Broken Engagement and Punishment
“Althea Cezara Lindsey Rufus,” said a fine pair of lips.
For some reason, when he said my name in that easy, almost disinterested way, everything seemed to move in slow motion. I wondered if anyone else was feeling this way.
“You are an immense disappointment to me. I am calling off our engagement.”
The one who so brazenly declared this was the second prince of the Neightovel kingdom. His name is Prince Elouan Balderev von Neightovel, and he was my fiancé until just a moment ago. As he said this, his handsome face had been frozen in an unfeeling mask and his amethyst eyes had pierced through me, making mine feel a bit damp.
Snuggled in his arms was an ostentatious, yet frail, young woman: Ana Lorelei, a Baron’s daughter. She’s my fiancé’s…. no…. my ex-fiancé’s current lover. When our eyes met for a moment, she flashed a triumphant smile while I could only bow my head in shame.
“Your Highness, might I ask the reason?”
“Reason? Shouldn’t you, of all people, understand that best? After all, these young women have already confessed to all of your crimes. We all know that you were the one forcing them to bully and harass Anna-sama.”
It was then that I noticed my three closest friends standing just behind His Highness. Their faces were pale, but hard set, and when I managed to catch their eyes, they quickly averted their gazes. One of the girls didn’t turn away fast enough though, so I was able to clearly see the smile on her lips. I had known that they were scheming behind my back, but I never imagined it would turn out to be something this outrageous!
I was so overcome with with emotion in that moment, that my mind went blank. It cleared away the lingering feelings of disillusionment, so that I could finally observe my surroundings properly. The ballroom was completely charged with a mixture of malice and wicked curiosity. Nobody moved while waiting to see what either I, or His Highness, would say next.
To be honest, I really don’t know how I could have gotten into this mess. I’ve only spoken with Anna-sama a few times before, and each time didn’t go past a simple greeting. So why I should have been labeled the culprit is beyond me. I have no motive to bully her! But at this point, I can see that silly things such as reason are inconsequential to her and His Highness. Nobody here cares about the truth at this point.
“I understand. Your Highness, I will receive any punishment you deem fit. However, you will leave my family out of this. And, if at all possible, please grant me leniency.”
“…Duke Rufus has always been very useful to me, so I will keep that in mind.”
“You have my gratitude. Thank you for everything up until now. Please be happy.”
With a huge grin on my face, I left the ballroom. That was probably the last time I’ll ever have to take into account my position as a Duke’s daughter and “thank” someone like that.
And, whether or not His Highness could hear the sarcasm in my voice has nothing to do with me anymore. It almost brings me joy to imagine him being furious over it.
Original translation at Carnations Scans