Every five years, the country celebrates Thanksgiving to give thanks to the goddess of war and fertility, Ejka.
In the beginning, the festival was about giving thanks for war victories and the loot gained, but since there have been no wars in the past hundred years, it became a festival to give thanks for the ongoing peace.
The festival lasts for three days and three nights, with rows of shops set up along the main road that contains the Royal Academy, where the game’s setting takes place.
As for the reason why the venue is separated, the main road is for the common people, while the Royal Academy is for the nobles.
If nobles were to alight from their carriages on the main road, various problems may arise, and no one would enjoy the festival that comes only every five years. Additionally, to tighten security and give enough space, it was decided that nobles would enjoy the festivities in the Royal Academy instead. Nowadays, it also doubles as a big tour of the Royal Academy, becoming one big event.
In front of the Royal Academy’s securely shut gates is a line of luxurious carriages. This is an established scene for Thanksgiving.
Unsurprisingly, with all the carriages lined up, it eventually gets crowded. Due to the tons of nobles alighting from their carriages and walking about, the traffic is terrible, and any selfish person would be forced to patiently wait at the front gate in their carriages.
Even though our carriage has yet to arrive at the front of the gate, we’ve been waiting for a full hour.
To escape the crowds, Father and Mother will be coming on the third day, and because of that, I’m sitting inside the Brunsmeier’s carriage.
Although the carriage is common, it’s first class, but it is as expected of my fiance’s family. The cushion is so soft that I can’t relax.
Because of my frugality, I fidgeted about and wasn’t able to calm down. Bern and the others misunderstood it as excitement for the festival and laughed. Katerina, being herself, said, “Again within the last five minutes?” Stop misunderstanding.
It was the first time that their family invited me in over six months.
In that time, Bern turned 13, and Katerina became engaged to His Highness.
With the Duke’s doting and Katerina’s wishes for it, it was pretty much already decided, but with the preparations for the game’s start steadily approaching, I just couldn’t seem to get excited about it. It would have been okay if you could call this pre-established harmony*.
Compared to that, although my relationship with Bern is going at a snail’s pace, I’m still happy about it.
Aside from being able to talk familiarly with each other, not much has happened.
I mean, it’s only been half a year, that’s fine…
Moreover, I’m still wary about where Bern’s true feelings lie.
It’s cause this guy has started smiling more frequently than before, but his eyes weren’t. His small smile back then was more natural.
I feel as if the longer our relationship grew, the more I see an invisible line being drawn between us, and that frustrates me a little bit.
And it’s not because I’m not putting in any effort. Even though it’s fun when Bern teaches me horse riding, or when I play with Katerina, so it’s not like he’s busy. Yeah, seriously.
Bern escorted me off the carriage, and with a lively energy in the air from the crowds, we moved towards the chatter.
When Katerina alighted from the carriage, I thought that she looked like the perfect lady, but she then soon went to look for His Highness with terrifying speed. No matter how incognito His Highness goes, I’m pretty sure she’ll find him.
Even without running, Katerina’s eyes were that of a perfectly trained hunter, and she disappeared without a trace. I felt genuine fear then and there. ‘Even if you manage to find him incognito, it’s not like you guys can walk around together,’ I wanted to say but wasn’t able to.
I then heard a, ‘His Highness ran this way–!’ And because I support Katerina, I won’t be helping His Highness. You’ll have to do your best alone, Your Highness.
“Where do you wanna go, Lizzy?” Bern asks me with a smile.
This person showed me another fake smile.
‘Why?’ The question floats in my head, making me feel sadness more than impatience and confusion. One by one, thoughts of, ‘Do you hate me?’ and ‘Did I do something to keep you on guard?’ flash in my head, seemingly going nowhere.
Giving up, all I could do was show a heartfelt smile.
Today as well, I’m determined to see his true self.
“Why don’t we go around to the popular ones? I heard there’s an amazing magician here…”
As usual, Bern reaches for my hand, with his being cold. I miss his warm hands from that day.
I stuffed my face with the shaved ice on the terrace, undeterred by the line for it.
With it being the end of summer, it’s delicious eating shaved ice on a hot day! Covered in syrup and strawberry jam, with its coarsely shaved ice, I rarely get to eat shaved ice in this world.
Ahh~ I really wanna eat ice cream… A simple vanilla one would be great…
If this world was a fantasy one with magic, somehow, I get the feeling they’d make this with magic. Regardless of how this was made, I’m definitely loving this ice.
Ah! I can’t!
Realizing that I’m having fun like usual, I panic. Don’t just thoughtlessly eat the shaved ice, me. Ah~ But it’s because I don’t usually have this, without thinking, I just had to taste it.
Speaking of the thing with Bern, I’m still worried.
I remember him not being that enthusiastic about Thanksgiving. I wonder if he’s worried about something.
Oh yeah, as I was walking with Bern, his gaze looked different. He looked somewhat tense today, with his usual absentmindedness gone. I mean, he also looks cool like that. Even though we were holding hands, his heartless gaze hurt. If there were arrows, they would have been all over my back. I flinched just a tiny bit imagining arrows on my back.
I heard two passing girls say, ‘Why is that plain girl with…’
What the hell, why is everyone calling me plain, am I a potato?! Even though Katerina properly helped me out today! Eh? The model is no good…? Idiot! Even though potato chips are made from potatoes, they’re still really good!
But still, he’s beautiful, huh? The girls at the other table have been glancing at us, going ‘Kyaa! Kyaa!’ But if I could look at them and stop them from glaring at me, would I still care?
While I was thinking about random things, a tuft of blue hair caught my attention from behind the absentminded Bern.
‘Blue’s an unusual color, huh?’ I thought. Upon seeing the owner of that attention-catching hair, I spat out my food.
Glittery, moist, beautiful almond eyes, and luscious, small lips. With her transparent, white cheeks currently stained red in a blush.
The name of that eye-catching, beautiful girl is Lila Carneille. Yes, the protagonist.
The question came out of my lips unconsciously, and then I suddenly remembered.
That’s right, Lila meets some of the love interests during this festival. For Lila to become close to His Highness, she has to meet his future friends, and with them interested in Lila, she and His Highness inevitably meet.
I was only thinking of Edwin’s route that I clearly forgot. But wait, isn’t this the opening?!!
Whilst realizing my own stupidity, Bern noticed me looking over his shoulder and turned around to look. I stood up without thinking.
“Bern! I’m getting a little cold, so I’ll head on inside, okay?”
Being suspicious at my weird behavior, Bern stopped.
Lila and Bern don’t meet during this event.
Even so, I still didn’t want him seeing her.
Bern would become enamored by the beautiful, and sweet Lila. I don’t want to see that.
I wanted to pull Bern inside with me. I then suddenly noticed my feelings of wanting to keep him to myself.
I’m just a mob character. Even though I became Bern’s fiancée by chance, I just really wanted to live peacefully with whoever I was with. That’s why I didn’t want Bern to like Lila. I’m not supposed to compete with her. I can’t.
Unable to endure being pathetic or ashamed, I gave my shaved ice to Bern, and I quickly told him that I needed to go to the bathroom. And then I turned around, running away.
Ignoring the unusual urgency in his voice, I walked.
I wanted to be alone, to calm myself.
As I fervently walked, I then noticed that I was already near a school building, far from the plaza.
I wonder if Bern is waiting at that shop. Or maybe he got mad and went home? As I was thinking how he’s not that type of person, something suddenly grabbed my arm.
I looked behind me, about to ask them what they’re doing, but instead, a man I have never seen before looked down at me with cold eyes.
*Read it here cause I can’t think of how to word it better.