“Thanks to you… my skin has improved a lot. It’s still hard for me to face others without a veil because I don’t have the courage yet, but I’m going to get better little by little.”
I couldn’t take my eyes off her tidy hair while the princess continued talking.
I told her it wasn’t good for her hair to keep brushing against her skin, and to cut it later if she was fine with it, but…
I didn’t expect her to do it so soon.
“The Lady was the only one. Of the many people who have come to me so far, the only one who really helped me.”
“I’m glad it worked.”
“I came here to say thank you. In any case, I wanted to express my gratitude in person.”
Princess Vivian spoke as if it wasn’t a big deal.
“Ahem, I’m sorry. I’m not very good at speaking. I’m really thankful, but I don’t know how to express it.”
It stood out more than any other rhetoric. The fact that Princess Vivian had come to see me in person.
Because the girl who didn’t go out had the courage to go outside…
And my heart ached at the thought of not properly welcoming Princess Vivian.
“You know… my skin has improved a lot. But… can I still ask you to keep meeting me?”
“If you can’t refuse because I’m the princess, you can just tell me. You’re my savior, so I won’t harass you.”
“I’m the one who is bored and would like it if the Princess hung around with me. And I don’t lie about things like this.”
“I can’t keep asking the Lady to go to the Imperial Palace. But the atmosphere in the Duke’s castle is like this, so coming here is a bit…”
Princess Vivian hesitated for a moment.
“Lady, are you going to stay still like this? You’re not the kind of person to live while enduring this kind of thing.”
Of course, I was also making plans to leave the duchy… but I was puzzled by the attitude of speaking as if she knew me well.
Before I could ask, Princess Vivian spoke in frustration.
“Don’t you remember going home on your own during a social gathering in the Imperial Palace a long time ago? There was a big commotion back then.”
“… How old was I?”
“Let’s see, I was ten years old, so the Lady was… Twelve?”
Was this what my brother talked about, that I caused trouble in the princess’ palace?
Going home without the imperial family’s permission? But a commotion, what was she talking about?
“I apologize. Back then, I…”
“No, I actually thought you were a little cool. To be honest, it was also helpful.”
“… Hmm, ahem. Anyhow, thank you. And at the same time, I want to tell you I haven’t liked the Lady’s sister since that day.”
“I haven’t liked that light-blue-haired lady since that day. I couldn’t believe it when she spoke to me today. Well, she gave me an excuse, so I wonder if it was actually a good thing?”
I mean, if it was something that even made Princess Vivian dislike Lilika, why couldn’t I remember?
“Honestly, when we met in the princess’ palace, I was wary of the Lady because you are also a Primrose.”
“What on earth happened?”
“Aah, it happened a long time ago, so don’t worry about it.”
Even if I asked again, Princess Vivian did not seem to want to tell me.
“In any case…”
Instead, she said something I hadn’t even thought of.
“Ahem… Can I call the Lady by your name?”
“By… my name?”
“I mean, it’s confusing because your sister has the same family name. Ahem. Of course, I called you like that earlier without your permission.”
So that was why she didn’t call me Lady Primrose earlier. Lady Primrose could also mean Lilika.
“Well… If you don’t want to, forget about it. It’s okay to say no. I don’t need to call you by your name…”
Though she acted like it wasn’t a big deal, like I could just refuse… her voice was getting smaller and smaller.
I had felt it before, but Princess Vivian seemed to have a habit of turning her head when she was embarrassed.
‘Does she want to get closer to me? The princess?’
Because I had no experience of someone approaching me… This was unfamiliar. It felt a little strange.
‘Well, I don’t even remember the previous incident, but it looks like I didn’t cause any trouble…’
I wanted to understand a little more about what my strange feelings right now meant. I had no choice but to be cautious as I had been called a villainess and had been ostracized until now.
“N-no. Well… I was fine with it even if I wasn’t asked.”
But… wasn’t the girl in front of me going to be anxious and struggle as much as I hesitated?
I impulsively prevented Princess Vivian’s voice from getting smaller and smaller, and from eventually telling me to pretend nothing had happened.
“Yes, just call me by name.”
“Wh… What? Really? Really?”
Princess Vivian, who had been speaking as if it was nothing, jumped from her seat in surprise.
“Your Highness, the tea is going to spill!”
“Aah, excuse me for my impoliteness!”
“No, the tea can be wiped, but Your Highness almost got burned.”
Princess Vivian’s face turned red. She added that she wasn’t usually like this, and that she was nervous.
“So is Your Highness saying that I’m not a comfortable person for you? That you’re uncomfortable dealing with me…”
“No, that’s not it!”
After making a quick joke, the princess jumped up again and denied it. Then, when she saw the expression on my face holding back my laughter, she panted.
“I was genuinely worried for a moment. I can’t forgive you for making a joke like this!”
Well, she was dignified and cool when she dealt with Lilika and the maid earlier.
To be honest, Princess Vivian was a little trivial and cute right now.
‘Her Highness, Princess Vivian. She was very vigilant at first… ‘
Honestly, she looked like a small pet.
Still, I had the discernment that if I even uttered these words, I would be really scolded, so I swallowed inwardly while thinking about kittens and tweeting sparrows.
“You know, that’s why I…”
I think I was out of my mind for a while after that. The conversation continued naturally, even though I wasn’t making an effort.
There were times when the conversation was interrupted for a moment, but neither I nor Princess Vivian felt uncomfortable with the silence.
‘Anyway… Princess Vivian. I never thought about it, but she’s unexpectedly funny.’
It was a peaceful time even for me.
How much did we talk like that?
“Your Highness, you asked earlier how I was able to endure the atmosphere in the Duke’s castle.”
The conversation had reached its peak at some point, so I mentioned this to Princess Vivian for some unthinkable reason.
“The truth is… I’m thinking of starting a business to leave the castle.”
“Yes, a cosmetics business. After seeing Mother and Your Highness… I thought there would be many people who would need cosmetics.”
With my blessing, I could make not only cosmetics but also ointments.
If so, those who couldn’t meet with a priest and those whose meeting with a priest wasn’t effective would have good results. A priest’s divine power was not something essential for skin improvement, after all.
“For sure, the cosmetics you make are something people need. Everyone will love them.”
If I am in the cosmetics business, there will be a definite demand base.
The cosmetics I make would be innovative in this world where basic cosmetics didn’t exist.
And I would be able to attract more customers than just the ones with bad skin.
“Even if not… Everyone liked the few cosmetics the Lady gave me saying that they wouldn’t be influenced by skin type. I shared them with the people around me. They all asked me where I got them from.”
“Thank you for liking them. But it’s impossible for me to do business alone, so I need a partner…”
Before I knew it, Princess Vivian, who heard the worries that I had been reciting without realizing it, said something unexpected.
“Then how about meeting my brother?”
“Are you referring to His Highness?”
Princess Vivian nodded.
“It’s not just because you’re my savior. Objectively, it looks good for a business. And my brother was already looking for a new business item.”
An imperial business.
If the prince became an investor, much of what I was worried about would disappear.
Not only would I not have to worry about investors who would have a prejudice against me for being ‘that Lady Primrose’, but people would also put their trust in it because it was an imperial business.
And there was something else that came to mind when I heard Princess Vivian’s words.
Princess Vivian gave me strength and said,
“I’ll arrange a place where you can talk with my brother. I’m sure Lady Yuria can make it.”
I headed to the study because my father was looking for me.
It used to be a place I was called to when I was scolded or punished by my father, but today I wasn’t too scared.
The princess, who was said to be someone difficult to meet, had come to the castle in person.
Not to meet Jiksen, who was famous for his sharp swordsmanship, nor the sweet and beautiful Lilika, but to meet me, who always caused trouble!
Surprisingly enough, my father called for me as soon as he came back.
As expected, when I opened the door, my father was waiting for me with a bright expression on his face.
And he asked me even before the steaming tea cooled down.
“I heard that Her Highness, the Princess, came to the castle earlier. The butler said that Her Highness had come to meet you. Is that true?”