Right now, I’m standing before the emperor while wearing a noble attire with a strange medal attached to it. Not just that, Prince Viras, the prime minister and the imperial nobles were lined up on the sides. My throat was dry. I could feel the cold sweat dripping down my back.
Everything began a few days ago.
「I have a favor to ask from Rinos-dono」
「Again? What is it now? 」
This is the reception room of the imperial palace. Prince Viras and the prime minister were sitting across from me. They had wrinkles between their eyebrows and were wearing an urgent atmosphere.
By the will of His Majesty, Princess Ricolette was pardoned. That being said, she is still confined in her room. She won’t be able to leave her room until the end of the investigation.
「Before that, I want to confirm one thing. Do you have a wife by chance? 」
By chance or not by chance, I’m still single.
「That makes it easier. How about getting married? 」
「Ha? Who? 」
「Is this a joke…..」
My head was blank at this sudden development. Marrying Ricolette out of all things. How did they even arrive at this conclusion?
「I’m a commoner. Not just that, I’m a former slave. Our statuses are miles apart」
「Fortunately or unfortunately, you are eligible to marry her」
「What do you mean?」
「The Versam family planned to adopt you, We just need to use this method」
「I will perform as your guardian. By the name of Hideta Shua Viras, I approve of your adoption」
「This is unreasonable……」
「That is a way of a noble. Fortunately, we have a letter that can prove the Versam family’s intention to adopt you. It might be a little forced, but the seal of the Versam family is present of the letter. It won’t bring us any problems even if we make it public」
「In the first place, the royal family of the Juka Kingdom is no more. They won’t be able to complain anyway. You will revive the Versam family. Don’t you think that the late marquis will rejoice? 」
「No, I think he will be angered」
「Well, I will settle the matter of the title. You just need to visit the imperial palace when the time is right. The wedding with Ricolette-sama will happen after that」
「No, I didn’t voice my agreement yet…….」
「This is also a wish of the new emperor」
「When we mentioned this matter to older brother, no, His Majesty was extremely delighted. He said that he couldn’t think of a better candidate」
「This is ridiculous」
「Or do you have someone else you fancy?」
「No, it’s not like……」
「if you don’t have any, please do accept this arrangement. To be honest, there is no noble house in the empire, which is ready to welcome her as a daughter-in-law. Her always staying in the imperial palace doesn’t help the matter either. Even if we reach to another country, she is already 23 years old. She won’t be able to receive any big offers…..see? 」
「This is where you come into the play. The Juka Kingdom can be considered gone, but when we speak about the Versam family, it is famous even here. For my older sister and for the empire, there is no better candidate」
「If you don’t like her, you can just lock her in a room in your mansion. Or we can build another mansion close to yours」
「With my sister as she is. She will be sent to the monastery for her whole life. His Majesty doesn’t wish for that to happen. If she is by your side, His Majesty won’t lose sight of her either」
「Even if you say that…..」
「I’m sorry to interrupt. His Majesty is calling for everyone」
Everyone headed to meet His Majesty. Meanwhile, the two kept urging me to agree. I should refuse right before His Majesty.
「You’ve come. Well, sit for now」
Following his words, we took our seats.
「Rinos-dono, did you hear everything from them?」
「Yes, I’ve heard. But I don’t feel like going along with it」
「Well, my younger sister has such a personality. However, I don’t see her as a strong woman as everyone else does」
「What do you mean?」
「She always felt lonely since her childhood. It was difficult for her to sleep alone. She cried when left alone. Most likely, she was afraid of people rejecting her. Because of that, she tried to not separate from other people. This is how I saw it」
「She could have just done it if she wanted to……」
「Her status as a princess weighed hard on her. She was always talented, she probably wanted to attract people by her own talent and achievements」
「I wonder is that’s how it is」
「That’s what I was told, but nobody supports her ideas. Yet, didn’t you agree with her ideas before? You didn’t say it just to get into her good graces, right? 」 
「That is true. I think of it as right in a certain sense. However, it’s not suitable for the current era」
「You can say that her ideas are a bit too ahead of the times for her own good. It is hard for a man to fall in love with her. However, you understood my younger sister’s ideas and agreed with them. I can let Ricolette be with you. I agreed with the two’s proposal because of these reasons」
How insightful of a new emperor. It seems that this emperor has eyes that can see through people.
「I’m aware that I’m being unreasonable. Nevertheless, I sincerely wish for you to marry Ricolette. Can you at least consider it? 」
「Haaa……However, won’t Ricolette-sama be against it? 」
「I see. Then you should talk with her first. Is she is absolutely against it, I will come up with another plan」
Almost forcibly, I was guided to her room.
The room was dim. The curtains were closed, even though it is a daytime, most likely she wasn’t in the mood to meet anyone.
「It is hard on you too」
「Yeah, it is indeed」
「You were ordered to talk to me about the engagement, right? You can always refuse, you know」
「What does Ricolette-sama think about this?」
「What do you think? I can’t even escape. I’m just a pretty bird in a cage. I don’t have any other choice but to follow the orders」
「That is true, you of now is indeed a bird in a cage. I think that you are incredibly uneasy about the future that you can’t predict. I was like that too. When I became a slave, when I was deprived of my freedom, I truly felt insecure. I’m inclined to understand your feelings」
Ricolette was silent and didn’t answer. I followed up.
「You are a bird in a cage, but you do have a choice. Leaving the matter of engagement aside for a moment, you can choose to live or to die. You can die by biting your tongue off, you know? You can twist your neck with a curtain and die. On the other hand, a monastery? You can still live there. You have the right to choose」
Ricolette looked straight into my face.
「My Master and her family didn’t survive, even though they wanted to. But you are different. If you want to live, you can live. If you want to die, everything will end. However, if you live, no matter what form of living it is, something might eventually happen. I’m a former slave and I was glad to be alive. It was completely different from the future I envisioned. How about living for a while longer? Your ideas weren’t received well, but I don’t think that you are wrong. You are just too far ahead of the times. I think that you desire to help people is admirable. Once you implement it, any world can become a better place. And the people will save you in return. This is all I wanted to say to you」
I said my piece and stood up.
「I unintentionally overstepped my bounds. Well then」
I quickly left her room. After that, I headed straight to meet His Majesty. The other two were still present by his side.
「I talked with Ricolette-sama」
「How was it?」
「She said I can refuse if I’m against it. I told her my thought and left the room. Most likely, Ricolette-sama won’t agree to this marriage. I think that Your Majesty should think of another plan」
Prince Viras and the prime minister looked as if they swallowed a bug. His Majesty looked at me with a faint smile. After a while, a servant arrived.
「You Majesty, the princess…….」
「I don’t mind. Speak. Yes, you don’t need to call me Your Majesty yet. I didn’t officially receive the crown yet」
「Princess Ricolette said that she accepts the marriage proposal」
……..Why is this happening?
When he bought Merias. They briefly conversed with each other. ↩