Magi Craft Meister 441 13 Stronghold Enhancement Arc 13-29 Struggle “J-Jin... What are we going to do?” Her face turned pale, Saki asked with a trembling voice. “We...
The Villainess Is Being Doted on by the Crown Prince of the Neighboring Country 47
A Saying of Old
Tiararose had a small private garden that Aquasteed had gifted to her.
The garden was filled with roses of different colors, and now Tiararose’s own pink flowers had been added. And so the place was becoming more beautiful by the day. The garden was tended to by not only a gardener, but the forest fairies, who came to play and take care of it every day.
Tarmo stood guard in front of the entrance, and Philiane stood near Tiararose as she sat at the table.
Here, Tiararose was drinking tea while looking at the old map of Marineforest, that Tarmo had brought for her. She had a recent map laid out next to it, as she searched for differences between them.
“As I thought, the city has become much larger compared to the past.”
It was more than double the size it had once been, and you could see just how the population had grown. On top of that, there were also many more towns in the surrounding area in the capital. Seeing how the kingdom had developed like this so peacefully, it was apparent how the royal family had done well.
–And I will be one of them from now on.
That made her feel a little hesitant. But she knew that she had nothing to worry about with Aquasteed nearby.
As she looked at the map, she noticed that the mountain area behind the castle had not changed much at all. This area was the land where Keith, the Fairy King of the Forest lived, and so it was understandable that humans would have left it alone.
“But, usually no one would actually know that this is Keith’s territory.”
Maybe there was some reason that made it hard to change?
Either that, or it was land owned by the royal family, and they had decided to leave it be.
Additionally, unlike their king, the fairies did show their faces quite often, so perhaps they had warned people from doing anything.
Tiararose considered just going to the first place that caught her interest.
But where to go first–she wondered, before hearing Philiane’s voice calling to her. She turned to see what it was and saw that Aquasteed had finished his duties in his office and had come to see her.
“Prince Aqua! You must be tired from so much work.”
“Thank you, Tiara. I heard that you were looking at old maps. Have you found anything interesting?”
“No. Nothing of particular interest…”
She laughed a little awkwardly, and Aquasteed smiled with a ‘really?’
He took a seat and looked down at the maps. Nostalgia glimmered in his eyes.
“The area around this castle has not changed much. It is a place that is connected to the Fairy King, Keith’s forest, so people leave it alone. Besides, it is supposed to be owned by the royals.”
“Royal lands… Does that mean that the royal family manages the land that the Fairy King lives in?”
Tiararose’s guess had been correct, and Aquasteed nodded. In regards to the land that the Fairy King lived in, it was forbidden to build not only cities or villages but buildings as well. That was why they were controlled by the royal family for generations, Aquasteed told her.
–So, did that mean that the royal family knew where the Fairy King lived?
Indeed, when she had been kidnapped by Keith, Aquasteed had been able to find her and bring her back. Considering all of that, there must be some documents left about it.
But there was nothing promising in the library. Besides, it was unlikely that such an important document would be left in such a place.
“I don’t know if I would say manage. But we do ensure that they can live in peace. It has been an old rule, that we do not allow anyone to change that area.”
“Yes, the fairies do love nature.”
Aquasteed took a sip of tea and nodded. And then, with a burst of childish laughter, the fairies of the forest appeared in the garden.
“Ah, I know this! It’s a map!”
“Hello. So you know about maps, that is very smart.”
The fairies looked down at the spread out map with pleasure. Tiararose was surprised at how much they actually knew. She tried pointing at their current location and they answered happily, ‘we know!’
“The king told us all about maps.”
“Keith? So he is not as careless as he looks then…”
Tiararose was very interested in this, and she asked the fairies what else they had learned. Aquasteed was also interested in how these fairies had been educated, and so he listened quietly.
The fairies flew with their little wings and said, ‘we also learned…’ as they tried to remember.
“Oh yes, we learned about the very first ring!”
“Yes. There is an important ring! A ring is that thing you are wearing, Tiara!”
They pointed at Tiararose’s finger as if they were proud to know what it was. The motion was so cute, that she could not help but laugh.
–But this ring seems interesting.
This game was about the ‘ring’ of Lapis Lazuli, so it was clearly an important item. And men gave women rings during weddings.
There must be something very important about this ring that the king had told them about–Tiararose thought excitedly to herself.
“What kind of ring is it?”
“Mmm, I don’t know…but it is important to the king!”
It was clear that it was something important, but she wanted to know what it was used for. However, the fairies had not heard anymore than that, and so Tiararose had to give up on asking about it.
–I suppose I will just have to search the map and look for a likely place.
She stared back at the map for likely places in the mountain and sea. Unfortunately, she could not do the same for the sky.
“…Tiara, are you perhaps thinking about something?”
Aquasteed looked at how concentrated she was and wondered. He looked into her face and asked, ‘Is there some place that you would like to go?’
She felt her heart skip a beat, but Tiararose was careful to not let it show in her face as she shook her head.
“Tiara, you want to go somewhere? There is a room that only the king can enter!”
“So there are many rooms in the Fairy King’s castle.”
Tiararose had given up on gaining information about this ring, but this talk of a room that only the Fairy King could enter grabbed her attention again. She felt that it was very likely the hidden stage.
“Really now. You fairies, I won’t forgive you next time if you take my Tiara to the Fairy King.”
“Aqua is scary.”
“We won’t take her.”
As if to show that she was his bride, Aquasteed picked up Tiararose’s hand and softly kissed it. She heard the sound of his lips kissing her hand, and she knew that she was becoming red.
“Oh, prince Aqua…”
“It is because you are so cute, I always want to touch you.”
He said, and this time he gently kissed her cheek. Tiararose became red up to her ears.
◇ ◇ ◇
In the evening, after the tea party–Tiararose slipped quietly out of the castle.
She had told Philiane to leave her alone, as she was tired and needed some rest.
She changed into a plain one-piece dress and boots instead of her usual dress. It might have been the first time since coming here that she wore a skirt that cut off at her knees, which gave her a feeling of excitement.
As her soft honey pink hair would draw attention, she tied it up to decrease the volume. Additionally, a disguise always needed a pair of fake glasses, which she put on to finish the look.
“Yes, yes. Now it will not be so easy for anyone to recognize me!”
Anyone else would have pointed out that she didn’t look like anything but a noble trying to slip away, but Tiararose herself was satisfied with how she looked. She nodded to herself as she left through the window so that Tarmo would not notice.
“The first place that I should go, is the sea…”
She could walk near to the forest, but there was a good chance that Keith would find her. And Tiararose was trying to go to a place that was meant for the original heroine–so she wanted to avoid being seen by anyone.
It was not an event meant for her, the villainous daughter. So she preferred to be discreet.
“…I wonder if queen Pearl is alright.”
As she had given her blessing to Tiararose and Aquasteed, the Fairy Queen was now sleeping. And since it seemed that she would not be waking up any time soon, Tiararose decided to look for the hidden stage in the sea first.
She felt that as long as the queen was asleep, then there should be no problem with her going, even if she was the villainous daughter. Had it been Aishira, the heroine who went there, perhaps it would trigger an event that woke the Fairy Queen up.
“I can travel lightly, as I am the villainous daughter…”
Usually, she would go to the sea by a carriage that was prepared for her, but there was no one to do this now, as she had secretly slipped out. And so Tiararose took a public passenger carriage and went to the sea.
The beautiful sea spread out before her eyes like it always did. But now the flowers that had grown through her power were also planted here. As they were named after her, people called them Tiararose’s Flower.
She gazed at the healthy flowers before noticing that a man in a butler’s uniform was standing by the sea.
–Who is he?
Aishira’s mansion was near this sea, but he was not her butler. He had black hair and rose red eyes. He looked as if he were about to jump into the sea at any moment, which worried her.
She felt puzzled by this, but she did not want to risk being recognized, and so she decided to ignore him.
And just as she walked passed him to continue looking at the sea, that man in butler uniform turned around–his rose red eyes widened. His mouth fell open and he stared at her.
Tiararose found this very off-putting but knew that it was no way for a lady to act. She forced herself to smile and gave a slight bow. She did not feel like this was someone she should get involved with, and so she tried to walk quickly away–but the words that entered her ears made her stop.
“The villainous daughter of Lapis Lazuli…?”
–How did he know about that?
It was likely a mistake that she jerked in surprise. Now the man was certain of it, and he drew closer to her.
She tried to run away, but he was faster on his legs. Knowing that she was in danger, she raised her voice.
“Who, who are you?”
“! I have troubled you, my lady. I am Olivia’s butler, Levi. I am searching for the Fairy Queen’s ring. Will you not help me? You are the villainous daughter who was blessed by the Fairy Queen…”
–He knows about the Fairy Queen’s ring?
This Olivia that he was talking about, who was she? She knew about all of the nobles of this country, she told herself. And there was one person she could think of.
Olivia Ariadale. She was a duke’s daughter, but did not have any connections to anyone as far as she knew…