His eyebrows arched angrily as he said that. For whatever reason, her judgment seemed to have gone wrong again.
“…Is there a problem?”
“So, you’re saying there’s no problem? Did you think I was going to make you carry all this stuff?”
“Do I look like the kind of person who couldn’t give you that much?”
“It was because I didn’t know whom to leave my luggage with…”
Of course, the difference between the status of the handmaid and Ariel wasn’t great. Even though she might have a maid, Ariel was uncomfortable entrusting it to a maidservant. Likewise, lady-in-waiting never reached out to anyone below royalty as it was the imperial rule.
“Then leave it to me.”
Replying frustratedly as he grunted, he reached out to her bag.
The imperial family was trying to help the Countess’s daughter with her luggage… no matter how generous he was, it was too burdensome for Ariel as it was a situation that shouldn’t have happened.
Startled, she was taken aback.
“No, it’s okay! I’ll carry it…!”
“Did you even hear anything? I’m telling you not to lift that yourself.”
“No! It’s really okay!”
Thankfully, Skyla withdrew his hand from repeated requests. It wasn’t that he didn’t understand since it was difficult for a mere Count’s Princess to be burdened by the imperial family, even if only for a moment. Still, he was just unsatisfied with her reaction.
He eyed her disapprovingly before snapping his fingers and calling for someone. One of the ladies-in-waiting, who had been waiting nearby, walked over and bowed her head. She was the only one of the ladies-in-waiting with a less solemn expression. She looked harmless enough that he considered assigning her as Ariel’s exclusive lady-in-waiting for a while.
“This is the Princess of County Huckley. Since she’s my guest, treat her well.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
The lady-in-waiting approached Ariel with her head bowed. Standing in front of her, she held out her hands politely.
“Please give me your luggage, Princess.”
Ariel hesitated a little at the cautious gesture as if she were being handed something of value, but she eventually handed the handle of her bag into the hands of the lady-in-waiting. It was only when the lady-in-waiting curled her fingers around the bag and straightened her leaning body that Skyla had a satisfied look.
“I’ll assign you a maid or servant separately, so don’t go around like that anymore.”
“Thank you for your consideration, Your Highness.”
He hesitated for a moment, then quickly ended the conversation and turned away.
“Guide the Princess.”
“Yes, Your Highness.”
After giving a short order to the lady-in-waiting, he quickly walked away, seemingly careless about the matter.
Soon, she was left alone.
She wasn’t given a detailed explanation and all she got was a bundle of papers, as Skyla seemed to think that was enough.
“Princess, I will show you to your room. Please follow me.”
The lady-in-waiting carrying her luggage led her from a distance.
Inside a monumental castle where she didn’t know exactly where it was, the wide white corridors continued endlessly. The interior, unified in white, was sparsely decorated with silver ornaments though it might have been platinum. While there was no flashy splendor, she could tell that it was expensive.
The magnificent atmosphere of the temple-like setting became overwhelming to Ariel.
Looking at the sight, she wondered if this might not be the academy, whether it might be a place to receive distinguished guests or a place to handle administrative affairs. In any case, it didn’t seem like the kind of place ordinary people would use.
The gradual darkening of the sunset came through the window as the scenery that continued along the way was unfamiliar. It still hadn’t sunk in that she would be spending the day in an unknown place. Everything was happening so hastily.
‘Still, things can’t go wrong, can they? After all, the prince’s name is on the line, so maybe…
Just as she was preoccupied with her worries, the lady-in-waiting ahead of her stopped walking. She pulled out a key and unlocked the door before stepping aside.
“This is the room you’re staying in.”
At those words, Ariel nodded and stepped through the open door. The rooms were opulent, with carved plasterwork and gold frames on the corners. The Count’s residence was also decorated considerably, but not to this extent. It was impressive.
“I’ll leave the key on the table at the entrance.”
As the lady-in-waiting who had entered the room following her placed the key in the glass cup that held the decorations, Ariel turned her attention to the table.
“Would you like to have dinner at the dining hall? Or would it be more comfortable having it brought to your room?”
She delivered the instructions without stopping her words.
Ariel paused as she was about to speak casually like she usually did to the servant at the County and hesitated.
Unlike the typical maids, she wore a formal white robe without an apron, a position reserved for only the very few commoners or low-level nobles who had been granted special status. Because of that, she was a little hesitant to let go of her words since there wasn’t much difference in status between them.
However, since she came as the Prince’s guest, it would be proper to preserve her dignity.
“To the room… please.”
“Then, should I have it ready for you in an hour, around seven o’clock?”
“Yes. Please do so.”
“Very well. If you have any requests, please ring the bell on the wall. Access to all places here is free for the Princess, but we ask that you enter the room by 22:00.”
After the quick explanation, the lady-in-waiting set the bag on the carpet and stepped back.
“Then, I’ll take my leave now.”
The door eventually closed with a bow.
Once she was alone, Ariel immediately put her hands in the pockets of her coat. Without even unpacking her bag, she pulled out her cell phone and set the bundle of papers on a nearby table before turning her focus to the windows on the screen.
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