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The Villainess Is Being Doted on by the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country
81 Part 1
A ring of light had appeared over the country’s skies, and the game’s logo was shining at the square where it all began.
There was no way this was not part of some sort of unexpected event that was about to start.
“Prince Aqua… just how much do you know about this?”
She had no doubt that he was hiding something.
“Eh? Ah… did I say that out loud?”
“Loud and clear.”
Tiararose had been carelessly immersed in her own thoughts, but this was Aquasteed’s office. It was unbecoming of a villainess to be clumsily voicing out her thoughts about Aquasteed.
Since she had already gone and said that, she figured she might as well ask him frankly.
“Um… you were quite interested in that ring of light and the symbol mark that appeared at the water fountain…”
“And you thought I knew something about them?”
“…Right. You seemed so calm about it that I thought you knew something. I figured perhaps you had heard something about them from His Highness Pheles?”
Aquasteed seemed suprised about being approached about something like that with such conviction. At the same time, he understood that Tiararose was being deeply observant about him.
Still, Aquasteed could not speak about it that easily. More than that, it would have been best to say that it would be hard for him to speak about it with Tiararose.
Tiararose was saddened by Aquasteed’s worried face and wondered if it would have been better not to ask that at all.
“Of course, if it’s something you can’t talk about, I won’t press it any further. I can see you are very worried, Prince Aqua. …Is there anything I can do to help?”
“Thank you, Tiara. It’s very reassuring to have you by my side.”
Aquasteed got up from his chair at the desk, and stepped down to where Tiararose was. He then sat by her side and calmly said “I’ll be okay.”
A vague smile returned to Tiararose’s face as he brushed her hair gently, as if asking her not to worry. It seemed that he had no interest in telling her no matter how frankly she asked. Aquasteed’s misleading behavior was making her feel helplessly sad.
— I know you can’t talk.
Aquasteed was a member of the royalty, and the crown prince to boot. There would be many things he can’t tell her. Especially since Tiararose came all the way from the neighboring country to marry him.
She could understand the reason why there were things he could not discuss with her, but her sadness — it came from the desire to monopolize him.
If there was something burdening him, he should be able to share it with her. She knew that Aquasteed is only doing it because he cared for her, but the fact that he wouldn’t let her reach the core of his problems still made her feel lonely.
The moment she realized that, it made her feel embarrassed. Was she being too greedy? Back when they married, even though she had thought that the heroine from the game’s sequel would snatch Aquasteed away from her, things worked out just fine in the end.
“Tiara? Your face is a bit reddish… did you catch a cold?”
“Eh? Ah, no, don’t worry. I’m fine…”
Aquasteed’s big had reached out to Tiararose’s forehead and checked her temperature. His had was cold and pleasant to the touch, and when she unconsciously closed her eyes, she felt a tender kiss on her cheek.
“You should get some rest, Tiara. I’m glad you’re worrying about me, but those things you said made me feel uneasy.”
She certainly could not say for sure, but even if she had known that this was a game event involving Aquasteed, it would still not be enough to spark her motivation.
Feeling despondent, she dropped her shoulders and decided to go back to her room to rest, thinking that if she stayed there she would continue to get in the way of Aquasteed’s work.
◇ ◇ ◇
As she dragged herself to her room, she found Liliarge sitting in the corridor and looking outside through a window. She was staying there with Pheles, since she was worried about Sotiris.
— But it’s weird to see Lady Lilia all by herself like that.
She was always by Pheles’ side, so why was she alone now?
Feeling stared at by Tiararose, Liliarge turned around to meet her.
『Tiara! What happened there? You look like you’ve been crying…』
“Lady Lilia… I…”
『You can talk to me about it if you’d like. Let’s go to your room, shall we?』
Liliarge smiled tenderly at her, and together they headed towards Tiararose’s room.
After making sure that Firine had left after serving some tea and cookies, Tiararose started talking about what had happened earlier, and how she wasn’t able to control her emotions, allowing herself to be so helplessly sad.
『So that’s what happened. But you’re Aquasteed’s wife after all, so it’s natural to be a bit greedy.』
“Is that so…? I’m in a position of royalty. Though I think it’s okay to be one step behind Aquasteed, I want to be right next to him.”
『Would it be okay then to be right next to him?』
After hearing Liliarge ask that question with such ease, Tiararose’s eyes were opened.
To Tiararose, who was someone with the memories of her previous life as a Japanese woman, it was natural that women shouldn’t try to stand up to men. Because of that, she figured that it would be best for her to obediently abide by Aquasteed’s judgement.
But this was not Japan, it was Marineforest.
It was the world inside the game.
『Unlike Pheles, I was born a commoner. That’s why we think so differently. Even now, there are many times when I don’t understand what’s going through his head, and we tend to disagree a lot.』
『Still, the fact that we have our own different way to feel about things can’t be helped. We’re only alive, you know?』
Liliarge was asking her “Would it be as fun to live by killing your own emotions?”
“I am the daughter of the marquis, who had come to this country to marry the crown prince, Prince Aqua… I just thought I had to be on my best behavior…”
Otherwise, the game’s heroine would snatch everything away for herself. Tiararose had been very proactive when it came to game events, but this time she had been shy about it since it seemed her behavior had bothered Aquasteed..
『Both you and Aquasteed are very much like Pheles, you know?』
『Yes. He’s so self conscious about his obligations as a member of the royalty that he tends to kill his own emotions in the process.』
From a very young age, Tiararose had been groomed in her duties as a member of the royalty. Even now that her memories as a Japanese woman have resurfaced, her desire to be a devote herself as a noblewoman has not disappeared.
It simply came as second nature to Tiararose.
Perhaps it was the same for both Aquasteed and Pheles.
It might be an unavoidable part of their instinct.
『Pheles is very strong. He served as king alone for a long time. I barely knew my way around the duties of the royalty. I was very poor as speaking gracefully, too.』