Common Sense of a Duke’s Daughter 208
Tanya was surprised to see Dean’s face at first… But she quickly concealed it.
“Welcome, daughter of Count Armenia.”
I forced a smile as he said these words.
“It is an honor to be invited.”
“…Allow me to introduce myself again. I am Alfred Dean Tasmeria. The first prince of this country.”
…These were parting words.
Perhaps he didn’t mean it, but that was how it sounded to me.
“I am Iris. Iris Lana Armenia.”
Even if you knew each other’s faces, you introduced yourself if it was the first time you were speaking.
And as long as the superior one did not introduce themselves, the inferior could not say anything. And you could not call them by their name, even if you knew it.
Now, Dean was of the royal family…and I, a mere noblewoman.
None of the past mattered now.
“We have caused a great inconvenience to Duke Armenia’s house and lands. Please allow me to take this opportunity to apologize profusely.”
“We do not deserve it, Your Highness. My family have only fulfilled our duty as nobles.”
“You…no, the Armenia house are among the noblest of nobles that I know.”
I wasn’t quite sure if he meant this as praise, but he smiled.
He had smiled like that several times today, and it made my heart ache.
Silence fell between us then.
It was so different from way back then, when he had talked as if there was never enough time.
Now, he made a gesture for the servants to leave.
“Tanya. You may leave us as well.”
I said, as she had not moved.
She looked at him and then at me, as if unable to decide.
“I will be fine.”
It was perhaps not the best thing, to find myself alone with His Highness, but this was not a closed room. We were under the wide open sky.
“…As you wish.”
Now, we were the only ones present.
“…Were you surprised?”
Finally, he spoke. And he sounded different.
“… Yes, yes I was. That you would appear on that day, at that time and at that place. I was very surprised.”
While no one was watching us, they were still standing ready.
And so he did not say anything specific, and I also left my words vague.
“Still, it made sense to me at the same time. Just why someone like you would appear in front of someone like me.”
I knew more than anyone how advanced the education Dean had received was.
You couldn’t just explain it away as something normal for a merchant house.
And so I wasn’t too surprised to find out he was the first prince. It made sense.
He must have come to observe.
After all, a young woman who had been thrown out of the academy had risen to acting lord. And she was hardly staying still, but had begun to do all kinds of things.
He smirked when he heard my words.
It seemed that my guess had been correct.
“…What is the matter?”
I had been laughing without even knowing it.
He saw this sudden change and asked me what it was.
“Oh, it’s nothing. I was just thinking about something.”
It really was nothing.
…What expectations had he had when coming to see me?
Thinking about it…it made me realize that none of it mattered.
And it wasn’t that I blamed him for anything or that I was exasperated.
In the first place, I did not feel any anger or bitterness towards the fact that he had been hiding who he truly was.
After all, it was I who accepted him without knowing the truth.
As for him being from a merchant family…I often felt that it was strange.
The reason that I accepted him in spite of this was because grandfather and mother knew about him.
…No, that’s not right.
At some point, all of it ceased to matter to me.
I was closing my eyes and thinking that I did not care who he was, as long as he was close by.
I had discarded all of the questions that ever came up.
And so I could not blame him in the least.
All these thoughts had entered my mind, and I had laughed.
Laughed because even now, I was still his captive.
Oh, what a dangerous illness love can be.