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Doted on by the Crown Prince 35
- The Fairy King’s Palace Under the Sea
Since becoming acquainted, Tiararose and Grail continued to occasionally meet and have tea together.
After the second time, Aquasteed demanded that he be invited as well, which meant a much more lively tea party.
It was much the same today, as they gathered to sit in Tiararose’s private garden.
“Oh, really, Aquasteed. I had so hoped for a girls only moment with Tiararose. It is ruined by your male presence!”
“You are one to talk…”
Grail took a bite of her cookie and stared at Aquasteed intently. She still looked annoyed about his intrusion.
This was because Tarmo would immediately go and call for Aquasteed whenever Grail would visit. And so there would also be three at the tea party.
Tiararose could only chuckle as she looked at these two.
“But I am quite happy to be able to drink tea with both of you.”
“Tiararose, you are such an honest and good child!”
Grail said as she moved to give Tiararose a hug. However, Aquasteed was quick to intercept her and give the embrace himself.
Tiararose’s heart began to beat faster at the sudden move. In any case, she didn’t quite wish to be hugged right in front of Grail. It was embarrassing. She would have preferred for these things to only occur when they were alone.
“Prince Aqua, you embarrass me…”
“But your face looks happy?”
She couldn’t deny it, but that only made it worse.
Well, she couldn’t help but feel happy. –But, she still did not want to do such things in front of Grail. She gently pushed against Aquasteed’s chest with her hands and finally succeeded in pushing him away.
Too bad. He says it in a way that indicates that he thinks otherwise. It was always like this, yes, it had happened many times before. This prince really did not care about the looks of others.
“Oh, you two lovebirds. You must share her, Aquasteed.”
“Do not get closer than is necessary to Tiara. Or there will be less of her for me.”
“No, there won’t!”
Grail says with exasperation. But Aquasteed would not give her an inch.
It was a joyous thing to be loved. But Tiararose’s heart was constantly beating with excitement. It was almost too much.
◇ ◇ ◇
Bubbles of air floated noisily around Aishira as she swam through the depths of the ocean.
She was investigating the sea fairies in order to make a report to Aquasteed. In a way, the vast, open sea was Aishira’s playground, but–it was still the great wild. It was a lot for someone as small as Aishira.
She had asked the sea fairies to stop stealing the sweets from Tiararose, but they would not listen.
Well then, she had no choice but to go directly to the king of the sea fairies.
It was not easy to seek an audience with the king.
One might think it would be easy, seeing as how Keith and Grail could easily pay Tiararose a visit, but in fact, there was a long, arduous road to follow in order to get there.
“Will I really be able to meet with him…”
Aishira had never met the king of the sea fairies before.
She knew that she was loved by the sea fairies, but that didn’t mean that the king would see her. Aishira thought that the chances of her success were not particularly high.
As for the road…
You had to swim deep, deep down into the sea in order to reach the place where the king lived. Ordinary people would not be able to stand the pressure of water, let along the other obstacles.
First of all, you absolutely need to have the blessing of the sea fairies. And you must also know the way to the where the king lived.
Even with these two requirements fulfilled, it was still very difficult.
“…I have never dove so deep into the sea before.”
Unlike the water near the surface, the bottom of the ocean was dark and quiet.
Soon, the palace appeared in Aishira’s vision.
Aishira’s eyes widened at this fairy-tale like palace.
The castle that the king lived in was right before her eyes.
“It is amazing… To think that there was such a great palace under the sea.”
She tried to control the furious beating of her heart as she got closer to the palace. Just thinking about how the king of the sea fairies was here was enough to make her grow stiff with nervousness.
–But, she had to do it for Tiararose.
She clenched her hand into a fist and knocked on the door. Please open. She prayed. Silently, the door opened.
It seemed that Aishira was welcome after all. She sighed with relief.
“That is good.”
She looked around at her surroundings, but there were no fairies in sight.
There was no one. It was a quiet room. …Does that mean I should continue forward? She interpreted it as so and continued through the room.
There was no sea water inside the palace.
It was filled with air just like on the surface, making it a comfortable environment to live in. There were shiny objects made of coral everywhere, that were just exquisite.
However, there were also two waterways on both sides of the path. It was probably made for weaker fairies who disliked the air. Aishira thought.
As she continued, doors opened in front of her. It was as if they were showing her where to go. And so she followed the direction of the opening doors until she faced a particularly fancy door.
“Was this the fairy king’s room?”
The door was decorated with gold, it’s very presence exuded a majestic atmosphere. While nothing had happened yet, Aishira suddenly felt an intense pressure.
–There was no doubt about it, the king of the sea fairies was behind this door.
Confident of this, Aishira put her hand on the door and opened it.
Just as she had imagined, the king was waiting inside.
He sat on a red throne, his eyes were looking directly at her.
“…! I, I am honored to be in your presence. I am Aishira Pearland.”
“Yes. And I am Pearl. Queen of the sea fairies. Welcome to my palace.”
She immediately knelt after she addressed the Queen.
Don’t bother with that. She told her as she covered her mouth with a fan.
She had straight, platinum hair that reached her shoulders. And like the other fairy rulers, her eyes shone a golden color. Her dress was made of layered fabrics and the colors of pearls, which went well with her hair.
–She was beautiful.
That was the only word that Aishira could think of to describe her.
Like a delicate, beautiful girl. Yes, that was it. She looked to be the same age as Aishira.
Her real age was certain to be much older, but it did make AIshira feel a little closer to her.
“–So, what business do you have?”
“Oh, yes! Please forgive me. …It regards Princess Tiararose Lapis Marineforest, the wife of Aquasteed Marineforest, the prince of our country.”
Aishira then told her about how the sea fairies were taking away Tiararose’s sweets. She was most careful to avoid saying anything rude.
When she was finished, Pearl closed her fan and put it to her mouth.
“…Hmmm. Are those the sweets you are referring to?”
The fan spun in her hand before pointing to a certain spot. Aishira’s gaze followed it and—what she saw was Tiararose’s sweets, in a trash bin.
She couldn’t help but gasp. However, Aishira could in no way say anything that would fault Pearl. She could not anger her. It would bring chaos to this country’s ocean.
She would not allow that to happen.
“…! Wh-what has happened to them?”
“I am sorry to tell you, but I very much hate that Tiararose.”
She had to muster up her courage to ask the reason.
But the answer was most unexpected.
–But, why did Pearl hate Tiararose so much?
This had never happened before, so it but be due to something recent. Aishira wondered silently.
“Wh-why do you feel that way about Tiararose? Is it because I have feelings for prince Aquasteed…?”
The sea fairies were aware that Aishira had loved Aquasteed.
And they also knew that Aquasteed and Tiararose had gotten married. And that the two had loved each other from the beginning.
And so they hated Tiararose for stealing Aquasteed from her.
Pearl laughed when she heard this.
“Aishira. Just because you received the blessing from the fairies and were able to come here–do not think that you have been blessed by me as well!”
“–! I, I am very sorry.”
In a second, there was an oppressive tension in the room.
She immediately recognized it as Pearl’s power and knew that she had been wrong. Sweat began to run down her back, and her body shook even as she continued to kneel.
–So Pearl did not hate Tiararose after all?
She had not denied or confirmed it. But it almost sounded like she did not particularly care. Aishira began to think that this person was not so easily moved by petty human emotions.
“By the way, Aishira.”
“You…how well do you know of Tiararose’s acquaintances?”
“? A little…”
Aishira grew frantic over the mystery of this sudden question. It was about Tiararose, who she had only just assumed was inconsequential to the queen.
As for her acquaintances, well, she could only think of Aquasteed. But there was no way that Pearl was interested in anything related to Aishira’s feelings.
“Hmm. So, do you know about Grail then?”
“Gra-Grail? Please forgive, I do not know.”
Tiararose’s lead handmaiden was Philiane, and her guard was Tarmo. And there was no one named Grail that was close to Aquasteed.
If anything, she did not know any nobles in the country whose name was Grail. As Aishira was the daughter of a duke, she had memorized all the information about the country’s nobles.
Pearl opened her fan and sighed.
“How disappointing. I allowed you to come all the way here and you ended up being useless.”
“I am very sorry.”
“Oh, well. Grail said something about having tea with me, but has yet to show up!”
Pearl stood up from her throne, her dazzling platinum hair shaking.
–Did Tiararose take away this person named Grail?
But, she really did not know anyone by that name. Perhaps Aquasteed did. She would have to ask him about it later.
“Well, if you do not have any information, that is fine. –Leave.”
Pearl’s eyes were cold, as were her words.
And in the blink of an eye, Aishira was sent from the bottom of the sea, back to the surface—…