[Rose]: “Hey Rinoa-sama, I…….”
[Rose]: “It’s thanks to you I realized I’m in love.”
Without Rinoa-sama acting as the trigger, I might not have realized how I really felt so quickly. El may have already more or less told me how he feels, but I was always too confused to be able to know how to respond.
[Rose]: “Love was something beyond me…..so I am always a bit envious whenever I see how openly you can chase after E-……Prince Routh. The only people close to me who might know about this stuff are Prince William and Sophia-sama. Theirs is a political engagement, but the two of them get along very well. Still, I’ve never seen Sophia-sama act like a maiden in love the way Rinoa-sama has……no, I suppose most nobles wouldn’t act that way.”
[Rinoa]: “…..you mean, people in this country get married even if they’re not in love?”
[Rose]: “Yes, it’s quite common for a person’s house to decide who they will wed. Is it different for Ashtel? You’re a duke’s daughter. Isn’t that why you were meant to be betrothed to Prince Routh?”
[Rinoa]: “No, Routh and I really are just childhood friends. There was never a formal engagement……nearly all of the marriages in our country are done out of love. Well, it’s a little different for the royal family……my father and the king did talk about having me and Routh getting engaged since we were the same age……but that’s just because Father and His Majesty are good friends……so power and station had nothing to do with it.”
[Rose]: “Is that how it is? I’m jealous.”
This country…….no, most countries would focus more on political marriages than one based on love. There are many examples of course of love blossoming in those political marriages such as with my parents, but that doesn’t mean it’s uncommon for people in these political marriages to have a lover.
Since I was born a noble in this life, I was ready to live like that as well. But there was a small part of me that wanted to fall in love with whoever I wanted like I was allowed to in my previous life. Of course back then there was only ever a single person I ever went out with, and even then it’d be difficult to say we were dating. I never really liked him, and it was more like I went with him to a couple of places because I couldn’t say no when he asked.
So there were a few times where I dreamed what it would be like to come to truly love someone in this new world.
(Actually, at best I thought of it as a dream inside a dream. I never truly thought I’d come to love someone like that.)
[Rinoa]: “The people of this country are complicated. …..but I, figured out Routh’s feelings halfway through.”
[Rose]: “His feelings?”
[Rinoa]: “Mm. At first, Routh and I only saw each other as playmates. But Father had already told me he was supposed to be my future husband. So even though I didn’t realize it at first…..I think I might have fallen in love with him as soon as I saw him. I would always think, “Father told me to become Routh’s bride!” as an excuse to visit him, and each time I did, I fell a bit more in love every time.”
The blush in Rinoa-sama’s cheeks grew redder and redder the more she talked, making her look so extremely cute that I had to stop myself from hugging her. However, halfway through, her expression suddenly turned dark again.
[Rinoa]: “And the more I liked him, the more I realized Routh only saw me as a friend. Then after Routh was kidnapped and eventually returned to Ashtel, he did so with a newfound conviction. He only ever wanted to study or work on his swordplay, and the rare chance I did get to see him, you……he only wanted to talk about Roselia-sama. Routh would always blush whenever he talked about you…..it hurt…..but I couldn’t tell him to stop. I thought he’d never want to talk to me again if I did…..but when I heard Routh was going to be returning to this country to study abroad, I decided I wanted to meet the famous Roselia-sama as well.”
I wasn’t sure what I should say, so I kept quiet.
[Rinoa]: “And now that I’ve met and talked with you directly……..I can understand it.”
[Rose]: “……..understand what?”
[Rinoa]: “Why he fell in love with you.”
(Why…….El fell in love with me?)
It’s not something I can understand myself, so I leaned into what Rinoa-sama would say next.
[Rinoa]: “You’re as beautiful as a goddess, confident in your beliefs, and very strong. You also know how to best use a carrot and stick to steer Routh the way you want.”
(Carrot and stick……to steer…….why can’t I take that second part as a compliment……)
[Rinoa]: “Roselia-sama is incredibly charming to us beastmen. ……so when I declared ourselves rivals back then, it was really more like my final, pointless act of defiance.”
Rinoa-sama turned to me, laughing weakly.
[Rinoa]: “When it comes to Routh, I really, really…….really like him. But, I’ve come to like Roselia-sama too.”