“Um… Ducal Princess Alvinith, if it’s alright with you, would you like to play a round of chess with us? There’s a table over there…”
One noble lady approached Adeline and politely suggested this.
Those who watched this scene unfold inwardly applauded the young lady for her courageousness.
Thanks to this, they were able to escape the uncomfortable topic of how the Duke and Duchess of Valentino had recently become close to each other.
However, regardless of wherever she went, there were some people who were plain tone deaf.
Sure enough, there was one such person who barged in and asked Adeline directly.
“Miss Adeline, have you heard about Duchess Valentino? You’re Duke Valentino’s childhood friend, right? So you must know something.”
Rozenne Delacroix, nicknamed Rosé, had the kind of personality that made anyone want to sweep both hands over their face out of exasperation.
She was the youngest daughter of the Delacroix Duchy, which was the richest family in the Francia Kingdom.
No matter how older she grew up, she retained that immaturity of hers.
And today again, without fail, she walked right into trouble and was about to cause an incident.
In the midst of everyone’s astonishment, Rozenne’s sky blue eyes sparkled innocently without one hint of malice.
Her lemon blond hair fluttered in the breeze.
The atmosphere was already as cold as ice, but at least her immediate surroundings maintained a spring-like air.
After a long, heavy silence, Adeline set down her teacup with a resounding clack. Everyone at the outdoor tea party watched with bated breath for Adeline’s response.
Some hoped that her poker face would break, only because it would be the talk of the town if the noble lady of the Alvinith Duchy were to set aside that pretense of loveliness and take off her mask, and then proceed to let out her anger like a raging fire.
However, contrary to those expectations, Adeline’s response was tepid.
“No matter how close Theo and I are with each other, how can I know the matters of a husband and wife?”
The smile that Adeline had on right now was the same lovely, adorable smile of the Ducal Princess Alvinith that they all knew.
Adeline exchanged a few more words with Rozenne and they even went ahead and played a round of chess together.
It was a situation you couldn’t help but admire.
The topic that swept the entire hall abuzz was pushed aside for now, but a commotion was soon raised once more.
No one other than Crown Prince Radel Lancius appeared at the party hall with his consort.
Ladies and gentlemen, it’s already mid-August.
Here in Francia, where the summer is not as scorching, it’s the perfect time for outdoor events.
Don’t you think we should have a proper hunting party before the end of this wonderful season? That’s why I decided to open the Ashridge Forest again this year.
And, at the banquet after the hunt…”
As though aiming for a suspenseful moment, the crown prince trailed off for a long moment, then smiled and continued his announcement with a very pleased tone.
“…I’ve invited Duke and Duchess Valentino! It’s going to be the first time they’ll be attending a hunting party together.
Isn’t this such good news? It’s a celebration to commemorate how they’ve gotten better as a couple, of course.
The bomb that the crown prince dropped on the tea party rendered everyone speechless, but they soon broke into the same buzzing chatters once again.
In any case, they had to please the crown prince, so everyone approached and flattered him as he quickly boasted about his and his consort’s good marital relationship.
It was a pretty famous story of how the crown prince and his consort were not in a marriage of convenience, but in fact, a marriage borne out of love.
The crown prince had cared and loved only his consort with all his heart until now as he turned 23 and she 18.
It was a completely different story to how his father was a notorious playboy who had more than ten wives.
“U-Um… Ducal Princess Alvinith…”
“Let’s stop playing chess and greet His and Her Highness, shall we?”
The count’s daughter beside Adeline glanced at her several times, but Adeline responded with a kind voice.
Rozenne Delacroix was already running towards the crown prince and his consort, and this was only a matter of course.
Because the consort was Rozenne’s older sister.
Adeline slowly walked along, feeling quite annoyed by the count’s daughter, who was trying to comfort her for a long time.
Twenty steps away, Rozenne finally arrived in front of her sister and burst out in joy as she stomped her feet.
Smiling in the most graceful manner, Adeline thought.
‘I’ll have to visit Veronis soon…’
Then she’d be able to see if the rumors regarding Duke and Duchess Valentino were true.
* * *
The fact that Theodore was suffering from a ‘temporary partial amnesia’ was kept secret.
The subsequent problem that arose, however, was that to outsiders, his changed attitude made it look like our relationship got better.
“Thank you so much for doing this for me, Darling.”
I turned away from his persistent gaze, still feeling distraught by him.
Some time ago, when he asked me to call him ‘Darling’, or his nickname ‘Theo’, he started calling me ‘Darling’, too.
Theodore hadn’t approached me since the time incident when I broke the cup and lost my senses for a moment.
At first, I wondered if he had finally given up.
However, that wasn’t the case.
He was just restraining himself.
After hovering around in uncertainty for a few days, he started sending letters, flowers and gifts to me time and again.
Then, it all suddenly exploded in my face yesterday with such a burden suddenly given to me.
His ‘request’ was that I go with him to the hunting party that the crown prince was holding.
I accepted it because I thought about the duchy’s external image, but he had gotten excited by this.
He possibly thought that I started opening up to him.
I wanted to kick him out of my room right this instant.
My hand shook as I held the teacup.
Seeing how the amnesiac Theodore Valentino was acting sweet and attentive to me was just.
If I keep holding it in like this, I’m certain that I might just reach my limit one of these days.
t/n: lemme tell you.
the sheer cringe I had when I typed Theo calling Lily ‘Darling’ was… far too much… but I swear it’s not as cringe as it is in Korean, it just somehow sounds weird in English, ugh.
The more accurate nickname Theo calls Lily is ‘Wife’/부인, and what he asks Lily to call him is ‘Yeobo’/여보 (I’m never really sure how to translate this, you can google it though).
Both are natural ways of how a married couple calls each other, so I opted for ‘Darling’ for both of them.
Honey, sweetheart or any other variation is just… more cringe…
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