83 Part 1
The Villainess Is Being Doted on by the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country 83
Towards the Square of Beginnings
The secret passage in Tiararose’s room was connected to an emergency exit to a corridor next to the courtyard.
“It’s just for emergencies, so I should better not use it.”
She didn’t know what the emergency exit was like, and if used carelessly she could leave traces behind which would lead others to believe that someone was trying to break in.
Therefore, the best way to exit would be through the usual corridor.
After sneaking out the secret passage, she made sure there were no knights patrolling that area. If she were to be found after coming that far, everything she had done would be for naught.
The courtyard was usually very quiet at that time of the night. However, the ring of light was shining brightly in the sky, so it was quite bright outside.
Spring was almost over and summer was around the corner. Of course, roses had been planted as always, but this year they have also planted beautifully colorful sweet peas. Their sweet scent relaxed the nervous Tiararose.
— I should go to the square quickly so that no one finds out about the rest of my plan.
She would normally go there by carriage, but now she had no choice but to walk there. It was going to take some time, but she was really worked up about it.
“Okay, I’ll go check the gates for now –huh?”
As Tiararose decided it was time to move, she heard the neighing of a horse. Horses weren’t normally used that late at night, so she wondered if something was wrong.
–I’d better go and see if I can take a look around without being seen.
If something had really happened, there was a chance that a knight would go report to Aquasteed at his room. And if he were to wake up to find that Tiararose wasn’t by his side, it would be an even bigger problem.
The neighing seemed to come from the road that led to the gate that connected the courtyard to the streets. There were a lot of garden shrubs on each side of the road, and there wasn’t much to obstruct anyone’s view there. It was the part Tiararose thought she would have the most trouble to sneak out of.
“I should be really careful when looking around here, or the patrolling knights might see me.”
She peeped through the small gaps between the garden shrubs, but couldn’t find any knights around.
It seemed they were patrolling somewhere else. After confirming that, Tiararose set out to quickly cross the path to the other side –and then she stopped suddenly.
Tiararose’s eyes turned to find a horse. That in itself was not unexpected at all. The problem was with the person riding the horse.
It could mean a lot of trouble.
Her long, glossy dark hair was tied up in a ponytail, and she was wearing horseriding pants and an overcoat in place of her usual beautiful dress. Her dignified posture while riding her horse was truly worthy of a heroine.
“Ah, Lady Tiara~!”
When Tiararose called her name, she excitedly waved at her even though they were in the middle of the night.
“Um, Lady Akari, why are you here in Marineforest… I mean… What are you doing out so late at night…?”
“Because of the ring of light that appeared over the sky here in Marineforest, of course! I couldn’t just miss seeing this event! Ah, I’m so glad I took horse riding classes…”
She had wondered whether she had obtained permission from Hartknights, or if she simply was following her planned schedule… but it seemed to make no sense to expect such a mindset from someone like Akari.
Then, Akari’s head leaned to a side in doubt as she also noticed Tiararose’s unusual garments.
“Lady Tiara, what are you doing here?”
“Those clothes… are you going out somewhere? …Could it be that Prince Aqua doesn’t know about this?”
Akari’s eyes sparkled with fire as she cross-examined Tiararose. She might have figured that Tiararose thought it was safe to sneak out and see the event as soon as it started.
Tiararose sighed once again, unable to hide her intentions.
“I’m just checking here, but you didn’t come here alone, did you?”
“Well, of course, I brought some knights with me. Hartknights wouldn’t allow me to come here by myself, after all.”
Tiararose was relieved to hear that she had obtained permission to be there.
The knights who came with Akari seemed to have already been resting after being relieved by the people on night duty. Apparently, Akari went out on her own because she wanted to go out and feel the night breeze.
She had planned to visit Aquasteed and Tiararose the next morning.
“So you wanted to go out and feel the night breeze…?”
Tiararose doubted her explanation, as she didn’t think Akari was the kind of person to do that. Akari quickly noticed this and said ‘Ah, of course, I can’t fool you, can I?’, then laughed and explained herself.
“That’s what I told everyone.”