I looked at Al, who was next to me, without thinking. He was also staring at Prince Wilfred and Chloe as if very surprised. From his attitude, I realized that Al didn't even know about this.
The eyes in the hall gathered towards them. Meanwhile, Prince Wilfred was escorting Chloe quite respectfully.
The boorish attitude that I had seen before is completely hidden. This proper princely attitude, it was as if he's a completely different person.
He is a different type from Al, but his refined movement is very magnificent.
"……that's……His Highness Wilfred, right?"
Although I did something rude unintentionally by having to confirm it once again, Al didn't blame me. He nodded with a stiff expression.
"……yeah, there is no doubt that is Will. He is usually unreliable, but he is still strictly raised as the Second Prince. It should be easy for him to assume the proper attitude in the formal occasion……but, leaving that aside, Lily, the woman whom Will escorted, that should be your friend, right?"
"Yes……that's Chloe, my friend. Chloe Carlisle. She is the only daughter of Earl Carlisle."
I was terribly surprised even as I answered him.
After all, even if the content is rotten, a prince is still a prince, huh. For a moment, since his conduct was completely different, I was suspicious whether it was a body double, but according to Al, there is no doubt that it was Prince Wilfred himself.
Why is Prince Wilfred escorting Chloe?
This is Chloe's first entrance to the high-society world. She shouldn't have met Prince Wilfred before.
In fact, Chloe who was escorted by Prince Wilfred had a terribly confused expression, and it was clear that this situation was not what she wanted.
Everybody hurriedly moved out of the way. When they reached the middle of the hall, Prince Wilfred applied for a dance to Chloe.
"Will you dance with me? Princess."
That smart gesture was certainly only second to Al, and he seemed honestly good looking.
—I wonder if Chloe is alright.
She somehow managed to make a smile, but it was only a shadow of it. It was written clearly on her face that she didn't know why this happened.
However, since they were being looked on by many people, there is no way she could refuse the prince's request. In the end, Chloe put her hand on top of Prince Wilfred's hand.
The two started dancing slowly to the music that started to play.
After confirming that there was no problem with Chloe's movement, I breathed out a relieved sigh.
It seems that I was awfully tense without realizing it.
I'm very worried, but there is nothing I can do right now.
When the first dance is over and Prince Wilfred leaves, I will go and talk to her. While I was making such a decision, Al, who was looking at Prince Wilfred and Chloe, murmured, "I see, that's her."
I wonder what he was saying about Chloe.
When I called his name, Al looked away from the two and turned towards me. Then, he said in a low voice as if he doesn't want to be heard by the surrounding.
"Lily, maybe, she's the 『heroine』……"
For a moment, I couldn't really understand what Al said.
But his words slowly spread within me.
—Chloe? The 『heroine』?
"H-heroine……um, you mean, the one that His Highness Prince Wilfred said before?"
Prince Wilfred's 『game』 has been rubbed in my face for quite a long time. There is no way I can forget about it.
He said this.
That this world is a 『game』, and it is where the 『heroine』 captures multiple 『heroes』.
And within that game, I was a 『villainess』 who was hated by everyone, or at least that's what the role Prince Wilfred has continued to insist upon me.
I heard it by chance, and in an effort to oppose him, I decided to become a perfect lady, and now I have reached this point—
I was told by Prince Wilfred that I was no longer a 『villainess』 during the evening party of my society debut.
So I thought that I was finally released from the curse of the 『villainess』.
However, if I think about it carefully, that doesn't mean there is no 『heroine』 or 『heroes』, nor did he say that the 『game』 has disappeared.
Of course, I don't believe in everything Prince Wilfred said, but I couldn't deny that I was quite similar to the character he called a 『villainess』.
So I couldn't dismiss the whole thing as just a thoughtless remark, and whether I want it or not, it has been on my mind since.
But, of all things, Chloe is the 『heroine』 that Prince Wilfred was talking about……
"Al, is that true? There is no way that Chloe is the 『heroine』……"
I asked Al desperately, not wanting to believe it. Al opened his mouth with a difficult expression.
"I'm pretty sure that is the case. Because this is what Will have said. 「This time I will capture the Heroine」. And, 「Because she will have her society debut half a year later, I have to be able to fill the position of her partner for the evening party」 that's what he said. From that day until today, this is the only day that Will has come to an evening party, and this is the first time he escorts someone. Without a doubt, Chloe—Miss Chloe Carlisle is the 『heroine』 that Will has been saying."
When I heard that Chloe is the 『heroine』, I was so shocked that I felt like I was about to collapse. I was saved because Al hugged me right away, otherwise I would draw everyone's attention pointlessly.
I looked at Chloe, who continues dancing with Prince Wilfred, with an indescribable expression.
—Chloe is the 『heroine』.
I was shocked, but I was not very surprise that Chloe is the 『heroine』. Because, when I first met Chloe, I thought about it.
If there really is a 『heroine』, she probably will be someone like Chloe.
But that was actually true.
Rather, I thought it was as expected.
Chloe is kind and cute, and she has an everlasting smile that is loved by everyone. If what Prince Wilfred said was true, that means the 『capture targets』 will fall in love with her.
Chloe will choose one of them and become happy, huh.
And, if she has to choose—there is a possibility that she would choose Al.
When I thought up to that point, I became angry.
—I hate that. Don't take Al away!
For a moment, I thought so.
Chloe knows that Al is my fiancée, and she always supports me. So, normally I wouldn't think that she would choose Al. But Al is one of the 『capture targets』.
But what if, by any chance, the 『game』 that Prince Wilfred was talking about exists?
If Chloe chooses Al, Al will discard me and go with her.
I will lose both my friend and my lover at the same time.
My first friend, along with my first and last lover. Those two people will leave me.
Aah, what a horrible story that is, I can't accept it.
"No……no way……I hate that……"
I keep shaking my head while trembling, those who were looking at me must have thought that I was weird. Al embraced my shoulders and brought me to the corner of the hall. He had me sit on one of the chairs lined by the wall, received a glass from a nearby servant, and handed it to me.
"Lily, drink this. Calm down a little bit, okay?"
"It's fine, here."
I sipped the glass as recommended by Al. The content is cold water. I let nothingness spread inside my head which was completely boiled over. I felt a little bit of composure return to me.
Al passed the empty glass to a nearby servant. Confirming that no one was around, Al asked me.
"Lily, what happened? I was surprised because your complexion became pale all of a sudden……"
"S-sorry. It was nothing."
I glossed over it right away.
I couldn't say that I was panicked when I imagined that Al would be taken away. But Al wasn't fooled.
He crouched down on the spot and said while meeting my gaze.
"I told you, it's fine. Tell me. What happened? The way your expression changed, it wasn't just 'nothing'. I don't think you will be like that if it was just 'nothing'.
"T-truly, it was nothing."
While declaring that decisively, Al looked at me. And then, he said in a tone of voice as if he was trying to soothe me.
"Lily. I'm worried about you. Because you're my cute lover and fiancée. Hey, is it something you can't say to your own lover? I want you to talk to me honestly whatever it is."
He stared at me with such a serious gaze, and I couldn't take it, so I opened my mouth.
"……I'm sorry. I, um……Chloe is the 『heroine』……so I thought that maybe……Al will be taken away……"
When I somehow explained it while stammering, Al widened his eyes as if astonished.
"Me? By Miss Chloe Carlisle? There's no way it would happen."
"I also think so. B-but……the fated woman that was said would appear for Al is Chloe, right? That's why……!"
The possibility is not zero.
Prince Wilfred had said that Al would abandon his 『villainess』 fiancée and be happy with the 『heroine』. I may not be a 『villainess』 anymore, but he might still choose to be happy with the 『heroine』.
When I explained it with difficulty, Al let out an exaggerated deep sigh.
"Give me a break……"
Al, whose shoulders dropped dejectedly, sighed again, raised his face and looked at me.
Then, he opened his mouth saying, "You know,"
"I told you before that I don't believe in the 『game』 that Will was saying, right? I want to choose the one I like myself. I'm not interested in Miss Chloe Carlisle at all. To begin with, I already have a precious lover, are you saying that you see me as a man who looks at other women? If so, I think that's too cruel."
"I didn't think that my loving way would make you anxious……is my love not enough? If so, I guess I will have to work harder."
I denied it. There's no way it wasn't enough.
Al has always been sincere to me. He faced me straightforwardly. There is no way I can doubt him.
"N-no! I, I wasn't doubting you……"
This unspeakable anxiety is hard to explain. But I don't want Al to think that I was doubting him.
I was trying my best to explain it while feeling flustered. Al, who saw me like that, said while letting out a chuckle.
"It's okay. I understand. I'm sorry for my harsh way of speaking. I know you're only anxious, Lily. But the one I love is you. Say, Lily. Do you hate the thought of me being taken away that much?"
Al said it somewhat happily, nevertheless, I nodded honestly.
"I hate it. Al, you're already……um……mine, that's why—"
We became lovers. We promised to get married.
Why would I want to give up such an important person to someone else easily?
I told him so while putting all of my feeling into my words. Al blinked his eyes in surprise, and on the next moment, he hugged me with all his might.
"Aah, you're so cute."
The attention that had gathered at Chloe and Prince Wilfred who were dancing gathered on us in no time. With much embarrassment, I wriggled within Al's arms, but he wouldn't let go.
"Why should I? My Lily is so cute."