Chapter 22: Your Waist Will Hurt If You Play Hard At Night
The morning was bright.
Just like every other morning, I woke up because of the surrounding noise.
Rebecca and the maids had come into the bedroom and were moving around, waiting for me to open my eyes.
Glancing furtively to the side, I noticed that as usual, Theodore had awoken first and had left.
Seeing how he always cleanly got ready and departed before I woke up, the thought that he was very diligent came to mind.
“Good morning, Your Highness.”
“It’s a happy morning, Your Highness!”
Receiving everyone’s greetings, I sat up on the bed with vigor.
As soon as I got up I could feel a pain in my waist, causing me to grab at it and furrow my brows.
A contorted moan slipped out.
My waist was on fire.
“Y-Your Highness, are you okay?”
“My waist, my waist hurts.”
Well, it would be strange for it not to hurt.
After running around like that yesterday, we’d completely conquered the entire festival.
We had properly enjoyed ourselves, as if we were relieving a matter of eternal regret.
But because we’d run around so aggressively together, both my legs and waist hurt.
Stretching up toward the sky, I relieved my stiff body.
Then, I felt something strange.
“What the, why are you all so quiet?”
As if they’d all made a promise, everyone’s lips were firmly closed, and they were staring at me without moving a muscle.
While I was scanning everyone with a confused expression, Rebecca, looking embarrassed, asked.
“Y-Your Highness, t-then should I prepare a hot bath for you to relax your body?”
“From the morning? Why?”
“That… After a woman and a man spend a wild night together, your body may be stiff, so I heard it’s good to relieve it with hot water.”
A woman and a man spend a wild night together? Now that I looked closely, the expressions on their faces as they looked at me seemed somewhat pleased.
It was only then that I realized just what exactly they were misunderstanding.
“N-No! It’s not like that!”
Although I stammered a rapid denial, it didn’t seem like any of them were planning on believing me any time soon.
Some maids laughed brightly before saying they had to prepare some warm bath water, and even left the bedroom.
How embarrassing to feel so ashamed this early in the morning! Grabbing my painful waist, I hopped out of bed.
“Enough with the nonsense, hurry and dress me!”
Stop staring at me with such a delighted and proud expression! I really can’t let any careless words slip in this household, honestly! Noticing my red face, Rebecca ran towards me with a fan and started fanning me.
“Rebecca, did you have a nice conversation with your friend yesterday?”
Thinking back, I realized Theodore and I had played around until so late last night that I hadn’t even heard how it had gone.
At my question though, Rebecca’s shoulders flinched.
It seemed as if she was saying otherwise.
The word ‘hedonist,’ which Theodore had mentioned the day before, came to mind.
“That bastard didn’t do something bad to you, did he, Rebecca?”
“Pardon? N-No, it’s not like that! It was just so awkward yesterday that I felt like dying.
To be honest, I wanted to follow Your Highness yesterday and escape.”
Rebecca had a complicated expression as she shook her head.
Well, if it was a friend you hadn’t seen in a long time, it could definitely be awkward.
“Were you actually close when you were younger?”
“Yes, that was truly the case when we were children.
His mother was a commoner, you see.
Viscount Fotchen brought him up in secret.
There probably aren’t many people in the Empire who know he exists.”
“I also thought that the Fotchen Viscounty only had a daughter.”
After hearing Rebecca’s account, something seemed strange.
“Not many people in the Empire know of him? Even though His Excellency knew?”
“Well that is… Perhaps it’s because His Excellency does a lot of foreign politics, so he heard the rumors?”
Ah, I see.
That could be the case.
As I nodded, Rebecca spoke of her past as if it wasn’t a big deal.
“When there were other people around, he could barely even talk properly, so I helped him a lot.
If not for me, he was an idiot who couldn’t do anything.”
Huh? Who? Adeus? I stared at Rebecca with a dazed expression.
Rebecca, who was lost in her memories, was smiling as if remembering the old days.
‘He hadn’t looked like that at all, though.’
It’s not that he was bad at speaking, but rather he was so good it left me speechless… Well, of course, you would be different as an adult than you were as a child.
“I had only heard rumors after he was chased abroad, and haven’t seen him since, though.”
Rebecca mumbled bitterly, and as if hating even the thought of it, she shook her head.
They said the items we purchased yesterday would arrive today! If you’re not busy, do you want to try putting them on?”
I have nothing much to do today, so I’ll stay at the estate.”
When I nodded in Rebecca’s direction, the girl smiled brightly in excitement.
After finishing all preparations, I left the bedroom.
“But the Lapileon family is truly on such good terms.”
“Hm? Why are you mentioning that all of a sudden?”
“It’s just fascinating.
Usually, it’s uncommon for the family to eat together after sending all of the maids and ladies-in-waiting away.
Going as far as to say that the butler, Baha, is enough to help with eating.”
At Rebecca’s wondrous mumbles, I tried my best to maintain my calm.
“Is that so?”
“Yes, it’s also unusual for family members to be this close!”
Well, it was quite a big deal.
When nobles ate, they almost never asked for there to be no attendants to help them.
“Then Your Highness, I’ll see you later!”
After saying goodbye to Rebecca, I headed toward the dining room by myself.
When I entered, I didn’t see Selphius or Theodore, but just Finneas sitting by himself.
“Your Highness, good morning.”
Did you sleep well? Where are Theodore and Selphi?”
“Selphi woke up just now, so he’s still getting ready, and will come down.
As for Theo…”
Before Finneas could finish speaking, I heard Theodore’s voice from behind me.
When I looked up, tilting my head back, I came eye to eye with Theodore. Tap.
The back of my head bumped into his stocky chest.
Unlike me, whose waist and legs were throbbing, he seemed completely fine.
Was this the difference in our stamina? Theodore turned his gaze from me to the butler, and spoke lightly.
“I don’t need breakfast today.
There’s some business I need to take care of urgently, so prepare the carriage.
I’ll leave right away.”
“Where are you going without even eating breakfast?”
At my question, Theodore turned his gaze slowly down to me once more.
Through his long eyelashes, I could see my face reflected in his half-closed red eyes.
Theodore stared at me for a long time without saying anything.
“I received a report that the residence of the perpetrator who poisoned you has been identified.”
“Seeing how they erased their traces so that not even a mouse or bird could find it, they are either experienced or working in an organization.”
“It’s just my guess, but I don’t think they did this on their own, and instead are working with people who share the same purpose.”
So it wasn’t just one person who tried to poison me… no, to be exact, tried to poison and murder the entire Lapileon family, but an organization? I was at a loss for words.
“Do you remember the incident where someone spread an article with malicious content about you?”
“How would I forget that?”
“That journalist is different from the average person in that they hid their tracks, so we weren’t able to find them in the end.
Just like right now.”
“It’s just a guess, to some extent.
They might be in the same group, so we have to head out now before they erase their tracks and disappear once more.”
Theodore, who reached out his hand, lightly tapped my forehead with his thumb.
He tapped it as if he was touching a feather, so much so I could barely feel him.
“I’ll definitely catch them and make them kneel in front of you.”
Leaving these final words, Theodore turned and left the dining room.
I stared at where he had stood for a long time before touching my forehead, where Theodore’s thumb had been.
“Theo’s not going to war or anything, so you don’t need to stare with such a mournful expression, Your Highness.”
It hadn’t been just the two of us there.
Finneas’ firm voice, which I heard from behind me, startled me, and I sat back down.
“W-What do you mean by ‘a mournful expression’? It’s just that he said it might be an organization, so… I was just worrying for him on a person-to-person basis.”
And it’s not a bad thing for a couple to worry for each other.
It’s not something to be embarrassed about, either.”
Finneas tilted his chin and smiled, as if pleased.
No, don’t smile.
Not only were we not in that kind of relationship, but I also wasn’t worrying for him as one would worry for their husband! I felt embarrassed for no reason, causing my face to blaze up, so I gulped down some water to cool off.
“Oh by the way, I confirmed with Your Highness’ blood that I collected earlier, and it definitely seems like the curse of everyone in our family doesn’t work on you.”
The curse didn’t work.
So it really was like that.
I nodded my head and carefully spoke the theory I’d thought of.
“Might it be that it doesn’t work on me because I’ve already died before?”
As soon as I tossed out my question, Finneas donned a strange expression.
Then, he stared at the empty cup of water in front of me and asked me seriously.
“Was that perhaps not water, but alcohol, Your Highness?”
“I’m completely sober right now.”
If someone heard, they would think I was a drunkard who was absolutely plastered! I’d recently thought about why the curse didn’t work on me.
Could the reason be that I had already died at Siph and my family’s hands and regressed? So it was actually that I had already died, and my body too, had died… Now that I thought about it, it made sense why Finneas might have mistaken me as someone who was intoxicated.
Who would be able to believe I was sober while hearing a story that I had died and returned to life as I traveled back in time?
“Were you asking seriously?” Finneas inquired, hesitantly, to which I nodded my head vigorously.
Of course I was serious; I had even thought of stabbing myself with a sword to see if I would die or not.
Finneas laughed awkwardly and tried his best to formulate a diligent answer.
“Since you’re speaking with me and eating, you’re definitely alive, aren’t you, Your Highness?”
“Then is my blood the blood of a living person? And not of a dead person?”
After hearing Finneas’ reply, I gave a sigh of relief.
Luckily enough, it didn’t seem that I had a dead body.
“Did you have a bad dream or something? You seem quite surprised, should I give you some calming medication?”
“No, it’s fine.”
If I’d thought I could fix this by taking medicine, I would have consumed all of the medicine that was good for the body in the world.
Finneas surveyed me with a worried expression.
Well, I did just ask him if I was a dead person, so there was no way he’d think of me as perfectly fine.
And right when I was wondering what excuse I should give him, Selphius entered the dining room.
He was wearing the Delfanil Academy uniform as he awkwardly and stiffly walked in and sat down.
“Selphi! My goodness, it looks so good on you.”
“Selphi, how pretty.”
Today was Selphius’ first day at Delfanil Academy.
At both of our compliments, Selphius turned his head with an embarrassed expression.
“…It’s all the same clothes, so there’s no need to say that.”
Selphius, who must have felt embarrassed and awkward at the fact that he was wearing a uniform, spoke bluntly.
However, Selphius’ bright red ears told the truth about the child.
‘He’s so cute.’
“Is His Excellency yet to arrive?”
“Theodore had something to do, so he left first.”
Selphius let out a sigh of both relief and disappointment.
After the incident where Selphius had vomited blood, Theodore had once again disagreed with his attendance at the academy.
In irritation, he said we should either send Selphius to the countryside or let him stay at the residence.
Because I knew he was saying this for Selphius’ sake, I couldn’t easily refute him.
Since I, too, had regretted the fact that I’d kept him here after seeing Selphius spit up blood.
However, Selphius did not change his mind.
He stated that if his vomiting of the blood was the reason he had to return to the countryside or stay in the residence, then not just him, but everyone in the family with this curse, should have to do so.
Then, he said that he couldn’t become Theodore’s heir while living trapped in his shadow.
His words weren’t wrong.
However, Theodore was resolute.
I was truly at a loss for how I could convince him again, but an unexpected assistant easily resolved the situation for us.
‘Theo, you were the same when you were younger.
When you lived locked up.’
‘Just like now, you wanted to go out, and Miss Gloria allowed that.
That’s why you could grow to be like this.’
‘If you think about your childhood, won’t you be able to know what Selphi needs right now?’
He meant that Theodore, who had lived locked up when he was younger, would know Selphius’ feelings better than anyone else.
With Finneas’ kind convincing, in the end, Theodore allowed Selphius to enroll in school.
“From now on, Sir Finneas will always take you to the Academy.
And he will also go pick you up when it’s over.”
“I’m not a kid.”
“But we just want to do that for you.”
Selphius huffed and pouted his lips, but didn’t refuse.
Although he snuck furtive glances at me, he didn’t say anything else.
Although I could drop him off too, I didn’t want to go and bump into Dahlia; just thinking of it made me sick.
Even now, we were receiving an invitation almost every day from Dahlia.
There was no need to provide Dahlia with a pretext to meet me and bring me to the palace.
‘Should I just relax, stay at the residence, and read a book today?’
I rested my chin on my hand and looked at the nice weather outside the window.
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