Lady To Queen - Chapter 117
Chapter 117 – [Side Story] Ch. 9 She’s Your Destiny
“Good gracious. You fell for her without knowing who she was?” Wilter stared at Rothesay pityingly, and the latter avoided his gaze.
“I didn’t even have time to ask her name. She left right away,” Rothesay said lamely.
“How did you meet her?”
“There was a small…accident on the way. She was in the other carriage.”
“Oh, this is quite romantic.” Wilter flung down the wet towel on his forehead and stared at Rothesay interestedly. “You don’t have any leads?”
“She has fiery red hair—”
“Stop with your flowery language. Are you writing a novel?”
“Red hair, golden eyes,” Rothesay said.
“Simple is the best,” Wilter smiled, then offered his own solution. “Listen here, Ro. I have a good idea.”
“It will be the National Founding Day soon. Right?”
“Most of the young ladies will be there. Like any social party, it’s a good place for them to find a husband,” Wilter said, his eyes glinting.
“I guess so?” replied Rothesay confusedly.
“So, you should go there this time.”
“But I’m not sure I can meet her again there.”
“But if you’re stuck in your room all the time, you won’t even have a chance to meet her. The possibility is zero.”
Wilter was right. Rothesay nodded as a sign that he agreed. “It’s been a while since I went to a party like that.”
“Are you bragging, you brat?” Wilter criticized in his hoarse voice. “If you’d go there regularly, you could have met her earlier.”
“Maybe,” Rothesay said in a dull voice. “She’ll be there, right?”
“She’ll be there, right?”
“Yes. Unless she’s even more of a loner than you,” Wilter chuckled. “More concerningly, what if she’s already engaged to someone? Or maybe she’s a married woman.”
“More than that, what if she already has someone she’s to wed? Or maybe she’s a married woman.”
“Hmm…” Rothesay hummed. Wilter had asked the question lightly, but Rothesay was genuinely worried about that.
Wilter was taken aback by his friend’s unexpected seriousness. “Why would you decide that already? You don’t know anything about her.”
“You’re right,” Rothesay agreed, then spoke in a clear voice. “I’m going to aim for the National Founding Day first.”
“Where is she…”
Rothesay hadn’t attended a party in a long time, and everything felt strange and unfamiliar to him, even though he had attended a few before. Now that the Imperial power has changed, the party style may have changed as well. The last one he went to was of Lucio’s coronation.
Wilter jabbed his friend in the side. “Stop looking around so much! You look like you’re cross-eyed.”
“Shut up,” Rothesay said bluntly.
“How can you find her in this crowd? It’s easier to find an oasis in the desert!”
Or finding a needle on the beach!
Rothesay left his friend to his constant stream of complaints, then moved to the other side of the party alone. He thought he could find her—no, he would make sure he would find her. She had an appearance that made her stand out.
Especially her hair. He clearly remembered her red hair. It was a shade that could be seen from afar. So he just had to search more. Just a little more…
Someone fell to the floor with a cry. At the same time, Rothesay felt an impact on his body and he stumbled back. Flustered, he looked at the other person he had bumped into.
Someone that looked familiar—no, someone that he really wanted to meet was on the ground. She was probably holding a cocktail, as parts of her dress looked wetter and darker, but fortunately her glass was not broken.
“Urgh…” she muttered irritatedly at the sight of the mess.
If destiny existed, it would be this.
“Are you alright, My Lady?” Rothesay said in a trembling voice.
The woman who heard him naturally raised her head, and Rothesay felt his heart pounding at her every movement.
“Oh!” she exclaimed after she identified him. “The carriage back then! Right?”
She remembered me.
Rothesay smiled, but did not say that out loud.
“Please take my hand, My Lady,” he said in a friendly voice, offering out his hand.
The woman took his hand and stood up. Maybe she did not weigh much, but Rothesay did not feel much strength in his hand. Why is she so skinny?, he complained in his mind.
“I apologize, My Lady. I should have been more careful, but I instead caused you much inconvenience,” he said softly.
“Oh no, good sir. I, too, should have been more aware of my surroundings. Now then…”
No! He shouted in his mind. She was trying to run away again. If he let her go now, he would be the world’s biggest fool. He could never let her go this time. At least…at least she had to know what his name was. He quickly grabbed her arm.
Nice shot, Ro! While Rothesay admired his own courage, the woman looked up at him with a puzzled expression. Rothesay talked to her with a gentle smile.
“I think this was meant to be.”
“Isn’t there a saying that says even brushing past someone is considered fate?” Rothesay decided to introduce himself with a trembling voice. “I’m Rothesay Aile Le Bradington.”
“I’m…Petronilla Laura Le Grochester.”
Even her name was pretty. But Grochester, where was Grochester again…? Rothesay turned over that ten-letter name in his head over and over again, and was surprised to realize that she was the twin sister of the Queen. She was also the daughter of a marquis.
Petronilla, who finished introducing herself, made to leave. Rothesay was so surprised that he forgot his manners and grabbed her again.
“Excuse me, My Lady.”
He did grab her, but he didn’t have any other choice. What do I do? What should I say? He racked his brain for an appropriate excuse. Then, her wet dress attracted his attention.
“Your dress is sullied…” he pointed out.
“I would feel guilty sending you off like this.”
“No, that’s alright. I’m fine…”
“But I am not,” he insisted.
“I’m fine,” she repeated.
“You’re quite the stubborn young lady.”
“Yes, I suppose that is the case.”
“I’m not a suspicious person…”
“I have never said you were, sir.”
“Then why do you continue to avoid me? I’m only acting like this because I truly feel sorry, My Lady.”
“Alright, sir. Then what is it exactly that you would like to do for me? I’m quite curious myself.”
Petronilla’s words made Rothesay smile brighter. I made it! I made a connection!
“For now, allow me to reimburse you for your dress,” Rothesay said, trying to hide the excited tremble in his voice.
“…It’s a dark color, so I think I’ll be…” Petronilla paused. “Yes, then please send it to Marquis Grochester.”
“I have one more request.”
“And what is that?”
Rothesay knelt before Petronilla. His line of sight was lowered, and he looked upwards at Petronilla for the first time.
“Would you care to dance with me today, My Lady?” he asked.
Rothesay knew immediately that Petronilla was taken aback. However, his feelings for her were more important than his shame. He repeated his question.
“I asked if you would care to dance with me, My Lady.”
“I…” Petronilla hesitated to answer, while Rothesay waited patiently for her. Waiting was his specialty. The important thing was how she would answer. As long as the answer was yes, he could wait a hundred or maybe even a thousand years.
“I…have no interest in that.”
So it was a refusal. But Rothesay did not give up. If he did, then everything—his first love, his crush, everything—would be over.
“Can you give me just one chance?” he pleaded.
Countess Bradington would certainly be shocked if she saw him now, and would wonder if he really was her son. Petronilla, meanwhile, seemed surprised by his tenacity.
“Can’t you give me one chance?”
“Why are you being like this to me?”
“I…” Rothesay’s face flushed slightly. “I think I have fallen in love with you, My Lady,” he confessed.
The situation wasn’t going as planned. The woman’s face stiffened at his words. At her reaction, Rothesay scrambled to recount his mistakes during their conversation, but there was nothing unusual except his confession. His anxiety mounted in him.
The problem arose here. The woman’s face had hardened rapidly. With her reaction, Rothesay recounted what mistakes he made during his confession, but there was nothing special except his confession. He was intensely anxious.
“You’re…in love with me?” Petronilla questioned.
“Why? Have you forgotten, sir? We have only met twice, including today. On top of that, our first meeting only lasted a moment.”
“The length of time doesn’t matter when it comes to love. What’s important is fate and heart. Don’t you think so?”
“I regret to inform you that I don’t believe in those things…”
“But I fell in love with you at first sight, My Lady,” he declared.
“What, how on earth…?”
“It seems that you don’t believe in love at first sight, My Lady.”
“I’m more inclined to think of it as ridiculous.”
“I have witnessed it. That’s how my parents came to marry.”
“I deeply apologize, but I do not fancy such things,” Petronilla said firmly. “I’d much prefer to meet someone over a long period of time in order to learn about their heart and mind…”
“Oh, dear,” Rothesay murmured, looking embarrassed. There was a separate problem. He apologized to her, blaming himself for being stupid. “It was careless of me to not consider that was how you thought. I apologize.”
“No, you don’t need to go so far as to apologize…”
“If that’s the case,” Rothesay continued with a sweet smile, “Would you be willing to meet me for ‘a long period of time’?”
“I—what is this all of a sudde—” she stammered.
“I would like to formally court you, My Lady.”
This all happened exactly less than an hour after they met, but Rothesay did not care. He had fallen in love deeply with her. Even he was terrified at the short period of time it happened. However, he did not care. His beating heart was clearly telling him:
She’s your destiny. So hold on to her.
“I’m sorry, sir, but I do not like you back.”
In the end, all Rothesay got in return was a refusal. However, he did not let himself be disappointed. It was a given. She met him for only the second time today, and they spoke for less than an hour. That was even less of a reason to give up.
Rothesay’s voice turned pleading. “I ask that you give us a chance to get to know each other.”
“I don’t understand why you’re being so annoyingly persistent, but I specifically said that I am not interested in you,” Petronilla said shortly.
“…It’s because I love you,” he said breathlessly.
“I have fallen in love with you the moment I laid my eyes on you.”
“And I don’t take the matters of the heart lightly.” Rothesay’s signature, sweet smile glimmered on his face. “Therefore, My Lady, please…”
“Will you at least let me have a dance with you?”
“I beg of you, My Lady.”
Petronilla sighed, and Rothesay was afraid that a rejection would leave her lips. Fortunately, however, she seemed to sympathize with him, and gave him an unexpected answer.
“Very well. But only for one song.”
At that answer, Rothesay’s face split into the broadest smile, as if he had just been told he was given the whole world.
“Thank you, My Lady.”