“Christina. Your fiance has been decided.”
Several days after the ball, father called for me to come to his study and he began to talk with those very words.
I could not help but let out an unbelieving sigh as I faced him and heard those shocking words.
“Father…I came to you because you said that you wanted to tell me something, and then you say that you’ve chosen a fiance for me. I am quite surprised. This is a most sudden development.”
It was not particularly rare for children of nobility that were my age to be betrothed. Especially if they were high in rank, and I was the one child of the Noir house. Perhaps it was more unusual that I did not have a betrothed until now.
Even so, it was still a sudden way to break the news. But I didn’t feel any deep emotion when he told me he had decided who I would be spending the rest of my days with. I could only look at him stupidly.
“It was not really a sudden thing. We had been in talks over this for quite some time, it’s just that it has only now been finalized. I’m sure your success at this last ball helped in that regard.”
“Ahh, is that so…”
His additional explanation was most gratifying.
The engagement was not something that had just been decided out of the blue, there had been careful preparations for a while and this had finally come together. All this meant was that now happened to be the moment when this information came to the actual person being engaged, me.
“Christina. I’m going to be very frank with you. There is no room for your own will to be considered for this engagement. None whatsoever. …Do you understand?”
It was the norm for marriages among nobles to be decided by their parents. And there was little reason to think that they would bother to seek the approval of some child every time. That was what it meant to be nobility, and I was nobility.
I was born as a daughter of Duke Noir, one of the three great houses. I will clutch that pride tightly to my chest.
“I do not seek for my own will to be reflected in this marriage. Though I may be small and young, I am a noble. If it is the will of House Noir, then it is national policy, there is no right or wrong.
Father’s eye thinned a little as he smiled at my lack of hesitation.
“Well said. You are truly my daughter.”
“Of course. I am your daughter, father. …Ah, father. I would like to ask you regardless, who is he?”
To be honest, I already knew the answer, but I asked just to be certain.
Well, there was a nine out of ten chance that it would be him. But as father said that my reputation at the ball helped the decision, then perhaps it was not him. After all, there was a possibility that a high-ranking government official had been so moved by my incredible and perfect display of being a lady, that he would desire that I should become the wife of the first prince and the future queen of the whole country.
That was really the only reason that I asked the question. But father calmly opened his mouth to give an answer that did not exceed my expectations at all.
“You are to be engaged to his royal highness, Charles Eduard. As you know, he is the third prince of this country.”
Hearing Charles’ name, my mouth smiled just slightly.
“They have expressed plans to visit us soon. You will have to greet them when the time comes, I hope that you will not make any blunders.”
“Fufuh. I understand, father!”
My voice had an unexpected bounce to it as I thought of being reunited with my friend much earlier than I had been expecting.
Fufun, why not?
I secretly made one decision in my heart that no one would know of.
On this most commemorative of occasions, I would show Charles the most perfect lady he has ever seen. He should be most surprised.
“Hm? What is it, father?”
“Why do you seem so happy?”
Father asked, his head tilted in suspicion.
Oh. What did he mean by saying I seemed happy?
“Nothing, am I not always like this?”
I’ll admit that I was thinking about playing a little trick, but there was no harm in it. It was just an adorable desire to see the surprise on the face of a friend. It was just business as usual for me.
Yet, father was always one to give in easily, and he backed down now as I gave him my usual, exaggerated nod.
I bounced and nodded with a big smile, but my father’s answer seemed a little weighted.
I wonder what had happened. It was very strange, and I looked at him hard once again, and for some reason, there was a faraway look in his eyes.
“I see. You must have reached that age…”
What did he mean by that? Father’s odd behavior was worrying to me, but all I heard were the mysterious words coming from his mouth.
“I’m happy for you, maybe a little jealous of him… No, no, I shouldn’t say such things. Yes.”
The true meaning behind the words of the head of the Noir family was too much for even his genius daughter to understand.
But there was something rather unsatisfying about watching father talk to himself like that.
“She was such a rowdy little, no, she still is. That Christina is… hmm? Did you say something?”
I opened my mouth in anger towards my father for this feeling of unclarity he was giving me.
“You’ve gotten on my nerves now.”
Father looked at me with wide-eyed astonishment, but instead of explaining myself, I gave him a graceful courtesy and put on my lady’s face.
“Well then, excuse me, father.”
“Chri-, Christina! Wait a moment. What did you mean just… Christina!?”
I pretended that I could not hear the howling behind my back as I continued on. Like that, I quietly left my father’s study behind me.