Like the Boundary Between Spring and Summer
“All right, next is Central Park!”
After capturing a photo with the Magic Dome in the background at the royal villa, Leonard led his family towards Central Park.
Central Park, the bustling heart of Herodington, was a famous spot filled with luxurious shops.
The guards, who arrived earlier than the royal family, established a route and stood watch. Citizens observed the lively appearance of the guards with curious eyes. Shortly afterward, when the royal carriage entered the controlled path, the citizens beyond the barricades cheered upon seeing them.
As Leonard and Beatrice, beaming with wide smiles, stepped out of the carriage, they responded joyfully to the cheers of the citizens. Journalists diligently transcribed the scene into words.
The cheers intensified as Asher and Noah disembarked from the carriage that followed.
The thunderous crowd’s cheers grew louder when Olivia, who was about to step out of the carriage, was startled and opened her eyes wide. The bright square outside the carriage seemed unfamiliar, almost like a different world.
She cautiously extended her body while taking a deep breath. As she did, the cheers from nearby subsided. People blinked as they stared at the woman who appeared with the royal family.
Where have they seen her before?
Then, someone realized and shouted her name loudly.
This exclamation brought enlightenment to the crowd.
Olivia, the first female university student prominently featured on a page of the prestigious Herod newspaper!
“Oh my, is it really her?!”
People crowded near the barricades, waving their hands toward her.
Feeling overwhelmed by the unexpected attention, Olivia looked bewildered. Margot, who was nearby, laughed gently and took her arm, guiding her through the unexpected reception.
“It’s okay. Relax.”
Olivia, whose breath had become uneven, moved forward with a bewildered face. Asher and Noah, who had been walking ahead, turned around to look at her as they noticed that.
“She seems nervous.”
Noah raised an eyebrow at Asher’s mutterings.
“It does seem that way.”
“Do we really need to take pictures to this extent?”
Noah glanced at Olivia, who was walking alongside Margot. Her pale face showed signs of unease.
Still, what was the use of that?
“Crown Prince, His Majesty will only return when he gets a satisfactory picture, so cooperating actively is the only way to shorten the time.”
The crowd’s attention was entirely focused on Olivia.
With numerous calls of her name, Olivia awkwardly laughed, beads of sweat forming on her forehead. Upon closer observation, members of the royal family were casually waving hands with a relaxed attitude. Little Lucy, holding her parents’ hands, was no exception.
The only one who didn’t wave hands was Princess Margot, but she didn’t seem anxious either.
“How should I respond?”
When Olivia asked, Margot finally took a moment to think. Margot was born into royalty, different from Olivia, so she had different ways of thinking.
“Just smile appropriately, and nod occasionally. Keep it light.”
Unable to respond like royalty, Olivia asked.
“Okay, got it.”
With a determined answer, she gathered herself amidst the pouring of attention and cheers. Olivia recalled her first day at university. Yet, there were no mocking looks or disdain.
No, not mockery or disdain. It was a welcoming tone, wasn’t it?
Yes, this was nothing.
As she thought about it, her previously unsettled heart gradually calmed, and a natural smile appeared on her lips. With the smile, she felt a sense of ease, and soon, she tilted her head towards the crowd and greeted them.
“Adapting faster than I thought.”
Asher, who had glanced back, waved his hands and muttered, prompting Noah to respond.
“Miss Liberty. She seemed tense and nervous, but she adapted quickly. Thankfully.”
“Stop worrying and focus on the event, Crown Prince.”
Afterwards, Noah continued with mechanical greetings for a while before turning his gaze away.
Like the boundary between spring and summer, she seemed to step on the threshold of girlhood and womanhood. The rosy cheeks and sparkling black eyes felt both intellectual and pure. More eyes were focused on her than those directed towards the royal family.
Perhaps she was unaware of the attention.
Noah walked with a leisurely pace, thinking about her.
Inviting her to Herod was indeed an excellent choice.
The final destination for the royal family was the Golden Lion Statue Square in the middle of the park. The square, with controlled access, felt much more spacious than usual. As they entered the square, the distance between them and the citizens increased, and the deafening cheers gradually faded away.
Beatrice left Lucy in the care of Missus Lehmann and approached Margot and Olivia. As Olivia quickly bent her knees to greet again and also smiled, extending her greetings.
“You went through a lot yesterday with the interview, Miss Liberty. I should have waited longer, I apologize.”
Olivia quickly nodded in response to the Queen’s modest apology.
“No, not at all. Thank you for inviting me to the wonderful banquet. It was enjoyable.”
“Do you like your room?”
The Queen gracefully led Olivia and Margot, walking naturally.
“Yes, it was truly elegant and cozy. The fountain visible from outside the room was impressive.”
Despite appearing nervous, Olivia’s calm response was quite admirable. No wonder Leonard prolonged the interview for so long.
“Are you satisfied with today’s coverage in the newspapers, Your Majesty?”
As Margot, who walked on the left side of the Queen, asked with a sly smile, Beatrice squinted her eyes and looked at her husband.
“He was very satisfied. He has been complaining about Duke Lightwing.”
“Walter would be upset if he heard that.”
“You don’t know how much I missed such conversations. Can’t you come to Herod again?”
“That’s something the King would express his discontent about.”
Beatrice, who chuckled at Margot’s whisper, carefully attended to Olivia to ensure she wasn’t left out.
“The first female university student, truly outstanding. It must not have been an easy path. Congratulations on your graduation, albeit belatedly.”
“Thank you, Your Majesty.”
Olivia walked slowly, keeping pace with the Queen, and glanced around the square.
In the meanwhile, seeing a journalist who had come along cautiously requested an interview from the Queen and Margot, she stepped back a few paces to give them space. Although the Queen expressed regret, she felt quite relieved. She recalled the old, nostalgic past.
The majestic Golden Lion Statue looked even more splendid than in her memories.
The cobblestone path leading through the square, the square’s black stone laid out, and the grand spire of the Hamel Cathedral that the Golden Lion was facing were all exactly as she remembered from her childhood.
Even the weather seemed to be just like it was at this moment. Olivia’s gaze, which had been looking at the spire of the Hamel Cathedral, now turned back to the Golden Lion Statue.
The crisp sensation of the ice cream cone was vivid. The soft and sweet ice cream touched the lips, and her grandfather, who saw how enchanted she was by the taste she had never experienced before, said, ‘What’s the big deal! Eat this too’, offering the ice cream.
‘No, you can’t. She’ll have an upset stomach’, her mother said, trying to prevent it.
‘Liv, is it that delicious?’
Her kind father asked. Next to him, the grandmother laughed heartily in a different manner than now.
Yes, she missed this scene so much that she wanted to come to Herod. To see them, even if only in her memories.
While the King and Queen were busy with interviews, Lucy was with Missus Lehmann. Normally, the Princess would be excited about the rare outing and bustling around, but today, she was absentmindedly staring at one place since earlier.
When Missus Lehmann followed the Princess’s gaze, it was at the guests of the royal family.
“If you’re curious, go take a look, Princess.”