"I'm sorry to have kept you waiting so long."
Elizabeth returned to the greenhouse to say that nothing had happened. However, Young-ae, who had already heard from the servants, looked worried.
"I guess I was too nervous because it was my first time here. Have you been having fun talking?”
"Thanks to your care, I was able to have a good time for the first time in a while. No wonder I feel uncomfortable because Young-ae seems to have burdened us with the tension we put down...Are you sure you don't mind?"
"Lady Beatrice, I'm fine. I've only had a cup of tea, but it's already been this long. In fact, I was a little disappointed about that, so I was thinking about having another meeting like this next time. You're all coming, right?”
Everyone in the seat nodded. Elizabeth smiled brightly.
"Shall we go listen to His Majesty's closing speech? Oh, don't forget to bring a present for the young children."
Gift? Beatrice tilted her head. As I tried to follow Elizabeth out of the greenhouse, the servant stretched out his palms toward her.
You want me to copy you? Beatrice and other young children carefully put their hands together and put them forward.
"It's a seed."
How should I interpret this gift, Beatrice muttered in a dazed voice.
"Do you want to know what flowers will bloom?”
Young-ae's eyes were drawn to Elizabeth's mouth. Elizabeth replied with a playful smile.
"It's a secret!"
"Re, Lady Elizabeth?"
"Please tell me what flowers bloomed the next time we meet. We'll really arrive at the end of the closing—let's go!"
He's a man who can't really guess what he's thinking. Beatrice shook her head and looked down at the little round thing on her palm.
After the tea party, Elizabeth was confined to the shooting range. Upon hearing the news for the first time, Leonhardt was convinced that shooting was also quite effective in clearing his mind.
But it's already been a week since she almost lived in a shooting range. When the crown prince's fiancee said she was only there, skipping meals, Leonhardt eventually headed to the shooting range.
Elizabeth was pulling the trigger with a serious face she had never seen before.
However, there were no marks on the target, unlike his facial expression that he could hit a needle hole about a hundred steps away.
Instead, the bullet flew into the wall about two feet away from the target. Looking a little closer, the wall was full of missed marks.
Elizabeth put the gun down in Leonhardt's voice.
"Where did the marksman I used to know go?"
Leonhardt approached Elizabeth with a smile. And hugged her like the first time she learned to shoot.
Elizabeth is gently in his arms, no. I was half leaning. Leonhardt's overlapping hand grabbed the gun again and hung his finger over the trigger.
However, contrary to Elizabeth's expectations of shooting together, Leonhardt stepped back when he confirmed that Elizabeth was aiming at the target.
Elizabeth glanced at Leonhardt with a curious look and focused again on the target.
It was a shot, and Elizabeth, who poured all the last bullets onto the target, returned with a light look on her face.
"What are you going to do?”
House Elysium. At Elizabeth's words, Leonhardt swept his bangs with a complex look.
"Do you want me to rule it out?”
"If you're going to… before I become empress."
"Then you'll never be crown princess.""Hmm…."
Leonhardt sighed deeply. I could guess what Elizabeth was worried about without asking. Maybe he's worried about his brother.
I wish I hadn't been born.’
Leonhardt gnashed his teeth at the faceless little prince of Elysium. But if it wasn't for a son, a daughter would have been born, and if it was a daughter...I shook my head when I thought about it.
"…would we rather raise them?”
"You know, it doesn't make sense to yourself, right?”
Elizabeth thought for a moment that he and she would rather have been a normal noble family.
But it was unlikely that she would still be engaged if she, and Leonhardt, were of an ordinary noble family.
It was an engagement that kept a close relationship between the royal family and the duke.
"I will make you happy no matter what. And if it gets in the way of that, even if it's God, I won't forgive it."
Elizabeth's eyes were wide open. But Leonhardt held her hand and continued in a calm, yet more serious tone.
"The same goes for your family. But Lizzy, what have I told you so far?”
Elizabeth answered only after a moment of anguish.
"…how to think, decide, and act on your own….”
Leonhardt nodded his head.
"I've decided to leave everything to you about the Ellisium family."
Elizabeth's face was filled with joy. However, he quickly returns with a pensive look as if he had never done so.
"So think about it carefully."
The fatigue that had been forgotten for a while during the shooting came at a moment. Elizabeth bowed her head and laughed in a weary voice. A thick, bony hand came into view. The owner of the hand could tell without raising his head.
"Are you eating properly?”
"Bob? Oh, well, that's it."
As soon as I answered roughly, Elizabeth's stomach growled. Elizabeth bowed her head deeper and Leonhardt smiled and led her hand.
"Let's go eat."
"Uh, uh, where?"
"Jesus, I just want to show you something.”
Wearing thicker clothes than the last inspection, the two went out of the palace.
First, Leonhardt stopped by a courteous cafe. The clerk, who had been taking orders since the morning of that day, looked at Elizabeth's complexion and added a line of notes when a customer with an impression he had seen ordered something that was particularly memorable.
[Sweet, sweet no matter what!] Don't put syrup on coffee, but like coffee on syrup!]
"…is it this sweet?"
"I guess my taste buds have changed as I grow up. Are you sure you don't want to go inside in the cold?"
Was coffee such a sticky drink? Elizabeth shook her cup with a long silver spoon, wondering if it was less syrup mixed. The end of the spoon was covered with honey-hardened syrup.
It was the school that Leonhardt took Elizabeth to.
"For the girls."
At Leonhardt's words, Elizabeth stared at him with a look demanding an explanation.
"Hua, Your Majesty the Crown Prince. I can't believe you came all of a sudden without any of a sudden..”
Leonhardt led her to the principal's office, saying it would be faster to hear the explanation from officials.
The headmistress of the school was embarrassed by the sudden visit of the crown prince and Lady Elizabeth, but soon began calmly introducing the school."There's nothing special about a vocational school. The subjects and curricula taught are the same as defined by law. The difference is that the practice continues instead of going home after the class. Oh, not only students but also teachers are all women except in special cases.”
"And the teachers…?"
"Thanks to my friends who are in sync with me. There are still only a few institutions, but I'm sure some of the students who graduated here will follow suit. At least that's what I believe."
"Wasn't there a strong backlash from parents about sending a girl to school? Even when I first started school, and still... Is there anyone who couldn't get out of the old-fashioned mindset of, "If you have time to go to school, give me some food!"
Elizabeth's eyes were wide open again for the first time. Principal Madame Helen nodded as if she understood everything.
"We're going to find a place for the graduates to work at the school. Of course, students who are not motivated at all are in trouble. I don't think there's a student like that, at least not yet."
"I mean, if you go to school, you can learn skills and get a job as it is."
"And I can have at least one decent meal. Maybe parents sent students here at the last word. But even if they come to school for only bread and milk that they give for lunch, girls are going to school anyway. I'm learning to write, and I'm learning to count. That's all it takes."
Elizabeth must have been deeply impressed by Madame Helen's words. Leonhardt also looked more pleased with the results than he had been told.
Rejecting Madame Helen's offer to guide the students inside the school, the pair headed back to Islands Square on the grounds that they could not interfere with their studies.
"You made it.”
I could feel Elizabeth, who was walking silently with her arms crossed, turning away.
"Lizzy, I will be the emperor who rules this empire. And you will be the only empress who will be with him."
"Yes, you can, can't you?"
No matter what happens, I'm going to make it happen. Leonhardt poked his lips to the core.
"So cheer up for your homework. Oh, come to think of it, it's winter soon... Your birthday is just around the corner. Well, that... gift you want to receive... Do you have the same thing?”
Leonhardt glared at the sky full of gray clouds. Elizabeth chuckled when she found out that his earlobes had turned red. Gift, gift....
"Well…Hannie, who's going to be an adult, will do a lot of things for you…It's not that I didn't think it would be a surprise gift, but it's a year when I become an adult. I want to give you what you want."
What am I talking about now? Leonhardt awkwardly raised the corners of his mouth and rolled his eyes to read Elizabeth's countenance.
Elizabeth was troubled with her fingertips on her lips.
It was not long before Elizabeth opened her mouth.
Just tell me, a ring made of whole diamonds? Or do you want me to fill all ten fingers? With Mimir's power, I might be able to put a piece of star in your hand.But Elizabeth wanted a ring that was simpler than gold and jewels and rarer than stars.
"…Give me a flower ring?"
Elizabeth nodded her head. Leonhardt asked back in an absurd voice.
"Lizzy, you know your birthday is winter, don't you?"
Again, Elizabeth nodded. Leonhardt had an uneasy premonition that he might really have to visit Mimiir.