Chapter 24: The Attack of Pastry and Liquid!
Sweat dripped down my spine.
Dahlia, who was right in front of me, had an icy cold expression on her face.
It felt like she would pour steaming hot tea into my mouth the moment I opened it.
“Why are you standing there frozen? I want to bother you.”
Dahlia looked around as if surveying prey in front of her eyes.
I was frozen stiff like a rabbit in front of a hunter.
But I quickly fixed my expression and shook my head.
Telling her not to bother me would definitely be an act of love bombing toward Theodore.
Although I wanted to just tell her to do as she wished, I was tied to Theodore by a contract.
Theodore had made a contract with me because he wanted to avoid marriage with the Fourth Princess.
Thus, I couldn’t let the Fourth Princess stay by Theodore’s side.
TL/N: I had no idea what love bombing was, so I had to search it up, but it’s basically when you act overly affectionate to influence or manipulate the other person.
In this case, telling Dahlia not to bother her is kind of like begging for attention or trying to make Theodore protect her – an act of love bombing.
‘Let’s chase her out of the estate first.’
It wasn’t like saying ‘he’s my husband, so don’t touch him!’ would even work with her.
If it did, she wouldn’t have come here in the first place.
I casually scanned the table.
Then, I stared at the thick apple pie.
Seeing my gaze change, Dahlia turned to the apple pie as well.
“Do you want to eat some apple pie?”
At my random question, Dahlia must have been astounded, for she laughed in ridicule.
Ignoring her laughter, I stood up from my spot and started cutting the apple pie with the knife myself.
Dahlia sat on the sofa and was scanning me with a gaze that said, ‘did she really go insane?’ One piece on my plate.
One piece on Dahlia’s plate.
“Is now the time to eat that?” Dahlia, who couldn’t stand it any longer, spoke up.
‘Do you think I’m sharing this with you so we can happily eat this together?’
I swallowed the words that had come all the way up to my throat and passed Dahlia’s plate to her.
Dahlia shifted her gaze quickly from the apple pie plate to me.
“You’re not taking it? It’s not too sweet, so it should be tasty.”
“Why? Did you poison it?”
I wish I could poison it, really.
“Do you take me for a fool? If Your Highness the Princess was poisoned and died in this confined room, it’s obvious I would be suspected as the perpetrator.
I would never poison you here.”
Then, I smiled brightly.
Dahlia scanned my face with a suspicious gaze.
Then, she must have realized that what I was saying was true, for she outstretched her hand to take the plate.
As I got up from my spot, I dropped the apple pie atop Dahlia’s dress.
The thick apple pie left an even bigger stain on Dahlia’s dress than I’d been expecting.
“What should I do?! It’s such a pretty dress, too! But my hand slipped!”
There was no way it would end with just the apple pie.
I needed something strong to send her out of the estate.
I floundered around, pretending to be shocked, before sweeping my hand toward the teacup on the table next to Dahlia.
The teacup, which slipped from the table, completely soaked Dahlia’s dress and rolled onto the carpet.
“Oh no! This hand is at fault!”
Although my exclamation was obviously an act, who cared? Dahlia, whose dress had become a mess in a split second, scrunched her eyebrows.
This time, it truly felt like she would kill me.
I batted my eyelashes as if truly concerned, carefully concealing the knife I used to cut the pie behind my back.
“Since the dress has been ruined, it would be best to return soon.
If other people see the Empire’s Princess in this kind of state, you’d lose face.”
Dahlia, whose face was crumpled up in fury, crushed the apple pie on the carpet with her shoe before standing.
She was probably picturing that apple pie as me.
Seeing her stomp on it with murderous intent caused goosebumps to go down my spine.
“Ha, is it because your blood is different? The actions of the two sisters are completely different.”
Sisters? At Dahlia’s low mutters, I frowned.
Staring at Dahlia’s murderous gaze, I opened my mouth.
“Are you talking about Reina? Do you know her?”
“I know her.”
With an annoyed expression, Dahlia swept back the hair that was falling onto her face and laughed at me.
“You didn’t know? Your younger sister came in as my lady-in-waiting a few days ago.”
What? What was she talking about?
“Since I am recovering from sickness, I need someone to talk with, no? Your sister said she heard the rumors about how I wanted to marry Grand Duke Lapileon and wanted to help me, so she came to me on her own two feet.”
Reina, was this what you’d managed to come up with?
“She hates you just as much as I do, quite impressive.”
No wonder she had been quiet these days.
Since both Theodore and I did not entertain high society, we had no idea something like this had happened.
“But what relationship is your sister and your ex-fiance in?”
“She asked me to permit your ex-fiance to take the Imperial Knight promotion exam.
Your sister did, that is.”
Reina asked that for Siph? Wow, she truly never missed a single opportunity.
Well, just in case she wasn’t able to steal my inheritance, she needed another kind of insurance.
“What, you already knew about their relationship? How boring.”
“It’s someone I disposed of, anyway.
It’s her business whether she picks up and uses something I threw out.”
“You’re as boring as ever.”
Dahlia clicked her tongue.
“But I always like new changes.
I’m planning on passing him and assigning him to Sir Lapileon.”
So Siph would end up joining the Imperial Knights in the end, how annoying.
He’d once again received the items that I had finally managed to take away from him.
Dahlia started cackling when she noticed my glare.
“What’s with that expression?”
And as Dahlia was sneering, I’d been thinking that it was noisy outside the room.
Sure enough, the door opened suddenly, without even a knock.
Dahlia lit up after seeing Theodore enter.
Huh? What had she just called him? Ahim? At this unfamiliar name, I could feel my fingers throbbing.
But that was also brief.
As soon as Dahlia made eye contact with Theodore, she firmly closed her lips.
Her eyes, which had lit up as if sunlight was beaming through, filled with an unknown disappointment.
After fixing her expression, Dahlia smiled brightly like a dishevelled flower.
Theodore, who had entered the room, paused to look at the two of us before approaching me quickly.
“Are you hurt anywhere?”
Pardon? Me? At my flustered expression, Dahlia, who had been staring at Theodore’s back, started laughing as if in shock.
“Don’t you see the state I’m in? The one who was affected is not that woman but me.”
However, Theodore continued to ignore Dahlia’s words and repeated his question.
“Are you hurt anywhere?”
I was the one who got her, though.
This should be visible at a glance.
I slowly shook my head.
I could hear Dahlia muttering complaints of ‘I’m the one who was affected’ in the back.
Theodore tightly clenched his jaw before calling Dahlia’s name.
“I definitely warned you, but it seems you’ve forgotten.”
He glared at Dahlia with an icy expression, so cold as if a blizzard was brewing.
Standing crookedly, Dahlia smiled calmly.
“I definitely told you not to approach my wife.”
Yes, good job! His low rumbling voice sounded like a beast growling and roaring because his territory had been invaded.
“Am I the bad guy in this again?”
“For what reason did you come here?”
“Stop acting so scary.
I didn’t even touch a single strand of hair on that woman.
I just sat in front of her like this.
It’s me who something happened to if anything.
Look at my dirty and messy state.”
“I definitely told you not to even look at her.”
Theodore’s voice was permeating in rage.
However, even in this situation, Dahlia seemed to be enjoying conversing with Theodore.
“Really? I guess I’ll have to do as you say.
Since you said not to look at that woman, I’ll just look at you.”
It felt like walking on thin ice.
Theodore, whose face was crumpled up, pulled on the bell rope.
As he did, the maids that had been waiting outside rushed in.
“Get rid of all of this.”
As soon as they came in, he gave his order, pointing at the tea and snacks on the table, as well as the teacup at Dahlia’s foot.
Glancing around, the maids approached to get rid of the tea.
However, Dahlia interrupted the maids, grabbing my teacup that was on the table.
“I’m going to go after having some tea.
Drink with me, Sir Lapileon.”
“In that state?”
“So what? Since my dress drank tea and got soaked like this, I should drink too.”
At this point, it wasn’t love but an obsession.
I should have sent her away before Theodore had come! However, Theodore lightly ignored her, as if unconcerned with Dahlia’s words.
“The guest is going to leave, so prepare the carriage.”
Although the order for Dahlia to leave had been given, she seemed to be indifferent.
In the end, Theodore stepped forward and harshly pulled the teacup out of Dahlia’s hand.
Then, the maids took the tea and snacks and escaped from the room as if running for their lives.
“This is too much to a guest, and the Empire’s Princess at that.”
“It’s because you are the Empire’s Princess that I have not taken out my sword yet.
You should be very grateful that you were born a princess.”
Have you been working hard to get ready for the parade? If you encounter any difficulties, let me know.
I’ll let His Majesty know.”
“We will not be letting Your Highness the Princess into the estate ever again.
I’ll let the workers know, so do not come here in vain.”
“Come visit the Palace often.
I’d rather see you than her.
Then there will be no need for me to come here.”
“And stop sending invitation letters.
This estate has enough firewood to last us through the winter, so we don’t need any more fuel.”
“If you don’t visit the Palace often, I’ll come again.”
‘Wow, they’re really just saying what they each want to say.’
Even though their conversation did not flow whatsoever, Dahlia seemed excited.
She even bounced both legs back and forth.
However, she must not have been able to stand the feeling of being damp, because Dahlia got up from the sofa.
“I think I smell.”
“You just noticed?”
“It’s because of the apple pie and tea on the dress.
Even though I originally came after cleaning myself very well…”
Dahlia cast a terrifying look at me, who was standing behind Theodore.
“If it wasn’t for the state I am in, I could have conversed with you a bit longer.
She said not to bother her, and then did such a cute deed.”
Theodore shifted so that he was hiding me behind his broad shoulders.
“Fine, I understand, so stop staring at me so scarily.
I’m going to leave.
My head hurts from how sweet my dress smells, you see.”
“Since you are an uninvited guest, I won’t guide you out.”
Sure, it’s all right.
It does not matter, since you need me, and when the time comes, you’ll naturally come to find me.
She has already completely forgotten, anyway, so I’ll wait until then patiently.”
Dahlia smiled a wide, creepy grin before turning her body and leaving the room.
‘Did she finally go?’
As if a storm had wrecked the room, the carpet was a complete mess.
With a dazed expression, I stared at the door Dahlia had exited through for a long time.
Only when it seemed that Dahlia wasn’t returning did I lose the strength in my body and collapse onto the sofa.
Theodore, who also turned his gaze away from the door, looked me over.
“After receiving the letter from the butler, I came immediately.
You’re really not hurt anywhere, right?”
His appearance did seem different from usual.
So he’d left while he was working and had run here.
“I’m really fine.
There was no violence.”
Theodore, who had been scanning me with narrowed eyes, came to my side and knelt on his left knee.
Then, he carefully and thoroughly looked me over.
Because of his muscles, his tight clothes stretched as if they were about to rip.
“I told you.
The Princess is a crazy dog.
Make sure there are never situations where it’s just the two of you ever again.”
“If she did something, I was going to fight her back! She’s younger than me.
And she was lying down until just recently because of her illness.
If we fight, I’ll definitely beat her in strength.”
“And didn’t you see the state of the Princess earlier? That was a masterpiece that I made.”
“You’re not trying to show off the fact that you attacked with mere pastries and liquid, right?”
After confirming that there was really nothing wrong with me, Theodore stood up.
“You have a talent for surprising people.”
“Were you surprised?”
“The other person was the Princess, would I not be surprised? Even if that woman had murdered you here, the Emperor would take her side.”
Well, she was his daughter who had gotten up and recovered from her illness for the first time, so what wouldn’t he be willing to do for her? Was that why she was in such high spirits?
“Don’t do anything that provokes her.
And if possible, don’t meet with her.
If you think you’re going to meet, at least wear the mithril armor.
I’ll lend it to you.”
“The mithril armor? Am I going into war or something?”
“No, actually, if something happens, just meet her with me.
I’m someone who has to protect you.
I cannot just stand and watch as a person of the Lapileon family gets treated like this.
From now on, for any meeting related to Princess Dahlia, do it with me.”
“I’m all right.”
After breathing a little heavily, I became okay.
I rose from the sofa.
“Our contract is one that started because you didn’t want to marry the Fourth Princess in the first place.
It’s my contractual duty to ensure that you don’t meet with the Fourth Princess.”
“I don’t want to see you die while trying to fulfill your contractual duties.”
“Hey, I won’t die! …Ah, right.
Earlier, Princess Dahlia said something weird.”
As I made to leave the room, Theodore followed.
“She asked me if I knew who she was.”
It was weird.
Who living in this Empire wouldn’t know who Princess Dahlia was?
“And she said that I had forgotten everything.”
No matter how much I thought, there was nothing I’d forgotten.
My memories were whole.
Well, it could have been some meaningless nonsense.
But why did she say that? Lost in thought, Theodore, who had been following me, nodded before responding.
“I’ve heard those same words before.”
“Pardon? You too?”
“After looking into it, I found out that she said something similar in the Palace, about whether or not two people there remembered her.”
So other than Theodore and I, she’d said something similar to two other people, too? As expected, it was definitely nonsense.
“Everyone is thinking that the Princess hasn’t completely recovered her senses yet.”
“I think so too.
It doesn’t seem like she’s completely recovered yet.”
“She’s definitely not in her right mind.”
We walked side by side through the long hallway.
Then, I remembered something else Dahlia had said earlier.
“Apparently Reina… that is, my younger sister, went into the palace as Princess Dahlia’s lady-in-waiting.”
“…I had no idea.”
“I only found out just now too.”
“It seems like your family doesn’t miss even the slightest of opportunities.”
And she said that she would accept my previous fiance into the Imperial Knights.”
“By your ex-fiance, you mean the man who made a fuss at the entrance of the estate before?”
I never wanted to see Siph become a member of the Imperial Knights and brag about it.
Crinkling his eyes, Theodore calmly spoke as if reading my mind.
“There’s nothing to worry about.
If he gets accepted, what changes? I’m the one in charge of them all.
Just let her try and pass him.”
“I’ll make him work until he realizes where hell truly is.
He probably won’t last more than a month before leaving on his own two feet.”
Only after seeing Theodore’s serious expression did I feel a bit reassured.
The me of now was different from the me of the past.
I would not let them hold onto any of the things they had from before I regressed.
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