Part 04 – And They Meet
“Oh, how beautiful!” Marietta gleefully and quietly exclaimed while looking at the contents of Belvant’s gift. They were earrings fitted with teardrop-shaped jewels that shone in a light blue color. Marietta took hold of them between her thin, white fingers, and gazed upon the complex cut of the jewels as they sparkled with a surprising amount of light. She could tell they were goods of the highest quality.
“Surely……these must be Oltaire diamonds?”
“Yes, these jewels are a special product from this country, diamonds with a peculiar light blue color. They are very expensive, and I have never seen any so large as these.” With her wealth of knowledge, including that of jewels, even the lady-in-waiting Sierra was in awe as she explained.
“Are they truly……they are very magnificent jewels. After all, this color and radiance, they remind me of My Lord Belvant’s eyes.”
[Princess Marietta, are you injured?]
He had defeated the villains, and spoken Marietta’s name in his low, composed voice with his strong and gallant figure. He had even looked directly at her with his ice-blue eyes. More imposing than his portrait, she remembered her heart being struck by his bright and clear eyes.
That man, the man I so secretly desire, appeared before me and spoke my name, and even held me in his eyes, thought Marietta as her heartstrings quivered, and her heart ached for him.
“For the General to chose such a clever gift was truthfully outside my calculations. To think that he would select a jewel bearing the same color as his eyes…” Such was Sierra’s surprise that she muttered such things to herself.
“Oh my, aren’t they though? The same as My Lord Belvant’s……that he would bequeath me with this color…”
‘I want to dye you in my colors.’ Naturally, there must be such a passionate meaning behind it……or perhaps even a declaration of love.
“My Lord Belvant……oh what things does My Lord Belvant wish to do to me with his color? Aaah…” The earrings fell from her trembling fingers with a distinct ‘plop’. I’m so embarrassed, no elated, positively elated! Could it be that My Lord Belvant is pleased with me as well? Oh whatever shall I do……my heart won’t stop pounding. Oh, I wonder what part of me My Lord Belvant will want to dye first?
Marietta’s mind entered ‘flower garden mode’ and her face became so hotly flushed she had to hide it in her hands. Unconsciously, she shook her head back and forth as her imagination ran wild.
“My Princess, has your mood run afoul?”
“No, I am quite all right. It’s just, I, some intense palpitations have hold of my heart, please do not worry about it.” Marietta remembered the calm and capable lady-in-waiting watching over her and immediately restrained herself, holding up her enlivened head as if nothing was wrong to keep up appearances. It would simply not do for a princess from a foreign country to be writhing about in such an improper manner whilst thinking about a man. “Uuum……oh yes, I must express my gratitude! What shall I prepare, a written letter perhaps? Sierra, have you any stationary?”
“Firstly, I believe it would be best for you to get some rest. There is still the evening meal yet left for today, and since you will be seated next to General Fergus, could you not use that opportunity to express your gratitude?”
“Oh, I shall be able to meet with him, won’t I?” Marietta’s voice shook from anticipation and anxiety.
Hearing that, the aggravated Sierra drew back as her eyebrows raised. You’ll be all right, My Princess. I shall be by your side the entire time. Even if he’s the General of a large country, should he show you any disrespect, I shall swiftly reprimand him. Sierra was strong-willed, and it showed in her feelings towards her princess as an excellent lady-in-waiting, despite all the misunderstandings.
“Now then, I would like to adorn myself with this present post haste. And what dress do you think I should wear with them?”
“My Princess, please take a moment to settle down. I will prepare you some tea for now. In the meantime, please select a dress to match your new earrings.” Sierra helped calm her mistress, and added some herbs to the tea to settle the princess’ feelings.
Of course, the lady-in-waiting had in mind that she was soothing the princess because ‘Princess Marietta must be so frightened at having to be near such a demonic man‘, and in the end misinterpreted the intense palpitations for General Belvant Fergus. Thus she did her best to put the girl at ease.
“We welcome you for coming from your far away land, Princess Marietta.”
“I am most humbly delighted upon this occasion to accept your gracious words, Your Majesty.”
Summoned to a special room before dinner, Marietta met with Oltaire’s king. The king was over 40 years old, a handsome man in the prime of his life, meeting with the youngest princess of Stellaus. She was, as the rumors had said, a gentle and lovely princess, and the king was quite taken with her. And yet……
Even though he was a well-featured, fine looking man when you looked at him closely , General Belvant Fergus’ unsociability and ferocious strength frightened women. When the king remembered that this adorable girl had no choice but to marry that man, his heart ached.
“General Fergus is a warrior with dauntless courage, which is nothing to say of his surprising capability as a strategist. Due to his great and excellent talents, my country does not lack for power. With the fine relation of the wedding between the beautiful princess of Stellaus and the General of Oltaire, the bond between our two countries shall strengthen. Above all else, I believe you two shall suit each other. I pray for this husband and wife pair to live long and prosper.”
“Yes, I thank you for your kind words.” Marietta’s cheeks were innocently dyed red with a blush.
But all those present, except for Marietta, were secretly retorting in their minds, ‘They don’t suit each other at all! Your Majesty is trying too hard to make them seem like a good couple!‘ though they could not say such things out loud.
Even the king himself thought such things must be left unsaid, Forgive me, I apologize. The General isn’t a bad person, but I hope you can put up with him.
Compared to Oltaire, the country of Stellaus was quite small. For that reason, when Marietta first visited Oltaire, she was bewildered by the great scale of everything. However, thanks to the royal education she received when she was younger, proper diplomatic etiquette was second nature, and she was able to conduct herself graciously without revealing any of her true feelings.
The introductory dinner was held in one of the massive palace’s rooms. Due to the queen’s consideration, in order to not need to be as strict, only a small number of people were invited.
“Suddenly thrust into a marriage and coming to a foreign country, you must surely feel some unease. If it would please you, you may also seek me out for advice, and come to think of us as your parents in this country, Princess Marietta.” The royal lady wanted to be amiable in politics. Simply because she was born to royalty, this young girl had to be part of a political marriage of convenience with only a portait by which she could use to know her betrothed. This made the queen greatly sympathize with her. Moreover, her partner was that General Fergus. For conducting herself with courage, the queen was also quite taken with the lovely princess, and from the bottom of her heart wanted to become a support for the girl. That General has no idea how to deal with ladies. If he starts to behave outrageously, I will absolutely not stand for it.
Unaware of what was happening, Belvant was being treated like a wild animal and making enemies everywhere.
And then, Belvant was late for dinner.
For the General, everyday was full to the brim with work, but today, the day his bride-to-be was to arrive, he should have had the day off. However, from the moment he rushed out to save Marietta from the attack, he’d been drowned in an overwhelming mountain of paperwork. In order to clarify the details of the incident, he’d busted his butt even more than usual and fell into a mess. Always zealous about work, Belvant hadn’t even stopped to eat anything. However, his lieutenant Adran had proceeded to beat some common sense into the man, and as soon as he finished up his work he immediately headed for his seat at the dinner table.
“I apologize for my tardiness.” Belvant appeared, sporting a sour look on his face that gave no indication of actually being apologetic. The royal husband and wife sighed inwardly, while Marietta’s throbbing heart threatened to leap out of her chest.