A Dream (Liselotte’s Side)
Over the past several days, His Highness has concerned himself with me to an awfully strange degree.
Flowers and gems with handwritten letters attached arrive at my home every day, whilst at the Academy, he calls out to me without any hesitation whatsoever. Even if he’s with someone else, he’ll break off his conversation to talk to me.
For someone who always treated people equally, this truly was strange.
“Liselotte, what kind of dress would you like to wear during Thanksgiving? I’d like to match designs with my partner, but I also want to give you something new as well… do you have anything particular in mind?”
He’s still doing it. After classes, he told me to join him in his carriage because he had something of the utmost importance to discuss, then asked me such a thing. Is this really such urgent business?
“So long as I do not have to wear some vulgar thing that detracts from His Highness’ dignity, then I am not wholly concerned. However, even should I say such a thing, naturally, you have something you wish to suggest?”
As I calmly said such words without even a hint of charm, I desperately struggled to calm down the feelings in my heart.
Because the Riefenstahl manor in the capital is nearby the royal palace, we often go home in the same direction, but never together like this.
And just why was this carriage such a small thing? Wait just a minute… aren’t we far too close to each other!?
“That’s right, personally I’d like us to wear something with gold. Because it would match the colour of my eyes, as well as your hair.”
Saying that, His Highness took a lock of my hair and played with it between his fingers.
“My hair, it will become unruly, so please stop that.”
As he drew nearer with that smile, my breaths became more ragged and painful to squeeze out.
“Ah, I’m sorry about that. Maybe next time, you won’t mind it if I made your hair a little messy, right?”
Saying that, His Highness let my hair go. That wound-up lock of hair, one piece of a large body of work it takes three maids all morning to get ready, returned to its original form, but the words ‘next time’ only made me more nervous.
Make it… messy? …How, exactly?
“Please stop playing games with me at once!!”
Screaming that out as a strange thought almost entered my head, His Highness merely chuckled.
“Ha… hahaha! Ah, I’m sorry, Liselotte. You’re just so cute, I couldn’t help myself.”
As His Highness said such an obvious lie, I glared at him.
It was unthinkable for me to be called ‘cute’.
Often at various soirées or balls, men other than His Highness will pay me compliments out of courtesy, but even then the only words people would use were terms like ‘beautiful’.
Knowing that I’ll never be cute like Finne or Fabian was a sad thought all of its own.
“You’re the cutest girl in the entire world, Liselotte.”
Even as I scowled at him, His Highness still had that gentle smile on his face.
I’m happy. I’m ashamed. I’m sad. I’m frustrated.
As a wave of conflicting emotions I couldn’t understand flooded through me, I tore my face away from His Highness and turned my glare to the scenery flowing by the carriage window.
Ahh, truly, it’s all just too sad, too frustrating… and too painful.
Because the only reason that His Highness is so strangely concerned for me these past few days, and even the words he spoke just now, all of it was surely borne out of pity.
What’s more, I’ve been having those strange dreams again as of late, so it’s hard to even think normally.
Was he doing this out of obligation for our engagement? Or out of respect for the Riefenstahl family? Either way, I shouldn’t raise any strange expectations.
Those words and smiles that made me so frustratingly happy, I would only sink further into a hopeless love if I believed in them… that’s what I thought.
Ah, this dream once again?
I’ve almost grown wholly apathetic to the nightmares that haunt my dreams.
Suspended in a darkness deeper than the abyss, where I cannot even talk or move, surrounded by hateful voices slithering past my ears… a hateful dream.
“You really aren’t a cute girl at all.”
Yes, I know that. However, if one aims to be Queen, it is only natural to avoid showing weakness.
“You aren’t loved by anyone at all.”
No, I have a family who does.
“Your everything will be stolen away by that child, Finne.”
Unfortunately for you, on the contrary, she gives me a lot every single day.
“Isn’t it frustrating?”
“Isn’t it sad?”
“Isn’t it… envious?”
There was once a time when this snake-like voice had the power to move me, but after having this dream time and time again, I’ve grown used to it.
As per usual, I couldn’t rebuke its words with my own, but I can hold my answers true within myself.
“If only that child weren’t here… haven’t you thought about it?”
No. If that child wasn’t here, then I truly would be sad.
I listened to its offensive drivel that once I couldn’t bear to hear impassively. These spiteful words, I know that they’re only trying to hurt me?
“You may love that man now, but in time he too will surely change. He will take that child’s hand in his, and cast you aside.”
However, with those words, I couldn’t simply let them be.
Don’t be ridiculous!!
That person would never do such a thing!!
How hard he works every day, how much he tempers his own feelings, how much loneliness he has to withstand, how much he does for his country, how could you ever understand him!? How dare you judge him!?
How dare you try to make a fool out of him!?
The voice stopped.
My anger, was it received?
My name is Liselotte Riefenstahl.
A proud daughter of the Riefenstahl family.
I shall become the Queen to the Crown Prince, His Highness Prince Siegward.
In order to protect him, I was granted the favour of the Goddess.
At such a time, in such a place, how could I not fight back for his sake?
As I told myself those words, I felt sensation return to my body that hung in the dark… feelings returning to my fingertips.
“Eh… that can’t be…”
That unpleasant voice seemed upset.
Oh, so that’s where you were.
The owner of that despicable voice, the Ancient Witch, took a sharp intake of breath.
And now, I’ll cut you down myself…
“…Don’t play games with me… Ancient… Witch…”
As I awoke in the morning, that murmur spilt out from my lips.
The moment that I finally opened my eyes to look at it, and took a step forward to cut it down, the owner of that voice fled and I awoke in my bed.
“Ahh, honestly, how frustrating…!”
I screamed that out in anger as I jumped out of bed.
No matter what you say, I will one day become Queen of this country. I will marry Prince Siegward.
Even if he doesn’t love me, it doesn’t matter to me.
I will simply love him selfishly instead.
With that one-sided love, that unrequited yearning, I will do everything I can to support him, he who carries a country’s weight on his shoulders.
I will not lose. To Finne, to the Ancient Witch, to anyone.
“But, in saying that, His Highness not understanding at least that much is… it really is quite frustrating?”
I remembered the past few days spent with my strange fiancée.
Do not make light of my resolve, I will certainly overcome this ancient witch; I wanted to tell him that. Rather, I should tell him. Then, these strange days that have been bad for my heart will surely come to an end.
With frustration and anger flowing through my chest, I made up my mind.