As Tiararose wondered what to do, Aquasteed noticed her plight and opened his mouth.
“Lady Olivia, don’t you think that is enough? Lady Aishira is uncomfortable now.”
“Well… Prince Aquasteed, you are after all…very close with Aishira…”
Olivia shot a glance towards Aishira and said simply. “Pardon me.”
“Hmph, this is how you do it, Tiara… No, you should be bullying me even harder!”
“Akari… I would never do such a thing.”
She answered with exasperation as Akari whispered to her. Then she thought back on that time.
Tiararose had always been with Hartnight, who was her fiance. And it was the heroine Akari, who worked from the shadows to trap Tiararose.
…It was according to the game’s scenario.
However, since Tiararose had not done anything, it put Akari in the position of the villain. Thinking of it like that, she wondered what Akari was even saying now.
Seeing this, Grail and Keith opened their mouths.
“…Tiararose and Akari sure are close.”
“There aren’t many ladies who get along with Tiara.”
Tiararose’s status as the princess made it difficult for most to talk to her lightly.
Within Marineforest, it was Aishira who she was the closest with…but they were still not very close. Of course, Tiararose did wish that they could become closer friends.
“That’s exactly right. Tiara and I are best friends!”
Akari declared proudly.
“I am always on Tiara’s side. I will let you all know this now, but I won’t forgive you if you go against her! Especially you, Prince Aqua!”
Aquasteed looked at her with tired eyes, as if to say that there was no way he would ever do that. He touched Tiararose’s hair and said, ‘I will never let her go.’
“That is fine then. But if you decided to discard her over her lost memories…I will destroy all of Marineforest!”
Her sudden declaration of utter destruction caused Tiararose to remonstrate her in a panic.
Akari was the heroine and therefore had strong power. In fact, it was actually possible for her to carry out this threat, and no one thought that this was funny.
But—there was one exception.
“Hahaha. You’re very amusing.”
“Keith! This is not a laughing matter… Akari, please don’t joke about that.”
“But I’m not joking?”
Akari was not the least bit moved by Tiararose’s berating. Tiararose sighed as she realized that there was no persuading her, and she decided to focus on her cake instead.
–Ahh, it really was delicious.
◇ ◇ ◇
They had brought everyone important to the tea party, and yet no memories returned to Tiararose.
And while this was unfortunate, Tiararose looked to have enjoyed it…and so Aquasteed decided to not be too disappointed about it.
Tiararose looked happy as she slept, and he wished that he could watch her like this forever.
“I was surprised that she wanted to sleep in the same room…but maybe I’m just that dashing.”
Aquasteed had told her that they would sleep separately, but Tiararose rejected this. Of course, there must have been an internal struggle with that decision.
Still, Tiararose had told him that she wanted things to be as they always were.
He stroked her hair and felt the love well up in his chest.
Now, it was time for him to sleep as well. Just as he thought this, he felt that something was wrong—and he turned around.
The door was closed.
The door, windows, there was no place that someone could have entered from.
And yet, she was there.
With the moon shining behind her, she stood in front of the window and laughed.
“Lady Akari…how did you get in?”
Aquasteed narrowed his eyes, wondering what her purpose was.
Akari almost looked puzzled by this as she laughed loudly. She assured him that she meant to do nothing that was tedious and slowly walked towards them.
“I am Tiara’s friend after all! Why wouldn’t I come to see how she is doing?”
“This late at night?”
“Yes. If there was any time to talk about something relating to memories of you and Tiara, it is now.”
He looked at her with suspicion.
She had once used the power of Holy Prayer to look at Tiararose. But Akari had said that it was no use. He had been quite disappointed then.
“…The sea for Tiara, the sky for Prince Aqua. You have rings of the Fairy Kings. That is amazing.”
Her dark eyes went down to the ring that Aquasteed was wearing.
Aquasteed could never quite understand what it was that Akari was. Even now.
–Why does someone from a foreign country know about the ring.
Her attitude and nerve did not change even when in front of the Fairy Kings.
And this personality that allowed her to enter the crown prince’s bedchambers as if it were nothing. He sighed…this was not someone you would want to make into your enemy.
“So? You used the power of Holy Prayer to teleport into my bedroom. Is it because you found a way to get her memories back?”
“Found a way…well, yes. I do know a way to get them back.”
Just as she said it–the air in the room changed.
He felt the chill on his skin. Akari chuckled and said that Tiararose really was a handful.
Aquasteed was about to leave the room to put on a jacket, but paused.
While Tiararose was there, he didn’t like having another woman in his bedroom. Akari did not care about the location, but that was how important Tiararose was to him.
“Even when the power of Holy Prayer is not enough…?”
Aquasteed asked doubtfully, but she nodded.
It was not as if Holy Prayer could do anything. Of course, it was very powerful—but it was mainly things that you needed to do in order to make progress in the game. And so there were not many things that allowed you to change things in the sequel.
“I cannot do it. It is you, Prince Aqua, who can.”
“Exactly. Only you can do it. Not even my Holy Prayer can help her. …As sad as it makes me, since I am her friend.”
She added and laughed sadly.
“Prince Aqua, why don’t you make a king’s ring?”
“A ring? Me?”
The rings made by kings were able to add one special effect.
The ring of the sea had poison nullification. The ring of the sea amplified your voice. The forest rings made the land fertile.
–What ring would Prince Aqua make?
Aquasteed said that there was no way he could make a ring. She laughed and answered.
“The main hero that I like is strong.”
And so you can. She insisted.
The ring of Lapis Lazuli…the sequel…the Aquasteed Route Expansion disc.
She had only told Tiararose of the hidden stage, and yet she had entered the expansion episode somehow. Akari was impressed.
Of course, as Tiararose had died before its release, she did not know about this disc.
–This expansion had cost over ten thousand yen, after all.
If it all played out, Akari was sure that it would be a wonderful story. Of course, with only one foot in…she didn’t know if it would finish as a complete story.
“But I’m happy that it was Tiara who discovered that possibility.”
And not Aishira.
She whispered to herself. And with that, Akari left Aquasteed and Tiararose’s room by teleporting away, just as she had come.
The Villainess Is Being Doted on by the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country 57
A Tea Party and Midnight Meeting
A tea party will be so fun! Declared Akari. And so instead of sending out invitations–she charged into the rooms of the invited guests.
She was quick to make decisions and quick to act. It was like the speed of light… Tiararose could only laugh awkwardly.
Tiararose, Aquasteed, and Elliot were now left in the room. All of them looked on dumbly and sighed.
“If that is what she says, then this tea party will definitely be happening soon. I will go and make the preparations. Prince Aquasteed, you should stay here with Princess Tiararose.”
“Yes, thank you.”
While somewhat exasperated, Aquasteed asked Tiararose if she was fine with having a tea party. If she was not well, then it would be best to rest.
“I am fine. …And besides, I would like for my memory to return as soon as possible.”
Aquasteed stretched out a hand and caressed her hair. Her eyes closed halfway, and she could not help but wish…that this moment would last forever.
◇ ◇ ◇
Later that day, Akari smiled and announced the beginning of the tea party.
As for who had come, it was Aishira, Keith, Grail, and…Olivia. Akari smiled with satisfaction, but everyone else felt that she had done too much.
Aquasteed stood behind Tiararose. He would be ready to support her if necessary, but otherwise, he would watch over her. With these people, it would be forgivable for him to only give them a short greeting.
They would understand the situation with Tiararose, and why he would talk less.
“What’s this Tiara, you have lost your memories?”
“…I remember you, Keith.”
“Ah, you have just forgotten about Aquasteed then.”
Keith laughed happily and was the first one to take a seat.
The tea party was set up in the gorgeous guest room.
A coral chandelier lit the room gently. It suited the color of the black tea that was being poured into their cups. Tiararose’s eyes shone at the sweets that were being carried into the room as she greeted the guests.
“Thank you so much for coming. Please relax and enjoy your time here.”
“Thank you for inviting me, Tiararose.”
Grail chuckled and said, ‘I brought a gift,’ and handed some baked sweets to Tiararose. Her face lit up, but at the same time, she was surprised by his appearance.
–So, he has stopped wearing women’s clothing.
Indeed, as Pearl was now sleeping, there was no need for him to dress as a woman for that man-hater. However, she also missed seeing him like that.
Was it because he seemed less glamorous? Tiararose thought and thanked him for the gift.
“Thank you, King Grail. I prepared your favorite tea for you.”
Grail smiled and then took a seat next to Keith.
Next, Aishira came up to Tiararose with an uneasy expression. She had said something rather rude in front of Grail at Pearl’s palace, and so she felt uncomfortable here.
“Princess Tiararose…I, I don’t know what to say.”
“Don’t worry, Lady Aishira. Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy schedule to come and have tea with me.”
“No, not at all. I will do anything I can to help you.”
As Aishira was loved by the fairies of the sea, she was in charge of caring for the sea. On top of that, she was also busy with creating new types of fish and corals.
Tiararose felt a little bad as she imagined how much force Akari must have used to drag her here.
“Also, I have brought a cake with me. Please enjoy it.”
“Oh, thank you.”
Aishira smiled and said that she had her cook make it.
Tiararose wondered what kind of cake it was as she handed it over to Philiane. Of course, she asked her to have it prepared so they could eat it with their tea.
Aishira took a seat. And so the last person to appear was Olivia, who was being pulled in by Akari. Olivia was holding a handkerchief to her nose, but quickly fixed her posture when she saw Tiararose.
“It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Princess Tiararose. I am Olivia Ariadale. It such an honor.”
“I am Tiararose Lapis Marineforest. I am also very happy to make your acquaintance.”
This was her current name, Aquasteed had told her. She felt somewhat embarrassed in saying it here now.
She suddenly thought.
She looked to the side and saw that Akari was smiling.
Aquasteed was standing behind her and looking exhausted. All of this was Akari’s doing. She chuckled.
–Wasn’t Lady Olivia supposed to be confined somewhere? And her butler, Levy was in a cell.
Aquasteed had explained this to her. Maybe it was fine since Levy was not here, but seeing as that Aquasteed had not said anything, he must have given his permission.
“Um… I know that I have caused a great inconvenience to you, and I am terribly sorry.”
“No, I have heard that you have been through much as well, Lady Olivia. How are you feeling now?”
“Yes. Thank you for being concerned about me.”
Olivia smiled and told her that she was kind.
“Now, let’s start this tea party!”
Akari said cheerfully, and so Tiararose and Aquasteed took their seats.
They sat around a circular table in the following order, Aquasteed, Tiararose, Akari, Aishira, Olivia, Keith, and Grail.
“Princess Tiararose has lost some of her memories… I thought it would be nice if she could regain them by having a tea party, and so I called all of you here.”
“I am sorry to take your precious time. But thank you.”
Akari lightly explained the situation and then the party was started.
The cake that Aishira had brought was sliced under Tiararose’s shining gaze. She didn’t have any memories of eating sweets recently. She wanted to eat a lot… Suddenly, a chilling atmosphere enveloped the room.
“…This cake tastes terrible.”
“Oh, I am so sorry…Lady Olivia.”
Olivia had taken one bite and then made the cold declaration.
She had seemed so cute only a moment ago, and Tiararose could not understand what had happened to her.
Aishira, who sat next to her, was swaying from side to side and apologizing.
–But it tastes delicious.
The cakes that Aishira brought were always delicious, and Tiararose always liked them. She wondered why Olivia didn’t like them. Akari’s eyes were shining as she sat next to her.
–Ah, is that what this is?
She couldn’t help but realize it. And as expected, she heard the quiet but forceful voice from the side.
“The real villainous daughter! You aren’t villainous at all, Tiara. So I am so happy to witness some real villainy here!”
I’m sorry for disappointing you–she joked silently. But then, would it mean anything to remonstrate Olivia? She didn’t even know if this was an event or just her personality.
–But Aishira did say that Olivia did not think kindly of her.
Aishira and Olivia’s fathers were no friends. And perhaps it was no surprise that Olivia would be jealous of Aishira, who was the heroine and managed the sea.
The Villainess Is Being Doted on by the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country 56 – Lost Memories
She slept soundly the whole night in the wide bedroom before waking up.
Somehow, it felt lonely here–Tiararose thought.
“But I always sleep alone.”
She thought about why she felt that way and decided that it was because her room was too big. She stretched her limbs slowly and got out of bed.
Philiane had told her that she had nothing scheduled today.
She had smiled and suggested that she take things easy. But at the same time, it was almost as if she wanted to say something else. Tiararose herself understood that something strange was happening to her reality.
–If only I knew what that was.
Especially with Aquasteed.
She did not know why he was with her. Of course, she was happy to be close to a character that she had liked, and she wanted to talk with him more.
But Aquasteed seemed—it was like.
She clenched her fists as if trying to stop her heart from beating so fast.
She could feel that her cheeks were becoming red, and didn’t know what to do. But just then, she heard someone knock on the door. Philiane’s voice then followed, and so Tiararose stopped thinking about it.
She invited her in, and Philiane appeared with some tea.
“Good morning, Princess Tiararose.”
“Good morning, Philiane.”
She took a sip of tea and relaxed while Philiane prepared her dress.
Philiane had suggested that she take it easy today, but there was something that she needed to do. She needed to talk to Aishira about the management of the sea.
As far as memories of the work she had been involved in until now—she had them all.
That meant that this was Marineforest, and she was in the royal castle.
“Do you know if lady Aishira will be visiting the castle today?”
Tiararose added, that if she was, she would like to meet her.
“I believe that the lady Aishira will be visiting today. …But Princess Tiararose, your memory?”
Philiane gasped a little. Tiararose laughed.
“It seems that I was greatly confused yesterday. But I think I am alright now.”
“Oh, thank heavens…thank heavens!”
“I’m sorry for making you worry about me.”
“Oh, no. It is nothing for you to be sorry about. I will call Prince Aquasteed immediately. Please wait here!”
Before Tiararose could stop her, Philiane practically burst out the door and into the hallway. It was unusual, as she always tried to be graceful in everything. Tiararose did not know why it was so urgent.
“We weren’t supposed to know each other. What will I say…?”
He was the crown prince of Marineforest, and she could not be rude. But for now, she got out of bed and put her arms through the dress that Philiane had prepared for her.
As she had no appointments today, it was a simple dress without accessories so she would be able to put it on by herself, which was a relief. The fastener did give her some trouble, but not too much.
“Prince Aquasteed, huh… I died before playing the game, so I don’t know too much about the character.”
When they were at the academy together, he was a calm, role model student who was always smiling. Yes, a true example of royalty.
Just as she was thinking of leaving the bedroom to wait, the doors burst open and in came Aquasteed.
His eyes were slightly wet as they looked at her.
Aquasteed had rushed to her and hugged her tightly.
His scent drifted softly into her nostrils, and she felt her heart start to pound. His slender but strong arms were touching her as if she were a delicate treasure.
But she could not put it into words.
Aquasteed’s lips gently covered hers.
They touched, then parted–then touched again. His eyes looked at her with such love, that Tiararose could not move. He had kissed her so suddenly, yet somehow it did not feel wrong.
The voice that called her name, the breath, they all touched her lips.
Her heart was pounding, but she could not control it. Finally, she put a hand on Aquasteed’s chest and pulled away.
Tiararose touched her lips and shouted his name.
She did not call him Aqua as usual, but Prince–Aquasteed.
“Tiara, has your memory not returned…”
“Huh? My memory?”
Aquasteed asked in surprise, but Tiararose shook her head.
Indeed, her memory seemed hazy, but she knew that she was currently in Marineforest and that she was working in this country.
However–she just did not realize that it was memories of Aquasteed alone that were gone.
“Ummm, Prince Aquasteed?”
“…Please, just call me Aqua?”
He smiled gently as Tiararose blushed with confusion.
He realized that she still hadn’t remembered him, and so he regretted kissing her just now.
Did she dislike him now? However, judging by her reaction, it did not seem that she hated it.
–I shouldn’t feel too conceited yet.
He asked her to call him by his nickname. Tiararose gulped. Her eyes were swimming, but he could tell that she was happy.
Even if she didn’t have her memories of him, it was still the same Tiararose as before.
“And so, may I call you Tiara as well?”
“Oh…ye-yes. Prince A-Aqua…”
Tiararose said as she looked down with embarrassment.
It was adorable, and he wanted to hold her–but he pushed that feeling back. It was more important to explain to her their relationship.
“Tiara. What I am about to say may be hard for you to believe. But I want you to listen.”
“…Is it about you and me?”
Tiararose seemed to be thinking, then she slowly opened her mouth. He answered in the affirmative, and she looked at him seriously. She had been clearly thinking about it.
“I want to tell you about us…”
Tea and fruits were prepared on the table as Aquasteed slowly started to talk about their relationship–.
“That can’t be. We are a married couple…”
“Yes. You are very important to me.”
Then Aquasteed apologized for suddenly kissing her a moment ago.
“No… You have done nothing wrong, Prince Aqua.”
“Tiara. Please don’t force yourself to do anything. If you don’t want me to touch you, just tell me.”
Aquasteed smiled and assured her that he would not do anything to frighten her.
–Not want to be touched.
But Tiararose was surprised that she did not feel that way. Before, when Hartnight almost touched her head, she had felt so much revulsion.
–He truly thinks of me as important to him.
It would not have been surprising for a political marriage to have been arranged between them, but she didn’t think of that at all.
She didn’t remember them being together, but she felt excited by him. She wanted to know more about him.
“I have never felt any dislike towards you, Prince Aqua.”
She told him not to worry about that, and then his hand stretched out and–touched her.
If anything, it felt comforting, and she closed her eyes. Aquasteed quickly added, ‘I might get carried away, so don’t get too relaxed.’ And they both chuckled.
As they laughed together, there was a knocking on the door. They heard Elliot’s voice just as the door opened.
Aquasteed was about to berate him for entering without his permission… Instead, he sighed at the figure who had entered after pushing Elliot aside.
She had beautiful, straight black hair and dark eyes. She was wearing a pretty princess dress. It was the heroine, Akari of The Ring of Lapis Lazuli.
“Princess Tiara. It’s been a while! Are you well?”
Akari had not changed at all. She nodded and laughed.
“I was so anxious to know that I just had to come and meet you in person! Were you able to go?”
“Akari, that can wait. There is a little problem we have right now.”
She asked Akari to wait. But yes, the hidden stage of the fairy king was also important.
Tiararose told her that there was something wrong with her memories. And she had wondered if maybe Akari could help her since she was able to use Holy Prayer.
Aquasteed did not seem to have the best opinion of Akari, but he allowed it since she was close with Tiararose.
“…I see. Give me your hand, hmm?”
“What do you think?”
Akari took Tiararose’s hand and used the power of Holy Prayer.
She saw that there was nothing wrong with her and said, ‘Hmmm, I have no idea.’
“But it seems that there is nothing wrong with you physically. That’s good.”
“Thank you, Akari. My memories…I am sure they will return if I continue to live normally. I was quite confused yesterday, but I feel much better today.”
This person, who was Tiararose’s friend, sighed with relief. It seemed that she had been very worried, and so Aquasteed felt that he shouldn’t be too annoyed by her.
However, it was also quite bad that even Holy Prayer was not enough to find out what was wrong with Tiararose. That was because the power of Holy Prayer was supposed to be immensely powerful.
As she said herself, it was probably best to quietly wait for her memories to return.
Of course, he wished that she would get better as soon as possible so he could hold her, but he did not want to rush her.
As he thought this, Akari clapped her hands loudly. Her eyes sparkled brightly as she looked back and forth between Aquasteed and Tiararose. It was as if she had just thought of the most brilliant plan.
–What on earth did she mean to do?
Aquasteed felt suspicious, but Akari’s idea was surprisingly decent.
“Let’s call everyone and have a tea party! It will be like an event from an otome game. It will be so fun. I promise!”
— Is she disappointed because I could not protect her?
Becoming anxious about the possibility that she might now hate him, he called out Tiararose’s name. As his voice came out with an embarrassing crack, he ended up laughing at his own insecurity.
Reacting to his voice, Tiararose’s body trembled in astonishment.
Indeed, this is not the usual Tiararose.
“I’ve put you in danger because I was unable to defend you, Tiara. That was inexcusable of me, and I truly regret it.”
“I’m sorry, Tiara. — I could not protect you. Am I no longer worthy of your love…?”
Tiararose’s eyes opened up wide, and stared at him with a blank expression.
Overflown with feelings of love, and not knowing what else to do, he threw himself into Tiararose’s arms and held her in a tight embrace around his own arms.
Without caring about the fact that the glass had fallen and the sheets had gotten wet, he buried his face into her neck.
Please hug me back, please.
That was without a doubt Aquasteed’s deepest desire.
“That, um… ah, I…”
Tiararose’s trembling voice reached Aquasteed’s ear.
However, he was not expecting the words that soon followed.
“Why is Your Highness Aquasteed here?”
“Of course, I know about Your Highness Aquasteed. Still, I believe we haven’t interacted yet…”
Looking at Tiararose, who was frowning as if she was troubled, Aquasteed’s eyes opened up wide in surprise. What she said just now can only mean that —
“Tiara, do you… do you know me?”
“Of course. We were in the same class in the academy…”
Tiararose smiles because of course, there was no one who did not know about His Highness Aquasteed. At the same time, that smile reveals a desire to be rid of shame.
“My memory seems a bit vague. Why am I here?”
— Did she lose her memories?
Still, Aquasteed was somewhat relieved since she seemed to at least remember some things about herself.
“This is Marineforest, Tiara.”
“Huh? Ah, that’s it. I came to Marineforest — but why did I come to Marineforest?”
Tiararose tilted her head in doubt.
She thought that she had only lost her recent memories, but that didn’t seem to be the case.
Trying to calm down a perplexed Tiararose, Aquasteed gently caressed her back — but he soon removed his hand as her body trembled in shock.
The memories of their engagement and their marriage were completely gone.
Tiararose, with her face turning red, uttered an apology. ‘Sorry.’ Even though there is nothing for her to be sorry about, she felt that she had to.
And while still feeling uneasy, she asked if her maid Philiane was there.
“Oh, yes. I’ll go call her now, so rest some more.”
“Thank you, Your Highness.”
— What should I do now?
Tiararose quickly crawls back into bed as she sees Aquasteed leave the room. She’s wearing a nightgown, so she’s thinking about waiting until Philiane comes to help her change before doing a few light stretches to loosen up her stiff body.
Soon enough, the door opened, and Philiane came in rushing.
“I’m glad you’re safe…! Does it hurt anywhere?”
Looking at Philiane shedding tears out of worry made Tiararose feel that her situation was far more serious than what she had originally thought. Philiane checked her temperature and diligently massaged her body.
“It’s okay, Lady Tiararose. For the time being, please get some rest.”
“… But His Highness Aquasteed is here, isn’t he? I can’t be resting here…”
Tiararose explained Philiane that being asleep and leaving the Crown Prince Aquasteed alone was a disrespectful thing to do.
“It is not disrespectful at all. His Highness Aquasteed was deeply concerned about you, Lady Tiararose. He has said that first of all, we should put your physical condition back in order.”
“His Highness Aquasteed said that…? I wonder why is he so concerned about me?”
I hope I haven’t caused any troubles.
I can’t help but feel uneasy about this situation, but if Aquasteed has told me to rest, I should probably do so.
— I will make sure to properly thank him later.
With a smiling face, Philine had told her that she should just rest for today.
Since she was not feeling particularly sleepy, Tiararose was reluctant to agree. She said that she wanted to at least have a book or something to read, to which the maid readily consented.
“I’ll prepare some tea. Then …I’ll bring some sweets to cheer you up. Now, I’ll go prepare some food, something good for your body.”
“Well then, if there’s anything else you need, please let me know.”
‘Don’t ask the other maids, please make sure to call for me’ said Philiane sternly.
First comes my current situation, the rest can wait. I had settled for leaving the talk about what to do next for another time.
“A doctor will come before your meal. I’ll bring a book to you after that.”
After telling me to rest for a while until that time, Philiane left the room.
◇ ◇ ◇
As soon as Philiane had come out of the room, Aquasteed asked her to brief him on Tiararose’s condition.
“There seem to be no problems with her physical condition. However, she does appear to have lost all memories about the time spent with you, Your Highness.”
“… I see.”
Philiane looked at Aquasteed as he clenched his fist.
What will become of that husband you have no memories of?
He is a doting husband to that extent, so how much blame can he endure?
What if the amnesiac Tiararose, that same Tiararose he loves so much, never recognizes who Aquasteed really is to her?
If she needs to go back to Lapis Lazuli for treatment, what would he say? Would he want a happily smiling Tiararose to stay, even if she has no memories?
“Your Highness, about Lady Tiararose…”
Despite his uneasiness, Philiane asked Aquasteed about it.
Wondering if his insecurities had been perceived, Aquasteed replied ‘It’s all right’ with a gentle smile in his face.
“No matter what, I love Tiara, and I’m confident she will love me again.”
And without a worry in his face, Aquasteed turned his sight to the bedroom’s door.
The Villainess Is Being Doted on by the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country
55 – The awakening of the king’s beloved princess
“Grail, give it to me so I can return it to Tiara.”
Having retrieved the Fairy King of the Sea’s Ring from Levy, they hurried back to Tiararose’s and Aquasteed’s bedroom. Grail, however, had his eyes fixed on the ring as if it was awfully difficult not to.
After confirming that there was no change in Tiararose’s sleep, he said: “I’m home”.
Grail had made sure that the ring that they got back from Levy was genuine.
Of course, one can feel its immense magical power the moment you touch it. However, that in itself is not enough to determine its quality. There is a possibility that that otherworldly butler has something up his sleeve.
“… After all the trouble we went through to get Pearl’s ring back to my hands, I have to hand it over.”
Reluctantly, Grail gave the ring to Aquasteed.
“It should be fine. After all, you will always be in the genuine palace of Lady Pearl.”
“You don’t say, Aquasteed…”
“I cannot afford to.”
He just wants to slip the ring on Tiararose’s finger and wake her up from her slumber as soon as possible. He can’t waste time on idle chat with Grail — he would feel anxious should he not do it soon.
— Truly, Aquasteed likes Tiararose, huh?
Grail laughs as he looks at the sight of the troubled Aquasteed.
After receiving the ring, Aquasteed immediately took Tiararose’s hand. With that gallant appearance, he sweetly thought of her as if he had been subjected to some kind of blessing.
In Aquasteed’s finger, Grail’s ring.
In Tiararose’s finger, Pearl’s ring.
The fact that those two, who shared a mutual love, had a pair of rings — even if one of those was Pearl’s ring — in a way gave Grail a pleasant feeling.
There is reciprocity in rings.
And yet, would it be good if he too would get used to mutual love, having rings to share with someone like those two before him?
With a seemingly lonely smile, Grail looked upon the two of them.
“Tiara… Please wake up soon, and let me see that smile of yours.”
Aquasteed slipped the ring, which was adorned with a beautiful pearl, onto Tiararose’s left hand’s little finger. He then fixed his eyes on her, praying for her to wake up.
After kissing her warm fingertip, he did nothing but wait for Tiararose to wake up. Seeing but a soft tremble in her eyelashes was enough to take his breath away.
Tightly grasping your hand, I call your name many times.
Please answer soon.
Call me Aqua, like you used to do.
And if you do, I’ll reply by calling you Tiara.
The beautiful blue eyes appeared as a reflection in Aquasteeds own eyes.
Before he could express his relief, Tiararose had immediately closed her eyes. After giving her a gentle shake, there were no signs of change in her regular sleeper’s breathing.
Aquasteed felt Tiararose’s cheek and called her out many times — but her eyes remained tightly shut.
“I gave her the ring, so why…?”
“She’s not used to it.”
“Huh? Ah, it takes one full day to get used to the ring, right?”
Grail answered Aquasteed’s question without delay. ‘No matter how soon you wish for Tiararose to wake up, you must wait for one day…’ Then he bit his lips.
“I wish I had been stronger.”
“You are strong enough, Aquasteed. You should rest until Tiararose wakes up. You might not realize it, but your body is also very tired, so it would be a good idea to rest for a while.”
That way, the ring will adapt quickly to her body, too. Having heard that, Aquasteed had no choice but to nod.
“… I see.”
Grail encouraged Aquasteed to rest with a gentle slap on the back.
And after nodding, Aquasteed fell asleep on the spot, still tightly holding Tiararose’s hand.
◇ ◇ ◇
Like a flickering wave in the sea, Tiararose awakens from her calm sleep.
Since she had been sleeping for too long, her body was stiff and could not move it well.
After blinking several times, the bed’s canopy came into view. Looking at the beautiful bed ornaments, she wondered if her bed had ever been so extravagant.
— First of all, I should get up.
It’s no use, my throat is dry. I need water.
While trying to get up while having those thoughts, a sweet, kind, and seriously worried voice reached Tiararose’s ears.
“Oh, I’m glad… Tiara. Are you hurt? Does it hurt somewhere?”
“Hmm? Umm… yes. I’m a bit thirsty…”
“I’ll get you some water now.”
He told her to lie back down for a while.
Blinking repeteadly, Tiararose looked at the man who was now preparing a water jug. If she had asked him who he was, he would have answered.
It was Aquasteed Marineforest.
The main capture target from the sequel game, and her favorite character. They had known each other since she first got transferred to the academy, but there should have been no contact with this character.
— Why is His Highness Aquasteed here?
Moreover, he seems to be taking care of me.
“… Where am I?”
After a quick look around the room, she soon realized that it was far more elegant than her own room. Since there were so many decorations made out of coral, she imagined that it must be the room someone related to the Marineforest.
So would this be Aquasteed’s room?
— No, that can’t be.
“Tiara, here’s some water. Do you think you could drink it?”
“Oh, uh… sure.”
“Just do it slowly.”
“… Uh, thank you.”
Supporting Tiararose’s back with his hand to help her sit straight, Aquasteed offered her a glass of water. As Aquasteed placed his hand on her back, Tiararose smiled nervously thinking that it would be no good to tremble and drop the glass.
She drank the water he had given her, but Aquasteed noticed that there was something not quite right with Tiararose. He had thought that she would have been in pain due to having been asleep for so long, but something was different.
Of course, he could still not forgive him for putting Tiararose in such a dangerous position.
“Let’s just go to the prison. …Ah, and take this.”
Grail threw something small towards Aquasteed.
Aquasteed caught it with both hands. His eyes widened in surprise.
The thing that Grail had given him was a ring that was clear as the sky. It was wide, and he could see that it was an opal that was carved into a ring.
But, the important thing was–.
“Is the ring of the Fairy King of the sky.”
Considering what Grail had said just recently, this was not something to easily pass on to anyone. It wasn’t something to just toss into the air like that.
“Tiararose received Pearl’s ring, so I just thought that you might as well have one too.”
“…I am grateful.”
He received the ring and put it on the thumb of his right hand.
He immediately felt a chill and had to wrap his arms tightly around his body. This was an even bigger power than when he had been blessed by Grail and by Pearl.
He hadn’t realized just how great it would be, and sweat ran down his forehead as he thought.
–Yes, I can see why it would be bad to remove it before it has settled.
Aquasteed now realized that Tiararose had been incredibly lucky to have only just fallen into sleep.
“Now, let’s go.”
Grail took Aquasteed’s hand, and the two of them rode the wind.
◇ ◇ ◇
The board prison.
It was a place that the kings once used to set up their forces. But there was no need for it now, and the Fairy Kings themselves had nearly forgotten about it.
And yet, somehow the villainous daughter–Olivia Ariadale was waiting there.
“I am shocked. How can a human enter this place.”
“So that is Lady Olivia?”
The prison was shaped like a sphere, and terribly cold water ran down the bars. It floated in the air, and there was a plant with a single fruit inside of the prison…as if a small sign of mercy.
“…Who are you?”
Olivia turned around and looked at Aquasteed and Grail.
What should have been luscious, rose red hair had lost its luster. The honey green eyes that look out from her rimmed glasses seemed to—be filled with a will to live.
Olivia’s eyes widened. She immediately covered her mouth with her hand and then fell to the ground.
Aquasteed thought this was very strange, but he called out to her.
“…I am Aquasteed Marineforest. Are you Lady Olivia?”
“Ye-yes…I am Olivia Ariadale.”
“Why are you here…is that blood?”
Blood was dripping from Olivia’s hands.
She had not been injured a moment ago, he thought, as they both rushed towards her.
Before they could ask if she was alright, Olivia pulled out a handkerchief and wiped the blood away.
“I am very sorry to have shown you something so terrible. I am fine now, Prince Aquasteed, King Grail.”
Olivia held the handkerchief to her nose and bowed to Aquasteed and Grail. She could not move as she would have wished, since she was in prison, but she had not lost her gracefulness.
But more importantly…
–So her nose was bleeding.
“If you are fine, that is good.”
It seemed that she had become very excited, and as she insisted that she was alright, Aquasteed decided that it would be better to not pry any further.
Grail, who was behind Aquasteed, now walked up to the prison and stared hard at Olivia.
“Olivia Ariadale. How did you know my name?”
It didn’t make sense that a mere human would know the name of a Fairy King. Olivia shivered under Grail’s glare.
“I am honored that you spoke my name…!”
She could die from happiness! Olivia held the handkerchief against her nose again. Grail winced and took a step back.
“Aquasteed, this child. She is strange.”
“I don’t think we can talk to her. Maybe we should leave it to Levy.”
Grail snapped his fingers, and the wind gathered and teleported Levy to where they were.
In spite of it being so sudden, Levy was quick to understand his situation–and ran straight for Olivia.
But Aquasteed would not allow it.
He unsheathed his sword and pointed it at Levy’s neck. He glared at Levy coldy, promising to slice his throat if he took a single step.
“Why, if it isn’t Prince Aquasteed.”
“You seem quite confident for the position you’re in?”
“Oh, you misread me.”
Levy said with a smile. But his eyes weren’t even looking at Aquasteed. He stared straight at Olivia.
It was obvious that he wanted nothing more than to meet her immediately.
But such emotions had nothing to do with Aquasteed. A drop of blood appeared at Levy’s throat, where Aquasteed held his sword.
“…Give me the ring.”
He said in a chilling voice.
Aquasteed himself was surprised at how much emotion he was showing at that moment.
If he did not give him the ring now, Aquasteed would kill him. And so Levy said, ‘Of course.’ And raised both hands in a show of surrender.
Levy took the ring out of his inner pocket and gave it to Aquasteed, who handed it to Grail.
This was because as a Fairy King, Grail would likely be able to tell if it was the real one.
“…It is real.”
Aquasteed sighed and let Levy go. He did not want to forgive him, but continuing this fight would mean that it would take longer to return to Tiararose.
He held back the urge to kill with reason and put his sword back in its sheath.
Levy quickly ran, and his hands grabbed the bars with a loud ring.
His fingers gripped the bars as he shouted Olivia’s name.
“Olivia…! Thank god you are safe…!!”
“Levy! I, I…!”
Olivia and Levy’s hands touched through the bars. But they did not weep tears of joy over reuniting.
“I was able to meet Prince Aquasteed and King Grail! I am so happy that I could die…”
“I am happy, if you are happy, Olivia.”
“I got stuck in this prison by mistake at the Lapis holy place, but what luck…! Oh, Levy, your hands are too cold!”
Olivia wrenched her fingers away from him.
Levy’s hands had become cold because of the water that was pouring. If he kept his hands there, they would become numb and useless.
Thankfully, Olivia had pulled away, otherwise, he would have likely held onto them for eternity. Yes, Aquasteed was certain of that.
“I don’t quite understand what is happening here.”
“What a coincidence. I was just thinking the same thing.”
Olivia Ariadale. The sequels villainess.
Her hobby was to visit famous event spots.