V2 Chapter 64: The Encounter

My meeting with Princess Sakuya happened more swiftly than anticipated. Upon accepting her invitation at the royal capital’s Dragnaut residence, I was taken to the royal palace on the same day.

I had assumed there would be a few days of waiting, even though the invitation came from her, so I was surprised.

According to Duke Dragnaut, it seems there were instructions from the princess herself. If I were to arrive, she was to be informed immediately.

At this point, the notion that the princess invited me out of sheer curiosity was completely dismissed – I contemplated this as I walked along the palace corridors with Duke Dragnaut.

The place to which I was guided was the very room where I had recently met with King and the crown prince. Moreover, the princess was already waiting in the room, and beside her was Claudia, who serves as a lady-in-waiting for the Pope and is stationed at the palace.

This was news to Duke Dragnaut as well, a hint of surprise showing on his face. Upon seeing this, the princess concealed her mouth with a feather fan and chuckled softly.

“One cannot simply meet with the betrothed, leaving the lady behind, can they, Duke Pascal?”

Calling Duke Dragnaut by his name, the princess next cast a soft smile my way.

“Pleased to meet you, Dragon Slayer. I am Sakuya. I am truly delighted that you have responded so promptly to my invitation.”

The gentle words of the Third Princess came as a surprise to me.

According to a story I heard from Claudia the other day, Prince Azur was not pleased with Princess Sakuya’s haughty demeanor when they met in the empire, and that was part of the reason why he wanted to reconcile with Claudia.

This story lingered in my mind, and my image of Princess Sakuya was that of a princess with slightly slanted eyes and a strong-willed demeanor.

Hearing about the princess’s behavior in the Canaria Royal Palace from Duke Dragnaut did somewhat weaken this impression, but it still had not entirely vanished.

However, the actual Third Princess was gentle and polite, possessing the demeanor of a truly graceful princess. There were no signs of her being sharp or harsh in either her appearance or actions.

Feeling puzzled inside, I followed suit and showed the manners required when facing a noble.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, Your Highness.”

I bowed politely, feeling her gaze upon my face. For a moment, I felt as though her eyes sparkled with a keen light, but before I could ascertain it, the princess continued speaking.

“Now, Dragon Slayer, Duke Pascal, please join me here. There is much I want to discuss with you, and there are things I would like to hear from you as well. Time is of the essence, we can’t afford to waste a single moment.”

And so, I found myself engaged in a pleasant conversation with the princess, alongside Duke Dragnaut and Claudia.

Of course, even though I call it a chat, I’m not equipped with the eloquence or education to serve as a conversation partner for the princess. Hence, I was mostly on the listening end.

The conversation was mainly led by the princess. She kept a constant smile, deftly directing the conversation towards me, Duke Dragnaut, and Claudia.

The topics of conversation were harmless. For instance, they didn’t touch on anything sensitive, like the internal affairs of the empire, my appointment, or the future of the Canaria Kingdom.

However, it wasn’t like she was just innocently engaged in small talk without any thought. From what I could see, it seemed like the princess was subtly trying to probe the relationship between us three.

Just recently, Claudia and I had visited the royal palace together, and we were sweet on each other in front of the king and the crown prince. There were no other vassals at that place, but Claudia was holding my hand the whole time in the palace, so there’s no doubt that the relationship between the daughter of Duke Dragnaut and the dragon-slayer had become a topic of conversation among the courtiers.

The princess seemed to want more detailed information about this.

While my relationship with Claudia is already public knowledge, whether I will become a son-in-law to the duke’s family or Claudia will leave the duke’s family to join mine is important. Given that Duke Dragnaut has no male heir, this question also affects the succession of the Dukedom of Dragnaut.

At the same time, it also implied an attempt to measure my relationship with Duke Dragnaut. As the future queen of Canaria, she can’t be indifferent to the connection between the leading noble and the dragon-slayer.

No matter whether future relations turn out to be friend or foe, the more information, the better. I could sense this intent from the princess’s manner of conversation.

“Hmm,” I nodded inwardly.

While it’s clear that the princess in front of me is not just a delicate lady, she’s definitely smart and understands propriety. She probably invited Claudia here to avoid unnecessary misunderstandings, showing she knows how to consider people’s feelings.

All things considered, she’s someone I can have a discussion with.

Somehow, I felt I understood why Duke Dragnaut has a good impression of the princess.

In the future, even if the princess desired the sovereignty of the kingdom and turned against the duke, as long as we demonstrate our reasons and benefits, she will likely listen to the arguments of her political enemies.

I couldn’t imagine having this kind of interaction with Crown Prince Azar. The crown prince would distinguish between friend and foe, and he wouldn’t listen to the words of the enemy.

From the duke’s point of view, he must be aware that a gap has formed between him and the royal family over the Claudia incident. If the crown prince ascends to the throne, this gap will only get bigger and deeper.

In this context, it was unexpected when a princess who can understand our point of view appeared as the crown prince’s wife. That would certainly be a positive development.

The Empire is also a party that sought to eliminate Claudia, but it’s hard to imagine a 14 or 15-year-old princess being actively involved in a conspiracy. Considering that Jijinbou made his move over a year ago, this becomes even less likely.

At this point, I’m curious about the arrogant attitude the princess initially showed to the crown prince. I don’t know exactly what she said, but she wouldn’t be the type of person to harshly confront someone, especially a partner she will spend her life with, without any reason.

If the princess deliberately gave the worst first impression to the crown prince, it could be either to test the prince’s caliber or to prevent the prince from having affection for her… I was pondering these thoughts when there was a knock on the door. One of the courtiers came in and said the king was calling for the princess.

Upon hearing that, the princess let out a small sigh of disappointment and turned her gaze towards me.

“It seems we’ve come to an end. I feel sorry for you, Dragon Slayer, you came all this way.”

“I am honored just to have been able to see your Highness. Please do not concern yourself with me.”

As I struggled to find these polite words, the princess spoke again, her lips hidden behind a fan with an amused smile.

“You do not have to force yourself to be so formal. I like to think I’m not so petty as to be offended by a minor impropriety.”

“Ah, that is, I’m sorry.”

“I would like to establish a good relationship with the Dragon Slayer in the future. If possible, I would like you to attend the upcoming wedding, what do you think?”

Faced with the princess herself, I could not refuse. Well, anyway, I was planning to attend since I’d publicly acknowledged my relationship with Claudia, so it wasn’t a problem.

With Wisteria advancing in her attunement with the Anima in the Titis Forest, I can’t stay too long in the capital. But lately, Wisteria has been able to hold her own against Pazuzu.

More specifically, she might not be fully in sync, but she’s no longer being possessed by Pazuzu. This is even when facing an activated Pazuzu near the dragon cave. There should be no issue as long as she remains in the King of Flies’ nest.

Hearing my acceptance, the princess smiles satisfactorily and adds one last thing.

“Dragon Slayer – no, Lord Sora, if you ever have any trouble, please do not hesitate to rely on me. I will help you as much as I can.”

“I appreciate your words. In times of need, I shall lean on your Highness’s kindness.”

Saying so, I bowed my head.

Of course, it was nothing more than a polite response. I can handle most things by myself now, and I don’t intend to owe anything to royalty or nobility. This has nothing to do with the personality of the princess – at that time, I was certainly thinking that way.

Little did I know, within three days, I would be relying on the princess’s help.

Liked it? Take a second to support WordyCrown on Patreon!
Become a patron at Patreon!