.”
“And so, if you were to just act normal towards Emilia-sama in front of the people, your attitude towards her will be a bit more sincere.”
……I somehow feel like I have heard such a conversation. Yea, like in a corner of a classroom, discussing what a guy student has to do to make a good impression on a girl…….
“After all, that girl, she has no one else to rely on, right? But that is because she has no other choice, not because she wants to.”
Ah, I see.
Ratoka is seeing his past self in Emilia.
It is certainly true that it’s rough when everything you know changes when you enter a new environment and you have no one to rely on emotionally.
“I understand. I will consider her emotional instability and will work towards earning her trust.”
…….I did understand but, let’s see.
How shall I change this situation, where everyone thinks I am interacting with her because of my duty towards the king’s orders?
Looks like Ratoka could also tell what I was thinking as he also started thinking and then clapped his hands together as if he had thought of something.
“Ah, right. For now, if Emilia-sama does something well, just pat her head and compliment her.”
“No, like, I also talked with Aslan and the others and I think that child hasn’t yet been a ‘child’, you know?”
Pat a country’s archduchess’ head?
Seeing me doubt what I heard, Ratoka just casually said ‘you won’t be doing it in front of others so it should be fine’.
No…… is that really okay?
And while I was hesitating, this time he came scolding me saying ‘you wanna earn her trust, right?’
No, but still, you know……
And as such, Ratoka has been urging me silently to pat her head since this morning. Which also ended with me hesitating and him giving me a glare.
Am I really going to do it?–Every time I waver like that, the pressure from Ratoka’s glare just keeps increasing. It is true that it might be quite natural for me to compliment her dance and pat her head while at it.
I somehow feel like if I do that, I will have done something irreversible. It isn’t anything more than what my intuition is telling me but—No, wait a minute.
Such a word suddenly popped up inside my head.
What was it… I am pretty sure it was something related to otome games.
If so, I think it would be better to avoid it.
However, to make better of this situation, I must do something.
So that the conversation doesn’t feel unnatural, I had to reply immediately to Emilia–and in a situation like that, I felt my brain working at a really high speed.
And so, about the measure I worked out.
“Hmm, let’s see—Emilia-sama, would you mind if I forced a dance on you?”
“Next dance, with me. —It would be most easy to understand if you were able to do it like practice.”
So that she doesn’t misunderstand and relaxes, I told her with as much of a gentle expression as I could.
After turning into a quasi-adult, I have only participated in these evening parties a few times in knight’s formal dress and so I have never really danced in a party like this.
I had also told Emilia before her that I didn’t have my debut dance even though I acted as her practice partner.
Now if only this Emilia understands that I have the intention to work even without the king’s order.
Now then, about the partner’s reaction.
Emilia vacantly looked at me and then started turning red.
Umm… it’s hard to tell if she is happy or not… Will Ratoka accept me doing this instead of what he said?
“I-if you are fine with me…!”
Hearing her excited voice, what I did understand was that I must teach her how to hide emotions properly.
END OF CHAPTER